25 November 2008

2657) Media Scanner Nov 2008 (193 Items)

  1. Turkey Considers "De Facto" Diplomatic Relations With Armenia
  2. Armenia Will Not Stop The Diaspora’
  3. Armenia Presses For Open Border, Diplomatic Ties
  4. Vatican Labels ‘Armenian Genocide’ As Fact
  5. Turkish Ambassador Admonishes Pres. Obama on Armenian Issues, By H Sassounian
  6. Hayk Demoyan: We Will Remind Obama That U.S. History Is Linked To Armenian Genocide
  7. Ankara Can Send Ambassador To Armenia In Exchange For Consent To Form Commission Of Historians
  8. Why Is Our Thanksgiving Bird Called a Turkey? (Answer: Because, of course, it came from Turkey)
  9. Turkey in an Economic Free-Fall, Troubled by Diaspora's Political Successes By Appo Jabarian
  10. Armenian Foreign Minister Speaks At BSEC Meeting In Istanbul
  11. UK Declares Suspension of Assistance Program to Armenia
  12. Armenian FM Calls for Normalization of Relations, Open Border
  13. Armenians Won't Forget; Neither Should The World
  14. ‘Galata’ by J Freely
  15. Armenian FM In Call For Solidarity
  16. Turkish Intelligentsia Look His Armenian Past
  17. Confession: Turkish Nation Is Exclusively Islamic
  18. Historians Have No Monopoly On Memory
  19. Sarafian: Focus On Diaspora
  20. Armenian Diaspora Puts Pressure On French Senate
  21. Historic Ani Ruins Get New Face-Lift
  22. Armenian-Turkish Dialogue Should Be Uninterrupted
  23. Yeni Aktuel: Music Of “Chirpinirdi Gara Deniz” Belonged To Armenian
  24. Philippe De Villiers: Even Recognition Of Armenian Genocide Won’t Open Eu Door For Turkey
  25. Turntable Activism: Smoked Turkey
  26. RA Minister Of Diaspora Leaves For U.S. Completing Her Visit To Latin America
  27. IPI’s Director David Badge On ’Justice Denied’ Campaign
  28. French Officials, Who Committed Genocide Are Getting Arrested
  29. ‘Armenian Political Forces Welcome Turkey-Armenia Dialogue’
  30. Obama Presidency And Turkey
  31. ASAM Closure Making Think Tanks Think Harder
  32. Even If It Is Necessary For USA To "Put Pressure" On Turkey, Resolution On Recognition Of Armenian Genocide In US Congress Will Hardly Be Applied
  33. US Spies See Stronger, Islamic Turkey In 2025
  34. New Ministry To Handle Diaspora
  35. Turkish Society Not United To Improvement Of Relations With Armenia
  36. How Will Turkey Be In 2025?
  37. French Meps Advised Not To Deal With History
  38. Open Letter To Mr. Ertugrul Gunay, Minister Of Tourism & Culture By Ara Sarafian
  39. Diplomat And Politician Gunduz Aktan Dead At 67
  40. Passport Crisis Shows Turkey, Armenia Must Break More Taboos
  41. Ottoman Youth Of Paris On Display
  42. President-Elect Obama, Is Turkey Western And European?
  43. Groundbreaking Conference On Massacres Of Dersim, Despite Pressures From Ankara
  44. Turkey And US Under Barack Obama - Yes They Can
  45. Declaration Urging Turkey To Acknowledge Genocides It Committed Signed In Brussels
  46. Turkish Defense Minister Unwittingly Confesses Turkey's Guilt on Genocide
  47. New Leader Of The German Greens - An Ethnic Turk
  48. Remarks By Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan At National Press Club
  49. Turkish PM Erdogan Comments On "Close Cooperation"
  50. Media Lying Over Churchill's Crimes
  51. Bill Criminalizing Armenian Genocide Denial Blocked In French Senate
  52. Korhan Yurtsever: "Armenians Will Lose Sleep Over Film I Will Make About Khojali Tragedy"
  53. Obama Thanks Turkish President
  54. Premature To Speak Of Armenian Genocide Resolution Passage In U.S. Congress
  55. Armenian Americans Awaiting Secretary Of State Appointment
  56. Italian Monument Of Armenian Allegations
  57. Armenian Fund Of France Already Collected Over Million Euros To Benefit Of Republic Of Armenia And Nkr
  58. Obama's Election Forces Turkey To Rethink Its Demands From Armenia
  59. Most Anti-American Nation, Since AKP Assumed Power In 2002, Turks Have Heard Nothing Positive
  60. Armenian FM: Not Single Armenian Official Has Stated Or Can State Anything Against Recognition Of Genocide
  61. Well-Oiled Friendship Or Political Pipe Dream?
  62. Turkey Calls On Armenia To Open Archives On 1915
  63. Turning Point: Armenian Officials Take Bold Steps
  64. Armenian Officials Take Bold Steps
  65. World's Oldest Christian Nation May Have Many Things To Be Proud About, But When It Comes
  66. Politicians Who Have Meal With Gül Are In Trouble
  67. Priests Fought And Candlesticks Flew
  68. Dreamer Armenians Brought Lawsuit against USA National Archive
  69. Feast Of Blunders
  70. Turkey - Rising Power In Region
  71. Embedded Government
  72. Obama And Armenian Issue
  73. Vecdi Gönül And Faint-Hearted Republic
  74. Article 301 Remains Major Threat To Free Speech
  75. Dreaming Of Pure Nation-State
  76. Turkey: Proposed Law Would Limit Archive Use
  77. European Armenians Raise 1.2 Million Euros in Armenia Fund “Phonethon”
  78. Turkish Prime Minister - “U.S. Support Is Essential For Maintaing Dialogue Initiated With Armenia”
  79. Turkish Defense Minister Unwittingly Confesses Turkey's Guilt
  80. Why I'm Resigning From Being NewYork Times
  81. Beware Of Obama Hype: What 'Change' Really Means
  82. Oldest Armenian Daily Celebrates Centenary In Istanbul
  83. Obama's Presidency And Its Meaning For Turkey
  84. Turkey Calls On Armenia To Open Archieves On 1915 Incidents
  85. Erdoğan Urges Obama To Heed Armenia, Iraq Sensitivities
  86. Armenians Criticized Gönül With Letter To PM Erdoğan
  87. Report Establishes Negligence In Dink Murder
  88. Wikipedia or WikiCrap?
  89. Armenian Solider: I Don’t Want To Be Armenian Citizen
  90. Armenian Terrorists Need More Money: Sargsyan Offeres Aliyev To Invest In Qarabaq
  91. Swiss President Upholds Turkish Call For "Genocide" Study
  92. Nalbandian Denies "Genocide" Report
  93. Armenia Will Never Stop Calling For Worldwide Recognition Of Genocide
  94. Abdullah Gul: "If Barack Oabama Recognizes "Armenians Genocide" It Would Mean That He Sets Up The Unreal Things For The Reality"
  95. Ra President: Commission Of Historians On Armenian Genocide Needless
  96. Armenian Genocide Resolution Likely To Be Passed In Congress In April
  97. Obama And Turkey (Ilter Turkmen)
  98. Armenian Diaspora Politics Is Not Democratic Or Pro-Armenian Politic
  99. All-Asa Confederation Reaffirms Importance Of Armenian American Issues
  100. Turkey-Obama Ties Hurt By Four Obstacles
  101. Madeleine Albright To Meet Erdog(an As Obama’s Stand-In
  102. Turkish Newspaper Makes Waves Taking On Establishment
  103. Filmmaker Examines Genocide
  104. Sinan Ogan: Turkish-Armenian Relations Have Long And Deep-Rooted History
  105. Swiss President: Armenian Genocide Should Be Studied By Historians, But Its Denial Should Be Punished
  106. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian's Answer To The Question Of "Novosti-Armenia" News Agency
  107. Nalbandian Denies ‘genocide' Report
  108. Mhp Leader Bahçeli Slams Praise Of Us President-Elect Obama
  109. Death Threats To Turk Sympathizer
  110. Turkish Academician: "Genocide" Resolution Likely To Be Passed In Congress In April
  111. U.S. Interests In Turkey
  112. Russia And Obama: Untying The Gordian Knot By By Eric Walberg,
  113. Armenia Will Tolerate No Expression Of Denial The Armenian Genocide
  114. Gul: Armenian Genocide Not The Job For Politicians
  115. University Of Michigan Unveils Archive Of Hunchakian Leader
  116. Obama's Victory, Pseudo-Nationalists And The Cyprus And Armenian Issues
  117. Difference And Tolerance In The Ottoman Empire
  118. Armenians Should Remain Vigilant To Counter Turkish Pressures on Obama H Sassounian
  119. Mexico's Ambassador In United States ..An Armenian
  120. Dream Of A Turkish Armenian Comes True
  121. Obamania!
  122. Be Ready For An Armenian Shock With Obama
  123. What Obama's Win Means To Turks And World
  124. Turkish Judge Publicly Criticizes Denial Of Armenian GenocideBy Harut Sassounian
  125. Index On Censorship On Internet Censorship In Turkey
  126. What Can They Say If They Don't Have Anything To Say
  127. What Moscow Summit Might Mean?
  128. Change: Obama's Election Rekindles Hopes For Genocide Recognition Among American-Armenians
  129. BIA : State's Security Hijacks The Freedom Of Expression
  130. Bianet Refuses Suspend Criticism Against "Creationist" Preacher
  131. Armenia's Choice: Inalienable Diaspora
  132. Most Important Challenge Facing UsSpeech by Vartan Oskanian
  133. Dashnak Leader Worried About Turkish-Armenian Commission
  134. New Document On Turkish Anti-Armenian Policy In 1934
  135. The Esh!! (Donkey): Armenian Story
  136. Armenian Defense Spending
  137. US Elections and Bradley Effect
  138. Obama: In Words Of Turkish Journalist
  139. Terrorism Quiz
  140. Turkey And Caucasus: Can They Be Friendly Neighbors?
  141. ANCC: Turkey Has Distinction Of Being Worlds Worst Perpetrator Of Crimes
  142. My Letter To Congressman, Senators, Karakostas,
  143. CNN To Screen Scream Bloody Murder Documentary About Genocides
  144. Armenian Youth: We Liked Turks a Lot
  145. Armenians Embezzled Folkloric Songs!
  146. Legal Armor For Genocide Claim
  147. ANCA: Obama's Fresh ‘Genocide' Pledge
  148. (Australia's 3rd Largest CBD) SydneyNorthShore MP To Recognize Armenian Genocide
  149. Armenia Not Planning To Tolerate Turkish Performance
  150. US Candidate Gets Funds Over Genocide Dispute,
  151. Turkish, Armenian Academics Brainstorm, Yerevan
  152. Yet Another Kurdistan Map, Cumhuriyet
  153. Armenia: Time For Diplomacy , Prof. Safrastyan
  154. Behind Myth Of Byzantium Splendour & Mysticism
  155. ARF Dashnaktsutyun Concerned About Panic
  156. Hakobian: Our Task Is To Return Every Armenian Of Diaspora To Roots
  157. Mudros Has Central Place In Britain's Dishonourable Behaviour
  158. “Morgenthau Story” documentary in Belmont
  159. With No Solution To Cyprus & Armenian Issues, No To Turkey’s EU . .
  160. At Least We'll Get To Sasun & Enter Van
  161. Denial Is Not Criminal Matter G Alderman
  162. Genocide Dispute Bursts Into Us House Race
  163. It Is Not Business Of Any Political Authority To Define Historical Truth
  164. We Will Not Give In To Adnan Oktar’s Threats!
  165. Foreign Policy Architect Warns Us On Armenia Move
  166. Rights Of Armenians
  167. Erdog(an Adviser Throws Olive Branch To Armenia
  168. Academics Grasp Mantle Of Peace
  169. Rejoice! Rejoice! Obama Is Coming!
  170. Turkish President And Editor-In-Chief Of Zhamanak Daily Discuss . .
  171. Kurds Of Armenia Against Turkey
  172. Fethiye Cetin's Book "My Grandmother"
  173. Conference Devoted To Armenian-Turkish Relations
  174. Turkey Addresses Messages
  175. How To Cheat Council Of Europe
  176. Why Turkey is important to U.S.
  177. Erdogan To Obama And Mccain :Consider Turkey's Position On Genocide
  178. Is Press Yellow Or Speeches Of Government?
  179. Turkey Doesn’t Eye Armenia As Enemy But Warns U.S. Against Genocide Recognition
  180. Samatya: Village On Marmara Sea
  181. Turks Supporting Anti-Genocide Candidate
  182. Turkey Chooses Obama
  183. 400 Years Of Solidarity Of Anatolian Brothers
  184. The Middle East and Caucasus in 2009
  185. Black Sea Greens Call For Peace
  186. Armenians To Reinstate Mt. Agri Emblems
  187. Expectations
  188. Vendetta
  189. First Armenian, Then Pontian, And Now Kurdish Genocide?
  190. New Era In Us-Turkish Relations?,
  191. Obama Reaffirms To Recognize Genocide
  192. Peace On Moscow Horizon?: Russian President Calls Caucasus Leadership To Negotiations
  193. Bringing Ararat Back: Soccer Boss To Repair Loss Of Biblical Mount On Logo

Turkey Considers "De Facto" Diplomatic Relations With Armenia Hurriyet
The Turkish government is planning to restore diplomatic relations with Armenia by appointing an "accredited ambassador" if the Yerevan administration agrees to take a step on investigating the 1915 incidents. (UPDATED)

Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian arrived Monday in Istanbul where he attended a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC).

Nalbandian met his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan later in the day and discussed bilateral relations, including the so-called "genocide" claims of Armenia.

Hurriyet.com.tr said the two ministers were also expected to discuss the normalization process of relations and that Turkey is planning to propose the appointment of an accredited ambassador to Yerevan without opening a diplomatic mission.

There is no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey, as Armenia presses the international community to admit the so-called "genocide" claims instead of accepting Turkey's call to investigate the allegations, and Armenia's invasion of 20 percent territory of Azerbaijan.

Turkey and Armenia have been holding contacts indirectly with the mediation of Georgia. With the new Turkish proposal, Georgia would no longer act as an intermediary and the appointment of an accredited ambassador would eventually mean the "de facto" establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The report said Turkey has one condition for the establishment of de facto diplomatic relations. Ankara would ask Armenia to send a message saying it is warm to the proposal of forming a commission to investigate the 1915 incidents.

Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.

Turkey rejects the claims saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate what has really happened in 1915 and opened up all official archives, but Armenia is dragging its feet in accepting the offer.

The Fast-Changing ’narrative’ Of Turks And Armenians, Hurriyet

A concept we have explored repeatedly is that of "narratives." Our point always is that the general narratives which define nations or institutions often lag behind reality. This is the case for Turkey. It is the reality at the heart of the mission of this newspaper.

So we were particularly struck by the words in a story in yesterday’s paper: "I believe Turkey is not how it used to be. It has a modern perception and wants solutions to problems."

Hardly bold or dramatic words, they could describe much in this country. But the fact they were spoken by Ara Sarafian, an Armenian historian, makes them bold and dramatic. They underscore the dynamism of Turkey, the willingness to shed old paradigms and specifically the courage and leadership of President Abdullah Gül, who last September undertook his historic visit to Yerevan. This trip challenged the prevailing narrative on Turkey’s attitude toward Armenia.

Yes, some of the momentum in the initiative created by the occasion of "football diplomacy" has been lost. A growing global economic crisis and many domestic woes have pushed the rapprochement launched by Gül and Armenian President Serge Sargsyan out of the limelight.

But in what is essentially the return match, the visit that began yesterday of Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, we see a historic step further. The occasion may have been the rotating presidency of the Istanbul-headquartered Black Sea Economic Cooperation forum. But the symbolism of a new era is lost on no one. In a Hürriyet Daily News interview, Nalbandian expressed support for the initiative launched by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a regional stability platform for all the Caucasus countries. He reiterated a call for resumption of diplomatic relations and the opening of borders between the two countries. That the reality is changing is self-evident; we know the narrative change will follow.

The strongest proof of a shift in narrative, however, came in the additional interview circumstances allowed us to run with Sarafian. For Sarafian challenged a narrative many of us have long accepted: that Turkey’s political problems are not with Armenia the country, but with Armenia the diaspora. Sarafian courageously criticized the lack of free expression in Armenia, something routinely overlooked by the United States and the European Union in their own interventions. He also offered the insight that despite the reputed intransigence of the diaspora generally and of the Armenian "lobby" specifically, "the members of the diaspora who still have Anatolia in their hearts should not be ignored." We are pleased by the attitude and remarks of Minister Nalbandian. We are inspired by those of historian Sarafian. Indeed, the narrative is changing.

Armenia Will Not Stop The Diaspora’Hurriyet
ISTANBUL - Armenian foreign minister says they will never tell the Armenian diaspora to stop their efforts to make the genocide claims internationally recognized, however, he reiterates his country’s commitment to the normalization process with Turkey, initiated with President Gül’s visit to Armenia.

Armenian government will never tell its diaspora to making genocide claims internationally recognized, despite the reconciliation process that has started between Yerevan and Ankara. Armenia claims World War I mass killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottomans amount to genocide, an assertion categorically denied by modern Turkey.

"We never say, we will never say to our diaspora to stop the recognition efforts of genocide," said Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian at a press conference yesterday at the headquarters of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, or BSEC, in Istanbul. Nalbandian came to Istanbul to visit the BSEC headquarters as Armenia assumed the rotating presidency last month. After the press conference he met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. This was the third meeting after Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Armenian President Robert Kocharian have instructed their respective ministers to start dialogue for the normalization of relations.

"It was a wise decision for President Gül to come to the football match in Yerevan," said Nalbandian, referring to the visit of Gül to Yerevan to watch the match between the two national teams in September.

"There is a good atmosphere, an active dialogue for normal relations," said Armenian foreign minister prior to the meeting with his Turkish counterpart. Nalbandian said Armenia has a positive approach to the process and is expecting the same approach from the Turkish side. Nalbandian reiterated the opening of borders between the two countries and establishment of diplomatic relations without any preconditions as the way to proceed on normalizing relations. "This is not a favor that we are asking, it is in the interest of both sides," said Nalbandian.

Optimism from Armenia
Although Turkey recognized the independence of Armenia, it has not established diplomatic relations due to claims of genocide and refused to open borders because of the Nagorno-Karabagh problem, a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a close ally of Turkey.

Turkey wants the establishment of a commission of experts to investigate the events of 1915 and seeks a breakthrough on the Nagorno-Karabagh issue before taking the decision to open borders or establishing diplomatic relations. Although both sides seem to disagree on how to proceed toward normal relations, the Armenian foreign minister displayed optimism.

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan recently met at a summit hosted by Russia, a meeting Nalbandian said was very constructive. He praised the role of Russia as very constructive as well and said there could be a new meeting between the officials of the two countries in December.

Meanwhile Nalbandian said the improvement of efficiency, effectiveness and visibility of BSEC would be the major task of the Armenian chairmanship.

Armenia Presses For Open Border, Diplomatic Ties
Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian (R) shakes hands with Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Secretary General Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos at the BSEC headquarters in İstanbul on Monday.

The Armenian foreign minister yesterday called for normalization of ties with estranged neighbor Turkey, saying an open border and diplomatic relations will serve both countries’ interests and foster regional peace.

Speaking at a press conference before a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Edward Nalbandian also said Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan will visit Turkey in October 2009 to watch a game between the national soccer teams of the two countries, reciprocating a similar visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gül in September. “There is active dialogue going on,” Nalbandian said at the headquarters of the secretariat of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), a regional cooperative organization for which Armenia is currently holding the rotating presidency. “I don’t see any serious obstacle for the normalization of ties,” he said.

Turkey severed its diplomatic ties with Armenia and closed its border in 1993 in protest against the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.

Ankara says the normalization of relations depends on Armenia’s withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh and an end to Yerevan’s support for the Armenian diaspora’s efforts to win international recognition for claims that Armenians were subjected to genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. But the visit by President Gül in early September to Yerevan to watch a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia’s national teams broke the ice between the two countries. Officials have been holding talks on the possible normalization of relations since that historic visit.

In September, on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting in New York, Babacan and Nalbandian had three-way talks with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

Describing the ongoing talks as “very positive and sincere,” Nalbandian said Armenia and Turkey have a very good opportunity on their hands that needs to be seized. He said by normalization he meant the opening of the border and the restoration of diplomatic relations. “Armenia is ready to establish bilateral relations without any preconditions and we are expecting the same from the Turkish side,” Nalbandian said. “This is not a favor. It is in the interest of Turkey to open the border and this is in the interest of Armenia.”

The Armenian foreign minister said both sides have made their commitment to the normalization of relations clear during the ongoing negotiations but did not elaborate on possible steps that may be taken. News reports said yesterday Turkey has been planning to accredit its current ambassador to Georgia as an ambassador to Armenia, thus establishing a de facto diplomatic relationship with Yerevan. At the moment, Ankara’s messages to Yerevan are first sent to its ambassador in Tbilisi, who hands over this message to the Georgian government for it to be conveyed to the Armenian government. Nalbandian also said it would be a good step for expanding business ties between Turkey and Armenia if Turkish Airlines (THY) were to launch charter flights to Armenia.

THY recently sent unofficial letters to both the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (SHGM) and the Foreign Ministry asking for information regarding charter flights by Armenian national air company Armavia from Yerevan to İstanbul and the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya, Today’s Zaman has learned. THY asked about the arrangements and agreements involving these flights.

In its response, the SHGM said the flights have been taking place with the Foreign Ministry’s approval and that permission for Armavia’s charter flights to Turkey is renewed every two or three weeks. In the coming days, THY is expected to send another letter to the Foreign Ministry asking whether launching charter flights to Yerevan would “comply with the national interests” of the Turkey. The final decision will be made after receiving the Foreign Ministry’s response outlining Ankara’s stance on the issue. Nalbandian also outlined his country’s priorities for the next six months as rotating term president of the BSEC. Regional cooperation is needed for economic improvement in the region, Nalbandian said.
25 November 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN

Vatican Labels ‘Armenian Genocide’ As Fact
A high-ranking Vatican official has emphasized that the Holy See regards Armenian allegations of genocide as "a fact," a move analysts say could hamper an atmosphere of reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia at a time when the two countries are intensifying contacts to normalize relations.

"The Armenian genocide is a fact. The Vatican's stance on this issue was stated at the time during a visit to Armenia by [late Pope] John Paul II. The pope visited the genocide monument there and used the word 'genocide,' although this did not please Turkey," Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency yesterday in remarks to Vatican Radio.

The cardinal's remarks came ahead of yesterday's meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and a group of visiting Armenian clerics led by Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Lebanon.

Kasper was referring to a September 2001 visit to Armenia by Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II. John Paul II paid his respects at the time to the Armenians killed in the last days of the Ottoman Empire. Many countries have been careful in treating the issue because any recognition of the killings as genocide is likely to rattle ties with Turkey.

"Genocide is not an allegation, but is a reality. This is not an issue of term. It is a historical fact with a lot of victims and this memory needs to be healed. I don't know what the Vatican can do to ease Turkey-Armenia relations. But this is also an important case for peace in the Middle East. First of all, the Catholic Church sides with the victims. This is the most important principle for us while determining our manners," Kasper also said.

In May of this year, taking part in a public audience by Pope Benedict XVI, the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church urged all countries to recognize that Turks committed genocide against Armenians early in the last century.

Karekin II then appealed "to all nations and lands to universally condemn all genocides that have occurred throughout history," saying that "denial of these crimes is an injustice that equals the commission of the same."

Categorically refuting genocide charges, Turkey says the killings of Anatolian Armenians came when Armenians revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with an invading Russian army. 25 November 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN

Turkish Ambassador Admonishes Pres. Obama on Armenian Issues, By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier, November 24, 2008
Turkish officials are getting increasingly apprehensive about the announced position of the incoming Obama administration on Armenian issues. Consequently, they are trying to win over President-elect Barack Obama and his inner circle by using high-priced lobbying firms, dispatching delegations of senior diplomats, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan meeting with Obama’s representatives in Washington, and Pres. Abdullah Gul speaking with him by phone.

Even retired Turkish diplomats are getting into the act. Faruk Logoglu, a former Turkish Ambassador to Washington, recently wrote a lengthy “Open Letter” to Pres.-elect Obama, consisting of 23 points, touching upon various aspects of U.S.-Turkish relations. The letter was published in the Autumn 2008 edition of Private View, a publication of the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD).

Amb. Logoglu has served as President of the Eurasian Strategic Studies Center (ASAM), an influential Turkish think tank specializing in international relations. More importantly, he is a member of the board of the Strategic Studies Center of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His letter to Pres. Obama, titled “Win Turkey as a Key Partner,” provides unique insights into the thinking and agenda of the Turkish foreign policy establishment.

The Turkish Ambassador begins his letter with a vain attempt to find similarities between the United States and Turkey. He falsely claims that the two countries share “common values and converging national interests” such as “democracy, the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and market economy.” Amb. Logoglu concludes that the agendas, priorities and needs of the U.S. and Turkey overlap.

Not surprisingly, the Ambassador makes several references to Armenian issues. In point 2 of his letter, he states that U.S.-Turkish relations have improved after “the halting of the Armenian Genocide resolution in Congress last year.”

Amb. Logoglu’s letter, written in a patronizing tone, repeatedly tells Pres. Obama what to do once in office. In point 6 of his letter, the Ambassador demands that Pres. Obama, as one of the first tasks of his administration, “implement a broad public diplomacy strategy to win the hearts of the Turkish public," in view of the fact that “surveys consistently indicate a very unfavorable opinion of the U.S. in Turkey.” In Logoglu’s twisted logic, since most Turks hate Americans, it is Pres. Obama’s solemn obligation to take immediate steps to make Turks like Americans!

In point 7 of his letter, Amb. Logoglu, treating Pres. Obama as his junior clerk, orders him to “render harmless … the efforts of the Armenian and other anti-Turkish lobbies to take our relationship hostage. …You need to convince the Turkish public that you are being fair and not giving in to the demands of special interest groups, especially when those demands are at least questionable.”

In point 8, Amb. Logoglu indicates that the Armenian Genocide resolution and the fight against the Kurdish PKK are two concrete issues that would require Obama’s attention in the early days of his Presidency. These issues, the Ambassador warns, “literally constitute the red buttons in the control deck of our relations. Any resolution in Congress supporting Armenian claims would do substantial, if not irreparable, damage to your standing in Turkey and upset the entire chemistry of our relationship. Moreover, it would not help resolve the problem and reverse the positive trends now in the making between Turkey and Armenia. Instead, you should encourage the recent positive trends between the two neighboring states in the direction of dialogue and conciliation.”

In point 12, Amb. Logoglu asserts that Turkey wants to become an “energy hub” in order to “counter-balance Russian dominance in this domain and provide alternative outlets to producer nations.” This statement exposes the Turkish government’s fake gestures of friendship with Russia. Furthermore, this is the continuation of long-standing Ottoman policy of pitting one great power against another, claiming to be an ally to both, while exploiting both countries for its own self-interest. In point 22 of his letter, the Turkish Ambassador contradicts himself by urging Pres. Obama to keep “Turkey’s special position” in mind when dealing with Russia, given Turkey’s substantial relations with Moscow in terms of “trade, investments, tourism and [ventures] in the field of energy. Our national interest dictates that we maintain positive relations with Russia.”

Finally, Amb. Logoglu invites Pres. Obama to visit Turkey at his “earliest opportunity,” so that the schmoozing can continue in a warmer atmosphere!

Most probably, neither Pres. Obama nor any of his aides would have the time to read this lengthy polemical letter. However, the Ambassador’s words provide a window into the Turkish mindset and show how alarmed Ankara is by Obama’s campaign promises and their likely implementation.

Hayk Demoyan: We Will Remind Obama That U.S. History Is Linked To Armenian Genocide 24.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The first-ever film about the Armenian Genocide, The Auction of Souls, was shot 90 years ago.

“The film was shot by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was screened in Plaza Hotel in New York in 1918. We are negotiating with the Armenian community in the U.S. to screen the film in this hotel again,” Hayk Demoyan, director of the Armenian Genocide museum, told a news conference today.

He also reminded that Near East Relief philanthropic organization, which rendered a $118-million assistance to Armenians during the massacre, will mark its 90th anniversary in 2009.

“Marking these dates we will remind U.S. President-elect Barack Obama that the U.S. history is linked to the Armenian Genocide,” Mr. Demoyan said.

Ankara Can Send Ambassador To Armenia In Exchange For Consent To Form Commission Of Historians 24.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The talks between the Armenian and Turkish Foreign Ministers, Edward Nalbandian and Ali Babacan, will focus on five issues: formation of a joint commission of historians, the terms of withdrawal of the Armenian troops from Nagorno Karabakh, opening of the Armenian-Turkish border, preparation for the visit of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to Turkey and the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, Cumhurriyet Turkish daily reports.

It is also reported that Ali Babacan will propose his Armenian counterpart to send an envoy to Armenia without establishment of diplomatic relations in exchange for Yerevan’s consent to form a joint commission of historians.

The Ministers will not refer to the Armenian Genocide issue.

Edward Nalbandian is in Istanbul to attend a session of the BSEC Secretariat.

11-24-08 Why Is Our Thanksgiving Bird Called a Turkey? (Answer: Because, of course, it came from Turkey) By Larry E. Tise
Mr. Tise is Wilbur & Orville Wright Distinguished Professor of History at East Carolina University.

Remember all those big fat turkeys we sketched as kids when Thanksgiving rolled around every November? Even if most of us lacked any artistic skill whatsoever, we could make a stick figure of a plump and feathery bird complete with a bright red wattle waiting to become a Thanksgiving dinner. And we could also pencil or crayon black-hatted Pilgrims and Indians in feathery headdresses gathering at table to devour cranberries and a hugely breasted, cooked bird with drumsticks pointing skyward. Drawing this primordial American scene was one of the few rituals of our national civic religion—just as American as apple pie—in which we could all participate without fear of offending one religious group or another.

Never mind that this homage to a pastoral original Thanksgiving was largely the creation of stiff Victorians who saw American history through the windows of Currier and Ives. Never mind that this fictionalized version of a love-feast between land-grabbing Europeans and innocent Native Americans was about as accurate as caricatures of a happy-go-lucky banjo playing slave. Never mind that English colonists in scattered encampments from New England to Virginia were always close to starvation; or that they literally stole their food from Indian tribes who, from time immemorial, only grew enough food or snared the game needed to support a subsistence living.

But at the center of our sketches of the first Thanksgiving was that big bird. When all was said and done about make-believe Thanksgivings, imaginary love feasts, and feigned celebrations between European and American stick figures, there was the perpetual centerpiece of the Thanksgiving feast. Even if harmony among men was more hoped-for than real at Thanksgiving and though we might say different prayers to different gods, when our families gathered on this most American of days, we would always have that fat, winged delectable dish awaiting us—the turkey. The turkey, after all, was so authentically American that our founding father, Benjamin Franklin (largely in jest) once suggested that the turkey was a more apt national bird than the eagle.

But if the turkey is as American as motherhood and apple pie, why for god’s sake is the name of this bird the same as the name of a vast and important country in the Middle East? Not just any country, mind you. Turkey—the proud nation we know today—was the seat of the Ottoman Empire, the largest and most powerful political realm the western world has known since the decline and fall of Rome. Ottoman (mainly Turkish) military might from the 13th to the 20th century covered as much territory and peoples as ever were controlled by Rome, across wide expanses of Asia Minor, Europe, Russia, and northern Africa. And, importantly, the Ottoman Empire was an expression of Islamic religion, learning, and culture in a golden age of wealth, knowledge, and power among the followers of Mohammed.

How the American bird we know as turkey got the moniker “turkey” and not huexoloti (Aztec) or guajolote (Mexican)—authentic early American names for American turkeys—has much to do with the fact that Turkey was the center of the world at the time Christian Europeans began taking a few baby steps toward finding an alternative route to India. For when our hero Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and planted the flag of Christian Spain on Native American lands, he was not merely hoping to chart a shorter, cheaper route to Asia. He was also looking for a trade route for Christian Europe that did not involve using a 15th century pipeline that crossed problematic, if not hostile Islamic lands. Since the Christian monarchs of Spain attempted to delete both Islamic and Judaic residents from all of Iberia the very day Columbus sailed into the Atlantic, it was vitally important for the Italian explorer to find a different way of transporting those high end Asian commodities—spices, textiles, ornaments—to which Europeans had become addicted.

When Columbus eventually realized that he had not discovered an alternative path—that he had instead encountered a pole to pole intruding obstacle between European hither and Asian yon, he began to do what most goofing explorers have done throughout human history. He took home a batch of alternative goods that he hoped would capture the interest of his investors. In the absence of gold—the holy grail of American treasures--he focused upon American animals and plants that had been domesticated by Native Americans. Among these were plant products that could be grown from seed or stem: beans, maize (corn), peanuts, peppers, potatoes, and tobacco. In the realm of fowl, there were two interesting creatures: (1) the Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) and, of course, (2) our good old Aztec huexoloti (Meleagris gallopavo).

We will not worry about how tame American ducks got a Russian name, but rather concentrate on how huexoloti became turkeys. When the huexoloti—tamed by Aztecs as an important food source—got to Spain, the fireworks began. Since Spain was at war with most of the nations of Europe, all goods imported from America were treated as state secrets to be hidden from hated enemies—especially the English. But while Iberian ports might be closed to rival nations, there was an irrepressible seafaring trade in the Mediterranean that could not be halted.

Although King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella might have driven Islamic Moors and Spanish Jews to exile in North Africa, they could not stifle an irrepressible traffic in merchantable goods that had bee-hived the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Probably before a single ship from America had been unloaded, contraband in seeds, birds, and beasts were headed from Spanish ports to points of call across northern Africa and the Middle East. When corn, tobacco sprouts, and, of course, our huexoloti arrived in the heart of the thriving and vibrant Ottoman Empire—seated in what we now know as Turkey—they came into the hands of probably the most advanced farmers and husbandmen in the world at that time.

Turkish farmers had previously seen the nearest cousins of the huexoloti from Asia (pheasants) and from Africa (Guinea fowl). But these birds were skinny runts compared to the majestic huexoloti. Making use of sophisticated growing and seeding techniques, savvy Turkish farmers in the space of just twenty years had a surplus of both birds and plants for export across Europe. By the 1540s Turkish corn, tobacco, and, yes, our huexoloti arrived in England. They were embraced, at first, as novelty items to be enjoyed in posh castles of the English upper crust. By 1577 what was once nouveau, the huexoloti had become the principal food bird in the entire English realm—surpassing even chickens and other fowl in both production and consumption.

It will thus probably not come as a surprise that these crops and creatures originally brought forth from the New World had acquired interesting new and permanent names. Corn arrived in England as Turkish maize. Tobacco took an identity it still has today--Turkish tobacco. And the good old huexoloti had lost all association with the new world and would be forever known in English simply as the turkey.

The total identification of the huexoloti as a turkey from Turkey was attested by Thomas Harriot, the first English scientist to set foot in America, when he wrote in 1586 a catalogue of the flora and fauna he had just encountered on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The American birds with a resemblance to Turkish turkeys he called “Turkie cockes and Turkie hennes.” While he carefully recorded Algonquin names for virtually everything, he did not bother to write the word for turkey, since it was so obviously a turkey. He did record the Algonquin name for corn, pagatowr, but described it as “Turkie wheat” since “English men call it . . . according to the names of countries from whence the like hath been brought.”

This explains how the American huexoloti acquired its name from Turkey, but not how the turkey from Turkey became the Thanksgiving bird of the United States. That brings us back to the Pilgrims and their plump turkeys. If the Pilgrims and other English colonists served wild American turkeys—or so the story goes—at their Thanksgiving spreads, how could they have had such robust breasts? Wild American turkeys (silvestris, or cousins of the huexoloti) were sleek and ravenous scavenging birds that raced from one meal to another eating nuts, seeds, berries, grapes, snails, crickets, beetles, and delicate shoots arising from many cultivated crops. Resistant to control or reproduction in captivity, they were notorious enemies of proud farmers. Fleet afoot, able to fly short distances, and properly cooked a tasty dish, they lack the proper manners to live in an agricultural society. They were, in fact, killed everywhere by European colonists as nuisance birds.

English settlers in both Virginia and Massachusetts, spoiled with the familiar, though less tasty big birds that came from Turkey, immediately demanded to bring their own turkeys to America. English turkeys deriving from Turkey arrived in Jamestown in 1614 and in Massachusetts prior to 1629. As European settlements spread, so did their herds of domestic turkeys. The wild cousins of the huexoloti that once inhabited most of North America retreated to more congenial frontiers--as did their native names.

Domesticated turkeys from Turkey displayed another very interesting habit. When tobacco emerged as the first cash crop of the southern colonies, it was found that these mild-mannered turkeys from Turkey were no threat whatsoever to tobacco plants. The busy foragers for barnyard grains and kitchen food scraps considered the hornworms that infested and destroyed tobacco plants a very tasty delight. They could be turned loose in tobacco fields. One turkey could clean hornworms from a thousand tobacco plants; fifty could handle a hundred thousand plants. One can only wonder whether Turkish farmers as they groomed these birds to grow large breasts also managed somehow to extinguish their taste for Turkish tobacco!

This latter finding brings us full circle to the question of how Americans could have overlooked so thoroughly this unique heritage we derived many centuries ago from the Middle East. We tend to think that America discovered the Middle East when our oil companies went to Islamic lands in search of liquid gold; when we remember American links to the state of Israel; and when we contemplate that Jews and Christians trace their religious roots to Jerusalem. We too often forget that Islamic believers find their religious origins in the same land; that Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship a single God; that a thousand years ago Europeans crusaded to dislodge the Islamic branch of this tradition from this shared homeland. And, also, that while Europeans were building a Holy Roman (i.e., Christian) Empire bereft of Moors and Jews, busy Islamic merchants, lawyers, alchemists, and farmers inhabiting the Middle East were advancing the world’s knowledge in mathematics, chemistry, law, and, yes, agriculture.

Thus, this Thanksgiving when we gather to partake in this most hallowed and quintessential of America’s holidays, we should remember as we look toward the big bird in the middle of our table that it is after all a turkey that came to us from Turkey; that it was brought into our culture by European forbears deeply influenced by their connections to Islamic commerce and culture in the Middle East; and that we have been a part of a shared planet for a very long time.

And, then, let us say our thanksgiving prayers to Yahweh, Allah, or by whatever name might be known the God of these shared faiths.

Thanksgiving in Turkey
by Meltem Birkegren on November 24, 2008
Funny thing is: in Turkey the bird Turkey is called "Hindi", since the Turks thought the bird came from further east, in this case from India (Hindistan). As a tradition, Turkey bird is eaten as a whole, only on New Year's Eve in Turkey, therefore, it's not even possible to find the whole bird other times of the year, otherwise turkey meat in many forms (even turkey doener)is sold all year long.

I'm a Turkish-American & happen to be in Istanbul at this moment, and I've been trying to find a turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner, but was told at various markets, the birds will ship out only after the 15th of December. I put in a special order, and not yet sure if it'll come by Wednesday. Otherwise, we'll have to eat a chicken!!

Re: Thanksgiving in Turkey (#129384)
by Fahrettin Tahir on November 24, 2008
When I was a Turkish kid at an American school 6th grade the kids used to call me turkey turkey gobble gobble.

It wasn't the least funny.

Turkey in an Economic Free-Fall, Troubled by Diaspora's Political Successes By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher & Managing Editor , USA Armenian Life
Friday November 21, 2008

The United States is not alone in financially suffering from a wrong war -- in Iraq. Turkey has three such costly conflicts. Its long-running wrong conflicts in Cyprus, in Kurdistan and with Armenians constitute one of the hidden causes of Turkey's financial free-fall.

On November 15, Robert M Cutler, an MIT and University of Michigan graduate in Political Science, recently wrote in an Asia Times Online article that "Turkey's stock markets have intensified a year-long plunge, with a key benchmark tumbling more than 36% in barely 11 weeks. … The ISE 100 is now in a short-term trading range between the low 24,300s and the mid 29,300s, but will sooner rather than later break out of this range on the downside. … Further steep falls are to be expected. … The domestic economic outlook justifies this pessimism. Declines in industrial production steepened in September to 5.5%, the biggest drop since 2002, from a 4.1% fall in August, with car manufacturers such as the local units of Ford and Toyota temporarily closing plants, and textiles manufacturing plunging 17.6% in September."

For many decades now, Turkey has been suffering at its own hands by perpetuating these decades-old conflicts. The continuation of these bankrupting political crises runs contrary to the idea of "world peace" that is currently propagated by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Expressing an underlying Turkish hysteria about the political inroads achieved by the Armenian American lobby, during an official visit to the United States last week, Mr. Erdogan told a conference at Columbia University in New York: "I hope the new U.S. administration would take into account Turkey's efforts. It is not fair to make a judgment upon such cheap political lobbying."

In a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington last Friday, Erdogan asked US President-elect Barack Obama "to support Turkey … and to refrain from backing Armenian 'claims' of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire once he takes over the post from George W. Bush."

Relations with Washington hit a snag when Turkey refused to accept an offer for military co-operation with the United States in the Iraq war. Since then, tension grew as the US consistently turned down Turkish requests for action against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Reflecting Ankara's Armenian worries, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported: "In relation to the Armenian genocide, Turkish diplomats think the recent rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan may not be enough to stop the Armenian Diaspora's efforts in the United States to have the 1915 incident officially recognized as genocide. Both Obama and Biden promised their voters of Armenian origin to work for such a recognition. 'There could be attempts for recognition early next year,' the official said, adding, 'But we have already started to work against this possibility. In our early contact with Obama's and Biden's advisers, we were clear about the sensitivity of the issue.'"

For Turkey, the possibility of solving these Turkish political and economic black holes remains remote as Ankara refuses to come to terms with its dark past.

Instead, Turkey is expected to be exasperated by its own inability to effectively silence Armenians, and is widely anticipated to continue pouring several additional millions of dollars to finance its faltering efforts to counter growing Armenian American political activism.

Armenian Foreign Minister Speaks At BSEC Meeting In Istanbul
Here are some remarks from the speech of Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian at the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) meeting in Istanbul. (UPDATED)

-- I am confident of the organization having a special responsibility to develop economic development in the wider Black Sea area.

-- I think that when we created this organization we were twice less presence, not only member states, but also observers and other participants. Now we have more than 25 countries present for this meeting. This is another proof that the organization is functioning.

-- All countries understand that they have to join efforts to respond to this global crisis, this challenge; we as the BSEC could join efforts not only as an organization, and as member states.

-- Cooperation could more effective. At the same time the economic cooperation could be boosted to resolve all problems between countries.

-- I am in Istanbul as chairman of BSEC. It is a pleasure for me to respond invitation of my colleagues. We will continue negotiations concerning normalizations of our bilateral relations. Active dialogue started early September when Gul came to watch the soccer match to Armenia.

-- We will continue this negotiations started early September, I don’t see any serious obstacle in normalizing the relations.

-- Normalizing relations and opening of the common border without any preconditions, Armenia is ready to do that and we wait for Turkey to do the same.

-- It is interest of Armenia to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey. There are many countries in war. They have diplomatic relations; they are open to each other.

-- I don’t see any major obstacles that could go to the normalization. All establishment of diplomatic relations must be prepared properly. This is not a problem, this is the question of our relations.

-- Our position is very clear. My optimism coming from the negotiations with the Turkish side; we started negotiations immediately after the (visit of the) president of Turkey in September. We had very constructive, very interesting, very sincere and frank discussions.

-- For the direct flights. I came directly from Yerevan. So if THY will decide to have own direct flights to Armenia, why not? It would be very good in boosting business and tourism between two countries.

-- We must do it by our own decisions. The U.S. is very supportive for the normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations and we hope this road would continue.

-- Yes President Gul invited our president. Our president accepted this invitation and I hope he will be here in October 2009 for Turkey-Armenia match.

-- Meeting held in the beginning of November in Moscow is not the first meeting between the presidents. The first one was in June in St. Petersburg. This November meeting was very constructive and positive. Not from the talks but in the point of view of declaration signed. First time there was a document signed by president of Azerbaijan and Armenia saying Nagorno-Karabakh must be solved peacefully and diplomatic way.

-- The settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh should be guaranteed by international communities. This is not a peace agreement but principles are important. First time these countries signed in the level of presidents.

-- After that meeting three co-chairs visited the region. The basis of the negotiations are the proposals made by the three co-chairs of Minsk Group. We hope the Moscow meeting would accelerate the negotiations between the parties through solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Hurriyet

United Kingdom Declares Suspension of Assistance Program to Armenia[ 24 November 2008 |
At today’s meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Charles Lonsdale, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Armenia, it was revealed that British government would be suspending its assistance program to Armenia at the end of this year. The program, part of the UK Department of International Development (DID), is mainly targeted to development projects in low-income nations. According to the UK Ambassador, given that Armenia was included in the list of medium-income countries, it was decided to halt the program in Armenia.

According to Armenian Public Radio, Ambassador Lonsdale and Pauline Hayes, the Head of the Europe and Central Asia Division of the DID who also attended today’s meeting, assured PM Sargsyan that UK cooperation to Armenia would continue nevertheless, noting that, “We will continue closely watching the future progress of Armenia. Besides our assistance within international organizations, the British Embassy in Armenia will uphold its assistance to the reforms implemented by the Armenian Government, as well as support the peaceful resolution of the conflicts existing in the region, including the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.”

Armenian FM Calls for Normalization of Relations, Open Border, While in Istanbul24 November 2008
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, while visiting Istanbul to attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meeting. stated that, “None of us does a favor to the other by establishing diplomatic relations. Both countries need this.” This according to today’s edition of Hurriyet Daily News. Mr. Nalbandian is reported to have stated that the establishment of diplomatic ties is very much in the interests of both countries. Armenia has assumed the rotating presidency of the BSEC for the next six months.

Commenting on the recent visit of Turkish President Gul to Yerevan, Nalbandian is reported to have stated, “When we are speaking about normalization, we perceive it in the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries and opening a common border without any precondition. That normalization is in the interest of our two nations. It is not right to present the opening of borders as a favor from Turks to Armenians. The Turkish side isn’t less interested in that than we are. None of us does a favor to the other by establishing diplomatic relations. Both countries need this. There is no necessity to create artificial obstacles.”

When asked about the Armenian chairmanship of the BSEC and whether it might facilitate dialogue between Armenia and Turkey, Mr. Nalbandian replied, “I don’t think that Armenia was waiting to assume the BSEC chairmanship in order to start a dialogue with Turkey. But the BSEC is one of those international organizations, where we have an appropriate framework to discuss with Turkey our possibilities for cooperation.”

As to whether or not Armenia supported the recent Turkish initiative to establish a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform in the region, the Foreign Minister expressed guarded support, “”We’ve welcomed the idea of the Turkish initiative, as we are in favor of building confidence, stability, security and cooperation in the region which are in the basis of this proposal. But we have questions to clarify the mechanism of its implementation, its format, as well as other aspects. Till now, we haven’t had detailed and serious discussions on this.”

Foreign Minister Nalbandian was also queeried about what the election of Barack Obama as U.S. President might mean for Armenia. He replied that, “Since our independence Armenia and the United States have very good relations and we are committed to continue working together with new U.S. administration to deepen, expand and enrich our friendly partnership.We highly appreciate the President-elect’s awareness and stands on Armenian issues and we think that the relations between Armenia and the U.S. will attain a new quality during President-elect Barack Obama’s term of office and cooperation between our countries will be enhanced for the sake of our friendly peoples.”

Armenians Won't Forget; Neither Should The World, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin November 23, 2008
I am an orchardist. I hope my new orchard fares better than my previous efforts at growing fruit trees. Maybe they will, because I'm not actually growing them. They aren't even mine, when you get down to it.

They're mine in name only, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Garabed Fattal and his fellow parishioners at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Binghamton.

The trees, 10 of them, are planted somewhere in Armenia, which means I'll probably never get to see them. But I find comfort in knowing that they are there and might someday mature and help beautify a land that has seen more than its share of abuse.

Armenia was the first Christian state (you could look it up) which may account for the fact that throughout history it has endured more than its share of persecution. First known as Uratu, it came into existence as a sixth century B.C. Persian province. It was later conquered by Alexander the Great and subsequently by Byzantines, Huns, Khazars, Arabs and Turks.

For a brief period during the ninth to 14th centuries A.D., the Armenians enjoyed independence, having divided into Little Armenia and Greater Armenia. Then, in 1375, the Mamelukes conquered Little Armenia, and a decade later Tamerlane took Greater Armenia and slaughtered a large part of its population in the process. And so it went.

The trees I mentioned earlier were the church members' way of thanking me for writing about the 20th century Armenian genocide, which actually had its roots in the 1890s but reached its peak in 1915. That was in the early days of World War I, when the Ottoman Turks, allied with Germany, accused Armenia of helping Russia.

Some 2 million Armenians were killed or driven into exile to Syria, Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries.

But not according to the Turks. They denied it then, despite eyewitness accounts of Europeans and others, and they continue to deny it, officially, to this day. And they are getting away with it, politically, in large part because of Turkey's strategic location.

Successive American administrations have gone along with the fiction, especially during the Cold War and the Cool War that has followed the dissolution of the People's Paradise, otherwise known as the Soviet Union. Even despite that accommodation, Turkey denied United States and other coalition forces access to Iraq through its territory at the start of the Second Bush Oil War. The United States, on the other hand, did not intervene when Turkish forces subsequently attacked Kurds inside Iraq.

The inconsistencies hardly end there. There are countries in Europe where you can be imprisoned for denying the World War II Holocaust that took the lives of an estimated 6 million, Jews, gypsies and others. In this country, we settle for pariahhood.

But in Turkey you can be jailed or worse, killed, for claiming publicly that the Armenian genocide occurred.

And in American Academia, including Binghamton University, where political correctness is the order of the day, the welcome mat is out to all things Turkish, no questions asked.

Go figure.

‘Galata’ by John Freely
İstanbul’s famous silhouette of a skyline is dominated by mosques and minarets, and a tower with a conical roof, reminiscent of a witch’s hat. The Galata Tower stands tall and proud on a hill opposite the old town of Constantinople, still holding its own as a skyscraper of the Ottoman age when compared with the 20th and 21st century tower blocks around it.

But if you look at pictures pre-1967, you won’t see the trademark conical roof that has defined the Galata Tower for the last 40 years. Instead you see another two balconies, similar to the ones on display today, but smaller, and topped with a flag. Before we start to criticize the restoration work for introducing a change to the tower’s structure when it was converted into a tourist attraction, it should be noted that the conical roof featured in the original structure was blown off in a storm in 1875. Between 1875 and 1967, the Galata Tower looked more like a perpendicular version of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. This is fitting because Galata has always been the least Turkish part of İstanbul. Spanning the hillside between the Karaköy docks and İstiklal Caddesi along the crest of the hill, this used to be the Genoese quarter of the city. Throughout history, it has been home to significant Armenian and Jewish communities. When the Venetians and knights attacked Constantinople during the First Crusade, they captured the castle of Galata in 1203. The following year, the Latins captured the city and held it for 57 years. The Greeks recaptured Byzantium in 1261 and made an alliance with the Genoese, who kept Galata as an autonomous city, which they governed. When the Ottomans captured the city in 1453, the Genoese in Galata stayed neutral and were spared. Fatih Sultan Mehmet recognized their rights to the part of the city, allowing them to operate as a self-governing “millet” as long as they paid the poll tax on non-Muslims. The substantial population included Greeks from Asia Minor and Sephardic Jews from Spain, along with Moorish refugees. John Freely’s guide to Galata tells us that “the rich Greeks were merchants and the others tended to be artisans, tailors, weavers, bakers and tavern keepers. … The Armenians had much the same trades as the Greeks.

… Most of the Jews became prosperous merchants, and a number of them served as physicians, a traditional career in their community in the Ottoman era. … In 1455 there were only 20 Turks living in Galata, their chief being the commanding officer of the garrison.” In the 19th century, it became a fashionable area for foreign countries to establish their embassies. The Swedish consulate is the only one today visible from the top of the Galata Tower, but the Russian and Italian consulates are along İstiklal Caddesi. Germans and Austrians built schools and hospitals here. Quite a large portion of Galata has a British history. About 18 months ago, I spent a fascinating morning on a historical walking tour arranged by the British Community Council. We met at the tower and walked a few steps down the hill to a newly restored building that had been a small British jail.

During the 19th century, it had been used to house British citizens who had committed felonies, such as sailors docking at Karaköy; during the Ottoman-era foreign embassies were allowed to try their own citizens who were accused of crimes. Then, in the period of the Allied occupation of Istanbul between 1919 and 1923, it was a general lock-up. It has now been converted into a lovely small restaurant; as part of the restoration process, the walls upstairs were left unpainted and unpapered so that you can still see the marks on the wall counting the days and other cartoons and graffiti drawn by previous inmates. The British also ran their own postal system, and a building on a nearby corner used to be the old Post Office. We enjoyed seeing the windows, split into parts to allow people queuing up outside to buy stamps and post their letters. The highlight of the trip, though, was the old British Seaman’s Hospital, built in 1855 during the Crimean War. The entrance drive has cobbles with mosaics of anchors and snakes showing its original use as a naval hospital. Now it is a general hospital run by the Turkish medical system, called Beyoğlu Hastanesi. An incredibly enthusiastic young Turkish administrator delighted us all with her personally guided tour. She was equally pleased to find a group of British residents in Istanbul who were interested in her dissertation that she read to us as we sat at the foot of a marble stairway. Her delight when we understood the engravings of British city names on the large brass hinges of the revolving doors knew no bounds. Of course, from the observation tower high above the hospital, we could guess without her pointing out that this part of the hospital did not serve just medical purposes. There is a commanding view of three important waterways: up the Bosporus, along the Golden Horn and down across the sweep of the Marmara.

Even without a pair of binoculars we could survey all the ships that were going past. The most amazing part of the hospital, though, was the old British laundry, with its steam room and copper and brass mangles, still in use today to clean the sheets and towels of the hospital. Our Turkish guide was thrilled to give us all the details. John Freely’s “Galata” is similarly a mine of information, forming a wonderful guide to the area. The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” certainly applies here. The front cover is a black-and-white print of old Galata, and the closed book looks like an old production. Open it up, and instead of plain white pages, the text is beautifully presented on different colored shiny paper for each section, and with at least two or three color photos on each page. Maybe the publisher spent the budget on the inside and had nothing left for the cover! This is, I guess, an image of the Galata area itself. At first sight, it’s plain, old and decaying. But if you spend the time to scratch the surface, to wander its back streets, to open the cover as it were, you find history and beauty hidden inside. “Galata” by John Freely, published by Archaeology & Art Publications, ISBN: 978-975689948-X, YTL 14 in paperback

23 November 2008, Marion James İstanbul

Armenian FM In Call For Solidarity
ISTANBUL - The normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey means the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening a common border without any precondition, says Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian, who adds, ’None of us does a favor to the other by establishing diplomatic relations. Both countries need this’

Turkey and Armenia should establish formal diplomatic ties, not as a "favor" from one side to the other, but as recognition that it is very much in both countries interests, says the Armenian foreign minister who is visiting Istanbul today.

Not only that, but the two countries can also cooperate regionally as part a regional stability initiative for the Caucasus as proposed by Turkey, said Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, here to visit the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, or BSEC, headquartered in Istanbul. Armenia is assuming the rotating presidency of that organization for the next six months, duties that prompted Nalbandian’s visit. On the occasion of his visit he agreed to answer questions put to him by the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on relations between Turkey and Armenia and his country’s relations with the United States and Iran.

Speaking about Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s visit to Armenia and subsequent discussions with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Nalbandian seemed optimistic but also quite realistic. "During the visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gül to Yerevan on the invitation of President Serge Sargsyan and negotiations, an appropriate mood was created to speak on normalization of our relations. When we are speaking about normalization, we perceive it in the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries and opening a common border without any precondition. That normalization is in the interest of our two nations. It is not right to present the opening of borders as a favor from Turks to Armenians. Turkish side isn’t less interested in that than we are. None of us does a favor to the other by establishing diplomatic relations. Both countries need this. There is no necessity to create artificial obstacles."

"So Armenia is ready to normalize our bilateral relations without any precondition and we are expecting the same from Turkey. With this aim we are conducting talks. Not negotiations for negotiations, but negotiations for concrete results.

"Many neighboring countries have differences, but they have normal relations and they have open borders, they are open to each other, and they have appropriate conditions to talk to each other, to talk over their differences, to discuss all the issues of mutual concern."

Asked about the Armenian chairmanship of the BSEC and whether or not it would facilitate dialogue between Armenia and Turkey, Nalbandian replied, "As the very idea and main goal of BSEC is to boost and promote economic cooperation between member countries, it’s natural that this organization could contribute to a better environment among participating states. BSEC is a promising model of multilateral economic initiative aimed at fostering interaction among its member states, as well as to ensure cooperation, development and prosperity in the Black Sea region.

"I don’t think that Armenia was waiting to assume the BSEC chairmanship in order to start a dialogue with Turkey. But the BSEC is one of those international organizations, where we have an appropriate framework to discuss with Turkey our possibilities for cooperation."

Nalbandian has stated his support for the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform proposed by Turkey. "We've welcomed the idea of the Turkish initiative, as we are in favor of building confidence, stability, security and cooperation in the region which are in the basis of this proposal. But we have questions to clarify Ğ the mechanism of its implementation, its format, as well as other aspects. Till now, we haven’t had detailed and serious discussions on this."

’South Ossetia shows region’s vulnerability’
Armenia was affected economically by the August crisis between Russia and Georgia but so far not by the global financial crisis. According to Nalbandian, "The events around South Ossetia have shown how fragile and vulnerable is our region, how weak and undeveloped is its transport infrastructure and how important it is to have open borders and to join the efforts of all our countries for the sake of stability, security, cooperation, development and prosperity of our region.

"The crisis lasted less than a week, but it has created a very difficult situation in the whole region, it has caused a humanitarian disaster and huge material losses. We too strongly felt the consequences of the August conflict. The conflict interrupted our communication routes, our basic supplies, including energy. We have suffered hundreds of millions’ worth of losses.

"The developments and impacts of the August events are still to be carefully studied and assessed, but the first of all they have shown the most obvious reality Ğ war is never an answer. And we want to believe that those who had illusions about that option will reconsider their position.

"As for the global financial crisis, for the moment we still have had no direct serious negative effect on our economy. To resist the eventual negative impact of the crisis on Armenia’s economic development, our government has worked out a comprehensive plan in order to minimize the effect of crisis on the country's economy and we hope that this will be effective enough."

The financial crisis that hit Armenia after August has led to better relations with Iran although they are based on centuries-old traditions. "We were and are implementing [plans] and we have ambitious economic projects to be realized, especially in the areas of energy and transport infrastructures," said the foreign minister. "During recent events around South Ossetia, as our trade routes via Georgia were blocked, Iran became an important route for basic supplies to Armenia. Both our countries are interested in development and the strengthening of mutually beneficial cooperation."

Yerevan welcomes the election of Obama
Speaking about mutually beneficial cooperation, U.S. relations with Armenia came to mind. Just what did Nalbandian expect of the U.S. President-elect Barack Obama? His reply: "Since our independence Armenia and the United States have very good relations and we are committed to continue working together with new U.S. administration to deepen, expand and enrich our friendly partnership.

"The Armenian people are grateful to the United States for the comprehensive assistance it has provided since our independence and up to this day. The United States plays an important role in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict as one of the co-chairs of the OSCE's Minsk Group.

"We highly appreciate the President-elect's awareness and stands on Armenian issues and we think that the relations between Armenia and the U.S. will attain a new quality during President-elect Barack Obama's term of office and cooperation between our countries will be enhanced for the sake of our friendly peoples."

You would think that 70 years of communism would have changed the character of Armenians living in Armenia and made them acquire a different mentality from the Armenians of the diaspora. The 70 years of communism also kept them separate from the average Turkish citizen with whom they have many things in common.

Nalbandian’s views were somewhat surprising. He answered: "The Soviet era of Armenian history has had less negative than positive impact. Armenia was known as the ’Silicon Valley’ of the Soviet Union with about 200 research centers and scientific institutions, with a highly educated population and with an extremely large number of scientists and researchers in proportion to its population.

"That's true that today two-thirds of the Armenian people lives abroad, in about 70 countries on five continents of our planet. They have created ’Little Armenias’ everywhere they live. Although they are citizens of different countries and have the common features of the peoples with whom they are living, almost all of them have kept deeply their Armenian identity and traditions. Today they are united by the desire and will to realize the dream of their ancestors - a prosperous Armenia."

Who is Edward Nalbandian?
To just say that Edward Nalbandian is Armenia’s current Foreign Minister would be mistaken. The 52-year-old may already have white hair but he has been very active over the years in promoting the interests of his country and his people. A professional diplomat, he is a product of the Moscow school of foreign service and held various diplomatic posts including almost 10 years in France before becoming foreign minister in April of this year.

When Nalbandian was asked what his biggest achievement as his country’s ambassador to France was, he replied, "I had the honor to represent my country in France for almost 10 years. Today in Armenia’s public opinion France is considered among the most friendly countries. In France, Armenia has the same image. This friendship comes from the depth of the centuries and is a result of common efforts of many generations of our two peoples. I am happy, if I could bring my modest contribution to that friendship."

As for the challenges he faces as minister, he said, "For any Minister of Foreign Affairs the main goal is to create favorable external conditions for safe and peaceful development and prosperity of his country." Nalbandian is said to speak excellent French, Russian and Armenian and good English. He has written numerous studies on the Middle East and International Relations.

The Turkish Intelligentsia Look His Armenian Past23 November 2008 by Stéphane / armenews, Istanbul, Laure Marchand, LE FIGARO, 21/11/2008
http://www.armenews.com/IMG/arton46804-468x480.jpg width=350" Photo: Serge Avedikian

More and more intellectuals and artists jostle the official version of history.

WHEN the word "genocide" was pronounced, some spectators have left the cinema of the French Cultural Center in Istanbul. All the others remain to discover the documentary Serge Avedikian, French director of Armenian origin, who filmed his return to the birthplace of his grandfather, deported in 1915. In western Turkey, Sölöz is now populated by Slavs to Islam who have failed during the forced population exchanges with Greece in 1923. Genocide, they have seen nothing, heard nothing, except the denial of the Turkish state. But the big empty buildings found on arrival whisper another story. On the gravestones, carefully preserved at the bottom of a converted barn or in fencing, one can read again, in Armenian epitaphs: "Gently my son sleep." At Sölöz, villagers and ghosts cross in the streets and sometimes certainties waver. "The information we have about the past are not clear," urging the young Hamit, facing the camera.

We drink the same water was screened at the festival "1 001 documentary films," last week on the shores of the Bosphorus. "It was selected by Turks, the approach is courageous show in Turkey is a very strong symbol," welcomes Serge Avedikian, came to present his film, to establish dialogue and a day to "share our memories." "I measure the magnitude of the task enormous. But that's it, the history box is open. "

This invitation to reflect on the past Armenian of Turkey is not isolated. More and more Turkish intellectuals bring to light the unspoken past and jostle the official history. With a common goal: to face the massacres committed under the Ottoman Empire to pacify the present. In 2005, the winds of freedom provided by the opening of accession negotiations with the European Union had allowed Turkish academics to blow up the taboo on genocide.

"Allegedly" genocide
Since its publication, The Book of my grandmother was immediately a best-selling autobiography in this story, the Turkish lawyer Fethiye Cetin told him that his grandmother had revealed his Armenian roots before dying. But the January 2007 assassination of Hrant Dink, Turkish journalist of Armenian origin, which caused a shock. "Everyone saw his body lying on the sidewalk, his shoes beyond the white cloth, analysis Altug Yilmaz, chief editor at Agos, the newspaper created by Hrant Dink. With this image, so strong, doubt his sincerity became impossible. "

Exhibit Temelkuran, starring journalist in Turkey, claiming this affiliation: "I am an heir to Hrant Dink." In the depth of Mount Ararat, the young woman described his diving in the world Armenian: his visit to the genocide memorial in Yerevan, its meetings with the diaspora, from Paris to Los Angeles. "I wanted to question the silence that prevails in Turkey on this issue, our blindness, while we live places where Armenians lived, we remember what we already know, but have made us forget."

For Temelkuran Ece, "the only way to resolve the Armenian question in Turkey is to make it a personal matter, assist each to lead what I call his personal archeology to overcome the view state." Released late May, the story of his journey has already sold 30 000 copies.

However, the denial of the State Planning massacres did not crack (see against). We always talk about "so-called" Armenian genocide and do not exist in history except as enemies. This speech has apparently slipped on Geben, lost village Taurus Mountains. In The Whispering memories, Mehmet Binay filmed a young girl who knows nothing of mixed blood flowing through his veins. Generation after generation, history has been diluted. To the question "Why Armenians are parties," the answers are evasive villagers. Except that of the imam centenary. "The Armenians? The State has deported. "Surprisingly, this documentary, dedicated" To those who stayed behind "did not raise any controversy during his broadcast on CNN-Turk. "The official line is not too Geben come up and people live naturally with the past, analysis Mehmet Binay. This gives me hope. "

This winter, a film made by a joint team must be rotated along the river Araxes, which separates the two countries. Thawing river to symbolize the spring warming of relations while the border is still closed. The actors are Armenians and Turks living on both sides of the towers.

Improvements, and tensions still a taboo subject
Monday, the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nalbandian, will be in Istanbul at the summit of Economic Cooperation of the Black Sea which Armenia assumes the rotating presidency. His visit comes after the historic visit of President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, in Yerevan in September at a football match counting for the World Cup in 2010. The normalization of diplomatic relations with Armenia is a much less sensitive than the massacres of Armenians. Relations between Ankara and Washington are already costs. During the American election campaign, Barack Obama has pledged to recognize the genocide if elected. On the sidelines of the G20 summit in the United States, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, once again stated that any move in this direction would impede the cooperation between the two allies. And on October 29, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the death of Ataturk, Vecdi Gonul, the defense minister, justified the deportations: "Turkey would have a nation state if the Greeks had remained on the periphery in the Aegean and the Armenians remained in several regions of Turkey? "The green light from Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, prosecution against the writer Temel Demirer on behalf of the new version of Article 301 of the Penal Code, which punishes "insulting" the Turkish nation, is another sign of the tension of government: "This man said that Turkey is a murderer. I do not let anyone call my country assassin. "

A Confession: The Turkish Nation Is Exclusively Islamic , 21 November 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
Info Collectif VAN - www.collectifvan.org - The Turkish intellectual Baskyn Oran sign in the weekly Armenian of Turkey (made by Hrant Dink, the Armenian journalist murdered on 19 January 2007), an article in which he examines the racist and fanatics that the Turkish Minister of Defense Vecdi Gönül held in Brussels to justify the elimination of Christians in Turkey: "If the Greeks and Armenians had continued to live in Anatolia, we would have been the same state nation ". Baskin Oran recalls that before the Anatolia is cleansed of Armenians and Greeks, it was a civilized land. And calls on his countrymen to remember the losses that Turkey has imposed exterminating the Greeks and Armenians in analyzing in terms of the issue of Turkey's accession to the EU .. soon, even Baskin Oran talk of genocide ... Vecdi Gönül thank you. The Collectif VAN you submitted this translation of an article in Agos.

Absolute Confession: 'Turkish Nation' = Islamic Turks
.: Baskyn Oran Agos / N ° 659 Nov 14 2008

I do not know where to start but the words of Mr Gönül can be studied primarily in two ways: 1) Human Rights, 2) national interests of Turkey.

Let down the first, because it is an ethnic cleansing / religious. This reminds us of Yugoslavia in 1990. Minister said that we have settled the Armenians (1915) holders of capital, because they were not Muslims and we have the Greeks (1923) from; and we are rid of them. It is both the racism and religious fanaticism.

If now a citizen loyal to his homeland, assassin 'Hrant Dink' to save the nation state 'and defends itself by saying:' is the defense minister said that! That is what It will be condemned? Or Minister will be condemned because it encourages crime?

Therefore, studying the case concerning national interests. These words say: the nation-state is a good thing and this is only possible through the liquidation of non-Muslims. Let's see how these things have been beneficial to Turkey.
Studying the liquidation of non-Muslims from three perspectives:

1) Inexpensive: "If the Greeks were still in the Aegean region, the hills of Çe?me, Urla, Foça so. were not mountains but vines. I wonder if Gönül, when he was prefect of Izmir had never seen this? Either he had seen, but he delighted in saying, 'these vineyards, they produced wine? [Note CVAN: the question is ironic. Baskin Oran means that, according to the Muslim religion, wine is prohibited, the minister of Islamic gouverment welcomes the disappearance of vines].

If "Armenians were always present: you can not even imagine the level of the silk industry in Bursa, because today we have a degraded version of the old industry left by Armenians. FR Atay says: in a city center, people will see Mr. Kemal ve İsmet Pa?a and ask: "We can not repair our cars, bring us Christians craftsmen who left" (Çankaya, YST., 1969, p. 331-332).

1915 and 1923 have eliminated the entire class of entrepreneurs. This has resulted in the capitalization entrust [Greeks and Armenians] gained over thousands of years to those who were not even able to manage a bag of gold coins. The minister spoke Gönül of capital accumulation of 50 years. " Can we speak only of capital? The fruit of centuries of know-how, investment and production, export production, the ability to create markets: 1915 and 1923 devastated everything.

What did the entrepreneur Muslim extorted after all these riches? Two things:

First, he opened the doors to foreign capital. 1 / 3 of the 210 companies created between 1920 and 1930 came from foreign capital.
Secondly, it has adapted to international markets. Let Atay, the specialist of Kemalism: "[foreigners] should adapt to Ankara. A Czech diplomat came to me and said 'you're a friend of Gazi [Note CVAN: a title Ataturk], would you please accept to be the dealer of Skoda' . Once we found that two of the companies participating in a tender for the Department of Defense belonged to the same member "(Çankaya, p. 455). Of course, there was plenty of corruption (p. 456) which meant that 'nationalization' had increased prices for consumers Anatolian, that's all.

Our industrialization process has been delayed for 50 years.
2) Cultural and social Anatolia before being cleaned Armenians and Greeks, it was a civilized land. Consider some figures of the book in French "Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 'on page 356-381: if one considers only the region of Harput, there were 92 schools with 8660 students. A theater was established 1 year before the birth of Ataturk. After Mesrutiyet [Note CVAN: trying to constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman Empire] a newspaper, magazine and a weekly newspaper began to appear. The brothers made Susuryan start the art of photography in 1890. Do you all in 2008, think in terms of the issue of accession to the EU ..

3) Politics: even in Europe who experienced the Inquisition, there is no problem of secularism, why have we here, have you asked? A fundamental reason was the division of religion of western populations into two Catholics and Protestants. (O. Abel, "The Laique Condition", CEMOTI, num. 19, p. 43). Anyway, the Alevis were massacred at every opportunity when non-Muslims were liquidated, Sunni Islam was erected to block the Turkish Republic.

In addition, the liquidation of non-Muslims destroyed the multicultural fabric of Anatolia. In conclusion, we have become intolerant to any kind of differences (Alevis, Kurds, sexual orientation, etc.).. The Kurds are now asking: "Is it our turn?"
In truth, we must be grateful to Monieur Gönül we had even considered by President of the Republic: we appreciate because his wife was not wearing the veil and because it was close to the military. God be praised: he spoke. After the words of Gönül 'With Armenians and Greeks could not establish a state', now see if the Minister of Interior or prefects of Izmir and others will continue to say that 'the Turkish nation 'Includes all citizens and not only the Turks. [Note CVAN: Baskin Oran thank Vecdi Gönül, because it believes that, through him, the mask of the AKP fell. Note that this section of Baskin Oran is presented in the Islamist newspaper Zaman as endorsing what Gönül ...! - See:

http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/detaylar.do? load = Detay & link = 158,865].

Translated from Turkish: SC for the Collectif VAN - November 17, 2008 - 10:10 - http://www.collectifvan.org

Historians Have No Monopoly On Memory, by Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, and Gérard Gilles Manceron Noiriel 9 November 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
An open debate in Le Monde by Pierre Nora articles and Christiane Taubira (10 and 16 October) can not be reduced to an opposition among historians and political, since it also divides historians. In March 2005, we reacted against the law of February 23 inviting teachers to show the "positive role" of colonialism, but we have not signed the petition "Freedom for History," published nine months later in Release. We could not accept that the "Gayssot Act" (about penalizing contesting the existence of crimes against humanity), the "Law Taubira" (recognizing the slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity " ) And the law on the recognition of the Armenian genocide of 1915 are put on the same level as text advocating the settlement, and in the name of "freedom of the historian."

We accept less that this call was not in its generality the role of the law in relation to history, including leaving aside other "memorial laws" such as replacing the 1999 ' phrase "war in Algeria" to "operations in North Africa." The appeal of Blois recently launched by the promoters of the petition "Freedom for History" does not it either, the relationship between law, memory and history, based on relevant. Contrary to what this text, we do not believe that there is in France or in Europe, a serious threat against freedom of historians.

This call is wrong target when he presents the framework decision adopted on 21 April 2007 by the Council of Ministers of Justice of the European Union as a risk of "intellectual censorship" that require urgent mobilization. The text calls on States that have not already done to punish public incitement to violence or hatred against a group of people, cracking apology, denial or trivialization of crimes of genocide and war crimes, measures that France has already incorporated into its domestic law by the laws of 1990 and 1972.

It does not seem reasonable to suggest the view that historians working in good faith from sources available, with the methods of their discipline, can be convicted under this directive for how they qualify or not , A particular crime or massacre of history. For the European Court, "the search for historical truth is an integral part of freedom of expression." The Framework Decision states that it respects the basic rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Articles 10 and 11 and does not lead States to modify their constitutional rules on freedom of expression.

THE "Repent"
Waving the specter of a "widespread victimization of the past", calling Blois obscures the real danger that lurks historians, the wrong answer to the challenges of their time and not react with sufficient force to the instrumentalization of the past . We also regret that this crusade waged against an enemy imagination, "repentance, to be obsessed by the" impeachment and radical disqualification of France. " History, we are told, should not be written under dictation competing memories. Certainly. But these memories exist, and nobody can order that they remain silent. The alarm sometimes messy memories is often injured as the result of gaps or weaknesses in the scholarly history and the absence of a public voice on the pages of past troubles.

In a Free State, it goes without saying that no political authority should establish the historical truth. But the elected representatives of the nation and beyond, all citizens have their say on issues of memory. Defending the autonomy of historical research does not mean that the collective memory is the property of historians. It is not illegitimate that the institutions of the Republic vote on some of these pages are crucial deportees who returned to his present.

As citizens, we believe the law recognizing the Armenian genocide - fortunately not extended so far by criminalizing its denial - and recognizing slavery as a crime against humanity are acts of our strengths institutions on which it is not returning.

Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, and Gérard Gilles Manceron Noiriel are historians and members of the Vigilance Committee on public uses of history (CVUH).

Article published in the edition of 08.11.08.

Sarafian: Focus On The Diaspora
ISTANBUL - Multilateral efforts to improve relations between Armenia and Turkey is the wrong way to resolve the Armenian issue, says respected historian Ara Sarafian, arguing that the solution lies in the huge and influential diaspora.

Sarafian, the head of the London-based Gomidas Institute, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s offer to Armenia to establish a commission of historians to resolve the Armenian issue was positive, but Armenia was the wrong address.

Armenians argue that the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915 constituted genocide while Turkey says many Turks also died in the wartime circumstances and denies there was a state-enforced policy to kill Armenians.

Sarafian was invited to Turkey by the Boğaziçi, Bilkent and Sabancı Universities and the Hrant Dink Foundation to attend a history conference in the Mediterranean province of Adana.

Sarafian said there were two problems that would arise out of any effort to improve relations with Armenians through closer ties with Armenia. "Freedom of expression for historians in Armenia is limited and the genocide issue has become a political tool," he said.

He said Turkey should continue with its plan to form a commission of historians who would discuss the matter, but suggested Turkish historians to meet with moderate Armenian historians in the diaspora rather than Armenia. "The solution should start from the diaspora," he said.

"The members of the diaspora who still have Anatolia in their hearts should not be ignored," he said, adding that the diaspora was not part of Armenia but part of Anatolia. He also said Turkey needed to fund the commission of independent historians. "I believe Turkey is not how it used to be. It has a modern perception and wants solutions to the problems," said Sarafian.

Armenian archives
Prime Minister Erdoğan’s suggestion to form a commission also involves the opening of the state archives of both Armenia and Turkey. Sarafian said the archives in Armenia were inadequate. "The real documents on the genocide are in the Zoryan archives in Boston and the Armenian Patriarchy archives in Jerusalem," he said.

He said the most important question was whether Armenians wanted to overcome this chronic problem. He asked, "Will we be able to free ourselves from this instinct of revenge and share our grief?" Armenians should stop seeing themselves as the victims, said the historian.

"We cannot compare the Armenian genocide with the Holocaust. Those who were banished from their land suffered a lot but survived," he said.

He also said Turkish society could not be blamed for what happened in the past. "No one can deny the genocide but the entire Turkish nation cannot be held responsible. Moreover, many Turks rescued Armenians from death," he said.

The lobbies had turned the issue into a political tool, said Sarafian. "They want to control everything and fear historians opening a brand new page," he said. He said a language of peace should be created between Turks and Armenians.

He still had to be careful when he undertook research in Turkey and added, "I, as a historian, try not to display a wrong stance and create tension. I know I need to be objective. Additionally, Turkey is being constructive and it would be wrong to miss this chance."

He said the restoration of the Armenian Akdamar Church in the recent past could have created an environment of dialogue but had become a missed chance. "Armenians did not want to take that chance because it did not suit their interests," he said.

The Armenian response, both from the diaspora and Armenia, to Turkish calls to work together was complete silence, he said. "The diaspora boycotted any cooperation with Turkey because it only wants to blame and lay accusations against Turkey. Unfortunately, radical groups within the diaspora have turned a sensitive issue, like genocide, into a political tool.

He said it was important for future generations to free themselves from the victim psychology, concluding his remarks by saying, "We need to ensure our children live in peace. The revenge instinct will do no one any good."

By Vercihan Ziflioğlu, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr

Armenian Diaspora Puts Pressure On French Senate
Members of Armenian associations based in France held a demonstration in front of the French Senate building on Saturday, asking for the approval of a bill that makes the denial of the Armenian genocide a crime.

The French National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, adopted a bill in October 2006 that made it a crime to deny that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians living in Anatolia during World War I, despite Ankara's protests and a warning that this would "poison" the deeply rooted relations between the two countries.

The genocide bill has been waiting to be debated by the Senate, the upper house of the French Parliament.

Representatives of Armenian associations have suggested that the bill should be brought onto the agenda of the Senate.

Last week, a report drawn up by a committee of academics concluded that the French legislative mechanism should not make decisions concerning historical issues and also the content of history textbooks.

The bill seeks up to three years in jail for those who dispute claims that Armenians were subject to genocide during World War I. It has angered Turkey, which categorically refutes genocide charges and says the killings came when Armenians revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with an invading Russian army.

The report said if the parliament needed to make decisions particularly on historical issues, then these decisions should only be binding for the parliament itself, and not the state in general.

24 November 2008,TODAY'S ZAMAN

Hurriyet, Turkey Nov 21 2008 Historic Ani Ruins Get A New Face-Lift
ISTANBUL - Ministry of Culture and Tourism has begun the renovations of the Ani Ruins. It has plans to showcase the area to the world more efficiently. The Tigran Honents church and The Ebul Menucehr Mosque will have a face lift

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has started renovation work on the Ani Ruins in the Eastern Anatolian city of Kars, while trying to figure out a quick solution for the quarries on the Armenian side of the border that threaten the historic ruins.

The Tigran Honents church in the area will have drainage dug around its walls and its surroundings will be cleaned. The original floor of the entrance will be surfaced.

The Ebul Menucehr Mosque will have its roof cleaned in order to make the original overlay visible. Maintenance to its minaret has already been carried out and earth in the ground floor rooms was removed. The mosque's floor is also being renovated after the detachment of the cement laid earlier.

Also, work is in progress for the structural fortification of Seljuk Palace's as well as surveying, restitution and renovation of the churches of Ebulhamrent and Prikitch.

The ministry has new plans to publicize the area to the world more efficiently. A nearby village, Ocaklı, will be undergirding for cultural and socio-economic development. Besides that, training programs will be arranged for the local community with aims of better preservation of historical buildings.

International symposiums, photography exhibitions, increasing the number of publicity brochures and billboards, manufacturing souvenirs and producing written and visual media products are being planned on for the upcoming years to attract more tourists to the ruins.

Open air museum
The ministry will form a center for research, documentation and publicity and create a data bank for research. The team from the Global Heritage Fund is working on some of the monumental buildings' and the rampart's three dimensional modeling. The west and northwest fronts of the cathedral are being reinforced in collaboration with the Sorbonne University of Paris and the World Monuments Fund has joined the project.

Quarries in Armenia
Orhan Düzgün, director general of cultural assets, said a board of project coordination and consultancy was formed for Ani and it has prepared a report and a plan of action on the subject.

Düzgün said the matter of the Armenian quarries' negative effects on historical artifacts is among the short term subjects.

The report said the quarries enlarge day by day, splitting the topography and also damaging the spectacular natural landscape.

It is demanded by the report that the matter will be carried to international arenas and the quarries must be stopped.

Armenian-Turkish Dialogue Should Be Uninterrupted 22.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian-Turkish dialogue should be uninterrupted, according to a Turkish expert.

“All kinds of issue can be discussed and our dialogue must cover all spheres, from the Armenian Genocide to the closed border. Only in this case, Armenians and Turks can reach understanding,” Aybars Gorgulu, expert at Sabanci University and assistant program officer of TESEV foreign policy program, told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

At that, he noted that many in Turkey are unaware of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

“This period of not included history is not in the school curriculum. People are surprised to hear that Turkey pursues a policy of denial. That is why our dialogue is important,” Gorgulu said.

21 Nov 2008 Turkey-Based Monthly “yeni Aktuel” Magazine Wrote That The Music Of “chirpinirdi Gara Deniz” Belonged To Armenian ashug Sayat Nova, APA reports.
The magazine writes that Sayat Nova, who lived in the 18th century, devoted this song to his kamancha. Nationalists in Turkey changed the words of the song in 1960. The magazine also claims that “Memleketim” song, which became popular with Ayten Alpman’s performance, after Turkish Army entered Cyprus Island to save Turks in 1974, was Jewish song.

The words of “Chirpinirdi Gara deniz” were written by Azerbaijani poet Ahmad Javad and music by outstanding composer Uzeyir Hajibayli. Ahmad Javad wrote the poem after Ottoman army under the leadership of Nuru pasha liberated Baku.

“Yeni aktuel” magazine belongs to Turkuaz Media Group. Calik Holding holds 75% of the shares in the Media Group. Media Group also includes ATV TV channel, Sabah newspaper and other newspaper and magazines.

Philippe De Villiers: Even Recognition Of Armenian Genocide Won’t Open Eu Door For Turkey, November 21st, 2008
/PanARMENIAN. Net/ Turkey will never be a member of the European Union, head of Movement for France (MPF) Philippe de Villiers told a PanARMENIAN. Net reporter.

“First, this country is in Asia geographically. Second, this country is far from European culture, faith and human rights. Furthermore, accession of Turkey will mean Turkish majority in the European Parliament. We will never accept it,” he said.

Even recognition of the Armenian Genocide won’t open the EU door for Turkey, according to him.

“Turkey must acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. It’s a moral duty but not a condition for accession to the European Union. Armenia, with similar moral values, is closer to Europe than Turkey,” Mr. de Villiers said, adding that 80 per cent of French oppose Turkey’s bid for the EU.

Philippe de Villiers: Baku should understand that Karabakh Armenians have right to live and develop in their native land

/PanARMENIAN. Net/ France holds presidency in the EU and our task is to press for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and put an end to Genocide denial in state structures head of Movement for France (MPF) Philippe de Villiers told a PanARMENIAN. Net reporter.

“It’s essential to stop Armenia’s isolation and open its border with Turkey,” he said.

Another important trend in Mr. de Villiers’ policy is support of Nagorno Karabakh’s independence. “We should make Azerbaijan understand that Karabakh Armenians have the right to live and develop in their native land,” he said, adding that the French Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group has a similar stand on the issue.

The people of Nagorno Karabakh should be guaranteed a secure life, Berdand Fassier said in Yerevan yesterday. “Presently, security [still jeopardized by Baku] is guaranteed by the Armenian armed forces and the defense army of Nagorno Karabakh,” he said.

Turntable Activism: Smoked Turkey By Alex Kantrowitz, Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun, http://cornellsun.com/ Nov 21 2008, NY
ISTANBUL -- In an undeniable milestone for the civil rights struggle earlier this month, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America. His victory was much more than just a triumph for equality, but, there's no denying the symbolic importance it brings in that respect. For years, activists in America have fought, and sometimes given their lives, in pursuit of making the promise outlined in our Declaration of Independence, that all are created equal, a reality instead of just a guideline. When our 44th President took that stage in Bryant Park, the promise never looked so valid.

We find ourselves in interesting times. On one side of the globe we have seen a great victory for human rights. Here in Turkey, however, and in other places similar to it, we find that great challenges still exist. While a fight on one side of the globe is closer to nearing its completion than ever before, others around it see victory as something helplessly far away.

In recent weeks, Turkey's fight for human rights has been set back yet again. In a conversation with Omer Madra, the founder of Acik Radyo (a social force pushing for open society on the streets of Turkey) I discussed some distressing developments in this country.

For instance, Turkey has seen a strong movement of its ruling AK Parti (AKP) towards the dominant military. As reported last month by Turkish Daily Taraf; the military sat and watched as Kurdish fighters prepared a serious attack on one of its bases. Perhaps, it is supposed by the newspaper (and indeed many others who have followed the situation), that the military allowed the attack in order to strike down harder on the Kurds.

What has been surprising, Madra told me, was the military's weak denial of Taraf's accusations and the subsequent defense of the military by AKP leadership. By aligning with the military in this sense, it is likely that the AKP is making a play for goodwill --this even though the military's influence almost led to a ban of the party this summer. Either way, the beginning of a long few weeks was underway; more strong anti-minority positions were yet to come.

The next move came in Brussels last week as AKP Defense minister Vecdi Gönul told a crowd that the elimination of Greeks and Armenians from within Turkey's borders helped turn Turkey into the nation state that it is today. Said Madra, this is essentially a declaration that genocide was part of Turkish state building.

These moves are alarming steps in the wrong direction for Turkey. For years, Kurds and Armenians have fought to be seen as equal citizens (and for recognition of the Armenian Genocide) yet, the situation has become increasingly difficult. Sometimes the government here seems almost schizophrenic, reaching out to Armenians one day and then making statements such as that mentioned above the next. Whichever way you look at it, one disgusting statement is often enough to erode years of reconciliatory overture.

Where is the hope? It comes through people like Madra. In a country where people will go to prison for airing views contrary to the liking of the state, he has started a radio station which insists on openness. His programs advocate issues such as human rights and climate control and will go to the wall for causes it believes in (Madra himself has sat in prison).

In our talk, he constantly repeated his sorrow over the loss of Hrant Dink, a slain Armenian Turkish journalist who was a dear friend of his, and is seemingly still in shock over his death. How could he not be? The man who shared the same passion for equality and fought that same fight alongside Madra, was gunned down by a teenage nationalist last year.

Madra's solace, however, comes in his causes and his victories. Today, while still advocating for equality in Turkey, Madra finds himself a leading (if not the leading) advocate on global warming in the country. He has spoken at hundreds of rallies and lectures and leads the fight for Turkish awareness on the issue. With a steel resolve he does not relent, knowing all too well what is at stake if he is to fail.

After spending a few hours at the station, I prepared to leave. Before my exit though, Madra asked me to return and spend a morning with him on his program. Still missing my weekly slot on WVBR and excited about what had previously been told to me about the station, I agreed immediately.

I had heard about the honor of being on Acik from Stephen Kinzer, former bureau chief of the NY Times here in Istanbul. In a conversation with him earlier this year he had pointed me in Madra's direction. Kinzer, while here, had hosted a blues show on the station and filtered in political talk as he went on. In closing his tremendous book on Turkey, "Crescent and Star," Kinzer speaks of an imaginary monologue which he would have loved to have given on the air. The words speak of a Turkey which has gotten past the troubles of today. He tells those who have kept the old order that, in this new world, "The state is slipping from your grasp, the people marching away from you." And, "a new Turkey is being born before your eyes."

The birth, however, has yet to take place. While much promise remains, it is still just that, tangible yet unfulfilled. What we saw earlier this month showed us that the impossible is now possible, perhaps now that message will reverberate throughout the world. It's time to let stations like Acik go back to playing music.

Alex Kantrowitz is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is writing from Istanbul, Turkey this semester. Check out his blog at Smoked Turkey for further coverage. Smoked Turkey appears alternate Fridays this semester. Alex may be contacted at akantrowitz at cornellsun dot com

Ra Minister Of Diaspora Leaves For U.S. Completing Her Visit To Latin America Noyan Tapan Nov 21, 2008

SAO PAULO, ARMENIANS TODAY On November 15-17, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobian was in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil on a working visit completing her regional visit to Latin America.

During the two-day visit the Minister of Diaspora visited three Armenian churches and took part in the liturgy served by leader of Diocese of Brazil of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Tatev Gharibian, which was followed by a reception at the Primacy. Then Minister Hakobian on behalf of the RA Ministry of Diaspora laid a wreath to the memorial of victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The same day, on November 16, the Minister left for Osasco, which is the sister-city of Gyumri. The Armenian delegate visited the cross-stone-memorial donated by Gyumri Mayor's Office and placed in Osasco and joined the crowd gathered in the Armenian Center of Osasco, among which was also Mayor Emidio de Souza reelected lately. The Mayor had arrived in the Armenian center to greet the RA Minister and to reaffirm his readiness to establish close cooperation with the Armenian city of Gyumri. Minister Hakobian made a speech during the meeting.

The Minister also met with the Armenian society of Sao Paulo in the Armenian Club of the city. She made a long speech presenting the strategy adopted by the newly created Ministry, events implemented, as well as necessity of establishment of close cooperation new in the respect of quality between the two parts of the Armenian people. In the same place she had a tete-a-tete talk with Federal deputy of Brazil Sidney Carvalho aimed at further development of the Armenian-Brazilian relations.

Minister Hakobian's next meeting was at the Armenian General Benevolent Union where discussions with administrative members of all Armenian structures functioning in Brazil took place, which was followed by an official dinner in honor of the Minister of Diaspora. Brazilian deputy Arnaldo Faria de Sa was also among those present, with whom the Minister discussed the possibilities of establishment of closer relations between the two parliaments, ways of reconsideration of activity of Brazil-Armenia deputy friendship groups and making active the contacts in the Federal Parliament of Brazil, as well as the current stage of the process aimed at recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Federal Parliament of Brazil.

On November 17, Minister Hakobian visited the national Durian college, which is the only Armenian educational center in Sao Paulo. After college pupils performed national hymns and Armenian songs the Minister first addressed to the college pupils then had a private meeting with the college administration and Armenian language teachers. The importance of undertaking proper steps aimed at raising the educational level, teachers' participation in retrainings in Armenia, printing of Mother Tongue and Literature textbooks in Western Armenian in Armenia were touched upon during the discussions.

According to the report of the RA Foreign Ministry Press and Information Department, visit's last meeting was with the Board members of the Brazilian branch of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, after which Minister Hranush Hakobian left for the United States.

Turkish PM Confesses He Can Access Youtube Despite The Ban
Turkish Prime Minister surprised everybody when he said that he can access the video-sharing website, YouTube, despite the ban implemented by courts for almost a year.

Tayyip Erdogan said he watched the ceremony of the main opposition party, CHP, in which headscarf-wearing women became the members of the party on YouTube. Erdogan spoke to reporters late on Thursday on his plane en route to India.

Erdogan said he can access the YouTube when the reporters reminded him the ban. "I can access (YouTube), you do it, too," he replied.

Two courts ordered ban on YouTube in response to videos that it deemed insulting to Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Under the Turkish law, it is crime to insult Ataturk.

Experts say there are many other ways to access the YouTube despite the ban, however they remind that all of these methods are illegal.

IPI’s Director David Badge On ’justice Denied’ Campaign
ISTANBUL - Instead of protesting for every journalist under threat International Press Institute’s new campaign focuses on 10 journalists. ’We hope stories told in this campaign will sound the alarm and encourage those with the power to do so, to take action’ says IPI Director David Dadge

Café Prucker is not a particularly well-known café in Vienna but its traditional atmosphere makes it a pleasant place to read and sip a coffee. Interesting paintings hang on the walls and there are table lamps to light reading materials. This month, the cafe was the scene of a press conference held by the International Press Institute, or IPI, to start a new campaign, "Justice Denied."

IPI’s headquarters are in Vienna. It was founded in 1950 and has a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries.

IPI’s new campaign, instead of protesting for every journalist that has been beaten, murdered or imprisoned under harsh press laws across various countries, is to focus on just 10 journalists. They are either serving unjust prison sentences, or their attackers are benefiting from impunity. Uta Melzer, IPI press freedom manager, said the campaign focuses on a limited number of cases "to ensure our efforts are meaningful."

IPI Director David Dadge introduced the Justice Denied program saying, "We hope stories told in this campaign will sound the alarm and encourage those with the power to do so, to take action. The authorities have allowed the trail to go cold. We have to let the public know the murder and imprisonment of journalists impacts upon them too, as they lose information about the world around them."

Dadge said all of these cases involve countries where the effectiveness of the rule of law is questionable. The main targets of the campaign are to maintain visibility and push key decision makers into action.

Dadge is strongly committed to freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Although Dadge has a doctorate in and has practiced law, the 42-year-old was an editor and deputy director at IPI before becoming the director. He is best known for his book, "Casualty of War: The Bush Administration’s Assault on a Free Press."

In the book, Dadge manages to be firm and accusatory without inciting a witchhunt. As one would expect from a lawyer, he provides detail and documentation of each particular incident. As a review in the American Journalism Review said, "he turns the book into something unexpectedly positive; a cogent, compelling argument that a free flow of information may itself be a partial antidote to terrorism."

Dadge stated in the book that an increase in freedom of expression, rather than the suppression of the media, is beneficial to political and military institutions. An increase in freedom of information and expression is in his opinion the best way to fight terrorism, not limiting it as the Bush administration did in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

IPI has recently been joined by a national committee representing Slovakia, another link in the expanding network of journalists who are concerned with press freedom, freedom of speech and information. In welcoming the establishment of IPI Slovakia, Dadge said the new national committee would no doubt help strengthen media freedom in Slovakia.

"The ’right to reply’ law has shown while democracy flourishes, governments continue to think of new ways to censor the media. IPI Slovakia can play an important role by growing a broad membership and convincing the government, through discussion and dialogue, to deal fairly with the media."

Bravery not just a show
During the last annual meeting held in Belgrade in June, Dadge addressed Boris Tadic, the president of Serbia on press freedom. A United States reporter from the Seattle Times who attended the convention applauded Dadge’s courage in addressing the president, in his home territory, on the murders of a number of journalists that have gone unsolved.

Dadge is currently in Istanbul and plans to meet with IPI’s national committee, headed by Hürriyet Newspaper foreign editor and columnist, Ferai Tinç and other journalists. Dadge’s request to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was refused, as the latter was busy.

In the past year IPI has been critical of Erdoğan. In July this year, the committee voiced its concern over a string of arrests carried out in the context of an investigation into an alleged plot to overthrow the Turkish government, known as the Ergenekon affair. At least five journalists have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the alleged conspiracy.

IPI has also called on the prime minister to stop pressuring the Dogan Media Group on the reporting of allegations of money being funneled to Erdoğan from Germany.

"There is no place for Erdogan to question or criticize the media’s right to report on an issue of public importance, such as the Deniz Feneri e.V. corruption scandal, and the media are under no obligation to justify their reasons for doing so," said Dadge. "Such pressure from the head of the Turkish government raises serious doubts as to his commitment to having an independent media, free to report on matters of public interest. IPI calls on Erdogan to publicly retract his ultimatum to the Dogan Media Group immediately and to cease all attempts to pressure the Turkish media."

IPI has also strongly criticized proceedings brought against Turkish cartoonists, Musa Kart and Zafer Temocin. Both cartoonists are being investigated for caricatures considered insulting to the President. "The proceedings brought against Kart and Temocin are deeply disappointing. At a time when the international community is encouraging the Turkish government to ease its restrictions on freedom of expression, it appears that it may be moving in the opposite direction ... This latest matter occurred in a week in which over 10 newspapers were fined, and the anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink came and went without any sign of the reforms to article 301 that were mentioned in the weeks after his death."

In a letter Dadge wrote to Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, he said, "IPI would like to express its disappointment at the Turkish government’s failure to initiate reform of the criminal defamation articles laid down in the Turkish penal code, in particular article 301. As you are aware, article 301 criminalizes insults to ’Turkishness’ and carries a sentence of up to three years imprisonment. This article has been heavily criticized by the international community and its reform is a prerequisite to Turkey’s accession to the European Union."

People who know Dadge say that he has enlivened the IPI ever since becoming its director. They describe him as a peacemaker and a unifier, who is constructive, calm and transparent. He has brought new initiatives to the IPI and is working very hard to achieve them. He has also connected the organization with other groups involved in human rights, and freedom of expression and thought. It is not surprising David Dadge is being lauded.

Who Fears from the History?
During the educators’ seminar, which was held on 1915 incidents and attended by almost 70 teachers, who function at Los Angeles region, one of the centers Armenians live intensively, with the support of Glendale Region School Board, whose members are Armenians origin, the following were stated, which was also indicated in the news entitled Teachers Learn Lesson about the Armenian Genocide” that was published at Asbarez:

The seminar in question was organized by the person who is responsible of the program of the organization called "Facing History and Ourselves" based in Massachusetts and the organization in question is capable of reaching 1, 8 million students every year via seminars and workshops that are organized by a communication network that includes 25, 000 educators worldwide. Moreover, Greg Krikorian, the member of the school board in question, has stated: “The move for including the issues, which are related with the Armenian genocide, to curriculum of California, will contribute giving an end to the denial which lasts for 93 years, bringing the guilty before justice and returning their homelands, and especially Ağrı Mountain, back.”

Meanwhile, the single-sided assessments which were brought forward by AGOS newspaper are thought-provoking. To such an extent that even some seminars which are organized for informing students, who are about to travel abroad, can be used at the headlines of newspaper with the sentiment of hate, which is beyond imaginations.

This situation reveals who really fears history and who massacres the aspiration of peace among societies by continuing the single-sided “official” policies.

However, first of all, you should examine the textbooks that are used by Armenian students in Armenia and perceive who turns the history into an official history in order to re-write history and to become a national country.

French Officials, Who Committed Genocide Are Getting Arrested
Rwanda, which has lost 800 thousand of its Tutsi and moderate Hutu citizens during the incidents among two rival tribes in 1994, is currently preparing to issue the arrest orders of 23 French military and political officials for supporting genocide.

A high level official working at the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda, who does not wish to declare his name, stated that an arrest order for the 23 French officials will be issued any moment. The official, who does not wish to declare his name, has not given the names of the ones, who will be arrested. Initially, it was claimed with a report that 13 political and 20 military officials including Edouard Balladur, former Prime Minister of France, Alain Juppe, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and President François Mitterrand have involved with genocide.

Following the airplane, which carried Hutu origin Rwandan President to the capital city Kigali in 1994, was hit by a rocket, an army composed of ethnical Hutus had massacred almost 800 thousand Tutsis. (*)

Lately, when Frederic Lefevbre, speaker of the French government, stated his views on the bill, which proposes “to criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide”, he indicated that “genocide cannot be accepted, and denying genocide would be disrespecting the memory of the victims and by continuing to deny, historians are prevented from doing their duties.” In fact, it is a tragicomedy, which does not need any comment.

What can be said to France, which demonstrates a great weakness towards its own tragic past and undertakes to dictate their own history to the others and as a result, helplessly, prohibits historical research itself…Please refresh your memories little bit and be ashamed of yourselves if you can!

Source: (*) Milliyet Daily Newspaper-12.11.2008, 20.11.2008, http://www.genocidereality.com/newsdetail.asp?id=474

‘Armenian Political Forces Welcome Turkey-Armenia Dialogue’
Turkish and Armenian experts attended to two-day workshop organized by the Armenian Caucasus Institute and the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation in Yerevan.

All political forces in Armenia, including the elite, are ready for the improvement of relations between Armenia and Turkey, said an Armenian expert as a seminar on Turkish-Armenian dialogue got under way.

"Issues related to the borders, genocide and Nagorno-Karabakh are not real obstacles to opening the border between Armenia and Turkey. We can sign an agreement without making any references to Ottoman Turkey or Bolshevik Russia. The Armenian elite do not oppose the process," said Alexander Iskandaryan, who is the director of the Caucasus Institute, where a workshop titled "Turkey-Armenia Dialogue Series: Breaking the Vicious Cycle" started yesterday with the cooperation of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV).

Referring to the ultranationalist opposition in Turkey to Turkish-Armenian dialogue, Iskandaryan said the situation in Turkey is more complicated than in Armenia. "But the issue now is part of Turkish internal discussion. There are no third parties involved like Washington or Brussels but a direct dialogue between Ankara and Yerevan. I've traveled to İstanbul and Ankara so many times. This would be impossible seven years ago," he stated.

In reference to Turkey's decision to close its border and sever its ties with Armenia in 1993 to protest Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, he said the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is not a problem between Yerevan and Ankara.

Aybars Görgülü from TESEV highlighted the fact that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been the biggest challenge facing Turkish-Armenian relations because Turkey has made it a precondition for the normalization of relations.

He also added that the joint declaration signed recently by Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan and Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev in Moscow in the presence of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was an important step to demonstrate their desire for a peaceful resolution to the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The catch here is the change in Russia's position regarding this intricate conflict. Russia's strategy to freeze the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has apparently changed after the conflict with Georgia," Görgülü said.

Iskandaryan said the issue of genocide exists in Turkish and Armenian mentalities, but that it should not exist in diplomatic relations. He noted the Armenian Foreign Ministry's stance on the issue that resolutions passed in other countries' parliaments supporting Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I will not help dialogue between the two countries.

"The Armenian diaspora protects its own interests. This is related to their national identity. It's impossible to stop that in Yerevan. Secondly, they are citizens of other countries, French, American, etc. We are talking about relations between Ankara and Yerevan," he added.

Meanwhile, the speakers reminded the audience at the beginning of the seminar that TESEV Director Mensur Akgün and former Ambassador Yalım Eralp, who were supposed to take part at the workshop, had to stay in Turkey because they learned at the airport in İstanbul that Armenian authorities would not allow people who hold the "green passports" issued to public servants to enter Armenia without a prior visa application.

Akgün and Eralp told Today's Zaman on Wednesday that they had been to Armenia before with same passports. TESEV officials weighed the situation and decided that the rest of the delegation, who carry ordinary passports, should go to Yerevan for the conference, which was organized months ago as a contribution to the civil society dialogue between the two countries.

Today's Zaman learned from the Armenian Foreign Ministry in Yerevan that there was a change in the law one year ago about the rules regarding all foreigners visiting Armenia. According to the new law, people carrying ordinary passports can be issued visas at the airport. But citizens of any other country carrying special passports should obtain visas from the Foreign Ministry prior to their visit.

İbrahİm Kalin todayszaman.com The Obama Presidency And Turkey
Millions around the world are in seventh heaven over Barack Obama's presidency. But Turkish officials and policymakers seem concerned.

As "Obamamania" slowly dwindles, more people will probably face the grim realities of what Mr. Obama is inheriting from the Bush administration.

Turkey's concerns are about both its bilateral relations and its larger regional policies. In his visit to Washington, D.C., last week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said it is too risky to give a definitive timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. This was the first mild criticism of Mr. Obama, who had promised a pullout within the first 16 months of his presidency. Despite the appearance of relative calm and security, Iraq is faced with enormous political and social problems. The fragile security situation could easily deteriorate into chaos. Obama will have to develop a better long-term strategy other than withdrawing US troops. The question is: What kind of a political, legal and military structure will be put in place in Iraq after the amount of American troops is sharply reduced?

This concerns Turkey directly. But there are other issues. Ever since his statement that he will sit with Iran and talk, Obama has been hardening his discourse on Iran. A bad start with Iran will be a bad start in the region. Obama's engagement or disengagement with Iran will send a message about the tone and nature of Obama's Middle East policy. While every single country in the region is against Iran going nuclear, there are ways of securing it without bullying other countries in the region. Ankara will be closely following the opening lines of Obama's policy towards Iran.

Another issue of immediate concern is the claim of genocide in Armenia. Turkish-American relations are too important to be reduced to the Armenian issue. But it does matter socially and psychologically. Even a hint by Obama of endorsing the genocide claims will poison relations. That's why many Turks are concerned about next April, when this issue will come up again. If Obama, Pelosi or another ranking member of the Democratic Party gives the green light to the genocide claims, it will force Turkey to revise its partnership with US on a number of key regional issues including Iraq and Afghanistan. No government in Turkey will be able to sell a strategic partnership or an alliance with the US to the Turkish people if such a resolution were to be passed in the US Senate.

This will be catastrophic for the relations between Ankara and Yerevan and stop all diplomatic communication between the two countries. Over the last few months, a breakthrough has been made, and Turkey and Armenia have started talking to one another. The Azeris have also joined the conversation, which is extremely important. The backdoor diplomacy and behind-the-scenes negotiations are likely to produce some concrete results in the first half of 2009. We may see some unprecedented moves by both sides before long. All of this momentum will be lost if the genocide issue is given any prominence in Washington under Obama's presidency.

Many Turks see Obama as a chance for the US and the world. They also see him as a new beginning for US-Turkish relations. Some believe Obama will be the best antidote to anti-Americanism in Turkey and the wider Muslim world. Let's hope the Obama presidency does not squander this historic opportunity.
22 November 2008,

Nine Pianists Come Together To Transcend Political Conflict
Aiming to strengthen intercultural dialogue between Turkey and its neighbors, the İstanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture (ECOC) Agency is set to present a concert for peace in Brussels next month.

Titled "Folia Pianistica -- Music Beyond Conflicts," the concert will feature nine pianists from Turkey, including its Armenian and Jewish communities, and its neighbors, such as Greece, Greek Cyprus, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), as well as Egypt, Iran and the US.

At a press conference on Friday, one of the founding members of the Paris-based Association des Artistes pour la Paix (Association of Artists for Peace), Hüseyin Sermet, explained the aim behind the concert and his organization.

"The objective of this association is to serve the development of peace, friendship and fraternity around the world, disregarding political, religious and linguistic differences among artists. The most important thing for us is that the person be a successful artist who sincerely believes in humankind," said Sermet, who is also going to represent Turkey in the concert.

Zeynep Göğüş, the head of the Center for Turkey in Europe (TR PLUS), also stated that through this concert they hope to emphasize the similarities between the artists, rather than their differences.

Also speaking at the conference, İstanbul 2010 ECOC Secretary-General Eyüp Özgüç recalled that for many centuries İstanbul was the capital of some of the greatest empires in the history of humankind. He said in 2010 it will once again assume this title. "By organizing concerts and other cultural activities around the world, İstanbul is once again playing a unifying role, as it did in the past," he added.

İstanbul 2010 ECOC executive board chairman Nuri Çolakoğlu discussed the city's multicultural history, while Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Hayati Yazıcı focused on the universal language of cultural and artistic events. "Culture and arts, along with sports events, constitute the ground for political relations and form the dynamics of dialogue," Yazıcı said.

The artistic coordinator of the concert will be Birsen Demiriz. The performers, including Rüya Taner from the KKTC, George Lazaridis from Greece, Seta Tanyel of the Turkish-Armenian community, Israel Kastoriano from Turkey's Jewish community, Cyprien Katsaris from Greek Cyprus, Nima Sarkec-hick from Iran, Ramzi Yassa from Egypt and US pianist David Lively, will present a program featuring pieces by Rossini, Poulenc, Liszt, Jolivet, Ravel, Gershwin, Shos-takovich and Bizet at the concert, scheduled to take place on Dec. 3 at Brussels' Palais des Beaux-Arts.

22 November 2008, Rumeysa Kiger İstanbul

ASAM Closure Making Think Tanks Think Harder
ANKARA - The closure of the influential think tank ASAM after its main sponsor Ülker ended its support has made other similar think tanks worry about the independence of research bodies that need funds to remain operational.

The abrupt end of Turkey’s pioneering think tank, the Eurasian Strategic Research Center, or ASAM, activities last month led to questions about how independent think tanks in Turkey really are, and how important they are in shaping public policy.

"Independence has no guarantee in Turkey. It entirely depends on personal relations," Professor Güven Sak, director of Economic Research Foundation of Turkey, or TEPAV, told Hürriyet Daily News on Friday.

ASAM was an influential think tank in the field of international relations, with retired generals and diplomats under one roof. But after its dominant financier, Ülker Group, withdrew its financial support, the institution ended operations. Vice president of ASAM, Çağrı Erhan, in his resignation from his post last week, said ASAM came under intense pressure as it resisted the pressure of interests groups and of political power. "Independence is an attitude, no law can guarantee it. People who fund think tanks’ activities should feel they are contributing to Turkey’s intellectual capacity," Sak said.

ASAM’s end is linked to its president, retired ambassador Faruk Loğoğlu’s meeting with former president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and staunchly secular retired chief prosecutor, Sabih Kanadoğlu, while the closure case on the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, was ongoing, reported daily Radikal last week.

It is unclear whether ASAM will resume its activities under a different name, but the way it ended its activities might have broader implications for think tanks in Turkey. "ASAM’s closure might lead to the idea that even nationwide think tanks do not have much importance," said İhsan Bal, from the International Strategic Research Institution, or USAK. ASAM’s fate is also a case in point for the necessity of diversifying financial resources. "There are methods to overcome a dependency on one financial source, but think tanks do not develop these capabilities. ASAM either could not or did not want to diversify its financial sources," said Taha Özhan, coordinator of economic research at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research, or SETA.

"Ideological limitations or lack of procedural knowledge limit think tanks’ funding from the European Union, the World Bank and similar institutions, to which Turkey contributes financially," Özhan said. "Dependence on one source is dangerous from the point of view of sustainability. It also prevents forging transnational networks," said Can Paker, director of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, or TESEV, whose sources are among the most diversified in Turkey.

’No one pays for knowledge’
Other than suffering from ideological reservations about access to foreign funding, a lack of demand for think tanks makes their lifespan ephemeral, experts agreed.

"Turkey is trying to become involved in solutions to conflicts in the Middle East and the Caucasus. Its most valuable fuel is think tanks," Bal said, criticizing the unfounded suspicion that think tanks are biased toward whatever institution funds them.

TESAV’s Paker, however, said public opinion could be an influential factor in shaping policymakers’ decisions. "I think we have a powerful impact. Politicians cannot ignore the public, but they can neglect individual think tanks."

"I think it depends on the need and the quality of the work. We must not think the work is not influential. But this is not currently a trend," Sak said.

Tigran Torosyan: "Even If It Is Necessary For The United States To "Put Pressure" On Turkey, The Resolution On The Recognition Of Armenian Genocide In The Us Congress Will Hardly Be Applied As A Mechanism" 21 November 2008, Today Az

Day.Az interview with Tigran Torosyan, former speaker and deputy of the Armenian National Assembly.

- The time, which passed from the moment of election of Serzh Sargsyan as the President of Armenia allows to draw some conclusions. How do you assess his activity on the post of the head of the state? Do you consider the internal and external policy of the Armenian President to be successful?

- The general assessment of the activity of the new Armenian President will be complete in March-April of 2009.

- Naturally, the Moscow declaration, signed by Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan under participation of Dmitri Medvedev, is perceived through the prism of its own interests by each of the conflict parties. What can you say about the adoption of this declaration? Which way of the Karabakh conflict resolution can be spoken of today? If Moscow is sincere in its actions, what caused the Kremlin's hurried steps to settle this conflict?

- Certainly, Moscow is sincere, as the steps of the Russian side base on the interests of their country. Moreover, though paradoxical, the declaration bears no direct attitude to the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. This document is a result of the situation, established around Russia through the past months. In spring of this year, despite the desparate resistance and even the protest of Russia, the United States and influential European countries recognized independence of Kosovo, though in the result of the Ossetian war Russia showed force and unlimited influence in the South Caucasus region, recognized independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after war but lost Georgia as a partner and was criticized by western countries and mass medias due to the tough military operations. For Russia it would have been a good opportunity to strengthen at least demonstrative partner relations with two other countries of the region - Armenia and Azerbaijan, as a proof that it take a dominating position. On the other hand, it must be proven urgently that Russia settles the task not only with application of force but also by way of talks and signing documents. That was a good chance to settle all these tasks/

Moreover, "side" effects also have a positive sign for Russia: President Medvedev made a step, which Putin failed to do through many years. Russia takes the initiative in the Karabakh conflict immediately after the presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia and Azerbaijan sign the first document on Karabakh conflict for the first time through 14 years and so on. Thus, nothing can be better than it.

A small detail is absent - the document is by no way closer to the conflict resolution.

It is still possible to speak of two equal opportunities for the resolution of the conflict - forced (military way - Russia, South Ossetia, Abkhazia or softer variant - United States, Kosovo) or the negotiation process. The first is applied when the center of powers prefers one of the conflict parties. There is another paradoxical hypothesis. The geopolitical importance of the Russian-Georgian war has an interesting projection on the Karabakh conflict, almost defining the further development of the settlement process. After the complete orientation of Georgia to the West the clear preference or Armenia or Azerbaijani interests becomes dangerous for Russia, as appearance of one more "Georgia" in the region will almost exclude Russia from the "Big South-Caucasus game".

Certainly, Armenia and Azerbaijan can successfully use this situation for the settlement of definite issues in the area of bilateral relations. Yet, Russia's position will be stable in the issue of the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, as in the geopolitical sense the Karabakh conflict is becoming a critical factor. Thus, talks will continue long without any significant results, unless the geopolitical correlation of powers changes. If, certainly, President Aliyev will not follow Saakashvili's logics: by freeing oneself from conflicts, it is possible to get rid of Russia. Though there is a more reasonable, but less real variant: in the framework of international law Azerbaijan recognizes the right of Karabakh people for self-determination, sets normal relations between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh and thus reduce to minimum the influence of "big players".

- The rejection to apply force, guarantees of political dialogue, commitments to fix peaceful agreements between the parties, which had been at war for over 20 years are the results of the meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents in Moscow, fixed in the declaration. Does it mean that Moscow has demonstrated its capacities in the region to the whole world? Does it mean that keys from the conflict resolution are really in Moscow? Will it want to apply them?

- You are exaggerating the results of the declaration signing. It is just soothing for Russia. The loss of Georgia is a sensitive issue for Russia, which had no rivals in the region for about two centuries. No, keys from the conflict are not in Moscow. They had been in Moscow before the 1990s. Later the keys were lost and doors can only open from inside. This will happen when Azerbaijan will understand the secret of modern keys and accept minimal, fair conditions of Nagorno Karabakh in the framework of the international law.

The real potential of Russia in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict is creation of a platform for peace talks, in particular, between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh. The decisive talks will start only when Russia and Azerbaijan will realize that participation of Nagorno Karabakh in the negotiation process is even more important than Armenia's. The talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan are important in a different sense.

- The fourth paragraph of the Moscow declaration, which speaks of the need to settle the Karabakh conflict by way of direct talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, in fact defines a new format of the conflict parties, Thus, hasn't the declaration completely buried Karabakh Armenians' intention to become the third and complete party of the conflict?

- No, it has not. First of all, Nagorno Karabakh was recognized the full party of the conflict both in the OSCE documents and the signed agreement on suspension of military actions, concluded by the Defense Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and commander of Nagorno Karabakh army. Second, rejection of the facts does not mean absence of these facts. It just means that those who state it have serious vision problems. Third, the fourth paragraph speaks of the subject of agreements between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. You will hardly find in the text of declaration a formulation, fixed in your question and even more, the content of the declaration proves that the meeting of the three presidents does not replace the process of negotiations in the framework of the Minsk Group, while the declaration states the sense of the discussed issues. And the most important is that the right for self-determination as the highest legal force in the framework of international law. Russia, Azerbaijan or Armenia can not restrict this right. No declaration or agreement can have such a force.

About declaration. It is seen from the declaration that it fixes vague formulations, even making references to confidential ( in the sense of the discussed project on the resolution principles) meeting in Madrid. Not because the Foreign Ministry of Russia lacks experienced and highly qualified specialists but because for the Russian side it was important to sign the document, while its content was not so important. Any definite formulation, any principal idea would not threaten with signing. The careful reading of the declaration shows that it lacks an insignificant idea on the absence of an alternative for the peaceful resolution of the conflict: the political resolution is not equal to the peaceful resolution.

The attack of the Azerbaijani armed forces to the positions of the Karabakh army on November 15 and absence of the due reaction from the side of the co-chairs and president of Russia, signing the declaration, or his representative.

- There are rumors that Moscow attempts to settle the Karabakh conflict so that to place a military base in Nagorno Karabakh under the auspices of the peacekeeping mission. Thus, Moscow will strengthen its military presence in the South Caucasus...

- In the sense of dislocation of Russian military bases Azerbaijan and Armenia are more attractive than Nagorno Karabakh. As previously noted Nagorno Karabakh is of great importance in the sense of geopolitical developments as an influential factor on the orientation of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as a main factor of provision of Russia's presence in the South Caucasus. By the way, the situation much resembles that of the 1920s in the region, though the "Georgian orientation" now exceeds the rates.

- If we take the South Caucasus region as an area of clash of intetrests of Russia and the United States, how will the situation further develop, considering that Barak Obama has become the head of the Washington Administration? It is not by accident that Russia demonstrated its mediation in signing a declaration in the threshold of presidential elections in the United States - isn't it a hidden sign to Barak Obama that he should not interfere with the Caucasus issues. Considering the pre-electoral platform of the newly elected US president, this country intends to reject claims on most regions of the world. Will the united States leave the South Caucasus on a goodwill basis?

- The personality of a president is important in state policy in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, however, not in the United States, Germany or France. Therefore, though there is a great difference between Bush and Obama, changes in the US policy towards the South Caucasus region can hardly be expected for two reasons. First, new president is a good cause for changes, primarily, politics in global directions. For example, in the failing issue of democratization of Iraw by the help of the US army. Second, why the United States leave our region, when one of the most successful US projects has been implemented here? On the contrary, the United states will intensify efforts as after the success in Georgia there appears a chance for execution of its South Caucasus ambitions. Certainly, it will hardly lead to a new war, but fight will be fierce. Game is worth candles, which is proven by the statements about billions of investments.

- Is it possible that a resolution on the "Armenian genocide" by the US congress will be adopted as it was promised by newly elected president of the United States Barak Obama during his election campaign?

- We got used that these issues in the United States are settled only on the basis of political expediency. Changes in Turkey's role in the region after a five day August war is a separate theme. Yet these events reduce possibility of adoption of the resolution in the US congress on the recognition of Armenians genocide. Even if it will be necessary for the United States to "put pressure" on Turkey, the resolution on the recognition of Armenian genocide in the US congress will hardly be applied as a mechanism. At least, contacts between the Presidents of Armenia and Tirkey will continue. Turkey has skilfully used and will further use this factor.

Yet there is a more important component of this issue. Any country, adopting such a resolution, makes a statement on moral basis of its state and public and not a courtesy towards Armenia or Armenian people. This is related both to the United States and Turkey.

US Spies See Stronger, Islamic Turkey In 2025
WASHINGTON - The National Intelligence Council, which brings together all 16 US intelligence agencies, argues in its recent report titled Global Trends 2025 that Turkey’s most likely course in the next 15 years involves a blending of Islamic and nationalist strains, which could serve as a model for other rapidly modernizing countries in the Middle East

Turkey is likely to have a more prominent political and economic role internationally and economically in 2025, but it will also become more Islamic and more nationalist, the U.S. intelligence community predicted in a report released late Thursday.

The National Intelligence Council, or NIC, which brings together all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, said in its report Ğ "Global Trends 2025" Ğ that the United States' clout was likely to decline over the next 15 to 20 years, while China and India would have a strengthened position. Russia, it predicted, could go up or down.

Muslim power
Among Muslim countries, the NIC expected "to see the political and economic power of Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey increase. "Over the next 15 years, Turkey’s most likely course involves a blending of Islamic and nationalist strains, which could serve as a model for other rapidly modernizing countries in the Middle East," it said.

The NIC said it expected secularism in the Middle East to decline in line with the Turkish example. "In the Middle East, secularism, which also has been considered an integral part of the Western model, increasingly may be seen as out of place as Islamic parties come into prominence and possibly begin to run governments," it said. "As in today’s Turkey, we could see both increased Islamization and greater emphasis on economic growth and modernization." But a more Middle Eastern and Islamic Turkey is a candidate for more important roles, the NIC said.

"Indonesia, Turkey and a post-clerically run Iran Ğ states that are predominantly Islamic, but which fall outside the Arab core Ğ appear well-situated for growing international roles," it said.

"Turkey’s recent economic track record of increased growth, the vitality of Turkey’s emerging middle class and its geo-strategic locale raise the prospect of a growing regional role in the Middle East," the NIC reported. Turkey's increasing concerns over its chances of becoming an EU member one day will likely hit planned political reforms, the agencies said. "The question of Turkey’s EU membership will be a test of Europe’s outward focus between now and 2025. Increasing doubts about Turkey’s chances are likely to slow its implementation of political and human rights reforms," the NIC said.

"Any outright rejection risks wider repercussions, reinforcing arguments in the Muslim world Ğ including among Europe’s Muslim minorities Ğ about the incompatibility of the West and Islam," it said. The NIC analysis said the current financial crisis was just the first phase of a global economic reordering. The report came nearly two months before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama formally becomes president to take on daunting tasks, ranging from the crisis to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some estimates by US intelligence wide of the mark

While the National Intelligence Council reports over the years have notched successes, like its gloomy forecast of the United States' chance of success in the Vietnam War, it is most noted for its estimates that were wide of the mark. Among estimates that proved very wrong was its opinion that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev would not launch missiles to Cuba in 1962, even though Soviets did just that the same year in October.It failed to predict the Yom Kippur War of 1973 or the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979.Its 1989 estimate that Saddam Hussein of Iraq would be too exhausted from an eight-year war with Iran to cast his eyes on any other neighbor for the next three years was one of the most embarrassing. It also failed to predict the fall of the Soviet Union, a failure it shared with much of the intelligence community.

New Ministry To Handle Diaspora
YEREVAN - Armenia has created a new ministry to cater to the needs of the country's far stretching diaspora. President Serge Sarkisian started work on the Ministry of the Diaspora immediately after his election to office in February. After long sessions in forums, evaluation and research, the ministry established in the first week of October and Hranuyş Hagopyan was assigned as minister. The ministry, aiming to unite all Armenians, is based on examples in Greece and Israel.

Even though it has been just over a month since its foundation, The Ministry of the Diaspora is bringing projects to life, one by one. The priority is to find solutions to overcome the language problem, one of the biggest issues between Armenia and the diaspora.

Stephan Bedrosyan, deputy minister of the diaspora ministry, gave an exclusive interview to the Hürriyet Daily News on his work and his plans for the future. "I do not agree with the diaspora having the only say on Armenia," said Bedrosyan. Cultural solidarity and collaboration is a priority of the ministry, as is attracting Armenian scientists, academics and artists to Armenia from around the world. The secondary aim is to carry out joint projects with approximately 30,000 Turkish citizens of Armenian stock, if relations between the two countries normalize.

The "Ari Dun" (Come Home) project and a computer program that will translate the eastern Armenian language into western Armenian, are the main projects of the diaspora ministry. The Ari Dun project, to be finalised in the following months, aims to bring diasporian youth, of 15 to 29 years of age, and Armenia together. "First of all, we want youth to see their homeland and embrace their culture. This will be the first step of the project. Then, we aim to attract youth to Armenia for educational purposes." A priority of the diaspora ministry is cultural collaboration.

Bedrosyan said there is always work being done on the diaspora in sub-branches of Armenian ministries and the formation of the independent ministry has been needed for some time. Bedrosyan said problems related to the diaspora should be discussed in detail immediately, and solutions should be found. "The Ministry of the Diaspora is a radical and appropriate step. It is needed to present a picture of a united Armenia and diaspora to the world." Bedrosyan said eastern Armenians are common in Armenia but western Armenians are part of the diaspora. "Overcoming the language problem is our main target. We need to train instructors and experts to teach in diasporian schools."

There Is A God - So Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life Mustafa Akyol
My column neighbor Burak Bekdil, with whom I often disagree, had an interesting piece last month titled "I give up... No Panama hats or alcohol!" By using sharp examples and witty stories, he was basically questioning the level of acceptance that religious-freedom-seeking Turks are ready to grant to those who seek freedom from religion

"I am not an atheist, but I am very curious...," he was asking, "...would the Istanbul Municipality agree to run ads on its buses that would read, ’There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life'?"

That quote came from the campaign led by Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins, the world’s foremost atheist televangelist. His followers would soon put that atheistic "good news" on London buses as a paid advertisement. And Mr. Bekdil was asking whether the same thing would be tolerated in Turkey.

Well, I can’t speak for the Istanbul Municipality, but as a theist I personally would not have any problem with seeing such ads on the streets of Istanbul. The open society I believe in should give space to the proclamations of all beliefs, including atheism. (Yes, by the way, atheism is a belief, not disbelief, as it is sometimes called mistakenly. A true disbeliever would be an agnostic, not an atheist.)

Yet what interested me in all this was not just whether Turkish society has matured enough to allow such unorthodox views whether they be on God, Atatürk, or "Turkishness." We all know that the answer is not positive. What interested me rather was the message given by the Dawkinsian atheists. From the premise that "there is probably no God," they were concluding, "now stop worrying and enjoy life." But why would the existence of God, rather than His nonexistence, be something that we should be worried about?

At the root of this message lies a presupposition that most atheists and other seculars take for granted: Belief in God is an obstacle to enjoying life. Or, to put it differently, life is more fun when you don’t think that there is a God who gave it to you.

Of course there are fun-hating, joy-destroying theists who can apparently confirm that presupposition. Extreme pietism in all religions is a problem. The Taliban, the most extreme case in Islam-dom, systematically fought against joy by banning kites, tape players and chessboards. Similar tendencies can be found in the histories of all religions. But they can also be found in the histories of atheist ideologies. The communist Khmer Rouge was actually much more barbarous than the Taliban in the way it banned and punished "deviant behavior," which could be as simple as eating an apple from a tree or having soft hands that hinted at a lack of hard work.

Yet today most of us live in open, free societies. We are, thank God, no longer forced to be theists or atheists. So the real question is whether believing in God influences one’s psychology in a negative way, as the Dawkinsians implied in their ad. Atheists, since Sigmund Freud who considered belief in God as a "neurosis" that needed to be cured, have asserted that it does. No wonder the modern science of psychology, which took Freud as its main pillar, has taken a very secularist approach.

However, empirical data does not conform to the Freudian vision. Rather than being the traumatized victims of a neurosis, research has shown that religious people are actually, on average, mentally and physically healthier than secular people. As former atheist Patrick Glynn points out in his impressive book, "God: The EvidenceÑThe Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Post-secular World," studies demonstrate that religious commitment boosts overall happiness, and frees people from depression, stress, and alcohol abuse. Observant people turn out to be four times less likely to commit suicide than others. The more religious people are, on average, the more they seem merrier. From that point on, even some secular scientists have concluded that our brains are "hardwired for God." Why is that? My answer is that theistic religion addresses and satisfies the existential problems of mankind: Why do we exist? What is the meaning of our lives? What happens when we die? You don’t need to be a religious believer in order to see that a there is more peace of mind in answering these questions within a godly, not a godless, paradigm. Even Richard Dawkins concedes that there is an "evolutionary advantage" to having a brain that can experience religion.

One thing that might strengthen the atheist argument to "stop worrying" is that religious belief brings not just good news but also sobering responsibility. But then again, we have to ask whether man is happier when he feels free from responsibility or when he takes on responsibilities that he willingly fulfills. I would place my bet on the latter. Therefore, I have to turn down the kind suggestion to "stop worrying and enjoy life" that atheists are spreading around. If I were an atheist, I would rather sit down, reflect about the meaninglessness and the inevitable tragic end of all my existence, and descend pessimistically into nihilism. I am rather happy because I am convinced that life has a meaning and death is not the end Ñ and that there is a God.

Turkish Society Not United In Its Opinion On The Improvement Of Relations With Armenia 21.11.2008 Lena Badeyan, “Radiolur”

A Turkish delegation has arrived in Armenia to try to discuss the problems existing in the Armenian-Turkish relations. The meetings are unofficial and take place on the level of NGOs.

Expert of the Turkish TESEF organization, engaged in international political programs, Aybars Gorgulu told “Radiolur” that much propaganda and work is needed for the opening of the border, because the Turkish society is not united in its attitude towards the warming of Armenian-Turkish relations.

Aibash Gyorgulu presented his book titled “Turkish-Armenian Relations: The Vicious Circle.” It’s worth mentioning that melting ice is depicted on the cover of the book. Gorgulu noted that the Armenian-Turkish relations depend on three important factors: settlement of the Karabakh issue, opening of the border and recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Agreeing with 95% of what the Turkish expert said, Director of the Caucasus Institute Alexander Iskandaryan does not think, however, that the above-mentioned three reasons and the problems deriving from them are a real obstacle to the improvement of the Armenian-Turkish relations.

“For example, Syria lays territorial claims to Turkey, but the border between the two countries is open, and people can move freely. The Karabakh issue is not a reason, either. Speaking about the improvement of relations, Armenia does not demand from Turkey to first solve the problem existing in a third sate, i.e. the Cyprus issue. As for the Armenian Genocide issue, it will always remain in the minds of both peoples, but that factor should not be politicized, Alexander Iskandaryan said.

“The lack of will can be easily explained with uncertainty. Armenians and Turks do not trust and are afraid of each other,” Alexander Iskandaryan noted. Turkish colleagues told him about a public opinion poll in Turkey, according to which Turks sometimes think about Armenia as a country “from sea to sea,” which claims Turkish lands and wishes to invade those.

Experts of both sides realize that the active propaganda should be constant, because the improvement of relations brings about new problems. For example, the Turkish villages near the Armenian border are very poor, and in case the border is opened, they will immediately try to find job or do business in Armenia. The reactions to these steps should be predictable.

The second probable issue is connected with mass tourism. The Director of the Caucasus Institute tells that when traveling to the ruins of the Armenian capital of Ani, he never saw the word Armenia or Armenian on any plaque. “I have seen only Kars. I have not seen Van, Erzrum, Akhtamar, but I have heard in what condition the Armenian historic monuments are,” Alexander Iskandaryan noted, predicting that Armenian tourists will not give a calm reaction when they see those facts.

How Will Turkey Be In 2025?
According to US intelligence associations, brought together under the National Intelligence Council, in a report conducted for expectations for the year 2025, Turkey in the next 15- 20 years was foreseen as having economic growth, a more active middle class due to its geostrategic location AND is anticipated to play a larger role in the Middle East as well as in the international field.

According to the "Global Trends" report, the US' global affects will decrease in time, and China and India are expected to strengthen, while Turkey along with Iran and Indonesia are expected to experience increased political and economic strength.

The report stated; "Turkey, situated outside of the Arab world, with a majority Muslim population, and Iran, following a religious regime are both seen to be strong candidates to take on larger international roles. Turkey's recent economic growth and with an increasingly active middle class and its geostrategic location is anticipated to take on a larger regional role."

"Increasing doubts of chance of EU membership"

Regarding Turkey's EU relations the report stated:

"The EU, by taking on the Balkan nations as new members and possibly including Ukraine and Turkey, will be in a position to further political stability and democratization IN Europe's surroundings. As for the issue of Turkey's EU membership between now and the year 2025, it will be a test of Europe's external focus. In terms of increasing doubts of Turkey's EU membership, they will most probably flourish due to the slowing down of political and human rights reforms."

The report went on to further explain that in 2025 new 'economic tigers' may begin to surface, and that Turkey may be a candidate with its educated work force and opportune investment environment.

Islamization will increase in Turkey

The report also stated; "As Islamic parties in the Middle East are flourishing and beginning to come to power, secularism, which is considered to be an indispensible part of the Western model, appears to be increasingly falling from favor. As it is in present day Turkey, we may see further emphasis on increasing Islamization, economic growth and modernization."

The USA Intelligence Council report also expressed: "In the next 15 years, Turkey's most probable route, may include a combination of Islamic and nationalistic elements. This may provide a model for other rapidly modernizing Middle Eastern nations."

The report also stated that Turkey will also be affected by the developments in Iraq.

French Meps Advised Not To Deal With History Today's Zaman, Nov 20 2008, Turkey
A report drawn up by a committee of academics has concluded that the French legislature should not make decisions concerning historical issues or the content of history textbooks, Turkey's NTV news channel said yesterday.

The committee was established in March by the French National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, which in October 2006 adopted a bill that made it a crime to deny that Ottoman Turks committed "genocide" against Anatolian Armenians during World War I, despite Ankara's protests and a warning that this would "poison" the deeply rooted relations between the two countries.

Having been approved by the national assembly, the genocide bill is still pending before the senate, the upper house of the French Parliament.

The report said if the parliament needed to make decisions on historical issues, then these decisions should only be binding for the parliament itself, not for the state. However, the report also advised that previously adopted laws on historical subjects be left as they are.

The bill adopted in 2006 mandates up to three years in jail for those who dispute claims that Armenians were subjected to genocide during World War I. It has angered Turkey, which categorically denies the genocide charges and says the killings came when the Armenians revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the invading Russian army.

An Open Letter To Mr. Ertugrul Gunay, Minister Of Tourism And Culture By Ara Sarafian, Today's Zaman, Nov 20 2008

Dear Mr. Minister,

I wish to congratulate the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture for its planned initiative to honor the American-Armenian writer, William Saroyan, with a museum dedicated to him in his ancestral town of Bitlis.

Saroyan was born in Fresno, California, but his forefathers came from Bitlis. The proposed museum will be the first time a diaspora Armenian -- a much-maligned category in some quarters in Turkey --will be recognized as a fellow "Anatolian" of Turkish citizens today. I hope your initiative will contribute to a more sympathetic discussion of the Armenian cultural heritage of Anatolia (and there are many beautiful examples of this) and the Anatolian roots of Armenians.

You must be aware that your announcement of establishing a Saroyan museum in Bitlis will lead to some obvious questions: If there were Armenians in Bitlis, what were they like and what happened to them? If there are no Armenians left there, why are they not there today?

Allow me to state that on the eve of World War I, the town of Bitlis had an Armenian population consisting of around 1,140 households, and there were over 70 Armenian inhabited villages around the city. Armenians made up over one-third of the population in this province and lived alongside Kurds and Turks. There were four monasteries in or immediately around Bitlis, plus four churches in the city itself. There was also an Armenian Protestant and an Assyrian church. These churches attested to the typical good relations between Muslims and Christians in the city.

Unfortunately most of the Armenians churches that were left behind in 1915, and practically all cemeteries where Christians were buried (such as Saroyan's ancestors), have been desecrated or plowed under the soil. This is also the case outside of the city where grave robbers still dig around to search for "Armenian gold." While it is true that many Turks and Kurds have defended the dignity of such locations, they have not always been successful. I remember reading on a Turkish Internet site how peasants in the village of Duz, near Bitlis, were trying to save an Armenian church. Their muhtar's sentiment was simple and very moving: "In those days we lived like brothers and sisters with Armenians. We went to our mosques and they went to their church. We now do whatever we can to keep the church standing." ("O dönemlerde Ermeniler'le kardeÅ~_ gibi yaÅ~_ardık. Bizler camilerimize, onlar da kiliseye giderlerdi. Å~^u anda kilisenin ayakta durması icin ne gerekiyorsa yapıyoruz.") I have personally heard such remarks from many ordinary people in Turkey.

I think it is important for Armenians to come and see for themselves that, whatever the problems Armenians faced in 1915 (it makes no difference whether one calls it genocide, massacre or deportation), there is still a lot of good will among ordinary people in Turkey today.

I am not sure if you will be able to find the Saroyan house in Bitlis today, but as far as I know, there is at least one Armenian church remaining in the city. It is abandoned and used to be used for storage purposes. It is now owned by the British-American Tobacco Company, hardly befitting a cultural treasure in Turkey. Perhaps as minister of culture you will be able to come to an agreement with the tobacco company and save this building from further deterioration and restore it as a cultural treasure in the name of William Saroyan. The projected Saroyan museum could thus become an offering for a happy future, when people love and respect each other and celebrate their differences as fellow human beings and Anatolians. Such a vision would be fitting to Saroyan's memory.


Ara Sarafian

Diplomat And Politician Gunduz Aktan Dead At 67, Hurriyet, Nov 20 2008
ANKARA - Only a little over a year after he was elected as a deputy from the MHP, respected diplomat and commentator Gunduz Aktan dies at the age of 67. His special area of interest was the Armenian issue and he was a former member of a commission advising the government on countering genocide claims

Veteran diplomat and the deputy of an opposition party Gunduz Aktan, 67, passed away yesterday due to cardiac problems that besieged him for two months.

"I and the Aktan family lost our father. This is a big pain and loss. The Turkish nation lost its invaluable son who dedicated all of his life to Ataturk's Republic," said his son Uygar Aktan, in a brief statement to the press in front of the Ankara hospital where his father died.

His treatment in Turkey began after he was diagnosed with kidney tumor in the United States, said Aktan's doctor Adnan Bulut, adding that he died at 02:10 a.m. from heart and liver failure."Unfortunately, there was a delay in diagnosis of the disease but later everything that needed to be done was done. The death was the will of God," said his son. Gunduz Aktan, who served as Turkey's ambassador to Greece, Japan and the UN Office in Geneva, joined the ranks of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, and as an elected member of Parliament in the July 22, 2007 elections. Aktan's death brings the number of vacant seats in Parliament to four and the MHP seats to 69.

"The Turkish diplomacy lost a distinguished member; the MHP lost a valuable deputy," said leader of MHP Devlet Bahceli. "Our pain is very grave." He called Aktan a "successful diplomat" and a "nationalist intellectual." MHP deputies as well as other political party leaders and ministers visited the hospital and offered condolences to the Aktan family.

"Today is a painful day for all of us," said Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek who knew Aktan since the time of late President Turgut Ozal. "His death comes early and as a surprise. May he rest in peace." President Abdullah Gul said Aktan's death was a big loss for Turkey and noted he had represented Turkey very well.

Aktan left the Foreign Ministry in 1998. He chaired the Ankara-based think tank, the Center for Eurasia Strategic Studies Center, or ASAM, and regularly wrote columns in daily Radikal on domestic and foreign policy developments between 1998 and 2007. But after joining politics, he chose to stop writing.

"At a historic juncture full of dangers, reason suggests that continuing writing is more preferable than joining politics. I think my columnist colleagues are cleverer than me," Aktan said to his readers in a farewell article published in Radikal on June 9, 2007, one month before the early elections when the country was indulged in crisis over the failure to elect a president. He wrote that he would start doing a job he had never known but said his only hope was the conviction that everyone was a "political creature" by birth. "While bidding a farewell I don't know what to say to my readers or, to put it correctly, to those who read my articlesÃ~I I don't say 'Goodbye' as I'm not going too far," concluded Aktan in his last column.

I'm not going too far His special area of interest was the Armenian question and was a former member of a commission advising the government on countering genocide allegations. Aktan proposed genocide claims could be countered through international arbitration and believed Turkish-Armenian relations could be normalized only after a resolution of disagreements.

"Normalization of bilateral ties is out of the question without progress on the genocide claims and the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute," he once told the Hurriyet Daily News. He was one of the lobbying deputies in the United States against a measure labeling the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The genocide resolution was marked-up by a U.S. House committee in 2007, straining ties with Washington.

Speaking with the Daily News at the time, Aktan called for tough sanctions against the United States in retaliation. "Turkey's reaction must be to do what is expected: shut down Ä°ncirlik air base and slow down U.S. logistics to Iraq via Habur border gate," he stated then.

A funeral ceremony will take place at the Foreign Ministry and in Parliament today and then he will be buried in Istanbul.

Passport Crisis Shows Turkey, Armenia Must Break More Taboos, Alexander Iskandaryan
President Abdullah Gül broke a taboo when he visited Armenia in September to watch a soccer game between the national teams of the two countries, but a Turkish professor and a former Turkish ambassador were recently unable to go to Yerevan to attend a conference as part of a Turkey-Armenia dialogue series because they carry special passports.

Mensur Akgün, director of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), and former Ambassador Yalım Eralp were at İstanbul Atatürk Airport on Wednesday evening to take a flight to Yerevan.

Akgün and Eralp, together with a group of about 10 people, were to attend a conference on Friday in Yerevan called "Breaking the Vicious Cycle," organized by TESEV and the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute. Atlas Jet personnel told them they cannot travel to Armenia with the "green passports" issued to high-ranking public servants because there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries. Airline officials said the two passengers were free to take the flight on their own initiative, but warned them that the risk could cost them days at the Yerevan airport.

However, Akgün traveled to Armenia two years ago and Eralp in 2002 with the same passports. They said this must be a new rule -- "interestingly" in a period of rapprochement.

After a period of shock and panic at check-in and following thoughts about canceling the whole trip, TESEV officials evaluated the situation and decided that the rest of the delegation, who carry ordinary passports, should go to Yerevan for the conference, organized months ago as a contribution to civil society dialogue between the two countries.

Akgün said bureaucracy usually does not follow developments occurring in people-to-people contacts even though talks between officials of the two countries, which have had no formal ties since 1993, are under way to normalize relations.

"This is bureaucracy. However, it is a scandal that the issue has not been solved for the academics who usually carry green passports, especially when there is no political aim to their visit," he told Today's Zaman at the airport.

Eralp, visibly angry, was harsher: "Armenia wants rapprochement but at the same time adopts measures to block it. There were no obstacles to green passport holders before, but there are now. All Armenia wants is to open the border -- which it does not recognize -- to relieve its economic problems."

Turkey closed its border and severed its ties with Armenia in 1993 in protest of Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.

Foreign Ministry official: No discrimination against Turkey

In Yerevan yesterday, Levon Minasyan, undersecretary of the visa section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Armenia passed a new law last year concerning the rules governing foreigners visiting Armenia.

Under the new law "If people carry ordinary passports, their visa can be issued at the airport. But any citizen from any country carrying a special passport should obtain a visa from the Foreign Ministry," he told Today's Zaman.

He added that following the change in law, they informed Turkish officials through the Turkish Embassy in Tbilisi and airlines operating between the countries.

Minasyan explained that special passport holders should contact the Armenian Foreign Ministry to inform it about the purpose of their visit, or institutions inviting them should do so three to four days before the visit.

"We usually issue visas for special passport holders without a problem, but in this case we never received a request," he said.

Asked about what would have happened if Professor Akgün and Ambassador Eralp took the flight to Yerevan, Minasyan said: "In this case we would issue a visa."

Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Caucasus Institute, said the incident was "shameful" and this it had occurred because of a lack of normal relations between the two countries.

"The incident demonstrates why the people of both countries need normal relations. In the 21st century borders should be open, period."

Speaking with Foreign Ministry officials over the phone yesterday, Iskandaryan found out that Turkey also has a similar requirement for Armenian special passport holders.

'Breaking the vicious cycle'

Iskandaryan will deliver the opening remarks at the conference today without his counterpart, Akgün. Attendees will cover a range of issues, from Armenian foreign policy to problems and prospects in relations.

Participants include Mete Hatay, working in Cyprus for the Oslo-based PRIO Peace Institute; Ricardo Serri from the European Commission's Turkey team; Sabiha Şenyücel and Aybars Görgülü from TESEV's foreign policy program; Dorothée Schmid from the Institut Français des Relations Internationales; independent expert Masis Mayilyan; Sergey Minasyan from the Caucasus Institute; and Karen Bekaryan from the Armenia-based NGO European Integration.

Closing remarks will be made by Armenian Ambassador David Hovhannesyan without Ambassador Eralp. 21 November 2008, YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN YEREVAN

Vercihan Ziflioğlu, Ottoman Youth Of Paris On Display
A new exhibit in Istanbul, called ’Paris of the Ottoman,’ explores the time when the Ottoman Empire turned its face to the West and the children of bourgeois families settled in Paris, the capital of civilization and culture

At the beginning of the 19th century, London was the capital of trade, while Paris was the capital of culture and art. That is why the Ottoman Empire, which turned its face toward the West, came under the influence of French culture.

The libertarian movement, which appeared in France during the 1789 French Revolution, captivated Ottoman youth. This movement won many adherents in the Ottoman Empire and caused people to revolt against the repressive regime of Sultan Abdulhamid. In 1908 they declared the second constitutional monarchy so they could seek rights, justice and freedom. This was a kind of revolution in the Ottoman Empire.

’Paris of the Ottoman’
This year, with the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the constitutional monarchy, various exhibitions have been held in Turkey. One of these exhibitions is, "Paris of the Ottoman," featuring these events from a different perspective.

The exhibition will be open to visitors until Dec. 31 at the Ottoman Bank Museum in Istanbul’s Karaköy. The brainchild of the exhibition was French historian François Georgeon and it was curated by Ethem Eldem.

The exhibition features the life of Ottoman intellectuals, who were a part of Parisian cultural life, using a series of huge maps, historical photos and films. Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News about the exhibition, Eldem said, "Everyone focuses on the 100th year but we have approached this period, which laid the groundwork for the sad events that gradually led to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, from a different perspective."

From French archives
Alongside the exhibition, Georgen is showing his 45-minute documentary titled "Paris of Young Turks." He produced the documentary by collecting documents from French archives.

Eldem said the group of people described as "Ottoman intellectuals" were influenced by Western culture in the 18th century as they perceived it as a higher culture, and added, "But unfortunately, artists like Victor Hugo, Beethoven or Apollinaire did not travel to the Ottoman territories during this period."

Eldem said one Ottaman intellectual was Osman Hamdi Bey, known as an orientalist painter, whose works have sold for millions of liras in Turkey. "He learned to paint in Paris. But many others like him did not achieve real success."

Eldem said Ottoman poets and painters were always following Western culture and added, "The Ottomans in Paris were at least 50 years ahead of every movement in the field of painting and poetry in the empire."

President-Elect Obama, Is Turkey Western And European? , By Soner Cagaptay, BitterLemons International, November 20, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama,

Obamania in Turkey will help you change America's image, but I fear it will be insufficient to change Turkey's behavior. After spending three months in Turkey, I have some suggestions for your Turkey policy. Today, Turkey faces tough choices between Iran and the West and between European Union membership and the abysmal alternative. As a liberal, you are no doubt committed to Turkey's western and European inclinations. You can help prod the Turks in the right direction by confirming these identities. Washington has repeatedly said that it considers Turkey a western and European country, but it has not treated Turkey as one. Washington has not given Turkey western-level assistance against terrorism, nor has it assessed Turkey's domestic environment by European benchmarks.

The litmus test of whether Washington considers Turkey western is US assistance to Ankara against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terror attacks. Washington has provided strong counter-terrorism assistance to its western allies, from the United Kingdom to Colombia. Vis-a-vis the PKK presence in northern Iraq, however, the Bush administration has given Turkey delayed and limited support. Dear President-elect Obama, signal to Turkey that you see it as a full member of the western alliance by providing full support against the PKK.

Despite close cooperation with the United States on Iraq, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been bashing America at home in an attempt to boost its own popularity. Do not dismiss the AKP's rhetoric as benign domestic politicking. While an anti-western statement by a Danish politician could be dismissed as "crazy" and the same statement by an Egyptian might be considered "normal", Turkey is neither Denmark nor Egypt. This is the rare country in which anti-western statements actually matter because they help shape people's identity.

For Turkey to commit itself to the West, the AKP has to make an effort. Since the AKP assumed power in 2002, the Turks have heard nothing positive about the West or the United States from their leadership. Today Turkey is the most anti-American nation in the world; a recent Pew Center poll shows that only 12 percent of the Turks have a favorable view of the United States. Anti-Americanism places Turkey's cooperation on foreign policy issues at risk. Turkey is not Saudi Arabia. Turkey being a democracy, when the Turks turn anti-American eventually Turkish foreign policy, too, will turn anti-American.

The lesson for you, President-elect Obama, is clear: given this anti-western rhetoric and the tenuous Turkish attachment to the West, your strategy must be to constantly remind Turks that they belong to the West. Hence, my next suggestion: you must recognize that while the United States cannot stop this entrenched anti-Americanism altogether, the AKP government can. You should make this issue a part of your conversation with Ankara, demanding zero tolerance toward official anti-American and anti-western rhetoric in Turkey.

My final suggestion concerns Turkey's European vocation. After coming to power in 2002, the AKP initially pushed for EU accession. However, just as Turkey began membership talks with the EU in 2005, the party's appetite for a European Turkey waned. As Turkey moved closer to the EU, it slipped away from Europe and its values. Various indices reveal an alarming phenomenon: Turkey is less free and equal today than it was when the AKP assumed power in 2002. According to the UNDP's gender empowerment index, in 2002 Turkey ranked 63 in the world. Today, it has slipped dramatically to 90. The World Economic Forum's gender gap report shows a similar startling slip, from 105 in 2002 to 123 in 2008. Freedom House's freedom of press index reports that Turkish media is less free today than it was in 2002, slipping from 100 in 2002 to 103 in 2008.

You should expect from the AKP's Turkey what you expect from any liberal European democracy. A diplomat friend once said, "Turkey is in good shape, because its Islamists would be democrats in Egypt." True, but while Turkey's population is predominantly Muslim like Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, its political system is a secular democracy like Europe's and Turkey is an aspiring EU member. Comparing Turkey politically to Muslim yet undemocratic Egypt is as anachronistic as comparing the United States to Christian yet undemocratic Belarus. As Turkey goes soul-searching for what it means to be a liberal, secular democracy, your political yardstick for Turkey should be Italy and France--not Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Dear President-elect Obama, given Turkey's location it is important for you to get Turkey right to achieve success in Iraq, Iran, Georgia and Afghanistan. But you also need to get Turkey right to bring this country as a pro-western, liberal democracy into Europe and the western fold.

Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the author of Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey (2006).

Groundbreaking Conference On The Massacres Of Dersim, Despite The Pressures From Ankara, armradio.am 20.11.2008
For the first time in its history, the European Parliament welcomed a great conference on the massacres of Dersim (Turkey, 1937-1938). This conference was organized on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of these events and on the initiative of the "company for resistance" (Gesellschaft fur Wiederaufbau) and of the MEP Feleknas Uca (Confederal Group of the European United Left, Germany), under the support of her political party.

This conference was a huge success and was attended by more than 200 participants including European citizens and natives of Turkey. The complete program of the day will soon be available here.

Among many speakers, Hilda Tchoboian, the president of the European Armenian Federation underlined the continuity of the genocidal tradition of Turkey whose identity was built on the negation of the other. She recalled that at the time of the Armenian genocide, Dersimis - contrary to other Kurdish tribes - had abstained from any attacks towards the Armenian populations and sheltered and protected them; about 40,000 people had been saved and today, one out of four Dersimis have Armenian ancestry.

This conference - and in particular the presence of two town representatives of Turkey - Serafettin Halis, deputy of the province of Tunceli and Songul Er ol Abdil, mayor of the town of Tunceli (Dersim) - caused a great agitation in the Turkish press, in particular by their remarks on the genocidal tradition of Turkey. The presence of Hilda Tchoboian to this conference was also interpreted by Ankara like a proof of "the will of the European Parliament to dismember Turkey!" During the conference, the lecturers and organisers revealed that Ankara carried applied intense pressure to prohibit this conference from taking place.

The conference revealed to Europeans that Turkey is not and never has been homogeneous on an ethnic or linguistic point of view. The Kurds, Dersimis, Zazas and innumerable other minorities have all their own identity and collectively they compose the majority of the Anatolian population.

"Turkey has never admitted this diversity of population and tried to deny it by committing different mass crimes. It is also this reality which Turkey wants to hide from its own population and other States" concluded Hilda Tchoboian.

The conference was concluded by a Joint Declaration signed by Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and Assyrian-Chaldean organisations, representative's of populations who have all been oppressed or massacred by Turkey. This declaration is available.

Turkey And The Us Under Barack Obama - Yes They Can, Turkish Daily News, November 17, 2008
ANKARA As people across the globe celebrated last weeks election of Barack Obama, Americas first African-American president, locals in a remote village in southeastern Turkey slaughtered 44 sheep to register their joy. "Obama will usher in peace, unite the world," they declared before smearing sacrificial blood on an image of Obama in keeping with an age-old rite to ward off evil spirits. In Turkeys capital city of Ankara, though, the mood was rather more subdued as Turkish leaders pondered the meaning of Americas new president for their country. Strategically wedged between Europe, the Caucasus, and the Middle East, Turkey is a key actor in the biggest foreign policy challenges facing the new U.S. administration: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Irans nuclear ambitions, and a newly belligerent Russia.

Turkeys interests have not always converged with those of the United States. This was never more evident than when the Turkish Parliament refused to let U.S. troops use Turkey as a launching pad to open a second front against Saddam Hussein in March 2003. The rebuttal unleashed a cycle of mutual hostility and recrimination that is only just beginning to ease.

Yet nothing alarms Turks quite as much as the prospect that Obama will fulfill his campaign promise to recognize the mass slaughter of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as genocide. While acknowledging the groundbreaking nature of the U.S. presidential election, it is from this narrow prism that many Turks tend to weigh the pros and cons of President-elect Barack Obama.Enhanced Coverage LinkingBarack Obama. -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days

Will Obama stick to his promise to Armenian-American constituents and wreck Turkish-American relations for good or, as in the past, will Americas reliance on Turkeys military cooperation win the day? And what of the Iraqi Kurds? Will a Democratic president be more amenable to their irredentist impulses? Obamas foreign policy vision suggests that Turkish fears are overblown, and that there exists a window of opportunity for reinforcing strategic partnership with the United States in ways that can positively impact the region, provided leaders on both sides show pluck and imagination and avoid the pitfalls that line the way. Rather than focus on parochial phobias, Turkey should recognize the opening that the Obama presents. After eight years of Bush policies that have alienated Turks across the political spectrum, there is now leadership in Washington that likely will share Turkeys multilateral approach to foreign policy headaches in its backyard and beyond.

[HH] The opportunities

The greatest opportunity for enhanced partnership between Turkey and the United States lies in Turkeys growing regional role. Whether it is bringing together Syrians and Israelis, Palestinians and Israelis, Iraqs Shiites and Sunnis, or Afghanis and Pakistanis, Turkeys good offices and influence are increasingly being called upon to help resolve long-running regional conflicts. Until recently, Turkeys freelancing had frequently irritated Washington, such as when it invited Khaled Meshaal, the radical Hamas leader, to Ankara in September 2005. By contrast Obama, who has spoken about engaging rather than isolating Americas antagonists, may find Turkey a useful ambassador to lay the groundwork for dialogue, particularly with Iran. Turkey will play a pivotal role in establishing new and secure energy routes for Europe that bypass Russia. Turkey can also do much to help with institution building in a post-American Iraq.

[HH] The risks: The genocide time bomb ticks away

The prevailing wisdom in Ankara, Yerevan (capital of Armenia), and Washington alike is that with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, U.S. Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, no U.S. administration has been as predisposed to genocide recognition. A congressional bill re-confirming what a growing body of historians call incontrovertible fact was shelved at the last minute in 2007 after the Bush administration convinced the bills proponents that its adoption would put American lives at risk; Turkey might have retaliated by denying access to the Incirlik airbase the main supply route for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the new lineup in Washington, many argue, makes it less likely that realpolitik will prevail. Mindful of such dangers, Turkey last year revived attempts to make friends with Armenia and in September, Turkeys president, Abdullah Gul, became the first Turkish leader to set foot in Armenia. Turkish and Armenian diplomats have been quietly working on a deal to establish formal relations and to re-open their common border, which was sealed by Turkey after Armenia occupied a big slice of Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Turkey insists that any deal with Armenia should allow for a commission of historians to uncover what "really happened" in 1915. After some initial wobbles, Turkey is said to be ready to re-open the border and to go along with Armenias demands that the proposed historical commission be addressed within a broader set of bilateral issues. Turkey believes that all of this should stave off genocide recognition by the new U.S. administration. That is why hardliners within the Armenian Diaspora seem bent on stopping Turkey and Armenia from making peace. For all the conciliatory noises coming out of Yerevan, some Armenian decision-makers may believe that Obamas victory means Armenia can push for even greater concessions from Turkey. That would be a gross miscalculation. For starters, if Obama is serious about tackling Afghanistan and pulling out of Iraq, then the United States will need Turkey more than ever before. Incirlik will probably be one of the main exit points for U.S. soldiers being rotated out of Iraq. Turkey has some 1,500 troops in Afghanistan; more could be tapped, though the Turks rule out any combat role. Indeed, many predict that once in office Obama will be more of a pragmatist than a liberal.

The new U.S. administration is therefore unlikely to make the genocide resolution a priority. Secondly, Turkey will be holding municipal elections in March. The nearer the polls get the less likely it is that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkeys increasingly hawkish prime minister, and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will risk opposition calls of treason by mending fences with Armenia. That is why Obamas transition team should coax Armenia into accepting Turkeys offer before its too late. At the same time, it should remind Turkey that the security card has its limits; the longer Turkey and Armenia remain at odds, the more likely it is that the genocide resolution will pass, and with it an opportunity to curb Russian influence and to bring calm and prosperity to the Caucasus.

[HH] The Kurdish conundrum

One of the biggest reasons why Turks continue to dislike America (not Americans) in large numbers is because they believe that the United States is surreptitiously working to establish an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq that will eventually comprise fat chunks of southeastern Turkey. The "proof," their argument runs, lies in the refusal by the United States to take military action against some 5,000 rebels of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) based in northern Iraq. The suspicions persist even though the United States has been providing the Turkish army with real time intelligence on the PKK since November 2007, and has been allowing Turkish fighter jets to strike PKK bases across the border.

It hasnt helped that the PKK is mounting increasingly audacious attacks, killing an ever-growing number of Turkish soldiers each time. It would help for the new administration to call very publicly on the Iraqi Kurds to do more to prevent the PKK from moving so freely in areas under their control. At the same time, the notion that withdrawal from Iraq means abandoning the Iraqi Kurds should be firmly dispelled. Ankaras recent overtures to the president of the Kurdish regional government, Massoud Barzani, should be encouraged, as should his efforts to peacefully disarm the PKK. Yet, Americas intentions will remain in question so long as it sits on the fence on a purportedly new separatist Kurdish group, the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or Pejak, that is fighting for Kurdish autonomy inside Iran. It is an open secret that Pejak and the PKK are one and the same. Yet the U.S. Department of State does not label Pejak a terrorist group as it does the PKK.

Not surprisingly, Iran (a country that in the past used to arm and shelter the PKK in an effort to undermine Turkey) is now helping Turkey hunt them down. The Obama administration would gain much sympathy in Turkey if it were to call Pejak by its real name terrorists and rouse the mettle to condemn their mischief in Iran. Talk of U.S. double standards would subside, Turkish-Iranian military cooperation would be nipped in the bud, and Iran would have one less reason to believe the United States is committed to overthrowing its regime

[HH] Human Rights

The conventional wisdom in Ankara has long held that the Republicans are better for Turkey. They best appreciate Turkeys strategic value and are less bothered about its patchy human rights record than the Democrats. Obama should do nothing to disabuse Turkey of this notion. Torture and other violations are on the rise. The government seems to have lost all interest in reforms tailored to win EU membership. And despite earlier promises to do more for the countrys estimated 14 million ethnic Kurds, Prime Minister Erdogan has done little to improve their lot, and seems increasingly inclined to take his cue from the generals. Kurds continue to be punished for using their mother tongue and giving their children Kurdish names. Long-promised economic development schemes have failed to materialize. All of this has provided the PKK with a steady stream of recruits. For many Kurds, Obamas victory offered hope that they too might break free from second-class status some day. Unsurprisingly, the villagers who slaughtered sheep to celebrate his success were Kurds.

The election of Barack Obama has provoked hope and excitement across the world and the overwhelming majority of Turks share those feelings. The opportunity to turn a fresh page in Turkish-American relations has never been better. The onus is on leaders in Turkey and the United States to rise above their parochial interests and ensure that this historic moment is seized.

(Amberin Zaman is the Turkey correspondent of The Economist and writes a weekly column for the daily Taraf. This analysis was published by the German Marshall Fund of the United States for its series "On Turkey" on Nov.13, 2008.)

Declaration Urging Turkey To Acknowledge Genocides It Committed Signed In Brussels 20.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On 13 November 2008, Association of the Democrat Armenians of Belgium, Association of the Assyrians of Belgium, Kurdish Institute of Brussels, European Armenian Federation and Info-Türk Foundation issued a joint declaration calling on the Turkish government to respect the rights of national minorities and acknowledge the genocides it committed, the European Armenian Federation told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The declaration says:

“For three millenniums, Anatolia has been the homeland or has passed through it countless people. It is a land where coexisted and coexist today Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Zazas, as well as a number of other minorities such as Lazes, Circassians, Pomaks, Yörüks, and others. Certain of these people and the majority have adopted the Apostolic Christianity, others have converted to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, some became Nestorians or Chaldeans; while others turned Sunni Muslims, Shiites or Alevi Muslims; and still others remained Yezidis or Mazdeists or kept their shamanic beliefs.

This coexistence naturally led to disputes – sometime very violent – but it led also and above all to a cultural closeness and to an ethnic intermingling which challenge all ideologies that are based on racial or linguistic purity: today, the overwhelming majority of Turkey’s inhabitants are of mixed origins However, the Ottoman Empire and then after it the Kemalist republic have artificially reshaped the land’s multi-ethnic identity by reducing the dominated people into slavery, by denying their identity, and then by promoting the doctrine of the Turkish “race” as the “essential being”. This fascist like thinking has led the authorities perpetrate abominable mass murders such as:

- The Armenian and Assyro-Chaldean Genocide (1915-1916)
- The Koçkiri massacre of Kurds, Alevis and Kizilbachs (1919-1921)
- The brutal expulsion of Greeks (1923-1924)
- Massacres of Kurds and Assyrians after the revolt of Sheikh Said (1925-1928)
- The Dersim Massacre of Kurds, Alevis and Kizilbachs (1935-1938)
- The iniquitous laws and the deportations of Armenians, Jews and Greeks (1942)
- Pogroms of Istanbul and Izmir against Greeks, Armenians and Jews (1955)
- War against Kurds (since 1984)

It has to be recalled, that since its creation, the Kemalist republic targets and represses all political opponents to the regime, whatever their ethnic origin, including ethnic Turkish democrats.

Lastly, the ultranationalist and genocide denial policies of Ankara utilize the Turkish immigrants in the European countries and with the complicity of certain local European political leaders incite them to hatred towards the Armenian, Assyrian and Kurdish communities.

Facing this ideology to hate and its bloody consequences, the united people of Anatolia:

- Rebuke the idea of any racial of religious supremacy and reaffirm their indefectible attachment to the individual fundamental rights of all the Turkish citizens as well as to the collective rights of the people living in this State;

- Reject the fiction of a monolithic Turkey as extolled by the Turkish State and, on the contrary, call upon the State to pride on the ethnic wealth and diversity of the Anatolian people;

- Ask again the Turkish State to rehabilitate itself in rehabilitating the victims of its past exactions, in committing itself on the path of the political recognition of these exactions and in giving an end to their denial or glorification;

- Proclaim their conviction that the incapacity of Turkey to progress on the path of democracy, as well as the state of economical and social backwardness of its eastern provinces are closely linked to the war conducted by this State towards its own citizens;

- Reaffirm their commitment to keep on the political struggle so that Turkey recognize, denounce and disassociate from its past and present crimes; to transform it into a democratic State which would respect its minorities as its various political forces, united in their diversity.”

The declaration was adopted upon the outcomes of the European Parliament ’s conference on the massacres of Armenians in Dersim (Turkey, 1937-1938). Despite Turkey’s pressure, this conference was organized on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of these events and brought together over 200 representatives from European states.

Turkish Defense Minister Unwittingly Confesses Turkey's Guilt In The Armenian Genocide, By Appo Jabarian
http://www.keghart.com/op148.htm ,November 2008

Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul made a scandalous public statement on Armenians and Greeks in Brussels on November 10. He said: "If Greeks continued to live in the Aegean and Armenians continued to live in many places in Turkey, I wonder whether there would be today's nation-state. ...

I don't know how to tell you about the importance of this exchange. But if you look at the old balances, the importance of this would very clearly arise."

Armenians and Greeks worldwide should thank the Turkish Defense Minister for unwittingly confessing Turkey's guilt in the Armenian Genocide and the Genocide of the Constantinople, Pontus, and Smyrna Greeks.

Turkey's genocidal campaigns of 1915-23 against the Armenians in Turkish-occupied Western Armenia and Cilicia, has made Armenians in the Diaspora and Eastern Armenia more vigilant.

Recently the head of the Armenian National Security Service Lieutenant General Gorik Hakobian told Jane's Intelligence Digest: "We are concerned with the possibility of a recurrence of the Armenian genocide because of the intensive militarization of Azerbaijan and the recurring official statements of our neighbours concerning their plans to regain Nagorno-Karabakh by military fo rce, which legitimately gained self-determination. The very recent attempt at militarily opposing the self-determination of the people of South Ossetia proves that there are no alternatives but peaceful and political ways to resolve conflicts in the South Caucasus. And Azerbaijan's threats to start a new war over Karabakh are not helpful in this regard."

In the light of this most disturbing statement by the Turkish Defense Minister, and the continuing Azeri intentions to militarily "regain control" over Artsakh, one may ask, what is the remedy of the Turkish-Azeri appetite for another genocide against the Armenians?

The implementation of the right to Self-Determination in Artsakh; and the expanding of the role of the Armenians everywhere for the dual purpose of 1) defending what is already in existence - Armenian and Artsakh, and 2) what should be accomplished in terms of the re-establishment of the Western Armenian homeland.

At the cost of repeating what many activists previously said, we should move beyond the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. We should actively endeavor for 1) The restoration of the Western Armenian homeland and 2) The compensation by Turkey for the loss of real and personal properties in Western Armenia and Cilicia.

Some members of the community may be skeptical. To those skeptics' attention, I would like to bring the historic moment, when the Soviet Union=2 0collapsed and the Artsakh Liberation War broke out. And at the cost of heavy human and material losses, Armenians were able to liberate the Armenian Territories of Artsakh, which were forcibly carved out of the 1921 Soviet Armenia during Soviet dictator Stalin's rule. The process of "Stalinization" of the Armenian territories was remedied by the reversal of that process by way of de-Stalinization.

At the height of the Soviet power from 1921 through 1991, how many of us actually visualized the arrival of the day when the Soviet system would collapse and Artsakh would be liberated?

Now, at the height of Turkish power how many of us can actually visualize Turkey's demise and further dismemberment?

Those of us who are very much aware of the impending political implosion of Turkey have solid grounds for doing so.

Today's Turkey is the last vestige of the Turkish Ottoman Empire which underwent an incomplete disintegration process after World War I. The process of the Ottoman Empire's disintegration was artificially halted by the neo-cons of that period.

Now, decades later, the incomplete process of disintegration is heating up again. No matter what else Turkish officialdom says or does, the inevitable is knocking on the door of the contemporary "Sublime Port" in Ankara.

New Leader Of The German Greens - An Ethnic Turk AZG Armenian Daily, 19/11/2008

The Green Party, one of the influential parties of Germany, has elected Cem Ozdemir, an ethnic Turk, as a co-leader of the party.

It is the first time in the history of the country that the leader of a German party is of Turkish origin, mentioned "International Herald Tribune" newspaper underlining that it's a turning point not only for the party but also for the whole Germany.

"I want to live in a society where people have equal opportunities independent of their origin", Ozdemir announced at the summit of the Greens. He got 49,2 percent of the votes and joined the reelected co-leader Claudia Roth. .

Cem Ozdemir was born in 1965, in Swabia. He graduated from the Reitling Lutheran College, sociologist by profession. In 1994 he became the first ethnic Turk to win a seat in the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament. In 2004 he won a seat in the European Parliament in Brussels. There, he decried human rights abuses in Turkey, while simultaneously advocating the country's bid to join the European Union. "I want Turkey to move forward to EU membership. But that doesn't make me blind," Ozdemir says.

The Green Party always speaks in favor of Turkish integration into the European Union.

Remarks By Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan At A National Press Club Newsmaker Briefing, Federal News Service, November 14, 2008
MR. HICKMAN: Would you comment, please, on the latest developments in another of your neighbors, Georgia? Is Turkey planning to promote and play a role in a negotiation process?

PRIME MIN. ERDOGAN: Territorial integrity of Turkey is of great importance for us. And we are a country defending the territorial integrity of Georgia. And in the recent crisis, you are familiar with the fact that we have been to Moscow. And we had met with Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Lavrov, along with my foreign minister.

We had various talks. And at the end of these talks, we had declared a project, which is the platform for solidarity and cooperation in the Caucasus.

And this platform was going to be established upon the principles of geography of the region.

Russian Federation, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia were going to be -- consisted within the structure. And this project is going to focus on the needs of the region, whether it be the energy investments, whether it be other needs. And this platform is going to function within the framework of OSCE having the opportunity to move towards the same goals on common grounds and with the capability of coming up with solutions to certain problems that may arise in the region. This is how we had explained the project to be.

And Russia said yes to such a project. And Georgia said yes to such a project. And Azerbaijan said yes to this project as well. And in the meanwhile, our foreign ministers started discussing the content of this platform.

And there was a national football game organized between Armenia and Turkey. And Mr. Sarkissian, President Sarkissian invited the Turkish president to Armenia. And President Gul of the Republic of Turkey has been to Armenia where we had stated this offer to Sarkissian and Sarkissian said yes to this project. And this process is still under way.

And for the past 17 years, the United States of America, France and Russia have been continuing the Minsk Process. But no results had yielded until so far. But with the introduction of this new process, Azerbaijan and Armenia gathered together in Moscow. There were certain talks. I believe there are certain positive signals coming along and we are paying our efforts in order to sustain this positive process. And I believe the United States of America will do everything within its capability to contribute to this process.

And for the sake of the region, for the peace of the region, if problems shall be solved, I believe it will have a direct impact on the solution of the questions between Turkey and Armenia. And if problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia shall be solved, it will have a direct impact on Turkey and Armenia relations. . . .

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Comments On "Close Cooperation" With US, Anatolia News Agency, Nov 13 2008, Turkey
NEW YORK (A.A) -Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey expected the new US administration to take into consideration Turkey's sensitiveness on matters which have vital importance.

Erdogan delivered a speech entitled "Turkey's role in giving a shape to future" at Columbia University.

Referring to the presidential election in the United States, Erdogan said, "I sincerely congratulate Barack Obama and his team who won the elections. Turkey and the United States, being two allies that have very strong relations, support each other for more than half a century. Close cooperation between the two parties contribute to the restoration of peace, security and prosperity in a region extending from the Caucasus to Central Asia and from the Middle East to the Balkans. Preservation of our strategic partnership is not only important for the national interests of our countries but for global peace and stability as well."

"Turkey and the United States experienced a period regarding terrorist attacks stemming from north of Iraq in 2007 and Armenian allegations regarding 1915 incidents. However, this period could be overcome through common political will and endeavours. I am grateful for the support given to Turkey in this respect. Further improvement of relations progressing in the basis of strategic partners is very important for Turkey," Erdogan said.

"In addition to relations on politics and security, tangible steps should be taken in diversifying economic, commercial, social and cultural relations," Erdogan said.

"Turkey is resolved to maintain multilateral and close cooperation with the new US administration led by Mr Obama. Naturally, we particularly expect the new US administration to take into consideration Turkey's sensitives on matters which have vital importance. This is also important not only for the bilateral relations but also for peace and security. It is important that Mr Obama said US support to efforts to deal with terrorism would continue. We believe that cooperation and spirit of solidarity between Turkey and the United States would continue to be a landmark of strategic relations," Turkey.

Media Lying Over Churchill's Crimes , By Gideon Polya, MWC News, http://mwcnews.net, Nov 19 2008, Canada
British-Indian Holocaust
Churchill is our hero because of his leadership in World War 2, but his immense crimes, notably the WW2 Bengali Holocaust, the 1943-1945 Bengal Famine in which Churchill murdered 6-7 million Indians, have been deleted from history by extraordinary Anglo-American and Zionist Holocaust Denial.

In addition to his participation in British colonial war crimes in South Africa, the Sudan, Afghanistan and India as a soldier "just obeying orders", Churchill was deeply complicit as an Establishment politician, Minister and Leader in the political failures leading to World War 1; the disastrous WW2 Dardanelles campaign; the 1920s bombing of Iraqis and Kurds; political failure leading to World War 2; active promotion of Japanese entry into World War 2, pre-knowledge of the indefensibility of Singapore; pre-knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; opposition to Indian Independence from the crippling obscenity of the British Raj; the 1943-1945 Bengal Famine; the anti-Arab anti-Semitic war-time decision to partition Palestine in favour of racist Zionist colonizers; and promotion of Hindu-Muslim antipathy with resultant Partition carnage and the present Pakistan-India nuclear standoff.

These core crimes will be outlined and documented below (for a very detailed and referenced analysis of Churchill's crimes see the revised and updated 2008 version of my 1998 book "Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability" (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ).

However Churchill's crimes through evil or incompetent involvement in these holocausts have been largely white-washed out of history by a huge body of Anglo-American, Zionist and Australian historians, journalists and politicians. Perhaps the most telling evidence for this entrenched UK, US and Zionist holocaust denial comes from a passage in Tariq Ali's recent book "Street Fighting". An Autobiography of the Sixties" (Verso, London, 2005).

In pages 96-98 of this "Street Fighting" book Tariq Ali describes an Oxford Union debate on a Condolence Motion occasioned by the death of Winston Churchill in 1966 and the response by a brilliant anti-Establishment, anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist socialist Richard Kirkwood who listed the following of Churchill's crimes in opposing the Motion [my added dates in square brackets]: "It was Churchill who had been the most vociferous proponent of the armed intervention against the Russian Revolution of 1917; it was he who had justified the use of troops against the Welsh miners of Tonypandy [1910]; led the siege of Sidney Street in East London against a couple of anarchists [1911]; played the provocateur during the General Strike of 1926; backed the Greek far-right against the resistance in 1944; and opposed the Independence of India. It was for his consistent and long record of vindictiveness and hostility towards workers throughout the world that he was being mourned. For these reasons alone, shouted Kirkwood above the growing din, he, for one, would not stand and observe even a second's silence ... He sat down to a chorus of boos, with some of his opponents literally frothing at the mouth. Kirkwood, however, was unmoved. As over 400 people stood up to observe the formalities, about twenty-five of us remained seated and were counted. Kirkwood was delighted. After all, he had separated the Bolsheviks from the Mensheviks"

The extraordinary thing is that, due to British, American and Zionist holocaust denial, even a highly educated, anti-racist, anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist in 1966 was apparently utterly UNAWARE of the immensity of Winston Churchill's crimes, of which arguably the most serious was the deliberate, sustained, remorseless starving to death of 6-7 million Indians in the 1943-1945 Bengali Holocaust -an atrocity larger in magnitude than the World War 2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation).

I have provided below a catalogue in chronological order of Churchill's crimes that are certainly on a par with those of arch-fiend Adolph Hitler in terms of avoidable deaths. Key avoidable death statistics associated with these British Imperial crimes are given in parenthesis (the default references are my books "Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History" and "Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950" (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya ). [One is compelled at this point to ask the questions, what if Churchill, like many of the British Establishment, had been anti-Jewish anti-Semitic as well as anti-Arab ant-Semitic and what if Adolph Hitler had been more "democratic" and played cricket?]

1. Involvement as a soldier in British imperial war crimes in India [1896-1899; compelled on advice to join his regiment in India after charges of homosexual abuse; avoidable deaths in British India 1757-1947 1.5 billion; avoidable deaths in the 1895-1897 famine about 1 million; 1899-1900 Indian Famine, 6-9 million deaths]; a stint in Sudan at the Battle of Obdurman [1989; horrendous British atrocities]; a stint in South Africa as a war correspondent and thence as a soldier [1899; Boer (Afrikaaner) Genocide (1899-1902): 28,000 Afrikaaner women and children died in British concentration camps; see: "Australia's secret genocide history" on MWC News: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/22128/42/ ].

2. Churchill was one of the more bellicose members of the British Cabinet prior to the outbreak of World War 1 [World War I Allied military and civilian dead totalled 5.7 million and 3.7 million, respectively, and the German-allied (Central Powers) military and civilian deaths totalled 4.0 million and 5.2 million, respectively; the troop movement-exacerbated Spanish Flu Epidemic killed 20-100 million people world wide: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/26587/42/ ].

3. Churchill was responsible for the disastrous 1915 WW1 Dardanelles Campaign in Turkey [that killed 0.2 million Allied and Turkish soldiers and helped to precipitate the 1915-1923 Turkish Armenian Genocide that killed up to 1.5 million Armenians - a genocide that the holocaust-denying Turks, racist Zionists of Apartheid Israel and US Congressmen refuse to acknowledge as such ].

4. Churchill vigorously promoted the unsuccessful UK and US invasion of Russia in response to the Russian Revolution [1917-1919; millions died in the Russian Civil War and the subsequent the Russian Famine; 7 million died in the circa 1930 Ukrainian Famine; and perhaps up to 20 million died overall in Stalinist atrocities i.e. a death toll comparable to that in World War 2].

5. Churchill was involved in the suppression of the Arab revolt in Iraq (invaded by Britain in 1914) and bombing of Kurdish villages [violent British occupation of Iraq involving everything from poison gas (1920s) to mass murder of children (today) occurred on and off in the period 1914 to the present; 1990-2008 Iraqi excess deaths 4 million; under-5 infant deaths 1.8 million; refugees currently 6 million].

6. Churchill was actively involved in the genocidal suppression of India and vehemently opposed Indian self-determination [1757-1947 excess deaths, 1.5 billion; Victorian era excess deaths, 1837-1901 0.5 billion; 1901-1947 excess deaths 0.4 billion; avoidable deaths in the 1895-1897 famine about 1 million; 1899-1900 Indian Famine, 6-9 million deaths; 1943-1945 Bengali Holocaust deaths 6-7 million].

7. Churchill was again one of the more bellicose members of the British Parliament in the 1930s but is generally positively credited with warning the world about the rise of German Nazism [ World War 2 military deaths 25 million and civilian deaths about 67 million].

8. Churchill actively sought the entry of Japan into World War 2 in order to involve the US and hence ensure victory [35 million Chinese avoidable deaths, 1937-1945; 6-7 million Indians perished in Churchill's deliberate scorched earth policy in Bengal 1943-1945; millions more died in the WW2 Eastern Theatre; see Rusbridger, J. and Nave, E. (1991), Betrayal at Pearl Harbor. How Churchill Lured Roosevelt into World War II (Summit, New York)].

9. Churchill knew well in advance that Singapore was indefensible [8,000-15,000 killed, 130,000 captured in the 1941 Malaya campaign; 14,000 Australian, 16,000 British and 32,000 Indian troops surrendered in Singapore; see Rusbridger, J. and Nave, E. (1991), Betrayal at Pearl Harbor. How Churchill Lured Roosevelt into World War II (Summit, New York)].

10. Churchill did not warn the Americans about the impending Pearl Harbor attack [the US authorities knew too but still did not warn their military personnel in Hawaii; see Rusbridger, J. and Nave, E. (1991), Betrayal at Pearl Harbor. How Churchill Lured Roosevelt into World War II (Summit, New York)].

11. Churchill hated Muslims, Arabs and Indians and remorselessly refused food to 6-7 million starving Indians, rejected Viceroy Wavell's pleas and blocked Canadian attempts at relief [6-7 million Indian deaths - the British Bengali Holocaust death toll being numerically greater than the 5-6 million dead in the Nazi German Jewish Holocaust; see Moon, P. (1973) (editor), Wavell. The Viceroy's Journal (Oxford University Press, London) ].

12. Churchill rejected top scientific advice and supported bombing of German cities instead of protecting Atlantic convoys [0.16 million allied airmen killed; 0.6 million German civilians killed; Battle of the Atlantic almost lost; huge impact on famine in the Indian Ocean region due to halving of Allied shipping in 1943; see Snow, C.P. (1961), Science and Government (The New English Library, London); Behrens, C.B.A. (1955), Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War (Longman's, Green, London, 1955); Taylor, A.J.P. (1975), The Second World War. An Illustrated History (Hamish Hamilton, London) ].

13. Churchill acknowledged the crucial importance of maintaining Hindu-Muslim antipathy to preserve British rule [1 million dead and 18 million Muslim and Hindu refugees associated with India-Pakistan Partition in 1947].

14. Churchill over-rode strong British military objections in 1944 to decide on Partition of Palestine [in 1948 Jews were 1/3 of the population; there are now over 7 million Palestinian refugees; post-1967 Occupied Palestinian excess deaths 0.3 million, post-1967 under-5 infant deaths 0.2 million; excess deaths in countries partially or completely occupied by Apartheid Israel now total about 24 million; 4 million Occupied Palestinians still illegally and abusively imprisoned by racist Zionist goons in their own country].

15. British, American, Zionist and Australian adoption of Churchill's holocaust denying legacy, specifically his famous "history is written by the victors", has ensured continuance of Anglo-American and Zionist atrocities involving invasion, occupation, devastation and genocide [in relation to Occupiers (in parenthesis) 1950-2005 excess deaths in post-1945 occupied countries total 36 million (Belgium) 142 million (France), 24 million (Apartheid Israel), 0.7 million (Apartheid South Africa), 23 million (Portugal), 37 million (Russia), 9 million (Spain), 727 million (the UK) and 82 million (the US); 25 million Indigenous excess deaths in post-1950 US Asian Wars; 9-11 million excess deaths associated with 1990-2008 Bush Wars; post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq 2 million, refugees 6 million; post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Afghanistan 4-6 million, refugees 4 million).

Yet, to list just s few examples of UK-US holocaust ignoring, there is absolutely NO mention of the 1943-1945 Bengali Holocaust in the biography of Winston Churchill by pro-Zionist Professor Sir Martin Gilbert (Gilbert, M. (1991), Churchill. A Life (Heinemann, London); the recent histories by leading conservative Australian historian Professor Geoffrey Blainey (Blainey, G. (2000), A Short History of the World (Viking, Melbourne), Blainey, G. (2004), A Very Short History of the World (Viking, Melbourne), Blainey, G. (2005), A Short History of the 20th Century (Penguin, Melbourne); the recent history of Britain by pro-Zionist Professor Simon Schama (Schama, S. (2002), A History of Britain (BBC, London)); or even in an important book on Denial entitled "Denial. History betrayed" by Australian historian Professor Tony Taylor (Monash University, Melbourne; see my review ""Denial" book ignores UK and US genocide crimes": http://mwcnews.net/content/view/26450/26/ ).

Another way of gauging this extraordinary English language holocaust ignoring and the ignoring of the immense crimes of Winston Churchill is to do a Yahoo Search for "Hitler's crimes" (25,000 results) and for "Churchill's crimes" (54 results, all but a mere several of these referring NOT to Winston Churchill but to horribly persecuted American Indian Professor Ward Churchill's "Crimes Against Humanity").

Perhaps, to be fair, we should leave the penultimate words to Winston Churchill himself. Here is a succession of Winston Churchill quotes that say it all.

"In the standard of life they have nothing to spare. The slightest fall from the present standard of life in India means slow starvation, and the actual squeezing out of life, not only of millions but of scores of millions of people, who have come into the world at your invitation and under the shield and protection of British power."

(Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons about Indians (1935); 1. Hansard of the House of Commons, Winston Churchill speech, Hansard Vol. 302, cols. 1920-21, 1935; quoted by Jog (1944), p195 in Jog, N.G. (1944), Churchill's Blind-Spot: India (New Book Company, Bombay).).

"I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion." (Winston Churchill to Leo Amery, Secretary of State for India (1942); 4. Diary of Amery (Secretary for India), September 9, 1942; quoted by Ziegler (1988), pp 351-352 in Ziegler, P. (1988), Mountbatten. The Official Biography (Collins, London); see also
Moon, P. (1973) (editor), Wavell. The Viceroy's Journal (Oxford University Press, London).).

"No great portion of the world population was so effectively protected from the horrors and perils of the World War as were the peoples of Hindustan. They were carried through the struggle on the shoulders of our small Island." (Churchill (1954), vol. 4, p181 in Churchill, W.S. (1954), The Second World War. Volumes I-VI (Cassell, London) -a book in which he makes NO mention of the 6-7 million Indians he murdered in 1943-1945; his statement is a gross falsehood in view of 2.4 million Indians serving in the Allied forces in WW2 and 6-7 million Indian deaths in the 1943-1935 Bengali Holocaust).

"{Churchill} cynically telling the Cabinet in February 1940 that he "regarded the Hindu-Muslim feud as the bulwark of British rule in India"" (p381, Irving, D. (1987), Churchill's War, Volume I, The Struggle for Power (Veritas, Bullsbrook, WA) ) - from which we glean (p538) "Getting America into the war remained Churchill's highest priority throughout 1941", a position consonant with the position of the 1941 UK Ambassador to Japan: "I had, moreover, given it as my considered opinion in October 1941 that Japan's former desire to avoid war with the United States at almost any cost could no longer be counted upon as a factor in the situation should Japan feel herself to be finally driven into a corner ... there can be no doubt that the absence of any British moderating influence, whether at Washington or Tokyo, increased the chances of that breakdown which eventually occurred" (Sir R. Craigie, British Ambassador to Japan in 1941, in his final report to Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden (1943); Report of Sir R. Craigie (former British Ambassador to Japan) to Mr. Eden (British Foreign Secretary) in 1943, reproduced in Rusbridger & Nave (1991), Appendix I; Rusbridger, J. and Nave, E. (1991), Betrayal at Pearl Harbor. How Churchill Lured Roosevelt into World War II (Summit, New York)).

"History is written by the victor", an aphorism often attributed to Winston Churchill.

History ignored yields history repeated. This extraordinary holocaust commission, holocaust denial and holocaust ignoring is an object lesson of this aphorism in a 21st century in which the British Imperialism of past centuries has been transmuted into an equally violent and destructive Anglo-American imperialism (excess deaths in the 1990-2008 Bush wars now total 9-11 million). According to the prestigious American Association for the Advancement for Science (AAAS) the world is facing acutely serious nuclear, greenhouse and poverty threats - 25,000 nuclear weapons (including the 15,000 of the US and the 200 of nuclear terrorist, war criminal, racist Apartheid Israel); there is a Climate Emergency in which the current 387 ppm atmospheric CO2 is already associated with huge Arctic ice melting, mass species extinctions and coral reef death and top scientists are urging a reduction to no more than 350 ppm; and 16 million people already die avoidably each year from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease. Scientific risk management demands zero tolerance for lying.

We can no longer tolerate humanity-threatening lying - there must be general zero tolerance for lying, whether lying by omission or lying by commission. We must resolutely oppose and expose racist, warmongering, genocidal, UK, Zionist and US imperialist lying, holocaust commission and holocaust denial - enough is enough, vastly too many people have died. Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity - please inform everyone you know.

Dr Gideon Polya, MWC News Chief political editor, published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality ---

Bill Criminalizing Armenian Genocide Denial Blocked In French Senate, PanARMENIAN.Net, 18.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide has been blocked in the French Senate, head of Movement for France (MPF) Philippe de Villiers told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

He voiced hope that hearing on the bill will be held next year. "We are trying to lobby the bill but the pressure is too strong," Mr. de Villiers said.

The bill penalizing the Armenian Genocide denial was passed by the lower house of the French National Assembly in October 2006.

Korhan Yurtsever: "Armenians Will Lose Sleep Over The Film I Will Make About Khojali Tragedy", Azeri Press Agency, Nov 18 2008

Baku. Kamala Guliyeva-APA. Turkish producer and script writer, Director of the Troy Film Producing Center Korhan Yurstever will make 120-minute film about the Khojali tragedy. Yurstever told APA exclusively that he produced a film dedicated to the Armenian issue in Turkey recently and while working on the scenario of that film he researched the genocide acts committed by Armenians in Azerbaijan. "Khojali Genocide shocked me completely. It is inhumanity to lance the mother's womb and removed baby. I will describe Khojali tragedy in details in the film. It is necessary for the memory of the victims of genocide. Armenians will lose sleep over the film I will make about Khojali tragedy. It is shameful that we didn't make or didn't support producing such film so far".

Yurtsever said he collected many materials about Khojali tragedy rather than researcher. He is working on the film's script for two months already and will complete it within two months. A part of actors will be invited from Turkey. Yurtsever said main roles would be played by the Azerbaijani actors. The most part of the film will be shot in Azerbaijan and some scenes will be made in Turkey.

He said no government organizations showed the interest so far. "My company is a producer of the film. We need in moral support of Azerbaijani government. We have no financial problems. I know there are people who want to support us. One of the oil businessmen told me yesterday that he is ready to fund production of the film".

Obama Thanks Turkish President
WASHINGTON - Turkish President Abdullah Gül has received a telephone call from U.S. President-elect Barack Obama thanking him for his message of congratulations following Obama’s electoral victory, Obama’s office reported.

"President-elect Barack Obama today returned phone calls to three world leaders and expressed his appreciation for their congratulations on his election," said an announcement Monday on Obama's transition web site "change.gov."

In addition to Gul, Obama talked with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, it said. Obama said he believed Turkey had the right to fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, violence within the framework of its right of self-defense, the office of the Turkish president said yesterday. Moreover Obama also emphasized the importance of the special relations between the two allies, Turkey and the U.S.

A little late
Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Obama shortly after the U.S. presidential election Nov. 4, but it took some time for Obama to return the phone call to Gül. Obama last week called the leaders of more than 15 nations, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The U.S. president-elect's belated move to call the Turkish leader has caused "some bitterness" on the Turkish side, sources said.

Premature To Speak Of Armenian Genocide Resolution Passage In U.S. Congress 18.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ New 111 th U.S. Congress will hold its pioneer session on January 3. It’s premature to speak about passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution, Arpi Vartanian, Armenian Assembly of America regional director for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

“The resolutions that were not passed by the 110 th Congress should be introduced in the new convocation’s agenda. The Assembly hopes that a new resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide will be brought to the House floor by the end of 2009,” she said.

Armenian Americans Awaiting Secretary Of State Appointment 18.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenian Americans are awaiting appointment of the Secretary of State, who will determine the U.S. foreign policy, a source in the Armenian diaspora in Washington told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

“If Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State, she will do everything her husband says,” the source said.

“Obama seemed more sincere when pledging to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian community believed him. We should not forget that Mrs. Clinton paid a visit to Turkey as a presidential candidate and there were rumors that some Turkish lobbying organizations sponsored her election campaign,” it said.

As reported by The Guardian, Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration.

Clinton would be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice. Since being elected senator for New York, she has specialized in foreign affairs and defense. Although she supported the war in Iraq, she and Obama basically agree on a withdrawal of American troops.

Former US president Bill Clinton said that his wife Hillary will be a "great secretary of state."

Italian Monument Of Armenian Allegations, Hurriyet, Nov 17 2008, Turkey

ROME - A monument has been erected in the Italian city of Udine in support of the alleged genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

The opening was attended by Friuli Venice Giulia Regional administration President Edouard Ballaman and Armenia's Culture Minister Hasmil Poshosyan.

Udine is the second city after Paris to recognize the killing of Armenians as genocide.

Armenian Fund Of France Already Collected Over Million Euros To Benefit Of Republic Of Armenia And Nkr, De Facto, Nov 17, 2008

YEREVAN, 17.11.08. DE FACTO. During four days, the Armenian Fund of France mobilized 600 voluntary for the collection of the European donations (France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands) to the benefit of Armenia and Karabakh under directive of Bedros Terzian, its president.

To date the Fund Armenian of France gathered the sum of 1,178,000 euros, including 1,074,000 only by France, an independent French journalist Jean Eckian told DE FACTO. That is to say an increase of 15,200 euros compared to year 2007, and in spite of the worldwide crisis.

In thanks of important work provided by Armenian Funds of France, Michel Tancrez, representing the Karabakh's government and Armenian Fund at Stepanakert, handed to Pierre Terzian the gold medal of the 20th birthday of the Liberation movement of Karabakh.

Commentary, Obama's Election Forces Turkey To Rethink Its Demands From Armenia, By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Turkey has blockaded Armenia for the last 15 years with the vain hope that this would force Armenian leaders to make concessions to Ankara on several fronts: Abandon the pursuit of genocide recognition, acknowledge Turkey's territorial integrity, and accept Azerbaijan's jurisdiction over Artsakh (Karabagh). In return, Turkey offered to lift the blockade and establish diplomatic relations with Armenia.

Armenia steadfastly rejected these unacceptable Turkish demands, despite the economic hardships its people endured as a result of the joint blockades imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Frustrated with the growing number of countries acknowledging the Armenian Genocide in recent years, the Turkish government embarked on a new scheme to try and split Armenia from the Diaspora, hoping to undermine their joint efforts for the international acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.

In recent months, because of the convergence of several factors -- internal turmoil in Armenia following the presidential elections and increasing pressure on Yerevan by Western countries and Russia to reconcile with Turkey --Armenia's newly elected President offered to accept the Turkish proposal to establish a joint historical commission on the Genocide, but only after Turkey would lift its blockade and establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan.

Shortly after Pres. Serzh Sargsyan's declaration, the Russian-Georgian war briefly disrupted the transport of goods between Black Sea ports and Armenia, making the Armenian government more eager to seek opening of the Turkish border, which would serve as an alternate supply route. Moreover, Armenia expressed an interest in joining the "Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform," which was proposed by Pres. Abdullah Gul ostensibly to create a closer relationship between Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. Pres. Gul's initiative would indirectly help Armenia to counter Azerbaijan's attempts to isolate and exclude Yerevan from all regional projects.

Turkey enthusiastically welcomed Armenia's cooperative gestures. As a result, Pres. Gul accepted Pres. Sargsyan's invitation to come to Yerevan - the first such visit by a Turkish leader - to watch a soccer match between the national teams of the two countries. The visit brought worldwide accolades to the Turkish president and raised Turkey's international stature at a time when the country was desperately seeking the votes of U.N. members to win a coveted Security Council seat.

Soon however, the Turkish scheme hit a series of snags. Armenia and Turkey could not agree on the details -- subject matter, composition, and timing -- of the proposed joint historical commission. Turkey, on the other hand, was in a rush to set up the commission before the start of Barack Obama's presidency on January 20, 2009, in order to discourage the incoming U.S. administration from considering the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.

Meanwhile, Armenian officials were reluctant to take action on the proposed commission, until Turkey opened the border first and established diplomatic relations with Armenia. The Turkish government apparently underestimated the resolve of Armenia's leaders to stick by these two preconditions and misjudged their determination to withstand Western pressures on this issue.

After these misjudgments, the Turks made matters worse by insisting that Armenia agree to return to Azerbaijan a portion of the territories bordering Artsakh, before Ankara would agree to lift the blockade. This unacceptable condition threw out of the window any possibility of rapprochement between the two countries in the immediate future.

Complicating matters further, two new incidents last week proved that Turkish attempts to drive a wedge between Armenia and the Diaspora on the genocide issue had failed. Pres. Sargsyan, in an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, agreed with Diaspora leaders that the joint historical commission was "absolutely unnecessary." He stated: "We do not think that anything can be achieved by it. We want to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries, open the borders without any preconditions, and afterwards, through an intergovernmental process, we can discuss all issues pertaining to the neighboring countries. We do not consider the recognition of the Genocide by Turkey as a precondition to establishing relations. We desire the latter, but not at any cost. In the past, European countries too did not establish historical commissions in order to develop normal relations. Such an initiative could also mean an attempt to mislead the international public, especially when it is a multi-year process."

In another setback, the Turkish newspaper Zaman alleged that Armenia's Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian had questioned the value of more countries recognizing the Armenian Genocide, prompting him to issue a statement refuting the Turkish report. "The recent news by the Turkish press ascribed to Armenian officials about the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is distorted and presented upside down. I have stated many times and I want to repeat again that Armenian officials have never expressed and will never express an idea in favor of suspension of the process of international recognition of the Armenian genocide. Moreover, Armenia cannot tolerate any expression of Armenian Genocide denial," Mr. Nalbandian stated.

Significantly, these setbacks occurred at a time when Turkey's leaders are expressing great anxiety over promises made by President-elect Obama to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In fact, during his last week's trip to the United States, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan repeatedly expressed his serious concern about Mr. Obama's announced intentions on the genocide. In fact, Turkish and American officials have advised Mr. Erdogan that Pres. Obama would most probably acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and the Congress could pass a resolution on this issue, unless Turkey immediately takes the bold step of lifting the blockade and establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia.

Currently, the Turkish Prime Minister is in the process of gauging the intentions of President-elect Obama on the Armenian Genocide by communicating with his circle of close advisors. Should he determine that Mr. Obama is intent on carrying out his campaign promises on this issue, Mr. Erdogan could then quickly open the border and establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, in order to preempt any official action by the U.S. President and/or the Congress. However, should Mr. Erdogan discover that Pres. Obama is hesitant on keeping his campaign promises, the Turkish side would then continue making stiff demands from Armenia.

Under these circumstances, Armenia's leaders are in no particular rush. They can patiently wait until they see what position the next U.S. President would be taking on the Armenian Genocide. In any case, the Armenian side has nothing to lose by waiting. On the contrary, by biding its time, the Armenian government could well avoid making concessions on Artsakh and refuse to establish the "unnecessary" historical commission, while getting Turkey to lift the blockade.

The Most Anti-American Nation, Since The Akp Assumed Power In 2002, Turks Have Heard Nothing Positive About The West From Their Leaders
By Soner Cagaptay | NEWSWEEK, Nov 15, 2008 , issue Nov 24, 2008

Dear President-Elect Obama: As you take office, I am enthusiastically watching your desire to win hearts and minds around the world. But I am concerned in particular about Turkey. This nation is the embodiment of what the United States and the West want to achieve around the world. It is predominantly Muslim, yet Western and democratic. But the Turks are vehemently anti-American, so much so that they consistently rank in polls as the most anti-American country in the world. According to the Pew Center's latest poll, only 12 percent of the Turks like the United States—fewer, even, than the percentage of Pakistanis. Obamania in Turkey will help you change America's image, but given the dismal numbers, I am afraid that might not be enough. Despite the close cooperation with the United States on Iraq, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has taken the easy way, bashing America at home in an attempt to boost its own popularity. But you should not ignore Turkey. Because of its strategic location, Turkey is a key partner to the United States in tackling many foreign-policy challenges. You will need Turkish support and the Turkish base at Incirlik to achieve many of your goals, such as withdrawing troops from Iraq.

So allow me to make some suggestions on tackling anti-Americanism in Turkey. First, do not dismiss the AKP's rhetoric as benign domestic politicking. While an anti-Western statement by a Danish politician could be dismissed as "crazy," and the same statement by an Egyptian might be considered "normal," Turkey is neither Denmark nor Egypt. This is the rare country in which anti-Western statements actually matter because they help shape people's identity. Since the AKP assumed power in 2002, the Turks have not heard anything positive about the West from their leadership. In fact, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often lambasted the West, suggesting, for instance, that "the West uses terrorism to sell Turkey weapons" or that "Turkey has borrowed only immoral stuff from the West."

The same attitude holds toward the United States. More than 90 percent of Turks do not read or write foreign languages well, and the AKP leadership is extremely and relentlessly negative toward America, and this is what Turks see in most of the media. When a group of men, all in their 20s, attacked the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in July, the response was not one of compassion or sympathy for America. Rather, almost 20 minutes after the attack, pro-government news outlets started to brim with allegations that the United States was responsible for the deaths of three Turkish cops who were slain by the terrorists. Nobody in the AKP stepped up to the plate to fight negative media spin against the United States.

The effect of this is that millions of young Turks, like the men who attacked the consulate, have seen America only through the AKP's foreign-policy rhetoric, including a very negative spin on the Iraq War. There is now a tsunami of young Turks ready to die while trying to kill Americans. The lesson for you, President-elect Obama, is clear: with such anti-Western rhetoric, and because Turkish attachment to the West is so tenuous, your strategy must be to constantly remind Turks that they belong to the West. You must recognize that while the United States cannot stop this entrenched anti-Americanism altogether, the AKP government can, and you should make this issue a part of your conversation with Ankara. Your policy ought to be zero tolerance toward official anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric in Turkey.

This step should be followed by positive reinforcement. For starters, you must get the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) issue right. Since 2004, the PKK has increased its terrorist attacks into Turkey from American-controlled Iraq. In 2007, the Bush administration started to help Turkey take on the issue by providing Ankara with intelligence support. Now there is an opportunity for you to take that a step further by bringing Iraqi Kurds on board with the United States and Turkey to tackle the PKK. The Iraqi Kurds successfully helped Ankara and Washington fight the PKK in the 1990s, in due course cementing their ties with Ankara. If you engage the Iraqi Kurds to fight the PKK, you will open the path for the Iraqi Kurds and Ankara to build bridges with one another, while helping build the Turks' confidence in the United States as a friend.

But let's be honest. Even with this commitment, Turkish public attitudes toward the United States will change only if the Turkish government adopts positive rhetoric toward America. Until and unless the Turks hear from their government that the United States is a decent country helping them against the PKK—a fact oddly missing from the AKP's news briefs—and that Turkey shares values, institutions and interests with America, they will not adopt a favorable disposition toward the United States. In the meantime, America's standing in Turkey resembles a witch burning at the stake. The witch feeling the heat keeps yelling, "I'm not a witch." Of course, the crowd will not believe her unless someone from the crowd steps forward and says the person on fire is not a witch. That someone is the AKP government. I hope that you would ask the AKP to save America from the fire.

Cagaptay is a senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
© 2008

Armenian Foreign Minister: Not A Single Armenian Official Has Stated Or Can State Anything Against Recognition Of Armenian Genocide, ArmInfo 2008-11-15
ArmInfo. Not a single Armenian official has stated or can state anything against recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan said at a press- conference, Saturday. At ArmInfo correspondent's request, the minister commented upon the press publications saying that one of Armenian ambassadors to a European country allegedly made a statement directed against recognition of the Armenian Genocide during a meeting with a representative of the European Green Party (EGP).

"I have already said and will repeat that not a single Armenian official or functionary has stated or can state anything directed against recognition of the Armenian Genocide", the minister stressed. "If the meeting of the ambassador to Vienna is meant, there was no such a meeting talked about in publications at all", the minister said. He added that the ambassador to Austria held a meeting with EGP representative 2 years ago last.

Well-Oiled Friendship Or Political Pipe Dream?, Ruben Zarbabyan, www.RussiaToday.com Nov 14 2008
A meeting to discuss the diversification of Europe's energy supply in under way in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Members of the GUAM Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development are in talks with several Baltic and Black sea countries as well as with global energy players. RT looks at the summit's visitors and its agenda.

With Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, the U.S., Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, and the EU being represented in Baku, it is easier to point out those who won't be at the Baku Energy Security Summit: Russia.

This hardly comes as a surprise, as all the issues on the agenda are more or less related to reducing the reliance on Russia as an energy supplier, whose role is being reduced every year, according to experts.

Combating the reliance on Russia since 1918

While some GUAM members are building the pipe, others are running away.

Picture by Vladimir Kremlev Russia's monopoly on energy supplies to Europe has long been a concern for the latter, and seeking to diversify its sources of hydrocarbons, Europeans have set their sights on the Caspian countries.

It is known that the late British Empire made a desperate attempt to gain control over the region by invading Baku during the Civil War in the Soviet Union as early as 1918, and since then Caspian oil hasn't become less popular.

With proven oil reserves in the Caspian Basin (belonging to Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan) comparable in size to the North Sea's, it is the sole source of oil available in the region apart from Russia.

The biggest obstacle preventing the delivery of Caspian oil to European consumers is transportation. Since the 1960s Russia has had major pipelines connecting it with Europe through Ukraine, while the first non-Russian pipeline transferring oil from the Caspian Basin -the 1,768-kilometre-long Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan - started operating in May 2005.

Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan started operating in 2005 Of course passing through countries with many frozen conflicts, it's hardly the most reliable route in the world. A major blast in Turkey's Erzincan Province, attributed to the Kurdistan Workers Party, disrupted its for 19 days in August 2008.

And even while intact, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan supplies only 1 per cent of global demand, so the energy supply to Europe still remains a major work area for some former Soviet countries.

Eleven-yeal-old organisation becomes useful at last

Energy issues gave purpose to the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, an organization formed in 1997 by four former Soviet republics - Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

It was created with a broad list of functions to combat Russian influence in the region, but remained largely unused, before the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and Mikhail Saakshvili's coming to power in Georgia.

After that GUAM intensified its cooperation within eight working groups: power engineering, transport, trade and economics, information and telecommunications, culture, science and education, tourism, fighting terrorism, organized crime and dissemination of drugs.

However, energy has been, is and will remain the main area of cooperation and the driving force of the organisation. GUAM members became the key participants of the pro-Western energy summits held in Krakow in May 2007, in Vilnius in October 2007 and in Kiev in May 2008.

Two-day Baku Energy Summit is the fourth.

Key transportation corridor to be discussed

Euro-Asian Oil Transportation Corridor The main agenda of the summit includes:

- re-exportation of Turkmen and Kazakh oil and gas resources to Europe, bypassing Russia through Azerbaijan; - sustainability of energy sources and routes; - safety and protection of hydrocarbon pipelines; - acceleration of energy projects.

A big topic at the summit will be the Euro-Asian Oil Transportation Corridor, which is basically an enlarged version of the project to extend the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline from Ukraine to Poland.

Completed in 2001 up to Brody near the Polish border, that pipeline remained empty for three years as Russia chose to sell its own oil, instead of transferring Kazakh oil to Odessa. In 2004, Russian oil companies began to transfer oil from Brody to Odessa.

However, Ukraine still looks to extend this pipeline so that it can carry Azerbaijani oil arriving from the Georgian port of Supsa to Odessa and then take it to the Polish refinery at Plock and potentially to the port of Gdansk.

The proposed Nabucco pipeline Some 500 kilometres of pipeline have to be built for that to happen.

The Nabucco pipeline will be discussed as well.

Members come, members go
Of course geopolitical issues are never far away from energy.

Internal problems that exist in each of the GUAM countries remain obstacles to an efficient integration process.

Ukraine's Crimea has a Russian population of 70 per cent, and faces additional problems with Crimean Tatars who seek the establishment of a national autonomy.

Azerbaijan is still short of solutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, and doesn't have control over several areas near it.

In Moldova, the situation of the breakaway Transdniester region remains unresolved - 16 years after it started. Russian peacekeeping forces have been stationed there.

Any shift in the world's geopolitical balance (like the recognition of Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia) is destined to have a big impact on GUAM. Its failure to accomplish anything significant has already lost it some members. But it continues to gain new ones.

In 1999, the organisation was renamed GUUAM due to the membership of Uzbekistan, who signed its charter in 2001 only to withdraw in 2005, after the country's President, Islam Karimov, failed to attend the summit in Chisinau, Moldova.

A similar situation is now on the cards with Moldova's president, Vladimir Voronin, who failed to show up at GUAM summits for two years in a row and is absent at Baku too.

Meanwhile, GUAM also looks for new members, after giving Turkey and Latvia a permanent observer status in 2005. After Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan reacted on the idea of joining GUAM without enthusiasm, the organisation turned their sight on countries in Eastern Europe.

That's why Bulgaria's President, Angel Marin, Lithuania's Valdas Adamkus, Poland's Lech Kaczynski, Romania's Traian Basescu, Latvia's Valdis Zatlers, Turkey's Abdullah Gul, as well as Estonia's Prime-Minister, Andrus Ansip, Hungaria's Ferenc Gyurcsany, Greece Development Minister, Christos Folias and top energy officials from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are all at the energy summit discussing their roles in the development of alternative energy routes.

U.S. Energy Minister Samuel Bodman is there too to encourage them, while his EU counterpartj, Andris Piebalgs, who left Baku just days ago, is back again to stress the importance of the Nabucco pipeline project.

Turkey Calls On Armenia To Open Archieves On 1915 Incidents
Turkey's prime minister once again called on the Armenian government to open their archives for studies on the incidents of 1915.

In 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a letter to then Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and proposed to establish a joint committee of historians to study the incidents of 1915.

"Our offer is still on the table. Let's leave it to historians," Erdoğan told a conference in New York's Columbia University. "We have opened our archives and Armenians should open their archives too. We have studied over 1 million documents so far."

Erdoğan said Turkey and Armenia should abide by the final decision of historians following these studies.

Asked about Turkish government's reaction regarding U.S. president-elect Barack Obama and his team's close stance on the Armenian allegations, Erdoğan said the campaign carried out by the Armenian diaspora in the United States was not fair.

"I hope the new U.S. administration would take into account Turkey's efforts. It is not fair to make a judgement upon such cheap political lobbying," he said.

Asked whether Turkey, as the new member of the UN Security Council, would pursue its own national policy or UN policies if a problem about the Caucasus and the Upper Karabakh was brought to the Council, Erdoğan said Turkey would contribute to speed up efforts for settlement of the problem.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsian met in Moscow early November and agreed to continue to work on a political resolution of the Upper Karabakh dispute.

Erdoğan said the two leaders made a significant step and expressed Turkey's willingness to host the second meeting of Aliyev and Sargsian.

He said solution of the problem could lead to a new step and start of a new process regarding relations between Turkey and Armenia.

The Anatolian News Agency New York A Turning Point: Armenian Officials Take The Bold Steps, By Dikran Abrahamian BA, MD, Ontario, Canada, 13 November 2008
After much speculation of what the Armenian officials would or would not agree to in the ongoing negotiations with their Turkish counterparts, both the Foreign Minister and the president of Armenia took the bold step of explicitly announcing what are negotiable and what are not. Turkey appeared to have the upper hand following the Georgian crisis and it took advantage of Russia’s interests in the Caucusus. It pressed Armenia to make concessions both with respect to establishing a joint commission of historians and relinquishing the lands surrounding Karabakh as a security zone. In return Turkey promised to open the borders with Armenia. Please see respective announcements posted in the previous update of Keghart.com at the end of the articles: A Letter to a Friend – Why the Silence and Inactivity? and Nalbandian: “Genocide” resolutions Not a Remedy.

Not too long ago, barely a week, it appeared that the Armenia authorities were on the verge of being forced to drastically soften their stand towards Turkey, compared to previous Armenian administrations. However, following the election of the new president of the USA there seems to be a new lifeline. It’s hard not to speculate that Barack Obama’s election has shifted the balance in favor of Armenia. It’s no longer possible to make the argument that opening the borders is contingent on establishing a commission of historians, as the new president’s perception of the Genocide is not a political opinion but a historical fact. Turkey knows this all too well. Whether the new administration recognizes the Genocide or not is an independent matter that forces within the congress will decide down the road.

Turkey may retaliate by making the usual threats that are well known. Israel may make its case of why Turkey is a crucial ally, and the Jewish lobby will try to influence the foreign policy of USA. There is no doubt about these matters. What’s important, however, at this juncture, the dynamics has changed and Armenia should maintain its most recent course, and make use of all resources available to drive home its arguments in all international venues available at its disposal.

Whether Karabakh’s legal right to be a participant in the Minsk negotiations remains moot. Similarly, which international principle will be honored in future negotiations is not clear either. Is it the territorial integrity or the right to self-determination that will prevail? In either case nothing at present will be resolved until the new administration in USA is ushered in. Meanwhile time is running short for Turkey to impose its will at whim. Even if individual players in the future administration may not be so sympathetic to the cause of Karabakh or Armenia, all indications are that the future commander-in-chief will not be totally insensitive.

Between now and the inauguration of the new president of USA, and possibly through April 2009, Armenia and its only dedicated ally - the Diaspora - have a window of opportunity that should not be lost. Without being forgetful and neglectful of the socio-economic ills in Armenia, all organizations and parties should re-evaluate the present circumstances, draw the pertinent conclusions and support the international stance of the authorities of Armenia with respect to Turkey and its machinations. The issues related to internal matters should not be confused with the external threat which outweighs other considerations.

Armenian Officials Take the Bold Steps By Dikran Abrahamian BA, MD, Ontario, Canada, 13 November 2008
After much speculation of what the Armenian officials would or would not agree to in the ongoing negotiations with their Turkish counterparts, both the Foreign Minister and the president of Armenia took the bold step of explicitly announcing what are negotiable and what are not. Turkey appeared to have the upper hand following the Georgian crisis and it took advantage of Russia’s interests in the Caucusus. It pressed Armenia to make concessions both with respect to establishing a joint commission of historians and relinquishing the lands surrounding Karabakh as a security zone. In return Turkey promised to open the borders with Armenia. Please see respective announcements posted in the previous update of Keghart.com at the end of the articles: A Letter to a Friend – Why the Silence and Inactivity? and Nalbandian: “Genocide” resolutions Not a Remedy.

Not too long ago, barely a week, it appeared that the Armenia authorities were on the verge of being forced to drastically soften their stand towards Turkey, compared to previous Armenian administrations. However, following the election of the new president of the USA there seems to be a new lifeline. It’s hard not to speculate that Barack Obama’s election has shifted the balance in favor of Armenia. It’s no longer possible to make the argument that opening the borders is contingent on establishing a commission of historians, as the new president’s perception of the Genocide is not a political opinion but a historical fact. Turkey knows this all too well. Whether the new administration recognizes the Genocide or not is an independent matter that forces within the congress will decide down the road.

Turkey may retaliate by making the usual threats that are well known. Israel may make its case of why Turkey is a crucial ally, and the Jewish lobby will try to influence the foreign policy of USA. There is no doubt about these matters. What’s important, however, at this juncture, the dynamics has changed and Armenia should maintain its most recent course, and make use of all resources available to drive home its arguments in all international venues available at its disposal.

Whether Karabakh’s legal right to be a participant in the Minsk negotiations remains moot. Similarly, which international principle will be honored in future negotiations is not clear either. Is it the territorial integrity or the right to self-determination that will prevail? In either case nothing at present will be resolved until the new administration in USA is ushered in. Meanwhile time is running short for Turkey to impose its will at whim. Even if individual players in the future administration may not be so sympathetic to the cause of Karabakh or Armenia, all indications are that the future commander-in-chief will not be totally insensitive.

Between now and the inauguration of the new president of USA, and possibly through April 2009, Armenia and its only dedicated ally - the Diaspora - have a window of opportunity that should not be lost. Without being forgetful and neglectful of the socio-economic ills in Armenia, all organizations and parties should re-evaluate the present circumstances, draw the pertinent conclusions and support the international stance of the authorities of Armenia with respect to Turkey and its machinations. The issues related to internal matters should not be confused with the external threat which outweighs other considerations.

World's Oldest Christian Nation May Have Many Things To Be Proud About,But When It Comes, November 18 2008 by Simon Maghakyan
The worlds oldest Christian nation may have many things to be proud about, but when it comes to womens rights the ex-Soviet Armenia is possibly in denial. With widespread human trafficking as its worst manifestation, violence against women in Armenia is alarming the world. Will a recent Amnesty International report detailing domestic abuse and government inaction bring about change?

The worlds oldest Christian nation may have many things to be proud about, but when it comes to womens rights the ex-Soviet Armenia is possibly in denial. With widespread human trafficking as its worst manifestation, violence against women in Armenia is alarming the world. Will a recent Amnesty International report detailing domestic abuse and government inaction bring about change?

Bloggers react by sharing their own stories of violence against women and one even mocks a report that he suggests doesnt reflect the Armenia he knows. My own post on Blogian, however, provides a background to the problem of domestic violence in Armenia.

An 8-page report by Amnesty International documents widespread domestic violence and sexual abuse of women in Armenia. According to the findings, while one in four Armenian women are physically violated by family members, many more are psychologically abused.

Worst of all, violence against women is a taboo in Armenia, with all-male government agencies reluctant to investigate private matters and women afraid to report abuse in the first place. Moreover, the report says that many women in Armenia help perpetuate the widespread abuse by treating violence as normal. Amnesty quotes an infamous Armenian saying that translates, A woman is like wool; the more you beat her, the softer shell be.

The England-based Armenian blog Unzipped: Gay Armenia posts Amnestys report, adding information about upcoming awareness events in Yerevan.

Womens Resource Centre in Armenia organises march against violence against women on 25 November 2008.

There will be round-table discussion on sexual violence against women in Armenia on 27 November. Also, thanks to the initiative and cooperation of the U.S. Embassy and other organisations, Armenia's first-ever walkathon to raise awareness about domestic violence issues in Armenia is being organized in connection with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, spanning from November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women, to December 10, International Human Rights Day. Walkathon for a Violence-Free Future for Women is on Sunday, November 30, 2008.

Another England-based Armenian blogger, Mark Grigorian [RU], posts the official Russian version a lively discussion among its and Grigorian himself. Russia-based blogger Besyonya, was the first to react to Grigorians post and leaves a comment detailing her own familys tragic story.

My aunt was being beaten by her husband; when her father (my grandfather) intervened, then the husband hit the father too. As a result, my grandpa killed that husband: it was self-defense. Now, the grandfather is gone too, but when I visited home, there women still tolerate everything men do. They [the women] tried to shush me when I escorted a certain drunken male relative out the door.
Aregjan, a US-based Armenian blogger, also reacted.

Violence against women needs to be fought against. What upsets me most is the case when people start citing tradition and strong family [in this situations] (wonderful family, for sure, when kids grow seeing their father beat their mother every day).
The blogger later reminds people not to forget the big picture, the culture of violence in Armenia (saying that its not a big deal when young men, for instance, engage in physical fights).

Armenia-based blogger Pigh, however, writes sarcastically that he is going to hit every fourth woman in Armenia in order to support Amnesty Internationals claims that one in four Armenian women are physically abused.

Earlier this year, on my Blogian, I translated parts of my column for the Azg Daily. Talking about human trafficking as an extension of general oppression of women in Armenia, I discussed the denial of violence.

There is some pride in the denial of (the fact of) oppression against women. And if there is denial, then [men] know they are wrong. Last year, when several NGOs found out that about half of Armenias women had been subjected to physical brutality in the past year, a member of the 95% men-controlled parliament said that these non-profits simply seek grants and hurt Armenias image for the sake of their pockets. They shouldnt present Armenia as some African tribe where people eat each other.

Politicians Who Have Meal With Gül Are In Trouble
The attendance of Krikor Salbashian, Armenian Liberal Democrat Party’s New York and New Jersey regional Chair, to a dinner, which was organized by Turkish-American Association during President Abdullah Gül’s visit to the USA, has caused crises both within the party and among Diaspora.

The Central Committee of the Armenian Liberal Democrat Party (Ramgavar) has published a notice with the “urgent” code and characterized Salbashian’s speech, which was delivered during a meal, as an “immoral act”.

According to the news in the Agos newspaper, the publishing organ of the Armenian society, the Chair of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council Kaan Soyak,, invited Krikor Salbshian to the meal, which would be organized in September the 25th and attended also by President Abdullah Gül. New York and New Jersey representative of Ramgayar, Salbashian, attended the meal by accepting the invitation. Salbashian, who delivered a speech during the meal, stated his various thoughts on the Armenian-Turkish relations. During his speech, he also stated that 25 thousand Armenians would have the opportunity to work if the borders open and proposed a program.

The speech, which was delivered by Salbashian at the presence of President Gül, has caused a great crisis both within the party circles and also among the Diaspora Armenians. Publishing an announcement with the code “urgent” the central committee of the Party stated that “The Armenian Liberal Democrat Party has not tasked Salbashian with this mission.” Criticizing Salbashian harshly, the Armenian Liberal Democrat Party, indicated the following: ”…We consider this move which is dishonorable, rude and improper, as an insult to the core of our party, particularly considering the type of the reception in question. Salbashian has made unreal, incomplete, and sometimes distorted statements by introducing himself in an incorrect way intentionally at this incident, which bears tricks on its own. (…) We oppose these kinds of tendencies intensely and condemn Salbashian. The act gets more immoral considering the fact that Salbashian is one of the proud members of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council.”

The Eastern America and Canada representative of Ramgayar has also demanded Krikor Salbashian and his supporters to be dismissed from the party. (*)

Radical Armenian Diaspora has declared a defender of freedom of thought as “immoral” by disregarding the freedom of expression. Tracking down “a crime” and “the subjects of the crime!” with great panic by publishing announcements with the “urgent” code, brings the following question to minds: “Is this the way of being friends?” Is a strong opposition against Turks a precondition for “the core of being a member to your party”?

Source: (*) Hürriyet Daily Newspaper-28.10.2008,17.11.2008, www.genocidereality.com/newsdetail.asp?id=472

Priests Fought And Candlesticks Flew
Armenian Orthodox priests fought with each other at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Kudus, which is one of the holiest places of the Christianity. The Armenian and Greek priests hit each other with candlesticks; some of the wee wounded.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the spot where Jesus was laid in his tomb after the Crucifixion, the quarrel among the religious groups, which share the management reached at its peak point yesterday. The Armenian priests were making preparations for the celebrations, which is organized every year, of finding the crucifix which was used for crucifying Jesus. The objections against the Armenian commemoration ceremony of the Greek Orthodox priests, who are the members of one of the religious groups, which manage the Church, have eventually turned into a fighting.

When the priests from both sides started to come to bows, Church members of various sects involved in the fight. Candlesticks and censers flew in the air, robes were torn to pieces. Most of the eyes of the priests were bruised, cuts and wounds cam into existence. Finally, Israel police has interfered. One Armenian and one Greek priest were handcuffed and put into jail.

The management of the historical building, which is known as Revival Church and believed to contain the grave of Jesus, is shared by 6 different religious groups, which are related to Greeks orthodox, Armenian and Rome Catholic Churches. Two Palestine-Muslim families preserve the keys of the Church for centuries. Although precautions are taken during the ceremonies in order to avoid problems among the sects with the reorganization of the Ottoman in 1852, the priests, who apply different methods and rites, frequently disagree with each other. *

Fighting physically in front of people, the religion officials, whose duty is to explain peace, rights and justice, should be evaluated as the mirror of the reason why some countries and societies consider themselves right every time and why they are so aggressive. The share of the greedy and aggressive attitude of the Greek Orthodox Church and Eçmiyazin, at the failure for reaching a compromise among the societies living under their influence, should not be despised.

Source: *Hürriyet–10.11.2008, 17.11.2008, www.genocidereality.com/newsdetail.asp?id=471

Dreamer Armenians Brought a Lawsuit against the USA National Archive
Armenian Diaspora brought a lawsuit against the USA National Archive, which they claim to possess documents on the issue by bringing the genocide claims.

According to the reports in the Armenian media:

While the case was entitled as ”Lawsuit against Vartges Yeğiayan USA National Archive and Almanak Administration” (Folder no: ncv08–16248, California Regional Court, Mark Maccarly, who is based in Glendale and also one of the partners of “Maclarly & Rosen” advocate firm, attorney of Vartges Yeğiayan, stated that the related institution refuses to allocate the documents despite continuous demands, and as a result, prevents the law for “freedom of information”.

Meanwhile Vartges Yeğiayan has underlined that they first resorted to the National Archive in 2006 and although a respond should have to be given in 20 days, they have not answered back until the present time.*

The Armenian Diaspora is running after unreal imaginations as usual. If there these kinds of documents have existed in the archives of USA, England or France does anyone exist, except Armenians, who think that they would not be stated until this moment?

While some politicians in some countries support Armenian claims in return of their personal interests, why can’t they present even single reliable evidence to the public opinion?

Why Malta exiles were acquitted for not being able to find evidence, which would support the Armenian genocide claim by England after they were judged? If they had the slightest evidence, we wonder if they would confess that they are innocent during a period, when they controlled every kind of information and documents, including the archives in Istanbul.

The Armenian Diaspora has become so furious on land and compensation issues that they are not able to perceive the reason behind not opening the archives and not being responded. In fact, these kinds of lawsuits should be bring by Turkey.

However, no doubt that the archives will be opened eventually, and the facts, which indicate who had armed the Armenians and used them as pawns will be exposed, and as a result, the ones, who attempt to acquit themselves by slandering Turkey, would have to apologize.

Source: *AZG-08/11/2008, 17.11.2008, www.genocidereality.com/newsdetail.asp?id=470

Yavuz Baydar todayszaman.com The Feast Of Blunders
There are moments when exhaustion gets a grip on you. It is a sensation caused by the insight that you will "see the same movie again" because the phrases used therein are unique to this production.

First it was Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Finance Kemal Unakıtan who called on the Kurds to "either love it or leave it." Then we heard the otherwise silent minister of defense, Vecdi Gönül, justifying massive tragedy and bloodshed for Turkey's "nation building" without the slightest hint of regret or compassion.

Now, as if in a third act, enter Minister of Justice Mehmet Ali Şahin, speaking on the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). You know, that one with "denigrating Turkishness" still intact in principle. Pointing out that he had, since the mild amendment of the article (which makes the Justice Ministry responsible for authorizing prosecution of cases related to Article 301), received 381 requests to open such cases, out of which 216 were rejected and 47 were "authorized," with 118 cases pending).

Şahin then went on to comment on the emerging Temel Demirer case, to which he had also given his nod. "Nobody pays attention to what this person said. Then everybody says, 'Oh what a pity!' The man says Turkey is a murderous state and that, having killed Armenians, it will now kill the Kurds. I am sorry, but I am not going to let anybody to call my state a 'murderer.' This is not freedom of expression. These expressions are not exercising freedom of speech, they are humiliating the state, which is exactly what 301 criminalizes."

The file, prepared by Public Prosecutor Levent Savaş on Dec. 24 2007, is based on police reports and police recordings. It claims Demirer said the following at a protest:

"We live in a country where murder and the silencing of the truth are partners. Hrant [Dink] was murdered not just because he was Armenian, but because he expressed the reality that genocide took place in this country. If Turkish intellectuals do not commit crimes under Article 301, then they will be guilty of Hrant's murder, too. There was a genocide in our history, it is called the Armenian genocide. At the cost of his life, Hrant told us all about this reality. Those who do not commit a crime against the murderous state are part of the murder. Those who killed the Armenians yesterday are today attacking our Kurdish brothers and sisters. Those who want a brotherhood of peoples need to face up to this history. We have to commit crimes to make sure that what happened to the Armenians does not happen to the Kurds. I call on all of you to commit crimes. Yes, there was an Armenian genocide in this country."

Following Şahin's comments, what can one conclude? We are back to square one? All the efforts of taking a good step forward a climate of free speech were totally in vain? What is the government doing now?

If one goes through Şahin's statements, it's all déjà vu. Initially, if we take it as "normal," we could easily argue that, of course, any individual in any true democracy has a right to call his or her state whatever he or she likes. What does "humiliating the state" mean?

But, faced with an "unusual" statement, it is the "déjà vu" part that is worrisome. The rhetoric is a derivative of the robot talk that governments and state authorities constantly reproduce here, regardless of whether the country is a negotiating partner with the EU or not.

As if defying the entire set of criticisms conveyed by the recent EU progress report, Şahin simply repeats the robot talk and, in doing so, those who persistently argued here that Article 301 should be lifted altogether rather than getting a facelift were proven right.

What happened with the statement in the Demirer case is exactly what was feared for a long time: further politicization of an already-politicized law.

The tragicomedy of it all is the following: Now if a commentator calls for the indictment and punishment of people like Demirer, he or she is allowed to proceed as usual, as many of them have in justifying previous cases. But if a pundit dares to call the cases ridiculous or invalid, he or she is doing so under constant threat of Article 277 (which criminalizes influencing those carrying out their judicial duty) and Article 288 (which criminalizes attempts to interfere with fair judicial process).

Şahin is not only the minister of justice, but also the head of the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK). Not only is his act of giving clearance for the prosecution of an obvious case of free speech (however harsh it may be) deeply contentious, but also his statements, reflecting a "premature" and unjustified verdict and possibly influencing the prosecution, will now have to be a test case of whether the judiciary is truly independent. The minister is in breach of the very laws he was appointed to respect. 19 November 2008,

Amanda Akçakoca todayszaman.com Turkey -- A Rising Power In The Region
Without a doubt Turkey's foreign policy has improved by leaps and bounds in recent times. Whereas only a few years ago Turkey was seen as a destabilizing force in its neighborhood, nowadays the country is increasingly being seen as a rising power; Turkey is becoming an important and powerful regional player.

There can be little doubt that Ankara's new approach has made a big impression on the international community, which has been strikingly impressed with Turkey's new approach toward its neighborhood. Soft power has replaced the aggression of the past, and engagement has replaced isolation as Ankara now strives to widen and deepen its sphere of influence.

Whether it be the Middle East, the southern Caucasus or the Black Sea region, Turkey has been playing a very constructive role -- acting as a mediator between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Palestine and cooling increasing tensions between the West and Russia. This approach is reaping results not just for Ankara but for the whole region and beyond. Shuttle diplomacy, close cooperation with other key players and new political initiatives are becoming everyday business for the government. Furthermore, this role will now be further enhanced given that Turkey has gained a seat on the UN Security Council, meaning Ankara will be involved in key decisions far beyond its neighborhood.

It is possible to further boost developments in Turkey's neighborhood with the inauguration of US President-elect Barack Obama. Obama should put the US's relationship with Turkey on a strong footing very early on in his presidency given that the US's biggest foreign policy challenges -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Russia -- are all on Turkey's doorstep. If Obama is as serious as claims to be about pulling out of Iraq and boosting operations in Afghanistan, he is going to need Turkey because the US's strategic airbase at İncirlik will more than likely be a key exit route for US soldiers departing Iraq. The US should make the best use of Turkey's unique geostrategic position when planning foreign policy in the region. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already put himself forward as a possible mediator between Iran and Obama when and if Obama decides to engage the Iranians. Turkey is very well placed to do this since it is a close ally of the US, but at the same time has the ear of the Iranians; to this end, the US should seriously consider this option. Perhaps in this respect it would be wise for Obama not to pursue the election promises he made to his Armenian-American constituents to recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915, which would be the worst possible start to his presidency in regard to relations with Ankara. The window of opportunity that has now opened for developing a strong partnership should not be stupidly slammed shut.

At the same time, Turkey also continues to play a strong role in NATO missions around the world -- including Afghanistan, where Turkey maintains 1,500 troops, and the Balkans, where Turkey maintains a sizeable troop contingent in Kosovo. Turkey also continues to be involved in several EU European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) missions, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, there still remain difficulties vis-à-vis EU-NATO strategic cooperation due to Turkey's non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. Because Turkey has no institutionalized role in the ESDP decision-making process (given that it is not an EU member), it remains concerned about possible EU operations in or near Cyprus or the Aegean Sea, and therefore has used its NATO veto in the past to deny the EU access to NATO assets and capabilities.

But, of course, there is always more to do. Turkey needs to continue to pursue the normalization of relations with Armenia following President Abdullah Gül's historic visit to Yerevan in September. This highly symbolic step needs to be built on. And of course there is Cyprus. Turkey must be seen as taking a very constructive approach towards the current talks that are going on between Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias. Success here will benefit the whole region and further increase Turkey's profile around the world.
19 November 2008

Bülent Keneş todayszaman.com Embedded Government
For some time we have been hearing quite shocking remarks from the ministers, including the prime minister, of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

When all of these remarks are collectively assessed, one can indisputably arrive at the conclusion that there has been a clear change in the AK Party government’s policies. Now the government seems to be embedded in the establishment.

Although great hopes and expectations have been invested in him with respect to finding a solution to the Kurdish issue and, accordingly, 54 percent of the Kurds gave their support to him in the elections on July 22, 2007, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently started to use the typical pro-establishment/neo-nationalist discourse. He has frequently repeated his motto of “one nation, one state, one flag,” which is the most obvious sign of this change of heart.

Moreover, Vecdi Gönül, the defense minister for the AK Party government, which has clearly steered away from the nation’s demands vis-à-vis the “red lines” of the status quo, praised the forced migration of Armenians and the non-Muslim population exchange. Then Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin attempted to defend the infamous Article 301, which is used to block freedom of thought and the press, saying, “I will not allow anyone to describe the state as a murderer.” All these incidents serve as further evidence of this change. In addition, the replacement of Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat with Abdulkadir Aksu, known as a pro-establishment Kurd, as AK Party deputy chairman and many other actions can be listed as evidence. However, we should not be overwhelmed by individual incidents or lose sight of the essence of the issue.

Like many intellectuals, I think that the AK Party has made a deal with the establishment -- a compromise in return for not being shut down -- and is now complying with the requirements of this deal. I can provide numerous incidents to prove my case. But the sharp turn in Kurdish policy and the backpedaling on the EU reform process are sufficient to prove it.

Until recently the AK Party was able to secure the support of all kinds of voters from every region due to its image of being outside the system and even being wronged by the system. It had managed to become the only political party that represented the unity and integrity of Turkey, thanks to the great support lent by the Kurds. Clearly this was a great opportunity for Turkey. But now I am afraid that the AK Party, which has been tamed and has a rough neo-nationalist discourse, is misinterpreting the support it received from Kurds in the last election. The AK Party is wrongly assuming that Kurds will support it at all costs and under any circumstance. With the help of this great support, which it assumes to remain intact, it is planning to uproot the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which has been forced to adopt a pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) line. For this reason, it prefers a language of confrontation instead of dialogue with the DTP. Moreover, it makes the wrong calculation of compensating for the loss of votes caused by this discourse in the East and the Southeast with the extra votes it may produce in the west. With extremely pragmatic tactical calculations, the AK Party fancies that this discourse will boost its overall votes in the local elections in March 2009. On the other hand, I, as an ordinary citizen, see no difference in terms of the interests of Turkish democracy between an AK Party that secures 40 percent of the vote and an AK Party that secures 50 percent. However, I can imagine what kind of a political party will be produced out of the old AK Party: an AK Party embedded in the establishment, alienating itself from the sensitivities of the nation, losing its reformist identity and no longer giving hope for the solution of the Kurdish issue.

Ignoring the fact that Kurdish citizens are actually an extremely politicized group, the AK Party, it seems, plans to secure the support of Kurds and even increase its votes in the region through the Village Infrastructure Support Project (KÖYDES), the Social Support Project (SODES) and other educational and economic aid programs in the southeastern provinces. However, the signals we get from the region do not seem to lend support to this plan. For instance, an academic friend of mine who conducts polls in the Southeast told me that they had to abandon their recent poll in the region because of the extreme reactions to the government’s recent discourse.

The AK Party fails to realize that even if a political party wins votes in the region by surrendering to the typical pro-establishment/neo-nationalist discourse and abiding by the red lines of the military, Turkey will lose its opportunity to solve the Kurdish issue and become a true democracy. Because of this pro-establishment/neo-nationalist discourse, which is new to the AK Party but well known to Turkey, the AK Party has only two options. Because of this discourse, the AK Party will either be more successful or fail in the local elections. Personally, I think this will only bring about a big failure. The AK Party will lose its status as the only political party that represents national integrity and the entire country. It will no longer be an opportunity for the solution of the Kurdish issue, and it will not be different from other parties except for having more voter support. In the end, the AK Party will lose, but the status quo that does not want a reformist AK Party will win.

Now, let us imagine the reverse. Let us suppose that, despite its recent pro-establishment/neo-nationalist discourse, the AK Party manages to boost its votes in the region thanks to its social policies and increasing investments in the eastern and southeastern provinces. It is no doubt that this, too, will prove beneficial for the status quo. If the AK Party can increase its votes in the East and Southeast despite this discourse, why should the status quo establishment reform its existing policies?

The AK Party should at once pull its head out of the sand and lend an ear to concerns about where it is heading. The AK Party and Prime Minister Erdoğan should not forget that Turkey does not need a government that makes short-term plans to increase its votes, but one that continues to change the country’s social and political atmosphere and proceed with democratization and the EU reform process. A possible totalitarian AK Party that increases its votes with a pro-establishment/neo-nationalist discourse and without doing anything about democracy, pluralism and freedom will no longer be a source of hope for this country, but a major threat.
19 November 2008

Suat Kiniklioğlu todayszaman.com Obama And The Armenian Issue
These days Washington is a busy place. Leaders of the world are flying in and out of Andrews Air Force Base. The G-20 Summit brought the world's leading 20 economies to Washington with the hope of structuring the post-Bretton Woods order in a concerted fashion.

Most leaders probably wished that the summit would be chaired by US President-elect Barack Obama rather than the lame-duck president, George W. Bush. Washington is also excited because of the change that comes with a new administration. People are positioning themselves for the thousands of jobs that will be handed out by Team Obama.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was one of the 20 leaders who attended the G-20 Summit as the Turkish economy now ranks 17th largest according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates. Let me underline that it was a healthy and inclusive start to restructuring the new global economic order. The summit also lent itself to the contemplation of the future relationship between Turkey and the US. We Turks are optimistic that Turkey can work cooperatively with the new administration.

That said, what should be a hopeful and refreshing start in bilateral relationship has in the coming months the potential to be marred by the infamous Armenian issue. One hears about the potential of a new democratic constellation to push forward the Armenian issue in response to the Armenian lobby's support for the Democrats. While we in Ankara are eager to engage with our American partners on a range of issues in the region, it would be a pity to see the relationship again made hostage to the Armenian issue. Indeed, there is a danger looming over the precarious relationship between Turkey and the United States and we better recognize it early on.

To make things abundantly clear and direct, I would like to reiterate that Turkey does not wish the Armenian issue to get in our way when there are such daunting tasks ahead of us in the region. Ankara is keen to work with the new administration on Iran, Iraq and Syria as well as the Caucasus. When it comes to the Caucasus, we are particularly optimistic as we are very close to a deal with our Armenian friends on establishing diplomatic relations and then hopefully opening the land border.

The last thing this tripartite negotiation process, which is closely linked to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, needs is a House resolution on the Armenian issue. It would simply ruin the ongoing rapprochement with Armenia, bring about bitter resentment on both sides and make a peaceful resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh in the near term impossible. The Democratic House leadership must recognize the danger and act responsibly on this issue. We are going through precarious times and stabilizing the Caucasus is now within reach and should therefore not be jeopardized by even trying to push the Armenian issue.

In this sense, the introduction of H.R. 106 or the usage of the "G" word in an Obama statement on April 24, 2009 would immediately reflect on the Turkish-American relationship. Responsible Democrats simply must not let this issue take our partnership hostage. The alternative is bleak. As I remarked during a recent SETA-Brookings conference in Washington, such a development would pretty much mean an end to Turkish-American partnership. There is no tolerance left on this issue in Turkey. Worse, this would come at a time when Turkey is proactively seeking normalization with Armenia and would thus be viewed as an act with ill intent. Our bilateral relationship has been tested many times in the past, but one cannot overemphasize the futility of being bogged down on the Armenian issue now.
19 November 2008,

Selcuk Gultasli todayszaman.com Vecdi Gönül And The Faint-Hearted Republic
The "wrong republic," the "second republic" and the "military republic" are among the adjectives used to describe to our current government style. If I were asked to provide one, I would suggest the "faint-hearted republic."

Although 85 years have passed since its establishment, it is still full of fears.

We fear the cemevis of Alevis, the mother tongue of Kurds, the headscarves of pious Muslim women, the Orthodox Greek seminary school on Heybeliada island and the Akhtamar of Armenians.

This republic even fears its founding father.

We fear that if the theological school on the island of Heybeliada is opened, İstanbul will become the Vatican. We renovate the historical Akhtamar church, but we don't allow a cross to be placed on top of it. Will this mean that we confess that those lands had once belonged to Armenians? Headscarves will bring Shariah; Kurdish language, separation; and cemevis, our brand of secularism that preaches full state control over religion.

Last week, these fears were on parade in Brussels. Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül's unfortunate remarks were followed by Armenian and Dersim conferences. The spine-chilling words of the supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who denoted Dersim as genocide and Tunceli as "occupied territories" prompted me to ask myself whether Gönül made that remark because of these people or whether these people adopt such a destructive or provocative style because of Gönül.

Other questions poured in. Why did Gönül choose Brussels to make those unfortunate remarks? Was he acting as "the minister of his prime minister," who had uttered harsh remarks about the Kurdish issue? If Gönül still does not regret his remarks, should we conclude that the government, which is expected to make Turkey a member of the EU, has adopted the "Gönül" line as the country's perspective?

Ninety-three years after the 1915 incidents and 85 years after 1923, should the representatives of this government, which takes pride in the 600-year-old Ottoman heritage, say, in the style of Bahattin Şakir, "We did right in cleansing our minorities," or should they say, "If only we could build a new nation without sending them off"? When Australia and Canada expressed their regret for killing aborigines -- and even France is hinting at doing the same for Algeria -- we hear a minister from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) express satisfaction, not regret. Should we regard this as an indication of the government's surrender to Ankara?

On the same day, representatives of the Armenian Heritage and Dersim Genocide conferences were saying that they have been wronged by Turkey. But there was an important difference. The participants in the Dersim conference apparently did not mind solving the problem or producing positive language or explaining the historical truths to the Turkish nation; the entire conference took place within a frightening provocation plan.

On the other hand, Nicholas Tatvian, the Brussels representative of the Armenian Foundation, which organized the Armenian conference, tried not to use the word "genocide" in his opening speech, though he heartily believes in it.

President Abdullah Gül's visit to Armenia astonished the Armenian diaspora. Well-known Armenian figures in Europe acknowledge that when Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan invited Gül, he never thought he would accept this invitation. He was planning to corner Turkey in the international arena, but Gül's visit disrupted his strategy and in the end, he regretted that Turkey became the winning part in this visit.

Even pro-genocide Armenian organizations are wondering if Gül's visit will bring another initiative with a different language. On the other hand, the AK Party government, which we expect to be reformist, is reverting to old and outdated discourse.
18 November 2008

Article 301 Remains Major Threat To Free Speech Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin
In spite of an amendment made last May to a penal code article deemed by the European Union, rights groups and intellectuals to be limiting freedom of speech, a statement made by the justice minister on Monday has shown that the modification has not led to any improvement, law experts say.

The disputed provision, namely Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), was changed in Parliament in May. The article, which has been used to prosecute a number of writers, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, for insulting “Turkishness,” was amended to require the justice minister’s permission before opening a case. However, statements made by Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin to the Sabah daily show that the approval requirement has not had a huge impact. Şahin said the Justice Ministry had approved court cases for 47 out of the 381 applications that have been filed on 301-related charges since the law was amended.

"If ministerial approval was not needed, all 381 applications would be in court right now," he said. Şahin added that he decides the fate of a 301 probe request after consulting with the experienced judges of the ministry's criminal affairs department, who conduct detailed studies into each case.

Şahin also defended his position on granting permission to prosecute writer Temel Demirer because of his statements on the Armenian allegations of genocide against Turkey. "This man is saying Turkey is a murderer state. I am not going to let anyone call my state a murderer. These [his] expressions are not exercising freedom of speech: these are humiliating the state, which is exactly what 301 criminalizes," Şahin said.

"There have been 47 permissions. This by itself shows that the Turkish judiciary is anti-democratic. It shows that people's right to freedom of expression is not under state protection," commented Hüsnü Öndül, a lawyer and former head of the Human Rights Association (İHD).

Öndül said the figures also show that the amendment has not really made any difference. "These figures are actually not very different from before the change. This shows that the change hasn't made a difference, that our rights are not under protection and, most importantly and gravely, that we are in a very bad situation given Şahin's own statement that he would not let the state be criticized," he added.

Mithat Sancar, a professor of law, said it did not matter how many files actually went to court. "What matters is the criteria used in assessing all of them. Is the permission to try a 301 case being given according to some objective criteria? Or is it being given in a more arbitrary fashion?"

"In democracies, citizens have the right to criticize their state. This is the difference between totalitarian regimes and democracies. It is in totalitarian regimes that you get in trouble for criticizing the state," Öndül noted.

Another criticism of Şahin's remarks was that he had not only given permission, but also tried the case and made the judgment himself with the statement "I won't let anyone call my state a murderer."

Independent news network Bianet's Erol Önderoğlu commented, "Şahin's statement is openly a violation of the Turkish Penal Code Article 277, which criminalizes 'influencing those performing a judicial duty,' and Article 288, which criminalizes 'an attempt at affecting the fair judicial process'."

He pointed out, "Minister Şahin is not a court, and he is committing a crime," and called on daring prosecutors to start legal action against Şahin.

Sancar said Şahin's comment on the Demirer case raised serious concern. "How will the judiciary not be affected by his words? He has violated the first principle he should have adhered to: the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. I think these words show how sincere the justice minister is about protecting freedom of speech. We should really revisit what the justice minister understands about democracy and freedom."

Amending 301

The amendment to Article 301 was welcomed by the European Commission in May, whose members said they were expecting further changes to ensure that such prosecutions come to an end.

The change made to Article 301 of the penal code was approved with 250 votes for and 65 against amid fierce criticism from the nationalist opposition. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which dominates the 550-seat Parliament with 340 lawmakers, was the only party that voted in favor of the amendment, while opposition parties voted against it.

In addition to requiring the justice minister's permission to open a case, the amendment changed the wording of the article making it a crime to insult the Turkish nation, rather than "Turkishness." It also reduced the maximum sentence from three years to two.

Although no one has ever been sent to jail on a 301-related charge, the publicity of such cases has done a great deal of damage to individuals who were suspects in these trials. Some, such as Armenian-Turkish editor Hrant Dink, have paid dearly. Dink, who was tried for insulting the Turkish identity in 2006, was shot dead by a militant nationalist in January of last year. 18 November 2008, E. Bariş Altintaş

Bülent Keneş todayszaman.com Dreaming Of A Pure Nation-State
With statements he made during the Nov. 10 ceremonies held in memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Brussels, where he was attending an EU defense ministers’ troika meeting, Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül became the top item on Turkey’s agenda last week, though he repeatedly tried to deny his assertions.

Gönül is a former governor who has been in politics for many years and is one of those whose names are the first to be remembered at times when somebody is needed for a top position, in terms of relations between the state (read as establishment) and politics. This quality of his comes not from him being a person whose never-disclosed ideas are favored by everyone nor from his ideological stance, but from his being a person who is so utterly tight-lipped and secretive that no one has any idea about what he really thinks about a given issue.

Indeed, it is a source of curiosity that he has managed to participate at all in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which is highly esteemed by the voters for its discourse on change and reformism, as he is regarded as a figure whose views about the most controversial issues are not known. Moreover, no able politician but Gönül could have managed to serve as defense minister for as long a period as six years without causing even the slightest crisis in a country where military-civilian relations represent the most problematic area in terms of democratic reforms. One cannot help but wonder how he has managed to remain in such a post, a very troublesome office given the political conditions in Turkey.

We would be very pleased to hear Gönül talk about the secret of serving as defense minister without any problems, as this represents an ordeal to every sane politician in a country where one crisis between the military and civilians follows on the heels of another. But I know that this desire is impossible to fulfill. So we are justified in speculating about this secret. For instance, I may suggest a thesis and assume that Gönül is actually holding a virtual position without any concrete function. Indeed, to date, we have never had a chance to see such a ministry or such a minister really exist with respect to external threats or deadly internal threats, such as terrorism.

Gönül holds such a position that you cannot hear him speaking even minimally about the memorandum issued by the army, which is supposed to be subordinated to him, against his government. When terrorists attack Dağlıca or Aktütün or any other military outpost, everyone says something and heated debates are seen, but you cannot hear the defense minister or the Defense Ministry make any single comment about them. Whether the country should conduct cross-border operations is discussed for months but, all through this time, you don’t witness any sign of the existence of a defense minister. While all of the generals from the highest rank to the lowest take the opportunity to utter remarks about issues that do not concern them in the least, one cannot hear the voice of the defense minister, who is in charge of these generals on behalf of the government. Minister Gönül’s post is such a position that it in reality does not exist. Actually, who can best be fitted to a position that is deemed not to exist than a minister who is deemed nonexistent?

One cannot help but think that the taciturn inaction of a politician whose real power derives from obscurity and insignificance can really be an advantageous quality. Such a politician makes comments only rarely, but then what does he say? “Population exchange was utterly important in Turkey becoming a nation-state. If there were Greeks in the Aegean and Armenians in most places in Turkey today, would it be the same nation-state? I don’t know with which words I can explain the importance of the population exchange, but if you look at the former state of affairs, its importance will become very clear. We cannot deny the contribution of those who consider themselves the victims of this nation-building, especially the forced emigration, to the struggle in southeastern Anatolia.”

If it were only Minister Gönül who was unfortunate enough to be able to speak with pride today about the dark pages in our history, such as population exchange or forced migration, built upon tragedies for both Muslims and non-Muslims due to the conditions prevalent at the time, and even to present these as the principles of the republic, we might not give much thought to this issue. But this mentality is very dangerous and worth being discussed, since it is still popular among the Turkish military and civilian-bureaucratic circles. It is because of this discriminatory mentality that the apparatus that we call as the state in Turkey treats every different idea or lifestyle as an enemy and attempts to destroy it.

This mentality, which in the past regarded Armenians and Greeks -- who did nothing but enrich these lands with their different cultures and religions -- as enemies is treating pious Muslims, or Kurds or Alevis, who attempt to enjoy their own cultures, as threats. Who can save a Turkey where the fanciful idea of creating a pure nation-state has poisoned even a minister of a political party that has assumed office despite the obstacles posed by the establishment from the risk of being dragged to a uniform fanaticism of a so-called “culture revolution” like that launched by Mao in communist China for the sake of progressivism?

Meanwhile, I strongly suggest that the opponents of this mentality, which does not fit with hopes for creating a contemporary, plural, diverse and democratic Turkey, should look and see what happens in other countries. The election of a black American whose ancestors were enslaved in the past as the US president or a Turkish immigrant becoming co-chairman of the Greens in Germany should tell them something. 17 November 2008

Turkey: Proposed Law Would Limit Archive Use November 17, 2008
[the post below was a mass-email to an Armenian-Turkish group.]

An interesting report that appeared in the 4 November 2008 issue of Milli Gazete, the mouthpiece of the hardline-Islamist Felicity Party, says that the Turkish government plans to enact a “Law on National Archives” with the principal aim of “enabling Turkey to defend itself better” against “Armenian allegations of genocide.” The report is entitled “Legal Armor Against Genocide.”

The Turkish government has indeed prepared a “Draft Bill on National Archives,” but it does not appear to be overtly related to the Armenian genocide. To the best of my knowledge, Milli Gazete is the only publication that has presented the bill in this light. In view of the political inclinations (extremely anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-West) and the very poor journalistic standards of this paper, the report may not be taken seriously.

Nonetheless, a closer look at the law (whose text in Turkish can be accessed at http://www.memurlar.net/haber/44086/) suggests that public access to key documents may be denied on grounds of “national security and interests” and “secrecy.” Unlike the situation in the past, this denial of access will now enjoy “legal armor,” as Milli Gazete describes it.

The draft bill consists of four sections and 39 articles and, when enacted, will be the first law about state archives. Most of the articles are related to the organization, functions, and responsibilities of a reorganized Directorate General of State Archives (DGSA); definitions of archival documents; and the protection, preservation, and classification of archival documents. The bill states that the DGSA will have supervision authority over archival material in the custody of public institutions such as public universities, libraries, ministries, institutes, local governments, and so forth. However, the bill exempts “the Office of the President, the Turkish National Assembly, the General Staff, the Ministry of National Defense, and the National Intelligence Organization” from direct supervision. These agencies are required “to implement the principles stated in the law through their own organizational units.”

The bill creates four departments within the directorate, the two most important of which are the “Republican Archives Department” and the “Ottoman Archives Department.” The other two departments are related to documentation and relations with foreign archive departments. Several “consultative” entities such as legal counsels, public relations, human resources, and “strategy development” units are also enumerated in the new organization.

On the positive side, the bill establishes principles and guidelines that regulate the sorting and destruction of archival documents at even the lowest levels of government. It also formally criminalizes the theft, willful destruction and adulteration, and trading of archival documents.

However, the bill also contains clauses that codify the potential denial of free public access to archival documents in the custody of all public agencies. The clauses that are of most interest to this group are summarized or translated below. My comments follow those.

The first three paragraphs of Article 25 state that archival documents “cannot be removed from their repositories” except under special circumstances, which are specified; that copies of the documents may be provided under certain circumstances; and that “documents which have been cataloged and whose last procedure is more than 30 years old” will be open for research.

The fourth paragraph of this article is the most interesting. It says:

“(4) Archival documents that have been assigned some level of secrecy classification or whose publication may harm national security and interests, the country’s external relations, or the rights of individuals shall retain these attributes after they are transferred to the Directorate General and may not be opened for scholarly research. The Directorate General may decide to remove secrecy classifications from certain archival documents in consultation with [the agency from which the archival document originated] and within the framework of laws.”

The fifth paragraph is also of interest (though standard):
“(5) Access to archival documents by domestic and foreign real and corporate persons and the implementation of procedures and principles stated in this article shall be governed by a statute of regulations.”

This paragraph is typical of virtually all Turkish laws which pass on the responsibility of “implementation of procedures and principles” to lower levels of administration. This provides deniability and vagueness in the case of laws that are known to be discriminatory in advance. This is exactly the way the “Deportation Law” of 1915 and the “Wealth Tax Law” of 1942 (as well as the “Religious Foundations” laws of 2000 and 2007) were drafted: the laws did not mention the actual targets of the actions taken but statutes of regulations created at lower or local levels of administration targeted only certain groups. This allowed the Ottoman and Turkish governments to deny charges that the laws they enacted were discriminatory against certain groups and to argue that “the laws were justified but the implementation went awry.”

In conclusion, although Milli Gazete’s claim that this bill is aimed at “self-defense” against Armenian genocide allegations is not readily apparent in the language of the bill, it is clear that the law provides substantial leeway to a wide range of Turkish government agencies to restrict selectively access to a very large set of sensitive documents. The exemption from direct supervision given to “power agencies” such as the General Staff, the Presidency, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Intelligence Organization; together with the “secrecy” and “national security” exemptions of Article 25(4) and the vague implementation provisions through “statutes of regulations” provide sufficient tools to a fairly large and deep bureaucracy to deny access to any archival document on an arbitrarily selective basis.

The draft bill is expected to go to the National Assembly for discussion and enactment into law during the current legislative session.


European Armenians Raise 1.2 Million Euros in Armenia Fund “Phonethon” [ 17 November 2008
A total of 1.2 million Euros was raised by the “Hayastan” All Armenia Fund’s 2008 Phonethon that took place in Europe from November 13-16. The amount raised surpasses the 2007 Phonethon result by some 50,000 Euros. Mr. Armen Ohanyan, the Fund’s Public Relations and Communications Officer, credits the increase to the active participation of some 600 volunteers. With the help of 156 telephones and a bank of computers our volunteers were able to reach out to some 13,000 donors.” The largest contributors were France - 1.1 million Euros, Germany - 65,000 Euros and Switzerland- 25,000 Euros. The Fund’s branch in France supervised this year’s Phonethon, an event that has been taking place since 2003 and which is the run-up to the Fund’s Annual Telethon.

Turkish Prime Minister - “u.S. Support Is Essential For Maintaing Dialogue Initiated With Armenia” [ 17 November 2008
According to Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s overview of Turkey’s foreign policy delivered at the Brookings Institute this past Friday included warnings to the in-coming U.S. administration that certain issues could taint further relations between the two countries.In particular, Prime Minister Erdogan stated that, “”U.S. support is essential for maintaining the dialogue initiated with Armenia. Steps taken during the new period must not hinder our efforts,” In a not so veiled reference to Armenian efforts aimed at getting an Armenian Genocide resolution passed by the new Obama administration the Prime Minister added, “Lobbies must not take part in solving international disputes,” Erdogan was in Washington to participate in the G-20 summit.

Turkish Defense Minister Unwittingly Confesses Turkey's Guilt in the Armenian Genocide By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher & Managing Editor November 14, 2008
Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul made a scandalous public statement on Armenians and Greeks in Brussels on November 10. He said: "If Greeks continued to live in the Aegean and Armenians continued to live in many places in Turkey, I wonder whether there would be today's nation-state. … I don't know how to tell you about the importance of this exchange. But if you look at the old balances, the importance of this would very clearly arise."

Armenians and Greeks worldwide should thank the Turkish Defense Minister for unwittingly confessing Turkey's guilt in the Armenian Genocide and the Genocide of the Constantinople, Pontus, and Smyrna Greeks.

Turkey's genocidal campaigns of 1915-23 against the Armenians in Turkish-occupied Western Armenia and Cilicia, has made Armenians in the Diaspora and Eastern Armenia more vigilant.

Recently the head of the Armenian National Security Service Lieutenant General Gorik Hakobian told Jane's Intelligence Digest: "We are concerned with the possibility of a recurrence of the Armenian genocide because of the intensive militarisation of Azerbaijan and the recurring official statements of our neighbours concerning their plans to regain Nagorno-Karabakh by military force, which legitimately gained self-determination. The very recent attempt at militarily opposing the self-determination of the people of South Ossetia proves that there are no alternatives but peaceful and political ways to resolve conflicts in the South Caucasus. And Azerbaijan's threats to start a new war over Karabakh are not helpful in this regard."

In the light of this most disturbing statement by the Turkish Defense Minister, and the continuing Azeri intentions to militarily "regain control" over Artsakh, one may ask, what is the remedy of the Turkish-Azeri appetite for another genocide against the Armenians?

The implementation of the right to Self-Determination in Artsakh; and the expanding of the role of the Armenians everywhere for the dual purpose of 1) defending what is already in existence – Armenian and Artsakh, and 2) what should be accomplished in terms of the re-establishment of the Western Armenian homeland.

At the cost of repeating what many activists previously said, we should move beyond the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. We should actively endeavor for 1) The restoration of the Western Armenian homeland and 2) The compensation by Turkey for the loss of real and personal properties in Western Armenia and Cilicia.

Some members of the community may be skeptical. To those skeptics' attention, I would like to bring the historic moment, when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Artsakh Liberation War broke out. And at the cost of heavy human and material losses, Armenians were able to liberate the Armenian Territories of Artsakh, which were forcibly carved out of the 1921 Soviet Armenia during Soviet dictator Stalin's rule. The process of "Stalinization" of the Armenian territories was remedied by the reversal of that process by way of de-Stalinization.

At the height of the Soviet power from 1921 through 1991, how many of us actually visualized the arrival of the day when the Soviet system would collapse and Artsakh would be liberated?

Now, at the height of Turkish power how many of us can actually visualize Turkey's demise and further dismemberment?

Those of us who are very much aware of the impending political implosion of Turkey have solid grounds for doing so.

Today's Turkey is the last vestige of the Turkish Ottoman Empire which underwent an incomplete disintegration process after World War I. The process of the Ottoman Empire's disintegration was artificially halted by the neo-cons of that period.

Now, decades later, the incomplete process of disintegration is heating up again. No matter what else Turkish officialdom says or does, the inevitable is knocking on the door of the contemporary "Sublime Port" in Ankara.

Why I'm resigning from being a NY Times columnist By Thomas J. Friedman
The sudden outbreak of peace in Iraq has made me realize, among other things, one incontestable fact: I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write.

I know, you're thinking I'm going too far. I haven't always been wrong about everything. I recently made some sense on global warming and what we needed to do about it, for instance.

But to have been so completely and fundamentally wrong about so huge a disaster as what we have done to Iraq - and ourselves - is outrageous enough to prove that people like me have no business posing as wise men, and, more importantly, that The New York Times has no business continuing to provide me with a national platform.

In any case, I have made a decision: as of today, I will no longer write in this or any other newspaper. I will immediately desist from writing any more books about how it's time for everyone to climb on board the globalization high-speed monorail to the future. I will keep my opinions to myself. (My wife suggested that I try not to even form opinions, but I think she might have another agenda.)

Baffled? I don't blame you. So I'll cite some facts to support my decision - a practice, I must admit, I have too seldom followed.

Let's start with the invasion itself. I was pretty much all for it. Mind you, I was not one of the pundits, reporters, or public figures who said that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States. I knew better - but I said it didn't matter!

Back in February of 2003, I wrote in this space: "Saddam does not threaten us today. He can be deterred. Taking him out is a war of choice - but it's a legitimate choice." In other words, we should invade a sovereign state and replace its government in order to remake the world more to our liking.

Now the simple fact is, an unprovoked attack on a sovereign state is a war crime, even when linked to grand ideas of the future of mankind. In fact, that's exactly what Hitler did, for exactly the same reasons. The Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal called it the "the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

What was I thinking? And more importantly, why didn't anyone stop me?

But wait, it gets worse. Having expressed how acceptable it was to commit Hitler's signature crime, I then applauded the invasion of Iraq as an "audacious roll of the dice." It should have occurred to me that this gamble would be unspeakably painful for an untold number of Iraqis who had done nothing to us - in other words, any of them.

Soon, when it became obvious that my pipe dreams for a peaceful and democratic subject nation were just that, I decided to say it was too soon to tell how things would turn out in Iraq, but that we would definitely know in six months to a year. I said this pretty much every six months for five years. And The Times just kept giving me more and more column-inches.

I'm not trying to beat myself up here. I've done that plenty already, believe me - and my wife has done the rest! But I have one question: why are newspapers like The New York Times letting people like me make fools of themselves, mislead the American people, and, worst of all, give their wives a lifetime of ammunition?

To err is human, but to print, reprint, and re-reprint error-mad humans like me is a criminally moronic editorial policy.

Nor, of course, is it only me. Just consider who populates the opinion pages of America's top newspapers. Bill Kristol, who was actually hired by The Times long after being proven wrong on Iraq. Charles Krauthammer. Robert Novak. Mona Charen. Fred Barnes. The list goes on and on of officially-approved wise men (and a woman or two) who never once doubted that Iraq had vast stockpiles of W.M.D.s. And that's just in newspapers.

We were all wrong again and again - and the consequences were devastating. Can anyone tell me why any of us should ever be asked, let alone paid, for our opinions ever again? Or, for that matter, why Richard Perle or Paul Wolfowitz should be allowed behind any sort of desk whatsoever as long as they live?

Peace in Iraq will undoubtedly have many far-reaching consequences. As promised, I'm not going to speculate publicly about what they might be.

Except one. As of today, I'm putting down my pen, to take up a screwdriver. I am going to retrain as an engineer and spend the rest of my life working to build non-carbon-based energy technologies. And I'm going to spend a lot of time washing my hands.


Beware Of The Obama Hype: What 'Change' In America Really Means By John Pilger - 17 November 2008
The lauding of Barack Obama has a history and that 'historical moments' ought to be less about their symbolism and accompanying histrionics than what they really mean.

The question is: what is Obama's true relation to unchanging American myths about the imposition of its notorious power?

My first visit to Texas was in 1968, on the fifth anniversary of the assassination of president John F Kennedy in Dallas. I drove south, following the line of telegraph poles to the small town of Midlothian, where I met Penn Jones Jr, editor of the Midlothian Mirror. Except for his drawl and fine boots, everything about Penn was the antithesis of the Texas stereotype. Having exposed the racists of the John Birch Society, his printing press had been repeatedly firebombed. Week after week, he painstakingly assembled evidence that all but demolished the official version of Kennedy’s murder.

This was journalism as it had been before corporate journalism was invented, before the first schools of journalism were set up and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around those whose “professionalism” and “objectivity” carried an unspoken obligation to ensure that news and opinion were in tune with an establishment consensus, regardless of the truth.

Journalists such as Penn Jones, independent of vested power, indefatigable and principled, often reflect ordinary American attitudes, which have seldom conformed to the stereotypes promoted by the corporate media on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read American Dreams: Lost and Found by the masterly Studs Terkel, who died the other day, or scan the surveys that unerringly attribute enlightened views to a majority who believe that “government should care for those who cannot care for themselves” and are prepared to pay higher taxes for universal health care, who support nuclear disarmament and want their troops out of other people’s countries.

Returning to Texas, I am struck again by those so unlike the redneck stereotype, in spite of the burden of a form of brainwashing placed on most Americans from a tender age: that theirs is the most superior society in the history of the world, and all means are justified, including the spilling of copious blood, in maintaining that superiority.

That is the subtext of Barack Obama’s “oratory”. He says he wants to build up US military power; and he threatens to ignite a new war in Pakistan, killing yet more brown-skinned people. That will bring tears, too. Unlike those on election night, these other tears will be unseen in Chicago and London. This is not to doubt the sincerity of much of the response to Obama’s election, which happened not because of the unction that has passed for news reporting from America since November 4 (e.g. "liberal Americans smiled and the world smiled with them") but for the same reasons that millions of angry emails were sent to the White House and Congress when the “bailout” of Wall Street was revealed, and because most Americans are fed up with war.

Two years ago, this anti-war vote installed a Democratic majority in Congress, only to watch the Democrats hand over more money to George W Bush to continue his blood fest.

For his part, the "anti-war" Obama never said the illegal invasion of Iraq was wrong, merely that it was a “mistake”. Thereafter, he voted in to give Bush what he wanted. Yes, Obama’s election is historic, a symbol of great change to many. But it is equally true that the American elite has grown adept at using the black middle and management class. The courageous Martin Luther King recognised this when he linked the human rights of black Americans with the human rights of the Vietnamese, then being slaughtered by a liberal Democratic administration. And he was shot.

In striking contrast, a young black major serving in Vietnam, Colin Powell, was used to “investigate” and whitewash the infamous My Lai massacre. As Bush’s secretary of state, Powell was often described as a “liberal” and was considered ideal to lie to the United Nations about Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Condaleezza Rice, lauded as a successful black woman, has worked assiduously to deny the Palestinians justice.

Obama’s first two crucial appointments represent a denial of the wishes of his supporters on the principal issues on which they voted.

The vice-president-elect, Joe Biden, is a proud warmaker and Zionist.

Rahm Emanuel, who is to be the all-important White House chief of staff, is a fervent "neoliberal" devoted to the doctrine that led to the present economic collapse and impoverishment of millions. He is also an “Israel-first” Zionist who served in the Israeli army and opposes meaningful justice for the Palestinians - an injustice that is at the root of Muslim people’s loathing of the United States and the spawning of jihadism.

No serious scrutiny of this is permitted within the histrionics of Obamamania, just as no serious scrutiny of the betrayal of the majority of black South Africans was permitted within the “Mandela moment”.

This is especially marked in Britain, where America’s divine right to “lead” is important to elite British interests. The once respected Observer newspaper, which supported Bush’s war in Iraq, echoing his fabricated evidence, now announces, without evidence, that “America has restored the world’s faith in its ideals”. These “ideals”, which Obama will swear to uphold, have overseen, since 1945, the destruction of 50 governments, including democracies, and 30 popular liberation movements, causing the deaths of countless men, women and children.

None of this was uttered during the election campaign. Had it been allowed, there might even have been recognition that liberalism as a narrow, supremely arrogant, war-making ideology is destroying liberalism as a reality. Prior to Blair’s criminal warmaking, ideology was denied by him and his media mystics. “Blair can be a beacon to the world,” declared the Guardian in 1997. “[He is] turning leadership into an art form.”

Today, merely insert “Obama”. As for historic moments, there is another that has gone unreported but is well under way - liberal democracy’s shift towards a corporate dictatorship, managed by people regardless of ethnicity, with the media as its clichéd façade. “True democracy,” wrote Penn Jones Jr, the Texas truth-teller, “is constant vigilance: not thinking the way you’re meant to think and keeping your eyes wide open at all times.”

By John Pilger, 17/11/2008
Obama’s first two crucial appointments represent a denial of the wishes of his supporters on the principal issues on which they voted.

Well said John Pilger.
One point that I believe requires more attention is the line in the essay that ties Jihad with the Palestinian occupation. This point - absolutely correct in my view - could also include the point that the occupation of Palestine is itself driven by fundamentalist religious groups in Britian and elsewhere (including Australia) but (despite the powerful American Jewish lobby) predominately by the evangelical American right which of course see the Jewish takeover of Palestine as the precurser to the return of the Dark Invader himself - ie Christ. Then of course, all our self created problems will be solved, the guilty (whoever they may be) will be punished, the dead will rise, and we will all live happily ever after under the direct stewardship of the self-styled 'son of god' until of course we are all hauled up before the 'big fella' himself.

The misery and suffering of the Palestinian people, like that of the Vietnamese people (and many others) before, has no influence or standing when the world-wide religious lobby is in full stride in it's promotion of the latest 'imminent return' of the 'prince of peace' in all his glory.

When, as seems to be the case, some sixty percent of the citizens of the world's largest military power - a country with better access to teriary education per head than (I am told) any other country in the world - believe in the Genesis creation myth and the convoluted nonsensical prophecies allegedly contained in the 'book of all books' then there seems little hope that any one person regardless of the strength and basis of his mandate can do anything about our seemingly headlong rush to economic breakdown and collective self-immolation.

Posted by GYM-FISH, Monday, 17 November 2008
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Pilger has built a long and successful career out of complaining about all the things he doesn't like. Never, as far as I know, has he attempted to explain how the kind of state he thinks is desirable could conceivably be achieved by any likely or possible changes to the current status quo. In terms of positive contributions to human progress I put Pilger slightly below John O'Brien's Hanrahan:


"There'll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
"Before the year is out."

Posted by Jon J, Monday, 17 November 2008
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Why all the hype about Obama's ethnicity/race/minority status as indicative of major change in internal and external policies for the US? Pakistan had a female Prime Minister for a time, what difference did that make to the status of women in that country? Israel will still receive uncritical support no matter what outrages it commits and American policies will not change in regard to the ME. However, American power is in decline,in 20 years time the World won't care about US presidential elections. For those of us who don't give a rat's, that will be a welcome development

Posted by mac, Monday, 17 November 2008
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When youre in the mire then anything will do tp get you out. You can only hope.

Before we start building up hopes about what the black knight in shining armour will do consider this. Ask what the black knighht will be allowed to do.

The Democratic lobby has always been strongly fascist and pro-Zionist. They are king-maker. They make the rules.They pull the strings. When you try going your own way like JFK then youll end up like him.

NOTHING will change.
The lobby is still there pulling the strings.They have hit pay gold.They have a mouthpiece who sounds great,looks great -the right colour - and is an icon the serfs and villeins want to trust to get them out of the mire that America has become.

Al I unduly pessimistic?
No. I study history.

Posted by socratease, Monday, 17 November 2008
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Pilger's right. He hasn't caught 'Obama fever' like the rest of the elite media.

Of course Obama painted himselt as all things to all people. The realisation about his true position on Israel is just the start of things to come.

How many of those US christians knew he intended to use their money to pay for abortions in the developing world?

How many knew he intended to allow killing to further scientific experiments in health care?

I await the ructions among his blinded supporters when he doesn't close Gitmo and expands the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

And after he raises taxes and ensures a deeper and more prolonged depression I wonder at the media headlines as his supporters in the media lose their jobs

Posted by keith, Monday, 17 November 2008
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Now we have Obama, at least we can say the change was needed after Bush and Co.

Furthermore, the anger expressed by Pilger and Co might help to steer a learning Obama on the straight and narrow, as more expressed by scientific reasoning, rather than so poorly expressed by Bush with his imaginary Heavenly Father always by his side

Posted by bushbred, Monday, 17 November 2008
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Personally I think those us on the left should at least wait and see how things develop and leave the sour grapes pooh-bahing to those on the right.

At the very least Obama offers the possibility of something new emerging. A new inclusive vision beyond the divisive posturing, hype and deadly lies of the neo-psychotics which were leading us down the path of universal cultural dis-integration.

After all the, The USA in particular (as a result of the Bushites), and the world in general is in such a mess that a new President and administration would find it difficult to know where to start.

Plus all of the seemingly insurmountable problems are very much inter-related too.

Meanwhile I quite liked the posting on Truthout by Henry Giroux titled Obama & The Promise of education. Which points out that a lot of work needs to be done by those of good will to turn things around.

Posted by Ho Hum, Monday, 17 November 2008
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keith, you make two claims here:

"How many of those US christians knew he intended to use their money to pay for abortions in the developing world?"

"How many knew he intended to allow killing to further scientific experiments in health care?"

I already laid these claims of yours to waste here:

Everybody damn well knew his stance on abortions. It'd been reported about ad-nauseum. He even set up a website at the start of his campaign, where he emphasised his pro-choice leanings, but also mentioned he'd like to see more effective use and education regarding the prevention of pregnancy.

It's a similar story for his attitude toward research and embryonic stem cells.
Keith, you must be able to realise, that if he was backflipping or lying or even changing his stance, every conservative outlet in the world would be shrieking about his backflip.

They're not. Where's the examples huh? Can you find even one? Where's it say he changed his stance?

It would be an idiotic claim, as the media is littered with reporting of his stances on these issues.

It's codswallop. You're just saying that because you didn't know it, but if you'd taken the time to look, you'd see that on these two issues, his position was very very clear.

Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Monday, 17 November 2008
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Agreed, Ho Hum. It'll be several weeks before he assumes authority yet he's being fingered for worsening the unholy mess created by the goofball he's replacing.

More references to the 'elite media'. Can anyone tell me who belongs to it? It's a line propagated by disaffected rightwing rubes.

Keith, John Howard did an interview on Fox recently during which he was addressed as "Mr Prime Minister". It amazes me how those living in the bizarro neocon world get to live in their own little universe apparently oblivious to the reality-based one. Come back Keith before it's too late!

Posted by bennie, Tuesday, 18 November 2008
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Great call Pilge! A relief that brave voices can still be heard against the corrupt tide, especially at this time that the liberalist cult of free-trade savagery and individualism finally brings about the societal and civilizational disintegration it always promised.

Posted by mil-observer, Tuesday, 18 November 2008
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All the leftie dopes need to realise the answer is the Austrian school of economic theory. To hell with Marx and his basic belief that booms and busts are inherent in the capitalist system. (He believed that because they only came into existance after the industrial revolution) and the Keynesian extension that consumerism causes the booms and busts in our economic cycle. And worse still that the tinkering by central banks and governments actually can fix things.

They created the mess ... sigh ... in the first place, but I doubt any of you fools could even begin to understand the ideas or histories involved. None of you would have even read them.

Yet you dare to discuss things you have only beliefs, like church going christians, with no logical arguments supporting them. You spout them only because you've been brainwashed and are brain dead.

History will recognise Bush as one of the most successful presidents ever and John Howard as one of Australias best and most influencial prime ministers ever. Just look at how he's still influncing Australia today.

Suck it up lads.
Posted by keith, Tuesday, 18 November 2008
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As I said, a parallel universe.

My miniscule intellect simply isn't up to your level of comprehension on global economic matters Keith. From your last post it occurred to me you're wasting your time with us mental pygmies. You ought to be advising the G20.

Here's something about the elite media written by a member of the elite media. A republican one at that.



Posted by bennie, Tuesday, 18 November 2008
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keith, you're digging your hole deeper. When your errors are clearly pointed out, and you just respond by calling your opponents fools while pretending to be some intellectual paragon of wisdom - albeit one that can't seem to address when he's been clearly shown to be in error... it looks, well, foolish.

So, for the third time, can you give any backing to your claims that Obama was hiding his stance on abortions and stem cell research? I haven't seen a single thing indicating this. However, I actually took the time to look prior to the election, and found his stances quite clear. I was glad to see his pro-choice credentials and dedication to research.

As for your commentary regarding economic theory, I find it most amusing that you simultaneously blast the Austrian school of economic theory, while lauding Bush, who has driven the American economy into a train wreck.
At the same time, you simultaneously foam at the mouth when anyone declares any support for Israel over Palestinians and won't countenance real kind of compromise that isn't utterly in the Palestinians favour.
And yet, you still laud Bush, who has been among the most partisan Presidents in recent times and has driven the Palestinians further from their goals.

Frankly, you're all over the place. I suppose I can see why you need to blame the 'elite media' which is really, the most childish way of wriggling out of an argument. Everywhere I see those who blame the 'elite media' or the 'conservative media' or the 'liberal media' or the 'capitalist media' or the 'government media' I think, 'what idiocy.' Whilst the media is certainly flawed, it's flawed in all directions, just like people, not some monolithic front where editorial directions are handed down minute-by-minute by some omniscient grand poobah.

Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, 18 November 2008

Oldest Armenian Daily Celebrates Centenary In Istanbul
ISTANBUL (AFP) — The oldest Armenian-language newspaper is celebrating its 100th anniversary in Turkey, surviving a century of tumult in a place where Armenians were massacred and reduced to a tiny community.

Founded by a man of letters, Misak Kocunyan, and his brother Sarkis, Jamanak (Times in Armenian) was born on October 28, 1908 in Istanbul, in the clamour of the Young Turk revolution that three months earlier had forced the Ottoman sultan, Abdulhamid II, to restore constitutional rule.

It was an epoch of enthusiasm when a myriad of parties, associations and newspapers emerged in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, encouraged by the end of draconian censorship.

The Armenian minority, the victim of pogroms under Abdulhamid II, participated actively in the reformist movement.

"Jamanak was then an important actor for the Armenian community, both in political and cultural terms," said Turkish-Armenian historian Rober Koptas.

The daily, which had a circulation of 15,000 among the 160,000 Armenians estimated to live in Istanbul at the time, did not hesitate to raise explosive subjects, narrating the killings of Armenians in Anatolia in the 1890s in the form of a serial story.

To weather the black days of World War I, Jamanak had to keep a low profile as hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed in fresh massacres across Anatolia, accused of siding with invading Russian troops.

The killings, which Armenians say were a genocide, remain as a major stumbling block in Turkish-Armenian relations today, with Ankara fiercely rejecting the genocide label.

"From 1915 on, the paper would focus on cultural life and subjects without political implications. That was the price it paid for continuing to publish," Koptas said.

"We continued to go to press in 1915, but we lost a columnist," added Ara Kocunyan, grand grandson of Sarkis, Jamanak's co-founder and first editor.

The paper, like the Armenian community, witnessed other dark periods: World War II, during which non-Muslims in Turkey suffered various discriminations and the riots of September 6-7, 1955 when non-Muslim properties were destroyed and looted.

"In 1955, we managed to survive because our porter told the rioters that there were no Armenians or Greeks in our building," Kocunyan recounted.

The most recent tragedy hit the community in 2007 when Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian journalist who maintained the World War I massacres were a genocide, was shot dead by a nationalist Turk in Istanbul.

Modern times have brought about further difficulties for Jamanak: the size of the Armenian minority has dwindled to an estimated 80,000 people, with some -- notably the younger -- losing either the language or interest in the community.

"In the past there were doctors, engineers who regularly wrote articles for us. Such people no longer exist," said Nadia Kocunyan, the daily's manager and Ara's mother.

Jamanak, which is also Turkey's oldest newspaper to have been published without interruption since its creation, employs eight people today.

With a circulation of 1,500 to 2,000, its four pages offer complete information about community life as well as domestic and international news.

For Jamanak, the hope of a brighter future lays in overcoming the enmity between Turkey and Armenia.

"If the relations normalise, our community will have a very constructive role to play," Ara Kocunyan said. "If commercial links begin between the two countries, we may even attract advertisments to the newspaper."

Turkey has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Armenia since the ex-Soviet nation gained independence in 1991 and keeps their border shut.

A prospect of reconciliation emerged in September when President Abdullah paid a ground-breaking visit to Yerevan to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries on the invitation of his counterpart Serzh Sarkisian. Copyright © 2008 AFP.

Obama's Presidency And Its Meaning For Turkey sevgistanbul Today's Zaman Nov 14 2008
It would not be an overstatement to argue that not only the US but also the rest of the world embraced President-elect Barack Obama's message of hope and change.

Apparently, it was not only the 300 million Americans at home who suffered to a great extent from eight years of Bush and neocon policies as the world welcomed the victory of the skinny black man with great joy.

Among countless celebrations in different parts of the world, the one in Van, a relatively remote Eastern province in Turkey, was a perfect indicator of the meaning of Obama's election as the first black (or better, African-American, in accordance with American brand political correctness) president of the United States. Following Obama's victory, the people of Van sacrificed 44 sheep for the 44th president of the US. Given the fact that Turks have not done such a gesture for an American politician since Clinton won the hearts of people in the aftermath of the 1999 earthquake, how could we explain such a huge welcome for a politician whose policies have not yet been tested?

The response seems to be clear: Just the election alone of a black man -- read: "member of an underrepresented, discriminated and less-privileged group" -- into the single most important office in the world meant that the sociologically black everywhere finally felt victorious. Sure, Obama's election is a huge psychological threshold for African-Americans and other minorities in America, but just his identity constitutes a paradigm shift for those who feel "black" all around the world.

Aside from such a historic change coupled with his rhetoric along the same lines, should we expect much change from the Obama administration? I do not think so. Despite his unconventionally diverse background for an American president, Obama has not followed a completely different path from his predecessors. As an alumnus of Ivy League schools Columbia and Harvard, he gained a similar world outlook as a "WASP" (white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant). Not do only his education and training make Obama of the same kind, but he also started building his political career at a local level in accordance with the "rules of the game." After all, as political scientist Louis Hartz argues, Americans seeks the "same estate" and make a choice among liberals only.

Although Obama's background and his early exposure to the rest of the world might give him a better understanding of the "other," his first choice for senior staff hints that not much will change in the course of US policies. In all fairness to him, though, we should note the importance of his promise to close Guantanamo, which has been in dire contradiction with the liberal values that America claims to celebrate. Presidential history presents examples of the impact of personalities on policies, but in such an institutionalized country that has stakes throughout the world, there is an unwritten limit to the degree of changes you can make, particularly in foreign policy. Even in the pre-election declarations on foreign policy, for instance, as far as relations with Israel are concerned, Obama vowed to prioritize the security of Israel. Yet, he also signaled for "more diplomacy" with Iran. Apparently Iran considers Obama less of an evil considering the congratulatory message from Tehran. It would not be unreasonable to expect the end of unilateralism and "pre-emptive strikes" on the part of the US, which is by itself a positive development for the rest of the world.

Although Obama declared the main tenets of his policies prior to election -- such as his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq -- we are not in a position to make intelligent estimates on the possible consequences of such a step and other critical issues.

As far as Turkish-American relations are concerned, there is no doubt that at least a different mood will mark the new era. Notwithstanding the constants of American foreign policy, we might expect the new administration to be at least more open to dialogue. It is public knowledge that mutual mistrust and frustration determined the tone of US-Turkish relations in the post-March 1, 2003, era despite periodic efforts to mend fences. From the end of the Cold War until that date, there was already a need for a redefinition of relations as the assumptions of the Cold War era coupled with the complacency that they brought about disappeared. The relations were no longer on "automatic pilot," but in the lost years of the 1990s, Turkey was overly occupied with domestic tensions in the absence of a stable government let alone a visionary leader to draw up a new framework for US-Turkish relations.

With the adoption of a proactive foreign policy in the 2000s, Turkey began to seek a leadership role in the region while trying to reduce problems with its neighbors. In addition to emphasizing the already well-known yet unique features of its identity (being the only secular Muslim country in such a strategic and troubled region of the world), Turkey wanted to assume the role of an arbiter in the most contentious matters in the Middle East. Considering the never-ending domestic tensions and the struggle to constitute the primacy of civilian politics at home, Turkey might not have had an upper hand. Yet, despite its domestic chains, Turkey has not quit its efforts to be a more active player in the region. In a way, these efforts paid off when Turkey was elected a temporary member to the United Nations Security Council.

It seems that an American administration that would avoid military means as much as possible and prefers diplomacy and dialogue over pre-emption would be much easier to cooperate with for Turkey. Although Turkish society was overly focused on Obama's stance on the Armenian question, when looked at a macro level, a proactive Turkey that targets zero problems with its neighbors is likely to have a broader overlap of interests with the Obama administration than with the neocons. Having said that, I do not suggest ignoring the Armenian issue. Yet, we have to acknowledge that this issue has almost a public relations dimension. Unfortunately, because of decades of poor lobbying, we seem to be losing the hearts and minds of the international community in that respect. Rather than seeking the support of the US president regardless of his convictions, we have to have a long-term strategy of changing the public opinion in the first place. In such a framework, it is clear that Turkey's move to ameliorate the relations with Armenia was a constructive step that will give us leverage in such a touchy subject.

For America, at a time of global economic crisis and among its immediate headaches such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and others, relations with Turkey surely will not be a top item in the list of Obama administration. Yet, given our direct and/or indirect inevitable role in almost every issue in the region, Obama will have to learn more about Turkey. The intricacies of Turkish politics will probably confuse him at first like any other beginner, but hopefully with reasonable and fair advisers, it will not take long for this promising administration to realize Turkey's role in the region.

As Obama said in his campaign, "change we need." Not only in the United States, but also in the way they communicate with the rest of the world.

Turkey Calls On Armenia To Open Archieves On 1915 Incidents
Turkey's prime minister once again called on the Armenian government to open their archives for studies on the incidents of 1915.

In 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a letter to then Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and proposed to establish a joint committee of historians to study the incidents of 1915.

"Our offer is still on the table. Let's leave it to historians," Erdoğan told a conference in New York's Columbia University. "We have opened our archives and Armenians should open their archives too. We have studied over 1 million documents so far."

Erdoğan said Turkey and Armenia should abide by the final decision of historians following these studies.

Asked about Turkish government's reaction regarding U.S. president-elect Barack Obama and his team's close stance on the Armenian allegations, Erdoğan said the campaign carried out by the Armenian diaspora in the United States was not fair.

"I hope the new U.S. administration would take into account Turkey's efforts. It is not fair to make a judgement upon such cheap political lobbying," he said.

Asked whether Turkey, as the new member of the UN Security Council, would pursue its own national policy or UN policies if a problem about the Caucasus and the Upper Karabakh was brought to the Council, Erdoğan said Turkey would contribute to speed up efforts for settlement of the problem.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsian met in Moscow early November and agreed to continue to work on a political resolution of the Upper Karabakh dispute.

Erdoğan said the two leaders made a significant step and expressed Turkey's willingness to host the second meeting of Aliyev and Sargsian.

He said solution of the problem could lead to a new step and start of a new process regarding relations between Turkey and Armenia.
14 November 2008, The Anatolian News Agency New York

Erdoğan Urges Obama To Heed Armenia, Iraq Sensitivities
Prime Minister Erdoğan delivers a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Friday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked US President-elect Barack Obama to support Turkey in its fight against terrorism and to refrain from backing Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire once he takes over the post from George W. Bush.

“I sincerely congratulate Barack Obama and his team who won the elections. Turkey and the United States, as two allies that have very strong relations, have been supporting each other for more than half a century,” the Turkish prime minister said Thursday during a speech at New York’s Columbia University, which Obama graduated from. “Turkey is determined to continue the close cooperation with Obama’s new US administration. Naturally, we expect the US administration to take into consideration our sensitivities on issues that are of vital importance to us.”

During his campaign, Obama pledged to Armenian-American voters that he would support the genocide claims if he were elected president. Turkey denies genocide charges and says actions by third countries could hurt the thawed relations between Turkey and Armenia. The two neighbors have had no formal relationship since 1993, when Turkey severed its ties and closed its border with the landlocked country in protest of the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara says normalizing ties depends on Armenia’s withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh and ending support for the Armenian diaspora’s efforts to win international recognition for genocide claims.

The US Congress has twice shelved resolutions calling for recognition of the genocide claims under pressure from the administration. The measure is expected to be brought to Congress when Obama takes office.

Erdoğan said US sensitivity over these issues is important for the future of Turkey-US relations. He welcomed the fact that Obama had already declared that US cooperation with Turkey regarding terrorism will continue.

The prime minister recalled that Turkey has proposed a joint committee of historians to study Armenian claims and said it expected Armenia to respond positively to the offer. “Let’s allow historians to do their job. We have opened our archives, and if the Armenians have their archives, let them open them to the public, too,” he said. “Let historians study the archives and decide. And we all will respect whatever the outcome is.”

He said he hoped the US administration would also take the Turkish proposal into consideration while deciding on a policy over the issue. Relations with Washington hit a snag when the Turkish Parliament rejected a government motion in 2003 that would have allowed military cooperation with the United States in the Iraq war. Since then, tension grew as the US consistently turned down Turkish requests for action against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which attacks Turkish targets from its bases in northern Iraq. In November 2005, Bush vowed intelligence cooperation against the PKK, after which the US military began to supply real-time intelligence on movements of the PKK in northern Iraq.

In his speech, Erdoğan also touched on the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and reiterated that Turkey opposed the proliferation of nuclear weapons while supporting countries’ rights to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

UN Security Council victory

In New York, Erdoğan also hosted a dinner for UN representatives to thank them for electing Turkey to the Security Council for 2009-2010. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was among the dignitaries attending the dinner.

Turkey was competing with Iceland and Austria for one of the two seats reserved for the Western Europe and Others Group in the UN. It won the vote by a wide margin in October, securing a seat in the influential world body after almost half a century of absence. Its growing influence in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans has boosted support for Turkey among the UN nations, observers said.

Erdoğan also addressed the UN General Assembly earlier on Thursday at a meeting on a Saudi Arabian initiative to promote dialogue between religions. Erdoğan said the meeting was a response in a bid to tackle “the bi-polarization in the international community, lack of understanding and discrimination” that he said had reached “a threatening dimension.”

“Terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, trafficking and organized crime have all gone global. An end should be put on so-called ‘good terrorist, bad terrorist,’” the prime minister said.

While in New York, Erdoğan briefly met with Bush and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in UN General Assembly Hall. He also met with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Armenians Criticized Gönül With A Letter To Prime Minister Erdoğan
A group of more than 40 Turkish-Armenians, in an open letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have voiced their grievances about remarks from Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül that defended the deportation of Greeks and Armenians from Anatolia at the beginning of the last century, describing his comments as "praising ethnic cleansing and crime."

Gönül, in a speech at the Turkish Embassy in Brussels on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on Nov. 10, claimed that if Greeks and Armenians were still living in the country, Turkey would not be the same nation-state it is today. He also hinted that Armenia is supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"If there were Greeks in the Aegean and Armenians in most places in Turkey today, would it be the same nation-state? I don't know with which words I can explain the importance of the population exchange, but if you look at the former state of affairs, its importance will become very clear," Gönül said. The Lausanne Treaty, signed in 1923, called for a population exchange between the Greek Orthodox citizens of the young Turkish Republic and the Muslim citizens of Greece, which resulted in the displacement of approximately 2 million people.

The Armenian population that was in Turkey before the establishment of Turkish Republic was forced to emigrate in 1915, and the conditions of this expulsion are the basis of Armenian claims of genocide.

In the same speech, Gönül hinted that Armenians are supporting the PKK. "We cannot deny the contribution of those who consider themselves the victims of this nation-building, especially the forced emigration, to the struggle in the southeastern Anatolia," he said.

The group, in their open letter published on a Web site, stated that Gönül's remarks contradict the Constitution, which says that anyone bound to the Turkish Republic by the citizenship is called a Turk.

"It is very difficult to understand, if we are talking about a Turkish nation, why the Armenians and Greeks [non-Muslims] cannot be a part of this nation, when Kurds, Arabs and Albanians [Muslims] can be? To what extent does this mentality, which underlines that religious unity is required in order to be a nation, fit in with the contemporary state of law?" the letter asked.

The letter suggested that the changes made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) toward democratization were considered by intellectuals to be "positive," but that the rivals of the AK Party claimed these changes are just a disingenuous effort to get the financial support of the European Union.

"The reaction of the AK party to Gönül's scandalous remarks will be a very good indicator of the sincerity of the policies [of AK Party]," the letter claimed.
13 November 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN ANKARA

Report Establishes Negligence In Dink Murder
A massive report on the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, prepared by a team of investigators from the Prime Ministry, has found that both the police and the gendarmerie intelligence units were derelict in their duty to prevent the assassination.

Dink was gunned down in broad daylight on Jan. 19, 2007, in front of the headquarters of bilingual Armenian weekly Agos, where he was the editor-in-chief. Following Dink’s murder, many reports suggested that the police had been tipped off about the planned assassination more than once before his murder yet failed to prevent it. The killer and all the other suspects, including a former police informant, are from Trabzon. Later evidence revealed that gendarmerie intelligence units also appeared to have advance knowledge of the attack. The report, comprising 27 folders and 200 pages, comes days after a Trabzon court’s ruling that two noncommissioned officers in the gendarmerie accused of negligence in failing to prevent the assassination of despite having prior knowledge of the plot should face trial. The Prime Ministry report also claimed that officials at the Justice Ministry have been uncooperative throughout the Prime Ministry inspector’s investigation.

13 November 2008, Today's Zaman İstanbul

Wiki Crap

Wikipedia or WikiCrap?

It is unfortunate how this valuable reference has been turned into one of the most grotesque tools for spreading fabrications, ethnic and religious hatred. It is new battleground for truth on this topic. Not a single article in Wikipedia related to Turkey, Turks or its history and culture has been immune to relentless and despicable acts of vandalism and distortions. It is well organized by the way and has found support and protection in some corners of the Wiki administration. The abuse is especially prevalent and out of proportion in articles related WWI and Eastern provinces of Turkey.

Here is an example, taken from article on Van, describing its "history":

"The city's Armenian population was devastated during World War I by Ottoman troops as a part of the Armenian Genocide. The regional administrator, Cevdet Bey, ordered the execution of four Armenian leaders[6] resulting in an uprising in Van on April 20, 1915, against the Turks and in favor of the Russians. However, most historians agree that the Armenian residents, hoping to avoid the slaughter inflicted on the rural populations surrounding Van, defended themselves in the Armenian quarters of the city against the Turks[7]. The anti-Turkish and pro-Russian sentiments were in the hopes of being rescued from Turkish massacres. The Russians finally relieved the Armenian defenders of Van in late May 1915."

One would never know from this entry that a well planned armed revolt (they prefer to call it "resistance" for obvious reasons!) broke out in Van, at about the same time Allies were landing in Gelibolu and Ottoman armies were engaged in numerous other fronts with Russian and British armies, fighting for their very existence. One would never know from the above that about 50% of the population of Van was non-Armenian, and one certainly is left uninformed about their fate in the hands of Armenian militia. When they talk about "relief" by Russians,what they really mean is the handing of the keys to this ancient Ottoman city to a Russian general, literally!

More of the same in articles related to Kars, Erzurum, Sarikamis, Bitlis, and countless others. Able editors should fight this ugly propaganda and claim truth. For help and cooperation, sign on "truthinwiki".

Best Wishes, Murat

Related Post: Wikipedia or WikiCrap on Turkey

Armenian Solider: I Don’t Want To Be Armenian Citizen BayBak, Azerbaijan | 10th November , 2008
. Armenian solider Paruyr Stepanyan who voluntarily passed to Azerbaijan refuses from Armenian citizenship. He told in his interview with ANS TV that one of the reasons why he left Armenia is tyranny prevailing in the Armenian Army.

Paruyr Stepanyan, 19, has got a number of reasons for leaving his homeland. Stepanyan touched upon a number of issues

Daqliq Qarabaq is Azerbaijnai territory, stresses Paruyr Stepanyan.

Armenian solider Paruyr Stepanyan who voluntarily passed to Azerbaijan refuses from Armenian citizenship. He told in his interview with ANS TV that one of the reasons why he left Armenia is tyranny prevailing in the Armenian Army.

Paruyr Stepanyan, 19, has got a number of reasons for leaving his homeland. Stepanyan touched upon a number of issues including tyranny in the Armenian Army and violation of human rights in the country. He also told ANS that high level of corruption in Armenia prevented him as well as other young Armenian from getting high education.

Armenian soldier also urged that he knew something of the history of Daqliq Qarabaq.

“I learned the causes of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and I believe I found the right answer to the problem. I read some international conventions where it was written that the borders of any country should remain unchanged. Helsinki Final Act adopted in 1975 as well as the monument, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Armenian arrival in Daqliq Qarabaq, proves that. Why did they erect that monument if they claim they had lived there before Azerbaijanis? There is only one logical outcome that Qarabaq is historical Azerbaijani territory,” said Stepanyan.

Another reason as Stepanyan points was violation of human rights and antidemocratic situation in Armenia.

” I don’t want to live in the country where individuals` rights to vote are violated. My own right to vote was most terribly violated in the army. They voted for me in favor of Sargsyan when I was on duty. It is absolute dictatorship there. Therefore I requested Azerbaijani government that I did not want to be Armenian citizen. I don’t understand why Armenian side is not willing to pursue the negotiations. I can’t understand what they aiming at?”, says Stepanyan.

Paruyr said that he wished he would have avoided joining Armenian Army. “I knew that they would send me to Qarabaq”. According to Stepanyan, soldiers from Armenian are subject to discrimination in the army. “They are constantly humiliated and are forced to do the worst job. Officers insult them and beat them to death. I was beaten to such extent that I could not endure it. Sometimes I just wanted to take the gun and shoot them”, said Armenian soldier.

Armenian soldier said that one day he decided to risk his life and crossed the border. “Once, they beat me to death and told them I would cross the border. The military unit where I was serving was close to the border. I decided to cross and surrender to Azerbaijani side”, said Stepanyan.

Paruyr insists that he does not want to return to home saying the social condition in the country is terrible. According to him, most of the families in Armenia are supported by their relatives living in abroad. “I request Azerbaijani government to give me refugee status either here in Azerbaijan or in one of the European Union countries. Not only Russia. Because, Russia has connection with Armenia. I don’t want to go to this country”, Armenian soldier said.

Armenian Defense minister said earlier that official Yerevan was doing its best to get the Armenian soldier back. But it does not seem likely that Armenian soldier would agree with his minister.ans

Armenian Terrorists Need More Money: Sargsyan Offeres Aliyev To Invest In Qarabaq BayBak, Azerbaijan | Monday, 22nd September , 2008 ,
. Serjh Sargsyan, President of Armenia, proposed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to try to invest in Qarabaq to show interest of Azerbaijan in security, prosperity and good future of Qarabaq.

“May be then Armenian population of Qarabaq will agree to live undet the control of Azerbaijan in referendum,” claimed Sargsyan.

Serjh Sargsyan, President of Armenia, proposed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to try to invest in Qarabaq to show interest of Azerbaijan in security, prosperity and good future of Qarabaq.

Serjh Sargsyan, President of Armenia, proposed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to try to invest in Qarabaq to show interest of Azerbaijan in security, prosperity and good future of Qarabaq.

“May be then Armenian population of Qarabaq will agree to live undet the control of Azerbaijan in referendum,” claimed Sargsyan.

Armenia’s territorial claims against Azerbaijan led to a war between the two countries of the South Caucasus between 1989-1994 over Daqliq Qarabaq (Nagorno Karabakh) region. As the result of the Armenian aggression, 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories, including Daqliq Qarabaq and 7 neighbouring regions, was occupied and more than 1 million Azerbaijanis became refugees.

Serzh Sargsyan also said it would be better to form diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia prior to the establishment of any commission, Milliyet Daily reported on Sunday.

“I generally said that I was not against the establishment of commissions between the two countries… First, let our joint border be opened and diplomatic relations constituted, then we can establish commissions, sub-commissions and sub-sub-commissions for any issue,” Milliyet quoted Sargsyan as saying.

Turkey is among the first countries that recognized Armenia when it declared its independency in the early 1990s. However there is no diplomatic relations between two countries, as Armenia presses the international community to admit the so-called “genocide” claims instead of accepting Turkey’s call to investigate the allegations, and its invasion of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory despite UN Security Council resolutions on the issue.

Sargsyan also denied that they were making territorial demands from Turkey.

“I am surprised by the territorial demand claim. I do not know but it is a common opinion. But have you ever heard an Armenian official saying, ‘We are demanding territory from Turkey.” In no way has such a statement ever been made,” he said.

A warmer period began between the relations between the two neighbors after Gul paid a landmark visit to Armenia early September to attend a World Cup qualifying match between the countries’ national teams. Turkey hopes this period would lead to a normalization of relations.ans

Swiss President Upholds Turkish Call For "Genocide" Study, 12 November 2008, Today's Zaman

Switzerland's President Pascal Couchepin gestures in front of a table on which the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that settled the borders of modern-day Turkey 85-years ago, was signed. The historic table was given to Turkey as a present.
The president of the Swiss Confederation has backed Turkey's calls for a study of Armenian claims of genocide, saying the dispute over history should be settled by historians, not politicians.

Pascal Couchepin is on a visit to Turkey on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Turkey. He had talks with President Abdullah Gül on Monday and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan on Tuesday. The lower house of the Swiss Parliament accepted the genocide claims in a 2003 vote, causing strain in bilateral relations with Turkey. Last year, Doğu Perinçek, a Turkish politician and the leader of the small Workers' Party (İP), was charged with denying the "genocide" under legislation passed to punish denial of the Holocaust, angering Turkey, which says it is a restriction on the freedom of expression and debate.
The Armenian issue was one of the items discussed in Couchepin's talks with Gül late on Monday. To Turkey's dismay, the Swiss leader defended his country's laws penalizing denial of the Armenian claims at a press conference with Gül. He said the laws were passed 20 years ago with the principal purpose of punishing denial of the Holocaust and that the Swiss judges had the flexibility to interpret laws according to different circumstances. Couchepin also referred to Perinçek, without citing his name, as a "provocateur."

"One of the people is currently under arrest in Turkey for provocations," he said. Perinçek is one of the 86 suspects in the Ergenekon case, in which the prosecutors blame the shadowy network for plotting against the government and seeking stage a military coup.

Perinçek was convicted in a Swiss court in March 2007 under the country's anti-racism laws for saying that the incidents of the World War I era could not be described as genocide. He was ordered to pay a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs ($2,450) and was given a suspended penalty of 9,000 francs ($7,360).

Terror talks

Couchepin and Turkish leaders also discussed efforts against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey claims is freely operating in many European countries. At the press conference, Gül welcomed a series of recent steps taken by Switzerland against the PKK and said Turkey was confident that Switzerland will implement them in the most effective way possible. Couchepin said the Swiss government had recently taken several measures and exerted efforts to stop the activities of the terrorist PKK organization in Switzerland.

Nalbandian Denies "Genocide" Report 12 November 2008, Today's Zaman
Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian has denied remarks attributed to him that efforts to win recognition of Armenian claims of genocide do not help dialogue between Turkey and his country.

Responding to a question on the reported comment, Nalbandian said he would never oppose efforts to win international recognition of the Armenian claims. "I have already said, and I'd like to repeat, that Armenian officials have not spoken and would never speak against the process of international recognition of the Armenian genocide," he told the Novosti-Armenia news agency. "Moreover, Armenia cannot tolerate any expression of Armenian genocide denial." The Turkish NTV station reported last weekend that Nalbandian had questioned the merit of passing resolutions in foreign countries' parliaments to recognize the alleged genocide. "Let's say 20 countries have passed such resolutions. What would happen if 50 more do the same?" Nalbandian asked at a conference in Stockholm, according to NTV.

Armenia Will Never Stop Calling For Worldwide Recognition Of Genocide 12 November 2008, Panarmenian
Armenia will never stop calling for worldwide recognition of the Genocide and will not tolerate its denial, the RA Foreign Minister said.

“Turkish media reports that Armenian top officials stand for suspension of the Armenian Genocide international recognition process are absolutely false,” Edward Nalbandian said.

Some Turkish media quoted Minister Nalbandian as if saying that “Armenia wants to maintain good ties with neighboring Turkey and believes resolutions passed in other countries’ parliaments supporting the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I will not help dialogue between the two countries.”

Abdullah Gul: "If Barack Oabama Recognizes "Armenians Genocide" It Would Mean That He Sets Up The Unreal Things For The Reality", 11 November 2008, Panarmenian

"Politicians must not engage in the issue of "Armenians genocide", said Turkey President Abdullah Gul in his interview to Belgian magazine Le Vif/L'Express. "If the newly elected US president Barack Obama recognizes "the Armenian genocide", it would mean that he sets up the unreal things for reality", noted Gul.

He said politicians must not engage in this issue.

"No one should forget the fact that Turkish and Armenians lived peacefully for centuries and these events were not the only problem between the two people, especially in a specific situation during the first world war", noted Gul.

Ra President: Commission Of Historians On Armenian Genocide Needless 11 November 2008, Panarmenian
Formation of a commission of historians to study the fact of the Armenian Genocide is absolutely needless, the Armenian President said.

“We want to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey and have open borders,” Serzh Sargsyan said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

“Turkey’s acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide should not be a precondition for establishment of relations. European countries did not need commissions of historians to develop normal relations,” he underscored.

“We want to restore our relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan. We want to build a link connecting Armenia and Iran. The stronger infrastructure we have the more attractive and secure Armenia will be,” President Sargsyan said.

Armenian Genocide Resolution Likely To Be Passed In Congress In April11 November 2008, Panarmenian
U.S. President Barack Obama was elected from Illinois and Chicago, the state capital, has a large Greek and Armenian population, said Sabri Sayari, a professor of political science at Sabanci University.

“For electoral reasons, Obama has been pushing for this for years now. Joe Biden was elected from Delaware, which also has a small but influential Greek-American population. Greek and Armenian Americans work together on this issue. When you have both the president and the vice president strongly pushing for this, the Armenian Genocide resolution will pass in Congress this time in April. Both Biden and Obama have been tremendously committed to the issue,” he said.

If Turkey and Armenia open their mutual border as the next step of the recent rapprochement between them, it could change the equilibrium in Turkey's relations with Armenia, but it would not affect the diaspora, according to him.

“We have seen what happened in the Greek-Turkish situation. Turkey reached a rapprochement with Greece in 1999 and the relations are quite warm, but the Greek-American diaspora is still critical of Turkey. Just two weeks ago, the founding of the Turkish Republic was being celebrated in Los Angeles by Turkish-Americans and 200 young Armenians demonstrated there. What happens between Turkey and Armenia does not seem to be affecting the diaspora community,” Sayari said, Today’s Zaman reports.

Obama And Turkey (Ilter Turkmen) 11 November 2008, Hürriyet
A couple of days ago while I was watching a televised debate over the newly-elected president of the United States, Barack Obama, I heard the following conversation; "Question: Is the election of Obama a part of a project? Answer: No doubt about it." Yes, we saw a unique reaction in Turkey when he won.

Our professional conspiracy theorists came up with a scenario; even if it seems Obama has come to power through a democratic election process, it is in fact nothing other than an implementation of a project by the deep state! Meaning, the deep state, from the beginning, had prepared Obama as the Democrat candidate and then brought Hillary Clinton up as his rival. But in the race, the deep state supported Obama and preferred John McCain as Republican candidate.

In order to weaken McCain, the deep state pushed Sarah Palin in as his vice-presidential nominee. While McCain and Obama were neck-and-neck in the race, the deep state this time provoked the economic crisis in order to stimulate Obama supporters. In the end, Obama won!

An awesome scenario, is it not? Not to admire the power of imagination behind this is impossible. Political scientists in Europe see Obama’s victory as proof of Americans’ enormous ability for self-renewal and lament not having a leader like him. But they err! We should reveal the facts to them! However, Europe is the home of the great philosopher, mathematician and scientist Ren? Descartes. "I think therefore I am," he said. And suspicion is at the bottom of thought. You will not entertain every single thought that enters your mind. You will ask yourself, I wonder if this is true. Of course, this is a difficult process. If you stick to a pattern of thought you like and if you adopt it, you are comforted each time you apply it! Obama’s remarks before the election are a cause of concern.

That is correct. For instance, he said he would ask NATO allies to send more troops to Afghanistan. But we are not obliged to say yes to him all the time. There is nothing more natural than a country struggling with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, terror to turn down greater troop deployment to Afghanistan.

Obama also described the Turkish military in Cyprus as "occupation forces" but the criteria he has introduced for a settlement of the Cyprus issue are not much different from what we offer, together with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC. Besides, we all know talks between Turkish and Greek leaders on the island will not end with a solution. We are mostly concerned by his remark that he would back a bill in favor of the so-called Armenian genocide allegations.

Time will tell if this was only an election gimmick or not. U.S. presidents, however, send messages every April 24, although they refrain from using the term "genocide." American Presidents issue statements in which they stress that 1.5 million Armenians were killed, that this is a tragedy in the history of mankind which should not be forgotten. Let us do our best to prevent a bill in favor of Armenian allegations but let us also keep in mind that turning this into a problem in bilateral relations is against our interests. On the other side, the best way to curb a negative development is to complement and fortify the new environment, created by Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s initiative in Turkish-Armenian relations, with solid content.

Will Obama back the formation of an independent Kurdish state in the north of Iraq? The establishment of such a state will end with the disintegration of Iraq, the formation of a Shia state in the south and dangerously increase Iranian influence in the Gulf region. Why does the United States want all this? The more we make realistic assessments, the more our policies will be right on the money.

Armenian Diaspora Politics Is Not Democratic Or Pro-Armenian Politic Nov 10, 2008
Democratic politics is about people, it is about visions and the programmes developed that will defend and improve their lives. It is about the organisation of forces to battle for the realisation of such a vision and such a programme. This at least is the essence and the ambition of democratic politics, on a national and international level. Any other politics is a deception, an anti-democratic politics, a mere cover for the defence of narrow interests as opposed to those of the people and the nation.

In this respect Armenian Diaspora politics is not democratic politics.

Armenian Diaspora politics that is preoccupied with Armenian affairs is as far removed from the Armenian people and nation as you can get. This politics is concentrated in the campaign for Genocide recognition and is not rooted not in the reality of Armenian life in Armenia or in the fortunes of its now suffering people. It is focussed on endlessly demanding the recognition of an established and irrefutable historical fact. This campaign to reaffirm an irrefutable historical truth is at the expense of the most urgent demands of today.

Armenian Diaspora politics is not focussed on improving the lives of the Armenian people, on strengthening the Armenian nation and state, on promoting its economic and social development and thus helping to create conditions for its security and stability.

With its concentration on the campaign for foreign powers to recognise the 1915 Genocide the Diaspora repeats of course the fundamental error of modern Armenian politics – it kowtows to foreign powers, it begs and pleads at the feet of the great imperial behemoths hoping for charity and crumbs. But the Diaspora today does this in an even more abysmal fashion. The Diaspora disease of dependence is more cancerous and dangerous than anything seen in the pre-Soviet epochs.

In the pre-Soviet period we also begged and pleaded. We did so with the British Crown, the French Republic and the Tsars. We also trusted the Young Turks. For our pains each time we had our teeth kicked in. But between then and now there is one decisive difference

At least then, during the campaigns of 1878 and San Stefano and Berlin, during the crises of 1895-96, during the terribly misnamed 1908 Young Turk `revolution', during the 1915 genocide and the period of the 1918 First Republic the purpose for begging and pleading with imperial powers was to directly assist and aid the Armenian people living in their homeland. It was a preoccupation with the conditions in the land on which they lived and from which they were being pushed out. It was concern and campaigning rooted in the tangible realities of their daily lives of the Armenian people.

Today things in the Diaspora are very different. There is no energetic and vigorous campaign to defend and improve the Armenian people's lives and their future.

Where is the campaign to force the international community to recognise the Garabagh Armenians right to self-determination? Where is the campaign to recognise the independence of Garabagh? On an international stage this should be absolutely number one priority for the security and development of Armenians living in their homeland.

There are unquestionable and urgent issues of national relations, of the rights of the ordinary Armenian and Azerbaijani people of Garabagh. But these issues cannot be resolved without the recognition of the democratic rights of the Armenian people of Garabagh threatened by war and expulsion from Garabagh.

Where is the systematic and comprehensive campaign to expose Azerbaijani elite denial of Armenian national rights and the Azeri state's preparations, with Turkish elite and state support, for war, war not just against Garabagh but against the very existence of Armenia?

Where is the campaign against the Armenian oligarchs whose robbery and plunder are the primary causes of the mass exodus from Armenia threatening not just the foundations of the Third Republic but the very existence of an Armenian state and nation?

The list could be extended.

Instead of rooting itself in the realities of the day, in the conditions of the Armenians in their homeland, the Diaspora political elite focuses efforts on begging foreign powers to recognise a historical fact, the fact of Genocide.

This is truly bizarre.

To put it bluntly the interests of living Armenians in the Armenian homelands are sacrificed in order to obtain from anti-Armenian imperial powers recognition of what is already an existing and ineradicably historical fact. And this despite the fact that even when states or governments recognise the Armenian Genocide their concrete politics in relation to living Armenia remain as anti-Armenian as ever.

This is not politics, or at any rate not democratic politics. Why Armenian Diaspora politics is of this nature must be the subject of another session.

Eddie Arnavoudian 10 November 2008

Shant Student Association, Glendale, California 91206, www.arfshant.org PRESS RELEASE, November 13, 2008
All-Asa Confederation Reaffirms Importance Of Armenian American Issues

Los Angeles, CA - The All-Armenian Students Association ("All-ASA"), a confederation of Armenian American college student organizations, adopted a resolution reaffirming their support for Genocide recognition as well as the self determination of Nagorno-Karabagh. In a general meeting held recently at Loyola Marymount University, delegates voted in favor of the resolution which was introduced by the Shant Student Association ("SSA"), one of more than a dozen organizations represented.

The meeting was attended by more than 30 university students from throughout California and was the first general meeting of the All-ASA for the 2008-2009 academic year.

"It is imperative that as Armenian American students, we voice our concerns regarding community issues, including the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish blockade on Armenia, and the self determination of Nagorno-Karabagh," said SSA Representative to the All-ASA, Caspar Jivalagian.

The adoption of the most recent Armenian Genocide resolution in the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2007 sparked a firestorm of media coverage over the Turkish government's threats to retaliate against America if the measure were approved by the full House of Representatives. Turkey has poured millions of foreign dollars into the U.S. political system, hiring both former Members of Congress to make its case and public relations firms to spin media coverage against this human rights legislation.

In September of 1991, the people of Nagorno-Karabagh formally declared their independence, having previously voted overwhelmingly in favor of separation from the Soviet Union and Azerbaijan due to repeated suppression of rights and massacres of Armenians within Azerbaijan. Although Azerbaijan launched a failed full-scale war against the people of Nagorno-Karabagh, it has been unable to assert its authority over the region since the cease-fire brokered in 1994. To this day the Azerbaijani government repeatedly threatens a resumption of war to subjugate the de facto independent republic in violation of the international principle of the self-determination of peoples.

"As students we understand that education is crucial to ensuring that the community at large understands Armenian American issues and our concerns," said Sevada Markosyan, who represented the Cal Poly Pomona ASA at the meeting.

The All-ASA confederation provides a forum for participating independent Armenian American colleges student groups through which these organizations may facilitate cooperative initiatives and deliberate on issues faced by the Armenian college student community.
The full text of the resolution is included below:

Whereas the current government of Turkey continues an international campaign proactively denying the Armenian Genocide,

Whereas the blockade of Armenia by the government of Turkey has cost the Republic of Armenia billions of dollars in economic opportunity and remains the last "closed border" of Europe,

Whereas the establishment of diplomatic ties between Armenia and Turkey must include a just resolution for the crime of the Armenian Genocide,

Whereas the government of Azerbaijan continues to spew belligerent war rhetoric calling for a resumption of armed conflict against the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic, as well as the complete destruction of Armenia,

Whereas a resolution to the Nagorno Karabagh conflict should be reached expeditiously, respecting the natural right of self-determination,

Be it resolved, the All-ASA body reaffirm its support for Armenian Genocide recognition as well as its commitment to the territorial integrity of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic.

ADOPTED: Sunday, October 18, 2008

Turkey-Obama Ties Hurt By Four Obstacles
ANKARA - Turkey fears issues about Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Armenian genocide allegations will cause rifts between the new U.S. administration and the Turkish government. Despite recent progress in many of these areas, Obama and Biden’s links to certain interest groups could endanger an already rocky relationship

Despite the high expectations voiced about the new leaders of the United States, Obama and Biden’s foreign policy could present additional problems to Turkish diplomacy, according to an analysis undertaken by Turkish diplomats.

"There are four major issues where we could face serious disagreement with the new administration; Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan and the so-called Armenian genocide claims," a senior Turkish foreign ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Cyprus problem
It is certain the new administration will continue to back ongoing talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots to reach a comprehensive settlement. Biden’s strong ties with the Greek lobby in Washington is seen as a matter of concern. Some Turkish experts believe that as the platform for the solution has already shifted from the United Nations to the European Union, Washington’s impact on the process will be limited.

However, Turkish officials point out it was only recently that Turkey’s views on Cyprus have gained legitimacy and weight in Washington, during the Bush era. "Therefore, we have to re-start efforts to arrive at the same level with the newcomers," officials said.

More troops to Afghanistan
NATO countries are expecting pressure from the new administration to send more troops to Afghanistan due to General David Petraeus being promoted to top commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. "The lesson General Petraeus took from Iraq is the success of military surges. The new administration will surely knock on our door to send additional troops," a senior EU diplomat told the Daily News.

Erdoğan questioned Obama’s plan to gradually relocate American troops stationed in Iraq to Afghanistan, saying "Is this going to be a solution or a grave disaster?"

Criticizing the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, which caused massive damage to Iraqi civilization in only six years, Erdoğan recalled the process had begun with the slogan "global peace" in the early 2000s.

"If we defend global peace, we, the world leaders, should work for it in solidarity. The cost (of failure) is the death of millions and the spending of trillions of dollars," he said.

In Iraq, Turkey’s primary concern is a possible wave of instability if there is a quick withdrawal of American troops. The making of a Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, between Iraq and the United States is cautiously watched by Turkey.

Baghdad has already announced it will consult its neighbors on the contents of the agreement, expected to include a clause about Iraq’s commitment to the prevention of terrorist attacks on neighboring countries from its territories.

Direct dialogue with northern Iraqi leaders
With regard to establishing direct dialogue with northern Iraqi leaders, the Obama administration will take the same line as the current one.

As for cooperation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, diplomats do not foresee a change in U.S. policy. But in the mid-term, the Obama administration could seek a more civilian approach from Turkey to end the terror problem inside the country. In this context, the possible dissolution of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, would attract harsh criticism from Washington.

In relation to the Armenian genocide, Turkish diplomats think the recent rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan may not be enough to stop the Armenian diaspora’s efforts in the United States to have the 1915 incident officially recognized as genocide.

Both Obama and Biden promised their voters of Armenian origin to work for such a recognition. "There could be attempts for recognition early next year," the official said, adding, "But we have already started to work against this possibility. In our early contact with Obama and Biden’s advisers, we were clear about the sensitivity of the issue."

Madeleine Albright To Meet Erdoğan As Obama’s Stand-In, ÜMİT ENGİNSOY / WASHINGTON

While representing Turkey at the Group of 20 economic summit in Washington on Saturday, PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to meet with former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, officials said.

Obama has opted to stay out of the G20 summit, but Wednesday named Albright, who was democratic ex-president Bill Clinton's top diplomat, and former Republican representative Jim Leach to unofficially meet visiting world leaders on his behalf. "There is one president at a time in the United States, so the president-elect has asked secretary Albright and congressman Leach, an experienced and bipartisan team, to be available to meet with and listen to our friends and allies on his behalf," Obama adviser Denis McDonough said in Chicago, according to a Reuters report.

Erdoğan is due to meet with Albright on Saturday afternoon, shortly after the G20 summit's closure, according to his schedule. Obama and vice president-elect Joe Biden will receive a briefing from Albright and Leach after the meetings with world leaders.

Erdoğan is expected to voice his suggestion that Turkey mediate between the United States and Iran, which Washington accuses of trying to develop nuclear weapons. He first expressed this proposal in an interview published in the The New York Times on Wednesday. During his election campaign, Obama also pledged to recognize the World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as an act of genocide.

If he keeps his promise, Turkey and the United States may be heading towards a crisis early on in the Obama presidency, and Erdoğan is expected to voice his concerns over this matter to Albright, analysts said. The G20 summit is to seek a solution to the ongoing global financial crisis and discuss ways to rehabilitate the financial system. But in the absence of Obama, who will direct the U.S. economy over the next four years, it is not clear if such efforts will amount to anything more than a show of solidarity.

Turkish Newspaper Makes Waves Taking On Establishment, By Dorian Jones, Istanbul, 13 November 2008
A small but spirited newspaper is taking on the establishment in Turkey and shaking up the compliant Turkish media. Taraf, the paper with sources deep within the military, has published scoop after scoop exposing military interference in politics. But, the paper is facing increasing legal and political pressure. For VOA, Dorian Jones has this background report from Istanbul.

The Taraf's editorial board is discussing the latest threat of prosecution by the Turkish armed forces. The threat follows the publication of leaked army documents accusing the military of negligence over the death of 17 soldiers in a recent attack by Kurdish separatists on a Turkish military outpost on the Iraqi border.

Turkish helicopter flies over Cudi mountain during attack on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camp, 30 October 2007

Deputy Editor Yasmin Congar warns that the newspaper could be raided anytime. But the editors agree to continue pursuing the story, despite the threat.

"It is clear to me that the military is angrier than ever," she said. "We have not seen the chief [of the military] come out to make such an angry statement before. But when you start questioning why is the war is going on? Why didn't you stop this attack? Is the military doing all it should? Is the Kurdish problem solvable through military means? If you don't ask these questions, the war will go on. If you ask these questions, if you bring out certain questions and perhaps where the military or the government did not do its job properly, then everyone in this country will start ask questions. Maybe we are questioning the legitimacy of the war itself."

Throughout the 25-year war against the Kurdish separatists, the PKK, Turkey's mainstream media has rarely questioned the generals in their handling of the conflict.

But Taraf has changed all that.

On its launch last November, with access to sources deep within the army's high command, it exposed attempts by the generals to interfere in Turkish politics. In an article, it exposed the ultranationalist Ergenekon, or Deep State, group and 86 alleged members, including senior military officers, now on trial, accused of trying to engineer a coup.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara, Turkey, 11 Nov 2008

But it was Taraf's criticism of the army's handling of its war against Kurdish separatists that drew condemnation by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr. Erdogan says there is no place for weakness or hesitation in this fight. He says that no one should even attempt to show that security forces as being weak or hesitant. "We have lost some of our youngest sons to this," he says. "We have sacrificed our women, children and elders. We have been hurt, and are we still in pain."

Taraf is now fighting both the powerful army and the government, with many of its journalist facing the threat of arrest and prosecution under Turkey's tough anti-terror laws.

But with the war against the PKK claiming nearly 40,000 lives and with no end in sight, political scientist Soli Ozel of Bilgi University says the newspaper is playing a crucial role.

"It's really important," says Ozel. "You may or may not like the way they pursue these things. You may have problems with the kind of journalism they have been producing. But if it weren't for them we would not have been discussing these things. I think they have given a voice to a great unease amongst the population about the wisdom of continuing a war with no accountability."

Outside Taraf's office, demonstrators protested in support of the newspaper. The show of solidarity comes after reports that prosecutors were planning to raid the paper. This is Ceran Kener, a student who is protesting in support of the paper.

"Taraf is facing pressure from the military and politicians and it is importantly to show it is not alone. Taraf is a unique newspaper which is questioning the role of the military, the role of official ideology, and it does not have any limits," he said Kener.

The government is not only targeting newspapers.

Last month, a Turkish court blocked access to the popular popular blogging Web site, Blogger.com. Turkish courts have blocked access to more than 1,000 Web sites, many because of their political content, including You Tube, which it claims has videos criticizing the founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Media studies professor Berke Bas of Bilgi University, says the bans demonstrates the control mentality of the state.

"The state has not caught up with the mentality of the modern times - how people are continuing their lives as individuals and how they are defying all these pressures, all of this censorship, all these efforts to limit their existence, their freedom expression. But technology is so illusive that you cannot control it. But the state is not aware of it. They are trying to impose pressure by banning a site that millions and millions of people use in the world," said Berke Bas.

Taraf's Congar says unless there are closed down, they determined to continue to publish and hold both the Turkish government and the military accountable for their actions.

"There are certain threats, a certain pressure, not only from the military but from the government as well. But it does not change much for us really," she said. "We are really just doing our job. We will keep doing this. Nothing will stop us. There will be threats there will be pressure. But the officials in Turkey, both civilian and military, will have to get used to life in a democratic society."

Every day Taraf faces the prospect of a raid by prosecutors and prosecution. Whether the paper suffers the same fate of previous publications that challenge the status quo by of being closed down, is now seen an important litmus test of press freedom in Turkey.


Filmmaker Examines Genocide, by Sarah Probst, UW Badger Herald, Nov 12 2008, WI

Over 90 years after its onset, the murder of over 1 million Armenians by the Turks in the Armenian genocide in 1915 is still a contentious issue -- and it most certainly hasn't been forgotten. Documentary filmmaker Dr. Carla Garapedian made this clear Tuesday night during a lecture where she addressed this issue head-on.

The event, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Genocide Awareness Week and the Armenian Students' Association, featured a screening of her documentary "Screamers," a bold glimpse at the gruesome nature of genocide seen through the lens of the band System of a Down and set to the soundtrack of their music.

"If you came to see the political issues, I've got to warn you about the music," Garapedian warned. "If you came to hear the music, I've got to warn you about the genocide images."

"Screamers," which has won three awards and been translated into 12 languages, shows members of System of a Down -- all four men are Armenian -- as a politically charged unit set to educate lawmakers and fans alike about the Armenian genocide. At one point in the documentary, frontman Serj Tankian demands the Turkish government pay for what it's done, and the band launches into the song "P.L.U.C.K.," or politically lying, unholy, cowardly killers.

Although the documentary begins a political travel diary of the band's European tour, the film, released in 2006, eventually evolves into a broader look at genocide, the tragedies that follow the already horrific events and why the public has long had little knowledge about the Armenian genocide in particular.

"The Armenian genocide is actually well-documented -- we just don't have moving picture," Garapedian explained, acknowledging that videos from the genocide in Darfur or the ethnic cleansing in Sarajevo have increased the public's awareness of these atrocities.

Despite the countless photographs, many world nations -- including the United States -- have yet to acknowledge the atrocities that occurred in Armenia in the early 1900s as actual acts of genocide. For many countries, Garapedian explained, this is to protect the political interests of certain countries; some nations may fear that, by acknowledging the acts of another country as genocide, that country --the U.S., for example -- may be accused of war crimes.

Still, acknowledging any situation as genocide isn't the end, and Garapedian indicated there's still a long road to travel before the Armenian government may take steps toward doing so.

"[Dealing with genocide is] a process; it's as if the perpetrators (are) still going through the process of what's done," Garapedian said. "That hasn't happened in Turkey."

Sinan Ogan: Turkish-Armenian Relations Have Long And Deep-Rooted History PanARMENIAN.Net 11.11.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish-Armenian relations have long and deep-rooted history, said Sinan Ogan, Chair of the Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis.

"The question is which aspects of these relations should be considered today. Should we cover all dimensions of Turkish-Armenian relations or should we restrict ourselves to discussion of the events of 1915. If we seek answers for current problems in history and take it for a starting point, there would be no future for Turkish-Armenian relations.There were a lot problems and wars among different societies in history. As of today, we can see that all these countries have peaceful relations. For instance, The Russian Federation and Germany which used to be enemies 60 years ago, today are very close allies," he said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

"Why haven't Turkey and Armenia become friends? No one should forget that only historians are to decide who was right or wrong. Resting on their assessments, we could change the world. Therefore, the future of Turkish-Armenian relations can be very bright or very dark at the same time. The most important thing is how much we want peace and good relations," he said.

Swiss President: Armenian Genocide Should Be Studied By Historians, But Its Denial Should Be Punished 12.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The President of the Swiss Confederation has backed Turkey's calls for a study of the Armenian Genocide, saying the dispute over history should be settled by historians, not politicians.

Pascal Couchepin is on a visit to Turkey on occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Turkey. He had talks with President Abdullah Gul on Monday and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan on Tuesday.

To Turkey's dismay, the Swiss leader defended his country’s laws penalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide during a news conference with Gul. He said the laws were passed 20 years ago with the principal purpose of punishing denial of the Holocaust and that the Swiss judges had the flexibility to interpret laws according to different circumstances, Today’s Zaman reports.

The lower house of the Swiss Parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide in a 2003 vote, causing strain in bilateral relations with Turkey.

Last year, Dogu Perincek, a Turkish politician and the leader of the Workers’ Party (IP), was charged of denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of The Republic Of Armenia Press And Information Department, Email: press@mfa.am, www.armeniaforeignministry.am
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian's Answer To The Question Of "Novosti-Armenia" News Agency

Question: Mr. Minister, recently several Turkish media published reports Armenia's policy for international recognition of Armenian Genocide. What would be you reaction?

Answer: Turkish media reports on Armenian officials' would be declarations are distorted and presented upside down. I have already said and I'd like to repeat that Armenian officials have not spoken and would never speak against the process of international recognition of Armenian Genocide. Moreover, Armenia can not tolerate

Nalbandian Denies ‘genocide' Report
Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian has denied remarks attributed to him that efforts to win recognition of Armenian claims of genocide do not help dialogue between Turkey and his country.

Responding to a question on the reported comment, Nalbandian said he would never oppose efforts to win international recognition of the Armenian claims. "I have already said, and I'd like to repeat, that Armenian officials have not spoken and would never speak against the process of international recognition of the Armenian genocide," he told the Novosti-Armenia news agency. "Moreover, Armenia cannot tolerate any expression of Armenian genocide denial." The Turkish NTV station reported last weekend that Nalbandian had questioned the merit of passing resolutions in foreign countries' parliaments to recognize the alleged genocide. "Let's say 20 countries have passed such resolutions. What would happen if 50 more do the same?" Nalbandian asked at a conference in Stockholm, according to NTV.

Mhp Leader Bahçeli Slams Praise Of Us President-Elect Obama
MHP leader expresses support for State Minister Nimet Çubukçu's attitude as a stance by a statesman.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has strongly rebuked those who assert that the US has resolved its racism problem by electing Barack Obama as president and that Turkey should take this as a model.

Speaking at his party's weekly group meeting, Bahçeli started his address by mentioning Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the republic, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of his death. Referring to Obama's election as president of the US, Bahçeli acknowledged it was a significant event, adding, however, that it was extremely exaggerated. Bahçeli further noted that the presence of circles paying greater emphasis and attention to this election than their own citizens is a typical example of an ongoing intellectual crisis.

Recalling that Obama and the US are being praised with particular reference to the argument that the US has overcome its issue of racism and that Turkey is next in addressing this problem, Bahçeli stresses that the most frequent remark on Obama's election implies that the recent change in the US should be taken as a model for Turkey. "I suggest that those with this mindset take a look at their own past and the sons of foreigners who rose to the ranks of viziers and sultans in our thousands-of-years-long administrative history instead of the US."

Arguing that Turks had achieved and maintained their current high moral standards and values centuries ago, Bahçeli further said: "I would like to remind those who praise the rise of the grandson of a Kenyan farmer to the rank of US president that the children of the republic who have come from all over Anatolia -- from every social background and group without facing any disadvantages or discrimination -- have become presidents, prime ministers, deputies and generals during the republican regime."

A cautionary optimism

Bahçeli also says he is partly optimistic and mostly cautious about Obama's policies concerning Turkey, stressing that he is hopeful bilateral relations between Turkey and the US will be consolidated because of this optimism. Bahçeli further noted that Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani supports the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and is jeopardizing regional stability and security. Recalling Obama's remarks made shortly before the American presidential election in which Obama reiterated his support for the alleged Armenian genocide, Bahçeli also underlined that the new US administration's policies vis-à-vis the Cyprus problem are particularly important. The MHP leader added that they expect a realistic approach toward Turkey, one which will emphasize the significance of bilateral relations with President-elect Obama.

Noting that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government failed to pursue a sound policy on bilateral relations so far and that it should use this opportunity to embrace a dramatically different mindset to promote a national interest-oriented policy approach, Bahçeli said: "It is proper to take a look at the presidential election in the US from this perspective. It will be necessary to seek new ways in the new era to make sure that Turkey gets off the wrong path it has taken with minimum damage. To this end, I think it will be better to stay away from binding engagements with the new American administration without actually seeing its new approach in fields that closely concern Turkey."

Asserting that recent developments with respect to the Cyprus issue over the past five years as well as the AK Party government's failed and submissive policies had taken the resolution of this vital issue for Turkey to a precarious level, Bahçeli further argued that the ground for a resolution to the issue had slipped away. Noting that a new resolution should be sought to ensure the creation of a structure with two regions, two nations and two states, Bahçeli says: "Policies the new US administration will pursue as regards the Cyprus issue will be of particular importance."

Recalling that close ties with Armenia and campaigns sponsored by Armenian lobbies in the US have had negative repercussions for US-Turkish bilateral relations, Bahçeli said: "The new US president's views and approach supporting Armenian arguments during his election campaign are worrying. The new administration should adopt a realistic political approach that will emphasize the significance of bilateral relations to both sides."

Bahçeli also expressed support to State Minister Nimet Çubukçu, who has criticized Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson for secretly recording inside institutions for developmentally disabled children run by the Social Services and Child Protection Agency. Describing Çubukçu's attitude as a stance by a statesman, Bahçeli also endorsed her approach to the Hüseyin Üzmez child abuse case. Bahçeli said Çubukçu's objection to a forensic report in the case was appropriate, adding that his party is ready to extend any help and support needed in the matter.
12 November 2008, SERVET DAĞ, CIHAN ANKARA

Death Threats To Turk Sympathizer
Standing against so called Armenian genocide ideas and supporting Turkish thesis, Steve Cohen receives many death threats.

Entering the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennesse by Democratic Party, Turkish sympathizer Steve Cohen receives many death threats. Even he is an Armenian he is against the Armenian ideas, and continously stressing how Turkish people supports him, Cohen says the threats are sorrowful. Winning the elections against Nikki Tinker, who was being supported by Armenian diaspora, Cohen says “If Niki’s ideas find support by Armenians, then my ones are being supported by Turks. If Niki had won the elections, would Turkish people be threating him by death? I don’t think so”.

Tennesse Police department interviewed with Cohen about death threats, althoug Cohen says he is not afraid of such threats. Turkish foundations in U.S. censured the death threats.

Turkish Academician: "Genocide" Resolution Likely To Be Passed In Congress In April
U.S. President Barack Obama was elected from Illinois and Chicago, the state capital, has a large Greek and Armenian population, said Sabri Sayari, a professor of political science at Sabanci University.

“For electoral reasons, Obama has been pushing for this for years now. Joe Biden was elected from Delaware, which also has a small but influential Greek-American population. Greek and Armenian Americans work together on this issue. When you have both the president and the vice president strongly pushing for this, so called Armenian genocide resolution will pass in Congress this time in April. Both Biden and Obama have been tremendously committed to the issue,” he said.

If Turkey and Armenia open their mutual border as the next step of the recent rapprochement between them, it could change the equilibrium in Turkey's relations with Armenia, but it would not affect the diaspora, according to him. “We have seen what happened in the Greek-Turkish situation. Turkey reached a rapprochement with Greece in 1999 and the relations are quite warm, but the Greek-American diaspora is still critical of Turkey. Just two weeks ago, the founding of the Turkish Republic was being celebrated in Los Angeles by Turkish-Americans and 200 young Armenians demonstrated there. What happens between Turkey and Armenia does not seem to be affecting the diaspora community,” Sayari said, Today’s Zaman reports.
November 11, 2008

U.S. Interests In Turkey
Turkey's AKP-led government, having survived a recent court case attempting to close it down for anti-secular activities, will be expected to move forward with its newly drafted third national program. However, as the only political party in power with a pro-EU position, the AKP has little incentive to push for reforms with which it disagrees or put it at political risk. At the moment, opposition political parties protest even the smallest, most cosmetic of reforms, and too often the accession process is used as a pawn in internal political gamesmanship.

The AKP, for its part, has lost the support of many liberal reformers who have come to doubt its sincerity and/or competence in moving Turkey toward liberal democracy and eventual EU membership. Thus, implementation of the party's third national program will be a test for the party, as well as the Turkish public, although significant progress will not likely be made on the reform package until after local elections in March 2009.

As Turkey struggles to position itself somewhere between Europhilia and Euroskepticism, the United States must continue to support Turkish accession into the EU. For its part, it should ignore neoconservative efforts to undermine the AKP, meanwhile doing all it can to improve its own relations with Turkey, mainly through encouraging dialogue between Turkey and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) The more the Turkish government works directly with the KRG, the less likely the United States will be caught in disputes between the two. Any convergence of interests arrived at through talks between Turkey and the KRG is to the benefit of the United States. Further welcome is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent praise of Turkey's efforts to build a regional alliance in Central Asia, after a period of initial resistance to the initiative resulting from its exclusion of the United States and the EU. Turkey as an EU member would be valuably cemented to the West, serving as an important bridge to Central Asia as well as a potential peacemaking force in the Middle East.

Barack Obama’s presidential win offers further opportunity to strengthen relations with Turkey. As a function of his opposition to the Iraq War and his message of "change," the president-elect enjoys popularity in Turkey akin to the popularity with which former President Bill Clinton was met on his visit following the 1999 earthquakes. Obama's promise to restore good relations with Turkey is eagerly received by many Turks, though not without caveats. Many Turks are leery of Obama's position on the Armenian massacres of 1915, and his recognition of them as genocide would badly damage U.S.-Turkey relations. Also feared are Vice President-Elect Joe Biden's previously expressed plans for a tripartite division of Iraq, which Turkey believes would empower the KRG and possibly foment calls for a united and independent Kurdistan. However, if Obama treads carefully on the Armenian issue, and supports a regional solution to terrorist efforts of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which involves Turkey and the KRG as well as Baghdad, the next administration has a tremendous possibility to rebuild relations that the Iraq War badly damaged.

Ragan Updegraff is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus, a freelance writer and observer of Turkish politics. You can find more of his work in his blog, Turkish Politics in Action

Russia And Obama: Untying The Gordian Knot By By Eric Walberg, Online Journal, Nov 11, 2008,

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave his state-of-the-union address last Wednesday, just a few hours after Barack Obama's historic electoral triumph, and pointedly refrained from mentioning it, though he is on record as hoping for an Obama presidency.

"It would be easier to work with people with a modern outlook, rather than those whose eyes are turned back to the past," he said in February, before he was elected president himself. In a simple note sent to Obama and posted on the Kremlin's web site later Wednesday afternoon, he said, "I hope for a constructive dialogue with you, based on trust and consideration of each other's interests."

It is unlikely there will be a love-in a la US President George W Bush and President Vladimir Putin, when the former famously said, "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul," considering the disastrous plunge in relations following this sound-bite moment. Or, more to the point, because of the foreign policy hawks Obama relies on, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose anti-Russian credentials I dissected in "Zbigniew Brzezinski to be the real power behind an Obama throne."

Or, in light of the virtually identical public avowals by both Obama and John McCain concerning relations with Russia (apart from McCain's inane vow to exclude Russia from the G8), i.e., Georgia , missile defence, and Iran. The Russians know perfectly well that not much changes in US foreign policy from one regime to the next. The US empire follows a certain ruthless logic and must be accommodated by the political functionaries presiding over it.

In fact, analyst Kiril Rogov says most politicians actually wanted McCain to win. "Russian officials were ready for the kind of old-style confrontation a McCain presidency appeared to offer," he said.

"Obama has promised a new model of foreign relations, and that worries Russian politicians." And there's Obama's loose cannon VP Joseph Biden, who presented the Democratic Convention with his plan for the new administration's "real war," the war against Russia and China.

Still, there is room for hope. We all know just how "powerful" US vice presidents are (with the exception of the current office holder). Obama will not let himself be seen as an Uncle Tom. Both presidents are 40-something lawyers by training, cultured and reserved, starting their day online, not just relying on briefings prepared by aides. By all accounts, they are both reasonably uncorrupted by their meteoric rise to power, have cool heads and have the best interests of their countries at heart.

It is unlikely that Obama will run such a wild, unpremeditated foreign policy as his predecessor. There are factions within the imperial establishment -- liberals vs hawks. As presumably one of the former, Obama will be more likely to rely on soft power (undermining other governments in the name of democracy) vs outright war. The Russians no doubt will count on Obama to wind down the current wars rather than starting new ones, all the time keeping their eye on campaigns to "promote democracy" in their backyard. Remember it was Republican McCain's adviser Randy Scheunemann and Vice-President Richard Cheney who abetted the brash Georgian president to go to war with Russia last August. Vyacheslav Nikonov, of the Politika think tank, says, "Obama is an open book, a story to be written."

So there is a bit of a fresh slate, despite the exigencies of the empire.

Any anti-Russia manoeuvring under the tutelage of Brzezinski will be much cleverer than under those who pulled the strings for Bush. The sorest point with Russia, of course, is the ever-looming plan for US missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Obama has been cagey about this so far. After the Polish government website announced Obama would proceed with the missile sites, his senior foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough said, "President Kaczynski raised missile defense, but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it. His position is as it was throughout the campaign, that he supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable." The Czech public is solidly against it and just proved it by drubbing the ruling Civic Democrats in Senate and regional elections. The Senate will discuss the plan at the end of November. The Social Democrats, who benefited from the drubbing, promise to halt it. The Poles are already resigned to the possibility it will not happen after the above embarrassing exchange, with analysts suggesting the many problems the US now faces could mean an indefinite delay in the coveted base.

Alexander Khramchikhin, a defense analyst with the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, said that with Democrats in control of the presidency and Congress, the US could well cut defense spending and put the anti-missile system on the backburner. Obama could easily remove himself from that hook, providing a wonderful olive branch to the Russians.

Medvedev's threat to station Iskander missiles next door to Poland in Kaliningrad would evaporate. Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's hardnosed envoy to NATO predicted that Obama would stop pressuring European NATO members from cooperating with Russia.

The other, equally sore point in relations -- NATO's triumphal march to Russia 's borders -- could also be resolved by diplomacy. The rose is off Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's bloom after his botched war, and Ukraine is due for a new president, with both opposition contenders dismissing NATO membership as a priority. Again, by giving the right signals and avoiding Bush bluster about freedom and democracy, Obama could pacify the Russians without any loss of US prestige.

The main economic issue, which swamps both these political issues, is the September financial meltdown, which slashed the value of Russian stocks by two-thirds and, with the collapse in the price of oil, promises to leave Medvedev helpless to carry out his ambitious reform programme.

Medvedev's top economic adviser, Arkady Dvorkovich, thinks that under Obama, the United States will engage in a closer dialogue with Europe, Asia and Russia to find a way out of the financial crisis. "This dialogue will begin in the near future in Washington. We will look for solutions together."

Medvedev will travel to Washington on 15 November to attend a G20 summit on the financial crisis, where he could meet Obama. Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, called on Obama to "find courage" to abandon the United States' unilateral approach in its foreign policy and embrace the idea of collective action. The Bush administration has managed to worsen ties with Russia more than with any other major country, and Obama's election "instills hope that a dramatic page in the relations of the two countries will be turned," Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov said.

There is one conflict where the US can move quickly to find common ground with Russia -- in Nagorno-Karabak. The US, Russia and France are co-chairs of the Minsk Group, which acts as intermediary there. Medvedev met last week with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia for talks on the conflict, getting them to agree to continue working on "a political resolution of the conflict." None of the co-chairs has any particular hidden agenda, and if they could get the opponents to agree on a compromise, flooding them with development aid to sweeten the pill, this would be a strong signal that there is a way out of the nasty Cold War which Bush-Cheney have bequeathed Obama.

But there are many ways to sour relations, if that's what the real actors want. Already, it was announced that Obama's election team's computers were hacked by a "foreign entity" during the election.

Obama "technical experts" later speculated the hackers were Russian or Chinese. How easy it is to execute any number of pre-packaged false flag operations if necessary.

The common refrain these days is, "Who could possibly want to be US president after the mess Bush created?" On the contrary, cleaning up after the devastation of a hurricane is very rewarding; the results of one's labours are clear and laudable. Obama could well have a truly historic sound-bite moment in a few years, meeting with his equally handsome, dynamic Russian counterpart to jointly solve some crisis which is bound to happen. The Bush years could be just a horrible --but receding -- nightmare as we celebrate Obama's re-election in four years.

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly.

Armenia Will Tolerate No Expression Of Denial The Armenian Genocide
armradio.am, 11.11.2008 Recently the Turkish press has been publishing materials on Armenia's policy on the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Asked by "Novosti-Armenia" agency to comment on those publications, the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Mr. Edward Nalbandian stated:

"The recent publications in the Turkish press on the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide ascribed to Armenian officials are distorted and presented upside down.

I have said many times and I would like to repeat that Armenian officials have never spoken and will never speak for the suspension of the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, Armenia cannot tolerate any expression of denying the Armenian Genocide."

Gul: Armenian Genocide Not The Job For Politicians 10.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ If U.S. President-elect Barack Obama recognizes the Armenian Genocide, it will be recognition of "non-existing thing as an existing one," the Turkish President said.

"Actually, this is not the job of politicians. No one should forget that Turks and Armenians had lived together in peace for centuries," Abdullah Gul told Belgian Le Vif/L'Express magazine.

"There was not a single problem between the two nations except for the situation during World War I," Gul said.

PRESS RELEASE, Armenian Studies Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University Of Michigan Unveils Archive Of Hunchakian Leader

Ann Arbor. At a special event organized on October 31, the Armenian Studies Program and Special Collections of the University of Michigan unveiled the archive of Hamparzoum Arzoumanian, a leader of the Hnchakian Party from 1891 to 1909.

The Arzoumanian Archive, consisting of some 1200 pages of party related and personal correspondence, Hnchakian Center circulars and related materials, mostly in Armenian, had been donated to the University of Michigan by the granddaughter of the Hnchakian leader, Mrs. Marguerite Harms, and the Arzoumanian family, some time ago. The archive was organized and documents classified recently.

Hamparzoum Arzoumanian was born in historic Gantzak; he started his political activities in Tabriz, Iran, as a field worker for the party and continued as organizer, propagandist and ideologue in Russia, Europe, and the United States until his death in New York in 1909, where his life ended at age 43 as a factory worker. His archive spreads light on a variety of issues, including the battles within the Hnchakian Party, the organization of chapters in places like Baku, Novorossisk and cities in the US. Throughout his life he remained a staunch believer in socialism and its relevance to the Armenian struggle for liberation. Throughout his career Arzoumanian had the full support of his wife Sona.

More than 60 faculty members, students, administrators and members of the family participated in the presentation of the archives. Fifteen grandchildren and their offspring had traveled to Ann Arbor from California, Pennsylvania and other states to attend the event and learn about the Arzoumanians.

Ms. Margaret McKinley, Director of Development of the University Libraries opened the evening with remarks on the value of special collections and archives. Ms. Peggy Daub, Director of Special Collections discussed the place of the Arzoumanian Archive in the Special Collections. Historian Dr. Nora Nercessian, special consultant for the project and organizer of the Arzoumanian Archive, presented the life of the Arzoumanians and the contents of the archive, while Prof. Gerard Libaridian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program, assessed the value of the archive for Armenian and regional history. The Arzoumanian Archive is currently being digitized and placed on the website of the University Special Collections gradually. Information regarding the Arzoumanian papers and the documents themselves can be accessed on the web at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=sclead&idno=umich-scl-arzoumanian or through the University Special Collections (History) and Armenian Studies Program websites; the archive is also open to researchers who wish to access them at the Special Collections.

"One reason we wanted to organize this event and present the Arzoumanian Archive is to encourage others to preserve family papers and prod organizations to open their archives to researchers," stated Prof. Libaridian. "The Armenian Studies Program and the Special Collections at the University of Michigan are ready to assist in achieving these goals, including receiving papers, organizing them and making them available to researchers in a safe and professional environment."

Obama's Victory, Pseudo-Nationalists And The Cyprus And Armenian Issues

Like most Turks, I am very happy that Barack Hussein Obama has been elected the next president of the United States. The US is still the global leader, and whatever happens there or whatever it does inevitably affects Turkey. Even though some argue that US foreign policy changes little from one president to another, even this "little" may mean much to countries in the periphery. Secondly, if there was a change between the Bill Clinton administration and the George W. Bush administration (of course there was), there will definitely be differences in President-elect Obama's foreign policy. And we all hope to see that this foreign policy is decisively influenced by a comparatively more humane State Department rather than the Pentagon -- provided Obama keeps most, if not all, of his promises.

Obama's election is definitely bad news for Turkey's pseudo-nationalist ulusalcılar(Kemalist so-called nationalists). They were happy to cooperate with the Pentagon and notorious neocons who look at Turkey from only one narrow militaristic dimension or through the lens of Israel. Our pseudo-nationalists' friends never cared about Turkish democracy and even said they were impartial to the democratically elected government and the coup-threatening military after the April 27 e-memo shambles. Furthermore, their mouthpieces frequently referred to the Erdoğan government as Islamo-fascists just because the Turkish government wanted to follow a slightly independent foreign policy -- a foreign policy that President-elect Obama has promised to emulate. Maybe for the first time after Turgut Ozal the Turks will be leading the Americans. So, Turkey's democratic future looks hopeful. But some in Turkey are afraid that Obama's promises with regard to the Armenian massacre and the Cyprus issue pose dangers to Turkey. I do not agree with this view.

We may even lose in the short run, but we will definitely benefit in the long run, provided that we make a full effort to communicate our rational and good cause to the relevant sides and to the international community. These two issues are stumbling blocks to both Turkish democracy and Turkish foreign policy. Our neocon-friendly pseudo-nationalists have attempted to make use of the Cyprus problem as a brake to halt Turkey's EU accession process, and they have been successful, to a certain extent. Thus, any feasible solution to the problem will help Turkey. If Obama can impartially pressure both sides, we might get such a solution. This will then definitely help Turkish democracy. With regard to the Armenian issue, Turkey has already started taking some steps, maybe with the fear that Obama would probably win the elections. Whatever the reason, Turkey will now be forced to deal with the issue. I am not sure if saying this makes me a traitor, but I hope that Obama does not entirely forget the issue, provided we inform him fully as well instead of threatening him with Incirlik, the US base in southern Turkey.

If he again impartially pressures both sides, Turkey has a lot to gain. First, we will not expend a large amount of our foreign policy energy on the issue every year. Second, we will not have to embarrassingly use the Incirlik base as a bargaining chip against the Americans. In this way the militarist dimension of the issue will disappear. Third, we will not have to beg certain lobbies in the US every year who in turn try to limit our foreign policy options in the Middle East. I will not even mention the economic benefits, such as saving millions paid to public relations companies in the US or the benefit of direct trade with Armenia. Lastly, facing our history bravely will make more people aware of what people with an ignorant Ergenekonian militaristic mentality could do to their innocent compatriots in the name of saving the country. This is obviously helpful to Turkish democracy.

November 08, 2008
Difference And Tolerance In The Ottoman Empire , SEHR, volume 5, issue 1: Contested Polities, interview by Nancy Reynolds

Aron Rodrigue [*] :Difference and Tolerance in the Ottoman Empire

While it certainly changed over its five-hundred-year existence, the Ottoman Empire was one of the most remarkable historical examples of coexistence among different religious and social groups. It has become increasingly difficult, however, for late-twentieth-century scholars in the West to imagine the kind of political system that existed in the Ottoman Empire, which can be characterized as neither absolutist rule nor secular nation-state. Research in the last twenty years has brought into question many of the commonly accepted models used to describe the organization of religious communities in the Ottoman Empire. For example, the studies compiled by Braude and Lewis in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire suggest that the juridical structure of communal organization in the Ottoman Empire was never historically stable and that the millet [an internal term of reference for the communities of Jews, Armenians, Greek Orthodox, etc.] in fact came into existence in the nineteenth century rather than, as many historians have believed, in the fifteenth. Likewise, political economists have criticized the "mosaic" model elaborated by Gibb and Bowen in Islamic Society and the West, which posits that the Ottoman Empire was composed of isolated, autonomous communities held together by the "cultural roofing" of Islam and, specifically, the shaykh al-islam. The mosaic approach has been criticized for being static and ahistorical, for not leaving any room for class or social conflict, and for not attending to the ways in which communities did, in fact, interact with each other. In the wake of these critiques, however, there has been little work that actually proposes new ways to describe Ottoman religious organization. How do you think we should conceptualize this relationship between the state, the majority, and minority communities in the Ottoman Empire before the nineteenth century?

[*] Aron Rodrigue Professor of History; Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewish StudiesDirector and Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities Stanford Humanities Center
E-mail: rodrigue@stanford.edu
Ph.D., History, Harvard University, 1985; A.M., History, Harvard University, 1979; B.A., History, University of Manchester, England, 1978 (First Class Honours)

See Also:
French Jews, Turkish Jews: The Alliance Israelite Universelle and the Politics of Jewish Schooling in Turkey, 1860-1925 (Modern Jewish Experience) (Hardcover) by Aron Rodrigue
252 pages Publisher: Indiana University Press (September 1990) English
ISBN-10: 0253350212 ISBN-13: 978-0253350213

Sephardi Jewry: A History of the Judeo-Spanish Community, 14th-20th Centuries (Jewish Communities in the Modern World) (Paperback) by Esther Benbassa, Aron Rodrigue
377 pagesUniversity of California Press; 1 edition (February 13, 2000) English
ISBN-10: 0520218221 ISBN-13: 978-0520218222


Armenians Should Remain Vigilant To Counter Turkish Pressures on Obama By Harut Sassounian,

Now that Sen. Barack Obama has been elected President, Armenian-Americans need to remain vigilant in order to counter Turkish pressures on the President-elect and his inner circle.

Already, the Turkish government has embarked on a full-scale campaign to influence the next administration on a variety of critical issues for Turkey, such as the Armenian Genocide, Cyprus, the Iraq War, and the Kurds.

Only a few days before the presidential election, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan sent two top officials to Washington to meet with close aides of Senators Obama and McCain to make sure that whoever is elected President would not make decisions against Turkish interests. Several American lobbying firms hired by Ankara are also hard at work to convince the President-elect and his advisors to support Turkey on a variety of issues.

Clearly, the Turkish government is alarmed by Sen. Obama's repeated promises to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Prime Minister Erdogan, in his letter of congratulation, went as far as expressing the hope that Obama as President would not carry out the promises he made as a candidate to the Armenian-American community.

Moreover, Erdogan requested a meeting with Sen. Obama, presumably to dissuade him from acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish Prime Minister is one of the leaders of 20 countries who are invited by Pres. George Bush to the White House Economic Summit later this week. The President-elect's aides should reject Erdogan's request for a meeting, reminding him that last January he insulted Sen. Obama by calling him "an amateur in politics," just because the presidential candidate had issued a statement on the Armenian Genocide. As I had written in a column at that time, "Erdogan's insulting words about Obama may haunt him after the election."

Despite the Turkish government's intense lobbying efforts, it may be easier for Armenian-Americans to push their agenda forward during the Obama Presidency. Armenians have several significant advantages with the incoming administration over the outgoing one:

1) Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have been staunch supporters of Armenian issues;

2) The new Congress is more likely to pass legislation favorable to Armenians, since there will be a sizeable Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, joined by a large number of pro-Armenian Republicans in both Houses;

3) The Departments of State and Defense would be less likely to oppose a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide, given the likelihood that the White House would either support the measure or at least not oppose it;

4) Although it appears some high-ranking pro-Turkish officials will be serving in the Obama administration, they are likely to be outnumbered by those who are either sympathetic or impartial on Armenian issues.

Despite such a favorable balance of forces, the final outcome of any pro-Armenian legislation in Congress still hinges on two important prerequisites:

1) The Armenian-American community's vigilance and implementation of a full-scale grassroots and media campaign to counter all Turkish threats against the U.S.;

2) The Armenian government's postponement or preferably cancellation of a planned joint Armenian-Turkish historical commission that would have been exploited by the Turkish government to undermine efforts to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide in the U.S. and other countries.

Those in the Armenian community who remain skeptical about the next U.S. President keeping his campaign promise on the Armenian Genocide and/or support a Congressional resolution on this issue, should know that, no matter how justified their skepticism, they should not create the false and harmful impression that it is impossible for a U.S. President to acknowledge the Genocide. After all, a very prominent former President -- Ronald Reagan -- did issue a Presidential Proclamation back in 1981, which mentioned the Armenian Genocide. Pres. Obama would be simply repeating what was already stated 27 years ago by Pres. Reagan!

Similarly, those who say that the House of Representatives would never pass a resolution on the Armenian Genocide, should be reminded that the full House did pass such a resolution twice, once in 1975 and a second time in 1984. Thus, House Speaker Pelosi would be simply reaffirming what was already adopted by the House twice before!

To be sure, Turkey's denialist leaders can be expected to issue empty threats against the U.S. and repeat last year's charade by recalling their Ambassador from Washington for a brief period. They would then send their envoy back to Washington after realizing that Turkey needs the United States more than America needs Turkey!

If Armenian-Americans want the Obama administration to support their cause, they should more energetically support their political friends and counter their foes. The incoming administration, on the other hand, should show moral courage in the face of bullying tactics by Turkey, a third world country that should not be allowed to muzzle the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States.

Mexico's Ambassador In United States...An Armenian From: "Sona Armenian", The Armenian Reporter
An interview with Arturo Sarukhán, Washington 's other Armenian ambassador
by Emil Sanamyan and Lusine Sarkisyan

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán Casamitjana, the ambassador of Mexico in Washington .

Washington - In an October 9 interview with Arturo Sarukhán Casamitjana, Mexico's ambassador to the United States, the Armenian Reporter's Washington Editor Emil Sanamyan and intern Lusine Sarkisyan asked him about his unique family history, his thoughts on Armenia, and Mexico's foreign policy priorities vis-à-vis the United States.
Armenian Reporter: How does someone of Armenian descent get to lead one of the most important embassies in Washington , representing Mexico , a country of more than 100 million?

Arturo Sarukhán: Hard work! I'm a career diplomat. I've been in the Foreign Service for 14 years. This is my second tour duty in Washington . I was here earlier as chief of staff to the ambassador. I arrived as a chief of staff to the ambassador in 1993 and stayed on with the next ambassador, and then [in 1998] I went back to Mexico .
How did I arrive to this specific post? Well, I was consul general in New York and I asked for a leave of absence from the Foreign Service, resigned my commission as consul general in New York, and joined [then presidential candidate] Felipe Calderón as his chief foreign policy advisor and his international spokesperson. I then headed the transition team on foreign policy and became ambassador in 2007.

AR: Can you tell us your family story, particularly the Armenian part?

AS: My grandparents arrived in Mexico in the early 1930s. My grandfather was a Russian-Armenian also named Artur Sarukhanian, but when he arrived in Mexico he tried to make it easier on the Mexican authorities [and cut the "ian"]. He was an aide to Alexander Kerensky [head of Russia 's "Provisional government" in 1917]. After Kerensky was overthrown by the Bolsheviks, he left Russia and came to Venice , where he was trained at the Armenian seminary.
My grandmother fled the Genocide in 1915. Most of her family was killed in the Genocide, but she was able to escape to Thessaloniki in northern Greece . From there she went to Venice and my grandparents met and were married in Venice .

At the time Benito Mussolini came to power [in Italy and was establishing his Fascist government] my grandfather said: "This smells bad."

So, they went to Mexico with the idea of coming to Canada . My grandfather spoke 9 languages, English among them, but he had read a lot about Mexico , so he decided to stop in Mexico on their way to Canada . They never left. My grandparents fell in love with Mexico and they stayed in Mexico .

That's how I was born in Mexico .

AR: What is the Armenian presence in Mexico ?

AS: It's a very small community. A lot of those who arrived as a result of the Genocide actually did end up doing what my grandfather wanted to do, which was move north to the U.S. or Canada . So, a lot of the Mexican-Armenian families after World War II - most of them ended up in Fresno , California . The Armenian community in Mexico is very small.

AR: Although at a distance from Armenia , I imagine you over time have followed the events in Armenia . What is the most striking thing about Armenia for you?

AS: I was [in Armenia ] once with my father when I was a teenager, when it was still a part of the Soviet Union . I have not been back to the independent Armenia .

It is certainly what I look forward to because it is important to, number one, understand one's roots. But also, [even though] I am a Mexican diplomat and I represent my country in the most important country for Mexico , which is the United States , there is such a thing as a global citizenry. These pasts and origins have the ability to connect and create networks regardless of passport, nationality, ethnicity, and color.
[Such networks] are the only response to some of the challenges that many countries like ours face. Challenges like security in the post-September 11 world, environmental degradation, social-economic development that is also just and fair.

Armenia and Mexico have lived next to big, powerful countries. Armenia is near Russia and Mexico near the U.S. We've both had traumatic historical experiences with our neighbors: Armenia with Turkey and to certain extent Russia , Mexico with the U.S. after the war of 1847. So, I think there is a lot of common ground that can be built on by engaging.

There are two things that surprise me. One is the resiliency of the Armenian people and culture. I see that at home with my father and mother. (She is also a refugee, but from another side of the Mediterranean . She is a republican refugee from the 1930s Civil War in Spain .)

The other thing that surprises me is how the Armenian diaspora has not had the ability to forcefully portray and make its case as the Jewish-American community has. How the resources and the capital, manpower, and even the celebrities - even though some of them do it very actively - has not been translated to a full-fledged recognition, explanation, coming to terms with what happened in that part of the world.

AR: Has Mexico been confronted with the Armenian Genocide issue either in the context of international organizations or directly, and how does it perceive the issue of genocide?

AS: I think Mexico is one of the countries that have supported resolutions condemning genocide. For reasons that have to do with geographical distance and the fact that there is a small Armenian community in Mexico , it is not an issue that is on top of Mexican diplomatic agenda.

AR: But is the Armenian Genocide debated in Mexico ?

AS: No, not really. Some people know, some people are interested, some people have written about it, but again it's not a top issue. We don't have the size that other countries like Argentina , France , and others have in terms of the Armenian population. It's not something that comes from the grassroots.

AR: Uruguay , a Latin American country, was in fact the first country to formally adopt a resolution on the Armenian Genocide, in part since it does have a substantial Armenian community. Do Latin American countries develop common policies on issues such as this?

For example, earlier this year there was a United Nations General Assembly vote on the Karabakh conflict, an issue of key concern to Armenia . And Azerbaijan relied on support from Islamic countries, most of which basically joined in support of Azerbaijan's position, while the vast majority of countries, including Latin American ones, abstained or did not vote.

Is there a similar solidarity among the Latin American countries in the UN or elsewhere?

AS: There is a Latin American group and they usually vote en bloc, but not always, depending on the issue. The closer the issue is to the core diplomatic priorities in the region it becomes more difficult to vote en bloc. The farther away you get, whether it is an issue of security or development, it will change, but there isn't a paradigm that forces the group to vote in block. Many times on many issues in nations decide to go their own way.
Immigration debate and Mexican-Armenian relations in California

AR: While there is a big distance from Mexico to Armenia , Armenians and Mexicans definitely meet in Los Angeles . One of the major issues on Mexico 's agenda is immigration and how the U.S. government treats immigrants.
The Armenian-American community, although themselves mostly recent immigrants, does tend to lean to the conservative side of the debate on Latin American immigration. What case does Mexico make to the U.S. on this issue?

AS: I have very good working relations with Congressman Adam Schiff, who comes from one of the districts [including Glendale and Pasadena , north of Los Angeles ] with the highest concentration of Armenians and Mexicans. We always joke that if one day he decides to run for a higher office then I would be a good candidate for his district. He is doing a terrific job in speaking for the issues and some of these tensions that exist.

There are few issues today in America which are as divisive as immigration. And for good reason, substantial portion of citizens of this country feel that immigrants have broken the law, that it speaks to the challenge of how you improve border security, and how you make sure you know who the people living on your territory are.

At the same time, it rubs against what this country is. It's not a coincidence that the motto of this nation is "E pluribus unum" ["From many, one" in Latin]. The successive waves of immigrants into this nation have made this country what it is. It's a vital plural-ethnic, plural-cultural tolerant society because it is a nation of immigrants.

There are two challenges here. Number One is that the recent waves of Latin American migrants who are coming to this country especially after the last serious immigration reform in 1986 have faced obstacles that no previous immigrant communities faced. That is, they have been now undocumented for more than 20 years. And if you look at previous waves of immigration, they all faced at some point nativism and anti-immigrant sentiment, but in a generation they were able to successfully integrate into the fabric of American life and lifestyle.

You now have more than twenty years of waves of migrants who've come from Latin America and are living in the shadows because of the rules and lack of reforms. They have not been able to integrate, and at a time [of economic] uncertainty, this feeds into a creeping fear which exists in the American public over globalization and free trade, goods from China, trucks from Mexico and undocumented migrants.

[Secondly,] for countries like Mexico and the U.S. , it is important to measure the impact two countries have on one another. There is no bilateral relationship that is more important and more unique for the economic prosperity, for the social well-being and security of two nations, Mexico and the U.S.

There is the 3,000-kilometer border and there are 35 million Mexican-Americans in this country, of whom 6 to 7 million are undocumented migrants. In fact Mexico is the U.S. ' third-largest trading partner. Every day there are 75,000 trucks that cross the border in both directions. It is an extremely dynamic relationship.

We in Mexico and you in America need to pause and think how do we ensure that a labor-intensive country like Mexico and a capital-intensive country like the U.S. can take advantage of that geographic proximity, human capital, to be able to continue to compete on a world stage, even with the likes of China and India.

In many ways, our loss is your gain. The fact that Mexico can't hold on to 200-300 thousand people a year who can't find better-paid jobs in Mexico and come to the U.S. is a huge loss to my country. Mexico cannot grow at a rate that it needs to grow to start breaking economic asymmetries that exist between Mexico and the U.S. if we are bleeding bold entrepreneurial men and women who are crossing that border every year.

At the end of the day what we need to ensure that every single Mexican that crosses the border to the U.S. does so legally, whether it's with a visa or it's a part of a temporary worker program. But we have to ensure that as both countries work to ensure the security of our border, we leave the doors open so the free flow of listed goods and people can continue.

AR: In terms of the Armenian community in California , are you surprised there has not been more sensitivity to fellow economic migrants from Latin America ?

AS: This is going to sound biased, but I am a believer that communities like the Armenian and the Mexican communities are natural allies. They share agendas and challenges in this country. Many of them have come here driven by the same problems of lack of economical opportunities. Both are hard working societies. [In the past] the Armenian community faced the prejudice and racism and discrimination in this country that Mexican communities are facing today.

Mexican-Americans are already partnering with the Jewish-American community based on these common challenges and the need for these two communities to work together to ensure that this country continues to remain tolerant and open to diversity.

It would make more sense if Armenian and Mexican communities work together, especially in the West Coast and New England , where we have the highest concentration of Armenian-Americans, to bring down the bombastic nature of the debate, to look at the opportunities and the challenges in an objective and forward-looking way.

AR: Thank you.

AS: Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for remembering.

The Armenian Reporter thanks its former Washington intern Nareg Seferian and the Mexican Embassy's press officer Ricardo Alday for arranging the interview.

The Dream Of A Turkish Armenian Comes True
ANKARA - Serkis İmas simply wanted to leave something to the lands where he was born and he didn’t want to let his memories fade away when he sought to publish his memoirs, according to his biographer Bildirici. When Serkis İmas penned his memories in his ancestral homeland Anatolia, he probably didn’t mean to launch a discussion on the complexity of his community’s distinctive problems or sought a scientific solution to these problems.

And he probably had nothing to do with political debates over the 1915 incidents at the hands of the Ottoman Empires.

“I am a Turkish Armenian from Elazığ. I have been living in Germany for some reasons. But it is just in words; my heart always belongs to my homeland where I was born and lived … I just want the two communities who once lived together in peace to have good relations again,” Serkis İmas wrote in his recently published memoirs “Serkis Had Loved This Land,” by journalist Faruk Bildirici.

As Bildirici said, “He simply wanted to leave something from himself to the lands where he was born and he didn’t want to let his memories fade away along with himself.”

İmas was an Anatolian Armenian who was born in 1932 and lived in Turkey until 1961. He was 75 when he died last year in Germany where he was a German citizen for the last 10 years. His passion for his hometown Elazığ was so great as to call himself “the son of Murat,” a river which runs through Elazığ. His mother Susan, later converted to a Turkish name Suzan, was adopted by the military doctor Sami Bey to secure her survival during the 1915 expulsion.

Last message, notebooks
He lost 45 of his ancestors in what he and his family kindly used to call “displacement” during the tragic events of 1915, which resulted in the expulsion of many Armenians from Anatolia. He didn’t witness the tragedy of the expulsion himself but he was still the victim of that tragedy. He had much to say about this land anyway.

So, one day İmas decided to immortalize his memories and spend his last years in Germany recording all his accumulated joys and grief in Anatolia in 15 mini-notebooks. He then contacted Bildirici, known for his political biographies, by telephone in Germany and sent him the notebooks, which are the culmination of four years of work.

“He trusted me although I was a Turk and despite the fact that we didn’t know each other. That imposed a duty on me. I wrote his legacy and published the book,” Bildirici told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review. “He was so pure, sincere and reconciled in what he said. They are the human stories in the end that take place in this land, which I believe will create a ground for us to look at the Armenian issue far from prejudices.”

They never met. Bildirici solely witnessed the last years of İmas through their telephone conservations and became a real friend and confidant for him. He promised to publish his story but it was bitter to receive an e-mail from Germany about İmas’ death. But he would fulfill his promise.

Bildirici had to fill the gaps about his life. He received support from İmas’ children after his death to complete his story. He filled the gaps and rearranged sentences, as İmas didn’t use any punctuation or follow a chronological order. İmas wrote what he remembered from his past and what his relatives said.

Broken lives
“My aunt was buried in Yerevan, my uncle in America and my uncle’s son in Paris. Should our lives have ended up this way? Why? I really don’t understand why this has happened to us,” İmas asked in his memoirs.

It was the same land that granted him the rare pleasures of life but showed him its dark face as well. His love for this land and common sense are still generous even as he was retelling the moments of a gendarme raid during the expulsion.

“My mother Susan, who was just seven at that time, her three-year-old brother and my grandmother, 70, who took care of them, were all at home when the gendarme came to our home in Elazığ. The gendarme took all Armenian women and children in the village with them. The poor people couldn’t even show a sign of resistance to these men with guns,” he wrote.

“When my old grandmother was exhausted while walking, a gendarme hit her with his riffle and plunged it into her stomach, ignoring her begging and the cries of two little children.”

İmas listened to this bitter story from his mother so many times. Likewise, he himself faced discrimination for his nationality. Traffic police, for instance, who first found İmas in the right after a traffic accident, then prepared an adverse report against him once they learned he was an Armenian. The father of his first love in Istanbul said “If I had daughters as many as the chickens in my poultry, still none of them would fall for Serkis!”

Facing the history
He thankfully commemorated those Turks who friendly approached him in Istanbul where he became Kadıköy’s most reputed turner and made a mini-fortune. Despite challenges, he married his first love in Istanbul. He then divorced and found himself on a train to Germany in the 1960s. He remarried and engaged in another trade there. But he didn’t break his ties with Turkey. He bade farewell to his home country with a huge yellow envelope that contained 12 mini notebooks, a historical account of his life, the Armenians and Anatolia.

“If there were some mistakes in this country in the past, it is wrong to defend them as if they are right. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to accept the wrongs and not to let them be repeated? Each individual born to this land is valuable, the words of whom deserved an objective eye. Believe me, I love this soil and these people more than you,” he concluded.

His story, which began in a small village in Elazığ, unfortunately ended in Germany, sharing the same fate with that of his relatives. The worst part is that he never saw his dream come true; he never read the book.

But for Bildirici, his story had implications about how such controversial issues were handled at the public level and in politics, which usually produced deadlocks in such cases. The Armenian issue was one of the inevitable results of the shift from the Ottoman Empire to the nation-state. That tragedy took place during the Ottoman period and the Turkish Republic couldn’t be responsible for a mistake inherited from its ancestors, according to Bildirici.

“Great men make politics and people live it. But such lives and messages are lost amidst big statements. His story makes us look at things with love and peace,” he said, adding, “We spoke the same language with İmas. We thought there could be some unwanted tragic events in the past but we should learn to face the history peacefully.”

Obamania! Turkish Daily News, November 7, 2008
One of modern history's most successful PR campaigns has produced a new leader for our planet, along with its highest expectations for a single man. Sentimental speeches and celebrations are all fine, but it is time to rationalize irrational expectations. Barack Obama is not a magician; he is a bright young man.

With the exception of a few in Turkey's civilian and military bureaucracy who favored John McCain because "the devil I know is better than the devil I do not know," most Turks have joined a global chorus to embrace President Obama.

A couple of days before the U.S. vote, a taxi driver kindly shared with me a well-kept secret about Mr. Obama. Do not tell everyone, he warned me in an undertone, the man is a devout Muslim. The next day I learned from a shop-owner that Mr. Obama was a secret fan of Turkey, "secret" because he did not want his love affair with the Crescent and Star to be known by Greeks and Armenians who are fools to think he is on their side. How we journalists often think we know better than others!

I left the shop, totally relieved having learned that the world's most important man was a Muslim whose heart was filled with deep affection for our beloved country. But that reminded me of another big American-Turkish secret I accidentally uncovered in the mid-1990s when an old lady in an Aegean town told me she would vote for then prime minister, Tansu Ciller, because, "Bill Clinton was in love with her," and with Mrs Ciller in power we could rule the world! Judging from how Turkish affairs went at that time, I inevitably concluded that the U.S. president's was an unrequited love.

It seems that Turks are not the only ones who think Mr. Obama was the best choice for U.S. president and also their best interests. Interestingly, all of the world's otherwise divergent nations tend to unite around the "American dream." They all think Mr. Obama will bring political fortune to their countries.

In Turkey, Mr. Obama has even succeeded to unite otherwise warring ideologies, Islamists and secularists, who, for different reasons, think that the new U.S. president will help advance their cause. The Islamists think Mr. Obama's democratic spirit will be a boost for religious, Sunni Muslim liberties in Turkey, while the secularists believe their hated concept of "Turkey: A moderate Islamic state as role model for the Middle East" is now doomed to die. Perhaps both camps are right.

Meanwhile, liberals think Mr. Obama's victory means broader rights for Turkey's Kurds and a historic handshake between Ankara and Arbil; while nationalists think it means the demise of the PKK. Perhaps both groups are right.

Beyond our borders, the Armenians will naturally expect Mr. Obama to honor his word and formalize "the Armenian genocide, not as an allegation, a personal opinion or a point of view, but as a widely documented fact." The Turks will expect him to do as his predecessors did in the past and retreat from this "simple election pledge" and not risk tension with the too-strategically important Turkey.

Greeks and Greek Cypriots think Mr. Obama, aided by their all-time ally Joseph Biden, will side with them over Cyprus and the Aegean. The Turks shrug this off, thinking Greeks and Greek Cypriots are fools to think so. Such examples of diverging nations converging over Mr. Obama can be multiplied across the globe, from Iran to the Jewish state, from the Koreas to China, Russia, Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, India and probably most of non-North America, too. But this is practically impossible!

We do not yet know how much Mr. Obama will run the White House like Mr. Obama and how much like the President of the United States. The optimal balance he will find between these "two men" will please some and disappoint others, and that is all too normal. But the White House is now certainly in uncharted territory.

There is going to be a nice little test case to gauge his "love affair" with Turkey, though. Will Mr. Obama's administration approve the sale to Turkey of Predator B? The hunter-killer Predator B, otherwise known as the MQ-9 Reaper is a solid unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, which, unlike most others in this family of air platforms, can bomb designated targets.

Ankara has officially requested Predator B in what could be a government-to-government sale, with unknown prospects for an American go-ahead.

Ah, by the way, the Turkish military intends to use the powerful UAV against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, the "common enemy" of both Turkey and America

Be Ready For An Armenian Shock With Obama Turkish Daily News, November 7, 2008
Obama being elected as president will affect Turkey positively in general. The only exception will be the Armenian issue. It is good to be prepared for this issue, trying to ease the shock. Obama winning this presidential race is an earthquake. Now there will be after shocks coming. Possibly these shocks will continue throughout the presidential period. The United States will have to go through a devastating test. How will a community that believes in the white race being the superior one, tolerate a black president?

Looking at the present scenario, we can conclude that the United States took an important step in reconciling its past. But we need to wait a while. We need to wait for the reaction of a section of people that have Negro hostility encoded in its genes, perceives every black person as inferior to himself or herself and as a slave. If we were to look at Obama's relations that affect Turkey, contrary to some pessimists, the scenario does not look too bad. But there is one exception.

That is the Armenian issue

Every Republican administration during election campaigns has said that it will support the Armenian lobby and twinkles at the issue. But after being elected, the administration's attitudes become more flexible. They watches out for Turkey and prevent the genocide draft from passing through the congress. The most important and latest example was experienced during the Clinton administration.

But this time the situation is a little different. Obama's team says they will keep their promise to Armenians. They draw attention to the fact that the new president is very sensitive about promises and he views Armenians as "oppressed people" and thus the message sent to Ankara turns into "Be prepared." It is being advised that Ankara be prepared for two issues.

The first being to take new steps in relations with Armenia, starting by opening borders and thinking about new enterprises to improve relations with Yerevan. Within this context, it is stated that the genocide draft, which is to be re-sent to congress next April, will be postponed again. The second reason for the message "Be prepared" is the increase in the probability that the draft will pass through congress.

In recent years it has been very close for Turkey. The draft was stopped at the last minute. Every time relations between Ankara and Washington become tense, threats are exchanged. This combat exhausts and frays both sides. It is necessary to be prepared for this as well. We need to start preparations now if we do not want our relationship with Washington to come to a tearing point, or, in case the draft passes, we do not want to come to a point that could lead to the closing down of the base at Incirlik.

Will Turkey find its Obama?

Due to Obama's election our writers are being asked the same question by those who closely watch Turkey; Will Turkey find its own Obama? One point everyone agrees on is that Turkey needs an Obama. Everybody hopes for Turkey to make peace with its past. This likelihood is so far out, that one becomes pessimistic.

Tayyip Erdogan, for an important amount of people, is viewed as Turkey's Obama. Destroying taboos, changing customs, a leader stepping out from formal ideology. He took brave steps. He addressed himself especially to the task of making peace among the government and citizens of Kurdish descent, as well as the pious section that views itself as being oppressed and pushed around. This situation did not last very long. The winds changed due to his political mistakes on one part and due to great resistance from fanatic opponents on the other.

Erdogan, who started off like Obama, today is in the position of a former classical leader. Far from the administration and given up on his brave steps. He has become an aggressive Middle East politician who yells at those who criticize him.

What will happen next? We are still in search for an Obama who could take the necessary steps to make peace with our Kurdish citizens, behave realistically in Cyprus, communicate with Armenians and overcome a historic accusation, provide reconciliation on shared values between the pious and secular segments of people, manage problems that are dividing society in two. What would you say? Will Turkey find its own Obama?

What Obama's Win Means To Turks And The World Asli Aydintasbas, Forbes, Nov 7 2008, NY
Istanbul, Turkey - Fatma, our cleaning lady, walked in yesterday--all smiles and with a newspaper in hand. "He won. That dark guy made it!"

Fatma is from a remote village in the Black Sea region of Turkey and moved to the big city here only a few years ago for her children's education. "My son--9-years-old--was saying [Barack Obama] is just like us. They showed pictures from his village, and his family has just one cow and are really poor."

For Fatma, the new U.S. president is also from poor village stock and came to the big city and made it against all odds. When her two sons watched the American election results, there was an understanding that they, too, could grow up to become presidents here in Turkey--a message that somehow was never communicated so openly to a Turkish kid.

Of course, Barack Obama hardly has anything in common with Fatma, or with thousands of Turks cheering his election victory on Tuesday. He also doesn't have that much in common with the millions of Middle Easterners, Europeans, Chinese or South Asians who are jubilant about his election. But somehow, a black American with a Muslim middle name and a unique family history elected to the highest office in United States, against all odds, has come to personify the individual dreams of people around the world.

A good friend tells me he came home to find his mother sobbing with joy at Obama's victory. Another friend said she put her 4-year-old daughter to bed explaining about the new president-elect and how the world will be a better place from now on.

"Wow," I think when I hear these stories. It has been so long since people talked about anything American in loving terms. Here in Turkey--a longtime U.S. ally--anti-Americanism skyrocketed with the Iraq war and the subsequent upsurge in Kurdish terrorism, and it seemed there was almost nothing the Bush administration could do to reverse that trend. Global anti-Americanism was not solely due to an unpopular George Bush at the White House, but also due to annoyance at the American public for twice electing him. From global warming to inflation, it seemed that Turks, Europeans and Muslims were willing to blame America for all their ills.

But is it possible that this trend has changed overnight? Why are people sobbing about Obama's victory if they hated the United States a minute ago? One wonders if there is something Freudian about the need to disown a parent so that you can love him again. The world has been angry at the U.S. for so long that it suddenly feels like hugging a sibling that you, unwillingly and out of hurt feelings, had stopped talking to.

At the more official level, Turkey hoped for a Republican win for fears that an Obama administration would fulfill a campaign pledge to pass a law recognizing the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the eastern part of the Ottoman Empire as "genocide." "Obama will be tough for us," a senior member of the government told me last week. "But," he added ardently, "it would be great for the world."

Despite Ankara's stance that a McCain win would make Turkish-American relations smoother, I knew of only one Turk who wasn't rooting for Obama--a Turkish-American who said that he too was torn but that an Obama administration could result in a tumultuous period for Turkish-U.S. relations.

In the run-up to the elections, I was often interviewed by Turkish television as a journalist who covered the United States for years. Most commentators would ask me something that many friends also asked: "Ah, but even if he is ahead in the polls, would Obama be 'allowed' to win?"--revealing Turkey's own fears about a darker invisible hand meddling in the democratic process, as occasionally happens here.

Right before the polls opened on Election Day, a popular talk show host looked at me on the air in disbelief "So you think Obama could win, and you don't think that there is a deep state in America that decides on these major national issues?" I looked naive, and almost incredulous, trying to explain for the umpteenth time that day that if Barack Obama were elected, it would be largely thanks to the power of the people who want genuine change in America and in American foreign policy.

Instead, I should have said something more conspiracy-minded, like "If Obama is elected, it means the American deep state has decided it can better achieve global domination through him." Maybe that sounds more convincing than just people-power--in places where people lack power.

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

Turkish Judge Publicly Criticizes Denial Of Armenian GenocideBy Harut Sassounian, Noyan Tapan, Nov 7, 2008
Scores of highly sympathetic articles about the Armenian Genocide have appeared in the Turkish press in recent months, despite Turkey's repressive laws that make it a crime to discuss this taboo subject.

One such article appeared in the October 30 issue of the liberal newspaper Taraf. It was authored by a very unlikely writer - Judge Faruk Ozsu from Odemish, near Izmir. This is probably the first time that a sitting Turkish judge publicly expresses such daring thoughts in violation of article 301 of the penal code. He criticizes and mocks the Turkish government's distorted version of the Armenian Genocide that has been fed to the public for decades.

Judge Ozsu asserts that Turkish denialists contradict themselves by first denying that anything happened in 1915 and then stating that those killings were committed "in defense of the homeland."

Referring to the three Turks, recently sentenced by a Swiss Court for denying the Armenian Genocide, Judge Ozsu writes that contrary to widespread Turkish misrepresentation Switzerland did not restrict freedom of expression, but in fact upheld human dignity. Moreover, he ridicules all those who claim that "from the point of view of freedom of expression, Turkey is more advanced that Switzerland" -a statement he characterizes as a hilarious comedy! In his judgment, those toeing the official Turkish line on the Armenian Genocide are "blind patriots" who accuse of treason anyone expressing the slightest human sensibility on this subject.

Judge Ozsu describes himself as "a simple man who has not lost his conscience, despite his nationalistic education." He explains that since Switzerland has acknowledged 1915 as genocide, everyone in that country is obliged to obey the law of the land. He goes on to quote Elie Wiesel as saying that the denial of genocide is the continuation of genocide. That is why, the Judge writes, "it is mandatory that denial be deemed a crime."

The Honorable Judge further contends that the denial of genocide is unrelated to the scholarly investigation of facts. He condemns French historian Gilles Weinstein and Turkish Professor Baskin Oran for claiming that "there are no documents proving that the killings were committed according to a government plan, therefore it is not possible to qualify these events as genocide." In the Judge's view, those making such comments are simply trying to save their necks from "the claws of article 301."

In a direct reference to Dogu Perincek who was convicted by the Swiss Supreme Court last year for denying the Armenian Genocide, Judge Ozsu made the following observations:

- "Perincek's association bears the name of Talaat Pasha who is viewed as a 'Turkish Hitler.'"

- "Those who declare that the Armenian Genocide is 'an imperialist lie,' show no respect for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, but exclaim: 'Long live the Ittihadists; we were right [to kill the Armenians] and we can do the same thing now,' then the only person who will pay attention to them is a Swiss judge."

- "Disputing the genocide, making racist statements, and praising the commission of a crime is now a legal issue in Switzerland, and not an attempt to seek the truth through scientific inquiry."

To be sure, the Judge takes a dim view of his country's educational system which keeps Turks in a state of ignorance about 1915, while people outside Turkey, who have not had a 'Turkish education,' view things differently.

Explaining that the term genocide was coined by a Polish-Jewish attorney named Raphael Lemkin in 1933, in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, and before the Holocaust had taken place, which means that "the Genocide Convention signed by Turkey was inspired by the Armenian Genocide."

The Judge is particularly irate at the Turkish government's insensitivity toward the mass killings of Armenians. He states: "The official Turkish position is that during the war Armenians from certain regions were temporarily sent to the Southern region and during that period about 300,000 Armenians perished due to different circumstances. Any Turk who has not been through 'Turkish education' and has kept his conscience intact, upon hearing the 300,000 figure, would say, 'Oh My God' and will start thinking about that number."

Consequently, the Judge suggests that the first thing Turks should do is "to state that we feel terrible regarding these events.... Those who died at that time were not our enemies, but our citizens. Some of those who died were children. No one can speak of children as enemies."

Judge Ozsu concludes: "The Swiss Court's verdict is neither against democracy nor freedom of expression. Switzerland simply does not allow the events leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people to be characterized by racist and insensitive words that insult people's dignity.

Switzerland simply does not allow that the victim be victimized for a second time!"

Given the Turkish government's well-established record of punishing all factual references to the Armenian Genocide, we fear that this righteous judge may be dismissed from his job and even get imprisoned for simply telling the truth!

Index On Censorship On Internet Censorship In Turkey
Index on Censorship: ‘There are more people working on censoring the Internet than developing it’
Yigal Schleifer is a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor

The successes of Harun Yahya show just how easy it is to shut down web discussion in Turkey, writes Yigal Schleifer

Turkish Internet users woke up on 24 October to find that access to Blogger, the popular blog-hosting site owned by Google, had been blocked by a court order, because of illegal material (streams of football games) found on a handful of blogs.

The ban on Blogger — provisionally lifted after five days — came without warning, but few were surprised by it. In the last two years, Turkey has become increasingly involved in controlling what its citizens can access online. So far in the last year, access to more than 850 websites has been blocked by the Turkish state, either through court order or government action. YouTube, the popular video sharing site, has been banned since last May, after amateurish clips mocking Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, modern Turkey’s founder, were posted on it. WordPress, another major blog-hosting site, was blocked for more than a year and the website of Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins is currently off limits to Turkish Internet users.

As the number of websites being blocked by Turkey’s courts and government rise, so do concerns about Internet censorship in the country and Ankara’s already troubled record on freedom of speech.

‘The current Turkish law on controlling Internet content, through its procedural and substantive deficiencies, is designed to censor and silence political speech,’ says a report set to be published next month by Cyber-Rights.Org, a British Internet civil liberties organisation.

‘Its impacts are wide, affecting not only freedom of speech but also the right to privacy and fair trial.’

A law passed by the Turkish parliament last May, intended to prevent access to primarily pornographic and obscene web content, has given the state broad powers to block websites. The newly created Telecommunications Directorate, a government office that monitors the Internet, is allowed to shut down websites without even a court order. The agency has been behind 612 of the approximately 850 bans this year.

One particularly troubling aspect of the law’s flawed implementation has been the ability of individuals to petition courts to ban a website, usually claiming they are being slandered by material on the site. The case of Adnan Oktar, also known as Harun Yahya, leader of a Turkey-based Islamic creationist group is telling: with the aid of skilled lawyers and compliant provincial judges, Oktar and his group have been behind the bans on Richard Dawkins’ website and WordPress and were even able to get temporary blocks placed on the websites of Vatan, one of Turkey’s largest newspapers, and Egitim Sen, the Union of Turkish Educators.

Oktar’s deceptively named Scientific Research Foundation (Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (BAV) in Turkish), is a remarkably successful creationist group that has, over the last 15 years, managed to make itself a household name in Turkey with travelling fossil shows that claims to disprove the theory of evolution, and a popular series of books.

The group — whose funding remains a source of great mystery — says it is distributing its creationist books in 80 countries and in 59 different languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Swahili and Polish. Two years ago, BAV blanketed several European countries and the US with its glossy Atlas of Creation, an 800-page tome weighing more than 12 pounds (six kilos), sending it to scientists, journalists and schoolteachers.

Since founding the BAV in 1990, Oktar — a 52-year-old former interior design student — has been responsible for the publication of over 250 books, with titles such as The Dark Spell of Darwinism and Why Darwinism is Incompatible with the Koran, all written under the name Harun Yahya.

Oktar’s brand of creationism is not only religious, but also political and even messianic, seeing most of the world’s ills — terrorism and fascism among them — as stemming from Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Otkar has opened up yet another front in Turkey’s religion and culture wars, and now seems to have also started a battle for what Turks can read online, a battle he is winning thanks to Turkish legislators’ attitude towards the Internet.

Critics of Turkey’s Internet laws have been dismayed by the state’s heavy-handed approach, which allows for entire websites and blog platforms to be blocked because of a small number of items deemed offensive or illegal.

‘It’s like having a huge library and finding an error on a page in one book and closing down the entire library,’ says Mustafa Akgul, an Internet expert at Ankara’s Bilkent University. ‘The government is deciding what is suitable for everyone to see on the Internet. That’s a problem. We don’t object to filters in school, libraries, or public places, but it’s a problem to decide what is suitable for an entire population in a democracy.’

Turkey is not alone in blocking content, but observers say it has taken a very expansive and problematic approach, giving courts all over the nation the power to shut down web access for the nation’s 70 million people, with little explanation or public oversight.

‘In terms of Internet censorship Turkey is for sure now one of the significant countries,’ says Clothilde Lecoz, head of the Internet freedom desk of Reporters Without Borders. ‘We are very, very concerned about it.’

There is also concern among officials in the European Union, which Turkey hopes to join. The EU has previously been critical of Turkey’s record on freedom of expression issues, particularly in regard to its prosecution of writers and journalists under Article 301, a vague law that punishes those who insult the state and its institutions.

EU officials in Turkey say their concerns will be expressed in an upcoming report detailing the progress of Turkey’s membership bid, due to be released in November.

‘It is a very restrictive law and the implementation has been very problematic,’ says one EU official based in Ankara.

Turkish officials have admitted problems with the law’s enactment, but defend its intent. ‘The fight against elements that aim at degenerating societies and poisoning the youth and children is the fundamental task of each country. Every country has different regulations related to the Internet,’ transportation minister Binali Yildirim, who is also responsible for communications, recently said.

‘Our aim is not to ban websites. Such measures will come to an end as soon as our courts are able to ban problematic content instead of entire websites,’ he said.

But critics like Yaman Akdeniz, a professor of law at the University of Leeds and director of Cyber-Rights.Org, believe Turkey’s Internet law is too flawed to be salvaged and would most likely not stand up to a legal challenge at the European Court of Human Rights, whose judgments are binding on Turkey.

‘The current law should be abolished and the government should start from scratch when it comes to controlling the Internet,’ he says.

Mustafa Akgul says without a new approach, Turkey may find itself increasingly left behind when it comes to utilising the power of the Internet.

‘Turkish politicians haven’t had any real vision on how to develop the Internet. There are more people working on censoring it than developing it,’ he says.

What Can They Say If They Don't Have Anything To Say S. Harutyunyan, Hayots Ashkhar Daily 06 Nov 08 Armenia
When commenting on the Moscow meeting among the Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents Levon Ter-Petrosyan over again affirmed that he has lost his sense of reality.

The joint declaration displayed that LTP was sadly mistaken when he announced in his farewell speech in October that Russia will resolutely be withdrawn from the process of the settlement of Karabakh conflict, that it is losing its influence on the world, on the region and on Armenia. And that President Serge Sargsyan is responsible for that, because he has turned his face from our friend Russia and has adopted a criminal pro-western policy.

But Ter-Petrosyan wouldn't be Ter-Petrosyan had he accepted his mistake and apologized to the public for misleading the latter. Thus loyal to the role of a fortune-teller, in this case also he appeared as an oracle expressing an authorized opinion that the trilateral declaration is "nothing more than the top of the iceberg and a much more detailed protocol is hidden under it."

By envisaging the hidden part of the iceberg he hurried to record that the conversation was about resolution 62/243 passed by the UN General Assembly and PACE resolution 1614 "which recognize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and demand an unreserved withdrawal of Armenian forces from the Azerbaijani territories neighboring Karabakh."

Thus, saying Azerbaijan's "territorial integrity" the first President most probably means that Karabakh is the inseparable part of Azerbaijan, unlike the second and the third Presidents, who have many times openly underscored that NKR has never and will never form part of Azerbaijan.

It's worth mentioning that the before mentioned "problematic" resolutions duplicate the formulations of the resolutions passed by the UN during LTP's years of power (1992-1994), which Azerbaijan used to refresh from time to time.

Like someone who has made a revelation, LTP announced that as he has already underscored many times "The idea of the "Madrid proposal" is the synchronization of the two principles of international law: territorial integrity and nations' self-determination."

And of course he modestly passed round the fact that there is no word about self-determination in his favorite "phase by phase", version of "honorable peace".

The international community has very clearly formulated the "ideology" of the "phase by phase" settlement, in 1997 OSCE Summit in Lisbon, by unanimously voting for the settlement of Karabakh conflict in favor of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, that is to say in favor of ceding Karabakh phase by phase, which the elite belonging to Armenian Pan National movement is trying to refuse.

Anyhow LTP doesn't lose his hope that the monopoly of solving Karabakh issue "belongs to the West". Moreover the Moscow meeting of the Presidents, according to him, is only the beginning of the final stage of the settlement, and that the West will put a full stop to this process "in December in the United States of America".

I wonder what will he say when this balloon also blasts, when the dream of the Armenian Pan National Movement about burying NKR independence (thus duplicating the precedent of 1998) and takeover blows up.

Yet again he will record with disappointment that in this case as well the criminal administration cheated the international community and fell short of the negotiation process. Overlooking the fact that he was the one to teach Serge Sargsyan during his last meeting, how to cheat the West - by including NKR issue in the NA agenda and leave it undecided, to make it a tool or a factor for neutralizing the possible foreign pressures.

What The Moscow Summit Might Mean: What Did The Tri-Lateral Meeting Produce?, By Aris Ghazinyan
The presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a declaration on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at Meiendorf Castle near the Russian capital Moscow on November 2. But, of course, it is very early yet to speak about the settlement of the conflict no matter what the document title is. One can hardly be deluded with announcements like these, especially that there have been many of them over the past 15 years. Each such agreement purported to be "exclusive", but eventually proved to be nothing effective.

Nevertheless, the peculiarity of the latest agreement is not in its announcement. It was signed during the period of escalation of tensions in the region when the political re-dividing of the South Caucasus entered an important phase. At the same time, the contents of the accord (which, of course, is not published) are a logical result of the political developments preceding the five-day war between Russia and Georgia in August. The evidence of this is point 2 of the document signed in Moscow that says that the parties reaffirm the importance of the Madrid meeting that took place on November 29, 2007.

And so, a document with an ambitious title "Fair and Balanced Basic Principles of the Peaceful Settlement of the Conflict" was handed over to the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan last November. The leaders of the conflicting sides have never publicized the principles of this document to a degree that would make it possible to make specific assumptions. Despite the absence of grounds to consider the proposed scheme as conceptually fresh, the mediatory mission presents it as a new proposal.

The visit of the cochairmen of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to the region in early 2008 pursued the goal of learning the official approaches of Yerevan and Baku on major provisions of the presented document.

Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said then that the Armenian side had already expressed its attitude to the "Madrid principles", emphasizing that "on some points of the document Yerevan holds a different opinion."

And it was also then that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev pronounced in a more radical form: "Nagorno-Karabakh will never be independent, this is the position also supported by the international mediators. Armenia must accept the reality. A war with Armenia is not over. Armenia has not won this war, only the first stage of the war is over."

At present, there are no grounds to think that the "Madrid principles" determine a political status for Nagorno-Karabakh independent from Azerbaijan. The contents of the document proposed in Madrid remain unavailable for the public, but one can form a certain idea about it proceeding from the statement of U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns who was also in the Spanish capital during the handover of the document and held a meeting with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

It was this high-ranking American diplomat who made a non-accidental statement less than four months before Kosovo's declaration of independence: "Any agreements that will be reached on Kosovo cannot be applied to other conflicts. I don't think that any parallels can be drawn between the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and a possible solution in Kosovo."

In any case, the analysis of the situation prompts that the "Fair and Balanced Basic Principles of the Peaceful Settlement of the Conflict" or in other words the "Madrid principles" that the Moscow agreement alludes to, is based on the following: The first step is a withdrawal of Armenian military units from the positions that they currently control outside Nagorno-Karabakh proper. In other words, it is proposed that Karabakh-Armenian forces pull back from the former Azeri regions of Aghdam, Fizuli, Jebrahil, Kubatli and Zangelan, partly Lachin and possibly partly Kelbajar. These regions cover a total area of 8,810 square kilometers, or a little more than 10 percent of the territory of the former Soviet Azerbaijan (86,600 sq. km). It should be mentioned that Aghdam and Fizuli are controlled by the Nagorno-Karabakh defense army only partially.

This process is likely to imply a deployment of an international peacekeeping force along the line of contact as a guarantor of security. In exchange for such a concession, the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh is likely to be given an opportunity to conduct a plebiscite. (Foreign political scientists single out two forms of a referendum - with a binding and a non-binding outcome, but practice knows another form of immediate democracy - a plebiscite. In some countries, for example in France, it is considered to be a synonym to a referendum, but in a majority of cases it has its own peculiarities.)

A major point of the document proposed in Madrid apparently is the return of displaced persons and holding of a referendum on independence in the territory of not only Nagorno-Karabakh but possibly also in adjacent regions. This had been discussed before as well ("Moscow agreements"), and then it was supposed that the referendum would be held within 10-15 years from the start of the realization of the first stage of the settlement. Another point of the Madrid document appears to be the lifting of the communications blockade by Azerbaijan and possibly by Turkey. In all likelihood the submitted document is oriented to the policy of resolving the above-mentioned problems without a concrete determination of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. At least, this is clear from the logic of the events of recent years as well as fragmentary reports and statements by separate diplomats.

It is obvious that any form of statement in the document of one political status or another for Nagorno-Karabakh is fraught with the termination of the sluggish negotiating process, for it is the issue on which the parties won't come to a common denominator. That is why there is a more and more frequent talk about prospects of Azerbaijan's resuming active military operations.

Change: Obama's Election Rekindles Hopes For Genocide Recognition Among American-Armenians, By Ruzanna Amiraghyan ArmeniaNow reporter

A leading American-Armenian advocacy group this week encouraged the United States president-elect to make good on his promise to affirm the Armenian Genocide.

Arpi Vartanian, the country director for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh offices of the Armenian Assembly of America (www.aaainc.org), said at a press conference in Yerevan Thursday that the organization cherishes strong hopes that Barack Obama will live up to his pre-election commitment to the influential Armenian community in the US to recognize the mass killings and deportations of Armenians organized and perpetrated by Turkish authorities in 1915-1923 as genocide.

"Of course one can't exclude the promises will not be kept, but because Obama has stated his commitment for more than once," his words seem to be "trustworthy", said Vartanian.

However, Vartanian stated, the organization, along with other Armenian organizations, "will need to keep working to have the promises [made by the candidate] kept."

"American Armenians have been very active in the campaign and supportive of Obama. They have worked with the voters all over the country to convince them to go and take part in the voting," Vartanian told the journalists.

"I think the atmosphere in the States has changed, as it has changed in the world. More attention is paid now to the genocides, and it does not refer only to the Armenian Genocide."

To the question on Turkey's anti-recognition campaign gaining new, stronger momentum the Assembly's country director responded:

"They (US authorities) do not work in a vacuum, and know Turkey's position. I hope they will be the master of their word. And then, let me add, Turkey has not been a good friend of the United States that much and acts in line with its own interests."

The recognition, Vartanian concluded, is necessity for the American people themselves, because it will mean, first and foremost, reinstatement of their own country's history:

"Archives in America are full of facts. The US does not deny the fact. It has not recognized it, because it has not been politically expedient. The American people will gain, when the United States finally accepts and affirms its history."

BIA Quarterly Report Released: State's Security Hijacks The Freedom Of Expression
Quarterly Freedom Of Expression Monitoring Report by BIA observes: 11 individuals, 77 of them journalists, were tried in 73 different cases for their opinions and reporting rights violations by the state. 36 of them were tried under article 301. Crimes against journalists go unpunished and military based censorship is increasing.

Bia news center - Istanbul, 02-11-2008, Erol ÖNDEROGLU

BIA Freedom of Expression Desk has published its “Media Observation Report” for the period of July-August-September. The Desk has been informing the public regularly about the rights violations regarding the media, the reporters and the freedom of expression since 2000. In addition to the international freedom of expression institutions such as IFEX, RSF, CPJ, Article XIX, the Media Observation Reports has become an important source for the European Commission and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe AGİT as well.

To the arrangements that limit the freedom of communication was added No. 5651 Law on Internet Crimes, after the Law on Struggle against Terror, the Turkish Penal Code and the Law for Protection of Atatürk.

The global vide sharing site youtube.com has been banned for six months now for having videos insulting to the memory of Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic. The internet site of dailymotion was banned for one month. Geocities.com has been banned for eight months. The internet site of gundemonline.com was banned by a court order, too.
Internet censorship is widespread, the judiciary is following Oktar’s lead

Creationist Adnan Oktar’s “insult to one’s personality” complaints led the courts to ban the internet sites egitim-sen.org.tr (of the education and scientific workers union), turandursun.com (of Turan Dursun) and anarsist.org. The internet users are raising their voices against closing of the whole sites because of one particular content.

BIA Media Observation Desk’s July-August-September 2008 Media Monitoring Report determined that 116 people, 77 of whom journalists, are being prosecuted for expressing their opinions, reporting rights violations by the state or condemning such violations in 76 different cases.

According to the 32 page report, daily Yeni Şafak was attacked, Turan Aktaş, reporter for daily Taraf, was manhandled by the police and the internet sites antenna.org and ortakpayda.org were hacked.

A reader of daily Birgün’s, Tutku Türkol, was taken into custody and harassed. Journalists Mustafa Balbay and Ufuk Büyükçelebi were taken into custody in connection with the Ergenekon investigation.

Writer Murat Coşkun received prison sentence of one year and fifteen days for committing the crime of “provoking hostility among people” with his book titled “Acının Dili Kadın” (Woman, Language of Pain), published by Peri Publishing in January 2002 with. He is still in prison. Local journalist Hacı Boğatekin of Gerger, who was in prison for 109 days after arrested for his critical publications against the local prosecutor, Kurdish politician Mahmut Alınak, who was arrested for proposing Musa Anter’s name for a street in the city of Tunceli, and unionist Meryem Özsöğüt, who was arrested for taking part in Kevser Mızrak’s commemoration, were released.
Attacks against the journalists go unpunished, Dink’s murder trial is in its second year

Discussing the cases of the 220 people, the report presents the violations under the following headings: “Attacks and threats”, “Custodies and arrests”, “Cases and attempts”, “Arrangements and seeking of rights”, “European Court of Human Rights”, “Reactions to censorship”, and “RTÜK implementations”.

The developments in Dink’s case shows that these kind of political murders cannot be solved only through judicial means, without the support of the political will.

The police officers who broke the arm of Ali Deniz Uslu, reporter of daily Cumhuriyet, and beat Esra Açıkgöz did not appear before court. In Beytüşşebap in the eastern Turkey, DHA reporter Emin Bal was convicted of insult after he filing a complaint against the police officers who manhandled him.
Censorship of every type for the sake of “security”

Not used to be questioned about its operations, the General Staff takes the questions about Dağlıca and Aktütün ambushes as matters of strategy.

Military Prosecutor’s Office asked daily Taraf to turn in the documents used for the article titled “Dağlıca Ambush Was Known”. The court banned the internet site gundemonline.com and suspended the newspaper Alternatif for one month for publishing statements by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

Hayat TV’s broadcasting was cut by the Türksat authorities following a warning by the Security Branch of the Ministry of Interior on the grounds that it was aiding the pro-Kurdish Roj TV. The “mistake” was fixed three weeks later.

Gökçer Tahincioğlu and Kemal Göktaş, who had made a news report about the power of tapping the telephones the Police Department, the National Intelligence Organization and the Gendarmerie were given, are on trial for “publishing confidential documents” and “making the judge a target”.
The Prime Minister targets the media and the humor

Targeting president of the Doğan Media Group Aydın Doğan and unable to control himself, Prime Minister Erdoğan attacked the International Press Institute (IPI) and the World Association of Press Councils (WAPC) for their statements defending the press freedom.

Upon Prime Minister’s complaint, Malih Kaşkar of the newspaper Milas Önder (Milas Leader) was sentenced to prison for telling a joke in his article. Likewise, weekly comic magazine Leman is sued for damages for making fun of Prime Minister’s sentence that “We did not take the science of the West, but its immorality.”
36 people are on trial for article 301

While the cases filed under article 301 are sent to the Ministry of Justice for “permission to prosecute”, that the article remains in effect leads to new cases. The Great Union Party (BBP) administrators filed a complaint against journalist Ahmet Altan and Adnan Demir, daily Taraf’s manager in-charge, for recognizing “the Armenian Genocide”. Retired inspector Niyazi Uslay’s criticizing the military received conviction.

In the last three months, 15 journalists and 36 individuals have been prosecuted under article 301 in 18 cases. The Ministry of Justice granted permission for the prosecution of Temel Demirer under article 301 for stating that Hrant Dink was murdered “for recognizing the genocide.” 22 individuals in 15 cases were being prosecuted under article 301 in the same period of the last year.

Five cases were filed against thirteen people for “influencing the court” with their articles, reports and statements. Two of these cases resulted in acquittal. The six journalists from Batman who criticized the operation that resulted in the death of Mizgin Özbek are facing imprisonment.

Bülent Ersoy, Perihan Mağden, Gökhan Gençay, İbrahim Çeşmecioğlu, Birgül Özbarış and Yasin Yetişgen are on trial for defending conscientious objection and being antiwar.
Eight are accused in “hate” cases

Eight people are on trial for the charge of “provoking hatred and agitation” in five cases. DİHA reporters Oktay Candemir and Ercan Öksüz are on trial for their interview titled “Witness of the Zilan Massacre talked”. Twelve people were prosecuted for the same crime last year.
Threat of 75 year imprisonment and half a million euro in damages for “insult”

In three months, 36 individuals, 28 of them journalists, were prosecuted in 23 cases for the charge of insult. They faced 75 years of imprisonment and payment of about half a million euro in damages.

Muhittin Zenit, intelligence officer on duty in Trabzon before the murder of Hrant Dink, sued bianet.org for 12.500 euro and NTV for 45.000 euro. Feyzullah Aslan of the Police Department is asking from writer Fikret Otyam and journalist İdris Özyol 10.000 euro.

Commemorating Deniz Gezmiş is a “crime”

Commemorating Deniz gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya is still a crime after 35 years: Sibel Bulut, daily Atılım’s manager in-charge, will be tried for “praising the crime and the criminal.” Ten individuals, two of them journalists, were tried in seven cases in accordance with article 215 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The Kurdish problem is banned as a news topic

Istanbul’s 10th High Criminal Court has fined daily Hurriyet’s reporter Sebati Karakurt and managers Hasan Kılıç and Necdet Tatlıcan fifty thousand euro for the interview conducted with the PKK four years age, which was construed as “publishing the comments of the terrorist organization” and “doing propaganda work for the PKK”.

Journalist Cengiz Kapmaz received a ten month prison sentence for his interview with Orhan Doğan, which was construed as “doing propaganda work for the PKK.”

Kurdish politicians Orhan Miroğlu was sentenced to auto-censorship of five years for speaking Kurdish while he was an independent deputy candidate for the Parliament.
The only good news…

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) sentenced Turkey to paying 6500 euro in damages in three cases. In the same period last year, 14500 euro was paid to 32 individuals.(EÖ/EK/TB)

Bianet Refuses Suspend Criticism Against "Creationist" Preacher
Adnan Oktar, the "Creationist" preacher upon whose claims of personal humiliation many internet sites have been closed by court decision, threatens Bianet too: “Articles by two academics dmages my personal dignity. Lift these orwe will have you banned like Richard Dawkin’s site.” There is no insult, so we are not removing the article!

Bia news center - Istanbul, 29-10-2008

Adnan Oktar, the name behind the closing of most of the internet sites in Turkey, has threatened bianet, too.

Claiming he was insulted and slandered through an article criticizing the internet bannings from the legal perspective, which appeared in bianet.org, Adnan Oktar (Adnan Hodja) announced that he was planning to go to court if the said article was not taken off the site.

Giving bianet a warning yesterday on behalf of their client, Oktar’s lawyers reminded that they had managed to get sites such as wordpress.com, richarddawkins.net, egitimsen.org.tr, groups.google and gazetevatan.com banned previously.

Lawyers Kerim Kalkan and Ceyhun Aydoğan stated in the warning they sent to Bianet that they were planning to go to court if the said article was not removed within 24 hours.

Meeting with lawyers about the matter, the bianet administration decided not to take off the said article, since it did not include any insult.

Oktar mistook the critique intended for the court

The article that Oktar thought insulting him was written by Yaman Akdeniz, a faculty from the Law Department of the University of Leeds, and Kerem Altıparmak, a member of the Human Right Center of the Political Science Department of Ankara University, and published by Bianet on October 20.

Reminding that up until today sixty-one sites have been banned by the court orders taken from Silivri and Gebze courts, both Akdeniz and Altan state that the sites were being banned because of a problem in courts’ method of interpretation.

The courts pass over “the Law 5651 for the Regulation of the Material in the Internet and the Fight against the Crimes Committed by the Material Put on the Internet” and apply instead the regulations concerning the issue of insult.

However, the courts should really apply the Law 5651 designed for the matters concerning the internet and this law does not include an arrangement leading to site bannings.

Akdeniz and Altıparmak also draw attention to the fact that the banned sites are never given the chance to defend themselves and usually do not even know the reasons for their banning.

Oktar’s lawyer Aydoğan did not reply to bianet’s demand that they should give concrete examples regarding the insult allegation.
Oktar is not the only one asking for censorship

In addition to the ones banned by Oktar's formal complaints, so far the Turkish courts have banned many sites, including sites like YouTube, EksiSözlük, Daily Motion, blogger.com and geocities.com.

Freedem of Expression defenders, academicians, jurist, journalists and internet users, both from Turkey and the international arena, have reacted to the bannings. (EÜ/TB)

Armenia's Choice: The Inalienable Diaspora By Aram Adamyan MSc, MBA, ACCA, Toronto,
http://www.keghart.com/op134.htm ,31 October 2008

Since the soccer match between the Armenian and Turkish teams in Yerevan on September 6, 2008, diplomatic talks are conducted with an unprecedented pace about a resolution over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Following his return to Ankara, President Gul announced that he was under the impression that President Sargsyan was ready to return territories around Nagorno-Karabakh - areas that are currently under the control of Armenian forces. Armenian authorities did not refute the Turkish claim.

Sergey Lavrov - the Minister of Foreign affairs of Russia - after returning from his recent visit to Yerevan, provided an interview to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. He stated that the Armenian economy greatly suffered from the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, because the borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan were closed. He went on saying that it was very important for Armenia to find a solution to the conflict. Lavrov, being the top diplomat of one of the three co-chair countries of Minsk Group, also told that the document for the resolution of the conflict is almost ready - only minor issues remain to reach an agreement.

It is worth mentioning Russia's prior stance of always maintaining its acceptance of any resolution that was agreeable to all conflicting parties. However, after recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian authorities announced that they would acknowledge the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Another co-chair of the Minsk group, representative of USA Matthew Bryza also mentioned that the solution of the conflict is possible based on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. In addition to above announcements by various diplomats, Turkey actively participated in negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Furthermore, it was one of the players during the tripartite meeting in New York to discuss matters of common concern.

This was in contrast to previous tripartite talks in which Artsakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan were involved. Nagorno-Karabakh, then, was officially recognized as a party in its own right. Currently, however, instead of Nagorno-Karabakh Turkey appears to be holding `the third seat' in negotiations. This trend is supported by both the West and Russia; and within this context it makes sense why the Council of Europe is so slow in its assessments of democratic principles and their implementation by the Armenian Government - an issue that was initiated after the brutal March events following the presidential election in Armenia.

Russia had always harbored intransigence towards development of any kind of cooperation between Armenia and its neighbors in the past. Whereas, today, Russia is interested in opening the Armenian-Turkish border. There are two interrelated reasons. First, after the recent war the border with Georgia was closed. That effectively curtailed Russia's access to its Army base in Gyumri, Armenia. The alternatives are through Iran, Azerbaijan or Turkey. The Iranian route is possible, but it is costly; furthermore it is not reliable because of the potential of USA striking Iran for its nuclear program. Thus, Russia is seriously interested in the other two options which may even materialize together. Incidentally, the Armenian railway network is run by the Russians and Armenia has railway access both to Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The second, and probably the overriding reason of Russia's interest in opening Armenian-Turkish border is the possibility of developing pro-Russian stand in South Caucasus from Turkey and Azerbaijan. In return, Russia will agree to Azerbaijani-Turkish approach in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Prior to the Russo-Georgian war Armenia having a good neighbourly relations with Turkey was viewed as an impediment to Russia's influence in South Caucasus; and stability in the region could lead to an alternative route for transiting resources to Europe. Following the war Russia found a window of opportunity of expanding its influence at the expense of Armenia.

What are Armenia's options while dark clouds are gathering? If Armenians return the territories surrounding Karabakh then the security of Artsakh as well as its contacts with Armenia will be seriously damaged. It is rumored that international peacekeeping forces may be deployed instead of Armenian forces in the area; that does not preclude presence of Turkish Army units. What would Armenian's reaction be?

Armenian lives were sacrificed to achieve a security zone sandwiched between Armenia and Artsakh. Expecting Armenia to return those lands, is asking almost the impossible. Is it illogical to counter such expectations by the demand of implementing the Sevres treaty when Azeris are expecting the return of territories through only diplomatic measures? Will the Armenian authorities muster the courage and resolve to oppose the grand players who are concocting a plan for capitulation?

Turkey has assumed the role of an `assistant' and has inserted itself into the fray. If the resolution supposes the return of Azerbaijani refugees to their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh, why the same right is not afforded to millions of Armenians to return to their ancestral lands in Turkey? Why Armenia doesn't widen the scope of the diplomatic discourse, take advantage of a seemingly frustrating situation, and turn the tables against forces that are squeezing Armenia into a corner? After all, what is there to lose more than what already has been sacrificed? Why are the Armenian authorities reacting to a situation, instead of forging long-term policies of their own?

Why Armenians have to agree to the return of only several thousand Azeri refugees back to Nagorno-Karabakh when there is no mention of three hundred thousand Armenians driven out of Baku, Gandzak or Sumgait? Why Armenians have to return any land to Azerbaijan while the Shahumyan district of Nagorno-Karabakh, the villages Getashen and Martunashen just north of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the enclave village Artsvashen belonging to Armenia remain under Azerbaijani control? If Russia, Turkey and the West insist on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan even after the events of Kosovo, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, why Armenia does not recognize the independence of Artsakh?

Armenians all over the world are asking these questions and rightly so. The Diaspora is the only reliable partner that Armenia has. With its widespread contacts and untapped soft-power it will show its active unity with the Homeland and will be able to save Karabakh. Armenia has a unique opportunity today to bring in the Diaspora into play to counter the enormous pressure that it faces. All attempts to undermine that unity will fail.

The Most Important Challenge Facing Us A speech by Vartan Oskanian delivered in Toronto and Los Angeles.

Dear Friends,

This is my first public appearance since I left the office of foreign minister.

As I was gathering my thoughts about what to say, I realized that we've come a long long way these 17 years.

If I was still in office, I would tell you about Armenia's successes and challenges. Today, as a private citizen, I am going to do the same. But the reason I wanted to be a private citizen, is to be more outspoken about and to work for all that still needs to be done. I believe that my responsibility, our responsibility together, to Armenia and its future is the same whether one is in government or not.

My commitment to Armenia and its future did not begin when I became foreign minister. It will not cease now that I am no longer foreign minister.

I have been here since the inception and I've seen the ups and downs. I served as foreign minister since the beginning of President Robert Kocharian's term. I served as deputy minister and first deputy minister under President Levon Ter Petrossian. In other words, I have served not a man, but a people and a country. Just as it is not in my nature to follow blindly, it is also not in my nature to be in bitter opposition. I believe in carrying out the responsibilities I have undertaken. I believe I have done so these 10 years, sometimes before the TV cameras but more often behind the scenes.

My responsibility now is to speak and act honestly and openly. That is both commitment and responsibility.

The Civilitas Foundation which I have created believes in the concept of a citizen's responsibility to society. We, in Armenia and the Diaspora, professionals, committed Armenians of all generations, across the world, together, make up Armenian society. Around the world, we have attained a level of professionalism, integration and wealth that our grandparents could never have imagined and that obligates us to give back to our community - here and in Armenia.

But you already know that. Your organizations, by its existence, understand the inextricable links between Armenia and Diaspora.

I have often spoken of the Armenia - Diaspora interdependence. I don't think it is any longer a question as to whether one needs the other. I think the only question is how one can build on and benefit from the capacities of the other.

All of us in our consciousness, in our minds, in our dreams, we imagine our own Armenia, and we strive to reach it. But in order to see the real Armenia, to perceive it correctly, I think we must find the right correlation, the right balance between our expectations of Armenia and Armenia's capacity.

It is not easy to build a state. It's true that one can have expectations, but they must also be realistic expectations.

Let's look at what we have. We have built a state that is stable, and advancing economically. Today, if we compare Armenia to other similar countries, we see that despite our limited potential, despite the war, despite the blockade - and in fact we even forget about these sometimes - we are competitive with our neighbors.

The situation in our region today is changing very quickly. The challenges are not the same today as they were 10 years ago, five years ago, or even one or two years ago. And they are many. The Baku-Tbilisi-Çeyhan pipeline is operational and prospects are improving for the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline. These will seriously enhance Azerbaijan's influence and leverage over Europe and the US. Those countries in our region facing self-determination issues have united and created a common front. The punitive posturing towards Iran, our strategically important neighbor, is growing. The likelihood of the creation of divisive lines in our region is also increasing, and nothing demonstrated that better than the conflict, in August, between Russia and Georgia. Finally, the Turkey-Azerbaijan relationship is becoming deeper and broader, with Turkey more openly and overtly assisting Azerbaijan militarily, politically and economically. Every day, we see new manifestations of Turkey's state policy of denial and non-recognition of the Genocide. Add to that their hesitation to make the only move that will have any meaningful impact on the region - opening borders - and you can see that our foreign policy challenges are serious.

Actually, I believe that many of these will be with us in some form or another, for a long time. Our neighborhood is not going to change.

But our domestic challenges - these are the ones that are in our hands to fix, once and for all.

Many of our domestic problems are economic. The hopes of Armenia's aspiring young men and women rest on a fair, open, economic system. This means respecting civil liberties, believing in democracy, actually allowing a rule of law. Only then can will the individual citizen be unafraid to risk and venture, and only then will we harness the energy of our society - economically and politically.

Only then will be able to create jobs so that they see their future in Armenia, and they see Armenia's future in themselves.

Only then will we manage to eradicate poverty so that all our people begin to believe that living in a country that is ours is better than living in someone else's empire.

Only then will we succeed in identifying corruption as the evil that limits options, suffocates innovation, restricts enterprise and slams the door on opportunity

Only then will we do away with nepotism so that it is what you know not who you know that counts.

Only then will our government institutions be more effective because the law makes each citizen powerful, and it is not the powerful who make their own laws.

In other words, the stories of today's rising generation must be stories of prospects and convictions and successes, not stories of frustration, discontent and disillusionment.

But we will not be able to tackle today's ills if we do not heal our political environment and change the psycho-social and moral environment in which we live.

Our elections were not the cause of the damage to our spirit. They were the consequence of our inability to bring civility to our society, to bring civil society to our political stage, and to transform our political arena into a competition of ideas and programs, not a battleground for defending power and wealth/resources.

This failure is not just Armenia's but also the Diaspora's. The challenge then is also not just for Armenia, but for Karabakh and the Diaspora, too. In this, as in all things, we are together. There is no Armenia without Diaspora, no Karabakh without Armenia, there are no divisions. We all belong to one nation, have one identity, one past.

The most important challenge facing all of us is our young people's issue of identity. You in the Diaspora think this is just a Diaspora worry. But it is not. This is as real a question for those who are growing up today in Armenia and Karabakh. To what do they link their identity? To a divided and injured society? To apathy and hopelessness? To endless cycles of poverty? To third world villages? To homelessness and earthquake? To the mentality of a warrior -- victorious but always under siege? To the economy of a petty merchant?

Or to an Armenia that has a knowledge-based economy, where education is valuable for the windows that it opens, where villagers like villagers everywhere feel protected? To an Armenia with an economic and political independence that is secure, to a prosperous Armenia, to an Armenia that is fair and just.

Our young people - in Yerevan and here in Diaspora, too - want to believe in Armenia. But that Armenia must be the Armenia of their imagination, the one they have heard about from their grandfathers, the Armenia their parents have dreamt about. If we can't give this generation that Armenia, then in the years to come, we will lose them to other dreams.

But if we can? If Armenia, the Diaspora and Karabakh join hands and use our know-how and our dedication, see what miracles we will work.

The 21st century - the century of social and professional networks, of globalization and of knowledge-based economies - is a century that will see new countries and new diasporas. Our diaspora was created by the forces of history. Ironically, so was our country.

Now we cannot leave them to the forces of history again.

It is that diaspora and that country that will define us as a nation in the 21st century. We must write that definition ourselves.

Dashnak Leader Worried About Turkish-Armenian Commission By Tigran Avetisian and Emil Danielyan
Official Yerevan will jeopardize recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide by the new U.S. administration if it agrees to a Turkish-Armenian academic study on the subject, a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) warned on Thursday.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has repeatedly assured the influential Armenian-American community that the United States will officially recognize the mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide if he is elected president. The outgoing President George W. Bush and his administration have avoided using the politically sensitive term lest it antagonizes Turkey, a major U.S. ally.

“If a commission or subcommission is formed to discuss the genocide issue as a result of Turkish-Armenian negotiations, it is obvious that the recognition of the genocide by Obama or anybody else may be called into question,” Giro Manoyan, Dashnaktsutyun’s chief foreign policy spokesman, told RFE/RL.

Turkey, which maintains that the Armenian massacres occurred on a much smaller scale and did not constitute genocide, has long been pushing for the formation of a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians that would look into the World War One-era events of 1915. Former President Robert Kocharian rejected the idea. Many in Armenia and especially its worldwide Diaspora view it as a Turkish ploy designed to scuttle the genocide’s recognition by more nations and the United States in particular.

Shortly after he took office in April, President Serzh Sarkisian signaled a major shift in this policy, indicating that he is not against the Turkish proposal in principle. In a late September interview with the Turkish daily “Milliyet,” Sarkisian said a commission of historians can be set up if Turkey agrees to establish diplomatic relations and open the border with Armenia. He also made clear that the would-be commission’s findings and recommendations must not be binding for Armenia.

According to Turkish press reports not denied by Armenian officials, the issue was on the agenda of further Turkish-Armenian diplomatic contacts that followed President Abdullah Gul’s historic September 6 trip to Yerevan. The talks reportedly centered on a joint declaration that would call for the creation of Turkish-Armenian commissions dealing with economic and other issues of mutual interest. Turkish newspapers have said one of those commissions would be made up of historians tasked with studying the “common history” of the two nations and, in particular, the 1915 mass killings.

“The Turkish Daily News” reported on October 30 that a group of Turkish historians and other scholars visited Yerevan recently to attend a workshop with their Armenian colleagues that was sponsored by a German non-governmental organization. The paper said participants “analyzed the Turkish-Armenian relations from an academic perspective based on past and present experiences.” It said they plan to meet again soon to “shed light on the experiences of the two peoples over the last century.”

Dashnaktsutyun, which is represented Sarkisian’s coalition government, has indicated its unease over the apparent policy change in Yerevan. Armenia’s main opposition alliance led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian has strongly condemned it. Levon Zurabian, a close Ter-Petrosian, on Thursday called Sarkisian’s presumed support for a Turkish-Armenian genocide study a “disgrace.”

Speaking to RFE/RL, Zurabian also predicted that like his predecessor, Obama is unlikely to make good on his pledges to recognize the genocide. He argued that the U.S. House of Representatives was expected to pass a relevant resolution late last year but backed off under strong pressure from the White House.

“Things like this will always occur,” said Zurabian. “We will always have the same result as long as we view the genocide issue as a political one.”

Armenian-American lobby groups are more optimistic on this score, however. “I think the atmosphere in the United States has changed in the last few years and more attention is now paid to genocides, including the Armenian genocide,” said Arpi Vartanian, who heads the Yerevan office of the Armenian Assembly of America. “Since Obama has clearly stated that for several times, chances are that he will keep his word,” she told reporters.

“I have no reason to doubt that Obama will fulfill his pledges,” agreed Manoyan. “He has reaffirmed his stance despite Turkey’s intervention before the U.S. elections.”

New Document On The Turkish Anti-Armenian Policy In 1934 armradio.am, 04.11.2008
The US Department of State recently discovered a document proving that over 1934 the Turkish government continued its genocide policy towards the Armenian population.

In a letter sent from the US Embassy in Ankara, Ambassador Robert P. Skinner summarizes the way in which the Turkish government constrained the remaining Armenians living in Anatolia, to give up their properties before being exiled from their hearths, independent correspondent Jean Eckian informed.

Robert P. Skinner indicates that: "It is probable, that their expulsion is quite simply a step moreover of the Turkish government in its policy stated to make of Anatolia a space purely inhabited by Turks."

Moreover, the dating of this letter shows that the crime committed against the Armenians is not something which can simply be relegated to the Ottoman time.

The full text of Ambassador Robert P. Skinner's letter, dated March 2, 1934, is presented below:

"I have the honor to bring to the Department's attention such details as have reached the Embassy from several sources concerning the recent deportations of Armenians from the interior of Anatolia to Istanbul.

The deportees began to arrive at Istanbul some six weeks ago and they are quartered by the Armenian Church and its auxiliary relief organizations in Churches, school houses and abandoned buildings in the villages of Oteköy and Yeniköy. About 600 Armenians are now being taken care of. They are from various towns and villages of Anatolia.

It is assumed by most of the deportees that their expulsion from their homes in Anatolia is a part of the Government's program of making Anatolia a pure Turkish district.

They relate that the Turkish police, in towns and villages where Armenians lived, attempted to instigate local Moslem people to drive the Armenians away. These efforts failed completely. The authorities then brought in Turks from Rumeli and intimated to them that they could take over the Armenian possessions. This new element, however, instead of taking a hostile attitude toward the Armenians became most congenial with them. These two means failing, the Armenians were told that they had to leave at once for Istanbul. They sold their possessions receiving for them ruinous price. I have been told that cattle worth several hundred liras a head had been sold for as little as five liras a head. My informant stated that the Armenians were permitted to sell their property in order that no one of them could say that they were forced to abandon it. However, the sale under these conditions amounted to a practical abandonment.

The Armenians were obliged to walk from their villages to the railways and then they were shipped by train to Istanbul. Local relief organizations are doing their best to attempt to find employment is found. However, the size of the task is staggering. Local sympathetic people have been canvassed to contribute money for their relief.

The real reasons for the deportations are unknown. A few Armenians believe that it is due to their superior business methods which arouses jealousy among certain Turkish elements. The Armenians are know for their energy and thoroughness in business and many of them believe that they suffering now for these qualities. It is likely, though, that their removal is simply one step in the government's avowed policy of making Anatolia purely Turkish."

US Elections: The Armenia Effect, November 2, 2008 Written by Simon Maghakyan
With the world anxiously watching the U.S. presidential elections, a tiny country in the former Soviet Union with a small voice may have a strong vote. Excitement about the election among Armenia's 3-million residents, though, is not showing through local blog posts. That's even after, according to a Gallup Poll, Armenian citizens back Barack Obama 4:1. But more Armenians live outside their country, and enough of them in the United States to actually make a difference. This could translate a marginal voice to a decisive vote.

While most Armenian-Americans live in Democratic strong-holds like California and the East Coast, there are some in battleground states. In my Blogian, I write that there are approximately 3,000 registered ethnic Armenian voters in the swing state of Colorado. The state has 9 electoral votes - enough to make a difference if the election turns to be close. But there are, perhaps, as many Armenians in Colorado who are not citizens yet. I mention in Blogian that my mother, proportionally speaking, is a top Obama donor. She makes very little money working very hard and going to school at the same time, but she wants to invest in the process. As a green card holder, she cannot vote at this time.

Capitalizing on the Armenian-Americans, The Armenian Economist raises the question that maybe there is no "Bradley," but an "Armenian" effect in US elections, at least in the 1982 California race:

The Bradley effect is a proposition advanced to explain the "discrepancy" between opinion polls and the outcome of California's gubernatorial elections in 1982. Tom Bradley, an African-American, lost the race to George Deukmejian, an Armenian American, despite being ahead in some polls. The story here is that some voters may have told pollsters that they will vote for the black candidate, but on election day, in the privacy of the voting booth, voted for his "white" opponent.

The blog further argues that the 1982 wasn't that black and white:

As Armenians we may see things a bit differently, and that the Bradley effect may take on a totally different meaning. Indeed, the 1982 race was between a non-white man and a white man who belonged to an ethnic group that once was legally considered non-white in the US. It was not until Halladjian vs. the United States on December 24, 1909, that Armenians were classified as white and eligible for citizenship. However, varying judicial interpretations remained an obstacle for many would be citizens. Indeed, the United States government challenged the citizenship of one Tatos Cartozian in 1924. The government's prosecuting attorney argued that "It is the contention of the government that it makes no difference whether a man is a Caucasian or not or what the racial and language history of his people may be if the man on the street does not recognize him as white." The case was dismissed in favor of Cartozian.

Now, in 2008, most Armenian groups are mobilizing behind Barack Obama. There is an Armenians for Obama blog registered on the official Obama site. While the Blog only has 179 members, its Facebook version has over 2,800 subscribers. The majority of the Facebook group members are U.S. citizens, but there is a number of Armenians from around the world. And one of the admins of the group, Aram Hamparian (who is Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America), sometimes updates his Facebook status by rhetorically asking "for an Armenian American argument in support of the McCain-Palin ticket."

Caucasus Pictures gives voice to the overwhelming Armenian support for Obama. It cites news sources quoting Obama on the issue of the Armenian extermination as saying, "The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable."

While there is no "Armenians for McCain" group on Facebook, there is the inactive website of Republican Armenians - www.nora-dc.org.

But even supporters of Obama are cautious.

Ditord, an Armenia-based blogger, posted news that Turkey's president has sent two officials to the United States to talk to both Obama and McCain campaigns. According to the post, the topic of the Armenian Genocide will be on discussion.

Obama's support on Armenian issues is spelled on the ArmeniansforObama website, and even as a conservative US site has written about "McCain's Armenia Problem," there are Armenians outside the United States who support Obama over McCain not based on the candidates' stance on Armenian issues.

A London based Armenian professor, Hovhanness Israel Pilikian, writes in his "The Dusk of McCain versus the Dawn of Obama" on Keghart:

The first and last words John McCain spoke at his Convention included "fight", and in between he used the word over 30 times . Who did he remind me of? No other than mad Hitler, who was obsessed with the verb kämpfen - the exact translation in German - even included in the title of his blood-soaked book Mein Kampf - translated as My Struggles - it should be My Fights, in McCain-speak.
John McCain's CV declaimed endlessly by a bulky Hollywood Senator Thompson (?) sounded (to our European mind-set) like a tale told for the private pleasure of a Sadomasochist Mac-brigade in a porno movie-house . and to the great credit of the Republican Convention participants, they looked bored to death!
The reason I am hopeful that America shall wake up and claim Senator Obama as President, is because in my own life-experience, there seems to be an ultimate Force of the Good - and I have experienced it not as a religious person, but as an Agnostic (and a 'methodological atheist' being a social scientist) - when all is said and done, and the worst evil is survived, the Good somehow emerges and saves the day=life from the clutches of total evil=untimely-death, very much symbolized by the metaphorical depths of the Old Testament Book of Job.
It is what makes me confident to prophesy that Senator Obama shall win the day to bring about a new American dawn, and send Senator McCain with his Bushist lies packing into the dusk, and dustbin of history.

The unconventional professor even finds prophecy in Obama's name:

Young men, like Senator Obama, and wise men like Joe Biden live for the future and build it with their own hands. People grow into their names - and Obama's first name, Barack, derives from a triune Semitic root [B-r-ck] meaning God's Blessings [berachot/barackat] - exactly what America needs more than ever.

Interestingly, as a reader of my Blogian writes, "Barakat" is sometimes used in Armenia.

The word Barakat is not Armenian (I think it's used by Arabs, Turks, and Persians), but we sometimes use it in Armenia for "good luck" or "blessing." Maybe Obama will bring good luck to the United States, Armenia and the world?

The Esh!! (Donkey) An Armenian Story November 1, 2008
Young Garabed moved to Gumri and bought a donkey from farmer Vartan for $50.00. Farmer Vartan agreed to deliver the Donkey the next day. The next day Farmer Vartan came by and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died¢. Garabed replied, ¡well then just give me my money back¢. Farmer Vartan said, 'Can't do that. I went and spent it already¢.

Garabed said, 'Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey¢. Farmer Varatan asked, 'what are you going do with him¢? Garabed said, 'I'm going to raffle him off¢.

Farmer Vartan said, 'you can't raffle off a dead donkey¢! Garabed said, 'Sure I can watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead¢.

A month later, Farmer Vartan met up with Garabed and asked, 'what happened with that dead donkey¢? Garabed said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $948.00¢.

Farmer Vartan said, 'didn't anyone complain¢? Garabed said, 'just the guy who won. So I gave him back his two dollars¢! Garabed now works for the Armenian Government.

The Armenian Economist Blog, November 01, 2008
Armenian Defense Spending

Armenia (population 3 million) faces tremendous pressure to increase its military budget. However, given the size of its economy, it is not in a position to engage in an arms race with its neighbors. Turkey's (population 71 million) military budget exceeds the country's entire GDP. As for Azerbaijan (population 8 million), the other Turkic state, its defense expenditures are as large as the government's entire budget.

The country maintains close ties with both Russia and the US. A small contingent of Russian troops guards its border with Turkey and Iran, and Armenian troops serve with NATO in Kosovo, and until recently in Iraq under Polish command before Poland withdrew its troops. In addition, the US has provided some $1.5 billion in economic aid over the past 15 years or so; the US is the only foreign donor to the Armenian enclave of Karabakh. Relying on others for its security and economic well being may not be a source of pride. But the government's role is to provide for the well being of the people, and hope that the officials swallow their pride. Rather than expanding the defense budget, a more effective approach would be to spend more on education and health care. In the long run, it is likely that an expansion in investment in human capital could be far more effective in contributing to Armenia's security and prosperity than anything else the government can do.

State Budget, 2007 (in USD millions)
Defense ............................... 280.0 15.1%
Education and Science ................. 278.0 15.0%
Social Insurance and Social Security .. 184.4 9.9%
Public Services ....................... 181.8 9.8%
Public Order and Security ............. 152.0 8.2%
Transport and Communication ........... 140.3 7.6%
Public Health ......................... 137.1 7.4%
Fuel and Energy ....................... 85.9 4.6%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing ........ 80.7 4.3%
Housing ............................... 64.0 3.5%
Culture, Sport ........................ 48.8 2.6%
Industry, Construction, Nature ........ 22.8 1.2%
Other Expenditures ................... 199.4 10.7%
Total Expenditures .................. 1855.3 100.0%

US Elections and the Bradley Effect
The Bradley effect is a proposition advanced to explain the "discrepancy" between opinion polls and the outcome of California's gubernatorial elections in 1982. Tom Bradley, an African-American, lost the race to George Deukmejian, an Armenian American, despite being ahead in some polls. The story here is that some voters may have told pollsters that they will vote for the black candidate, but on election day, in the privacy of the voting booth, voted for his "white" opponent.

With Barak Obama (African father, white mother) being ahead in the polls in the US, there are repeated references to the Bradley effect in the media. Because those polled may have lied, the argument made is that Obama may not be ahead, or at least not ahead enough to overcome the Bradley effect.

As Armenians we may see things a bit differently, and that the Bradlee effect may take on a totally different meaning. Indeed, the 1982 race was between a non-white man and a white man who belonged to an ethnic group that once was legally considered non-white in the US. It was not until Halladjian vs. the United States on December 24, 1909, that Armenians were classified as white and eligible for citizenship. However, varying judicial interpretations remained an obstacle for many would be citizens. Indeed, the United States government challenged the citizenship of one Tatos Cartozian in 1924. The government's prosecuting attorney argued that “It is the contention of the government that it makes no difference whether a man is a Caucasian or not or what the racial and language history of his people may be if the man on the street does not recognize him as white.” The case was dismissed in favor of Cartozian.

In many ways the legal environment, with its racial overtones, may explain the very low immigration of Armenians to the US pre and post the genocide of 1915 and during the earlier massacres and pogroms. In any event, I usually like to stick to economics, but I couldn't resist the relevance of the news to the historical formation of the Diaspora and its spreading across the globe.


Obama: In The Words Of A Turkish Journalist, November 3, 2008 MÜGE YALÇIN - Hürriyet Daily News

Barack Obama is not your average politician. This presidential hopeful became a bona fide popular culture icon all over the world, from Europe to Africa with only few exceptions, one of which is Turkey.

Ahu Özyurt, the Washington correspondent for the private broadcaster CNNTürk and the daily Milliyet, followed and even worked on Obama's campaign, in her own words, putting aside her impartiality as a journalist. After following him through many states where she distributed flyers, attended campaign meetings and tried to convince people to vote, she finally decided to write down the story she personally witnessed.

Özyurt said she decided to write “Obama: Bir Kusursuz Fırtına,” (Obama: A Perfect Storm) after she followed the race between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party candidacy.

“After he won in a state as white and conservative as Iowa, I thought this story should be told. This was like an Alevi getting elected as mayor in Konya,” she told the Hürriyet Daily News, referring to the Sunni-dominated nature of the central Anatolian city of Konya.

According to Özyurt “the Obama movement,” whether he is elected or not, will have a huge impact on U.S. politics and leftist politics generally. Although the idea of a U.S. politician being considered as a model for a left leader might seem odd to some, Özyurt argues that Obama can pioneer a renewed and universal left. “I think Obama is the closest an American politician has come to the idea of a social state in the European sense... He is a leader who can be close to religious people. He also believes in the Asian mode of production,” she said.

Özyurt explains that the most important point she observed during the election period was how, “Obama transformed the United States, from a place where protests arose when he said he might engage in dialogue with Iran, into a country which actually did that.” Even the Bush administration has been acting as if it has been preparing the country for a possible Obama administration, for the last six months, according to Özyurt.

“When I volunteered in the field, I saw that people from every color and every belief were able to support the campaign and that politics could be fun. That collective work functions greatly at the grassroots level. Your belief in democracy gets renewed,” she continued.

When it comes to Obama's worldwide popularity, Turkey is an exception, where a recent poll by Gallup revealed that 70 percent of Turkish participants did not care who became the next president of the United States. Özyurt believes the Turkish national anger with the United States will not cool off easily. “Obama has already been blacklisted because of his statements that he will recognize the Armenian claims of genocide. I heard Turks saying that he would be eventually killed. But I also think that the United State's ability to renew itself surfaces in times like these. Maybe the Turkish people will watch him with curiosity. I hope that he will try to convince them and break down the paranoia,” she said.

Özyurt believes that Obama's background makes him appealing to Turkey. “I think as a human being he is close to the role Turkey plays in the region. He is both Eastern and Western, he has both Christian and Islamic roots. He is a man who fought very hard to find his own identity,” she said, although acknowledging Turkey would have to make an effort for good relations with an Obama administration. “We will not agree on everything, surely there will be conflicts. But I hope that it will be an administration that listens, makes efforts to understand and allows the region to find its own balance,” she notes.

Terrorism Quiz By Lindy Greene 06/05/06

1) Which is the only country in the world to have dropped bombs on over twenty different countries since 1945?

2) Which is the only country to have used nuclear weapons?

3) Which country was responsible for a car bomb which killed 80 civilians in Beirut in 1985, in a botched assassination attempt,.

4) Which country's illegal bombing of Libya in 1986 was described by the UN Legal Committee as a "classic case" of terrorism?

5) Which country rejected the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to terminate its "unlawful use of force" against Nicaragua in 1986, and then vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law?

6) Which country was accused by a UN-sponsored truth commission of providing "direct and indirect support" for "acts of genocide" against the Mayan Indians in Guatemala during the 1980s?

7) Which country unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in December 2001?

8) Which country renounced the efforts to negotiate a verification process for the Biological Weapons Convention and brought an international conference on the matter to a halt in July 2001?

9) Which country prevented the United Nations from curbing the gun trade at a small arms conference in July 2001?

10) Aside from Somalia, which is the only other country in the world to have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

11) Which is the only Western country which allows the death penalty to be applied to children?

12) Which is the only G7 country to have refused to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, forbidding the use of landmines?

13) Which is the only G7 country to have voted against the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998?

14) Which was the only other country to join with Israel in opposing a 1987 General Assembly resolution condemning international terrorism?

15) Which country refuses to fully pay its debts to the United Nations yet reserves its right to veto United Nations resolutions?

The answer to each question is .... ? The United States Of America


Turkey And The Caucasus: Can They Be Friendly Neighbors?, Samvel Martirosyan (Armenia)
en.fondsk.ru, 03.11.2008

Turkey took advantage of the radical changes that took place in the Caucasus as the result of the Five-Day War to implement a reorientation of its international policy.

While the fighting was raging it was already clear that Ankara was going to start playing a bigger role in the Caucasus. During the active phase of the conflict, Turkey made political maneuvers between the countries involved concerning the passage of the NATO Navy via the Black Sea straits (1).

Immediately upon the end of the hostilities Ankara floated the initiative of creating a platform for security and stability in the Caucasus inviting Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to participate. Despite being the most controversial participants of the project, Moscow and Yerevan unexpectedly expressed support for the platform (2).

Imperialism: the Turkish Disease For Turkey, the South Caucasus is important not only from the standpoint of geopolitics, but also as the region relevant to the future of the country's political elites which are currently plagued by ideological strife. The conflict between the ruling Islamist party and the secular army has disoriented the country: it is uncertain whether Turkey is going to opt for Europeization with an admixture of nationalism or for radical Islamization.

Turkey is a country with profoundly imperialist traditions, but had to remain confined to its borders for a protracted period of time. The contradiction has led to a serious identity crisis. An empire that is not expanding is bound to sink into chaos, which is exactly what is currently taking place in Turkey.

The situation in the Middle East has changed fundamentally due to the end of the Cold War and the two Gulf Wars. The US troops gained strongholds in the region and Washington no longer needs a strong Turkey which used to help it implement its polices. Consequently, the space for maneuvers available to Ankara is shrinking, and Washington makes efforts to sideline it as an undesirable competitor.

For the Turkish elite, the activity in the Caucasian direction can serve as a unifying factor. At the moment, Transcaucasia is the region where Ankara can adhere to an independent national course equally free from the pressure of the West and the politicized Islam. Ankara can rely on Azerbaijan which is its obedient ally in the region, and can interact with Georgia which - due to the crisis of its own statehood -has sought maximal rapprochement with Turkey. All that Ankara had to do was to choose the right moment to drag the "problematic" Armenia and Russia - Turkey's traditional rival in the Caucasus - into the orbit of its policy.

A Turkish Breakthrough?

Is it fair to say that, having found the intelligent decision and taken advantage of the chaos in the region, Ankara managed to make inroads into the South Caucasus? More precisely, Turkey used the recent complications to start implementing its old plan of penetrating the region which remained out of its reach for a long time. Turkey's relations with Armenia - the neighbor country with which it had particularly strained relations - highlight the above.

A survey of the relations between Turkey and Armenia shows that Turkey's snap advent to the Caucasus has been carefully planned ahead. An unprecedented political development had taken place in September, 2008 - Turkish President Abdullah Gul attended a soccer game in Yerevan at the invitation of Serzh Sargsyan. Considering that there are no diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia and the relations between them are burdened with the legacy of a bloody conflict, the casual meeting of the two leaders was an extraordinary event which triggered discussions of a "breakthrough" and a possible normalization.

Armenia was involved in talks behind closed doors about the normalization of the relations with Turkey at least months before Gul's visit to Yerevan. On the surface, it appeared that the rapprochement was induced by the Five-Day War, but in reality the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia merely catalyzed the process that had to commence anyhow.

The condition of the relations between Turkey and Armenia started to evolve incredibly fast. On the one hand, it is an unexpected breakthrough. On the other, it is unlikely that the new trend is explained solely by a sudden drive for better relations in Ankara and Yerevan. Probably, the prompt rapprochement scenario had been prepared already under President R. Kocharyan and awaited for the right moment to be put into practice.

Otherwise it would be hard to explain how it became possible to reach the deal to supply electric power from Armenia to Turkey, to convince Armenia to drop its objections to Turkey's membership in the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and Turkey -to lift the air blockade of Armenia so quickly, etc.

It should be remembered that Sargsyan went public with his offer to improve the relations between Armenia and Turkey in June, 2008 when his presidency was in the initial phase and his domestic political positions were fairly insecure. He took serious risks floating the initiative which the Armenian society was going to frown upon. No preliminary efforts were made to prepare the public opinion to accept it, which is another indication that the snap rapprochement was planned much earlier, and the hostilities in South Ossetia merely signaled the right moment to move on.

Can Turkey Be an Ally?

Clearly, Yerevan had to act under serious Western pressure. From the perspective of Washington and Brussels, lifting the blockade at the border between Armenia and Turkey is a prologue to a shift in the balance of forces in the region as in this case Russia would no longer be Armenia's only link to the outside world and Armenia would thus get decoupled from Russia.

As a result Russia would see its potential to influence Armenia considerably reduced.

Yet, the recent strengthening of Russia's positions in the Caucasus affected the US plan of weakening its hold on Yerevan. Under the circumstances, Ankara started to play a game of its own. By launching the process of rapprochement with Russia, Turkey has generally neutralized the influence of the West. At the same time, Russia is entrained by Turkey since the latter has the potential to influence the situation in the South Caucasus with the help of Azerbaijan and -to an extent - Georgia.

At the moment, Ankara is successfully maneuvering between Moscow, Washington, and Brussels, probing into the opportunities to expand its presence in the region.

It should be realized that Turkey regards the rapprochement with Russia as a tactical move. It would be naïve to expect that the conflict with Georgia is going to make a geopolitical alliance with Turkey or even a Russia-Turkey axis possible. The Turkish elite are fully aware that Russia is its number one rival in the Caucasus and the Black Sea region.

It appears that not everybody in Armenia welcomes the dubious plans of a snap recovery in the relations with Turkey either. Though Armenia's political elite has spent the entire September praising the corresponding achievements, already in mid-October the Armenian Prime Minister indicated in a rather harsh form that in his view the essence of Ankara's policy had remained unchanged.

Currently the process is stagnating notably, and no profound changes in the South Caucasus direction loom on the horizon. There exist such key problems that any rapid changes in the region are going to have an adverse impact on all sides unless they are resolved. One of the main key problems is, of course, that of Karabakh. Having no leverage in the conflict, Turkey is nevertheless actively seeking a role in the negotiation process. Moscow is trying to gain control over the process as well. In all likelihood, in the nearest time neither of the parties involved will be able to monopolize control over the developments around Karabakh.

There is one more significant circumstance that has to be taken into account. Some of the serious regional forces have not even joined the game so far. For example, Iran is taking its time as much as it appears possible and only occasionally reminds others that it is also a country to reckon with. No doubt, in a while Tehran will attempt to impede the emergence of any new alliances in the South Caucasus that will pose a threat to Iran.

Currently Iran is interested in maintaining the status quo. In particular, the strengthening of Turkey's positions - and even more so its rapid rapprochement with Russia and Armenia - would be undesirable for Iran.

Therefore Tehran will try to impede the political developments in the South Caucasus leading to the emergence of any new trends. The country certainly has the instruments to do so.

1. Turkey Did Not Admit the US Navy to Georgia. Rosbalt, August 16,
2008, http://www.rosbalt.ru/2008/08/16/514262.html

2. Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov. Russia Hails the Turkish
Initiative to Create a Caucasus Platform. PanARMENIAN.Net, 03.10.2008,

ANCC: Turkey Has Distinction Of Being Worlds Worst Perpetrator Of Crimes Against Humanity
29.05.2008 PanARMENIAN.Net

The Armenian National Committee of Canada recently participated in two important historic commemorations - for the Pontian Genocide and the Rwandan Genocide victims. On May 18, the Brotherhood Pontian of Toronto organized a memorial for the 353,000 Pontian Greek victims of atrocities perpetrated by the Turkish government from 1916 to 1923.

Among the 350 people who attended the commemoration were a high-ranking Greek Cabinet minister, a member of the Greek parliament, and representatives of the department of foreign affairs of Greece, the ANCC told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The memorial was held at St. Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Church in Toronto.

The keynote speaker Michael Charalampidis, author, and member of the executive committee of the International Association for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples, emphasized the imperative for Pontians around the world to organize and to become more politically active in the international recognition of the Pontian Genocide.

Furthermore, he said he appreciated and valued the pioneering work of the Armenian National Committee and the Armenian people, at large, in their political activism and in paving the way for the Pontian community to follow in their footsteps.

Aris Babikian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC), urged the international community and governments not to be selective in their condemnation, as their political and economic interests dictate, but to bring to justice the Turkish genocide perpetrators and their accomplices. Today the Turkish government, encouraged by the international communitys silence, is not only denying the Armenian, Pontian, and Assyrian Genocides and continuing its illegal occupation of Cyprus, but it has also launched a genocide against the Kurds.

Babikian said its imperative for us to stand united in solidarity, to remind the world of the Turkish governments past and present crimes, and to demand that the international community to stop its appeasement policies towards a fascist and racist Turkish government which has the distinction of being the worlds worst perpetrator of crimes against humanity.

Babikian reminded the gathered that the rampant extreme nationalism, prejudice and xenophobia in contemporary Turkey is an ominous sign and a reminder of the climate which existed in Turkey in the early 20th century.

He added that Canada and the international community can send a clear and unequivocal message to the Turkish government that the international community will not tolerate such inhuman treatment of our fellow human beings and will not allow the genocide denial machine to operate with impunity.

On April 4, the ANCC participated in a press conference at the Gatineau city hall to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the genocide of Rwandas Tutsi minority. The press conference was organized by the HUMURA Association, with the participation of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Association of Darfur, and ANCC.

Genocide denial was the theme of the press conference. At the end of the conference the participants signed a letter bringing to the attention of the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, that genocide deniers hide behind the veil of dubious scholars of the truth who increase the agony of the victims wounds that have never healed While Canada rightly protects fundamental liberties, including the liberty of expression, we strongly believe that genocide deniers should never enjoy constitutional guarantees to propagate heinous and racist speeches targeting specific ethnic groups in Canada.

Babikian said that he considered it ANCCs privilege and honor to participate in the gatherings to show our friendship with other genocide victim nations. We, the survivors of similar heinous crimes, or the descendents of those who survived, must unite to remind the international community that such crimes will not be forgotten, denied or be allowed to be repeated. We owe it to our martyrs who paid the ultimate price for intolerance, xenophobia and hatred.

My Letter To Congressman, Senators, Theodore G. Karakostas, Hellenic News of America, Nov 7 2008 PA
My name is Theodore G. Karakostas, and I am writing to you as a constituent. I am a writer with a special interest in Helleno-Byzantine civilization and culture, and the plight of Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey and Turkish occupied Cyprus. To my great dismay, I have continued to observe unabated continued assistance to/and tolerance for by Washington, for the continued policies of repression against the Christian populations in Turkey by the sinister military regime which continues to project an unnatural influence on that country's domestic and foreign policies.

To be more precise, the Turkish military enforces a policy of blatant racial hatred toward its Christians.

The more notorious acts of violence and terror have been directed against the Ecumenical Patriarch and his Greek Orthodox flock, the Armenian Apostolic Church and its Patriarch, but also against Roman Catholics, and Protestant missionary groups working in Turkey. Most recently, there was an outstanding book entitled "Paradise Lost" by historian Giles Milton which was released in the United States and which told the story of how the murderous Turkish Nationalist named Mustafa Kemal and his followers slaughtered the native Greek and Armenian Christian populations of the City of Smyrna.

Mr. Giles also recounts that under Mustafa Kemal's reign of terror, the large American community of that City ceased to exist as American citizens fled for fear of their lives in the midst of the carnage presided over by Mustafa Kemal. The military leadership of Turkey is devoted to the cult of Mustafa Kemal and continues to enforce his hateful ideology against non-Turkish populations. Many great Americans who remain unfortunately unrecognized for their advocacy on behalf of tormented Christians in Asia Minor in the dark days of September 1922 include the American Consul General to Smyrna George Horton, Edward Hale Bierstadt, representative of the Near Eastern Relief Committee, and various other diplomats and missionaries who served America with great distinction in attempting to save innocent people from Turkish nationalists.

News reports that I have followed have confirmed for me that the Turkish Military is responsible for the present day persecution and torment of the last remaining Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey. It is intolerable for me to consider that these policies continue without the civilized world responding by imposing sanctions on the Turkish regime, as it rightfully does when minorities elsewhere find themselves in dire situations. The Turkish Kemalist regime in recent years failed to support the United States in Iraq in 2003, and Islamic fundamentalists have fared well in that country's national elections.

Furthermore, during the spring of 2005, Hitler's "Mein Kampf" was a best seller in Turkey, and in 2006, a blatantly anti-Semetic and anti-American film, "Valley of the Wolves Iraq" was a box office smash in Turkey. It appears to me as an outraged American citizen of Hellenic ancestry and Orthodox Christian faith, that the time has arrived for America to terminate its support for the repressive and murderous Turkish military regime. For many decades, Turkish atrocities and crimes have been tolerated in the name of strategic alliances to the great harm done to the Christian minorities in Turkey who barely continue to exist in that country.

Former Ambassador to Greece Monteagle Stearns (1981-1985) in his 1992 book, "Entangled Alliances" acknowledged Washington's mistaken policies when he criticized the late Secretary of State John Foster Dulles for his complete failure to condemn or oppose the Turkish government when it carried out a vicious pogrom against the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey. Either democracy and human rights matter or they do not. If they are to be thrown aside because a particular government that is repressive, racist, and authoritarian (as Turkey continues to be) is perceived to be strategically important, then democratic values for nothing and innocent people are condemned to a merciless fate.

In any case, the Turkish regime has lost the false cover of strategic importance which its military led government has used through the influence of the Turkish lobby to subvert moral and humanitarian values.

The Turkish occupation of Cyprus remains ongoing after thirty four years and the whole of Cyprus remains hostage to whims and desires of Ankara should that regime decide that it will extend its aggression to the whole of Cyprus.

It is my strong belief that Turkey should be held accountable for atrocities committed by its military against the civilian population of the Republic of Cyprus. In 1996, the Turkish government openly supported a terrorist organization known as the Grey Wolves in the occupied territories of Cyprus where they slaughtered four Greek Cypriots during a month long period. In 2007, the Bush administration worked on behalf of the Turkish military regime to overturn a House Resolution that would have recognized the Armenian Genocide.

Turkey's ongoing efforts to deny the Armenian Genocide (as well as Genocides against the Greek and Assyrian Christian populations) are blatantly racist and reflect the low value which the lives of the members of all these communities have in the eyes of the Turkish Kemalist regime

The Ecumenical Patriarch who has been honored by the United States Congress in recent years is under constant pressure by thugs and extremists. Between 1993 and 2004, there were four bombings at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and in July 2007, several retired Turkish Army officers were implicated in a plot to assassinate his holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I. Under the pressure of the military, his holiness is not permitted to operate the only Greek Orthodox Seminary in Turkey.

It is in my point of view, time for the United States to begin the process of exporting the freedom that it has exported to Russia and Eastern Europe in the post-Communist era to Turkey. This necessitates that sanctions be considered and imposed on the Turkish military regime, both as a means of action for all Christian communities and Turkey, and to force Ankara to comply with international law by withdrawing its forces from Cyprus. Turkey has refused to comply with its obligations to protect minority populations and to comply with international law on Cyprus.

Turkey is a rogue State, and should be treated like one. Therefore, serious sanctions such as a cutoff of all American assistance should be adopted. Between 1975 and 1978, there was a Congressional Arms embargo imposed on Turkey after Ankara invaded Cyprus. Thirty years after the lifting of that Arms embargo Turkey remains firmly entrenched in Cyprus. In January of this year, Turkish General Egun Saygun, Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff was hosted by the High Level Defense Group Meetings and was introduced by General Brent Scowcroft. The Turkish General made a remark in his speech which seriously denigrated the Greeks of Turkey and the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Armenian people, and the Greeks of Cyprus with no apparent protest emanating from any American officials in the room

I respectfully ask for your careful consideration to ensure that the destruction of the lives of the innocent in Turkey and Turkish occupied Cyprus by a rogue military is no longer permitted.

CNN To Screen Scream Bloody Murder Documentary About Genocides Of 20th Century , 08.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ CNN Presents Scream Bloody Murder, a two-hour documentary featuring chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour’s reporting of systematic terror and violence through the years, will premiere Thursday, Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. ET.

From ethnic slaughters in Armenia to the Holocaust to appalling violence in Cambodia, Rwanda, Iraq and Darfur, Amanpour reports on the recurring nightmare of genocide and the largely unknown struggles of the heroes who witnessed evil - and “screamed bloody murder” for the international community to stop it.

As the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide approaches, CNN chronicles world leaders at the key moments of history as they happened and leverages this direct experience and depth of knowledge in Scream Bloody Murder.

The managing editor for Scream Bloody Murder is Kathy Slobogin. Andy Segal is senior producer; Ken Shiffman and Jennifer Hyde are producers for this documentary, multichannel.com reports.

Armenian Youth: We Liked Turks a Lot
Peace hopes grew between the two countries when the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül went to Armenia for watching the national match with his counterpart Serj Sarkisyan. A special meeting, which was attended by 5 Armenian students from Bilgi University, was organized. The Armenian students stated the following on the relations between the two countries:

* Daniel (23): There may be some mistakes in the past. But what is our faultas the youth? We should be open for a dialog as the youth. I believe that the small steps that we have taken will one day reach their target and the two societies will be friends soon as we are currently experiencing. We liked Turks a lot.

*Diana (21): This is my second time in Turkey. We can easily state that we are Armenians. In fact, Turkish people are open to a dialog. We must direct the societies for getting closer. And we will do that.

* Lelton (24): The Armenian people do not feel hostile against Turkey; and it is the same for Turkish people…

* Monica (20): When we manage to break the psychological obstacles, we will accomplish raising the borders in our heads. Then, all the borders in the maps will open its doors for friendship and peace.

* Amen (22): The Diaspora is not responsible for completely representing our society. Both of the societies are in clishéd thoughts over some issues. These thoughts were changed when Abdullah Gül went to Yerevan upon our President Sarkisyan’s invitation. (*)

It is hoped that Armenian youth, who display realistic and logical rapprochement, would “bravely” question the genocide tales that were taught to them, wake up from their sleeps and preserve their common sense and objectivity.
Source: (*) Sabah Daily Newspaper-27.10.2008

Armenians Embezzled Folkloric Songs!
The songs in the album of the Azerbaijani Music, which were thrown on the market in New York, were introduces as Armenian music…

Baku Music Academy has delivered a statement when the Azerbaijani songs that were thrown on the market in New York, were introduced as Armenian music. Khudayat Hasanli, the Chair for Legal Office for Copyrights stated that over 10 songs belonged to the Azerbaijani folklore and composers in the CD that was produced by “Traditional Grossroad” and all the songs were played with traditional Azerbaijani instruments.

It came out that Armenians embezzled the folkloric songs called “Innabi, Khan Chobani, Shalakho, Üzeyir Hajibayov’s Chirpinirdin Gara Deniz, Gedin-gedin Gaziya Deyin, operet ‘O olmasın, bu olsun’, Emin Sabitoğlu’s Dağlar, Alibaba Mammadov’s ‘Gozeller ichre sen ey mahi-pare bir denesen’, Mukhalif Dilkesh”, which were played with various instruments like “Kemençe, ud, nagara, gaval, balaban, tutek and ney”.

Khudayat Hasanli stated that they demanded an explanation from Traditional Grossroad Company on the issue. The discussions on the issue are continuing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Following the necessary meetings, the precautions for the copyright of the album will be determined. (*)

It is observed that the Armenians, who first invaded Azerbaijani lands, have not given up to their goal of confiscating the Azerbaijani culture. Unfortunately, they are experts on lying, making fake claims and claiming rights on the things, which they do not possess…

As it will be recalled, the Armenian invading forces had attempted to register the Azerbaijani work of art, which possess an Azerbaijani historical tissue, on their own records in 2005, and an article on Azerbaijani “Incidents Newspaper” indicated the racist efforts for transforming the Azerbaijani cultural heritage to Armenians on 20 May 2005. The newspaper noted that alterations were made on the Azerbaijani historical work of art and Armenians fanatically attempted to demonstrate the Azerbaijani historical tissue as an Armenian work of art on the new map that was prepared by Armenians.

Briefly, Armenia continues to do whatever, she wishes to do…
Source: (*) Hyetert-31.10.2008

Legal Armor For The Genocide Claim
The government made a move for securing her archives legally, which contain first hand historical sources, in order to assist the Republic of Turkey to defend herself better against the Armenian genocide claims and to protect her rights in the world.

(…) The national Archive bill, which was prepared but not discussed during the previous legislation term, will be brought on the agenda of the assembly next term. A legal armor for the documents against the Armenian genocide claim, which is brought forward at the US Senate every year, is being provided.

The following are introduced to the national archives with the bill:

“-Designation, classification, collection, protection, restoration, maintenance reproducing and presenting for service is organized with the afore-mentioned bill, which is called as archive.

-The information, which is produced on digital basis, is also described as archive. They gain an institutional identity in the context of the General Management of the State Archives

-Presidency, GNAT, General Staff, the Ministry of National Defense, Gendarmerie, and NIO is exempted from sending documents to the General Management of the State Archives due to safety measures.

- The documents that are produced as a result of the efforts of Ministry of Interior are presented to the service of the Turkish and world science circles by transferring them to computers. The target is to eliminate the accusations, which assert that Republic of Turkey is not opening her archives.

- The archival documents, which can clearly damage the national security, foreign relations and personal rights of the country, in addition to the archival documents, which have secrecy degree, would legally be under guarantee after they are transferred to the State Archives.

-Heavy criminal sanctions will be applied towards the ones, who cause to disappear the documents by not fulfilling their duties related with the archives, steal archival documents, sell and buy these documents, who destruct the documents on purpose and the ones who, take them abroad.

-A “Specialization Library” is being founded by supplying publications on archives, and books, thesis, reports, periodicals, CDs that are needed for executing archival researches and activities of the management both within the country and from abroad.”

Source: Milli Gazete-04.11.2008 13.11.2008

ANCA: Obama Offered Fresh ‘genocide' Pledge
An influential US Armenian lobby has suggested that US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama reaffirmed his commitment to recognition of Armenian genocide allegations.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) announced on its Web site that it received a statement dated Oct. 31 from the Obama campaign.

"Barack Obama believes we must recognize this tragic reality and strongly supports a U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy. Barack Obama strongly supports passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106) and will recognize the Armenian Genocide," ANCA quoted the statement as saying.

Yet the quoted statement was not aired on home page of Obama's campaign, unlike his earlier statements on the same issue.

ANCA underlined that the statement "came amid a flurry of reports in the Turkish press regarding a meeting that supposedly took place over the last several days between a senior Turkish official, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and a representative of the Obama-Biden campaign, after which Davutoğlu called into question Obama's commitment to this core human rights issue." 03 November 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN

Australia's 3rd Largest CBD, Sydney North Shore Federal Mp Calls For Australia To Recognize Armenian Genocide
Noyan Tapan Oct 31, 2008
ARMENIANS TODAY. Lately, the issue of recognizing the Armenian Genocide was raised in parliament of North Shore when North Shore Federal MP Joe Hockey called for Australia to officially recognise the "slaughter" that killed more than a million Armenians during World War I. Mr Hockey said his own grandfather had survived "the massacre" but his friends and family had not. He said Australia had prospered through immigration from many countries including Armenia.

The North Shore has a large Armenian community and is the 3rd largest CBD (#1:Sydney #2:Melbourne) in Australia

Armenia Not Planning To Tolerate Turkish Performance Vardan Grigoryan Hayots Ashkhar Daily 01 Nov 08 Armenia

Two months have already passed after the visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gyul to Yerevan but no essential progress has been recorded in Armenian-Turkish relations so far.

In contrast to that the Turkish leadership showers sweet words regarding the `progress' of Armenian - Turkish relations and the `friendship' between the two countries, by totally misleading the international community.

Moreover in some European countries they trust Turkey's false advocacy so much that they have started to think about making the process of the integration of our neighbor into the European structures swifter. The matters took such a turn that the Turkish diplomats have started to threaten the European counselors regarding the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, saying that thus they will spoil Armenian-Turkish `honeymoon'.

So it turns out that the relations between the two countries have improved by words but far not by actions.

Not only does Turkey continue to put forward its famous preconditions for the opening of Armenian-Turkish border and the solution of other issues, but it has also started to make evident efforts to have a hand in the settlement of Karabakh conflict. But why shouldn't they do so, if besides being Azerbaijan's `elder brother' they are also our `sincere friend'.

Moreover, during the recent times Turkey is trying to shift the before mentioned performance from the European stages to the US.

Prime Minister Erdoghan's envoys announced in the USA that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide would allegedly have a bad impact on Turkey's efforts to improve relations with Armenia.

It is evident that here we deal with a great example of a performance of `establishing friendly relations' which has found its fundamental groundings in the interview given by the Turkish President Abdullah Gyul to one of the French TV channels, where he separated `Armenian Cause' from `Armenia's Issue'. But saying `Armenian Cause' Abdullah Gyul didn't mean the autonomy and later the independence of the West Armenia, which started in 1877, but `the treachery of the Armenians' during the First World War, to which it turned out that the Turks responded by `deporting the Armenians to more secure places' and far not the Genocide.

The Turkish President believes our compatriots living in Diaspora are the before mentioned `traitors' and he doesn't consider Armenia a threat or an enemy for Turkey.

Then a question arises here, `In that case what was the sense of the political hurry-scurry for the improvement of Armenian-Turkish relations? In our view after the military clash between Russia and Georgia, Armenia and its leadership didn't have any chance to avoid the great regional maneuvers.'

By not joining the actions of its ally against Georgia and meanwhile appearing in a tough geo-political situation Armenia couldn't avoid at least the exhorts to start a dialogue with Turkey. So the whole problem is that our diplomacy and especially our foreign policy were not very well prepared for the Turkish performance about `establishing friendly relations'.

At the moment the situation is changing and our Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan has already announced to the world that, `we are not interested in continuing the process for the sake of the process, to meet several times in two, there, four years and to create an impression that the process is on.

But in our view this quite correct estimation given to the created situation must be clarified for the international community, by means of clear messages addressed to the USA and EU member countries. By the lowest methods Turkey is trying to use the already started Armenian-Turkish dialogue and the quite sincere expectations of the international community linked with this process, aimed at hiding their own crimes and holding the process of the international recognition of Armenian Genocide, then Armenia must in its turn put forward the following resolution: `The sooner the Armenian Genocide is recognized, the sooner Armenian-Turkish relations will be improved.'

Moreover, if in future Turkey keeps his promise given to Azerbaijan and tries to include Karabakh issue in the agenda of the Security Council, as a newly elected non-permanent member, then Armenia will have to immediately appeal to the same organization and estimate this process as a preparation of a new genocide towards the Armenian inhabitants of Nagorno Karabakh by the two countries that have committed the Armenian Genocide.

Armenia can also use Turkey's possible action and demand clear guarantees of excluding the repetition of Armenian Genocide, from the UN Security Council.

Associated Press Worldstream October 30, 2008

US Candidate Gets Funds Over Genocide Dispute, Pasadena California
A contender for a seat in the House of Representatives has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Turkish-Americans opposed to the incumbent candidate's support of a failed resolution calling the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide.

Charles Hahn, who is seeking to unseat Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, received $5,700 from fundraising and contributions by Ergun Kirlikovali, the Pasadena Star-News reported on its Web site Wednesday.

Hahn has also received $2,300 from the national Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee, which also opposed Schiff's legislation.

Kirlikovali, who runs a Web site denying that a genocide took place, said the main reason he and others supported the Republican challenger was because they disliked Schiff's resolution.

"I find Schiff's stand racist and dishonest," Kirlikovali said. "I'd like to support someone who can defeat him."

Schiff, whose district includes tens of thousands of Armenians, said he found Kirlikovali's involvement troubling.

"This is a pretty narrow special interest group that is devoted to eradicating the memory of genocide," he said.

The resolution failed last year after inflaming U.S. tensions with Turkey, which claims the deaths of as many as 1.5 million Armenians do not constitute genocide. It says the toll has been inflated, and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest as the Ottoman Empire fell into disarray.

Hahn said he does not deny that an Armenian genocide took place, but said he would not have supported Schiff's legislation. He said he would like to introduce legislation that Armenian- and Turkish-American groups could agree on.

Turkish Muslim Missionaries Plan to Take America: Fethullah Gülen‘s Missionaries in America Kurdishaspect.com - Aland Mizell

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the super powers began to fight over Central Asia’s oil and gas wealth, as well as the geopolitics of the region. The U.S. did not want Iran to have control over the Central Asian republics. The U.S. knew that it could not easily have access to the region; therefore, it used the movement of a Turkish Islamic imam, Fethullah Gülen as a perfect proxy to gain control quickly and effectively because Turkey shared the same history, culture and religion with Central Asians. However, this odd but fortuitous relationship made it easy for Gülen later to have entry into America. The U.S. used Gulen’s movement by comparing what it perceived to be a bigger threat to a lesser threat. Rather than standing by for a radical Islamic group to infiltrate Central Asia in the vacuum left by the Soviets, the U.S. choose to support Gulen’s missionaries who were armed with Turkish Sufism. Similarly, the U.S. reasoned that allowing the CIA to support Osama Bin Laden to defeat the Soviet troops in Afghanistan in1979, would ensure the defeat of the Russians.

Central Asia is a key strategic prize in the Great Game as Russia, the U.S., and China battle to obtain energy supplies. Wanting to be an influential player, the U.S. government used Gülen as a proxy to influence affairs in Central Asia via Gulen’s religious mission activities. The U.S. did not want Iran to have too much power in the former Soviet republics, so it supported Gulen’s Sufi Ottomanism rather than the Shia religion. His clandestine activities were disguised under a platform of setting up schools. These strange bedfellows of U.S. foreign policy and the Turkish-brand of “moderate Islam” lead Gülen into a cozy relationship with the U.S. In 1999, Gülen escaped to the U.S. citing health issues as an excuse; however, in 2000, he was charged by the Turkish government with forming a terrorist organization to dismantle the secular state in order to replace it with a pro-Islamic government. Today Gulen’s Islamic party is in charge of the Turkish government, and they seek out those who want to act against Gülen, one by one putting them in jail and naming them “the Erkenekon gang.” For example, the Turkish government has charged the owner of the Cumuhuriyet newspaper, some high military officials, and some other party leaders with various crimes, but this strategy is just another way Gülen is taking revenge and wanting the military to be under the control of the civilians or the police because most of the police chiefs are his followers.

The United States’ law allows Gülen Muslim missionaries to operate easily in America. Gülen does not have to challenge the existing political order; he knows how to achieve his goals without violating U.S. law. Actually, it is much easier to gain followers and then position them in key institutions in the U.S. than it was in Turkey. Because the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion, Gülen uses that existing system for his Islamic aims. In Turkey Gülen initially had problems and lacked the freedom to gain power because the military did not allow his religious activities to be used as a tool to take over the government. Gülen has always taken advantage of situations and used them as opportunities to spread his global Islamic missionaries’ activities under the platforms of Interfaith Dialogues, opening schools around the world, holding conferences, and starting more house mosques, as in the U.S. Gülen believes the best way to defeat the enemy is to use the enemies’ weapon. What are the enemy America’s weapons? Democratic institutions. Gülen uses them to spread his message; for example, he brings thousands of graduate students from Turkey, at the expense of American taxpayers, to study at American universities. He also developed lobbies to cultivate politicians, in conjunction with his placing American-born Muslims in the CIA, FBI, NSA and other top security agencies and with Americans electing Muslim representatives. Gülen has a highly sophisticated net of information, first using it to infiltrate his people into Turkey’s top agencies, and now repeating the strategy in the U.S. Gülen wants to create a strong lobby in Washington for the promotion of Islam and its cause in this country as well as around the world because Gülen sees the importance of power in Washington.

Gülen heads this vast organization in the U.S. and around the world, holding absolute authority over all aspects of it, although the organization operates seemingly as independent cells. It is based on a hierarchy of activists on different levels: municipalities, businesses, families, secret services, educational institutions, and individuals. Another group of activists, the abi or elder brothers, deal with the recruits, mostly from among the poor youth, by providing them with housing and education in the isik evelrs or what Gülen called “light house.” There, the youths receive intensive Islamist training following the teachings of Said Nursi and the Nur movement. Today there are thousands of students coming from Turkey, more than any other country, under the platform of the graduate degree, and most of them secure teaching positions at the top ten universities and marry American citizens thereby becoming a citizen of this country, so that they can continue their missionary activities.

Another platform he uses is Interfaith Dialogues, founded to call for tolerance among religions. If Gülen is really a tolerant person, why can no one in his movement dare to object to his views or even to challenge him on a proposition? He or she would be excommunicated from his organization, and if not excommunicated, would be considered one of the most disgraced of his followers. Gülen is not what in the media he claims to be; he is very authoritarian and absolutely non-tolerant. Even a brief inquiry of one of his former friends would reveal this same truth. For example, because Nurettin Veren objected to Gulen’s view and did not listen to him, his life is now in danger, and Gülen has excommunicated him. Nurettin Veren went public to speak out about how Gülen is authoritarian and dangerous, especially to a secular state. Gülen is Machiavellian in that the end justifies the means to manipulate and indoctrinate the people for his personal gain and for the cause of spreading Turkish Islam. Dialogue is a misnomer for indoctrination.

I am not objecting to people conducting dialogues. Any reasoning person, however, would argue that interfaith dialogues need to be held in Turkey, where there is no room for freedom of religion or freedom of thought. For example, why can he not hold these interfaith dialogues between the Kurds and the Turks? How many American Christians who converted to Islam are being killed or threatened with death by Christians? By contrast many converts to Christianity in Islamic countries face death, as in the torture of three men in Malayta last year, or at the least imprisonment. How many mosques in America are being bombed? So then, why are interfaith dialogues being held in the West? If indeed there is a need for dialogues among faiths, they need to be held in the countries that have problems, those where there is no freedom of religion, opinion, or thought.

Many of Gülen’s people worship Gülen, and even bought title and honor for him by electing him, according to the UK’s Prospect magazine, the most intellectual man today. Prospect ran a global public intellectual poll last month to find the world’s greatest living intellectuals. Gülen won this global poll, making him the most intellectual person on the Prospect /Foreign Policy list. Gulen’s newspaper Zaman, with its circulation of over 800,000 and a string the international editions, ran the story and asked his people to vote. Gülen has more than seven million followers with the result that they rushed to vote to elect him, a stepping stone that his strategists hope will secure him the Nobel Peace Prize as well. The question is whether a person can buy himself or herself an honor and title of such magnitude? The larger question is for what purpose would he do so?

Footage aired on Turkish TV showed Gülen explaining the methods that his followers should use to attain Islamist goals. In his sermon he said, “You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers, until the conditions are ripe.” Today, few Americans notice the many Muslim missionaries infiltrating into the top security agencies; they do not notice thousands of Muslims missionaries coming from Turkey under the graduate platform and getting scholarships from the U.S. government and using the nominally Christian culture’s tax money to continue Gulen’s missionary activities in the U.S. Similarly, Raindrop Turkish Cultural House, Ebru TV, the Gulen Institute, and the Rumi Foundation are but a few of the arteries to their ends. Gülen always urged his followers to look for opportunities but not to do anything prematurely because the world will crush them, if they do; Muslims will suffer everywhere like they did in Egypt, Africa, and the Middle East, among other places. He urges his followers to wait for the right time and the right power, so that they can shoulder the entire world, carry it, and gain all the states’ power. Until that time, he cautions them that any step taken prematurely and early will be like breaking an egg without waiting the forty days for it to hatch and thus killing the chick inside. The work to be done is in confronting the world. In his sermons Gülen urges his followers to be loyal and keep their secrets, “in confidence trusting your loyalty and sensitivity to secrecy. I know that when you leave here, you will discard everything. What we talked about here must stay here. The philosophy of our movement is that we open the web to wait for people to be caught in the web and to teach them but not to consume them; we pour life to their dead souls and give them life.” Interestingly, Turkey used his messages to present evidence against him in the charge that he was attempting to overthrow the state. Now, however, the Turkish governing party adheres to his message.

Ten to twenty years ago Europe did not see Islam as a big threat, but now more than sixty percent of the people in Europe see Islam as the biggest threat to their national identity. Today we are seeing the Islamization of Europe; this not just a threat to Europe but is a threat to America as well. Because Gülen sees America as the last bastion of Western civilization, he wants to conquer from within. Not so many years ago many Westerners did not expect that Europe would be under siege from the Islamic religion. Yet, currently many people in Europe probably ask themselves how they lost Europe. In a generation or two the U.S. will ask itself how it lost its way and became an Islamic nation.

The core of Islam is the importance of the Quran because the Quran is Allah’s actual words revealed by an angel to Mohammed, the Prophet. If every word in the Quran is Allah’s word, then there can be no such thing as a moderate or contemporary Islam; it cannot exist. Gulen’s missionaries may fool their hearers about their intentions and say that Islam and Christians believe in the same God and that both the Bible and Quran talk about Jesus. But they will never tell you that the essence of Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that covers all aspects of society, dictates every aspect of life, gives rules for society to live by, and signifies submission, as even the name Islam suggests. There is no equivocation; a follower must obey, cannot object to the imam’s or Mohammed’ teaching, and must follow the dictates of both. As mentioned, Gulen’s followers never object to Gulen‘s ideas for fear of being excommunicated from the community, a fate that will result in their failure in every area of their lives, according to his teachings. Individuals are not entitled to tell their individual opinions, making his teachings a kind of totalitarian ideology. An Islamic American means an America without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, and an intellectual nightmare. George Orwell warned against becoming slovenly in our thinking, so that a regime could take over as he protrays in 1984 or Animal Farm. The United Kingdom may realize that this warning has come to fruition as Shar’ia law supersedes British law in some Muslim communities in England. Will the U.S. fall prey to the same ideologies because of slovenly thinking? For example, any attendee at an Institute for Interfaith Dialogue dinner may go to its website and see that all of the articles refute Christianity’s essence and Jewish tenets, leaving no doubt that no ecumenical acceptance of each other’s faith is intended. Ecumenical means that the mainstream faiths will attend to hear about why Islam is the true religion.

Many American universities are completely naïve and foolish in not recognizing that they are effectively allowing Islamic fundamentalism on their campus, embracing it, and spending alumni and government resources on its promotion. Today Gülen has become the Einstein for many Turkish people. But many people fail to understand that Islam allows some exceptions for lying, so the question needs to be asked, “What makes people believe he is what he says he is because the Quran allows followers to lie whenever it serves the purpose of proselytizing. Gülen also admonishes, “You can know the truth, but you cannot tell the truth any where or any time.” He practices what he teaches.

Gülen believes that if there is hope for Muslims to be in charge of world affairs one more time, it will result from the Turkish people who come from Anatolia not from the Turkish secular elites. Gülen believes change can only happen from a grassroots level. His movement has reached that grassroots level in Turkey and taken control of the political, legal, and media establishment. Now they have charge over the Turkish secular government. Gulen’s focuses his effort to establish Islamic law in order to bring back the Ottoman Empire, since the Ottoman Empire was administrated by Shar’ia law. Shar’ia law not only limits religious, social, and political freedom, but also gives non-Muslims a second-class status or citizenship. Shar’ia law for Muslims is not an option, but it is mandatory and obligatory; it is a code of law for the Muslim’s way of life that Allah revealed to all mankind and commanded them to follow because Muslims believe Shar’ia law comes directly from Allah while other laws are man-made. Gulen’s missionaries, like their leader, are charlatans if they use another claim, such as tolerance, to advance Islam in the U.S., or in any of the scores of countries where they have cadres of missionaries.

Aland Mizell With the MCI ***@hotmail.com

Turkish, Armenian Academics Brainstorm In Yerevan , Turkish Daily News, Turkey October 30, 2008
The rapprochement that started with the Turkish president's visit to Yerevan last month to watch a Turkey-Armenia football match has also intensified the efforts of non-political actors in the two countries.

As officials in both countries continue seeking greater formal reconciliation, a group of Turkish and Armenians historians and social scientists gathered around a table in the Armenian capital Yerevan last month to hold an academic discussion about ways to reach mutual understanding.

The academics were brought together by the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association, or DVV International, the main aim of which is to establish peace and stability in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Turkish and Armenian social scientists and historians brainstormed on the two peoples' past and present relations during a weekend workshop titled "History and Building Bridges for Dialogue and Understanding."

During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on the richness of oral and documentary history that is either not utilized or used selectively to substantiate partisan viewpoints. After scientists became acquainted with each other individually, they analyzed the Turkish-Armenian relations from an academic perspective based on past and present experiences.

The countries' education systems were scrutinized, with the official history taught in schools and its effects on future generations specifically criticized.

Participants from Armenia and from Turkey included professor Dogu Ergil, professor Leyla Neyzi of Sabanci University, historian Fikret Adanir and professor Ayhan Aktar, and spoke to the Turkish Daily News about their unique academic workshop in Yerevan.

The academics had the chance to discuss, free of prejudice, various issues during the meeting. Ergil, Neyzi, Adanir articulated a shared view, saying they and the Armenian participants were looking for academic means to understand one another and that the chance to meet was an opportunity they cherished.

A second meeting will soon be held as part of the project. Historians from both countries will focus on existing historical documents, and social scientists will collect oral history. Based on primary and secondary sources, the academics will then shed light on the experiences of the two peoples over the last century.

Figures and documents collected during the project will be gathered in a book that will be written in Turkish, Armenian, German and English and in an easily understandable form and tone. The targeted audience for the book is ordinary citizens in Turkey and Armenia. The book will be sold where it is easily accessible for both peoples.

Bilateral relations through academic lens

Ergil, who noted they approached history as a coherent unit during the workshop, said they did not focus on a specific period or event.

"We are two peoples who have lived together for centuries," he said, adding that during the workshop they searched for answers to the following questions: Why was a centuries-long joint journey of two peoples stopped? Can that journey restart? If it restarts, what kind of responsibilities should academics undertake?

A map of emotions and values shared by Turks and Armenians

Ergil said history is full of bitter episodes between Turks and Armenians, but in the end, the two peoples should meet on common ground.

"During the studies we will carry out, we shall not take phenomena we have already had in mind as Turkish and Armenian historians but phenomena that have been experienced by people of both sides. Our main goal is to bring to light a map of emotions and values shared by Turks and Armenians," he said.

An official from DVV International said any meetings between Turks and Armenians often becomes marked by the painful events that occurred in 1915.

"We Armenians still carry traces of that big pain inside us," the official said. "The attitude of Turkish academics with whom we collaborated was highly objective. We had the opportunity to discuss many issues from a perspective that was free from prejudices." He also highlighted the significance of cooperation of Turkish and Armenian social scientists. He said such meetings and joint projects would contribute to solving problems and establishing dialogue between the two peoples.

Academics' dream

Neyzi, an anthropologist, said studies they planned to undertake would not be based on official history accounts but focus on ordinary individuals. "We, as Turkish and Armenian academics, share a dream," she said. "Our dream is for friendship, reconciliation and dialogue."

The biggest mission of such projects is to look at the issues from different perspectives and to prepare ground that will allow for a tolerance-oriented coverage of history to flourish, she said.

Adanir, on the other hand, said he was happy to meet Armenian colleagues. "Our project is currently in its preparatory stage. But I am hopeful about the results."

Yet Another Kurdistan Map, Mahmut Gurer, Cumhuriyet, Turkey October 26 2008

The US congress has shown Turkey's east with the borders of an imaginary state.

Ankara -In a report on "The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq" prepared by the US Congressional Research Service, [apparently the one available at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22079.pdf]], the Southeast Anatolia and East Anatolia regions are shown within the borders of Kurdistan. It is noted in the report that the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government could seek independence, and it is stated that Turkey, Iran, and Syria, as well as the Shi'ite and Sunni [Arab] groups in Iraq, oppose this initiative. Although it is stressed in the report that the PKK is a "terrorist organization," members of the separatist organization being referred to as "guerrillas" is also noteworthy.

A new map scandal has taken place in the six-page report entitled "The Kurds in Post-Saddem Iraq," which was prepared by Kenneth Katzman, a specialist of the "Congressional Research Service," which works in affiliation with the US Congress; the report was submitted to the Congress on 25 September and is currently available on the Congressional internet site with serial number RL34642. In the map on the final page of the report, the Kurdistan region is portrayed in such a way as to take in the Southeast and East Anatolia regions of Turkey, the west of Iran, the northeast of Syria, and a portion of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The source of the map is likewise identified as the Congressional Research Service, and the legend to the map includes the note "red indicates Kurdish area." The report also includes noteworthy observations regarding the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Iraqi Turkomans, Turkey, and the PKK. These observations are as follows:

-The Saddam period prepared the ground for the Iraqi Kurdish leaders to enter into a close relationship with US leaders.

-The Iraqi constitution has provided the Kurds in the north of the country the opportunity to form a regional but de facto state. Even if the Kurdish leaders say they are not seeking independence, young Kurds who eventually replace them could seek independence.

-Kurds claim that Kirkuk, Diyala, and a portion of Mosul province are historically Kurdish cities, and that they must be integrated into the Kurdistan Regional Government. They have been working to persuade the Iraqi Arabs and the Turkoman minority in this regard.

-The Kirkuk issue is closely followed by Turkey as well. Turkey assesses the Kirkuk issue in line with historic ties, and fears that the integration into the Regional Government of Kirkuk, which has more than 10 per cent of Iraq's oil, could enable the Kurds to win independence.

-Turkey sees the north of Iraq as a free area for the PKK. For this reason, it claims that the regional government, which has a long border with Turkey, is to blame. Accordingly, in 2007, approximately 100,000 troops were moved to the border after [Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Mas'ud] Barzani said "if Turkey interferes in the cities of the Kurdistan Regional Government, we will interfere in the Kurdish cities of Turkey." Immediately thereafter, in September and October of 2007, 40 Turkish soldiers were killed by "PKK guerrillas."

Armenia: Time For Diplomacy , Prof.Dr. Ruben Safrastyan 02 Nov 2008, International Analyst Network, NY Nov 2 2008

`During the Russian-Georgian counteraction the Armenian side appeared with a new quality', the director of the Oriental Studies Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Turkologist Ruben Safrastyan expressed such opinion. According to him, in the result of it Armenia managed to strengthen its relations with Russian Federation and to be not only the neighbor but also the relative of Georgia at the same time. `The diplomatic approaches of the Armenia side in such a crisis raised the reputation of our country as a state', narrator underlined.

As for establishing diplomatic connections in the Armenian-Turkish relations, the Turkologist noted that serious changes after the meeting of the two Presidents on September 6 have been done: a start was put for dialogues and diplomatic relations between the two sides. R. Safrastyan also noted that today Armenia and Turkey are struggling for defending the national profits of their states and according to him this is a normal thing.

I do not think Turkey will swiftly change its diplomatic stances. If I give more concrete assessments, in my view Turkey will use this raffle of establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia, to extort concessions from Armenia, because they are sure that Armenia is interested in establishing diplomatic relations with them.

In such circumstances lots of things will depend on our diplomacy, whether or not they will manage to attain their end,' Director of NAS Institute of Oriental Studies Ruben Safrastyan believes.

`If the diplomacy formed on August of this year between the two countries is kept, our country will not lose in the diplomatic relations with Turkey', concluded R. Safrastyan.

Public Radio of Armenia, 31.10.2008; Hayots Ashkhar daily, 31.10.2008.

Behind The Myth Of Byzantium Splendour And Mysticism Abound, But The Royal Academy's Epic Exhibition Of Byzantine Treasures Is Touchingly Human, Guardian/UK, Jonathan Jones, October 30 2008

Byzantium at the Royal Academy, in London, is a mind-expanding exhibition. It's the kind of exhibition the Royal Academy has always done superbly, shatteringly well - the colossal blockbuster that lets you encounter the treasures of an entire civilisation in one go.

Byzantium 330-1453 Royal Academy, London W1J 0BD Until March 22 2009 Details: +44(0)870 8488484 £12 (adults)

Today it gets even richer, for although it opened on Sunday it was only last night that precious works of art from the Monastery of Mount Sinai could be installed. I happened to be there recording a Guardian video about the show (which you can see next Monday) and it was fascinating to see the black-robed art-expert priests from Mount Sinai mounting their treasures in the heart of London.

But this exhibition is actually better in some ways than previous RA marathons. Splendour is controlled by a searching intelligence that matches recent British Museum extravaganzas. The curators don't give us a mere spectacle but a thought-provoking look at the reality of Byzantium, behind the myth. The classic image of Byzantine art is one of abstract mysticism and remoteness, but the city that preserved an evolved version of classical culture for a 1,000 years after the fall of Rome was also a place where people lived their lives. This show includes such touching surprises as a child's hooded garment and tiny shoes, exhibited among the gold jewellery in a way that wakes you up and makes you think - blimey, Byzantines were people! They didn't spend their entire lives chanting!

There is a wonderful display of icons, and the first thing you notice in these religious pictures is not the ethereality but the humanity: faces have a muscular vitality and gazes between Mary and the Angel are animated and passionate. The brilliant choice of Byzantine paintings quietly demonstrates how artists in the east shared many of the emotional nuances of Italian painters by the 14th century.

And of course, there's copious evidence of the influence of Byzantium. There are treasures here from San Marco in Venice, whose entire gold mosaic-covered, multi-domed interior is a vast homage to the eastern empire. There's even a tremendous pair of bronze doors made in the east and exported to Italy. There are illuminated Armenian books, a fresco from Belgrade and a mosaic from Kiev. It's an exhibition that starts in the age of Rome - one of the first things you see is a portrait of the emperor Constantine - and takes you from there to the Renaissance.

In the early history of Byzantine art you see marvellous ivory carvings and a page from a 6th-century AD gospel manuscript. Most moving of all for me was the gigantic face of Christ in an icon painting reminiscent of the emotional power of the Russian painter Andrei Rublev.

The exhibition is proving popular, with sold-out lectures on issues like the meaning of the Ascension and the "three genders" of Byzantium (men, women and eunuchs). I guess it's further proof that, in art, militant atheism doesn't get you very far. People are fascinated by the supernatural and the unreal and if you eradicated the religious impulse you might eradicate the artistic one as well. Orthodox Christianity, anyway, has produced some exquisite expressions of the human spirit.

ARF Dashnaktsutyun Concerned About Panic, A1+ 31 October, 2008

"The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun is convinced that if the war resumes Armenia will not only preserve the liberated territories but also establish land and water borders with its northern neighbour Russia," ARFD member and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Hrair Karapetyan told a press conference today.

"If tomorrow Azerbaijan wages a war, it will face problems regarding the seven liberated territories and its territorial integrity, in general, problems which the country would not even dream of. They also fear that Armenia might have land borders with its northern neighbour one day. No matter how much they double their budget, they cannot leave Armenia behind, I assure you," said Hrair Karapetyan.

According to the ARF Dashnaktsutyun member all generals of CIS countries have noticed the fighting capacity of our army. Unlike Aliyev, Serzh Sargsyan is "a modest and decent person," therefore he does not wish to harm the negotiation process with response statements.

"Azerbaijan's army is in a grave psychological state today. Everybody knows that their army is not organised and is undisciplined."

"The Azerbaijani army is not a bit stronger. Our army is effective, and if Azerbaijan launches a war, it should be mindful that this time Armenia may advance so as to set up land communication with Russia," reiterated Hrair Karapetyan who was much concerned over the panic in Armenia.

Hrair Karapetyan tried to dispel the rumours about "concession" policy on the settlement of the Karabakh issue.

"According to Hrayr Karapetyna, in any case one should not forget that panic negatively affects the settlement process and moral-psychological condition of the Armenian nation. "It's not like 1988 today. Karabakh is not question number one for the Armenian society," he said, adding that Armenians will again win due to their invincible spirit if a new war is launched. The peaceful resolution of the conflict is not exhausted until the negotiations are underway. The recent Georgian-Ossetian conflict proved that aggressors lose in the given international situation.

Hranush Hakobian: Our Task Is To Return Every Armenian Of Diaspora To His Roots ,Noyan Tapan
Oct 31, 2008

YEREVAN,. The creation of the Ministry of Diaspora was the wish of all Armenians spread all over the world, therefore it is of much political, moral, psychological, national significance. RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobian stated at the October 31 online meeting with representatives of Armenian media of Diaspora. According to her, the Ministry will lay all-Armenian way of thinking in the basis of its activity and will show all-Armenian approach to all issues. According to her, the Ministry will function under the general leadership of the RA President and will coordinate activity of executive power bodies for the purpose of carrying out state policy of development of Diaspora-homeland partnership.

H. Hakobian said that today the first and foremost task of the Diaspora is the preservation of Armenian identity, which is considered in the context of four goals, knowledge of the mother tongue, Armenian family, Armenian culture, and belief. The next task, according to her, is revelation of Armenian people's potential and its use for the sake of Armenia's strengthening. "The stronger is Armenia the stronger is the Diaspora. We are connected with each other with two communicating vessels," the Minister said adding that Armenia is the homeland of all Armenians, therefore all Armenians should be concerned with the problems of Armenia.

Promoting repatriation is also one of the most important tasks of the newly created Ministry. According to H. Hakobian, not only physical immigration, but also repatriation of heart, thought, and soul is meant. For that purpose, according to her, a program aimed at repatriation need to be worked out, which will be not compelling, but inspiring and promoting.

It was mentioned that during its activity the Ministry will also touch upon problems of Armenians of Diaspora speaking in a foreign language and having another religion. "Our task is to awaken the Armenian gene in every Armenian of Diaspora, to return him to his roots," H. Hakobian said.

Mudros Has A Central Place In Britain's Dishonourable Behaviour From 1915 To 1923
blog.ararat-center.org ,Oct 31, 2008

(A brief account based on: Britain and the Armenian Question, 1915-1923, Akaby Nassibian, Palgrave Macmillan, 1984).

1. Britain used the genocide of Armenians and Assyrians for war propaganda After the genocide began in 1915 the government made use of this to stimulate the war effort. It was Lord Bryce who brought the genocide to public notice. During the war the Armenian question had served a purpose for the government-to show the people that they were fighting for justice and against evil, and to encourage the war effort, and also to encourage American help in the war. Asquith and Baldwin stated in 1924 that the Blue Book "was used for Allied propaganda in 1916-17 and had an influence upon the ultimate decision of President Wilson to enter the war" By 1918 the Armenian question had fulfilled its function and would be of no more use.

The Armenian genocide was also used by the British government to counter charges that Britain was fighting an imperialistic war with a view to annexations. Britain had to devise war aims which would show that British policy was not completely based on imperialist greed 2. Promise of the Allies: The declaration of 24th may 1915 "The governments of Britain France and Russia will hold the members of the Ottoman government personally responsible for these new crimes against humanity and civilisation," 3. Rejection by the British government of requests for Relief: There was a request by the Russian Ambassador for a half share of one million francs for relief of Armenian Refugees presently in Syria and Mesopotamia. The source of the fund should be kept secret to avoid the danger of fresh violence against Armenians. The minutes written in the Foreign Office reveal: "The whole object of making such a donation would be the effect in the USA etc and it would be valueless if kept secret". A more senior official added "I should be disinclined to make any donation for the benefit of Armenians in Turkey without publicly stating that we are doing it" The reply to the Ambassador was that it did not affect "British National interests" in such a way as to justify a grant from public funds. The treasury had before in august September 1915 refused to contribute towards Armenian relief.

4. British war Pledges Pledge by Asquith in the Guildhall in 1916 Asquith stated that the British government was "resolved" that after the war there would be an era of "liberty" for the Armenians.

In 1917 Balfour began mentioning the freedom of Armenia as a war aim. Lloyd George had mentioned this on 29th June 1917 in Glasgow and in the House of Commons in December 1917."Mesopotamia and Armenia would never be restored to the tyranny of the Turk" In bringing in the liberation of Armenia, a land where Britain had no territorial interests, and tying it in to the liberation of a strategically important, oil rich Mesopotamia, the British leaders could confuse the issues, silence critics who accused them of fighting an imperialist war, and could give notions of idealism and humanity to their war aims. At the same time, in the winter of 1917-18 Britain secretly considered making a separate peace with Turkey. Lloyd George was quite willing to abandon the Caucasus, including Armenia, in order to achieve peace with Turkey.

In July 1918, Balfour in the Commons, Lloyd George replying to Manchester Armenians and Lord Cecil writing to Bryce all pledged a future liberated Armenia. A Pledge by Balfour in a telegram to Aneurin Williams, referred to Lord Cecil's letter published in the press on 3 October 1918 which "reaffirmed" the "government's intention to liberate Armenia" These pledges were according to Lloyd George "intended to have a propaganda effect". During a supreme war Council meeting he said "nobody was bound by a speech" A few weeks before his death, Lord Bryce wrote about the threat of extinction of the Armenians:" of the nation which the Allies caused to fight for them and have now deserted" In the nineteenth century Britain had strongly resented Russian presence in Armenia as a threat to her position in the Persian Gulf. Once Britain had gained control of Lower Mesopotamia, the importance of Armenia would become superfluous Contribution of Armenians to the war Lord Cecil recognised that Armenian forces took over from the Russians for five months, February till June 1918 on the Caucasian Front, and delayed the advance of the Turks, thus rendering an important service to the British Army in Mesopotamia. In fact few Russians were fighting on the Turkish Eastern Front after the spring of 1917, and the Armenians fought alone, sustained only by the "Pledges" of British Politicians for a future free Armenia 5. The betrayal of the Mudros Armistice (30th October 1918) did not contain conditions on Armenia. It left the 6 Armenian villayets under the sovereignty of Turkey and no provision was made for the repatriation of Armenian refugees and deportees to their homes. There was no occupation of strategic points by the Allies and no provision for the release of women and children. There was no disarming of the Turkish army. It would have been possible to gain concessions surely from the Turks, as 3 out of 4 proposals for peace from Turkish sources included concessions on Armenia. The armistice was hastily signed in order to ensure that the victorious fleet sailing into Constantinople would be commanded by a British rather than a French admiral! In order to secure the Dardanelle straits, Palestine and Mesopotamia for Britain, concessions were given to the Turks over Armenia.

The draft terms of the armistice were discussed in six war cabinet meetings.

The British priorities were set: there was no mention of Armenia at all.

Almost all the concessions made at Mudros were at the expense of the Armenians. The conditions were set which eventually enabled the Turks to gain complete control of Armenia and even gain part of "Russian" Armenia.

Balfour wrote the Supreme Council's reply to the Turkish delegation in July 1919. He characterised the "calculated atrocity" of the wartime Turkish massacres as equalling or exceeding "anything in recorded history". Lord Curzon, his successor as foreign secretary agreed that Turkish rule over the subject races should no longer be allowed.

6. The Paris Peace Conference Britain behaved shamefully towards the Assyrians, preventing two of their delegations from attending the conference.

7. After Independence, Britain did not recognise Armenia because of her support for the White Russian armies who planned to integrate the Caucasus into Russia. Non recognition meant that Armenia could not raise the loans they desperately needed. The British General commanding Baku (Thomson) disregarded the independence of the Caucasus As the British were taking large quantities of oil from Baku the British favoured Azeri territorial aspirations in Karabagh and sent large quantities of arms to Baku not to Erevan. General Thomson appointed a Pro-Turk and Armenophobe as governor of the disputed Karabagh region.

8. The military abandonment of Armenia. Withdrawal from the Caucasus after only three months for financial reasons. The declared policy of evacuation encouraged the Turks. General Milne, who commanded the Army of the Black sea, was of the opinion that evacuation would lead to massacres of Armenians. The military representative of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference asked the War Office (under public pressure) it would be possible for British troops to leave behind a portion of their ammunition for the Armenians. The Army Council opposed this request. The British withdrawal presented an opportunity for the Kurds, Tatars and Turks to sabotage any agreement which might favour Armenia.

9. The Army Council abdicates all responsibility for Armenia Blame for this outcome must rest with Sir Henry Wilson. Under his responsibility, the General Staff did not deal effectively with the disarmament of Turkey. In addition, the Army Council, under his guidance, persistently refused to provide the necessary arms and ammunition to the Republic of Armenia. The military authorities in Batum even held up for some time two aeroplanes purchased privately by the Republic. Yet later Sir Henry Wilson victoriously argued that the republic was not capable of taking possession of the ancient homelands of Armenia as earmarked by the Foreign Office experts of the British delegation in Paris "How do you expect Armenia to hold her own against a fully armed Turkey and a rearmed Azerbaijan, herself being unarmed" he asked, when he himself was more than anyone responsible for these conditions. Turkey was allowed to be "fully armed" even before Peace was made, when she should have been disarmed. Having made up his mind that Turkey should be a major power in the Near East after the collapse of the white Russians, he continued to press his views resolutely. When President Woodrow Wilson asked him how many troops America would require for the mandate over Armenia, Sir Henry replied "up to five divisions" and this "terrified" the president. It seems he persistently tried to frustrate any encouragement given to Armenian independence.

10. The government attempts to abdicate responsibility In the Paris Peace Conference it was felt that Britain had secured the richest and the strategically important parts of the Ottoman Empire for herself. Likewise the Americans felt that the withdrawal from the Caucasus was an attempt to "force" the hands of the US government and to see that only the poorest parts were eventually assigned to the mandatory.

During the war British leaders made many statements promising liberation and protection, and were seen now to pass the responsibility onto the US. They reminded the British of Lloyd George's speech in the guildhall in 1916 "Britain is resolved to liberate the Armenians from the Turkish yoke and to restore them to the religious and political freedom they deserve and of which they have been so long deprived" In the end The Treaty of Sevres (10th august 1920) a Treaty which Britain had no intention to enforce, allowed Britain to wash her hands of Armenia.

Lloyd George devised a scheme that the Allies should find equipment for the Armenians who should be given a chance to fight their own battles. If they were not in a position to defend their own frontiers, then he thought that "there was no use for a nation like that in the world" 11. The allies (particularly Britain) did nothing to show the Turks that they meant to implement the provisions of the Treaty of Sevres regarding Armenia. The Armenian representative Avetis Aharonian came to London on the 12th November 1920. Sir John Tilley of the Foreign Office told him armed intervention was "entirely out of the question". His suggestion for an Armenian volunteer force concentrating at a base on some Greek island was dismissed as "wholly impracticable". He then suggested an army of peace with volunteers from all parts of the world. Tilley rejected that idea too. Aharonian asked how the powers contemplated executing the Turkish Treaty. Tilley told him that the powers could execute immediately that which related to Constantinople and the straits. Then they would organise Turkish forces with which they hoped it would be possible gradually "to pacify Anatolia". So the Treaty of Sevres, regarding the Armenian clauses and the Eastern provinces would only be carried out through pacifying Anatolia by "Turkish forces"! Referring to Aharonian's numerous letters asking for effective help, Lord Curzon had expressed the view that "no reply need be returned" 12. The Complete abandonment of Armenia In desperation Armenians tried to mobilise the League of Nations. Tilley at the Foreign office instructed the British delegate to discourage any attempt to raise the Armenian Question there. " I do not feel that it is a matter we want to hear very much about: and whatever may have been expected of us originally we intend to do as little as we can for Armenia either in men or money" Curzon initialled the minute and did not argue against it.

In a similar mood a Conference of British ministers agreed, on the advice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Britain should not offer to participate in any financial guarantee to be given to Armenia by the members of the League of Nations. The Conference agreed to oppose admission of Armenia into the League of Nations.

M. Hymans, President of the Council of the League of Nations cabled the British government asking whether they would be disposed to undertake, on behalf of the League, the humanitarian mission of stopping the hostilities between Armenia and the Kemalists. The response was negative. On 19th November the Army Council wrote to the Foreign Office that it would serve no useful purpose to forward munitions to Armenia. Thus the abandonment of Armenia was complete and total in respect of help.

13. On the 12th November 1920 Gevorg the 5th, Catholicos of all the Armenians made this appeal from Yerevan :"Weakened, famished, suffering, the Armenian people sees itself abandoned at the present hour to the enemy which desires their total destruction.... In the name of the Saviour I appeal to Christian Humanity to save the rest of my people in Armenia. The British government pays no heed to this.

14. Even before the collapse of Armenia, Bonar Law wanted to revise the Treaty of Sevres in favour of the Turks. It would please the Mohamedan world. Also war exports to Turkey exceeded £8.5 million. Annexing territory to Armenia was now viewed in the Foreign office as undesirable: "Giving them the Wilson frontier would merely bring Russian influence nearer Constantinople-which neither we nor the Turks want."

15. In 1922 Noel Buxton MP for Suffolk North proposed that the government confer with the Powers at Lausanne with a view to cession of territory to Turkey in Northern Mesopotamia in return for territory to the Armenian republic. The government chose to hold on to the oil-rights of Mosul rather than carrying out pledges to the Armenians.

16. Britain France and Russia sign away historic Armenia for good in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). In this Treaty which fixed the present day border of Turkey, there was no mention of Armenia! The idea of a national home for Turkish-Armenian refugees was dropped to the ground.

17. Activist Emily Robinson maintained that armistice terms had provided for the return of all prisoners of war. Yet only male prisoners were released and "about 100,000 Armenian women and children remained captives still". As a result of her efforts, the League of Nations had appointed in 1920 three commissioners to enquire into the conditions of these detainees. In 1923 however in reply to her enquiries, the Foreign Office had written that the Turks at Lausanne "refused to allow the work of the commission to continue". She was outraged. This meant, she wrote to Canon J. A. Douglas that the Turks have flouted the decision of the League and that they had been upheld by the victorious powers Grieved that the Allies would go to any length to secure concessions to themselves instead of carrying out pledges to liberate Turkish Armenia, she wrote: "By betraying Armenia the Allies have destroyed not only faith in themselves but in other things as well".

18. On 26th November 1924, the leaders of the two main opposition parties in Britain, H. H. Asquith and Stanley Baldwin presented a memorandum to Ramsey MacDonald, the Prime Minister. They said that Britain should respond to the letter from the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, dated 24th march 1924, and supporting the assistance of the Armenian people for the following reasons.

1- because the Armenians were encouraged by promises of freedom to support the allied cause during the war, and suffered tragically for this cause.

2-; because during the war and since the armistice, repeated pledges were given by statesmen to secure the liberation and independence of the Armenian nation.

3- because Great Britain is responsible for the final dispersion of the Ottoman Armenians after the sack of Smyrna in 1922 4- because the sum of £5,000,000 in Turkish gold was deposited by the Turkish Government in Berlin in 1916, and taken over by the Allies after the armistice, was Armenian money confiscated from deported and massacred Armenians. This sum was distributed among Allied nationals having claims on Turkey. The Armenian Community are not permitted to claim compensation for their losses!

The leaders of the Conservative and Liberal Parties recognised this. They said the "government should forthwith make an important grant" Shortly afterwards, the minority Labour government fell from power. Baldwin became Prime Minister commanding 419 seats out of 615 in the Commons. No grants were made for resettlement of Armenian refugees in Armenia or in Syria 19. A Labour Party Resolution on Armenia In February 1920 the Labour Party's Advisory Committee on International Questions passed a "Resolution on Armenia" protesting "against the treatment of Armenia by the Allied Powers" During the war, the resolution claimed, the Ottoman government had once and for all forfeited any right to rule the Armenian provinces of Turkey by the "deliberately organised" attempt "to exterminate the Armenian population" The evidence was abundant and conclusive" and the British government had published it in a Blue Boook Yet in negotiating the armistice the Allied governments had left the Armenian provinces under the Turkish authorities, while Turkish rule was immediately terminated in the Arab provinces.

The resolution claimed that: .... "the policy of the Allied Governments since the armistice.... intends to detach from Turkey and attach to themselves under the form of mandates conferred by the League of Nations all those provinces of the Ottoman Empire where they have financial, economic or strategic interests, while no provision is being made for Armenia, the one region of Turkey which unquestionably ought to be released from Turkish sovereignty" (Labour Party, London, Advisory Committee on International Questions, Minutes and Memoranda 1918-234 (LP/IAC/1/91 and ibid. no 170) In a draft memorandum, the same Committee argued that the case for a mandate in Armenia was immensely stronger than in any other part of the Turkish Empire, though, just because it would be "onerous and not lucrative" it seemed unlikely to be accepted by any Great Power. Written in 1919, it proved to be an accurate prediction In 1921, the Committee strongly blamed the Allies for having sacrificed the Armenians to their own interests. Had they followed a "wise foreign policy," "if they had been prepared to give up their own policy of plunder-they could have obtained all that could reasonably be demanded including that freedom for Armenia which they had promised to secure. They have sacrificed the Armenians to their own self-aggrandisement." It has to be said however that the Labour Party did not bring pressure on the government for effective help to Armenia 20. Oliver Baldwin (Prime Minister Baldwin's son) also believed that the desertion of Armenia by Britain would not have happened had there been oil wells in Armenia. This view was shared by many humanitarians. These advocates for Armenia like Aneurin Williams thought that recognising "majorities made by massacre" was absolutely intolerable.

21. The final nail in Armenia's coffin happened at the end of the Second World War when the Soviets attempted to regain Kars and Ardahan for Armenia.

Churchill opposed this for fear of extending Soviet Power. In 1946 when debating this issue, Bevin replied for the government that "there is no longer any nationality problem in the region"(i.e. Turkish occupied Armenia), in a sense agreeing that by the success of the genocide of the Armenian population, Turkey had a right to these territories.

22. Today's denial of the Armenian Genocide for selfish financial, economic and strategic reasons by Britain is a continuation of Britain's pro-Turkish policy since Disraeli

“The Morgenthau Story” documentary to be screened in Belmont 01.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will host a screening of The Morgenthau Story, a new documentary by Massachusetts-based filmmaker and artist Apo Torosyan’s at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, at the NAASR Center, 395 Concord Ave. in Belmont. The event will be co-sponsored by Mashtots Chair in Armenian Studies at Harvard University and NAASR, and Mashtots Professor James R. Russell will provide an introduction to the film, wickedlocal.com reports.

The Morgenthau Story tells the story of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau’s commitment to helping humanity. From 1913 to 1916, he served as U.S. Ambassador in Constantinople, and with the beginning of the Armenian Genocide in the spring of 1915 he appealed without success to the Ottoman leaders to stop the killings. In 1923, during the aftermath of the genocide and expulsion of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians, he helped save thousands of lives by successfully leading the Refugee Relief Committee in Greece.

Torosyan interweaves the story of Morgenthau with interviews with three of his descendants: grandsons Henry Morgenthau III and Robert M. Morgenthau, and great-granddaughter Dr. Pamela Steiner.

Torosyan was born in Istanbul, Turkey, to Armenian and Greek parents. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Istanbul’s Academy of Fine Arts. His previous films include Bread Series, Water, The Gates, Witnesses, Discovering My Father’s Village: Edincik, and Voices. He is an active member of the Boston Printmakers and the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

Torosyan has had many solo and group art shows all over the U.S. and Europe, and his work has appeared in private and corporate collections in Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, Armenia, Canada, and the U.S. One of his works, “My Father’s Letter,” 1991, was selected by the Museum of Modern Art at Tonneins, Bordeaux, France, for its permanent collection. His “Bread Series” is also in the permanent collection of the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, MA, and the Flaten Art Museum in Northfield, MN.

With No Solution To Cyprus And Armenian Issues, Turkey’s Eu Prospects Out Of Question , 01.11.2008

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Daniel Gros, director of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies, warned Turkey it would need to get things moving.

“Turkey is losing time,” said Gros, adding that he has seen no progress in Turkey’s reform process for EU membership. “The two big stumbling blocks, Cyprus and Armenia, sooner or later have to be resolved.”

“The later Turkey takes steps on the Cyprus issue, the more difficult it will become as each year passes,” Gros said. “If there is no solution to the Cyprus and Armenian issues, we will not be able to speak about Turkey’s EU prospects.”

The Armenian issue is, “a secondary question,” because it is not a member of the EU, Gros added, placing the emphasis on Cyprus. He said he remained optimistic over the future of northern Cyprus. “As long as northern Cyprus develops nicely, which it seems to be doing now, over time it will become a de facto state and this reality will be recognized,” Gros said, the Turkish Daily News reports.

At Least We'll Get To Sasun And Enter Van Lragir.am 31/10/2008

The deputy speaker of Parliament Hrair Karapetyan, member of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun, stated October 31 that the Azerbaijani army is not stronger than our army, our army is effective, and if Azerbaijan launches a war, it should be mindful that this time Armenia may advance so as to set up land communication with Russia. No doubt, Hrair Karapetyan means that our force may reach the Azerbaijani-Russian border and take it under control. Besides, Hrair Karapetyan also said that when facing the danger of war our society should not fly into a panic and take the defensive side but know that we are able to solve greater problems, including not only our military but also economic security, getting an outlet to the sea to solve the problem of lifting the blockade, getting new territories.

Hrair Karapetyan said "we gave a chance to Turkey and Azerbaijan with the football diplomacy, which was not used, however." In answer to Hrair Karapetyan's statements that we will be able to achieve a major goal in the form of having border with Russia and an outlet to the sea, the reporters asked what in that case we are waiting for, and why we do not start solving our problems, since they will not get solved unless someone declares a war on us.

"No, I am not joking. Let us remember now, who would think before the liberation war in Artsakh that Artsakh and the adjacent territories would be Armenian? Only the members of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun, their supporters or people with national mindset. And who can guarantee that in five or ten years what I said plus the rest of Armenia will not come true," Hrair Karapetyan says. The reporters noted that this is why they are saying that maybe it is time we launched the war and solved problems.

"No, you see, we did not launch the war in Artsakh. We defended ourselves, we launched a national liberation movement. Azerbaijan attacked," Hrair Karapetyan says. "Azerbaijan attacked. We cannot be an aggressor because this situation favors us. If it is set down internationally, if this situation is set down, it fully favors us in terms of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. But we must also respond to those militaristic statements for our people to realize that we are able to advance if the rival tries to exterminate Armenians in Armenia. And by saying Armenia I mean Karabakh. And the experience of Georgia should also be taken into account, today the international situation is such that the aggressor loses," said the member of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun.

Denial Is Not A Criminal Matter Geoffrey Alderman, Jewish Chronicle, http://www.thejc.com Oct 30 2008, UK

Legislating against deniers of the Holocaust is part of a dangerous trend.

In its issue of October 3, the JC ran the story of the arrest, at Heathrow airport on an EU warrant issued by the German government, of a German-born Holocaust-denier, Frederick Toben. Mr Toben is actually an Australian citizen. No matter; he arrived at Heathrow from the USA, en route to Dubai. The Metropolitan Police arrested him because the German government alleges that he has persisted in posting material on the internet denying or "playing down" the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews.

In 1999, Mr Toben served a term of imprisonment in Germany after publishing pamphlets denying that mass murders of Jews were carried out at Auschwitz. Following his appearance before London magistrates earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Community Security Trust was quoted as having praised the action of the British authorities in executing the EU warrant and as having expressed the hope "that the German law will take its course".

I hope that nothing of the kind befalls Mr Toben. I hope that the extradition warrant is quashed, so that Mr Toben is once again free to roam the world denying the Holocaust to his heart's content. I also hope that not only will this kind of incident never happen again in this country, but that the British government will demand that German (and Austrian) laws criminalising Holocaust-denial are repealed at the earliest possible moment.

A great deal has been written in the press about Toben's disgraceful treatment. My fellow JC columnist Melanie Phillips has rightly condemned this treatment as a denial of free speech. On October 10, Anshel Pfeffer correctly argued in the JC that prosecuting Holocaust-deniers is a waste of money, serving only to give these odious cretins the attention they crave. With all of this I heartily agree. But my worries about the Toben case go much deeper.

My worries have to do with the alarming tendency of nation-states to criminalise the past and, in particular, with a wretched proposal now under consideration by the European Union, to compel EU member states to enforce particular interpretations of history under the guise of "combating racism and xenophobia". This proposal emanates (surprise, surprise!) from the German government, whose justice minister apparently wants to bring about a state of affairs in which "publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes" would, throughout the EU, be punishable by between one and three years' imprisonment.

Ask yourself how such a mad law might be enforced, and with what result. Ask yourself who will decide whether a particular historical event amounts to a "genocide". Ask yourself by what grotesque yardstick a trivialisation of, say, a war crime amounts to a "gross" trivialisation.

But as you begin to answer these questions, bear the following in mind. In Turkey, it is currently a criminal offence to assert that Ottoman treatment of the Armenians 90 or so years ago amounted to genocide. But in Switzerland it is a criminal offence to assert the precise opposite. In France, in 1995, the distinguished Jewish historian of the oriental world and of Islam, Bernard Lewis (born in Stoke Newington and now professor at Princeton University), was actually convicted for having written an article (in Le Monde) arguing that, although the Armenians were brutally repressed, this did not amount to a genocide because the massacres that took place were neither government-controlled nor sponsored.

As the distinguished British historian Timothy Garton Ash (a professor at Oxford) recently reminded us in The Guardian (October 16), according to a French law promulgated in 2001, slavery has been designated as a crime against humanity. If, while on holiday in France, I am overheard casually denying that slavery did in fact amount to a crime against humanity, do I risk being hauled before the French courts? And if I escape to England will the boys in blue arrest me here on a French-inspired EU extradition warrant? Or suppose I declare that the killing of Palestinians at Deir Yassin in 1948 did not actually amount to a war crime. If the EU proposal were implemented, would I face imprisonment, just because I had exercised my professional judgment in a way that upset Arab propagandists?

The task of the historian is to investigate, confront, challenge and, if necessary, correct society's collective memory. In this process, the state ought to have no role whatever, none at all. Certainly not in the UK, which delights in presenting itself as a bastion of academic freedom.

Genocide Dispute Bursts Into Socal Us House Race, San Jose Mercury News, Oct 30 2008, CA

PASADENA, Calif.--A Southern California contender for a U.S. House seat has received thousands of dollars of campaign contributions raised by a Turkish-American businessman opposed to the incumbent candidate's support of a failed resolution calling the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide.

Charles Hahn, who is seeking to unseat Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, received $5,700 from fundraising and contributions by Ergun Kirlikovali, the Pasadena Star-News reported on its Web site Wednesday.

Hahn has also received $2,300 from the national Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee, which also opposed Schiff's legislation.

Kirlikovali, who runs a Web site denying that a genocide took place, said the main reason he and others at his fundraiser for Hahn supported the Republican challenger was because they disliked Schiff's resolution.

"I find Schiff's stand racist and dishonest," Kirlikovali said. "I'd like to support someone who can defeat him."

Schiff, whose district includes tens of thousands of Armenians, said he found Kirlikovali's involvement troubling.

"This is a pretty narrow special interest group that is devoted to eradicating the memory of genocide," he said.

The resolution failed last year after inflaming U.S. tensions with Turkey, which denies the deaths of as many as 1.5 million Armenians constituted genocide. It says the toll has been inflated, and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest as the Ottoman Empire fell into disarray.

Hahn said he does not deny that an Armenian genocide took place, but said he would not have supported Schiff's legislation. He said he would like to introduce legislation that Armenian- and Turkish-American groups could agree on. He would not say what specifically his bill would say or accomplish.

Forget 'Memory Laws' It Is Not The Business Of Any Political Authority To Define Historical Truth. By Timothy Garton Ash, October 16, 2008 LA TIMES

Among the ways in which freedom is being chipped away in Europe, one of the less obvious is the legislation of memory. More and more countries have laws saying you must remember and describe this or that historical event in a certain way.

The wrong way depends on where you are. In Switzerland, you get prosecuted for saying that the terrible thing that happened to the Armenians in the last years of the Ottoman empire was not a genocide. In Turkey, you get prosecuted for saying it was. What is state-ordained truth in the Alps is state-ordained falsehood in Anatolia.

Of all the countries in Europe, France has the most intense and tortuous recent experience with "memory laws." It began rather uncontroversially in 1990, when denial of the Nazi Holocaust of the European Jews, along with other crimes against humanity defined by the 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal, was made punishable by law. In 1995, historian Bernard Lewis was convicted by a French court for arguing that, on the available evidence, what happened to the Armenians might not correctly be described as genocide according to the definition in international law.

A further law, passed in 2001, says the French Republic recognizes slavery as a crime against humanity and that this must be given its "consequential place" in teaching and research. A group representing some overseas French citizens subsequently brought a case against the author of a study of the African slave trade, Olivier Petre-Grenouilleau, on the charge of "denial of a crime against humanity." Meanwhile, yet another law was passed, from a very different point of view, prescribing that school curricula should recognize the "positive role" played by the French presence overseas, "especially in North Africa."

Fortunately, at this point a wave of indignation gave birth to a movement called Liberty for History. The case against Petre-Grenouilleau was dropped and the "positive role" clause nullified. But it remains incredible that such a proposal ever made it to the statute book in one of the world's great democracies and homelands of historical scholarship.

This kind of nonsense is all the more dangerous when it wears the mask of virtue. A perfect example is a directive drafted by the European Union in the name of "combating racism and xenophobia." The proposed rule suggests that "publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivializing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes" should be "punishable by criminal penalties of a maximum of at least between one and three years imprisonment."

Some countries with a strong free-speech tradition, including Britain, objected to this, so the proposed agreement now also says that "member states may choose to punish only conduct which is either carried out in a manner likely to disturb public order or which is threatening, abusive or insulting." So in practice, countries will continue to do things their own way.

Despite its manifold flaws, this proposed directive was approved by the European Parliament in November 2007, but it has not been brought back to the Justice and Home Affairs Council for final approval. I e-mailed the relevant representative of the current French presidency of the EU to ask why, and just received this cryptic but encouraging reply: "...It is suspended to some outstanding parliamentary reservations." Merci, Madame Liberte.

Let me be clear. It is very important that nations, states and peoples face up, solemnly and publicly, to the bad things done by them or in their name. The West German leader Willy Brandt's falling silently to his knees in Warsaw, before a monument to the victims and heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, is, for me, one of the noblest images of postwar European history. To face up to these things, people have to know about them in the first place. So they must be taught in schools as well as publicly commemorated.

But before they are taught, they must be researched. The evidence must be uncovered, checked and sifted. It's this process of historical research and debate that requires complete freedom -- subject only to tightly drawn laws of libel and slander.

This week, a group of historians and writers to which I belong pushed back against these kinds of dangerous memory laws. In an article published in Le Monde last weekend, we stated that in a free country, "it is not the business of any political authority to define historical truth and to restrict the liberty of the historian by penal sanctions."

The historian's equivalent of a natural scientist's experiment is to test the evidence against all possible hypotheses, however extreme, and then submit his most convincing interpretation for criticism by professional colleagues and for public debate. This is how we get as near as one ever can to truth about the past. How, for example, do you refute the absurd conspiracy theory, which apparently still has some currency in parts of the Arab world, that "the Jews" were behind 9/11? By forbidding anyone from saying that, on pain of imprisonment? No. You refute it by refuting it. By mustering all the available evidence, in free and open debate. This is not just the best way to get at the facts; ultimately, it's the best way to combat racism and xenophobia too.

Timothy Garton Ash, a contributing editor to the Opinion pages, is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and professor of European studies at Oxford University.

We Will Not Give In To Adnan Oktar’s Threats!
Adnan Oktar, the name behind the closing of many internet sites in Turkey, has threatened Bianet: “There is an insulting article, take it off the internet or we will have you banned like Richard Dawkin’s site.” There is no insult, so we are not removing the article!

Bia News Center - Istanbul, 29-10-2008

Adnan Oktar, the name behind the closing of most of the internet sites in Turkey, has threatened bianet, too.

Claiming he was insulted and slandered through an article criticizing the internet bannings from the legal perspective, which appeared in bianet.org, Adnan Oktar (Adnan Hodja) announced that he was planning to go to court if the said article was not taken off the site.

Giving bianet a warning yesterday on behalf of their client, Oktar’s lawyers reminded that they had managed to get sites such as wordpress.com, richarddawkins.net, egitimsen.org.tr, groups.google and gazetevatan.com banned previously.

Lawyers Kerim Kalkan and Ceyhun Aydoğan stated in the warning they sent to Bianet that they were planning to go to court if the said article was not removed within 24 hours.

Meeting with lawyers about the matter, the bianet administration decided not to take off the said article, since it did not include any insult.
Oktar mistook the critique intended for the court

The article that Oktar thought insulting him was written by Yaman Akdeniz, a faculty from the Law Department of the University of Leeds, and Kerem Altıparmak, a member of the Human Right Center of the Political Science Department of Ankara University, and published by Bianet on October 20.

Reminding that up until today sixty-one sites have been banned by the court orders taken from Silivri and Gebze courts, both Akdeniz and Altan state that the sites were being banned because of a problem in courts’ method of interpretation.

The courts pass over “the Law 5651 for the Regulation of the Material in the Internet and the Fight against the Crimes Committed by the Material Put on the Internet” and apply instead the regulations concerning the issue of insult.

However, the courts should really apply the Law 5651 designed for the matters concerning the internet and this law does not include an arrangement leading to site bannings.

Akdeniz and Altıparmak also draw attention to the fact that the banned sites are never given the chance to defend themselves and usually do not even know the reasons for their banning.

Oktar’s lawyer Aydoğan did not reply to bianet’s demand that they should give concrete examples regarding the insult allegation.
Oktar is not the only one asking for censorship

In addition to the ones banned by Oktar's formal complaints, so far the Turkish courts have banned many sites, including sites like YouTube, EksiSözlük, Daily Motion, blogger.com and geocities.com.

Freedem of Expression defenders, academicians, jurist, journalists and internet users, both from Turkey and the international arena, have reacted to the bannings. (EÜ/TB)

Foreign Policy Architect Warns Us On Armenia Move , Ahmet Davutoğlu

The chief foreign policy advisor of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned the future US administration against endorsing Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, saying this could hurt a recent thawing of Turkish-Armenian relations and torpedo relations with the United States.

Ahmet Davutoğlu, seen as the major architect of the foreign policies of Erdoğan's government, said in Washington that the US should avoid "offending" Turkey to ensure that the reconciliation process with Armenia will continue. "A step in the wrong direction will pose a risk not only to the Turkish-American strategic cooperation but also to Turkey's efforts to reach out to Armenia," Davutoğlu told reporters late on Tuesday after a series of talks with US officials.

The Democratic candidate for US president, Senator Barack Obama, has made firm pledges to the Armenian-American voters that he will recognize the allegations of genocide and support a congressional resolution endorsing the claims. One of the biggest Armenian groups in the United States, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), announced last week that it formally endorsed Obama for US president because of his commitment to Armenians.

Turkey has repeatedly warned in the past that US recognition of the genocide claims could have an irreversible impact on Turkish-US ties, newly recovering from a crisis over Iraq. Most Turks favor Obama over his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, who has been far less receptive to Armenian demands during his election campaign so far, but there are concerns over the prospects that the Democratic candidate might keep his promise to the Armenian voters if elected.

Davutoğlu said the issue has the potential to generate a crisis in US ties no matter who turns out to be the winner of US elections on Nov. 4. "If the goal is improvement in Turkish-Armenian relations, everyone should avoid steps that would offend Turkey," said Davutoğlu in response to a question on concerns over Obama's pledges to Armenians. "We have been sharing these thoughts with officials in the United States. I am not saying, 'We said this to Obama.' It is important that the new administration know about this."

President Abdullah Gül broke a taboo when he visited Armenia in September to watch a soccer game between national teams of the two countries. Talks between officials of the two countries, which have no formal ties since 1993, are under way on normalization of relations. Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said this week that the two countries could announce "extraordinary decisions" at any time, emphasizing that there was no real barrier to efforts to normalize ties.

Davutoğlu echoed Nalbandian's remarks in a speech at a conference earlier that day. "We want to have the best relations with Armenia. … We don't see Armenia as a threat or enemy," said Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu, praised at the conference by former US Ambassador to Turkey Mark Parris as "Turkey's Henry Kissinger," has advocated active and self-confident diplomacy to boost Turkey's influence in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) first came to power in 2002. He is behind widely acknowledged steps such as the Turkish-mediated talks between Syria and Israel as well as a controversial invitation extended to a Hamas leader in exile to visit Turkey, a move bitterly criticized by the United States and Israel.

Despite concerns over the Armenian issue and challenges stemming from an international row over Iran's nuclear program, Davutoğlu predicted a "success story" in Turkish-US ties in the coming term no matter who is elected to the White House. "The new president will be the best friend of Turkey. The accomplishments Turkey has achieved in foreign policy will be an asset for the United States too," he added.

In Washington Davutoğlu had talks with aides of both Obama and McCain. He also met President George W. Bush's National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew J. Bryza, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman and Jim Jeffrey, who has been recently appointed the new US ambassador to Turkey. 30 October 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN

On The Rights Of Armenians, Lragir.am 27/10/2008
The "Yerkir" Union of Non-governmental Organizations for Repatriation and Settlement sent a letter to all the international organizations operating in Georgia, embassies and human rights organizations, which holds:

"Despite international obligations assumed by the Georgian government for the protection of the rights of ethnic minorities in Georgia, despite numerous recommendations and appeals by international organizations, including the UN Human rights commission and human rights NGO-s to respect these obligations, the Georgian authorities continue to ignore and disregard issues of concern to the Armenian minority, contributing moreover, by a number of new steps, to the aggravation of tensions and the increase of discontent.

Within this context, the Georgian authorities have not only continued to disregard repeated demands by the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church asking to be handed over Armenian churches of Georgia and particularly the Norashen church in Tbilisi, confiscated in the soviet era, but have also tacitly encouraged and sometimes even actively helped hostile actions on behalf of the Georgian clergy which is actively embarked for a certain time now in the process of self-appropriation of the Armenian churches in Georgia. In this line of action, the Georgian authorities recently provided once again construction permits to the clergy of the Georgian church neighboring Norashen, allowing it to build around Norashen a surrounding wall carrying Georgian religious ornaments, considerably complicating in this way the access to the Armenian church.

Due to protest actions of the Armenian community of Tbilisi and to appeals emanating from Armenian Apostolic Church authorities, several Armenian NGOs, including "Yerkir" Organization, it was possible to temporarily halt in May of the current year the hostile activities of Georgian priests, but construction works around the Armenian Norashen church resumed on a wide scale a few days ago (see attached photos).

In addition to this hostile policy towards the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, while dealing with the Armenian minority in their country, Georgian authorities continue to violate basic international human rights' and democratic norms pertaining to this field. Thus, among other shortcomings within this context, they continue to maintain politically-motivated criminal charges against the political activists of the Armenian populated Javakheti region and their family members, lately arrested and imprisoned without real foundations.

Thus, Arthur Poghosyan, an activist of the political movement "Democratic Alliance "United Javakhk", was recently sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment on the basis of fabricated charges. Another activist of the movement, Gurgen Shirinyan, has a search warrant issued against him by the authorities, while his father and aunt are detained and waiting trial. The leader of "United Javakhk", Vahagn Chakahlyan, in turn, as well as his juvenile brother, are also in detention in Tbilisi, while their father, Rouben Chakhalyan, has been set free on bail.

Other issues which are a matter of concern for the Armenian minority still remain unresolved: - the Armenian Apostolic Church continues to be deprived of a status of legal entity; - the Armenian Minority in Georgia, particularly the part of it living compactly in the Javakheti region, continues to be under-represented in all spheres of public life; - the Georgian central Government continues to enforce the laws obliging minorities to use exclusively the Georgian language in all fields of public activity, and particularly in the local administrations and local educational system within the context of regional self-government.

- posts in the local administration, educational sphere or any other post for the holders of professional diplomas continue to be contingent on the knowledge of the Georgian language.

Under the actual circumstances, while Georgia is still recovering with difficulty from the consequences of the recent armed conflict with Russia and is announcing the launching of a wave of democratization reforms and the enforcement of the rule of law, such a treatment by the Georgian authorities of its Armenian minority looks in fact much more irrational.

Taking into consideration the above mentioned facts, "Yerkir" Union calls upon the appropriate and specialized structures of the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, as well as of all other concerned international organizations and human rights bodies, to take immediate and direct measures to restrain Georgia's negative current behavior against its Armenian minority, to put an end to the political persecutions in Javakheti, and to facilitate the emergence of a solution for the Armenian community of Georgia, as far as its minority rights are the issue, and in particular, to ensure this result by obtaining from the Georgian authorities to: 1. Set free all political prisoners recently detained in Javakheti and withdraw all politically motivated criminal charges against them;

2. Implement the rule of law and guarantee the security of the Armenian population of Javakheti;

3. Ensure the freedom of faith in the country and register the Armenian Apostolic Church as a legal entity in Georgia;

4. Return all confiscated places of worship to their legitimate owners;

5. Allow by law the use of the Armenian language in all spheres of public life in the local administrations of all regions where Armenians represent a majority.

The international community must act now to avoid further aggravation of the situation and prevent the emergence of a new seat of conflict."

Erdoğan Adviser Throws Olive Branch To Armenia, October 30, 2008, Ümit Enginsoy Washington - Turkish Daily News

The chief foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday that Turkey did not view Armenia as a threat or an enemy and that he was hopeful of reconciliation.

"We should open our hearts, minds and arms to each other," Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a conference here in Washington on Turkish policy. The Brookings Institute, a think tank here, and SETA, a Turkish think tank, co-hosted the event.

But speaking to Turkish reporters later, he also warned that a potential formal recognition by the United States of the Armenian claims of genocide would greatly damage the U.S.-Turkish relationship and hurt Turkey's efforts to reconcile with Armenia.Suat Kınıklıoğlu, a leading deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, when asked at the conference about how Turkey would respond to any U.S. recognition of the claims of genocide, he said, "forget partnership."Armenians label the World War I-era killings of their kinsmen in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, while Turkey opposes the term.

Although Turkey recognized Armenia's independence in the wake of the former Soviet Union's disintegration in 1991, it has refused to establish diplomatic ties and is also keeping its land border with Armenia closed in protest of the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed enclave in Azerbaijan, and part of Azerbaijan proper since 1993. But there are recent signs of a rapprochement.

Visit, talks, prospects for progress:

President Abdullah Gül visited Yerevan in early September at the invitation of Armenian President Serge Sarkisian on the occasion of a football game between the national teams of the two countries and held talks with his hosts.

Later in September the foreign ministers of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in New York on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly meetings. More talks are probable next month, diplomats say.

In Washington, Davutoğlu met with administration officials and advisers to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Davutoğlu admitted that a U.S.-Turkish crisis was possible in the event that an Democratic Obama administration went ahead with the candidate's pledge to recognize the Armenian claims of genocide, saying Turkey wanted to preempt that risk.Last year a genocide resolution came close to being passed by the House of Representatives and Turkey warned this would harm security and other ties in a lasting way. President George W. Bush's efforts to stall the resolution ended with it being shelved at the time.

Academics Grasp Mantle Of Peace, October 30, 2008
Football diplomacy gives impetus to second track diplomacy as a group of Turkish and Armenian historians and social scientists gathered at a workshop in Armenia’s capital city Yerevan to discuss past and present relations of the two nations

V Ziflioglu, Turkish Daily News

The rapprochement that started with the Turkish president's visit to Yerevan last month to watch a Turkey-Armenia football match has also intensified the efforts of non-political actors in the two countries.

As officials in both countries continue seeking greater formal reconciliation, a group of Turkish and Armenians historians and social scientists gathered around a table in the Armenian capital Yerevan last month to hold an academic discussion about ways to reach mutual understanding.

The academics were brought together by the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association, or DVV International, the main aim of which is to establish peace and stability in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Turkish and Armenian social scientists and historians brainstormed on the two peoples' past and present relations during a weekend workshop titled “History and Building Bridges for Dialogue and Understanding.”

During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on the richness of oral and documentary history that is either not utilized or used selectively to substantiate partisan viewpoints. After scientists became acquainted with each other individually, they analyzed the Turkish-Armenian relations from an academic perspective based on past and present experiences.

The countries' education systems were scrutinized, with the official history taught in schools and its effects on future generations specifically criticized.

Participants from Armenia and from Turkey included professor Doğu Ergil, professor Leyla Neyzi of Sabancı University, historian Fikret Adanır and professor Ayhan Aktar, and spoke to the Turkish Daily News about their unique academic workshop in Yerevan.

The academics had the chance to discuss, free of prejudice, various issues during the meeting. Ergil, Neyzi, Adanır articulated a shared view, saying they and the Armenian participants were looking for academic means to understand one another and that the chance to meet was an opportunity they cherished.

A second meeting will soon be held as part of the project. Historians from both countries will focus on existing historical documents, and social scientists will collect oral history. Based on primary and secondary sources, the academics will then shed light on the experiences of the two peoples over the last century.

Figures and documents collected during the project will be gathered in a book that will be written in Turkish, Armenian, German and English and in an easily understandable form and tone. The targeted audience for the book is ordinary citizens in Turkey and Armenia. The book will be sold where it is easily accessible for both peoples.

Bilateral relations through academic lens

Ergil, who noted they approached history as a coherent unit during the workshop, said they did not focus on a specific period or event.

“We are two peoples who have lived together for centuries,” he said, adding that during the workshop they searched for answers to the following questions: Why was a centuries-long joint journey of two peoples stopped? Can that journey restart? If it restarts, what kind of responsibilities should academics undertake?

A map of emotions and values shared by Turks and Armenians

Ergil said history is full of bitter episodes between Turks and Armenians, but in the end, the two peoples should meet on common ground.

“During the studies we will carry out, we shall not take phenomena we have already had in mind as Turkish and Armenian historians but phenomena that have been experienced by people of both sides. Our main goal is to bring to light a map of emotions and values shared by Turks and Armenians,” he said.

An official from DVV International said any meetings between Turks and Armenians often becomes marked by the painful events that occurred in 1915.

“We Armenians still carry traces of that big pain inside us,” the official said. “The attitude of Turkish academics with whom we collaborated was highly objective. We had the opportunity to discuss many issues from a perspective that was free from prejudices.”

He also highlighted the significance of cooperation of Turkish and Armenian social scientists. He said such meetings and joint projects would contribute to solving problems and establishing dialogue between the two peoples.

Academics' dream

Neyzi, an anthropologist, said studies they planned to undertake would not be based on official history accounts but focus on ordinary individuals. “We, as Turkish and Armenian academics, share a dream,” she said. “Our dream is for friendship, reconciliation and dialogue.”

The biggest mission of such projects is to look at the issues from different perspectives and to prepare ground that will allow for a tolerance-oriented coverage of history to flourish, she said.

Adanır, on the other hand, said he was happy to meet Armenian colleagues. “Our project is currently in its preparatory stage. But I am hopeful about the results.”

Rejoice! Rejoice! Obama Is Coming!, October 30, 2008 Mustafa Akyol

WASHINGTON - It has been a little more than an hour since I turned on the TV in my hotel room, but I have come across Barack Obama almost a dozen times. American channels are full of ads that are in favor of, or against, the Democratic presidential candidate. The ones that his party put out talk about his vision for America and how great it will be. The ads given by his rival, John McCain, counter by saying he is inexperienced and will get confused in the first crisis he faces.

In other words, the whole focus is on Obama. Indeed, the election that Americans will hold next week will be basically a vote on Obama. Everybody has seen what the Republicans have done in the past eight years and ultimately few have liked it. Sen. McCain, despite all his effort to the contrary, cannot compel most people to think that he does not share the main premises of the Bush Administration. But Sen. Obama is obviously offering something new and raising new hopes. The only question is whether he is capable of turning them into reality.

Change that I do believe in:

There are five more days until the elections. As former Turkish president and political guru, Süleyman Demirel, once said, “Twenty-four hours is a very long period of time in politics.” So, nobody can tell right now who the next president of the United States will be. Yet the polls hint that Obama will have a clear, possibly landslide victory and if that turns out to be the case, most non-Americans in the world, including my humble self, will be happy.

I have many Republican friends and I understand and respect their reservations toward a Democratic candidate. They have issues, such as abortion or gay marriage, which have made them committed Republicans. But what is at stake right now in the world is arguably more important than all of these issues. For decades, the United States has been the leader of the free and democratic world, and the world still needs that source of trust and inspiration. The alternative powers are China and Russia, which are both bastions of autocracy. Yet since the beginning of the Iraq War, the United States has increasingly been perceived as an arrogant and aggressive force. The American dream of “freedom for all” was smashed by images of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, water boarding and rendition. In just five years “America the beautiful” has turned into America the ugly.

In fact, President Bush had the sense to get things right, “If we are an arrogant nation, they will resent us,” he said as early as 2000. “If we are a humble nation, but strong, they will welcome us.” But, for a variety of complicated reasons, things did not go that way.

Now, Obama offers a chance to change all this. It is no accident that he has overwhelming support in the four corners of the world. People want to see a new America and only a new face with a new message can make them believe that this is possible.

Of course, Obama might come to power and fail to realize his promises. But he is definitely worth trying. As Colin Powell has wisely pointed out, his presidency will be an asset not just to restore America's prestige in the word, but also to overcome the new McCarthyism, the Islamophobic hate campaign that a handful of misinformed Americans are trying to sell to their fellow citizens.

In the minds of Turks:

In Turkey, many people who are informed about U.S. politics sympathize with Obama for similar reasons. Some pundits, such as veteran journalist and opinion maker, Cengiz Çandar, endorsed him months ago. But the McCain campaign has sympathizers as well and most of those people are, with all due respect, either wicked or close-minded.

The wicked are those who have been craving to stir a military or judicial coup in Turkey. When they decided to sell their anti-democratic crusade to the world, the only allies they found were the new McCarthyists in the United States just mentioned. They have been able to convince some, but not all, neoconservatives about the “hidden Islamist agenda” of the governing Justice and Development Party and thus gather some metaphorical firepower from some Washington pundits for their war in Ankara. For those secular-fascist Turks, the Republicans, because of the narrow Islamophobic camp among them, are the strategic choice.

The close-minded fans of McCain on the other hand, are simply concerned about Turkey's classic foreign policy issues; will the American president use the term “Armenian Genocide” while referring to the events of 1915 and will he support Iraqi Kurds in their aspirations for greater autonomy? In both these issues, these Turks think McCain and his Republicans will be closer to Turkey's position as they better understand the “strategic importance” of Turkey.

But in fact, whoever comes to power in Washington will get the same briefing from their bureaucrats about Turkey's importance when these issues come to the fore. It is also not realistic to think that the two candidates will be too different from each other vis-a-vis Turkey. They may well however be different in the way they handle international crises, such as the issue with Iran's nuclear program and Turkey has seen enough evidence to conclude that a fundamental change is needed in U.S. foreign policy about such matters.

That is why it is time to cross fingers for Obama. I do hope he wins this election and brings a fresh start that the world sorely needs.

Turkish President And Editor-In-Chief Of Zhamanak Daily Discuss Armenian-Turkish Relations Noyan Tapan Oct 28, 2008

ISTANBUL, ARMENIANS TODAY. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Zhamanak daily, Turkish President Abdullah Gul received the daily's editor-in-chief Ara Kochunyan in Istanbul. Another three prominent figures of the Armenian community of Istanbul: the chairman of the guardianship of Surb Prkich National Hospital, the chairman of the guardianship of the Karagyozian orphanage, and the national benefactor Avet Yerkanian also took part in the meeting. Abdullah Gul congratulated them on the 100th jubilee of the daily and wished succees in its further activities.

During a talk with Noyan Tapan, the editor-in-chief of Istanbul-based Zhamanak Ara Kochunyan told the details of the meeting. In his words, the meeting lasted for about 45 minutes in quite a warm atmosphere. Two high-ranking Turkish officials, the chief advisor to the Turkish president on foreign policy and the head of the presidential staff, were also present at the meeting, during which two issues - Armenian-Turkish relations and problems of Turkey's Armenian community were mainly discussed.

Speaking about his visit to Armenia, the Turkish president pointed out that it made quite a good impression on him. According to A. Gul, some problems exist between Armenia and Turkey, due to which the relations between the two countries are not at the desirable level. He said that he had left for Armenia not with the aim of putting forward some issues but in order to create such a climate that would allow to overcome the existing problems, including those between the sides and the regional ones.

A. Gul noted that by his observations, the Armenian leadership is concerned about the same problems that worry them, which is conditioned by the situation in the region.

The Turkish president underlined the necessity of displaying a political will in order to smooth the path for solving these problems. He said that the first step has already been taken in this direction: the respective commissions have been given to the foreign ministers. A. Gul added that it is necessary to take constructive approaches in order to encourage the sides to proceed along this path.

Reminding about the visit to Baku, which he paid after visiting Yerevan, Abdullah Gul said that both he and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev have a positive opinion about Serzh Sargsyan. He expressed confidence that the Armenian president is of the same opinion about them.

Speaking about Turkey's becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, A. Gul stated that this fact makes Turkey more responsible for peace in the world, especially under conditions of the current problems in the Caucasus. As regards the proposal to create a Caucasian security and cooperation platform, the Turkish president stressed that the Armenian authorities are also in favor of this idea.

Ara Kochunyan reported that the second part of their talk with Gul concerned the problems of the Armenian community in Turkey. Ara Kochunyan raised the problems of community structures, including schools. The Turkish president assured them that solutions had been given, to some extent, to the indicated problems, while some problems will be discussed and dealt with. A. Gul pointed out that for Turkey, all its compatriots and citizens are equal.

When concluding his speech, Abdullah Gul expressed a high opinion about the activities of the Armenian community establishments.

At the end of the meeting, the Armenian delegation presented the Turkish president with souvenirs on the occasion of the daily's jubilee.

The Kurds Of Armenia Against Turkey 30 October 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

Waving Armenian and Kurdish flags and carrying portraits of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan Kurds staged a demonstration Tuesday October 28 near the Place Shahumyan to demand the freedom of their leader.

"We demand of Turkey freedom for Ocalan. We condemn the Turks for this act of terrorism and torture against Ocalan. As long as we live, we will fight for our freedom," said Sevil Amoyan.

The demonstrators moved to the United Nations office where they handed over a statement by the Kurdistan Committee of Armenia.

Fethiye Cetin's Book "My Grandmother", AZG Armenian Daily, 28/10/2008
Fethie Cetin, Turkish publicist, lawyer and writer, visited Armenia.

During a meeting with the students of Yerevan State University, her first book "My grandmother" was presented.

The author portrays episodes of Armenians' evictions, exile and massacres by the testimony of her grandmother Hranush Katarian.

Hranush Katarian that was known by the name Sher only several years before her death confessed to her granddaughter that she was Armenian. She told how Kurds and Turks had kidnapped the Armenian children and she had been among them.

Cetin told that she was shocked because of her grandmother's story.

The book embraces also the author's assessment of the denial of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey.

Cetin told that after publication of the book many Armenians called her telling similar stories of their own. According to her, the responses were not only from Armenians but also from Turks.

She spoke of the letters of Turkish readers where they express great regret and disappointment.

The author is sure that the book is a call to eliminate the 93-year unfairness. Besides Turkey and Armenia, the book is published also in the USA, France and Italy.

Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer by profession, is the defender of the interests of "Akos" newspaper's Editor-in-chief Hrant Dink's family.

Conference Devoted To Armenian-Turkish Relations "Noravank" Foundation, 30 October 2008
On October 28 in "Noravank" Foundation was held a conference on "Armenian-Turkish relations" participated by guests and foundation co-workers. The conference was organized on the occasion of Fethiye Chetn's republication of the book "Grandmother." The book was first published in 2006 (translated by the "Noravank" Foundation expert, senior lecturer of Yerevan State University's Department of Turkology, PhD Ruben Melkonyan). The conference was honored by the participation of Fethiye Chetin and the brother of "Akos" newspaper's chief editor Hrant Dink - Yervand Dink.

The Foundation Director G.Harutyunyan briefly represented how the idea of the book came true, than Ruben Melkonyan introduced the honorable guest Fethiye Chatin. The latter one mentioned that she was very surprised to find out that her grandmother, Hranush, was an Armenian, which made her make a tour into the past and find the world-spread relatives. In the end Fethiye Chetin, who is a lawyer by profession and at the same time the lawyer of Hrant Dink's family, took the pen and wrote this exciting story.

She also mentioned about great changes in Turkey. According to her in her country are discussed such problems which nobody deared to voice in the past, there are also braked taboos, in particular - Armenian ones. The author of the book thinks that hostility between Armenian and Turkish nations is conditioned by their not knowing each other.

By the end of the meeting the conference participants asked a lot of questions to the author of the book which witnesses about the subject's up-to-datedness and great interest to it.

Turkey Addresses Messages, Hayots Ashkhar Daily, 29 Oct 2008, Armenia
Turkish President Rejap Tayip Erdoghan has sent two special representatives to Barack O'Bama and John McCain, the Democratic and Republican contenders participating in the US Presidential elections which are going to be held on the 4th of November.

The two special representatives, i.e. Ahmed Davoudohghlu, Mr. Erdoghan's Chief Advisor on Political Issues, and Suat Kynkyloghlu, Vice Chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations, are going to meet with the Advisors of candidates O'bama and McCain. They are going to introduce to the two US presidential candidates "Turkey's views" on the allegations of the Armenian Genocide, the "terrorism" of the Kurdish Labor Party and the problem of Cyprus and other regional issues.

The message which is going to be addressed to candidates O'bama and McCain contains the following statement, "It is necessary to have a proper understanding of the tendencies addressed to Turkey by Armenia. It is important for the US Presidential candidates to hear Turkey's views at first hand, along with the views expressed by the Armenian Diaspora" and "for the desirable exhortations which Washington is going to address to the Armenian Diaspora to contribute to the establishment of peace in the Caucasus." Mr. Erdoghan's "personal" representatives would ask the US Presidential candidates to assist them in the implementation of the Turkish proposal on the establishment of a platform of stability and cooperation in the Caucasus.

In its message, Turkey has called on the US Presidential candidates to continue the Turkey-US military cooperation in case one of them is elected to the post of President.

How To Cheat The Council Of Europe Kima Yeghiazaryan, Hayots Ashkhar Daily, 29 Oct 2008

To Participate And To Flee
After the decree, on setting up a fact-finding group, signed by Serge Sargsyan on October 23, for the last five days the representatives of Armenian National Congress have been waiting for the decision of their leader, with bated breath and dumbly.

Strange as it may seem "heritage" party, which is not considered the member of the congress, is also waiting for Levon Ter-Petrosyan's decision, because they don't seem to hurry in expressing their position on whether or not they are planning to participate in the works of the fact-finding group.

Of course they reason it by saying that it is up to the administration to take a decision on this issue, but it is evident that "Heritage" is hanging back, waiting for Levon's decision. And only after his decision will "Heritage" express its final stance.

Before that of course the representatives of both the congress and "Heritage" party have already managed to express their objections regarding certain points of the decree, not daring to utter a word regarding their final decision.

But hardly will Ter-Petrosyan come to a decision so swiftly. Though the terms mentioned in the decree will most probably make him take a decision before November 4.

So, Levon Ter-Petrosyan didn't find a better place to discuss this and many other issues, than "Yerablur", where he visited on "October 27". On his third visit to Panteon and Yerablur, from 1999, he managed both to "mourn" the deaths of the victims and to spontaneously convene an open-air press conference.

Whereas not only did he answer the various questions (beginning from the establishment of the fact-finding group up to the possibility of holding extraordinary demonstrations) of the journalists just near the gravestones, but he also hold a spontaneous consultation with the members of "Heritage" party. Such is their habit - to hold civil functions on the day of the Genocide, to convene a press conference in Yerablur, etc...

We thought the fact of convening this urgent press conference was conditioned by publicizing his decision. But it turned out that there was no decision. The leader of the revolutionaries was hesitating. The fact that COE Commissioner for Human Rights Tomas Hammarberg immediately responded to the initiative to set up a fact-finding group and welcomed and appreciated the President's decision couldn't help "sobering" Ter-Petrosyan. Especially because it was at his and his companions' demand that the issue was included in the PACE resolution.

This time Ter-Petrosyan will have to take such a decision, which won't be difficult to digest for the Council of Europe, because the latter expects, only and only a positive answer from the revolutionary leader.

After boycotting the works of the NA Interim Committee, after ignoring the demand-proposals made by the Council of Europe to start a dialogue with the ruling power, if he behaves the same way this time he will really appear in a very ridiculous situation. But still what pretext can he find to justify his refusal to send his own representatives to work in the fact-finding group? The day before Ter-Petrosyan announced that two of their demands "have not been satisfied by the ruling power". According to the decree the group subordinates to the working interim committee, which means it is not independent. It is not "transparent" as well, because the elucidation of the works is strictly banned. Not considering the Human Rights Defender as a third party, he complained that international experts are not involved in the works of the group, because in his view the latter must be the "third party". Whereas it is twice mentioned in the decree: "To involve specialists in the fact-finding group, including international experts."

As to the fact of the "subordination" - what else could they do?

Should they ignore the works implemented by the interim committee by now, only to satisfy the revolutionaries? Or what "transparency" do they speak about? Everyday overflow of the information? To give the revolutionaries the chance to make a concert from this information and reach the dissolution of the group?

With all this Levon Ter-Petrosyan has many times mentioned: "It's ok. We can make use of the small chances that we possess, if we participate in the works of the group." He has appeared between the devil and the deep sea.

Not to appear in a shameful situation in front of the Council of Europe, most probably he is looking for an "optimal" solution. It is really illogical to oppose the proposal made by himself. Most probably this time he will take a positive decision to show the Europeans that they also want "to be helpful". This is the delusion that they are going to create.

But it is not excluded that after some time he will call back his representatives from the fact-finding group, with the whole "luggage" of information, which the revolutionaries will swiftly spread all over the country, thus trying to discredit the activity of the group.

Meanwhile by using the information at hand as a subject for the demonstrations, they will try to liven up their dead movement. Everything is possible from those who provoked "March 1".

Why Turkey is important to U.S. James Harrington, October 30, 2008
The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks made Americans suddenly turn their attention to Muslim countries and Islam itself. Unfortunately, we had little to fall back on. Our school history books had painted general panoramas about the battles of civilizations and religious "infidels." The media and popular culture likewise had perpetrated crass stereotypes.

Quickly, it became "Islamic terrorists," rather than al-Qaida terrorists," as if Osama Bin Laden represented all Islam. He doesn't - any more than Northern Ireland's Catholic and Protestant terrorists represented all Christianity. Moderate Islamic countries have been trying to set the matter straight, especially Turkey, which is positioning to join the European Union.

In mid-October, I was part of an interfaith group that visited Turkey at the invitation of people involved in a moderate Islamic movement inspired by Fethullah G<0x00FC>len. This movement, which has enormous following in Turkey, believes in interfaith dialog, human rights, tolerance, peace, and sharing one's resources with the less fortunate - and the primacy of education. The movement has no formal structure and is rather loosely coordinated - something difficult for Americans to get their heads around.

More than 500 people from around the world have visited Turkey in such groups. Our delegation was about as diverse as could be, including religious beliefs.

The idea was to have us travel all around Turkey and just let us observe and meet people and draw our own conclusions. Our guides were scrupulous in avoiding even a hint of trying to form our opinions. Nor could they, given the independent minds in our group.

During our 12 days there, we went to ancient archeological locations and historical religious sites for Christians, Muslims, and Jews. We visited schools connected to the G<0x00FC>len movement and had nightly dinners in families' homes all across Turkey. Everywhere, the message was the same: Islamic faith requires love, tolerance, respect for others, sharing one's possessions, hospitality, and acts of service - values generally shared by all religions. As practiced by believers in the G<0x00FC>len movement, it is reminiscent of early Christian communities.

Supporters of the movement give 2.5% of their annual income, if not more, to build and sustain more than 300 schools and universities around the world. Most are in Turkey. These institutions practice the principles of Islam, but do not teach Islam. They are essentially secular, disciplined, state-of-the-art, high-achieving academies. Tuition is reasonably priced, and there are scholarships for about 25% of the poorer students.

This educational alternative is key, especially when there is only room for one of every 18 high school graduates in Turkey competing for college admission. Or as an alternative to the radical madrassahs in Pakistan that have traditionally filled an academic void.

As a journalist from Turkey's largest-circulation newspaper, Zaman, which has G<0x00FC>len ties, pointed out, the United States, Europe, and Turkey all need each other. Turkey needs the West to help raise its human rights standards and deepen democracy there. The West needs Turkey because it supports a moderate Islam and can show a viable alternative for other Islamic nations.

It is in everyone's interest to build a bridge between East and West and bring an end to that historical separation. Turkey can help open that door. Our trip taught us that an important step in this process is building personal relationships with others of different cultures and beliefs. This is something which we Americans need to do more of.

James Harrington is a civil rights attorney in Austin, where he also teaches at the University of Texas Law School.

Erdogan Recommends Obama And Mccain To Consider Turkey's Position On Armenian Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent two foreign policy officials to meet the advisors of both U.S. presidential candidates Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain in the United States, Hurriyet daily reports.

Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign policy advisor to Erdogan and Suat Kiniklioglu, deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish parliament are instructed to convey Turkey's stance on a number of crucial issues, including PKK terrorism, the Armenian Genocide issue, Cyprus and other regional problems, to the advisors of both candidates.

The officials are also expected to reiterate Turkey's aspiration to continue cooperation against the PKK and reaffirm that their country looks favorably on the territorial integrity of Iraq.

Davutoglu and Kinikoglu would also seek U.S. support to Turkey's proposal for the Caucasus Cooperation Platform.

Turkey would also urge the U.S. presidential candidates to consider Turkey's position on the Armenian Genocide.

Is The Press Yellow Or The Speeches Of The Government?, James Hakobyan, Lragir.am, 29/10/2008

The "yellow" press has written another "false" story about the relatives and friends of high-ranking government officials who behave brazenly, violating laws. This time the story which was published in the Haykakan Zhamanak was about the son of Member of Parliament Sashik Sargsyan, Serge Sargsyan's brother, who together with his friends provoked a quarrel in one of the disco clubs of Yerevan, a young man was beaten and lost his eye.

How is the government going to respond to this story? Judging by the state of the nation address of the president, the police must carry out an unbiased investigation, reveal the motive of the beating, the wrongdoers, the participants and hold accountable the person or persons who caused the skirmish and caused the loss of the eye of the young man. After all, Serge Sargsyan assumed the responsibility to state that he is not going to tolerate that separate people will consider themselves to be above the law.

Therefore, even if Sashik Sargsyan's son and his friends had every reason to beat and severely injure someone, the law prohibits doing that, because there is a system of justice in our country, the purpose of which is to prevent lynching.

Most probably, however, the events will follow the same path as the previous innumerable precedents. In other words, the government will do everything to erase the traces of Serge Sargsyan's nephew in all that happened. It will ascribe publications to the "yellowness" and will present it as just another justification for battle on "yellow" press because that press crushes the society's confidence in the high-ranking government officials, their relatives and friends. It is also possible that there will be one or two revelations in name only, and one or two may be punished.

After all, a young man got a disability, and this circumstance a little complicates the affair of hiding everything and presenting as "white fever", as it is usually the case.

What will the government thereby attain? It depends on what it wants to attain. The point is that when the publications in the press are defined as misinformation, and the press is declared yellow, it does not change the black color of the government's behavior into pink in the eyes of the society. Moreover, the society learns about an incident before the press because Yerevan is too small a city, Armenia is too small a country for the pace of the information, and very often the press writes about what people already know. Moreover, people do not wait for the newspapers to come out to read the news but wait to see what the press will write in the morning about what they learned at night.

Hence, if the government thinks that by refuting the information in the press and describing it as a lie it may produce the impression of a different reality on the society, it is badly mistaken. When Robert Kocharyan was the president, all the responsible TV channels tried to produce that impression, which they are doing now when Serge Sargsyan is the president. However, the days following the presidential election showed that in Armenia it is impossible to deceive the society with television because the smallness of the country enables the citizens to get first-hand information almost about everything, and distinguish the false and the true press.

It is also possible that the government does not care about what the press will write. They refute all by the way. After all they would not admit beating and not being sorry for that. Although, this is also possible. They will settle the scores with the "yellow" press, there would be no one to write, the responsible press would write about everything except for the brazenness of the government, and Armenia would go on. However, it is difficult to say where the citizens of Armenia will go, or where each will go. There is no need to beat the citizens and then sprinkle salt on the wound by refuting the beating. After all if the government wages an undeclared war on the citizens through the brazenness of their close and distant representatives and relatives, it should take into account that in the end everyone or at least separate citizens may "counterattack" for self-defense. And at that time even the bill on bodyguards worked out by the ARF Dashnaktsutyun will not be useful to the government.

Turkey Doesn’t Eye Armenia As Enemy But Warns U.S. Against Genocide Recognition 30.10.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The chief foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey does not view Armenia as a threat or an enemy and that he is hopeful for reconciliation.

"We should open our hearts, minds and arms to each other," Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference in Washington.

But speaking to Turkish reporters later, he also warned that a potential formal recognition by the United States of the Armenian Genocide would greatly damage the U.S.-Turkish relationship and hurt Turkey’s efforts to reconcile with Armenia.

Turkey will renounce partnership with the U.S. in case the latter recognizes the Genocide, according to him.

Erdogan sent two foreign policy officials to meet the advisors of both U.S. presidential candidates Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain in the United States.

Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign policy advisor to Erdogan and Suat Kiniklioglu, deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish parliament are instructed to convey Turkey’s stance on a number of crucial issues, including PKK terrorism, the Armenian Genocide issue, Cyprus and other regional problems, to the advisors of both candidates.

The officials are also expected to reiterate Turkey’s aspiration to continue cooperation against the PKK and reaffirm that their country looks favorably on the territorial integrity of Iraq.

Samatya - A Village On The Marmara Sea, November 1, 2008
Gül Demir And Niki Gamm, Turkish Daily News
Eremya Çelebi Komurçiyan in the 17th century writes of the beautiful garden-atmosphere in Samatya thanks to the churches and how people would enjoy the sunset on the beach and ferry landing, at least those who weren’t drinking themselves to oblivion

People who have lived in Istanbul a long time know that no one understands where the boundary of one area stops and another begins. There are no sign markers and even maps don't draw lines between districts. And then there is the issue of frequently changing street names. A street in Cihangir used to be called “Sormagir” which means “don't ask, enter.” A famous “madam” used to live on that street and men who were trying to find her place would be told not to ask, just enter the street. Now it bears a much less distinguished name.

So it is with Samatya. Most people would just wave somewhere towards the south along the coast of the Marmara Sea. Few people could tell you exactly and you would be liable to drive right by or through it if you didn't have a map. It's actually squished between the district of Yedikule and the Marmara Sea and within the Theodosian Walls. Why all the detail? Samatya is one of the oldest districts in Istanbul, perhaps from the Prince Byzas period in the eighth century B.C. The name Samatya comes from a Greek adjective meaning sandy and seems to have already been a village that was located in what was a very sandy area. Later this sand was used as mortar for the Byzantine walls that the Emperor Theodosius had built and which included Samatya.

When the first Armenian patriarch was appointed by Fatih Sultan Mehmed after the conquest of Constantinople, the Church of Surp Kevork (St. George) and other properties belonging to the Orthodox Church were assigned to the Armenian Church. The Armenians who settled in Samatya actually were brought from Karaman as part of the sultan's policy of bringing artisans, craftsmen and scholars to his new capital, Istanbul. They were at first put up in tents and then settled in as many as a thousand houses, according to P.G. Incicyan who wrote in the 18th century. The sultan also had the new patriarch Hovakim move from Bursa where the two men had gotten to know each other. Under the Byzantines, the Armenian Church was regarded as heretic and none had been allowed within Constantinople itself.

A different and rather scurrilous story has it that it was actually Sultan Osman who made the property transfer because he was a sex maniac and especially liked hefty Armenian girls. This however is disproved by a reference made to the church in the Polish writer Simeon's travel account.

The population of Samatya remained primarily Armenian up to the modern period although today its better-off inhabitants have moved to up market areas or left Istanbul altogether. There were of course Rums (Greeks born in what is today Turkey) and a number of their churches were also to be found in Samatya so one reads in Incicyan that in the fires of 1782 eight Rum churches burned down.

Incicyan writes that there was a Sunday market in an area of Samatya that drew many people, perhaps on Sunday because so many people would be out to go to church.

In 1641 the headquarters of the Armenian Church was moved to Kumkapı, another fishing village close to Samatya. However Surp Kevork Church has continued to be used today and has a foundation looking after it. As late as last year, Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II gave a lunch there in honor of former Istanbul Mayor Ali Mufit Gürtuna and he referred to the antiquity of the church.

Today little remains from the earliest times although there is a hamam that is supposed to have been built by the great Mimar Sinan. Unfortunately its recent restoration seems to have left much to be desired. Lack of interest has insured that most of the older buildings have been replaced with modern structures in typical Turkish style or rather typical anonymous style.

Samatya actually owes some of its more regular streets to the fire of 1866 that led to a more compact pattern that did not resemble what the place had looked like prior to the fire. According to Zeynep Çelebi, the new streets of Samatya were afterwards compared with those that had been newly designed in the rest of the world.

Samatya's central square is lined by the usual nondescript buildings one has come to expect in the old suburbs of Istanbul but it is large enough to accommodate the annual fish festival that is being held there this weekend. On the other hand one of the outstanding features in Samatya is not its architecture or even its churches. It is the marvelous fish restaurants, what are usually referred to as meyhanes that exist there still with the authentic air now lacking in the jazzed-up center of Kumkapi. Rakı flows freely at them as the best accompaniment for the fish that have been caught early that morning and are sold in the nearby wholesale market on the shoreline. In fact Samatya has a long-time good reputation for its meyhanes.

Eremya Celebi Komurçiyan in the 17th century writes of the beautiful garden-atmosphere in Samatya thanks to the churches and how people would enjoy the sunset on the beach and ferry landing. The priests would occupy their time getting drunk at the many meyhanes. They clearly did not have a Fatih Fish Festival laid on for them.

St. John of Studion, a remnant of an Orthodox Church monastery Samatya is also the home of one of the oldest Christian churches still in existence in Istanbul, the Church of St. John of Studion, all that remains of one of the most important monasteries of the Byzantine period. Special permission is required to visit it as it has not been restored and in fact has languished ever since the early part of the 20th century when the Russian Archaeological Institute attempted a serious excavation of the site; however, political difficulties led to abandoning the project.

The importance of St. John of Studion lies in the people who lived in the monastery. The complex, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was originally built in the mid-fifth century A.D. by a Roman patrician who came to live in Constantinople and bears his name, Studios. Later its laws and customs were used as models by the monks of Mt. Athos and other monasteries throughout the Byzantine Empire. In the ninth century, it became a center of church art, painting, manuscript illumination and learning in general.

After the Fatih conquest of the city, the monastery and church were allowed to continue in Christian hands. Around 11500 though it was taken over by the imrahor or stable master of Sultan Bayezid II and a mosque made on the site. Today it is still referred to by the Turks as Imrahor Mosque.

The church has alternately been restored in part and neglected at other times allowing much of what remained to be carried off with impunity. The monastery has completely disappeared between the 1782 fire that swept through Samatya and the earthquake of 1894. Some of the church walls are still standing and experts who have had the chance to examine it say that it is a continuation of the classical Roman basilica style thus making it an important part of Byzantine architectural history.

Turks Supporting Anti-Genocide Candidate October 31, 2008
Charles Hahn, a Republican contender for a seat in the House of Representatives, has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Turkish-Americans opposed to the incumbent candidate's support of a failed Armenian genocide resolution, reported the Pasadena Star-News on Wednesday. Hahn received $5,700 in fundraising from Ergün Kırlıkovalı and another $2,300 from the national Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee.
PASADENA - Associated Press

Turkey Chooses Obama, October 31, 2008, Semih Idiz
Embedded in its own high-tension agenda, Turkey did not concern itself too much with the details of the U.S. presidential elections until recently. Likely winner Barack Obama was highlighted for the promises he made to anti-Turkish Greek and Armenian lobbies in America.

His choice of candidate for vice president, Joseph Biden, on the other hand, raised Turkish eyebrows. Biden was not known, after all, to be a great friend of Turkey's, especially due to his closeness with the anti-Turkish lobbies mentioned. Conditions, however, have the habit of forcing reality on people vying for positions of power, especially as they get close to their ultimate aim. This is what appears to be happening with Obama and Biden as far as the issue of relations with Turkey is concerned.

In a foreign policy paper titled “A Stronger Partnership with Europe for a Safer America” they spell out precisely what they think about Turkey and Washington's relations with this country. Putting aside a whole paragraph, under the title of “Restoring the Strategic Partnership with Turkey,” they openly spell out their belief “that a close relationship with a stable, democratic, Western-oriented Republic of Turkey is an important U.S. national interest.”

They go on to indicate that this relationship “has been deeply strained in recent years, most importantly by the Bush administration's misguided and mismanaged intervention in Iraq, which has helped revive the terrorist threat posed to Turkey by the separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).”

This sentence shows insight and indicates that Obama's and Biden's foreign policy advisors are alert to what is a key issue in bilateral ties. This was a fact that was not properly understood by the Bush administration, whose mistaken assumptions about Turkey strained relations badly as Obama and Biden indicate in their policy paper.

There were many occasions, both in Ankara and Washington, when we tried to get across to our American interlocutors that you cannot underestimate the importance Turks attach to the PKK issue. “Overlook this matter and watch Turkish-American relations plummet” was our refrain at the time.

After all the time lost, the Bush administration finally and belatedly came around, due more to "force majeur" than anything else, to understanding this simple point, and started cooperating with Ankara on this score. However, much damage to ties would have been avoided if this was done at the very outset.

It is clear that Obama is better prepared on this score and understands the reasons why Turks have turned anti-American, a fact, which his camp clearly believes has to be overcome as a policy priority. It is equally clear, as their policy paper indicates, that they consider it vital that Turkey “a strategically important NATO ally and the most advanced democracy in the Muslim world” is kept in the Western fold.

Within this context, they vow to “support the promotion of democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression in Turkey and support its efforts to join the European Union.” These are positive and proactive remarks that may not go down too well among anti-Turkish Greek and Armenian lobbies in the United States. Leading members of this lobby must be aware that the Obama-Biden administration will hardly endanger relations with Ankara by openly and officially pandering to their anti-Turkish sentiments.

It is equally certain that the Obama administration will not want to rock the boat as far as welcome developments in ties between Turkey and Armenia, and also those taking place vis-a-vis the search for to the Cyprus dispute are concerned.

It is obvious, therefore, that this stance of the Obama-Biden team has been welcomed in Ankara where the preference, as far as the American elections is concerned, has swung radically towards them. Undoubtedly the “gun-toting” and “aggressive talking” approaches of the McCain-Palin team promises to be a continuation of the Bush administration, and this fact alone is enough to make Turks prefer Obama.

Under Bush, Turkish-U.S. ties took a great blow. There is now a chance to restore them and perhaps unfold a second “Clinton era” in these ties. The bottom line is that Turkish-American relations are too important and strategic for both sides to let fall by the wayside.

The Obama administration, which, just like many Americans, we are looking on as a foregone conclusion, could be the harbinger of better days between Washington and Ankara and a warming of the chill in ties that we have had since 2003.

400 Years Of Solidarity Of Anatolian Brothers, October 31, 2008, V Ziflioglu, Turkish Daily News
© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com
A recent academic study based on documents dating back four centuries sheds light on one of Anatolia’s oldest professions, 'hamallık,' or porter work

One of Turkey's oldest professions emerged four centuries ago, as rural men young and old turned to carrying the loads of the wealthy elite as a means of survival.

In the glory days of the Ottoman Empire, unskilled rural laborers often saw becoming a “hamal,” or porter, as the only way to earn their bread. They would leave behind their homes, villages or towns in different corners of Anatolia and, after a hard and long journey lasting many days, migrate to Istanbul, the capital of the empire.

Recently, groundbreaking academic research has been carried out on the history of hamals and the job of hamallık in the Ottoman Empire. Conducting the research is Nejdet Ertuğ, a professor of philosophy at Sakarya University. Based on various primary resources such as archival documents discovered for the first time by Ertuğ, the study is described as the most comprehensive academic work ever written on the history of hamallık in the Ottoman Empire.

To carry out his project, Ertuğ spent two years in the Prime Ministry's Ottoman Archives and the Central Library of the Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation Archives. As a result, he discovered numerous port customs records, documents showing areas where Ottoman porters used to stay, records showing which guild lodges they registered with, and many other details that have previously not been unveiled about the work of porters in past centuries.

All documents and data Ertuğ has collected have been gathered and published as a book by Timaş Publications under the title “Istanbul Porters in the Ottoman Empire.”

Ertuğ's study also casts light on animal rights in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman administration was highly respectful of animal rights, glimpsed in the laws on pack animals. The palace used to restrict the time they allowed humans to use them, up until 4:00 p.m. every day. The amount of load they would carry was again determined by strict rules set by the palace.

If steal anything, locked in Janissary prisons

The hamals were one of the most crowded guild groups in the Ottoman Empire, said Ertuğ, the first hamals having emerged in the 16th century. In present day Istanbul, one can still encounter a small group of hamals in the Çengelköy neighborhood on the Asian side of the Bosporus.

These hamals were from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Once they arrived in the imperial city of Istanbul, these Turkish, Kurdish, Circassian, Alevi, Armenian or Greek men from the countryside formed friendships based on the principle of “hemşehrilik,” referring to comrades who are originally from the same village or town. The ties of friendship turned into a unique form of solidarity over time. They began to sponsor each other in finding jobs, to succeed in surviving in the big city.

In Ottoman times, porter work was based on a strong hierarchical structure. The senior hamal was called “Başkethüda”. The lower ranks were “Kethüda,” “Vekil,” “Bölükbaşı” and the “İhtiyarlar Heyeti,” or The House of Old Men.

“There used to be strong control mechanisms over porters in the Ottoman Empire. Not every porter coming all the way from Anatolian provinces was accepted to a guild lodge of porters in Istanbul. Another porter had to vouch for him and once he was accepted to a job, his reliability was tested,” said Ertuğ. Those who stole anything or violated structured principles and rules of porter work used to be punished at the Baba Cafer Prison or the Janissary Prison located within the ancient Byzantine walls.

The cold stone rooms of the commercial inns, called “hans,” mostly located in the Unkapanı and Eminönü districts of Istanbul, and other neighborhoods inside the ancient Byzantine walls, were where these hamals used to stay and share their destinies.

In his 10-volume “Seyahatname,” or “The Itinerary Chronicles,” well-known Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi, who visited almost every corner of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century, says he witnessed inns where roughly 30,000 porters stayed together.

“Sirik hamali” versus “saray hamali”

Each porter coming from Anatolian provinces to Istanbul used to be protected by his “hemşehris” in that city. “The solidarity among them went beyond differences of religion, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They cared about and supported each other regardless of their ethnic or religious identities,” said Ertuğ.

The “hamals” used to carry loads on their backs and balance the weight on the back of his waist. A normal person could not carry a load that a hamal could carry, Ertuğ added.

Among the hamals, those called “sırık hamalı” used to carry loads with the help of a pole. They often worked as teams. For instance, four of them formed a group and carried things together with the help of poles.

There also used to be “saray hamalı,” or palace porters. Ertuğ said these porters used to serve the Ottoman palace in return for salaries. “They used to carry ammunition to the palace. They also used to serve the harem, or seraglio. Because they were quite strong physically, they were charged with choking unwanted persons inside the palace,” he said.

The Middle East and Caucasus in 2009, November 1, 2008, Ilter Türkmen
In 2009, the Middle East and the Caucasus will most likely be the regions Turkey will concentrate on. The Middle East, because firstly the balance between Iraq and Iran will change and perhaps there will be difficulty in maintaining its current irreconcilable policies. The Caucasus, because developments regarding Georgia may take a new direction, energy transfer projects may become a priority and the Turkey-Armenia equation may change significantly.

Developments in these regions, without doubt, will largely be affected by the presidential elections in the United States. If the Republican candidate John McCain is elected, we can assume that the current policies of George W. Bush will mainly be followed. McCain keeps saying that U.S. forces will not be pulled from Iraq unless a “victory” is won but it is not clear what he means by “victory.” In fact, victory is not possible in Iraq. The only thing the United States can do is to leave Iraq with the least possible damage. The Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, is aware of this fact. He foresees a gradual withdrawal from Iraq, one or two brigades every month, and complete evacuation by summer 2010. Obama clearly insists that he has no intention to have a permanent U.S. base in Iraq. Only a limited number of U.S. military personnel will be left in Iraq to fight against al-Qaeda, to train the Iraqi Army and to protect American civilians and diplomats. He also emphasizes that they will prevent regional countries' involvement in Iraq.

That is fine, but what will the fate of Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal? It is difficult to forecast but the picture is already troublesome. One of the difficulties stems from the expansionist aspirations of the regional Kurdish administration in northern Iraq. Kurds are not only after the inclusion of Kirkuk in their region but they are also claiming Mosul. Since U.S. forces support Kurdish Peshmerga and Kurds are controlling Mosul, while massive clashes continue and Christians are pressured to leave the city, Sunnis and Shiites are in dispute here. Could militia encounters among the three sides lead to a civil war in the country since there is no integrated Iraqi army yet? At this point, it is impossible to make a prediction. However, Turkey will have to follow its Iraq policies very carefully since Iraq will be left alone. We could have no choice but to seek cooperation with the Kurdish administration in order to prevent its expansion and presence in our own problems.

As for Iran, Obama thinks military intervention against Tehran is untimely. He is in favor of negotiations with no preconditions. He thinks if Iran abandons nuclear weapons production, normal diplomatic relations may be established, economic assistance and infrastructure may be provided and the country's membership to the World Trade Organization, or WTO, may be supported by the United States. Sudden and drastic declines in oil prices have made Iran more fragile. As Thomas Friedman asserted in his article published in the New York Times Oct. 28 edition, owing to high oil prices Iran was not affected by sanctions applied against it and was able to maintain low fuel and food prices and create employment. Dropping oil prices from $150 to $60 a barrel ruined the Iranian efforts. If oil prices remain as today, that might weaken the Tehran regime. Friedman recalls Soviet policies based on high oil prices in the 1970s were bankrupted when prices went down in the 1980s and played a critical role in the collapse of the Soviet system.

As for the Caucasus, it is unclear how Turkey will maintain diplomatic moves made so far. Russia undertook a part of Turkish policy, developing a comprehensive stability package, especially with the solution to the Karabakh issue. Further steps following the visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gül to the Armenian capital Yerevan and received very well by the international community seem less likely to be taken. We should adopt a more solid policy toward Armenia as quickly as possible.

Black Sea Greens Call For Peace November 1, 2008, Turkish Daily News
The Green parties of the Black Sea littoral states met in Istanbul on Friday, calling for peace and stability in the region, especially in the Caucasus.

Representatives from Georgia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey discussed environmental problems of the Black Sea region, together with peace and security issues in the region. The event, organized on the International Black Sea Day, which was declared 12 years ago, was hosted by Turkish Green parties.

“The tension between Georgia and Russia showed that solving those issues in peace is a need for the whole world,” said Lela Kiknadze, the representative of the Georgian Green Party. Mensure Resulova, from the Azerbaijani Green Party called on all the Caucasus Green parties to cooperate to solve controversial issues in the region, including the border issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Serhey Kurykin, from the Ukrainian Green Party and the former environmental minister, called for international cooperation to protect the Black Sea as well. Turkey's contribution could be crucial to this end, Kurykin said at a press conference following the meeting's morning session. Armen Dovlatyan, representing the Armenian Green Party, said ecological problems did not recognize borders and the problem of one country was also the problem of another. The Green parties that met on Friday discussed ways to achieve peace and stability in order to solve these problems.

Armenians To Reinstate Mt. Agri Emblems
The Armenian Football Federation (AFF) has announced that they will replace the emblem of the national team, which currently features an eagle and a lion, with one featuring the silhouette of Mount Ağrı.

Speaking to the press in Yerevan, Armenian Football Federation Chairman Ruben Hayrapetyan announced that the federation decided to reintroduce the Mount Ağrı design in response to public demand. He added that the new emblem will be approved by the federation at its conference in October but said the emblem will not be used on players' jerseys. The eagle and lion emblem, adapted from the Armenian coat-of-arms, had replaced an earlier emblem also featuring Mount Ağrı. 01 November 2008, ZAMAN

Expectations, Ali H. ASLAN
If you believe the polls, unless John McCain is touched by an angel, it looks like Barack Obama will win the US election next Tuesday.

Expectations of Obama are high not only regarding the outcome of the election, but also about the aftermath both at home and abroad. And that will probably be the biggest challenge he and his prospective administration face.

In Turkey, however, thanks to his staunch support for the Armenian genocide lobby, expectations are relatively low, especially in some influential segments of the society, that Obama would be a favorable US president. Many Turkish strategy makers think Obama might actually utter the "G" word while in the White House and/or let the Democratic Congress pass an Armenian-backed resolution.

I believe, if used intelligently, these fears about Obama which lower Turkish expectations can be turned into a plus for Turkish-American relations. Imagine what would happen if he pleasantly surprises Turks. I can tell you that every knowledgeable person I talk to in Washington says Obama will not do the "G" thing.

This was one topic that came up during a discussion at a successful conference on Turkey organized by the Brookings Institution's Center on the United States and Europe and the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Washington on Tuesday.

The keynote speaker was influential Turkish government advisor Professor Ahmet Davudoğlu, and Turkey-related panel discussions attracted hundreds of listeners. Some participants went on the record as saying they don't expect that Obama will do "G" recognition. When asked what would happen if the next US administration is supportive of the genocide lobby's initiatives, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Suat Kınıklıoğlu put it bluntly: "Forget partnership." Kınıklıoğlu later explained that he does not necessarily endorse ending the partnership between the US and Turkey, but he offered his prediction that relations will not remain undamaged if such a thing were to happen.

No matter how idealistic Obama sounds, the realities of running the US will probably hamper his agenda of change. As a keen observer whom I respect told me, the US is like a big vessel, and it's not easy to change its direction so quickly. It's probably true for the Armenian issue as well. The US foreign policy establishment has always been opposed to the idea of alienating Turkey. Obama will need Turkey perhaps at least as much as his predecessors. Plus, at a time when the US is concentrating on winning back lost allies and friends, who would want to put relatively normalized relations with Turkey on the line again?

It all depends on whether Obama knows how to read strategic maps. Can he really appreciate what Turkey represents? Even if he does not yet, he will be able to do so if he listens carefully to the people around him. I don't see anyone in Obama's potential foreign affairs team who would not tell him the peril of losing or failing to win Turkey over. Can the Obama administration come up with an original Turkey policy, not a derivative one, as some of the participants rightly advocated in Tuesday's conference? The "big vessel" factor would most likely prevent them from making a large policy shift, but I expect them to be more engaged.

Problem-solving energy on the part of both Ankara and Washington should not be consumed by secondary issues like the Armenian genocide debate. There is potential for friction on more serious issues. How will the US and Turkey manage Obama's ambitious withdrawal plan from Iraq and its impact on the region, not to mention the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) threat? How will they manage the fact that Turkey has become a more direct player in the Iran nuclear issue now that Ankara has won temporary UN Security Council membership? What would be the implications of Obama's more assertive and unilateral military approach to dealing with the threat of terror emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan, two close friends of Turkey? How would the US and Turkey manage relations with Russia and Georgia?

This list can certainly grow. These are serious issues which need more than just political commitment and a good working relationship. They require political chemistry between leaders of both countries. I hope a way can be found for Obama to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he comes to the US in the middle of November. No doubt it would also be good if Obama could have a chance to visit Turkey in the early stages of his presidency.

I'm sure he doesn't know much about Turkey, and it would be nice if he learned without stepping on any mines.
01 November 2008, Ali H. ASLAN

Vendetta, Yavuz Baydar
“They have been killed over the past 25 years. In the beginning there were around 5-6,000 insurgents up on the mountains, and today the number remains the same.

Something is wrong here. The longer the military solution is implemented, the deeper the Turkish-Kurdish fight will be, leading only more people to join the organization. Today, more and more people from the western provinces [of Turkey] join [the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)] because the problem is an economic one.

“Yes, more economic and social aid to the region is necessary, but alone is not enough. All these are palliative measures only. If five guys were to go into the mountains, these measures will reduce the number to four.

“The funerals that take place are not only those of martyrs [soldiers], there are others -- and they are our boys, too. For each of these funerals, five guys go into the mountains. Just as a boy attending the funeral of a soldier says 'I will join the army,' the dead boy's friend or relative here says 'I will go into the mountains.'

“Yes, it has now turned into a full vendetta. Sometimes they [the killed PKK members] are called Armenian or 'uncircumcised' [non-Muslim]. Just think, if you are my brother and you get killed, how do you expect met to feel? When some people harass those killed, humiliate them like that, they are breaking all the ties of that Kurdish boy to this country. I have been in the midst of this thing as I was born and raised here and I have never been this pessimistic in my life."

These powerful words come from a Kurdish businessman in an interview with Vatan daily. Mehmet Kaya, chairman of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is known to all journalists as a man of moderation, a man careful with his words and full of hope.

Not anymore, however. His comment is a high-voltage reminder of what I anticipated over the past year; namely, Kurds have come to the threshold at which the will reassess their ties to Turkey.


So true and so simple. Years of bloodshed, death, deportation, deliberate negligence and arms worship have brought Turkey to a very critical point.

The task of dealing with the problem has tripled, quadrupled in weight. It all came down to which side will kill more of the other. Forget the doctrine, the ideology, dreams and aspirations. As more and more families join the ranks of those who have lost at least one child -- soldier or insurgent -- young boys are hunted and hunt each other in a spiral of killing frenzy.

Yes, it is a vendetta, of a Middle Eastern sort. Kaya says he told all this to the new top commander, Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, when the latter recently visited Diyarbakır. He also told him that 65 percent of the region's youth are 24 years old or younger. Half of these youngsters have received no serious education -- that is, one out of every two. They no longer know where they “belong." As long as the rhetoric of “until the last PKK terrorist is killed, we shall go on” continues, Kaya says, these boys will continue saying, “Alright then, I will go into the mountains."

Did Gen. Başbuğ pay attention and understand? With the news that he also spent some of his time meeting tête-à-tête with independent-minded pundits lately, I am inclined to give a cautious reply of “yes” to this question.

The strongest sign of change came in an article published yesterday by the Zaman daily in which Başbuğ makes clear to the government that “everything should be done to stop the bloodshed." The Zaman story, citing anonymous government officials, tells of a different approach -- albeit a mixed one -- and perhaps the best-articulated one by a top military officer, ever. He admits that most PKK members come from İstanbul and accepted the notion that “one can even talk to the supporters." Başbuğ also said that there were now 4,500 “terrorists," of which 3,000 are in Iraq. He does not want the military applauded at funerals, saying, “The best terrorist is not a dead terrorist, but the one who surrenders." He also endorses more Kurdish broadcasts on state-controlled Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT).

He has also conveyed several disputable ideas. He encourages focusing on “religion” in the region, because “it is a unifying element as well as a preventive one in cutting off the routes leading to the mountains." He supports democratic measures but is clearly unhappy with critical reporting -- so critical that he expects the government to “stop Internet and other publications."

I hope to go on next week on this increasingly important subject, but let me add for now that Gen. Başbuğ's new rhetoric is an acknowledgment of the Kurdish issue becoming so unbearable that everything must be tried to avoid despair.

Kaya shows the way out: Those who will solve the problem are the ones who stand between black and white, the grey ones, he says, noting that there are many people within the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) who are grey -- such as DTP leader Ahmet Türk and Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir.
31 October 2008,

First Armenian, Then Pontian, And Now Kurdish Genocide? By Cenap Çakmak*
Pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Türk recently made statments -- which he later clarified -- insinuating that a genocide had been perpetrated against Kurds in Turkey following the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup.
Ahmet Türk, from the Democratic Society Party (DTP), a pro-Kurdish political party that pursues ethno-nationalist policies, recently made stunning remarks, arguing that the conditions of the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980 created an environment in which the Kurds were subjected to a campaign of genocide.

Although a few days later he clarified his remarks, stressing that he did not mean physical destruction of the Kurdish population and that he actually wanted to attract attention to the serious repercussions of the Sept. 12 military coup, the statement was irresponsible and unfortunate given the extreme sensitivity of Turkish public vis-à-vis the notion of genocide because of the alleged Armenian genocide.

Apparently, the remarks were part of the DTP's recent strategy of escalating tension and violence before the upcoming local elections, where it fears losing its strongholds in the Southeast. This seems to be the case considering that even such a moderate figure as Türk made a provocative statement like this and that shortly after the original statement, another DTP figure reiterated the claim in a party rally in the Southeast. In addition, the very same remarks may be seen as the a reflection of the party's ambition to demonstrate that international crimes -- war crimes and genocide -- were committed against the Kurds in an attempt to call for international adjudication. The statement becomes especially significant when we recall Turkey's reluctance to ratify the Rome Statute establishing the first permanent international criminal court.

As such, it should be noted that the advancing of genocide claims is subject to important restrictions, suggesting that use of the word "genocide" to describe a particular situation is often inappropriate. Above all, the notion of genocide is not a part of daily language. For this reason, its usage requires certain prior identifications and determinations. To this end, it differs from commonly used notions like massacre, extermination, annihilation or the like. One may freely use the latter, but use of the notion of genocide is subject to certain restrictions. Secondly, the crime of genocide may only be confirmed by a competent international court.

The G-word and its inappropriateness for frequent use in daily language

The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent who exerted tireless efforts to ensure that the Holocaust committed by the Nazis during World War II would be recognized by the international community in a different category of crime. That is to say, it is not a usual or regular word that has followed the etymological path of any other words extensively used in daily languages. Unlike others we frequently use in our daily lives, the term "genocide" connotes an exclusive situation or set of incidents that require certain substantiations and verifications.

Mostly for this reason, its usage is usually discouraged in daily language and only experts in the relevant fields are viewed as partially competent or authorized for such an action. Particularly the media, the state authorities and scholars pay careful attention to whether it is appropriate to define a certain incident as genocide, considering the repercussions of such usage. In recognition of this delicacy and sensitivity, many are prone to refer to the notion genocide as the "G-word," which reminds that this is such a strong term that it requires prior meticulous care and attention.

Carefulness -- some even may call it timidity -- in the use of the G-word is visible in most controversial and contentious cases. For instance, the ongoing conflict in Darfur, a war-torn region in Sudan, is not recognized as genocide by the international community because of the strength of the notion and serious repercussions involved in recognizing the incidents as genocide. It should be recalled that even the special UN commission set up to investigate the international crimes committed in the region concluded that although heinous crimes have been perpetrated against civilians, the acts by both sides did not constitute the crime of genocide.

A word may hold different meanings in daily language and in legal literature. From a criminal-law perspective, a conviction is possible only if the relevant action is properly defined as a crime under a certain legal system. To this end, it is possible to use a certain word in daily language without considering what it actually means. However, the very same word may fall into a category of crime only if it meets the criteria of a punishable offense. For instance, one may call a certain act as massacre, but that does not necessarily mean that the perpetrator of this act will be convicted on "massacre" charges.

Yet this does not discourage us from using such words or notions indiscriminately simply because they are part of our daily language, where they are used frequently. But the word "genocide" is quite different. It is not a word in our daily language, nor is it appropriate for frequent or common use, because it has been invented to describe a particular and extreme criminal act.

This brief explanation and clarification should suffice to suggest that in describing a set of actions as the crime of genocide, one should remain extremely cautious and consider whether these actions constitute this crime under proper international legal instruments. A description based on daily usage is not possible, as the G-word is not a usual one that can be used freely by everyone with different and often uncertain meanings.

To put it differently, the word genocide is only meaningful when it is considered from the perspective of international law. This means that it cannot be used freely to describe any particular situation without a final judgment by an international legal body.

This implies that in order for a particular situation to fall into the category of the crime of genocide, it needs to meet the requirements and criteria set out in an authoritative definition developed by a competent international legal mechanism. Such a definition is provided by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Genocide Convention). The definition was subsequently borrowed by the statutes of the international criminal tribunals created to deal with the international crimes committed in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, as well as the Rome Statute.

This convention explains;

Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

What distinguishes the crime of genocide from other types of crimes and offenses and places it in a special and unique category in this definition is the emphasis on the "intent to destroy." According to the definition, intent to annihilate a group of people should be visible to substantiate the crime of genocide. However, this intent does not necessarily have to be directed against the entire group. The definition states that if there is intent to destroy "a national, ethnical, racial or religious group … in whole or in part" and if the intended action actually takes place, the crime of genocide is considered to have been committed.

In addition to the restrictions in terms of the undisputable presence of intent to destroy and the commission of said acts against a certain group, attempts to restrict the size of the group through the acts contained in the definition are not legally regarded as part of genocide. In many cases, acts spelled out in this definition are not considered part of a genocidal campaign because these acts do not seek to "destroy" an existing group, but rather they are committed to restrict the size of the group.

Presence of "intent to destroy" is visible if there is a clear policy pursued to wipe out a certain group "in whole or in part." This will lead to the conclusion that in order to hold a state responsible for having committed the crime of genocide, the presence of a genocidal policy drafted and successfully implemented against the targeted group should be legally proven.

In short, substantiation of the crime of genocide requires proof of the presence of two most important and interrelated elements: First, there has to be intent to destroy a racial, ethnical, religious or national group in part or in whole. Second, at least one of the acts considered genocidal needs to be actually committed with such intention.

Obviously, neither Türk, known for his moderate views and constant calls for calm and restraint, nor other party figures meant that the state or Turkish people actually committed genocide against the Kurds. Most likely, they wanted to draw attention to some anti-democratic practices in the aftermath of the military coup that exacerbated the situation and greatly contributed to the elevation of tension and violence. Regardless, their word of choice was fairly provocative and unconstructive. Genocide is a particular crime and what it connotes is clearly outlined in legal documents. Therefore, it is extremely improper to "invent" notions such as "cultural" or "social" genocide.
*Dr. Cenap Çakmak is an instructor at Muğla University and a senior researcher at the Wise Men Center for Strategic Research (BİLGESAM). 31 October 2008,

A New Era In Us-Turkish Relations?, I.Kalin Todayszaman
Less than one week ahead of the US presidential election, Turkish-US relations and Turkey's role in its neighboring regions were the subject of a one-day conference organized by the SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research and the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

The keynote address was delivered by Ahmet Davutoğlu, the chief foreign policy advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Other speakers included Cengiz Çandar, Ian Lesser, Suat Kınıklıoğlu, Kemal Kirişçi, Steven Cook, Taha Özhan, Mustafa Akyol, Ömer Taşpınar and Bulent Ali Riza. The day-long panel discussion was attended by over 150 academics, journalists, people from Washington policy circles and government agencies and others.

In his opening remarks, Mark Parris, the former US ambassador to Turkey and one of the finest observers of US-Turkish relations, highlighted Turkey's growing role in its region and its strategic significance for the US. Parris made a comparison between Davutoğlu and Henry Kissinger, saying that both came from an academic background and had a deep impact on the foreign policy structure of their countries. Given Kissinger's reputation, I am not sure if Davutoğlu was happy with the comparison, but it certainly underlines the new outlook of Turkey's foreign policy.

This is what Davutoğlu talked about in his keynote address: Starting with Turkey's election to the UN Security Council, Davutoğlu defined Turkey as a regional player with a global reach. He called for a re-making of the global power structure whereby a new system of economic, political and cultural representation and distribution would be put in place to uphold the principles of justice and peace. Davutoğlu also introduced a new concept and said Turkey is now moving from a zero-problem policy with its neighbors to a stage of "maximum cooperation." In this regard, he mentioned Turkey's continued efforts to normalize relations with Armenia which, together with the Greek Cypriots, is one of the two missing dimensions of the zero-problem policy. If things move ahead as planned, we can expect the opening of the borders between Turkey and Armenia.

One of the recurring themes of the SETA-Brookings conference was Turkey's rising soft power. Davutoğlu mentioned that Turkey is no longer seen as merely a military power but is increasingly becoming a point of reference and actor for negotiations, multilateral diplomacy and economic, social and cultural investments in the region. Turkey's new role in the UN Security Council, its current engagements in the Middle East and the opening of 10 new embassies in Africa will widen the country's sphere of activities and influence.

When asked about the discrepancy between the role Turkey plays abroad and the deep political polarization within the country, Davutoğlu said Turkey needs to work harder to address key political issues, including the Kurdish problem, the closure of political parties and constitutional reforms, all of which affect foreign policy in one way or another.

This issue was raised by other panelists, including Cengiz Çandar, Kemal Kirişçi and Ömer Taşpınar, and points to a major contradiction in Turkey today. Turkey's quantum leap in foreign policy issues is yet to be repeated in domestic politics. But as Taha Özhan of SETA stated, the back-and-forth interaction of Turkey's domestic and foreign policy agendas does provide a context for relative improvement on, for instance, the Kurdish issue. While the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government needs to do much more to find a lasting solution to the problem, improving relations with Arbil is a step in the right direction. The policy of isolation against Iraqi Kurds has not worked and goes against the principles of Turkish foreign policy as outlined by Davutoğlu and others.

Parris asked what would happen if the Armenian genocide resolution was brought up again next April with US presidential candidate Barack Obama in office. Suat Kınıklıoğlu, a long-term observer of Washington politics and an AKP deputy from Çankırı, summed up what I think is the sentiment of many in Turkey: Forget about partnership. No one thinks the Obama team, if elected, will commit such a fatal mistake in its first few months in office. Obama will follow a middle-of-the-road policy and Joe Biden will come to back to his sense of realpolitik. Of course, such a move will completely derail attempts by Ankara and Yerevan to normalize and improve relations. Turkey cannot follow a policy of appeasement toward the Armenian diaspora, and it is time that Yerevan stop doing so.

Obama will likely be the winner of the US election next Tuesday, and his team has already made some gestures to show that they see US-Turkish relations as a top priority. If Obama is to follow sensible policies in the Middle East and toward the larger Muslim world, his best ally will no doubt be Turkey.
30 October 2008,

Obama Reaffirms Pledge To Recognize Armenian Genocide, armradio.am, 01.11.2008
With just days left to the crucial November 4th presidential elections, the Obama-Biden campaign reaffirmed its commitment to Armenian Genocide recognition and a strong U.S.- Armenia relationship, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

A statement titled "Barack Obama: Supporting U.S.-Armenia Relations," relayed to Armenians for Obama Chairman Areen Ibranossian earlier today as well as the ANCA, affirms that "The Armenian Genocide, carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulted in the deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians, and approximately 1.5 million of those deported were killed. Barack Obama believes we must recognize this tragic reality and strongly supports a U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy." The statement goes on to note "Barack Obama strongly supports passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106) and will recognize the Armenian Genocide."

"The ANCA welcomes further reaffirmation of Barack Obama's strong commitment to issues of concern to the Armenian American community, including proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide and fostering a strong U.S.-Armenia relationship," stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "ANCA chapters and activists across the U.S. will continue, in these last days, to work hard for the Obama-Biden ticket and the candidacies of the large number of Senators and Representatives who have supported Armenian American concerns."

The Obama-Biden statement comes amid a flurry of reports in the Turkish press regarding a meeting that supposedly took place over the last several days between a senior Turkish official, Ahmet Davutoglu, and a representative of the Obama-Biden Campaign, after which Davutoglu called into question Obama's commitment to this core human rights issue.

Peace On The Moscow Horizon?: Russian President Calls Caucasus Leadership To Kremlin For Negotiations
By John Hughes and Suren Musayelyan, ArmeniaNow reporters

In a move viewed as a major development in regional cooperation and stability as well as a potential forward step for peace between Karabakh and Azerbaijan, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia has called leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to Moscow for a weekend summit.

During the Russian chief's visit to Yerevan on October 20, it became known that Medvedev had suggested a sit-down with his neighboring leaders. It was not known until Wednesday, however, that the meeting would be arranged so soon.

The Moscow Summit is being viewed in light of a flurry of movement in the region ever since Russia and Georgia went to war over South Ossetia in early August. The conflict there illustrated the vulnerability of the entire region (as well as Russia's remaining dominance, 17 years since either Armenia, Georgia or Azerbaijan was officially under the Kremlin's dictates).

Since, President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia has met with President Abdullah Gul of Turkey. Gul has met with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. And, following Medvedev's Yerevan visit, Sargsyan was in Karabakh, where he said peace is possible: " . . . if Azerbaijan recognizes the right of Nagorno-Karabakh's people for self-determination, if Nagorno-Karabakh has a land border with Armenia and if international organizations and the leading powers of the world guarantee the security of the Nagorno-Karabakh people."

While Karabakh won't have an elected official around the table in Moscow, its interests will be upheld by Sargsyan, the troubled little breakaway republic's native son.

Leaders of the three nations' foreign ministries were appointed to meet today (October 31).

"We can find a solution to the conflict if Azerbaijan displays will and does not obstruct the negotiating process with various kinds of statements in all possible structures," said Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan at a press conference in Yerevan Thursday shortly before leaving for Moscow.

The foreign ministers' meeting in Moscow will be followed by a meeting with the cochairmen of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and then by the meeting of the presidents on Sunday.

Nalbandyan also suggested that if the leaderships in Armenia and Azerbaijan come to any agreement on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, this will become public knowledge and a matter for broad discussion not only in Armenia but also in Nagorno-Karabakh proper.

Medvedev's initiative might also signal a shift in leadership on the Karabakh settlement. For more than a decade the United States and Europe have wrangled with the rivaling republics to find a means of settlement that avoids further conflict. Russia's role has been a matter of some speculation ever since the 2001 "Key West Summit" was aborted due to Russia's concerns.

Yerevan-based political and security analyst Richard Giragosian views the summit as "a significant development, with implications far broader than simply the latest stage of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. The Moscow summit, as Russia's first initiative in the wake of the August conflict in Georgia, reflects not only a demonstration of Moscow's newly enhanced position in the region, but is also tied to a broader Russian strategy of matching Turkey's recent bid to regain its diminished position as a regional power.

"From this context, Russia is also studiously seeking to reassure the West that, despite the tension over Georgia because of Russia's recognition of Georgia's separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Moscow can be a 'helpful' partner in Nagorno-Karabakh, the region's sole remaining 'frozen conflict'."

The analyst warns, too, that Medvedev's call is not purely altruism at work.

"There is more to Russia's agenda than putting a new more positive face on its diplomacy," Giragosian says, adding that a recent suggestion of placing Russian peacekeepers in the disputed territories is Moscow's "move that would not only consolidate Russian leverage but also threatens to further entrench Russia as the dominant actor in the South Caucasus."

South Caucasus analyst Victor Yakubyan says that "the upcoming negotiations in Moscow will pass against the background of activation of forces in Armenia."

The analyst predicts that if Sargsyan agreed to an escalation of negotiations in Moscow and approved the plan and terms of withdrawal of Armenian troops from the security zone surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, the internal political field in Armenia will totally transform to engender a new opposition front.

Some also predict that the speeded up negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh might cause representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) to withdraw from the governing coalition and might also return second president Robert Kocharyan to the political arena and unite Dashnaktsutyun and Kocharyan.

Bringing Ararat Back: Soccer Boss Set To Repair Loss Of Biblical Mount On Federation Logo
By Suren Musayelyan

Armenia's soccer governing body on Thursday confirmed that all of the several proposed new designs of the organization's logo will again have the image of Ararat, the biblical mount revered as a national symbol by many Armenians.

Thus, Federation Chief Ruben Hayrapetyan made good on his promise given earlier in October to redress the regrettable omission and restore the national pride on the organization's coat of arms.

"As we promised, we present several designs of the logo and I would like the best one to be chosen as a result of discussion," Hayrapetyan told a press conference. "We also tried to grant the public desire to ensure that Mount Ararat is present on all proposed logos."

In the days leading to a World Cup qualifier between the national teams of Armenia and Turkey in Yerevan, which was widely viewed as an opportunity for fence mending between the two estranged nations, the Armenian Football Federation introduced a new logo where the usual graphic depiction of Mt. Ararat was missing.

The move in early September was construed by critics as an appeasement of the Turkish side ahead of a crucial summit between the two countries' leaders in the Armenian capital and prompted strong criticism from several political groups, notably the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Some opponents also alleged derogatory treatment of the national emblem with the use of a football on it and threatened legal actions against the soccer body for what they claimed to be an abuse of Armenian law.

The uproar eventually led to Hayrapetyan's admitting his fault and promising to redesign the logo. At the same time, Hayrapetyan made it clear that the change of the logo design leaving out Mt. Ararat was a regrettable omission rather than the result of pressure from any state structure. He also said that the decision on having a new design was made still before the draw put Armenia and Turkey in the same qualifying group.

Talking to media on Thursday Hayrapetyan repeated that there had been no "political order" for changing the logo. "Consider this to be my and Federation's technical mistake and don't seek any political implications behind all this," he said.

Ararat, which, by the Bible, was the resting place for Noah's Ark after the Great Flood, is now in the territory of eastern Turkey (historical Armenia). The extinct two-pinnacle volcano with snow-capped summits (often referred to by Armenians as Masis and Sis) dominates the skyline of capital Yerevan and since ancient times has been revered by the Armenians as their spiritual home.

According to the Federation, the final selection of the new logo will be made in November, by the time of the governing body's annual conference - an event where it is due to be unveiled for the public. At the same time, the Federation chief said that the new logo would no longer be used on the jerseys of Armenian teams. Instead, soccer players will wear outfits with the Republic's national emblem emblazoned on them.


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