2671) Media Scanner 12 Dec 2008 (131 Items)

  1. Turkey’s Outlook Bleak on Human Rights Day
  2. Madeleine Albright: Prevention Of Genocide Top Priority
  3. The Murder Of A Nation - Armenocide
  4. Love Story Armenian-Turkish
  5. ANCA: Armenian Americans Criticize Hypocrisy Of Genocide Prevention Task Force Co-Chairs
  6. American Senator: Passage Of Armenian Resolution Will Harm U.S. Interests
  7. "System Of A Down" To Represent Armenia with a Genocide Song at Eurovision
  8. Mixed Feelings For "Genocide" Petition
  9. 8-Year-Old Stands Up To Genocide
  10. Identified Non-Flying Spy Planes From Israel To Turkey
  11. Peroomian's New Book Looks At Armenians Who Continued Living In Turkey After Genocide
  12. Turkey Frets Looming US Recognition of Genocide
  13. Turkey To Recognize Genocide Within The Decade, Says Agos Editor
  14. An Open Letter To H. E, Mr. Baki Ilkin, Representative Of Turkey To The United Nations
  15. Open Letter to Abdullah Gul
  16. Professor Richard Hovannisian Across Three Continents
  17. Convince Raphael Lemkin Otherwise! keghart.com
  18. Print Run of Istanbul-Based “Agos” Newspaper Has Grown Three-Fold
  19. AAA Urges Renewed Effort to Combat Genocide Denial
  20. Bureaucracy, Diaspora "Hawks" Obstruct Turkish-Armenian Rapprochement
  21. Obama’s Turkish Partners
  22. Genocide Denial Math For Dummies
  23. Turkey To Be Brought To Justice?
  24. 60 Years On, Genocide Convention Still Prompts Debate
  25. US Government & Kurds, J Sassani, OpEdNews
  26. Armenian Genocide Committee Accepting Essays
  27. 'CNN Neglecting Genocide'
  28. Open Letter To Gul
  29. US Road Through Turkey
  30. Genocide Feature Worrisome
  31. Barbed Wire Fence Dividing Two Neighbors
  32. Turkey Needs An Intelligence Coordination Mechanism
  33. From Its Soviet Past To A New Era Yerevan
  34. His Life Passed With Struggling Against Genocide Lie, Gündüz Aktan, Aydınlık Magazine
  35. Civilization & Humanity Lesson Once Again
  36. Music Beyond Disagreements
  37. Will Art Soften An Ossified Rage & A Light Reach At Souls?
  38. Handcuffing Science
  39. Turkish Nationalists Urge To Arrest Intellectuals Calling To Apologize To Armenians
  40. Turkey's Sinister Blend Of Watergate & Dreyfus Affair: Inside The Ergenekon Case
  41. Anatolian Music To Echo In Armenian Capital,
  42. Armenian Genocide: Apology Campaign Will Begin In Turkey
  43. Genocide: Never Again?
  44. Genocide: Turkish Prosecutor Has German Professor For Insulting Ataturk
  45. Biography of Patrick Devedjian
  46. Sassounian Turks Create False Impressions To Block Obama's Promises
  47. Nationalists React To Intellectuals’ Courageous Apology
  48. CNN's ‘Armenian Genocide’ Documentary Frustrates American Armenians
  49. Reputation Of Turkish Police
  50. Obama’s Preferences & Turkey
  51. Enter The Hawks
  52. Lagendijk Announces Plans To Teach At Sabancı Uni
  53. Dashnaks Urge Caution In Armenia’s Ties With Turkey
  54. US Will Need Time To Reclaim Reputation: Albright
  55. Diaspora Minister Evaluates Her Trip to Americas as Positive
  56. Government Opposed To Criminalizing Denial Of Armenian Genocide
  57. Issue Of Armenia Discussed At Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Turkey
  58. Confines Of Armenia & Turkey: Villagers Dream To See Border Reopened
  59. Armenian-Turkish Relations Are More Positive Than 10 Years Ago
  60. Turkey's Situation In United States
  61. Map Reminder Of Complex History Of Caucasus
  62. Notebook By Bernard-Henri Lévy - Responding To Historians Who Would Deter Senate On Law To Anti-Holocaust Denial
  63. Armenian Villiers
  64. Turkey Continues its Policy of Denial
  65. "Genocide Without Comments" Film Is Denied
  66. Minister Of Diaspora Discusses In U.S. Ways Of Deepening Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora Links
  67. ‘Ankara Should Be Vigilant With Obama Cabinet’
  68. Armenian Groups In U.S. Hail Hillary Clinton Nomination
  69. Armenian Genocide Lie & Short Review Of Armenian History
  70. Clinton Welcomed By Us Armenians
  71. Turks Create False Impressions To Block Obama’s Promises, By Harut Sassounian,
  72. Anca Welcomes Clinton's Appointment As Secretary Of State
  73. Statement Of Senator Hillary Clinton On The U.S.-Armenia Relationship
  74. Corruption Control In Armenia Needs Legislative Control
  75. By Not Slaughtering "Turkeys," America May Regain Popularity With Turks Who May Stop Hating Americans Appo Jabarian
  76. Sumerians Were Part Armenian!
  77. Rakel Dink: "The Origins Of The Murder Of Hrant Date Back To 1915"
  78. `On Horseback Through Asia Minor' by Frederick Burnaby
  79. From Its Soviet Past To A New Era Yerevan
  80. Armenian Bloggers Hail Samantha Power As an Obama Adviser Return
  81. Time To Hope By Aline Ozinan*
  82. ‘Open Border A Win-Win Situation For Armenia, Turkey’ , Richard Giragosian
  83. Pro-Armenian Obama Adviser Once Critical Of Clinton Is Back
  84. Immunity Of Turkish Diplomacy Against Armenian Policy Weakens
  85. Knesset Panel To Consider Recognition Of Armenian Genocide
  86. CNN Special To Highlight Those Who Tried To Stop Genocide
  87. Most Armenians Support President, Establishing Ties With Turkey
  88. Turkey in the Middle of the Enemies,
  89. Who Does Society Trust?
  90. Political Parties Of Armenia Are Apparently Mental Virgins James Hakobyan
  91. From The Bosphorus Straight - The Fast-Changing 'Narrative' Of Turks And Armenians
  92. When Turkey Tries To Buy The Memory Of Armenians Vardan Grigoryan
  93. Armenia: Army Targets Students: Alarm About Demographic Slump Leads To Proposed Enlistment On Army-Age Students
  94. Change Of Heart?: Russo-Armenian Relations Influenced By Tilted Balance In Region
  95. Expectant Caucasus: A Pregnant Moment In World/Regional Affairs
  96. Kurdistan: Crafting of National Selves
  97. Refusing The Hand Of Friendship By Sarah Rainsford, BBC
  98. Hypocrisy Of Western World About Armenian Issue Western World Uses Armenians For Their Interests
  99. Kurdish Diaspora In Europe: Kurds Undergone Deportation And Genocide By Armenia
  100. World Medical Association Confirmed So Called Armenian Genocide
  101. Turkish Medical Association May Resign From Membership
  102. A Vintage Blend Of The Caucasus
  103. Generation Of ’Natural Ambassadors’ Grows,
  104. Young Quixotes, Old Windmills
  105. The Most Critical Set Of Questions For Our Craft
  106. Minister Asks All To Fall In Love
  107. First Steps For Better Relations Began In 1995
  108. Deluding The Americans About The Anti-Americanism
  109. Ara Sarafian Proposes Turning Bitlis Church Into William Saroyan Museum
  110. History Hampers Armenian-Turkish Dialogue
  111. "Turkish Disinformation To Become Popular In Armenia"
  112. Turkey-Armenia Normalcy: Pragmatic And Ethical
  113. AAA Congratulates Armenian Caucus Members in House Repub. Leadership
  114. What Should Turkey Do? Hayots Ashkhar
  115. The Armenian Genocide Think-Tank Denial Of The ASAM Stop Its Activity
  116. Google Earth Removes Image Offending Armenian Genocide Victim’s Memory
  117. Armenian Genocide: Turkey Threatens U.S. Again
  118. Kurdish, Armenian To Be Taught At University
  119. Armenian Diaspora Piles Pressure On Obama Over 1915 Incidents
  120. A New Paradigm Required In Turkish-Armenian Relations Lale SariI.brahI.mog(lu
  121. Documentation Of The Armenian Genocide In Turkish Sources
  122. The Ingenuity Of Turkey ...
  123. Turkey And Armenia In Tentative Talks
  124. Turkey-Armenia Normalcy: Pragmatic And Ethical
  125. Who Rules the Pentagon ?
  126. Can Obama Take On The Pentagon?
  127. A Man Of Letters And His Mystical Bond With Smyrna
  128. Yerevan Says Opening Border With Turkey Not A Favor To Armenia
  129. Signs Of Thaw In Turkey-Armenia Ties
  130. Armenia Ready To Supply Electricity In March 2009
  131. Hope Prevails On Armenian Border

Turkey’s Outlook Bleak on Human Rights Day
This year eight people have died in Turkey while in custody and 36 others were killed serving jail time in various prisons, right groups announced on Wednesday, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Nine others were killed under fire by security forces, while Turkey was not doing well in freedom of expression, press freedoms and bans, according to statistics released by the rights groups.

In a common statement they made on Wednesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Association (İHD) leader Öztürk Türkdoğan and Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) head Yavuz Önen expressed their concern that the world has yet to create an international order based on the rights and freedoms included in the universal declaration. "The demands the world has today are to establish peace based on rights and freedoms," said Türkdoğan.

The groups in their statement called for changing the Constitution to improve rights and freedoms in Turkey. Türkdoğan said human rights and democracy remained in the country as a chronically fundamental problem and that a change to the Constitution as well as many other laws was an absolute must to make certain democratic principles function.

Türkdoğan said Turkey's political parties laws, which impose anti-free speech provisions as well as language bans; the country's election laws that have higher election thresholds, making it hard to find representation for minority groups; and the ease of shutting down political parties in Turkey still marred the country's democratic improvement.

"The civilian and military relationship has still not been raised to that of a democratic country," Türkdoğan said. "The current legislation has aspects that are restrictive to freedom of thought and expression."

In the statement, Türkdoğan also called on the authorities to make deep-state gangs accountable for the crimes they committed. "Turkey now has to save itself from being a country where security forces torture people, where people are killed in police stations, on the streets and in jail through torture," he said. "Murders with assailants yet uncaught have to be resolved, and those responsible be punished. Gangs that have clustered themselves in the state should answer for their deeds by making the jurisdiction process work. Those organizations like the [clandestine cold-war era NATO organization] Gladio have to be exposed."

"We want a country where the supremacy of law and the right to live are seen as sacred; a country where everybody absolutely obeys legislation outlawing torture. We want respect to everybody's language, religion, beliefs and culture. We want a pluralistic democracy. We want a new Constitution. We want violence to end, and we want peace."

Önen called on the country's democrats and intellectuals and the people to stand in solidarity and own up to human rights principles and defend these values ceaselessly.

Rights, freedoms trampled underfoot

According to a report jointly released Wednesday by the TİHV and İHD, 36 died in Turkish prisons last year. Nine people were killed this year by security forces for not obeying orders to stop, while 12 others were injured.

The country has at least 15 provisions that restrict freedom of speech in its penal code. In the first 10 months of this year, 291 cases were filed based on these provisions against writers, intellectuals and journalists.

There were closure cases against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Democratic Society Party (DTP). There were also attempts to shut down civil society organizations such as the İHD; Lambdaİstanbul, a gay and lesbian association; the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Association; the People's Homes; GÖÇDER, the immigrants' solidarity association; and the Caucasian Students Association (KAÖ-DER).

Leader satisfied with Turkey's rights status

Turkish leaders were more optimistic about the state of rights and freedoms in Turkey. President Abdullah Gül, in a speech he made on Wednesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the human rights declaration said: "Turkey has reached higher standards in human rights thanks to the reforms it has made. It is also pleasant to see that there is a common awareness in the Turkish public to make sure that these high standards are applied perfectly."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his speech called on increasing joint international efforts against rights violations.

Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan said, "Protecting and improving human rights is a priority target for Turkey, a strong member of the contemporary world."

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said, "Protection and improvement of human rights in our country is one of the priority targets of our government policies."

Excerpts from Turkey's rights record for 2008

Feb. 15: Sixteen-year-old Yahya Menekşe, who demonstrated at an illegal protest in Cizre, was crushed to death by a police panzer.

Mar. 22: Zeki Erik, who was hit by police fire during Nevruz festival protests, was killed on the spot. Ramazan Dal, heavily injured by police clubs in the same demonstration, died 10 days after being hospitalized.

May 1: Tens of people including two journalists were injured as a result of police brutality in İstanbul May Day protests.

Oct. 10: Engin Çeber, taken into custody after a press statement by the Rights Association Initiative (HDG) in İstanbul, died in Metris Prison. The reason of his death was established as torture.

Oct. 20: Ahmet Özhan died as a result of police fire in pro-Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) demonstrations in Ağrı.

Oct. 27: Eighteen-year-old Çağdaş Gemik was killed by police as he rode his motorbike in Antalya for not obeying a police officer's order to stop.

Nov. 11: Fourteen-year-old Ahmet Yıldırım was wounded in Adana by a gunshot fired by a police officer who accused the young boy of stealing a motorbike.

Nov. 19: Soner Çankal was shot to death in the Altındağ district of Ankara for not obeying a call to stop by the police.

12 December 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN

Human Rights Watch Leaves The Meeting With The Human Rights Minister Unsatisfied
Bia News Center - Istanbul, 10-12-2008, Tolga KORKUT - tolgakorkut at bianet.org
Kenneth Roth, administrator of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), described his experience with Çiçek, minister of the human rights, during his meeting to introduce his report about the police violence as meeting with a minister assigned to violate the human rights.

Kenneth Roth, administrator of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), described Cemil Çiçek, minister in charge of the issues related to human rights, with whom he met about their reports about the police violence in Turkey and not punishing those responsible for it, as sarcastic and too defensive.

Roth met with three ministers about the report: Cemil Çiçek, State Minister in charge of the issues related to human rights, Beşir Atalay, Minister of Interior, Mehmet Ali Şahin, Minister of Justice.

“Çiçek denies even the existence of the problem”

According to Roth, Çiçek denies even the existence of the problem and when reminded of the police violence cases, describes this as an outcome of the psychology of the police officer up against terrorism.

“He offered excuses about everything”

Emphasizing that Çiçek offered excuses about every matter they brought up in regards to the human rights violations, Roth said, “When we mentioned the Constitutional Reform, the freedom of expression and the police violence he brought up the constitutional process in the European Union (EU), the EU’s attitude towards Turkey and the violence used by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), respectively.”

“It is ironic that Çiçek is the minister in charge of the human rights. It made me think that if Çiçek was a minister for improving the human rights or one for violating them. Let alone the implementation of the recommendations in the report, he did not even want to discuss the matter.

“It is obvious that the government is divided”

Roth said Atalay, Interior of Minister, was more constructive, more open to the problem, willing to look for a solution, in agreement with the recommendations and said they were trying to implement some of them.

Roth added that Atalay was especially in agreement with keeping the police officers and the units accused of violations out of the investigations about them, stopping the counter suits by the police against the victims and discontinuing with the practice of making statements to protect the suspected police officers. However, he also said that the main problem was if Atalay had the power to implement these changes or would be prevented by people like Çiçek.

“We know that the problem of Iraq, the PKK, the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the EU’s changing attitude towards Turkey have been affecting the reform process negatively. But these reforms should not be done for someone else, but the people of Turkey. It is obvious that the government is divided. The real question is if Erdoğan’s government is loyal to the reforms in spite of all the negative factors.”

“The problem is not only the implementation”

Roth noted that Minister Şahin also agreed that the problem was not with the law about the police violence, but its implementation; however, especially the arrangement regarding using deadly force is open to all kinds of violations.

Roth also pointed out to the disappointment they had with Şahin’s giving permission to 58 article 301 investigations since May, saying it was problematic that the minister sees criticizing the government as a call to violence sometimes and as an insult some other times.

Roth added that the HRW was going to continue watching and reporting the police violence. (TK/TB)

Police Violence Soaring, Says Report On Turkey Robert Tait in Istanbul, The Guardian, December 6 2008

Turkey has witnessed an alarming upsurge in police brutality fostered by a "culture of impunity" and a government-inspired contempt of human rights, campaigners said yesterday.

In a damning report, Human Rights Watch said complaints against the police for excessive force had risen sharply since the start of last year while the number of officers convicted had dropped. A total of 3,339 people had complained about police ill-treatment in 2007, up from 2,854 the year before, but only 48 of those complaints had led to convictions.

The 80-page report, Closing Ranks Against Accountability, recounts numerous cases of suspects dying or suffering serious injury at the hands of police, sometimes after being stopped for routine identity checks. Police frequently cover up evidence while accused officers are routinely exonerated after internal disciplinary proceedings, the report says.

In one instance, Feyzullah Ete, 26, a factory worker with two children, died after being kicked in the chest by a plain-clothed officer who had demanded to see his ID in a children's play area. Following private court hearings, closed to the media and human rights activists, the dead man's brother is in custody accused of insulting the court after reacting angrily to the decision to release the officer, Ali Mutlu, who remains free on bail.

Launching the report in Istanbul, Human Rights Watch's executive director, Kenneth Roth, said those who lodged complaints frequently found themselves facing prosecution on counter charges, such as resisting arrest.

The rise in violent incidents was partly attributable, he said, to laws introduced by the governing Justice and Development party (AKP), which has built its image on a reform programme designed to aid Turkey's EU membership bid. These include a law permitting police to use lethal force before it becomes a "last resort" necessary to prevent a threat to life, another allowing officers to conduct identity checks without reasonable grounds for suspicion, and anti-terrorism legislation enabling suspects to be detained for 24 hours without access to a lawyer.

Police felt free to commit violent acts because they believed themselves untouchable, Roth said. "A culture of impunity prevails and we fear that culture lies behind this increase in police violence. We have called on the government to take a series of steps that would replace this with a culture of accountability."

However, Roth said that attempts at persuading officials to take these steps, during two days of talks in Ankara, had met stiff resistance, particularly from the deputy prime minister, Cemil Cicek, who has special responsibility for human rights. Cicek reportedly attempted to justify police excesses by referring to alleged abuses in Europe, even citing Ireland's rejection of the EU constitution in a referendum last June.

"I left our meeting with Mr Cicek wondering if he is responsible for upholding human rights or violating them," Roth said. "He had an utterly contemptuous view of human rights and showed no inclination to take remedial steps. If he is indicative of the state of the reform process in Turkey, then it really is in deep trouble."

Turkey: Rising Police Violence Goes Unpunished, Prosecute Abusers to Reverse Trend, December 5, 2008

Victims of police violence we interviewed frequently told us that the police feel untouchable.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

(Istanbul, December 5, 2008) - A rising wave of police violence against the public in Turkey is linked to the Turkish government's failure to hold abusive officers to account, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 80-page report, "Closing Ranks against Accountability - Barriers to Tackling Police Violence in Turkey," documents 28 cases of police abuse against members of the public since the start of 2007, and examines official investigations of police conduct in those instances. The cases include fatal and non-fatal shootings by the police; ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police against demonstrators; and ill-treatment during or following identity checks. Those who file complaints against the police often find themselves put on trial for having "forcibly resisted" the police.

"Turkey needs to tackle its violent and trigger-happy policing culture," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "That can only happen if the criminal justice system holds the police to account for these serious crimes."

Police violence in Turkey has been exacerbated by changes to the law on police powers made in June 2007, which give police excessively broad discretion to use lethal force and encourage arbitrary stops and searches by police. Since the research for this report was finished in June 2008 there has been a spate of shootings by police officers in cities such as Ankara, Istanbul, Adana, Bursa, and Antalya. Seven of them were fatal.

The problem is compounded by the failure to adequately investigate abuses when complaints are made. The report documents a pattern of police interference with investigations, including attempts to conceal, contaminate, or plant evidence. Investigations by prosecutors last many months and even years, often with no result. Where a prosecution is commenced, trials also last for years and the rate of conviction is extremely low. Convictions rarely lead to prison sentences.

Amateur camera footage shows police beating 15-year-old M.K. (name withheld) at Van bus station during Newroz/Nevruz (Kurdish new year) celebrations in Van, on March 22, 2008. Celebrations were banned in Van on the order of the governor's office. Police used disproportionate force against those who assembled in spite of the ban and also against onlookers, indiscriminately beating them and firing rounds of plastic bullets and in some instances live ammunition. M.K and his father were interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report "Closing Ranks against Accountability: Barriers to Tackling Police Violence in Turkey". © 2008 DİHA

"Victims of police violence we interviewed frequently told us that the police feel untouchable," Roth said. "That will only change if police officers who break the law are punished."

Motivated to meet conditions attached to its prospective European Union accession, Turkey has made important changes in law and in detention regulations in the last five years, providing better safeguards for those held in detention facilities. While the changes did bring a reduction of abuse in police custody for those detained under anti-terrorism laws, there was less impact in other areas of policing. Since the beginning of 2007, reports of police abuse have risen compared to previous years, especially outside formal places of detention.

Incidents of police torture or ill-treatment are now more often reported as occurring outside formal places of detention - in the street, during apprehension, in police cars, or out of the sight of cameras or witnesses. Police also show a readiness to use firearms, shooting unarmed demonstrators and individuals whom the police claim have failed to obey stop warnings, and sometimes killing them.

The report contains detailed recommendations to the Turkish government, including:
The establishment of an effective, independent police complaints authority to investigate police misconduct, leading to the prosecution of offenders;
Requiring police to report when they use stop-and-search powers, and giving the person stopped a form that includes the officers' names, identification numbers, and the reason for the stop;
Legal clarification that use of lethal force should be a means of last resort and used only where necessary to protect life;
Tamper-proof video and audio recording in police stations at all times; and
Action to ensure that trial hearings of law enforcement officials facing prosecution take place without undue delay.


Protection Of The Violent Police Officers Continue, Bia news center - Istanbul, 11-12-2008, Tolga KORKUT

Although Justice Minister Şahin, Police Chief Cerrah and the police educators say that the police officers should show their identities when asked, the citizens still get beaten up for asking their identities and the authorities still make statements protecting these police officers and file suspicious lawsuits against the victims.

Mustafa Akdoğan tells that when he asked the police officers to show their identities they yelled at him saying how he could ask them their identities, telling him if he could not see they were in their uniforms and beat him up at the Avcılar neighborhood of Istanbul.

This incident took place after Celalettin Cerrah, Istanbul Police Chief, told that the citizens hould ask the police officers for their identities. According to “ATV” TV channel, Akdoğan will not ask the police officers for their identities and he will try not to see any police officer again, if possible. According to newspaper “Radikal”, there are fractures in his skull and nose, and his chin is broken.
“There is no separate category as “police officers in plain clothes”

What had Cerrah say? Our citizens should ask everyone whether in official uniform or plain clothes who introduce themselves as police officers for their identities.

In the copy of “Radikal” published on December 7, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin says, “Police officers should show their identities when asked. We have regulations about this. When asked, the police officers should think that they should show their identities and the citizens should believe that it is their right to ask for their identities.” Önder Aytaç, a member of the Police Academy said in a TV program titled “32nd Day” that the police officers in plain clothes must show their identities.

What these explanations share in common is that the police officers wearing their official uniforms should show their identities, but they are all deceiving us.

Because the law regarding this matter is clear: It does not differentiate between the police officers who wear uniforms and who wear plain clothes: “When performing his or her duty, the police officer can ask for another person’s identity only after showing his/hers first and then the police officers should tell the person that is stopped the reason for stopping him/her.”

In other words,

1. The police officer must show his/her identity regardless of what he/she is wearing.

2. The police officer must show his/her identity first.

3. The police officer should explain the citizen why he/she was stopped.

It is not possible that those who made these explanations do not know the law. On the contrary, it is certain that they know it better than all of us. The correct explanation should be to point out to these three points and tell the police officers to show their identities, to explain the citizens why they were stopped and to quit beating up people.

Where is the Prime Minister, the Minister of Interior?

Two people have been keeping quiet while the media has been discussing this topic: Prime Minister Erdoğan and Minister of Interior Atalay. They should appear before the public without losing any time and remind the police officers that they should show their identities.

They should also remind them about the official reports

According to the law, the police officers should give the person whose identity they are asking to see an official report of what happened.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in its report about the police violence published this week that this official report should be given without waiting for the individual in question to ask for one.

The correct explanation came from Üskül

Zafer Üskül, president of the Parliamentary Commission for the Human Rights, said, “It would be more appropriate to tell the police officers to show their identities rather than telling the citizens to ask the police officers for their identities For the law demands that the police officers show their identities before asking for someone else’s.”

The explanation from the Istanbul Police Department: He hit his head on the windshield

The Istanbul Police Department said regarding the incident in question that the police officers showed their identities to Akdoğan, but he ran away after swinging punches at them and later hit his head a few times on the windshield and the body of the car; after all this, he was taken in, with the order of the prosecutor, for resisting, insulting and threatening the police officers and damaging the public property.

So instead of investigating if Akdoğan was tortured, the prosecutor puts in action the suspicious police complaint.

The two implementation the HRW report demanded needed to be fixed were the statements made by the police officers to protect officers charged with rights violations and the counter suits filed by the accused police officers against the victims.

About the suggestion that an independent complaints unit needs to be established immediately, Justice Minister says that they do not have such a plan, but he respects the idea.

In other words, although they have a solution in their hands, they would rather brush aside the suggestions and continue protecting the police officers who use violence. (TK/TB)

Madeleine Albright: Prevention Of Genocide Top Priority 10.12.2008 PanARMENIAN.Net

A high-level U.S. taskforce on preventing genocide said on Tuesday it expected President-elect Barack Obama to support its call for a $250 million fund to back emergency action in high-risk countries.

The Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, issued a report this week calling for prevention of genocide to be a top priority in the new U.S. administration that will take office in January.

Albright told reporters at the United Nations on Tuesday the United States should not bear the burden alone but should lead the way in taking responsibility to prevent mass atrocities and genocide wherever they may happen.

She called for the creation of a high level inter-agency mechanism to coordinate between various branches of the U.S. government to focus on early warning when the first signs of a problem occur. That should be backed by $250 million a year to finance specially tailored projects in countries at risk.

"This modest fund would give U.S. diplomats a potentially pivotal tool with which to avert catastrophe," Albright said.

Albright, who was secretary of state under U.S. President Bill Clinton, said the report was prepared with input from many people involved in Obamas transition team.

Cohen said the 34 recommendations in the report aimed to create the mechanisms to ensure early detection and preventative action to stop genocide before it was too late, retaining the option of military action as a last resort.

"We believe that president-elect Obama will support it, we dont know that for certain but we believe that to be the case," Cohen said.

Albright was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. She said the report by the taskforce was not a historical analysis but it did take account of lessons learned when the international community failed to stop the slaughter of some 800,000 people in Rwanda.

"Theres broad range of foreign policy options between standing aside and ordering in the Marines," Albright said, emphasizing the importance of early warning systems and international cooperation to exert diplomatic pressure.

Cohen said it was vital that the United States not appear to be "meddling" in a unilateral way.

He said preventing genocide was in the national security interest of all countries, since it could lead to failed states with the potential to breed terrorism, Reuters reports.

The Murder Of A Nation - Armenocide
CNN 'SCREAM BLODDY MURDER' - Armenian Genocide

Letter To CNN
Dear Mrs. Christian Amanpour

The documentary entitled "Scream Bloody Murder" anchored by Christian Amanpour on CNN was courageous in some respect, troubling in other respect and disappointing generally; it did not penetrate the core of the subject, it lacked the serious analysis of the events and above all it almost ignored the most important Genocide of them all, the Armenian Genocide, perpetrated in Turkey, beginning from 1915, by the Turkish government with the direct participation of a large section of the Turkish and Kurdish populations.

A- Amanpour's attempt was courageous but stopped far short from the truth; because, since 1923 Turkey officially started to deny the Genocide (the allied occupying forces in Turkey having left the country) and begun to use all its available material and moral resources to pressure, bribe and lobby all countries and individuals who tried to remind the world of the Armenian Genocide. This on-going lobbying activity, which continues to the present day, became much more aggressive and efficient when after the Jewish Genocide and the creation of Israel, the Israeli powerful lobby, not a secret to anyone, joined-in forces. Under those pressures, Amanpour could not have given to the Armenian Genocide the prominent place it deserves, instead she gave the least important place by mentioning it for about 45 seconds in a 90-minute press screener and did not dwell into it in the same depth and compelling way as for the other Genocides and reported with deliberate inaccuracies; she did an injustice to the victims and denigrated their memories; thus, by giving in to those pressures, Amanpour lost her reputation of the objective investigative journalist; her cover up of the truth was brought to light and she is no longer the journalist of the truth that she pretends to be. However, she can redeem herself if very soon she apologizes to the Armenian nation and to all those who know the truth and she prepares a special documentary on the Armenian genocide based on materials from non denialist sources.

B- Amanpour's documentary was troubling because she belittled the Armenian genocide; the following points demonstrate why this genocide is the most important:

1) The Turkish assault in 1915, under cover of world war I, was so organized, swift and brutal that it obliterated in six-month time the Armenian nation and culture from its ancestral homeland of three thousands year (long before the Turks came from central Asia and occupied Armenia in 1453). For the first time in the history of mankind a devastating crime against humanity of such magnitude was being committed, the eye witness of the day, the US Ambassador in Turkey, Henry Morgenthau noted in a compelling way in his book "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story" as follows: "My only reason for relating such dreadful things as this is that, without the details, the English-speaking public cannot understand precisely what this nation is which we call Turkey. I have by no means told the most terrible details, for a complete narration of the sadistic orgies of which these Armenian men and women were the victims can never be printed in an American publication. Whatever crimes the most pervert instincts of the human mind can devise, and whatever refinements of persecution and injustice the most debased imagination can conceive, became the daily misfortunes of this devoted people. I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915. .... Yet all these previous persecutions seem almost trivial when we compare them with the sufferings of the Armenians,"... With the above vivid characterization of the crime it is not a surprise that the Armenians called the atrocities "Apocalypse", Yeghern in Armenian

2)" The Murder of a Nation", for the first time in human history these words were used by the US Ambassador in Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, as the title for chapter 24 of his book, to define the crime; subsequently, in 1948 Raphael Lemkin did not have to invent the word, all he had to do is translate it into Greek and Latin "Genocide", thus the words to describe the horrific crime were first coined in 1917 to describe the first large scale destruction of a race in mankind history, the Murder of the Armenian Nation.

2) For the first time in human history the words "crimes against humanity" were pronounced by the Allied governments, in a May 24, 1915 declaration to warn Turkey that they will be held responsible for their crimes, once the war would be over.

3) For the first time in modern times, since the Spanish Inquisition, the word "Holocaust" was used to describe the first large scale "Murder of a Nation" against the Armenians of Sassoun, in eastern Turkey in 1895-96 (200,000 victims); the second large scale "Murder of a Nation" took place against the Armenians of Adana in 1909 ( 20,000 victims) which was followed in 1915 by the largest of all (2,000 000 victims). In all these 3 "Murders of a Nation"

thousands of helpless old people, women and children were locked in wooden buildings and churches and burned to death, the true Holocaust, as opposed to burning already dead bodies which does not meet the definition of Holocaust (destruction by fire).

4) War crimes tribunal: At the end of World War I, Turkey having lost the war by the side of Germany, impoverished and down on their knees, was occupied by the Allied Forces; by fear of dismemberment of the country, the provisional Turkish government, established in 1919 a military tribunal in Constantinople to try the government officials or individuals responsible for the massacres. Close to 10,000 people were imprisoned and all top officials, who had fled the country were sentenced to death in absentia, only one person was hanged; as time went by, the Allied Powers gradually lost interest and tried to struck separate deals with Turkey, especially that the Armenian side having suffered a devastating blow was practically non-existent; and in 1923 by the time Kemal Ataturk came to power having actively continued the massacres in the Caucasus, in Adana and Smyrna, the Allied forces ceased the occupation and the government of Kemal Ataturk the father of "Modern Turkey" started to deny the Genocide. Thus a golden opportunity was lost by the Western "civilized" world to punish, for the first time in history, crimes against humanity. This cowardly attitude by the Allies opened the way to the subsequent Genocides. The swiftness and efficiency of the Nuremberg Tribunal (a replica of the Constantinople Tribunal 26 years earlier), at the end of WW II was the direct result of the failures in1919.

5) Turkey continues the Armenian Genocide to this day:

By Illegal Territorial blockading, the newly independent already landlocked, republic of Armenia, together with its ally Azerbaijan.

By systematically destroying the thousands historic Armenian monuments. - By eliminating the word Armenicus from the scientific names of the flora and Fauna.

By not allowing the small Armenian community to maintain their churches so that eventually they become inhabitable and are ordered to shut down.

By not allowing the ordaining of new priests and monks so that religion is eventually shut Down.

By forbidding the descendents of forcefully turkified Armenians to speak up by telling their stories, refer to "My Grandmother" by Fethiye Cetin.

By prosecuting those who speak or write about the Armenian Genocide under Article 301 of the penal code, by bringing charges for "insulting Turkishness".

By hiring academics in western democracies to rewrite distorted history about the Armenian Genocide.

By hiring lobbyists and spending millions of dollars every month to block the passage of resolution 106 that recognizes the Armenian Genocide in US Congress and Senate and to derail any military or economic deal between the US and Armenia.

6) The deniers of the Armenian Genocide:
After 93 years, Turkey the perpetrator, still denies the crime, but the majority of Western democracies have acknowledged the Arrmenian Genocide. The important countries who still deny, and have joined Turkey, are the U.S., Israel and the U.K ( the axis of evil) are the principal reason for Turkey's denial; those 3 countries who never miss the occasion to portray themselves as "civilized" and advanced "democracies" are tarnishing their images in the world and are sending the wrong message to the world by encouraging the countries with appetite for genocide like Turkey to continue unchecked to commit Genocides against the Armenians (as outlined above), the Kurds in Turkey (worse than the Genocide committed by Saddam Hussein against the Iraqi Kurds) and against the Cypriots, where Turkey is still illegally occupying almost half of the Island since1974, having abducted more than 10,000 Cypriots during the invasion, who are still reported as missing. With so much crimes on the watch of the U.S. the "Super Power" we are led to believe that the U.S. is either accepting to be an immoral country or is a "Super Puppet" yielding to foreign countries' lobbies.

C- Amanpour's documentary was disappointing:
Since Amanpour did not mention any of the above indispensible facts, as a minimum prerequisite to comprehend the Armenian Genocide, and which demonstrate the classic nature of this genocide encompassing all facets of the crime more than any other Genocide, thus making it a text-book case, to which everyone should refer for research on the subject of Genocide and human rights, we can conclude that:

1) Either she is incapable of reporting the subjects with an in-depth analysis.
2) Or she is ignorant and not well read.
3) Or she has fallen victim to the pressures of the lobbying forces, as mentioned above, and she compromised with the lobbyist, by mentioning only superficially the Armenian Genocide, to just avoid jeopardizing her job within CNN as the Senior International Correspondent.

D- Epilog:
Which of the above 3 categories she may fall in, Amanpour owes a detailed explanation, to the well informed as well as to the ignorant viewers, for her superficial documentary.

Sincerely, Rahm

Love Story Armenian-Turkish December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
In extending the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, filmmakers and Eray Mert * Guevork Nazarian currently running love story between a Turkish boy and a girl fell in love Armenian having encountered virtually on the Internet.

Entitled "Arax", the documentary sponsored by the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC), Armenian Marketing Association (AMA) and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, will backdrop snow melt on one side and the other river Araxes, symbolizing, according to the authors, the transition to the beautiful day ...

For Aram Navassardian (WADA), who chaired the preliminary meetings of 9 and 10 October, it also mentioned the aspect of environmental problems related to pollution of the Araxes.

The first round of crank Arax, which began in December 2008, depicts Armenian and Turkish villagers in the region. As "Arax diplomacy", the project is regarded in Turkey as one of the first measures "to break prejudices and prepare the two companies towards a historic reconciliation through the opening of borders.

Yello Bride

The famous love song "Yello Bride", claimed by Azeris, Turks and Armenians, will be the soundtrack of the film. It was played during the dinner hosted by President Sarkissian his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gül on 6 September 2008 at the football match Turkey-Armenia in Yerevan.

It is likely that the film is presented in the selection of documentary films at the Cannes festival next. The authors also hope to be nominated for an Oscar in the category of documentary films.

Jean Eckian

* Author of several documentaries, Eray Mert, a student of the University Communications Department and the Cinema and Television in Ankara, already participated in more than 75 festivals in Turkey since 2006.
Turkish, Armenian Directors To Shoot Documentary Film
Two directors from Turkey and Armenia are set to shoot a documentary in a bid to contribute to the rapprochement efforts between the countries after Turkish president's historic visit to Yerevan, the Armenian capital.

Turkish director Eray Mert and his Armenian colleague Gevorg Nazarian have been working on the project since October and they are scheduled to start in December shooting the joint documentary film in Yerevan which tells the story of a Turkish boy and an Armenian girl who fall in love after meeting on the Internet.

The project for the documentary, titled Aras after the river that runs along the Turkish-Armenian border, is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.

The documentary will also feature stories told by older generations in Turkey and Armenia.

ANCA: Armenian Americans Criticize Hypocrisy Of Genocide Prevention Task Force Co-Chairs

Secretaries Albright and Cohen's Opposition to Armenian Genocide Affirmation Undermines Credibility of Key Report

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today questioned the credibility of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen to issue a genocide prevention report, given their longstanding opposition to Armenian Genocide legislation. The report, unveiled earlier today at the National Press Club by the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by Albright and Cohen, is designed to encourage U.S. leadership in ending the cycle of genocide.

"Albright and Cohen offered some worthwhile solutions today but, sadly, as two of the main architects of U.S. denial of the Armenian Genocide, remain very much part of the problem the Task Force set out to address," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Secretaries Albright and Cohen both have long track records, both as government officials and private citizens, of working to block American recognition of the Armenian Genocide."

Last year, both Secretaries Cohen and Albright sent letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposing Congressional legislation (H.Res.106 / S.Res.106) aimed to end U.S. complicity in Armenian Genocide denial through proper U.S. reaffirmation of that crime against humanity. Secretary Cohen's firm, the Cohen Group, is a strategic partner with DLA / Piper, a registered foreign agent representing the Government of Turkey, paid $1.8 million a year to, among other things, lobby against Armenian Genocide legislation. The Cohen Group is also a member of the American Turkish Council, which has been outspoken in its opposition to Armenian Genocide legislation.

Secretary Cohen and Albright’s letters may be found on the ANCA website at: http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/albright_cohen_106.pdf

"The messengers undermine the message here. Their words are on the mark, but Albright and Cohen's political opposition to ending U.S. complicity in Genocide denial speaks far louder," added Hamparian.

A pointed question by Hamparian asking Secretaries Cohen and Albright to comment on what they learned about the dangers of genocide denial and whether this will cause them to stop seeking to block U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide was largely evaded by the co-chairs. Hamparian’s question and the Secretaries’ answers can be viewed above.

H.Res.106, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) with lead supporters George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), currently has over 200 cosponsors.

On October 10, 2007, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted the resolution, which calls on U.S. foreign policy to properly reflect the genocide of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children from 1915-1923 in Ottoman Turkey. A similar measure in the Senate, led by Deputy Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and John Ensign (R-NV), has 33 cosponsors.

Armenians In Turkey 100 Years Ago Book Presentation In Yerevan
Yerevan, Armenia - Renowned Turkish journalist and historian Osman Koker presented his book Armenians in Turkey 100 Years Ago at the Small Auditorium of the American University of Armenia at 18:30 on Thursday, December 11, 2008. The presentation was made possible by the American University of Armenia's Extension Programs, Anadolu Kultur and the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF).

The book, named Armenians in Turkey 100 Years Ago: postcards from the collection of Orlando Carlo Calumeno was issued in Turkey in 2005. The book contains century-old Ottoman post-cards depicting different aspects of the peaceful and, in many cases, prosperous life of the Armenian community in the former Ottoman Empire. Through 500 postcards from the period, the album endeavors to show, city by city and with supporting figures, how omnipresent Armenian communities were across the Ottoman territory and their role in society. In parallel with the book, an exhibition of the postcards called "Sireli Ye?payris" (My Dear Brother) was held in Istanbul and a number of other European cities.

"In Turkey, the history of one people - the Turks - has always been taught, as if there had never been any other people on the territory. When we speak of Armenians, they are not described as an integral group in society but as a source of problems. It's to fill this void that I have decided to publish a book." - says Mr. Koker in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

Osman Koker is founder and editor-in-chief of Birzamanlar Publications, publishing books about Turkey's multicultural heritage, and its vanishing. He was born in Mara?, and has worked for many years as a correspondent, editor, and publisher. His work has focused on the publication of historical subjects; between the years of 1997-2001, he was the editor of "Toplumsal Tarih" (Social History), published by Tarih Vakfi (Foundation of History). Throughout Turkey and in various other countries, he has made presentations on the history of the Armenian people in Turkey.

American Senator: Passage Of Armenian Resolution Will Harm U.S. Interests
Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said the passage of the resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide in the US Senate would damage the country’s foreign policy.

APA reports that answering the letter sent through US Azeris Network, the senator noted that the passage of S.RES.106 would damage United States-Turkish relations and possibly harm U.S. interests in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“Such a resolution will not advance the Turkish-Armenian dialogue and it will not improve the process of Turkey’s examination of its own past. The United States-Turkish relationship is both deep and broad. Turkey is a strategic partner with the United States in a number of significant areas, including the War on Terror and the United States ’ involvement in Iraq. Our friendship with Turkey goes back a very long way and we must continue to work together on issues of importance.

In response to the appeals of the US Armenian community for recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide to the White House, Azerbaijani and Turkish communities of the US have also begun counterpropaganda among the White House officials, Congressmen and public. Letters about the real essence of the 1915 happenings are sent to the US officials through US Azeris Network.


"System Of A Down" To Represent Armenia with a Genocide Song at Eurovision, AZG Armenian Daily, 10/12/2008

The soloist of the well-known rock band "System of a down" Serj Tangian announced that the rock band intends to represent Armenia at Eurovision song contest 2009 on condition that the lyrics of his song mention the Armenian Genocide. He said that the Eurovision is a good opportunity to inform the world about the Armenian Genocide, the French-Armenian independent journalist Jean Eckian reported.

Besides fighting against the denial of the Armenian Genocide, the band's repertoire embraces also some other urgent themes - drug abuse, wars, religion, etc.

According to Eckian, similar songs generally have a success at the Eurovision song contest; for example, the song of the Greek singer "Panaki mu" in 1976 about the Cyprus war, the song of Bosnia Hertsogovina in 1993 about the war in that region, or Great Britain's song "Just a little bit" that was a hidden message about the genocide.

Mixed Feelings For "Genocide" Petition, by Vercihan Ziflioğlu
ISTANBUL - Over 300 Armenian professionals, including representatives from the media, nongovernmental organizations, academia and the artistic community, have sent a message to President Abdullah Gül calling on him to recognize the events of 1915 as an act of genocide.

The message said the painful events of 1915 were keeping the people of the two countries apart and that acceptance of the events as genocide was not just a request of the Armenian people but of the whole global community. The message also said relations between Armenia and Turkey would only be normalized by such a recognition.

Turkish intellectuals
A group of Turkish intellectuals have also recently started a similar campaign. "We reject ignoring the disaster the Ottoman Armenians faced in 1915 and share in the emotion and pain of our Armenian brothers," the petition states. Already a target of debate and attack, the petition will collect signatures online from New Year's Day.

"More important than Gül’s response is that this letter shows the Armenian people’s attitude towards the issue. This has become an entire social movement," the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaksutyun Bureau’s International Secretariat Director Giro Manoian, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. He said relations between Turks and Armenians would only normalize with the acceptance of the events as genocide.

Brave but insufficient
Stating the Turkish intellectual’s campaign was "brave but insufficient," he said: "I say insufficient because any imposition of genocide acceptance must be made directly by the state."

The oriental studies director from the Republic of Armenia National Academy of Sciences Institute, Professor Ruben Safrastian, said Gül’s response was important. "I hope that President Gül, known for his intellectual leanings, will offer a different answer from those of Turkey’s official statements."

Regarding the Turkish campaign, Safrastian said: "The Turkish people want to know about their past and the genocide matter is a leading issue. Turkish intellectuals, on their way to the European Union, are able to approach these problems objectively."

© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

8-Year-Old Stands Up To Genocide Kathryn Nelson, Minnesota Daily Dec 10 2008
Last Sunday hundreds of students gathered at Northrop Auditorium, donning black caps and gowns, to celebrate their monumental achievement: graduation.

After walking the stage and collecting our diplomas, it became clear that we were not simply joining the rest of the tax-paying population, but also that we are now responsible to control our own future --and that of our world.

I thought it would be appropriate for my last column of the semester to let someone else speak -- someone who has consistently been the voice of those who lost theirs.

Ellen Kennedy has worked tirelessly as the interim director for the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies to motivate young citizens to become involved in human rights advocacy.

The following are her personal stories of how young people, just like us, have made amazing strides against international injustices. Take these stories and be inspired. Make a call. Change the world for the better.

Eight-year-old Freya Slocumb first heard about the genocide in Darfur while listening to University alumnus Luke Walker give a homily during Mass at their Minneapolis church.

Sitting in a pew with her mother, she listened to Walker speak about what was happening in the Darfur region of Sudan , the first genocide of the 21st century where approximately 400,000 innocent people had been murdered.

Turning to her mother, Freya said: "Mom, this isn't right. We have to do something." And she did. Freya decided to make jewelry called "sacrifice beads" to sell as a fundraiser, and so far this little 8-year-old girl has raised almost $600 to be donated to the Genocide Intervention Network.

In her Dec. 3 blog entry, Freya wrote, "My mom told me that Obama picked someone for the U.N. who is very against genocide. Her name is Susan Rice . She wants the situation in Darfur to end, just like I do, and she'll be someone Obama will listen to. ... I am so excited that maybe the end of this will be soon."

Emma Weisberg, 16, is a junior at Edina High School . She organized a citywide showing last year of "The Devil Came on Horseback ," a documentary about the Darfur genocide, that more than 350 people attended.

This year, Emma and her friends arranged for Dr. Ashis Brahma -- the only doctor caring for 27,000 Darfuris in a refugee camp in Chad --to speak in Edina in February.

Anna Donnelly , 22, graduated from the University last Sunday, writing her honors thesis about human rights atrocities.

She often speaks to high school classes, church groups, and civic organizations about genocide, as well as organizes fundraisers and lobbies her elected officials to prevent genocide.

Two weeks ago she worked with the City Council of Hopkins, Minn., to divest the city's portfolio from companies that are complicit with Sudan's genocidal government. And this spring she'll be a University Human Rights fellow, developing educational resources about Darfur for Minnesota teachers.

Mark Hanis, 26, is the founder and executive director of the Genocide Intervention Network in Washington, D.C.

Supervising a staff of 20 people and overseeing STAND, a student anti-genocide coalition , Hanis has empowered thousands of people to take action against the genocide in Darfur.

An 8-year-old, a 16-year-old, a 22-year-old and a 26-year-old; ordinary people yet extraordinary. They're all standing up to make a difference. Young people have gotten engaged around the issue of genocide prevention in unprecedented ways.

The question is: Why do young people care? Many people have never even heard of Sudan or Darfur, or thought about the nightmare of genocide. But there are important reasons why every single one of us should -- indeed, must -- care.

The Torah, the Bible and the Quran all exhort us not to stand by when the blood of our neighbor is spilled. Freya wrote on her blog, "I am one person. I may never have the chance to do great things. I can only offer to God the things I can do."

Impunity allows evil to flourish. Adolf Hitler said to his generals, before sending death squads into Poland, "Go, kill without mercy... Who remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?"

The United States has signed and ratified the Genocide Convention. It was passed in the United Nations 60 years ago, and it's been the law of our land for 20 years. We have a legal responsibility to prevent and stop genocide.

Genocide breeds insecurity in the region, the continent and the world. Genocide is a threat to our national security, according to The Genocide Prevention Task Force.

When we see an accident, we call 911. When we know about genocide we should call the anti-genocide hotline, 1-800-GENOCIDE, which automatically connects all Americans to their representatives, senators and the White House.

Freya, 8, is doing all she can. Let's help Freya -- and help all the innocent people in Darfur who are targeted in the first genocide of the 21 century.

Ellen J. Kennedy , Interim Director Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Kathryn Nelson welcomes comments at kgnelson at mndaily.com

Identified Non-Flying Spy Planes From Israel To Turkey
The Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, or as they are publicly known, ’spy’ planes, have eventually arrived at the Turkish barracks after delays longer than a year. But there is a minor problem: They are not the aircraft the Israelis had promised to deliver.

During the two-way competition for the UAV contract, Turkish defense procurement authorities had insisted that (a) a Turkish defense company, Aselsan, should produce the critical pod for the UAVs, (b) the aircraft should be able to fly at an altitude of 30,000 feet, (c) they should be able to fly for 24 hours without having to land, and (d) the foreign contractor should provide warranties for the successful integration of the Turkish-made pod.

One of the competitors, U.S. General Atomics, withdrew, warning that it was practically impossible for any sensible bidder to agree to and meet the contract specifications. The other contender, a team of Israeli Aircraft Industries and Elbit, another Israeli company, won the contract after it gave full assurances to comply with all contract specifications.

Unfortunately, the Turkish engineering failed, and Aselsan’s pod was too big and heavy to fly on the Israeli aircraft, the Heron. Aselsan’s pod did not fit well into the Heron, so the Heron had to be modified, especially its engine. Eventually, two Herons which are not Herons arrived in Turkey, were stationed in a military base in Batman, but neither the air force, their end-user, nor the procurement quality control team has cleared their performance: They do not fly at the desired altitude, nor can they fly long enough.

What happens when the supplier fails to supply a product at the quality specified in the contract? The buyer rejects it. According to the General Staff, "acceptance tests are continuing." What does that mean? If the acceptance tests are continuing why have the aircraft been "received" before these tests have been completed with a seal of approval? Why have the aircraft been "received" by the other Turkish sub-contractor, TAI, oddly, instead of by the procurement office, or the air force?

We can always ignore the delays. Murad Bayar, Turkey’s chief defense procurement official, said in January that the Herons would arrive in the weeks ahead. He was right. The Herons arrived about 40 weeks after Mr Bayar said "weeks." True, there is going to be $8 million penalty for the delays. That could have been relieving, if an unknown part of the penalty would not have to be accrued to the Turkish sub-contractors, Aselsan and TAI.

Complicated? Yes, most defense contracts are complicated in this country of complications. But what will happen now? In a country where things are much less "complicated" and transparent, the Herons would have been returned to sender, the manufacturer would have been given a deterrent penalty and banned from future contracts. In Turkey, the chances that all or some of these will happen are just too slim.

"Strange" things about defense contracts can always happen. And both IAI and Elbit have extremely "talented" local agents in Turkey. So I have every confidence that the Herons will suddenly upgrade themselves while being kept in a hangar. They might soon start to fly at an altitude of 45,000 feet and for 72 hours non-stop. And they will probably pass the acceptance tests.

The only trouble is, the "Heron affair" has become too public, and any civilian or military official who might give the final go-ahead without the Herons miraculously upgrading themselves may end up facing trial and has to explain what patriotic motives had urged them to tolerate a clear breach of contract specifications. But readers are advised to ignore this paragraph as it was written on a moment of illusion that we all were living in another country.

No one will face trial for "accepting" the three other Israeli-made UAVs, the Aerostars, leased to the Turkish military for $17 million because the Herons were delayed. The Aerostars, like the Herons, were intended to be used against Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, targets. They arrived on time, but with a small problem: Their engines were too noisy that the PKK teams were able to hear them from a distance of 20 kilometers and run, or rather stroll, away into their hideouts possibly while puffing their cigarettes and whistling songs.

A perfectly suitable ending to the "Heron affair" could be scrapping the present contract and awarding a new contract to the same Israeli team which, this time, should promise to deliver new UAVs which can also be used as fighter jets, submarines and tanks. But of course, the price tag will be much higher this time and it will take longer to manufacture.

Burak Bekdil © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Peroomian's New Book Looks At Armenians Who Continued Living In Turkey After Genocide
And Those Who Continued Living in Turkey after 1915, Rubina Peroomian, Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, 2008, 277pp. ,Reviewed By Arpine Konyalian Grenier

This work, the second of Peroomian's trilogy, is a timely treatise, well researched, revelatory and quite touching for any reader, Armenian, Turkic or other. It provides information and lays the groundwork for what, hopefully, is yet to come (perhaps already on the way) 's an open ended evolution of the ethnic, cultural and socio-political identities of Armenians and Turks alike. An evolution that melts away the insistence, the maximizing and the minimizing on both sides, re-forming mindsets through a humanizing that focuses on the impermanence and insignificance of all things human, except the need to connect, just because. The first of the trilogy is a follow up to Peroomian's Literary Reponses to Catastrophe: A Comparison of the Armenian and the Jewish Experience. According to the author, the last shall be on the historical memory of the Armenian Genocide in Soviet Armenian literature. Bibliography, index and a brief summary in Armenian follows the English text of this well articulated volume.

This volume is not about what happened but what happened after what happened - the interplay of historical memory and the political & psychological forces forging identity, the “lifelong compunction” for the compromise, the regret, the guilt, the “dialogue of the self with the collective past in the context of the present”. One's exposure to post Genocide Turkic Armenian writers is a treat, especially to those who do not know much about the literary scene in Turkey after 1915. The parallels between documented fact and the written word, as well as their juxtapositions create art to life as in life to art relationships between the Diasporic and the Turkic. The information gap between Turks and Armenians continues to narrow. The author's words: metamorphosis, continued living, identity are integral to this process.

It is apparent that both Armenians and Turks have metamorphosed monolithically because of the Genocide, both suffering from unhealthy intergenerational connections, fear, shame, repression, survival angst. They share a trauma, differently. This trauma, further heightened by erasing, repressing or insisting on a collective memory of choice, has molded identity in such manner as to redeem and safeguard the self and create homogeneity. To create homogeneity is to avoid risk, while risk is in the very essence of life. No memorable art or literature can follow. Culture is in the demise. The soul is weeping.

Shattered souls, distorted outlook. The answer is neither silence nor clinging to an “over-determined sense of Armenianness” or Turkicness for that matter. Ah, the shades of grey we must embrace in identity and life. Peroomian's work makes us think twice, thrice, no 's more times. Clarities and awareness come from such good read. One contemplates to realign. Yes, “The brigade of the sturdy” (p.136) is heart-sinking. And yes, the dehumanization described in this work reminds one of similar practices depicted in Naomi Klein's recent publication, The Shock Doctrine. One may think that not much has changed since the Yeghern of almost a hundred years ago. Yet, the author successfully “loosens the knot” between the personal and the collective experiences of all post Genocide Armenians: Christian, Islamized, hidden, other, as well as all Turks. Towards the end (p.172), Peroomian asks two questions, we answer. Yes, we can go forward with a new mindset; and no, it is not possible to let go of the memory of what happened. Here's metamorphosis indeed, and continued living with renewed identity, facilitating dialogue.

Exclusion is a disease that hinders renewal, and Armenians do not want to be called “gavur” or “rejects of the sword” anymore than the Turks want to be proclaimed “murderers”. We need to evolve to survive, and identity evolves through culture 's the poetry of life 's and the mutuality created thereof. A mutuality fostered through art, literature and music. Yes, Peroomian, “A new reality is in the making.”

Editor's Note: Rubina Peroomian, PhD is a Research Associate at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA.

Arpine Konyalian Grenier's poetry and translations have appeared in numerous publications including Columbia Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Parabola and Sulfur. Her work has been described as a mosaic of narrative that takes us out of our provincial concentration on American life to encompass broader social and geopolitical issues with a decidedly urban and postmodern sensibility. She lives in Tucson, AZ.

Turkey Frets Looming US Recognition of Genocide BY ALLEN YEKIKAN

Prospects are high for a US recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the incoming administration of president elect Barack Obama, a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation said Tuesday, reiterating his party's calls for Yerevan not to buckle under Turkish pressure by accepting a package deal that would see, among other things, the establishment of a joint study on the genocide in exchange for normal ties.

For years, Turkey has anxiously pushed for an intergovernmental commission to examine the events of 1915, hoping Yerevan would eventually be forced to green light the initiative to ease the economic strains caused by the Turkish blockade.

The two countries have seen a thaw in relations since President Serzh Sarkisian met with his Turkish counterpart in Armenia to watch a soccer game against their national teams.

The meeting, which kicked off a series of negotiations between the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers, raised prospects that Ankara was ready to normalize relations with Yerevan.

But the dialogue between the two countries that began with Gul's visit to Yerevan has apparently stalled, the ARF's Political Director, Kiro Manoyan, told reporters at the Patarak press club, citing as the reason Turkey's unwillingness to budge on a series of demands requiring Armenia to drop genocide recognition, accept Turkey's territorial integrity, and relinquish Karabakh.

He said Turkish officials are being told by Washington insiders to quickly conclude an agreement with Armenia to “prevent recognition [of the Genocide] by the United States.”

Ankara has warned the United States against recognizing the Armenian Genocide, saying it would hurt the current process for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations.

Manoyan noted, however, that a US recognition of the genocide would have the opposite effect, leaving Turkey with little option but to follow suit or risk damaging its projected image as a positive actor in the region.

Recognition by the United States would, in fact, be very helpful to Turkey and the international community at large, according to Andrew Kzirian of the US based Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“This action would demonstrate that even among friends, historical reality is honored and in fact could help diplomatic relations to be based on honest and open communications," said Kzirian, the Executive Director of the ANCA's Western Region.

But Turkey's increasing pressure to “force the issue of progressing diplomatic communication is obviously motivated by an insincere purpose,” Kzirian noted, pointing to Ankara's efforts to derail the US from going on record about the genocide.

Over the past few months, the Turkish government has launched an intense media blitz to distort the present reality, misquoting officials, and wrongly reporting developments.

“These deceitful practices are all driven by the intense desire to fabricate a full-blown diplomatic rapprochement when Turkey still refuses to open the border and demands other concessions from Yerevan,” Kzirian sad. “All this is intended to stifle genocide recognition by the US government in the coming months.”

The ARF has long urged Yerevan to be cautious in its diplomatic relations with Turkey. Earlier this month its Bureau issued a statement reiterating that point, warning that the Turkish government is manipulating Yerevan's olive branch to scuttle “the genocide recognition process,” and make “relations between the two states conditional on Armenia's relations with a third country, Azerbaijan.”

The statement, issued on December 1 after a three day plenary session of the party's governing body, stressed the strategic importance of genocide recognition for Armenia's foreign policy.

Manoyan stressed that point, saying the impact of international recognition of the crime would be bolstered by a US affirmation.

“The primary objective for the recognition process is to nudge Turkey into recognizing the Genocide,” he explained, adding that those efforts are approaching a tipping point as a result of increasing discussion on the genocide in Turkish society.

“Though Turkey is far from recognizing the fact of the Genocide, Turkish society is finally beginning to recognize its history,” he said, commenting on a recent petition issued by Turkish academics apologizing for the crime.

The apology for the “great catastrophe” came in an open letter that invites Turks to sign an online petition supporting its sentiments

"My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915,” the letter said. “I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers. I apologize to them."

Echoing those sentiments, nearly 300 Armenian intellectuals and other public figures early this week appealed to Turkey's president to end his government's denial of the genocide, saying that Turkey's recognition of the crime is a necessary condition for reconciliation between the two countries.

“I think this letter is significant in the sense that it originated from Armenia and clearly reflects our public's view that it is impossible to evade the issue of genocide recognition,” Manoyan told reporters. "International recognition of the Armenian Genocide remains a priority for the Republic's foreign policy.”

The Armenian government should recognize the potential of these developments, Manoyan said, urging Yerevan to adopt a concrete policy on the genocide that rejects any proposals for a joint study of its facts.


Turkey To Recognize Genocide Within The Decade, Says Agos Editor
YEREVAN (Combined Sources)--Turkey will recognize the Armenian Genocide within the decade, according to an editor at Turkey's only bilingual Armenian-Turkish daily newspaper, Agos.

“The world is changing,” Agos Armenian Editor Bagrat Estukyan told reporters in Yerevan Wednesday, noting Turkey's aspirations to join the European Union.

He said Turkish recognition of the Genocide will come because “economic trends in both Turkey and Armenia demand reconciliation.” Turkey needs a “free economic market and it will try to come to a common ground with neighboring Armenia.”

But Turkey will not acknowledge the genocide without guarantees that Armenia has renounced territorial claims, he noted.

“It's not an easy task for Turkey to confess to perpetrating the Genocide but it's inevitable, since the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact,” he added. “All know what befell Armenians in the Ottoman Empire but Ankara is still engaged in self-delusion.”

Prominent academics and writers in Turkey this month issued a public apology for “the great catastrophe” suffered by Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during the first world war.

Breaking one of Turkish society's biggest taboos, the apology comes in an open letter that invites Turks to sign an online petition supporting its sentiments.

“These people present their personal viewpoint of the problem and do not impose it on anyone,” Estukyan said, commenting on the petition,

But the contents of the letter exposed its authors-- three scholars, Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran and Cengiz Aktar, and a journalist, Ali Bayramoglu -- to the wrath of the Turkish state, which has prosecuted writers, including the Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, for discussing the Armenian Genocide.

The letter has triggered a furious response from ultranationalists, who have labeled it a "betrayal" and an "insult to the Turkish nation".

Meanwhile, the Agos editorial staff also feels the weight of those threats, Estukyan noted, adding that the threats began before its editor, Hrant Dink was assassinated.

“People understood that Dink was assassinated for being an Armenian,” he said, noting that Dink was the first person prosecuted under the article 301.

Unfortunately the legal procedure on Dink's assassination is being deliberately protracted, he said.

“All we have now is the accused and his several accomplices,” Bagrat Estukyan told a news conference in Yerevan Wednesday.

The judge continues to “postpone the hearings for a long period obviously to leave things as they are,” he said. “Dink's murder shocked Turkey.” December 10, 2008

An Open Letter To H. E, Mr. Baki Ilkin, Representative Of Turkey To The United Nations
Despite very interesting panels scheduled simultaneously on Sunday afternoon, November 23rd, at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference in Washington D.C., I chose to attend the special session titled “New Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy.” The session was to feature Ahmet Davutoglu, Ambassador and Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Turkey, Prof. David Cuthell of Georgetown University, and Prof. Ahmet Evin of Sabanci University, Istanbul.

There were some changes in the panel. David Cuthell did not show up, and you replaced Ambassador Davutoglu. In spite of this, the panel abstract was inviting. I wanted to hear about the “major shift ;. taken place in traditional Turkish foreign policy parameters” and the “new approaches to Turkish relations with the European Union, the United States, and the Middle East.” Not that I was unfamiliar with the changes of Foreign policy in Turkey--being a concerned Armenian, I duly follow that subject in the press. But my knowledge was limited to statements delineating the government's official stance on issues pertaining the Turkish foreign policy made in the media. I expected to hear something different in a panel of such caliber in an academic conference in which the audience is expected to be consisting of young and old scholars and graduate students pursuing different disciplines in Middle Eastern Studies. I was disappointed. The panel turned out to be another channel propagating the official Turkish stand vis-?-vis what I so eagerly came to hear: The Armenian issue. And I must say, that issue came up in your and Prof. Evin's presentation on various occasions, both as a historical problem, and in contemporary relations with my homeland, Armenia.

Mr. Ambassador, do you remember me? I commented on your presentation both from the audience and privately as I approached you to give you my book. I indicated that I have a problem with the way you presented the ongoing negotiations with the Armenian government as a one way street to benefit Armenia alone. You answered that there are 30,000 Armenians legally or illegally living and working in Turkey (a Turkish favor to Armenian opportunistic merchants and prostitutes?), and that diplomatic relations would take care of that issue. You also stated that in the present situation of Armenian relations with her neighbors and the dire state of the economy in Armenia, Turkey is her only outlet to the world. That was a strong justification. I am sure you convinced 90% of the scholars in audience, who had scant interest and knowledge about the Armenian issue. The other 10%, Armenians or scholars of Armenian studies, took your words as the reiteration of the Turkish approach to this negotiation to debase the other side and take the upper hand. As I stated in my comments, I don't believe in the Turkish government's sincerity in suggesting to organize a committee of historians to examine the “tragic events during World War I.” I could see how difficult it was for you to pronounce the word “genocide”--and actually you stuttered on it--when you said that Turkey is ready to accept it as a fact if that was the committee's conclusion. You even brought in a personal dimension, emotionally mentioning the loss of your uncle during these tragic events to prove that both sides had suffered. I objected to the statement that Turkey has historical experience in dealing with the neighbors and will use that experience to become a major actor in the region. That experience has been tainted with suppression and violations of peaceful coexistence with the neighbors, including its most recent unilateral invasion of Iraq. In response, you tried to give me a history lesson.

Mr. Ambassador, you were very articulate and fluent in your presentation, but you were not convincing. The Turkish motivation in negotiating with Armenia is to show the EU how civil and benevolent you are in extending a helping hand to an economically weak and land-locked neighbor. The Turkish motivation in proposing a committee of historians to examine the documents of the tragic events of WWI and to come up with a conclusion is not to unearth the truth but to buy time and stall the Armenian struggle for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Incidentally, Mr. Ambassador, what year did your uncle lose his life--I assume at the hands of Armenians? Wasn't it an action of revenge and retaliation after the Turks deported and massacred one-and-a-half million Armenians? I am familiar with that argument. Anachronism is a pillar in Turkish denial literature.

Your and Prof. Evin's speech/presentation and my being photographed while I spoke reminded me of the MESA panels years ago, when the Turkish panels served only to deny the Armenian Genocide, and the Armenian panels were recorded by “special envoys” and the panelists were photographed. That has changed in recent years. Turkish panels are sophisticated and treat a wide scope of literary, social, and political issues in Turkish history. There are even Turkish-Armenian joint panels in the spirit of free and scholarly discussions. Does this mean that even if there is change in the academic circles, the political leadership has not changed course at all? Does this mean that there is no “new dynamics to Turkish foreign policy” as it concerns the Armenian issues?

Mr. Ambassador, I gave you my most recent book, And those who Continued Living in Turkey after 1915: The Metamorphosis of the Post-Genocide Armenian Identity as Reflected in Artistic Literature. Please don't throw it in the waste basket. Read it. You may see the suffering of my people and the discrimination and persecution they still endure. You may witness the persistence of the memory of the widespread ravage, murder, and rape, the wound that refuses to heal.

Rubina Peroomian, Ph.D.,
Research Associate,
UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures December 5, 2008

Open Letter to Abdullah Gul
YEREVAN--Nearly 300 Armenian intellectuals and other public figures have appealed to Turkey to end almost a century of denial by recognizing the Armenian, saying that is a necessary condition for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation.

Below is the text of the open letter to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, made public on Tuesday.
To His Excellency the President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Abdullah G?l

Dear Mr. President,

The state of affairs that has emerged as a result of recent events in the South Caucasus, the resolute action taken by the Armenian president Mr. S. Sarkisian in inviting you to Armenia and the meeting that ensued, have all come to attest once more that the neighborhood of Armenia and Turkey calls for brave and realistic solutions. Once again, we stumble across the thorny issue of the Armenian Genocide.

Let us honestly acknowledge the fact that this issue has alienated two nations since 1915. It has troubled the collective consciousness of both Armenians and Turks and dictated our actions notwithstanding the various imperatives of day-to-day diplomacy.

Dear Mr. President, here we deal with an appalling crime perpetrated against humanity which has no expiration date. This is not only a position held by all Armenians, but also an expectation shared by the World community. The Armenian Genocide is a crime against humanity and against the values of modern civilization, and no individual, organization or even government can put a question mark on these events.

We should all accept the fact that Ottoman Turkey is responsible for the crime of genocide against the Armenians, while today's Turkish state has inherited this responsibility. The current Turkish diplomacy and propaganda cannot cover up this gruesome page of our history.

The historical memory of both our nations is profound and troubled; therefore, there are no easy solutions. Your generation of Turkish leadership should admit the undeniable truth and recognize the fact of the Armenian Genocide.

We believe that this is something primarily needed by the Turkish nation itself. In this manner, it can relieve itself of the onus placed on it by history and proudly stand open-faced, side by side, with other nations. This is the only way to turn over this page and march boldly towards the future. Only then will both our nations be able to pursue a frank dialogue and achieve the true reconciliation so much desired.

Your visit to Armenia and Turkey's contribution to the overall stability in the Caucasus inspire some hope that a realistic political movement is progressively emerging in Turkey. These efforts, however, may fail, if the state does not take decisive steps towards putting an end, once and for all, to its present policy of denial in respect to the Armenian Genocide.

With best regards and expectations
November 2008

December 9, 2008, Professor Richard Hovannisian Across Three Continents
UCLA--During the Fall Quarter at UCLA, Professor Richard Hovannisian has participated in professional and community events across three continents, with presentations in Paris; Drama and Thessaloniki; Madras and Calcutta; Toronto; and Racine, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

France and Greece

Dr. Hovannisian, Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Armenian History at UCLA, began the term on September 5 with a talk on historic Armenia to the Organization of Istanbul Armenians in St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys, before departing for the Sorbonne University in Paris as a participant in the 11th General Conference of the International Association of Armenian Studies, September 9-12. The conference drew nearly 200 specialists in Armenian studies from throughout Europe and North America, as well as from Armenia, Russia, and the Middle East. There Hovannisian assessed the advances in Armenian studies during the past three decades and the areas that still awaited further serious investigation, including the decision-making processes relating to the Armenian Genocide and the repatriation campaign to Soviet Armenia after World War II, as well as a collective, comprehensive history of the Armenian Diaspora.

While in Paris, Hovannisian spoke to the Armenian community on September 13 under the auspices of the Hamazkayin and the Nor Serount associations on his impressions of a journey through the historic Western Armenian provinces, now making up the eastern regions of Turkey. Hamazkayin president Mrs. Hera Tossounian welcomed the standing-room audience, and Hamazkayin central committee member Mrs. Sella Tenjoukian traveled to Paris to introduce the speaker. While in Paris, Hovannisian also gave two half-hour radio interviews on Armenian issues, past and present, as well as an interview for the Russian-Armenian journal, Aniv.

At the end of the month, Hovannisian returned to Europe to participate in the Second International Conference on Pontic Studies, held in Drama, Greece, September 27-29. During the three-day program organized by the Saint George Peristereota Research Center in Thessaloniki, in association with Aristotle University and the Pedagogic Faculty of Democritus University, scholars from Russia, Georgia, Cyprus, Greece, Western Europe, and the United States focused on the history and culture of the Black Sea-Pontus region until the compulsory population exchange in 1923 which virtually eliminated the Greek and other Christian elements. During the conference, Richard Hovannisian gave an overview of the Armenian presence in the Pontus from ancient to modern times; the make-up of the Armenian communities from Trebizond to Samson; their schools, churches, and cultural organizations; and their tribulations from the decade of the 1890s until their disappearance during the calamitous years from 1915 to 1923.

On September 30, Hovannisian accepted the invitation of the Soghomon Tehlirian Youth Association and the Pontic Greek Associations of Thessaloniki to give his power point presentation on historic Armenia, held in the seafront Efxeinos Lesxi Pontic auditorium. With Armenian, Greek, and English being spoken interchangeably, Mrs. Araxie Apelian of Athens was on hand to give simultaneous, professional translations.

The Midwest and the Armenian Bar Association

On October 11-18, Hovannisian traveled to the Midwest to speak on the changing landscape of historic Western Armenia. His talks were under the auspices of St. Hagop Church in Racine, Wisconsin, arranged by Dr. Levon Saryan, and of the Armenian General Benevolent Union in Chicago, under the presidency of Professor Leona Mirza, with arrangement by Ms. Mary Hoogasian, esquire. While in Chicago, Hovannisian enjoyed the hospitality of his cousins Mark and Judy Gavoor and of Professor Ann Lousin.

The Armenian Bar Association invited Professor Hovannisian to Las Vegas on October 17 for its mid-year meeting to make a presentation on genocide education, with particular emphasis on the Armenian Genocide. Teaming up with Mrs. Alice Petrossian,

Chief Academic Officer of the Pasadena Unified School District, Hovannisian outlined approaches to universalizing the Armenian experience and making it relevant to the lives of students and teachers today. He drew attention to the advances through the Facing History and Ourselves Foundation and other organizations devoted to human rights issues.

On October 18, Hovannisian was back in Los Angeles to speak to local playwrights in the annual Writers' Workshop of the Center Theatre Group. His theme was on portrayals of the Armenian Genocide. The topic was particularly relevant to one of the writers who is making the subject the theme of book based on her family history. An enjoyable and informative exchange took place between the speaker and the up-and-coming playwrights.


Professor Hovannisian was in Toronto on November 1-2 to speak during Holocaust Education Week under the auspices of the United Jewish Association's Holocaust Centre, in association with the Zoryan Institute under the leadership of Greg Sarkissian and George Shirinian. On November 1, Hovannisian was at the Sephardic Kehila Centre to consider the little-explored topic, “Righteous Turks and Armenian Righteous among the Nations: Rescuers in the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.” Based on the more than 700 UCLA oral history interviews with survivors of the Armenian Genocide, it has become apparent that most accounts include acts of intervention by Turks or other Muslims. While intervention was not always altruistic, it was critical in the survival of the victims. Hovannisian assessed the various kinds and motivations for intervention and deplored the fact that state denial of the Armenian Genocide has prevented contact between rescuers and rescued and greater knowledge of the helpfulness of countless “good Turks.”

Professor Hovannisian also noted that little is known about the numerous acts of intervention by Armenians to rescue Jews during the Holocaust one generation later. Armenians throughout the Ukraine and Southern Russia as well as in France hid and sheltered Jews during the German occupation of these areas in World War II. There are far more unrecorded stories than the few that have been brought to the attention of Yad Vashem and given the recognition of “Righteous among the Nations.” Hovannisian also spoke on this theme but with a broader focus in the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto to a very large and appreciative audience on November 2. The Toronto chapters of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Armenian National Committee of Greater joined that day as co-sponsors of the event.

Armenian Renewal in India

Richard Hovannisian was in India with his daughter Ani Hovannisian-Kevorkian from November 7 to 17 to participate in the re-consecration of several renovated and refurbished historic Armenian churches and to lecture in an academic seminar on this occasion. The pilgrimage began in Madras (Chennai), where on November 9, His Holiness Garegin II presided over the re-consecration of the historic early-eighteenth-century Church of Saint Mary (Surb Astvatsatsin) on Armenian Street, where he was assisted by Bishops Arshak Khachatryan and Anushavan Jamkochyan from Armenia and Armash Nalbandian from Damascus. There in the courtyard are the tombstones of the famous merchants and intellectuals of this community, which boasted publication of the world's first Armenian journal in the late eighteenth century as well as the earliest works on Armenian liberation ideology and constitutional government of a future liberated Armenia.

The next week was spent on pilgrimages to the newly-renovated churches and impressive manicured grounds of the Armenian churches in Bengal. These included Holy Trinity Church and community center in Tangra, an impoverished, crowded northern suburb of Calcutta (Kolkata); the eighteenth-century Church of Saint John the Baptist of Chinsurah, two hours journey from Calcutta; and Saint Mary/Astvatsatsin Church of Saidabad, a difficult six-hour ride from Calcutta. Although no Armenian communities remain in these areas, the generous endowment left by Sir Catchick Paul Chater (whose relative Liz Chater assisted with arrangements) and other past notables have allowed the wardens (trustees--most recently, Haik Sookias, Jr., Susan Reuben, Michael Dutt, Sunil Sobpr) of Calcutta's Holy Nazareth Church to renovate and maintain these sanctuaries. The celebrations were greatly enhanced by the participation of His Holiness Garegin and the choir of Holy Etchmiadzin which had flown from Armenia for the occasion.

During the academic seminar at the community center on November 11, Hovannisian examined the role of the historic mercantile role of the Armenian community of India and especially the relationship between the community and homeland, noting that Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment concepts made their way to the homeland via the Armenian diasporan communities extending from Venice to Madras (Emin, Baghramian, Shahamirian, Shmavonian). He also drew attention to the educational and philanthropic endeavors of the Calcutta community, which focused on a long-term presence in India through the establishment of schools and social, athletic, and charitable organizations, including the home for Armenian aged around St. Gregory's chapel in the city.

Other seminar speakers included Father Oshagan Gulgulian, who gave a power-point presentation on the renovation process of the Armenian churches which he oversaw, and Dr. Omar Khalidi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who discussed Armenian architectural styles. Other memorable programs took place at the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy (Mardasirakan Jemaran), founded in the 1820s and now having a studentbody of young men and women from Armenia and the Middle East. Many former students of the college and the Davidian Girls' School, now living in Australia, the U.S., Great Britain, Austria, Cyprus, Iran, and elsewhere, were on hand for the reunion. While in Calcutta, Hovannisian was interviewed by a correspondent of the India Times, Paul Chaderjian of the Armenian Reporter, and Mania Ghazaryan of Etchmiadzin's “Shoghokat” television studio.

The highlight of the week's activities was the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Holy Church of Nazareth on Armenian Street in Calcutta on November 16 and at the same time the ordination of Deacon Harutyun Hambardzumyan as Father Avetis to serve the small local community and the Armenian College. A festive banquet at the Taj Bengal Hotel concluded the week-long pilgrimage.

Slavic and Middle East Associations

Three days after returning to his classes at UCLA, Professor Hovannisian completed his fall schedule of lectures and conferences in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. He attended the 40th National Convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in Philadelphia, November 20-22, where he chaired a panel sponsored by the Society for Armenian Studies on “Soviet Armenia and the Armenian Question: Homeland-Diaspora Relations, Repatriation, and Irredentism,” with papers by Robert Krikorian of George Washington University, Sevan Yousefian of UCLA, and Dikran Kaligian of the Armenian Review. Hovannisian then traveled to Washington D.C., November 22-24, where as President of the Society of Armenian Studies, he chaired the annual business meeting of the Society and attended the several panels sponsored by the SAS or its members during the annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association.

Professor Hovannisian is currently working with the executive council of the Society for Armenian Studies on a major international conference to mark the Society's 35th anniversary. The conference will be held on the UCLA campus on March 28-20, 2009 under the auspices of several of the chairs and programs in Armenian Studies in the United States.

Convince Raphael Lemkin Otherwise! keghart.com, 10.12.2008
The Armenian Genocide has been officially recognized by Turkey, United States, Great Britain, Israel and many more countries, but we just couldn't see it.

By Vicken Babkenian, an independent researcher for the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Sydney, Australia, 3 December 2008

It all began when I was cutting an Orange for my niece when she asked me why the name Orange is both a color and a fruit. After doing some research, I discovered that the root of the word Orange in the English language is derived from the fruit. In other words the Etymology of the color and the fruit is interconnected. No one can argue that the fruit Orange is not Orange.

As someone who has studied the Armenian Genocide over a number of years, I could not help but familiarize myself with the etymology of the word Genocide. I discovered that the word genocide is from the roots genos (Greek for family, tribe, race, a people, a nation) and –cide (Latin – occidere or cideo – to Massacre, Kill, exterminate). I looked up the word in the Oxford dictionary and found the definition to be "the extermination of a race". I then recalled that this definition of the word 'genocide' had been used by contemporary eyewitnesses, diplomats, historians, journalists to describe what was happening to the Armenians during WWI. Lord James Bryce in 1915 called it "the Extermination of a Race" in a New York Times article. If the word 'genocide' had been coined before WWI, then that one word would have been used, instead of the five words which mean the same thing.

I then conducted some research on Raphael Lemkin, "The founder of the genocide convention" and on the genesis of the word 'genocide' which he coined in 1944. In his manuscript titled "Totally unofficial", Lemkin wrote:

"In 1915 . . . I began . . . to read more history to study whether national, religious, or racial groups as such were being destroyed. The truth came out after the war. In Turkey, more than 1,200,000 Armenians were put to death . . . After the end of the war, some 150 Turkish war criminals were arrested and interned by the British Government on the island of Malta . . . Then one day, I read in the newspapers that all Turkish war criminals were to be released. I was shocked. A nation that killed and the guilty persons were set free . . . I felt that a law against this type of racial or religious murder must be adopted by the world"

I soon reached the conclusion that the word genocide is etymologically interconnected with the tragedy of the Armenians, just like the word Orange is to the fruit of the same name. The man who coined the word genocide had in large part based it on the Armenian catastrophe. He even stated on national television "that it happened to the Armenians." I further realized that the legal term "Crimes against humanity" which is affirmed by the U.N general Assembly was in the main, derived and adopted from a declaration made by the Allies on 24 May 1915 with respect to the initiation of the wartime Armenian Genocide, which they branded as a ''crime against humanity.'' This fact is acknowledged by the authoritative UN War Crimes Commission, History of the United Nations War Crimes Commission and the Development of the Laws of War.

I searched online to learn which countries had actually signed and ratified the Genocide Convention. I discovered that most countries in the world had done so, including the United States, Great Britain, Turkey, Israel and so on. I concluded that by ratifying the convention they had in fact recognized that the Armenian holocaust was in fact a genocide.

Yes, I use the word 'holocaust' because that word was used to describe what was happening to the Armenians during the Abdul Hamid Massacres, Adana Massacres and the Armenian genocide by contemporary writers. William Walker Rockwell in an article titled "the Total of Armenian and Syrian Dead" in the New York Times Current History February 1916, wrote "If the ghosts of the Christian civilians who have perished miserably in Turkey since the commencement of the great holocaust should march down Fifth Avenue twenty abreast there might be a million of them … for most of them will be women and children".

The Armenian genocide has been recognized by the majority of the nations of the world and we didn't even know it. If those countries who have ratified the genocide convention deny that the Armenians were victims of genocide, then they should either terminate their participation to the convention, or have the convention change the word 'genocide' to something else which is not intrinsically connected to the Armenian slaughter.

Denying that Armenians were victims of genocide is akin to denying that an Orange is Orange. It is insane and illogical. For those who believe that what happened to the Armenians should not be termed a 'genocide', should have convinced Raphael Lemkin not to base the word on what had happened to the Armenians. Unfortunately for them, it is too late, by signing the genocide convention; most of the world has already recognized the Armenian genocide.

Print Run of Istanbul-Based “Agos” Newspaper Has Grown Three-Fold, 10 December 2008
Today at a press conference held at the “Hayeli Club”, Pakrat Estukian, the Armenian-language editor of the Istanbul-based Agos newspaper stated that weekly’s print run had increased threefold after the murder of Hrant Dink, the paper’s founder. “Agos has been published for eleven years now. Twenty of the paper’s twenty four pages are in Turkish, and the remaining four are in Armenian and usuallly contain articles with cultural and historical themes. Before the murder of Hrant Dink the paper’s press run was around 3,000 - 3,500. It’s gone up three times since then,” Mr. Estukian noted.

Immediately after the death of Hrant Dink the paper’s run shot up ten fold the editor stated and added that Agos is considered to be an opposition paper in Turkey. In the Armenian pages you’ll find articles contributed by Armenian intellectuals while in the Turkish section you’ll find the works of Armenian chroniclers in Turkish but the majority of articles are written by Turkish intellectuals who share the opinions of Agos.

AAA Urges Renewed Effort to Combat Genocide Denial
Armenian Assembly Of America Recalls Extraordinary Campaign Of Senator Proxmire For U.S. Ratification On The 60th Anniversary Of The Genocide Convention

Washington, DC - The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) recalls the extraordinary campaign of Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) in securing U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Convention) on the 60th anniversary of its adoption in the United Nations.

The Assembly was part of the coalition of organizations headed by the American Bar Association advocating for U.S. adoption of the U.N. Genocide Convention. From the time of its founding in 1972, the Assembly supported Senator Proxmire's unremitting campaign to persuade the Senate to approve implementing legislation enabling the U.S. adoption of the Convention. The Assembly had the honor then of giving testimony in committee and in writing, as part of the commitment of the Armenian-American community to doing its share in creating greater awareness of the danger of genocide.

Starting in 1967, Senator Proxmire launched a campaign urging the U.S. to ratify the Convention and is known for giving 3,211 speeches about genocide on the Senate floor. In 1988, the U.S. became the 98th nation to ratify the Convention. Signatory States "confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish."

Today the Assembly, as an ardent proponent of genocide prevention, affirmation and education, welcomes prevention efforts and continues its work with various organizations, such as the Save Darfur Coalition, to raise awareness and urge intervention.

While much has been achieved over the last 60 years, there is still much more to be done. CNN's "Scream Bloody Murder," which aired the first week of December, highlighted many of the issues faced today, from the horrors in Darfur to the continued denial of the Armenian Genocide. The failure to prevent genocide in Darfur and the constant denial of the Armenian Genocide underscores the need for even greater action.

The Assembly has therefore renewed its calls to combat genocide denial, especially as it pertains to Turkey's multi-million dollar campaign to silence the truth and the proud record of U.S. humanitarian intervention to save the survivors of the first genocide of the 20th Century.

Moreover, yesterday, the Genocide Prevention Task Force (GPTF) issued a report on genocide prevention; however it failed to address Turkey's ongoing genocidal denial. The Assembly remains deeply troubled by the lack of impartiality of GPTF Co-Chairs, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Secretary of Defense William Cohen, due to their ties to Turkey. Cohen's firm, the Cohen Group not only provides financial contributions to the American Turkish Council, but also serves on its Advisory Board. Meanwhile, just days ago Co-Chair Albright proclaimed: "I consider myself a Turkophile of major proportions."

"The time is long overdue for unequivocal affirmation of the Armenian Genocide," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "Only by squarely combating and defeating denial can we hope to prevent future genocides. President-elect Barack Obama has been a consistent advocate on the issue of combating genocide, including reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide."

"The goal of genocide prevention can only be realized through a complete understanding of past genocides and the lessons derived therein," added Ardouny. "We would not be discussing the Convention today if it was not for Raphael Lemkin, whose tireless efforts made the Convention a reality from which all of humanity has benefited."

Lemkin, who was of Polish-Jewish descent escaped the Holocaust and dedicated himself to the prevention and punishment of this crime against humanity. Lemkin specifically referenced the Armenian and Jewish experience as prototypes of genocide. This was reinforced in 1951 by the United States in its filling before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the United Nations Genocide Convention, which squarely acknowledged the Armenian Genocide as a crime.

The document reads in part:

The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.

The 1951 statement is consistent with the legislative history of the U.S. ratification of the Genocide Convention, President Reagan's 1981 Proclamation 4838 ("Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it - and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples - the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten."), the 2003 International Center for Transitional Justice endorsed by President Bush, which concluded that "the Events [of 1915], viewed collectively, can thus be said to include all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the Convention, and legal scholars as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other people would be justified in continuing to so describe them," the 1993 court decision in Krikorian v. Department of State (where the D.C. Federal Court of Appeals confirmed that U.S. policy recognizes the Armenian Genocide) and the 42 U.S. States that have affirmed the Armenian Genocide.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
Editor's Note:
Link to United Nations Genocide Convention
Link to ANI
Link to AAA - Obama press release
Link to 1951 statement
Link to Reagan's 1981 proclamation
Link to ICTJ/TARC, via ANI's website
Link to Krikorian v State Department
Link to U.S. reaffirmation - 42 states via ANI
Link to AAA Genocide and Rule of Law Testimony
Link to AAA Divestment Testimony

Link to AAA Action Alert - Scream Bloody Murder

Bureaucracy, Diaspora "Hawks" Obstruct Turkish-Armenian Rapprochement Zaman, Dec 5 2008
Time works against Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. There are obvious rules in conflict resolution, but it can only be successful if the will to act overlaps with time management. Slowing down often increases the chances for counter-dynamics to sabotage it.

The current situation in the flirt between Yerevan and Ankara is becoming rather worrisome in the sense that it may turn out to be an opportunity missed. It all began with the right moves. Turkish President Abdullah Gul Enhanced Coverage LinkingAbdullah Gul -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days accepted an invitation to visit Yerevan and watch a soccer match between the two countries' national teams, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to proceed with talks on the normalization of relations and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan looked very pleased that all that was happening.

But there is much more to it than sheer good will. How is work on the diplomatic level proceeding? Beyond hope, much more is needed. I met a foreign diplomat the other day. Knowing his "insider's insight," I asked him how it all looked. He was not enthusiastic. "On the Turkish side, I see no problem with either the Office of the President or with the government," he said. "It is the bureaucracy that worries me." He was hinting at "some officials" within the Turkish Foreign Ministry whom he regarded as possible "delay and let it rot" factors in the process.

But, it also seems that there are differences in how to approach the "pace" of negotiations on the political level. Gul has been intent on a firm, swift, target-based method which stems from the concern that the attitude of the administration of US President-elect Barack Obama Enhanced Coverage LinkingBarack Obama -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days towards recognition of the profoundly tragic events of 1915 as "genocide" is real - just as much as the president-elect's using the G-word is highly possible.

For Gul, the progress in ongoing, speedy talks between Ankara and Yerevan will not only benefit both countries and the region, but also serve as a "pre-emptive element" to persuade Obama, Enhanced Coverage LinkingObama, -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton that the key issues between Armenia and Turkey deserve at least a serious try to be resolved. Given his long-term engagement and sincerity on the issue, Gul can hardly be blamed for cynical aversion or demonic manipulation.

However, for Erdogan, this issue - as well as most others - is strictly tied to the critical local elections. He wants to see progress in slow motion and is not willing to be a target of political rivalry and populism in the hunt for votes. Babacan will have to pay more attention to what he says rather than to what the president does.

Meanwhile, as could easily have been predicted, hawks within the Armenian diaspora are in motion. Intense lobbying, both publicly and behind closed doors, was initiated to squeeze the Serzh Sarksyan administration to slow down talks, if not terminate them altogether.

Armenian hawks' entry into the arena is fuelled by the fear that the talks, if ended successfully, will help evaporate the historic demands, the three R's - recognition (of "genocide"), reparation, restitution. They base their game on the traditional Armenian mistrust of Ankara, a centre of evasion and shrewdness in their view. Their only strength in the developing equation is that there is more than one power centre in Ankara and they are not in sync with one another on how to resolve the issue.

Thus, the constantly pumped messages to Armenian President Sarksyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian: "Do not trust the Turks, or you will be severely deceived by them."

Hawks hope that talks will lead to a cul-de-sac, maintaining the status quo, and the Obama Enhanced Coverage LinkingObama -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days administration will be, not seeing any progress at all in soccer diplomacy, encouraged to move ahead to the "genocide recognition" phase. It overlaps totally with the Turkish hawks' desire, since their aim is to further diminish sympathy for the US in Turkey and seek opportunities of a semi-authoritarian rule closer to Russia.

The pace and resolve, therefore, are even more important than before. Neither Turkey nor Armenia, despite relatively weak and hesitant leadership on both sides, should let the momentum melt into nothing. The US, too, has enormous interest in the rapprochement. For Russia, it might be argued, that ending with or without concrete results would not matter much, but Moscow is keen on the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the border for its own reasons. It adds to the uniqueness of the momentum.

The hawks, seeing that they will lose if Turks and Armenians succeed in talking calmly and developing a dialogue, will increase the pressure on Yerevan and Washington. If the Turkish side also gives in to the delaying tactics and paying too much attention to hawks acting on behalf of Azerbaijani hawks, the chances will be doomed to diminish.

It is of utmost importance, therefore, that talks do produce concrete steps before April 24. Once the channels are opened and windows let light in, the two sides will have come closer to dealing with the pain in their history.

Bones, By Peter Balakian, December 5, 2008
For Armenians, Der Zor has come to have a meaning approximate to Auschwitz. Each, in different ways, an epicenter of death and a systematic process of mass-killing; each a symbolic place, an epigrammatic name on a dark map. Der Zor is a term that sticks with you, or sticks on you, like a burr or thorn: “r” “z” “or” — hard, sawing, knifelike. Der Zor: A place to which hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915 and 1916 were forced to march, a final destination in the genocide of the Armenians carried out by the Ottoman Turkish government under the cover of World War I.

In May 2005, after I was invited to lecture in Beirut through the auspices of the U.S. State Department, the Armenian church arranged for me to travel into Syria — to Aleppo, an important city of refuge during the Armenian genocide, and farther east to Der Zor.

The highway from Aleppo followed the Euphrates River through Syria toward the Iraqi border. The river appeared and then disappeared, fresh and flowing and teal green, not brown and sluggish as I had imagined it, and certainly not red with blood and clogged with corpses as recorded by eyewitnesses during the worst period of the genocide.

By noon we were passing through the commercial district of Der Zor city. The streets buzzed with cars and mopeds as we drove up to the high stone facade of the Armenian church, called Holy Martyrs. The Der Hayr (parish priest) ushered us inside. Downstairs, under the sanctuary, there were archways and a giant marble pillar that rose up within a large opening in the ceiling. Circling the pillar were glass cases containing bones and soil. Hundreds of bones: partial skulls, femurs, tibias, clavicles, eye sockets, teeth. Case by case. Bones and more bones.

I asked the Der Hayr where they came from. “You’ll see soon,” he said. And after mezze we were off farther to the east. I realized now that Der Zor was a huge region of arid land. After a couple of hours of nothing but the occasional flock of sheep, the car stopped in the middle of nowhere, and up the hill at the side of the road I saw a small chapel of white stone.

“This is Margadeh,” my guide, Father Nerseh, said. “About 15 years ago, the Syrian government was doing some exploration for oil here and put their steam shovels in the ground, and piles of bones came up.”

“Right here,” I said pointing down.

“Yes.” He explained that the Syrian government had offered the Armenian church a plot of land for a memorial.

I walked up the slope toward the chapel. I put my hand in the dirt, grazing the ground, and came up with hard white pieces. “Our ancestors are here,” I muttered. Then I began, without thinking, picking up handfuls of dirt, sifting out the bones and stuffing them in my pockets. I felt the porous, chalky, dirt-saturated, hard, infrangible stuff in my hands. A piece of hip socket, part of a skull. Nine decades later.

I filled my pockets with bones, compelled to have these fragments with me as I continued up the hill to the chapel. The floor was cool, and behind the altar was a wall of alabaster with a carved cross. With the evening sun pouring through a yellow glass window, the whole space was floating in saffron light. I tried to empty my head and let go of the graveyard I was standing in, to let go of myself. Let the breath go in, go out.

On the plane back to the United States, I kept waking and sleeping. It wasn’t until we were over Labrador that I realized I was carrying organic matter from another country. The declaration card asked: Are you bringing with you fruits, plants, cell cultures, “soil, or have you visited a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States?” The bones, now in resealable bags, were caked with soil, and although they weren’t cell cultures, what were they now, 90 years later?

I reached down into my briefcase and felt them through the plastic, glancing around to see if a flight attendant might be looking. What could I say? These are bones of my countrymen? I had visited a pasture of bones in the Syrian desert? This one might be from my grandmother’s first husband; this one from a farmer from Sivas. I filled out my declaration card. “Are you bringing with you … ?”

I put an X in the “No” column.

As I stood in line at customs at Kennedy Airport, I remembered my State Department hosts telling me that, because of where I’d been, they might want to check my bags. But the customs agent looked at my passport, looked at me, then stamped the passport and said, “Welcome back.”

Peter Balakian is the author of “Black Dog of Fate,” a memoir. This essay is adapted from a new chapter that will appear in a 10th-anniversary edition, to be published in February.


Obama’s Turkish Partners, A democratic Turkey that has respect in Muslim capitals is exactly what the West needs. Mustafa Akyol, NEWSWEEK, Dec 15, 2008
For years Ankara's foreign policy was fixated on a few narrow topics—how to handle the Greeks, the Kurds and Armenians—and Turkish policymakers seemed unable to solve even these chronic problems, let alone the problems of others. But these days Turkey has tackled such regional concerns with a new gusto—making the first real headway on the Cyprus issue in decades, for instance—while playing a far larger role in global affairs. In May Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government mediated indirect peace talks between Syrian and Israeli officials in Istanbul. The talks are now ongoing, and further meetings have reportedly been scheduled. Erdogan also recently stepped forward to offer help to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to deal with Iran, which Turkey's prime minister and many others expect to be Obama's biggest foreign-policy challenge. On November 11 Erdogan told The New York Times his government was willing to be the mediator between the new U.S. administration and Tehran. "We are the only capital that is trusted by both sides," he reiterated later in Washington. "We are the ideal negotiator."

This surge of interest in becoming something of a global peacemaker is in part the result of the ongoing process of Turkish democratization. The nation's old elite consisted of the more isolationist Kemalists, the dedicated followers of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who established a republic without democracy in 1923 to westernize and secularize the nation. For many decades to come, society remained divided between the dominant Kemalist center and the more traditional periphery it kept under its thumb. But things fundamentally changed after the election victories of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002 and 2007. The "other Turkey" was now out of the periphery and into power, and while it proved to be more religious than the old elite, it also proved to be more pro-Western, and more committed to the European Union accession bid than its growingly xenophobic secular rivals.

This was not simply a convenient tactic, as some have argued. Turkey's conservative Muslims had been undergoing a silent reformation since the 1980s, as evidenced by the country's growing "Islamic bourgeoisie," which sees its future in global markets, not Sharia courts. Ideas about the compatibility of Islam and liberal democracy flourished, as recently evidenced by headscarved women rallying in the streets for civil liberties for all.

Meanwhile, Ahmet Davutoglu, an erudite scholar who became Erdogan's chief adviser, outlined a new foreign-policy vision. Turkey had unwisely denied its cultural links with the Middle East for decades, he argued, but the time had come to turn Turkey into a "soft power" that exports peace, stability and growth in its region. Hence came the rapprochement in recent years and months with Greece, Lebanon, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan and most recently Armenia, where President Abdullah Gül paid an ice-breaking visit in September.

Kemalist Turks dislike this "neo-Ottoman" approach, which prescribes closer relations with other Muslim nations. When Erdogan greets his Arab counterparts "in the name of God," they are horrified and argue that the country's secular principles are under threat. And to garner support from Westerners who are concerned about political Islam, for good reasons, they try to depict the AKP as Taliban in sheep's clothing. But, in fact, a democratic Turkey that has respect in Muslim capitals, that can speak their language and that is willing to use this leverage for peace and reconciliation is exactly what the West needs.

Some in the West fear this approach as well, taking notice of AKP's interests in Islam and the rampant anti-Americanism in Turkey, and sometimes conflating and confusing the two. Yet that anti-American wave is a reaction to the Iraq War and its aftermath. By empowering the Kurds in the north, the post-Saddam era unleashed the deepest of all Turkish fears: the emergence of a Greater Kurdistan. In other words, anti-Americanism is almost a derivative of anti-Kurdism, and, not too surprisingly, is strongest in the nationalist circles, which include the Kemalists. These groups, represented by the two main opposition parties, deride the AKP as American puppets and Kurdish collaborators. A 2007 bestselling book, whose Kemalist author was covertly financed by the military intelligence, even argues that both Erdogan and former AKP member President Gül are actually covert Jews who serve "the elders of Zion" by undermining Atatürk's republic.

Turkey's new elites are not covert Jews as some fringe Kemalists fantasize, of course. But neither are they creeping Islamists as smarter Kemalists portray. In fact they are Muslim democrats, who can both take Turkey closer to becoming a true capitalist democracy and inspire other Muslim nations to follow a similar route. For sure, they need to combat ugly nationalism inside their borders and take continued steps toward deepening liberal reforms. With such a combination of sound domestic leadership and visionary foreign policy, they would be ideal partners for the Obama administration in its own effort to reach out to the troublesome actors in the Middle East.

Akyol is a columnist for Istanbul-based Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/172616 © 2008 hr>

Genocide Denial Math For Dummies Blogian on 07 Dec 2008

A comment by a security-analyst who chooses to be ananymous

Although the vast majority of the West knows about, and acknowledges the fact that Ottoman Turkey committed the world’s first* genocide in 1915, there still remains a small cadre of individuals who desperately try and convince people otherwise. Usually, they will attempt to do so by demonizing Armenians, in essence arguing that they deserved it, or else they will claim the deaths were unintentional. However, a few Turkish agents try and use numbers to convince the uninformed reader that there was no genocide. These propagandists understand that those who use numbers often have reputations of being rational and objective, and are therefore more likely to be listened to if they do the same.

While it has become something like an endangered species when it comes to Armenian Genocide denial tactics, the notion that there are too many Armenians alive today to have allowed for a genocide still occasionally rears its ugly head at conferences and on websites; even the Turkish Foreign Ministry has used this polemical statement.*

In any case, it’s high time to obliterate this so-called argument by using rather elementary math. Wikipedia states that there are between nine and ten million Armenians alive today. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s just agree on 9.5 million. Most scholars, including Turkish and Armenian historians, agree that there were around three million Armenians in the world before 1915. Using this number one can calculate the growth rate needed to arrive at today’s figures. One set of calculations can use the communal violence theory where only 400,000 Armenians died, and the other set of calculations will use the figure that 1.2 million Armenians died in an actual genocide. Therefore, the initial population figures in 1916 are 2.6 million and 1.8 million respectively. With these numbers, one can use the equation T=Pe^(rt) to find the average growth rate, where T=today’s number, P=past number, t=time in years, and r=average annual growth rate.

Communal Strife Calculations Genocide Calculations
T=9.5 mil T=9.5 mil
P=2.6 mil P=1.8 mil
t=92 years t=92 years

r=1.4% per year r=1.8 % per year

As compared the the CIA Factbook’s .88% growth rate for the US, a 1.8% growth rate for Armenians is quick, but not abnormally so, because there are numerous counties whose growth rate is, in fact, much higher than 1.8%. For example, according to the CIA Factbook lists Bangladesh’s growth rate at over 2% per year. Therefore, without any miracle, which Genocide deniers claim is necessary, the existence of a genocide can still allow for the present population of Armenians.

Nevertheless, it is likely that that even a 1.8% annual growth rate is higher than the actual rate, because many present day Armenians counted in the total number of 9.5 million, are 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 Armenian. Let’s then make a reasonable assumption that of the 9.5 million Armenians, that 1.5 million are half (assuming the 3/4 and 1/4 armenians counter balance and average to 1/2 as well). Reasoning that a population will grow twice as quickly if that entire populatioin breeds with external populations, one can logically divide the 1.5 mil figure in half to .75 mill. So the adjusted Armentian population today is actually 8.75 million. With this corrected number, the new post genocide annual growth rate via the T=Pe^(rt) equation, is 1.7%. A 1.7% growth rate is not unreasonable by any means, the US itself held similar growth rates earlier in the 20th cenury, and many 2nd world countries have this growth rate today.

Lastly, one can also make the unscientific observation that immigrant families often have larger families than native ones, and most Armenians outside the Republic of Armenia are immigrants themselves, or decended from them.

In conclusion, Armenian Genocide deniers should continue to use this denial tactic, because it makes them look ridiculous and ignorant.

*The Herero may have this title.

* See: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/914602.html

© 2005-2008 Blogian

Turkey To Be Brought To Justice? A1+ , 09 December, 2008
Sixty years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

"The Convention was a direct outcome of the attempted extermination of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, and ever since has embodied the aspiration of the United Nations to prevent such a horror from occurring again," as stated in the message of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon released a message on the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

"The Convention compels signatory States "to prevent and to punish" the crime of genocide - to act against those who kill or commit other grave acts "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such". Under the Convention, attempts to commit genocide and public incitement to genocide are punishable acts.

The work of the United Nations to prevent genocide encompasses a wide range of activities. In the broadest sense, we promote human rights, the rule of law and the fundamental equality of all people. Through its global presence, the Organization provides practical assistance to States in building democratic institutions and resolving disputes through peaceful means. We have established an office dedicated to genocide prevention. And in 2005, Member States agreed unanimously on a new, groundbreaking global norm, the responsibility to protect, which aims to keep national leaders from hiding abuses behind the false cloak of sovereignty.

The United Nations also seeks to ensure that perpetrators of genocide are brought to justice promptly. The crime of genocide is included in the Statutes of the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, in the Law on the Establishment of the Extra-ordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and in the Statute of the International Criminal Court. Justice is not only one of our main goals; it is itself an important means of prevention.

Despite these efforts, the world has continued to witness appalling acts that violate human dignity. Too often, the international response has been inadequate. Far from being consigned to history, genocide and its ilk remain a serious threat. Not just vigilance but a willingness to act are as important today as ever.

On this anniversary, I call on those States that have not already done so to accede to the Convention. I urge all States to implement the Convention, and to support our efforts to prevent genocide and other serious human rights violations that may degenerate into genocide. Preventing genocide is a collective and individual responsibility. We must do everything in our power to ensure that our children may live free from the fear of being killed because they belong to an ethnic, national, religious or racial group," as stated in the message.

60 Years On, Genocide Convention Still Prompts Debate Kerstin Schweighofer
Deutsche Welle, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3858014,00.html ,Dec 8 2008, Germany

The genocide in Rwanda set legal precedents with life sentences for many perpetrators

Sixty years ago, the UN adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This week, historians, lawyers and politicians discussed the convention's future at a conference in The Hague.

Why is it that a massacre, as horrific as it may be, is not considered genocide? At what point can we begin using the word genocide to describe the worst crime committed human beings can perpetrate on each other? These were the types of questions being posed at a conference in the Hague on Monday to mark 60 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 260, better known as the convention on genocide.

Among the guest speakers was Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo. And it's no coincidence that the conference is being held in The Hague, which, due to its many international courts, has developed into the "legal capital of the world," former UN General Secretary, Boutros Gali, once said.

Among the program points was a discussion about the definition of genocide as it was laid down in the UN Convention on December 9, 1948. The most important criterion is the intention to completely obliterate an entire race. That's why genocide doesn't always involve massacres -- a single murder will do. Even if all the women of a certain population are to be made infertile, or all the children are to be kidnapped, it can still be genocide if the purpose is to wipe out that population. It's the most decisive criterion, and for the prosecutors, the hardest to prove.

The Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin -- a pioneer in the field of international justice -- coined the term genocide. He was responding to the mass murder of Armenians at the hands of the Turks in 1915 --a massacre that even today, is not legally classified as genocide.

This also applies to the Holocaust. It was never explicitly defined as genocide before a court, and not a single defendant has ever been found guilty of genocide towards the Jews. The usual verdict was "crimes against humanity."

Rwanda, Yugoslavia set legal precedents

Only in the last 15 years have courts ever found defendants guilty of genocide, in two cases -- Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. In the judges' opinions, the mass murder of the Tutsis and the murder of thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica were clear cases of genocide. At the Rwanda tribunal, a large number of political leaders were given life sentences in prison.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic faces charges of genocide Whether the same will happen at the Yugoslavia tribunal with war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic remains to be seen. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic died in prison before he could be sentenced, and Karadzic's wartime military leader, Ratko Mladic, still remains at large. Then there's the new international criminal court, the ICC. Last summer, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo indicted Sundanese President Omar el Bashir on charges of genocide in Darfur.

Because of the small number of convictions, recently, the voices of those who would loosen the criteria for genocide have been growing louder. It's a subject that was up for debate at the conference in The Hague, but for Dutch historian and director of the Amsterdam Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Wichert ten Have, it's out of the question.

"I don't think this is the right way to go," he said. "It was hard enough to get all the countries to accept the current definition 60 years ago. Just because jurisprudence has to be created and the world is waiting for verdicts is no reason to start revising this definition."

Not a word to be used lightly

Another topic for discussion at the conference was misuse of the word "genocide." The prominent indictments against Karadzic and El Bashir have had the effect of popularizing the term, to the extent that it's now even being used by animal activists describing the suffering of animals. Politicians also more frequently use the term in order to justify violence and military engagement.

"The bloody conflict between Russia and Georgia is a perfect example," said Ten Have. "Both sides deliberately spoke of genocide, even though in this case, it really wasn't applicable. We have to keep the term pure -- both legally and politically speaking. And we have to accept that it shouldn't be used lightly."

US Government And Kurds, By Jaff Sassani, OpEdNews,Dec 7 2008
The US Government has been involved with the Kurdish nation's case since President Wilson's famous declaration of the "program for world peace".

The number of Kurds in the Middle East and Asia is estimated to be between 40-50 million, the largest ethnic group in the world with no country of their own. They have been led by tribal leaders, religious tribal Islamic Sheik leaders, Socialists, Democrats and Communists. At the end of each war they were defeated because of many reasons some of which we will explained below, however the number one reason for their continued failure is that the Kurds always fight without a plan.

The Kurdish nation is one of the original Aryan (Iranian, Eranshahr) nations in the region. They formed the first organized Empire in today's Iran called the Medes Empire. In the year 647 - 3 B.C. the Medes, Cimmerians and Mannaeans revolted against Esarhaddon, the King of Assyria, under the leadership of Kashtaritu (Khshathrita). It is probable that Kashtaritu is the same person whom Herodotus calls Phraortes, the son of Deioces (Dayukku). Kashtaritu ruled until the year 652 B.C. From 652 until 625 the Medes were ruled by the Scythians or Sakas. In 615 the tribes of Media united under the leadership of Cyxares (Huvakhshathra), attacked the Assyrian Empire and entered Kerkuk (Arrapkha). In the year 612 B.C. the Medes together with the Babylonians occupied Nineveh, and with the occupation of Hrran in 610 B.C. the Assyrian Empire fell. The Medes Empire ended when another Aryan (Iranian) leader (Cyrus the great) from the royal family changed the name of the Empire to the Achaemenids Empire (559 -330 B.C.) after his father's family name.

The people in the Kurdistan region are called Kurds today. They are one of the original nations within the Aryan (Iranian) nations, like the Persian from the Pars region, the Azeri from the Azerbaijan region, and the Tajik from the Tajikistan region. They have historically had the power to lead or be part of the leadership within the Aryan nations just like any of the other Aryan branches. They were the rulers during the Sassanid Empire before the Islamic Arab army conquered the land of the Aryan people. The Sassanid Empire went back to the idea of a united Aryan nation as it was before the Medes and the Achaemenids Empires. For example they called citizen "Eranshahr" not pars-Ian and they adopted the flag of blacksmith Kawa or Kavah as their own flags.

They led the Iranian people after Islam too. For example the Safavid dynasty, Afshar dynasty and Zand dynasty. They have even had political power in modern days like Dr. Karim Sanjabi who was the opposition leader to the Shah of Iran after the death of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the Prime Minister of Iran, and the leader of the Democratic movement in Iran. The PM was later overthrown by the CIA in favor for the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran dictatorship in 1953.

The US Government's policies are wrong in the region. They never followed President Woodrow Wilson's program. We hope the new administration will follow the "program for world peace" instead of continuing the dirty games and wrong policies of the past.

We asked for equality with the European people in our article "The New Administration Should Treat Iranians as It Does Europeans". There are many articles about the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the world, especially about the Iraqi Kurds in Kurdistan. The US Government is dealing directly with the Kurds in Iraq. They have been following the wrong policies in the region for a long time. They are only helping dictators in the region. Those dictators could be the Shah of Iran, Generals of Turkey, Barzani and Talibani of Kurds, Maliki of Iraq, Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and the ruler of Pakistan. We do not understand the US Government's policy in the region. They are spending billions of US tax payer money in the region and the region continues to deteriorate with no gain for either side.

The types of people they support in the area are akin to an Iraqi mafia. The mind set of the leaders in Iraq is one of personal gain without regard to the general population. We hope the readers will understand what kind of the people the US Government is helping to fight the terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Many writers like Dr. Michael Rubin and others wrote about the corruption in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, but the administration has taken no action at all.

We want to point out the plan of Vice President Elect, Joe Biden, and the tape "From Turkey to Iran" by Ambassador Peter Galbraith's, to advise the new administration with regard to the Kurds' problems and its solution in the region.

We ask Mr. Ambassador, as he is known to be one of the advisers to Mr. Barzani according to media reports: How logical it is to ignore the rights of 20-30 million Kurds in Turkey and 10-15 million Kurds in Iran in favor of Mr. Barzani? Mr. Barzani and his partner Mr. Talibani currently have control of 5 million Kurds in Iraq to rule and abuse instead of showing humanity and justice for all Kurds.

We hope the newly elected President Obama won't take this kind of advice and make the same mistakes as many American administrations have done since "President Woodrow Wilson's program for world peace".

The Armenian and Kurdish genocide in Turkey should be recognized instead of following the wrong and dirty games in practice today. The US Government should follow the right approach to help Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Persians and other nations in the region for peace and stability instead of war and more war.

We are proposing the creation of an Aryan (Iranian) Economic Union (AU) as we said before. We want to be treated as the European people are treated. This Economic Union could integrate the Aryan and Turks as one united people for peace and economic stability. Russia, EU, Israel and the USA will be benefited by doing business with the proposed AU.

We are one hundred years behind in technology compared to Russia, EU, Israel and the USA. We are a very good market with natural resources. If we get help by the powers above it can be more beneficial for our people and the people in those countries, instead of war and instability.

We hope that the American people will encourage the new administration to be on the side of good. We hope that the American people and its elected Government will be our friend and partner for peace and justice in the Aryan and Turk land in the Middle East and Asia Regions.

Armenian Genocide Committee Accepting Essays , Dec 7 2008
Students with winning essays about the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 and its relationship to other genocides of the 20th century, will be awarded $100-$500 in the second annual competition, funded by the Hagopian Family Foundation.

The contest is sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Committee and is open to middle and high school students.

Edgar Hagopian, chair of the Armenian Genocide Committee and patriarch of the Hagopian Family Foundation, stated that the project "is a critical and vital key to perpetuating the history of the Armenian people in the minds of students as well as having them learn that a comprehensive study of the Armenian Genocide will aid and educate legislators and leaders to avert future tragedies."

"It is the youth of our nation that will look back to help not only this country move forward, but hopefully, one day the world," Hagopian said.

Suggested essay themes are:

n Events that precipitated the Armenian Genocide, as well as others.

n Government and individual responses to the Armenian Genocide and other 20th Century genocides.

n Should the U.S. government formally recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Deadline for submissions is Feb. 13, 2009. Members of the Metro Detroit Armenian Community will judge the entries. Winners will be announced on March 27, 2009.

High school students will win $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place. Middle school students will be awarded $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place.

Each teacher of a student submitting a winning essay will be given a $100 appreciation award.

For complete guidelines visit www.armeniangenocideessay.com

'CNN Neglecting Genocide' , Hurriyet, Dec 6 2008, Turkey

WASHINGTON - The largest U.S. Armenian group late Thursday accused CNN of ignoring the Armenian claims in a documentary offering a history of genocide throughout the world.

The program "Scream Bloody Murder," anchored by CNN's top international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, gave detailed accounts of the Holocaust and the mass murders in Cambodia, Bosnia, northern Iraq, Rwanda and Darfur, with a special focus on those who witnessed and warned the world about these atrocities.

Armenian lobby unhappy The two-hour documentary briefly mentioned the 1915 incidents, saying Turkey did not accept the Armenian claims.

The Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, said although the CNN program offered a compelling look at genocide, it failed to give a detailed account of the 1915 incidents as "genocide."

"Sadly, in a disservice to its millions of viewers, CNN neglected to include the Armenian genocide as the first such event," the ANCA said in a statement.

The group urged U.S. Armenians to ask Amanpour "about this serious shortcoming in her documentary."

Ankara briefed CNN The group also called on U.S. Armenians to send messages to CNN's leadership "pointing out this shortcoming and asking them to address this gap in their reporting in future coverage of genocide-related issues."

After CNN's plans to broadcast the documentary became clear, Turkish officials contacted the network and briefed it on Ankara's position on the matter. Armenians say that nearly 1.5 million of their people were killed in the last years of the Ottoman Empire, and that the killings clearly constitute genocide.

Objecting to the use of that term, Turkey says the Armenian figure is highly inflated and that a large number of people from both sides were killed amid an Armenian rebellion against the Ottomans.

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

Around 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 in 1915. Armenia claims the incidents that occurred during the civil strife were systematic "genocide".

Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate the claims and reveal the truth behind the turmoil of 1915 and to open all official archives, but Armenia has continually dragged its feet on accepting the offer.

Turkish Writers Bring The Personal Back Into The Armenia Controversy * Nicholas Birch, * guardian.co.uk, December 9 2008
Two years ago, researching a story about the desertification of the central Anatolian plateau, I spent a day driving around with a journalist from a local town. A former military officer, Bulent was a man of wide interests. He was working on a dictionary of the local dialect. He was hugely knowledgeable about the early Christians who had carved troglodyte churches into the vast sinkholes that dot the region. "It is a pity they had to leave," he said.

Later that evening, I read his column in the copy of the newspaper he had given me. It was a blinkered, nationalist tirade. I did a double-take. Was this the same man I had met?

"That's his Ataturk voice," a Turkish friend joked. "All Turks have an Ataturk voice."

The sometimes shocking disparity between what Turks say in public and what they say in private is nowhere clearer than on the issue of what happened to the Ottoman Empire's Armenians after 1915.

In the once heavily Armenian areas in the southeast of the country, villagers freely admit that what happened amounted to mass murder on a grand scale. "Our grandfathers killed them and moved in," one imam in a village near Silvan told me. "Their bones are still visible at the foot of that cliff over there."

Both locally and internationally, meanwhile, public debate continues to betray a depressing fixation with dry statistics and terminologies. It was genocide. No, it was civil war. 1.5 million people died. Rubbish, the death toll was at most 200,000, and more Muslims died than Armenian Christians.

"Such debates hide the lives and deaths of individuals and do nothing to encourage people to listen," says Fethiye Cetin. A lawyer, Ms Cetin is the author of perhaps the most striking example of recent efforts inside Turkey to sidestep the taboos surrounding 1915.

Published in English this spring by Verso, her intensely moving 2005 memoir My Grandmother tells of how she learned as a student that the woman who had brought her up had been born an Armenian. It ends, a year after her grandmother's death, with Cetin travelling to America to meet Armenian cousins she previously didn't know existed.

The greatest advocate inside Turkey for a more humane debate was Hrant Dink, the Armenian-Turkish journalist gunned down by an ultra-nationalist teenager in January 2007. His death shed light on much that is ugly in Turkey today.

But many say it also sparked an unprecedented wave of activism among civil rights movements working on issues ranging from women's rights to the Kurdish question. "I think people realised there was no point in waiting any more," says Nil Mutluer, a feminist activist.

The four authors of last week's public apology for the events of 1915 were all Hrant Dink's friends. One of them heads a pressure group which aims to ensure his murderers are brought to justice. The other three write for the weekly newspaper – Agos – of which Dink used to be editor.

In their statements to the press, none of them have dwelled on Dink. Yet in emphasizing the importance of that most private of things – personal conscience - they are very much following the path that he opened up. Whether they will follow him all the way into a court appearance under charges of "insulting Turkishness" remains to be seen.

Open Letter To Gul: Turkish People Need Recognition Of Armenian Genocide , 09.12.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenian intellectuals sent an open letter to Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

The letter says in part,

“Dear Mr. President,

Your recent meeting with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan proved that normalization of neighbor relations demand bold and realistic action. It specifically refers to the Armenian Genocide issue, which has divided the two nations since 1915.

Mr. President, it is an outrageous crime against the humanity which has no time limitation. Its recognition is not a demand of the Armenian people but a just expectation of the international community. The Armenian Genocide is a crime against the values of modern civilization, a crime that can’t be questioned.

We all should accept that the Ottoman Empire is guilty of the massacre of the Armenian people. Present-day Turkish diplomacy and propaganda machine can’t cover this dark page of history.

The historic memory of our nations is deep and restless. Recognition of the indisputable fact of the Armenian Genocide is first of all essential for the Turkish people. Relieving this burden of history, they can turn this dark page and launch a sincere dialogue for true reconciliation.

Your visit to Armenia inspires hope for a new and realistic political course in Turkey. However, these efforts can fail of your state doesn’t take action to put an end to the current policy of the Armenian Genocide denial.”

The US Road Through Turkey
The two countries share strategic concerns. They should work more closely together.
By The Monitor's Editorial Board, December 8, 2008

To celebrate Barack Obama's election as the 44th US president, villagers in a remote province of Turkey sacrificed 44 sheep. It was a small gesture in a faraway land, but one with a big message: hope for a revived relationship.

Polls show this NATO ally and Middle East powerhouse holds opinions of America that are among the lowest in the world. That's mostly due to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and related issues. The incoming Obama administration would do well to repair ties with this secular Muslim democracy, and take greater advantage of Turkey's role in a tense region where the countries' interests overlap.

To Turkey's north lie authoritarian Russia and the Caucasus states, site of frozen and hot conflicts. To the east sit the energy-rich Caspian Sea basin, Iran and its nuclear program, and, beyond that, Afghanistan. Directly south are Iraq and Syria, two troubled states in the region.

Ankara, the capital, has taken on the ambitious goal of "zero problems" on its borders and is trying to become a neighborhood troubleshooter. After Moscow rolled over Georgia in August, for instance, Ankara proposed a regional dialogue, but Georgia wasn't interested in talking to the Russian bear that nearly swallowed it whole.

Turkey has brought Syria and Israel together to negotiate over the Golan Heights. Last week, it hosted the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan for antiterrorism talks. It is at long last reaching out to Armenia – despite a controversial history over the 1915 massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire. Now it's offering to mediate between the US and Iran, and has been elected to a temporary seat on the UN Security Council – center stage for the Iran stalemate.

Turkey has offered its land for an alternative gas pipeline network for Europe and the Middle East, has greatly increased trade with its neighbors, and is opening about a dozen embassies in Africa.

Call this diplomatic and economic expansion "Ottoman Lite."

The US has much to gain from Turkey's emerging role, including a region-altering breakthrough in talks between Israel and Syria that need a big push from a President Obama. And Turkey will be an important player as the US pulls out of Iraq. Ankara has faulted the US for not doing enough to halt attacks on Turkey from Kurdish terrorists in northern Iraq.

Even if the two countries smooth over tensions, though, the road ahead will be as hilly as the Turkish capital.

At US election time, Turkish television obsessed over the prospect of the new US Congress passing a resolution – with Mr. Obama's blessing – that recognizes the Armenian massacres as genocide. Turkey staunchly denies the claim. Yet in focusing on this, Turkey makes the genocide controversy America's problem, when it's really Turkey's to resolve. The obsession hints at other issues to work out, including human rights abuses.

The US, on the other hand, must not expect Turkey to be the automatic ally of cold-war days. Russia has become its largest trading partner, and the Muslim party now in power feels a greater kinship with its Muslim brothers in the region.

Turkey is attempting to balance its allegiance with the West with a new attentiveness to its neighbors. It is a tricky balance indeed, but one that can also benefit Washington.
© 2008 The Christian Science Monitor

Genocide Feature Worrisome Hurriyet Dec 4 2008 Turkey
ANKARA - Turkey has expressed uneasiness over a two-hour documentary, "Scream Bloody Murder," that will be screened Thursday on CNN, depicting systematic terror and violence throughout the years as well as the 1915 incidents.

As the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide approaches, CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, will report on genocide and the heroes who witnessed it and called for the international community to stop it, press reports revealed yesterday.

The documentary will feature ethnic slaughters such as the Holocaust, appalling violence in Cambodia, and the 1915 incidents. Turkey defended its own position and its proposal to set up a joint commission of historians to study the Armenian allegations regarding the 1915 incidents, learned the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

In response to the screening of the documentary, Ankara recalled the current atmosphere of dialogue with Armenia that started with the Turkish president's landmark visit to Yerevan in September and asked that the documentary avoid bias and reflect the steps taken by Turkey to normalize ties with Armenia.

Barbed Wire Fence Dividing Two Neighbors ,Hurriyet Dec 4 2008 Turkey
YEREVAN - Despite diplomatic relations picking up in recent months with President Gul's visit to Yerevan, the border between Armenia and Turkey remains closed. People that remember once breakfasting in Turkey and lunching in Armenia, now have a barbed wire fence cutting them off

There is a lake between Turkey and Armenia that separates the two countries. The Armenians call it "Aghuryan," and the Turks, "Arpacay." The lake is so fertile it is swarming with fish. Neither Armenians nor Turks can fish in the lake. Just 20 minutes from the lake, barbed wire splits a railroad in two.

It is just one segment of the immense railway that stretches through Armenia to Turkey. The entrance to Haygazsor Village at the north of the lake is under the control of Russian and Armenian soldiers. A sharp lookout is kept at the border of the village. It is forbidden for an ordinary Armenian to enter the church of the village, even for the Sunday service. The only way to attend the service is with special permission to enter the village.

Before sunrise, in a cab driven by a Mr. Suren, we hit the road for Gyumri, the closest border point to Turkey and the second biggest city in Armenia. We spoke with Mr. Suren throughout the journey and occasionally stopped at villages to speak to villagers. We were told by 90 percent of villagers that they escaped from various cities and towns of Anatolia, especially Kars, during the events of 1915, to Armenia, which was then under Soviet rule.

The Armenian language they speak has an Anatolian accent. Every village has its own special dialect. Because of this, it is sometimes hard for people in neighbouring villages to understand each other. The villages are no different from typical Anatolian villages and neither are the villagers. They have named the places they live in after the towns and cities in Anatolia they migrated from. Nearly all of the villagers understand Turkish, even if they do not speak it.

Protecting the churches The major problem these villagers face is the regular supply of water. While Yerevan, the extremely modern and European looking capital of Armenia, is only 40 minutes away, these villages are still without pipes. The villagers also face great difficulties when the temperature drops below -40 degrees during winter. Heating is as much of a problem as water.

We traveled from Yerevan to Gyumri in just over two hours in fits and starts. The first stop for the Hurriyet Daily News was at a journalist's club in Gyumri called Asparez. Without delay, we continued on to the border with the club president, Levon Barsexyan. Along the way Barsexyan acquainted us with the city. He told about the one storey houses built precaution to Gyumri's location on a fault line. Barsexyan said the streets and houses in Gyumri were similar to those in Kars. "The Armenians migrated from Kars to Gyumri and brought their lifestyle with them to this city."

Barsexyan's grandfather was born in Kars. Before the closing of the border, they used to go to Kars for breakfast and be back in Gyumri for lunch. According to Barsexyan, the Soviet rulers demanded the demolition of the churches of Gyumri but the people cleverly built tall buildings around the churches, hiding the churches in within the buildings courtyards. They saved many thousand-year-old churches from demolition this way. When the Republic of Armenia gained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, the tall buildings were demolished and the churches were visible once more.

During Soviet rule, Gyumri was called "Leninagan," in homage to Lenin. Barsexyan said the city was now known by both names. There are still visible traces in the village of the 1988 earthquake. We walked around Gyumri under Barsexyan's guide and reached the border with Turkey.

Barsexyan warned us to hide our cameras as a precaution as we approached the barbed wire. A few minutes later, we passed down the road, walking along the railway line, half of which extends into Turkey. We reached the border between the two countries, and looking through the mesh of barbed wire, I gazed upon the country of my birth, before rounding up my week long trip to Armenia.

Turkey Needs An Intelligence Coordination Mechanism, Says Güven
The current undersecretary, Emre Taner, is famed for his efforts to "get his house in order" and reform the organization.

A former senior Turkish intelligence official has warned against weaknesses in Turkey’s intelligence-gathering mechanisms, suggesting that an intelligence coordination unit should be established under the Prime Ministry.

“There has been a lack of will for ensuring coordinated intelligence gathering in Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should address this problem. Due to the absence of coordination, Turkish institutions in charge of gathering intelligence are jealous of each other. Thus, they refrain from sharing information that they have been gathering among themselves,” said Ertuğrul Güven, former deputy undersecretary of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), in an interview with Sunday’s Zaman.

Güven’s remarks come at a time when the MİT has been linked to an alleged member of the Ergenekon terror organization. Eighty-six defendants are facing trial for suspected membership in Ergenekon, a criminal network that is believed to have been plotting to overthrow the government.

Tuncay Güney, who currently resides in Canada as a rabbi, was captured by police in Turkey in 2001 on suspicions of gang membership. What he told the police at that time has helped prosecutors expose the activities of Ergenekon.

According to an MİT document published by the Sabah daily last month, Güney purposefully infiltrated Ergenekon and JİTEM, an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, to gather information for the intelligence organization.

In a press release, the MİT confirmed the authenticity of the document, but denied that Güney, a former journalist whose name has featured prominently in the Ergenekon trial, was an agent employed by the organization.

“As far as I can remember, Güney was not an MİT agent,” Güven said.

The MİT counterterrorism unit, together with the problems it had created, was taken out of the MİT organizational chart in 1997, the same press release explained. Mehmet Eymür, a former MİT official who was implicated in a number of intelligence scandals, was the head of this unit.

However, Güven declined to speak about the details of the Güney incident or Eymür.

But it is known that, during his time as an MİT deputy undersecretary in 1994, it was Güven who refused to sign a government decree under former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller that authorized Mehmet Eymür to return to the MİT and head the counterterrorism unit.

Güven is understood to have refused to sign the decree because he was worried about other scandals that could expose state secrets to the public. At the time other such scandals had worn down the MİT. Eymür is famed for allegedly using contracted agents without MİT consent.

"As far as I understand, the counterterrorism unit was taken out of MİT's organizational chart to stop further scandals from implicating and wearing down the organization. The MİT took the counterterrorism unit from its organizational chart to put an end to impressions that the MİT had been involved in illegal activities," Güven explained.

According to press reports, the MİT first informed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) about Ergenekon's activities in 2002.

"It has been an almost 15 years since I retired from the MİT. Thus, I cannot provide information about current affairs relating to the organization. However, I should clarify that the MİT will pass the intelligence information that it has gathered to the government without comment," Güven said.

Rogue agents

The MİT has long tried to restore its image after having been implicated in various illegal activities, with allegations circulating about hire assassinations and drug running. The image of the country's other intelligence organizations, such as those within the National Police Department and the gendarmerie, suffers from the same problem.

In the past, particularly in the 1980s, Turkish diplomats were being killed by Armenian terrorist organizations and some foreign secret services appeared to be tolerating such terrorist attacks, Güven explained.

"Turkey had to develop policies against those attacks. The MİT may thus have been inclined to use certain individuals with strong nationalistic feelings to counter the assassinations staged by Armenian terrorists. But foreign intelligence services will also resort to such methods. However, the most critical problem is that those individuals continue their illegal activities in mafia-style groups using the MİT name, though their affiliation with the organization came to an end once the mission was accomplished."

However, the MİT as an organization has never approved of individuals engaging in illegal, mafia-style activities.

There has been a widespread trend of ultranationalist groups in Turkey working for the MİT and later going out of control and engaging in illegal activities.

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), cleansed his party of such ultranationalist elements involved in mafia-style groups, Güven said.

"Such groupings have not only used MİT's name, but also the name of the MHP, for their illegal activities. It is out of the question that any MİT members would encourage or support such groups. If officials were involved in such activities they should have definitely been sacked," he added.

A more efficient organization under Taner

The MİT was first civilianized after the appointment of now-retired Ambassador Sönmez Köksal in 1992 appointment as the undersecretary of the MİT. This was followed by the appointment of Şenkal Atasagun, the first career intelligence bureaucrat to be appointed from within the organization.

The current undersecretary, Emre Taner, is famed for his efforts to "get his house in order" and reform the organization.

Güven was among the first civilian bureaucrats to join the MİT, which had previously been packed with military officers, in addition to its undersecretary being a general at the time.

Born in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast but said not to be a Kurd, Taner is not only known for his deep knowledge on the Kurdish issue, starting from his early years at the organization, but also for his ongoing contacts with Iraqi Kurdish leaders.

After he became MİT undersecretary in 2005, Taner made a secret visit to northern Iraq to meet with Massoud Barzani and other senior Kurdish leaders. The visit was later publicized.

Güven said Taner has had a significant role in the recent rapprochement between the Turkish government and the Iraqi Kurds.

"Taner is very knowledgeable -- both in theory and in practice -- about the Kurdish issue, in addition to having the ability to produce solutions to this problem. He is also the first undersecretary who has worked hard to turn the MİT into a more active and operational organization," Güven explained.

Taner surprised many in Turkey when he made a rather unusual public statement on Jan. 5, 2007, about Turkey and what its future role should be in a world where nation-states have come under threat due to globalization.

Amongst other things, Taner urged Turkey to pursue a more active foreign policy, generally challenging the status quo.

"We do not have the luxury of pursuing a 'wait and see' policy. Turkey should take a more pro-active stance against the rapidly evolving developments. The MİT has been urgently reorganizing itself to meet current and future challenges," Taner had said.

Güven disagrees with some recent articles, including an article by Hürriyet columnist Oktay Ekşi that heavily criticized the MİT following the Sabah report mentioned above.

In some of these articles, the MİT was criticized for failing in its intelligence-gathering efforts.

"These are not acceptable accusations. The MİT is an organization that gathers information, makes analyses and syntheses and turns them into intelligence information. If such intelligence requires an operation, then it will cooperate with the security directorate. The MİT's responsibility is to submit that intelligence to the relevant authorities, including the prime minister and the president," he argued.

Division of intelligence gathering

Since his retirement, Güven has been promoting the idea of dividing the country's internal and external intelligence gathering operations, designating the MİT for external intelligence gathering activities.

"The MİT should be responsible for strategic [external] intelligence gathering. Turkey's intelligence gathering should concentrate on the Balkans, the Middle East and the Caucasus, which are located near Turkey. I gave a briefing on this idea to President Abdullah Gül when he was prime minister," he said.

Shortly after the 1980 military coup, the government, under the late Prime Minister Turgut Özal, introduced a law that strengthened the power of the police forces to counter the MİT, which was headed by a general at the time.

"The inability of coalition governments to have their authorities felt by the military-dominated MİT prompted them to designate internal intelligence gathering responsibilities to the police under the relevant law. The police were also made responsible for gathering intelligence externally, too. This was wrong," Güven stressed.

But this situation was later resolved and the MİT has retaken control of intelligence gathering under its civilian leadership, he added.

According to Güven, the MİT's responsibility of gathering intelligence internally is continuing due to mistrust toward police intelligence gathering.

In addition, Taner may be of the opinion that the MİT should retain both internal and external intelligence gathering duties that will make those duties stronger, Güven said.

‘Police should not be responsible for nationwide intelligence gathering’

Güven has also warned against assigning nationwide intelligence gathering duties to the police under a plan to create a new counterterrorism unit under the Interior Ministry.

"Internal security issues cannot directly be affiliated to the Security General Directorate, otherwise there will be problems. For example, there is an organization in Germany to protect the constitution. This is directly affiliated with an undersecretary at the German Interior Ministry. Similarly, the German police are also affiliated with this undersecretary. The security directorate can have its internal intelligence gathering mechanism, but cannot have nationwide intelligence-gathering duties. There needs to be a mechanism of control over the intelligence-gathering organizations," Güven said.

Intelligence gathering should be coordinated

There is a great need in Turkey for both the internal and external intelligence-gathering mechanisms to be coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister.

"There are intelligence-gathering activities under the MİT, the gendarmerie, the General Staff and the Security General Directorate. For example, there are 16 separate intelligence gathering organizations in the US. They have their defined areas of responsibilities separate from each other and they will never violate each others' areas of responsibility. In addition, there is a coordination mechanism at the top of these intelligence organizations in the US," Güven recalled.

In Turkey, intelligence-gathering organizations become jealous of each other and do not share intelligence amongst themselves due to the absence of such a coordination mechanism.

"This results in a serious weakness in Turkey's intelligence-gathering activities. I suggested to then-Prime Minister Gül that he could establish a unit under his leadership in which each organization is represented. For example, let's say in Cizre, in southeast Turkey, both police and gendarmerie intelligence teams meet the same persons having the potential of intelligence and get similar information, but do not share that information with each other. State money, among other things, is thus wasted through such duplications," Güven explained.

07 December 2008, LALE SARIİBRAHİMOĞLU Zaman

From Its Soviet Past To A New Era Yerevan
A 2-year-old, holding his grandfather's hand, leaves the memorial complex of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.
With its sturdy stone structure, grimy appearance and abandoned state, it would not be a typical watchtower for a Western airport. It is hard not to notice, even in the dark hours of the early morning, when the only weekly flight from Turkey arrives at Yerevan's Zvartnots International Airport, about 12 kilometers from the city.

The scene once could have served as the set for an Orwellian movie. But not anymore, as it now stands against the glitter of the new terminal, which welcomes passengers with all the amenities of international standards.

And even with sleepy post-flight eyes, who can miss "Ararat." It's a well-known cognac from Armenia in variously sized bottles lined up on the shelves of the duty-free shop. The name appears many times in Armenia, sometimes as a male first name, sometimes as the title of a town or province. In Yerevan "Ararat" is everlasting in the form of a majestic mountain that is called "Mount Ağrı" by the Turkish people who reside on the western side of the border. In daylight in Yerevan the snow-capped mountain is usually hidden under heavy fog, but heads always turn to the site where it sits, stately. It represents a lost past for Armenians.

But today's Yerevan has been dominated by cranes representing realities rather than sentiments. It is a city of about 1.2 million trying to erase the traces of some 70 years of Soviet dominance. Construction of modern buildings, sometimes at the expense of historic ones, is in progress everywhere.

Casinos crowd the main street from the airport to the center of the city. International brand names and luxurious shops adorn the wide streets. Behind the dazzle, there are homes without running water and gas, even though the Armenian economy has seen some growth since the 1994 cease-fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

And income disparity is unmistakable. There are both ramshackle ladas and grand jeeps on the streets of Yerevan, where a loaf of bread costs 70 cents, a kilogram of oranges is $2-3 and a kilogram of meat ranges between $5 and $7. Renting a regular two-bedroom apartment in the center of the city costs about $350-400 a month, while the average salary is around $200. So Armenians say young people and even newlyweds either live with their parents or far from the city to reduce their expenditures. Also, many Armenians subsidize their living expenses with money from their relatives living abroad, and this group is considerable in size. While there are approximately 3.2 million Armenians in Armenia, there are about five million outside, 1.5 million of them living in the United States.

Sometimes it is a give and take, as many diaspora Armenians go to Armenia for surgeries and dental treatment because it is much less expensive there.

Oligarchs and their kitsch homes

There is a big house out in the country in the middle of nowhere still under construction. The gates around the house complex are adorned with golden motifs. It looks like a small palace designed by someone with awful taste. The guide says this is a typical house owned by an oligarch. Leaving the rest of the group in the van, he tries to get some information from the watchmen outside who look like body guards. He returns empty handed, warning the group not to take pictures.

But who are these oligarchs really? An Armenian economist says many of the oligarchs are in the parliament. And in the ruling Republican Party, there are only about 10 deputies who are not oligarchs.

Armenia and Turkey sail to new seas

The closed border between Armenia and Turkey makes things harder economically. The Armenian people look forward to the opening of the border -- closed in 1993 by Turkey in protest against the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan -- since the country is dependent on other states for energy supplies and most raw materials.

There are a lot of Russian investors in Armenia and there is not much other foreign direct investment. Some Armenians are concerned that dependence on Russia is a threat. Diaspora Armenians have also invested in Armenia, but they are weary because of corruption.

Landlocked Armenia has highway routes through Georgia to the north and Iran to the south, but they are not enough. Armenia is forced to pay higher transit costs for imports coming from Turkey. Even though the Turkish province of Kars is 20 kilometers away from the Armenian province of Gyumri, it takes at least 14 hours for a truck to reach Armenia through Georgia, increasing the costs for Armenia.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been the biggest challenge for the normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations because Turkey has made resolving the conflict a precondition. As there are signs of a possible resolution to the conflict and Turkey follows a "zero problem policy" with all its neighbors, there is hope. Both sides have started to emphasize a no-preconditions policy for the opening of the border.

Making matters even more hopeful, 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.

However, when exactly a concrete step will be taken by both sides is not known. Some observers worry that the Armenian diaspora could force the Armenian government to not go forward with the border opening until US President-elect Barack Obama delivers what he promised before his election: official recognition of the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. The Turkish government is equally adamant. Categorically denying "genocide" charges, Turkey says the killings of Anatolian Armenians came when Armenians revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with an invading Russian army.

But for the general public in Armenia, the opening of the border carries more importance than "genocide" recognition, at least for the time being.

For some, the question is whether or not Turkey can marginalize the diaspora even more.

Museum against magnificent view of Mt. Ağrı

"I've become a changed person since I started working here for the last two years. I constantly collect stories of death. And when you that you have that pressure in your brain, you have this helpless feeling."

These are the words of Hayk Demoyan, director of the Museum-Institute of the Armenian Genocide, opened in 1995.

At the end of the special tour he kindly offered to our group of journalists and civil society representatives, he complained that there was no direct contact between Turkish and Armenian historians.

The museum had a temporary exhibition on Sep. 2-15 called "Armenian Sport in the Ottoman Empire" reflecting the history of Armenian sports clubs and football teams in the Ottoman Empire until 1915. A total of about 70 photos, documents, newspapers and magazines were shown. According to the documents, the number of Armenian sports clubs in the Ottoman Empire reached 100 and two Armenian sportsmen represented Ottoman Turkey in the Fifth International Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912.

Demoyan mentions that they have plans to expand the museum and add an educational complex, particularly for the young visitors of the museum -- to help their psychological well-being. He stresses that there are no efforts to demonize Turks in the museum.

Outside, Armenians privately admit that they need to change their education system, which is full of hatred toward the Turkish people. And, speaking of young visitors, a two-year-old, holding his grandfather's hand, leaves the memorial complex, consisting of a 40-meter-high spire next to a circle of 12 tilted slabs representing lost provinces of what the Armenians call "Western Armenia" (Eastern Turkey) leaning over to guard an eternal flame.

Speaking Turkish in Yerevan

"Ne güzel!" (So beautiful!) a Turkish visitor says to another Turk as they look at the beautiful woodcarvings at the arts and crafts market, called Vernisage, close to the Republic Square. "Hadi alın o zaman" (Then come and buy) says the smiling vendor to the surprise of the Turkish visitors. Immediately, a conversations starts. The visitors learn that he moved to Yerevan from İstanbul in 1980 and that he is from the sports team Beyoğluspor. His name is Stephan Galloshyan, known by the last name Kalataş in İstanbul.

He says he lived in the district of Bakırköy for a long time, adding that he loves İstanbul and that his children still go back and forth. But, after seeing so much, he likes living in Yerevan more.

His hands show all the signs that he carves the wood products himself.

Indeed, there are handmade backgammon boards sold at Vernisage. Their covers are delicately carved. Vernisage also features handmade lacework, silver jewelry and carpets. Additionally, ornamental pomegranates, a symbol of Armenia that also represent fertility, are sold in abundance at the market.

There is a flea market next to Vernisage featuring such strange items as used surgical devices, small and big parts of random machines and strange chemicals placed in hundreds of jars.

And then there is Sarkis, the owner of a small fast-food restaurant that features Turkish "lahmacun" or "Armenian pizza" combined with the drink "ayran." Sarkis is a talkative Turkish-speaking person. Once you ask this man in his 40s where he learned the language, he will start telling his story: "Once upon a time, something happened. I won't tell you what happened because you are guests here. But I can tell you that your grandfather did something to my grandmother. And my grandmother was in an orphanage in Syria. She was forbidden to speak Armenian. My Turkish is a legacy to my grandmother."

MerhaBarev project continues

Turkish people say "merhaba," Armenians "barev." A photography project was born out of the combination: MerhaBarev.

It started in 2006, when five Armenian photojournalists from the Patker Photo Agency went to İstanbul to take photos for a week. And so did five Turkish photojournalists from the Nar Photo Agency in Yerevan. Using the black-and-white language of photography, they narrated the traditions, every-day life and people of the two cities.

The project was showcased in a number of exhibitions in Yerevan and Gyumri in Armenia and in İstanbul and Diyarbakır in Turkey, as well as in Georgia's Tbilisi. A book was created out of the MerhaBarev project in four languages -- Armenian, Turkish, English and German -- as well as calendars and posters.

Following that success, the Patker Photo Agency, in a partnership with the Turkish Fotoroportaj.org, further developed another project this year by sending five photographers from Turkey to shoot in Gyumri and five Armenian photographers to Kars for a week in April and June. Then, as the last part of MerhaBarev, a border journey was embarked upon by Armenian Ruben Mangasaryan and Turk Ali Saltan, who made a two-week journey together along both sides of the closed border in October.

Together with National Geographic Traveler Armenia, they are producing a special issue of the magazine dedicated entirely to MerhaBarev. The magazine will be in Armenian with inserts in Turkish and English. Four thousand copies will be freely distributed to the people living on both sides of the border. They indicate that the special issue is probably the best way to reach their most important target audience: people living on both sides of the closed border.

30 November 2008, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Yerevan İstanbul Zaman

His Life Passed With Struggling Against Genocide Lie
Aydınlık magazine issued an interview of Gündüz Aktan on its issue dated 23 November 2008, which was not brought out before and which included genocide claims.

Gündüz Aktan dedicated most of his life for struggling against genocide lie. His contribution to our documentary entitled “Great Lie” cannot be forgotten. We had met him at his house in Oran on 14 January 2006 and talked about what Turkey should do about the claims. You will be reading the interview of Gündüz Aktan, who died in November the 19th that was never issued before.

AYDINLIK- Do the genocide claims has a basis within the international law?

GÜNDÜZ AKTAN – Genocide is the greatest crime against humanity. Therefore, it can only be defined by law and rule if the crime is committed or not. Genocide is defined at the 2nd article of the UN Convention dated 1948. The 6th article of the Convention states: “Either an authorized court or international court rules on whether the genocide is committed or not. Armenian genocide is a claim that includes incidents, which have occurred before 1948 convention.

According to law, if a rule does not exist during the time when a crime is committed, it is not considered that a crime is committed. Since there was no rule regarding genocide in 1915’s, although some kind of crimes might have been committed, these cannot be called as ‘genocide crime’ The Armenians and their supporters suggest: ‘Let’s consider 1948 Convention while 1915 incidents occur’. As you can see, the incidents are such claims, which do not comply with law.”

The Armenians “discovered” in 1965 that genocide crime was committed. They did not claim that these incidents were genocide until 50 years later from 1915. Seeing that Jewish genocide has great influences, and compensations are paid, they said: “We also had experienced a tragedy. Let’s present that as genocide. However, there is no ruling on the issue. What have they done? They have done this with ASALA. ASALA killed a numerous of our diplomats. And the World met with this incident. The World public opinion thought as: ‘Since ASALA youth is sacrificing him; there must be a reason.’ Then genocide claims were introduced.”

American Presidents deliver statements on every 24 of April. Armenians are attempting to include “genocide” expression there. As if when President of USA says “genocide”, genocide is going to exist. 17 parliaments over the world have reached a verdict on the existence of genocide. I think Armenians have asked the best jurists of the world and said: “Continue making propaganda activities, convince parliaments, receive resolutions from them, convince the President of USA for pronouncing “genocide”, but never appeal to a court.” Because, the relocation we have experienced, is not genocide according to the second article of the 1948 Convention.

AYDINLIK- There is a proposal, which you also support; taking the issue to The Hague Justice Court and UN…

AKTAN- It is not possible to take to the UN. They have appointed an English expert at the lower Commission of the UN Human Rights System on this issue and the mentioned expert has prepared a report and called the Armenian incidents as “genocide”. In 1985, the lower commission did not agree with the report. This cannot be solved within the system of the UN.

Can you take it to The Hague Justice Court? Yes! According to the 9Th article of the Convention there are three items such as “applying, assessing and fulfilling the targets of the convention”. Here, it is indicated that a conflict can be brought to Court by one of the parties.

However, The Hague Justice Court cannot admit carrying out an article of 1948 convention back to the incidents of 1915. Secondly, we can say: “So many years have passed over it; there is no witness, evidence and suspect. How can we deal with it?” It is a small possibility. Maybe, it can say “I’ll deal with it, anyway.” I am not disturbed over this decision. If we enter to such a process, then it is more probable that Armenians will be in trouble. Because, they killed more than 500 thousand people. We have a political will of Kaçaznuni a member of Tashnak Party, who has fought in Turkey. He is the head of the Tashnak. The report he gave to Tashnak Congress in Brussels in 1923, is great.

The occurrence is completely political. Located at a certain part of Turkey, a group, whose population is 16% demands to discharge 84%, and wishes to establish a native country. All the incidents occur in the history are always bloody. Wars, massacres…these are not genocide. During the World War I and II, more people died comparing to Jewish genocide. Can these called as genocide?

There are two parties at a political struggle: They fight for a piece of land. If civilians die during a struggle and a massacre is committed, this would be a heavy crime but it would not called as genocide. According to law, if the ones, who died during the relocation, die because of negligence or are killed on purpose, this would be a crime but it could not called as genocide crime. There is another category for this: War crimes or heavy war crimes. Therefore, legal authorities probably warn Armenians as “Never enter in those areas, since you have made a political struggle. You can never call this struggle as genocide in law.”

AYDINLIK- Don’t Western historians and parliaments know that Turks are right on the issue? And if they do, then why they pass opposing resolutions?

AKTAN- In my opinion, the Western public opinions and politicians believe that the Armenian genocide had occurred. One of the reasons for that is the Christian solidarity. Because they know that Turkey will never accept genocide and they do not wish Turkey to be a member of the EU, they are using this point against Turkey. We had appealed to EU in 1987 for the membership. EP had passed a resolution two months later which ruled that “1915-1916 incidents are genocide and Turkey cannot be a member of EU without acknowledging this.” The date was 1987!

AYDINLIK- How can Turkey get away from this problem?
AKTAN- We can struggle by intensifying the number of our history books and translating our archives into English, French, French, German and etc. However, it is evident that it is not possible to win the struggle by this way. It is hard to stop people who have faith. Then there is only law option left.

I told at The Hague Justice Court that there is a very slight possibility. Is there another method? Yes, there is. This method is again the Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague. The Ottoman Empire had supported this in 1907. Can we make it work now? I think it is okay. However, it should first be accepted by the Armenians. The Armenians were not able to accept even a history commission, which do not have any kind of binding condition. In my opinion, they won’t accept it but nevertheless, we should say: “If you have confidence, show yourself!” We should have to say: “Here is the Arbitration Court; if you want to make an appeal, do it.”

Archival documents in Turkey are in favor of us; the archival documents in Russia are not in favor of us and the biggest archives for Armenians are in Russia. Armenians do not open their archives. For instance; the Tashnak archive in Boston, is forbidden for us. And the Armenian Patriarch archives here were taken to Kudus during the World War II. I think we should bring those archives here and open them.


Civilization And Humanity Lesson Once Again

Valuable cultural treasure in Kars is exposed with an international project entitled “Alliances for Cultural Tourism in Eastern Anatolia”.

Delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the “Alliances Program for Cultural Tourism in Eastern Anatolia” which will be conducted by institutions of the United Nations and Ministry of Culture and Tourism in the context of “the fund for Reaching Targets of Development” that is constituted by the government of Spain and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), İsmet Yılmaz, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said: “It is anticipated that the “Alliances Project for Cultural Tourism in Eastern Anatolia” will be completed in 2010. 3 million 800 thousands dollars of budget has been allocated for the project for 2 years. We thank to the government of Spain for that. Culture is the common heritage of the humanity. Therefore, this project should not be considered as a support project for the Turkish government or Kars population by the government of Spain but rather it should be regarded as a support to their own cultural heritage, which is the common heritage of the humanity. Cultures do not posses an owner; but they have consignees. It is our responsibility to hand over the heritage better than we have taken from the previous generation.”

Naif Alibeyoğlu, the Mayor of Kars expressed: “Kars is a lighthouse, which is situated at one the corners of Turkey; it is a bordering province. However, now we believe that we will be a lighthouse at one the corners of the world. Stating that one of the riches they posses is city of ‘Ani’, he indicted that it is an important step to widen the road to the antique city of Ani .”

Expressing that the province carries traces of the Ottoman and the Seljuks, besides the traces of Armenia and Georgian culture, Naif Alibeyoğlu said: “Cultures do not posses an owner; but they have hereditary owners.

On the other hand, it was reported that restoration work for Tigran Honents Church at the Ani ruins and the Ebul Menucebr Mosque has started at the same time and an environmental cleaning at the Church, where a drainage research excavation is executed, was brought forward, the original flooring would be bring into daylight, and by cleaning the roof of the Ebul Menucebr Mosque, the original covering will be exposed. (*)

The developments should be a lesson for the Armenians, who have destroyed Turkish history in Armenia on one hand; and on the other, attempted with a great effort to write a history, which has never occurred. Moreover, these developments are a new source of pride for the Turks, who give a civilization and humanity lesson to Armenians.

While the Ani ruins, which were damaged by the mines that are run by Armenians, are attempted to be repaired by Turkey, the restoration work, which has launched all over the country for leaving the historical tissue to the next generations without displaying a racist approach, continues to receive praise from all over the world.

Source: (*) Star Daily Newspaper-17.11.2008 Anadolu Agency-18.11.2008, GenocideReality.com

Music Beyond Disagreements
Turkish, Greek, Cypriot, Armenian, Jewish, Iranian, Egyptian and American pianist will meet at the concert entitled “Music beyond Disagreements” which will be organized in Brussels by ‘Istanbul 2010 Europe Cultural Capital Agency and TR Plus Turkey Center in Europe’ on 3 December 2008 and give peace messages to the world.

The meeting for the concert will be held at the Conrad Hotel and was attended by the State Minister as well as Deputy Prime Minister Hayati Yazıcı.

Stressing that the concert is important in the framework of strengthening the dialogue among the cultures, Yazıcı, stated that pianist Hüseyin Sermet will represent Turkey at the concert, which will be attended by 9 countries.

Stressing that İstanbul is a city, which is the European Culture Capital of 2010, and has been a capital to 3 Empires and contains culture and history all over and includes significant symbols of 3 religions, Hayati Yazıcı, Minister of State and Deputy Primier, said:”Istanbul deserves to be the European Culture Capital not only for the year 2010 but for all the times. ”

Indicating that they established an association with his Armenian artist associates by considering their 500 years of friendship with Turkish Armenians, Pianist Hüseyin Sermet, Chair of the Association for Artists United for Peace, stated that the Armenian Diaspora was not warm towards the issue and his Armenian friend were exposed to pressure.

Expressing that they have widened their community and founded the Association for Artists United for Peace in Paris, and the target of the association is to serve to peace and friendship without making a discrimination among political views, religions, languages, races and sects, Serment stated that in order to join the association an artist has to be exceptionally successful at his performance.

Hüseyin Sermet said: “One of the most significant services that an artist can present apart from his art is to serve humanity, friendship, and brotherhood. We will attempt to realize this as much as we can.”

Besides symposiums and conferences in Europe cultural art activities, Zeynep Gögüş, the Chair for TR Plus Turkey Center in Europe, stated that they organized the concert thinking that it will enlighten Turkey’s face in Europe and they target to introduce the historical and social heritage of Istanbul. The concert invitations have been sent to European Commission and European Parliament.

Hüseyin Sermet from Turkey, George L. Lazaridis from Greece, Cyprien Katsaris from Greek Cypriot, Rüya Taner from KKTC, Seta Tanyel from Turkish Armenian Society, İsrael Kastoriono Turkish Jewish Society, Ramzi Yassa from Eagypt, David Lively from the USA, Nima Sarkechik from Iran, will perform at the concert. (*)

Friendship and peace suit us. Everything can be done for this…

The words of Armenian origin American artist Kardash Onnig, who had attended to an art festival in Kars, in fact, summarize everything…

“I’ve never thought that an Armenian, who sings Armenian songs, would encounter with such a friendship. I am in the middle of the Turkish sea, which dances in the company of Armenian melodies. What happiness! My eyes are full with tears.”

Art is opening its arms to friendships and continue to “sing songs” despite everything while fanatic and racist Diaspora do not give up fighting with”an imaginary enemy”.

Source: (*) Anadolu Agency-21.11.2008 GenocideReality.com

Will Art Soften An Ossified Rage And A Light Reach At Souls?
Trabzon Art Theater (TST) will put on a play entitled “Brother Bağdasar” which is directed by Armenian origin director Hrant Hakobyan and written by again Armenian origin writer Hagop Baronyan in 1887, in Armenia, where they were invited officially.

Indicating that the play entitled “Brother Bağdasar” was put on stage in İstanbul and Ankara besides Trabzon, the director of TST Necati Zengin stated the following:

“Our theater is officially invited to Armenia by the Academic State Theater of the city of Vanadzor. This event is the first of its kind in Turkey. In another words, a theater group from Turkey will go and present its game officially to people of Armenia for the first time.”

Indicating that positive reactions are received from the art and theater circles for the play, which has attracted great attention since the day it was first played in Trabzon, stated that they will be going to Armenia on the 22nd of November and playing “Brother Bağdasar” in the city of Vanadzor during 25-27 of November.

Zengin also noted the following:

“We have made a significant cultural service in the name of Turkey by playing an Armenian play and receiving attention in Trabzon. Staging ‘Brother Bağdasar’, which is regarded as the most important classical play of the Armenian Theater after 120 years in Turkish for the first time in Trabzon Art Theater, can be considered as an important turning point for the cultural history of Trabzon. We believe that art and particularly theater will make a contributing to the resolution of the problems that have occurred in the history`` (*)

While it is not even possible to talk about a “Turkish existence” in Armenia, and all Turkish pieces of art were systematically destroyed with an annihilation policy, the invitation of the play, which exposes the respect to Armenian art and artists since the Ottoman, is regarded as a surprising and a pleasing development.

Source: (*) Anadolu Agency-17.11.2008 GenocideReality.com

Handcuffing Science
Again France…A commission of the Parliament has taken a decision in the framework of the “process for the Armenian genocide bill”, which gives the following message: “Politics should not write history”. In this situation, the content that was adopted at the parliament may not compose a majority for sufficient numbers of “yes” votes in the Senate. So, this would prevent it from becoming a law.

Previously, similar situations had occurred in the USA but yet, every year it is brought on the agenda.

But, the situation may be different than of America’s if there are insufficient votes in the French Senate.


The situation in America is connected with the change at the vote arithmetic after White House has put its influence forward.

If the change at the vote arithmetic of the French Senate would be as a result of a commission report such as “Politics should not write history”, a “reference” would come into being. Later, attempts, which carry a genocide claim against Armenians will encounter with this reference obstacle.

On the other hand,

The afore-mentioned bill is an extremely serious human rights violation. The following bill, which could only go well with Mussolini or Nazi Hitler, is:

“It is a historical fact that Turks had committed genocide against Armenians. It is forbidden to write, say and defend the opposite. It is penalized with 6 months of imprisonment and 45 thousand Euros”

It is even forbidding a scientific article.

However, “science is nourished with suspect.”

This move, which forbids science, is an instance of barbarism.

Writing history by raising hands for a passage that is put in front of them and forbidding even to discuss it, is not only handcuffing science but it is also imprisonment of freedom of thought, which is one of the fundamental human rights.

This is an embarrassing situation for France and England, which are the cradles of democracy and freedom.

Thank god, the commission brought a great disgrace forward.

Let’s see what will come after that…

Sarkozy, the new President of France, unfortunately, is at the ranks of the people, who believe that “politics can write history”…

Prejudices against Turkey, on one hand; and on the other hand, votes of the Armenian origin citizens in France, is leading Sarkozy for taking sides on the Armenian issue. And, if America sides “Genocide against Armenians” during Obama’s presidency, there is enough reasons to get concerned for the stance of Sarkozy, who would perceive this as a guide for his line.

Source: Güneri Civaoğlu- Milliyet Daily Newspaper-21.11.2008 GenocideReality.com

Turkish Nationalists Urge To Arrest Intellectuals Calling To Apologize To Armenians 06.12.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Some Turkish intellectuals and academicians are getting ready to launch a campaign to apologize to the Armenian nation for denial of the ‘Great Calamity’ of 1915, Vatan Turkish daily reports.

“We are apologizing for not being able to discuss this topic openly for such a long time, nearly one hundred years. I follow the dictates of reason,” Dr. Cengiz Aktar said, when explaining why he joined the campaign against the Armenian Genocide denial.

“What happened to Armenians is not well-known but people are forced to forget it. The topic is highly provocative. Turks have heard much from their elders, their grandfathers about this calamity which, unfortunately has not been studied properly. Therefore, many people in Turkey, with good intentions, think that nothing happened to Armenians,” Aktar said.

Meanwhile, Turkish nationalists demand that the people “supporting Armenian claims should be arrested.”

Turkey's Sinister Blend Of Watergate And The Dreyfus Affair - Inside The Ergenekon Case By Ece Temelkuran
Turkey is facing a new round in her relationship with democracy. Opponents of the Islamic governing party, known as the AK for the initials of its Turkish name, are being accused being members of a secret state gang called Ergenekon. The trials in this case, which are expected to last for years, began last month. The sinister undertow portends the likelihood that Turkey is about to experience its own version of a 'colored revolution'.

A few weeks ago in Diyarbak?r, in the Kurdish region of Turkey, a prominent Kurdish intellectual said: ‘Maybe I should appear as a commentator on the Ergenekon case’. Putting on a sour, hesitant face she carried on: ‘Since my husband’s assassin is still unknown I can be counted as a victim of deep state like many other Kurdish and Turkish leftists.’ The group of well-known intellectuals from both ethnicities gathered round the table were silent; nobody knew how to respond. Those who had for years been vocal about any political issue were now, like many of their peers, speechless.

That is why one should be warned about the Ergenekon case. Since the Ergenekon case represents the advanced level of classical Turkish chaos, this is not a good time to start learning about Turkey unless you are experienced in this ‘lonely and beloved country’. Of course, it makes the story easier if you are promoting a certain political engagement such as Kemalism or political Islam, but if you want to maintain a leftist stance on the Ergenekon case, there starts the hesitation, silence and confusion. And unfortunately this messy, pervasive state of mind has arisen at one of the most important cross-roads of not only Turkish political history but also the Middle East.

Ergenekon is the name of a legendary valley in Turkish mythology. According to the legend, the valley in Central Asia was home to the ancient Turks, until a grey wolf led them out onto the road to the eventual nationhood. Since last January this piece of mythology has become extremely vital for Turkey. Ergenekon is now the name of an alleged ultra-nationalist, ultra-Kemalist gang, which has been operating since 1999 as a part of the ‘deep state’. Their alleged aim is to organize coups against the AKP government. Like coups, the term ‘deep state’ has been and still is a very popular term in Turkish, used to describe renegade members of the security and military forces said to act outside the law in what they judge to be Turkey’s best interests. The term has a very long history, which goes back to the Ottoman period, but the contemporary version generally begins with the Cold War era. Under the name of ‘counter-guerrilla’, it was formed to combat the rising leftist movement and later on the Kurdish uprising in South Eastern Turkey. The secret entity represents illegal state violence, but also drug dealing and all kinds of smuggling, first in the Kurdish region then in whole country. The growing illegal, invisible and untouchable body has been the source of state terror against Kurdish and Turkish politicians, intellectuals, trade unions, leftist student organizations.

Although the whole country became aware of the concept, especially during the coup years in the 1980s, the deep state was revealed beyond any doubt in 1996 when a car accident happened in Susurluk, a town in the Marmara region. In the car were a senior police chief, a prominent right-wing politician and a wanted assassin who was especially famous for killing or ordering the killings of Kurdish leaders and intellectuals. Although the accident revealed the relations between government and assassins, the case opened against the ‘Susurluk gang’ was obscured and blocked by the concept of ‘state secrets’. Soon after the interrogations began, Mehmet Aar, then minister of the interior, was linked to the case because of his alleged relations with mafia bosses and ultra-nationalist organizations. His defense was built on the concept of ‘state secret’, which was powerful enough to legitimize any illegal act. The accusations were paralysed with the help of the term and the case never progressed. But the Turkish left, that has been politically dispersed since 1980, for the first time came together en masse to protest. The name of the civilian action was ‘Darkness for 1 minute’. We switched our lights on and off for 1 minute at 9 o’clock every night. It was an easy and legally costless action, so as a result the mass got bigger and even included those who live in the apartments of the National Intelligence Service. For a couple of months people blew whistles, called the residents of their districts for action and chanted ‘One minute darkness for daylight!’, a reference to the idea of bringing the criminals into daylight. It never happened. The case followed a spiral-like route and every time the prosecutions ended up with either the sacred term of ‘state secret’ or the immunity of the MPs. The only positive outcome of the case was that society was mobilized more than it ever had been since the coup.

Among the sulking faces were the Islamists. The Felicity Party did not admire the mobilization at all. The leader of the party, Necmettin Erbakan, created a sarcastic metaphor for the activists and the action. He said ‘They are doing glu glu dance’ which practically meant nothing but he was referring to the African tribes and their native dance. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then Mayor of Istanbul, was one of the leading figures in the Felicity Party. As far as the Turkish media knows he was silent about the deep state and the Susurluk gang. There was another silent name, Mümtazer Türköne. He was the consultant of Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, during the Susurluk case. His fame comes from making her say ‘The one who shoots or is shot by a bullet for this country is a hero’ about the Susurluk case. This motto was created not only to defend the Susurluk gang members and eventually the counter-guerrilla but also to exacerbate the racist, ultra-nationalist attack on Kurdish society. This name and this little story does not mean anything to you at the moment but just keep him in mind for a couple of paragraphs. At some point this name and the political route that it followed will show how the political compass of Turkey broke down during recent years. This name also will function as a beacon to find our way through the mess of the Ergenekon case.

Turkey couldn’t judge the Susurluk gang but public opinion was convinced there were links between the mafia, ultra-nationalist organizations and the state. Radikal, then a very new, leftist newspaper made its debut publishing striking stories about Susurluk. They now and then gave two-page spreads to maps showing the links between illegal organizations and political figures dating back to the coup years. But even this committed newspaper lost track when things got so complicated that no map was sufficient to show all the links. The complexity of the issue created a pollution of information, and gradually those following the case gave up. The Susurluk case left behind ‘1 Minute darkness’ activists who eventually became a loose civil action group which, among many other oppositional actions, organized the anti-war campaign that stopped Turkey joining the invasion of Iraq.

The ‘oppressed’ becomes the ‘oppressor’

To cut a long story short, in 2001 after the Virtue Party, descendant of the Felicity Party, was closed down because of its anti-secular actions, the young, dynamic politicians in the party started a new movement and soon they established a new party, the AKP. Their leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan was held as a political prisoner for reading a poem which runs: ‘Minarets are our spears, mosques are our helmets’. He was a young, fledgling leader when he was imprisoned but when he stepped out his prime ministry was almost guaranteed along with his image of being an ‘oppressed political leader’, an image still in use even in his second term in office. He was the handsome face of moderate Islam, an oppressed soul and, as an owner of fast-growing companies, a capitalist. These virtues made him the tailor-made leader for new neo-liberal party with conservative topping.

On coming to power the AKP began one of the most important eras of Turkish political history. Their civil discourse was pleasing to liberal intellectual circles. The party fitted in with the Greater Middle East Project long envisioned by the White House. The big corporate fat cats were quite happy with this business-oriented government. The supposedly long-oppressed conservative Islamists were looking to the future with hope. Fetullah Gülen’s community, the widest religion-based economic and political network in Turkey, constituted just after the coup in 1980, supported the new government. Seeing the support of liberal intellectuals and up to a certain degree leftists, the European Union was reassured about the party. Since the party was talking about pluralism and the ‘Kurdish question’ openly, Kurdish politicians were fine with the AKP as well. For a while, an absolute and uniformly annoying ‘stanno tutti bene’ situation was in place.

From the beginning of their first term the AKP, starting from their leader to the lowest-ranking party member, created and shared a mythology of being oppressed. The history of ‘oppressed Muslims’ goes back to the establishment of the republic. In the common description, the Kemalist elite, centering power in a secular, unitary state, oppressed the Muslim community. Sociologists defined the AKP government as ‘the margins’ taking over the ‘centre’ or the triumph of the ‘tradition’ against the ‘modernist state’. Since the intellectual staff of the political movement wasn’t capable of theorizing and to a certain degree polishing the reign of the AKP, the party gathered an intellectual support group consisting of former leftists who have converted to neo-liberalism. The group legitimized the Islamist AKP basically by saying that the long wait of the oppressed people of Turkey is over, as they are now taking the country from the old guard of the Kemalist elite. The AKP leaders, members and supporters were represented as the ‘light bulbs’ of freedom and ‘real democracy’. The same liberal intellectual circles also all but became the guarantors of democracy and the regime, especially for the European Union.

On the other hand, for ordinary people these complicated democracy theory lessons were not suitable. Another strategy was used for that level. A variety of rumours was spread around. ‘Before Atatürk we read and understood the Quran but his legacy made us less Muslim’, ‘Before the AKP nobody thought of poverty, but now its civil extensions, the charities, are pouring money on the poor’, ‘Our girls will go to universities with their headscarves’. . . And there were more. Anatolians never thought about the meaning of the Quran, the AKP has been charged by German courts with committing fraud over international Islamic charity organizations, and the girls never made it to the universities. But the rumours fulfilled their duty and among the public the moral triumph belonged to the AKP.

Each and every time the party was going through a crisis of public trust, there came an incident of ‘oppression of Islam and democracy’. While these two concepts stuck to each other in a very dangerous way, the tension between the party and the army was the issue causing the most agitation. A mythology was created: the grass roots of the AKP were resisting the military, civil bureaucracy and the elite that together have long been exploiting the religious beliefs of the country. The masses who are intimidated by the AKP’s rise and the possibility of the second man of the party, Abdullah Gül, becoming president went onto the streets for ‘flag demonstrations’. The demonstrations were against anti-secularism first, but soon turned into ultra-nationalist meetings. Shortly after these famous meetings came the elections, and the AKP won a second term after getting 47 per cent of the votes. The Prime Minister said in his victory speech that ‘the ones who didn’t vote for them are the colours of this country’. It was obvious that for the prime minister the ones who didn’t support him were only the garnish of the country, and the AKP would be served as the only main course.

In its second term the AKP was even more reckless. Not only the personal political style of the prime minister became more ruthless, but also financially the party became more fearless. The alleged corruptions of the AKP mayors and the cabinet were growing. But then came the great rescuer of the AKP — the case for the party’s closure. It was vital PR for the party and it did its job. Since it is anti-democratic to close down a party, even the most committed critics of the party wrote and spoke out against the closure. Plus, in the political and intellectual arena it was now an ideological sin to criticize the AKP. An atmosphere was created in which every criticism of the AKP made you seem like those who are trying to block the democratic process by means of the closure case. The AKP was once again the ‘great oppressed’ in spite of its long list of human rights violations, fierce neo-liberal policies and anti-secular moves at every administrative level. It was now once again a sin to ‘oppress’ the oppressor.

A political tool or the end of deep state: Ergenekon

It all started in last January when a large cache of hand grenades was found in a district on the margins of Istanbul. Soon these hand grenades were linked with the attack against Cumhuriyet, the secularist, Kemalist newspaper and gradually to the attack against the Council of State. These attacks were carried out by a group of people who described themselves as ‘very religious’. The reason for their attacks was that the newspaper was against the headscarf and the State of Council delivered a verdict against the lifting of the ban on headscarves in government buildings. The grenades were also linked to retired generals who became committed defenders of secularism and Kemalism in their civilian life by founding associations. These associations became even more famous through their involvement in the flag demonstrations. So the main idea was that there was a gang making provocations against the symbols of Kemalist state, actually in order to agitate people against the government. A 2,500-page indictment was handed to the court on July 14, 2008. 86 people, editors of newspapers, retired generals, political party leaders, directors of TV channels were accused during the Susurluk Case. Most of these people were known as ‘nationalists’ who still religiously believed in the secular nation-state and saw the AKP as a major danger to a unitary, secular Turkey. Some of them were famous paramilitary figures who have long been wanted for questioning.

The name of the case, Ergenekon, came from a document found in a former TV host’s home. TV host Tuncay Güney once made programs for an Islamic TV channel and at the moment he is a rabbi in Canada. Now and then we see him saying obscure things live on air from Canada. The alleged gang’s name was written on a piece of paper at his place, according to the indictment.

The timing of Ergenekon overlapped with the case for closing down the AKP. A considerable number of people came up with the argument that this case was a political tool against the nationalist-Kemalist camp—an eye-for-an-eye kind of move. The way the suspects were prosecuted exacerbated this argument. Although his latest works were calling ultra-nationalists to action, the well-known leading columnist of Cumhuriyet Ilhan Selçuk was for years a highly praised and respected leftist columnist. Selçuk, 84, was taken from his home at 4 o’clock in the morning as the alleged leader of the gang. Mustafa Balbay, the representative of the same newspaper in Ankara, was also taken into custody as though he was a fugitive. The arrests were like a ‘lesson’ to those who take an oppositional stand against the government. On the other hand, among the names there were suspects of political assassinations. So it was not easy to categorize the case purely as an attack on opponents of the government. Once you talked about the case negatively it was guaranteed that your name would appear in pro-AKP newspapers as an ‘Ergenekon-lover’, ‘coup-wanter’, ‘military-toy-boy’.

The newspaper, which was confiscated by the State and then sold extremely cheaply to a group whose CEO is the prime minister’s son-in-law, has been and still is the most enthusiastic celebrator of the case. Among many TV channels, radio stations and newspapers Yeniafak, shamelessly close to the government, and Zaman which is a trademark of Fetullah followers, represented the case as an iron fist against those who want a coup in Turkey. The new newspaper, Taraf ,was the most vocal one about the case. Its columnists were former leftists who have now become liberals. One of its editors is famous for articles supporting the attack on Afghanistan and the Iraq invasion. She was shown as the ‘voice of the White House in Turkey’. The financial sources of the paper are still being discussed. Among many arguments the most interesting one is that followers of Fetullah Gülen finance the paper.

With the zeal of converts, all the ‘retired leftist’ columnists baptised the AKP as the most courageous government of all, and the Ergenekon case as the end to all our problems of democracy. Through the media the case became a witch-hunt. Anything that hinders the AKP’s program was probably linked to Ergenekon gang. I remember the fierce oppression that the unions went through on Mayday in Istanbul. One day prior to the demonstrations the prime minister was sharp in his words, saying that there would be no holds barred against those who wanted to demonstrate in Taksim, the centre of Istanbul. ‘It would be a disaster if the feet became the head’, he said. It was a symbolic act for the workers to show that they don’t recognize the limits of the 1980 coup that banned them from the city centre on Maydays. But what happened was that the police even dropped a bomb in the emergency department of a hospital, where demonstrators were trying to hide from the tear gas spreading almost across the whole European side of the city. The following day, press releases and pro-AKP intellectuals were commenting on probable links between trade unions and the Ergenekon gang. Yet another interesting detail was that in those mainstream American newspapers which are more than eager to put Turkey on their front page when it comes to lifting of the headscarf ban or any other moderate Islam issue, there was not even one sentence about the Mayday violence which turned Istanbul into an invaded city. Instead, national and international media quoted the prime minister saying that ‘I am the prosecutor of Ergenekon case’. This exciting tone made some of the analysts think that the case was not intended to do away with the deep state, but to take it over from the established forces. Long before this, it had been reported that the police forces had gradually started to become Fetullah followers. But now it was time for a final move to take over the deep state from secular, nation-state defenders.

Another argument was that the army and the AKP made a secret agreement just before the Ergenekon case when the prime minister and the chief general met in Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, and never revealed what they talked about. According to some sources, it is a ‘cleaning operation’ for the army and the deep state or a ‘recreation project’ for both the AKP and the deep state.

‘A piece of paper’: Questions are forbidden!

As the prosecutions for the case carried on, even the best analysts became mute. First of all the 2,500-page indictment was full of recordings of personal telephone calls that have nothing to do with the case. All these recordings were leaked to the press long before the case officially opened. For instance, among these recordings were Ilhan Selçuk’s conversations about Fashion TV or gossip about his colleagues. It was as if the aim was to degrade the dignity of symbolic figures in the Kemalist camp, rather than prosecuting them. Those taken by the police were freed within a couple of days, but the news about their personal telephone conversations kept appearing in pro-AKP newspapers and web-sites—to the extent that erotic exchanges between a woman columnist and a party leader, or their comments on an episode of ‘Sex and The City’, were read widely. The telephone recordings have become the most important issue on country’s agenda. Recordings of prominent figures in the Kemalist elite were put on YouTube or other web-sites. Each and every time we heard recordings of a Republican Party (CHP) member, a Supreme Court judge or a university dean criticizing the AKP or making a joke about the prophet. Prominent figures in society one by one told the press that they are oppressed by recording-phobia. Their main concern was that these recordings were done by the secret police in support of the AKP. When the press asked questions about the issue the Minister of Transport commented: ‘If you don’t commit any crimes, why should you worry about anyone listening to your telephone calls!’ And somehow this whole issue became a joke thanks to Turkey’s very special habit and talent of normalizing anything. Soon we all were joking about the ticky tacky sounds we hear during our telephone calls. This outrageous revelation was overshadowed by the celebrities taken into custody as part of the Ergenekon case.

Even though there was a serious part of the Ergenekon indictment, the not-so-serious, red-carpet part was much more visible for sure. A gay singer famous for his ‘snake-dance’, a very respected middle aged actor and a list of celebrities are counted as alleged torturers or gang members of the Ergenekon gang. Their names were on a piece of paper in one of the retired generals’ home like many other evidences that the indictment stands on. But you should be careful when saying such things. Since there was a witch-hunt, including the trustworthiness of the evidence nothing could be questioned about the Ergenekon case. During this ongoing witch-hunt, it is not enough to stop criticizing the AKP in fear of being counted as Ergenekon defender. You should not ask questions about the Ergenekon case either. Questions such as:

If this case is intended to question the deep state or at least a part of this illegal entity, how come the indictment has no relation to the Kurdish issue? Since the deep state committed its recent crimes against Kurdish politicians, businessmen and intellectuals, there must have been something about them in the indictment. So, where are they?

If this case is against the deep state that organizes coups and if the government is so eager to judge coup attempts, why don’t they start with the visible one done in 1980 rather than running after invisible ones?

If the government is so against anti-democratic interventions and eager to judge the generals who have such intentions, why didn’t they change the 15th amendment of the constitution that gives judicial immunity to the 1980s coup generals?

These are just a couple of examples of possible sinful questions about the indictment.

The indictment was initially supposed to shed light on every political assassination committed in Turkey starting from Musa Anter, a larger-than-life Kurdish writer; Ugur Mumcu, a journalist who was killed with a car-bomb for finding alleged links between the deep state and the Kurdish separatist movement; Hrant Dink, the Armenian journalist who wrote and spoke in favour of recognition of the Armenian community in Turkey, and was killed by an ultra-nationalist teenager linked to the police forces. This promising indictment gradually became more and more circus-like with the addition of new prosecutions. This circus-like trend overlapped with the Supreme Court’s decision about the case against the AKP, which was in favor of the party. Some argued that after the party guaranteed that it wasn’t going to be closed, the Ergenekon case lost its importance for the government.

One of the latest prosecutions is against a famous transvestite, Sisi, who happened to be doing a documentary called ‘The Women of the Republic’, probably a Kemalist product representing the role models of Kemalism in country’s early period. The other prosecution is against the well-known actress Nurseli Idiz, whose latest work involved her disguising herself as Kemal Atatürk. The media follow-up of the prosecutions was even more awkward then the people themselves. The liberal columnists who are over-rating the case, especially the female ones, made fun of these two, commenting on how they looked, what they wore, how they loved to be taken by the police etc. The following week, Sisi was a guest on the TV show of the most famous pop star in Turkey, and Idiz was seen on a daytime women’s show. Both of them talked about the psychological torture that they went through, and the only democratic support they got was the ‘Oh my god’s that they received from the TV audience. While Sisi was talking about psychological torture, she said it was up to European standards—and she was not being ironic at all.

Most of the people taken into police custody were not accused of anything, and were only made to wait for at least three days at the police office to be questioned about the alleged gang. But you cannot ask if it was necessary to take people into custody to ask a couple of questions. The reason is not only the witch-hunt that might then catch up with you; there are also serious names among the accused. For instance, the police chief who started the operation against the alleged Ergenekon gang in the first place. The reason for his prosecution was that they found a piece of paper in his home showing links between Ergenekon members. His defence was that it was normal and that he was the one working on the case. Such contradictory, almost silly details of the indictment make it very difficult to believe that it is as serious as the deep state itself. And one might think that as a threatened writer in Turkey, since I am one of the potential targets of such a gang, I have every right to question the seriousness of such a case. But no, you cannot.

Little boxes of mind games!

Now it is time to remember that name: Mümtazer Türköne. Normally he would be a normal character in the story of a Third World country where a man makes his inadequate young wife an MP in the governing party and himself a columnist in the pro-government media. But no, the story of this name tells a lot about the recent history of my country. In the 70s Türköne was a young academic, known as the up-and-coming ideologue of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves. The Grey Wolves were used by the paramilitary forces against leftist students and often armed to kill them. In 80s he was accused of extremist ultra-nationalist actions and demands were made for him to be sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. During the 1990s he was the right hand of Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, who exacerbated the ultra-nationalist wave created by the civil war between Kurdish separatists and the Turkish army. Türköne is famous for making Tansu Çiller say: ‘The one who shoots a bullet or is shot by a bullet for this country is a hero.’

This motto was created just after the Susurluk accident and was used to legitimize the deep state and members of gangs applying illegal state violence. During the 90s, at some point, this man for all seasons must have seen the trend and understood that it was time to change trains. At the moment he is a columnist for Zaman, the newspaper founded and directed by Fetullah followers. His former student, now wife, Özlem Türköne, is the youngest AKP MP in the parliament. As one of the most hardworking and devoted ideologues of the AKP and moderate Islam, Türköne now never mentions his old days when he was very, very close to the deep state. Now he is one the ‘democrat intellectuals’ with other neo-liberal writers, most of them converted from Maoism or other sects of the former left. As right-wing intellectuals they are hoisting the standard of being democrats, and as Islamic conservatives they are defending the Ergenekon case against people like me. Me?

A friend from the socialist left stopped me on the street the other day. His voice was anxious: “You know what, maybe you should not write about Ergenekon for a while”. He paused and sulked: “I think the way you do on this issue but you know… They made two little boxes: a Kemalist box and a liberal one. Even if you don’t fit to either of the boxes they break your arms or legs and make you fit one of them at the end. They don’t open a third box for you. This is a dangerous political climate and we are all going to be wasted in the end”.

He is right. If you ask questions about the indictment, or even if you express your concern about the seriousness of the case, there you go into the Kemalist box. If you clap your hands whenever you hear the name of the Ergenekon case, then you can be considered a democrat and can inhabit the same box as those I mentioned above. In that box the concept of democracy is reduced to freedom of faith, and its links to social justice or equality have been cut mercilessly. That is why in Turkey at the moment, if you are coming from the left, in order to be recognized as ‘not a fascist’ you are obliged to bow your head before right-wing perceptions of democracy. Even though it was the left that has been the ultimate victim of the deep state, they are for the time being the ones accused of being the deep state itself. This discourse or political climate has such a strong character that even the most intelligent and experienced spin doctors on the left have been stammering since last January about the Ergenekon case. Meanwhile the right-wing democrats, the liberals, are making noise saying that this time the gang was caught before it managed to carry out the coup. Thank god, the AKP government at the last minute busted them in the very act!

This reduction of politics to barren dualities didn’t actually start with the Ergenekon case; on the contrary, it had already been creating an intellectual industry with interesting products since the political polarization deepened with the start of the AKP’s second term. On almost every news channel there are talk-shows featuring a pro-AKP liberal democrat and an anti-AKP democrat. Since their controversies are the product on sale, these programs are visually exaggerated as well. In one of them, before the show begins they show two tigers attacking each other and in another program one, side has a black, the other a white background. The AKP, beyond its other achievements, gave Turkey this amazing present: intellectual and political discussions are now made in little boxes between black-and-white tigers!

The unwanted intervener: the Left!

This barren intellectual climate is dominated by those figures who very much resemble their peers in Georgia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. Like those colour revolutions, stamped with the words ‘made in USA’, the chosen political leader is praised by the New World Order’s Wizard of Oz, Richard Holbrooke. Like Saakashvili of Georgia, Prime Minister Erdogan is a good friend of Holbrooke, and like the Orange Revolution of Ukraine, the ideological transformation of the intelligentsia towards liberalism is directed by US-approved, freedom-fighter NGOs. Those who don’t want to be ridden by this wave are classed as counter-revolutionaries or just Kemalists, which basically means fascist. Even if you have proven your ideological trustworthiness before history, for instance by being tortured or executed by the coup, you still might not be saved from being counted as a coup-lover. Taraf, the very young newspaper set up just before the Ergenekon case, and which became a committed supporter of the case, made its debut by branding three very young revolutionaries—Deniz Gezmis, Yusuf Aslan and Huseyin Inan, executed in 1972 by an earlier coup—as xenophobic and Kemalist. The last words of these 20-something people were ‘Long live the brotherhood of Kurdish and Turkish peoples!’, but it was passé to defend victims of the former coups. Now it was this new coup that we were supposed to concentrate on! The newspaper not only attacked respected and beloved figures of the left, but also tried to make the whole leftist tradition worthless in a blink of an eye.

From what I have read about colour-coded revolutions, this is what you go through when they decide to make one in your country. Lots of ideological confusion is spread, the concept of democracy is reduced to oranges or tulips, and when you try to defend some basic values like equality or secularism, you become a scapegoat if not a fascist guardian of the old regime. The difference is that this time the so-called revolution is taking place not in Europe but in the Middle East, and for the Middle East. When the revolution is completed probably the old guards of the Kemalist regime and the Cold War generals left over from the Cold War will be gone, but Turkey will also be a Middle Eastern country more than ever before. When that time arrives, the liberal intellectuals probably won’t apologize for their ‘misunderstandings’ like their colour revolutionary buddies in other countries.

These are the reasons why the left has felt hesitant to intervene in the case as the natural victim of the deep state. Finally Ufuk Uras, an independent MP of the socialist left, demanded in parliament the establishment of a research commission on the coups and coup attempts. His demand is supported by the DTP, a Kurdish party. ‘Let the coups be judged and the attempted coups be revealed initiative’, of which I am part, began in the third week of September.

For the sake of legitimacy, they invited a couple of liberal intellectuals and even AKP supporters for the initiative’s opening press conference. And Uras made a declaration, saying that although he sought support among AKP members, none of them signed the demand for research commission. The left is trying to appear as an intervener in the Ergenekon case—albeit with hesitant baby steps. Although they are the ones who must be the most vocal, because of the long story told above, they just murmur at the moment. Because they know, like my friend in Diyarbak?r, that their sacrifices are not enough to secure an intervening position in this case. To be right, you must be a liberal.

Me? I am just reading more and more about colour revolutions, which make me feel less lonely.

Ece Temelkuran is the most-read female political columnist in Turkey, writing regularly for Milliyet, with a well deserved reputation for fearlessness and verve. She also hosts a widely view political show in Turkish tv. Her latest book, The Deep Mountain, based on interviews with Armenians in Armenia, France and the U.S. and published in Istanbul in May 2008, is currently being translated into English. She has published widely and won numerous awards for her work, including the Pen for Peace Award, and Turkish Journalist of the Year. She is the author of several books, including, “What Is There For Me To Say!" on the hunger strikes by political prisoners in Turkey, and “We are Making A Revolution Here Senorita!" on the politics and every-day life in Chavez’s Venezuela. She can be reached at ecetem@hotmail.com


Anatolian Music To Echo In The Armenian Capital,
ISTANBUL - Turkey will send a message of peace and friendship to the Armenian capital of Yerevan through the common traditions of melody and dance. Armenia will welcome its first Turkish soloist in the form of violin virtuoso Cihat Aşkın

Anatolian music to echo in the Armenian capital The Armenian capital of Yerevan is preparing to host a soloist from Turkey for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.

This convergence between the people of the two nations is necessary before diplomatic dialogue between governments can occur, political scientists consistently emphasize. People are trying to understand and comprehend "the other Turk" and "the other Armenian" socially and culturally.

In light of these developments, Armenian violin virtuoso Edward Tatevosian gave a recital at the Maçka Campus of Istanbul Technical University, or İTÜ, last week. Tatevosian also gave a master class to the students of İTÜ. As an answer to the visit of Tatevosian, violin virtuoso Cihat Aşkın, who has a career that features many national and international awards, will meet Armenian music lovers in Yerevan on Dec. 10 at the Opera and Ballet Hall, one of the most prestigious concert halls in the city.

Following Aşkın’s recital, Yerevan will host the band Kardeş Türküler and the 70-member chorus of Sayat Nova, formed by the Armenians of Istanbul. A message of peace and friendship between both nations will be sent from Turkey to Armenia through song during these concerts, which will begin Dec. 10 and last until Dec. 14.

There was not a demand for football; but there is a high demand for concerts
According to information provided by officials, the concerts next week are in high demand compared to the football match played between the national teams of the two countries Sept. 6.

Prior to the concert, the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review spoke with Cihan Aşkın, Fehmiye Çelik and Beyza Gümüş from Kardeş Türküler and Kayuş Çalıkman, spokesperson for Sayat Nova Chorus.

Aşkın spoke about tension between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia and said he had taken to the stage in many countries and Armenia would be no different to the others. He added, "I am an artist. I go to Armenia as I would go to any country in the world. There is nothing strange here. I have my political views but I am free of prejudice."

Aşkın, who has featured works by Azerbaijani and Armenian composers on many CD’s he has released, spoke about the concert for peace. "Art is to be practiced in an atmosphere of peace. I believe bringing artists of the three peoples together would be forcing it, when historic facts like the Hocalı slaughter and the matter of Nagorno-Karabakh still exist."

Aşkın said he has a surprise waiting for the Armenian art lovers at the recital. Aşkın avoided giving away too much, but said, "I can say that I will play two surprise Armenian songs at the recital. It is a pity that Tatevosian did not play any Turkish songs at his recital in Istanbul." Pianist Gülden Testen will accompany Aşkın at the recital. The recital will include works from Adnan Saygun, one of the famous "Turkish five," and other works from western classical composers.

The Sayat Nove chorus will give a concert with Kardeş Türküler the night after Aşkın’s recital. Kayuş Çalıkman said, "We are going to Armenia with Kardeş Türküler to follow the will of Hrant Dink. Together, we will send a message of peace and friendship through song."

As to whether the Armenians of Istanbul can act as a bridge between Turkey and Armenia within the process of dialogue, Çalıkman said, "It is a hard mission for a community of 40,000 to 50,000 people that is decreasing in number each day. Moreover, the community has its own problems. But it is not impossible."

Music and dance, a shared Anatolian tradition
Fehmiye Çelik from Kardeş Türküler said the biggest problem between Turks and Armenians was being unable to speak. "There are still hopes for every one of us, if we can speak without fear. The Anatolian geography includes not only Turkish but Armenian, Romaic and Kurdish melodies; even if you shut your ears and do not want to hear them, you will. Anatolia is a polyphonic melody." Kardeş Türküler will play 25 songs with the Sayat Nova chorus and perform other dance and music shows.

Beyza Gümüş from Kardeş Türküler said, "Music and dance are the commonality of the people living at the same place. We hope to make our people feel this commonality through our melodies and our dance."

by Vercihan Ziflioğlu, Hurriyet

Armenian Genocide: An Apology Campaign Will Begin In Turkey , 5 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
According to the Turkish press on Thursday December 4 2008 Turkish intellectuals and journalists will launch a campaign for the new year entitled "I apologize."

At the root of this campaign include Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran, and Cengiz Aktar Ali Bayramoglu.

The text of the campaign shows "" I can not conscientiously accept the indifference to the great disaster (Büyük Felaket) that the Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915 and its denial. I reject this injustice and acts of my own, I share the feelings and pain of my brothers and sisters Armenian and I do apologize. "

Professor Ahmet Insel of Galatasaray University presented the campaign as an action aimed at individuals meet their responsibilities and allowing them to express an independent opinion about history.

The goal of the campaign is to call to share the pain borne by Armenians by the public conscience "said co-initiator Cengiz Aktar in the daily Vatan. Because the subject has been so long you in Turkey, many Turks believe today that nothing has happened to the Armenians. However, the campaign would be to the individual nature Cengiz Aktar said: "Whoever wants to apologize, it apologizes; those who will not, it does nothing." For Dr. Cengiz Aktar "seek forgiveness" is a "address individual, an individual expression, individual emotion."

The campaign via the Internet will last one year.


Genocide: Never Again? , 5 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
A few days of 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, CNN broadcast on Friday evening a documentary on the genocide that have bloodied the twentieth and early twenty-first century. But also those who tried to alert the world about the massacres under way. In vain.

Armenians, Nazi Europe, Cambodia Khmer Rouge, Kurds from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Bosnians decomposing Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Darfur ... The sad thing in common that unites these regions, these countries these people, since the beginning of the last century: they were the scene or victims of genocide.

And no "never again" any promise made after the discovery of a mass grave could prevent the deaths of millions of innocent elsewhere a few years later.

A few days 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (ratified by the UN General Assembly on 9 and 10 December 1948), Christiane Amanpour and CNN devoted a documentary to these tragic pages of history, Scream Bloody Murder, aired Friday night.

The parallels are ice ... Same emaciated body behind the barbed wire of Nazi camps or the former Yugoslavia. Even rhetoric of ethnic cleansing, cleaning of "vermin" or "cockroaches" in Cambodia in the 1970s in northern Iraq in 1988 or on Radio Mille Collines in Rwanda in 1994.

But even reluctance of the international community to intervene, even dilemma between principles and national interests of the powerful United States in mind. Dilemma that led the Allies to focus on victory in 1945 when they became aware that Jews and Gypsies at Auschwitz or the Americans to support the Khmer Rouge neighboring Viet Nam when he had to "contain" communism.

These "heroes" who alerted ... in vain

But Christiane Amanpour does not sign that the chronicle of a bloody century. "It is my responsibility as a journalist to tell these stories," she says, for the information mobilize public opinion and affects decisions. But "it is also the story of heroes." The "hero" who shouted that massacres were in progress (Scream bloody murder ...), advanced evidence, asked for reinforcements, questioned heads of state ... In vain.

Among them, she met Roméo Dallaire. In 1993-94, Canadian was in Rwanda at the head of the UNAMIR force peacekeeping United Nations in that country. Lack of sufficient troops, lack of international voluntarism, he attended, impotent, the massacres that made 800 000 dead.

if tomorrow, all over again? Christiane Amanpour is worried, especially for North Kivu, a Congolese border region of Rwanda. But she also sees "positive signs", particularly on Darfur. "Our response to this tragedy is imperfect, but it is better than that provided in Rwanda."

The mobilization of citizens' movement, Save Darfur, is "something new and extraordinary." Like the attitude of the International Criminal Court has sent to Sudan last July, an arrest warrant against President Omar El Béchirpour genocide. Another strong point: the American president-elect Barack Obama said the "fight against genocide" in Darfur was a priority at the international level, even before taking office.

All of which combine, therefore hopes to foster action and the protection of civilians. And not just observe the atrocities committed by new Adolf Hitler or Pol Pot.

Genocide: A Turkish Prosecutor Has A German Professor For Insulting Ataturk , 5 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

The Turkish prosecutor Kürsat Kayrak Ankara has launched criminal proceedings against Professor Ronald Monch for insult against Ataturk. The procedure is also two members of the Kurdish DTP Aysel Tugluk and Serafettin Halis.

The cause their speeches at an international conference on the genocide in Dersim held on 13 November 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels.

According to the prosecutor, the Monch professor at the University of Bremen, committed a crime by declaring qu'Atatürk, if still alive, should be tried for crimes against humanity because of its responsibility in the massacres in Dersim.

Kürsat Kayrak therefore ask the Directorate General of Press and Information Office to provide the full text of speeches by three accused at the conference. The prosecutor is calling for a lawsuit against the teacher Monch under articles 1 and 2 of Law No. 5816 which penalizes any insult against Ataturk.

Article 1 of Act 5816 of the Turkish Penal Code states that "those who publicly insult or swear to the memory of Atatürk may be sentenced to imprisonment of between one and three years." Article 2 of the same law sets a sentence can be doubled if the crime is committed collectively or via the media. Article 12 of the Turkish Penal Code states that if a foreigner commits a crime against Turkey the person will be arrested for its entry into Turkey.

Professor Ronald Monch said Tuesday in the German press that he had discussed the process in the province of Tunceli (Dersim once), where, when, mainly Armenians and Alevis lived. Over time, thousands of them were expelled. In 1937 there was a revolt that the government killed in the blood. Several thousand people died.

In his speech Ronald Monch felt that President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his cabinet were responsible. "If today it went to court, there would be indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide part," said Ronald Monch.

In research, it is normal that history is re-evaluated according to criteria of today. "In Turkey, the renewal of history is not usually as can be seen with the genocide of Armenians" has décalré Ronald Monch. "We expect a country that is responsible. And it is expected of a country that favor EU membership, "he concluded.

Biography of Patrick Devedjian , 5 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
The secretary general of the UMP and patron of the Hauts-de-Seine, Patrick Devedjian, 64, to be named Friday December 5 Minister responsible for the implementation of the economic recovery has already been several times minister.

In 2002 he was Minister Delegate for Local Freedoms in 2005, Minister Delegate for Industry. It will not be part of Villepin government from June 2005.

Bar of Paris depuis 1970, he defended Jacques Chirac and Charles Pasqua.

First elected member of the Hauts-de-Seine in 1986, he was re-elected several times, most recently in 2007. It was Antony mayor from 1983 to 2002.

On 25 September 2007, Patrick Devedjian was elected secretary general of the UMP by the political bureau of the movement.

On 20 March 2008, he saves his seat as president of the general council of Hauts-de-Seine opposite Isabelle Balkany, another heavyweight of the department.

Ex-member of the West become Gaullist

Born August 26 1944 in Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne), Patrick Devedjian is the son of Armenian refugees arrived in France in 1919.

He holds a Master of Law and former student of the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, he became a lawyer in 1970. Having joined the Fifth UD (Democratic Union for the Fifth Republic) in 1969, he became the lawyer assigned to the Gaullist movement and defines the status of RPR created by Jacques Chirac in 1976.

Anti-communist resolved, he campaigned with the movement of far-right West "from 19 to 22 years," he said. From 1970 to 1976 he worked with Raymond Aron to the journal "Counterpoint" which reveals the existence in France of Soviet dissidents.

He is one of the few parliamentarians from the former RPR to have voted for the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. During the 1995 presidential campaign, it is, with Nicolas Sarkozy, a supporter of Édouard Balladur.

Engaged in the Armenian community in France, he campaigned against the entry of Turkey into the European Union, Married, Patrick Devedjian is the father of four boys.

Harut Sassounian Turks Create False Impressions To Block Obama's Promises
Turkish officials are in a mad rush. Informed by Washington insiders that President-elect Barack Obama intends to carry out his promises to Armenians, the Turkish government is anxious to conclude an agreement with Armenia in order to block the incoming administration and/or Congress from taking a stand on the Armenian Genocide.

For years, Ankara repeatedly rejected Yerevan's offers to normalize relations without preconditions. Hoping that Armenia would buckle under intense economic pressure, Turks placed strict demands for lifting the blockade and establishing diplomatic relations. Armenia had to refrain from efforts for genocide recognition, accept Turkey's territorial integrity, and relinquish Artsakh (Karabagh) to Azerbaijan.

A few months ago, the two sides appeared to have reached an arrangement whereby Pres. Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia would agree to Ankara's request to form a joint study group on the Armenian Genocide, as part of a larger inter-governmental commission that would deal with a host of bilateral issues, on condition that Turkey would first establish diplomatic relations and opens its border with Armenia.

Soon after, Pres. Abdullah Gul of Turkey made an unprecedented trip to Yerevan at the Armenian President's invitation to watch a soccer match between the national teams of the two countries. Both leaders received high praise and encouragement from the international community for their "football diplomacy."

Relations between the two countries seemed to be on the mend, until Turkey's leaders, misjudging Pres. Sargsyan's eagerness to have the Turkish border opened, demanded additional and unacceptable concessions from Armenia. They asked that Armenians initially withdraw from a small area on the periphery of Artsakh and announce the formation of the study group on the genocide prior to the convening of the wider inter-governmental commission.

In making these demands, the Turkish leaders were trying to accomplish two contradictory objectives. On the one hand, they were pressuring Armenia into making as many concessions as possible. On the other hand, they desperately want to reach a quick agreement with Yerevan before Pres. Obama enters the White House next month.

When Armenia rejected Turks' excessive demands, Turkish authorities decided to switch tactics and attempt a more effective approach: Create the impression in Washington that Armenians and Turks are making good progress in resolving their differences, even though in reality they are not!

To implement this new policy, Ankara persisted in placing a positive spin on all official contacts with Armenia. For example, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian's trip to Istanbul on November 24, to chair the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) conference, was repeatedly mischaracterized by the Turkish side as a visit to discuss with Foreign Minister Ali Babajan the improvement of relations with Armenia.

Also, Turkish officials and media have been repeating ad nauseam that Armenia's President would be visiting Turkey shortly, thus giving the false impression that the two sides are about to resolve their differences. In reality, Pres. Sargsyan is not expected to go to Istanbul until October 2009, when the Armenian and Turkish national soccer teams meet again.

Yet another falsehood spread by the Turkish media, for the sole purpose of manipulating American and international public opinion, is that Armenia has accepted to participate in a joint study group on the Armenian Genocide, even after Pres. Sargsyan's announcement that such a commission was "absolutely unnecessary." Armenia's President expressed his concern that such a study would actually "mislead" the international community.

In another diversionary tactic, Turkish authorities announced last week that they are considering the accreditation to Armenia of their current Ambassador to Georgia, who would continue to be stationed in Tbilisi. This is a clever attempt to claim that Turkey has taken a major step in establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia! Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines announced last week that it is planning to start charter flights to Armenia -- another attempt at creating a false impression of the ostensibly improving Armenian-Turkish relations.

In support of their government's propaganda, Turkish newspapers have been publishing interviews with Armenians and Turks who are engaged in a variety of joint cultural and business activities and predicting that Armenia would have a thriving economy once the border with Turkey is opened. The Turkish press does not interview, however, Armenians who demand justice for the crimes committed by the Ottoman Turkish government during the Genocide.

It is regrettable that certain individuals, driven by their narrow self-interest, have made statements to the Turkish media that help reinforce the false impression that Armenians and Turks are getting along perfectly well, and outsiders like the United States should not take any initiatives that would ruin this budding friendship!

The fact of the matter is that Armenians worldwide will continue to view Turkey with deep misgivings as long as the Turkish government pursues its morally bankrupt policy of making demands rather than amends.

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Mr. Sassounian's commentary falls into the "damned if you do, damned if you don't category". While he ascribes cynical motives to the Turkish government's actions to find common ground with Armenia, it is hardly headline news that Turkey is deeply concerned with the genocide question. Regardless, it would seem that Turkey should be congratulated for taking steps to normalize relations with Armenia. Certainly policy differences are bound to arise given historical tensions between the two countries, but it is unproductive to undermine this laudable effort with predicatably monotomous denuciations of Turkey.

Why doesTurkey's offer to participate in a joint commission to study the question of genocide generates such hostility? Certainly, Turkey would have much to lose if such a commission found that genocide did indeed occur. Why then is a proposal for such a commission is characterized as "misleading" and "unecessary".

Open and honest research and debate is fundamental to the functioning of a free society. The study of history shows that historical research can uncover new facts that can change previously held conceptions. Is that what Mr. Sassounian fears? Regardless, if they are convinced of the righteousness of their cause, they should not fear the findings from such a commission.

A commission might settle the issue (although some on both sides will likely remain unconvinced) and might allow healing to occur. Shoudn't that be our collective goal?

Osman Bengur, Baltimore, MD

Nationalists React To Intellectuals’ Courageous Apology
Turkey’s nationalists have been incensed about a group of Turkish intellectuals who recently apologized publicly for the “great disaster Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915” in a country where even discussing Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire can be cause for arrest.

The reaction to a petition initiated by a group of intellectuals, led by popular professors Baskın Oran and Ahmet İnsel and journalists Ali Bayramoğlu and Cengiz Aktar, personally apologizing for the forced deportation of Armenians from their homes in the Turkish heartland in 1915, has shown yet again how courageous one must be to publicly announce his or her unorthodox opinions in Turkey, particularly if those opinions contradict the official ideology.

In a phone interview with Today’s Zaman, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy for Erzurum Zeki Ertugay accused the signatories of being in “a state of hysteria.” He stressed that it was not Armenians who suffered at the hand of Ottoman Turks, but Turks who were assaulted by Armenians. “Erzurum suffered most from that cruelty.

Every house has memories of people butchered by Armenians. I regard apologizing to the Armenians as an insult to the Turkish nation. People who call themselves intellectuals have not even been enlightened about their own history. A stain of shame like genocide has never taken place in the history of the Turkish nation. If there is somebody who needs to apologize, it is the Armenians and the Western states that provoked the Armenians against the Turks by promising them a state of their own."

Behiç Çelik, a MHP deputy from Mersin, was equally enraged. "It is impossible to refer to these people as intellectuals. The so-called intellectuals trying to apologize to Armenians do not know the past. They don't know history. There has never been any genocide in the history of the Turkish nation. Apologizing even for the deportation is not acceptable, because deportations have been carried out by many nations, not just Turkey. The US relocated Native Americans, Russia deported the Kazaks and the Crimean Tatars. Their intellectuals never apologized to anybody."

Ultranationalist media outlets and pundits were also furious. The Yeni Çağ (New Age) daily referred to the petition as a "campaign to smear Turkey." Yusuf Halaçoğlu, a well-known ultranationalist who formerly headed the Turkish Historical Society (TTK), said the real target here was connected to Turkey's new foreign policy initiative, started in early September with President Abdullah Gül and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visiting Yerevan for a soccer match between the national teams of Turkey and Armenia. "The aim here is to foment public opinion to be able to take that earlier initiative to the next level," Halaçoğlu said.

He said only 22,000 people died before 1915, the year of the forced deportation. "Will they apologize for those, too? Or will the Armenians announce with whom they cooperated when the Ottoman Empire was fighting world powers? Are they going to publicly announce how many Armenians were part of the French and Russian armies at the time? Armenians, as people who cooperated with the enemy in their own countries, have lost this war. This is the state of affairs as it stands today," he said.

Historian Cemalettin Taşkıran was quoted in nationalist newspapers as saying, "This is the biggest betrayal that could be shown to our forefathers." Taşkıran said the campaign was set up to hurt the unity of the Turkish nation and to prepare the way for Turkey's eventual recognition of Armenian claims of genocide.

The intellectuals' group is calling on other people to sign the petition posted online, which reads as follows: "I cannot conscientiously accept the indifference to the great disaster that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915, and its denial. I reject this injustice and, acting of my own will, I share the feelings and pains of my Armenian brothers and sisters, and I apologize to them."

The organizers of the campaign have underlined that first they will collect signatures from intellectuals and they will then open a secure Web site to collect signatures.

The Armenian population that was in Turkey before the establishment of Turkish Republic was forced to emigrate in 1915, and, according to some, the conditions of this expulsion are the basis of Armenian claims of genocide.

06 December 2008, E.Bariş Altintaş, Ercan Yavuz

CNN's ‘armenian Genocide’ Documentary Frustrates American Armenians
A documentary aired on Thursday on the CNN International news station to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide has failed to satisfy an influential Armenian organization based in the United States.

The documentary, titled "Scream Bloody Murder" and anchored by Christiane Amanpour, gave wide coverage to the Holocaust as well as atrocities committed in Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, Rwanda and chemical attacks on the Iraqi Kurds during the Saddam Hussein era, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The documentary briefly touched upon the 1915 incidents in which Anatolian Armenians were killed during the days of the Ottoman Empire, suggesting that Christian Armenian citizens were massacred and forced to emigrate for eight years and, as a result, 1 million Armenian women, men and children were dead, the Anatolia reported.

The Washington-based Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), on its Web site, urged Armenian-Americans "to take action" against the documentary, by sending protest letters to CNN executives.

"You have done a disservice to your viewers by nearly entirely neglecting the Armenian Genocide -- the thoroughly documented systematic destruction by Ottoman Turkey between 1915 and 1923 of over one and half million of its Armenian citizens. The only reference to the first genocide of the 20th century is indirect and lasts only 45 seconds," ANCA said in a text, which it advised Armenian-Americans to include in their protest letters.

06 December 2008, Today's Zaman With Wires

Reputation Of Turkish Police
Ever since I was bitterly beaten up by four policemen on a May 1980 morning in front of, what was then, the Iş Bank headquarters across from the then headquarters of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, or TRT, and had to spend three days in a hospital, I have developed an allergy to the policeÉ That is, I must admit that I am quite biased against the police...

Being broke was nothing extraordinary for us students at those times, though I was much better off compared to many of my friends because I had a part time job with the Turkish Daily News and was getting a salary. My courses were in the morning hours and most of the time I walked from the Sıhhiye building of the Faculty of Letters to the then headquarters of the TDN on Tunus Avenue every noon.

That day there was a demonstration of students in front of the Interior Ministry and the police were applying all methods of persuasion (!) to disperse the students. I was not among the demonstrators. Indeed, I was walking on the other side of the boulevard. I was in front of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, or TOBB, when I first noticed that some policemen were approaching me.

For more than 500 meters I managed to walk faster than them, but just at the corner of the Is Bank I all of a sudden felt a strong pain in the back of my right knee. I collapsed and fell on the pavement; the books under my arm were spread all around. For about half an hour the four policemen, who had chased me up to that point, entertained themselves by ruthlessly landing their truncheons into almost every section of my body.

When they were tired with beating me, they left and instead of going to the newspaper I took a taxi home. Apparently I fainted in the bathroomÉ Then I woke up in hospital. Thank God that I was sharing flat with some friends and they were kind enough to take me to a hospital. I have never forgotten the trauma I lived and have never forgiven the police for what they did to me... And, of course I was no exception...

Since then, because of my profession I have made many "friends" among senior police officers, but still I prefer to stay away from the police as much as possible... I have written a lot about the problems of police officers; the need to increase their living standards; and of course the need to provide better education facilities to police and of giving importance to the education of police officers.

Police crimes
However, despite all efforts, as demonstrated in the murder of some 48 people over the past two years by police bullets or "persuasion" tactics - that is sheer torture Ğ during interrogation as well as from the video footage of police dispersing demonstrators, we have to concede that this country still has a very serious problem regarding the police and the right of police officers to shoot and kill people.

Last week, almost all news bulletins showed footage from a security camera of a Istanbul night club. A group of men wearing police jackets were pulling out in a ruthless manner a girl from the nightclub. The girl was later allegedly repeatedly raped by the group. They were not policemen; they were just wearing police jackets.

Istanbul Chief of Police Celalettin Cerrah, unable to understand why no one from the crowd in the restaurant - apparently there were some real police there as well Ğ objected to the fake policemen pulling the girl out by her hair or called the police emergency number and reported the incident, asked, "Why did not anyone ask those fake policemen to show their identities?"

Since then, on many TV stations debate programs have been held about why Turks are scared of police and why they cannot ask policemen to show their identities.

Wishes and realities are two different things. In Turkey it is unfortunate but we do not have police who would voluntarily agree to show their police ID cards. Our police behave as if they are from a superior creed and love to be bossy in their dealings with us ordinary people. Even police cannot dare to ask other police to show his or her ID. Example? It was in daily Vatan on Friday.

Three police probing an incident at Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district reportedly asked a civilian on the scene, who claimed to be a policeman as well, to show them his ID. That civilian policeman was apparently a senior police officer. He not only refused to show his ID, but the three policemen who demanded to see his ID have now been laid off from active duty...

Can you ask a policeman to show his ID? Can you dare? Can such police have a good reputation in the society?
Yusuf Kanlı, © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Obama’s Preferences And Turkey
The choices made up to now by US President-elect Obama have provided sufficient hints about what his style of governing will be and what attitudes he might adopt with regards to existing problems.

Contrary to the expectations of the groups which have been supporting him from the start, the Obama administration, it seems, will not take radical steps. There is no doubt that Obama’s priority will be economic recovery and managing the crisis without causing any further deterioration. During his term, the US and Turkey will have to cooperate on a number of issues. This cooperation, the need for which is obvious both to the US and Turkey, may only be obstructed by the resolution on the Armenian genocide, which has resulted from the domestic political dynamics of the US. For this reason, Turkey’s rapprochement with Armenia should be maintained with new steps and this process should be explained in detail to Washington.
05 December 2008, Sabah Solİ Özel , Zaman

Enter The Hawks, Yavuz Baydar @Todayszaman.Com
Time works against Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. There are obvious rules in conflict resolution, but it can only be successful if the will to act overlaps with time management. Slowing down often increases the chances for counter-dynamics to sabotage it.

The current situation in the flirt between Yerevan and Ankara is becoming rather worrisome in the sense that it may turn out to be an opportunity missed. It all began with the right moves. Turkish President Abdullah Gül accepted an invitation to visit Yerevan and watch a soccer match between the two countries' national teams, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed to proceed with talks on the normalization of relations and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan looked very pleased that all that was happening.

But there is much more to it than sheer good will. How is work on the diplomatic level proceeding? Beyond hope, much more is needed. I met a foreign diplomat the other day. Knowing his "insider's insight," I asked him how it all looked. He was not enthusiastic. "On the Turkish side, I see no problem with either the Office of the President or with the government," he said. "It is the bureaucracy that worries me." He was hinting at "some officials" within the Turkish Foreign Ministry whom he regarded as possible "delay and let it rot" factors in the process.

But, it also seems that there are differences in how to approach the "pace" of negotiations on the political level. Gül has been intent on a firm, swift, target-based method which stems from the concern that the attitude of the administration of US President-elect Barack Obama toward recognition of the profoundly tragic events of 1915 as "genocide" is real -- just as much as the president-elect's using the G-word is highly possible.

For Gül, the progress in ongoing, speedy talks between Ankara and Yerevan will not only benefit both countries and the region, but also serve as a "pre-emptive element" to persuade Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton that the key issues between Armenia and Turkey deserve at least a serious try to be resolved. Given his long-term engagement and sincerity on the issue, Gül can hardly be blamed for cynical aversion or demonic manipulation.

However, for Erdoğan, this issue -- as well as most others -- is strictly tied to the critical local elections. He wants to see progress in slow motion and is not willing to be a target of political rivalry and populism in the hunt for votes. Babacan will have to pay more attention to what he says rather than to what the president does.

Meanwhile, as could easily have been predicted, hawks within the Armenian diaspora are in motion. Intense lobbying, both publicly and behind closed doors, was initiated to squeeze the Serzh Sarksyan administration to slow down talks, if not terminate them altogether.

Armenian hawks' entry into the arena is fuelled by the fear that the talks, if ended successfully, will help evaporate the historic demands, the three R's -- recognition (of "genocide"), reparation, restitution. They base their game on the traditional Armenian mistrust of Ankara, a center of evasion and shrewdness in their view. Their only strength in the developing equation is that there is more than one power center in Ankara and they are not in sync with one another on how to resolve the issue.

Thus, the constantly pumped messages to Armenian President Sarksyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian: "Do not trust the Turks, or you will be severely deceived by them."

Hawks hope that talks will lead to a cul-de-sac, maintaining the status quo, and the Obama administration will be, not seeing any progress at all in soccer diplomacy, encouraged to move ahead to the "genocide recognition" phase. It overlaps totally with the Turkish hawks' desire, since their aim is to further diminish sympathy for the US in Turkey and seek opportunities of a semi-authoritarian rule closer to Russia.

The pace and resolve, therefore, are even more important than before. Neither Turkey nor Armenia, despite relatively weak and hesitant leadership on both sides, should let the momentum melt into nothing. The US, too, has enormous interest in the rapprochement. For Russia, it might be argued, that ending with or without concrete results would not matter much, but Moscow is keen on the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the border for its own reasons. It adds to the uniqueness of the momentum.

The hawks, seeing that they will lose if Turks and Armenians succeed in talking calmly and developing a dialogue, will increase the pressure on Yerevan and Washington. If the Turkish side also gives in to the delaying tactics and paying too much attention to hawks acting on behalf of Azerbaijani hawks, the chances will be doomed to diminish.

It is of utmost importance, therefore, that talks do produce concrete steps before April 24. Once the channels are opened and windows let light in, the two sides will have come closer to dealing with the pain in their history.
05 December 2008, YAVUZ BAYDAR Zaman

Turkish intellectuals give personal apology for 1915 events
A group of Turkish intellectuals have apologized for the “great disaster that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915” but have fallen short of calling on the state to do the same.

A petition initiated by a group of intellectuals, including professors Baskın Oran and Ahmet İnsel, journalists Ali Bayramoğlu and Cengiz Aktar, personally apologizes for the events.

The group is asking other people to sign the petition, which reads as follows: “I cannot conscientiously accept the indifference to the great disaster that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915, and its denial. I reject this injustice and acting of my own will, I share the feelings and pains of my Armenian brothers and sisters, and I apologize to them.”

The organizers of the campaign have underlined that first they will collect signatures from intellectuals and they will then open a secure Web site to collect signatures.

Oran pointed out that they had written the text for individuals since the tragedy was very human. “We are searching for human beings. We thought about urging the state to apologize but we decided to let individuals act according to their conscience. This call is for everybody,” he said.

The petition, which has already become the target of nationalists, has led to criticism from other intellectuals.

Aytekin Yıldız, the coordinator of the Confrontation Association (Yüzleşme Derneği), pointed out that the Armenian community was already aware of the fact that there are many people in Turkey of conscience, and the important thing was not to declare what is already known. “It is a good starting point, but not enough. Firstly, what do they mean by ‘great disaster’? Let’s name it, it is genocide. Secondly, the state has to apologize,” Yıldız pointed out.

Historian Ayşe Hür said apologizing is the duty of those who were responsible for the act, or for those who share their arguments. “It seems that a very elite group discussed that petition, because I learnt about this petition from the media and I was surprised,” she said, and added: “I approach these types of events as a scientist, as a historian, not as a member of the Turkish nation. For me, all these events were the fault of Turkish nationalism flourishing at that time, and personally, I don’t identify with it, so I do not feel the need to apologize personally.”

She also pointed out that the petitioners are concentrating only on 1915; however, she says there were events after and before. “There is a state tradition which legitimizes all these events and prevents any discussion about them. Firstly, the state has to ensure a suitable atmosphere to discuss all these things; then it has to apologize on behalf of the perpetrators and for itself, because it has legitimized their actions through the years.”

Another figure, a prominent intellectual who wanted to remain anonymous, said to apologize is not the responsibility of the individual but that of the state. He said Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül’s remarks at a speech he gave in November were not acceptable.

In that speech, the minister suggested that the “success” of the republic lay in the nation-building process. “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 what words I can use to 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. He added that in those days, Ankara was composed of four neighborhoods -- Armenian, Jewish, Greek and Muslim -- and claimed that after the nation-building process, it became possible to establish a national bourgeoisie.

The Lausanne Treaty, signed in 1923, set in motion a population exchange between Greek Orthodox citizens of the young Turkish Republic and 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, according to some, the conditions of this expulsion are the basis of Armenian claims of genocide.

05 December 2008, AYŞE KARABAT ANKARA

Lagendijk Announces Plans To Teach At Sabancı University
Joost Lagendijk, a Dutch Green party member of the European Parliament and co-chairman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, will move to Turkey next year and teach at a university in İstanbul, a statement from his office said yesterday.

He is leaving politics in Brussels to take up a lecturing post at Sabancı University and work as a senior advisor at the İstanbul Policy Center (IPC) starting July 1, 2009. Lagendijk will lecture on the European Union at the university and will be working on Turkey and the EU at the IPC, according to the statement. "After European Parliament elections in June 2009, I will stop my work as an MEP. My wish to stay involved with EU enlargement and Turkey issues and use my experience in this area came true. I am very much looking forward to my new job at Sabancı University and also to moving to İstanbul, a fantastic city," Lagendijk said.

Lagendijk has been a member of the European Parliament since 1998 and has been the co-chairman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee since 2002. He has also worked as rapporteur of the European Parliament on Kosovo since 2005. He announced in April that he would not run for the European Parliament in next year's elections.

"As you know my personal situation has changed lately and to be honest I am sometimes getting fed up with all the traveling to Turkey, to the Balkans and Strasbourg. I want the last part of my working life to be quieter and not [spent] at airports and on airplanes all the time," Lagendijk had told Today's Zaman in April, referring to the fact that he has been married to Nevin Sungur, a senior reporter for the NTV news channel, since October 2006.
05 December 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN İSTANBUL , Zaman

Dashnaks Urge Caution In Armenia’s Ties With Turkey, By Emil Danielyan
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has urged Yerevan to exercise caution in the ongoing rapprochement with Turkey, saying that Ankara is using it to scuttle worldwide recognition of the Armenian genocide.

The issue was on the agenda of a three-day meeting of the pan-Armenian party’s top governing body, the Bureau, that finished its work in Beirut on Monday.

In a statement circulated on Thursday, Dashnaktsutyun said Bureau members agreed that “Turkey has still not taken any positive step” to reciprocate President Serzh Sarkisian’s diplomatic overtures. “On the contrary, there are attempts to use the existing [Turkish-Armenian] contacts for halting the genocide recognition process and making relations between the two states conditional Armenia’s relations with a third country, Azerbaijan,” it said.

Some Dashnaktsutyun leaders warned earlier that the incoming U.S. administration will have second thoughts about its pledge to recognize the genocide if Yerevan agrees to a Turkish-Armenian academic study of the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire which is sought by Ankara. Sarkisian has indicated that he is not against the idea in principle.

The Dashnaktsutyun statement said that Armenia’s “supreme leadership” views genocide recognition by the international community and Turkey as a top foreign policy priority. But in a thinly veiled warning to Sarkisian, the party represented in Armenia’s government added: “On the other hand, it was stressed [during the Bureau meeting] that the immediate importance of normalizing Armenia-Turkey relations must not take precedence over the rights of generations.”

Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official reportedly said on Thursday the two neighboring states have come close to establishing diplomatic relations after months of intensive diplomatic contacts. The Mediamax news agency quoted Deputy Assistant Secretary of States Matthew Bryza as making this assertion after a fresh meeting of the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers held on the sidelines of a high-level OSCE meeting in Helsinki. The two ministers already met in Istanbul late last month.

Turkey has long made the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of its border with Armenia contingent on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and an end to the Armenian campaign for genocide recognition. Despite the dramatic thaw in Turkish-Armenian ties, Ankara has so far given no indication, at least in public, that it is ready to drop these preconditions.

US Will Need Time To Reclaim Reputation, Albright Says
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke on Tuesday at a luncheon hosted by the Houston-based Gülen Institute.

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has asked everyone to remain patient because the new US administration, which will begin work after current President George W. Bush leaves office in January of next year, will need time to reclaim “the ground lost” by the US.

Albright spoke on Tuesday at a luncheon hosted by the Houston-based Gülen Institute. She also participated in the opening ceremony of the city’s first Turkish cultural center, cutting the ribbon of the new facility. Albright, who served under the Clinton administration, believes the new US administration will return to the mainstream positions of US foreign policy. “He [Barack Obama] and we must also be very patient,” she said. “We cannot expect to recover all the ground we have lost in the first 100 days or even in the first 1,000 days.

It will take time to reclaim America's reputation as a champion of human rights and to restore trust."

"In a world that lacks direction, there can be no doubt that a pathfinder is needed. And that role is unlikely to be filled by those who now challenge democratic values, by radical populists, aggressive nationalists, autocrats or the apostles of a holy war," she said. "It is much more likely to be found in the values that reside at the heart of the Gülen Institute and this luncheon series. These values include commitment to international dialogue, an understanding of cultural diversity, support for human justice and a love of peace. And that's a pretty good platform to bring the world together. And it's an excellent reflection of America at its best. And it's a perfect starting point for a discussion of global affairs as we await the inauguration of the 44th president of the US."

She said the election of Obama to the US presidency and Dmitry Medvedev to the Russian presidency marked a generational shift in the world. Albright also praised the Gülen Institute for constructing a positive image of Muslims. "As a result of the work of the Gülen Institute and others, people don't automatically identify Muslims as terrorists. That's what's happened," she said.

She added that the US lost its moral authority in the Iraq war. "We lost our way," Albright said. However, she noted that she believed the Obama administration would continue support for democracy. "That's our best export," she said, pointing out, however, that democracy should not be imposed.

US Rep. Al Green also delivered a speech at the event. Green praised the Gülen Institute, saying that the institute "is about the business of helping us to bring the peace that we all seek."

"I compliment the institute for cultivating an ecumenical approach to racial and ethnic symbiosis. I can be myself and you can be yourself and we get together to make things. I think this is what the institute is all about," he added.

US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee also noted in her speech that great things have come from the institute. "We are in a transformational moment. And the Gülen Institute has captured the framework of what is transformational. It is a social system that respects every human being for individual human dignity. I am delighted to have an institute that embraces the idea of a new system of foreign policy, embracing peace as much as security," she said.

"Turkey is a wonderful example of a democracy, of a Muslim country, of a strong ally, of a friend of the US, and I think they are going to have a pivotal role as we begin to negotiate peace in the Middle East under new leadership, a new secretary of state and this great foreign policy team. Turkey is going to be pivotal, and we look forward to working with them," she added.

Other attendees of the luncheon included Ambassador Edward Djerejian, the founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University; Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis; Shell CEO John Hofmeister; top executives from various television stations; British Consul General Paul Lynch; Turkish Deputy Consul Ali Fındık; Oklahoma Secretary of State M. Susan Savage; Greater Houston Partnership President Jeff Moseley and other select representatives from various academic and civil society institutions.

The Gülen Institute was established in October 2007 as a nonprofit organization through a joint initiative of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and the Institute of Interfaith Dialog.

The main goal of the institute is to promote academic research as well as grassroots activity toward bringing about positive social change, namely the establishment of stable peace, social justice and social harmony by focusing on the themes of education, volunteerism and civic initiatives.
04 December 2008, Ali H. Aslan Houston, Zaman

Diaspora Minister Evaluates Her Trip to Americas as Positive; Cites Plans for Ministry 03 December 2008

Hranush Hakopyan, who heads the newly created Ministry of the Diaspora, presented an overview of her recent trip to Latin America and the United States at a press conference and afterwards responded to reporters’ questions.The Minister noted that her three week trip had four objectives, the main one being her participation in the All Armenia Fund Telethon in Los Angeles. She also traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to take part in the 5th International Armenian Womens Union conference. In addition, Minister Hakopyan noted that the trip also served to familiarize herself with the representatives, organizations and local structures in various Diaspora communities.

Reporters asked Ms. Hakopyan regarding the future work planned by the Ministry. She responded that the Ministry was presently engaged in the collection and collation of information on various Armenian communities and that a professional approach was needed to correctly conduct future Ministry policy. She added that the Ministry would be up and running properly by year’s end. Minister Hakopyan noted that the Ministry’s official website would be available in six languages.

Of particular interest was her statement that an international conference entitled “The 1946-1948 Repatriation; Lessons and Future Problems” would take place on December 12th with the participation of Armenian scholars living overseas. The Minister emphasized that the conference would set the issue of future reptariation projects on a correct footing.

When queeried by Hetq as to recent incidents in Jerusalem involving clashes between Armenian and Greek clergy the Minister noted that this was an issue that “called for a united Armenian response and that we must make certain that what is in Armenian hands today remains so.”

The Government Officially Opposed To Criminalizing Denial Of Armenian Genocide 3 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

René Rouquet, Deputy Mayor of Alfortville, questioned The Government of Francois Fillon on Tuesday December 2 the draft law on criminalizing denial of Armenian genocide.

Recalling that "French MPs voted more than two years ago the draft law criminalizing denial of Armenian genocide recognized by the French law on 29 January 2001 and that, to take effect, the bill must now be included in the 'Agenda of the Senate ", the Deputy Mayor of Alfortville stressed" our citizens were aware that the House carries a change legislation, to punish the deniers of the Armenian genocide of 1915 and continue to insult the memory of the 1.5 million victims. " "This concern," he said, "is not just that of the Armenian diaspora in France nor the French of Armenian origin is that of all those committed to justice and law, for which France, homeland of Human Rights and the birthplace of lights, honored to adapt its legislation to convict criminally, denial or protest this genocide. "

René Rouquet finally reaffirmed "the need to unite, as did the Gayssot Act in 1990 against the deniers of the Holocaust, to reject all genocides and maintain the hard duty to remember the crimes against the humanity, when the debate focuses on whether laws memorial (...) creating confusion between history, the role of Parliament and the denial! (...) Legislate in this case is not an act mémoriel is a political act! More than ever, it is now Parliament to legislate against the denial of genocide to punish. "

Alain Marleix, Secretary of State for the Interior and local authorities responded: "No one can deny that during the First World War, the Armenian community of the former Ottoman empire had been the victim of heinous massacres. This barbarity has marked the history indelibly. These atrocities are engraved in the memory of the victims and descendants of France, which is proud to have been one of their main land of asylum, warning the living memory. She knows how this painful past is part of the memory of the Armenian people, descendants and survivors who have found refuge on our territory. This has prompted the national representation to adopt, in January 2001, a law recognizing the Armenian genocide of 1915.

This is a particularly important and sensitive to our public commitment to respect for the memory of everyone. However, we must keep in mind that the duty of memory is not only directed towards the past. It puts us all face our responsibilities in the future. The work of memory, the Turks have begun to undertake, should be encouraged.

That is to Turkey that it is to lead the debate and reconcile with its past, but it does not reconcile itself. But a new dynamic emerged in recent months in favor of dialogue with Armenia. We also encourage initiatives by the Armenian and Turkish authorities to facilitate the rapprochement between the two countries. Only through this dialogue that will close the wounds of the past and that both countries can confront the present and meet the challenges of the future.

As such, reconciliation ongoing at the highest level between Armenia and Turkey, illustrated by the visit can be described as historic president Gül in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, last September , Is a powerful and very encouraging. This favorable climate must be confirmed and continue so that normalization of relations between the two countries, as France calls for, can result in faster. A reopening of the border between the two countries, in addition to the mutual benefit they derive help create a new political and economic dynamics in a region that has need.

I wish to reiterate that the Armenian genocide was officially recognized by the law of 29 January 2001 and that, moreover, French law condemns any incitement to discrimination, hatred or racial violence.

Regarding the draft law which you speak, the Government's position is clear and known: it does not support its inclusion in the agenda of the Senate. As I just mentioned, the law already exists. In addition, the Government believes it is not for the Parliament to legislate on the history and that it is up to historians to write and interpret it. "

In response René Rouquet said "Mr. Secretary, thank you for the first part of your answer. Of course, the second part I am not satisfied because there is no evidence currently to prosecute the perpetrators of position on the genocide deniers, as did the Gayssot Act in 1990 against the deniers of the Holocaust. It is essential that the Government punishes behavior that Holocaust deniers offends the memory of the Armenian people and have no place in our Republic. In our view, lawmaking is not an act mémoriel, but a political act. More than ever it is for Parliament to legislate against the denial of the genocide to punish him. "

The Issue Of Armenia Discussed At The Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Turkey 3 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

The 60th meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Turkey ended Thursday in Ankara by a joint press conference co-presidents of Turkey, Yasar Yakis, and European, Joost Lagendijk, the committee.

"The delegation of the European Parliament before the meeting met with union representatives," said Yakis.

"The delegation has shared with us the information obtained from unions, and we found that there are huge differences in the figures for the number of unionized workers given by trade unions and figures from the Ministry of Labor," he said.

"We will try to know what that difference is due," he added.

"Turkey needs a new law on syndciats line with EU standards is the desire of unions and the EU" has its turn Lagendijk said.

"This is not the strategic role played by Turkey in its region or its economy which is closer to Europe but high democratic standards," he added, while saying: "Human rights are the foundation of democracy. "

The Cypriot MP Marios Matsakis requested that the "football diplomacy" also applies to the Cyprus issue.

Co-President Joost Lagendijk asked if the recent reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia is the beginning of a change in policy Armenian of Turkey. Yasar Yakis replied that Turkey had decided for a new approach in its relations with Armenia and seeking to build confidence among states.

For his part Vice-Chairman of Republican People's Party (CHP) Onur ÖYMEN said that Turkey had already taken many initiatives for reconciliation with Armenia but Armenian successive administrations have ignored. Onur ÖYMEN said if the efforts for peace can not succeed generations evaluate them as a "struggle in vain." Onur ÖYMEN said "our European friends must be moderated by making remarks on this issue and should applaud every step and effort in this aspect. Europe should not apply a double standard. Perhaps if Azerbaijan had a Mastaki (the Cypriot member of European Parliament Marios Matsakis) then maybe their rights are upheld by Europe too. "

Joost Lagendijk répoundu him "the one who sent the President Gul to visit Armenia was not Europe, but Turkey".

The Cypriot Marios Matsakis said "It appears that the football match between Turkey and Armenia has been beneficial. Perhaps Turkey could make a game of football with us and also to all would be better. I will move my idea to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. "

Mr. Lagendijk has also announced that it was his last participation in a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee.

The Confines Of Armenia And Turkey, The Villagers Dream To See The Border Reopened , 3 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

A woman wearing an apron behind flowered savates its waste on his door. Hasmik Petrossian is as the teacher of Shirakavan, a hamlet in ways défonce. "A village where there is nothing good, sighs under sixty years old this clear. No gas, no water, no infrastructure." It is little more work to Shirakavan, former capital of a kingdom of Armenia in the ninth century, became a forgotten village, pinned against the border of Turkey. Most men try their luck in Russia. Other vivotent through agriculture. "Before 1993, everybody worked. There was a cross-border trade."

Behind the village, fields and watchtowers mark the border with neighboring Turkey, closed since 1993 by Ankara to punish Armenia for supporting the secession of the province of Karabakh of Azerbaijan to Armenian population. On the other side of the demarcation between Turkey and Armenia, a white minaret stands out in the desolate landscape. A giant Turkish flag was painted on the mountain. A little further, to Akhurian, sheep graze on a disused railway. Cars and station rusted ghost waiting for a train last fifteen years. This old platform of trade between Gyumri and Kars, his twin Turkish, could begin to revive hope the villagers. Currently, 14-hour drive via Georgia are required to connect the two cities, located 20 km.

The efforts of rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan, the willingness to restore diplomatic relations give some hope to Hasmik. "This is our dream to see the border reopened. If this happens, my smile back," she says revealing a row of gold teeth.


Since September and the historic visit to Armenia from Turkish President, Abdullah Gül, during a football match, the Foreign Ministers Ali Babacan and Edouard Nalbandian, met three times. Monday 24 November in Istanbul on the sidelines of the summit of the Organization of Economic Cooperation of the Black Sea, the reopening of the border was raised. "Discussions positive and sincere", commented Minister of Armenia. "It could go quickly, perhaps before April," Aybar bet Görgülü expert for the Foundation of Economic and Social Studies (TESEV). The Turkish organization participated a week ago, in Yerevan, at a joint symposium organized by the Caucasus Institute, entitled "Turkey-Armenia: how to break the vicious circle?"

The dialogue opens, except on the issue of genocide. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently renewed its offer to President Serge Sarkissian to create a joint commission of historians to study the archives of both countries, without convincing. "The archives are open, everyone can come and see," said the director of the Museum of Genocide in Yerevan, Hayk Demoyan. "I do not see the point, the documents are many and known" slice historian Hovannisian Anusha.

But the diplomatic climate has rarely been as favorable. Turkish side says we want to separate the issue of Karabakh and relations with Armenia. Armenian side, the recognition of genocide is no longer a prerequisite.

"The local context plays a lot," says Richard Giragosian, an American analyst based in Yerevan. There is a desire to divert attention to foreign policy. " He said the main factor lies in the Russian interest to reopen the border to bypass Georgia, commercial relay between Armenia and Turkey. "Economically, Russia would benefit more than Armenia: Moscow holds the key sectors like energy or telecommunications," he continues. The Armenian Minister of Energy has announced that from 1 March 2009, Armenia should begin to supply electricity to its neighbor. Energy produced mainly by the Metzamor nuclear power plant, managed by Moscow.

Guillaume Perrier THE WORLD 30.11.08.

The Armenian-Turkish Relations Are More Positive Than They Were 10 Years Ago , 3 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
According to some Turkish analysts present on November 26 at the press conference at the club "Hayel" arménoturques relations are more positive than they were 10 years ago. Admittedly, there are issues awaiting solutions. But the only way of normalizing relations are the Armenian-Turkish contacts at all levels. The analysis also found changes in the approaches of the Turkish media that are more optimistic about the normalization of relations with Armenia. In their 65% of Turkish society supported the visit of President Gül to confirm these Analises Yerevan. / Jamanak-Yerevan /

Embassy of France in Armenia Press Service

Turkey's Situation In The United States
Our friend Suleyman Demirkan informed us about a book that writes about Turkey's regrettable situation in the United States. The book was published by Ercument Kilic, who has been living in this country for 30 years and chaired organizations founded by Turkish citizens.

It seems that the lobbying companies in this country have for years been creating a "stripping" Turkey profession.

Aside from this, Turkish officials who have been struggling to prevent "genocide" bill, have missed a number of opportunities because they did not focus on the weak spots of the U.S. Congress' code.

What is more... According to this book, working with former republican Congress member Bob Livingston’s lobbying company was the reason for the rejection of the Turkish officials' appointment proposals after the Democrats took the majority in the House of Representatives two years ago. And here we were thinking that this decision was someone else's fault.

We can recall a concrete example of just such thinking:

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the chairwoman of the House of Representatives, refused a request for an appointment from Turkey's current president, Abdullah Gul, while he was in the post of foreign minister.

Apparently, Pelosi later did the same to our former Washington Ambassador Sukru Elekdag, currently a deputy in Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party, and an accompanying delegation of deputies. In response to the situation, Elekdag felt the need to say that "We have lost the ground we had previously gained."

Elekdag is right. If we had worked with the right lobbying companies at the right time, our officials would not have encountered such painful reactions.

There is no reason to be surprised by this situation, if we continue to fail to understand that things don’t move forward by simply pouring funds into lobbyist and ex-members of Congress in Washington.

Hurriyet daily published article saying "The Armenian genocide problem would come before us (mostly) as a compensation issue," in June 10, in 2003, after heeding a warning by Ercument Kilic.

The subject was this: Lawyer Dr. Varteks Yeghiayan, defended and won a life insurance compensation payment case for Martin Maroutian, who was once an Ottoman Empire citizen. What is more, he also gained approval to launch a similar lawsuit "on behalf of the other Armenians who faced genocide".

And we said that unless this process is blocked, those insurance companies forced to make huge payouts, would seek compensation from Turkey.

As a matter of fact, a Los Angeles Court ordered "New York Life" insurance company to pay compensation worth $20 million on Feb. 20, 2004. French insurer, Axa, who also bought Turkey’s Oyakbank, followed New York Life in paying compensation. What this means is that while Turkey acts to boost ties with Armenia the diaspora continues with its lobbying. It would be ridiculous to think that they would end their mission.

As a matter of fact, the diaspora is now lobbying to "commute" the sentence of Hampig Sassuonian, who was charged with the murder of Turkey’s Consul General Kemal Arikan in Los Angeles. We should not seek to place blame elsewhere if we have abandoned him.
Oktay Eksi © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Map A Reminder Of Complex History Of Caucasus Scott Taylor On Target Dec 1
THE final destination on my recent seven-country tour of the volatile Caucasus was Baku, Azerbaijan. One of my commitments during this short visit was to give a lecture at the Azeri Ministry of Foreign Affairs University. About four dozen former ambassadors, faculty members and students attended my presentation.

While it is admittedly a challenge to try to define the complex political, strategic situation in the Caucasus to North American readers, it is much dodgier when you attempt the same thing with an audience of active participants from the region. Given the level of tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed territory of Na gorno-Karabakh, almost every word you could utter has the potential to be contentious.

In 1991, when Azerbaijan declared independence from the collapsing Soviet Union, the ethnic Armenian majority in the province of Nagorno-Karabakh held its own referendum, in which it unilaterally declared the region to be independent from Azerbaijan.

While inter-ethnic violence had already begun to increase in this region at an alarming rate during the late 1980s, the declared secession of Nagorno-Karabakh sparked an all-out war between the Azeris and Armenians. To support the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, troops from the neighbouring Republic of Armenia first forced a land corridor into the disputed province. Then, over the course of two bloody years of combat, the Armenians captured and ethnically cleansed seven additional Azeri provinces around Nagorno-Karabakh to create what they call a security zone.

At the beginning of my lecture, I mentioned my travels to Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital city, Stepanakert. As soon as I said the word, a low grumble came from my audience, hands shot up and a bright, young Azeri student rose to admonish me. "You mean the city of Henkendi?" he asked.
I had to admit that I had never heard of that name; from highway signs to maps to written accounts of the war, I had only ever seen the name Stepanakert. "Henkendi was the old Azeri-Turkic name of the capital, but the Soviets changed it to Stepanakert in the 1920s," I was advised.

On Azeri maps published since independence from the Soviet Union, all place names have been replaced with the former Turkic ones. This renaming process was also conducted by the Armenians, and, as it had been very difficult to find accurate maps of the region in Canada, I had acquired one in Yerevan.

This particular map had been produced in 2002 by the Armenians, and it included a separate handy chart that listed all the former place names juxtaposed with the current ones. Despite the catalogue of name changes, I was still unable to correspond some of my research to a location on the map.

Outside Baku, at a refugee camp, I had interviewed 28 Azeri survivors of the Feb. 26, 1992, massacre in the town of Khojaly. On that fateful night a combat force of Armenians had routed the Azeri militia and completely cleansed the Azeri enclave of all inhabitants. In the process, 613 Azeris were killed — mostly civilians — including 83 small children. Thousands more were injured or missing.

At the time, Human Rights Watch reported this to be "the largest massacre to date in the conflict," and Azerbaijan subsequently declared Feb. 26 a national day of mourning. After my lecture, I asked one of the Azeri students to find Khojaly on my Armenian-produced map. After a protracted, head-scratching silence, he looked up bewildered and said: "It’s not there. They’ve simply erased it from existence."

There are always at least two sides to the history of every conflict, but in the Caucasus that divide seems wider and deeper than most.

( staylor at herald.ca)
Scott Taylor is the publisher of Esprit de Corps military magazine and author of several books.

The Notebook By Bernard-Henri Lévy - Responding To Historians Who Would Deter The Senate Vote On Law To Anti-Holocaust Denial. 2 December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

They say the substance (from Blois, Oct. 11): "This is not the law to write history." No one calls it. Nowhere is there to invite anyone to replace the historians. And for good reason that history is written of genocide and long for the good reason that, even if the French School are often shines by its absence, there is a body of work ranging from "Pound Blue Arnold Toynbee (1916) to the courageous "A Shameful Act" of Turkish Taner Akcam (2007) and setting up, without discussion, that Turkey in 1915 has been the scene of one of these attempts methodical extermination , Planned and without rest is called, since Nuremberg, genocide. What we ask senators, it's just to take note. What is expected of them, that is, history is written, write a law sanctioning the continuation of that crime, in fact, the denial.

They say: "this law will terrorize historians, locking them in a politically correct straightjacket preventing them from working." Again, who mocks it? And how dare we utter the same argument when we know that there is, in this case, that the real terrorism: those who, Turkey, stigmatize and sometimes kills historians of genocide or (Hrant Dink) who chroniquent? These are not laws, the Holocaust deniers, who terrorized historians. They are not there, these laws, to embarrass the researchers, but to remove this scourge from this pollution, such as counterfeiting. Let us stick to only those laws which, to date, works well. Consider the case of the law, said Gayssot criminalizing denial of the Holocaust. It is an anti-Le Pen. It is an anti-Semitic harassment. I challenge the signatories of the appeal of Blois quote one researcher that it has hindered the freedom of research and expression.

They say: "attention to the laws memorial! because it is a Pandora's box today Armenians; yesterday the Blackfoot and their "civilizing effect"; tomorrow Albigeois; aristocrats guillotined, where stop it? ". It added, this time the confusion blindness. The offense to the confusion. And it take to the coup, senators for idiots. Because there is not been one hundred genocide, God be praised, in the twentieth century. Or ten. But barely five. Jews and Gypsies. Tutsis. Cambodians. Perhaps Darfur. And, therefore, the first of which draw their Hitler and visa Armenians. Do not understand this, put it in the bag even a debate on colonialism and this insult to the memory of the dead that the denial of the fact that they are dead, stay in the same historian Pétré-Grenouilleau persecuted in name of a law bad memory and made the murderer of paper Faurisson including a well-trained law antinégationniste has discredited the "work" is not worthy of the signatories of this call "for freedom of history.

The signatories say again, outside of the call itself: "Why France? why a law in a country that was not involved in the tragedy ". First it is not so sure, and we know at least two cases (those in 1919, among other documented-by-the Franciscan missions of Marache and Hadjine in Cilicia) where the French army failed to its duty to protect and led, mutatis mutandis, as peacekeepers in Srebrenica. But, above all, the argument makes no sense in relation to a crime whose definition implies that affects humanity of man and that is therefore accounting mankind as a whole. Or the concept of crimes against humanity has a meaning and no one can be exempt. Or is this or that discards: "I have not held the weapon and I have let them do that" and then we must abandon the concept, conventions who founded the jurisprudence have reinforced the work of Rafael Lemkin, the UN Charter. Is this what we want?

And then the battle historians assume that the truth finally has its strength, its resort, which should boost spending of public power. That is how cheap this time of the singularity of this denial thereof. The deniers, usually, are hurluberlus. Of mania. Teachers marginalized or pulpit. Here they those over to a country-Turkey. It is a denial not a sect, but state that has the means of pressure, intimidation, blackmail, a large state. The Armenians, in other words, are in the situation where Jews would be if Germany, after Hitler had not done this work of memory and mourning which she righteousness penalty. And the last reason why I was on Saturday, with Serge Klarsfeld and others, alongside thousands of demonstrators, often very young, standing there, in Paris, facing the Senate, saying: "We are French; of Armenian origin but, first, French, and that's what we based to ask, faced with the unbearable violence of the denial of state, protection of French law."

27/11/2008 No. 1889 Le Point

Armenian Villiers by Stéphane / armenews Arnaud Folch, 27 November 2008

The Chairman of Vendee launched last week, a partnership of the heart "with Armenia. His confidences to "Current".

It is 11 h 15, November 17. An icy wind sweeps the site of Tsitsernakabert, hosting the Memorial of the Armenian genocide. Armed with a shovel, Philippe de Villiers, all dressed in black, complete planting a small tree, symbol, tradition, the tribute to the 1.5 million deaths genocide.

Moments earlier, the Chairman of Vendee, eyes misty, signed the guest book of the museum. The occasion, as he will throughout his visit, to emphasize the common destiny and misfortune of these two peoples victims, one in 1793, one in 1915, the same 'plan' mass extermination executed because of their faith - and never recognized by their auteurs.Le Chairman of Vendee launched last week, a partnership of the heart "with Armenia. His confidences to "Current"

"Brothers in adversity," "suffering", "common memory of the event," as he wrote: probably not, as here, more than 3 500 km of the Roche-sur-Yon, the two intertwined hearts surmounted by a cross, symbol of the Vendee, had seemed more appropriate. But coming after a long series of electoral setbacks and personal journey of three days in this small country martyr who survived by affirming its traditions and identity to all dramas and all occupations fell to peak for Villiers . Because beyond the impressive decentralized cooperation that his department has launched with Armenia is a part of himself, and a breath of hope, what this man found injured, crossed by doubt , In contact with this former Soviet republic if the tormented destiny - and now resurgent.

At the root of this "encounter", a book Armenia, Outpost Christian in the Caucasus (Glénat), written in 2006 by the geographer and university professor Francoise Ardilliers-Carras - present in the delegation vendéenne. Once devoured the book, Villiers meet its teams - directions cultural, economic, responsible for international relations ... "Armenia is the Vendee of the East and the Vendee Armenia to Europe," he said. We need to work together. "The idea of decentralized cooperation is emerging. Wife of president of the Association of Armenians from France, Francoise Govciyan creates the structure Vendée Armenia. Former Chairman of friendship group France-Armenia in the Senate, Jacques Oudin is also contributing. Ditto with the two chairmen of chambers of commerce and departmental trades, the director of the Vendée historical research, that of the Catholic Institute of Graduate Studies and several entrepreneurs.

"For many, international cooperation is to buy a good conscience," says Villiers. The first step is: "How do you want?" The second: "Now you doing ..." On water, but nothing grows. We wanted exactly the opposite of strong and durable, concrete, targeted operations. "And multiple courses for teachers and students in schools and businesses Vendéens, training in agriculture-edge economic partnership, libraries crisscross Yerevan, the Armenian capital, cultural exchanges (exhibitions, shows), rehabilitation and development, by specialists Puy du Fou, churches and monuments, tourism promotion in the country ... "The Vendée, which does not Armenian diaspora, and therefore does not function electoral interests, allows us to double our cooperation, while participating in our outreach," says Serge Smessow, ambassador France in Armenia, who accompanied Villiers during almost all of his journey, especially during his talks with the president and ministers of Culture and Foreign Affairs. Before the invite, with all its delegation for a great dinner at the embassy - the former House of players in the Soviet era! - On the eve of his return to Vendée.

That alone, however, only monitoring of her relatives that visited Villiers very symbolic monastery of Khor-Virap dominated in the distance, by Mount Ararat, atop which Noë secured his ark. Claimed by Armenia, the mountain is located in Turkish territory, which sees the border, bristling with barbed wire, less than one kilometer. Sign of the tension which so often prevailed here, the walls riddled with bullets and names, engraved by hand, survivors of genocide. Fierce opponent of Turkey's entry into the European Union, Villiers will remain a long time to think about before this immensity hostile, about which he repeated on the evening before the French community of Yerevan, then the next day during d A press conference that "it does and will never be part of Europe, neither geographically nor culturally, even if it recognized the Armenian genocide."

"Meeting" most unexpected - and also fraught with meaning: that he did, then at the bottom of a ... pit dug six meters under the basilica. This is where Gregory the Illuminator, the first Christian Armenia, was locked, surrounded by reptiles. Refusing to recant her faith, he survived for thirteen years until his executioner, King Tridata seriously ill, does call for him to heal ... and convert. "How France, which has lost faith in itself can expect up the slope, how Villiers. Religion is part of our identity base. It has enabled Armenia to retain its identity. So, yes, I am sad because deny, as is done with us, is to build a vacuum. déculturée without soul and without reference. A France that leaves ... "

Surprisingly sincere - and politically incorrect! - In his words, Villiers will so that at his press conference, the spokesman of the embassy, yet accustomed French delegations, will stop for a moment: "Excuse me, Mr. President, but I'm shocked ... "Based on the last row of the classroom visited by the former minister to the French University of Armenia, Anouch, so sure of her appearance, entrusts his" trouble ". This is the case, last but not least, its own representative of Armenian Catholicos Bishop Paren Avedikian, the highest religious authority in the country: "I am so touched, said the old man in the white beard, I have something in throat which prevents me from talking. "Then add, after a long silence:" An ancient poem says: "Who married the pain of another, the other heals his pain." Please have Part healed. "

Cured Villiers, absent from the general post-presidential forced to terms with the UMP parliamentary and municipal, will be there at the end of the seventy-two hours of total immersion in that country model, which has "overcome its tests without ever deny? At nearly 60 years, dropped by its former Secretary General of MPF, in which he had placed such high hopes, having been through the painful ordeal of an intimate family drama whose scars are not closed, man hair longer than salt pepper, if he has not lost his convictions, has lost many of its illusions.

"Sarkozy, confides he is not interested in history, it does not feel France. But it is a master in communication, the new kings of the time. For two years he will play the "president of solidarity" to win favor with the left, then, a year before the presidential election, he will deliver a coup de helm. And take the bet. Unless the events get involved. "He usually so optimistic, at least in appearance, has understood: it is now master of its destiny. Unless the European elections, which saw in 1994, ahead of Sarkozy to everyone's surprise ...

His eye, then began to sparkle. The scenario rebound snaps. Lists sponsored by Irishman Declan Ganley - including de Villiers in France - throughout Europe, a National Front in capilotade, homing in extremis Dupont-Aignan and at the end, after all, the hope upsurge .. . After full lungs sang the song of Vendéens white, it raises his glass to Armenia. "She has withstood everything," says he. Thinking very hard on himself.

Turkey Continues its Policy of Denial Anahit Shirinyan December 02, 2008
The previous weeks have shown that the question of the Armenian Genocide remains one of the factors impeding the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. This, even though the joint Armenia-Turkish collaboration in the recent period would seem to testify to the fact that for Turkey the Genocide issue is no longer viewed as a precondition for the normalization of relations.

However, the consequence of the election of Barack Obama as the new U.S. President has given rise to new commentary. During his pre-election campaign Obama, as widely noted, made promises to recognize the Armenian Genocide and later confirmed his willingness to keep his promise.

Even before the U.S. elections, Turkish Primes Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went so far as to call Obama “a political dilettante” for his statements on the Armenian Genocide.

Turkish political players and the Turkish press reacted to Obama’s statement with a sense of unease and called on the U.S. to pull back from such moves for isn’t it true that Turkey is now coming across with its own initiatives to safeguard peace and stability in the region and intends to maintain direct relations with Armenia.

Two weeks ago in New York’s Columbia University Prime Minister Erdogan in a speech entitled “Turkey’s role in shaping the future” where he noted that Turkey and the Unit5ed States had a negative period in 2007 due to terrorist attacks emanating from the north of Iraq and due to Armenian claims surrounding the events of 1915 and expressed the hope that the new American administration would take into account Turkish sensitivities on matters of vital import.

Erdogan termed the efforts of the Armenian lobby in America as “cheap” and noted that, ““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.”

During his speech the Turkish PM once again voiced the Turkish proposal to create a Joint Conference on the Genocide comprised of Turkish and Armenian historians. «Our proposal is still on the table. Let's leave the issue to the historians» declared Erdogan. «We have opened our archives and the Armenians must do the same. To date, we have studied over one million documents.» Erdogan first made this proposal back in 2005 and it was essentially refused by Yerevan.

The newspaper Asbarez notes that while the Turkish archives appear to be open they still remian under heavy censorship and those experts who reserach thye genocide are followed and menaced by Turkey's Security Services.

In the opinion of Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America, the renewed call for a conference of historians on the part of Turkey is just another tactic in its campaign of genocide denial. In his view, this proposal essentially comes into conflict with Article 301 which is used to label all sincere discourse on the Armenian Genocide that takes place in Turkey as «injurious» and prosecutable in the Turkish court system.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in a recent interviw with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, when answering a reporter's question, noted that there was absolutely no necessity to create such a commission. «We didn't believe that such a move would lead anywhere. We want to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries without any preconditions, to open the borders and then will we be able to discuss all issues relating to neighboring countriesd on an intergovernmental level. We do not view the recognition of the Genocide by Turkey as a precondition for the establishment of relations. We desire such a thing but not at all costs.”

What created much more of an uproar was the statement by Turkey’s Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul where he questioned whether "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," The Turkish Defense Minister mad the statement during ceremonies at the Turkish Embassy in Brussels marking the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. "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," he added. The 1923 exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey involved some two million people, of whom 1.5 million were Greeks and were forced to leave their homeland in Asia Minor in a treaty promoted and overseen by the international community as part of the Treaty of Lausanne.

In his statement the Defense Minister alluded to the fact that Armenia assists the KPP, “We cannot deny that those people who consider themselves victims of the establishment of this nation and particularly subject to forced exile have played a role in the struggle taking place in southeastern Anatolia.”

More than 40 Turkish Armenians responded to this statement of Vecdi Gonul by issuing an open letter to Prime Minister Erdogan labeling the remarks of the Defense Minister as “praise for ethnic cleansing and criminal acts.” A few Turkish intellectuals also signed the open letter including Taner Akcam.

In the letter it is noted that the observations of Gonul contradict the Turkish constitution in which it is stated that every citizen of Turkey is a Turk. The letter rhetorically asks, “It is hard to understand that when we are talking about the Turkish nation, why Armenians and Greeks (non Muslims) can’t be part of that nation when Kurds, Arabs and Albanians (Muslims) can be. To what extent does the mentality stressed that there must be religious unity in order to form a nation actually correspond to the current law of the state?”

The statement by the Defense Minister also elicited a reaction by the Greeks. George Koumoutsakos, the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that the destruction of the Armenian and Greek communities in Turkey was an imperative in the process of the creation of the modern Turkish state.

Negative reactions also came from various Turkish intellectuals. Soli Ozel a Professor of International Relations at Bigli University in Istanbul stated to Hurriyet News & Economic Review that 80 years later, the population transfer had led to the impoverishment of Turkey’s society and culture. Professor Ozel stated that that the eviction of Armenians and Greeks from Anatolia postponed the industrialization of Turkey by some fifty years, from an economic point of view and that due to ethnic and religious cleansing the variety of thought in Turkey had been erased. Vecdi Gonul was forced to issue a public statement noting that his comments had bee misconstrued.

During the recent period, the Genocide has been more frequently discussed in the social and political life of Turkey. A few weeks ago in the liberal newspaper Taraf, there appeared an interesting article penned by Judge Faruk Ozsun. In the article he severely criticized Article 301 and labeled the supporters of the official line of Turkey regarding the Armenian Genocide as “blind patriotism”.

Commenting on recent guilty charges levied against three Turks in Switzerland for denying the Armenian Genocide Judge Ozsun comments that Switzerland, rather than restricting their right to freedom of speech, defended human dignity, by honoring the memory of the victims. Accepting that the denial of genocide is a continuation of genocide, the Turkish judge noted that Switzerland merely didn’t allow “for the victims to be sacrificed a second time.”

This is perhaps the first time than a presiding judge has expressed such criticism. The recent discussions of the Armenian Genocide and Armenian-Turkish relations that have occurred are clearly a step forward in the life of Turkey’s society and politics. Such discussions will inevitably lead to the creation of a variety of thought regarding the issue and the removal of that ill-fated Article 301. And perhaps this time as well Armenians will have their input in the process, something that they have always strived to do as ethnic Armenian citizens of Turkey, in the name of Turkey’s democratization and development.


"Genocide Without Comments" Film Is Denied Panorama.am 01/12/2008
"There are many films on Armenian Genocide shoot in many countries. They express different view points of our tragedy, but all those films have one similar character - there is a person who applies, who cries and the facts are presented too emotional. We don't need that as we know it quite well, still others criticize us saying we are too emotional and we present facts under our own interests," says director Alexander Sardoor, who is the director of "Genocide without Comments" film.

According to him, no Armenian plays in the film, and the hero of it is Wolfgang Gust (he discovered new facts about Armenian Genocide and wrote a book) and everything is based on pure facts which are provided by the Foreign Ministry of Germany. Those materials have been found from the archive of the Ministry in 4 years.

The documentary film which lasts 2 hours and 7 minutes is in German and Armenian, but the director wants it to be in 7-8 languages. In this regard he says they have applied to many instances but in vain.

Minister Of Diaspora Discusses In U.S. Ways Of Deepening Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora Links Noyan Tapan www.nt.am Dec 1, 2008

YEREVAN. The RA Minister of Diaspora Hranish Hakobian on November 26 had meetings with representatives of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches and the Union of Iranian Armenians of Los Angeles in the U.S.

During a dinner given by the AGBU, at which the President of the NKR Bako Sahakian and the Head of Artsakh diocese Pargev Martirosian were present, discussions on deepening and developing Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora links took place. As NT was informed by the Press and Information Department of the Ministry of Diaspora, Hranush Hakobian presented the ministry's major strategic tasks set by the Armenian president, underlining the necessity for implementing joint Armenia-Diaspora programs with the aim of performing these tasks. Issues related to development and implementation of youth programs, organization of higher educational practice of Diasporan students at various institutions in Armenia, extension and development of the activities of Saturday and Sunday schools, as well as giving a new quality and spirit to Diaspora-Armenia relations under "Ari Tun" ("Come Home") project were discussed.

At the meeting with members of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches, the minister of diaspora spoke about the prospects of strengthening and devloping Armenia-Diaspora links, at the same time expressing a high opinion about the educational and charity programs implemented by the Armenian Evangelical Church. In her speech Hranush Hakobian stated that any Armenian body of the Diaspora - any religious, cultural or party structure - is a direct partner of the ministry. She attached importance to the development and implementation of programs in cooperation with Diasporan structures in the spheres of education, culture, economy, information, etc.

The NKR president Bako Sahakian attended the meeting with representatives of the Union of Iranian Armenians, during which the minister pointed out the well-organized character, activity and vitality of Iran's Armenian community, expressing confidence that the Iranian Armenians retain these good traditions in the U.S.

During all the meetings, interesting and comprehensive discussions on the strengthening and development of Homeland-Diaspora links were held, while the minister called on the meeting participants to take an active part in Telethon 2008, underlining the ideas of unity of this event.

Clinton’s Appointment Pleases Armenian Diaspora
An influential Armenian diaspora organization, the Washington-based Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), has voiced its pleasure over US President-elect Barack Obama's announcement that he will nominate Senator Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state.

"We are certainly pleased to see that, for the first time in recent memory, an individual with a strong record in support of Armenian Genocide recognition will serve as America's Secretary of State," Aram Hamparian, the executive director of ANCA, was quoted as saying in a press release on the organization's Web site.

Also in the press release, ANCA reprinted a statement sent to the organization by Clinton back in January 2008. Then, as a Democratic presidential candidate, Clinton also pledged to officially recognize the controversial World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide if she became president; just days after her then-rival Obama did the same. Yet, ANCA eventually announced its support for Obama, praising him as "the Democratic candidate best positioned to bring fundamental change to how the United States addresses issues of special concern to Armenian-American voters."

As a senator, Clinton has, since 2002, cosponsored successive “Armenian genocide” resolutions. In October 2000, weeks before the presidential election, Armenian groups came very close to seeing the adoption of House Resolution 596 by the US Congress, with the resolution on the alleged genocide reaching the House floor. Yet, only hours before the final vote, then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton's spouse, personally intervened and urged House Speaker Dennis Hastert to withdraw the resolution on grounds of national security. Hastert agreed, prompting major disappointment among Armenians.

Clinton's remarks in an October 2007 interview with The Boston Globe in which she stated her reservations concerning a resolution pending in the US Congress to recognize the allegations had led to reactions from the Armenian community, with observers citing the interview as the motive behind ANCA's choice for supporting Obama during the election.

Meanwhile, Turkish diplomatic sources told Today's Zaman yesterday that Turkey's Ambassador to the United States Nabi Şensoy has recently sent a letter to the CNN International news station which plans to broadcast a documentary titled "Scream Bloody Murder" later this week. The documentary, which marks the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, also covers the Armenian allegations.

Şensoy explained "Turkey's position and sensitivities," in the letter, the diplomatic sources said, without elaborating.

03 December 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN

‘Ankara Should Be Vigilant With Obama Cabinet’
US President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of three key figures known to be experienced centrists to head his national security team has been widely considered a relief for the Turkish capital, under the assumption that these names would make up for a probable lack of dialogue in bilateral relations between Ankara and Washington, stemming possibly from Obama’s inexperience.

“The bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States are strategic, and the strategic importance of this relationship will gradually increase due to global developments,” a senior Turkish government official told Today’s Zaman on Tuesday. “We are not in a position to make suggestions to shape the new US administration; however, I strongly believe that the Obama leadership will heed the importance of relations with Turkey and make its choices accordingly,” the same official, speaking anonymously, added.

Nonetheless, several Turkish analysts have cautioned that Ankara should maintain vigilance in its relations with Washington, with a proactive policy that will help thoroughly explain to the new US administration that the two NATO allies have to maintain a strategic dialogue rather than imposing unilaterally designed policies on each another -- particularly in an era marked by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and rising terrorism around the world.

Obama announced on Monday that he had chosen Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had competed against Obama to become the Democratic presidential candidate, to be secretary of state, and that Robert Gates would remain as defense secretary, a post he has held for the past two years. Obama also introduced a retired Marine, Gen. James Jones -- a former top commander at NATO -- as White House national security adviser.

According to leading foreign policy analyst Sami Kohen, Obama's selection of Clinton, Gates and Jones is a particularly "good sign" for Turkey since all three have a comprehensive knowledge of Turkish-US relations as well as an understanding of the strategic importance of these relations.

"This selection is also important for US democracy since it is a bipartisan choice. Clinton and Gates are experienced statesmen and understand US-Turkey relations, and Gates has had close contacts with the Turkish military leadership. All of these factors are, in a way, easing Ankara's concerns, which primarily stemmed from Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his vice president, because actual executive power will be in the hands of these people," Kohen told Today's Zaman.

Obama and Biden have made it clear more than once that they support Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during the years of World War I. Obama also pledged during his election campaign that as president he would recognize the claims.

Turkey has managed for decades to block Armenian efforts to win US recognition for genocide claims, but with the White House readying for Obama, it is high time for Ankara to promote a more comprehensive policy that goes beyond addressing immediate challenges at the US Congress, experts say.

"The Armenian issue would not be the sole focus of Ankara when approaching the new US administration. The fact that there will be a team in charge which will not assume a unilateral foreign policy is an opportunity for Turkey to bring new strategic input to the relationship," Kohen said.

He was apparently referring to Obama's remarks during a press conference on Monday when he announced his national security team in Chicago. Obama said then that his administration would restore US standing in the world through alliance-building and international institutions, as well as by maintaining American military might.

That power "has to be combined with the wisdom and force of our diplomacy," Obama said, pledging that the nation would exert influence by "the power of our moral example."

Sedat Laçiner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK), speaking to Today's Zaman, first of all noted that in the presentation of Obama's selection, he failed to introduce the notion of change that was part of his election campaign.

Defining Clinton as a "a figure of balance," and noting that Gates has not been a "unilateralist," even while working with the George W. Bush administration, Laçiner suggested that it was up to Ankara to use these facts as leverage in diplomatic relations.

"US recognition of Armenian claims of genocide will harm Obama's own policy on the Caucasus as he has lent his support to the recent thaw in relations between Armenia and Turkey, which began with President [Abdullah] Gül's visit to Yerevan in September," Laçiner told Today's Zaman.

However, Laçiner added: "I believe that the new administration will spend more time than the former one in its consultations with Turkey, particularly on regional issues. But in the meantime, Turkey must be the party which exerts a greater effort to make this happen more rapidly. Being a good partner doesn't mean sitting in your corner and waiting for your turn, it means introducing remedies and concrete projects for certain issues."

Sounding cautious on the probable approach of the Obama administration towards the claims of the Armenian genocide, Soli Özel, an expert on international relations, told Today's Zaman that the US administration will eventually find a balance between the importance they attach to relations with Turkey and domestic pressure from the Armenian community.

"What Turkey should do is to focus on rapprochement with Armenia. It should also continue petitioning the US Congress on the pending Armenian genocide resolution, but it should definitely refrain from policies of blackmailing and threatening while doing so," Özel added. He stressed that Ankara should also not forget about contact with figures who shape public opinion in the US, keeping in mind that it was US media reaction in particular which prevented the genocide resolution from being adopted last year.
03 December 2008, EMİNE KART Zaman

Armenian Groups In U.S. Hail Hillary Clinton Nomination By Emil Danielyan
The two main Armenian lobby groups in the United States have warmly welcomed Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state, citing her stated support for U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide and the strengthening of America’s relations with Armenia.

"We are certainly pleased to see that, for the first time in recent memory, an individual with a strong record in support of Armenian Genocide recognition will serve as America's Secretary of State," Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) , said in a statement issued late Monday.

"Never before have we had such an alignment whereby the incoming President, Vice-President and Secretary of State have a clear and demonstrated record of support for affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, as well as genocide prevention," said Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA).

Both Clinton and her erstwhile Democratic Party rival, President-elect Barack Obama, pledged to described as genocide the 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the U.S. presidential race. As senators, they co-sponsored relevant draft resolutions in the U.S. Congress that were blocked by the Bush administration under strong pressure from Turkey. Former President Bill Clinton likewise opposed such resolutions, pointing to the strategic character of Washington’s relations with Ankara.

“I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide,” Hillary Clinton said in a January message to the Armenian-American community. “I have twice written to President Bush calling on him to refer to the Armenian Genocide in his annual commemorative statement and, as President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

The former U.S. first lady also promised to “expand and improve” U.S.-Armenian relations. “As President, I will expand U.S. assistance programs to Armenia and to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” she said.

Turkish leaders have already urged Obama to stick to the outgoing U.S. administration’s policy on the subject that has avoided the use of the politically sensitive word “genocide” with regard to the 1915 killings.

Some Armenian political circles are increasingly worried that Ankara might try to exploit its ongoing diplomatic dialogue with Yerevan for convincing the new U.S. president to renege on his campaign pledge. A leader of the influential Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) party warned last month that President Serzh Sarkisian will endanger U.S. recognition of the genocide if he agrees to a Turkish-Armenian academic study on the subject proposed by Ankara.

Sarkisian indicated earlier this year he does not object, in principle, to the idea of Turkish and Armenian historians jointly determining whether the World War One-era massacres constituted a genocide. His predecessor, Robert Kocharian, rejected the idea out of hand. 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 U.S. in particular.

Armenian Genocide Lie & A Short Review Of Armenian History
As a bridge between Asia and Europe, with its straits connecting The Black Sea with the Mediterranean and its geopolitical situation at a point where the Central Asian, Caucasian and Middle Eastern natural energy sources intersect, Turkey draws the attention of the entire world.

The Ottoman Empire in the past and Turkey at present has always been an arena for which intrigues were incessantly designed. The colonialist superpowers wishing to eradicate the Ottoman Empire from the world by dividing it did not fail to use in their schemes also the Armenians who coexisted in peace with the Turks for so many centuries.

There are today just like in the past, several countries striving to secure themselves political and economic benefits at the expense of Armenian community. Monuments accusing Turks and Turkey of having committed genocide are being erected in some countries; decisions intending to recognise the so called genocide are brought into the parliamentary agenda in several countries and even voted for in some others. Issues that need to be left to historians are turned into means of self interest by the politicians. The Armenians who were ousted from one place to the other, pushed into wars, and treated as third rate citizens throughout the history by the Romans, Persians and Byzantines. After the advent of Turks into Anatolia, they benefited from the just, humane, tolerant and unifying traditions and beliefs of their new neighbours. The period that lasted until the end of the nineteenth century when the apogee of these developments and relations was attained, was the golden age of Armenians. In fact, the Armenians were by far the greatest beneficiaries of the opportunities offered by the Ottoman Empire to all industrious, capable, honest and straightforward citizens of the non-Moslem communities. Being exempted from the military service and to a large extent from taxation, they had the opportunity to excel themselves in trade, agriculture, craftsmanship and administration and therefore were rightly called the “loyal nation” because of their loyalty and ability to interact with the Ottomans. There were so many Armenians who spoke Turkish, who even conducted their rites in this language , who rose to topmost public service posts such as the Ministries and Under-Secretariats of State for the Public Works, Navy, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Treasury, Posts and Telegraph and Minting. There were some who even wrote books in Turkish and foreign languages on the Problems of the Ottoman Empire .

With the start of the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the European powers began to intervene in its affairs and degeneration became evident in the peaceful Turkish-Armenian relations. Great effort was displayed by the instigators whom the Western powers planted into the Ottoman Empire under clerical guise, to create a schism between Turks and Armenians in the religious, cultural, commercial, political and social fields. Thus, bloody clashes arose, in which the blunt of pain was borne by the Turks, and thousands of Armenians and Turks lost their lives in the revolts that broke out in Eastern Anatolia and spread all the way to Istanbul.

Though there were many Armenians fighting in the Ottoman armies against the enemy or serving in the rear ranks during the World War I, a considerable number had sided with the foes on the battlefronts and launched massacres against the population without distinction of women, children and the aged. Their toll was hundreds of thousands of Moslems and ruin in Eastern Anatolia.

The measures adopted by the Ottoman Empire to stop this violence were presented to the rest of the world under a completely different light and the Armenians, misguided by the promises and instigation of the Western Powers started to undermine the country where they had led a privileged life more than a thousand years.

The Hinchak, Tashnak, Toward Armenia, Young Armenians, Union and Salvation, Ramgavar, Paramilitaries, Black Cross societies and Hinchak Revolutionary Committee, which were established out of Anatolia, formed organisations urging the people for an armed revolt. These activities were the bloody uprisings that cost thousands of Turkish and Armenian lives.

During World War I, the Ottoman Empire was fighting against Russian armies in Eastern Anatolia, where the Armenian revolt was at its peak; and also against Armenian forces which supported the Russians. On the other hand, behind the lines it had to continue to fight against Armenian guerrillas that were burning Turkish villages and towns and attacking military convoys and reinforcements. In spite of this violence, the Ottoman Empire tried to solve the Armenian problem for months by taking local measures. Meanwhile, an operation was made against the Armenian guerillas and 2345 rebels were arrested for high treason. When it became evident that the Armenian community was also in rebellion against the state, the Ottoman Empire proceeded with the last resort of replacing only those Armenians in the region who actively participated in the rebellion. With this measure, the Ottoman Empire also intended to save the lives of the Armenians who were living in a medium of civil war because Turks started to counter-attack the Armenians who had performed bloody atrocities against Turkish communities. Today, Armenia and some states using Armenians for their economic and political benefits have launched a massive propaganda campaign to present the replacement decision and the 24 April arrests as genocide to the world public opinion.

At the end of the World War I, when the armies of Allied States occupied The Ottoman Empire and the British officials among them arrested 143 Ottoman political and military leaders and intellectuals for “having committed war crimes toward Armenians” and exiled them to Malta where a trial was launched. However, the massive scrutiny made on the Ottoman, British, American archives in order to find evidence to incriminate these 143 persons failed to produce even the least iota of proof against them. In the end, the detainees in Malta were released without trial and even any indictment in 1922.

The United States archives contain an interesting document sent to Lord Curzon on 13 July 1921 by Mr. R.C. Craigie, the British Ambassador in Washington. The message was as follows: “I regret to state that there is nothing that may be used as evidence against the Turkish detainees in Malta. There are no events that may constitute adequate proofs. The said reports do not appear to contain even circumstantial evidence that could be useful to reinforce the information held by His Majesty’s Government against the Turks.” On 29 July 1921, the legal advisers in London decided that the intended indictments drawn up against the persons on the British Foreign Ministry’s list were semi-political in nature and therefore these individuals should be treated separately from the Turks detained as criminals of war.

They also stated the following: “No statements were hitherto received from the witnesses to the effect that the indictments intended against the detainees are correct. Likewise it does not need to be restated that finding witnesses after so long a time is highly doubtful in a remote country like Armenia which is accessible only with great difficulties.” This statement was made also by none other than the legal advisers in London of His Majesty’s Government.

Yet, the efforts to smear the image of Turks with genocide claims did not come to an end as the British press published certain documents attempting to prove the existence of a massacre claimed to have been perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire while efforts were being made to start a lawsuit in Malta. It was stated that the documents were found by the British occupation forces in Syria, led by General Allenby. The inquiries subsequently made by the British Foreign Office revealed, however, that these documents were fakes prepared by the Armenian Nationalist Delegation in Paris and distributed to the Allied representatives.

The Armenian Diaspora, who left no stone unturned to keep the genocide claims on the agenda despite all these facts, resorted to terrorism in the end. The so-called Armenian issue, which started to attract the attention of the world and Turkish public opinion through the smearing campaign launched by the Armenians against Turkey after 1965, in the ‘70s turned into terrorist attacks directed against the Turkish representations abroad. In Santa Barbara on January 27, 1973, the first individual terrorist attack was launched by an aged Armenian named Gurgen (Karekin) Yanikian. He murdered Mehmet Baydur and Bahadir Demir, the Turkish Consul General and Vice Consul in Los Angeles, and these murders turned into an organised campaign after 1975. The attacks against Turkish embassies, officials and institutions abroad gradually intensified.

A major increase in the attacks was noted after 1979 when an internal unease started in Turkey. The Armenian terrorists staged a total of 110 attacks at 38 cities of 21 countries. 39 of these acts were committed by small arms, 70 of them were realised by bombs and one was an outright occupation. 42 Turkish diplomats and 4 foreigners were killed and 15 Turks and 66 foreigners were wounded in these incidents.

As these actions received a strong reaction from the world public opinion, the Armenian terrorist organisations changed their tactics in 1980 and began to co-operate with the PKK terrorist group which was pushed into the scene by the Eruh and ªemdinli attacks as the ASALA and Armenian operations were stopped. The documents and evidence from Beqaa and Zeli camps show that the PKK and ASALA militants were trained there together.

The success achieved by the Turkish security forces made the Armenian terrorism pursue the so called genocide claims through the Armenian Diaspora and attempt to make the world believe in the existence of such an event by inducing several parliaments to adopt resolutions and laws which recognise it.

The goal of these terrorists is to plant into minds of people the existence of a genocide, to force Turkey to recognise it, to receive indemnity from Turkey and, finally, to snatch from Turkey the land needed for realising the dream of Great Armenia

In the period that followed the Berlin Treaty, the Armenian issue developed in two directions, The first is the interventions made by the Western powers in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire, and the second is the clandestine organisation and rearmament of Anatolian, Syrian and Thracian Armenians in various parts of Anatolia, particularly in Eastern Anatolia and Cilicia.

The initial provocations started coming from Russia. This attitude induced the British and French Governments to display a greater interest toward Armenians. British Consulates mushroomed in Eastern Anatolia and large numbers of Protestant missionaries were dispatched to this region.

As a result of these activities, several Armenian committees were formed in Eastern Anatolia from 1880 onward. These committees that remained at local level failed and withered away in time because the Armenians who lived in welfare and did not have any complaints against the Ottoman Empire were not interested in the committees. When the plans to make the Ottoman Armenians revolt against the State through the committees failed, the Russian Armenians were encouraged to set up such committees out of the Ottoman Empire. Hinchak was founded in Geneva in 1887, with socialist tendencies and moderately militant ideas and Tashnak was established in Tbilisi in 1887, with extremist, terrorist and revolutionary attitudes favouring armed struggle and full independence. The goal imposed on these committees were the “salvation of Anatolian land and Ottoman Armenians”.

The revolt attempts launched by the Hinchaks that extended its organisation into Istanbul and aimed at provoking the Ottoman Armenians by drawing the Western attentions on the issue, were followed by those of the Tashnaks. The common features of the both groups were the fact that they were planned and oriented by the committees that came to the Ottoman Empire from abroad and that they were largely supported by the missionaries spread all over Anatolia.

The first revolt broke out in Erzurum in 1890, followed by the Kumkapi demonstration in the same year. These revolts were followed by 1892 and 1893 Kayseri, Yozgat, Corum and Merzifon incidents, 1894 Sasun revolt, 1894 Sublime Porte demonstration and Zeytun mutiny, 1896 Van revolt and the occupation of Ottoman Bank the same year, the second Sasun Revolt in 1903, the 1905 attempt to kill Emperor Abdulhamid and the Adana revolt in 1909.

By far the greatest damage given to Turks by the Armenians were the massacres perpetrated during World War I. During this period, the Armenians acted as spies for the Russians, evaded the mobilisation orders by hiding, and those that were in the Ottoman army collectively committed high treason by joining the Russian forces taking their arms with them.. The Armenian gangs that had already started attacks on the Turkish villages, with the start of the war massacred, among others, the entire women, children and the aged inhabitants of Zeve village of Van Province.

The quelling of these revolts by the Ottoman army was presented to the world as a massacre of Armenians by the Moslems and thus the issue acquired a larger international dimension. In fact, the British and Russian diplomatic reports of the time state that the goals of Armenian revolutionists were to create social chaos against which the Ottoman army would react and to thereby ensure the intervention of Western powers in the situation. It seems that these goals were reached and the diplomatic and consular representations of the Western States, with the assistance of Christian missionaries spread all over Anatolia, played a major role in the transmission of the Armenian propaganda to the Western public opinion.

The racial origins of the Armenians and the geography in which they lived are still debated today. It is certain, however, that they have always been the subjects of other states throughout history.

The encyclopædias state that Yerevan, Lake Sevan, Nahkichevan, north of Rumiah Lake and Maku region were called “Armenia” which meant “ upper lands” and the people living there were named Armenians.

Some of the Armenian historians claim that they are descendants of the Hittites who lived in Cilicia and Northern Syria in the 6th century AD, while some others bring the genealogy to Haig, one of Noah’s sons. There is no certainty about exactly where the community referred today as Armenians settled and lived in the geographical region called Armenia. Their population and the percentage of their population to other groups that lived in the same area are still a mystery.

Thus, even the Armenian historians are not unanimous as to their origin. It may therefore be stated that it is impossible for a community that has never had the privilege of being a nation and founding an independent state, to have claims on a certain geography as “a homeland”. Consequently, the dream of Great Armenia is but the product of an expansionist ideology.

As the history went, the Armenians lived under the Persian, Macedonian, Seleucide, Roman, Partian, Sasanite, Byzantine, Arabian and Turkish hegemonies. In fact, all of the Armenian principalities known to have existed in the region were established by the sovereigns that controlled the region in order to draw this community into their sphere of influence and employ them in a variety of tasks.

The Selchuks saved the Armenians from the Byzantine persecution and offered them the opportunity of leading a decent life when they secured the control of Anatolia in 1071. Under the reign of Mehmed II, freedom of thought and belief was granted to the Armenians and the right to establish a patriarchate of their own for governing the community’s religious and social activities.

The Armenian Patriarch had the power of appointing and dismissing clergy members, banning the religious rites, collecting dues from the community, concluding the marriage formalities and even pronouncing imprisonment decisions.

Until the end of the 19th century, the Armenians lived their golden age under the Ottoman rule, also with the vast tolerance of the Turkish people. Having been exempted from military service and of most of the taxes, they excelled in trade, agriculture, artisanry and rose to major posts in the administration. For the services that they rendered to the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians were allowed to settle in the regions vacated after the Greek rebellion and were given the prestigious title of “the faithful nation”. It ensues from the foregoing that there was not any Armenian issue until the end of the 19th century nor were any problems that the Armenian citizens could not solve with the assistance of Turkish administration.

APRIL 24, 1915
Regarding these revolts and massacres, the Ottoman Government merely declared to the Armenian Archbishop, deputies and community leaders that appropriate measures would be implemented if the Armenians did not stop massacring the Moslems. However, the intensification of the events, the increase of attacks against defenseless Turkish women and children and the war that waged on several battlefronts all at the same time necessitated to secure the rear lines.

The first move adopted on April 24, 1915 was to ban all Armenian committees and to arrest 2.345 leaders for crimes against the State. The date of April 24, commemorated by the Armenians abroad as the anniversary of genocide against Armenians, is the date of these arrests and has nothing to do with the replacement.

The Etchmiasin Patriarch, a priest named Kevork, sent the following cable to the United States President upon this move:

Mr. President, according to the latest news received from the Turkish Armenia, a massacre started there and an organised terror has put the Armenian lives in danger. In this precarious moment, I am addressing to the noble sentiments of the great American nation and ask you to intervene immediately through your Great Republic’s diplomatic representation for protecting my people left to the mercy of the violence of Turkish fanaticism, on behalf of humanity and Christian belief. Kevorg, Ecumenic Patriarch of all Armenians.

This cable was followed by the Washington contacts of the Russian Ambassador. The incident here was merely the banning of Armenian committees and the arrest of the culprits. Yet, the Armenians endeavoured to display it as a massacre and to rally the United States and Russia into their ranks.

Clinton Welcomed By Us Armenians by Ümit Enginsoy
WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state seems to have been met with approval by both Turkey and Armenia, with the largest U.S. Armenian group and Turkish officials welcoming the decision.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state seems to have been met with approval by both Turkey and Armenia, with the largest U.S. Armenian group and Turkish officials welcoming the decision.

The Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA praised Clinton’s record as a strong supporter of the Armenian cause, in a statement late Monday. However, the ANCA made no mention of Clinton’s opposition to the passage of an "Armenian genocide" resolution in the House of Representatives in October 2007, when she cited concerns of a strong Turkish reaction.

"We extend our thanks to President-elect Obama for this choice and our congratulations to Senator Clinton on her appointment to our nation’s top diplomatic post," said Aram Hamparian, the ANCA's executive director, according to the statement.

"We are certainly pleased to see that, for the first time in recent memory, an individual with a strong record in support of Armenian genocide recognition will serve as America’s secretary of state," Hamparian said.

Obama announced earlier Monday, he would nominate Clinton, his former rival during the Democratic Party's primaries for the presidential election, as his secretary of state. Clinton first needs the Senate's confirmation to assume her new post. She is not expected to face any difficulty with that process.

Turkish officials are also happy with Obama’s overall cabinet choice, although for different reasons.

"We have very good relations with these three figures (Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. James Jones). We believe Obama is forming a very good national security cabinet," said one Turkish official on condition of anonymity.

Turkish officials see Clinton as an experienced and centrist figure with a positive understanding of Turkey.

What happened last year?
Like Obama, Clinton, during the primaries earlier this year, pledged to recognize the 1915 incidents in the Ottoman Empire as "genocide", if she were elected president. Clinton has also co-sponsored every so-called genocide resolution in the senate since coming into office in 2001.

But her position was different late last year. On Oct. 7, 2007, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a so-called genocide resolution, sending it for a potential floor vote.

Turkey reacted strongly, withdrawing its ambassador to Washington and warned that the legislation's passage in a full floor vote would hurt the U.S.-Turkish relationship in a major and lasting way.

At a meeting with the Boston Globe's editorial board Oct. 10, Hillary said she had qualms about supporting a similar measure she co-sponsored in the senate, according to a Globe article on Oct. 12.

She told the Globe’s editorial board that Turkey's opposition had been stronger than anticipated and that congress should proceed with caution. Eventually President George W. Bush's efforts forced the house leadership to shelve the resolution.

Although both Obama and Clinton have pledged to recognize the so-called genocide, the ANCA, which has now congratulated Clinton, viewed Obama as the more sincere candidate on Armenian matters and decided in late January to back him against Hillary in the primaries.

In addition, Hillary's husband and former president, Bill Clinton, due to last-minute pressure, prevented a similar resolution from passing in a house floor vote in October 2000.

Conflicting Issues Between Turkey And Armenia
Here is a brief explaination of the issues of conflict between Turkey and Armenia.

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.

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 aggression against Azerbaijan.

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.

Turkey is also embroiled in a dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in protest of Armenia's invasion of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory.

© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Turks Create False Impressions To Block Obama’s Promises, By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier, Dec. 4, 2008

Turkish officials are in a mad rush. Informed by Washington insiders that President-elect Barack Obama intends to carry out his promises to Armenians, the Turkish government is anxious to conclude an agreement with Armenia in order to block the incoming administration and/or Congress from taking a stand on the Armenian Genocide.

For years, Ankara repeatedly rejected Yerevan’s offers to normalize relations without preconditions. Hoping that Armenia would buckle under intense economic pressure, Turks placed strict demands for lifting the blockade and establishing diplomatic relations. Armenia had to refrain from efforts for genocide recognition, accept Turkey’s territorial integrity, and relinquish Artsakh (Karabagh) to Azerbaijan.

A few months ago, the two sides appeared to have reached an arrangement whereby Pres. Serzh Sargsyan would agree to Turkey’s request to form a joint study group on the Armenian Genocide, as part of a larger inter-governmental commission that would deal with a host of bilateral issues, on condition that Turkey would first establish diplomatic relations and opens its border with Armenia.

Soon after, Pres. Abdullah Gul made an unprecedented trip to Yerevan at the Armenian President’s invitation to watch a soccer match between the national teams of the two countries. Both leaders received high praise and encouragement from the international community for their “football diplomacy.”

Relations between the two countries seemed to be on the mend, until Turkey’s leaders, misjudging Pres. Sargsyan’s eagerness to have the Turkish border opened, demanded additional and unacceptable concessions from Armenia. They asked that Armenians initially withdraw from a small area on the periphery of Artsakh and announce the formation of the study group on the genocide prior to the convening of the wider inter-governmental commission.

In making these demands, the Turkish leaders were trying to accomplish two contradictory objectives. On the one hand, they were pressuring Armenia into making as many concessions as possible. On the other hand, they desperately want to reach a quick agreement with Yerevan before Pres. Obama enters the White House next month.

When Armenia rejected Turks’ excessive demands, Turkish authorities decided to switch tactics and attempt a more effective approach: Create the impression in Washington that Armenians and Turks are making good progress in resolving their differences, even though in reality they are not!

To implement this new policy, Ankara persisted in placing a positive spin on all official contacts with Armenia. For example, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian’s trip to Istanbul on November 24, to chair the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) conference, was repeatedly mischaracterized by the Turkish side as a visit to discuss with Foreign Minister Ali Babajan the improvement of relations with Armenia.

Also, Turkish officials and media have been repeating ad nauseam that Armenia’s President would be visiting Turkey shortly, thus giving the false impression that the two sides are about to resolve their differences. In reality, Pres. Sargsyan is not expected to go to Istanbul until October 2009, when the Armenian and Turkish national soccer teams meet again.

Yet another falsehood spread by the Turkish media, for the sole purpose of manipulating American and international public opinion, is that Armenia has accepted to participate in a joint study group on the Armenian Genocide, even after Pres. Sargsyan’s announcement that such a commission was "absolutely unnecessary." Armenia’s President expressed his concern that such a study would actually "mislead" the international community.

In another diversionary tactic, Turkish authorities announced last week that they are considering the accreditation to Armenia of their current Ambassador to Georgia, who would continue to be stationed in Tbilisi. This is a clever attempt to claim that Turkey has taken a major step in establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia! Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines announced last week that it is planning to start charter flights to Armenia -- another attempt at creating a false impression of the ostensibly improving Armenian-Turkish relations.

In support of their government’s propaganda, Turkish newspapers have been publishing interviews with Armenians and Turks who are engaged in a variety of joint cultural and business activities and predicting that Armenia would have a thriving economy once the border with Turkey is opened. The Turkish press does not interview, however, Armenians who demand justice for the crimes committed by the Ottoman Turkish government during the Genocide.

It is regrettable that certain Armenian individuals, driven by their narrow self-interest, have made statements to the Turkish media that help reinforce the false impression that Armenians and Turks are getting along perfectly well, and outsiders like the United States should not take any initiatives that would ruin this budding friendship!

The fact of the matter is that Armenians worldwide will continue to view Turkey with deep misgivings as long as the Turkish government pursues its morally bankrupt policy of making demands rather than amends.

Anca Welcomes Clinton's Appointment As Secretary Of State, Dec 1, 2008

-- Senator Clinton Supported Adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, Pledged as Candidate to "Recognize the Armenian Genocide"

"I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide." -- Hillary Clinton, January 24, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC - President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to serve as his Secretary of State was welcomed today by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"We extend our thanks to President-elect Obama for this choice and our congratulations to Senator Clinton on her appointment to our nation's top diplomatic post," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "We are certainly pleased to see that, for the first time in recent memory, an individual with a strong record in support of Armenian Genocide recognition will serve as America's Secretary of State."

During her tenure in the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton has both called upon President Bush to honor his campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and also cosponsored every Armenian Genocide Resolution since coming into office in 2001.

On January 24th of this year Senator Clinton issued a campaign statement outlining her views on U.S.-Armenia relations. The full text is provided below:

Statement Of Senator Hillary Clinton On The U.S.-Armenia Relationship, January 24, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward, as President, to continuing to work with the Armenian-American community on the many domestic and international challenges we face together, and to build on the strong foundations of shared values that have long brought together the American and Armenian peoples.

Corruption Control In Armenia Needs Legislative Control, ARKA Dec 1, 2008
YEREVAN, December 1. /ARKA/. The battle against corruption in Armenia needs legislative control, Secretary of the RA National Security Council Artur Baghdasaryan said.

"Numerous Armenian laws pose corruption risks," Baghdasaryan said at a conference on the prevention, detection and investigation of corruption crimes.

He said that laws without any corruption risks are impossible in the country, but they must be reduced to a minimum.

In this context Baghdasaryan stressed that the RA Government, Ministry of Justice and other government agencies must show more serious approach to this matter, which will enable them to reduce the risks to a minimum by means of serious reforms.

"Besides, we need institutional reforms because inefficient agencies supposed to battle corruption are unable to make progress," Baghdasaryan said.

He also drew the participant's attention to putting into action the statutory acts, pointing out that much work has yet to be done in the country.

"This issue in is the highlight of the National Security Council and Armenian President, so corruption control issues will be among the items on the agenda of the Council's meeting next January," Baghdasaryan.said.

By Not Slaughtering "Turkeys," America May Regain Popularity With Turks Who May Stop Hating Americans By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher
& Managing Editor
November 27, 2008

It's the 2008 Thanksgiving season.

Can you imagine reading the following words on your TV screen during a major cable TV network's televised show?

- "Turkey is too filthy;"
- Turkey: "Worst possible backdrop for TV News interview;"
- "Turkey – Killing;"
- Governor "oblivious to Turkey carnage."

And can you imagine hearing the following expressions?

- "But one fealty (turkey) found freedom thanks to Governor Palin, but his fellow turkeys were not so lucky;"

- "Now we've made every effort to sanitize the video of what happens next (referring to grizzly and graphic scenes), but you still might want to consider to get the kids out of the room right now!!!"

Believe it or not, all of the above and additional comments were written on the TV screen or expressed by the host David Shuster and his guest Anna Marie Cox of TIME Magazine during the November 20 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann show (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/27838743#27848854).

I know what you may be thinking. Probably your thoughts went all the way to the years 1915-1923 when Turkey was systematically slaughtering innocent human beings. But that was not what MSNBC was referring to. It was a newscast about a TV interview involving an American governor and that big bird "Indian fowl" that during the mid-1600's North American merchants mistakenly called "turkey."

The original mistake in misnaming the big bird was committed in 1530 by English merchants trading out of the eastern Mediterranean who erroneously named their fellow merchants of Armenian, Greek, Arab and Jewish backgrounds of the Levant the "Turkey merchants." The Levant then included the Turkish-occupied Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and parts of Western Armenia.

According to other sources, in mid-1600's America, Armenian and Greek merchants, then citizens of Turkish Ottoman Empire, popularized the dish made of "dindon" (French) or "Hindgahav" (Armenian for "Chicken from Hindustan-India"). The Americans called that big bird "turkey" naming the "dindon" after the official state entity listed in the passports of the "Turkey merchants."

Throughout centuries, tens of millions of those big birds were consumed in America. However, during the years 1915-1923, luckily for the poor defenseless creatures, millions of "Indian fowls" were spared from extinction, ironically, thanks to millions of defenseless human beings' tragic end in that same Levant. During that period, newspapers in America - and much of the world - were full of sad news about wholesale killings of innocent Armenian children, unarmed men, defenseless women, and the elderly. As a result, the American consumers refrained from consuming "turkeys" in protest of Turkey's crime against humanity.

After a disastrous free fall in "turkey" sales, in order to keep future sales of the big birds unaffected from other "Turkey" controversies, North American merchants called for restoring the big birds' original name: "firkee," as Navajo Indians called them or "Indian fowl."

Governor Palin's misstep during the ill-fated Nov. 20 TV interview using a Wasilla, Alaska turkey slaughterhouse as a backdrop, "earned" her another national controversy.

Shuster asked Cox: "At the very least, Gov. Palin if she wants to think about a national political future, shouldn't she consider learning a lesson about stagecraft?"

TIME Magazine's Cox quipped, "Yeah, stagecraft is important and it goes with basic constitutional rights."

Shuster responded, "Just to be fair a point of comparison, President-elect Obama held a press conference and he had his vice-president, chief of staff, and his transitional economic advisors behind him. Not a great deal of fun but maybe a lot easier to swallow."

Cox used the "turkey" fiasco to express many Washington insiders' disdain of Pres-elect Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel: "To be fair I think there are people in this town that would like to see Rahm Emanuel being slaughtered. Personally, I'd like to see him on a plate with side stuffing."

Even though Emanuel is one of the politicians that top the list of most apprehensively observed individuals for their denial and/or wavering on the Armenian Genocide resolution, I'm sorry that he has become another victim of "turkey."

In order to avoid future "turkey" political casualties and to render justice to these big birds, we should restore their name to "Indian fowl." I'm sure animal rights activists would welcome the idea. It would also be beneficial for Turkey-America relations. By not slaughtering "turkeys," America may regain its popularity among Turks, and many Turks may stop hating Americans. So it would be a win-win situation.

Sumerians Were Part Armenian! Nov 26 2008
It is of considerable interest to trace where the ancient Sumerians emerged from because of their primary contribution to human civilization. It was suggested that Sumerians appeared in Southern Mesopotamia around five and half thousand years ago carrying with them the seeds of civilization. It was also suggested that they migrated from the west coast of India. The fact that they were not a local people is suggested by the fact that their language belongs to a completely different and isolated group. There are two further lines of investigation one may adopt to confirm this hypothesis. The first is to explore for other groups in India with a similar language and the second is to carry out a physical examination of the Sumerian skeletons as available at the present time to detect racial similarities.

In western India there are a number of tribal groups that have existed from ancient times. Today many live on the fringes of mainstream communities as exist in India today. The mainstream communities belong to either the Indo-Aryan or Dravidian linguistic groups. Sumerian does not belong to either. As regards the tribal, it is now fruitless to look for any similarities between Sumerian and present tribal languages in India because over thousands of years their original languages have disappeared because of the overwhelming influence of other languages. The western tribal communities of India now speak modified versions or mixtures of the mainstream languages. However, all is not lost because although the tribal in India such as kols and Bheels have been overly influenced, it is not so with some of their branches that migrated further east towards Australia in ancient times, and form a branch of the same human groups. One may then look for similarities between Sumerian and Austric languages. This study has in fact been already done and the consensus is a resounding, yes. The austric languages are indeed similar to ancient Sumerian. The similarities are so numerous and clear that they are beyond doubt or a result of any chance coincidence. (The Austric Origin of the Sumerian Language, Language Form, vol. 22, no.1-2, Jan.-Dec. 1996.)

Therefore now it may be said with confidence that ancient Sumerian is not a linguistic isolate. It belongs to the australoid/ austric group of languages. They belong to this group because the ancient tribal people of Indian west coast also belonged to the same group of people, and it is from here that they must have migrated to Mesopotamia. Both the Australoid and Austric type are found in India. There are clear reasons to rule out any other location for the Sumerian migration: Western India is geographically close to Southern Mesopotamia as compared to south East Asia and Australia and there are no know instances of civilization east of the Indus valley around five thousand years ago. Such evidence has been found in the Indus valley.

The second study concerns physical examination of Sumerian skulls. Buxton and Rice have found that of 26 Sumerian crania they examined 22 were Australoid or Austrics. Further According to Penniman who studied skulls from other Sumerian sites, the Australoid Eurafrican, Austric and Armenoid were the "racial" types associated with the Sumerians. Here is Penniman's description of the Austric type found at Sumer:

"These people are of medium stature, with complexion and hair like those of the Eurafrican, to which race they are allied with dark eyes, and oval faces, broad noses, rather feeble jaws, and slight sinewy bodies."

This description also closely describes the regal person seen on a famous clay tablet from the Indus Valley. This same tribe in an evolved version undoubtedly established the Indus civilization as well as the Sumerian one after the submergence of their coastal cities. In North-western India they would have encountered Neolithic people of Indo-European origin with which manpower they established the Indus cities. An analysis of skeletal remains from Indus valley confirms this mixture. Both the IndoSumerian-austric language must then have persisted side by side as in Mesopotamia with the official language of the rulers being IndoSumerian-austric. Just as in Mesopotamia, ancient Sumerian was replaced by the language of the majority(Akkadians) in the Indus valley it would have been replaced eventually by an Indo-Aryan language. At what precise moment in history this occurred is not certain but most probably the Sumerian language disappeared from India by 2000 BC. In this latter case there was no question of preserving it for ritual purposes either. This is because the IndoSumerian-Austric language never developed as a fully written language in India to inscribe full texts. In any case, a better Indo-Aryan language with its own full-fledged script soom emerged probably because of Hittite influences in the Indian sub-continent around that time.

Contribution of Armenians to ancient civilization

In the Indus valley from which the Sumerians emerged there were other tribes that lived in close proximity of the Austric Sumerians. These were prehistoric indo-Aryan tribes of an Armenian origin – followers of the God Ara. The indo Aryans were fair skinned and light haired. Hence the reason for the indo-Sumerians to label themselves as dark headed in comparison to the Ara people who were shining. Sumerians also began using the word Ara for fair and bright and eventually they labeled all indo-Aryan people as Ara or Arya. The word Armenian has its origin in AR-MA, i.e. the children of Ara and Ma the fertility Goddess.

Later indo-Aryan migrations of around 1500BC into the Indus regions were apparently of Hittite origin. Apparently, some intermarriage also took place between these indo-Sumerians and Armenians probably leading to a more vigorous community then would have been possible otherwise. A physical marriage also resulted in a marriage of the religious traditions of the Sumerian and Armenian tribes as well as the Sumerian language being influenced by Armenian. Such influences can be found by comparisons between the Armenian (or even Hungarian that emerged from ancient Armenian) and Sumerian language. Are was the Sun God and the roots of sun worship in the world appear to have an Aryan origin rather than a Sumerian one.
Archaeologists refer to Transcaucasus region, including modern Armenia, as the earliest known prehistoric culture in the area, carbon-dated to roughly 6000 - 4000 BC. A recently discovered tomb has been dated to 9000 BC. Another early culture in the Armenian Highland and surrounding areas, the Kura-Araxes culture, is assigned the period of ca. 4000 - 2200 BC. Armenians are one of the oldest Indo-European subgroups. Therefore, it is not surprising that from amongst the Aryans it was the Armenians who spread around the ancient world of Mesopatomia and Indus valley first. The Hittite Aryans that became more powerful than the Armenians by 1500 BC were close neighbors and racial cousins of the Armenians, at times clashing with them and at times co-existing, yet probably gaining form the interaction at all times.

Buxton and Rice have found that of 26 Sumerian crania they examined 22 were Australoid or Austrics and four armennoid. Further According to Penniman who studied skulls from other Sumerian sites, the Australoid Eurafrican, Austric and Armenoid were the "racial" types associated with the Sumerians. Certainly it cannot be confirmed without further investigation if the Sumerian-Armenian alliance took place on Sumerian or Indian soil. It is also not certain if it was a forced or voluntary one. The fair skinned Armenian ladies are likely to have regarded the dark broad nosed Sumerians as ugly. Nevertheless, it may be deduced that the earliest Sumerians who introduced civilization in our world were around 85% Austric and 15% Armenian Aryans.

It is surprising that one of the most significant contributions to mankind should come from the Austric/australoid races. Elsewhere their contribution has not been remarkable. However, apparently a small genetic change is all that is necessary for this achievement. Similar races have illustrated that this can happen elsewhere as well. An example of that is Angkor Vat of Cambodia that illustrates technical mastery on an unprecedented scale, noted for its architectural and artistic perfection, not to mention its sheer size, Angkor Vat is the most famous and no doubt the most remarkable of all of ancient temples with extraordinary architectural and artistic innovations, one of the grandest achievements of mankind.

Dr. Ashok Malhotra was born in Pune, India in 1950

Rakel Dink: "The Origins Of The Murder Of Hrant Date Back To 1915" lundi1er December 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
With the murder of Dink hranki most Armenians in Turkey were cut into silence by fear and nearly two years after the assassination his widow decided to speak.

"Hrant was really affected by the events," said Rakel, near tears. "After that, we said only a miracle could help us stay alive here." But the family has decided to stay.

"Hrant could never abandon its cause," said Rakel, explaining that he wanted to convince Turkey that diversity and dissent was a strength, not a threat. His killers have not been agreed.

"I do not know if I have to say this, but the origins of the murder dating back to 1915," said Rakel.

"An Armenian told the truth in the face of the Turkish state and the law. That is why Hrant was murdered. He offended, it has dishonored. "

"That's why they were against Hrant" said Rakel. "They could not digest what he wrote, although he used a very mild language."

"Democracy means to doubt, it means a criticism of itself - and that is something they [the nationalists] did not" said Umut Ozkirimli, the Bilgi University in Istanbul.

"For them, when you start to doubt things you become a traitor."

That is why Hrant Dink was murdered.

That is also why at least 20 writers are now living in Istanbul with bodyguards.

Oral CALISLAR is one of them. A close friend of Hrant Dink, is also a well known critic of the Turkish military in particular in their policy vis-à-vis the Kurds.

He received dozens of death threats. Now, wherever he goes its armed guards following him.

"We want to change this country into a democratic country and the process of accession to the EU is important for it" said the journalist.

"I think that because of this, some powers in the state want to close our mouths"

Mr. CALISLAR is sure the murder of Hrant Dink is part of a wider resistance to reforms. He sees that in the depths of the Turkish state, some groups cling to their power and their own vision of the republic.

"It's a battle with only one winner."

Mr. Ozkirimli is in agreement. "If the draft EU membership ends, (so) the democratic forces and lose forever" he adds.

"[Turkey] does not want people expressing their ethnic identity, or living freely" Rakel said.

"Turkey needs time to adapt. The process of the EU can help, but the death of my husband has lost the greatest. "

`On Horseback Through Asia Minor' by Frederick Burnaby, Today's Zaman, Turkey Nov 30 2008
With just over a week to the bayram break, many people still haven't decided where they are going to spend the vacation. Newspapers are still packed with advertisements for wonderful destinations, both within Turkey and abroad.

In 1876 British Army Capt. Frederick Burnaby had a similar dilemma. He was entitled to five months' leave during the winter. He writes: `It was the autumn of 1876. I had not as yet determined where to spend my winter leave of absence. There was a great deal of excitement in England: the news of some terrible massacres in Bulgaria had thoroughly aroused the public. The indignation against the perpetrators of these awful crimes became still more violent when it was remembered that the Turkish government had repudiated its loans, and that more than a hundred million sterling had gone forever from the pockets of the British taxpayer. This was very annoying.' Rather than believe all of the anti-Turkish rumors that started in the press, fuelled by Russian sympathizers, Burnaby decides to travel to see for himself the state of the Anatolian people. `It was difficult to arrive at the truth amidst all the turmoil that prevailed. Were the Turks such awful scoundrels?' How do Turks and Armenians get on?

On another level, Burnaby was continuing an exploration described in a previous book, `A Ride to Khiva' -- that of the threat posed to British interests by Russian expansionism in Asia. Turkey's eastern frontiers with the Russian Caucasus were looking extremely vulnerable to a Russian invasion. In his preface, expert on Anglo-Russian relations Peter Hopkirk says: `[Burnaby's] object was to try to discover precisely what the Russians were up to in this wild and mountainous part of the Great Game battlefield and also to gauge the capacity of the Turks to resist a vigorous Tsarist thrust towards Constantinople. ¦ For at the moment relations between Tsar and Sultan were rapidly deteriorating. ¦ War seemed imminent and likely to involve Turkey.'

Whether Burnaby's trip was pure adventure holiday, an attempt by a reasonable man to discover the truth behind anti-Turkish sentiment or a military foray to discover the lie of the land, `On Horseback Through Asia Minor' is a fascinating, entertaining and illuminating account of his travels.

The military man has planned his trip like a campaign. And he needs to, because eastern Anatolia in winter is hostile territory. Its muddy tracks and snowdrifts, treacherous mountain passes and dangerous chasms are the enemy. But the trip starts pleasantly enough: `The morn broke bright and glorious. Winter was left behind and we were in the land of orange trees and olives.' When he arrives in Ä°zmir, a traveling companion takes him ashore to sample nargile -- this friend imagines himself to be a pasha as he sups the water pipe! Their steamer reaches Ä°stanbul in time to hear the less than positive results of a peace conference held between Turkey and Russia.

Every traveler at the start of a journey is waylaid by horror stories of those trying to put them off their aim. Burnaby is told by an Armenian in Ä°stanbul that `he will find it very difficult to reach Van at this season of the year on account of the snow, and he will run a considerable risk of being robbed or murdered by the Kurds.' When Burnaby asks this gentleman if he has ever traveled from Scutari to Van, he learns that the expert advising him has never made the trip.

With his faithful companion and servant, Radford, and local Turkish help, Burnaby hires horses and sets out toward the east. Radford, as a typical Cockney, drops the letter `h' from the `orses, and adds it to the name Osman. Sadly his complaints about Osman always falling to the ground praying the moment there was work to be done and cheating his master turn out to be true, and Osman has to be fired and a new helper engaged.

Burnaby's account is full of adventure. He passes the lake of Sapanca in the mists, and the mountains of Erzurum and Erzincan in the snow. He stays in hans and caravanserais, in the comfortable homes of governors, and in the flea-ridden stables of the poor. But wherever he goes, the Turks show him great hospitality. Burnaby muses that those in Britain who write pamphlets declaiming the Turks should, instead, travel to Turkey to discover their prejudices are not true.

He even discovers that the Armenians, despite Russian provocation, are no more keen on becoming Russian citizens than they are in the current situation. Rumors of bad treatment abound. At every town he is told that `Christians are treated well here, but in the next place they are held in prison and beaten.' At the next stop he investigates the prison and is told once more, `Oh no, we are treated well here, but at...' and so it goes on, all the way to the border.

As one of the clearest descriptions of Anatolia under the Sultan, `On Horseback Through Asia Minor' was for me fascinating because it clearly showed how much had to be done by the new republic, 50 years later, to modernize Turkey. On many occasions they pass through fallow land that could have been farmed: `The country which we next traversed was entirely uncultivated, although it would have repaid a farmer. This, however, is the case with millions of acres in Turkey. There are no laborers. The country is depopulated to the last degree, and land which might have produced wheat enough for the whole of Great Britain is left fallow.'

Passing through Ankara (interestingly enough -- for this is five decades before talk of it becoming a capital) they discuss the possibility of a parliamentary system in Turkey. The mayor, who is Burnaby's host, says, `It is possible in theory, but impossible in practice. ¦ We require more liberty ¦ and for religion to not be a topic of politics.'

Transport was also a challenge. Roads sink to mud, and the towns of the East are cut off due to the lack of railways. Many rivers, such as the 100-meter-wide Kızılırmak, have no bridges, and they have to cross at fords or by floating barges. When a new constitution is proposed, the reply is, `Give us roads and railways, and they will be worth 50 constitutions.'

Mines are filled with water, or undug and unexploited. Burnaby comments, `With intelligent engineers to explore the mineral wealth of Anatolia, Turkey would be able not only to pay the interest on her debt, but would speedily become one of the richest countries in the world.'

His conclusion, which was to see its fulfillment in the 20th century, was, `Give the Turks a good government and Turkey would soon take her place amongst civilized nations.'

`On Horseback Through Asia Minor' by Frederick Burnaby, published by Oxford University Press, 8.99 pounds in paperback, ISBN: 978-019282500-1

30 November 2008, Marion James Istanbul

From Its Soviet Past To A New Era Yerevan , Today's Zaman, Turkey Nov 30 2008
With its sturdy stone structure, grimy appearance and abandoned state, it would not be a typical watchtower for a Western airport. It is hard not to notice, even in the dark hours of the early morning, when the only weekly flight from Turkey arrives at Yerevan's Zvartnots International Airport, about 12 kilometers from the city.

The scene once could have served as the set for an Orwellian movie. But not anymore, as it now stands against the glitter of the new terminal, which welcomes passengers with all the amenities of international standards.

And even with sleepy post-flight eyes, who can miss "Ararat." It's a well-known cognac from Armenia in variously sized bottles lined up on the shelves of the duty-free shop. The name appears many times in Armenia, sometimes as a male first name, sometimes as the title of a town or province. In Yerevan "Ararat" is everlasting in the form of a majestic mountain that is called "Mount AÄ?rı" by the Turkish people who reside on the western side of the border. In daylight in Yerevan the snow-capped mountain is usually hidden under heavy fog, but heads always turn to the site where it sits, stately. It represents a lost past for Armenians.

But today's Yerevan has been dominated by cranes representing realities rather than sentiments. It is a city of about 1.2 million trying to erase the traces of some 70 years of Soviet dominance. Construction of modern buildings, sometimes at the expense of historic ones, is in progress everywhere.

Casinos crowd the main street from the airport to the center of the city. International brand names and luxurious shops adorn the wide streets. Behind the dazzle, there are homes without running water and gas, even though the Armenian economy has seen some growth since the 1994 cease-fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

And income disparity is unmistakable. There are both ramshackle ladas and grand jeeps on the streets of Yerevan, where a loaf of bread costs 70 cents, a kilogram of oranges is $2-3 and a kilogram of meat ranges between $5 and $7. Renting a regular two-bedroom apartment in the center of the city costs about $350-400 a month, while the average salary is around $200. So Armenians say young people and even newlyweds either live with their parents or far from the city to reduce their expenditures. Also, many Armenians subsidize their living expenses with money from their relatives living abroad, and this group is considerable in size. While there are approximately 3.2 million Armenians in Armenia, there are about five million outside, 1.5 million of them living in the United States.

Sometimes it is a give and take, as many diaspora Armenians go to Armenia for surgeries and dental treatment because it is much less expensive there.

Oligarchs and their kitsch homes
There is a big house out in the country in the middle of nowhere still under construction. The gates around the house complex are adorned with golden motifs. It looks like a small palace designed by someone with awful taste. The guide says this is a typical house owned by an oligarch. Leaving the rest of the group in the van, he tries to get some information from the watchmen outside who look like body guards. He returns empty handed, warning the group not to take pictures.

But who are these oligarchs really? An Armenian economist says many of the oligarchs are in the parliament. And in the ruling Republican Party, there are only about 10 deputies who are not oligarchs.

Armenia and Turkey sail to new seas
The closed border between Armenia and Turkey makes things harder economically. The Armenian people look forward to the opening of the border -- closed in 1993 by Turkey in protest against the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan -- since the country is dependent on other states for energy supplies and most raw materials.

There are a lot of Russian investors in Armenia and there is not much other foreign direct investment. Some Armenians are concerned that dependence on Russia is a threat. Diaspora Armenians have also invested in Armenia, but they are weary because of corruption.

Landlocked Armenia has highway routes through Georgia to the north and Iran to the south, but they are not enough. Armenia is forced to pay higher transit costs for imports coming from Turkey. Even though the Turkish province of Kars is 20 kilometers away from the Armenian province of Gyumri, it takes at least 14 hours for a truck to reach Armenia through Georgia, increasing the costs for Armenia.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been the biggest challenge for the normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations because Turkey has made resolving the conflict a precondition. As there are signs of a possible resolution to the conflict and Turkey follows a "zero problem policy" with all its neighbors, there is hope. Both sides have started to emphasize a no-preconditions policy for the opening of the border.

Making matters even more hopeful, 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 Gul in September.

However, when exactly a concrete step will be taken by both sides is not known. Some observers worry that the Armenian diaspora could force the Armenian government to not go forward with the border opening until US President-elect Barack Obama delivers what he promised before his election: official recognition of the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. The Turkish government is equally adamant. Categorically denying "genocide" charges, Turkey says the killings of Anatolian Armenians came when Armenians revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with an invading Russian army.

But for the general public in Armenia, the opening of the border carries more importance than "genocide" recognition, at least for the time being.

For some, the question is whether or not Turkey can marginalize the diaspora even more.

Museum against magnificent view of Mt. Agri

"I've become a changed person since I started working here for the last two years. I constantly collect stories of death. And when you that you have that pressure in your brain, you have this helpless feeling."

These are the words of Hayk Demoyan, director of the Museum-Institute of the Armenian Genocide, opened in 1995.

At the end of the special tour he kindly offered to our group of journalists and civil society representatives, he complained that there was no direct contact between Turkish and Armenian historians.

The museum had a temporary exhibition on Sep. 2-15 called "Armenian Sport in the Ottoman Empire" reflecting the history of Armenian sports clubs and football teams in the Ottoman Empire until 1915. A total of about 70 photos, documents, newspapers and magazines were shown. According to the documents, the number of Armenian sports clubs in the Ottoman Empire reached 100 and two Armenian sportsmen represented Ottoman Turkey in the Fifth International Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912.

Demoyan mentions that they have plans to expand the museum and add an educational complex, particularly for the young visitors of the museum -- to help their psychological well-being. He stresses that there are no efforts to demonize Turks in the museum.

Outside, Armenians privately admit that they need to change their education system, which is full of hatred toward the Turkish people. And, speaking of young visitors, a two-year-old, holding his grandfather's hand, leaves the memorial complex, consisting of a 40-meter-high spire next to a circle of 12 tilted slabs representing lost provinces of what the Armenians call "Western Armenia" (Eastern Turkey) leaning over to guard an eternal flame.

Speaking Turkish in Yerevan
"Ne guzel!" (So beautiful!) a Turkish visitor says to another Turk as they look at the beautiful woodcarvings at the arts and crafts market, called Vernisage, close to the Republic Square. "Hadi alın o zaman" (Then come and buy) says the smiling vendor to the surprise of the Turkish visitors. Immediately, a conversations starts. The visitors learn that he moved to Yerevan from Istanbul in 1980 and that he is from the sports team Beyogluspor. His name is Stephan Galloshyan, known by the last name KalataÅ? in Istanbul.

He says he lived in the district of Bakirkoy for a long time, adding that he loves Ä°stanbul and that his children still go back and forth. But, after seeing so much, he likes living in Yerevan more.

His hands show all the signs that he carves the wood products himself.

Indeed, there are handmade backgammon boards sold at Vernisage. Their covers are delicately carved. Vernisage also features handmade lacework, silver jewelry and carpets. Additionally, ornamental pomegranates, a symbol of Armenia that also represent fertility, are sold in abundance at the market.

There is a flea market next to Vernisage featuring such strange items as used surgical devices, small and big parts of random machines and strange chemicals placed in hundreds of jars.

And then there is Sarkis, the owner of a small fast-food restaurant that features Turkish "lahmacun" or "Armenian pizza" combined with the drink "ayran." Sarkis is a talkative Turkish-speaking person. Once you ask this man in his 40s where he learned the language, he will start telling his story: "Once upon a time, something happened. I won't tell you what happened because you are guests here. But I can tell you that your grandfather did something to my grandmother. And my grandmother was in an orphanage in Syria. She was forbidden to speak Armenian. My Turkish is a legacy to my grandmother."

MerhaBarev project continues
Turkish people say "merhaba," Armenians "barev." A photography project was born out of the combination: MerhaBarev.

It started in 2006, when five Armenian photojournalists from the Patker Photo Agency went to Ä°stanbul to take photos for a week. And so did five Turkish photojournalists from the Nar Photo Agency in Yerevan. Using the black-and-white language of photography, they narrated the traditions, every-day life and people of the two cities.

The project was showcased in a number of exhibitions in Yerevan and Gyumri in Armenia and in İstanbul and Diyarbakır in Turkey, as well as in Georgia's Tbilisi. A book was created out of the MerhaBarev project in four languages -- Armenian, Turkish, English and German -- as well as calendars and posters.

Following that success, the Patker Photo Agency, in a partnership with the Turkish Fotoroportaj.org, further developed another project this year by sending five photographers from Turkey to shoot in Gyumri and five Armenian photographers to Kars for a week in April and June. Then, as the last part of MerhaBarev, a border journey was embarked upon by Armenian Ruben Mangasaryan and Turk Ali Saltan, who made a two-week journey together along both sides of the closed border in October.

Together with National Geographic Traveler Armenia, they are producing a special issue of the magazine dedicated entirely to MerhaBarev. The magazine will be in Armenian with inserts in Turkish and English. Four thousand copies will be freely distributed to the people living on both sides of the border. They indicate that the special issue is probably the best way to reach their most important target audience: people living on both sides of the closed border.
30 November 2008, Yonca Poyraz Dogan Yerevan Istanbul

Armenian Bloggers Hail Samantha Power As an Obama Adviser Return, November 30, 2008, by Simon Maghakyan
While most people know Samantha Power as an Obama adviser who has called Hillary Clinton a “monster,” many genocide awareness and prevention activists consider the Harvard professor a hope they can believe in. The Associated Press has noticed that Power, who officially resigned from Obama’s campaign during the Democratic primaries, is on US President-elect Obama’s transition team. This news has encouraged several Armenian bloggers who now feel assured that the author of “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” (2002) will remind President-elect Barack Obama to keep his promise of officially recognizing the WWI Armenian Genocide committed by Ottoman Turks.

Arsineh, a famous Yerevan-based photographer, writes on her blog (also posted on Cilicia):

My hope continues… Samantha Power is back, not only as part of Obama's trasition team, but as part of the State Department agency review team on the president-elect's official Web site. I hope she bites Clinton's head off. Now let's get a real position on Genocide.

My next blog was interestingly enough going to be about my prediction on when the Genocide issue achieves recognition in the United States under an Obama administration. Given the inevitable appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, my hope was diminishing. I started to imagine a different scenario, one that would delay proper Genocide recognition into a second term, and eventually call for recognition without proper reparations (a risky precedent… admit genocide without risk?).
Dr. Power, I salute you.

Unzipped, an England-based Armenian blog, also writes that Power is back and gives background on the Harvard professor's stance on Armenian issues.

Few weeks ago I wrote about speculations on potential return of Samantha Power to Obama’s foreign policy team. Samantha Power is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and renowned anti-genocide and human rights activist. She is pretty influential and considered as “pro-Armenian”. In February 2008, Samantha Power has taped a “powerful 5-minute video reviewing presidential hopeful Barack Obama's support for Armenian issues, and encouraging Armenian Americans to vote for him in the upcoming primaries”, as reported by the Armenian National Committee of America.
The video Unzipped is referring to is available on YouTube and was prepared by Samantha Power to gain Armenian-American support for Barack Obama during the Democratic primaries. Armenians consider Power a friend, especially when she was one of the few Americans to stand up to nationalist sentiment in Fall 2007 when it came to recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Writing in Time magazine on October 18, 2007, Power said it was in America's best interest to recognize the Armenian Genocide instead of arguing that America should not anger its ally Turkey by bringing up bitter history. While Obama was able to stay out of the controversial debate in 2007, several months after her Time article Power argued that the Illinois Senator would have the nerve to recognize the Armenian Genocide as president.

Power’s powerful YouTube message to Armenian-Americans paid off. Armenians throughout America organized in large numbers to support Barack Obama.

Back with Obama, Power has reignited hope among many Armenians. But some have wished for more. Joseph at the ArmenianGenocide forum:

Samantha Power is back on the Obama team and will be working at the State Department. This is good for Armenians, as she will give a direct challenge to Hillary Clinton { Hillary WILL betray us} and will be a honest broker in a institution where honesty and integrity is a very rare commodity. Still, would have loved to have Samantha Power as our Sec. of State.

Time To Hope By Aline Ozinan*
It is no doubt Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian's visit to İstanbul to attend a ministerial gathering of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) on Nov. 24 will be remembered in the two countries' diplomatic history as the most concrete step toward cooperation after the match held between the countries' national teams on Sept. 6 in Armenia.

While his visit was an ordinary working visit done in connection with Armenia's term presidency of the BSEC, and his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan was not official, it became more obvious during the dinner hosted by Babacan at the Four Seasons that this visit had other meanings.

As I was waiting for the dinner to end, I asked a Turkish Foreign Ministry official about who requested the tête-à-tête meeting. "Does it really matter?" the official replied. "The thing is they are talking with each other inside, which is the important bit." At the end of the night, Babacan said, "Both parties have the political will to normalize relations." This implied that these acts were not just made as agenda-setting maneuvers; the intention to normalize relations with Armenia is a sincerely made wish.

Nov. 24 was a considerably busy day for the Armenian delegation. It was the first time the meeting hall of the BSEC Secretariat saw so many reporters. More than 100 Turkish and foreign reporters attended the news conference, which was warm and free from tension. In general, Nalbandian emphasized the importance of resuming diplomatic relations unconditionally and called on the Turkish side to open up the border.

Responding to a question about whether Armenia will put an end to the Armenian diaspora's activities, he said, "Armenia never did it and will not do it," implying that Armenia does not influence the diaspora. He provided information about the trilateral declaration signed in Russia and emphasized that the issue will eventually be solved in compliance with the international law. He said he is optimistic about Turkish-Armenian relations.

When he was questioned about the possible effects of the US presidential election on bilateral relations, Nalbandian said: "This is an issue between two countries. Opening border gates will be beneficial to both sides." He reiterated that Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan will watch the match between two national teams in 2009 in Turkey.

After the news conference, Nalbandian attended the reception at the BSEC. The BSEC member countries were both surprised and happy that the BSEC could provide an occasion for such a meeting. Another piece of happy news was that Turkish Airlines (THY) is preparing to launch regular flights to Yerevan.

The two ministers, who were obviously tired after a two-and-half-hour meeting accompanied also by their undersecretaries and the dinner, held a brief conference in which they said that talks are proceeding in a positive atmosphere. After the conference, Nalbandian presented a special Armenian whistle made from an apricot tree, which is a popular instrument in Armenia and which was introduced to Turkey by Civan Kasparyan, to Babacan as a gift symbolizing friendship.

The Turkish press attached special importance to Nalbandian and live broadcast vehicles followed him all through his talks. Those who closely monitor Turkish-Armenian relations will remember that during and after Gül's visit to Armenia on Sept. 6, the Turkish press attached great significance to the bilateral relations. The same applied to the Nalbandian visit, the repercussions of which continue. A number of authors examined the reasons for his visit, stressing the change of Russia's stance toward favoring a solution or the possible impact of the policy Obama will likely follow on the Armenian issue.

Turkish-Armenian relations are certainly important for the welfare and peace of the Caucasus, but the political will seen on both sides cannot be explained only with such arguments. The Turkish and Armenian governments openly state that they are sincere and favor resolving the issue. One of the factors that motivate Turkey is its intention to ensure stability in the region, which includes Georgia. This is also what the US, which is thought to be Turkey's strategic ally, seeks.

As we appreciate the bold steps taken by both countries, we need to understand their lack of confidence in their publics. As Sarksyan's pro-dialogue stance was criticized by nationalist groups inside Armenia and among the diaspora, some Turks still argue meaninglessly that Armenia should recognize Turkey's borders. Since the day it declared its independence, Armenia has not made any claim about Turkish borders; it is also unacceptable under international law not to recognize the borders of a country with which one seeks to establish diplomatic relations.

The Armenian Indepen-dence Declaration, which defines Turkey's eastern pro-vinces as "western Armenia" from a historical point of view -- which tends to be remembered whenever bilateral relations improve -- was in place in 1991 when Turkey recognized Armenia, and the Turkish-Armenian border gates were open until 1993. On cannot understand why this declaration, which had been ignored in the past, should now serve as an obstacle to improving relations.

The Armenian community in Turkey, which recoiled and started to act more cautiously following the planned murder of Hrant Dink, is closely following these developments. The Armenian minority felt happy when they saw Kirkor was remembered in the ads prepared for İstanbul as the 2010 European Capital of Culture, but they were saddened by the Culture and Tourism Ministry's failure to mention that Ani ruins were Armenian heritage on the Web site designed for the ruins.

If we know how to look at it, we can see that there is room for hope for Turkish-Armenian relations. Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan announced that the Armenian Electricity Administration and a Turkish corporation signed a deal during Gül's historic visit to Yerevan. Turkey plans to convene the deputy undersecretaries of five countries in December for the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform.

While it is still a ripe idea, it seems that there are plans for convening Russian, Turkish, Armenian, Georgian and Azerbaijani presidents in İstanbul in 2009. The first opportunity for this will be the meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to be held in Helsinki on Dec. 5. Nalbandian said they are ready to assess a proposal for a trilateral meeting among Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Helsinki. If border gates are opened and diplomatic relations established, we have time until the match in 2009, and we should make good use of this time. As talks are now held openly, not secretly as done in the past, everyone is hopeful for concrete progress. But we must be alert against provocations.

*Aline Özinian is the press coordinator of the Turkish-Armenian Business Promotion Council.
30 November 2008, Zaman

‘Open Border A Win-Win Situation For Armenia, Turkey’ , Richard Giragosian
Richard Giragosian, an Armenian-American analyst who has been based in Armenia for the last two years, has said an open border between Turkey and Armenia would be a good move for both sides, as Armenians would be able to import and export goods at a much lower cost by circumventing the Georgian monopoly on the trade route and Turkey would benefit from its role as a transit state.

He also said Turkey even may benefit more from such a move than Armenia in the short term. "The opening of the border will help the Turkish government offer economic stability to the Kurdish region, especially job creation and some new economic activity. Also that kind of cross-border trade will lead to a bigger and larger role for Turkey in the region."

Turkey severed its ties with Armenia in the early 1990s in protest of the Armenian occupation of the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Official Turkish policy has stipulated that the normalization of ties depends on Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh, the termination of the Armenian policy of supporting claims of an Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and an official endorsement by Armenia of the current border between the two countries.

There are signs of a possible resolution to the conflict as both sides have started to show signs of backing away from insistence on preconditions for the opening of the border.

In an interview with Monday Talk in Yerevan, Giragosian elaborated on these and other issues.

When you look at the Turkey-Armenia rapprochement from the Armenian side, what obstacles do you see ahead?

If we look at the diplomacy, we see that it is not only the Turkish efforts to reconcile many outstanding issues. This Armenian government, more than many other governments in the past, is facing an internal political challenge of limited legitimacy and very limited popular support. So a breakthrough on Turkish-Armenian relations with this Armenian government is more important than ever before.

Do you say that because of the present Armenian coalition government?

I say this because on March 1 we saw a violent clash between the opposition and the government. President Serzh Sarksyan was elected in February. That was an election tainted in terms of voting fraud and irregularities, like many elections before. What was different, however, was the opposition’s demonstration in protest of the election results and the police crackdown, which killed at least 10 people and injured many more. Some opposition supporters are still being held in Armenian prisons, and the underlying tension remains unresolved. Therefore, this Armenian government seems desperate for a foreign policy success, not only to normalize relations with Turkey and open the border, but also to divert attention away from the internal domestic situation. It’s also important for the Armenian government to divert the attention of the international community away from the shortcomings of its democracy and focus on foreign policy success.

Could you talk about the vested interest of the oligarchs, who seem to be obstructing normalization of relations with Turkey?

Many of the oligarchs here have emerged from the Nagorno-Karabakh war conflict during the difficult transition from the former Soviet economy to a market economy -- like Russia, where during the privatization process they were using their connections in government and corruption to acquire power and economic businesses unfairly. What they do is operate cartels, big monopolies that are based on control of the import and export of specific commodities. They exercise this control without allowing competition from other Armenian businesses or foreign investors, and they see the opening of the border as introducing new competition that they don’t want, because that may threaten their economic position and power. More recently, in 2005, they decided -- smartly, from their point of view -- to go beyond simple economic power and acquire political power. Just as the oligarchs in Russia have entered the political field, oligarchs in Armenia have also acquired seats in the parliament; they have become deputies in order to safeguard their wealth and power, and to be able to sustain that wealth and power.

What is the worst thing they could do to prevent the opening of the border?

Because of a lack of popular support, the Armenian government desperately needs to be able to fight corruption and confront these powerful oligarchs in order to maintain its power. But it’s a difficult situation, because the oligarchs are the key to real power here, and the worst thing they can do is much bigger and deeper than simply delaying or opposing the opening of the border with Turkey. They may actually pressure the government more to not carry out the economic or political reforms that it needs to.

Then what is the real strength behind the Armenian government?

In the face of a lack of legitimacy combined with lack of popular support, the only real foundation for the power of the government now rests on two things: One is control over the security services, the police and the army, in terms of instrumental power. And, secondly, by using the system of corruption to be able to basically buy off votes and intimidate. In other words, we have a system of authoritarian-managed democracy, similar to Russia but much smaller, where the power is somewhat fragile. It’s weaker than power based on legitimacy or popular support, but it’s power also because the opposition is marginalized and there is no real political threat or alternative. An ordinary Armenian citizen does not have much of an alternative.

And you think the public is ready for the opening of the border?

This is the interesting paradox. Unlike Nagorno-Karabakh, unlike the domestic political situation, the Armenian government is very lucky because, by proceeding with diplomatic talks with Turkey, negotiating a possible opening of the border, etc., this is one area where public opinion is strongly behind the government. And even the opposition is supporting the government’s efforts at engaging Turkey in dialogue. It’s no longer a question of if we can normalize relations with Turkey, but a question of when.

How do you think the Armenian public reached that point?

Following the past 16 years of closed borders, blockades and sanctions, the Armenian people are fed up. They want real change, and they want real change in every category -- economic reform, more democracy and, at the same time, an end to the closed borders. And it sees that the only future for progress in Armenia requires having a normal relationship with its neighbors. Public opinion has evolved to the point where the years of denying any relationship with one of Armenia’s most significant neighbors, Turkey, has proven fruitless. It’s been more harmful than useful.

What would you say about the genocide claims?

It’s the most difficult obstacle in the long run because it’s not only about the genocide issue. From the local Armenian and diaspora perspective, it is one thing to address the past, but another to look forward. The second obstacle is that many years of official Turkish policy of genocide denial has made the issue more important than it really should be. And the Turkish position throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s was actually counterproductive; it gave more significance to this issue than it ordinarily would have. And what this means is that while the genocide issue is important, it is only one of many important issues. There is optimism that progress can be made in diplomatic relations, opening of the border, economic relations and exchange of people, so it will allow for an environment later to produce results in genocide issue.

What do you think will change economically for the Armenian people following an opening of the border?

I don’t exaggerate the potential of immediate economic benefits from an open border. Everyone would gain in the long run but, in the short run, Armenia would be able to import and export goods on a much cheaper basis without relying on the Georgian monopoly on the trade route. Turkey would also benefit from its role as a transit state. I think the real benefits are in terms of the psychological benefits, as much as economic. Given the nature of the Armenian system, the benefits will be limited in the immediate term. Actually, Turkey may benefit more economically than Armenia.

Because from a security perspective, part of the problem in the east of Turkey, in terms of the Kurdish-populated regions, is a problem of security and instability. And the rise of Kurdish nationalism after the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the continuing threat of PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorism mean that the military solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey has not been effective enough. Now it’s also a political issue in terms of EU engagement, in terms of Kurdish language broadcasting and linguistic rights, but what was missing was the economic factor. Opening of the border will help the Turkish government offer economic stability to the Kurdish region, especially job creation and some new economic activity. Also, that kind of cross-border trade will lead to a bigger and larger role for Turkey in the region because if we look at the Turkish engagement with Armenia, it’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Would you elaborate on that idea?
Especially after the events of August in Georgia, we see a new role for Turkey as a regional leader, where it’s not Turkey acting on behalf of the US nor as a NATO member. Turkish foreign policy is now asserting Turkey’s leadership on its own two feet. It’s more about Turkey expanding its options in foreign policy for its own benefit and that of the region.

US-Turkish ties will be more significant than Armenian genocide for Obama

What would you say about Barack Obama’s election to the American presidency and how that will affect the genocide issue?
The Turkish reaction to the election of President-elect Obama is exaggerated. There is an exaggerated fear that Obama’s rather strong statements on the Armenian genocide as a candidate will mean that as president he will be just as dynamic. I don’t think so. Once in office, like every other American president, the broader significance of US-Turkish relations and the need to repair and improve US-Turkish relations will be a more significant factor than the Armenian genocide. In other words, it’s a role for the US Congress, in their opinion, and less of a role for the US executive branch.

What if there is improvement in Turkish-Armenian relations, like opening of the border?
That will be much more important than a limited, simple resolution in the US Congress not binding on the United States government. While the Armenian genocide is, of course, significant, from the US national security point of view, so is dealing with the need to repair US-Turkish military relations and bilateral relations. The challenge is not from the Armenian genocide; the core challenge is actually resolving the emergence of the Kurdish proto-state in northern Iraq, and as the Americans pull out of Iraq, how Turkey is challenged by the vacuum that’s left, in terms of Kirkuk, in terms of northern security and in terms of PKK activity.

So you believe US-Turkish relations will improve?
As the US withdraws from Iraq in the next one or two years, there will be more of a US need to work with Turkey, to strengthen Iraq and also to ensure that the PKK threat does not increase. The most important and most interesting factor in terms of the US-Turkish dynamic is that it’s no longer about simply talking about genocide or even the opening of the border, but it is more about the process that the late Hrant Dink started. In many ways he accomplished more in his death than he did in his life by demonstrating that the real future of Armenian-Turkish relations is not talking about these issues in Washington or Brussels, but talking about and debating the future of Turkish identity within Turkey, and the future of Turkish-Armenian relations within Armenia and Turkey. That’s why real exchange and dialogue is most important between the people of Turkey and Armenia, and much less about what Washington wants or what Brussels demands.

Richard Giragosian
An analyst specializing in international relations, with a focus on economics, military security and political developments in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asia, Giragosian has been based in Armenia for the last two years. He is a regular contributor to publications of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the International Security Network (ISN) and is a contributing analyst for the London-based Jane’s Information Group.

For nine years Giragosian served as a professional staff member of the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress, and also worked as an analyst for the Abt Associates Inc. consulting firm from 2000-2005.

Among the publications he has contributed to are Jane’s Defence Weekly, the China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Jane’s Intelligence Digest, Asia Times Online, Demokratizatsiya, Jane’s Foreign Report, the Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, the Turkish Daily News and the Turkish Policy Quarterly.

todayszaman.com 01 December 2008, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Yerevan/Istanbul

Pro-Armenian Obama Adviser Once Critical Of Clinton Is Back
November 28 2008 By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer Matthew Lee, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON An adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign who was forced to resign earlier this year after calling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster" is now working on the transition team for the agency Clinton is expected to lead.

State Department officials said Friday that Samantha Power is among a group of foreign policy experts that the president-elect's office selected to help the incoming administration prepare for Clinton's anticipated nomination as secretary of state. The Obama transition team's Web site includes Power's name as one of 14 members of the "Agency Review Team" for the State Department.

Clinton's role at State is expected to be announced after the Thanksgiving weekend. Power's apparent rehabilitation is another sign of that impending move.

Clinton's office declined to comment on Power's inclusion in the State Department transition, but an official close to the Obama transition team said Power had "made a gesture to bury the hatchet" with Clinton and that it had been well-received.

Power has been given an official State Department e-mail address and has been seen in the building, said the State officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the transition. A State Department spokesman referred questions to Obama's transition team, which later declined to comment.

Power, a Harvard professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted commentator on genocide, is dealing with global humanitarian issues as part of the team, according to the officials. It is not clear if she is in line for any State Department job, they said.

Power made headlines in March during the height of the fierce fight for the Democratic presidential nomination when she called Clinton "a monster" in an interview with a Scottish newspaper, setting off angry exchanges about the tenor of the campaign.

Power told the Scotsman newspaper that Clinton would stop at nothing to defeat Obama. "She is a monster, too," Power said in the interview. "She is stooping to anything." Power added that "the amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

A few hours after her comments were published, Power announced her resignation, saying the remarks were inexcusable and contradictory to her admiration for Clinton.

At the time, Power said that Obama had rebuked her for the comment and "made it absolutely clear that we just couldn't make comments like this in his campaign."

Clinton's campaign seized on the remark, sending an e-mail to supporters telling them about the "monster" comment and asking for contributions to "show the Obama campaign that there is a price to this kind of attack politics."

Immunity Of Turkish Diplomacy Against Armenian Policy Weakens: Trend News Commentator 28.11.08 Rufiz Hafizoglu, Editor of the Middle East desk of Trend News.
Relations between Armenia and Turkey comparatively have improved after Serzh Sargsyan's victory in the presidential elections. Unlike previous Armenian government, which held radical and irreconcilable position toward Turkey, the current government seeks to demonstrate more moderate position.

However, Armenians' territorial claim to Turkey and `genocide' issue prevented to restore relations between the countries. The Armenian diplomacy, which admitted impossibility of their one-time abolition, used Turkish President Abdullah Gul's love of football, inviting him to Yerevan to watch the Armenia-Turkey match. Turkey answered positively and Gul was hospitably received in Armenia.

In fact, restoration of relations with Turkey is not connected to Armenians' refusal from historical claim, but focused on economic revival of the country, which is in blockade, and its entry to the world through Turkey. The latest developments in the region made Yerevan restore relations with Ankara. Turkey has a ground to improve and restore the Turkish-Armenian relations, as well. Liberal Islamists replaced the nationalist government.

Armed conflict between Georgia and Ossetia has influenced on relations between Yerevan and Tbilisi, and Armenia was in blockade by all sides except Iran. However, pressure of the West on Iran put duration of relations between Yerevan and Tehran under doubt. Armenia's turning toward Turkey has become the most reasonable way out of the situation and revival of the death economy.

Sargsyan says: `The latest developments in Georgia have influenced on economy of Armenia and as a result, a strong fuel crisis has aroused in the country.' The Armenian President's speech creates grounds to think that restoration of diplomatic relations with Turkey will enable Yerevan to restore the declined economy.

The first stage of the Armenian diplomacy's strategic plan ` Improvement the Turkish-Armenian relations ` has been successfully fulfilled. Edward Nalbandian, the Armenian Foreign Minister visited Istanbul on 24 November to participate in a conference of Foreign Ministers of the Black Sea Cooperation Organization. The meeting focused on discussions of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh problem, Turkish-Armenian relations, `Armenian genocide', as well as establishment of Caucasus Stability & Cooperation Platform, initiated by Turkey.

Nalbandian's Istanbul visit, where many interesting statements have been sounded, entered the history.

Nalbandian positively answered Turkish Premier Receb Tayyib Erdogan's initiative jointly to study Armenian and Turkish archives to investigate the 1915 developments.

The Armenian Minister regarded possible to establish a friendly historical commission to investigate `Armenian genocide', the Turkish Zaman newspaper reported.

The statement by Nalbandian that the issue on recognition of the `genocide' was not included into the agenda of the meeting for development of relations was particularly remembered

At the press-conference in Istanbul the Armenian minister said that Armenia did not lay down any conditions for the development of relations with Turkey. Nevertheless, the issue on recognition of the `Armenian genocide' is an integral part of the Armenian policy.

At first glance the appearance of Nalbandian creates visibility, that the Armenians refused from the requirements to recognize `genocide'. In actuality, thin nuances of Armenian policy lie behind this statement. Armenians gave temporary agreement to two of three basic requirements, advanced by Turkey for restoring the relations. These requirements are - to decline the charges in connection with `genocide' of Armenians, end to advance territorial claims to Turkey, return the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. Temporarily send the officials of Armenia to a compromise only by two of three advanced by Turkey requirements: in issues `Armenian genocide' and territorial claims to Turkey

In the interview to CNN the Armenian President said that despite of neither Armenian official appeared with territorial claims towards Turkey, there are organizations in Turkey, which contend that there is no a state like Armenia.

Against the background of the recent developments Armenia has a purpose, realisation of which it is unavoidable to approach. This is the temporary fulfilling of two requirements, which have significant meaning for Ankara, because of which the boundaries with Turkey will be opened and the dead economy of Armenia will revive.

After the historical visit of Gul to Yerevan, the relations between Armenia and Turkey develop rapidly. Ali Babacan, the Turkish Foreign Minister, said after the meeting with Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian that the talks were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere and the discussions of political and technical issues between the countries would be continued in the future. According to Babacan, the goal of the talks is to completely normalize the bilateral relations. For this purpose, the sides will hold meetings.

Nalbandian expressed certainty in efforts to be taken in the future to improve the relations between the two countries.

And as `fruit' of these negotiations between the ministers the Turkish Turk Hava Yolları airline is about to open charter flights to Yerevan

Given the aforementioned facts, that Turkish diplomats could not withstand the Armenian policy any more, and the immunity of Turkish policy against Armenia has weakened.

Knesset Panel To Consider Recognition Of Armenian Genocide By Shahar Ilan, Haaretz Correspondent Haaretz November 18, 2008
The Knesset decided Wednesday that a parliamentary committee will hold an unprecedented hearing on whether to recognize the World War I-era mass murder of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide. The decision to hold a hearing, which was proposed by Meretz Chairman Haim Oron, was approved by a 12-MK margin. The government did not oppose the motion.

The Knesset House Committee will decide whether the issue will be handed over to the Knesset Education Committee, as Oron wants, or to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, as requested by Yisrael Beiteinu MK Yosef Shagal. The latter generally holds hearings behind closed doors. Oron wants the committee to recognize the Armenian genocide, pointing out that similar recognition has been afforded recently by the French parliament and the United States Congress.

"It is appropriate that the Israeli Knesset, which represents the Jewish people, recognize the Armenian genocide," said Oron. "It is unacceptable that the Jewish people is not making itself heard."

The Meretz MK added that he raises the proposal every year ahead of Armenian Genocide Day, which falls on April 24. Minister Shalom Simhon, who represented the government in the Knesset debate, did not object to sending the issue to committee. Simhon said the Jewish people have a special sensitivity to the issue and a moral obligation to remember tragic episodes in human history, including the mass murder of the Armenians. Nonetheless, Simhon added that, "in the course of time this has become a politically charged issue between Armenians and Turks ? and Israel is not interested in taking a side."

Shagal warned that recognizing the killings as a genocide could have repercussions for Israel's diplomatic relations with Turkey, as well as the fate of tens of thousands of Jews who live in Azerbaijan.

CNN Special To Highlight Those Who Tried To Stop Genocide The Armenian Reporter 28 Nov 08
In a two-hour special report, CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour will report 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. The program will premiere on CNN on December 4 at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

"We have profiled individuals," Ms. Amanpour told the Armenian Reporter in an interview, "who have had the courage to stand up and tell their governments what was going on and how it needed to be stopped."

Ms. Amanpour said, "One of the people we look back on is Raphael Lemkin, who . . . coined the term genocide specifically after the Armenian Genocide and put that word right there in our vocabulary and lobbied very, very hard for the Convention that would define that word." The occasion for the documentary is the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The program touches briefly on the Armenian Genocide in the context of Lemkin's outrage that the murder of one person is a capital crime, but the murder of an entire people was not defined as such.

Past as prologue Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew and lawyer, narrowly escaped the Holocaust, but his parents and 40 other members of his family perished in the slaughter. In the 1940s, Lemkin coined the term "genocide" and lobbied the then-fledgling U.N. for an international convention compelling nations to prevent and stop genocide.

Mark Nelson, vice president and senior executive producer for CNN Productions says: "Lemkin hoped that the international community would ensure that genocide never happened again, but other crusaders against genocide met the same indifference and resistance Lemkin encountered. This film is about their stories - and what we can learn from them."

Just one generation later, Father François Ponchaud, a Catholic missionary working in Cambodia, tried to alert the world to the torture and mass executions following the rise of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Fr. Ponchaud published articles, a book, and even spoke before the U.N. to urge action to stop the killing.

"No one believed us" Fr. Ponchaud tells Ms. Amanpour in the documentary. In fewer than four years, the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror claimed the lives of nearly two million men, women, and children - one fourth of Cambodia's population. "No one defends human rights," the priest says in the documentary. "Governments are cold beasts looking out for their own interests."

Committing genocide in front of the news cameras In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein unleashed poison gas on the Iraqi Kurdish population, killing tens of thousands of people. Ms. Amanpour draws on U.S. government documents that show the Reagan administration opposed measures to sanction Iraq - because it was trying to cultivate Iraq as an ally against Iran in 1988.

Peter Galbraith, at the time an idealistic staffer in the U.S. Senate, witnessed Hussein's brutal policy and tried unsuccessfully to get Congress to punish Iraq. The White House continued its support for Hussein. Ms. Amanpour questions the Reagan administration officials who made the decisions at the time, including former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz.

Ms. Amanpour returns to the former Yugoslavia - where in the 1990s she reported on the "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims by Serbs. She reminds viewers that the slaughter in Bosnia happened in full view of the world, captured on 24-hour television news.

Ms. Amanpour describes the efforts of Richard Holbrooke, a private citizen who would later become one of President Bill Clinton's most influential advisors=3B Mr. Holbrooke tried to persuade the Clinton administration to use military force to stop the principal aggressors, the Bosnian Serbs. It would take three years - and the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica - for him to make his case and secure U.S. military support to end the "ethnic cleansing."

Speaking to the Armenian Reporter, Ms. Amanpour said, "When I ask former U.S. officials who were in national security or the State Department during the Clinton administration - in which genocide happened in Bosnia and in Rwanda - I ask them why was there this collective failure to act, and some of them said to me, `Look, we need our public behind us. This is something very difficult for us to intervene when our national security is not directly threatened. We need our public behind us.'"

She said her purpose was to raise awareness of international affairs among Americans, the citizens of the most powerful nation on earth. During an international news conference in 1994, Ms. Amanpour challenged Mr. Clinton: "Do you not think that the constant flip-flops of your administration on the issue of Bosnia set a very dangerous precedent?"

Ms. Amanpour also returns to Rwanda - where she reported on genocide there 14 years ago. The atrocities still haunt retired Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire. In 1994, Mr. Dallaire was the commander of the U.N. peace-keeping troops in Rwanda. He sounded early warnings about an impending human tragedy but was prohibited from taking military action to prevent the slaughter that eventually claimed the lives of at least 800,000 people. Mr. Dallaire, ordered to leave Rwanda by his bosses, tells Ms. Amanpour, "I refused a legal order. But it was immoral."

Avoiding the G word Ms. Amanpour recounts the Clinton administration's refusal to use the word "genocide" to describe the killing in Rwanda, and the U.N.'s refusal to reinforce Mr. Dallaire's troops. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former U.S. National Security Advisor Anthony Lake discuss the failures in Rwanda. Ms. Amanpour also interviews current Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who says the world was indifferent to the fate of Rwandans.

Finally, Ms. Amanpour reports on what many consider to be the first genocide of the 21st century: Darfur. "There was no lack of information, there was no lack of understanding, there was a lack of will to stop genocide - year after year after year," says Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor and one of the founders of grassroots activism to end genocide in Darfur. Ms. Amanpour interviews Dr. Mukesh Kapila, the U.N.'s former top official in Sudan, who notes what he says is today's challenge: The U.N. is powerless to compel its members to act, even in the face of mass murder.

But, Ms. Amanpour said to the Armenian Reporter, "Something incredible happened in the last few years over Darfur. The reason Darfur is an issue in the United States, perhaps more than in any other Western country is because it has become a grassroots issue on campuses, in NGOs, and even in places like Hollywood and such. Darfur has become a rallying cry, and I think this is amazing. It really is amazing. And that's what gives me hope for the future."

Six decades after Lemkin's challenge to never let genocide happen again, Ms. Amanpour ponders what it will take for the world to live up to his challenge and the promise of the Genocide Convention he worked so tirelessly to bring about. The next time the killing starts and someone stands up to scream bloody murder, will anyone listen?

Most Armenians Support President, Establishing Ties With Turkey Mediamax, Armenia Nov 27 2008
Yerevan, 27 November: The results of a survey on political moods in Armenia carried out by the Eastern-European branch of the Gallup and commissioned by Armenian Public TV were presented in Yerevan today.

Armen Arzumanyan, the executive director of Public TV, said that the survey was aimed at increasing the efficiency of communications between Public TV and its audience. The poll was conducted between late October and mid November in all regions of Armenia where 2000 adult citizens were polled. The poll results showed that 44.4. per cent of the respondents support Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan; 18.58 per cent support former president and the leader of opposition Armenian National Congress Levon Ter-Petrosyan; 57 per cent approved of the authorities; 43 per cent expressed a negative opinion.

Presenting the analytical part of the poll, the authors noted that the Armenian population does not link the solution of socio-economic problems to the political parties, which, according to the poll results, do not fight the country's problems; instead, they fights against each other.

The poll demonstrated a positive attitude of the population towards the activity of the prime minister and the cabinet of Armenia; in particular, in the sphere of reforms in tax administration and works directed at restoring the disaster zone.

The section of Gallup poll on the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations showed that a majority (47.3 per cent) of the polled favours establishing diplomatic relations, but with caution, and 26 per cent definitely spoke for the establishment of relations; 18 per cent opposed to establishing relations unless Turkey recognizes the Armenian genocide. Sixty per cent said that Turkey will become a good economic partner for Armenia, with 33 per cent saying it would make a political partner.

Who Does Society Trust? Hayots Ashkhar Daily 28 Nov 08 Armenia
By the request of the Public Television of Armenia, `Gallup' organization conducted a large-scale sociological survey during the first half of November.

To the question `Who would you vote for if presidential elections were held now?' 37.4 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for Serge Sargsyan; 9 percent of the respondents preferred Raffi Hovhannisyan, 6.5 percent - L. Ter-Petrosyan and 5.8 percent ` Vahan Hovhannisyan. Nevertheless, 60 percent of the people polled are sure that the greatest chances for being re-elected to the Parliament belonged to the political party headed by Serge Sargsyan.

The survey reveals that if the parliamentary elections were to be held the next Sunday, the major part of votes, 33.3 percent, would belong to the Republican Party. `Prosperous Armenia', with a rating of 15.39 percent, `Heritage', with 13.4 percent, and `Rule of Law', with 7.71 percent, follow the ruling political party.

And which political party do the people know best? The majority of the respondents, 74.72 percent, mentioned the name of the Republican Party of Armenia. `The other parties are the political forces represented in the Parliament, i.e. `Prosperous Armenia' with a rating of 50.78 percent, Dashnaktsutyun, with a rating of 43.39 percent, `Rule of La w', with a rating of 43.37 percent, and `Heritage' with a rating of 30.12 percent. They are followed by the Armenian National Congress which also displays certain activeness with its rating of 18.93 percent,' the representative of `Gallup' said yesterday.

Political Parties Of Armenia Are Apparently Mental Virgins James Hakobyan, Lragir.am - 28/11/2008
The first thing that the leaders of political parties participating in the consultation with Serge Sargsyan told reporters waiting outside the conference hall was that Serge Sargsyan, unlike his predecessors Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan, takes into consideration the opinion of the political parties on the important issue of Karabakh. Of course, it is highly disputable that Serge Sargsyan really wanted to know the opinion of the leaders of political parties on Karabakh. If the Marxist Davit Hakobyan was delighted that Serge Sargsyan listened to his speech without interrupting, or Paruir Hairikyan who left the consultation for the ceremony of Golodomor said the president took notes of interesting ideas and proposals, it does not mean that Serge Sargsyan took genuine interest in the opinions that were expressed.

Maybe Serge Sargsyan did not interrupt the speeches because he could not understand their meaning, and took notes to try to understand the obscure things later with the help of his assistants. The point is that our parties are mental virgins, and when the president invited them to the round-table meeting to express their thoughts, it is possible that they did not express them well enough. In any case, however, it is clear that Serge Sargsyan did a thing which the first and the second presidents had not20done in their 7 and 10 years of office respectively. It is possible that during their presidency the Karabakh issue was not in such a crucial stage like now, and they did not need round-table meetings like Serge Sargsyan now. However, the problem is that Serge Sargsyan had stated before that meeting that the Karabakh issue will not be solved soon, and will take a lasting process. Therefore, the urgency of the roundup of parties was not more than in the different periods of office of Levon Ter-Petrosyan or Robert Kocharyan.

Hence, most probably Serge Sargsyan is really a more tolerant and dialoguing president than Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan. However, it does not mean unambiguously that it is Serge Sargsyan's advantage over the previous two presidents. The point is that when one listens to the leaders of those fifty Armenian political parties who participated in the consultation and are now expressing their thoughts on it and the Karabakh issue in general, one understands Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan, although one could understand them before the consultation. The point is that both Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan displayed amazing realism, adequacy to the situation, rational and fair governance. What can one hear from the parties, which are on the so-called political field, when it takes them to appear at a distance of 20-30 meters from the president at least once or twice a year to be h appy? What can they say about Karabakh or any other important national issue when they are ready to tell ten different things on the seven days of a week, depending on whose demand is stronger, the situation's or the government's? All these parties do not even have their own vision of their future, let alone the future of the country. Of course, each of their leaders did a favor to the nation and the state at one time of history but at another time they were unable to resist temptation. Meanwhile, it is known that both the tempter and the tempted are to be held accountable, and the favor is dropped into the gutter. The political field with wet favors should be dried out in the direct and figurative sense of the word, which is what Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan did, drying out the political field. At first sight, it seems that what they did was a historical mistake for the country, and the political sphere should not have been let dry out and devastated but on a closer look at the resource that is there, one understands that the only way of ridding of it was desertification of that field not to leave a piece of old root in order to guarantee preconditions and conditions for establishing a brand new and clear field.

It seems that Serge Sargsyan tried to restore that dry field and actually opposed to the policy which Ter-Petrosyan and Kocharyan had conducted successively. I n reality, however, it is a logical continuation. Serge Sargsyan is merely collecting the dry hay in the political field, enabling Ter-Petrosyan and why not, also Robert Kocharyan who is unwilling to quit politics to continue their efforts and to plant new seedlings instead of drying the field each for their turn. It is another question how Ter-Petrosyan and Kocharyan will benefit from that possibility. The first is reflecting on the final establishment of the Armenian National Congress, the second is not known on what is reflecting. It is difficult to say when these known and unknown reflections will end but it is a fact that history always gives a chance to correct mistakes. Simply not always is this chance perceived adequately. In addition, maybe the three presidents did that and did that unintentionally. In other words, both Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan, and now also Sargsyan, have never arranged anything, maybe they acted subconsciously, by serendipity, maybe even proceeding from personal power rather than the interest of evolution of the political sphere, but the most important thing is that logic is sustained, and there is a chance that one day it will end. But it is also evident that logic takes victims. However, it never happens otherwise since victory is never illogical.

From The Bosphorus Straight - The Fast-Changing 'Narrative' Of Turks And Armenians, Turkish Daily News November 25, 2008

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 yesterdays 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 Gul, Enhanced Coverage LinkingAbdullah Gul, -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days who last September undertook his historic visit to Yerevan. This trip challenged the prevailing narrative on Turkeys 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 Gul 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 Hurriyet Daily News interview, Nalbandian expressed support for the initiative launched by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 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 Turkeys 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.

When Turkey Tries To Buy The Memory Of Armenians Vardan Grigoryan Hayots Ashkhar Daily 26 Nov 08 Armenia
Time works in our favor

The official Ankara's consistent attempts towards revising the complex and multi-layer agenda of the Armenian-Turkish relations come to finally reveal the in-depth reasons of Turkey's haste.

With the purpose of reinstating its functions as the protector of the interests of the West in the South Caucasus and Middle Asia, Turkey has to speedily comply with the Western strategists' "recommendations" requiring "responsibility", i.e. to dismantle the closed Armenian-Turkish border, an issue over which Ankara was seeking to reach concrete agreements in the context of the Russian-Turkish relations. By "rendering different services" to the west in a speedily changing situation, Turkey, inter alia, seeks to prevent the new US administration from raising the issue of the Armenian Genocide. It no longer needs new Armenian-Turkish discords, as it now subordinates them to the process of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Even with regard to the Karabakh issue does Turkey have a "reserve variant", i.e. "For pushing Russia and hence - Armenia, to new concessions, Ankara will unite its efforts with Turkey in an attempt to threaten the two countries with the implementation of the NABUKO program, involving Turkmenistan in20the 'big game' once again. It is also necessary to bear in mind that in case of Turkey's assuming a predominant role in the region, the issue of the Armenian-Azerbaijani borders may lose its urgency for Ankara."

Furthermore, Ankara perfectly realizes the fact that the only active lever that may help the West to raise Turkey's role in future is the prospect of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. So, to avoid "pulling burning chestnuts out of the fire" for the western strategists, Turkey is now trying to bring its relations with Armenia in compliance with the European standards and in return, demands that the Armenian party make a "trivial concession", i.e. set up a committee of Armenian and Turkish historians studying the 1915 "incidents".

As reported by "Joumhuriet", a reputable Turkish newspaper, Turkey is even ready to send an Ambassador to Yerevan in return, without even establishing diplomatic ties with our country. Moreover, for proving the seriousness of its intentions, Turkey also promises us various "pies" for buying the surplus of our energy, organizing the "Turkish Airlines" state company's new flights in the directions Yerevan-Istanbul and Yerevan-Antalia etc.

Thus, the simplification and clarification of Turkey's previous preconditions is the direct result of the country's haste observed over th e recent period. This fact brings Armenia and the Armenian diplomacy face to face with a new dilemma which cannot but be characterized as a choice between tactical tricks and strategic perspectives.

The fact that Armenia is ready to achieve the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties and the opening of the border without any preconditions - an idea reiterated by Foreign Minister Ed. Nalbandyan in Istanbul, is the only prescription for overcoming such dilemma. Turkey cannot persuade the whole world that by opening the border with Armenia and establishing diplomatic ties it is doing our country a "favor" and therefore has the right to demand that the Armenians "lose their memory" in return. It is impossible to sell the memory of any nation, whereas negative memories can be replaced with positive ones only a as a result of a long process of reconciliation and compensation.

Moreover, Turkey's sudden "yielding posture and generosity" arouses the need of examining the causes of such behavior. Is Ankara so naïve that it doesn't even realize the consequences of refusing to act as the defender of Azerbaijan, its brother country? We believe, the Turks realize that perfectly well, therefore, they are simultaneously preparing the Turkish-Azerbaijani program aimed at extorting concessions from Russia with regard to the Karabakh issue, by threatening the country to reanimate the NABUKKO program. With the purpose of discussing the implementation of the program, the Presidents of the two countries will meet in the capital city of Turkmenistan at the end of November.

In fact, with its current proposal on setting up a committee of Armenian and Turkish historians, Turkey is trying to shut the mouths of the US legislators, and by making threats to involve Turkmenistan in the NABUKKO program, it is trying to extort concessions from Moscow.

In case of expressing the slightest hesitations in the process of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the official Yerevan may face the threat of losing our country's strategic attraction and in return for the illusionary possibility integrating to the Turkish economy. Because apart from posing a thereat to the process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, such prospect will also make our country less attractive for Russia, as it will cease to be viewed as a counterbalance to the Azerbaijani-Turkish program.

We believe the only conclusion to be drawn from the results of Foreign Minster E. Nalbandyan's visit to Turkey is that time has now started working in our favor, so there is no need to artificially set the clock hands ahead. Neither should we be concerned about Turkey's current attempts of "poking its nose" in the NABUKKO program once again, because after launching the pipeline exporting 31 cubic meters of gas to Europe annually, Moscow will definitely respond to Ankara's "second surprise".

The abrupt activeness of Turkey's regional policy comes to reveal the discrepancy between the goals of the country on the one hand and its real chances and weak points on the other, a fact that also works in our favor.

And now, it's time for us to "linger".

Armenia: Army Targets Students: Alarm About Demographic Slump Leads To Proposed Enlistment On Army-Age Students
By Sara Khojoian in Yerevan (CRS No. 470 27-Nov-08)
The Armenian government is working on amendments to legislation which would force more students to do military service, thereby overcoming a potential shortfall in recruits.

The defence and education ministries are drawing up the changes to three existing laws, but have not yet presented them to parliament.

“They foresee removing the right to academic leave during military call-up and setting certain benefits for students [for the duration of their army service],” said Mary Harutiunian, government spokeswoman.

Currently post-graduate students doing a master’s or doctorate are entitled to “academic leave” which exempts them from having to serve in the military so they can concentrate on their studies.

While the final details of the proposed changes are not yet clear, there has already been an outcry against the overall plan.

The government says that it needs to act now to tackle a lack of conscripts for the armed forces. Beginning from this year and over the next decade, conscripts will be young men born in the 1990s, the number of whom is constantly declining, as the year 1991, when the Soviet Union broke up and Armenia became independent, marked a fall in the birth-rate.

According to national statistics, in 1990-92 the birth-rate (for both boys and girls) was 70,000 but it has declined sharply since then to 48,000 in 1995 and 37,000 in 2006, after which it began a modest recovery.

These trends are considered to be a threat to the country in two official documents, the National Security Strategy and the Military Doctrine.

However, some experts say that the answer to Armenia’s military needs is to move away from conscription altogether.

Former deputy defence minister Artur Aghabekian – currently a deputy and head of the Armenian parliament’s committee on defence, internal affairs and national security – told IWPR, “There is really a demographic problem in our country but I personally believe that general conscription is not the solution.”

Aghabekian said it had been a mistake to close military departments in colleges and universities, which train students in army-related subjects during their studies and which he said were an important institution for preparing youngster for careers in the armed forces.

Aghabekian said that Armenia needed to form a professional army by giving out temporary contracts to professional soldiers.

The military currently do have units staffed by soldiers on contracts, amongst them Armenia’s international peacekeeping battalion, but there are no plans to expand this practice.

Another former deputy defence minister Vahan Shirkhanian also believes the army needs to move away from full reliance on conscription, particularly since emigration was becoming a big problem. “From 2001 to 2006, 27,000 school-children left Armenia and, this year, from January to August alone, 83,000 people left Armenia. People who leave the country take their sons with them,” he said.

“So just imagine how many [potential recruits] we are losing every day, which is why our eyes are always turned to universities, to call up 18-year-olds. But that’s not how the problem gets solved.

“This plan could cause a lot of problems for education and science and also hurt the relationship between the public and the army. All the more so when problem number one for our military security is the restoration of trust between army and the public.”

Research shows that young men do not want to serve in the army and parents are reluctant to send their children there because they consider it corrupt.

Surveys carried out by the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International in 2002 and 2006 reveal that attitudes towards the army had not changed in those four years. In the first poll, 46.6 per cent of those surveyed said they considered the army extremely corrupt, four years later the figure was 40.4 per cent. The corresponding numbers of people who said the army was merely corrupt were 16 and 25.1 per cent.

A major reason for public distrust of the army is the high death-rate amongst conscripts, with frequent reports of young men dying in unexplained circumstances.

Armenia’s human rights ombudsman Armen Harutyunian has sent an official letter to the head of the government administration Davit Sargsian, saying that Armenian law was currently in line with the Europe-wide Bologna Declaration on higher education and that the rights of students to continuous study risked being abused under the new legislation.

The chairman of parliament’s education committee Armen Ashotian said that every effort should be made to soften the impact of the new law on students – through new benefits paid to them while they serve – but insisted it was necessary.

“We all understand that the age of conscription is approaching the ‘demographic pit’, that starts with the years 1990-1992 ,” said Ashotian. “Men born at that time should soon be called up into the army and everyone understands that the most important task is increasing the efficiency of the army.”

But many young people are opposed to the proposed changes.

Twenty-six-year-old Alexander Chilingirian, who has gained a doctorate in physics, said that he would never have completed his studies if he had to serve in the army.

“The army breaks a person,” said Chilingiran. “And it doesn’t matter if you join the army at 18 and come out at 20 or if you join at 21 and come out at 23, you don’t have the will to carry anything on. In two years in the army the brain doesn’t just switch off, it degrades.”

Sixteen-year-old Mikael Sandrosian, a second-year geology and metallurgy student in Yerevan, takes a similar view.

“If I go into the army that it will definitely have a bad effect on my studies,” he said. “In the first place if I join up, I will forget everything I know in two years and when I return it will be hard and I won’t have the will to carry on learning.”

Government spokesperson Mary Harutiunian said that the draft changes were now being studied by experts, then discussed in government before being presented to parliament. She said there was no time-frame for their approval.

She said Prime Minister Tigran Sargsian had promised wide discussion of the issue to ensure that the eventual changes had public support.
© Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Change Of Heart?: Russo-Armenian Relations Influenced By Tilted Balance In Region, By Aris Ghazinyan
Critics in Russia have lately started to voice thoughts about whether Russia should continue to further maintain the strategic level of Russian-Armenian relations. Significantly, practically for the first time this is being done by representatives of the so-called "patriotic" camp of the Russian political-scientific thought who have always advocated a further strengthening of the strategic ties along the Moscow-Yerevan axis. The change of the traditional position of "patriots" took place after the five-day Caucasus war.

The shift in thinking is significant, as certain pundits and political analysts often act as messengers of official policy. Well-known Russian political analyst, head of the Center of Geopolitical Expertise Alexander Dugin made a sensational statement on the eve of the November 2 signing of the Moscow declaration on Nagorno-Karabakh by the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.

"A new model of relations of Turkey and Azerbaijan can be outlined now; it looks much more promising than before," he said. "After the crisis in Georgia the situation has somewhat changed. [Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev assumed a constructive position towards Russia and did not support the Georgian side, and this leaves a certain positive mark also on the Karabakh solution."

Indeed, after the five-day war many political analysts began to speak about Russia's intention to build a fundamentally new geopolitical triangle - Moscow-Ankara-Baku to replace the little effective and less promising Moscow-Yerevan-Tehran axis.

"We have reaped all benefits from our strategic alliance with Armenia, moreover, Armenia's strategic position is that it cannot give Russia more than there is now, meanwhile very much now depends on Azerbaijan and Turkey. Therefore, for Russia now it is important to improve relations with Azerbaijan, especially that Aliyev behaved correctly and properly during the conflict in South Ossetia." Dugin said.

A year ago the same analyst voiced diametrically opposite thoughts. Such as: "Armenia, which is a traditional and reliable ally for Russia in the Caucasus, plays a special geopolitical role. Armenia serves as a major strategic base for preventing Turkish northward and eastward expansion to the regions of the Central Asian Turkic world. Armenia is also important in another sense. Based on historical and ethnic closeness with Iran, it is Armenia that could serve as a major link in the chain for establishing the Moscow-Yerevan-Tehran axis."

We now see a cardinally changed position of some serious representatives of the Russian political-scientific community. However, it is yet difficult to say how far this change reflects the change of the official viewpoint of the Russian state. It is only known that Moscow indeed has several times voiced its full satisfaction with the positions of Ankara and Baku during the August war in Georgia.

But some Russian political scientists advocating the "old line" spoke against Dugin's "new line". The "old-liners" do not doubt there is a need for further strengthening the strategic relations between Yerevan and Moscow. Political analyst Natalia Narochnitskaya is one of the most consistent advocates of this direction. Besides the factor of traditional Russo-Armenian cooperation, attention is drawn to the fact that Turkey, even if secretly in any case continues to carry out its pan-Turkic policy aimed first of all at disintegrating Russia.

"Turning a blind eye to the genocide of the Armenian people, in 1921 Lenin concluded a treaty with Turkey on friendship and fraternity, assisted it with arms and money, expecting to return Kemal Ataturk to 'the track of world revolution'," says Narochnitskaya. "The Karabakh conflict created by Bolsheviks can be viewed as a pure consequence of the revolution, for Bolsheviks knew well that Karabakh is a primordial Armenian land, as people's commissar Chicherin even wrote about it then."

Official Ankara is interested in the strengthening of the positions of the Turkic element on the vast Eurasian space, and this interest is based on rich traditions. The strategic policy of corresponding preparations was determined by Ataturk himself. "One day Russia will lose control over peoples that it holds tight in its hands today. The world will reach a new level. And at that very moment Turkey must know what it should do."

In one way or another the latest events in the region had a rather strong impact also on the development of political thought in Russia, outlining new vectors of development. Some already challenge the necessity of Russo-Armenian cooperation. But others think that the factor of the presence of a "common enemy" is enough to bring the positions of Moscow and Yerevan closer together. The latter think that genuine Russo-Armenian strategic cooperation can develop only along the axis of joint overcoming of such external threats.

Expectant Caucasus: A Pregnant Moment In World/Regional AffairsCommentary by Jirair Haratunian
The overriding issue in world affairs is the global economic crisis. The United States, the European Union, and even China and Russia, have poured billions of dollars into financial and industrial institutions in attempts to rescue the global economy. While the outcome of this crisis is yet undetermined, other pressing international problems remain unresolved on the political agendas of world leaders.

In this environment, one important reality has emerged; a universal quest to change the existing status quo. This was most dramatically evident by the election of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. Obama's victory has generated extraordinary expectations that he will change the tone and substance of U.S. foreign policy beginning with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both conflicts will employ new strategies. American forces in Iraq will be systematically reduced and additional military units will be sent to Afghanistan to challenge the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

In addition, Obama has promised to conduct American diplomacy in greater collaboration with its allies. That prospect, for example, might foresee a less confrontational policy towards Iran. In addition, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will certainly continue but will require renewed American initiatives. Also, current tensions with Russia over the planned missile stations in Poland and the Czech Republic and the eastward movement of NATO towards the borders of Russia will have to be addressed by the new American administration.

Interestingly, because of Georgia's military misadventure to recapture South Ossetia, the unresolved problems in the South Caucasus have risen to nearly the top of the international affairs agenda. The Georgian military disaster has drastically changed the political calculus in the region. As a consequence, both Russia and Turkey quickly committed new political initiatives in the region in efforts to unlock the frozen positions of the past.

President Serzh Sargsyan joined these efforts in a bold diplomatic stroke that brought Turkish President Gul to Yerevan for the now famous football match between the national teams of Turkey and Armenia. That initiative compelled Turkey to take unprecedented public steps at reconciliation with Armenia, despite the displeasure of Azerbaijan. And despite Baku's known objections, Ankara also initiated a new proposal for a regional security pact that specifically includes Armenia.

Russia's retaliatory assault against Georgian forces last August severely impacted Azerbaijan. Baku's initial public applause for Georgia's attack on South Ossetian separatists quickly ended when Russian military forces intervened. Suddenly, President Aliyev ceased his frequent threats to retake Nagorno Karabakh by force. A more docile Aliyev emerged and quickly accepted Russia's invitation to meet with President Sargsyan in Moscow under the sponsorship and participation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The resulting declaration by the three Presidents was a diplomatic first. It is the only document outlining the negotiating principles for a Nagorno Karabakh settlement that the contending sides and Russia have formally signed. Its terms are to some extent ambiguous, but the declaration specifies that negotiations will be conducted exclusively by the OSCE's Minsk Group, co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France. Moreover, it will be based on what is known as the Madrid principles, agreed to in November 2007.

There is no primacy of territorial integrity over self-determination in either the Madrid or Moscow documents. And most importantly, the Madrid formula envisions a popular referendum in an unspecified time frame which will determine the political status of Nagorno Karabakh.

The terms of the Moscow declaration will be debated vigorously by political forces in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Absolutists in both countries will oppose any compromise, but President Sargsyan has pledged to seek an agreement that insures the security and political freedom of the Armenians of Karabakh. He has said that the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh problem must not be left as a dangerous legacy for future generations.

He has also promised to seek the establishment of normal neighborly relations with Turkey, with open borders and formal diplomatic relations, after which all unresolved problems and historic issues can be addressed. The football diplomacy he initiated was applauded by the international community. It is now up to Turkey to respond in kind.

This is clearly a pregnant moment in world affairs, particularly for the nations of the South Caucasus. If reconciliation steps with Turkey continue and the negotiation process of the Nagorno Karabakh problem somehow succeeds, we might witness, at last, the birth of a new reality, where peace can replace conflict in the entire region.

(Jirair Harutunian is Past Board of Directors Chairman of the Armenian Assembly of America: www.aaainc.org )

ARMENIANOW.COM November 28 , 2008

Google’s Gatekeepers Siggi Eggertsson, By JEFFREY ROSEN, November 28, 2008
‘If your whole game is to increase market share,’ says Lawrence Lessig, speaking of Google, ‘it’s hard to . . . gather data in ways that don’t raise privacy concerns or in ways that might help repressive governments to block controversial content.’

In March of last year, Nicole Wong, the deputy general counsel of Google, was notified that there had been a precipitous drop in activity on YouTube in Turkey, and that the press was reporting that the Turkish government was blocking access to YouTube for virtually all Turkish Internet users. Apparently unaware that Google owns YouTube, Turkish officials didn’t tell Google about the situation: a Turkish judge had ordered the nation’s telecom providers to block access to the site in response to videos that insulted the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which is a crime under Turkish law. Wong scrambled to figure out which videos provoked the court order and made the first in a series of tense telephone calls to Google’s counsel in London and Turkey, as angry protesters gathered in Istanbul. Eventually, Wong and several colleagues concluded that the video that sparked the controversy was a parody news broadcast that declared, “Today’s news: Kamal Ataturk was gay!” The clip was posted by Greek football fans looking to taunt their Turkish rivals.

Wong and her colleagues asked the Turkish authorities to reconsider their decision, pointing out that the original offending video had already been voluntarily removed by YouTube users. But after the video was taken down, Turkish prosecutors objected to dozens of other YouTube videos that they claimed insulted either Ataturk or “Turkishness.” These clips ranged from Kurdish-militia recruitment videos and Kurdish morality plays to additional videos speculating about the sexual orientation of Ataturk, including one superimposing his image on characters from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” “I remember one night, I was looking at 67 different Turkish videos at home,” Wong told me recently.

After having many of the videos translated into English, Wong and her colleagues set out to determine which ones were, in fact, illegal in Turkey; which violated YouTube’s terms of service prohibiting hate speech but allowing political speech; and which constituted expression that Google and YouTube would try to protect. There was a vigorous internal debate among Wong and her colleagues at the top of Google’s legal pyramid. Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s director of global public policy, took an aggressive civil-libertarian position, arguing that the company should protect as much speech as possible. Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, took a more pragmatic approach, expressing concern for the safety of the dozen or so employees at Google’s Turkish office. The responsibility for balancing these and other competing concerns about the controversial content fell to Wong, whose colleagues jokingly call her “the Decider,” after George W. Bush’s folksy self-description.

Wong decided that Google, by using a technique called I.P. blocking, would prevent access to videos that clearly violated Turkish law, but only in Turkey. For a time, her solution seemed to satisfy the Turkish judges, who restored YouTube access. But last June, as part of a campaign against threats to symbols of Turkish secularism, a Turkish prosecutor made a sweeping demand: that Google block access to the offending videos throughout the world, to protect the rights and sensitivities of Turks living outside the country. Google refused, arguing that one nation’s government shouldn’t be able to set the limits of speech for Internet users worldwide. Unmoved, the Turkish government today continues to block access to YouTube in Turkey.

THE ONGOING DISPUTE between Google and Turkey reminds us that, throughout history, the development of new media technologies has always altered the way we think about threats to free speech. At the beginning of the 20th century, civil libertarians in America worried most about the danger of the government silencing political speech: think of Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist candidate for President, who was imprisoned in 1919 for publicly protesting American involvement during World War I. But by the late 1960s, after the Supreme Court started to protect unpopular speakers more consistently, some critics worried that free speech in America was threatened less by government suppression than by editorial decisions made by the handful of private mass-media corporations like NBC and CBS that disproportionately controlled public discourse. One legal scholar, Jerome Barron, even argued at the time that the courts should give unorthodox speakers a mandatory right of access to media outlets controlled by giant corporations.

Today the Web might seem like a free-speech panacea: it has given anyone with Internet access the potential to reach a global audience. But though technology enthusiasts often celebrate the raucous explosion of Web speech, there is less focus on how the Internet is actually regulated, and by whom. As more and more speech migrates online, to blogs and social-networking sites and the like, the ultimate power to decide who has an opportunity to be heard, and what we may say, lies increasingly with Internet service providers, search engines and other Internet companies like Google, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook and even eBay.

The most powerful and protean of these Internet gatekeepers is, of course, Google. With control of 63 percent of the world’s Internet searches, as well as ownership of YouTube, Google has enormous influence over who can find an audience on the Web around the world. As an acknowledgment of its power, Google has given Nicole Wong a central role in the company’s decision-making process about what controversial user-generated content goes down or stays up on YouTube and other applications owned by Google, including Blogger, the blog site; Picasa, the photo-sharing site; and Orkut, the social networking site. Wong and her colleagues also oversee Google’s search engine: they decide what controversial material does and doesn’t appear on the local search engines that Google maintains in many countries in the world, as well as on Google.com. As a result, Wong and her colleagues arguably have more influence over the contours of online expression than anyone else on the planet.

In response to the rise of online gatekeepers like Wong, some House Democrats and Republicans have introduced a bipartisan bill called the Global Online Freedom Act, which would require that Internet companies disclose to a newly created office in the State Department all material filtered in response to demands by foreign governments. Google and other leading Internet companies have sought modifications to the bill, arguing that, without the flexibility to negotiate (as Wong did with Turkey), they can’t protect the safety of local employees and that they may get kicked out of repressive countries, where they believe even a restricted version of their services does more good than harm. For the past two years, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, along with other international Internet companies, have been meeting regularly with human rights and civil-liberties advocacy groups to agree on voluntary standards for resisting worldwide censorship requests. At the end of last month, the Internet companies and the advocacy groups announced the Global Network Initiative, a series of principles for protecting global free expression and privacy.

Voluntary self-regulation means that, for the foreseeable future, Wong and her colleagues will continue to exercise extraordinary power over global speech online. Which raises a perennial but increasingly urgent question: Can we trust a corporation to be good — even a corporation whose informal motto is “Don’t be evil”?

“To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king,” Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor and a former scholar in residence at Google, told me recently. “One reason they’re good at the moment is they live and die on trust, and as soon as you lose trust in Google, it’s over for them.” Google’s claim on our trust is a fragile thing. After all, it’s hard to be a company whose mission is to give people all the information they want and to insist at the same time on deciding what information they get.

THE HEADQUARTERS OF YOUTUBE are in a former Gap building in San Bruno, Calif., just a few miles from the San Francisco International Airport. In the lobby, looming over massage chairs, giant plasma-screen TVs show popular videos and scroll news stories related to YouTube. The day I arrived to interview the YouTube management about how the site regulates controversial speech, most of the headlines, as it happens, had to do with precisely that topic. Two teenagers who posted a video of themselves throwing a soft drink at a Taco Bell employee were ordered by a Florida judge to post an apology on YouTube. The British culture secretary had just called on YouTube to carry warnings on clips that contain foul language.

The volume of videos posted on YouTube is formidable — Google estimates that something like 13 hours of content are uploaded every minute. YouTube users can flag a video if they think it violates YouTube’s community guidelines, which prohibit sexually explicit videos, graphic violence and hate speech. Once flagged, a video is vetted by YouTube’s internal reviewers at facilities around the world who decide whether to take it down, leave it up or send it up the YouTube hierarchy for more specialized review. When I spoke with Micah Schaffer, a YouTube policy analyst, he refused to say how many reviewers the company employs. But I was allowed to walk around the office to see if I could spot any of them. I passed one 20-something YouTube employee after another — all sitting in cubicles and wearing the same unofficial uniform of T-shirt and jeans. The internal reviewers were identifiable, I was told, only by the snippets of porn flickering on their laptops.

The idea of a 20-something with a laptop in San Bruno (or anywhere else, for that matter) interpreting community guidelines for tens of millions of users might not instill faith in YouTube’s vetting process. But the most controversial user flags or requests from foreign governments make their way up the chain of command to the headquarters of Google, in Mountain View, Calif., where they may ultimately be reviewed by Wong, McLaughlin and Walker.

Recently, I spent several days talking to Wong and her colleagues at the so-called Googleplex, which has the feeling of a bucolic and extraordinarily well-financed theme camp. As we sat around a conference table, they told me about their debates as they wrestled with hard cases like the dispute in Turkey, as well as the experiences that have informed their thinking about free speech. Walker, the general counsel, wrote for The Harvard Crimson as an undergraduate and considered becoming a journalist before going into law; McLaughlin, the head of global public policy, became a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society after working on the successful Supreme Court challenge to part of the federal Communications Decency Act. And Wong, a soft-spoken and extremely well organized woman, has a joint degree in law and journalism from Berkeley and told me she aspired to be a journalist as a child because of her aunt, a reporter for The Los Angeles Times.

I asked Wong what was the best analogy for her role at Google. Was she acting like a judge? An editor? “I don’t think it’s either of those,” she said. “I definitely am not trying to pass judgment on anything. I’m taking my best guess at what will allow our products to move forward in a country, and that’s not a judge role, more an enabling role.” She stressed the importance for Google of bringing its own open culture to foreign countries while still taking into account local laws, customs and attitudes. “What is the mandate? It’s ‘Be everywhere, get arrested nowhere and thrive in as many places as possible.’ ” So far, no Google employees have been arrested on Wong’s watch, though some have been detained.

When Google was founded, 10 years ago, it wasn’t at all obvious whether the proprietors of search engines would obey the local laws of the countries in which they did business — and whether they would remove links from search results in response to requests from foreign governments. This began to change in 2000, when a French Jew surfed a Yahoo auction site to look for collections of Nazi memorabilia, which violated a French law banning the sale and display of anything that incites racism. After a French judge determined that it was feasible for Yahoo to identify 90 percent of its French users by analyzing their I.P. addresses and to screen the material from the users, he ordered Yahoo to make reasonable efforts to block French users from accessing the prohibited content or else to face fines and the seizure of income from Yahoo’s French subsidiary. In January 2001, Yahoo banned the sale of Nazi memorabilia on its Web sites.

The Yahoo case was a landmark. It made clear that search engines like Google and Yahoo could be held liable outside the United States for indexing or directing users to content after having been notified that it was illegal in a foreign country. In the United States, by contrast, Internet service providers are protected from most lawsuits involving having hosted or linked to illegal user-generated content. As a consequence of these differing standards, Google has considerably less flexibility overseas than it does in the United States about content on its sites, and its “information must be free” ethos is being tested abroad.

For example, on the German and French default Google search engines, Google.de and Google.fr, you can’t find Holocaust-denial sites that can be found on Google.com, because Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany and France. In the wake of the Yahoo decision, Google decided to comply with governmental requests to take down links on its national search engines to material that clearly violates national laws. (In the interest of disclosure, however, Google has agreed to report all the links it takes down in response to government demands to chillingeffects.com, a Web site run by Harvard’s Berkman Center that keeps a record of censored online materials.)

Of course, not every overseas case presents a clear violation of national law. In 2006, for example, protesters at a Google office in India demanded the removal of content on Orkut, the social networking site, that criticized Shiv Sena, a hard-line Hindu political party popular in Mumbai. Wong eventually decided to take down an Orkut group dedicated to attacking Shivaji, revered as a deity by the Shiv Sena Party, because it violated Orkut terms of service by criticizing a religion, but she decided not to take down another group because it merely criticized a political party. “If stuff is clearly illegal, we take that down, but if it’s on the edge, you might push a country a little bit,” Wong told me. “Free-speech law is always built on the edge, and in each country, the question is: Can you define what the edge is?”

INITIALLY, GOOGLE’S POLICY of removing links to clearly illegal material on its foreign search engines seemed to work. But things changed significantly after Google bought and expanded YouTube in 2006. Once YouTube was available in more than 20 countries and in 14 languages, users began flagging hundreds of videos that they saw as violations of local community standards, and governments around the globe demanded that certain videos be blocked for violating their laws. Google’s solution was similar to the one the French judge urged on Yahoo: it agreed to block users in a particular country from accessing videos that were clearly illegal under local law. But that policy still left complicated judgment calls in murkier cases.

In late 2006, for example, Wong and her colleagues debated what to do about a series of videos that insulted the king of Thailand, where a lêse-majesté law makes criticisms of the king a criminal offense. Wong recalls hearing from an employee in Asia that the Thai government had announced that it was blocking access to YouTube for anyone with a Thai I.P. address. Soon after, a Thai government official sent Wong a list of the U.R.L.’s of 20 offensive videos that he demanded Google remove as a condition of unblocking the site. Some of the videos were sexually explicit or involved hate speech and thus clearly violated the YouTube terms of service. Some ridiculed the king — by depicting him with his feet on his head, for example — and were clearly illegal under Thai law but not U.S. law. And others — criticizing the Thai lêse-majesté law itself — weren’t illegal in Thailand but offended the government.

After an extensive debate with McLaughlin and Walker, Wong concluded that since the lêse-majesté law had broad democratic support in Thailand, it would be better to remove the videos that obviously violated Thai law while refusing to remove the videos that offended the government but didn’t seem to be illegal. All three told me they were reassured by the fact that Google could accommodate the Thai government by blocking just the videos that were clearly illegal in Thailand (and blocking those for Thai users only), leaving them free to exercise their independent judgment about videos closer to the line. The Thai government was apparently able to live with this solution.

Over the past couple of years, Google and its various applications have been blocked, to different degrees, by 24 countries. Blogger is blocked in Pakistan, for example, and Orkut in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, governments are increasingly pressuring telecom companies like Comcast and Verizon to block controversial speech at the network level. Europe and the U.S. recently agreed to require Internet service providers to identify and block child pornography, and in Europe there are growing demands for network-wide blocking of terrorist-incitement videos. As a result, Wong and her colleagues said they worried that Google’s ability to make case-by-case decisions about what links and videos are accessible through Google’s sites may be slowly circumvented, as countries are requiring the companies that give us access to the Internet to build top-down censorship into the network pipes.

IT’S NOT ONLY FOREIGN COUNTRIES that are eager to restrict speech on Google and YouTube. Last May, Senator Joseph Lieberman’s staff contacted Google and demanded that the company remove from YouTube dozens of what he described as jihadist videos. (Around the same time, Google was under pressure from “Operation YouTube Smackdown,” a grass-roots Web campaign by conservative bloggers and advocates to flag videos and ask YouTube to remove them.) After viewing the videos one by one, Wong and her colleagues removed some of the videos but refused to remove those that they decided didn’t violate YouTube guidelines. Lieberman wasn’t satisfied. In an angry follow-up letter to Eric Schmidt, the C.E.O. of Google, Lieberman demanded that all content he characterized as being “produced by Islamist terrorist organizations” be immediately removed from YouTube as a matter of corporate judgment — even videos that didn’t feature hate speech or violent content or violate U.S. law. Wong and her colleagues responded by saying, “YouTube encourages free speech and defends everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view.” In September, Google and YouTube announced new guidelines prohibiting videos “intended to incite violence.”

In addition to Lieberman, another outspoken critic of supposed liberal bias at YouTube and Google is Michelle Malkin, the conservative columnist and blogger. Malkin became something of a cause célèbre among YouTube critics in 2006, when she created a two-minute movie called “First, They Came” in the wake of the violent response to the Danish anti-Muhammad cartoons. After showing pictures of the victims of jihadist violence (like the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh) and signs declaring “Behead Those Who Insult Islam,” the video asks, “Who’s next?” and displays the dates of terrorist attacks in America, London, Madrid and Bali.

Nearly seven months after she posted the video, Malkin told me she was “flabbergasted” to receive an e-mail message from YouTube saying the video had been removed for its “inappropriate content.” When Malkin asked why the video was removed, she received no response, and when she posted a video appealing to YouTube to reinstate it, that video, too, was deleted with what she calls the “false claim” that it had been removed at her request. Malkin remains dissatisfied with YouTube’s response. “I’m completely flummoxed about what their standards are,” she said. “The standards need to be clear, they need to be consistent and they need to be more responsive.”

I watched the “First, They Came” video, which struck me as powerful political commentary that contains neither hate speech nor graphic violence, and I asked why it was taken down. According to a YouTube spokesman, the takedown was a routine one that hadn’t been reviewed by higher-ups. The spokesman said he couldn’t comment on particular cases, but he forwarded a link to Malkin’s current YouTube channel, noting that it contains 55 anti-jihadist videos similar to “First, They Came,” none of which have been taken down. (“First, They Came” can now be found on Malkin’s YouTube channel, too.)

The removal of Malkin’s video may have been an innocent mistake. But it serves as a reminder that one person’s principled political protest is another person’s hate speech, and distinguishing between the two in hard cases is a lot to ask of a low-level YouTube reviewer. In addition, the publicity that attended the removal of Malkin’s video only underscores the fact that in the vast majority of cases in which material is taken down, the decision to do so is never explained or contested. The video goes down, and that’s the end of it.

Yet even in everyday cases, it’s often no easier to determine whether the content of a video is actually objectionable. When I visited YouTube, the management showed me a flagged French video of a man doubled over. Was he coughing? Or in pain? Or playacting? It was hard to say. The YouTube managers said they might send the item to a team of French-language reviewers for further inspection, but if the team decided to take down the video, its reasons would most likely never become public.

AS THE LAW PROFESSOR TIM WU TOLD ME, to trust Google, you have to be something of a monarchist, willing to trust the near-sovereign discretion of Wong and her colleagues. That’s especially true in light of the Global Network Initiative, the set of voluntary principles for protecting free expression and privacy endorsed last month by leading Internet companies like Google and leading human rights and online-advocacy groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology. Google and other companies say they hope that by acting collectively, they can be more effective in resisting censorship requests from repressive governments and, when that isn’t possible, create a trail of accountability.

Google is indeed more friendly to free speech than the governments of most of the countries in which it operates. But even many of those who are impressed by Wong and her colleagues say the Google “Decider” model is impractical in the long run, because, as broadband use expands rapidly, it will be unrealistic to expect such a small group of people to make ad hoc decisions about permissible speech for the entire world. “It’s a 24-hour potential problem, every moment of the day, and because of what the foreign governments can do, like put people in jail, it creates a series of issues that are very, very difficult to deal with,” Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the State Department, told me. I asked Wong whether she thought the Decider model was feasible in the long term, and to my surprise, she said no. “I think the Decider model is an inconsistent model because the Internet is big and Google isn’t the only one making the decisions,” she told me.

When I pressed Wong and her colleagues about who they thought should make these decisions, they said they would be happiest, of course, if more countries would adopt U.S.-style free-speech protections. Knowing that that is unlikely, they said they would prefer that countries around the world set up accountable bodies that provide direct guidance about what controversial content to restrict. As an example of his preferred alternative, Andrew McLaughlin pointed to Germany, which has established a state agency that gathers the U.R.L.’s of sites hosting Nazi and violent content illegal under German law and gives the list to an industry body, which then passes it on to Google so that it can block the material on its German site. (Whenever Google blocks material there or on its other foreign sites, it indicates in the search results that it has done so.)

It is striking — and revealing — that Wong and her colleagues would prefer to put themselves out of business. But it is worth noting that even if Google’s suggestion were adopted, and governments around the world began to set up national review boards that told Google what content to remove, then those review boards might protect far less free speech than Google’s lawyers have. When I raised this concern, McLaughlin said he hoped that the growing trends to censor speech, at the network level and elsewhere, would be resisted by millions of individual users who would agitate against censorship as they experienced the benefits of free speech.

There’s much to be said for McLaughlin’s optimism about online free-speech activism. Consider recent experiences in Turkey, where a grass-roots “censuring the censors” movement led more than 400 Turkish bloggers to shutter their Web sites in solidarity with mainstream sites that were banned for carrying content that, among other things, insulted Turkey’s founding father. In America, and around the world, the boundaries of free speech have always been shaped more by political activism than by judicial decisions or laws. But what is left out of McLaughlin’s vision is uncertainty about one question: the future ethics and behavior of gatekeepers like Google itself.

“Right now, we’re trusting Google because it’s good, but of course, we run the risk that the day will come when Google goes bad,” Wu told me. In his view, that day might come when Google allowed its automated Web crawlers, or search bots, to be used for law-enforcement and national-security purposes. “Under pressure to fight terrorism or to pacify repressive governments, Google could track everything we’ve searched for, everything we’re writing on gmail, everything we’re writing on Google docs, to figure out who we are and what we do,” he said. “It would make the Internet a much scarier place for free expression.” The question of free speech online isn’t just about what a company like Google lets us read or see; it’s also about what it does with what we write, search and view.

WU’S FEARS THAT violations of privacy could chill free speech are grounded in recent history: in China in 2004, Yahoo turned over to the Chinese government important account information connected to the e-mail address of Shi Tao, a Chinese dissident who was imprisoned as a result. Yahoo has since come to realize that the best way of resisting subpoenas from repressive governments is to ensure that private data can’t be turned over, even if a government demands it. In some countries, I was told by Michael Samway, who heads Yahoo’s human rights efforts, Yahoo is now able to store communications data and search queries offshore and limits access of local employees, so Yahoo can’t be forced to turn over this information even if it is ordered to do so.

Isolating, or better still, purging data is the best way of protecting privacy and free expression in the Internet age: it’s the only way of guaranteeing that government officials can’t force companies like Google and Yahoo to turn over information that allows individuals to be identified. Google, which refused to discuss its data-purging policies on the record, has raised the suspicion of advocacy groups like Privacy International. Google announced in September that it would anonymize all the I.P. addresses on its server logs after nine months. Until that time, however, it will continue to store a wealth of personal information about our search results and viewing habits — in part to improve its targeted advertising and therefore its profits. As Wu suggests, it would be a catastrophe for privacy and free speech if this information fell into the wrong hands.

“The idea that the user is sovereign has transformed the meaning of free speech,” Wu said enthusiastically about the Internet age. But Google is not just a neutral platform for sovereign users; it is also a company in the advertising and media business. In the future, Wu said, it might slant its search results to favor its own media applications or to bury its competitors. If Google allowed its search results to be biased for economic reasons, it would transform the way we think about Google as a neutral free-speech tool. The only editor is supposed to be a neutral algorithm. But that would make it all the more insidious if the search algorithm were to become biased.

“During the heyday of Microsoft, people feared that the owners of the operating systems could leverage their monopolies to protect their own products against competitors,” says the Internet scholar Lawrence Lessig of Stanford Law School. “That dynamic is tiny compared to what people fear about Google. They have enormous control over a platform of all the world’s data, and everything they do is designed to improve their control of the underlying data. If your whole game is to increase market share, it’s hard to do good, and to gather data in ways that don’t raise privacy concerns or that might help repressive governments to block controversial content.”

Given their clashing and sometimes self-contradictory missions — to obey local laws, repressive or not, and to ensure that information knows no bounds; to do no evil and to be everywhere in a sometimes evil world — Wong and her colleagues at Google seem to be working impressively to put the company’s long-term commitment to free expression above its short-term financial interests. But they won’t be at Google forever, and if history is any guide, they may eventually be replaced with lawyers who are more concerned about corporate profits than about free expression. “We’re at the dawn of a new technology,” Walker told me, referring not simply to Google but also to the many different ways we now interact online. “And when people try to come up with the best metaphors to describe it, all the metaphors run out. We’ve built this spaceship, but we really don’t know where it will take us.”

Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, is a frequent contributor to the magazine. He is the author, most recently, of “The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America.”

A version of this article appeared in print on November 30, 2008, on page MM50 of the New York edition.

Kurdistan: Crafting of National Selves Christine Allison, BOOKS; Pg. 46 No. 1872 The Times Higher Education Supplement November 20, 2008
This book is not so much about how Kurds imagine their nation and construct their identities as members of it, but more about how the nation-states where Kurds live mould the national identities to which Kurds are expected to conform. And a very chilly, top-down power dynamic it looks too, despite the author's commendable insistence on the plurality of Kurdish communities, the dimension of gender (rarely seen in writings on Kurds) and issues of individual agency and negotiation. There is relatively little treatment or analysis of the canonical Kurdish texts and voices in the discourse, but a great deal on the environment in which this discourse functions.

Coming from a straightforward "Turkish studies" standpoint, Christopher Houston considers Kurdish historical discourse within the framework of Ottoman heritage. The first chapter explains very effectively why the discussion of origins is still considered necessary in the historiography of this region, and why history is such a politicised activity in Turkey. The second focuses on the independence of the Kurdish principalities of the Ottoman Empire, their fall, and subsequent revolts led by sheikhs and tribal leaders and the question of when exactly they ceased to be "local" and became nationalist.

As the author notes, underlying nationalist concerns have allowed such questions to dominate the discourse. He also notes that some Kurdish writers, like their Turkish counterparts, underestimate the area's diversity, for example underplaying the Armenians' role in history. This is true although, as Maria O'Shea noted in 2004, others give a Utopian view of past ethnic harmony in Eastern Anatolia. Moreover, Kurds in Iraq make much of their efforts to foster pluralism and protect their minority communities. The third chapter usefully characterises some of the best- known works of ethnography on the Kurds. All suffered from shortcomings associated with their time, or the circumstances of their production - Edmund Leach's work cut short by war and Martin van Bruinessen having to make the virtue of breadth out of the necessity of not having permission to remain and work in depth on any one area.

The second part of the book takes a bold approach - as the author says, it shifts its focus to identify a transnational state political practice in which Kurds may be contextualised. Kurdish studies normally look at transnational structures and practices on the part of the Kurds, but not on the part of the states; indeed, we are taught that both ideology and practice in the management of Kurds is different in the various nation- states. Such a challenge to traditional wisdom is very stimulating and merits a hearing. Houston follows Bobby Sayyid in calling this type of secular nationalist state practice "Kemalism", which is rather shocking to those of us reared on the gentle shores of Iranian studies, especially when it appears to be implied that Iran is an "Ottoman successor state".

However, Houston's discussion of Kemalism is more nuanced than that of Sayyid, who makes a much more brutal opposition between "Islamist" and "Kemalist" state - for instance, Houston notes that the Islamic Republic of Iran follows the Kemalist model in some respects. However, he upholds Sayyid's argument that "the work of Mustafa Kemal in Turkey is generative of a new political paradigm for the wider Muslim world", and shows convincing links across the states concerned, for instance occasions where Reza Shah Pahlavi followed his friend Ataturk's example on such matters as modernist reforms, and the links between Sati al-Husri, who presided over the creation of the Iraqi school curriculum, and the great ideologue of Kemalism, Ziya Gokalp.

There is no doubt that these nationalisms and their enactment -Turkey, Iran and Iraq are the states under consideration - show some great similarities, but ultimately I remained unconvinced on two points. Is the loaded term "Kemalism" useful, given that many of its policies predated Ataturk and were continuations of the model of modernism used by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and in some cases by Iranian constitutionalists? And despite the similarities of the overbearing state, the differences for the Kurdish experience were enormous between Turkey and, say, Iraq, where despite such atrocities as the 1988 Anfal massacres there also existed limited Kurdish-language schooling, faculty teaching of Kurdish, Kurdish literary output and media - as Amir Hassanpour might put it, the difference between "ethnocide" and "genocide".

Nevertheless, there is much to appreciate in these chapters, which contain nuanced discussions of projections of modernity and relationships with Western discourse that tie in very well with other work being done on Turkey's treatment of its "underdeveloped" areas. The role of music and folklore in nation-building is not overlooked, and there is a whole chapter on the Kemalist city in the three states concerned - a discussion of the role of the built environment in these processes is rare and precious indeed. The conclusion is also nuanced, looking at prospects for de-Kemalisation, not by abolition of existing government policy, but by giving more space to civil life. Overall, however, the book leaves us hungry for more on how the Kurds themselves have constructed their nation and its history in these adverse circumstances.

Christine Allison is Ibrahim Ahmed professor of Kurdish studies, Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, author of The Yezidi Oral Tradition in Iraqi Kurdistan (2001) and co-editor, with Philip Kreyenbroek, of Kurdish Culture and Identity (1996).

Refusing The Hand Of Friendship By Sarah Rainsford, BBC News, Kars, Northeastern Turkey
High on a hill overlooking the city of Kars, there is a vast column of concrete obscured by wooden scaffolding.

The hand of friendship has yet to be proffered, let alone accepted

What is inside was meant as a 32m (100ft) peace gesture from Turkey to Armenia.

"It's an image of two human figures, facing one another with a hand of friendship held out between them," explains the security guard, emerging from the portable building at the statue's feet.

But on the day the finished project should have been unveiled its giant hand stands severed on the hillside.

This friendship statue has enemies, and they have forced construction to stop.

Kars is in Turkey's far north-east, within sight of the Armenian border.

But that border has been closed since 1993. Turkey broke off diplomatic ties with Armenia then, backing Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The relationship deteriorated further after Armenians stepped up pressure for international recognition that the 1915 deportation and massacre of hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Armenians was genocide. That is something Turkey vigorously denies.

Now there are signs of a thaw in relations.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul broke the ice in September, when he became the first Turkish head of state to visit Armenia - invited to watch his own national side take on Armenia in a football match.

Since then, the two countries' foreign ministers have held three meetings in as many months. Diplomats on both sides say they are "cautiously optimistic" for the future.

"I see no serious obstacle to the normalisation of relations very soon," Armenia's Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said this week, on a visit to Istanbul.

So it seems the mayor of Kars was ahead of the game when he commissioned his enormous friendship statue.
I think both sides are increasingly aware that normalising relations is to their benefit

Naif Alibeyoglu had already collected 50,000 signatures in favour of reopening the Armenian border - almost 70% support.

Activists argue increased contact between Turks and Armenians is crucial to fostering mutual understanding and tolerance.

Most locals simply hope opening the border would pull their remote region out of its poverty.

"We'd love to do business. Kars can develop as a result," says Mehmet, a trader, scooping huge handfuls of stringy white cheese from a barrel at the local market.

"I think the border should open," another stall-holder agrees.

"Kars hasn't got much. Our farming and cattle sectors are almost finished. If there's demand for our cheese in Armenia we could double our income," Soner says.

'Delicate' situation
Annual trade volume between Turkey and Armenia is now estimated at around $150m. But since the border closed it is mostly firms in Istanbul and Ankara doing the business. The lengthy detour via Georgia adds up to 35% to costs.

Kars Mayor Naif Alibeyoglu says both sides struggle with history

Armenia's foreign minister said again this week that his country sets no preconditions for reopening the border.

Here in Turkey, diplomats will not disclose their terms, describing the situation as "too delicate".

But they confirm that settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and an end to genocide allegations are among the issues under discussion.

"I think both sides are increasingly aware that normalising relations is to their benefit," explains Istanbul politics professor Sahin Alpay.

"There are economic issues... and of course Turkey wants to prevent the genocide bills passed by Western parliaments. It's not helping its image in the world as a whole."

He means bills recognising the 1915 Armenian massacres as genocide, already passed by many European parliaments. Turkey now fears that the US Congress will pass such a resolution next year, and that President-elect Barack Obama will accept it.

A historic breakthrough in relations with Armenia could help avert that.

Discussion closed
Up in Kars, the economic benefits of increased trade and tourism are much sought after.
But on Turkey's closed border, people's minds remain firmly closed to any discussion of history.
The closed border restricts tourism to the region's historic sites

"I don't see any need to open the border," Gurbet says, hanging strings of home-made spaghetti to dry in the sun.
"The Armenians keep bringing up the past, claiming there was genocide. That only creates hatred here," she says.

"President Gul's visit to Armenia broke Turkey's pride and honour," insists Oktay Aktas, more forcefully.

He is chair of the local MHP nationalist party that is blocking construction of the mayor's peace statue.

"What did Armenia give us in return? They have to drop their genocide claims, and stop demanding land and compensation. There can be no friendship in these conditions."

There has been so much fuss about his statue that the mayor has given up linking it to Armenia now. Now he calls it a statue for world peace, instead. But he has vowed to finish it.

"Facing history will come together with the peace process," Naif Alibeyoglu says.

"Neither side is ready for that yet. How can two neighbours discuss their history and have a dialogue when they don't even have an official relationship?"

Slowly - and very tentatively - that could now be changing.

Hypocrisy Of Western World About Armenian Issue Western World Uses Armenians For Their Interests Western Hypocrisy On Armenian Issue, by Mehmet Kamis, Today's Zaman, Turkey Nov 29 2008
The Armenian issue has always been used by the West as a problem that is kept shelved and repeatedly brought to the agenda when the time is right for Western interests.

The West treats this issue as a vehicle for cornering Turkey and making it do whatever they want it to do.

After they obtain what they seek from Turkey, they shelve it again only to put it to use once again when it is needed. They do whatever is needed to prevent Turks and Armenians from becoming friendly again. Indeed, Armenians started to concentrate on Turkey's forced migration and make a blood feud out of it after they migrated to Western countries, didn't they? Those who have created animosity and hatred between Armenians and Turks, who had been living peacefully for a thousand years, have used this issue for their own interests. This is most successfully done by France. It uses the genocide claims like the sword of Damocles against Turkey. Recently, the US, too, has repeatedly used a bill on Armenian genocide as leverage while bargaining with Turkey.

After President Abdullah Gul went to Yerevan to watch the match between the national teams of Armenia and Turkey, Turkish-Armenians relations entered a period of thawing, and the second stage of this period started when Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian came to Istanbul. While he came for another purpose, this visit has made significant contributions to the improvement of relations between the two countries. Speaking to Today's Zaman, Nalbandian even said they were optimistic about the commission of historians proposed by Turkey to investigate into the forced migration of Armenians. Now, it is said that Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan is expected to visit Turkey in response to Gul's visit. Most likely, Sarksyan will come to Turkey to watch the match between Turkish and Armenian national teams in 2009.

In this process of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, a strange statement was made by the Vatican. The timing of the statement was considerably striking. Cardinal Walter Kasper, chairman of the Papal Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, said that "the Armenian genocide was true" when Nalbandian was visiting Turkey. Speaking to the Vatican radio ahead of a visit by several Armenian clerics to Pope Benedict XVI, Kasper said, "Genocide is not an allegation, but is a reality." Moreover, he indicated that the pope had used the term genocide as well. What Kasper was trying to say was obvious. He was telling Armenians, "Do not forget 1915 and the hatred we manufactured."

After 1915, we saw World War I and World War II. The Germans killed millions of Frenchmen while millions of Germans were killed by the French and the British. The various sides of World War II, in which about 40 million people died, soon forgot what had happened and became allies. On the other hand, our conflicts are growing in size each day and wearing ourselves out. Whenever we tend to forget about our past issues, some people pop out to remind us of them.

One thing is certain: it is never the Armenian side which benefits from this hatred and animosity. Armenia is an Eastern Christian nation. They must be aware of the fact that big Christian states have been using them for 100 years. The countries that incited them against the Ottoman Empire in the 1900s are not reaping what they have sown against Turkey. But, Armenians gain nothing from this.

So many things happened in the early 1900s. Armenians killed many civilian Turks seeing the recruitment of many male Turks into the army as an opportunity. In a rare measure, the Ottoman Empire forced them to migrate to other places. During this migration, many Armenians died. Such incidents had happened many times since the creation of the Earth. For example, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed in Iraq during the last several years. If a record of such events had been kept throughout history, no nation could remain unashamed towards another nation, and there would be nothing but hatred on earth. How many years can a nation live with feelings of revenge? Moreover, can revenge amend things? It will do nothing but produce new causes for revenge.

Kurdish Diaspora In Europe: Kurds Undergone Deportation And Genocide By Armenia
Member Of Kurdish Diaspora In Sweden: Kurds Underwent Deportation And Genocide By Armenians Several Times http://historyoftruth.com

Kurds face no problems in getting national rights in Azerbaijan, member of Stockholm-based Kurdish Intellectuals Union Cheto Omari said in his interview to Etnoglobus agency while commenting on his visit to Azerbaijan.

“I am glad to visit Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, the Kurds living in the west have completely wrong information about the developments in Azerbaijan. We thought that Azerbaijanis deported and killed Kurds during Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. I saw quite a different view in Azerbaijan. It turned out that Kurds had undergone deportation and genocide by Armenians several times. During the Soviet period Kurds were deported from Armenia, and later when the Armenians occupied Azerbaijani territories the Kurds were deported again. Azerbaijani government and people received the Kurds, defended them and gave ethnic rights to them,” he said.

Cheto Omari said the Kurds had all democratic rights in Azerbaijan and added that the Kurds had cultural centers and a radio program. “I hope Azerbaijani Kurds will achieve more progress. These two nations lived together for centuries. I assure you that none of the Kurds living here had a negative opinion of Azerbaijan. They regard the Azerbaijanis as their brothers. In Azerbaijan Kurds obtained the rights they had been deprived of in Armenia,” he said.

Touching on the relations with Azerbaijani Diaspora in Sweden Cheto Omari said the relations were not close.

“Azerbaijan has gained its independence recently, formation of Diaspora takes time. Unfortunately, we had information about joint struggle of Kurds with Armenians. I will speak about everything I saw in Azerbaijan to the Kurdish Diaspora. We will soon come to Azerbaijan with larger delegation,” he said.

AZG Armenian Daily #222, 29/11/2008, World Medical Association Affirms The Armenian Genocide
The World Medical Association that has a membership of 85 countries health care institutions put forward the candidature of Armenia as a Country of the year.

In connection with it, the Association mentioned that a genocide was committed against Armenians in 1914-1918; 1,5 mln Armenians were killed, and the survivors of the genocide were spread all over the world.

The Association also touched upon the Karabakh conflict informing details of the movement and war.

Turkish "Jumuriet" informed of it mentioning that the Turkish doctors are disappointed with similar attitude of the World Medical Association and are going to demand the Association to remove the information from the Internet.

"The position of the Association is anti-Turkish in general. In 2004 it stood up for Abdullah Ojalan as well", said one of the leaders of Turkish Medical Association Dr. Ali Reza Ucher, adding that the Turkish Ministry of Health should take measures against it "In case of failure the Turkish Medical Association should renounce its membership of the World Medical Association. Translated by L.H

OpEdnews.com Nov 28 2008, Turkey in the Middle of the Enemies, by Jaff Sassani
The Turks moved in to the Middle East after the Arab Islamic army destroyed the Sassanid Empire. The absence of the strong Iranian army to protect the borders did open the border gates wide for millions of Turks to move in to the region.

The Ottoman Empire (1299-1923) was established much later in the region, to lead the Islamic Sunni sect against the Islamic shitte sect in Iran, plus the continuation of the Islamic Jihads (holly war) against non believers. The Ottoman Empire declared war on Christians in the Middle East. They used the Arabs, Kurds and other nationalities in their war for Islam expansion by force.

The process of elimination started with the Greek people. They cleaned the area from today Israel to the current border of today Greek in less than 200 years. The last stand of the Christian in Istanbul ended by the Sultan Mohammed II (1432-1481), called Faith or Conqueror. The cleansing of the Christian communities of Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Bulgarian and others never stopped until the end of the Ottoman Empire.

The Genocide of the Christian people in the Middle East opened the room for the Arabs, Kurds and Turks to gain lots of land in that region. The process of cleansing of Christian people continued in modern Turkey too.

The Arabs revolted against the Ottoman Empire in world wars. They liberated themselves from the Turks for good.

The new Turkish Republic was created by the General Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (19 May 1881 - 10 November 1938), who was an army officer, revolutionary statesman, and founder of the Republic of Turkey as well as its first President. He was affected by the idea of Hitler of Germany in his nationalistic views. He established the new country as one nation, one language and one flag for Turks without any regard for other nationalities within Turkey. This idea put other nationalities within Turkey in direct conflict with Turks.

The Kurds are the last people to have been in the line of the process of genocide in Turkey. The wars of genocide against the Kurds are in progress even in this modern world. On one hand, Turkey wants to be a member of the European Union and, on other hand, is busy in the process of the Kurds' elimination.

The US Government since World War I has been supporting the Turks in Turkey against all the logics. The reasons are very clear because of Turkey's location. The US Government needed Turkey to stop Russian expansions. The Russians are in Iran now. The US Government and Israel need Turkey to stop Russian expansion. Will the Kurds face the Armenian solution, or is there hope for their survival?

The new administration has to make decisions with regard to Russia, Turkey and Iran in the coming days. The influence of Clinton-Ian and other old fashioned American policy in the region won't help the American image and its interest in the region unless the new President departs from old doctrines.

The new President should work hard with the Europeans to bring the Russians into the European Union. They have to convince Russia to join the Union for their own good. Then they can have justice for the Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Bulgarians, Kurds and others who were hurt by the Turks in the region for over 700 years.

The right thing to do, Mr. President-elect, is to support the creation of the Aryan (Iranian) Economic Union (AU) for the Iranian and Turkish people in the region. To fight extremist and terrorist groups, you have to have something for the people in the region. That is why we call your administration to treat us Iranians as the US treated the Europeans after World War II.

To support justice and peace in the world, Mr. President-elect, you have to distance from the old fashioned American policy, special interest groups, lobbyists and other nonsense policies that worked against the interest of the American people. The people around the world hate American people for good reason. Try not to listen to the evil ideas and stay on the side of good ideas. Bring peace and respect for hard working American people. The people of America do not want to be Imperialist like the Russians, Turks, Arabs, British, French, other Europeans, Japanese and many powers in the past. The original American people and current American people run from unjust rulers around the world. They do not like to be called American Imperialist. They like to be called generous, friends, human, hard working, helpful, inventors, and thousand more good names, instead of the bad image they have now around the world.

This is your chance, Mr. President-elect, to make the difference for the American people and people around the world. Do not get derailed by the people who do not understand the differences between good and evil.

A Vintage Blend Of The Caucasus by Vercihan Ziflioğlu
YEREVAN - After Caucasus cheese, an Armenian businessman and peace activist plans to blend grapes from across the region to produce a perfect Caucasus wine. He believes an appetite for good food goes a long way to create an appetite for peace

Grapes from vineyards in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia are going to be blended together to create a perfect vintage of Caucasian wine that will be the latest effort by a group of businessmen from across the Caucasus.

The initiative comes only a few months after the same businessmen produced the first Caucasian cheese under a joint brand by Georgia, Turkey and Armenia.

The Center for non-Traditional Methods for Conflict Resolution, or CCPNTCRM, and its founding president, Artush Mkrtchyan, were the brains behind the cheese, which went on sale this May with labels printed in Turkish, Armenian and Georgian.

Mkrtchyan spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review about his projects for the near future.

The effort dubbed "cheese diplomacy" kicked off several actions that significantly boosted the bilateral contact between the two nations.

Turkish President Abdullah Gül going to tna Armenian capital to watch the football match between Turkish and Armenian national teams Sept. 6 and the Armenian Foreign Minister coming this week to attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, or BSEC, meeting were only the most public displays of the recent efforts to improve the relations between the two neighboring countries.

Gül’s visit may have been the culmination of years of work by diplomats, but some may note that it came only a few months after the Caucasian cheese was released onto the market, which might reflect the improving cultural and commercial ties over the past few years, with businessmen and artists taking the lead.

Entrepreneurs, for whom time is money, cannot afford long delays in improving official ties, and partners from Georgia, Armenia and Turkey have decided not to wait.

Immediately after the Caucasian cheese started to appear on market shelves, Mkrtchyan begun to work on the production of a vintage of wine, which does not have a name yet. Using grapes from vineyards of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia, he brought together the tastes of the Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani in the same bottle. The wine will be on the market in the next few months with a label that will read in three languages.

Mkrtchyan said he found his inspiration for the wine in the Bible. "God’s word is in the grape and the wine. I placed my heart on the side of friendship and peace," he said.

Mkrtchyan is already working on a dessert composed of fruits from the countries of the Caucasian for his next project after the wine is on the market.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Generation Of ’Natural Ambassadors’ Grows, by Sedat Kirt
The increasing number of marriages between Turks and foreigners in recent years has created a generation that could be a "bridge" between Turkey and other countries. Children born in the early 90’s are now young boys and girls. And in Turkey’s near future, the "mixed" generation will be in different positions, jobs, or businesses, even at the high levels of the state.

Awareness of our "mixed" population adds richness to Turkey’s international relations and helps build sincere friendships and excite the society living in the coastal areas where most of the Turkish-foreign families live together.

If sociologists worked on the mixed generations of Turkey, they would notice how different and mixed a population we have; Turkish-British, Turkish-German, Turkish-Scandinavian, Turkish-Russian/Ukrainian, Turkish-Dutch ... Such research could also exhibit how this young generation feel themselves about carrying two nationalities, how they are treated by other young people, in which ways they can be helpful for Turkey and their other nations relations.

Life not easy
A letter from a British "bride," who married a Turkish man nearly 25 years ago but divorced later, explains how this interesting generation grow, how they feel, how their future will be and how they can contribute to the mutual relations of both nations. As a mother of three mixed-blood children, she thinks that life is not as easy for mixed-nationality children. Although there are many difficult situations with relationships in society, she thinks her children are very good ambassadors and defenders of Turkey abroad...

"The experiences that I have had with my own three Turkish/foreign children have been developed over the last 20 years or so, as all three of the children have moved between the UK and Turkey. For example, all three have spent time living in both Turkey and the UK and attending schools in both countries. However the majority of their lives have been spent in Turkey and as they were all born in Turkey, they primarily consider themselves to be Turkish first and English second.

The most interesting aspect of their 'mixed' upbringing would be their pride in being Turkish first - they have all been very dedicated and proud to be Turkish and have worked hard to ensure that their friends and teachers in the UK know about their Turkish backgrounds and about Turkey. Broadly speaking, their English friends and teachers have been welcoming, understanding and interested in their Turkishness! A lot of them have been to Turkey and are interested in learning odd words, looking at photos and maps and are genuinely interested and find it fascinating. Unfortunately this has not worked so well in the opposite direction - when returning to Turkey from the UK all the children have been careful not to promote their Englishness to their Turkish friends and teachers! Regrettably, it seems that Turkish children and teachers are not so welcoming, understanding or interested in the children's Englishness! In fact, within Turkey there is a clear prejudice against foreign children - so our children have been compelled to 'hide' their English connection.

’Sometimes upsetting’
Actually educating my children in Turkey has been quite upsetting sometimes. I remember Zeynep forbidding me to show my face at the lise she was attending in Antalya as they were so against 'foreigners' and she felt that it would weaken her status as a 'normal' Turkish student. I often wonder if this comes from the education itself; the wars, how the Turkish drove the 'foreigners' out from Turkish soil, etc. which goes all through the Turkish education system; it might also be something to do (especially in Marmaris) with the foreigners coming over, taking jobs that a Turk could do; also jealousy may play a part -Turkish people seem to think that children of mixed parents somehow have more money than a Turkish-only family Ğ of course this is all very sad. Solution: of course there will always be an element of this kind of attitude - it is the same here in the UK with some people! But now look what Zeynep has just done for Turkey; she insisted on having her wedding with her American boy friend in Marmaris and very proudly played ambassador to 15 Americans taking them all around Istanbul and the Marmaris area over 21 days explaining all the history and geography, apart from all the money that was spent into the Turkish economy, plus my family group came over from UK, all 10 of us. All went away back to their own country with a super insight and understanding into the country they knew so little about, all vowing to return. They themselves will now explain to their own friends that the Turkish people have a fantastic culture, history and country that must be visited and explored and so the chain goes on and on. These children make very good 'natural' ambassadors, but the way of thinking needs to be changed on the part of the Turks towards foreigners and the best place for this to begin is in the schools.

I'm always promoting Turkey here in the UK at any chance I get and I'm the biggest defender if something is said out of place.

You might well know about the influx of Polish people into the UK as workers - just like the Turks went to Germany many years ago. The English education system now has translators, public documents written in Polish, special English lessons for students/children studying in England where their first language is not English, etc. thus enabling the Polish to integrate better and be accepted into English society whilst still being able to keep their Polish identity with pride. These examples could be used in the Turkish education system.

As far as religion is concerned, these mixed marriages create an environment where the children grow up between Muslim and Christianity, thus having an understanding of both and experiencing both sets of customs, again a good ambassador.

At home these children are watching Turkish and foreign TV channels from a very early age, they are traveling on airplanes across the skies between their parents' countries, seeing a million and one different things, experiencing different cultures, foods etc. The list goes on and you can see the comparison, so as these children develop into adults you can see how they can become automatic ambassadors and defenders of Turkey if they are nurtured in the correct way, instead of being treated like an outcast due to them having a foreign parent. It needs to be understood that it is not the child's fault that they are brought up differently but due to a natural blending of the two cultures at home.

Also the word 'melez' is read as 'half-cast' - in other words, 'only half Turkish;' in other words, 'second-class citizen;' in other words, 'not complete,' or 'not real Turkish blood' therefore 'inferior.' I never refer to my children as Melez. This has been my experience anyway."
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Young Quixotes, Old Windmills
ISTANBUL - The number of young people active in politics is very low in Turkey, despite its high youth population, but a group of university students plan to voice their demands prior to local elections in March. Upon founding an association, the students have started to lobby municipalities firstly for cheaper transport fares.

For a country of young people the average age of politicians is very high and this is reflected in government priorities that ignore the needs of the youth, said a group of university students who have decided to take action.

A group of Istanbul students have formed a pressure group to lobby municipalities prior to local elections in March. The group wants their needs to be taken into account by municipalities and will start lobbying different candidates.

For this purpose, students have founded an association, "Youth Movement" (Gençlik Akımı), to voice their demands, which they believe have been neglected by mayors for too long. "We plan to prepare a petition that will include our specific demands, such as cheaper transport tickets for students," said Adnan Alkış, head of the association. Alkış believes if they can show candidates that university students represent a significant number of voters, they can improve conditions of life for students.

"We expect to get 100,000 signatures from students and this means 100,000 votes for the candidates. They must take our demands into account, too," said Alkış, a senior student from Sabancı University.

Coming from different ethnic, socioeconomic and even ideological backgrounds, eight students founded the association last April, an endeavor that sometimes required courage, dedication and enthusiasm considering the red tape involved in founding an association in Turkey.

"We all come from different backgrounds, but our common thread is our social sensitivity," said Bulut Çavaş, a student from Sabancı University. Although the students are offering to deal with all types of social problems, they have emphasized they are not part of any political party or movement.

Legacy of the coup
Sociologists often talk of how the 1980 military coup led to apolitical generations as youngsters were discouraged from even being interested in politics, let alone taking an active part in it. Their fear about being labeled as part of an ideology is rooted in the highly tense period prior to the coup and the main reason Turkish youth have been largely apolitical for the past 30 years.

"After the coup in 1980, youth were punished for activism. Parents advised their children not to be a member of a party or a political movement. This discouraged young people and led to disorganization among them," said Mustafa Şen, a sociologist from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

Şen also said the main reason why young people do not participate in politics, despite their numbers in Turkey, relates to the laws on political parties. The non-institutional structure of political parties discourages youngsters, as does the education system and their families.

"In Europe, you can start to work in a political party from the bottom and reach the top at an earlier age than in Turkey. However, our parties do not have such an institutional structure," said Şen, who added the difference between the European Union’s and Turkey’s political structure will cause problems in Turkey’s candidacy period.

"The generations that preceded us left a very bad legacy. We face difficulties in finding more people who can work with us as everyone believes we are part of a political party," said Halil İbrahim Özcan, a senior student in Yıldız Technical University. Even with such reluctance from students, the association already has 33 members.

"According to a recent law on political parties and elections, youth branches of political parties are banned. No political party in Turkey has youth support and politicians do not care about it," said Şen.

The majority sometimes regards being part of an ideological and political group as dangerous. The founders of the Youth Movement feel the pressure of being labeled as a part of political group and hesitate to give political views in general or their own personal views about mayoral candidates.

"We do not want to be labeled as this or that. We want to work for the good of the people," said Özcan, 23.

The public transport system is widely used by students, especially in a city like Istanbul where tens of thousands of people are in traffic every day. University students are demanding a fixed and lower price for using unlimited public transport. "It costs YTL 600 a year to use unlimited public transport for students. We want it to be YTL 120 a year," said Zehra Şahin, a senior mathematics student at Marmara University.

They have initiated other projects in which students can contribute to social welfare. "Many students have pharmaceutical products they do not use and that have not expired. We plan to call on students to donate these products to certain pharmacies who send them to people who cannot afford them," said Hazar Çavaş, another student from Istanbul Bilgi University.

The students are also trying to find other university students who will voluntarily help high school students prepare for the university entrance exams free-of-charge. There are many private institutions that earn good money preparing students for the exams, but the students plan to do this for no cost.

Students to hold power
The students’ definition of power is the key to understanding their worldviews and their views on Turkey’s future.

"To change the wrongs in society and in the system, one has to have money, knowledge, political status, or be a part of a nongovernmental organization. We can be the last one," said Alkış. "We will present the problems and demands of university students to mayors and they cannot ignore them," said Özcan, adding that if their petition is not heard, they may organize further activities to raise their collective voice.

The initiative of the Youth Movement is very positive, said Onur Gökçe, an academic from the international relations department of Ankara Bilkent University. "If we have a real democracy, then it requires freedom of expression for everyone," Gökçe said. "Youngsters are more conscious than before, but they do not have a relevant platform to voice their ideas."

Students should create their own platforms to voice their demands and ideas about governance, Gökçe said. "As with this initiative, students will open doors for themselves by establishing or participating in nongovernmental organizations."
by Sevim Songün © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

The Most Critical Set Of Questions For Our Craft
Journalism, particularly when it turns on the complex marriage of intellectual and mechanical tasks involved in the production of a newspaper, is really just an unending series of exercises in judgment. Which quote among many should a reporter use first? Which photograph should a page designer pull from the hundreds available to help tell the same story? One "deck," as we call the lines in headlines, or two or three for the main story? These are just a few of the scores of judgments that define the day.

When reporting on terror, the relevance to readers’ lives is a criterion. So is the unending concern to avoid becoming an unwitting tool of the terrorist plotters themselves. The matters of economic and political implications are important. And at least initially, all of this has to be told around the account of human loss and tragedy. To say it is difficult and emotional does not do justice to the newsroom mood. Once again Thursday and Friday, this was the mood at the Daily News. Whenever I think about these issues, as all journalists do, I recall an interview I listened to in the early 1980s with Diego Ascencio, an American diplomat.

Ascencio is to my mind an interesting case in the annals of terrorism. In 1981, he was the American ambassador to Colombia and was taken hostage, along with others, by a group claiming to be Marxists. In the ensuing 61 days of captivity, Ascencio, who knew his Das Kapital, had plenty of time to chat with his captors. Most of them were university students from very wealthy families. Ascencio, who could argue the finer points of Hegelian dialectics, also used the opportunity to emphasize his comparative personal background. His father was a butcher in the border town of El Paso. Ascencio’s arguments ultimately won over his captors. They set him free and surrendered.

If Ascensio provoked his captors with his tales of El Paso, he provoked me, and still does, with his observation on terrorism and journalism, which I paraphrase from memory: "In their fundamentals, journalism and terrorism are both really two very different forms of the same thing," he said. "They both boil down to the juxtaposition of symbols."

Colleagues recoil with disgust when I share this. Of course our motives and values are very different from terrorists. But it still is a useful way to think about and reflect upon our craft. A wire story on the still unfolding carnage in Mumbai that I read just before sitting down to write this column Friday, noted one group of captives emerging from the Taj Mahal hotel with Canadian flags plastered all over their luggage. That this detail was part of the story tells us something about Asencio’s point on the way journalists work. That the captives were still alive may tell us something obvious about the search for symbols on the part of terrorists. Would the events of 9/11 in New York have had the same value for Al-Qaeda and the same emotive power as they were transmitted around the world if the hijacked plans belonged to "Jet Blue" or "Midway Airlines" instead of "American Airlines?"

I share all of this because these are the elements of both the thought and conversation, in a word the "judgment," that pierce newsrooms as they did Thursday when we scrambled to shape the Daily News’ edition for Friday. In the course of things, I received a message from Cansu Çamlibel, the paper’s deputy editor in Ankara and a reporter who spent many years abroad for the television network NTV.

"It is a little ironic that every nation measures the sorrow left behind in the dust in terms of their own losses. What if it is a local terror act only killing locals, no foreigners involved? Like so many of those which have taken place in Iraq since 2003, or the PKK attacks since early 1980s. Then it becomes an ordinary news item. This was also the case for the piracy stories. It became an issue for Turkey when two ships were hijacked."

Cansu went on: "Although often motives behind terror acts are local or regional, foreigners that are affected by the attack make the headlines international. In fact this also plays into the hands of western administrations at the end of the day, which love to stigmatize events like the Mumbai bombings as a perfect opportunity to lash their enemies (i.e: radical islam)." She then went on to present me with some examples of how the news was unfolding Thursday afternoon:

From the BBC website: "Britons have barricaded themselves in their rooms after gunmen stormed two luxury hotels in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay). The gunmen had reportedly been seeking out U.K. and U.S. passport holders. A British businessman, who spent the night trapped in his room at a hotel, said there was "no escape." Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the attacks were outrageous and would be met with a ’vigorous response’."

From the website of NTV: "Hindistan’da 3 Türk de rehin tutuluyor. Türkiye’nin Yeni Delhi Büyükelçisi Levent Bilman, Hindistan’ın Mumbai kentinde düzenlenen saldırılar sonucu, 3 Türk vatandaşının bir otelde mahsur kaldığını belirterek, oteldeki durumun bir an önce sona ermesini ümit ettiklerini söyledi."

From the website of the Israeli daily Haaretz: "An Israeli rabbi is among at least three people being held hostage by gunmen at the Chabad headquarters in Mumbai on Thursday, following a series of attacks in the city that have killed at least 101 people, police said. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke Thursday morning with the Israeli consul-general in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv. Livni received an update of the latest on the situation, though at this time there is no word on whether any Israelis are among the dead or wounded."

Lastly, Cansu shared this item from the website of the Italian daily Corriere Della Serra: "Terrore a Mumbai, almeno 100 vittime. Morto un italiano, riuscito il blitz al Taj Ancora 200 ostaggi all'Oberoi, fra cui sette connazionali. L'italiano ucciso ? Antonio de Lorenzo." Her comments, like those of Ascencio, are provocative. They raise questions that cannot perhaps be truly answered. But to struggle with these questions is imperative. As I said, these are matters of judgment. And only readers can judge how well we have done. Your thoughts on what we should be doing, on how we are serving your needs or expectations, are most assuredly welcome. I have no easy answers. But I do know there can be no more important set of questions for our craft in this most difficult age of terrorism.

David Judson is editor-in-chief of Hürriyet Daily News © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Minister Asks All To Fall In Love
ANKARA - Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay rejected claims the ministry is opposed to the prize-winning film, "My Marlon ve Brando," because it is a love story between a Turkish girl and a Kurdish guy.

Only through love, wars can be prevented, Günay said, speaking at the premiere of the movie on Wednesday.

"A Turkish girl can fall in love with a Kurdish guy. A Kurdish girl can fall in love with a Turkish guy. I think everybody should fall in love with each other. Only through this, we will prevent wars and create new perceptions that do not turn people against each other, bringing peace," he said.

Günay's comments were warmly welcomed by deputies of the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, present at the premiere as they saluted and cheered Günay from their seats.

Withdrawn support
According to some reports, the ministry had withdrawn its support for the making of the film, stating a Turkish girl could not fall in love with a northern Iraqi Kurdish guy. Günay rejected these reports as "unrealistic."

"We financed the production of the movie for participation in a festival. How can they claim that we are against the movie?" Günay said.

The director of the movie, Hüseyin Karabey, also spoke of the Culture Ministry’s contribution to the film’s production.

"The movie not only tells a love story, but it also reflects humanity and hope in a world where there is lot of despair and grief," he said at the premiere.

Karabey’s movie, based on a real story, has won many prizes in international film festivals. The film is based on the real lives of the two actors who star in the movie, Ayça Damgacı and Hama Ali Khan.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

First Steps For Better Relations Began In 1995, by Vercihan Ziflioğlu
YEREVAN - The reconcilliation process between Armenia and Turkey began long before President Gül’s visit to Yerevan with the first steps taking place in Paris in 1995, with the Armenian Diaspora Research Center and the Turkish-Armenian Democratic Dialogue Movement

Throughout the years, Armenian and Turkish individuals have played a vital role in fostering dialogue between the two societies in an effort to reconcile their rocky past.

Raffi Hermonn is one of those individuals, who since 1995, has made a great effort to increase communication between the estranged communities. Hermoon said he was the only journalist of Armenian origin to be registered in the Turkish Journalists' Union by the end of the 1970s. He moved to France just before the military coup of 1980 but kept on believing in his dream that Turks and Armenians may one day become friends again, despite all the tragedies of the past.

He was a leading figure in social developments in France aimed at fostering such dialogue, establishing the "Centre de Recherce sur la Diaspora Armenienne "(Armenian Diaspora Research Center), and the Turkish-Armenian Democratic Dialogue Movement.

Later, he got together with Jean Claude Kebapcian, a prominent name in the 1968 movement in France. Hermonn spoke to the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review on his works over the past 12 years. "In the mid-90s, we started the Turkish-Armenian Democratic Dialogue Movement, an organization that (former President) Jacques Chirac labelled the ’diplomacy of the people.’"

Armenia vs. diaspora
Kebapcian and Hermonn were able to introduce many Turkish intellectuals to the diaspora in France, particularly Ayşenur and Ragıp Zarakolu, two of the founders of Belge Publications. However, not every step was successful and they faced many difficulties trying to initiate dialogue.

One example was an attempt to actualize the Turkish-Armenian Dialogue Congress in 2000, while the French National Assembly was debating recognizing Armenian claims of genocide. "French Armenians took action and put pressure on Armenia to not give passports to attendees. Likewise, pressure was put on the French counsel at Yerevan to not give visas to Armenians," said Hermonn.

He said, President Robert Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian then made an unexpected statement, "Kocharian and Oskanian were saying ’every effort to support Turkish-Armenian dialogue is beneficial. Let the Armenian youth do it, there is no harm in that.’"

Taboo book
Hermonn said this was the first step in recent developments of a Turkey-Armenia reconciliation. "The congress took place in a French senate chamber. Jirayr Libaridian, advisor of former president Petrosian, was in attendence as was Lavrenti Parsexyan, ex-director of the Genocide Museum in Yerevan, on the stage next to Turkish intellectuals."

Hermonn’s life course changed with a telephone call from Turkey in 1994. On the other end of the line was Pars Tuğlacı, an ethnically Armenian Turk, who spoke of a book that had an unorthodox thesis on the Armenian issue and about to be published in Turkey.

The "Ermeni Tabusu" (The Armenian Taboo), by Yves Ternon was published by Belge Publications. "I could not believe my ears when I heard such a work had been published," said Hermonn. Less than a month later, he heard the news of a Zarakolu couple being prosecuted and the publishing house being bombed. Hermonn decided to take action, he prepared a file on what had happened to the Zarakolu couple and presented it to some French foundations. Hermonn said 16 foundations, including France Liberte, founded by Danielle Mitterand, the wife of the ex-president François Mitterand, approved the file. The document, requesting a reconsideration of the conviction of the Zarakolu couple, was presented to then prime minister, Tansu Çiller, during a visit to France.

"There was no ’good Turk’ for the Armenians, however, I was presenting a Turk who was risking his own life," said Hermonn. He said they invited the Zarakolu couple to the 80th anniversary of the events of 1915, "Even the Dashnaks were silent."

Hermonn’s has summed up his 12 years dedicated to the cause, "I knowingly called out for dialogue from France. I acted via the French, which was very important. Otherwise, I would have faced even greater difficulty. I received lots of threats during the period. The Armenian diaspora was claiming there is no such thing as a good Turk," but they were wrong.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Deluding The Americans About The Anti-Americanism
Soner Çağaptay is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is also a prolific author, whose commentaries about Turkey appear quite frequently in prestigious newspapers and magazines. When you read them, you can’t help but sense what appears to be his strong political orientation against the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, which has governed Turkey since 2002. The takeaway message, it seems, is that the AKP is perilously Islamist and is taking the country away from its secular principles. The second message is that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his authoritarian "single party" regime is the best thing that ever happened to the Turks.

In Turkey, Mr. Çağaptay has millions of like-minded thinkers. We call them Kemalists. Atatürk is a respected figure for most of us, to be sure, as a war hero and a state founder. But Kemalists also strictly subscribe to the ideological program that he imposed for 15 years by banning all political opposition. In that sense, Kemalists constitute only a faction of Turkish society. Yet they are very powerful, thanks to their dominance in the military, judiciary, bureaucracy and the media.

Kemalism at home, Kemalism abroad
But there is a striking difference between Mr. Çağaptay and his Turkey-based comrades. And you can see this only when they start to talk about the United States. In his writing, Mr. Çağaptay often refers to the rampant anti-American tendency in this country and then puts the blame on the AKP. Turkey turns out to be the most-American nation, as argues in his recent Newsweek piece, because the AKP "has taken the easy way, bashing America at home in an attempt to boost its own popularity." The more you read him, the more you will be convinced that the AKP is turning the America-loving Turks into America-hating fanatics.

Yet on the other side of the Atlantic, Mr. Çağaptay’s fellow Kemalists promote the exact opposite thesis. For them, the AKP is an American puppet. You can come across this depiction almost everyday in the nationalist media, which abhors the AKP and characterizes it as an un-patriotic, un-Turkish "traitor" that sells the country (and Cyprus) to "Western imperialists." When almost a million secular Turks marched against the AKP in May 2007, they denounced not just the government but also the EU and the U.S. They protested against now-President Abdullah Gül, who was then AKP’s candidate, with a pun on his name: "We want no ABDullah," was the motto on huge posters - and the emphasized "ABD" is the Turkish for "U.S.A."

To date, the charges that the AKP is an agent of the American conspiracies to establish a "moderate Islamic Republic" in Turkey and a "Greater Kurdistan" in the region Ğ delusions that exist only in some Turkish minds Ğ have been extremely popular. The CHP and MHP, the two main opposition parties, and the smaller and crazier Workers Party (İşçi Partisi) of the ex-Maoist-turned-Kemalist Doğu Perinçek, constantly bash the government as being a pawn of America, "international finance," or "Zionism."

So, how should we explain the fact that the AKP is being bashed by Kemalists at home as pro-American, and by Kemalists in Washington as anti-American? And also, how should we explain the curious fact that Mr. Çağaptay, who leads the latter effort, never mentions the fact that AKP’s rivals are the real sources of anti-American propaganda in Turkey?

My personal explanation is this: Kemalists are simply leading a propaganda war against the AKP, and they fashion their arguments according to the context in which they are in. If you are sitting in an institute in Washington, it is silly to bash a party for being an American pawn, of course. But that is the perfect argument if you want to bash it in a nation which is growingly anti-American.

Which brings me to the factual side of Mr. Çağaptay’s alarmism. Yes, there has been rampant anti-Americanism in Turkey since 2003. But the reason is not the AKP government or even the Kemalists per se. It is the Iraq War. And it is a multi-layered story.

The Kurdish element
First, there is the understandable - and, in my view, justified - reaction to the fact that America invaded a county and caused so many deaths without any credible reason. No wonder not just Turks, but almost the whole world, including Europe - and even Blue America - have been very upset with that. So, Turks are not alone in being, at the very least, anti-Bush.

The second and more poisonous factor is what made the post-Saddam Iraq more distasteful to the Turks than anybody else: The emergence of Iraqi Kurdistan under the protection, and as an ally, of America. This region, willingly or unwillingly, provided the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a safe heaven to use to attack Turkish targets, which created great uproar in Turkish society. But besides the PKK’s terrorism, most Turks, especially the Kemalists, can’t simply stand to see a country named "Kurdistan" on the side of their borders. They perceive this as an evil scheme, which is carried out by the Kurds, but mastered by, of course, the United States! No wonder anti-Americanism and anti-Kurdism go hand-in-hand in Turkish media.

Now, Mr. Çağaptay would have done a much better job had he honestly shown all these facts, and criticized the AKP accordingly. He is indeed right about something: The AKP hasn’t shown the leadership needed to combat anti-Americanism, and other forces of fanatic nationalism, that grows in Turkish society. Moreover, anti-American tendencies exist within AKP’s grassroots and some parts of the pro-AKP media as well. It would be only fair to criticize these, and then call on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan to work more seriously in order to mend the Turkish-American relationship, which is crucial for both nations.

But to blame the AKP for being the source of anti-Americanism, and even to breed a "tsunami of young Turks ready to die while trying to kill Americans?" Oh boy, that is way over the top. And I am sure, if he rediscovers that virtue called objectivity, Mr. Çağaptay can do much better than that.

Mustafa Akyol © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Ara Sarafian Proposes Turning Bitlis Church Into William Saroyan Museum Noyan Tapan http://www.nt.am?shownews=1010015 Nov 25, 2008
ISTANBUL, NOVEMBER 25, ARMENIANS TODAY. Ara Sarafian, an Armenian historian, the Director of the "Komitas" Historical Institute in London, sent a letter to the Turkish minister of culture, in which he welcomed the intention to found a museum of William Saroyan in Bitlis.

Ara Sarafian expressed a hope that this step will open a path enabling to speak with warmer feelings about Armenian heritage and Anatolian roots, noting that the museum may put a number of issues about the 1915 events on the agenda.

In his letter A. Sarafian also expressed an opinion that the only remaining Armenian church in Bitlis would be the best place for the museum. The church is now abandoned and unkempt and considered property of British American Tobacco company, Marmara daily reported.

History Hampers Armenian-Turkish Dialogue PanARMENIAN.Net 25.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ It's history that hampers Armenian-Turkish dialogue, according to a Turkish expert.

"Armenia has not recognized the Kars and Moscow Treaties' provisions on borders so far, while Turkey sets it as a precondition for establishment of diplomatic relations. True, the declaration on Armenia's independence reads that Armenia doesn't set territorial claims to Turkey. However, Eastern Turkey is fixed there as Western Armenia, what is inadmissible for us," Aybars Gorgulu, expert at Sabanci University and Assistant Program Director of TESEV Foreign Policy Program, said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

"I would like to remind that article 11 of the declaration says that Armenia supports the campaign for worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, present-day Turkey has nothing in common with the Ottoman Empire and is not its legal successor. In short, recognition of Turkey's borders is an important prerequisite for normalization of bilateral relations," he said.

"Turkish Disinformation To Become Popular In Armenia"Panorama.am 24/11/2008
"After the football game of Armenia-Turkey some mass media covered that during the game the night illumination of Genocide monument was switched off. Though much time passed, but I can not force me not to remember that. Turkish disinformation has become popular in Armenia which created serious problems for the museum," said Hayk Demoyan, the director of Genocide Museum of Armenia.

The director said that he is ready to listen any critics but to see that Turkish disinformation is being used based on some political reasons, he can not tolerate that. "Although illumination is not under the responsibilities of the museum, that night the lights were switched on," said H. Demoyan and added that an evidence to that are records and photos.

Turkey-Armenia Normalcy: Pragmatic And Ethical
The day after Turkish President Abdullah Gül paid a "historic visit" to the Armenian capital Yerevan, Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandian hosted a lunch for Turkish press members covering the visit. Myself, Hasan Cemal, Yavuz Baydar and Mustafa Karaalioğlu were among them.

The Foreign Ministry building was right across the street from our hotel. In the hotel’s garden we witnessed that the lights in Nalbandian’s office were on until the late hours. In fact, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan left Nalbandian’s office around 2:00 a.m. and headed to the airport.

We were at the peak of a dizzying diplomacy shuttle started with the "football diplomacy." Turkey-Armenia relations were frozen due to the affect of the 1915 tragedy, as the most troublesome period of the common history Turks and Armenians shared. In early September 2008, the ice began to thaw with that dizzying diplomacy traffic.

As we were having lunch with Nalbandian in the room Babacan had left a few hours ago, we all focused on establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries and opening the border gate before the "window of the history" is closed.

Nalbandan had showed "prudent optimism" in the meeting. For a solid development in Turkish-Armenian relations, that is, the establishment of diplomatic ties and opening the border, progress is necessary on the Karabakh issue. For that means a space of maneuverability on account of Turkey in its relations with Armenia.

What paralyzed the Turkish-Armenian relations was neither the "genocide" issue, nor formation of "Joint History Commission," nor conclusion of relevant studies nor, as many think or claim in Turkey, amendments in the Armenian Constitution, nor the Armenian declaration recognizing the Kars Agreement of 1921 citing that Armenian accepts current borders and does not demand land from Turkey.

Normalcy in Turkish-Armenian relations and progress in this direction is contingent upon progress in the Upper Karabakh issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan expected after the Azerbaijani elections in mid-Oct. and upon normalcy in Azerbaijani-Armenian relations without putting Turkey in the middle. As I was listening to Nalbandian in Istanbul the other day, I realized his optimism, even more than he was while we heard him in Yerevan.

If everything goes well in the first quarter of 2009, we will see normalization in Turkish-Armenian relations, meaning that diplomatic ties will be established and the border will be opened.

What is new in these past two and a half months, since Gül’s visit to Yerevan in early September and the Babacan-Nalbandian meeting at midnight?

Babacan and Nalbandian had met two weeks after their meeting in Yerevan, but this time in New York and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Eldar Mametyarov was accompanying them. And they came together for a third meeting in Istanbul the other day. In the meantime, foreign ministry officials of two countries had continued with meetings in the Swiss city of Geneva.

But the real progress was made in early November when Azeri and Armenian presidents, İlham Aliyev and Serge Sarkisian, met the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in the Russian capital Moscow. The parties issued a five-article solution declaration for the Karabakh issue.

After the Azeri and Armenian presidents met in the Russian city of St. Petersburg in June, 2008, and "left with contentment," the Moscow rendezvous allowed them to come up with a joint Karabakh declaration sealed by the Russia stamp of validity.

This progress, at the same time, signaled that the Azerbaijan contingency is being lifted for Turkey which is eager to take further equal steps towards both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Now, at the Dec. 4 summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, to be held in the Finnish capital Helsinki, presidents and foreign ministers of the Minsk Group countries that have impeded the Karabakh issue for so long, including the United States, Russia and France, in addition to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey will come together.

Prospective solution principles or a framework agreement on the Karabakh issue in Helsinki may lead to the establishment of diplomatic ties between Turkey and Armenia, the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and the end of the Azerbaijan contingency on Turkey.

Normalcy of Turkey-Armenia relations on the other side will facilitate taking up the biggest shame in the history, the genocide issue, discretely, in a more sober way, with commonsense and more importantly with "conscience."

Many people are getting caught up by the damage in Turkish-American relations if the word "genocide" is uttered in the new U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on Apr. 24 or if it is legitimized in the Armenian bill to be passed at the U.S. Congress.

Normalcy in Turkish-Armenian relations may eliminate Turkey’s biggest concern about the Obama administration. The normalcy may stop the adoption of the "genocide bill," or Obama from uttering this word in April.

However, normalization in Turkish-Armenian relations is needed for "ethical" reasons, in terms of a "historic truce," rather than "pragmatic" reasons in foreign affairs.

Be it "deportation" or "tragedy" and claim that it was not "genocide;" the events of 1915 are defined by Rafael Lemkin, the creator of the "Genocide Convention," as the crime of genocide and the document was ratified by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 9, 1948.

The Genocide Convention is not a retroactive document; therefore not a threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity.
Cengiz Çandar © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

AAA Congratulates Armenian Caucus Members in House Repub. Leadership PRESS RELEASE November 24, 2008
Armenian Genocide Resolution Supporter Eric Cantor Elevated to Republican Whip

Washington, DC - The House Republican Conference met last week to select its leaders for the 111th Congress, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues and a cosponsor of H.Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide resolution, was elected to serve as Republican Whip. As the second highest ranking person in Republican Leadership, Rep. Cantor is responsible for mobilizing votes, coordinating strategy and acting as a liaison between rank and file Members and the leadership.

At the 2005 Armenian Genocide Commemoration event on Capitol Hill, Rep. Cantor stated, "April 24th marks the anniversary of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the genocide that was committed against the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire. Over the years many Armenian-Americans have helped to enrich and enhance our Nation's character; we have remained committed to peace in the region and will continue to help Armenia with its economic prosperity and strengthening of its democracy." Minority Whip Cantor replaces outgoing Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who voted against H.Res. 106 in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in October of 2007.

Armenian Caucus Member and H.Res. 106 cosponor, Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), will also serve in the House Republican leadership. Rep. McCotter was re-elected as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. In this role, McCotter will be responsible in crafting winning policies that can help the Republicans regain control of the House, which they lost in 2006.

In addition to cosponsoring H.Res. 106, McCotter also supported H.Res.102, honoring the life and legacy of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and calling for the repeal of Article 301 of Turkey's Penal Code that effectively punishes discussion of the Armenian Genocide.

Representative Cathy McMorris (R-WA), cosponsor of the H.Res.106 and cosigner of the 2006 Armenian Genocide letter, will serve as Republican Conference Vice-Chair.

Rounding out the other posts, Representative John Boehner (R-OH) won re-election as Republican Leader and followed the Administration's opposition to H.Res. 106; Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who voted against H.Res. 106 in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, will serve as Republican Conference Chairman; Rep. John Carter (R-TX) will be Republican Conference Secretary and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) will serve as National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman.

"The new Congress and Administration will provide important opportunities on a wide variety of issues. We look forward to working with the incoming leadership, and in particular, Armenian Caucus members and supporters Reps. Cantor, McCotter and McMorris, especially as we gear up for our March 2009 Advocacy Conference," stated Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director of the Assembly.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

What Should Turkey Do? Hayots Ashkhar Daily 25 Nov 08 Armenia
If the Turkish party wants to develop the Armenian-Turkish relations, it has to undertake a number of activities which should be neither preconditions nor a manifestation of good will; such activities should derive from the logic of developing those relations, Hayk Demoyan Head of the NAS Institute-Museum of Armenian Genocide said yesterday. Mr. Demoyan pointed out that such activities should first of all presuppose the opening of the Kars-Gyumri railroad, the start of negotiations aimed at opening diplomatic representations, the establishment of relations without considering the Artsakh issue and the refusal to wage an information warfare.

The Armenian Genocide Think-Tank Denial Of The ASAM Stop Its Activity 28 November 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
The Turkish press announced the closure of the think tank Center for Strategic Research of Eurasia (ASAM) after its main sponsor Ülker has ended its support.

The ASAM (Avrasya Stratejik Arafltirma Merkezi, Center for Strategic Research of Eurasia) was founded in 1999. One can assume that it is the think tank's most important Turkey, for its visibility, its influence and its networks in some Turkish nationalist circles. Ümit Özda, its founder is a member of the nationalist MHP party (Milliyetçi Hareketi Partisi, Party of Nationalist Action) and the establishment of the think tank was conducted with the financial and logistical support of "A Eurasian Foundation (Avrasya bir Vakfi ) Foundation supports the country's rapprochement with the Turkish-speaking countries of Central Asia.

According to the French Observatory of think tanks: "The emergence of think tanks is a relatively recent phenomenon in Turkey. Today, the few private research centers emerged in the 1990s are a pioneer, and since 2002 their number is growing. One of the most striking features is its proximity social and ideological movements with various Turkish policies. Far from appearing as an autonomous area offering rewards own "world" of think tanks in Turkey is a market for expertise entrepreneurs sharing networks, and diaries belief with actors in the political field. "
The vice president of the ASAM Cagri Erhan resigned his post last week.

The end of the ASAM is bound to meet its Chairman, a retired ambassador Faruk Logoglu with the former president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the prosecutor now retired Sabih Kanadoglu, while the possibility of a ban pouvoie party of the AKP was underway, said the daily Radikal last week.

It is unclear whether the ASAM can resume its activities under a different name says the daily.

The French Observatory of think tanks also made a portrait of Ümit Özdag who is the founder of ASAM, which he chaired from 1999 to 2004. "His political and professional trajectory, and how he has used his social relations are in a near-ideal type of entrepreneur multipositionné expertise. The case Özda helps explain how the Turkish think tanks are places of accumulation of capital used in the political field and can become true sanctuaries for politicians in search of electoral success. In addition, how Özda was able to use his political and professional trajectory, and social resources that gave it, to make one of the ASAM think tank best known and influential in Turkey, shows how "world" of the policy remains heteronomous expertise.

Indeed, the influence of ideas and political support Özda seems to be crucial to how and knowledge of the think tank. Ümit Özda was born in 1961. His father, a rebel officer of the Turkish army was elected secretary general and member of the main Turkish nationalist and conservative (the CKMP, which will become MHP) in 1965.Parti in which his mother, a graduate of law, was president several years General section of young femmes.Le Ümit entering a fascistic nationalist organization in 1974 (home idealists, Ülkü Ocaklar) and begins to publish articles in its journals (Our struggle is Touran, Kavgamiz Turan).

His political socialization takes place in a well-off family and faith, moving in nationalist circles in the 1970s, a family with economic and social capital relatively high through the political and professional father, who confer adequate income and networks whose activation may be politically rewarding. In 1979, while battles between groups of extreme left and extreme right reached its climax, he left Turkey to study in Germany. It carries out a course of political science, philosophy and economics at the University of Munich. In 1986, he made an end of studies on "The State of the plan and the planned development in Turkey" (Devlet Planlama Teflkilati ve Türkiye'de Planli Kalkinma). The value of European degrees in Turkey is holding a post in a Turkish university when he returned that year.

It is a research fellow at the Faculty of Economics and Administration, Gazi University in Ankara, a public university whose faculty has a surprisingly high proportion of party members and associations Islamo-conservateurs.Ses themes of research are then "the role of the military in Turkish politics", "the period of glasnost in the USSR" and "policy in the Middle East and the Turkish countries." He continues to publish in journals of the association of right-wing idealists Homes (Ülkü Ocaklar>) and gives seminars in the evening of the Nationalist Party is a member (MHP). In 1990, he supports his doctoral thesis on "relations between the army and politics during the period Inönü (1938-1950)", which publishes the following year. He became assistant professor (docent) in 1993 after submitting a search on "relations between the army and politics during the period Menderes (1950-1960) and May 27.

He enjoyed a capital of a political nature, as well as positional and cultural capital that had provided his university studies abroad and his position in a highly politicized University. In 1994 he founded The Asian record (Avrasya Dosyasi ), A review of strategic research, then a private research foundation, the Research Academy (Akademi Arafltirma) in 1995. It pursue a study at the University of Baltimore and based ASAM upon his return, with the support of a foundation working for rapprochement with Central Asia and Turkish-speaking countries, a Eurasia Foundation (Avrasya bir Vakfi).

It benefits from its relationship with the media close to the ideas and nationalist circles to intervene in televised debates on the situation in south-east Turkey and the PKK. In 2001, he became a university professor, still in Gazi. In 2000, he founded the Armenian Research Institute, which organized several conferences aimed at crediting the positions of the Turkish state in its relations with Armenia. He resigned in 2004 from his post as president of ASAM and in 2005 Chairman of the Board of the think tank. Since the 2002 elections, which saw the victory of the Party of Justice and Development and the electoral setback of the MHP, Ümit Özda seems to adopt a strategy to occupy a central position in MHP. He published an essay critical to the new Turkish nationalism "and multiplies the books on nationalism, as we are there yet in a thousand years or Turkish nationalism in the 21st century.

In 2005, he organized a press conference during which he announced his resignation from his post as professor at Gazi university, but criticized the President for having appointed a rector who obtained 300 votes while the candidate "nationalist "Had collected nearly 1200.En 2006, he began to conquer the presidency of the MHP but fails. He must leave the party. His position of media expert (he is still editorialist daily right-wing New Right - Yenice) and entrepreneur in the history of think tanks Turkish him the opportunity to establish a new research center today (summer 2007) being institutionalized. "

Google Earth Removes Image Offending Armenian Genocide Victim’s Memory 27.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Due to numerous protests by Armenians, Panoramio website has removed the offending image where Armenian Genocide Memorial was named as "Talaat Pasha monument", independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.

As Jean Eckian reported earlier, Armenian Genocide Memorial was renamed into "Talaat Pasha monument" in the Google Earth project.

This profanation was signed as Haluk Dolmayan, what is, actually, a modified name of Director of Armenian Genocide Institute-Museum, Hayk Demoyan, and is dated March 12, 2008.

The photo was added in the database of Panoramio, a partner of Google, whose photos can be seen in Google.

“The question is to know how such provocation became possible, who is author and whether it could be a member of Google Earth or Panoramio staff?" Jean Eckian said.

Armenian Genocide: Turkey Threatens U.S. Again 27.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Diaspora in the U.S. has prepared a comprehensive plan to have Obama recognize the Armenian Genocide in his April 24 statement, Hurriyet reports.

Armenian organizations are also trying to ensure a vote of the Genocide resolution in Congress in February 2009 and to block the appointment of politicians who oppose the Armenian Genocide recognition to the new administration, according to the daily.

Meanwhile, a Turkish official said that Ankara will take all necessary measures to hamper these efforts. "They cannot do this easily... We even can stop the U.S. from utilizing Turkish capabilities in its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Officials also say Turkey will be in a key position as Obama is set to change his country’s foreign policy, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore Obama will not want to have problems with Turkey, they note.

Possible appointment of Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State is regarded as positive for Turkey.

Kurdish, Armenian To Be Taught At University
The lack of any Kurdish or Armenian language departments at universities does not mean it is not allowed, says the head of higher education watchdog, adding that if such a demand came from universities, the matter would be assessed.

Turkish universities offer in-depth knowledge of long-extinct civilizations of Sumerian, and Hittite culture, but none as yet has a department devoted to Kurdish and Armenian languages, or Hebrew. A recent proposal by the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, deputy Osman Özçelik to open a department on Kurdish language at Istanbul and Dicle universities has highlighted this deficit.

"If universities make such a proposal, we can discuss the issue with our friends and do what is necessary," President of Higher Education Board, or YÖK, Yusuf Ziya Özcan told daily Radikal.

A department on Armenian language and literature is expected to be launched next year at Nevşehir University. "At least three professors who can teach the subject are required before the department is operational. We are talking with professors in Turkey who wrote about Armenian literature," Nevşehir University Rector Filiz Kılıç told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review yesterday.

"A department on Armenian literature is a critical subject, and it is a long due project. Turkey should have had several similar departments long ago," Kılıç said.

"Classes will necessarily include particularities of the Armenian language and literature, but the specific content will be written once the professors start their job," she said."It is not clear whether the department will be ready for the 2009-2010 academic year, but we want to start it after adequate preparations," Kılıç said.

Nevşehir University has departments on Hebrew and literature as well, but the priority is now in making Armenian language and literature an operational department, Kılıç said. Greek language and literature has been taught at Istanbul University since 1983 and in Ankara University since 1936.

’No obstacle before Kurdish department’
The academic world received the demand to open Kurdish language and literature departments favorably, stressing that it could contribute to societal peace. Mardin Artuklu University Rector Serdar Bedii Omay said they had launched work to open a department at their own university and will submit the proposal to YÖK as soon as possible. Drawing attention to the importance of opening up such a department in terms of social peace, Omay said such a department would reap great benefits for the country.

Meanwhile, YÖK authorities noted that there was no constitutional hurdle against the proposal.

President of YÖK’s education committee Halis Ayhan argued that it is even a late decision. "The education language is determined as Turkish in the constitution, and as long as it does not contradict with the article of the constitution, I have no objection to opening such departments," he said.

Well-known for its Language, History and Geography Faculty, Ankara University is one of the institutions that reacted positively to the idea. "If our Language, History and Geography Faculty offers to open a department, we will work on the subject with pleasure," said Ankara University Rector Cemal Taluğ.

Two universities in east and southeast Anatolia, where the Kurdish population is high, also presented a positive stance on the subject. Hakkari University Rector İbrahim Belenli said he saw no harm in opening a Kurdish language department.

"A Kurdish language and literature department may be opened within our Faculty of Science and Letters. We don’t have the related faculty yet, however, when the laws to open the department are convenient and such a proposal is made within the university, I can submit it to YÖK," said Şırnak University Rector Ali Akmaz. Special courses in Kurdish were opened in recent past but none of the universities have a program on the Kurdish language.

Armenian Diaspora Piles Pressure On Obama Over 1915 Incidents
The Armenian diaspora is set to pile pressure on U.S. president-elect Barack Obama to recognize the "genocide" claims over the 1915 incidents, as Turkish officials plan counter-measures.

Hurriyet reported on Thursday the diaspora organizations in the U.S. had prepared a comprehensive plan to have Obama define the 1915 incidents as "genocide" in a speech due to be delivered on April 24 and to have U.S. Congress approve legislation formally recognizing the Armenian claims.

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

Around 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 in 1915. Armenia claims the incidents that occurred during the civil strife were systematic "genocide".

Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate the claims and reveal the truth behind the turmoil of 1915 and to open all official archives, but Armenia has continually dragged its feet on accepting the offer.

The diaspora organizations are planning a renewed attempt in U.S. Congress for a legislation that recognizes the 1915 incidents as "genocide" in February, Hurriyet reported.

The report said Armenian organizations are also trying to block the appointment to the new Obama administration of politicians who disagree with the Armenian claims.

The newly elected president had pledged to recognize the claims during his campaign to woo voters of Armenian-origin.

However the possibility of Armenian organizations succeeding is seen as low given the fact that Obama is not the first president to have pledged to recognize the claims but refrained from doing so after taking office.

A Turkish official told Hurriyet that Ankara would take all the necessary steps to prevent these efforts from achieving their aim. "They cannot do this easily... We even can stop the U.S. from utilizing Turkish capabilities in its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," the official was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

Officials also say Turkey would be in a key position as Obama is set to change his country's foreign policy especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore Obama would not want to have problems with Turkey, they add.

The possible appointment of Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State is also considered by officials as positive for Turkey.

A New Paradigm Required In Turkish-Armenian Relations Lale Sariİbrahİmoğlu todayszaman.com
In addition to that historical dispute, another Caucasus state, Azerbaijan, remains a stumbling block to furthering ties between Turkey and Armenia.

Therefore, Turkey has been pursuing double-track diplomacy to help the resolution of disputes over Nagorno-Karabakh between the two Caucasus neighbors and to remove obstacles in its own path.

Turkey's rapprochement with Armenia in early September, when Turkish President Abdullah Gül paid a visit to Yerevan in a show of soccer diplomacy, has made it possible for Ankara to be perceived as a reliable mediator in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, which the Minsk Group within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has long been attempting to solve.

As part of this rapprochement, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said after a meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, in İstanbul on Nov. 25 that the second round of three-way talks between him and the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan may take place in Helsinki during December on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting, scheduled for Dec. 4-5 in the Finnish capital.

"The signals that we have been receiving have been positive for the tri-party talks, and [they indicate] that Turkish-Armenian rapprochement will have a positive reflection on relations between Armenian and Azerbaijan," he added.

Tactically, improvement in relations between Baku and Yerevan will make it easy for Turkey -- whose foreign policy options have been restricted by Azerbaijan for many years -- to open, for example, borders between Ankara and Yerevan as a first step.

Strategically, however, putting Turkey's relations on track in the long term with Armenia requires courageous steps and a new way of creative thinking if Ankara wants to no longer be a nation that is blamed for what its Ottoman ancestors did during World War I.

Ankara strongly denies genocide allegations and describes the 1915 events as a deportation of Armenians. But it keeps quiet when US presidents describe the events as a massacre of Armenians rather than as genocide.

Professor Taner Akçam, a scholar at US-based Clark University, who has been one of the few Turkish academics who describe the 1915 events as a massacre or a genocide, has joined in the current debate over Turkish-Armenian rapprochement with two articles published in the Taraf daily on Nov. 16 and 17.

In his first article, titled "Looking at Turkish-Armenian relations in the shadow of 1915 events," Akçam argues that Turkish-Armenian rapprochement has been possible due to the case against the Ergenekon terror organization, under which 86 defendants including former generals are being tried.

He indicated that if an investigation was not opened culminating in the ongoing trial of those accused of, among other things, inciting armed uprising to overthrow the current government, opening a new page in the relations between Ankara and Yerevan would not have been possible.

"If arrests had not taken place as part of the Ergenekon investigation, a very serious campaign against Gül's visit to Yerevan would have had been launched," he asserts.

In his second article, published in Taraf on Nov. 17 and titled "What would it mean if genocide were recognized?" Akçam suggested that the adoption of a new paradigm in Turkish-Armenian relations is necessary.

"In general terms, the Turkish-Armenian conflict has been seen as a problem that occurred among various ethnic or national groups during the process of the dissolution of the [Ottoman] empire. It is known that over time those problems turned into a conflict on territorial claims and over borders among the ethnic groups and that massacres took place during that process. The current Turkish-Armenian relations are viewed within this perspective, and in this sense it is seen as a problem inherited from the past," Akçam stated.

He, however, suggested that Turkish and Armenian societies should not approach this matter simply as a problem inherited from the past, but should also see it as part of the democratization process of today.

"The problem [genocide allegations and what happened during World War I] is not one inherited from the past, but a problem of how a new relationship can be built over it for tomorrow."

According to Akçam, this means that the two neighbors, Turkey and Armenia, both of whom are in a transition period of democracy, should approach the problem not only as part of their own democratization but also as the democratization of relations in the region.

The main target should be to return human dignity to the victims of the past, seeing them as human beings again and respecting their memory, while creating conditions for living together in peace and stability.

Thirdly, Akçam suggests setting up a network of relationships that will result in the creation of a cultural basis that will stop the repetition of the grievances of the past.

By shedding light on this historical event, Akçam has been working to overcome prejudice and biases in order to initiate dialogue between Turks and Armenians.

In this regard, his suggestions will serve to remove obstacles before the development of a sound relationship between Turkey and Armenia.
27 November 2008, Thursday

Documentation Of The Armenian Genocide In Turkish Sources 27 November 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
"Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in Turkish Sources" Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian, director of research on the genocide in Zoryan Institute (Massachusetts, USA), was published in 1991 in the second volume of Genocide: A Critical Literature Review. © 1991 by Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide

Professor Israel Charny, Director of the Research Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, encouraged the French translation of this work, to make it accessible to a wider audience.


The problems of abuse, absence and missing documents
The confessions of former senior civilian and military
Statements of two Turkish presidents
Low hopes to fill the gaps bibliographic

Reprinted with permission: Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, Vol. 2 (Israel W. Charny, ed.)
London: Mansell Publishing, New York: Facts On File, 1991 © 1991 by Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, PO Box 10311 91102 Jerusalem, Israel.

The Ingenuity Of Turkey ... 27 November 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
According Haïk Demoyan, director of the Institute-Museum of Armenian Genocide, the proactive initiative of Turkey's foreign policy is tied to its internal problems, he said last Monday at a press conference.

"In the current context, Turkey is faced with acute Kurdish question, as well as a clash of secular and Islamist forces in society" - a noted historian.

According Demoyan, these factors hamper Turkish politics, nationally and internationally, and Turkey is trying to "hide these problems by foreign policy initiatives as the platform of stability and security and the establishment of a joint Armenian-Turkish historians on the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. "

The director of the Institute-Museum of Genocide considers that the internal problems of Turkey complicate the process of entry into the EU. In this regard, Demoian stresses the importance of transferring the issue through the creation of Armenian-Turkish relations in its quest for EU membership.

"The desire of Turkey for EU membership is linked to the normalization of relations with Armenia, as well as establishment of normal relations with its neighbors due to the global vision of the European Union, - Said the expert.

The absence of diplomatic relations Armenian-Turkish in 1993 on the initiative of Ankara.

Turkey puts forward a number of preconditions for establishing bilateral relations, particularly the refusal of the international recognition of Armenian genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, which were slaughtered near 'One and a half million Armenians. In addition, Turkey is frankly in a pro Azerbaijan on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Jean Eckian

Turkey And Armenia In Tentative Talks By Delphine Strauss in Ankara November 25 2008
Turkey and Armenia’s foreign ministers met on Monday in Istanbul under growing pressure to resolve one of the most intractable disputes in the fraught politics of the Caucasus.

Both countries are working to mend relations after decades of mutual suspicion. They have no formal diplomatic relations, and Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993, supporting Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh.

In September, Abdullah Gül became the first Turkish president to visit Armenia, attending a football match between the national teams. A return visit by Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan for the next match, in October 2009, now looks on the cards.

Since the burst of “football diplomacy”, grand gestures have given way to low-key contacts – Ali Babacan and his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, met for dinner on Monday on the sidelines of a regional economic forum.

But two developments have made it more urgent to resolve a situation that causes Armenia severe economic pain, and makes it hard for Turkey to win full acceptance in the international community.

Firstly, the summer’s conflict in Georgia drove Turkey to seek a bigger diplomatic role in the Caucasus, where energy transit routes now look more vulnerable, and for a time left Armenia able to trade only across its border with Russia. Secondly, Turkish diplomats fear Barack Obama will act on campaign promises and recognise the 1915 massacres of Armenians under Ottoman rule as genocide – or fail to veto a Congress resolution on the issue.

Ankara contends thousands of Turks also died and that deaths were due to war, hunger and displacement, not systematic planning. But the threat of a major upset in US relations makes it imperative to build warmer relations with Yerevan.

Mr Nalbandian called on Monday for Turkey to open its border, telling reporters Armenia was ready to normalise relations “without preconditions”. However, the obstacles to progress remain formidable.

Turkey cannot afford to make a move that would alienate Azerbaijan at a crucial stage in negotiations over energy supplies. It may make a smaller gesture – Turkish Airlines, the national carrier whose routes are usually approved by the foreign ministry, on Monday confirmed it was considering starting charter flights to Yerevan.

For its part, Yerevan has become more open to Turkey’s proposal of addressing the genocide issue through a historical commission – but a western diplomat said pressure from the Armenian diaspora, often more hardline than national politicians, had scotched the latest initiative.

Given the difficulties, Turkey’s foreign ministry was keen to play down the meeting’s symbolism. “It’s not a grandiose affair,” said spokesman Burak Ozugergin. “Historic was our two-nil victory over the Armenian national team ... Now it’s time to do business.”
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

Turkey-Armenia Normalcy: Pragmatic And Ethical Cengiz Çandar
The day after Turkish President Abdullah Gül paid a "historic visit" to the Armenian capital Yerevan, Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandian hosted a lunch for Turkish press members covering the visit. Myself, Hasan Cemal, Yavuz Baydar and Mustafa Karaalioğlu were among them.

The Foreign Ministry building was right across the street from our hotel. In the hotel’s garden we witnessed that the lights in Nalbandian’s office were on until the late hours. In fact, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan left Nalbandian’s office around 2:00 a.m. and headed to the airport.

We were at the peak of a dizzying diplomacy shuttle started with the "football diplomacy." Turkey-Armenia relations were frozen due to the affect of the 1915 tragedy, as the most troublesome period of the common history Turks and Armenians shared. In early September 2008, the ice began to thaw with that dizzying diplomacy traffic.

As we were having lunch with Nalbandian in the room Babacan had left a few hours ago, we all focused on establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries and opening the border gate before the "window of the history" is closed.

Nalbandan had showed "prudent optimism" in the meeting. For a solid development in Turkish-Armenian relations, that is, the establishment of diplomatic ties and opening the border, progress is necessary on the Karabakh issue. For that means a space of maneuverability on account of Turkey in its relations with Armenia.

What paralyzed the Turkish-Armenian relations was neither the "genocide" issue, nor formation of "Joint History Commission," nor conclusion of relevant studies nor, as many think or claim in Turkey, amendments in the Armenian Constitution, nor the Armenian declaration recognizing the Kars Agreement of 1921 citing that Armenian accepts current borders and does not demand land from Turkey.

Normalcy in Turkish-Armenian relations and progress in this direction is contingent upon progress in the Upper Karabakh issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan expected after the Azerbaijani elections in mid-Oct. and upon normalcy in Azerbaijani-Armenian relations without putting Turkey in the middle. As I was listening to Nalbandian in Istanbul the other day, I realized his optimism, even more than he was while we heard him in Yerevan.

If everything goes well in the first quarter of 2009, we will see normalization in Turkish-Armenian relations, meaning that diplomatic ties will be established and the border will be opened. What is new in these past two and a half months, since Gül’s visit to Yerevan in early September and the Babacan-Nalbandian meeting at midnight?

Babacan and Nalbandian had met two weeks after their meeting in Yerevan, but this time in New York and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Eldar Mametyarov was accompanying them. And they came together for a third meeting in Istanbul the other day. In the meantime, foreign ministry officials of two countries had continued with meetings in the Swiss city of Geneva.

But the real progress was made in early November when Azeri and Armenian presidents, İlham Aliyev and Serge Sarkisian, met the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in the Russian capital Moscow. The parties issued a five-article solution declaration for the Karabakh issue.

After the Azeri and Armenian presidents met in the Russian city of St. Petersburg in June, 2008, and "left with contentment," the Moscow rendezvous allowed them to come up with a joint Karabakh declaration sealed by the Russia stamp of validity.

This progress, at the same time, signaled that the Azerbaijan contingency is being lifted for Turkey which is eager to take further equal steps towards both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Now, at the Dec. 4 summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, to be held in the Finnish capital Helsinki, presidents and foreign ministers of the Minsk Group countries that have impeded the Karabakh issue for so long, including the United States, Russia and France, in addition to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey will come together.

Prospective solution principles or a framework agreement on the Karabakh issue in Helsinki may lead to the establishment of diplomatic ties between Turkey and Armenia, the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and the end of the Azerbaijan contingency on Turkey.

Normalcy of Turkey-Armenia relations on the other side will facilitate taking up the biggest shame in the history, the genocide issue, discretely, in a more sober way, with commonsense and more importantly with "conscience."

Many people are getting caught up by the damage in Turkish-American relations if the word "genocide" is uttered in the new U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on Apr. 24 or if it is legitimized in the Armenian bill to be passed at the U.S. Congress.

Normalcy in Turkish-Armenian relations may eliminate Turkey’s biggest concern about the Obama administration. The normalcy may stop the adoption of the "genocide bill," or Obama from uttering this word in April.

However, normalization in Turkish-Armenian relations is needed for "ethical" reasons, in terms of a "historic truce," rather than "pragmatic" reasons in foreign affairs.

Be it "deportation" or "tragedy" and claim that it was not "genocide;" the events of 1915 are defined by Rafael Lemkin, the creator of the "Genocide Convention," as the crime of genocide and the document was ratified by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 9, 1948.

The Genocide Convention is not a retroactive document; therefore not a threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity.

Who Rules the Pentagon ? by Frida Berrigan and Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch
The Obama national security "team" – part of that much-hailed "team of rivals" – does not yet exist, but it does seem to be heaving into view. And so far, its views seem anything but rivalrous. Mainstream reporters and pundits lovingly refer to them as "centrist," but, in a Democratic context, they are distinctly right of center. The next secretary of state looks to be Hillary Clinton, a hawk on the Middle East. During the campaign, she spoke of our ability to "totally obliterate" Iran, should that country carry out a nuclear strike against Israel. She will evidently be allowed to bring her own (hawkish) subordinates into the State Department with her. Her prospective appointment is now being praised by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Henry Kissinger.

The leading candidate for national security adviser is Gen.James L. Jones, former Marine Corps commandant and NATO commander, who remained "publicly neutral" during the presidential campaign and is known to be personally close to John McCain and, evidently, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as well. Not surprisingly, he favors yet more spending for the Pentagon. The reputed leading candidate for director of the CIA, John Brennan, now head of the National Counterterrorism Center, was George Tenet's chief of staff and deputy executive director during the worst years of the CIA's intelligence, imprisonment, and torturing excesses.

The new secretary of defense is odds on to be… the old secretary of defense, Robert Gates, a confidant of the first President Bush. Still surrounded at the Pentagon by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's holdovers, he has had a long career in Washington as a clever apparatchik. He was the adult brought in – the story of how and by whom has yet to be told – to clean up the Bush foreign policy mess (and probably prevent an attack on Iran). He did this. He now favors no fixed timelines for an Iraq withdrawal, but a significant American troop "surge" in Afghanistan, "well north of 20,000," in the next 12-18 months. He has overseen the further growth of the bloated Pentagon budget and has recently come out for the building of a new generation of nuclear weapons. (Other candidates for defense include former Clinton Navy secretary and key Obama adviser Richard Danzig, who may end up – for the time being – as an undersecretary of defense, Clinton former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, who might instead land the job as the director of national intelligence.)

Drop down a tier, as Yochi Dreazen of the Wall Street Journal wrote last week, and you find the Obama transition people using a little known think-tank, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), as a "top farm team" to stock its national security shelves. The founders of the center are – don't be shocked now – former Clinton administration officials providing yet more "centrists" to an administration that seems to believe the essence of "experience" is having been in Washington between 1992 and 2000. CNAS, by the way, is officially against a fixed timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. In that, it seems typical of the coalescing national security team, almost none of whom, so far, opposed the invasion of Iraq (other than the president-elect). Having been antiwar is evidently a sign of inexperience and so a negative.

Add in the military lineup – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen, Centcom Commander David Petraeus, Generals Raymond Odierno and David McKiernan, the U.S. commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan – all second-term Bush picks, all reportedly ready to push for a major "surge" in Afghanistan, all evidently against Obama's timeline for withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq.

Now, mind you, so far we've only been considering the foreign policy issues of empire that face the next team. Domestically, if Gates remains, the Air Force might get kneecapped (perhaps losing the F-22 Raptor, the weapons system it wants for a war that will never be fought), but the Army and Marines will expand, as (so he promises) will the Navy. The essence of the matter is simple enough, as Frida Berrigan, arms expert for the New America Foundation and TomDispatch regular, indicates below: The Pentagon, even in the toughest of economic times, is likely to prove relatively untouchable.

The Obama transition team's explanation for the remarkably familiar look to its emerging national security lineup, suggested David E. Sanger in a recent front-page think piece in the New York Times, is "that the new administration will have no time for a learning curve. With the country facing a deep recession or worse, global market turmoil, chaos in Pakistan, and a worsening war in Afghanistan, 'there's going to be no time for experimentation,' a member of the Obama foreign policy team said." In other words, we need the sort of minds, already imprisoned in Washington's version of "experience," who helped lead us into this mess (long term), to get us out of it. "Experimentation" is obviously for times when it isn't needed. For these custodians of empire, better a steady hand and the same-old thoughts. No? Tom
Weapons Come Second

Can Obama Take On The Pentagon? by Frida Berrigan
Even saddled with a two-front, budget-busting war and a collapsing economy, President Barack Obama may be able to accomplish a lot. With a friendly Congress and a relieved world, he could make short work of some of the most egregious overreaches of the Bush White House – from Guantanamo to those presidential signing statements. For all the rolling up of sleeves and "everything is going to change" exuberance, however, taking on the Pentagon, with its mega-budget and its mega-power, may be the hardest task he faces.

The Mega-Pentagon
Under President George W. Bush, military spending increased by about 60 percent, and that's not including spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eight years ago, as Bush prepared to enter the Oval Office, military spending totaled just over $300 billion. When Obama sets foot in that same office, military spending will total roughly $541 billion, including the Pentagon's basic budget and nuclear warhead work in the Department of Energy.

And remember, that's before the Global War on Terror enters the picture. The Pentagon now estimates that military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost at least $170 billion in 2009, pushing total military spending for Obama's first year to about $711 billion (a number that is mind-bogglingly large and at the same time a relatively conservative estimate that does not, for example, include intelligence funding, veterans' care, or other security costs).

With such numbers, it's no surprise that the United States is, by a multiple of nearly six, the biggest military spender in the world. (China's military budget, the closest competitor, comes in at a "mere" $120 billion.) Still, it can be startling to confront the simple fact that the U.S. alone accounts for nearly half of all global military spending – to be as exact as possible in such a murky area, 48 percent according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. That's more than what the next 45 nations together spend on their militaries on an annual basis.

Again, keep in mind that war spending for 2009 comes on top of the estimated $864 billion that lawmakers have, since 2001, appropriated for the Iraq war and occupation, ongoing military operations in Afghanistan, and other activities associated with the Global War on Terror. In fact, according to an October 2008 report by the Congressional Research Service, total war spending, quite apart from the regular military budget, is already at $922 billion and quickly closing in on the trillion dollar mark.

Common Sense Cuts?
Years late, and with budgets everywhere bleeding red, some in Congress and elsewhere are finally raising questions about whether this level of spending makes any sense. Unfortunately, the questions are not coming from the inner circle of the president-elect.

Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) drew the ire and consternation of hard-line Republicans and military hawks when, in October, he suggested that Congress should consider cutting defense spending by a quarter. That would mean shaving $177 billion, leaving $534 billion for the U.S. defense and war budget and maintaining a significant distance – $413 billion to be exact – between United States and our next "peer competitor." Frank told a Massachusetts newspaper editorial board that, in the context of a struggling economy, the Pentagon will have to start choosing among its many weapons programs. "We don't need all these fancy new weapons," he told the staff of the New Bedford Standard Times. Obama did not back him up on that.

Even chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense John Murtha (D-Pa.), a Congressman who never saw a weapons program he didn't want to buy, warned of tough choices on the horizon. While he did not put a number on it, in a recent interview he did say: "The next president is going to be forced to decrease defense spending in order to respond to neglected domestic priorities. Because of this, the Defense Department is going to have to make tough budget decisions involving tradeoffs between personnel, procurement, and future weapons spending."

And now, President-elect Obama is hearing a similar message from the Defense Business Board, established in 2001 by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to give advice to the Pentagon. A few weeks ago, in briefing papers prepared for President-elect Obama's transition team, the Board, hardly an outfit unfriendly to the Pentagon, argued that some of the Defense Department's big weapons projects needed to be scrapped as the U.S. entered a "period of fiscal constraint in a tough economy." While not listing the programs they considered knife-worthy, the Board did assert that "business as usual is no longer an option."

Desperate Defense
Meanwhile, defense executives and industry analysts are predicting the worst. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney wrote in a "note" to employees, "No one really yet knows when or to what extent defense spending could be affected, but it's unrealistic to think there won't be some measure of impact." Michael Farage, Sikorsky's director of Air Force programs, was even more colorful: "With the economy in the proverbial pooper, defense budgets can only go down."

Kevin G. Kroger, president of a company making oil filters for Army trucks, offered a typical reaction: "There's a lot of uncertainty out there. We're not sure where the budgets are going and what's going to get funded. It leaves us nervous."

It's no surprise that, despite eight years of glut financing via the Global War on Terror, weapons manufacturers, like the automotive Big Three, are now looking for their own bailout. For them, however, it should probably be thought of as a bail-up, an assurance of yet more good times. Even though in recent years their companies have enjoyed strong stock prices, have seen major increases in Pentagon contracts, and are still looking at boom-time foreign weapons sales, expect them to push hard for a bottom-line guarantee via their Holy Grail – a military budget pegged to the gross domestic product.

"We advocate 4 percent of the GDP as a floor for defense spending. No question that has to be front and center for any new president's agenda," says Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group representing companies like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Listening to defense industry figures talk, you could get the impression that the Pentagon's larder was empty and that the pinching of pennies and tightening of belts was well underway. While the cuts suggested by the Defense Business Board report got a lot of attention, the Pentagon is already quietly laying the groundwork to lock the future Obama administration into a possibly slightly scaled-down version of the over-the-top military spending of the Bush years.

Business as Usual?
At the beginning of October, the Pentagon's latest five-year projection of budget needs was revealed in the Congressional Quarterly. These preliminary figures – the full request should be released sometime next month – indicate that the Pentagon's starting point in its bargaining with the new administration and Congress comes down to one word: more.

The estimates project $450 billion more in spending over those five years than previously suggested figures. Take fiscal year 2010: the Pentagon is evidently calling for a military budget of $584 billion, an increase of $57 billion over what they informed President Bush and Congress they would need just a few months ago.

Unfortunately, when it comes to military spending and defense, the record is reasonably clear – Obama is not about to go toe-to-toe with the military-industrial-complex.

On the campaign trail, his stump speech included this applause-ready line suggesting that the costs of the war in Iraq are taking away from important domestic priorities: "If we're spending $10 billion a month [in Iraq] over the next four or five years, that's $10 billion a month we're not using to rebuild the U.S., or drawing down our national debt, or making sure that families have health care."

But the "surge" that Obama wants to shift from Iraq to Afghanistan is unlikely to be a bargain. In addition, he has repeatedly argued for a spike in defense spending to "reset" a military force worn out by war. He has also called for the expansion of the size of the Army and the Marines. On that point, he is in complete agreement with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. They even use the same numbers, suggesting that the Army should be augmented by 65,000 new recruits and the Marines by 27,000. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that these manpower increases alone would add about $10 billion a year – that same campaign trail $10 billion – to the Pentagon budget over a five-year period.

The word from Wall Street? In a report entitled "Early Thoughts on Obama and Defense," a Morgan Stanley researcher wrote on Nov. 5, "As we understand it, Obama has been advised and agrees that there is no peace dividend. … In addition, we believe, based on discussions with industry sources that Obama has agreed not to cut the defense budget at least until the first 18 months of his term as the national security situation becomes better understood."

In other words: Don't worry about it. President Obama is not about to hand the next secretary of defense a box of brownie mix and order him to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Smarter, Not More, Military Spending
Sooner rather than later, the new administration will need to think seriously about how to spend smarter – and significantly less – on the military. Our nose-diving economy simply will no longer support ever climbing defense budgets.

The good news is that the Obama administration won't have to figure it all out alone. The contributors to Foreign Policy in Focus' new "Unified Security Budget" have done a lot of the heavy lifting to demonstrate that some of the choices that need to be made really aren't so tough. The report makes the case for reductions in military spending on outdated or unproven weapons systems totaling $61 billion. The argument is simple and straightforward: these expensive systems don't keep us safe. Some were designed for a geopolitical moment that is long gone – like the F-22 meant to counter a Soviet plane that was never built. Others, like the ballistic missile defense program, are clearly meant only to perpetuate insecurity and provoke proliferation.

To cut the military budget more deeply, however, means more than canceling useless, high-tech weapons systems. It means taking on something fundamental and far-reaching: America's place in the world. It means coming to grips with how we garrison the planet, with how we use our military to project influence and power anywhere in the world, with our attitudes toward international treaties and agreements, with our vast passels of real estate in foreign lands, and, of course, with our economic and political relationships with clients and competitors.

As a candidate, Barack Obama stirred our imagination through his calls for a "new era of international cooperation." The United States cannot, however, cooperate with other nations from atop our shining Green Zone on the hill; we cannot cooperate as the world's sole superpower, policeman, cowboy, hyperpower, or whatever the imperial nom du jour turns out to be. Bottom line: we cannot genuinely and effectively cooperate while spending more on what we like to call "security" than the next 45 nations combined.

A new era in Pentagon spending would have to begin with a recognition that enduring security is not attained by threat or fiat, nor is it bought with staggering billions of dollars. It is built with other nations. Weapons come second.

Frida Berrigan is a senior program associate at the New America Foundation's Arms and Security Initiative (ASI). She is a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus and a contributing editor at In These Times. In early December, ASI will release Weapons at War 2008: Beyond the Bush Legacy, co-authored by Berrigan and William D. Hartung, an examination of U.S. weapons sales and military aid to developing nations, conflict zones, and nations where human rights are not safeguarded. E-mail berrigan@newamerica.net if you would like a copy of the executive summary. To listen to Berrigan discuss Obama and the Pentagon in an audio interview, click here.
Copyright 2008 Frida Berrigan

A Man Of Letters And His Mystical Bond With Smyrna By Aurelia
What is the special spell that Greece casts during times of war that instills passions in men of letters and draws them to her, as the moth is drawn to the candle?s hypnotic flame? Lord Byron (1788-1824) is, of course, the most well-known English Romantic poet and Philhellene who fought and died for Greece. He is beloved by the country he adopted, and as evidence of this, Byron?s heart is said to be buried in Mesolongi, Greece, where he died.

A century after Lord Byron, many other men of letters from Britain came to fight for Greece in monumental military events in World War II. Perhaps they were inspired by the poet. As Lord Byron had done before them, they put their lives on the line for Greece. They were men such as the scholar and historian Christopher “Monty” Woodhouse, authors Xan Fielding, W. Stanley Moss, and Patrick Leigh Fermor, and archaeologist John Pendelbury. The Greek author and poet, George Psychoundakis (also known as “the Cretan Runner”), was among these British intellectuals who valiantly fought the Germans. Their brave deeds became legendary and were celebrated in folklore, novels, and on film, and just as Greece remembered the great Romantic poet and Philhellene, they and other veterans and World War II heroes are honored annually during services in Crete.

Between Lord Byron and the luminaries named above was another man of letters, an American named the Honorable George Horton, who served with distinction as Consul General for the United States in the Near East from 1911 to 1922. A journalist, novelist, and literary critic before he joined government service, Horton is credited with personally saving hundreds of lives during the destruction of the ancient, Christian city of Smyrna on the coast of Asia Minor in 1922.

In his early career, Horton was a journalist for the Chicago Herald and wrote poetry and novels as he gained recognition as a major critic and literary figure. But Fate had another destiny in mind for the young writer, who became perhaps the most famous eyewitness of his time to what some have called one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century. Horton was present during the burning of Smyrna, a City known as “The Pearl of the Orient,” and wrote The Blight of Asia, the poignant chronicle of this ignoble deed. The destruction of Smyrna marked the end of a two-thousand-year Christian presence in Asia Minor. In the tradition of remembering Lord Byron and the heroes of World War II, some close friends of Horton honored him by raising funds to build and erect a marble statue in the Plateia of Nea Smyrna, Athens, near the statue of Archbishop Chrysostomos, the Greek Metropolitan who was martyred during the destruction of the City. The Greek government gave Horton a decoration for his help in Smyrna during World War I, and the Vatican named him a Knight of St. Gregory the Great in recognition for his protections of Catholics during that war.

The burning of Smyrna is known in modern Greek history as “The Great Catastrophe.” Events were set in motion on September 9, 1922 when the typical morning calm in Smyrna was violated by the sounds of galloping horses, foreshadowing the tragedy that would unfold. Thunderous sounds of hoofs pounding the earth punctuated the air, accompanied by terrified screams. The Turkish cavalry, led by Mustapha Kemal, Commander in Chief of the Turkish Forces, had entered the City. As the troops rode up and down the quay, people fled, seeking shelter in the American Embassy, the Theatre de Smyrna, Red Cross, various missionaries and schools, and the YMCA and YWCA. On September 11 the City was set ablaze. In his role as America?s Consul General, Horton risked his life to evacuate as many American and Greek men, women, and children as he could, and saved many others, regardless of nationality.

In her award-winning book. Smyrna 1922, Marjorie Housepian Dobkin describes the scene on the quay during the inferno:

“With exits to the city blocked off by Turkish troops, nearly half a million human beings packed in an area a mile and a half long and no more than one hundred feet wide were trapped between the fire and the sea….. On the bridge of the liner Bavarian, grown men wept as they watched the scene. A British businessman could see “the unfortunate wretches thirteen or fourteen deep swaying in the sweltering heat. With the very parcels in their arms actually on fire, men, women, and children struggled to get free, throwing themselves where possible into the water, or swaying this way and that, more dead than alive. The density of the crowd for a time was such that the dead remained standing, supported by the living.” She added that one survivor compared the scene to The Last Days of Pompeii.

Estimates vary on how many Greeks and Armenians were killed or exiled, but before the inferno, the population of Smyrna was said to be 500,000 and include Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Turks, Italians, French, British, and others. Of this number, Horton estimated that there were approximately 300 American nationals. In The Blight of Asia, Horton says “the lowest estimate of lives lost given by the refugees places the total at 120,000,” but Marjorie Dobkin quotes Admiral Mark L. Bristol, an American who was Chairman of the Inter-Allied Commission of Inquiry on the Smyrna Landings, as saying the number of deaths “due to killings, fire, and execution…probably does not exceed 2,000.” Dobkin says Bristol?s figure has gone down as “the historical verdict,” but adds that Horton?s estimate “makes more sense” because Smyrna was populated by “roughly 400,000 Ottoman Christians (native Smyrneans plus refugees) during the days immediately preceding the fire,” and those unaccounted for by October 1 numbered “at least 190,000.” But, Dobkin concludes, “no one will ever know how many had perished.” The jewel that was once called Smyrna is now Ismir and has been for eighty years.

Horton believed the tragedy could have been averted. In early September when the Greek army began its retreat, he cabled Admiral Bristol and begged him “in the interests of humanity and for the safety of American interests,” to mediate with the Angora government. He wanted amnesty sufficient to allow the Greek forces to evacuate. “Amnesty will avoid possible destruction of Smyrna,” he declared, but the State Department responded with an unequivocal “No.”

Dobkin says that since the first days of September, “Horton?s days and nights had been an endless round of conferences, interviews, and errands of mercy.” She added that these errands of mercy “were to become legendary among Greeks,” adding that he gathered hundreds of families at the Point and scoured the harbor to beg or buy their passage, “often as his own expense.”

In is obvious that Dobkin has great admiration for Horton and she describes his poignant role in this catastrophe:

“To those who knew the man it was natural that others would turn to him in time of crisis. George Horton was something of an anomaly among foreign officials in Smyrna. Unlike the majority, who had arrived since the end of the war, he had worked in the area for thirty years and was thoroughly familiar with its history. At a time when Americans and Englishmen were notoriously inept at foreign languages, he spoke fluent French, Greek, German, Italian, and Turkish. Virtually every segment of the Smyrna population affirmed Horton?s sensitivity to its point of view, and in reports that were models of clarity he had detailed the attitudes of these respective groups for Admiral Bristol and the experts at the State Department. Even Bristol conceded that the man?s views on the Greco-Turkish question were ?plainly fair and square.?”

In The Blight of Asia, Horton says, “My constant policy during the long time that I was in the Near East was to befriend, in so far as my official position permitted, all who might be in need of help, irrespective of race or religion.” There are numerous statements from Greeks and Turks expressing gratitude to Horton for his good works.

Antonios Panayiotou, who was a child in Smyrna in 1922 and escaped the fire, made the following statement in 1965 during a ceremony remembering the victims of Smyrna:

“At this time let us make the sign of the cross in memory of George Horton. He sent a consular guard to various neighborhoods when the fire started and gathered the women and children and took them to a place called Punta where he put American flags on many fishing and other small boats so they could board and sail away to freedom.”

Among the letters from the Turks that have survived is one signed by the President of the Islamic Emigration Committee and also by seventeen others who are Turkish businessmen and merchants. It reads in part:
“Since the appointment of His Excellency, George Horton as Consul-General of the United States in Smyrna, His Excellency has won the heart of the whole Turkish nation by the sympathy and good will which His Excellency has always shown every Turkish man…Mr. George Horton, gave full protection and kindly treatment to those of the Turks who went to him for protection and the right of humane existence…we express our heartfelt thanks to him.”

Another letter thanks Horton for saving the lives of an entire Turkish family in 1916 by providing them with food, a doctor, and a nurse when the family was down with typhus. In the archives in Nea Smyrna, Athens, there are numerous letters from Greeks, Turks, and others, thanking Horton for his humanitarianism.

It should be noted that as the City burned, the harbor was filled with battle ships representing the American and Allied powers, specifically, the United States, Great Britain, Italy, France, and Japan. Except for the Japanese, none of these ships would take on any of the terrified victims, because they were under orders to maintain neutrality. Horton, who rescued scores of Americans and others (Greeks, Armenians and Jews) by putting them on American ships before the fire, said the sight of the vessels resting “impotently” in the waters as a tragedy unfolded made him “ashamed to be a member of the human race.”

How did this journalist, poet, and distinguished “Man of Letters” come to play such a pivotal role in one of the greatest catastrophes of our time, an event that Horton himself compared only to the destruction of Carthage by the Romans? Dobkin explains that Horton?s appointment to the Foreign Service had been “whimsical.” She points out that he was a classics scholar, successful poet, and literary critic and was thirty-four when Fate intervened. In his role as an editorial writer for The Chicago Herald, he penned a number of editorials in support of Grover Cleveland; the President was pleased and offered Horton a consular post in Berlin. Dobkin explains that he refused this and asked for one in Greece; in 1893 he was appointed Consul to Athens; in 1909 he was transferred to Salonika and in 19ll he was appointed US Consul at Smyrna. Dobkin says that in 1927, Horton wrote, “I saw no connection between such editorials and the ability to fill a consular post intelligently, nor do I now.”

George Horton's daughter, Nancy, lives in Greece and is an accomplished poet who has given readings internationally; her father was a major influence in her life and upon her literary interests. Miss Horton says he was very witty and when she was a child, he sang nursery rhymes to her in Latin. She remembers him as being a very spontaneous and creative person and as someone who would always champion the underdog.

His first collection of poetry was entitled, Songs of the Lowly and Other Poems, and they show sympathy for the working man and the unemployed in America.

This was written long before he had any connection with Greeks. Later works have other themes independent of his love of Greece. They focused on the disparity between the rich and the poor in America, the tension between war and the belief in a Supreme Being, and the struggle between greed and the true meaning of Christianity. His best known poem in certain circles, especially among the survivors of Smyrna and their friends and relatives, is The Martyred City, about the burning of the City.

Horton wrote eight novels that were in the romance/adventure genre, and six were set in Greece; his works also include four books of poetry. The novels are entitled, Constantine, A Fair Brigand, The Tempting of Father Anthony, The Long Straight Road, The Monk?s Treasure, The Edge of Hazard, Miss Schuyler?s Alia, and Like Another Helen, a best seller in its time. There are some unpublished manuscripts, a few unpublished short stories, and one unpublished play. Books that are now circulating in English include The Home of Nymphs and Vampires, The Isles of Greece, and “Like Another Helen.” In Athens, the following books are circulating in Greek: Constantine, Modern Athens, (two editions) and The Blight of Asia.

Critics praised Horton?s work and favorable reviews were forthcoming after the publication of each novel. The great literary critic, William Dean Howells, called In Argolis “a classic.” A writer for The Saturday Evening Post declared “He (Horton) is probably the only American poet besides Poe and Whitman enjoying an equal affection in the hearts of foreign readers…at any picnic of Greek Americans where dancing and ballad singing are part of the entertainment, one is as apt to hear Mr. Horton?s translation as the original.”

W.G. Eggleston, a critic writing in Chicago?s Literary Review, praised Horton?s translations and literary style. He said his translation of Sappho?s Hymn to Aphrodite, ”was “better than Andrew Lang?s,” and of the novel, Like Another Helen, he declared, “Horton can write verse that makes a man want to do something…he can write a novel that people will read and read again because it carries a message to humanity.”

Horton?s work as a poet and novelist was sacrificed when he assumed his post as Consul General for the United States in the Near East. One of his major responsibilities was to promote American businesses abroad and he never lost an opportunity to recommend American products over those of other countries. The numerous details involved in his role as Consul General necessitated that he quench his creative thirst, and the literary career that could have been was put on hold.

This past September a conference was held on the island of Poros, where Horton lived for a time and was inspired to write three books, In Argolis, Constantine, and Aphroessa. Mr. Spiros Spiridos, the Mayor of Poros organized the event and arranged for an exhibition of Horton?s life and work to be displayed in a large municipal building. A number of government officials from Athens participated, along with Nancy Horton who gave readings from In Argolia, for school children. This book is considered by many European academicians to be one of the best books on Greek folklore, nursery rhymes, superstitions, and so on. Mr. Spiridos would like In Argolia to be translated into demotic Greek so that the young people can read it.

Those close to Horton say Smyrna seems to have been his destiny, and that it began when he was a small boy whose father read to him passages from The Book of Revelation and other readings from the Bible “almost daily.” Nancy Horton says that as a child her father was mesmerized by the fact that Smyrna was called “The last of the Seven Cities” and “the site of the original seven churches of the Revelation of St. John the Divine.” “This made a profound impression on him and haunted him all of his life,” Ms. Horton says, “it seems to run like a thread though his life and work.”

When Horton was first appointed Consul to Smyrna in 1911, he told colleagues that “it had long been the Mecca of my ambitions.” Some colleagues felt that it was almost inevitable that he should be there during the death of the Christian city, as they felt it was clear that he had a mystical bond with Smyrna.

Nancy Horton explains that in so many of her father?s poems and other writings his themes are the struggle between greed and the true meaning of Christianity within the context of the Revelation or Apocalypse. She said he saw Smyrna, the last of the seven cities he first learned about in his childhood, as the ultimate victim that was “betrayed through the greed and connivance of the great Christian nations.”

When asked what other forces drew him to Smyrna, Ms. Horton responds that he was enthralled with the Greek language and with Homer, whom he considered a native of Smyrna and to whom he referred as a “Smyrniote” in his writings. He became impatient with archaeologists who speculated on other places where Homer could have been born and proclaimed, “I am inclined to accept the statement that Homer was born in Smyrna and be done with it.” He added, “As in religion, one must have a modicum of faith in these matters.”

Horton was also a keen admirer of the odes of Sappho, Greece?s most famous lyric poet who was born on Lesbos (also called Mytiline), an island close to Asia Minor. His favorite work was Sappho?s Hymn to Aphrodite, a poem that he said had “unquenchable fire and beauty.” Horton made a pilgrimage to Mytiline and declared “I have been all my life a worshipper of Sappho who has been more of an inspiration to me than any other human who has ever lived. Her fame, instead of diminishing, is still on the increase, because of her divine presence and ethereal uplift…Anyone who comes in touch with Sappho has a feeling that the woman herself is still alive, a feeling of being in contact with a presence so exquisite and incorporeal that it never could have been mortal.”

In his time, Horton was most likely the most passionate Philhellene in America. Because he was well aware of the great difficulties the Greek immigrants faced in America, he decided that the best way to correct this was to present his firm belief that modern Greeks were descendants of the ancients, that historically they brought civilization to countries that had conquered them, and that the Greeks as a nation made enormous progress in the short period since they were free. In 1907, therefore, he traveled throughout the country—from Boston to Seattle, giving twenty lectures on Greek life; he spoke in leading universities in America under the auspices of the American Archeological Institute and his talks were widely covered by the press. He lectured on Greek life as he found it in the villages and entertained his audiences with stories of folk lore, lullabies, art, music, and humor. After some lectures he was given a gift by Greeks, and one of his favorites was a silver loving cup filled with flowers and inscribed “To George Horton from Hellene Americans.”

The leading Greek newspaper of the time, Atlantis, covered the lecture series and wrote that there was a positive difference in the attitude of the American public toward Greeks because of Horton?s talks. Shortly after the tour, Horton spoke to more than 1,000 Hellenes in New York and urged them to unite for their own benefit.

Horton had a deep love for America and the ideals of the Founding Fathers. He also had a great respect for all immigrants who helped build his beloved country. In his talks he extolled their virtues and the many contributions they made to American life. This theme is reflected in some of his poetry, especially Songs of the Lowly. He also made it a point to continue promoting the use of American products, whether it was the plough or the automobile.

When Horton, the man who was destined to be there at the destruction of the last of the seven cities, spoke to the Greek audiences he grew to love in America, he spoke not as the Consul General who was an eyewitness to history, but as a poet. His intuition told him that it was only through poetry that the powerful emotions he experienced in Smyrna could be conveyed. So he would end his talk with a slow recitation, in a soft voice, of these names:

These are the seven cities in Asia Minor that are no more, and Smyrna was the last to fall. By quietly reciting the names of the seven cities at the end of his lecture, and by speaking with the voice of a poet, this remarkable “Man of Letters” conveyed the profound meaning of “The Great Catastrophe”--a tragedy so cataclysmic that most witnesses and victims found it almost impossible to describe. His soft chant and slow recitation of the names of seven cities became the dignified, muffled sob of a poet lamenting the burning of Smyrna, “The Martyred City,” and the subsequent, inevitable end of the Christian presence in Asia Minor.
Telos http://www.hellenicnews.com

Yerevan Says Opening Border With Turkey Not A Favor To Armenia, Hurriyet
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday establishing diplomatic relations and opening borders between Turkey and Armenia must not be considered as a favor to be given to Armenia. (UPDATED)

Resolving the dispute between Armenia and Turkey is in the interests of both countries, the ministry said in a statement issued after a rare meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan in Istanbul.

"The full-scale settlement of Armenian-Turkish relations is in the interests of the two countries and the two peoples," the statement said.

"Dialogue between Armenia and Turkey is aimed particularly at establishing diplomatic relations and at opening borders. This must not be considered as a favor to be given to Armenia because this is of no less interest to Turkey," it added.

Nalbandian was in Turkey for a one-day visit to the headquarters of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation group, whose rotating six-month presidency Armenia took over on Nov. 1, and talks with Babacan.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and their border has been closed for more than a decade, 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.

A warmer period began the two countries began after Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September on the occasion of a Turkish-Armenian World Cup football qualifying match.

Turkey and Armenia aim to totally normalize bilateral relations, Babacan told reporters Monday following his meeting with Nalbandian.

Babacan told reporters he discussed with Nalbandian bilateral relations, the establishment of a cooperation and stability platform in the Caucasus, and regional problems, after the meeting that lasted more than two hours.

Monday's meeting between the ministers was fruitful and constructive, Babacan was quoted by the Anatolian Agency as saying, adding that the two countries would continue their political and technical contacts in the coming days.

Nalbandian departed from Turkey late on Monday.

Signs Of Thaw In Turkey-Armenia Ties, Thomas Seibert, Foreign Correspondent: November 26. 2008 UAE
Ali Babacan, right, the Turkish foreign minister, greets his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian before their meeting in Istanbul. Osman Orsal / Reuters

ISTANBUL // Divided by a painful past and a long-running conflict in the Caucasus, Turkey and its neighbour Armenia, pushed by a unique combination of internal and external factors, may be on the verge of a historic rapprochement as high-level contacts between the two countries gather steam, analysts say.

“It is our aim to completely normalise relations between the two countries,” Ali Babacan, the Turkish foreign minister, said after a meeting Eduard Nalbandian, his Armenian counterpart, in Istanbul on Monday. Mr Nalbandian, who visited Turkey for a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation, a regional organisation that has its headquarters in Istanbul, shared Mr Babacan’s optimism. “I think this is a very good moment and we have a chance to do it now, to turn the page together, to open the border, to normalise relations,” he said.

Despite sharing a 300-kilometre border, Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations, and the border is closed. Relations have been overshadowed by the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in today’s Turkey during the First World War, killings that constituted the modern world’s first genocide according to Armenia, and by a bloody conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave on the territory of Turkey’s close ally, Azerbaijan.

But a recent thaw that started when Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, visited the Armenian capital, Yerevan, for a football match in early September – becoming the first Turkish head of state to visit the neighbour – has nourished hopes that better times are ahead.

“Since Gul’s visit to Armenia, there has been a definite improvement in the general atmosphere,” said Sinan Ulgen, head of the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, a think tank in Istanbul. “There have been a series of meetings that helped to overcome some of the lack of trust.”

Analysts agree that the key to translating this improved political climate into concrete steps to bring the two countries closer lies in the progress on the Karabakh issue.

Since a ceasefire ended the war over the enclave in 1994, Armenia and Azerbaijan have failed to resolve the dispute. At a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, in Moscow this month, Serzh Sarkisian, the president of Armenia, and Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, agreed to push for a “political settlement” but did not give details.

Mr Ulgen said Armenia was expected to make some kind of gesture in connection with the Karabakh question in the near future and that this step would enable Turkey to reciprocate by opening the border. “There is a new willingness on the Armenian side. They are aware that Turkey cannot move without it. This was made very clear to the Armenian government by the Turkish authorities.”

Cengiz Candar, one of the most respected foreign policy commentators in Turkey, wrote in yesterday’s Radikal newspaper that once the “Azerbaijan burden” had been lifted, Ankara would be able to move fast in improving relations with Armenia. “If there is no ‘traffic accident’, we will see a normalisation of Turkish-Armenian relations, which means the establishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of the ground border, in the first quarter of 2009,” Mr Candar wrote.

Mr Babacan and Mr Nalbandian agreed to continue bilateral talks. A highlight planned for the coming year is a visit by Mr Sarkisian to Turkey in October for another match between the two national football teams.

Such a visit would carry enormous significance. Armenia and many international experts said the government of what was then the Ottoman Empire decided to get rid of Armenians in Anatolia once and for all in 1915 and killed 1.5 million people; but Turkey, which puts the number of victims much lower, said the deaths were the result of a resettlement programme in chaotic wartime conditions and that many ethnic Turks were killed as well.

In an interview with the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman published yesterday, Mr Nalbandian indicated his government might be warming to the Turkish idea of creating a joint commission of historians to look into the disputed genocide issue. According to the newspaper, Mr Nalbandian said the position of his government concerning the commission had changed.

Also, the Turkish press has been reporting that the national carrier Turkish Airlines wants to start charter flights to Yerevan.

“There is a new climate to solve the problems in the region,” Mr Babacan said shortly before Mr Nalbandian’s visit to Istanbul. “This is an important window of opportunity.”

This window has been opened by many different developments that have come together, Mr Ulgen said. “There is a confluence of factors.” On the Turkish side, there is the personal initiative of Mr Gul as well as a recognition that the traditional “policy of obstructionism” towards Armenia had not paid off. Newspaper commentators also point to the possibility that the new administration in Washington may recognise the killings of the Armenians as genocide and that the best chance for Turkey to prevent that from happening is an improvement in relations with Armenia.

For its part, Armenia wants to break out of the isolation brought on by the simmering conflicts with neighbours Turkey and Azerbaijan. In addition, the Russian-Georgian war in the summer had demonstrated to the Armenians “that frozen conflicts in the region can come back to haunt leaders in the region”, Mr Ulgen said.

Although new steps, such as the establishment of official relations, would not directly address the thorny genocide question, Turkey has shown in its rapprochement with its western neighbour Greece in recent years that it is possible to put into place confidence-building measures and to improve relations without tackling the most sensitive issues head-on. Turkey and Greece are much closer today than they were 10 years ago, although they have made no progress in resolving their dispute concerning territorial claims in the Aegean.

Still, the much-praised window of opportunity in the Caucasus will not stay open forever. Turkey and Armenia will have to move quickly to come up with tangible improvements, such as a boom in cross-border trade, if they do not want to risk a rise of internal pressures pushing for a return to the old policies of enmity.

“Leaders should show their commitment for progress and show their populations concrete results,” Mr Ulgen said.

tseibert at thenational.ae

Armenia Ready To Supply Electricity In March 2009
Armenia is ready to start supplying its neighbor Turkey with electricity as early as March, an Armenian minister has said.

Armen Movsisian, Armenia's minister of energy and natural resources, said technical preparations for the sale of electricity to Turkey were still under way and that they were expected to be completed within the next six months, Armenian news agencies have reported. The electricity purchase comes as part of a deal between the two sides signed in September and is seen as a concrete step in the direction of normalization of ties between the two estranged neighbors.

Under the agreement, signed by Armenia's Energy Ministry, Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) and the Turkish electricity trading company UNIT, Armenia is to start supplying 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year and will eventually increase this annual volume to 3.5 billion.

Movsisian said the export of Armenian electricity to Turkey may begin on March 1 if Ankara completes all the required technical and legal arrangements by then. "A few days ago we received information from the Turkish side that the work is on its due course," the Armenian minister said. "We don't have any major work to be done on our part and expect to start the export of electricity at the planned time."

26 November 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN

Hope Prevails On Armenian Border
Abandoned since the border closed in 1993, the Akhurian train station in the province of Gumri once served as a transit point for goods traveling between Armenia and Turkey.
Armenian citizens are growing increasingly hopeful that a long-awaited opening of the country’s border with Turkey will occur in their lifetimes, easing the economic difficulties that this closure and the cutting off of ties between their country and Turkey have caused.


Hasmik Petrosyan is a 59-year-old Armenian primary school teacher living in the village of Shirakavan, which borders Turkey’s Kars province. With hospitality similar to her Turkish neighbors, she explains what life is like in her village as she invited a group of mostly Turkish visitors to her humble home filled with her warmth.

“The economy is very bad here. There is no water to drink, no water for agriculture. The village has no gas. There is no infrastructure. Before 1993, the situation was much better.”

She’s referring to the severed diplomatic ties between Armenia and Turkey, which closed its border in 1993 in protest of the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. The closure of the border has devastated the Armenian economy because the country is dependent on other countries for energy supplies and most raw materials.

As the only breadwinner at home, Petrosyan earns about $200; her bedridden husband gets $60 in pension a month. Her grown son and daughter cannot find work. But there is hope in her striking green eyes that things are going to get better, and her gloomy expression changes to a wide smile when she says, “We will smile when the border opens.”

Even in Yerevan, there are homes without gas and running water behind the brightness of Western-style shops and brand names lining some of the main streets of the capital. Petrosyan represents most Armenians, who believe that the economy will get better once the border is opened as Turkey and Armenia give positive signs that relations will improve.

In İstanbul on Monday, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian described the ongoing talks as "very positive and sincere." Before a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, he said that 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."

Land routes through Georgia and Iran are inadequate or unreliable for landlocked Armenia, which is forced to pay higher transit costs because of the closed border with Turkey, as 25 percent of Armenia's imports are from Turkey. Even though the Turkish province of Kars is 20 kilometers away, it takes at least 14 hours for a truck to reach Armenia through Georgia, increasing the costs for Armenia by at least 20 percent.

"It will mean economic activity for both sides and greater access to markets," said Richard Giragosian, an independent analyst who moved from the United States to Armenia about two years ago.

The trade volume between the two countries is $65 million even with closed borders. For Turkey, opening the border will be more important politically than economically.

"Turkey is an important energy hub, and it can expand that significance as a regional transit hub if the border is opened. It is also in line with Turkey's policies to engage in good relations with its neighbors," Giragosian said, adding that an open border would also benefit the Kurdish dominated regions economically.

Armenia has mines and rock and some construction materials for export. It mostly buys textiles and agricultural products from Turkey.

Armenian economy has improved following the 1994 cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh. New sectors, such as precious stone processing and jewelry making, information and communication technology and tourism have begun to supplement more traditional sectors such as agriculture.

Giragosian said the World Bank predicts an optimistic 10 percent rise in the gross domestic product (GDP), assuming that opening the border with Azerbaijan will follow, but several economists predict a more realistic 3 percent to 4 percent increase.

Similar to other newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, Armenia is struggling to make the transition from communism to a market economy. Its old Soviet trading partners are gone, and Russian investors have taken their place.

Professor Tatoul Manasserian from Yerevan State University said dependence on Russia is a threat for Armenia.

"Take out Russia, you don't have any foreign direct investment," he said. "Dependency is a growing threat to Armenia. An open border will lower risks for other investors."

He also said the Armenian government needs to create an environment favorable for investors because opening the border will be a shock to the Armenian system in which oligarchs are established to exploit.

"Many of the oligarchs are in the parliament. In the ruling Republican Party, there may be 10 deputies who are not oligarchs," Manasserian said.

There may be more forces in Armenia who would oppose opening the border with Turkey.

Giragosian explained that in addition to the oligarchs, there are nationalists, the Armenian diaspora, who press for the Turkish recognition of the Armenian genocide, and the Armenian military, which used the closed borders to exaggerate the defense spending by depicting Turkey as a threat.

Then why is the Armenian government ready to open the border when there are influential forces for the continuation of the status quo?

Giragosian said it's because public opinion is in favor of opening the border. Moreover, a Dashnak party (Armenian Revolutionary Federation or Dashnaktsutyun), currently a governing coalition member known for its nationalist stance, did not oppose the government's rapprochement with Turkey.

Manasserian is hopeful that Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan and Prime Minister Tigran Sarksyan can prepare the country for change because they are more flexible compared with former leaders.

"The most important thing is that Turkey and Armenia are talking to each other, have direct relations. Their talks are not mediated by others," he added.

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.

Turkish-Armenian relations have gained momentum after a regional crisis erupted following a Georgian military offensive in its Russian-backed breakaway region of South Ossetia. Ankara came up with a proposal to prevent future disputes. The Turkish government promoted an initiative called the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, supported by visits to Moscow, Tbilisi and Baku. Armenia also backed the idea.

Observers agree that the Caucasus stability initiative made Turkey directly engage with Armenia. The two sides have been secretly negotiating for the past two years.

26 November 2008, Wednesday
Yonca Poyraz Doğan Yerevan,


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