22 February 2009

2752) Media Scanner Feb 2009 (149 Items)

  1. ‘Turkey And Armenia Nearing Major Breakthrough In Relations’
  2. Barack Obama Might Not Use `Genocide' In His Speech
  3. Turks Keep Questioning Themselves About Armenia's Further Demands Upon Ankara's Recognition Of Genocide
  4. Armenian Turcologist: The Caucasus Platform Has No Future
  5. Barack Obama To Jeopardize His Image By Failing To Recognize The Armenian Genocide
  6. Turkey-Us Relations To Improve If No Wrong Steps On Armenian Issue
  7. Ministry Of Diaspora Affairs Board Holds First Meeting
  8. Turkish Nationalists Attempt To Suppress Ancc Representative's Speech
  9. Genocide Education Curriculum Materials Are In US Education Department WebSite, Now
  10. ASALA: Markar Esayan Ready To Make Excuses For Turks,
  11. Israel, Turkey And The Politics Of Genocide - Armenian Genocide: Collateral Damage In Gaza?
  12. ASALA Threatened Again…
  13. Our Relation Would Break With Turkey In The Event Of Adoption Of The Bill By The Congress
  14. Genocide Claims And Confrontation Story
  15. No, Mr. Gul, It Was True Then; It Is True Now! By Avedis Kevorkian
  16. Gen. Andranik's House In Galata In Varna Slated For Demolition, Armenian Union in Bulgaria
  17. ANCA Alerts Congress To Emerging Turkey-Sudan Axis Of Genocide
  18. Turkey Steps Up Talks With Armenia As April Loom (Yonca Poyraz Dogan)
  19. University Students Organize A Turkish-Armenian Dialogue Camp Arm Radio
  20. Migration: Armenians Continue To Leave The Country In Search Of Jobs (Marina Grigoryan)
  21. ANCC Challenges Prof. Ataov's Armenian Genocide Denial Campaign
  22. Analysts Say Obama Should Keep Having Close Relations with Turkey
  23. Film Inspired By Dink's Article
  24. Prof Dadoyan Lectures On "Islam And Armenians" Michigan Uni
  25. Gordon Taylor: Noah Myth
  26. Barack Obama Discusses Situation In Caucasus With Turkish President & PM
  27. USA's Obama Stresses Importance Of Turkish Premier's Role In Mideast Peace
  28. Obama Offers Support For Turkey-Iraq Relationship,
  29. Survey: Armenia & Zimbabwe Are Unhappiest Countries
  30. "History Of Armenia's Neighboring Countries" Book
  31. Vahan Dilanyan: Turkey Better Recognize Armenian Genocide
  32. They Do Not Know How To Return To Armenia
  33. Pallone Challenges Turkey's Genocide Hypocrisy
  34. On Mutual Perception Of Armenians In Turkey Melkonyan
  35. On Manifestaions Of Identity In Turkey, Melkonyan
  36. Armenian Academic Retracts Apology Campaign Over Fierce Reactions
  37. Ex Envoy: Armenians In US Stronger Than Before
  38. Turkish Groups Raise Concerns Over Obama’s Stance On Armenian Claims
  39. Belonging To Community: Is Political Affiliation Or Religious Stripe Necessary?
  40. “Unclench your fist & we will talk”: Hrant Dink & Victor Jara
  41. Apology, Thank You & Dialogues
  42. New Milestone For ‘Sorry’ Campaign In Turkey: “I’m Not Only Apologizing; I Am Also Returning All My Estates!”
  43. Pres. Obama's Drive to Free the U.S. from Tyranny of Oil Benefits Americans & Paves Way for Reunification of Armenia
  44. Soccer Diplomacy vs. ‘I Apologize’
  45. Need to Get Somewhere? Good Luck
  46. ‘Turkish & Armenian Businessmen Await Normalization Of Relations’
  47. Obama Call Raises Questions In Ankara About Afghanistan
  48. Nazi doctor claims Holocaust victims were Khazar Turks
  49. Turkish PM to meet U.S. President Obama at G-20 Summit
  50. Obama Welcomes Recent Restored Armenia-Turkey Dialogue
  51. Local Politicians Take Leaf Out Of Obama’s Book
  52. Painful historical issues divide Turkey & Armenia
  53. Suat Kiniklioglu: Hillary Clinton Has Key To Set Up Draft Law On So-Called Armenian Genocide
  54. Keep Turkish- Armenian Light Shining
  55. Sari Gelin’ Dvd Should Have No Place In Schools
  56. How Will Obama’s Presidency Affect Turkish Foreign Policy?
  57. Electronic Silk Road Between Caucasus & Europe
  58. Armenian Question Documentary Causes More Controversy
  59. Parris, Anti-Government Scholar Spar Over Turkey
  60. Armenian Genocide Debate Likely In Knesset
  61. Turkish FM Comments On RA President's Announcement Chaqrian
  62. President Obama Reminded About His Pledge To Recognize Armenian Genocide
  63. Turkish-American Relations In Obama Period By Laciner,
  64. Us Congressman Wexler: Turkish President Gul's Brave Armenian Policy Is Praiseworthy
  65. Obama Welcomes Recent Restored Armenia-Turkey Dialogue
  66. Turkey Watches Closely U.S. Policy On Armenia
  67. Armenian Advocacy Efforts In Europe & Mideast Get $5 Million Boost
  68. Battle Over Armenian Genocide Museum In D.C. Gets Nasty
  69. NSA Offering 'Billions' For Skype Eavesdrop Solution
  70. ASALA & 'Ukht Ararati' Union Of Former Political Prisoners & Freedom-Fighters Against Initiative By Sydney Uni Dr Kakavyan
  71. My State of Mind By Hrant Dink
  72. 500-Year Old Love Songs
  73. Diaspora; Armenians in Turkey
  74. `Hrant Dink: Heart of Two Nations'
  75. Obama Presidency:View from Turkey
  76. Turkish Officials Invite Obama To Alliance Of Civilizations Meeting
  77. Students Learn About Genocide, Social Activism in Canada Davis
  78. Let’s Remember Head Official Of Bogazliyan
  79. Serj Sarkisyan, Baron of Contradictions…
  80. Armenians In CHP (Turkish Opposition Party)
  81. "Armenian Rights Council Of Australia" Press Release
  82. Armenian Genocide Resolution To U.S. Congress By End February
  83. FRA Dachnaktsoutioun: Open Letter Addressed To Jack Lang
  84. Denial Of Armenian Genocide: Where Is The Survival Of Jewish People Is In Question, No Room For Moral
  85. Police Denies Wanting To Acquire Armenian In Turkey
  86. Armenians Are Mobilizing Congress To Get Recognition
  87. Erdogan's Hypocrisy Shouldn't Hurt Israel-Turkey Ties
  88. Obama Should Make A Turkey Trip L Hardy
  89. Us Armenians Launch New 'Genocide' Recognition Campaign
  90. Anti-Israel: Is Turkey Next Venezuela? A Kligman,
  91. Turkish Scholar Exposes Ankara's Vain Attempt To Split Armenia From Diaspora H Sassounian,
  92. Dangers Of Rejecting Turkey M Kaylan, Forbes
  93. Armenia, Diaspora Vulnerable Now
  94. Faulty Description Of Ignatius
  95. Dennis Papazian: I Have Nothing To Do With "Apology To Turks" Campaign
  96. Turkey: Longer View
  97. British Mp Calls On Turkey To Recognize Assyrian Rights
  98. Erdogan: "Shame If Efforts Made A Victim Of Armenian Diaspora"
  99. Armenians Still Demand Recognition & Reparation Of Genocide By Turkey
  100. Armenian & Turkish Fms Meet In Davos
  101. Turkey's Ruling Akp Removes Article Denying Holocaust From Its Web
  102. Will USA Adopt Genocide Resolution? A Haroutiunian
  103. Avi Shlaim: ‘Israel Needs Turkey More Than Turkey Needs Israel’
  104. Doing More Harm Than Good To Ottoman History
  105. Moderator: No Bad Intentions Toward PM
  106. Turkish Fm To Meet Armenian Counterpart At Munich Conference
  107. History Of Insurance In Ottoman Empire
  108. Ibrik, Ewers Of Ottomans
  109. Why Neo-Ottomanism Is Bad For Turkey
  110. "Intelligence Lies Leave Dink's Murder in Dark"
  111. Samantha Power Gets Top White House Job, Backs Armenian Claims
  112. Turkey Sees Armenian Government & Diaspora On Different Pages
  113. Impossible Not To Like American Democracy
  114. Armenians Reiterate Claims To Obama
  115. Look Everywhere But Backyard
  116. Even If Lobbyists Get Upset
  117. Senior Armenian Police Official Shot Dead
  118. Armenian Genocide Hypocrisies
  119. Erdog(an Makes Clear Distinction Between Diaspora & Yerevan
  120. "I Am A Tomb"
  121. Sydney Uni Prof Clarifies His Interview With Turkish Daily
  122. $5 Million Raised for ARF Political Activities :Dubai Gala
  123. Towards Roadmap Between Armenia & Turkey
  124. Erdogan Attacked Armenian Diaspora
  125. First Meeting Between Erdogan & Sarkissian In Davos
  126. Tashnaks Did Not Allow To Study At Archives
  127. Yerevan Talks Nonsense Again
  128. What Had Happened On January 19?
  129. Striking Determinations & Comments From Murat Bardakçi
  130. Statements From Archbishop That Create Turmoil!
  131. Dossier For Those Who Believe That Ottoman Archives Are Not Open
  132. No Foreign Interest in Official Records on Armenians
  133. General Staff Sheds Light On Armenian Reality
  134. Armenia,Turkey Close To Diplomatic Ties
  135. Cartoons Illustrate Lack Of Press Freedom In Turkey
  136. Armenian Genocide:Policy Statement By Erdogan's The Younger Brother
  137. Israel May Recognize Armenian Genocide To Spite Turkey
  138. Cartoons Tell Political Journey Of Turkey
  139. Legacy Of 1915 Genocide In Ottoman Empire Conference
  140. Taner Akçam: "Armenia is no longer taboo in Turkey "
  141. A Denial Conference
  142. Third Conference Featuring Turkish-Armenian Relations Was Hosted By Uk Turkish FederationLondra Gazete
  143. Armen Gavakian: I Never Said That Armenians Should Apologize To Turks
  144. Turkey Exposes Itself To Tsunami Of Political Misfortunes A Jabarian,
  145. Armenia May Once Be Surrounded By Turks
  146. Jewish Support At Us Congress Ö E Lütem
  147. German Officer During Armenian Genocide” Book Published In English
  148. "Former FrenchCultureMinister Can't Decide On Armenian Genocide "
  149. "100th Anniversary Of Massacres In Adana" Conference in Armenia


‘Turkey And Armenia Nearing Major Breakthrough In Relations’
Suat Kınıklıoğlu, deputy chairman for external affairs for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), has said Turkey and Armenia are within reach of a major breakthrough, thus an Armenian resolution at the US Congress at this time would be "extremely detrimental" to these unprecedented efforts for normalization.

The Armenian diaspora has already started pressuring American politicians over the "genocide resolution," calling for it to be brought to the floor of the US Congress. In addition, there are concerns that US President Barack Obama may use the word "genocide" in his statement marking April 24 -- the day when Armenians commemorate the alleged genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Kınıklıoğlu, who is also a deputy for the AK Party, said the Armenian diaspora appears to be totally indifferent to the Armenian government's desire to have normalized relations with Turkey.

"The diaspora is projecting an extremely negative influence on Yerevan. If they manage to push this through I believe this would be a historic example how a small ethnic diaspora subverts US national interests and causes great harm to a delicate region," he added.

Kınıklıoğlu, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's walkout at the Davos summit after an angry exchange with Israeli President Shimon Peres over Israel's deadly operation in Gaza last month, elaborated on the issue and more.

You were in the United States recently. What was the purpose of your visit?

We went to the United States with the purpose of attending a conference on the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative Prime Minister Erdoğan takes very seriously. I delivered a number of speeches in Atlanta and then moved on to Washington, D.C. The primary objective of my visit was really to engage with the new people in Washington due to the change in administration. We aimed at discussing the Turkish-American agenda and seeing what issues might come to the fore under the Obama administration.

Who did you see there and what are your impressions from your trip to Washington?

First of all, one cannot help but notice the deepening of the crisis in the US economy. It is on everyone's mind and President Obama was struggling to push another financial package through Congress while we were there. The new administration is very much preoccupied with the economic crisis and it seems to overwhelm everything else. We met with a number of congressmen and senators, as well as folks from the State Department. We also met with leaders of Jewish organizations and spoke at three events organized by think tanks. Overall we were very much satisfied with our trip and I thought that it was extremely timely for us to be there. Our trip, of course, coincided with the Davos incident. In fact, we were at the CNN International headquarters in Atlanta when we saw the breaking news on Al Jazeera first. Then, I received a message on my Blackberry from the Anatolia news agency and we immediately understood that something important was going on.

Future of Turkish-American partnership

So Davos was very much a part of your trip?

Indeed, it was, but we did not let that incident divert us from the main mission of our trip. After all, we wanted to talk to our American partners about the future of the Turkish-American partnership. I do not think it is necessary to repeat the obvious about the last eight years but you know the relationship has been strained very much. As Obama won the election and began to line up a truly impressive team in the White House and the administration in general, we wanted to get on with our issues early on and get down to business with our partners in Washington.

The unfortunate event at Davos has, in my opinion, made our meetings even timelier as we obtained the opportunity to clarify our position on the Gaza war and the miserable human tragedy there. Our meeting with Robert Wexler, the co-chairman of the US-Turkey Caucus in the US Congress, as well as the leaders of the Jewish organizations proved to be very constructive. We registered their concerns and took note of their views but respectfully disagreed on the Gaza war and the overreaction by the Israeli government. I believe that regardless of what the causes for the Israeli aggression in Gaza were that the war resulted in gross human rights violations as well as the violation of the Geneva Protocol and the Hague Convention. We were particularly concerned by allegations about the use of white phosphorus shells in Gaza. The US-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch also called on Israel to stop using white phosphorus shells. I do not believe the security of Israel, Palestine or our region has been enhanced by this war. On the contrary, it is likely to breed more violence. That said, our meetings were more forward-looking and aiming at containing the tension between our countries. The leaders of the Jewish organizations underlined that they value the relationship with Turkey and that they do not want a break.

Lastly, we cannot overlook the fact that Prime Minister Erdoğan felt deeply offended by the fact that Prime Minister Olmert visited Ankara and discussed the fifth round of talks between Israel and Syria just days before the war on Gaza. In my opinion, Olmert should never have come to Ankara. It put us in a very awkward position. After all our efforts in the Israel-Syria talks I do not think we deserved to be put in such a situation.

Did the issue of anti-Semitism come up?

You know Prime Minister Erdoğan has condemned anti-Semitism on a number of occasions. In fact he has called it a crime against humanity. He is very strong on this. We do not accept the charge of anti-Semitism. This is about concrete policy of a particular leadership in Israel and has nothing to do with the people of Israel or Jews throughout the world. On the contrary, Turkey has always been very hospitable to Jews throughout history -- be it in 1492 or after World War II. We have always embraced them and these lands have been among the rare places where Jews lived comfortably. I met many Turkish Jews on a Foreign Affairs Committee trip in May 2008. They are fine people trying to build a bridge between our countries; however, I have also visited the town of Sderot near Gaza and seen the rockets fired from Gaza. While sympathizing with the fear that the citizens of that city feel and agreeing with them that this cannot be condoned, in no way could the war on Gaza be justified by that. The true path to peace in the region goes through the recognition that all parties must be engaged in a peace process. Regrettably, the Gaza War has increased the risk for more violence and will not enhance the security of Israel. The graphic images of the war have been ingrained in the subconscious of global public opinion.

What about rumors of an Armenian resolution to be brought to the US Congress again?

While we were in Washington we were informed of a new push to bring an Armenian resolution to the House. Of course, we are extremely upset about the necessity to spend our energy on this issue every fall but we are not going to let the Armenian diaspora get its way. This year, I am particularly concerned because it would be a pity to see Turkish-American relations severed at a time when we were preparing to do what Obama-Biden described in their policy statement on Europe as "rebuilding the strategic partnership with Turkey." As someone who spent considerable time in maintaining and strengthening the Turkish-American partnership I am most concerned with the potential this resolution -- if it is brought to the table -- has to damage our bilateral relationship. It seems totally inconsistent with the objectives of the new administration in our region to push this forward, but we do not know what will transpire in the coming weeks. Secondly, the situation between Turkey and Armenia is different. A major difference from 2007 when H.R. 106 was stopped at the last minute is that since last summer Turkey and Armenia have been engaged in a historic process of normalization between our countries. We are within reach of having a major breakthrough between Turkey and Armenia. More importantly, Azerbaijan is also on board and this is no small achievement given the complexity of the issue. Recent developments have the potential to turn the South Caucasus into a zone of real peace, stability and integration. Bringing an Armenian resolution at this time would not only be extremely detrimental to these historic efforts but would also be interpreted as very disrespectful to Turkey's sincere efforts. Just as we felt offended by the one-sided action of Israel when we were hosting the peace talks between Israel and Syria, this would be equally detrimental. If there is a genuine desire to have a major breakthrough in the South Caucasus -- which I know the State Department has -- we need to make sure that this irresponsible resolution will never make it to the floor.

Also, I think it would be timely to underline an important and for me astounding fact. The Armenian diaspora appears to be totally indifferent to the Armenian government's desire to normalize relations with Turkey. The diaspora is projecting an extremely negative influence on Yerevan. All they care about is one word and that is it. If they manage to push this through I believe this would be a historic example of how a small ethnic diaspora subverts US national interests and causes great harm to a delicate region. I am confident that there are enough responsible people on all three sides to prevent this from happening, especially when all the stars are lined up to make a historic rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia a reality.

What about the Jewish lobby's position on the Armenian resolution?

As you know in the past the Jewish lobby had sided with Turkey on this, but in 2007 we saw some Jewish congressmen breaking the ranks and switching to the Armenian side. The late Tom Lantos was a good example. After Davos, conventional wisdom dictates that the Jewish lobby will not oppose an Armenian resolution. I am not so sure about that and really do not want to comment further. We will see how they will position themselves. After all, this is their decision.

Are you hopeful for the future of the relationship between Turkey and the United States?

Actually, I am. Despite all sorts of reasons that may point to the contrary I believe that the tough times are behind us and that we will be able to work together. If we can overcome the untimely nuisance of the Armenian resolution there is good reason to be optimistic. We have a lot of issues on our agenda ranging from Afghanistan to the nuclearization of the region, Middle East peace process to energy security and others. US support for Turkey's membership drive to the European Union will be more valuable at this time. I believe both Turkey and the US have mutual interests which necessitate us working together. Turkey has become a regional power and is destined to further solidify its position in its immediate environment. As a NATO member with a UN Security Council seat for the next two years, a G-20 member and a candidate country to the EU, Turkey has a lot to offer to its neighborhood. Our American and European allies underline the utility and value of our new regional posture. It is evident in almost every aspect of our neighborhood policy, ranging from the peace talks between Israel and Syria to the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform. We are encouraged by the positive feedback we receive from our friends. Yet, I am somewhat concerned with some practical facts.

Some Americans should make the mental shift about Turkey

Like what?

About how much time and attention the new administration will have for Turkey. Is Turkey policy going to be the derivative of Obama's Middle East policy or Iran policy or Europe policy? Or will there be a Turkey policy on its own, which is what is needed. The economic crisis in the US even further complicates the picture. Obama knows he needs to fix the economy if he wants to be re-elected. Hence, I doubt that the new administration will be able to appropriately prioritize Turkey in their foreign policy agenda. If Turkey were to come into the picture within the framework of the administration's Middle East policy this would be problematic. What we expect first is that President Obama's first European trip will include Ankara and that the president emphasizes to our European partners how much he values Turkey's membership in the EU. This would be a marvelous start between our great countries and a very constructive step in rebuilding the strategic partnership. As Ambassador [Marc] Grossman used to say, the Turkish-American relationship is not a natural relationship -- it needs constant care and attention to prosper.

What do you see as a major challenge in Turkish-American relations?

I have said for a number of years now that the primary challenge in the relationship is the inability of some Americans to make the mental shift about Turkey. Turkey is no longer the Cold War satellite state which came under consideration within a purely security outlook. Turkey has grown into something else. It is a functioning democracy; it has a young and dynamic population and a growing economy. Most importantly, it has growing awareness of its past and is going through a renaissance about its Ottoman heritage. The neighborhood policy we started to implement in 2002 has sparked an enormous process whereby Turkey began to reintegrate with its immediate environment -- be it in the Balkans, the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Middle East or the eastern Mediterranean. The architect behind this policy is Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu. He articulated it in such a manner that it blew me away when I first read his treatise "Strategic Depth." The greatest challenge in the relationship is to complete this mental shift and restructure our partnership accordingly. Once you do that our American friends will see that Turkey has become a country whose destiny has meaning way beyond its national borders. What happens in Turkey, what is said about Turkey and how Turkey is treated is very closely monitored by a wide geography which includes the Middle East, the larger Muslim world and even Southeast Asia. Turkey is a great experiment that must succeed. My measuring stick for that success is that Turkey becomes a full member in the European Union and is a respectable member of this new union. The moment we have the US with us on this -- I mean acknowledging that Turkey's fate has repercussions beyond Turkey's borders and therefore should be a primary concern for Washington -- we will have a great possibility to work together.

What are your thoughts on recent comments related to Turkey turning away from the West?

Turkey's security is enhanced by its reintegration with its neighborhood. I would like to reiterate that our neighborhood policy is not at the expense of our Western vocation. On the contrary, it is complementary to it. Interpreting Turkey's neighborhood policy as a shift in our orientation does gross injustice to our efforts and totally ignores the sophistication behind our regional outreach. Turkey will be -- just like the double-headed eagle symbolizing the coat of arms of the Seljuk Turkish Empire -- looking to both the East and West. This is what our geography, our history and regional identity dictate.
22 February 2009, Ali Aslan Kiliç -Zaman


Panorama.am 21/02/2009 Barack Obama Might Not Use `Genocide' In His Speech
Taking into account various geo-political events, Turkey has become important for the United States, hence it is possible that the President of the U.S. Barack Obama does not keep his promise and not mention `Genocide' in his speech on 24 April, said the Director of Oriental Studies Institute of the National Academy of Sciences Rouben Safrastyan in a press conference.

R. Safrastyan said that the target of the foreign policy of the U.S. has been changed with the new President's Administration and currently the highlight of their foreign policy is Afghanistan. Turkey is long to support the U.S. and they have started the discussions over this point. It is much talked that America will establish military bases in the territory of Turkey.
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Armenian Expert: Us Will Refrain Naming 1915 Incidents As "Genocide" Hurriyet
U.S. President Baracak Obama will refrain from naming the 1915 incident as "genocide" since his country will need Turkey's support for Afghanistan policy, the latest key factor in U.S. foreign policy, an Armenian expert claimed on Saturday.

"The U.S. key dimension is Afghanistan, which sidelined Iran and Iraq," PanArmenia.net website quoted professor Ruben Safrastyan, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the RA National Academy of Sciences, as saying.

Washington would need Ankara's support for this purpose, Safrastyan said, adding that "proceeding from national interests, Obama will not use the term ‘genocide’ in his annual April 24 statement."

The Armenian lobby organizations put their efforts to have recognized their claims regarding the 1915 incidents to U.S. Congress. During the election campaign, Obama had pledged to recognize the Armenian claims.

Turkey says it would be unfair to accept a one-sided characterization of the incidents by ignoring independent and impartial assessments by historian and scholars, reminding casualties suffered by Ottoman Muslims during World War One.

"Keep in mind that CIS chief (Leon Panetta) arrived in Turkey immediately after Obama’s phone talks with President (Abdullah) Gul and Prime Minister (Tayyip) Erdogan," he was also quoted as saying adding that Panetta was reported to discuss a possibility of deploying of a U.S. base in Turkey.

The issue of 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.


Turks Keep Questioning Themselves About Armenia's Further Demands Upon Ankara's Recognition Of Genocide 21.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ For the last 1.5 years dramatic changes have occurred in Armenian-Turkish relations, including the attempts at improvement of relationships, which have never been made before, the member of Armenian National Academy of Sciences, Director of Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Law Gevorg Poghosyan told a news conference.

"In 2005 public opinion polls were conducted in Armenia and Turkey to analyze relationships between Armenian and Turkish people. According to poll results, there were few who believed any improvement was possible", the sociologist said.

"According to poll results, Armenians have a clear perception of the Turks. Turks' perception of Armenia and Armenians is rather indistinct. They maintain normal attitude towards their neighbor's being an Armenian, whereas Armenians assume a negative attitude toward the possibility of their neighbor's being a Turk," Gevorg Poghosyan emphasized.

"This fact is accounted for Armenians having been the victims of the Turkish government. Besides Armenians have no previous experience of co-residing with Turks. The Armenian People have a psychological complex concerning their relationships with the Turks. The complex is deeply- rooted as it has been passed on from generation to generation. Turks keep questioning themselves about Armenia's further demands upon Ankara's recognition of the Genocide. This issue became a pressing one," the sociologist said.

"A new public opinion poll is planned in September 2009. In his opinion, the results of the new poll to be publicized in November 2009 will register significant differences as compared to 2005," he said.

"In 2005 around 20% of Turkish population knew or spoke about the Armenian Genocide, and now their number grew dramatically. In the past many people excluded the possibility of opening the border between Armenia and Turkey and today the issue is being actively discussed," Gevorg Poghosyan said.


Armenian Turcologist: The Caucasus Platform Has No Future 2009-02-21
ArmInfo. Turkey's initiative on creating the Caucasus Stability and Security Platform has no future and can't be implemented, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, turcologist Rouben Safrastyan told journalists, Saturday. "The matter is that three countries of the South Caucasus will have to sign a common document and carry out joint actions aimed at maintaining security in the South Caucasus with two countries which are no part of this region. But how can, for instance, Georgia having problems with Russia, or Azerbaijan having problems with Armenia sign such a document?" - Safrastyan said. According to him, this initiative is a diplomatic phenomenon often applied when a proposal, in which not the goal but the process itself is important, is put to discussion. "The process is profitable for Russia and Turkey", he said. The process will give Russia to demonstrate to the USA that the latter has nothing to do in the Caucasus, and as regards Turkey, the process will give it an opportunity to create a kind of counterweight to the military-political domination of Russia in the Caucasus which was fixed after the South-Ossetian conflict, and to show that it is also an important regional player",- Safrastyan concluded.


Barack Obama To Jeopardize His Image By Failing To Recognize The Armenian Genocide 2009-02-21
ArmInfo. Barack Obama will jeopardize his image not only in the USA but also outside its borders by failing to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Gevorg Poghosyan said at today's press-conference. According to Poghosyan, this is the problem of the US president, and Armenia can neither predict his steps nor lay any conditions. "Let's hope that he is a serious politician unlike the previous US president. If he breaks his pre-election campaign, this may have a serious effect on his image both in the US and outsides its borders",- he concluded.


Hürriyet February 21, 2009 Turkey-Us Relations To Improve If No Wrong Steps On Armenian Issue
Turkey hopes the new Washington administration will understand the importance of the country before it takes a step to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incident, the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. said.

"The Turkish nation is ready to struggle altogether (against the efforts to have the Armenian claims recognized in the U.S.). Therefore I hope that the officials in the new U.S. administration will understand the importance of Turkey, the meaning of this issue to the Turkish people and the harm it will bring to the Turkish-American relations," Ambassador Nabi Sensoy told reporters in New York late on Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pledged to recognize the Armenian claims during the election campaign.

So far the Washington administration had stepped in to block the legislations in the Congress that would recognize the Armenian claims due to the strategic partnership between Turkey and the U.S.

Sensoy recalled in 2007 he was called back to Ankara to protest the attempts to have the Armenian claims recognized in the Congress.

"That happened for the first time in our history. This was a protest of the American policy. Everybody understood the seriousness of the issue and retreated from taking such wrong step. Now we face the same danger," he was quoted as saying by the state-run Anatolian Agency.

The issue of the 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.

TURKEY-ARMENIA CLOSE TO NORMALIZATION
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his hopes for the normalization of the relations with Armenia as well as both sides to open up archives and the Yerevan administration is expected to adopt a similar approach, Sensoy added.

"I am glad to declare that the two countries are close to normalizing relations... I had gone through what happened in 2007 and I don't want to see this period repeated," the ambassador said, adding "We have to focus on the positive sides of the bilateral relations."

He also warned that there is a good chance for Turkey and Armenia to discuss directly the issues unless there is a legislation or statement recognizing the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents.


Ministry Of Diaspora Affairs Board Holds First Meeting 21.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The board of the Armenian Ministry of Diaspora Affairs held Friday its first meeting under the presidency of Minister Hranush Hakobyan.

The agenda included the Ministry's action plan for 2009 and assistance programs to the Armenian communities in Latin America and Georgia.

Members of the board are representatives of the Armenian intelligentsia and Diaspora.

`This will help us join efforts for resolutions of problems. Our counterparts abroad can send their proposals and remarks via Internet,' Minister Hakobyan said.


Turkish Nationalists Attempt To Suppress Ancc Representative's Speech 20.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian National Committee of Canada's (ANCC) Executive Director Aris Babikian challenged Turkish professor Turkkaya Ataov's attempt to deny the historic reality of the Armenian Genocide during the latter's lecture at the Ryerson University on Feb. 18. Prof. Ataov's presentation was titled "How to come to terms with one's past", ANCC reports.

When Babikian tried to correct Prof. Ataov's erroneous statements regarding the Armenian Genocide, and the Turkish professor's accusations that the Western world was racist, anti-Islamic and practiced genocidal policies, many of the Turkish nationalists in the audience tried to silence Babikian. When Babikian insisted on being heard, some of the organizers turned off the microphone and threatened Babikian with forceful removal from the podium.

Babikian reminded the audience that they are living in Canada and not in Turkey and that freedom of speech is one of the most cherished rights of Canadians, specially in academic settings. After Babikian's condemnation of Turkish nationalists' anti-democratic behavior, the ANCC executive director was allowed to make his statement, challenging Prof. Ataov's boiler-plate propaganda. Babikian also condemned Prof. Ataov's use of the "religion card" to justify his accusations against the West. Earlier in his lecture Ataov had accused Western countries of killing five million Muslims in the Balkan and in the Caucasus. Ataov's manner was condescending towards the West and his audience. Babikian asked Atoav how did he reconcile his statement that only two Armenians were killed on April 24, 1915 with Talaat Pasha's, Minister of Interior and the main architect of the Armenian Genocide, diary ("Black Book") which stated that 924,158 Armenians had been killed by the Turkish government. Talaat also kept a detailed account of Armenians deported from each city, county, and province. Babikian also questioned the credibility of the historians Ataov cited as experts on the Armenian Genocide, such as Justin McCarthy, Gunther Lewy, Sanford Show, and Andrew Mango. Babikian then read "British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies'" evaluation of McCarthy's work as `junk food, junk bonds and now junk history'. Babikian reminded Ataov and the audience about the testimony of 100 Holocaust scholars, International Association of Genocide Scholars, the International Centre for Transitional Justice and hundreds of other scholars and historians who have contradicted Ataov's claims and the Turkish Government's denial of the Armenian Genocide.

When Babikian tried to question some of Ataov answers, Turkish nationalists once again tried to suppress Babikian from speaking. Embarrassed by his compatriots behavior and as a face-saving measure, Ataov invited Babikian to the stage to stand next to him and to continue the discussion. Babikian and Ataov continued to discuss many relevant issues to the Armenian Genocide.

After the event, Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of the ANCC, said that he `condemned the behavior of the Turkish nationalists and their attempt to intimidate and silence a Canadian, while trying to deny him one of the most basic human rights to freedom of thought which is enshrined in our constitution."

Dr. Basmadjian added: "The modus operandi of these nationalists is indicative and reminiscent of the Turkish government's modus operandi in suppressing freedom of speech and silencing anyone who dares to challenge the official Turkish government narrative of the Armenian Genocide under article 301 of the Turkish penal code." The persecution of award-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk and many other righteous Turks, and the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist are eloquent examples of these policies,' said Dr. Basmadjian.

Genocide Education Curriculum Materials Are In US Education Department WebSite, Now
“Remembering Our Past? Educating Our Future” is pleased to announce and introduce the Genocide Education Curriculum Materials

Now Available on the Rhode Island Department of Education Website

Curriculum Materials will also be on Display

Sunday, March 1, 2009 2-4pm
Providence Marriott Hotel
1 Orms Street, Providence, Rhode Island

This event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of
Aram Garabedian (Originator of the Genocide Curriculum Bill passed into law in 2000).

Rhode Island Department of Education

ASALA: Markar Esayan Ready To Make Excuses For Turks, 10 February 2009 by Stéphane / armenews
Markar Esayan, editor of the Turkish daily Taraf has apologized to Turkey for the killings committed by Asala (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia).

According Markar Esayan people who do not approve the actions of the administration in 1915 did not need to ask forgiveness because they have no connection with these events. He said his side have not ever felt guilty or responsible for the murders committed by the ASALA "But, he says, I am sad now up to each person who had been murdered. Some people ask the Armenians ask for forgiveness first. If this could cause a profit I would make excuses about all these crimes. "

Markar Esayan claiming the friendship of most of the initiators of the petition of apology which are close friends to him. He claims that naturally support their initiative.


Israel, Turkey And The Politics Of Genocide - Armenian Genocide: Collateral Damage In Gaza? GERALD CAPLAN Globe and Mail January 23, 2009

President Obama — I love saying those words — has momentarily united the world. Almost. Among the exceptions, though barely noticed by the mainstream media, is the estrangement of Turkey and Israel, previously staunch allies in the turbulent Middle East.

At first blush, this alliance may seem counterintuitive, but in fact it makes good strategic sense for both countries. Israel gets a warm working relationship with one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, while enriching Israel's all-important industrial-military complex. Less than two months ago, for instance, came the news of a deal worth $140-million to Israeli firms to upgrade Turkey's air force. In the hard-boiled, realpolitik terms that determine Israel's strategies, it's a no-brainer. Almost.

In return, Turkey gets military, economic and diplomatic benefits. But it also gets something less tangible, something that matters deeply for reasons hard for outsiders to grasp. As part of the Faustian bargain between the two countries, a succession of Israeli governments of all stripes has adamantly refused to recognize that in 1915 the Turkish government was responsible for launching a genocide against its Armenian minority. Some 1.5-million Armenian women, men and children were successfully killed.

I should make clear that this Israeli position is not held casually. On the contrary. Over the years Israelis, with a few notably courageous exceptions, have actually worked against attempts to safeguard the memory of the Armenian genocide. (The bible on this issue is the excellent book by an Israeli, Yair Auron, called The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide, 2003.)

For many, this may well be a pretty esoteric sidebar to the world's many crises. But readers need to understand that every Turkish government for almost a century now has passionately denied that a genocide took place at all. Yet the vast majority of disinterested scholars of genocide have publicly affirmed that it was indeed a genocide, one of the small number in the 20th century (with the Holocaust and Rwanda) that have incontestably met the definition set down in the UN's 1948 Genocide Convention.

For Armenians in the Western world, even after 94 years, nothing is more important than persuading other governments to recognize this. For Turkish authorities, even after 94 years, nothing is more important than preventing that recognition. In that pursuit, Israel has been perhaps Turkey's most powerful ally. After all, if the keepers of the memory of the Holocaust don't acknowledge 1915, why should anyone else?

But the Israeli-Turkish bargain goes well beyond Israel. Not only is Israel, of all the unlikely states in the world, a genocide denier, but also many established Jewish organizations in other countries, especially the United States, have followed suit. In the United States, those who argue that denying the Holocaust is psychologically tantamount to a second holocaust have taken the lead in pressuring presidents and Congress against recognizing the reality of 1915. Resolutions calling for recognition are regularly pushed by American-Armenians and their many supporters. Jewish groups regularly lead the opposition. Some believe that members of these groups in fact understand perfectly well the rights and wrongs of the case. But a mindset that backs any and all Israeli government initiatives trumps all else. And successfully. Repeated attempts in Congress to pass this resolution has failed, even though the list of nations that now recognizes the Armenian genocide has grown steadily and, thanks to Stephen Harper, now includes Canada.

It is this rather unseemly, if not unholy, Israeli-Turkish deal that has been among the many victims of the latest Israeli attack on Gaza. Whether the Israelis anticipated it or not, the Turkish government turned against its erstwhile ally with a vengeance, pulling few punches. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan accused Israel of "perpetrating inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction. Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents." Mr. Erdogan described Israel's attack on Gaza as "savagery" and a "crime against humanity."

Israel formally described this language as "unacceptable" and certain Israeli media outlets have raised the stakes. The Jerusalem Post editorialized that given Turkey's record of killing tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq, "we're not convinced that Turkey has earned the right to lecture Israelis about human rights." Israel's deputy foreign minister was even more pointed: "Erdogan says that genocide is taking place in Gaza. We [Israel] will then recognize the Armenian-related events as genocide." Suddenly, genocide turns into a geopolitical pawn.

It isn't easy to choose a winner in the cynicism stakes here. Here's what one Turkish columnist, Barcin Yinanc, shrewdly wrote: "When April comes, I can imagine the [Turkish] government instructing its Ambassador to Israel to mobilize the Israeli government to stop the Armenian initiatives in the U.S. Congress. I can hear some Israelis telling the Turkish Ambassador to go talk to Hamas to lobby the Congress."

I'm guessing some readers work on the naïve assumption that an event is deemed genocidal based on the facts of the case. Silly you. In the real world, you call it genocide if it bolsters your interests. If it doesn't, it's not. It's actually the same story as with preventing genocide.

What happens now? Candidate Obama twice pledged that he would recognize the Armenian claim of genocide. But so had candidate George W. Bush eight years earlier, until he was elected and faced the Turkish/Jewish lobby. Armenian-Americans and their backers are already pressing Mr. Obama to fulfill his pledge. With the Turkish-Israeli alliance deeply strained, the position of the leading Jewish organizations is very much in question this time. Whatever the outcome, be sure that politics, not genocide, will be the decisive factor.

Gerald Caplan, author of The Betrayal of Africa, writes frequently on issues related to genocide.


ASALA Threatened Again…
The following was stated in the news entitled “ASALA Guarantees Gakavyan`s Life” (*) Armenia’s "Azg" (Nation) newspaper, which is published on the web, on 12 February 2009:

The step that was taken by Armen Gakavyan, who is the professor at the Macqurie University in Australia/ Sydney and the co-president Turkish-Armenian group, for apologizing to Turks for killings conducted by ASALA, is mentioned at the statement that was distributed by Independence Fighters called “Ararat Oath” of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia organization and the Association of Former Political Prisoners and yesterday. While ASALA declared at the end of the statement that it was right for its actions that were perpetrated during 70th and 90th years, it announced that it will guarantee Garakyan’s life if he states to the public opinion that he abandons his order, he apologizes from the 1915-1923 genocide victims and the generations that were left stateless and he informs the judicial authorities with “the names of the people that has led him to the crime”.

We should make clear that Mr Armen Gakayyan had notified the Armenian press and Armenian broadcasting organs and also us with the statement he sent to our newspaper that even though he expressed his sincere thoughts during an interview that was published at the Turkish Radical daily newspaper, his point of view was distorted by an editor at an article and he had neither apologized for Armenian nation nor for his friends.

We think that Australian Armenian politician did not estimate the tradition of distorting the truth of the Turkish press and put himself into a difficult position by taking this unplanned step.

Of Course, the most interesting of all was the racist incongruity of ASALA’s threat, which marks the 21st century. Tashnak origin organization is able to appear and threaten despite its dark past, which demonstrates the point where the secret relations have reached and how the slaughters never have any limits.

…and most tragic of all, Armenia is unable to oppose these threatening and is simply unable to condemn!

(*) Source:http://www.azg.am/EN/2009021202 www.genocidereality.com/


Our Relation Would Break With Turkey In The Event Of Adoption Of The Bill By The Congress
While it is reported that a new “Armenian genocide” bill will be presented to the US Congress at the end of this month, General Brent Scowcroft, who had served as the National Security Advisor to the White House for the Ford and Bush administrations, has warned that in the event of adoption of the Armenian bill by the Congress, it will have a great psychological impact on the US-Turkey relations. Scowcroft said: “Turks are our reliable ally and we are extremely dependent to Turkey in our activities at the Middle East over the logistic support.”

In an interview with The Harvard Political Review magazine, which is published by the prestigious Harvard University in the USA, General Scowcroft stated that although an “Armenian genocide” bill which would be adopted by the Congress would not have a practical impact; it is a “political matter”. Scowcroft said: “However, it is a political matter in the USA and Armenian Diaspora is putting pressure for its adoption. Therefore, I believe it is an active issue. In the event of its adoption, it would pose a great psychological harm at the US-Turkey relations. Turks are our reliable ally and we are extremely dependent to Turkey in our activities at the Middle East over the logistic support.”

Indicating that Turkey has proposed to submit all the documents to a commission that would be compromised of independent historians and are willing to except the outcome, Scowcroft said: “It seems to me that this is the intelligent way to solve the issue.”

Source: Cumhuriyet Daily Newspaper-09.02.2009 17.02.2009 www.genocidereality.com


Genocide Claims And Confrontation Story
Lately, it is frequently encountered with the statements of “we should confront our history” or “we should confront with our past” at the certain wings. It seems as if no film that is not shot, no scenario that is not produced, or no novel that is not written is left in this context. Of course, confronting with facts also means to establish the future on a stronger basis. The unfair treatment or mistakes on this matter should be condemned and what should be done must be done. However, 6-7 September incidents or declaring a society as almost guilty or a sinner over the exchange or wealth tax, is not an innocent attitude. It is extremely evident that under the disguise of “confrontation” someone is conducting a psychological action against the Turkish nation and history. We should not be deceived by this.

The ones, who make calls for recognizing “genocide” from outside and “confrontation” from inside, serve the same goal. As a matter of fact, every single day a claim is put forward which accuses Turkish nation and slanders Turkish history. It seems like the ones who put pressure for “recognizing genocide” and “confrontation” as well as campaigners for “apologizing” is all moving on the mutual basis. In this context, every society attempt to attract attention and be the center of interest by putting forward a genocide claim.

Because these people think that Turkey is sensitive at “genocide” claims. And they attempt to strike Turkey from this point. The genocide accusation started with the “Armenian genocide “claims, which is in fact a diplomatic trading. The Armenian claims, which contain a strong Diaspora, great finance, active media and powerful allies, continue to upset Turkey effectively at the international arena. The motivation of the other groups was caused by the support that was received both within the country and abroad at this dimension. Following Armenians, Pontus was at the circuit. They also started to talk about how they were offended during the 15th century. After that, Greeks of Turkish nationality, who had invaded Anatolia, claimed that they were also massacred. Later that, “Nasturi”s were on the agenda with the similar claims.

Nowadays, “Yezidi”s is at the circuit. They Yezidis, who inhabit in Iraq, have claimed by writing a letter to US President Obama that one million of their people were killed by the Ottoman Empire in 1916. Yezidis demanded Obama to put pressure for the recognition of the 1916 incidents as genocide. Moreover, they have claimed that the support that they had given to the Armenians was the reason for the massacre.

The owners of these claims are the elements, which are the products of the treachery that are planted by the Western powers for years. The target of these powers is to demonstrate the nations and lands that they were unable to invade, and they could not manage to place them under their sovereignty, as if they are cursed and immoral. That is what is done.

Some people in Turkey are having difficulty at carrying the responsibility of this great nation and its history. Some people are in an attempt of creating an identity and history for themselves over the Turkish nation by exploiting this infirmity. In this context, the slanders and accusations which come from the foreigners are not incomprehensible. However, the things that are done by the ones, who are ashamed of dominating the lands they live and the ones, who comprehend their history as do the colonial powers, is incomprehensible. Even if the nation forgives the ones, who present themselves as the toys of the Western goals, the history will not!
Source: Özcan Yeniçeri-Yeniçağ Daily Newspaper www.genocidereality.com


No, Mr. Gul, It Was True Then; It Is True Now! By Avedis Kevorkian
The world missed an anniversary--the 132nd--in May of last year. Which is nothing new, it has been "missing" this anniversary for 131 years.

I refer to the "massacres of the Bulgarians," in 1876. It was big in those days, and some politicians got their unmentionables in a twist about it. But, like all matters concerning Turkish atrocities, it was short-lived.

However, one politician--"Statesman," really, since he is among the last to truly deserve the title--did something. He was William E. Gladstone, who was later to take up the cause of another people who were victims of Turkish atrocities. Not satisfied with speaking against it, he wrote a damning pamphlet which "flew off the presses," and sold upwards of 40,000 in just a few days. It is said only the much-anticipated "Childe Harold," by Lord Byron, earlier in the century, sold more copies faster.

One writer, André Maurois, was to write of the massacres: ". . .the Turks, the one great anti-human specimen of humanity. . .there was not a criminal in European jails, not a cannibal. . .whose indignation would not rise at the recital of what had been done." I am indebted to Prof. Vahakn Dadrian for that quote.

But, there was another writer who also noted the event.

Readers may get an insight into the workings of what passes for my mind, when I try to explain why I am, now, delving into history--and literature. Last year--after Ankara had successfully defeated HR106 (the ill-fated Genocide-recognition bill, which the Dummycrats in Washington mishandled badly), Turkeys President Abdullah Gul joyfully announced the death of the measure by saying something along the lines of "We Turks would never do such things [Genocide], and we Turks have never done these things."

I knew from my knowledge of history that the Turks have always done such things. Over the centuries, they have, in one way or other, mistreated every one of the minorities who have had the misfortune to be a subject people. To their credit, the Turks are non-discriminating equal-opportunity murderers--they have killed Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims. But, I wander.

I recalled that Fyodor Dostoyevsky had something to say about the Bulgarian massacres. It has taken me this long to stop pushing the note around my desk and to seek it out. Give me a break, Folks, it's a long book.

It is the cynical brother Ivan Karamazov speaking to his holy brother Alexey, in "The Brothers Karamazov," first published in 1880:
"By the way, not so long ago a Bulgarian in Moscow told me," Ivan went on, as though not bothering to listen to his brother, "of the terrible atrocities committed all over Bulgaria by the Turks and Circassians who were afraid of a general uprising of the Slav population. They burn, kill, violate women and children, nail their prisoners' ears to fences and leave them like that till next morning when they hang them, and so on--it's impossible to imagine it all. And, indeed, people sometimes speak of man's 'bestial' cruelty, but this is very unfair and insulting to the beasts: a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so ingeniously, so artistically cruel. A tiger merely gnaws and tears to a piece, thats all he knows. It would never occur to him to nail men's ears to a fence and leave him like that overnight, even if he were able to do it. These Turks, incidentally, seemed to derive a voluptuous pleasure from torturing children, cutting a child out of a mother's womb with a dagger and tossing babies up in the air and catching them on a bayonet before the eyes of their mothers. It was doing it before the eyes of their mothers that made it so enjoyable. But one incident I found particularly interesting. Imagine a baby in the arms of a trembling mother, surrounded by Turks who had just entered her house. They are having great fun: they fondle the baby, they laugh to make it laugh and they are successful: the baby laughs. At that moment the Turk points a pistol four inches from the baby's face. The baby laughs happily, stretches out his little hands to grab the pistol, when suddenly the artist pulls the trigger in the baby's face and blows his brains out. . . . Artistic, isn't it? Incidentally, I'm told the Turks are fond of sweets."

(Isn't that last sentence a gem, an absolute gem? That's the mark of a genius!)

Just think of the workings of the writer's mind--Dostoyevsky's that is. He wants to put words in the mouth of a brother who is trying to shake the faith of his younger brother. Does he use abstract arguments? He does not. He refers to an actual event, he refers to actual barbarisms perpetrated by one people on another people. Coming out four years after the events, the book's reference was fresh in the minds of the readers. And, therefore, they could relate to Ivan's argument, but also appreciate the basic goodness and innocence of Alexey.

And, also, forever give the lie to any statement by any Turk (and apologists) denying the inherent evil that is the Turkish mind.
Now, I can finally throw away the note.
Philadelphia, PA. Armenian Cafe


Gen. Andranik's House In Galata In Varna Slated For Demolition, Armenian Union in Bulgaria
A great misfortune has befallen our common reminiscence and the reminiscence of our long-suffering people! Only in a few months the only material memory of the life of the Armenian national hero General Andranik Ter Ozanyan will disappear forever. Because people, who consider money as more important than the reminiscence of our people will demolish the house which General Andranik had built himself in Galata quarter in the city of Varna. The home where he lived will disappear forever, the home where he met Armenian revolutionists from all over Europe, from where he supplied with arms Bulgarian, Armenian, Macedonian and Russian revolutionists. The memory of him will go away together with his home. That is why we, brothers Hovsepyan from Varna, are begging for your help, we are asking for your united efforts in the battle to save this common relic of ours. We ourselves have been living in Varna since 1995, we have established the Armenian Union in Bulgaria (2007) and you can learn more about us on www.hovsepyan-sons.com.

We were tremendously worried by the real threat for General Andranik's home and we did our best to prevent this injustice. First of all we wrote letters to the mayor of Varna, to the regional governor, to the Bulgarian prime minister, to the Minister of Bulgarian Armed Forces and to the Minister of Bulgarian Culture, asking them one and the same question - are you really going to allow the destruction of this Armenian sanctuary? Before that, of course, we contacted the owners of the house who live in the USA and who have decided to demolish it and build on its place a block of flats. He is Grigor Tigranyan, tel. 0013146475728. We offered them to choose whatever they wish and leave the house for the future generations. We offered them to buy out the house so that we can transform it into General Andranik museum. We also offered to buy for them another site where they could build their building and we are ready to listen to any offers which would give a chance to save General Andranik's home. We had urgent conversations with the developing company, too, and we are ready to pay them for the project, as well as for all costs incurred in the preparation for the construction works. Unfortunately, the developing company doesn't want to listen to us and it is not interested in the memory of our national hero.

That is why we are addressing all of you, our compatriots, for help, because we know that for you the memory of the great General Andranik is far too much dearer than any money. Your common efforts will be recorded in golden letters in the history of long-suffering Armenia if you manage to convince Mr. Grigor Tigranyan that the house must stay, that he can always obtain money for it and it will be profitable for him, but if this inmost part of our memory vanishes nobody will ever be able to restore it and that will be a loss for millions of people. And we, the Armenians from Varna, will be left with the impossible task to explain to our children why we allowed the disappearance of this sacred house, where each year we lay flowers in memory of General Andranik.


ANCA Alerts Congress To Emerging Turkey-Sudan Axis Of Genocide
-- Warns of Turkey's Efforts to Block Decisive International Action to Stop Darfur Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) alerted Members of Congress this week to the human costs of the emerging axis of genocide forming between the governments of Turkey and Sudan, warning that Ankara is playing an increasingly dangerous role in blocking decisive international action to end the genocide in Darfur.

The genocidal Ankara and Khartoum regimes have grown markedly closer over the past two years, driven by Turkey's increasingly brazen efforts to undermine the international community's efforts to isolate Sudan's genocidal regime. The main three areas of cooperation between the two countries have been:

1) Turkey's sale of lethal weaponry directly to Sudan.

2) Turkish diplomatic support for the Sudanese government's genocide denials.

3) Turkey's use of its UN Security Council seat to block anti-genocide efforts.

In recent weeks, Turkey came under considerable international scrutiny for hosting Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, who, during a meeting with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, asked Turkey to use its position on the UN Security Council to block any possible attempts to arrest Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on charges of genocide. During his visit, Taha and his delegation also met with Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and signed a cooperation protocol between their two parliaments, expanding the number of visits and improving ties between the legislative bodies.

Rep. Pallone Raises Concerns:

Speaking on the floor of the U.S. House on February 13th, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sharply criticized Turkey for failing to stand up against, or even to recognize, the Darfur Genocide, noting that Ankara is actually strengthening its ties to Khartoum. "Last year," he noted, "Turkish President Abdullah Gul warmly welcomed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Ankara. Yet, Al-Bashir continues to preside over a genocidal regime responsible for the deaths of 300,000 Sudanese people in the Darfur region of the country. Today, 2.7 million Darfuris have lost their homes since the conflict and now live in internally displaced persons camps. While all of this happens, President Gul of Turkey has said that the situation in Darfur adds up to a 'humanitarian tragedy' caused by economic difficulties."

The New Jersey legislator, who co-chairs the Armenian Caucus, added that, "President Gul greeted the Sudanese leader with a military guard of honor only bestowed on Turkey's closest allies. While the international community fiercely works to contain al-Bashir's government, Turkey embraces it. Both governments have a long history of genocide denial."

"One Would Think Turkey's Leaders Would Be a Little More Careful":

In commentaries published as far back as last January, foreign policy experts have been warning of the dangers of the Turkey-Sudan relationship. Writing about Sudanese President Al Bashir's warm welcome during a recent trip to Ankara, (Bashir in Turkey: The Unanswered Questions, The Century Foundation), former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz, traditionally a reliable surrogate for Turkey's interests in Washington, wrote in 2008 that, "One would think Turkey's leaders would be a little more careful before laying down the red carpet for the likes of President Omar al Bashir of Sudan." He added that, "Turkey has been trying to persuade the world, not very successfully, that there was no Armenian genocide in 1915. The picture of President Abdullah Gül smiling at a joint press conference is hardly going to convince skeptics that Turkey even knows what genocide means, and it will certainly raise doubts in supporters of Turkey." http://www.tcf.org/list.asp?type=NC&pubid=1790

Additional points along the Axis of Genocide include:

-- Sudan President al-Bashir's first foreign visit after his indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes of genocide was to Turkey.

-- Sudan and Turkey have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen military relations and are discussing cooperation on military technology transfers and training.

-- Turkey's Minister of Trade projects that Sudan will soon be Turkey's largest trading partner in Africa.

-- Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has vocally denied a genocide in Darfur.

-- Despite calls from human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Turkish President Gul has not put pressure on Sudan to end the atrocities in Darfur, but instead claiming that the hundreds of thousands of deaths there were merely a "humanitarian tragedy" that "is not only a matter of politics, but also stems from poverty and environmental conditions."

To view the 3-page ANCA memo on the Turkey-Sudan axis of genocide, including a comparison of Turkish and Sudanese genocide denials, visit: http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/hill_notes/021809.pdf

http://rapidshare.com/files/200266530/1326USBFWP.rar.html


Turkey Steps Up Talks With Armenia As April Loom (Yonca Poyraz Dogan) Turkish Weekly
Increased and open diplomatic traffic between Turkey and Armenia has signaled that there are more efforts under way for normalizing relations between the two countries, particularly considering the fact that April 24, the day the White House traditionally issues a statement on "Armenian Remembrance Day" is approaching and, maybe even more importantly, the Armenian diaspora has already started pressuring American politicians to bring a "genocide resolution" to the floor of the US Congress.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan's meetings with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, are no longer held in secret. The two have met six times on separate occasions since the soccer match held between the national teams of the two countries on Sept. 6, 2008, in Armenia.

After that historical event came Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian's visit to Ä°stanbul to attend a ministerial gathering of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) on Nov. 24. Babacan and Nalbandian later met unofficially in Helsinki, Zurich and, most recently, Munich.

"If Turkey and Armenia increase their meetings, it will be difficult for third parties to interfere with the process," said Sedat Laciner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK), referring to the possibility of US recognition of the Armenian "genocide" allegations due to campaign promises made by President Barack Obama to Armenian-American voters.

Laciner added that Turkey was working toward a solution to its problems with Armenia and that this is why it is trying to prevent efforts in the United States that may block this process of reconciliation.

"The ultimate goals are the starting of diplomatic relations and the opening of the border with Armenia," he told Sunday's Zaman.

It is not so important whether or not US President Barack Obama utters the word "genocide" in his statement on April 24 -- the day when Armenians commemorate the killings of Anatolian Armenians perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, which Armenians claim constituted genocide. Rather, it is the climate that will be created afterward that may be concerning, Laciner said, adding, "Dialogue between Armenia and Turkey could break off.

"There is also worry of a possible explosion of nationalist sentiment in Turkey, as predicted by Today's Zaman columnist Omer Taspinar, if a House resolution is adopted.

Taspınar wrote in a Jan. 26 article that "In case the Armenian genocide recognition resolution goes forward and Congress votes in favor of it before March 29, things will go from bad to worse," considering the political calendar in Turkey, where local elections will be held on March 29.

President Obama issued several statements during his election campaign reiterating his intention to recognize the alleged Armenian genocide. But some argue that running for office and running the government are different things. Ä°lter Türkmen, a retired Turkish ambassador and former foreign minister, said the Obama administration would be hesitant to scratch old wounds in the history of Turks and Armenians.

"The United States supports the improvement of relations between Turkey and Armenia," he said.

However, the matter has gotten more complicated as observers note a mounting sense of frustration in the US Congress related to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, particularly following his walkout at the recent Davos summit after an angry exchange with Israeli President Shimon Peres over Israel's deadly operation in Gaza last month. "The level of resentment is particularly high among the pro-Israel lobby. Some argue that Turkey has lost all its key supporters in Washington and that the Armenian lobby has now a unique window of opportunity to push its agenda," wrote Taspinar, who is based in Washington.

Supporting this idea, former Turkish Ambassador to the US Faruk Logoglu told Sunday's Zaman that the Jewish lobby in the United States was one of Turkey's biggest trump cards. Still, he said, Turkey should not be anxiously looking to make gestures prior to April 24. Instead, it should spread its efforts to normalize relations with Armenia over a period of time.

"We should get Washington's backing first and then move forward with the issue," he said, adding that, in the meantime, not only Ankara, but also Yerevan should communicate to the US administration that normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia carries high importance for both sides and that dialogue is continuing toward a solution.

Logoglu also said it is important for Ankara that Azerbaijan's consent has been obtained and that Russia has been informed about the process.

After all, Turkey closed its border with Armenia because of its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. In a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan, Turkey also severed its diplomatic ties with Yerevan.

Before his landmark meeting with Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan in Davos late last month, Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan had talks with Azerbaijani President Ä°lham Aliyev. Indeed, Aliyev had held talks with Sarksyan earlier in Davos concerning the two-decade-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people from both Armenia and Azerbaijan. "We will never leave Azerbaijan alone concerning Nagorno-Karabakh. That is to say that our issues are in a way connected with Azerbaijan," Erdogan said at Davos.

"Efforts may soon yield positive results"

Suat Kiniklioglu, member of Parliament and deputy chairman of external affairs for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), told Sunday's Zaman he is hopeful that a statement by the Turkish side most likely at the beginning of April may pave the way for further rapprochement with Armenia.

"I am not directly involved in the negotiations, but I hear that there are only minor issues left to be settled between the sides. Both Turkey and Armenia are serious in that regard," he said.

Asked if Armenia can be expected to take a step toward the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he said, "It is possible because Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to negotiate over the issue."

Although last week Yerevan rejected a news report suggesting that Armenia and Azerbaijan had reached a preliminary agreement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Turkey's support, there are signs that a solution may emerge soon.

Nalbandian has announced many times that negotiations over the resolution of the conflict are being held in the context of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, France and the United States.

Goran Lennmarker, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly special representative on Nagorno-Karabakh, arrived in Baku on Feb. 12. The Trend news agency reported that the purpose of his visit was to get familiarized with the current situation of the negotiation process so a report could be drafted prior to the winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on Feb. 19 and 20 in Vienna.

Lenmarker also said he has additional information regarding the transfer of six regions to Azerbaijan and the establishment of a temporary government in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Turkish Parliament is expected to go to the United States again in March. Kınıklıoğlu said they will further explain to US officials that the Armenian diaspora "does not care about the problems of Armenia" and are even "disturbed" about the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. In that context, the Turkish Coalition of America recently sent a letter to President Obama drawing his attention to the work of more than 30 scholars who have refrained from applying the genocide label to the events of 1915 or whose work exposes parts of the traditional "


University Students Organize A Turkish-Armenian Dialogue Camp Arm Radio
In an attempt to break stereotypes between the countries, university students have organized a Turkish-Armenian dialogue camp, held in the central Anatolian city of Nev?ehir.

The camp’s objective was to make acquaintances between Turkish and Armenian university students to overcome existing prejudices between the two nations. Eighty university students from Turkey and 20 from Armenia spent a week in a hotel in Ürgüp, an important tourism center of the Cappadocia region, Hurriyet Daily reports.

The project was initiated by the Turkish University Students’ Approaches and was also sponsored by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, or TESEV, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly and daily Agos.

The camp held art workshops, concerts, panel discussions and meetings. At the end of the camp, participating students released a joint statement which read, "We are disturbed by the fact that the Turkish and Armenian communities, which have been living together for centuries, are alienated and have turned against each other due to both sides’ polices regarding the 1915 events."

"We believe that relations between these two sister nations should be founded on the basis of peace and friendship and not on the dilemma of deportation or genocide. This is only possible by getting together through projects and campaigns, which we believe will develop quickly with the active participation of young people," read the statement.

"The dialogue between Turkish and Armenian students will pave the way for ideas toward a solution. Our dialogue camp will be the first step in this process," it read.

Meanwhile another step for Turkish-Armenian dialogue came from the Higher Education Board, which issued permission for the opening of a second Armenian Culture and Literature Faculty, daily Hürriyet reported.

Deputy Rector of Erciyes University Professor Metin Hülagü said the faculty will start admissions for the 2009-2010 academic year if the faculty could hire academic staff within two months.


Migration: Armenians Continue To Leave The Country In Search Of Jobs (Marina Grigoryan) Armenia Now
13 February, 2009 According to recent research, the overwhelming majority of people who left Armenia between 2002-2007 are work migrants – 94 percent of 230,000.

According to the “Migrants who returned to Armenia in 2002-2008” research conducted by “Advanced Social Technologies” NGO in cooperation with the Migration Agency of the Ministry of Territorial Administration of Armenia and the OSCE Yerevan office, only 3 percent have emigrated for permanent residence abroad, the others have left to study or with other purposes. In all the groups the majority was going to Russia.

The Director of the Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Law, President of the Armenian Sociological Association professor Gevorg Poghosyan believes that the deepening economic crisis in Russia and other countries may lead to the return of a considerable number of Armenian work migrants.

“Judging by data, the Russian market of job migrants will reduce by 30 percent. One may assume that almost the same percentage of Armenian work migrants, about 240,000 people, will have to leave Russia. If all of them return to Armenia, the situation will be quite grave, especially taking into account the fact that the country is only capable of providing employment for about 25,000 people a year.”

According to the Migration Agency, during January-December 2008 there were 23,059 more people leaving the country than those entering it.
This is the worst indicator since 2001, when about 60,000 people left the country. In 2007 the negative balance was only 3,200. The best indicator, according to official statistics, was registered in 2006, when there were 22,000 more who returned or entered than who left.

Comparing the reasons for out-migration from Armenia at the beginning of the 90s and during the above-mentioned period, the authors point out that the first wave of emigration was connected with the desire to escape from the difficult consequences of the collapse of the system and the first years of independence. In the recent years people have been leaving to earn money to improve the living conditions of their families who remain in Armenia. About 10 percent of Armenia’s qualified workers have gone abroad in search of higher salaries. The researchers point out that higher migration activity is observed among 25-44-year-old males, which affects the demographic indicators and can later lead to the shortage of work force in the country itself.

Hakob Torgomyan, 50, left for Moscow at the beginning of the 1990s. He says he was able to set up his own business in just a year’s time from then. “At that time in Russia it was possible to live and work and even set up your own business without being a citizen. Then I got Russian Federation citizenship, I bought an apartment, a car, expanded my business. In short, things went well.”

Ninety percent of the emigrants have been able to find jobs outside Armenia. At the same time, based on statistics on the RA population’s employment, the authors arrive at the conclusion that 30 percent of the migrants would have been jobless had they stayed in Armenia.

According to data, about 24 percent of the migrants, or 55,000 people, have returned to Armenia within the past 6 years without having the intention of leaving the country again. Those who have decided to come back to their motherland are mostly older than those who continue to live in abroad.

Torgomyan returned to Yerevan last year, but he hasn’t been able to find a job yet.

“I came back because here I have relatives, friends, a house. No matter how well things went in Moscow, I always had the desire to return. But there are no jobs. That is why I have to live on the income I get from renting out my apartment in Moscow.”

As to the reasons for returning home, the interviewed migrants say that they were rather conditioned by the “alienating” factors in other countries than by those “attracting” them to Armenia. Among those factors are the loss of jobs, the growth of alienation and difficulties of integrating into a new environment, as well as the aversion to social values (especially in Russia).

The Association of Sociologists of Armenia has studied the reasons Armenians return from different countries.

“Those who return from European countries are in a pitiful state,” says Gevorg Poghosyan, the director of the Institute of Philosophy and Law, a doctor of sociology. “These are the people who failed to settle in Europe and were deported. When they were leaving Armenia, they sold all their movable and immovable property, because they thought they were leaving their motherland for good. And now, having been forced to return, they have found themselves in a very hard social situation. Among those who have returned from Europe, only about 5 percent have the means to start their own business in Armenia.”

«Irina Balasanyan, 26, left for St. Petersburg to study 5 years ago. She is a programmer by education.

“I had excellent opportunities to get a job there, even without having a citizenship. I was offered a job with an initial salary of $1,000. But I came back, because during the years of study I was never able to get used to alien morals and customs. Here I get paid much less, but I don’t regret having made this decision.”

Among the reasons for not returning many Armenians in Russia name the factor of the children who have already got used to living in a foreign country that has become their home.

The research states that the problems of migrants returning to Armenia were conditioned mainly by the discrepancy between their hopes and the reality that governed the country, which often becomes the reason for repeated migration.

According to Poghosyan, the reintegration of those who returned to Armenia is a very complicated process. Rural migrants who have returned to Armenia face serious challenges not only of socio-economic nature, but also connected with children.

“This is because the children of migrants – be it in Russia, Kazakhstan, or other former Soviet countries – go to Russian schools.
And upon return they have to go to Armenian schools, because there are no Russian schools in villages. And it is mostly high-schoolers we are talking about here. These and other adaptation issues often lead to repeated migration from Armenia.”


ANCC Challenges Prof. Ataov's Armenian Genocide Denial Campaign
Feb 19, 2009

ANCC Challenges Prof. Ataov's Armenian Genocide Denial Campaign Turkish nationalists attempt to curtail Canadians' freedom of speech

Toronto--The Armenian National Committee of Canada's (ANCC) Executive Director Aris Babikian challenged Turkish professor Turkkaya Ataov's attempt to deny the historic reality of the Armenian Genocide during the latter's lecture at the Ryerson University on Feb. 18. Prof. Ataov's presentation was titled "How to come to terms with one's past".

When Babikian tried to correct Prof. Ataov's erroneous statements regarding the Armenian Genocide, and the Turkish professor's accusations that the Western world was racist, anti-Islamic and practiced genocidal policies, many of the Turkish nationalists in the audience tried to silence Babikian. When Babikian insisted on being heard, some of the organizers turned off the microphone and threatened Babikian with forceful removal from the podium.

Babikian reminded the audience that they are living in Canada and not in Turkey and that freedom of speech is one of the most cherished rights of Canadians, specially in academic settings.

After Babikian's condemnation of Turkish nationalists' anti-democratic behavior, the ANCC executive director was allowed to make his statement, challenging Prof. Ataov's boiler-plate propaganda. Babikian also condemned Prof. Ataov's use of the "religion card" to justify his accusations against the West. Earlier in his lecture Ataov had accused Western countries of killing five million Muslims in the Balkan and in the Caucasus. Ataov's manner was condescending towards the West and his audience.

Babikian asked Atoav how did he reconcile his statement that only two Armenians were killed on April 24, 1915 with Talaat Pasha's, Minister of Interior and the main architect of the Armenian Genocide, diary ("Black Book") which stated that 924,158 Armenians had been killed by the Turkish government. Talaat also kept a detailed account of Armenians deported from each city, county, and province.

Babikian also questioned the credibility of the historians Ataov cited as experts on the Armenian Genocide, such as Justin McCarthy, Gunther Lewy, Sanford Show, and Andrew Mango. Babikian then read "British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies'" evaluation of McCarthy's work as "junk food, junk bonds and now junk history". Babikian reminded Ataov and the audience with the testimony of 126 Holocaust scholars, International Association of Genocide Scholars, the International Centre for Transitional Justice and hundreds of other scholars and historians who have contradicted Ataov's claims and the Turkish Government's denial of the Armenian Genocide.

When Babikian tried to question some of Ataov answers, Turkish nationalists once again tried to suppress Babikian from speaking. Embarrassed by his compatriots behavior and as a face-saving measure, Ataov invited Babikian to the stage to stand next to him and to continue the discussion. Babikian and Ataov continued to discuss many relevant issues to the Armenian Genocide.

After the event, Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of the ANCC, said that he "condemned the behavior of the Turkish nationalists and their attempt to intimidate and silence a Canadian, while trying to deny him one of the most basic human rights to freedom of thought which is enshrined in our constitution."

Dr. Basmadjian added: "The modus operandi of these nationalists is indicative and reminiscent of the Turkish government's modus operandi in suppressing freedom of speech and silencing anyone who dares to challenge the official Turkish government narrative of the Armenian Genocide under article 301 of the Turkish penal code." The persecution of award-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk and many other righteous Turks, and the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist are eloquent examples of these policies," said Dr. Basmadjian.

"We also abhor Prof. Ataov's 'the West is racist' statement and his other temper tantrums. Such a statement has no place in our academic and scholarly circles," said Basmadjian. Ataov's attempt to whip up hysteria and to try to put a wedge among Canadians by using religious fervor should be condemned by everyone, he said. "Therefore, we ask Ryerson University to dissociate itself from this lecture which she jointly organized with the Federation of Canadian Turkish Association, apologize to Canadians, condemn Prof. Ataov, and hold accountable the sociology department professor of Turkish background who deceived the university and put Ryerson in such a compromising situation," said Basmadjian.

Armenian National Committee of Canada
Contact: Roupen Kouyoumjian www.anccanada.org

Analysts Say Obama Should Keep Having Close Relations with Turkey
Analysts at a Washington panel discussion Wednesday said the new U.S. administration should establish close relations with Turkey, encourage democracy and the country's European orientations.

"Building and improving democracy in Turkey serve for the U.S. interests and the key to that is Europe. Ways must be devised to revive Turkey's EU process and to move it forward," Mark Parris, former U.S. ambassador in Turkey, told the panel discussion at the Washington Institute For Near East Policy, a Washington D.C.-based think tank.

Parris said he would advise U.S. President Barack Obama to keep relations close with Turkey as a response to claims that Turkey had been moving away from the West.

"... yet one should avoid making an extreme comment that Turkey is moving toward a different direction," Parris said.

Soner Cagaptay, an analyst with the Washington Institute, also advised the new administration to have close relations with Turkey, saying the two countries should continue their cooperation against the terrorist organization PKK.

Analyst Ian Lesser said Turkey would find it most difficult to attract the attention of the U.S. administration.

"Obama administration might be seeking a low profile partnership which needs almost anything to work it out," Lesser said.
19 February 2009 WASHINGTON D.C. (A.A)


Hurriyet / Turkish Daily News February 12, 2009 Film Inspired By Dink's Article
Volunteer actors and actresses coming together under the slogan, "Our struggle is until this country becomes the land of brotherhood," have shot a 32-minute short film in honor of slain journalist Hrant Dink

The product of months of work the film, "Kertenkel" (Lizard), was inspired by a column published in daily Birgun in October 2004 written by Agos editor-in-chief Dink, who was assassinated on Jan. 19, 2007.

Ozgur Aryk, a documentary maker who holds many national and international awards, directed the film. The films budget was 40,000 Turkish liras, provided by the Green Agency and it was shot in the Mediterranean city of Antalya

[HH] No movie theater to screen the film

Although the film cannot find a movie theater that will screen it, there are plans to show it to audiences this year in many national and international film festivals, including the International Istanbul Film Festival that will be organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, or IKSV, in April.

One of the most important planned destinations for the film is the International Golden Apricot Film Festival to be organized in Armenian capital, Yerevan in July. From Feb. 17, the film will be screened with English and Turkish subtitles at the Nazym Hikmet Culture Center on Istanbuls Asian side in Kadykoy.

"Being inspired by the painful events Armenians went through and with the words of Dink, this film aims to draw attention to the pain people are experiencing throughout the world. Unfortunately, we fight to live in an environment in which people are moving away from each other and becoming enemies," said Aryk.

[HH] Abdullahs traumatic story

Aryk said the film was based around a character named Abdullah. "A lizard, when it feels danger, it shelters in the smallest hole it can find, just like Abdullah." He said the content of the story was traumatic, "Yes, there is violence in the story but it is based on causality. We wanted to highlight once again the cost of excess in this film."

"I have read almost all articles written by Dink," said Aryk. He said "Lizard" was very important to him, "As soon as I took the paper and started reading the article, scenes from the film took shape in my mind."

[HH] Supporting characters from local to general

Even though Aryk sticks to the original story in the film, he also backs it up with supporting characters. "Rather than localizing the story, we wanted to draw attention to pain in the world by showing incidents in our own land. Materiality is what lies behind pain all around the world. I think economic worries nourish nationalism," Aryk said.

Aryk added a hodja character to the film. He said the character, hiding behind religion, behaves cruelly toward people and confiscates their land. "The hodja prays five times a day but all he thinks about is owning more."

[HH] This film is not agitation but a call for brotherhood

Aryk said the film was set in the time of World War I, "While watching the film, viewers will be able to see events that happened during the war and the effect on people's psychology."

He said he intentionally shot a short film and that its message was very short and certain. He added the film had a mission in addition to commemorating Dink. "With this film, rather than agitate, we try to highlight once again that everyone who shares this land is a brother."

The film depicts the end of World War I. A young Armenian person, who survived the painful events of 1915, shelters in a village in the slopes of Mount Suphan in eastern Anatolia. He does not play on the streets like the other young people. He lives in the shed of a villager named Ismail and tells people nothing except that his name is Abdullah. One day when he is in the toilet, other children see he is uncircumcised, and start throwing stones at him. With fear, Abdullah shelters in the shed and circumcises himself with a sharp tool and then throws the bloody piece of skin at the people.


Comments on Several Important Articles of Interest to Armenians By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
In recent days, the international media published so many articles of interest to Armenians that it has become impossible to read them all, let alone comment on them!

Here is a summary of some of the more interesting articles with a brief comment on each:

-- A senior Israeli general retaliated last week against the Turkish Prime Minister's criticism of Israel. Major General Avi Mizrahi urged Erdogan to "first look in the mirror," and reminded him of the Armenian Genocide, repression of the Kurds, and Turkey's occupation of Northern Cyprus. In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry angrily summoned Israel's Ambassador and handed him a diplomatic note of protest. In addition, a top Turkish official said he was offended by the Israeli General's statement. Ironically, the murder of 1.5 million Armenians did not bother this official, but its mere mention did offend him!

-- According to the Turkish "Dogan Haber Agency," Ali Ihsan Ozturk, President of the Teachers' Association of Kayseri and his colleagues, distributed halva (sweets) to passers by in the main square of the town, "for the soul of Hitler." Ozturk said he was doing this in reaction to the Israeli General's criticism of Turkey. It is to be seen whether Israel's leaders will swallow this bitter halva or retaliate with a protest note of their own!

-- As if Prime Minister Erdogan had not angered Israel and American Jews enough, a Turkish prosecutor now has launched an investigation into whether Israel's leaders committed "genocide and crimes against humanity" in Gaza. If charged, these Israeli officials would be arrested if they visit Turkey. Regardless of the legal merits of this case, Turkey should be the last country on earth with the right to accuse anyone else of genocide! What audacity! What hypocrisy! As they say in Turkish: "Hem Suclu; Hem Guclu." (Guilty and Macho)!

-- Zeev Elkin, a member of Israel's Parliament, recently announced that the Knesset would shortly consider recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Israel, after years of officially refusing to recognize the Armenian Genocide in expectation of political-strategic gains from Turkey, could be getting on the right side of this issue.

-- Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel has suspended its flights to the Turkish resort town of Antalya, fearing terrorist attacks against its citizens. The Jerusalem Post reported that thousands of Israelis are boycotting Turkey because their "anger is both deep and palpable." Could a ban on selling Israeli arms to Turkey be next?

-- Some American Jewish organizations are finally waking up from their deep moral coma! The American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued a press release on January 29, denouncing "Turkish Prime Minister's shameful outburst at Davos." On February 1, David Harris, Executive Director of AJC, issued an Open Letter to Erdogan, accusing him of using "vicious" and "inflammatory" words to criticize Israel. Harris even dared to remind Erdogan that Turkey "chose to close the border with landlocked Armenia from 1993 to today." Will the AJC now desist from playing the role of designated liar for Turkey on the Armenian Genocide?

-- James Holmes, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ankara and President of the American-Turkish Council (ATC), told Hurriyet newspaper: "The American-Jewish community's support for Turkey's position on the Armenian genocide resolution is gone. They will not expend any political energy in blocking a resolution or a presidential proclamation." Holmes should resign from the ATC rather than lobby for genocide denial for a fistful of dollars!

-- The Jerusalem Post quoted an unnamed official with "a leading American Jewish organization" as saying: "A deterioration in Israel-Turkey relations might prompt his group and others to reconsider" support for Ankara's denial of the Armenian Genocide. In my opinion, some Jewish groups, seeing that the Armenian Genocide might be acknowledged by the Obama administration, are wisely abandoning the sinking ship of Turkish denial and jumping on the winning side before April 24!

-- David Plouffe, former campaign manager for Barack Obama's presidential race, was offered $50,000 by Pres. Ilham Aliyev's despotic regime to lecture in Baku on human rights and democracy and meet with Azerbaijan's leaders. Plouffe was so embarrassed by criticism in the international media that he decided to donate his speaking fee to "groups that advocate democratization in the turbulent post-Soviet states of the region around the Caspian and Caucasus mountain range," according to the Wall Street Journal. One can imagine the contortions on Aliyev's face when he finds out that his money ended up with Azeri opposition groups or Armenians in Artsakh!

-- The Azeri Press Agency (APA) reported last month that the European Union supposedly paid millions of dollars to several prominent Turks to initiate a petition apologizing for the Armenian Genocide. APA alleged that professors Ahmet Insal, Halil Berktay, Murad Belge; journalist Mehmet Ali Birand, and writer Adalet Agaoglu had received $137,000 each; Prof. Ibrahim Kaboglu, $250,000; journalist Mine Kirikhanat, $90,000; Prof. Atilla Yayla, $575,000; Ertugrul Kurkchu, $1 million; "Mazlumder" group, $100,000; and Etien Mahchupian, Editor of Agos Armenian newspaper in Istanbul, $1.3 million. The Azeri press is even more notorious than Turkey's for distorting the news! These Turks could truly make millions of dollars should they sue the APA for libel!


Professor Dadoyan Lectures On "Islam And Armenians" At The University Of Michigan
The University of Michigan Armenian Studies Program hosted Professor Seta B. Dadoyan, for a well-attended lecture in the International Institute on January 27, 2009. Dr. Dadoyan is a renowned specialist in Armenian social-political and intellectual cultures in the medieval and modern Near Eastern world.

In her public lecture, Dr. Dadoyan spoke about "Islam and the Armenians: Paradigms of a Near Eastern Dialectic." She finds that there is a gap between the lived Armenian experience with Islam and the record of those interactions, where Islam is commonly ethnicized and viewed as the faith of hostile ethnic groups. Further, the model of religious difference and persecution, which is commonly used to explain interactions with Muslims, more accurately describes exceptions than general patterns. She argues that a new paradigm of Armenian-Islamic history could yield a more intriguing Near Eastern landscape that is historically more accurate, philosophically more consistent, and intellectually more challenging. Since Armenians lived and live in the Near Eastern world, their history should be written as a part of regional history. In response to a question about what makes a Muslim Armenian an Armenian, Professor Dadoyan replied that this is a big issue because a fixed notion has developed that Armenians have to be Christian, but Muslim Armenians also maintained their ethnic consciousness.

Dr. Dadoyan is the author of nearly 50 articles and five books. Her manuscript, The Armenians and Islam: Paradigms of Medieval Interactions, is forthcoming with E.J. Brill. Professor Dadoyan currently teaches at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY and at Queens College, CUNY. She previously taught at Haigazian University and the Lebanese-American University, and was a professor of cultural studies at the American University of Beirut from 1986-2005.

While visiting the University, Prof. Dadoyan also guest lectured in Professor Gerard Libaridian's class, "Islam and Armenians."


Gordon Taylor: The Noah Myth History News Network hnn.us, Feb 16 2009, WA
[Mr. Taylor, Ph.D., is a former teacher in Turkey and the author of Fever and Thirst: An American Doctor Among the Tribes of Kurdistan. Academy Chicago Publishers, 2005.]

People never seem to tire of the Noah myth. It has it all: the hopeless depravity of mankind (always a popular theme) complemented by the contrasting goodness of Noah complete with flowing white locks and beard; the "I'm-fed-up-with-all-this-fornicating" pronouncement from God; the mighty cubit-stretching labor on the big round boat; then the parade of all those darling animal couples, plus the Flood itself. And ending it all, we get not a bang, not a whimper, but a wonderfully satisfying crunch as the Ark comes to rest on "Mt. Ararat," after which the survivors get to go forth, procreate, and become sinful all over again.

There must be something magical about this tale; why else would so many people spend so many years searching, wrinkling their brows, and stroking their chins in perplexity over the "Legend of the Lost Ark," the "Mysteries of the Great Ararat," or whatever. Other traditions, Jewish and Islamic, also tell Noah's story, but only American Christians, it seems, are so keen on it that, every few years, some well-heeled evangelical businessman (or, once, an ex-astronaut) will open up his wallet and mount a pseudo-scientific expedition to that heap of Kurdo-Armenian rock known as "Mt Ararat." The Ark enthusiasts never quit. They are, after all, not that far theologically from the people who find Jesus on the scorched exteriors of carbohydrates. They have seen--they say--images of the Ark in aerial photographs. They've analyzed fragments of wood. They've done carbon-dating and spectography. They've puzzled and pondered and pretty much done everything they could to find an answer. They are, dare I say it, just a little bit of cuckoo. As Dave Barry has noted, there is a very fine line between the words "hobby" and "mental illness."

The shares of Cuckoo Inc., however, are always in a bull market, and the Noah business will never go out of style. Readers who want to confirm this can find a nicely-done history of Ark searches at Wikipedia. My favorites (of course) are the hoaxers, especially George Jammal, a guy in California whose splinter from the Ark turned out to be wood he found on a rail-bed, then aged at home in his oven using various sauces. The image this evokes, that of museum graybeards closely inspecting the artifact, wondering why it would smell faintly of teriyaki, never fails to brighten my day. If, however, you're educated (i.e., an elitist liberal humanist snob), you know that the Genesis flood myth is just one of many in the world, the most famous being that of Gilgamesh. And you know that the "Mt. Ararat" of eastern Turkey has nothing to do with a Mesopotamian flood story. That, and the "Real Honest-to-God Landing Place," are what this piece is all about.

First, let me assure you: it will not be extensive. All I have is a few pictures of the Genuine Article--one taken by a dead Englishwoman, two others by Kurdish outlaws. What "Genuine Article"? A fair question. To answer it, I'll start off by raiding my own cupboard. The following passage is taken from the Notes (p.336) at the end of Fever and Thirst:

Here it must be said that few knowledgeable travelers take seriously the claims of "Mt. Ararat" in Turkey to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. In the Middle East, only the Armenians regard the "mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:4) to be this particular peak. The name "Ararat" in the Old Testament clearly denotes a country or geographical area, not a specific mountain, and the three A's in the name are an important indicator. During the early Christian era, when scholars were trying to translate Biblical texts in Aramaic, which does not have vowels, into Byzantine Greek, which does, they ran into problems with unknown words. When dealing with the story of Noah's Ark, they came upon a name they did not recognize: a place denoted by the symbols for -R-R-T. In the absence of a clear answer, they gave up and inserted -A- in the three slots indicated. Thus "Ararat" was produced. We now know this ancient country by its more accurate name: Urartu, a kingdom centered upon Lake Van which was a rival to Assyria. Thus, an accurate translation of Genesis would say that Noah's Ark landed on the "mountains of Urartu," which is no more specific than saying "the mountains of Switzerland." (Additional note: the Peshitta, the ancient version of the Bible used by the East Syrian Church, states that Noah's Ark landed on the "Ture Kardu"; i.e., the mountains of the Kurds.)

But, you may object, the mountain in question is still called "Ararat." Why is it called that if it isn't the right one? Because that isn't the mountain's correct name. In fact, it was a European, William of Rubruck, who first stuck that label on it in the 13th century A.D., and it was Europeans thereafter who perpetuated the mistake. The Armenians, then and now, called it Massis, even though, after they became the first officially Christian nation, in 301 A.D., they adopted this imposing peak as the landing-place of Noah. Still, to them it is Massis. This is why, when you drive the streets of south Glendale, California, through the largest concentration of Armenians in the U.S., you see signs on the storefronts saying things like "Massis Laundry," "Massis Bakery," or "Massis Armenian Grocery." A mountain as imposing as this one (photo above) needs no Ark legend to justify its status as a national symbol.

Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) was far too intelligent to take the King James Version at face value. In the spring of 1909 the great explorer found herself at Judi Dagh (Cudi Dagi) near the town of Cizre, just east of the Tigris in southeast Turkey. On 14 May she wrote to her mother in County Durham:

On the first [day here at Judi Dagh] I climbed up into the hills and saw a very ancient fortress on a crag - Assyrian I suspect for there was an Assyrian stele below it. My guides were the Protestant priest, Kas Mattai, and his brother Shim'an...I walked through the oak woods on the mountain sides all the morning with Kas Mattai and it was so wonderfully beautiful that I determined to have another day of it and go to a summit.

Even in May, the Tigris valley heat is merciless, and Miss Bell could not resist the idea of making for the summit:

So yesterday we set off at 4 and climbed through the oak woods for 2 hours and then we came out onto the mountain tops where the snow was still lying in great wreaths and the high mountain flowers were in bloom. There were few of the real alpines - perhaps I wasn't high enough up for them - but the great beauty was the bulbs.

Gertrude Bell was English, and like any English writer worthy of the name she could not resist a thorough (and tedious) identification of every flower that she encountered. At last, however:

But I forgot to tell you what it was I came out to see - I wasn't just taking the air in the mountains, I went up to look at - the Ark.

That's right: the Ark. She had climbed up Judi Dagh to find "Noah's Ark." Gertrude, in her rambling way, goes on to explain:

There is a large body of opinion in favour of this [Judi Dagh] having been the place where it alighted and I also belong to this school of thought partly because, you see, I have seen the Ark there and partly because, since the Flood legends are Babylonian, it's far more likely that they chose for their mountain the first high mountain that they knew (which is this Judi Dagh) rather than a place far away in remote Armenia.

Right. In other words, the people who set down these legends lived in the plains of Mesopotamia. The present-day "Mt Ararat" of eastern Turkey was located far away from any that they knew. They did, however, know those sizable ranges which hemmed in the north reaches of the Tigris. And the first and most visible of these was Judi Dagh, Mt. Judi, crowding in against the left bank of the great river. That is why, of the ancient sources, one (the Koran) specifically identifies Judi as the landing place of the Ark, and two others call it "the mountains of the Kardu" and "the mountains of Urartu," which amounts to the same thing.

We got up to the Ark about 9 - it was a most wonderful place from which you could see the whole world, though I must confess there isn't much of the Ark left.

An understatement, as we can see from Miss Bell's photograph (above). Obviously this is not the Ark per se, merely a ziyaret, a place of pilgrimage, for those who come to pay homage to Nebi Nuh, the Prophet Noah. It was periodically used as a monastery for solitary anchorites who came to read the Scriptures and meditate. By Gertrude Bell's time it was abandoned and open to the sky. Until modern times, accounts tell us, this was the place where people of the three monotheistic faiths, Christian, Muslim, and Jew, met for a sacrificial feast every September to honor Noah. Modern wars and frontiers have put an end to that tradition. Gertrude's idyll ended with a presage:

We stayed [at the Ark] many hours, lunched and slept and looked at the view and breathed the delicious cold air. And at last reluctantly we came down and walked back for a long way over the tops of the hills. And here we had a little adventure. We met some Kurdish shepherds who had brought their flocks up to the top of Judi Dagh in order to avoid paying the sheep tax; and they took us for soldiers and we had to explain the true situation amidst rifle shots.

Kurds with rifles, on the lookout for Turkish soldiers. How little has changed. But now those Kurds are young men and women, often educated people from the cities, and in their back pockets they carry digital cameras:

This is Judi Dagh in the 21st century: the shrine of Nebi Nuh, the prophet Noah, identified as such in the online photo galleries of the "People's Defense Forces," the HPG, the armed force usually known as the PKK, which has been fighting the Turkish Army on these slopes since the 1980s. Nothing in its shape resembles Gertrude Bell's "Ark," for indeed this is not the same place. Bell, as she notes in her book "Amurath to Amurath," had no desire to leave the cool summit and descend the southern slopes of the mountain to visit this place. Inside, according to the PKK website, we find "Noah's grave":

Like most such artifacts it is more impressive from a distance than up close; and who would wish to go down on his knees, sift through the grains of earth, and deliver a scientific judgment on its legend's authenticity? I can see why an archaeologist would find meaning and excitement in such an endeavor. For me, the magic is in the distance; the mystery is its own reward.

And that other mountain, the Five-thousand Meter Fantasy on the Armenian border? Close up it is black rock and lava flows, useful only for tour guides, hobbyists, guerrillas, and Kurds who have flocks to graze. Me, I'm on Judi's side.


Barack Obama Discusses Situation In Caucasus With Turkish President And Prime Minister APA, Feb 16 2009, Azerbaijan
Ankara - APA. On February 16, U.S. President Barack Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

APA reports quoting Turkish media that Obama and Gul talked over the phone for about 30 minutes. They discussed the issues on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Caucasus, Middle East and European Union. Barack Obama said Turkey did important work in the region, especially in Afghanistan and Caucasus in terms of leadership. Press service of Turkish President says Barack Obama underlined that he attached great importance to US-Turkey relations and appraised Ankara's leadership position in the regional issues. He emphasized his desire to work together with Turkey.

In his phone talk with Recep Tayyip Erdogan Barack Obama noted the importance of US-Turkey strategic cooperation. The statement released by Turkish Prime Minister's office says: "President Obama noted that Prime Minister Erdogan's leadership in the Middle East peace efforts was of great importance. He said the United States always understood Turkey's sensitiveness on this issue. He said the US administration wants to work with Turkey in achieving peace in the Middle East, ending PKK terror, and a number of other issues including relations with Armenia."


USA's Obama Stresses Importance Of Turkish Premier's Role In Mideast Peace, Anadolu Agency, Feb 16 2009, Turkey
ANKARA (A.A) - US President Barack Obama told Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a telephone conversation on Monday that Turkey played an important role for peace in its region.

"I would like to say that your leadership is vital in the Middle East peace process and America always understands Turkey's sensitivities," Erdogan's press office quoted Obama as telling the Turkish premier.

Obama also expressed willingness to work with Turkey in many issues such as maintaining peace in the Middle East, ending PKK terrorism and relations with Armenia.

Erdogan in return highlighted Turkey's sensitivities regarding Armenia and the Middle East, expressing the importance of fair and impartial stance of the United States to secure that the relations between the two countries were not damaged.


Obama Discusses Armenia, Mideast, Afghanistan With Turkish Officials Hurriyet, Feb 16 2009, Turkey
U.S. President Barack Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and had two "warm and productive" conversations, the White House said late on Monday. (UPDATED)

According to the statements issued by the White House, and both Gul and Erdogan's offices Obama and Turkish officials discussed the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Armenia.

"In both calls, the leaders discussed a number of current issues, including U.S. support for the growing Turkish-Iraqi relationship, the importance of cooperation in Middle East peace efforts, and the U.S. review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," the White House said in a statement.

This is the highest level contact of the new administration in Washington with Ankara since Obama took the office in Jan. 20. Earlier in February U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on the sidelines of a security conference.

"The president emphasized the importance of the United States alliance with Turkey and said he looks forward to working with both President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan on a broad agenda of mutual strategic interest," the White House said adding, Obama emphasized his desire to strengthen U.S.-Turkish relations and to work together effectively in NATO.

Gul's office said prior to the White House's statement Obama had praised Turkey's leadership in the regional issues. The two leaders also "re-affirmed the will to work together, reviewing regional as well as international issues," Gul's office added.

Gul told the U.S. president that a legislation that would recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents should not be put before Congress.

The issue of 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

FOCUS ON ARMENIA ISSUE

However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.

The issue of 1915 incidents was high on the agenda of Obama-Erdogan discussion. The Obama administration is seen as the most pro-Armenian administration in Washington. Obama, Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to recognize the Armenian claims on the 1915 incidents, which has caused major concern in Turkey.

Erdogan underlined the importance of the strategic cooperation. "Turkey's stance on policies regarding the Middle East and Armenia is clear. America's fair and impartial approach (to these issues) is important in order to prevent any damage to the bilateral relations," Erdogan was quoted as telling to Obama.

The U.S. president welcomed the recent restored dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, signaling under the existing circumstances he would refrain from taking any step that would harm these efforts.

Turkey and Armenia had restored dialogue, an important step to normalize the relations that would eventually result in the opening of the border between two neighboring countries. Turkey closed its border and cut its diplomatic relations with Armenia in a protest to Armenian occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory.

"I would like to say that your leadership is vital in the Middle East peace process and America always understands Turkey's sensitivities," Erdogan's office quoted Obama as telling the Turkish prime minister.

The statement said Obama expressed willingness to work with Turkey on many issues such as maintaining peace in the Middle East, ending PKK terrorism and relations with Armenia.


Obama Offers Support For Turkey-Iraq Relationship, Reuters, Feb 17 2009, UK
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has told Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan he hoped to strengthen ties with their country and expressed support for Turkey's growing relationship with Iraq, the White House said on Monday.

Obama spoke to the two men by phone earlier in the day.

"In both calls, the leaders discussed a number of current issues, including U.S. support for the growing Turkish-Iraqi relationship, the importance of cooperation in Middle East peace efforts, and the U.S. review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," the White House said in a statement.

Turkey has repeatedly attacked hideouts of Kurdish separatists in the northern mountainous region of Iraq.

The White House said Obama emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Turkey alliance and expressed his desire to work on a "broad agenda" of mutual strategic interest.

"The President emphasized his desire to strengthen U.S.-Turkish relations and to work together effectively in NATO," the statement said.

Erdogan's office said the prime minister emphasized the strategic cooperation between the two countries.

"Prime Minister Erdogan especially expressed Turkey's sensitivities on Armenia and the Middle East policies, and he said it was important that the U.S. follows a fair and impartial policy for not hurting relations between the two countries," the statement said.

U.S. objections to Turkish operations against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas based in northern Iraq have created tensions between Ankara and Washington in the past. The guerrillas have frequently carried out attacks inside Turkey.

U.S.-Armenia ties are another potential source of tension. Turkey firmly rejects allegations of Armenian genocide and has said U.S. recognition of genocide would "poison" U.S.-Turkey relations.


Students To Set An Example Hurriyet, Feb 17 2009
ISTANBUL - In an attempt to break stereotypes between the countries, university students have organized a Turkish-Armenian dialogue camp, held in the central Anatolian city of NevÅ~_ehir.

The camp's objective was to make acquaintances between Turkish and Armenian university students to overcome existing prejudices between the two nations. Eighty university students from Turkey and 20 from Armenia spent a week in a hotel in Urgup, an important tourism center of the Cappadocia region, the Dogan news agency reported yesterday.

The project was initiated by the Turkish University Students' Approaches (Turkiye Universiteleri Ogrenci YaklaÅ~_ımları) and was also sponsored by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, or TESEV, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly and daily Agos.

Ideas for solution

The camp held art workshops, concerts, panel discussions and meetings. At the end of the camp, participating students released a joint statement which read, "We are disturbed by the fact that the Turkish and Armenian communities, which have been living together for centuries, are alienated and have turned against each other due to both sides' polices regarding the 1915 events."

"We believe that relations between these two sister nations should be founded on the basis of peace and friendship and not on the dilemma of deportation or genocide. This is only possible by getting together through projects and campaigns, which we believe will develop quickly with the active participation of young people," read the statement.

"The dialogue between Turkish and Armenian students will pave the way for ideas toward a solution. Our dialogue camp will be the first step in this process," it read.

Meanwhile another step for Turkish-Armenian dialogue came from the Higher Education Board, or YOK, which issued permission for the opening of a second Armenian Culture and Literature Faculty, daily Hurriyet reported.

YOK had earlier approved the opening of such a faculty at NevÅ~_ehir University. The second faculty will be opened at Erciyes University in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.

Deputy Rector of Erciyes University Professor Metin Hulagu said the faculty will start admissions for the 2009-2010 term if the faculty could hire academic staff within two months. NevÅ~_ehir University rector, Professor Fliz Kılıc, had earlier said the Armenian Culture and Literature Faculty was not operational due to their inability to find Armenian-speaking academics. Professor Hulagu objected to this and said: "Did they put an advertisement in the paper or did they ask YOK for staff? They did not follow the proper procedure."


Survey: Armenia And Zimbabwe Are The Unhappiest Countries APA, en.apa.az, Feb 13 2009, Azerbaijan
Baku. Nijat Mustafayev - APA-ECONOMICS. The World Values Survey (WVS) released results of a survey based on quizzes asked 350 000 people in 97 nations containing 90 percent of the world's population to found out how happy the people living there are.

According to the survey, Denmark, with its democracy, social equality and peaceful atmosphere, is the happiest country in the world.

Interestingly, the Danish economy is a mix of low inflation and low unemployment with emphasis on entrepreneurship and lower taxes and these qualities combined with high marks for innovation and technological savvy lift Denmark to the top of the ranking, according to a Forbes' list of the best countries for business.

In the happiness index, Puerto Rico and Colombia also rank highly, along with Northern Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden.

The United States ranks ahead of more than 80 countries, but below 15 others in happiness levels.

Out of the former USSR countries, only Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan have satifactory happiness levels while Russia is left behind.

Ninety-seven percent of respondents an exceptionally high response rate gave answers that strongly correlated with how satisfied they were with various aspects of life such as gender equality and tolerance of minorities.

Interestingly, countries whose respondents reported high levels of happiness were much likelier to be democracies than were countries that rank lower in terms of their citizens' happiness.

Three of the world's poorer countries with long histories of repressive government Moldova, Armenia and Zimbabwe are at the bottom of the happiness list. Virtually all of the lowest ranking nations struggle with legacies of authoritarian rule and widespread poverty.

The survey, first done in 1981, has kept to two simple questions: "Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"

Countries (Ranked from happiest to least happy)
Happiness Ranking (Negative scores indicate that a majority of the population is unhappy/dissatisfied with life)
1 Denmark 4.24
2 Puerto-Rico 4.21
3 Columbia 4.18
4 Iceland 4.15
5 North Ireland 4.13
6 Ireland 4.12
7 Switzerland 3.96
8 Netherlands 3.77
9 Canada 3.76
10 Austria 3.68
11 Salvador 3.67
12 Malta 3.61
13 Luxemburg 3.61
14 Sweden 3.58
15 New Zealand 3.57
16 United States 3.55
17 Guatemala 3.53
18 Mexico 3.52
19 Norway 3.50
20 Belgium 3.40
21 United Kingdom 3.39
22 Australia 3.26
23 Venezuela 3.25
24 Trinidad 3.25
25 Finland 3.24
26 Saudi Arabia 3.17
27 Thailand 3.02
28 Cyprus 2.96
29 Nigeria 2.82
30 Brasilia 2.81
31 Singapore 2.72
32 Argentina 2.69
33 Andorra 2.64
34 Malaysia 2.61
35 Western Germany 2.60
36 Vietnam 2.52
37 France 2.50
38 Philippines 2.47
39 Uruguay 2.43
40 Indonesia 2.37
41 Chile 2.34
42 Dominican Republic 2.29
43 Japan 2.24
44 Spain 2.16
45 Israel 2.08
46 Italy 2.06
47 Portugal 2.01
48 Taiwan 1.83
49 Eastern Germany 1.78
50 Slovenia 1.77
51 Ghana 1.73
52 Poland 1.66
53 Czech Republic 1.66
54 China 1.64
55 Mali 1.62
56 Kyrgyzstan 1.59
57 Jordan 1.46
58 Greece 1.45
59 South Africa 1.39
60 Turkey 1.27
61 Peru 1.24
62 South Korea 1.23
63 Hong-Kong 1.16
64 Iran 1.12
65 Bangladesh 1.00
66 Bosnia 0.94
67 Croatia 0.87
68 Morocco 0.87
69 India 0.85
70 Uganda 0.69
71 Zambia 0.68
72 Algeria 0.60
73 Burkina-Faso 0.60
74 Egypt 0.52
75 Slovakia 0.41
76 Hungary 0.36
77 Montenegro 0.19
78 Tanzania 0.13
79 Azerbaijan 0.13
80 Macedonia -0.06
81 Rwanda -0.15
82 Pakistan -0.30
83 Ethiopia -0.30
84 Estonia -0.36
85 Lithuania -0.70
86 Latvia -0.75
87 Romania -0.88
88 Russia -1.01
89 Georgia -1.01
90 Bulgaria -1.09
91 Iraq -1.36
92 Albania -1.44
93 Ukraine -1.69
94 Belarus -1.74
95 Moldova -1.74
96 Armenia -1.80
97 Zimbabwe -1.92


"History Of Armenia's Neighboring Countries" Four-Volume Book Prepared To Publication Armenpress, Feb 13, 2009
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 13, ARMENPRESS: The "History of Armenia's neighboring countries" four-volume book is prepared to be published. It will particularly present the ancient, middle age, new and newest periods of history of Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Middle East countries and how they concern the Armenian people.

Head of the institute of oriental studies of Armenian national academy of science, scientist on Turkey Ruben Safrastian told Armenpress the works are already being conducted for two years and the four-volume book will be ready in 2010. R. Safrastian assessed it as an unprecedented initiative and a basic scientific work. Head of the institute expressed hope that the book will contribute to Armenia in the issue of formation of foreign policy.

The program is being financed by the Armenian government.


Vahan Dilanyan: Turkey Had Better Recognize Armenian Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net
13.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey had better recognize the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire and alleviate the burden of international claims, an Armenian expert said.

"April 24 is not far away. Turkey's exclamations about willingness to normalize relations with Armenia become more frequent. And I will not be surprised if it announces intention to open the border before April. However, we should not forget that it will be nothing but a diplomatic maneuver," Vahan Dilanyan, head of political developments research center, told reporters in Yerevan.

He emphasized that Yerevan should be cautious about Ankara's statements, since they are conditioned by the fear of Washington's recognition of the Armenian Genocide.


A1+ They Do Not Know How To Return To Armenia 13 February, 2009
Many Armenians living in the Russian Federation cannot return to their Homeland because of the world financial crisis. This mainly refers to Armenians having some property in Russia ` abode, cars, shops, etc.

Armenian small and medium-size businessmen living in the Russian town Velikii Novgorod are in a no-go situation. `Since we had few orders I had to close my furniture workshop operating for 15 years. I am at a loss. I am going to sell everything and return to Armenia but, as you know, today no one buys anything. I cannot even sell my car,' said a Novgorod citizen Karen Baghdasaryan.

The owner of a Novgorod-based restaurant Arthur Mesropyan is also `driven into a corner.'

' `Our customers are getting fewer and fewer. Mostly, they drop in on Saturdays and Sundays to drink a glass of beer or a cup of coffee. There is no point in running the restaurant any longer. I would like to sell the restaurant, my flat, cars and property and start a business in Yerevan but¦,' sighs Mr. Mesropyan. `If the crisis gets any deeper my desire will turn into a cherished dream,' he adds.

Car mechanic Hovhannes Darbinyan living in the town for more than 18 years has already put his flat and car for sale.

I am looking forward to returning to my native town Hoktemberyan but I cannot sell my flat and car. God grant that they are sold tomorrow.

Our interlocutors say that Armenians having temporary residence in Velikii Novgorod have already returned to Armenia.


Pallone Challenges Turkey's Genocide Hypocrisy
"If Turkey wants to move closer to the West it should practice some self-reflection on its own history regarding the Armenian Genocide and help to end the Genocide in Darfur." -- Rep. Frank Pallone, February 13, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC ? Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today sharply criticized Turkey's hypocrisy in leveling human rights charges against Israel even as it continues to deny the Armenian Genocide and strengthen its ties to the genocidal Sudanese regime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In a speech on the House floor, the Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman, called the attention of his colleagues to increasingly strident Turkish attacks on Israel, including menacing, even threatening, remarks by Prime Minister Erdogan, as well as a recent Washington Post report that a Turkey-based non-governmental organization has initiated a probe to investigate if war crimes and genocide were committed by Israel during the recent Gaza Conflict. Commenting on these developments, he noted that, "For a nation that for 94 years has practiced wide-spread genocide denial of the killing of one and half million Armenians, hypocrisy runs deep today in Ankara."

The New Jersey legislator stressed that, "the Turkish people need to step back and question their skewed understanding of genocide. Look in the mirror, look at your own history, come to terms with the fact that 1.5 million Armenians died and when contemporary genocides, like Darfur, take place it must be denounced." He added that Turkey, rather than denouncing the Darfur Genocide, has actually strengthened its ties to Khartoum: "Last year, Turkish President Abdullah Gul warmly welcomed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Ankara. Yet, Al-Bashir continues to preside over a genocidal regime responsible for the deaths of 300,000 Sudanese people in the Darfur region of the country."

The full text of Congressman Pallone's statement is provided below.
#####
CONGRESSMAN FRANK PALLONE, JR.
FLOOR STATEMENT - FIVE MINUTE
TURKEY'S GENOCIDE HYPOCRACY

February 13, 2009
On Saturday, February 7th, the Washington Post reported that a Turkish Islamist-oriented human rights group, the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples, known as Mazlum-Der, initiated a probe to investigate if war crimes and genocide were committed by Israel during the recent Gaza Conflict.

I was startled to read that Mazlum-Der plans to investigate 19 Israelis including Prime Minster Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for orchestrating genocide.

For a nation that for 94 years has practiced wide-spread genocide denial of the killing of one and half million Armenians, hypocrisy runs deep today in Ankara. Last week I expressed my concerns regarding Turkey's recent rash of anti-Semitism, but this probe is going too far. Israel did not commit Genocide, but this has not stopped Ankara's Chief Prosecutor from launching this war crimes probe.

The probe out of Turkey will investigate Israel's actions in the Gaza conflict to see if they amount to "genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity." If the prosecutor finds evidence against the Israeli leaders, under Turkish law, they can be detained if they enter Turkey.

The absurdity of this probe and the fact that Turkey is issuing it must be exposed. Israel did not commit Genocide. Israel was not attempting to eliminate the Palestinian people. Israel was protecting itself from the hundreds of bombs Hamas has been shooting into its cities.

Mazlum-Der has no ground to stand on. Turkey has no ground to stand on. Neither this NGO nor the Turkish government has ever attempted to discuss the truth of the Armenian Genocide. Nor has Turkey or Mazlum-Der taken action against the present genocide that continues to rage in Darfur.

While Israelis are defending themselves against constant attacks from Hamas, Mazlum-Der insists this is genocide. How can this organization accuse Israel of committing genocide when it has yet to categorize the thousands of killings in Darfur as a genocide? The Turkish people need to step back and question their skewed understanding of genocide. Look in the mirror, look at your own history, come to terms with the fact that 1.5 million Armenians died and when contemporary genocides, like Darfur, take place it must be denounced.

But instead of denouncing it, Turkey's relationship with Sudan is strong. Last year, Turkish President Abdullah Gul warmly welcomed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Ankara. Yet, Al-Bashir continues to preside over a genocidal regime responsible for the deaths of 300,000 Sudanese people in the Darfur region of the country. Today, 2.7 million Darfuris have lost their homes since the conflict and now live in internally displaced persons camps. While all of this happens, President Gul of Turkey has said that the situation in Darfur adds up to a "humanitarian tragedy" caused by economic difficulties.

This watering down of state sponsored government killing is an affront to the thousands who have perished in Darfur. And yet a Turkish organization is investigating genocide in Israel?

President Gul greeted the Sudanese leader with a military guard of honor only bestowed on Turkey's closest allies. While the international community fiercely works to contain al-Bashir's government, Turkey embraces it. Both governments have a long history of genocide denial.

The Republic of Turkey has had 94 years to recognize the Armenian Genocide perpetrated on their soil in 1915. Like the Sudanese government, the Turkish government's state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of the Armenians in the early twentieth century left one and half million Armenians tortured, murdered, and displaced. Yet to this day the Republic of Turkey continues to deny the slaughter of the Armenians ? instead launching an absurd investigation into Israel.

If Turkey and its NGOs want to take a stand against Genocide they should not be pointing at Israel, nor should Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan be threatening Israel with comments like, "Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents." If Turkey wants to move closer to the West it should practice some self-reflection on its own history regarding the Armenian Genocide and help to end the Genocide in Darfur. (ANCA Press Release)


On Mutual Perception Of Armenians In Turkey Ruben Melkonyan
The problem of mutual perception of different groups of the Armenians becomes of vital importance today but this time on the grounds of the Armenians in Turkey. The issue of the Armenians who were forced to convert their religion (i.e. who were Islamized) in Turkey has become the subject of wide speculations in scientific and analytical circles of Armenia quite recently. This unknown and veiled problem causes ambiguous reactions. First of all there is an objective problem of lack of information, which gradually vanishes and this generates both questions and answers. Thus the contradictive evaluations (from unreasonably optimistic to nihilistic), which were caused by this problem, may be regarded as quite regular.

The facts show that the issue of mutual perception of different groups of the Armenians is rather vital even for Armenian community of Istanbul. Taking into consideration the fact that Christian Istanbul-Armenians associate more with different groups of the converted Armenians in Turkey and their successors lower we shall try to turn to different elements of their mutual perception.

It should be mentioned that the Armenian community of Istanbul, which is mainly guided by different stereotypes and commonplaces, is not inclined to associate with the Armenians from other groups, which are different from them. Armenians from the RA are no exception either. They are mostly regarded (perceived) by the Armenians of Istanbul as “strangers” or “aliens”. The growth of the number of articles and publications is the evidence of the topicality of the problem of mutual perception of the Armenians in Turkey and Istanbul-Armenians who are on different stages of estrangement.

Thus Istanbul-Armenian journalist of “Akos” daily Bagrat Esdugyan has been turning to that problem rather often recently. And here we find it necessary to make rather extended quotations from his articles. Because, being a member of Armenian community in Istanbul, he could present the matter impartially, from constructive positions and, which is most important, “from within”: “One of the main issues, which are on the agenda in Turkey now, is the issue of national identity. Many prejudiced ideas, opinions and even statements fall to the ground today. Till recent times the authorities have liked to believe that 99.9% of the population of the country is Muslims. Armenian community in the country seems to think the same way. Or it does not realize that there are also other Armenians in this country and it does not want to hear about them. There is no place in our narrow-minded perception for the Armenian who is not a Christian (underlined by us – R. M.). Till recent times we could go on not calling Armenian the one who did not speak Armenian. And today we do not want to hear of those whose way of life differs from our philistine traditions. But there are such people. There are Armenians who hold on their national identity, ignoring their religious affiliation. There are Christians who cling to their faith without realizing their national identity. There are Armenian-speaking people who only now disclose the national identity of their ancestors. Some of them occurred in the regions inhabited by Kurds and Kurdishized. The others stayed in the regions inhabited by Turks and Turkishized. And the third group is the Armenians who seeking for their roots come to our church. But are the doors of church open before them? What is the answer an Armenian from province receives from the priest when he asks to christen him, to carry out wedding ceremony or funeral?”

By the way, Bagrad Esdugyan talked on that subject in the interview with Armenian internet-site “Hetq” (the Association of Investigating Armenian Journalists”): “When we speak of Armenian community in Turkey we mean Istanbul Armenian community. And we speak of Istanbul Armenian community we mean a kind of philistine way of life. And that philistine, narrow-minded way of life wants to see Armenians who are just like them. I.e. an Armenian has to live in some distinct districts, to go to the island in summer and visit church with some frequency. And an Armenian should keep himself within some definite bounds set by the majority of those who live in the city. An Armenian who does not fit with this mode of life will arouse suspicion and will be disdained. This group may include either those who live in the RA or those who have lived out of Istanbul for a long time and preserved their identity or lost it but now try to realize it. Those Armenians cannot be integrated with Armenian community of Istanbul either.

It should be mentioned that the same situation can be also met in Europe where they have a number of obstacles determined by language, social and other differences between Armenians who have re-converted their faith (i.e. who re-converted Christianity) or who are on their way to do that and those who have not converted their faith, and this causes estrangement among people.

There is no doubt that Armenian Apostolic Church has a lot to do in the issue of correct perception and integration of crypto- or Islamized Armenians (especially those who want to re-convert Christianity). And the uncharitable attitude of Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul towards the Armenians (and this may be conditioned by different facts, such as prudence, the restrictions applied by Turkish government and also by the possible danger of avaricious intentions) who want to re-convert Christianity is reprehensible.

It is obvious that in the discourse of the Armenians of Istanbul the question “Who is an Armenian?” is pointed out. And Bagrat Esdugyan has also touched over that issue on the pages of “Akos” daily: “Indeed, who is an Armenian? What do we understand saying “Armenian”? E.g. what do we, the Armenians of Istanbul expect from the Armenians? Is it possible that an Armenian does not speak Armenian? Life has shown that it is possible. Do the Armenians living in Armenia accept those who do not speak Armenian as an Armenian? Who knows, may be they do. And can an Armenian be non-Christian? Can we imagine a man who has converted Islam saying that he is an Armenian? It occurs that it is possible. On the next day after the murder of Dink we had been on guard by the entrance of the office of “Akos” daily, i.e. people from “Sayat-Nova”, guys from “Kartesh Turkiler”, youth from “Tostlar Gorozu”, and dozens of Sasunians. That night we saw Muslim Armenians who came to pay a tribute to the greatest martyr of our days Hrant Dink. We saw that this is possible too”. The author of the article confirms the idea, which was presented by us repeatedly that the adequate perception of crypto- or Islamized Armenians and their successors in Turkey, the specification of the attitude toward them is possible only after comprehensive acknowledgment and understanding of that issue. One can see that Esdugyan approaches to the issue of the perception of estranged Armenians in Turkey on behalf of the Armenians from the RA with the unveiled caution and preconception which are justly based on our “inexperience”, i.e. lack of awareness concerning that issue as compared with them. Esdugyan also indirectly accepts that Istanbul-Armenians today have a problem of recognition of the Armenians who live in province and who are on different stages of estrangement, as they do not know the whole matter profoundly. “Who did know about 20 thousand Armenians of Adiyaman twenty years ago? Two years ago our community got acquainted with that province, because several dozens of pupils came to our national high schools. Is our country a place where are a lot of crypto-Armenians or those who has lost their roots?

We find that the issue of the perception of the Islamized Armenians and their successors on behalf of the Turks, the Kurds or in one word Muslims surrounding them is not of a minor importance and it is noteworthy. It is not a secret that in Turkey the converted Armenians were not regarded as “true Muslims” either on state or on social levels, and today that approach has not changed. There are a lot of facts showing the foregoing. It is enough to mention the fact that there were some sanctions imposed by the republican Turkey on state level against Islamized Armenians. The Islamized Armenians accept that even after their faith conversion their milieu does not regard them as true Muslims and they are always labeled as “gyavur” of “denme” (converted). E.g. the converted Armenian 85-years old Sasunian Zeynep Iylmaz who is believed to be a faithful Muslim (even more Muslim than her Muslim husband) says: “We were Armenians and now we are Muslims but when occasion offers Muslims always say “You are the Armenians”. We cannot get rid of it”. Turning to that matter Bagrat Esdugyan mentions that Muslims still regard Islamized Armenians and their successors as Armenians. “Muslim never accept them, they say “this is gyavur village”. Such an attitude has not changed and has been passed on from generation to generation”.

It would be interesting to know the opinion of Turkish nationalists concerning the question “Who is a Turk?” and to see in the same context the way they treat non-Turks who are on different stages of estrangement. Thus one of the pioneers of pan-Turkism Nihal Atsz (1905-1975) answered the question “Who is a Turk?” in his article “Turkish race = Turkish nation” published in 1934 in “Orqun” magazine saying: “For the Turks the issue of nation is first of all the issue of blood. Thus the one who say that he is a Turk must be from the Turkish kin. The one of the other blood even if he does not know any other language but for Turkish cannot be a Turk”.

Summing up all what was said above we should mention that we must have a differentiated approach and, which is most important expectations from various groups of Islamized Armenians. The attempts and the aspiration of crypto-Armenians to re-integrate Armeniancy must be awarded our positive attitude. It is necessary to get over the differences between us, which have occurred due to the objective reasons.

There are different occurrences to be noticed among Islamized Armenians and their successors from mixed marriages: some of them, as we have already told, are proud of their Armenian descent and begin to treat it in special way, the others try to ignore this, thus not to be labeled as “gyavur” or “enemy-Armenian”, and the third part feels hostility towards the Christian Armenians (and this is conditioned by some psychological reasons too).

Of course it is said that we can often see that the estranged successors of Islamized Armenians have some deformed or “corrupted” human features characteristic of our nation, of the Armenian anthropological type. Anyway we should realize that there are people who have an Armenian descent and those who want to learn more about it. That is why we must not deny the existence of the Islamized Armenians and their successors and quite the contrary; we must find some common edges to associate with them.


On Manifestaions Of Identity In Turkey, Ruben Melkonyan
In Turkish reality the issue of ethnic origin is rather delicate and it often finds reflection in politics, directly touches on state officials and politicians, causing different speculations. In Turkish “national” state belonging to other ethnos is regarded as an insult, something equal to “alien”. It is also a widespread method of “accusations” perceptible by vast masses.

Very often state officials of high rank and politicians have to go into the problem of ethnic identity and relating “accusations”. You can notice some blur and contradictions in their statements and comments. Among high-ranking Turkish officials the name of Turkish prime-minister Recep Erdogan is often mentioned in the context of ethnic identity and it is pointed out that he is not “pure-blooded” Turk. In the course of the discussion on his name on 6th December, 1997 in Sghert Erdogan tried to answer these accusations with his inherent ingenuousness: “They say I’m rizian or laz. I say that I am not laz. I asked about it my father, and he asked his grandfather who was mullah and he answered this way: “Tomorrow we’ll die. God will ask: “Who’s your god, who’s your prophet, what’s your religion? He will not ask about your nationality or kin. And then you answer: “Thank God I’m Muslim” and pass by.

But if we follow the ideas he expressed later, we’ll see that he contradicts to himself. Thus on 21st May, 2004 in Romania he declared that: “There are no more ideologies in the world. Both ethnic and religious ideologies are perishable”. This was followed by another statement which contradicted to the foregoing and which was made on 11th August, 2004 in Georgia: “I am also Georgian; our family is Georgian family which moved from Batum to Rize”. And on 12th April, 2005 in Norway Erdogan said: “I’m Rizian, my wife is from Aghert, she is Arab and not Turk”. Such a mess in his thoughts let Turkish media suppose that Erdogan is in the identity crisis now.

Different observations and facts let us attend, that among Turkish Armenians who had adopted Islam and their successors there is a strata of those who, having Armenian origin not only reject it, but also try to prove to their milieu their “pure-blooded Turkish” or Muslim descend and become convinced anti-Armenian. There is definitely some psychological point too. They psychologically regard the part of Armenians who could abide to their roots as their main enemies. The hostile attitude towards Armenians in Turkish society is also an important condition of anti-Armenian manifestations among those who had Armenian origins. They psychologically don’t want to belong to the hostile nation, that’s why they choose the road of assimilation with the dominant nation. Turning to this matter, the ethnographer Harutyun Marutyan expresses the following idea: “Publications, direct and indirect pressure of political and economic character may cause people to try to get rid of pinned labels, change their milieu, break off with their relatives and people of the same nation and in fact choose the road of assimilation and estrangement”.

Different sources impute Armenian or at least “non-pure Turkish” origin to many famous Turkish nationalists, and this, as it was mentioned above, can be used in political speculations. Among such examples we would like to mention the statement which was put into circulation recently saying that one of the most ardent anti-Armenians, the chairman of Workers party Dogu Perinchek has Armenian roots. We should remind you, that he is one of the most active extirpators of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and he was condemned for the denial of the Genocide in Switzerland. Some Turkish circles made a big stink, and Perinchek was nicknamed as “the conqueror of Lozano”. The radical-chairman of Workers party evaluates the Armenian Genocide as “imperialistic lie”. Perinchek’s son is in the track of his father and he also joined the struggle against the recognition of the Genocide. It is worth noting that at present Dogu Perinchek is detained on “Ergenekon” terrorist organization case which caused a sensation in Turkey.

The scandalous disclosure of his routs drew a wide response in Turkish media. Thus, it was mentioned that Dogu is a native of Apchagha village in province of Eghin (Akn, Erznka). It is worth noting that province of Akn is well known for the great number of apostate Armenians and historical sources confirm that up to 1915 this province was inhabited mainly by Christians, generally Armenians and Georgians.

But Turkish magazine “Chronicle” came out with more serious facts of Perinchek’s origin. There are quotations from archival documents of the Ottoman court in the article which give information on demographic, social, economic, religious, ethnic situation in the region. In accordance with them there were many Armenians in the region at the close of 19th and the beginning of 20th century. Most of them were craftsmen, and they mainly lived in village of Akn. There were also many Armenians in the villages of Kemer-gab, Apchagha, Ilich and e.t.c. The village of Apchagha, the native village of Perinchek’s ancestors, was mainly inhabited by Armenians. The village headman, the members of the council of elders were Armenians. Some of their names have even remained in the court records: the son of Hakob Krikor, the son of Artin Kirkor and e.t.c. As it was mentioned in the foregoing article there was wide spread and at the same time interesting regularity among Armenians of Akn. They all had generic names (it should be mentioned for comparison that the surname law was put into circulation only in 1934, and only after that Turks began to use surnames), but it is interesting that most of them were made up of Turkish names: Mouratoglu, Degirmendjioglu, Chilingirolu, Ayvazoglu, Perinchegoglu and e.t.c. But there was one more interesting detail in the records of the court. In spite of the fact that most of them had Turkish generic names, their surnames were Armenian. Turkish and other surnames were exclusions. In that very court documents there are records saying that the Perinchoglus were Armenians, and there are even court cases where they were involved and there was mentioned that; “Perinchoglu Stepan and Khachatur of Armenian “millet” (nation)”. The father of Dogu Perinchek’s grandfather Mehmet Sadik was born in 1850 in Apchagha. His son Mehmet Djemal Perinchek also was born in the same village (1887). But as you can see, their surnames are not Armenian and, in fact, the above mentioned peculiarity is infringed. This may be regarded as exclusion but the facts from the court documents throw light on this and many other questions. Thus in the records of Ottoman court it was written clearly that Mehmet Sadik Perinchoglu was “muhetdi”, and muhetdi means a person who has converted the faith, it means that he had adopted Islam in the second half of 19th century, but there was nothing said about the reasons of the conversion of faith. This also means that Islam conversion policy with its ascents and declines continued during the whole history of Ottoman state. Dogu Perinchek is the offspring of Islamized Armenian. His Armenian descend made him take the road of self-denial and Turkish chauvinism.

However even this circumstance does not save the likes of Perinchek from the danger of accusation of being non-Turkish by Turkish society. This is what Bagrat Esdukyan, the journalist of “Akos” daily, writes about in his article “Who is Armenian?”: “What can we say to those who have disavowed their nation? Those who have not only disavowed but even hate their nation. But it occurs that collective memory doesn’t let you disavow your nation. It will reveal the true face of the adjurers and show what they have been trying to escape from for their whole life”.
www.noravank.am


Armenian Academic Retracts Apology Campaign Over Fierce Reactions
An Armenian academic retracted a planned campaign apologizing to Turks for killings conducted by his countrymen after drawing fierce reactions from the diaspora, Hurriyet daily reported on Monday.

Dr. Armen Gavakian from the Macquarie University in Sydney, inspired by a Turkish initiative, decided last month to launch a campaign to apologize to Turks for murders committed by the Asala organization in the 1980s.

Gakavian, however, retracted the campaign over fierce criticism from Armenian diaspora, Hurriyet wrote.

Prof. Baskin Oran, one of the intellectuals who initiated the Turkish apology campaign, wrote in Agos daily that they were also exposed to similar reactions from his fellow citizens.

"His (campaign) resembled ours. Attacks from the Workshop for Armenian/Turkish Scholarship (WATS) started immediately... They asked whether the Turks made him write this," he wrote.

Around 200 Turkish academics, writers and journalists have launched a website issuing an apology to Armenians "for ignoring the tragedy that the Armenians faced in 1915". The efforts of Turkish intellectuals have also drawn reaction in Turkey and incited counter website campaigns, and exhibitions containing information and photographs from studies conducted into the events.

Gavakian’s statement was expected to be opened for signatures of support this week. "I apologize to the Ottomans and Turks for murders committed in the name of the Armenian people and I empathize with the feelings and pain of the Ottomans and Turks," the statement said according to media reports. He later denied that the statement included an apology.

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.

The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet on accepting Turkey's proposal to form an independent commission to investigate the claims.


Ex Envoy: Armenians In Us Stronger Than Before
ISTANBUL - The Armenian lobby is fully mobilized and highly motivated yet that does not mean BarackObama’s administration will recognize Armenians claims of "genocide" despite pledges made during election campaigns, says former US ambassador to Ankara, Marc Parris

Although the Armenian lobby in Washington has worked hard to have the 1915 events recognized as "genocide", one former U.S. ambassador to Turkey says that does not mean the White House is ready to endorse claims.

"The bad news is that the Armenian lobby is fully mobilized, highly motivated and in possession of unprecedentedly clear and unqualified commitments from leading members of the new administration that the events of 1915 will be termed 'genocide'," Mark Parris, retired U.S. Ambassador to Ankara said late on Wednesday at a dinner in Istanbul hosted by Turkey's International Investors Association.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all originally pledged that once in office they would recognize 1915 incidents as "genocide" during the election campaign.

The move helped them garner the support of the Armenian lobby, which is expected to push for another legislation in congress to have their claims recognized.

Parris, who is currently a consultant to the Washington-based Brookings Institute, said he did not think it necessarily meant either a resolution or a statement by the White House would be forthcoming.

Progress in Turkish - Armenian ties important
"It is not a pretty picture from where we sit tonight. At the end of the day someone in Washington will calculate where the American interest lies and make the case. I think there are strong and potentially compelling arguments that can be made that this is not the time and there will never be a proper time to approach this issue in this way," he said.

Parris said the progress in normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia was important for Washington.

"I understand from today's Hürriyet headlines there is something tangible and imminent if the promises are fulfilled, which could change the course of the discussions in Washington and we can talk about other issues I mentioned today," he said.

Hürriyet daily reported Wednesday that Armenia and Azerbaijan reached a partial agreement towards the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Turkey closed its borders with Armenia over its invasion of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory in 1993.

PM Erdoğan’s Davos outburst not helpful
Parris confirmed the recent concerns in Turkey that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's outburst in Davos in late January could negatively effect Turkish-Jewish lobby relations.

"I think that there is some likelihood that there will be an impact to enthusiasm on which to address a potential action related to the genocide. If you had read their statements you would see that they had stressed the strategic importance of Turkey. But it would be inaccurate for me to suggest that there will not be effects from some of the things that were said and happened here. There might be some consequences from that," he said.

Parris said Turkey's reaction against the Israeli operations in Gaza highlighted "the dilemma that some in the United States see in Turkey's more assertive regional diplomacy."

On one hand Turkey appears behind the scenes to have been an active, creative and constructive contributor to negotiations leading to a cease-fire, he said.

"One the other hand, some of the rhetoric here has, I fear, undermined Ankara's hard-earned reputation for even-handedness. That has to be considered a loss as the Obama administration considers how, and with whom, to begin the process of re-engagement in pursuit of lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors," he said.

Parris said the issue that was on top of Obama administration’s agenda was the economy, but he said he was confident it would meet the challenge to ensure Turkey received the timely, senior-level attention it merited as a country that "can help or hurt the new administration’s efforts abroad."

The Obama administration came into office with recent and clear reminders that Turkey is very useful if Washington wants to provide assistance to Georgia or to support or withdraw forces from Iraq or in developing alternative supply routes for Afghanistan, said Parris.

Cooperation in energy more promissing compared to past
Among the challenges awaiting Turkey-U.S. relations, a partnership in energy is now a more encouraging subject after the "tragic lost opportunity of the last eight years," according to Parris.

"The hour is late. But Russia’s test of wills with Ukraine last winter could be impetus for a renewed commitment by the United States, Turkey and Europe to overcome the petty and self-interested squabbling that has frustrated rapid movement on Nabucco and other projects essential to the long-term energy security of the West. And that could return partnership on energy issues to a prominent place on the U.S.-Turkish bilateral agenda," he said.

The new administration will find that Turkish-Russian relations are not the same as they were eight years ago and the countries’ positions on various issues such as Iran, Iraq, Palestine and the Black Sea security have converged, and bilateral trade relations have mushroomed. "I’m not among those who believe Moscow will ever provide an alternative to a strategic partnership with Washington or the West generally. But as the Obama administration re-engages on issues like energy security or the security and independence of former Soviet territories like Georgia or Ukraine, it will find, I suspect, that it cannot count on Ankara’s simply following the United States's lead, as might have been the case in the past," he said.


Turkish Groups Raise Concerns Over Obama’s Stance On Armenian Claims
The Turkish organizations in the U.S. have expressed concerns over Armenian lobbying efforts to have their claims recognized in the U.S. regarding the 1915 incidents in a letter to President Barack Obama.

The Armenian lobby organizations have increased theirs efforts to have recognized their claims regarding the 1915 incidents in the U.S. Congress. During the election campaign, Obama had pledged to recognize the Armenian claims.

"It would be stating the obvious to observe that Armenian special interest lobbies are pressuring your Administration and Congress to label the tragic events in the waning hours of the Ottoman Empire during World War I as the crime of genocide," the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) said in the name of 53 Turkish American community organizations in the letter published on the group's website on Friday.

The letter said it would be unfair to accept a one-sided characterization of the incidents by ignoring independent and impartial assessments by historian and scholars, reminding casualties suffered by Ottoman Muslimsm during World War I.

The issue of 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.

The letter reiterated Turkey's willingness to accept the findings by an international commission of scholars and experts with access to all relevant archives.

"Armenia should be urged equally to accept the formation and conclusions of such a commission. We see such an effort as the fairest method for assessing the truth, which will pave the way for reconciliation, in lieu of politically charged legislative or executive decisions by third parties," it said, asking Obama to consider the Turkish Americans "views and concerns" on the issue.

The letter, which also includes historical facts regarding the issue, referred to the works of many foreign historians, academics and scholars.


Obama Discusses Armenia, Mideast, Afghanistan With Turkish Officials
U.S. President Barack Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and had two "warm and productive" conversations, the White House said late on Monday. (UPDATED)

According to the statements issued by the White House, and both Gul and Erdogan’s offices Obama and Turkish officials discussed the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Armenia.

"In both calls, the leaders discussed a number of current issues, including U.S. support for the growing Turkish-Iraqi relationship, the importance of cooperation in Middle East peace efforts, and the U.S. review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," the White House said in a statement.

This is the highest level contact of the new administration in Washington with Ankara since Obama took the office in Jan. 20. Earlier in February U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on the sidelines of a security conference.

"The president emphasized the importance of the United States alliance with Turkey and said he looks forward to working with both President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan on a broad agenda of mutual strategic interest," the White House said adding, Obama emphasized his desire to strengthen U.S.-Turkish relations and to work together effectively in NATO.

Gul’s office said prior to the White House’s statement Obama had praised Turkey’s leadership in the regional issues. The two leaders also "re-affirmed the will to work together, reviewing regional as well as international issues," Gul’s office added.

Gul told the U.S. president that a legislation that would recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents should not be put before Congress.

The issue of 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

FOCUS ON ARMENIA ISSUE
However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.

The issue of 1915 incidents was high on the agenda of Obama-Erdogan discussion. The Obama administration is seen as the most pro-Armenian administration in Washington. Obama, Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to recognize the Armenian claims on the 1915 incidents, which has caused major concern in Turkey.

Erdogan underlined the importance of the strategic cooperation. “Turkey’s stance on policies regarding the Middle East and Armenia is clear. America’s fair and impartial approach (to these issues) is important in order to prevent any damage to the bilateral relations,” Erdogan was quoted as telling to Obama.

The U.S. president welcomed the recent restored dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, signaling under the existing circumstances he would refrain from taking any step that would harm these efforts.

Turkey and Armenia had restored dialogue, an important step to normalize the relations that would eventually result in the opening of the border between two neighboring countries. Turkey closed its border and cut its diplomatic relations with Armenia in a protest to Armenian occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory.

"I would like to say that your leadership is vital in the Middle East peace process and America always understands Turkey's sensitivities," Erdogan's office quoted Obama as telling the Turkish prime minister.

The statement said Obama expressed willingness to work with Turkey on many issues such as maintaining peace in the Middle East, ending PKK terrorism and relations with Armenia.


Belonging To A Community: Is A Political Affiliation Or A Religious Stripe Necessary?, By Dikran Abrahamian, 30 January 2009
Originally posted in 24 April Forum as part of a discussion related to the subject of being an Armenian. It's reproduced with minor cosmetic changes and in response to some correspondents who have questioned my "Armenianness" or affiliations.

I think my father - a survivor of the Genocide from Adana and raised in Greece - was a tashnag. I say "I think", because he never espoused a particular indoctrinary attitude, but I could feel where his allegiances lay. My mother's family - from Musa Dagh - was overall either henchag or pro-henchag; and a distant cousin was a "zaim" - an enforcer - in the party. One of my maternal uncles, a very close classmate of yerchangahishadag Zareh gatoghigos and Simon Simonian, became the editor-in-chief of Zartonk daily during the height of the division in the church and served the Ramgavar party faithfully until he was expelled. Later he was subjected to an assassination attempt. One of my kerayrs, an intellectual, and a well respected community leader, was a member of the highest cadres of the hamaynavar party; he was one of the few diaspora leaders who visited Armenia prior to nerkaght and he actively participated in its implementation. He, too, was expelled from his party.

In a sense my "political home" was a microcosm of what was going on around us during my formative years. Having been exposed to all these various influences, I eventually found more intellectual stimulation and satiety in the left. It provided all the elements that a young man would look for: patriotism without narrow minded nationalism, progressive views to uplift society to a more just system, and clarity of goals that included security of Armenia. Things got complicated when realization set in that State Capitalism with all its ugly and sordid faces was being promoted as a just society, and the cause of the Genocide - although not neglected - was being relegated to a secondary level. That's when resignations and expulsions followed. The date is significant; it was prior to the 50th Anniversary of the Genocide by two years and the fall of the walls by twenty-eight years.

My question is - Were my father, my "Zaim" cousin, my editor uncle and internationalist kerayr - all passed away - lesser Armenian than those who proclaimed that if you did not belong to such and such a party you were not an Armenian? The follow up question is - How come that all of the above were able to talk heatedly but cordially, without malice, to each other under the same roof despite sometimes espousing diametrically opposite views? Why can't that atmosphere of communication be transplanted into our community life in an earnest manner, not just by paying lip service on only National Occasions?

My father was born in an evangelical family; he married my mom who belonged to the Armenian Apostolic Church in which I was baptized. He was literally a very religious person, and made no distinction between churches. He regularly would take me to places of worship on Sundays. If it were an Apostolic church one day, the next time it would be a Catholic, a Maronite, an Evangelical or even an Anglican church. Occasionally he would alternate between a church and a nearby mosque and a Synagogue in Haret-al-yahud. One of my Kerayrs, who inspired great respect in the extended family, was a Catholic. We would almost every year visit Zemmar, an Armenian Catholic institution in the mountains north of Beirut.

I started schooling in a non Armenian Catholic school, St. Vincent the Paul. Subsequently, I was sent off to an apostolic Armenian School in Bab Tuma in Damascus and later to Sahagian in the same city. During the summer vacations I was encouraged by my evangelical father to attend a nearby Madrassah and learn to recite the 'Quran for two consecutive summers. Upon return to my birthplace, Beirut, I attended the Armenian Evangelical school for two years and then completed my secondary schooling at AGBU Hovaguimian-Manougian. The visit to Lebanon of His Holiness Vazken Vehapar, Catholicos of All Armenians, and the accompanying political upheaval in the community turned me off from the Church. Previously, I used to make a cross every time that I passed by any church on the way to the school. There were three - a Catholic, a Maronite and an Apostolic. That practice ceased.

Upon graduation from high school, I took up two consecutive courses in Shari'a while studying at the American University of Beirut. In that same period I made a timid attempt to become a priest and took the road to the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem. It failed for completely non-religious reasons. In the days of the hippies, in mid sixties, I spent considerable time in Ashrams in Pavay - north of Bombay, Pondicherry - near Madras, and Sonarpur - south of Culcutta. Visiting the Tibetans at the slopes of the Himalayas near Dehra Dun, and getting to know the teachings of Buddhism was akin to rediscovering the universe. Some years later I found solace with the Falashas in Ethiopia. Over years I oscillated between being religious and an atheist. Now I find myself comfortable in the Agnostic camp.

Here is my question: What does religion in this day and age have to do with being an Armenian? Will you consider me an inferior Armenian? What would you say to a hamshenite who probably is not even a christian and is circumcised. By the way, back in the Soviet days when supposedly the medical doctors were atheists and religion did not play a role, my son had to be circumcised, because of medical reasons. Several Armenian surgeons refused. I was called by many names. "Are you a Turk?" was one of the questions that I had to deal with. Another said, "take him to Baku". Eventually, a Yezidi surgeon performed the necessary procedure. That was when I was studying Medicine in Yerevan.

The only postulate that I would agree with is sending our children to an Armenian School. I have gone to great lengths with substantial sacrifices in sending my two children all the way to Melkonian in Cyprus. However, let me tell you that you will find many like me who are fed up and will not send their children to some Armenian schools, because they inculcate division and hatred towards the "other". In not too distant future three of my children out of five will cease to be Armenian. They don't even talk Armenian. Call me whatever you may, but I won't sacrifice harmony for dislike of "the other".

Individuals do not act based only on logic, ethnic or "national" priorities. Their background, personal experiences and perceptions play a big role in how they conduct their affairs. Not taking into account such factors, and exercising exclusionary criteria and practices render a community stale and impoverished in quality.
http://keghart.com/node/275


“Unclench your fist and we will talk”: Hrant Dink & Victor Jara By Arpie Dadoyan, New Jersey, 21 January 2009
Friends of Hrant: Voices in Dialogue are a group of Armenians, Turks and Kurds with roots in Anatolia who have come together to share their deep love and respect for Hrant Dink and to carry on his legacy and dream. On January 17 in Ottawa, Canada, they put together an evening commemorating the second anniversary of Hrant Dink’s senseless killing and invited the public to attend the event.

For this occasion, I drove to Montréal from New Jersey taking the 87 Thruway on to Highway 15 in Canada and from there five of us Armenians drove to Ottawa on Autoroute 417, thus bypassing the ways of politics, governments, hate, ignorance, revenge and demands. The experience was liberating. Understanding open arms of non-Armenians greeted us upon arrival and welcomed us in peace and appreciation.

Despite the fact that non-Armenians outnumbered us 5 to 1, from then on and throughout the event, the evening brought us closer to each other via the tool called compassionate intelligence. We, the Armenians were the endangered species for them. They had worked so hard and slept so little to let one more Armenian know that they understood our plight. They knew. There were tears, hugs and laughter, smiles of understanding and discoveries, language and name comparisons, geographical locations of ancestors were noted. At one point I had to come to terms with the sense that the grandparents of the people I was talking to might have been the neighbors of my grandparents.

At times we forgot why we were there only to later realize that it is Hrant Dink who brought us together. His vision was being realized as we were honoring and remembering him. He was among us and we were all him.

In Beirut, where I was born, the Kurds used to live in huts behind a whole circle of buildings in our neighborhood. They always wore their traditional costumes and before television they were our only source of entertainment and education in matters ethnic. The husbands sold vegetables on carriages in the mornings and were oh so kind to all the Armenian housewives who kept bartering for pennies.

But I had never met a “Turk.”
And here we were: “Turks”, “Kurds” and “Armenians,” in the moment, looking alike, crying alike and smiling alike.

There were over a hundred people seated in the little auditorium of the Canadian Library and Archives. There were two large screens with Hrant’s picture on both. Underneath the picture, the year of his birth but no year of death. Instead, three dots symbolizing his place in the hearts of his friends.

After the welcoming remarks we were treated to the sounds of the Duduk; a recitation in Armenian of Shiraz’ Dantegan (Dantean); an article written by Hrant Dink was read in English; and the keynote address was given by Phil Jenkins, Chair of Writers-In-Prison Committee, PEN-Canada. At one point, he juxtaposed Hrant’s life with that of the great Chilean activist Victor Jara who had inspired a song that Mr. Jenkins sang a cappela inviting the audience to join in “…his hands were gentle, his hands were strong…”

We also watched three video clips of Hrant which I had never seen. In one of them, during his acceptance speech for the Henri Nannen Award, Hrant asks the German politicians seated in the audience and other European governments in general to take responsibility for what happened to the Armenians in 1915 and help us overcome the great divide. In another clip, Hrant expresses his wish that the people of Turkey be educated about what happened to the Armenians before we can establish dialogue with them.

I will paraphrase a line from Obama’s inauguration address: “Unclench your fist and we will talk”. Surely, that goes both ways.

The impeccable event organized by Friends of Hrant: Voices in Dialogue gave me the opportunity to unclench my fist.

Hrant Dink, "his hands were gentle, his hands were strong…"
--------------------------
The guest speaker Phil Jenkins drew parallels between Hrant Dink and Victor Jara. Below are the lyrics and you may listen to the song performed by Trev Teasdel with Steve Gillgallon on bass guitar.
http://keghart.com/node/283


An Apology, A Thank You And Dialogues By Dikran Abrahamian BA, MD February 9, 2009
Centuries and millenia measure a nation’s life; and experiences of such a collective, especially of traumatic nature, are imprinted in the collective memory - never to be erased and never to be forgotten. A mere century ago, the Young Turks proclaimed the end of the Ottoman Sultan's horrible reign. They spoke of friendship and goodwill.

Some Armenians, close to the new rulers, belonging to the same lodges and political circles of the new revolutionaries, erroneously thought that the day had come to rejoice. They reciprocated with expressions of “brotherhood” and thought a new era had begun. Alas! Not long after, they were led to the gallows and brutally murdered.

When I first heard of the "Apology" of the Turkish intellectuals, I could not help not to think about this "friendship" a century ago. Those who spoke of all progressive ideas of the time had other plans in their mind.

Analysing each word, I could not bring myself to acknowledge realities of today. How could I? My hard drive kept on overriding what new information was coming by. Despite my cerebrum telling me about Nazim Hikmet's humanism, the bravery of all those past and present Turkish intellectuals who defied the dictates of their state, the two-hundred-thousand Turks chanting "We are all Hrant Dink, We are all Armenian", my soul would not budge. The olive branch that was extended a century ago, turned out to be plucked from Dante's Inferno. How could I forget?

On January 17, during the long journey to Ottawa to attend the commemoration of Hrant Dink organized by Friends of Hrant: Voices in Dialogue, a singular thought agonized me. How would I greet and thank the organizers of the event? Many of them were Turks. After all, I had considered Hrant Dink as another victim of the ongoing Genocide. A friend who was slain, because of preaching dialogue between two nations, understanding and democracy - the very same democracy that the Turks themselves are yearning for.

For a short moment at the entrance of the hall at the Canadian Library and Archives, I took hesitant steps. Once I recognized a few familiar faces and engaged in conversation, my thoughts of the past dissipated. Reality set in. The program was "impeccable" as Arpie Dadoyan states. She had travelled all the way from New Jersey to attend the commemoration.

It was indeed a unique occasion to meet the organizers. They were appreciative of the presence of so many people who had dared the cold to extend a greeting hand. They were sincere in their thoughts. In a way, they represented the physical faces behind “I apologize”. All those who signed the statement did so with conscious and courage, though for a variety of reasons. Here at this hall, in addition, I could see a Hrant Dink behind each organizer and I am confident that they will spread Dink’s words wherever they go.

To my understanding, Hrant argued that you could not deny something that you had no knowledge of. The vast majority of people in Turkey have no clue of what did happen to the Armenians during WWI and afterwards. It becomes imperative to educate the public and to accomplish such a Herculean task freedom of speech and democracy is essential. The organizers are well aware of this testament of Dink, and they are willing to carry his work.

There is a saying in Armenian, “You can’t get spring with one flower.” I gather there is a similar expression in Turkish and other languages. It is gratifying that Turkish intellectuals have expressed an apology and Friends of Hrant Dink organized commemorations in many centres of the world. All these events symbolize budding flowers.

A limited non-scientific poll conducted by Keghart.com asked whether the “Apology” was a positive step to start a "meaningful" dialogue between Turks and Armenians. 49% responded positively. 24% thought that it would promote recognition of the Genocide by civilians in Turkey. Only 14% thought that it was a ploy by Turkey "to confuse Armenians". The rest replied that the statement would have no impact or would reinvigorate Turkish nationalism. A “Thank You” statement circulated by Armenian Intellectuals and widely distributed attracted only a couple of hundred signatures. The publishers of Arax on-line magazine qualified it as a "diplomatic gesture" towards the Turkish initiative.

These figures and the lukewarm acceptance of the Armenian Intellectuals' action by the average Armenian may be telling something. People wish that a true dialogue would occur, but hesitant to embrace wholeheartedly such projects in earnest. For as long as there is no substantial change in Turkey, and foremost, an acknowledgment by the Turkish state itself, attempts at dialogues and similar projects will remain as solitary flowers in a wasteland.

May be it sounds impertinent recalling what a guru in Sonarpur, India, once told to his followers from USA and Europe, “What are you doing here? Your problem is in your homeland.” Indeed, all the commemorations and dialogues in Ottawa or elsewhere pale when homeland – Turkey – is in the background. Voltaire would have said, "Let's work in the garden".
http://keghart.com/node/284


A New Milestone For The ‘sorry’ Campaign In Turkey: “I’m Not Only Apologizing; I Am Also Returning All My Estates!”
By Sabri Atman, SEYFO CENTER, posted in Assyrian International News Agency, 6 February 2009
Around a year ago, Mr Berzan Boti, a permanent resident of Turkey, began to write to SEYFO CENTER, the main organisation that undertakes investigative research on the Assyrian Genocide. He expressed that he genuinely wishes to make an apology towards the Assyrian people for the Genocide and is willing to return all the estates (house, land, etc.) he inherited, to their actual owners from which they were originally confiscated. In December last year one of the hot topics which was present amongst the public and prominent in Turkish media headlines was the ‘Sorry’ campaign directed in recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Contrary to this came the chauvinist wave that escalated from the Prime Minister to the military’s Chief Commander.

We have been corresponding with each other for two years. Finally he passed onto us the deed he had made on the 6th October 2008, through the Notary Public’s Office which was the complete transfer of house/land title.We are planning to announce this new step to the international public, sometime in May this year through a press conference in the Swedish Parliament, with the presence of Mr Berzan Boti himself.Unfortunately, due to the discussions and debates surrounding the matter within and outside Turkey, it is necessary for us to make a preliminary statement prior to our planned press conference.Let this be known, the 1915 Genocide did not simply target people of Armenian nationality. The Assyrian people (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) were also massacred and exterminated along side the Armenian people. However this has not been widely discussed. This is similar to the accounts of crimes against Rumanians during World War II being passed over in history. Forgetting the atrocities committed against the Assyrian people during the 1915 Genocide is not understandable nor is it acceptable.

Yet, more than half of the Assyrian Nation, alongside with the Armenians were exterminated with the same mentality which proposed that ‘an onion is an onion; therefore it must be chopped off’. Thus the Ottomans did not differentiate amongst the Christians. In this the case, then, why there is no mention of the Assyrians, at all?

Nowadays in Turkey, you will find a new generation of individuals who are trained in naming the main streets and public squares in the main cities of Ankara and Istanbul after Talat Pasha, who to the Assyrians and Armenians is considered the Turkish counterpart of Adolf Hitler; and that questions about the statues of Kemal Bey (Lord Kemal) and crippled Osman (Othman) which are erected in other cities like Giresun and Bo?azl?yan are never raised. You can understand that this large group of people will not come to the truth easily. What about the intellectuals?

Weren’t the men and women, young and old, with different religious beliefs and particular ethnicities murdered from Istanbul to Hakkari, in 1915 and onwards? These systematic massacres were merely a planned programme and executed with the decision of a central authority. As much as the (Turkish) authorities may interchangeably intend to call these actions as a big tragedy or cataclysm; however, could this event itself hide out the real truth it holds where it costed the lives of over two million people and that wiped out majority of ethnic Christian minorities from this part of geography?

Here the intended emphasize is this: in order to reach reconciliation for the genocide, requires the parties involved enter into settlement. People need to be educated in this line and try to meet the requirements for apology. It is not sufficient enough just to say ‘Sorry’ even though this may seem a positive step forward in apology. The fundamental principle and important element is to meet the essentials of the apology. The issue is not an argument about whether or not the genocide happened in Turkey. The actual matter which needs to be addressed and discussed is what steps forward Turkey can take to ease the pain and sorrow of the victims of the genocide.

We, the Assyrians, more importantly would like to underline this: settling up with history is another measure of democratization. If you don’t face up and settle with history, you cannot reveal the importance of the day. In this essence Turkey should settle with its own recent history. Therefore it must apologize for what it did in the 1915 (and onwards) to the Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Yezidi’s. More importantly it should meet the essentials of this apology.

Inasmuch as Turkey won’t settle up with its own recent history or apologizes to the people that were victims of genocide, it will not prevent future genocides nor will it be democratized. What we seek is for Turkey to come clean about every aspect of the Genocide.

On 18 March last year Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel bowed down at Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, in reference to the Holocaust, in which 6 million people were killed, said in Hebrew:

“The Holocaust is shame and a disgrace for us! With all my respects to all victims of the massacre, I bow down.”

On the contrary, the Turkish Republic’s Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdo?an says to those involved in the ‘Sorry’ campaign: “they must have committed the genocide so that they are apologizing”. What a shame! This attitude shows the degree of maturity between the Turkish Republic’s Prime Minister, Mr Erdo?an as compared to that of Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

The Prime Minister should come to the realisation that the only means through which Turkey can establish a democratic future is to stop more years passing in which no apology or reconciliation is made for the atrocities of the recent past. The Prime Minister Tayyip Erdo?an, by learning a few words of the victimized people’s language, in this case the language that Jesus Christ spoke, which was Aramaic (Syriac) and should say: “Aa’mo Suryoyo, Shoupqono!” meaning, “Assyrian people, Sorry!”. This will not humilate him. On the contrary, such an apology will herald the dawn of a new age of maturity for Turkey. ?n brief this means in due course, if the inner dynamics of Turkey won’t lead it into action, then the outer dynamics will force Turkey to do so. Let it be known to that.

The esteemed Mr Berzan Boti, being a very honourable man, has placed his signature to a very FIRST in history which paves the way the rest of Turkey. He has brought in all the necessary official documents, signed and certified by the Notary Public’s Office (in Turkey) and transferred his properties to the Assyrian Genocide Research Centre, the SEYFO CENTER. In addition to these documents, the letter he wrote to the attention of General Public contains the following lines:

“As of 6th October 2008, in Turkey’s south-eastern province of Siirt, the sub-division (…………), I have officially transferred my house/land titled (……….) in the Notary Public’s Office to the SEYFO CENTER, nominating it to its director Mr Sabri Atman. In my letter below, I would like to share with you the general public the reasons why I have transferred my land to Seyfo Center.

World War I is a well known event by the international public. This event took place in the late Ottoman Empire in 1915; genocide was carried against all Christian minorities living there. My village ……, was another place where these unfortunate events occurred. I have personally researched this event from many different aspects. Today in Turkey this subject is still, not only denied and distorted for over 93 years, but to speak about it or mention it is considered taboo. I did not just rely on what historians wrote or documented; I have also witnessed the confessions of the live witnesses who not only witnessed this tragic genocide, but who took part in the killing role in these mass massacres; where these individuals can be described as the ‘guilty party’. I have met these people face to face and listened to them just before their deaths. During the genocide years, the murdered Assyrians in my village had their lands confiscated and the little number of them who survived was Islamized. The grand children of those who were Islamized are still living in our village.

I found out that the land which was inherited by me and my brothers and sisters from my father actually was the land of the people (Assyrians) who were massacred in 1915. It did not belong to us. I now cannot find the right words that describe the shame, guilt, qualm and the pangs of conscience state I live in. Before taking my decision of transfer, for many years I have thought about it and have placed myself in the shoes of those people who became victims of the genocide. Despite of me personally apologising to the many Assyrian and Armenian individuals that I came across with and said ‘sorry’ to, I could not leave the moral pressure of conscience I inherited behind. Even though today I do not have a direct connection with the then genocide; I came to the conclusion that I have to do something beyond apology. That is why the estate I have inherited from my forefathers, I am returning it back to its actual owners, the Assyrians, to one of their organizations, the Seyfo Center which sacrifices altruism in recognition of the genocide…”

We have now presented you with a section of Mr Berzan Boti’s two page letter. Furthermore, we are planning to present you the rest of the letter and other developments in April at a press conference in the Swedish Parliament, in presence of politicians, historians, scientists and other important figures.

It seems that there are two factions in Turkey of late. One holds the view of individuals like Berzan Boti’s and the other is the ones who name some of the main streets and public squares after Talat Pasha, in the major cities including Ankara and Istanbul.

Mr Berzan Boti has done two admirable things. First, he apologized and secondly, he fulfilled all the essentials required of an apology. This exemplary attitude reminds us: What about Mr Osman Feriduno?lu, the grandson of Crippled Osman, the one who killed the Greeks in the city of Giresun, displacing them from their homelands; confiscating their goods, possessions and estates; will he do the same thing that Mr Berzan Boti has done?

In no way! The grandson of Crippled Osman, Mr Osman Feriduno?lu (the 2007 tax record-bearer of Giresun) has added to his fortune the captured properties he inherited from his grandfather. Following that, he has built a monument in honour of his grandfather together with the detainee of terror organization, Ergenekon, Mr Veli Küçük. These people are busy with denying the genocide and keeping alive the memories of murderers and criminals.

The hurdle is very clear. Certainly, not every Turkish individual is directly responsible for the events of the past. Nor can be considered as complicit and guilty. However, obviously there is a collective responsibility in question that lies upon everyone. Every Turkish individual is responsible for urging the Turkish Government to recognize and accept the 1915 Genocide of Assyrian, Armenian and Greek Christians.
http://keghart.com/node/286


Pres. Obama's Drive to Free the U.S. from Tyranny of Oil Benefits Americans and Paves the Way for Reunification of Armenia
By Appo Jabarian Executive Publisher / Managing Editor USA Armenian Life Magazine, February 13, 2009

Since its first discovery about 150 years ago, oil has made both positive and negative impacts on humanity. Some would argue that had there not been oil, the nearly seven billion inhabitants of this planet could not have been fed properly, and that a sizeable segment could not have survived without oil-supported food industry.

But oil has already "harvested" a great portion of the world's population by way of two major world wars, and a series of genocidal campaigns starting with the Armenian Genocide, all the way to Darfur, the catastrophic war in Iraq, and the miscalculated war against South Ossetia/Russia instigated by Georgia's oil-financed Pres. Mikheil Saakashvili.

Dependence on foreign oil has undermined the interests of the American people. According to several economists and other observers, uncontrolled importing of oil has become one of the top reasons of the weakening of the U.S. economy.

And now, the United States recognizes its need to transform its economy from war-time to peace-time. In an effort to usher in the latter, the issue of over-dependence on foreign oil has become part and parcel of a set of problems that are being addressed.

As a petroleum over-consuming nation, the U.S. is in the process of re-evaluating the pros and cons of oil as a dominant factor in its economy.

Armed with healthier ideas on alternative energy policies, a home-grown American political movement, led by Pres. Barack Obama, is actively contemplating on ending oil's political and economic dictates.

Speaking of oil's negative impact on U.S. foreign policy in the former Soviet block, George Gregoriou, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Critical Theory and Geopolitics at The William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., wrote on Feb. 9 on The Greek News Online: "Bush II's White House's … geopolitical strategy to encircle Russia, control the paths to oil, and push the Russian borders to Russia 'proper' seems not only troublesome, but costly as well. This is due primarily to the United States spreading its resources and energies too thin, maintaining 769 overseas bases and thousands of facilities, and short-changing the American people of basic needs."

He added: "The country was exhausted, politically, militarily, and economically, in two wars without an end in sight, the global war on terrorism, and the requirements of maintaining spheres of influence and access to markets and trade; borrowing billions or trillions of dollars from banks and lending institutions, spending this money without any return benefits to the American people, other (than) the defense contractors connected to the White House; the national debt leapfrogging to over 10 trillion dollars, with an annual interest of $700 billion paid to banks and foreign investors; and a collapsing economy due to a frenzy of deregulation policies in the Clinton and Bush II years."

He continued: "The Wall Street financial meltdown and the collapse of capitalism, globally, have yet to hit bottom. The Bush (II) White House was really on a path to nowhere, at home and abroad, other than warmongering, and bullying Russia to submit to US power and the facts created on the ground. The Russian response to Washington was given in the Georgian military adventure. The Bush plan to install the radar system in the Czech Republic and the missile system in the Poland to protect Europe from Iranian missiles (not now, but fifteen years from now!), had credibility only inside the Bush White House and among those still fighting the Cold War."

Prof. Gregoriou asked: "If Washington were to continue this path towards Cold War II, could the US economy and the American people sustain such a confrontational policy and the sacrifices, as in the last 70 years?"

In the light of presidential promotion of the Stimulus Package to resuscitate the economy, it is refreshing to learn that Pres. Obama declared on Feb. 6 in Williamsburg: "This plan will begin to end the tyranny of oil in our time. It doubles our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and bio-fuels in three years."

Speaking of oil's other casualties; its dictates have also inflicted so much devastation and deprivations on Armenia.

At the end of WWI in 1918, according to the Treaty of Sèvres, Armenia, as an Associated Power, had entered into agreement with the Allied Powers and then-defeated Turkey to recover the Turkish-occupied Western Armenia also known as Wilsonian Armenia. Since the borders of Armenia were drawn by President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, "Ottoman" Armenia was also referred to as "Wilsonian Armenia." But conniving U.S.-based oil interests sabotaged the implementation of the Treaty and as a result, the reunification of Wilsonian Armenia with Eastern Armenia has been delayed until now.

Post-WWI Turkey (1918-), benefiting from active support from self-serving oil interests in the U.S.; and from the general apathy actively promoted by these interests, went on to complete its genocidal campaign against the Armenians. Kemalist Turkey not only reneged on returning Western or Wilsonian Armenia, but additionally occupied Kars and Ardahan regions that belonged to Eastern Armenia (Armenia 1918-1920).

Pres. Obama's drive to free the U.S. from the tyranny of oil will benefit the American people. And it will also pave the way for the correction of the historic wrong done to the Armenians through the long overdue reunification of their homeland.
http://keghart.com/node/289


Soccer Diplomacy vs. ‘I Apologize’ By Khatchig Mouradian, Editor of Armenian Weekly, Watertown MA
Article appeared in Radikal , Istanbul, 25 January 2009

“Soccer Diplomacy” was not Turkish-Armenian dialogue, as it was portrayed in the Western media; it was Turkey-Armenia dialogue and ignored the large Diaspora."

The year 2008 was eventful for Turkish-Armenian relations. Armenian President Serge Sarkisian invited his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, to visit Armenia and watch the Armenia-Turkey World Cup qualifier soccer match. Both the Armenian and Turkish sides had given new momentum to behind-the-scenes meetings, which culminated in Gul’s acceptance of the invitation a few days before the match. On Sept. 6, Gul’s plane landed in Yerevan making him the first Turkish president to visit the capital.

When Sarkisian first extended the invitation, the media began referring to the ongoing Turkey-Armenia dialogue as “Soccer Diplomacy.” The exchange of ping-pong players in the early 1970’s between China and the U.S. paved the way for President Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972, and was known as “Ping Pong Diplomacy.” The media was comparing the two, but the comparison is at best superficial. While such a term could be fitting to the rapprochement between two powerful countries like the U.S. and China, a similar description for Turkey and Armenia is misleading because it assumes that they are “competing” on a level playing field. Not only is there a glaring power asymmetry between Turkey and Armenia, but that power asymmetry is largely a result of the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians during World War I.

Which brings me to the campaign launched by 200 intellectuals in Turkey on December 15, apologizing for the Armenian Genocide.

The apology read: “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. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers and sisters. I apologize to them.”

Within two weeks, around 25,000 Turks had signed the petition. A taboo was broken. Apologizing from Armenians became a topic of discussion in Turkey.

The campaign saw an immediate and violent backlash from nationalists in Turkey. It also generated a great deal of discussion among progressive intellectuals, both in public and private, about the motives of the initiators of the campaign and the text of the apology.

Yet undeniably, the apology campaign was a milestone. More so than “Soccer Diplomacy,” I would argue.

The campaign attempted to do something “Soccer Diplomacy” had completely neglected: to address some of the root causes of the conflict between Turks and Armenians. Moreover, while “Soccer Diplomacy” was an affair between the Turkish and Armenian governments, the apology was more inclusive as it was addressed to all Armenians. In fact, the Armenian translation of the apology, made available on the website of the apology (http://www.ozurdiliyoruz.com), was in Western Armenian—the dialect spoken by Diasporan Armenians.

The true transformation of Turkish-Armenian relations cannot take place without involving all sectors and levels of the affected populations. “Soccer Diplomacy” was not Turkish-Armenian dialogue, as it was portrayed in the Western media; it was Turkey-Armenia dialogue and ignored the large Diaspora, which is comprised of the descendents of survivors of the Armenian Genocide who were driven away from their ancestral lands and scattered around the world.

The apology campaign began addressing the root causes of the Turkish-Armenian issue. Without such initiatives, traditional diplomacy resolves too little, late, and risks looking like mere make-up on a deeply scarred face.
http://keghart.com/node/277


Need to Get Somewhere? Good Luck
Now that the week of reveling is over it's back to the grind. But not for everyone. I noticed that the Gomidas market is not bustling as it normally is with many vendors absent. Even some shops in the area are still closed oddly enough. Some people apparently party until the old New Year date which is January 13. But for most people including myself it was business as usual on January 7, the day after Armenian Christmas.

Since Yerevan was blanketed with snow and subsequently ice when I arrived from the States on December 29, and anticipating several days of drinking and gorging, not to mention laziness, I decided to leave my Niva where it still is--parked in my landlord's garage. He doesn't mind one bit, which is great as I hate driving this time of year in the city, since the streets are like sandy glass. Although the price of gasoline has dipped from 410 only a few months ago to now 250 dram (about 80 cents) for a liter--the lowest it's been since I moved here in 2004--I've been favoring public transportation lately.

As I have written several times on this blog, although the Yerevan transportation system is fairly reliable in terms of availability and covers the main streets and back roads of the entire city for the most part, there are both positive and negative aspects of inner city travel. You can choose from two main modes of public transportation--the single-line metro and an intricate web of minibuses. The subway system is officially not to mention monotonously called the City of Yerevan's Karen Demirchian Metropolitan of Yerevan's City Hall. Metro trains arrive at stations on average every five minutes. Both the stations and trains are spotless, free of litter. Sometimes water leaks into the stations and as a result there is a light stench of mold and must, but other than that they are clean. The only complaint I have about the trains however is that the florescent bulbs which light the train cabins seem to burn out often, and they go unchanged for long periods of time. So riders basically sit mostly in the dark as a result as was the case this morning. I don't know what the problem is exactly since the metro system seems to be generating high revenue from advertising. My guess is that inferior bulbs are being purchased from places like Iran rather than from those which produce more reputable, reliable products that cost more. The money left over from the allocated budget is then probably pocketed by the buyer. However, I cannot prove this, but that's the way things generally work here. The same form of corruption arguably occurs everywhere in the world.

A major problem with the above-ground transport system is lack of maintenance. The minibuses, which are mostly Russian-made Gazelles, are not properly maintained, both mechanically and aesthetically. The seats are often worn out and the interior lighting is poor. The vans physically are unfit, with some of them having broken suspensions, thus being lopsided and barely able to move. Then there are issues with faulty radiators, untuned engines, and things basically falling off from underneath these mechanical beasts. Full-size buses are also in use, which are faster because they run on diesel and are able to outrun the natural gas-fueled minibuses. However, you encounter similar mechanical problems, such as loud, squeaky brakes, a clear signal that they are worn out, and faulty suspensions. I favor the buses because they are much more roomy and pass the tortoise-paced vans without difficulty, even though they may have a hard time stopping.

The other night after waiting for a bus for over 20 minutes I jumped into the front seat of a Gazelle, which turned out to be a bad mistake. Although I vowed long ago never to ride in these things any longer because I have had bad experiences and they are usually overcrowded with passengers, I couldn't stand the cold. The thing was crawling down Gomidas Avenue and the engine wasn't exactly purring. I was suspecting that it wasn't running properly, as the driver didn't seem too confident while he clutched the wheel. Sure enough, five minutes later something snapped and was being dragged behind. The driver pulled over to the side of the road, I paid him, and then found a Lada 2107 taxi parked nearby to take me home. I didn't bother to find out what was wrong since it didn't interest me. I wanted to get home as soon as possible, and I wasn't about to get into another minibus after a 30 second wait at the bus stop regardless.

I can't understand why the owners of these routes continually endanger the safety of their passengers by failing to properly maintain their transport vehicles. Some of them when overloaded even tip over. I realize that it's a great way to make a fruitful income, but at the expense of people's lives? Also, the drivers tend to drive too fast and recklessly at that because they want to complete as many route loops as possible during the day, since they are partly paid by commission. The more fares they have, the more money they make, and it's not much. They work long, gruelling hours with short lunch breaks, and they're all miserable. But it's been this way for as long as I've been in Armenia, and the situation isn't about to change. Greed is winning out because people need to get around as cheaply as possible. The goal is to get where you want to go without worrying about your bus breaking down or worse, crashing.
by Christian Garbis noteshairenik.blogspot.com


‘Turkish And Armenian Businessmen Await Normalization Of Relations’
Kaan Soyak, co-founder and co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC), has said Turkish and Armenian business people are waiting for relations between their two countries to see normalization so they can go ahead with new projects that will benefit both sides.

One of these projects is the establishment of a qualified industrial zone between Turkey and Armenia for cooperation in the textile sector.

Noting that Armenia is active in the textiles business abroad, Soyak said they also have an effective marketing network in the United States.

“We can use this to the advantage of both sides. … In Turkey, we have machines and fabrics, and there is a labor force in Armenia. It is possible to produce cost-effective textiles and sell them in the United States without taxes and customs tariffs.”

With that aim, the TABDC has been working with US congressmen for years to map out the details of the project.

“But we are waiting on the improvement of Turkey-Armenia relations,” Soyak added. Fortunately, increased and open diplomatic traffic between Turkey and Armenia has signaled that there are more efforts under way to normalize relations between the two countries. Turkey closed its border with Armenia and severed diplomatic links with Yerevan in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan over Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan in the early 1990s.

Speaking with Monday Talk, Soyak elaborated on these issues and more.

There seems to be increasing dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, although there have not yet been any concrete steps for normalizing relations. Do you expect a breakthrough soon?

‘Nabucco may well pass through Armenia'

And what about the Nabucco project? Is Armenia a likely participant in the project if its relations with Turkey are being normalized?

As we all know, due to political problems between Armenia and Turkey and Armenia and Azerbaijan the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project bypassed Armenia and passed through Georgia at an extra 20 percent cost. The inclusion of Armenia in the Nabucco project is definitely on the table. I assume parties are waiting for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey to advance in this regard.

President Abdullah Gül’s visit to Yerevan in September last year marked a new era in Turkey’s relations with Armenia. But no immediate further steps were taken in October or November to normalize relations. However, serious contacts started by the end of January and they are continuing. Foreign ministers from both sides are talking frequently. The Turkish side wants to set up a joint historical commission to review past events, but the Armenian side wants to see the normalization of relations and the establishment of diplomatic relations first. Meanwhile, some minority nationalists in the Armenian diaspora believe this slow progress is to their advantage. Some claim that the Armenian side is using delays as a tactic and waiting for the genocide resolution to be passed in the US Congress first. Claims regarding the Turkish side are about delaying normalizing relations with Armenia to first see whether the US administration recognizes the genocide on April 24. If there are such tactics on the both sides, they will not bring any positive developments. Now is the right time for both sides to sit down, settle all existing problems and not leave any burdens for future generations.

You mentioned that only a minority of the Armenian diaspora thinks of benefiting from slow progress in improving relations between Turkey and Armenia. But most Turkish people would think that the Armenian diaspora is united on its negative stance. Who is correct?

Indeed, a majority of the Armenian diaspora supports the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey and the opening of border gates, as well; however, this group will remain silent if there are no concrete steps taken for normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia. And the hard-line, nationalistic part of the diaspora will be heard much more because they speak so loudly.

PROFILE
Kaan Soyak Working tirelessly for normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations

He co-founded the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC) in 1997 and he is co-chairman of the organization, together with Arsen Ghazarian, who is based in Yerevan. Soyak is also the co-chairman and co-founder of the US-Turkish-Armenian Business Council and the Turkish-Armenian Business Council in the European Union in Brussels. Also co-founder and CEO of Trusa Consulting Services in the United States, he represents several US-based security firms on biometrics, pipeline security, tracking, secure data transfer and secure surveillance systems in the Middle East, Turkey and the Caucasus. In addition to his efforts to facilitate relations between Armenia and Turkey, he is currently working on interfaith dialogue between different religious institutions and promoting US-Turkish-Iraqi Kurdish economic relations.

You mostly deal with the business development side of the border issue. What opportunities would opening the border bring, given personal relations between Turks and Armenians?

Armenia is a small country, but they have a large diaspora. There are two effective diasporas in the world: One is the Jewish diaspora and the other is the Armenian diaspora. And the Armenians are much closer to the values of Anatolia. We can see almost all Anatolian traditions in the lives of Armenians even today, even if they are born in the United States or Europe. Who would think that Armenians would serve irmik helvası during their funerals like Turks do? Armenians are very respectful of Islamic traditions, as well as religious holidays. The very first phone calls always come from my Armenian friends when there are Islamic religious holidays or holy nights. Armenians are also very sensitive to Middle Eastern problems and deeply empathize with the problems of the Palestinians. They are also extensively engaged in the business world of the Arab countries -- an additional value to Turkish business circles that are willing to do business in the Middle East.

What would change in the lives of the Armenians if the border were opened?

Armenia would benefit quite a lot financially from the opening of the border, since they currently have to purchase materials through Georgia, further increasing their costs. Armenia is a land-locked country. It is an economically poor country. And there are a lot of people who left Armenia. The population has decreased to 1.5 million from 3 million. When they are poor, the public is easily manipulated by nationalist sentiments. But the public is so fed up with their economic difficulties that they are ready for the opening of the border. The Armenian public will feel more relaxed and they will be free to visit Anatolian cities once the borders are opened. For example, they would start spending their weekends in Anatolian cities such as Kars, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş and Malatya. Diaspora Armenians would be very happy to regularly visit their ancestral cities.

What is the current trade volume between Turkey and Armenia and what is the expected rise after the border gates are opened?

The trade volume is currently about $100 million a year and it is expected to increase to $300 million. This may not be considered a high volume for businessmen in İstanbul, but this amount is important for businesses in the southeastern and eastern provinces of Turkey. Take the tourism sector, for example; it is one of the areas in which Turkey may make significant gains, especially in the area of religious and cultural tourism. The records show that 400,000 European and American Armenian tourists visited Armenia last year. These are people who can afford expensive visits, people in the Armenian diaspora. If they spend $100 a day, it would add up to $40 million. And if they stay for three days, then you have $120 million in a year. This may not be a noteworthy amount for the businessmen in İstanbul, but it is important for businessmen in Batman or other southeastern provinces in Turkey. It is important for those regions even if the amount is an extra $5 million a year.

What do you think are the most lucrative sectors for Turkish and Armenian businessmen?

One sector is textiles. Armenia was the production center of textiles in the former Soviet Union. Armenia is still active in the textiles business abroad. They have a very effective marketing network in the United States. We can use this to the advantage of both sides. One idea is to develop a qualified industrial zone or free zone in both Turkey and Armenia. In Turkey, we have machines and fabrics, and there is a labor force in Armenia. It is possible to produce cost-effective textiles and sell them to the United States without taxes or customs tariffs.

Isn’t there a need to pass legislation in the US Congress to do that?

Yes, there is. We have had initiatives in that regard. We had meetings with both US Rep. Robert Wexler, co-chairman of the US-Turkish Caucus in the US Congress and Frank Pallone, co-chairman of the US-Armenian Caucus in the US Congress.

When did you have those meetings?

Since 2001, we have explained to them about our project to establish a qualified industrial zone between Turkey and Armenia. Turkish and Armenian textiles associations would need to pay a visit to the US Congress to map out the details of the project, but we are waiting on the improvement of Turkey-Armenia relations.

Isn’t this a hard task considering that the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues supports the bill on the recognition of the “genocide”? Do you think the group would be willing to back such a development? The Armenians in Armenia say that the diaspora does not really care about the improvement of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

We believe the US-Armenian Caucus in the US Congress can also work for the economic benefit of the Republic of Armenia aside from their traditional political agenda. The people of Armenia are in need of economic openings more than other openings today and this has to be understood well by the members of the US-Armenian Caucus in the US Congress.

When you try to put public pressure on Turkish or Armenian diplomats regarding normalization of relations, what is the most difficult situation you face?

We have been involved in Armenian-Turkish relations for about 12 years and our experience has shown us that there are no bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey, but there has always been third-party involvement. There were times that all the existing problems were about to be solved but there were hands involved that influenced the processes negatively in the past. Turkish and Armenian businessmen are anxiously waiting for positive developments on the diplomatic front so we can go forward with our projects. There is a need for the people of these countries to determine their own future. Once the border opens, many problems between the two countries can be discussed and solved in the commissions that will be established.

Do you think the online petition circulated by Turkish intellectuals offering an apology for the “great catastrophe” of 1915, to which several thousand Turkish citizens added their names in support, has had any effect, positive or negative, on the process of normalizing relations?

I agree with President Gül’s remarks in this regard. Every person can define his or her thoughts freely. On the other hand, all kinds of statements in favor or not in favor of the petition have an influence on the process. I cannot say negative or positive but it certainly has an effect. Negotiations between Armenia and Turkey have progressed very far as of today, so I personally think both governments would welcome all public diplomacy efforts.
16 February 2009, YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN İSTANBUL


Obama Call Raises Questions In Ankara About Afghanistan
US President Barack Obama phoned President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday to discuss Turkish-US cooperation on a wide range of issues, but pundits say Afghanistan could be the main message the new US administration intended to send to Ankara.

"In both calls, the leaders discussed a number of current issues, including US support for the growing Turkish-Iraqi relationship, the importance of cooperation in Middle East peace efforts, and the US review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," the White House said in a statement late on Monday.

“Mr. Obama’s reference to the Afghanistan issue gives a clue about the US side’s priorities during its first official contacts with its NATO ally Turkey during Obama’s term,” associate Professor Kasım Kamer told Today’s Zaman on Tuesday.

“Even during his campaign, Obama had clearly stated that he would give priority to maintaining stability in Afghanistan while outlining a plan for withdrawal of US troops in Iraq. Recently rising violence in Afghanistan has raised the importance of these plans, and there is nothing more natural than Obama’s asking for further involvement of Turkey in the upcoming period,” said Kamer, an expert on the Caucasus and Central Asia from the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK). Turkish officials were not available on Tuesday to comment on whether Turkey, a NATO member that has more than 800 troops in Afghanistan to support the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) there, would consider sending more troops. ISAF has about 55,000 troops from more than 40 countries, with NATO members providing the core of the force. The United States has approximately 23,000 troops in ISAF.

Obama sees Afghanistan as a priority and wants to boost US presence in the troubled country, where the Taliban has been making advances to regain control of the country seven years after it was driven out of power by US-led forces. US commanders have been contemplating sending up to 30,000 more soldiers to bolster the 33,000 already in Afghanistan. It is not clear, however, how much US’s NATO allies are willing to support the drive for increased military focus on Afghanistan by sending more troops there.

“The president emphasized his desire to strengthen US-Turkish relations and to work together effectively in NATO,” the White House statement said.

Monday’s phone conversation was the first contact between Obama and Erdoğan. Obama had earlier phoned Gül after his election as president in November. The most recent conversation came amid Turkey’s increased diplomatic efforts for peace in the Middle East and a spat with Israel over the Jewish state’s deadly offensive in Gaza, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians in January.

Erdoğan’s office said the prime minister emphasized the strategic cooperation between the two countries. “Prime Minister Erdoğan especially expressed Turkey’s sensitivities on Armenia and the Middle East policies, and he said it was important that the US follows a fair and impartial policy for not hurting relations between the two countries,” the statement said. Observers commented that the focus on US desire to cooperate with Turkey is a sign that the US readiness to work for peace in the Middle East is not undermined by the dispute between Turkey and US ally Israel.
18 February 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN


Nazi doctor claims Holocaust victims were Khazar Turks
Nazi doctor Aribert Heim, who eluded Nazi hunters for almost 50 years, had during his lifetime claimed that contrary to the conventional information, most victims of the Holocaust were Khazar Turks but not Jews.

In a New York Times article "Uncovering lost path of the most wanted Nazi" published Feb. 4, Heim allegedly strongly defended that most Jews killed in concentration camps were not Semites but were Khazar Turks. He even wrote a paper on the issue while living in Cairo as Tarek Hussein Farid and had to intention to send it to world leaders.

Aribert Ferdinand Heim, a member of Hitler's elite Waffen-SS and a medical doctor at the Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen concentration camps, was accused of atrocities against hundreds of Jews and others. It was at Mauthausen, in his native Austria, that Heim committed the atrocities that earned him the nickname Dr. Death.

The Times article said: "The Turkic ethnic group the Khazars were a recurring theme for Dr. Heim, who kept himself busy in Cairo, researching a paper he wrote in English and German, decrying the possibility of anti-Semitism owing to the fact, he said, that most Jews were not Semitic in ethnic origin. Mr. Rifai recalled that Dr. Heim had shown his family many different drafts of the paper, which were among the papers found in the briefcase that The Times and ZDF television obtained. A list also showed plans to send drafts of the paper to prominent people around the world -- under the name Dr. Youssef Ibrahim -- including the United Nations secretary general, Kurt Waldheim, the United States national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Yugoslavia's leader, Marshal Tito."

The papers apparently were not sent to world leaders. Heim died in Cairo in 1992 without being noticed by Nazi hunters for 46 years.
09 February 2009, TODAY’S ZAMAN BRUSSELS


Turkish PM to meet U.S. President Obama at G-20 summit
Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the upcoming G-20 Summit in London in April.

Erdogan and his Croatian counterpart Ivo Sanader held a joint press conference and answered questions of the press corps following their tete-a-tete meeting in Ankara on Wednesday.

Turkey and Croatia signed four agreements on economy, foreign trade, investments and environment. The two countries also signed a "Strategic Document" on Wednesday.

Croatia is a country in which Turkey attaches great importance for peace, stability and welfare in the Balkans, Erdogan said.

"Political relations between Turkey and Croatia are excellent," Erdogan said.

We had a chance to exchange view points on regional and international issues, Erdogan said.

We discussed Croatia's membership to NATO and how this membership will add a new dimension to bilateral relations, Erdogan said.

Reminding of EU accession negotiations of the two countries, Erdogan said that both Turkey and Croatia have similar approaches to the European Union.

A business council meeting between Turkey and Croatia would take place in Istanbul tomorrow (Thursday), Erdogan said.

The strategic document signed on Wednesday will strengthen the multi-dimensional relationship between our two countries, Erdogan said.

In response to a question of a Croatian journalist on Caspian Sea natural gas, Erdogan said that Caspian natural gas may be carried to Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.


Obama Welcomes The Recent Restored Armenia-Turkey Dialogue 17.02.2009
U.S. President Barack Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and had two "warm and productive" conversations, the White House said late on Monday.

According to the statements issued by the White House, and both Gul and Erdogan’s offices Obama and Turkish officials discussed the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Armenia, Hurriyet Daily reported.

"In both calls, the leaders discussed a number of current issues, including U.S. support for the growing Turkish-Iraqi relationship, the importance of cooperation in Middle East peace efforts, and the U.S. review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," the White House said in a statement.

This is the highest level contact of the new administration in Washington with Ankara since Obama took the office in Jan. 20. Earlier in February U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on the sidelines of a security conference.

Gul told the U.S. president that a legislation that would recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents should not be put before Congress.

The issue of 1915 incidents was high on the agenda of Obama-Erdogan discussion. The Obama administration is seen as the most pro-Armenian administration in Washington. Obama, Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to recognize the Armenian Genocide, which has caused major concern in Turkey.

Erdogan underlined the importance of the strategic cooperation. “Turkey’s stance on policies regarding the Middle East and Armenia is clear. America’s fair and impartial approach (to these issues) is important in order to prevent any damage to the bilateral relations,” Erdogan was quoted as telling to Obama.

The U.S. president welcomed the recent restored dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, signaling under the existing circumstances he would refrain from taking any step that would harm these efforts.

The statement said Obama expressed willingness to work with Turkey on many issues such as maintaining peace in the Middle East, ending PKK terrorism and relations with Armenia.
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Local Politicians Take A Leaf Out Of Obama’s Book
ISTANBUL - Having seen the success that can come from taking an Internet savvy approach while campaigning for votes, politicians here are in no mood to let the opportunity pass.

Taking the lead from U.S. President Barack Obama’s highly successful use of the Internet during his presidential campaign, candidates for the upcoming local elections have also started capitalizing on Web sites, e-mail and the social networking site Facebook.

Demand for Web sites and Web hosting has increased 40 percent due to the upcoming local elections. Obama’s successful use of online campaigning is believed to be the primary reason behind this growing interest by Turkish politicians in the Internet.

Candidates for the local elections March 29 are no longer just competing via traditional means but are now making use of the Internet to reach potential voters. Candidates have Web sites, e-mail target audiences and have facebook groups.

Murat Yanıklar, general manager of the Internet firm turkticaret.net, said there has been a demand increase of 35 to 40 percent for Web sites and Web hosting due to the local elections. "Most of the candidates have their Web sites designed with local constituencies in mind. There is a serious increase in employing digital methods during campaigns compared to the previous elections," he said.

"Through the Internet, candidates can both create an interactive environment for their target audience and reach the younger crowd," Yanıklar said. He added that video sections for Web sites have become really popular. Another trend is registering domain names with the candidate’s name next to the name of the area he or she is running for, Yanıklar said.

Yanıklar also said it was pleasing to see candidates from major political parties making an effort through the Internet. "The highest demand comes from the Marmara region. Candidates from every party are showing interest but the top demand is from the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, candidates. Web site design prices range from 1,000 to 5,000 (Turkish) liras," he said.

Facebook is popular worldwide and is the newest campaign medium. The incumbent mayors of Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir all have Facebook groups, as do their rivals.

Murat Karayalçın, the CHP mayoral candidate for Ankara, has 26,597 members in his Facebook group while AKP candidate Melih Gökçek, Karayalçın’s rival, and the incumbent mayor of Ankara, has only 2,451.

Kadir Topbaş, incumbent Istanbul Mayor from the AKP, has 1,024 fans on Facebook, a number that pales compared to those of his main rival from the CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu who has 108,000 supporters.

Other candidates competing on Facebook include İzmir mayor and CHP’s candidate, Aziz Kocaoğlu, who is seeking re-election and has 4,359 supporters. Mansur Yavaş of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, and mayoral candidate for Ankara, has 5,464 fans.

Obama used Facebook and MySpace
The Internet played an important role in Obama’s presidential campaign. Obama’s team made use of social networks, direct e-mail and search engine campaigns to reach each voter individually. Toward the end of his campaign, Obama had 2 million members on his Facebook and MySpace pages.


Painful historical issues divide Turkey and Armenia 10.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The thaw between Armenia and Turkey is a good signal, a European official said.

“There is progress and I am hopeful that reconciliation is not far away. Of course, there are painful historical issues, which should be acknowledged for further development of relations,” Mr. Goran Lennmarker, OSCE Special Representative on Nagorno Karabakh said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“The entire world knows what happened during World War I. But both Armenia and Turkey should move forward step by step,” he said.

The visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Armenia on Sept. 6, 2008 was welcomed by the international community as thaw in bilateral relations.

The talks focused on the ways to continue the dialogue and also referred to the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform initiated by Turkey after the war in South Ossetia in August 2008.

Goran Lennmarker:
I hope for agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan
The regular meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Zurich late January gingered up the OSCE MG Co-chairs, who are planning a regional visit in the near future. European structures are pressing for soonest resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, which they consider to be an obstacle to regional development. OSCE PA Special Representative on Nagorno Karabakh Goran Lennmarker comments to PanARMENIAN.Net on his vision for the conflict resolution.
10.02.2009 GMT+04:00
How real is your forecast for resolution of the conflict this year?

I am an optimist and hope that the sides in the conflict will come to an agreement till the end of the current year. It’s vital for the Presidents to shoulder the responsibility for resolution of the conflict. Opportunity to settle the dispute has been lost several times. Spinning out time is harmful for all sides, specifically for the people of Nagorno Karabakh. I think that the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia was not wrong to say that Armenia and Azerbaijan could sign a framework agreement this summer.

Don’t you think that engagement of Nagorno Karabakh in talks would facilitate the process?

Representatives of Nagorno Karabakh may join talks one day. But now their interests are advocated by Armenia. I hope that Armenia and Azerbaijan will reach an agreement, it’s extremely important. I am not aware of the details of presidential and ministerial meetings in Zurich but the fact is positive in itself.

The right of nations to self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity fixed in the Helsinki Final Act form the basis for conflict resolution. Is either of the principles preferable?

Both principles are equal. Neither dominates the international law. Resolution of the Karabakh conflict should base on this postulate. The sides should strike a compromise. I would like to repeat that the conflict has no military solution. The deplorable outcome of the August war in South Ossetia proved inadmissibility of the use of force. A peace agreement forms the basis of the fundamental principles. It means that solution should be found with respect for fundamental principles both in Armenia and Azerbaijan, through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are included in the Eastern Partnership. Can the initiative speed up the conflict resolution?

Resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict will be significant for the entire region. It will be a start of a dialogue between the countries which have chosen the European way of development. Dialogue is the best mechanism to find areas of contact and we should spare no effort to make this dialogue possible.

What do you think about the so-called ‘football diplomacy’ which helped Armenia and Turkey mark a breakthrough in relations last year?

The thaw between Armenia and Turkey is a good signal. There is progress and I am hopeful that reconciliation is not far away. Of course, there are painful historical issues, which should be acknowledged for further development of relations. The entire world knows what happened during World War I. But both Armenia and Turkey should move forward step by step.

What your opinion on Iran’s offer to mediate a peace deal on Karabakh?

Any assistance is helpful. But we should not forget that Iran experiences problems with the international community. I think that is Mohammad Khatami is elected President in summer, the region can expect transformations. Khatami is more balanced than Ahmadinejad. Anyway, the European Union hopes for direct and sincere dialogue with Iran on its nuclear program.


Suat Kiniklioglu: Hillary Clinton Has A Key To Set Up Draft Law On So-Called Armenian Genocide For Discussions At The Congress - Exclusive [ 09 Feb 2009 ]
“Turkey is against of Russian weapon supply to Armenia”

Istanbul. Mayis Alizadeh–APA. Suat Kiniklioglu, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party for Foreign Affairs returned from Washington. He held several meetings regarding “Armenian issue” in Washington. Kinikliogli spoke about all these issues while giving an interview to APA Turkey bureau exclusively.

- Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan made regular statements on normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations and “Armenia issue”. How are you engaged in this issue in Washington?

The issue is on the agenda. Draft law on so-called Armenian genocide can be raised for discussions at the Congress any time. We try to prevent it. The delegation from Turkish Parliament will leave for Washington to provide objective information about the issue. We try to decrease impact of Armenian Diaspora on Armenia coordinating with Azerbaijan on Turkey-Armenia relations. Armenian Diaspora is concerned about the issue. In fact, we want to kill two birds with one stone. We want to debar Armenian Diaspora from the process and want to assist our fraternal Azerbaijan to solve Nagorno Karabakh conflict justly.

- Do you suppose that Obama administration will support the draft law on so-called Armenian genocide to be debated at the Congress?

-Obama administration is addressing mostly the economic issues now, but it doesn’t mean that the issue of so-called “Armenian genocide” will not be brought to the agenda tomorrow or another day. More things will depend on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. If Mrs. Clinton opposes a draft resolution, the Armenian lobby will face with more difficulties to bring a new resolution to the Congress. I can say that Hillary Clinton has a key to this issue.

- After the Russian invasion of Georgia the Turkish Prime Minister proposed the “Caucasian Stability and Cooperation Platform”. What is the future of this platform? Can Turkey work together with Russia?

-Turkey has special relations with Russia. Our relationship is gradually developing. The main problem for Russia is Georgia. If these two countries resolve problems between them, there will be a good condition for the strengthening of the “Platform”.

- There are facts about the Russia’s arm shipment to Armenia. Earlier Russia sold $1.1 billion arms to Armenia and last year $800 million arm deal was reached between Russia and Armenia. Is the confidence in the future of the “Caucasian Stability and Cooperation Platform” reduced under this condition?

-Russia looks at all arm deals from the commercial point of view. Moscow is actively carrying on arm trade with many countries from China to Iran, but its arm shipment to Armenia is hacking the peace in the region. We are against the Russia’s arm shipment to Armenia, because these arms are preventing, first of all, the fair solution to the Nagorno Karabakh problem. We advocate for the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from the occupation and solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.


Keep The Turkish- Armenian Light Shining From the Bosphorus: Straight
For nearly a generation the annual rites of spring in Washington have included the high-stakes lobbying match between Turkey and the Armenian diaspora. This is the annual congressional resolution proposing recognition of 1915 incidents as "genocide."

The drill has always been much the same. A sum of $1 million or so is allocated to a lobbyist with good ties to the Democratic Party. A similar check is written to another lobbyist with analogous ties to the Republican Party.

Depending on year-to-year circumstances, a hefty dose of additional lobbying power is usually then sought from the Israel lobby. Together, these forces develop a standard set of what might be called "negative" arguments. Defeat the resolution or Turkey will NOT allow expanded use of an airfield for operations in Iraq. Defeat the resolution or Turkey will NOT do this or NOT do that. The "NOTs" varied from year to year but were consistent in always being extraneous to Turkey’s relationship to Armenia.

As this April approaches again, circumstances have changed. No secret here. The new administration of Barack Obama is dominated by politicians who have promised to carry the Armenian diaspora’s water. For reasons similarly well known, this April the Israel lobby is in no mood to offer Turkey so much as a stale bagel, let alone strategic cover.

We would argue that the 20-year drill described above was cynical, stopgap and one in which Turkey was manipulated. But it worked. Now it won’t. Many predict, in the threat-based language of the past, that a crisis looms.

Maybe not. For while much has changed in Washington, much has changed in Yerevan and Ankara as well. Between the past and coming spring, reciprocal presidential visits have altered the landscape. A famous football match is etched in the memory of Turks and Armenians. Scarcely a day passes when another civil society exchange or initiative between these two countries is announced. Just this week, Armenia and Azerbaijan took important steps to resolve their own frozen conflict that feeds the standoff between Turkey and Armenia.

Turks ranging from President Abdullah Gül to academics to businessmen to students have taken countless courageous steps since last spring to right relations between two peoples who share so much common history, culture and tradition. This is the "positive" argument that needs to be made. It requires no new lobbying expenditure. It requires no call on political capital of extraneous lobbies. Turkey and Armenia have together bravely lit the candle of peace between Turks and Armenians and now seek to protect this flame. The new Obama administration should understand that it has no business extinguishing this fragile ray of light in a world haunted by so much darkness.


Sari Gelin’ Dvd Should Have No Place In Schools
One of the most important aspects of objectively dealing with the late period of Ottoman history, until its final collapse in 1923, is how the chain of events, covered by human tragedy in vast quantities, would be taught in Turkey's elementary schools.

This is, without a doubt, a vital part of the process of reconciliation with the past, setting the record straight, thereby giving future generations perspectives cleansed of irrational enmities and hatred for other ethnicities and nations.

Some small steps have been encouraging. The news that the Ministry of Education will issue new directives on deleting expressions such as "so-called Armenian genocide," "Armenian cruelties," etc., in favor of the "events of 1915" type of relatively neutral terms must be welcomed and endorsed.

But, famously, Turkey has been zigzagging on the sensitive issue. In the past two weeks, the vulnerable Armenian minority, mainly based in greater İstanbul, has felt the frustration of a communiqué issued by the same ministry about a DVD called "Sarı Gelin" (referring to an old Armenian song "Sari Gyalin", later adopted into Turkish), which directs all elementary schools to show it to pupils and report back to the ministry that they have done so by the end of February.

The documentary is a highly controversial one, giving the official Turkish version of the tragic events around 1915, filled with a fierce anti-Armenian rhetoric and extremely disturbing images of violence. The European edition of Time magazine, which had distributed the DVD to its readers in a campaign sponsored by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO), apologized afterwards for doing so.

Many Turkish families felt irritated that their kids would be shown the material because of the risk of traumatizing them. But the real problem was within the Armenian community, whose children are also taught the same curriculum and have to see the controversial material.

Last week, an open letter signed by 500 people, mainly Turkish-Armenians, was sent to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It said the following:

"Given the way in which the said documentary brings up the issue, it would definitely fuel hatred and animosity and thereby raise the already existing anti-Armenian sentiments in society, by instigating violent and discriminatory rhetoric instead of providing an insight into historical facts. As you know, the appellation Armenian has long denoted evil and the origin of malice in Turkey … Under such circumstances, showing the said documentary to minors still at primary school age would serve for nothing save bequeathing new generations erroneous value judgments.

"We cannot understand what objectives of the General Staff or the Education Ministry would be served by fueling hatred and animosity against Armenians and by instilling anti-Armenian sentiments in our children's minds through DVDs prepared by the General Staff and manifestly intended to prove that Armenians are to be blamed for 1915 incidents. If this work is destined to convince world states and nations, said DVDs should be shown abroad and not in Turkey. If this initiative is a step undertaken before April 24 against the Armenian administration or the Armenian diaspora, it is clearly set to be detrimental but not beneficial. On the contrary, if the objective is to oppress and intimidate Turkish Armenians, this would not befit the Republic of Turkey or comply with the principle of state government by the rule of law. We have been inhabitants of this land for ages; we are the citizens of the Republic of Turkey and not refugees or protégés -- as claimed by some circles.

"Mr. Prime Minister, this practice will cause the greatest harm to Armenian students who pursue their education together with their Turkish friends at state schools or private primary education institutions. One without first-hand experience would not know what permanent injury and damage would be incurred by the psychology of a child who is so accused and on whom all looks are riveted in a crowded classroom. We expect you to show humane compassion towards the problems of the children who are your fellow citizens in the same manner you have done towards the pains of the children of other countries. In the same manner, it is evident that showing this documentary in the primary schools of the Armenian minority, where all pupils are Armenian, would inflict a feeling of low esteem, culpability and exclusion on the students. Obliging children at the age of primary education to watch a documentary that defines their ancestors as traitors, and their agnates as libelists, is not only in violation of contemporary human and minority rights, but also of children's rights."

The letter had an impact. The ministry issued a statement, late on Wednesday, that the DVDs were meant to be sent to "history teachers," for their use as complementary material, not to be shown to the pupils. It said that the ministry had stopped distribution last year because "abuse" had been detected.

It is hard to be fully satisfied with this response. The implementation must be monitored further by the press, and the question must be asked regarding why on earth such controversial propaganda material would be of use to the teachers themselves.
20 February 2009, Friday YAVUZ BAYDAR
Comments on this article
Deniz , February, 20, 2009
Is it o.k. for Armenians to show doccumentaries that accuse "Invador Turks" of being "genocidal murderers"? When Armenia...


How Will Obama’s Presidency Affect Turkish Foreign Policy? By Cenap Çakmak
Newly elected US President Barack Obama may have a structural impact upon Turkish foreign policy if, as he promised in his campaign, he promotes a multilateral world, complying with international law and relying on negotiations and peaceful means rather than coercion in resolving global problems.

This impact may go beyond isolated issues, including Cyprus, Armenian genocide claims and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism, and be rather determinative and comprehensive. Obama’s presidency may resolve the dilemma that Turkish foreign policy has had to deal with since the 1980s with respect to its Westernization policy. This may further help Turkey expand the boundaries of its foreign policy and create fertile ground for Turkish foreign policy makers where foreign policy decisions will be made smoothly.

Even though it is possible that bilateral relations between Turkey and the US might have trouble with respect to the Cyprus problem and Armenian genocide issue during Obama’s term in office, Turkey’s cooperation with the US and the EU in transatlantic relations and actions by the UN will make great contributions to Turkish foreign policy. Obama’s foreign policy design, which places greater emphasis on cooperation and negotiation rather than reliance on coercion, may alleviate the tension caused by Turkey’s ambivalence between its Western-oriented policy and its eagerness to preserve the status quo for the sake of protecting its territorial integrity and maintaining security.

Turkish foreign policy tradition

Although it may be problematic to make generalizations about some visible principles governing Turkish foreign policy, it is yet possible to argue that at least two basic principles and goals have remained top-priority items on the agendas of Turkish foreign policy makers since the foundation of the republic. Preservation of the status quo -- for security reasons and maintaining territorial integrity -- and Westernization have remained the primary goals of this policy -- though they have taken different forms and been expressed in different discourses.

In the aftermath of the War of Independence, Turkish foreign policy makers, who assumed that the international order established by the Treaty of Versailles would not be consented to by the defeated powers in World War I and that it was not based on a solid ground, set a goal by which they would seek to ensure the preservation of the status quo in the region surrounding Turkey. This goal is best articulated in a famous motto of Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey: “Peace at home, peace in the world.” This motto delivers a message indicating that Turkey was satisfied with what it had after the fulfillment of the National Covenant (Misak-ı Milli) and that it was expecting consent and respect from the international community for these gains.

Westernization also emerged as another primary foreign policy objective of the young republic. To this end, Turkey maintained ties with France and Britain despite having fought the War of Independence against an alliance involving these two as belligerents. In the postwar period, Atatürk stressed that these countries were not their enemies any longer, also noting the new state’s desire to be part of the Western world. Because he believed that the Versailles order would collapse someday, Atatürk held that Turkey should align with countries like Britain and France, which favored the status quo, instead of revisionist actors like Germany and Italy when the collapse process starts. This was exactly what Turkish foreign policy makers did during World War II. Turkey abided by its primary foreign policy goals before and during the war, and for this reason, it signed a trilateral alliance deal with France and Britain.

Turkey’s preferences in the postwar period were also influenced by the emphases upon preservation of the status quo as well as Westernization. While Germany and Italy were the major threats to the status quo before World War II, the Soviet Union emerged as a big power in the aftermath of the war and expressed its ambitions over Turkish territories. In such a delicate environment, Turkey fulfilled its two foreign policy objectives by joining Western political and military alliances. For the first time, the US took its place within the framework of Turkey’s Westernization policy after the war.

Turkey’s Western orientation became more visible in the aftermath of World War II when the Soviet Union expressed its determination to have the status quo in Anatolia changed. Soviet discontent with the established regime in the Turkish Straits -- the Bosporus and the Dardanelles -- and with Turkey’s eastern border was perceived by Turkish policy makers as a threat that would potentially undermine the strength of the Turkish state and lead to the breakup of the territorial status quo.

In consideration of the threat posed by the Soviet Union, the Turkish foreign policy establishment sought to align with Western powers, the US being the leading one; despite initial reluctance, the US decided to serve as a balancing power against the Soviet Union. For the sake of preserving its territorial integrity and the geostrategic and geographic status quo, Turkey expressed eagerness to gain membership in NATO and other Western institutions, including the Council of Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC) and the Western European Union (WEU). All these Westernization moves were aimed at securing the territorial integrity of Turkey.

The primary motive for Turkey’s eagerness to take part in Western institutions during this period was the Western orientation of Turkish foreign policy. The political administration did not hold great expectations about economic benefits from integration with the West; the probable economic gains to be incurred from membership in the EEC were not even considered. Likewise, the Council of Europe, set up to promote democratization and create a common European platform where regional problems and disputes might be settled, was not an organization that would appeal to Turkey because of its agenda and goals; what made the council attractive to Turkey was the fact that it was a Western institution.

Turkey’s strong interest in Western institutions was, therefore, driven by the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union and a growing fear of partition. The Turkish foreign policy establishment expressed its preference for Western institutions in order to address its security concerns and preserve the status quo in its geography. In this way, the two major foreign policy goals were reconciled; therefore, no tension or dilemma was experienced between these goals during the Cold War era. Turkey observed and honored both objectives by staying in Western political and military institutions.

Tension caused in 1990s by changes in Turkish foreign policy

Turkey’s policy of Westernization and particularly its relations with the European Community (EC) were shaped by rather technical issues up until the 1980s; likewise, its bilateral relations with the US were determined by its performance in acting its role within the famous American policy of containment; for this reason, no serious problems were ever experienced during this period of stability and smoothness. No threat of partition or violation of territorial integrity was perceived by Turkish foreign policy makers until the end of the Cold War period. However, problems have erupted since the 1980s mostly because the EC started turning into a political organization that put a strong emphasis on human rights and the recognition of minorities.

At this point, Turkish foreign policy makers faced a great dilemma between participating in Western institutions and securing Turkey’s territorial integrity via preserving the status quo. They were particularly ambivalent because Turkish foreign policy’s Western orientation, for the first time, proved to be inadequate to sustain the territorial integrity of the country. In other words, the two basic goals and targets of Turkish foreign policy, Westernization and preservation of the status quo, were no longer reconcilable, and they did not overlap. Turkey’s role as an important actor in the perpetuation of the policy of containment was over, and this created a new environment where Turkish-American relations had to be reshaped. For the European Union, Turkey’s role as a strategic and military power was no longer very important. The EU’s interest in Turkey was now driven by its ability to serve as political leverage to enable a great transformation in this country. All these facts were now telling Turkey that it could not rely on its indispensable role within the Western alliance as an asset that would ensure the protection of its territorial integrity.

While bilateral relations between Turkey and the US were smooth during the Clinton presidency, the Bush era was troublesome for both the EU and Turkey. Serious disagreements were observed between the EU and the US during this period where transatlantic relations were seriously harmed. This also negatively affected Turkey’s Western orientation because the EU and the US were representing different values and promoting opposite foreign policy designs.

American foreign policy in the aftermath of the notorious Sept. 11 incidents, designed by neoconservatives who relied on a unilateral style suggesting the use of coercion in the settlement of disputes, put Turkey in a delicate position in which it had to make a choice with respect to its Westernization policy. At this point, the EU and the US did not play roles that complemented each other; for this reason, US support for Turkey’s membership in the EU did not mean anything; besides, Turkey could not trust the US for its security and the preservation of the status quo any longer.

Obama presidency and elimination of Turkey’s ambivalence

In the event that Obama keeps his promises and really implements the foreign policy he has declared, multilateralism will replace Bush’s unilateral style, and cooperation in global platforms, including transatlantic relations, will become more visible. This will mean that the EU and the US will work together again to deal with global problems. Such cooperation will also address Turkey’s ambivalence and remove the tension in its foreign policy caused by the opposing tendencies of these two great powers. In the new era, Turkey will not have to make a choice between the EU, which promotes legality and human rights, and the US, which places greater emphasis on coercion. In short, the EU and the US will act together, and this will address the question of what party Turkey must talk to in addressing its problems.

During Obama’s term in office, preservation of the status quo -- protection of Turkey’s territorial integrity -- will be easier under the multilateral foreign policy design that he has pledged. Turkey, which has carried out its relations with the US in reliance on bilateral talks and contact, will have a greater opportunity in the new era to come up with lasting and rational solutions to its problems on multilateral platforms and initiatives, including the UN Security Council and NATO, where the US will also be a participant.

[*] Dr. Cenap Çakmak is an instructor at Muğla University and a senior researcher at the Wise Men Center for Strategic Research (BİLGESAM).

20 February 2009, CENAP ÇAKMAK [*]


Electronic Silk Road Between Caucasus And Europe
Turkey is preparing to commission the first phase of a project, titled the Black Sea Interconnection (BSI), that will connect academics in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia to the GEANT, the main European multi-gigabit computer network for research and education purposes, next month.

The project began on March 1, 2008, and it has a budget of 2 million euros, of which 1.4 million euros are funded by the European Commission. In the first phase of the project, the Turkish Academic Network and Information Center (ULAKBİM) is plannning to connect the Caucasian countries to Europe via a Greek telecommunication company's submarine fiber optic cables.

Turkey will help electronically connect scholars from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia with GEANT in the second phase, in March 2009. Dubbed the "electronic silk road," the project is being implemented by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). Fiber optic cables from the Caucasus will pass through Turkey and reach Europe.

The project, implemented under the Seventh Framework Programs of the European Union, aims to provide high-speed connections to the European Academic Network for 45 universities and about 150,000 academics at universities in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The capacities leased for the first phase will be delivered through the submarine fiber optic cables in the Black Sea that belong to the Greek telecommunication company Oteglobe.

The project is expected to create important cooperation opportunities in scientific projects around the world and lessen the digital gap between the Caucasus and Europe. The BSI will create a new and modern electronic silk road built on high capacity connections. ULAKBİM is undertaking joint work with Greek research and technology network GRNET, Central and Eastern European Networking Association (CEENet) and the Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe (DANTE), which are project partners.

The EU has allocated significant sums to the establishment and operation of GEANT. With this project, the EU aims to ensure that European academics and researchers can connect to each other via this network, develop research and development projects and make use of the network for advanced calculations needs as well as have remote access to expensive resources such as big telescopes. It also supports the network infrastructure of countries on the boundaries of the union so that the digital gap between the union and neighboring countries can be bridged.
17 February 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES

Armenian Question Documentary Causes More Controversy
Disputes surrounding a recent directive by the Ministry of Education requiring that a controversial documentary on the Armenian question be screened at Turkey’s primary schools have become even more heated as Turkey’s Armenian citizens have appealed to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against showing the documentary.


While Armenians are disturbed by the required screening of the documentary, called “Sarı Gelin: Ermeni Sorununun İç Yüzü” (Yellow Bride: The True Face of the Armenian Question), at primary schools, it has been revealed that the General Staff was not involved in making the documentary as had been previously claimed. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has said the documentary was sent to schools as an educational resource for teachers, not students. Armenians, concerned the documentary would confuse younger students, have sent a letter addressed to Prime Minister Erdoğan asking him to suspend the screening of the controversial documentary.

Karun Kovan, vice president of the Armenian group Karagözyan Vakıf, said Armenians believe the documentary should not be shown to children, or even adults, of any nation, let alone to students in Armenian schools in Turkey. “We want the screening to be called off because this will promote violence and discrimination and breed hatred among the students,” he added. The History Foundation of Turkey has also described the documentary as a propaganda film and said it was inappropriate for students because it would promote enmity.

In a memo sent to schools, the Ministry of Education asked that schools submit a report by Feb. 27 on the effect that the documentary had on students. The memo said the documentary had been prepared by the General Staff.

However, İsmail Umaç, who produced the documentary, said there was no link between the documentary and the General Staff, adding: “This documentary was prepared by our company. I distribute the documentary to anyone who pays for it. The documentary is not a biased production that promotes the Turkish view of the events. It is objective. There were 14 historians from different countries involved, and archives from nine countries were examined. If the documentary was biased, the [Armenian] diaspora would have shown a strong reaction when it was distributed in the European version of Time magazine and in Russia.”

Plans for sending the documentary to primary schools were initially discussed two years ago. A coordination committee set up to dispel baseless genocide claims sent the documentary to the Ministry of Education on March 15, 2007. On Dec. 17, 2007, 56,388 DVD copies of the documentary were delivered to the Board of Education and Discipline and then sent out to primary schools in the summer of 2008. In a statement issued on the recent controversy, the Ministry of Education said the documentary was sent to primary schools as an educational resource to be used by teachers, not to be shown to students, and said the distribution of the remaining half of the copies has been discontinued.

Meanwhile, Serdar Kaya, the parent of an 11-year-old girl, filed a criminal complaint yesterday with the Üsküdar Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds that the documentary negatively influenced his daughter’s psychology.

The “Yellow Bride” is the name of an Armenian folk song that is also popular in Turkey.

Armenia claims that the mass deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 amounted to genocide, while Turkey strongly denies the claim.
20 February 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN İSTANBUL


Parris, Anti-Government Scholar Spar Over Turkey At Panel Soner Çağaptay
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is known to be close to right-wing US and Israeli policy and decision-makers, hosted an interesting debate on Turkey earlier this week.

Participants of the panel -- titled "An Obama Policy toward Turkey: Continuity or Change?" and held on Wednesday -- included Soner Çağaptay of WINEP, former US Ambassador to Turkey Mark Parris and Ian Lesser of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Çağaptay is known for his firm stance against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), suggesting that Turkey has been turning its back on the West under the AK Party's governance, while the two other participants do not share this view.

Creating appropriate foreign policy can only be possible through appropriate diagnosis of a problem, Parris said, and he proposed using an ancient principle known as "Occam's Razor" to those who want to understand where Turkey is going.

The principle is named after William of Ockham (also spelled Occam), who in the 14th century stated: Plurality should not be posited without necessity. The modern rephrase of the principle is introduced as "keep things simple," or "simplicity is better."

Putting together certain data and arriving at a conclusion that the AK Party has been harming "liberal democracy" and that it has a "secret agenda" both on domestic and foreign affairs is possible, Parris said.

He added, however, a simpler explanation could also be made on the same issue: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party actually share the same political culture with its predecessors.

Someone may assert that public and political reactions toward US policies or Israeli actions pave the way for anti-Semitism in Turkey, Parris said. However, by using Occam's Razor, one can also see that those reactions were actually shared by European/Westerners against certain Bush policies.

If one ignores the content, it will be very easy to assume that the AK Party has "an alarming agenda," Parris said, in apparent reference to Çağaptay's constant argument concerning the AK Party and its agenda.

The AK Party's foreign policy approach is actually a popular view also embraced by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Parris said.

A recent op-ed penned by Çağaptay and published in The Washington Post on Feb. 2. was titled "Turkey's Turn from the West." In a swift reaction against the article, a senior AK Party politician said the op-ed contained "grossly misleading information purporting to be evidence of Turkey's turning its back on the West."

"Since 2002, the AK Party has pursued a vigorous regional policy that aims to correct an anomaly of the Cold War era. Turkey strives to reintegrate itself into the Balkans, the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Far from being a choice, this is a necessity because of our geography. Our outreach to our neighbors is not done at the expense of our relationship with the West. On the contrary, it is complementary to it. Interpreting our regional policy as a shift in our orientation misses the sophistication behind our efforts to stabilize a troubled neighborhood. Mr. Çağaptay's piece, unfortunately, smells of ill-intent or is simply another sample of his poor analysis of Turkey," AK Party Deputy Chairman Suat Kınıklıoğlu said in a letter to the editor of The Washington Post.
20 February 2009, ALI H. ASLAN WASHINGTON


Armenian Genocide Debate Likely In Knesset Azat Artsakh Daily 18 Feb 09 Republic of Nagorno Karabakh [NKR]
The Jewish organizations in the U.S. started reviewing their positions on the Armenian Genocide recognition in 2006. The recent tensions in the Turkish-Israeli relations can serve as an extra impetus to that end, an Armenian professor said. "It's necessary to keep in mind that the Jewish lobby worked hard to prevent recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Washington. Now, there is a real chance for an Armenian Genocide resolution to be passed in the 111th Congress," director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the RA National Academy of Sciences, professor Ruben Safrastyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. Judging by publications in Israeli press, we can conclude that Israeli political elite can reconsider positions on the Armenian genocide. "I do not rule out that the issue will be brought to the Knesset floor soon," he said, adding that there are forces in Israel which will by all means hamper recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Tel Aviv.


Turkish Foreign Minister Comments On Ra President's Announcement By Hakob Chaqrian
AZG Armenian Daily 19/02/2009
On February 16, at Ankara Esenbola airport, the Turkish journalists reminded Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan of the Armenian President Serzh Sargsian's announcement that "Nagorno Karabakh cannot be a part of Azerbaijan".

According to the Turkish Public TV, Turkish Foreign Minister warned Azerbaijan and Armenia that the two countries should be careful with their announcements during the negotiation process.

"At the meeting with Medvedev and Putin, we underlined the necessity of hastening the process. We told the Russian side that Turkey is ready to provide any assistance with the issue", Ali Babacan added.


President Obama Reminded About His Pledge To Recognize Armenian Genocide 19.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ POLITIFACT.COM has added Barack Obama Campaign Promise No. 511 to its list of Obama campaign promises.

It reads: "Recognize the Armenian genocide."

"Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term 'genocide' to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide," Obama said during his election campaign.

In a note POLITIFACT.COM explains that: "When we started looking for President Obama's campaign promises, we knew we might not find all of them, and we hoped our readers would alert us to promises we had missed. Today we are adding our first promise based on reader feedback: Obama's pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The issue has been a hot-button issue on the world stage because the government of Turkey has objected to the use of the term 'genocide' as inaccurate and inflammatory.

A 2007 resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives said the Armenian Genocide was carried out by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, and resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million.

The resolution failed in the face of Bush administration concerns that it would alienate Turkey, which borders Iraq.


Turkish-American Relations In Obama Period By Sedat Laciner, Journal of Turkish Weekly Feb 18 2009 Turkey
During the Bush presidency, the relations between Turkey and US were severely damaged. The Washington administration has an immense responsibility in this case. Turkey gave full support to the US' combat against terror. In this regard, Ankara sent Turkish soldiers to Afghanistan and acted in accordance with its Western allies in order to capture the militants of Al-Qaeda in Turkey or anywhere. Meanwhile, Turkey undertook a constructive role in the Middle East problems. However, when the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) rejected the US' request to base US troops in Turkey for an assault on Iraq on March 1, 2003, the US' Turkey policy was completely changed. As a result, Washington started to implement a "punishment strategy' against Turkey. Turkey is a democratic country and the government must implement its policies in line with the decisions of the parliament. The Turkish Government sincerely wanted to pass the 1 March Parliament Note (tezkere) to allow the US troops to use Turkish territories, yet the Government had no option but to implement the taken decision.

The rejection decision of the Turkish Parliament cost Turkey a lot. Turkey lost billions of dollars in an economic crisis environment. However the US lost very little. Of course, if it were possible for the US troops to use Turkey's territory, it would definitely become easier for US to invade Iraq. But, the US administration made a fatal mistake. They did not pay enough attention to the Turkish parliament, Turkish people and did not respect Turkish pluralism. In this period, the US promised to provide a huge credit at an amount of about 30 billion dollars and thought that Turkey could not reject its request to use Turkey's territory (because, Turkey was trying to recover its economy after the 2001 great economic crisis). The US expected to exploit from Turkey's difficult situation. The sarcastic expressions of some American politicians including President Bush caused a negative impact on Turkish parliamentarians and Turkish people. By the way, the Turkish Army, which makes declarations on almost everything, did not make any statement regarding the US-Turkey military co-operation on Iraqi operation. So, thanks to the Army's impartial position, many Turkish politicians thought that the US operation against Iraq was not vital for Turkish interests. As a result Turkish democracy decided and it said "no' to the US soldiers. If the US could use Turkish route, of course the risks in the operation would have been decreased a lot.

Although the US could not enter Iraq from Northern part of Turkey, the US was surprisingly not seriously affected in terms of military bases from Turkish decision. One of the most important reasons for this was the errant strategy of Saddam Hussein. Saddam did not presume that Turkey would refuse permission for US troops and deployed a large amount of soldiers in the northern part of the country. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Kurdish collaborators (Barzani and Talabani) with the US in the North also prevented the passage of Saddam's soldiers. Thanks to these developments, Iraq was occupied by US troops in a very short time and it was brought under the control of US with very few casualties. In this regard, it is not possible to say that the Turkey's rejection of the US paved the way to a big tragedy, as the Vice President of US Dick Cheney and some other politicians had claimed in the recent past. The US did not have many difficulties during the invasion of Iraq, but after the invasion.

The problems of the US in Iraq did not begin during the invasion, but later. The US easily occupied Iraq easily but could not administer the occupied territory. The US soldiers created serious problems in the region due to their wrong strategy, human rights violations, and being unaccustomed to the indigenous people. At this point, Turkey offered help to the US and the Turkish parliament ratified the decision to send Turkish troops to Iraq to help the US as a result of the intense efforts of the Erdogan government. However, the US did not show any desire to accept Turkey's attempts and made a special effort to keep Turkey and Turkish approach outside Iraq and outside the region. It can be said that the policies of the Bush administration regarding the Iraq issue were founded on the ground of punishing Turkey and to keep it outside the Middle East and Iraqi issues. In addition, the US did not give any support to Turkey in combating terrorism during this period, especially between the years 2003 and 2007.

Furthermore, many people in Turkey even stated that the US supported PKK terrorism. During this period, Turkish public opinion showed a strong and unprecedented reaction against the US' approach to PKK terrorism and the Kurdish issue. Almost every political group in Turkey thinks that the US was not candid about the PKK terrorism. In this context, the terrorism problem still remains the most important issue between the two countries.

This mistakes which occurred during the Bush administration would definitely pave the way to further problems in the upcoming years. Unfortunately, some people in Washington think that Turkish society can forget the bad things easily. Yet, this is not a true analysis. One of the most significant reasons for the Turkish parliament's rejection of the 1 March Bill was the repercussions from the two countries' previous run-ins. The Turkish intellectuals, bureaucrats, media, experts, and even laymen do not forget the US's biased behaviors regarding the 1964 Johnson Letter, the US's arms embargo on Turkey respecting Cyprus, and pro-Greek stance of the US in many occasions and the Armenian issue. Unfortunately, the Bush administration added new damaging even traumatic memories to the previous ones. Besides, the US soldiers headed bag the Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq. With these actions, the US not only punished, but also insulted Turkey. All of these bad memories would be remembered by the Turkish people and affect the relations between the two countries in the future. I am sure that no single Turkish soldier and citizen can forget the bag affair in coming years.

In this context, the new president must be aware of this heritage with good sides and with the sins and try to take action to eliminate the bad memories. He should ease the damages in the relations.

* What Obama Presidency Should Do?

First of all, the new president Barack Obama must give full support to Turkey about combating terrorism via a strong message. Although Iraq has been kept under the control of the US for about six years, up to now, the US military forces has not caught or arrested or judged any PKK terrorist. The PKK became stronger under the US occupation rule. In the following days, if the Obama administration could make a contribution by apprehending a famous name from the PKK, it would positively affect the US' image in the eyes of Turkish people. The US should do something in the PKK issue really important valuable to the Turkish people because the people here see the US somehow responsible for the increasing PKK terror.

Secondly, Obama must not act in line with the desires of the ultra-nationalist Armenian Diaspora. The US should keep its impartiality in the issue. While a historical dialogue process has been launched between Ankara and Yerevan, any radical expressions from Obama could damage this process. Obama should concentrate on today's problems rather than historical Armenian claims and support the efforts of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. He should not be emotional but realist. The only aim should be to establish Turkish-Armenian friendship on mutual interests of US, Armenia and Turkey. Turkey defends a regional integration between Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. If the Karabakh and other occupied territories problem could be solved with the US' help, Turkey could be the locomotive of Caucasian integration. The stability and more co-operations in the Caucasus will put an end to the Armenian isolation and strengthen the Western energy security making Nabucco and other east-west energy corridors more possible. If Obama concentrates on the disagreements between Armenians and Turks and if he allows the ultra-nationalist Armenian diaspora lobbyists to drive the relations Turkish, Armenian and American interests would be undermined. We should now focus on Armenia's and the region's needs. Armenia should be prisoner to the extremists' and Russia's narrow and conflict based policies. Georgia War clearly proved that Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey need each other.

Third, the EU membership of Turkey is of vital importance in terms of the peace in the Middle East and the relations between the West and the East. In conjunction with the full membership of Turkey, the EU would have a Muslim member country for the first time. Becoming an equal and strong member of the EU, Turkey can make significant contributions to the stability and development of the Middle East and greater East. Besides, Turkey would prove to construct a frank, constructive, and beneficial relationship for both sides between the Muslim and the Western worlds. In this way, Turkey could be a model country and success story for the Muslim world and help to eliminate the region's extremist religious groups. If the EU rejects Turkey due to the religious differences, this great mistake would be a great signal to the Muslim peoples in the world. The US can play a constructive role in bridging Turkey and the EU.

Finally the US must keep its promises in Cyprus. Turkish side fully support the Annan Plan, however while the Greeks strongly rejected the UN Peace Plan. The US and the EU promised a lot to Turkish Cypriots and Turkey before the referendum. However the side who was punished is the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. The US and the EU did not keep their promises. Turkish people are frustrated with the double standards in Cyprus issue. People here think that the EU and the US support the Greek Cypriots because of religious solidarity. I hope Obama will keep the US' words to the Turkish Cypriots.


Us Congressman Wexler: Turkish President Gul's Brave Armenian Policy Is Praiseworthy
Journal of Turkish Weekly Feb 18 2009 Turkey
ANKARA (A.A) - A U.S. congressman, who is also the co-chair of Congressional Turkey-Caucasus Group, said on Wednesday that Turkey's top officials' brave policy on the Armenian issue was praiseworthy.

Speaking to reporters after his talks with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in capital Ankara, U.S. Congressman Robert Wexler said that numerous issues concerning Turkey and USA were discussed during his bilateral meeting with Erdogan.

Replying to a question on Turkish-Israeli relations, Wexler said improving the relations between Turkey and Israel was the best way to follow for both countries, adding that such idea was expressed during his talks with President Abdullah Gul and Erdogan as well.

Commenting on the Armenian issue, Wexler said that Turkey and Armenia had taken a step to start dialogue in a constructive way and he hoped such step would contribute to the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Praising Gul and Erdogan's efforts on the issue, Wexler said that the U.S. Congress should also focus on the successful normalization of the relations between Turkey and Armenia.


Obama Welcomes The Recent Restored Armenia-Turkey Dialogue armradio.am 17.02.2009
U.S. President Barack Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and had two "warm and productive" conversations, the White House said late on Monday.

According to the statements issued by the White House, and both Gul and Erdogan's offices Obama and Turkish officials discussed the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Armenia, Hurriyet Daily reported.

"In both calls, the leaders discussed a number of current issues, including U.S. support for the growing Turkish-Iraqi relationship, the importance of cooperation in Middle East peace efforts, and the U.S. review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," the White House said in a statement.

This is the highest level contact of the new administration in Washington with Ankara since Obama took the office in Jan. 20. Earlier in February U.S.

Vice President Joe Biden met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on the sidelines of a security conference.

Gul told the U.S. president that a legislation that would recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents should not be put before Congress.

The issue of 1915 incidents was high on the agenda of Obama-Erdogan discussion. The Obama administration is seen as the most pro-Armenian administration in Washington. Obama, Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to rec ognize the Armenian Genocide, which has caused major concern in Turkey.

Erdogan underlined the importance of the strategic cooperation.

"Turkey's stance on policies regarding the Middle East and Armenia is clear. America's fair and impartial approach (to these issues) is important in order to prevent any damage to the bilateral relations," Erdogan was quoted as telling to Obama.

The U.S. president welcomed the recent restored dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, signaling under the existing circumstances he would refrain from taking any step that would harm these efforts.

The statement said Obama expressed willingness to work with Turkey on many issues such as maintaining peace in the Middle East, ending PKK terrorism and relations with Armenia.


Turkey Watches Closely U.S. Policy On Armenia 17.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ U.S. President Barack Obama has told Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan he hopes to strengthen ties with their country and expressed support for Turkey's growing relationship with Iraq, the White House said on Monday.

Obama spoke to the two men by phone earlier in the day.

"In both calls, the leaders discussed a number of current issues, including U.S. support for the growing Turkish-Iraqi relationship, the importance of cooperation in Middle East peace efforts, and the U.S. review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," the White House said in a statement.

Turkey has repeatedly attacked hideouts of Kurdish rebels in the northern mountainous region of Iraq.

The White House said Obama emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Turkey alliance and expressed his desire to work on a "broad agenda" of mutual strategic interest.

"The President emphasized his desire to strengthen U.S.-Turkish relations and to work together effectively in NATO," the statement said, the IHT reports.

Meanwhile, the statement issued by the Turkish government says that Turkey watches closely the U.S. policy toward Armenia and Middle East and "hopes for a fair approach that will not damage the U.S.-Turkish relations."

Armenian Advocacy Efforts In Europe And Mideast Get $5 Million Boost
Funds Raised In Dubai For Arf Activities, Leaders Of Other Parties Among Donors, by Tatul Hakobyan www.reporter.am February 06, 2009

Yerevan -
Benefactors from a range of organizations joined traditional constituents in pledging $5 million in support of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation's political activities in Europe (including Russia), in the Middle East, and in international organizations, at a gala benefit held February 2 at the Intercontinental Hotel-Festival City Hotel in Dubai. Funds raised at the event, presided over by Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilcia, and attended by hundreds of supporters, surpassing the proceeds from previous quadrennial fundraising banquets held in Geneva in 2001 and in Paris in 2005.

The Armenian Cause is the shared agenda of Armenians regardless of country of residence and political affiliation, Catholicos Aram said. He welcomed the decision of the Armenian government to continue pursuing the universal affirmation of the Armenian Genocide as part of its foreign policy agenda.

Participants and donors included Gagik Tsarukian, who heads the Prosperous Armenia Party, and Ara Abramyan, who heads the Union of Armenians of Russia.

Acknowledging the diversity of the participants in the event, Hrant Markarian, representative of the ARF's governing Bureau, said the Armenian Cause united people regardless of their political beliefs. The Armenian Cause "has united all of us. Practical work, which is above day-to-day issues and differences, has united us. Work, which is geared to empowering Armenia and Armenians, to accumulating and organizing our collective power, to becoming a factor to be reckoned with in the world," said Mr. Markarian.

Offices in Washington, Brussels, Moscow, Beirut, and Tbilisi "coordinate and marshal the efforts of Armenians and our friends toward elevating Armenia's political stature internationally, securing economic assistance to Armenia, defending the rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, bringing about international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, and countering Turkish and Azerbaijani anti-Armenian propaganda," he said.

The Armenian Reporter's Tatul Hakobyan asked Giro Manoyan, director of the ARF Bureau's Central Hai Tad and Political Office in Yerevan, for more details.

Tatul Hakobyan: Why did the event take place in Dubai?

Giro Manoyan: The fundraising in Dubai was the third such event. The first was held in 2001 in Geneva; the second in 2005 in Paris. The goal of these events was and is to raise funds for the ARF's Hai Tad (Armenian Cause) political activities in Europe (including Russia and the CIS) and in the Middle East. The locations of these events have been chosen taking this fact into consideration. The last two events were held in Europe and it was time to hold one in the Middle East. Dubai was chosen for practical purposes, taking into consideration the fact that a significant number of the invitees were from Armenia, the Middle East, and the Russian Federation, and visa and flight arrangements for them are easier to Dubai.

TH: So the event did not take place outside Armenia so that official Yerevan could deny being part of the effort to secure universal affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. (Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey claimed just last week, "The Armenian diaspora is plotting," but "the current administration in Armenia doesn't take part in this.") With Armenia and Turkey engaged in high-level talks, fundraising in Armenia for the Armenian Cause could be viewed badly by Turkey. Was this a consideration in choosing Dubai?

GM: The ARF holds a lot of its partywide events - world congresses, youth camps, Hai Tad Committees' conferences - in Armenia for obvious reasons. But these fund-raising events, as I said before, are specifically for Hai Tad-related political activities in the diaspora, specifically Europe and the Middle East, and the ARF Bureau has decided to hold these events in the diaspora.

But, to demonstrate to everyone that these activities are not only supported by Armenians in the diaspora, but also by Armenians from Armenia, since the 2001 fund raising, businesspeople from Armenia as well as from Russia and Ukraine have been invited. The Geneva event was the first time ever that businesspeople from Armenia donated to a project being realized in the diaspora - in this case, to the establishment of the Hai Tad office in Brussels. Furthermore, the former and current presidents of Armenia, Robert Kocharian and Serge Sargsian, have supported these events. In this year's case, the president not only sent a congratulatory message to the participants in the event, but one of his brothers, Levon Sargsian, was seated at the head table. Finally, at the event in Dubai, Hrant Margarian, the chairperson of the ARF Bureau publicly thanked President Sargsian for his support, "without which we would not have the success that we have."

All this was and is done publicly and if the prime minister of Turkey is not aware of the role that official Yerevan plays in Hai Tad activities, including but not limited to Genocide recognition, then I think he either has a poor intelligence-gathering service (after all, all of this is public information) or what he says about Armenia and the diaspora not working together in their efforts for Genocide recognition is wishful thinking. I tend to believe it is the latter. Technically speaking, what Erdogan said regarding Armenia-Turkey negotiations and his take on the role of the diaspora came a day or so earlier than the event in Dubai and the publishing of President Sargsian's message, which, by the way, is dated January 26, that is before the Sargsian-Erdogan meeting. Anyway, after their meeting in Davos and our event in Dubai, President Sargsian addressed the Armenian community in Zurich, where he reiterated that "establishment of relations with Turkey does not mean forgoing the Genocide; establishment of relations with Turkey does not mean subordination of our national interests to some other issues."

What the Turkish prime minister wants to read from all of this is his prerogative, but we should at least be careful not to fall in the traps he sets for us.

TH: The $5 million raised is an unprecedented amount. Which activities and programs will this finance?

GM: I want to stress that the five million raised will be our budget for the next four years for Hai Tad political activities in the Middle East and Europe, including the Russian Federation and the CIS. Obviously, we will try to translate more financial means into more public relations and political dividends for the Armenian people and Armenia, widening the scope and geography of our activities.

Pursuing international and Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Armenian rights; raising the issue of Turkey's responsibility in the Genocide; paying closer attention to the situation of "Turkish Armenians"; countering Turkish denial and Azerbaijani anti-Armenian activity and propaganda; garnering support for the recognition of Artsakh's right to self-determination; defending the rights of the Armenians in the Javakhk (Samtskhe-Javakheti) region of Georgia; supporting Armenia's integration into Europe and its closer cooperation with Middle Eastern countries: these are the major items on our agenda. More direct and individualized advocacy with parliamentarians and high-ranking functionaries in European states and structures; more relations with European and Middle Eastern media, think tanks, and academic circles are the accents we will be adding to our existing activities.

I wish to stress that although the five million is an unprecedented amount for our activities, it still is much less than what Turkey and Azerbaijan spend in these same regions against Armenian interests. We have been able to counter their anti-Armenian policies by spending much less, because the added component, the multiplying factor, to our financial means is the active support and participation in Hai Tad activities by our communities, as organizations and as active citizens of the countries they reside in. We will focus more on developing further this capability of our communities.

TH: What percentage of pledges were you able to actually collect from the previous two fund-raising events in Paris and Geneva?

GM: Following the first fund-raising dinner in Geneva, around 78 percent of the pledges were actually collected (total pledges in U.S. dollars and euros were $1,017,660); and following the fund-raising dinner in Paris, around 75 percent of the pledges were collected (total pledges were $1,746,062.50). Since our budgets are primarily based on the pledges, the difference was provided by the ARF Bureau. I have solid grounds to believe that this time we will be able to collect even a larger proportion, if not all of the pledges.

TH: Can you tell us the names of the people who made large contributions in Dubai?

GM: Before giving any names, let me give you general figures. A total of 240 donors pledged the $5 million. The smallest amount pledged was $5 thousand. Of the $5 million pledged, almost half is by benefactors from Armenia, around 12 percent is from supporters in the Russian Federation and the rest, around $2 million, is from supporters in the Middle East and Europe.

The names of the donors will be published shortly.

TH: It was a little surprising that people representing other political powers, like Gagik Tsarukian, made pledges to the activities of the ARF Hai Tad. Is it possible to say that the ARF is no longer the only political party in Armenia pursuing Hai Tad?

GM: The ARF has never considered Hai Tad to be its monopoly. Especially in our Hai Tad activities, we have always had the financial and moral support of a large segment of our communities. A lot of the members of our Hai Tad committees (Armenian National Committees in North America), and some of the staff of our ANC offices have been supporters of the ARF, but not necessarily members of our party. And especially financially, a large portion of Hai Tad donations has come from non-party members.

Just to give you two examples: When in 1944 the Armenian National Committee was formed in New York, a total of $165,000 was raised by the community. And the latest ANC of America telethon in May 2006 raised $2.7 million, with the participation of thousands of community members. The fact that businesspeople from other political parties in Armenia and the leader of another advocacy organization based in the Russian Federation have participated in our fundraising efforts only demonstrates how widespread the support is for our goals and trust in our efforts are. We have always been in favor of more segments of our society getting involved in Hai Tad activities, as long as more does not mean more bickering, but means more concentrated and coordinated effort.

TH: Has the time not yet arrived for funds raised for Hai Tad to be directed toward the repopulating of Karabakh's liberated territories?

GM: I am afraid, as a nation we are even late in raising funds to support a population increase in all of Artsakh - and for us NKR and the "liberated territories" should all have the same status, all are Artsakh - but the population increase is an issue that no single political party or charitable organization can handle on its own.

This is an issue that requires state planning and a pan-national effort. Several years ago, the ARF Bureau undertook to bring together all major religious, charitable, and political structures and organizations in Armenia and the diaspora to focus on this most pressing issue, but unfortunately at the last moment the gathering fell apart for obvious political reasons. Since then we have tried to cooperate with different charitable organizations and other structures to help plan and raise funds for this issue. We also have Artsakh Fund committees working toward this goal. Last but not least, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is the pan-national structure coordinating efforts toward developing Artsakh as well. Furthermore, in Artsakh, we have tried to have our party members be in charge of the implementation of programs in this sphere to hold them accountable by the party as well.

In short, this is not just a financial issue. Primarily it is a national security issue, which demands political will, and it is at the center of our attention. After all, $1.25 million annually for rehabilitation is really not that much of a financial resource for this goal. Finally, our advocacy efforts all over the world are also aimed at supporting the Armenian people's right to Artsakh.

With all the good intentions we all have, we should not mix everything up. Population increase in Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia is of utmost urgency and we are trying our best to make progress. At the same time, we are the leading organization pursuing Hai Tad political activities worldwide, and enjoy the trust and support of a large segment of our society, both in Armenia and the diaspora. All finances raised by us through public fundraising will be used for the stated aim for which they were raised.


www.mcclatchydc.com Battle Over Armenian Genocide Museum In D.C. Gets Nasty , By Michael Doyle | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — A nasty legal fight complicates plans for an Armenian genocide museum, and it shows no sign of abating.

On Friday, attorneys for the warring parties who once were close allies met again in a District of Columbia courtroom. There was no peace agreement, only the prospect of many more months of wrangling.

"The clients are very hostile to each other right now," attorney Arnold Rosenfeld advised a federal judge last year, a court transcript shows.

Rosenfeld represents the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial Inc. On a site two blocks from the White House, the non-profit organization proposes to build "the premier institution in the United States dedicated to educating American and international audiences about the Armenian Genocide."

The museum potentially has high appeal in regions with large Armenian-American populations. It's been discussed since the mid-1990s, and planners say they want the 35,000-square-foot facility open before 2011.

But a bad falling out with a major donor has been diverting time, energy and money. The one-time donor, retired millionaire businessman Gerard Cafesjian, is suing to reclaim his donations. Cafesjian, in turn, is being sued by museum organizers for allegedly trying to interfere with their work.

The competing lawsuits now resemble a bad divorce, where mutual rancor feeds on itself and prior intimacies become potential vulnerabilities.

"I must say, I'm very irritated," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly warned lawyers in August, a court transcript shows. "These cases are not a good use of judicial resources and, frankly, probably not of your client's resources, either."

On Thursday, in a ruling that keeps the lawsuits alive, Kollar-Kotelly nonetheless characterized them as "very unfortunate."

"If you're disputing about money, it's going to become bitter," noted Barlow Der Mugrdechian, coordinator of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno. "It's not going to go away soon."

When completed, the museum will commemorate the events between 1915 and 1923, when by some estimates upward of 1.5 million Armenians died during the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

Architects are already designing the project for the corner of 14th and G streets in downtown Washington. The city's Historic Preservation Review Board last year gave conceptual approval to use of the existing 83-year-old National Bank of Washington building.

The Armenian Assembly of America initiated the museum planning and in 2003 secured an agreement with Cafesjian and the Cafesjian Family Foundation. There then followed a series of complicated transactions.

The foundation granted and pledged roughly $15 million to help the Armenian Assembly buy the four-story National Bank of Washington building and four adjacent pieces of property. The donation included an agreement that if the museum isn't developed by Dec. 31, 2010, the Cafesjian foundation can get either its money or the property back.

Cafesjian is a World War II Navy veteran who made his fortune as an executive at West Publications, a Minnesota company that handles legal publications. He is described by his supporters as a well-meaning benefactor.

"Cafesjian has dedicated his largess to the Armenian people, Armenian nation, and Armenian causes," his attorneys stated in one legal filing.

But problems became apparent by October 2006, when a Cafesjian ally filed legal documents that allegedly clouded the title of the museum property. The museum organizers subsequently claimed Cafesjian was "actively taking steps to delay the development" in hopes of regaining the property for his own purposes.

Cafesjian filed his own lawsuit, claiming that the museum's board of directors deliberately shut him out from key planning decisions.

"Unfortunately, rather than becoming more cooperative, relations among trustees were increasingly divisive," Cafesjian's attorneys summed up in one legal filing.

The bitterness is apparent in voluminous legal filings.

Museum organizers make Cafesjian out to be a profit-seeking egotist, as they described his plans for a giant "Cafesjian Art Museum" next door to a "grandiose" genocide museum that would feature an enormous "Cafesjian Memorial."

Illustrating the prevailing mood, attorney Arnold Rosenfeld suggested that Cafesjian, who turned 84 last year, might manipulate a health excuse to avoid giving a deposition.

"Cafesjian's health issues have occurred with particular frequency at times when decisions regarding matters involving the (lawsuits) have been required or when his presence with regard to the actions has been important," Rosenfeld stated in a Jan. 30 affidavit.

Rosenfeld declined Friday to comment on the genocide museum lawsuits when approached outside the courtroom. He had earlier asked the judge to impose a gag rule on the two sides, noting that "all they do is insult each other," but he indicated Friday no formal gag rule was in place.

One of Cafesjian's attorneys, Nancy Berardinelli-Krantz, likewise declined to comment on the case. Representatives of the Armenian Assembly were traveling Friday and could not be reached.

In coming weeks, the various lawyers and representatives will be meeting again in Minnesota, Massachusetts, Florida and elsewhere for a series of pretrial depositions, setting the stage for their future jousting.


Arms Scandal Hurts Moscow In Caspian Great Game, Analysts Say
Allegations of sizeable Russian arms deliveries to Armenia have sparked fury in Azerbaijan, dealing a blow to Moscow’s ambitions in the Great Game for influence in the Caspian Sea region, analysts said.

Arms scandal hurts Moscow in Caspian Great Game, analysts say

The allegations, denied by Russia but widely believed in Azerbaijan, are stirring suspicions of Moscow in Baku, giving the West an edge in the centuries-old struggle for control in the energy-rich region.

Analysts said the scandal could boost Western efforts to get Azerbaijan on board with the European-backed Nabucco gas pipeline, an ambitious project to ship Caspian Sea gas to the western Europe, bypassing Russia.

The reported arms supplies have caused "a sense of treason among the political leadership of Azerbaijan," analyst Fariz Ismailzade said in a recent issue of Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst.

"Such disappointment could result in grave geopolitical shifts in the region and changes in Azerbaijan’s foreign policy."

The controversy erupted last month with the publication by Azerbaijani media of a leaked Russian military report outlining deliveries to Armenia last year of tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles, automatic weapons and mines worth about 800 million dollars (623 million euros).

Armenia and Azerbaijan remain bitter enemies following a war in the early 1990s over Azerbaijans Nagorny Karabakh region. Backed by Yerevan, ethnic Armenian separatists took control of Karabakh and have declared it an independent state.

ISSUE AFFECTS BILATERAL TIES
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry issued a note of "strong protest" over the deliveries and accused Russia of violating UN resolutions.

Russia’s defense and foreign ministries dismissed the allegations as false, but the denials have done little to assuage Baku.

"Moscow doesn’t seem capable of banishing Azerbaijan’s suspicions concerning arms supplies to Armenia," political analyst Rasim Musabekov said. "This issue has already affected bilateral relations and will continue to do so."

The scandal could not have struck at a worse time for Moscow, which recently had been gaining diplomatic ground in Azerbaijan, analysts said.

Rich in oil and gas and strategically located between Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan has been courted by both Moscow and the West since gaining its independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Backed by Western governments, companies such as Britain’s BP have pumped millions of dollars into the country’s energy sector, building a corridor of energy pipelines from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe.

With strong support from close ally Turkey, Azerbaijan has also boosted ties with the NATO military alliance.

Russia launched a diplomatic counter-attack last year, with newly elected President Dmitry Medvedev making Baku one of his first foreign stops and energy firm Gazprom offering major purchases of Azerbaijani gas.

AZERIS WARM TO NABUCCO
Russia has also sought to play a stronger role in resolving the conflict over Karabakh and in November hosted the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents for peace talks.

"Relations have been improving in the last several years, with (Azerbaijani) President Ilham Aliyev reaching out to Moscow and downplaying his NATO aspirations in favor of accommodating Russian interests and building pragmatic relations with the Kremlin," Ismailzade said.

But analysts said the arms scandal was already having an effect.

Despite Russian opposition to the Nabucco project, Aliyev made a strong show of support for the pipeline at a summit in Budapest last week.

Azerbaijan is a crucial potential gas provider for Nabucco, a 3,300-kilometre (2,050-mile) pipeline between Turkey and Austria scheduled to be completed by 2013.

"Following the reports on Russian arms supplies to Armenia, President Aliyev ... said clearly that he plans to actively participate in the project," Musabekov said.

"In the past Azerbaijan was more restrained concerning the Nabucco project. I don’t think this is going to go down well in Russia."

Independent political expert Ilgar Mamedov said that the reaction in Baku so far was not as strong as during a similar scandal in 1997 when Russia was accused of supplying more than a billion dollars worth of arms to Armenia.

"It will be clearly visible if Azerbaijan decides to worsen relations (with Russia.) There will be a massive anti-Russian campaign in Azerbaijan’s media, on television and in the pro-governmental press. Currently we are not seeing that," Mamedov said.

But Ismailzade said widespread expressions of outrage, including from Aliyev’s allies in parliament, were telling signs of deep anger over the incident.

"Baku’s flirt with Moscow seems resolutely over, which could rejuvenate ties with the West," he said.

© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


www.theregister.co.uk NSA Offering 'Billions' For Skype Eavesdrop Solution By Lewis Page, 12th February 2009
Free research: Application platforms, the state of play
Counter Terror Expo News of a possible viable business model for P2P VoIP network Skype emerged today, at the Counter Terror Expo in London. An industry source disclosed that America's supersecret National Security Agency (NSA) is offering "billions" to any firm which can offer reliable eavesdropping on Skype IM and voice traffic.

The spybiz exec, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that Skype continues to be a major problem for government listening agencies, spooks and police. This was already thought to be the case, following requests from German authorities for special intercept/bugging powers to help them deal with Skype-loving malefactors. Britain's GCHQ has also stated that it has severe problems intercepting VoIP and internet communication in general.

Skype in particular is a serious problem for spooks and cops. Being P2P, the network can't be accessed by the company providing it and the authorities can't gain access by that route. The company won't disclose details of its encryption, either, and isn't required to as it is Europe based. This lack of openness prompts many security pros to rubbish Skype on "security through obscurity" grounds: but nonetheless it remains a popular choice with those who think they might find themselves under surveillance. Rumour suggests that America's NSA may be able to break Skype encryption - assuming they have access to a given call or message - but nobody else.

The NSA may be able to do that: but it seems that if so, this uses up too much of the agency's resources at present.

"They are saying to the industry, you get us into Skype and we will make you a very rich company," said the industry source, adding that the obscure encryption used by the P2Pware is believed to change frequently as part of software updates.

The spyware kingpin suggested that Skype is deliberately seeking to frustrate national listening agencies, which seems an odd thing to do - Skype has difficulties enough getting revenues out of its vast user base at any time, and a paid secure-voice system for subversives doesn't seem like a money-spinner.

But corporate parent eBay, having had to write down $1.4bn already following its $2.6bn purchase of Skype back in the bubble-2.0 days of 2005, might see an opportunity here. A billion or two from the NSA for a backdoor into Skype might make the acquisition seem like a sensible idea.

We asked the NSA for comment, particularly on the idea of simply buying a way into Skype, but hadn't yet received a response as of publication. ®


February 12, 2009, ASALA "Guarantees" Kaqavian's Life...
The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and Vow to Ararat organization of liberators and former political prisoners made a statement on February 10.

The statement touches upon Professor of Macquarie University in Sydney, Co-chairman of the Armenian-Turkish dialogue group Armen Kaqavian's step. We have informed before that the Professor apologized to Turks for the acts of ASALA.

At the end of the statement, explaining the fairness of their acts in 1970-90s, ASALA announces that it can guarantee Kaqavian's life if the latter publicly renounces taking orders, apologizes to the victims of the in 1915-1923 and their homesick generations, and tells law-enforcement bodies the name of the client who drove him to crime.

"Azg" daily wants to add that Mr. Armen Kaqavian sent a letter to the Armenian news agencies and newspapers, including our newspaper. The letter explains that though the Turkish newspaper "Radikal" expressed Kaqavian's thoughts decently, the editor of the newspaper distorted his words, as he did not apologize on behalf of the Armenian people and as well as his friends.

In our opinion, the Armenian-Australian politician did not take into account the traditions of the Turkish press of distorting facts and tangled the situation with his improvident step. * Translated by L.H.


ASALA And 'Ukht Ararati' Union Of Former Political Prisoners And Freedom-Fighters Against Initiative By Sydney University Doctor Armen Kakavyan ArmInfo 2009-02-10
ArmInfo. Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and "Ukht Ararati" (Oath of Ararat) union of former political prisoners and freedom-fighters have come out with an indignant protest against the initiative by Sydney University Doctor Armen Kakavyan.

Earlier A. Kakavyan apologized for the actions by 'ASALA' that resulted in innocent victims. However, Turkish and Azerbaijani media distorted the given initiative interpreting it as 'apology to Turks'. A. Kakavyan has already refuted the given interpretation as well.

However, the above organizations demanded Kakavyan to name the instigators of such a strange initiative. 'It is a brazen attempt to justify a criminal and present him as an innocent victim hereby criminalizing the arbiter of justice. Both the instigator and Kakavyan have commited crime by propagating genocide with confidence that the instigator will not be exposed and with hope for the protection of the western justice. But crimes against humanity have no period of limitation and everyone who planed, committed, and propagated a crime must be brought responsible as well as those who are still enjoying the bloody spoil of their predecessors. Western democracy has to think well and take measures to prevent new crimes against humanity by punishing for the previous crimes and liquidating their aftermaths', the statement says.

The authors of the statement urge Kakavyan to name the instigators: 'Armenian justice can guarantee Kakavyan's life if he refuses from the given order in public and apologizes to the victims of the Genocide of 1915-1923 and their successors that had to spread across the world, as well as if he applies to the law- enforcement and name the instigator who made him commit a crime'.


My State of Mind, Keghart.com newsletter - By Hrant Dink, Birgün Newspaper (translated by Nazim Dikbas), 1 November 2004
Writings For The 90th Year (I) My State Of Mind

I'm a citizen of Turkey... I'm Armenian... And I'm Anatolian down to my bones. I haven't thought for a single day of deserting my country and building my future in that "paradise of readily present freedoms" called the "West", and to foist myself like a leech on democracies created by others who once paid the price for them.

But my main concern has been to transform my country in to one of those paradises of freedom. I cried along as my country cried for Sivas. I fought as well when my people fought against gangs. I paired my fate with my country's march to create its freedom. And the rights I enjoy or can't enjoy I haven't settled on for free, I paid the price, and still am.

But now...

I have had enough of some soft-soaping us with their "Our Armenians" discourse, and some others provoking us with their "Traitors within" discourse. And I'm sick of the marginalization which makes me forget I'm a normal or ordinary citizen, and of being embraced to the point of suffocation...

I have never had the chance to march on 24 Aprils or to erect monuments in commemoration of my forefathers. But I neither left them in the past, nor petrified them in the present. I have carried the weight of "living them in my life"... And I have succeeded to the best of my ability. And I have fought without remorse against the "thing"s and "people" who have attempted to impede my carrying this weight.

Of course I know what happened to my forefathers. Some call it "Massacre", some "Genocide", some "Forced Immigration", and others "Tragedy." My forefathers used to call it "Slaughter," the Anatolian word of it... I choose to call it "Destruction." And I know that if it wasn't for these destructions, today my country would have become a far more liveable, far more enviable place.

That's why I curse those who caused the destruction, and those who served it. However, my curse is aimed at the past. Of course I want to know everything that happened in history, but hate, that peculiar type of disgrace... I leave it in its dark cave in history, and say, "Let it stay where it is, I don't want to know it."

It offends me to see my past history or present problems being made into a capital of some sorts in Europe and America. I sense some form of abuse and desecration beneath all these kissing. I no longer accept the vile refereeing of imperialism which tries to strangle my future in my past.

Those referees are the exact same dictators who in times past had gladiators fight each other in arenas, watched on as they clashed and gave the thumbs down to the winner to finish off the loser. Therefore I don't accept in this age the refereeing neither of a parliament, nor a state.

The true referee is the people and their conscience. And in my conscience the conscience of the power of no state can compete with the conscience of the people. All I want is to talk about our common past with my beloved friends in Turkey in the most comprehensive manner and without raising the slightest animosity.

I believe, from my heart, that one day all Turks and Armenians will be able to talk about this among themselves. I particularly look forward to the day when Turkey and Armenia will be able to talk about and amend everything comfortably, when I will be able to turn to irrelevant third persons and say, "Now you can mind your own business."

The Armenians of the world are preparing to commemorate the 90th year of 1915. May they do so. It's their right.

And the words above are your humble servant's state of mind.


500-Year Old Love Songs by Vercihan Ziflioglu
ISTANBUL - Anatolia's 500-year old love songs, censored for centuries, have been brought to life by researcher Hüseyin Irmak who has taken their stories, legends and lyrics and brought them together for the first time.

500-year old love songs Anatolia’s love songs have echoed sadly for centuries and now researcher Hüseyin Irmak, after seven years pursuing the traces of inter-religious love songs, has collected his findings in the book "Inter-religious Love Songs."

Religion and ethnicity have always been a muse for minstrels. The pain of not reuniting with lovers of different faiths has always become the subject of legends, poems and songs. Irmak has looked everywhere and collected more than 60 love songs composed in the Armenian, Greek, Syriac, Laz, Syriac, Turkish, Kurdish, Pomak, Albanian and Romanian languages in a book alongside musical notes, legends and stories. "Inter-religious Love Songs," will be released by Punto Publishing House at the end of February for researchers. Kalan Music will also release a CD of the book.

Minstrels, who have composed many songs in many languages, have always been known by their ethnic identity. Nobody could have understood the love of a Christian girl for a Muslim boy or the love of a Muslim boy for a Christian girl for 500 years. Love songs were censored in societies for hundreds of years. But they are now the subject of interesting research, 500 years after they were composed in Anatolia.

Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review about his research, Irmak said he sometimes faced difficulties during the research process. He said: "A professor, who heard that I would research at Istanbul University on the issue told me to give up and said I should not help minorities inadvertently. I applied to Christian minority families, whom I know to hold archives about these songs, in Istanbul. But they said no family wanted their daughter to fall in love with a Muslim boy even in songs and said that was why they could not help."

Melancholy songs of Anatolia
Irmak said he had felt deep pain because of their attitude, "I do not serve any ideology. These people have shared a common geography for hundreds of years and have produced these songs. Both sides continue to be conservative about the issue."

Irmak said the subject of love was very attractive but it was sensitive at the same time. "Even if hundreds of years pass, love between Muslims and Christians is not accepted. These songs are full of melancholy."

Irmak said different versions of the songs were still performed today, "Particularly after the declaration of the Republic, some songs were banned on the radio. Today, the lyrics of these songs have been completely destroyed in the Turkish versions."

Even though lovers could not reunite with each other in song, in light of his research, Irmak thinks Christians and Muslims in Anatolia had a very comfortable and civilized lifestyle in the 19th century.


Feb 8, 2009 Diaspora; Armenians in Turkey
"I DID NOT WANT TO UNCOVER THE BLANKET OVER MY FATHER'S ASSASSINATED BODY IN ORDER NOT TO REKINDLE MY EMOTIONS OF REVENGE"

Invited by newly formed nonprofit and human rights advocate organization "Friends of Hrant Dink, Inc." Mrs. Rakel Dink, the widow of assassinated journalist Hrant Dink was in Boston to participate in the panel discussion at MIT.

The Armenian International Women's Association that invited Mrs. Dink last year to its international conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, used this opportunity and organized a conference at Armenian Cultural Foundation in Arlington on Saturday, January 31.

Rakel Dink presented her life. She was born in a village near Syrian and Iranian borders. Her family members lived together and spoke only Kurdish. In 1988, when the earthquake happened in Armenia, her father gathered all the village members and collected money to send to Armenia and then recommended to all of them by saying, "Now take your wives and go to your houses and try to have more babies in order to make up for the loss of the earthquake".

When she moved to Istanbul as a student at a boarding school to learn Turkish and Armenian, there she met Hrant.

She said she was always in audience when Hrant used to give speeches, and now after his assassination, she has taken the podium to continue her husband's work.

She and her children are continuing the humanitarian work of Hrant Dink and the conversation that he started with the people of Turkey by establishing the International Hrant Dink Foundation. Three days after the assassination, when all the family was seated sadly at home, one of her daughters said, " I am feeling 1915 recurring". To that, Rakel comforted her by saying not to compare with that tragedy because at that time millions were perished and now they have lost only one person, however precious to them.

Then she said his son once wrote, "I did not want to uncover the blanket over my father's assassinated body in order not to rekindle my emotions of revenge".

"My second daughter said during the funeral, `Please stop the bleeding, stop the pain, and stop the hate'".

Mrs. Dink continued by saying that her husband's death, as painful as it was, brought a strong message to all people of Turkey, people started to talk about events, which were never presented to the public before.

"People that I have never heard of even said that if Hrant Dink would have known that his death would bring more then 100,000 people to the streets of Istanbul chanting `we are all Armenians', he would have wished to be assassinated earlier".

Rakel Dink will continue Hrant Dink's Humanitarian efforts in Turkey, she devotes herself to teaching of the Armenian history and culture and in 2010, she will organize an event in Europe to focus on tolerance and discrimination.

Two Years Later, Scholars Reflect on Legacy of Slain Journalist

By Thomas C. Nash, Mirror-Spectator Staff

With the second anniversary of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's murder renewing attention across the world about his struggle for reconciliation of the two sides of his identity, Turkish and Armenian, his widow and colleagues are continuing their plea for Turks and Armenians to take up the cause.

"In the moment of his death, he was alone," said Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian, who served as the moderator for a discussion panel on Dink's legacy held Sunday at MIT's Kresge Auditorium. "But as we observe the sacrifices and legacy of Hrant Dink ' and work for truth freedom and justice everywhere ' we will become better versions of ourselves."

The discussion was organized by Friends of Hrant Dink, a newly-created Cambridge-based non-profit group that aims to promote the journalist's legacy.

Dink, who founded and edited the Agos weekly since 1996 before his murder in January 2007, was remembered by panelists from a range of academic and national backgrounds as both a daring journalist during his lifetime and a unifying figure in death.

More than 400 people from the Boston area Armenian and Turkish communities attended the panel, a display of common interest that many speakers noted as symbolic of the appeal of Dink's message.

"Ultimately, Hrant Dink's legacy showed us that neither Armenians nor Turks can claim ownership of him," Mouradian said. "He does not belong to Armenians alone, and he does not belong to Turks alone. He belongs to humanity."

Hrant's Dream

Harvard Medical School Lecturer Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, a long-time activist against genocide and totalitarianism, gave introductory remarks focusing on the search for meaning in the wake of genocide.

"Survivors of the Holocaust are sometimes known as collectors of justice," Lifton said. "I think many Armenians can well understand that stance. It wasn't a call for revenge so much as a need that those who had perpetrated genocide be brought to some justice or at least acknowledgment of what they had done and the suffering they had caused.

"For that cause and for that reason, the life and work of Hrant Dink ¦ all have great importance for Armenians and Turks, but importance even beyond ' for the entire flow of human history."

Speaking in both Turkish and Armenian through a translator, Hrant's widow Rakel Dink spoke of the life of persecution she and Hrant endured as Armenians in Turkey ' and the threats that came when Hrant founded Agos.

In addition to constant threats for his acknowledgment of the Genocide and calls for increased dialogue between Turks and Armenians, Dink faced prosecution under the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal code, which forbade insulting Turkishness.

More than 100,000 demonstrated in solidarity with Dink following his murder by a young Turkish nationalist.

Rakel Dink recalled the aftermath of her husband's death, and the reaction of her children.

"My daughter, she said, `Mother, I feel as if I am in 1915.' I'm a mother, and I'm a believer. I was going through the same pain she was going through," Dink said. "But I had to ask her not to compare (the murder) with 1915. We were living in the comfort of our home, we were sitting on our sofa and we had friends supporting us. In 1915, people did not have everything that we have today. "We do not need to give in to hatred," she added. "We really do not need to return to the murder."

Striking on a theme running throughout the event, Dink also noted that the election of Barack Obama to the presidency holds symbolic meaning for her.

"The dream of Martin Luther King was realized years later," she said. "And it is our hope that one day in Turkey all people, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, will enjoy equal rights, justice and freedom. This is Hrant's dream."

Facing History
Speaking in his new role as a senior manager for educational non-profit Facing History and Ourselves, former Anti-Defamation League New England Executive Director Andrew Tarsy stressed the role of the Boston-area Jewish community in supporting his battle with the national ADL over Genocide recognition.

Tarsy left his position at the ADL in late 2007 after being fired and later re-hired as the organization received criticism for its lack of recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

"I was extremely gratified at the time to know that the entire Jewish community of Greater Boston stood unanimously with me," he said, "and for those of you who didn't know that then it's important you know that now."

Through Tarsy's new position, he said he has worked to ensure the Armenian Genocide is taught to 1.8 million students around the world.

Oktay Ozel, a history professor at Ankara's Bilkent University working as a visiting scholar at Harvard, said Dink's writing inspired him to encourage other scholars to look more closely at the Armenian Genocide ' a plea, which he said, may gain traction in the wake of Dink's death.

"For us historians, along with this sense of guilt, I think the bitter legacy of Hrant's death is that historians should do better," Ozel said. They will feel much better when they do (their job) with a little decency. Then they won't need to do anything extraordinary ` just do their job properly. That's the job in front of historians in Turkey."

Peter Balakian, an English professor at Colgate University who wrote the bestseller Black Dog of Fate about his quest to find the meaning in his ancestral roots, spoke of both the discouraging circumstances surrounding Dink's death and the hope that the aftermath could create a new relationship between the historically feuding Armenian and Turkish communities both at home and abroad.

"The outpouring of commemoration around the world for Hrant Dink became an opening to something new. In the two years since his death commemorative events have created civic spaces where some gurglings of Armenian memory and history have erupted and certainly a dialogue about the absences of democracy in Turkey are taking place," Balakian said.

"Armenians need to embrace that sense of complexity of a possibility for a shared history, certainly for a shared humanity and a deeper understanding. I think it's important for Turks and Armenians to de-ethnicize the past. The idea that this is somehow a debate between two cultures is a-historical."

Following the discussion, organizers from Friends of Hrant Dink presented Rakel Dink with $10,000 for her efforts to continue his work ' which she began just after he was killed.

"She has so much wisdom," said Armenian International Women's Association member Barbara Merguerian of Dink's work. "I feel that's there's a new breath of air."


`Hrant Dink: Heart of Two Nations' Navasartian Hall, London/UK, Nareineh Sevanesian
On Sunday January 25th AYF Khanasor London hosted an evening at Navasartian Hall with Nouritza Matossian director of the award-winning film `Hrant Dink: Heart of Two Nations' to commemorate the second year of Hrant's death.

Hrant Dink was a Turkish-Armenian editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper Agos. Born September 15th 1952 in Malatya, Turkey and assassinated January 19th 2007 outside his office by a 17-year old Turkish nationalist.

Throughout history, Armenians have had a turbulent past. We have had numerous heroes who have fought to maintain Armenians as Armenians, and amongst these heroes was Hrant Dink. Therefore it is our duty to remember and commemorate this brave man who fought with his pen for Human Rights and freedom of speech.

Nouritza Matossian's in-depth and very informative interview with Hrant Dink gave an overview of the current life and hostility Armenians endure. However we were also shown that there is hope, regardless of how small, as many Turkish writers defy the government, fully aware that by doing this they endanger their own lives. Dink was constantly challenged about his writing with which he replied "I challenge the accepted version of history because I do not write about things in black and white. People here are used to black and white; that's why they are astonished that there are other shades, too."

Navasartian hall's atmosphere after the film was alight with talk and in-depth conversations of the documentary. A sense of empathy from non-Armenian's who attended could be felt. The evening itself was a success in more ways than one. We were thrilled with the turn out for the occasion: over a hundred people, young and old.

As a young Armenian I believe we all have a lot to learn about courage and patriotism to become Hrant Dinks. Our constant and individual battle in our everyday lives to maintain our identity and make the world aware of our past means hope for the current and future generations to come.

Hrant Dink proved Mahatma Ghandi's theory: `The truth is the truth, even if the majority is one'.


Today's Zaman, Turkey, Feb 8 2009, The Obama Presidency: A View from Turkey
Barack Obama's election as the 44th president of the United States of America is a watershed event in the social and political history of that country.

Basing his campaign on change and promising that `Yes, We Can,' President Obama has been able to project a new vision and a new future for the American people and the world. As the first black president, Obama also has the chance to change the course of racial relations in the US. Mr. Obama's pledge to open up new lines of communication with the world has the potential to present a different notion of American power and to repair the deeply polarizing nature of the current global power structure. As the reckless policies and misadventures of the Bush administration come to an end, Barack Obama's success should be seen within the larger context of a global quest for new leadership in the US and around the world. The Obama administration will carry not only a political but a moral obligation to rally his country and the world around the principles of peace, justice and equality.

President Obama is inheriting a long list of intractable problems. His transition team has already dealt with several pressing issues including the US financial crisis, before Obama has even been sworn in. Once in office, effective January 20, 2009, how Barack Obama will conceptualize his presidency and formulate his policies is a challenge that will determine the nature of his term in office. As a young and transformative leader, Obama has been able to capture the imagination of millions of people around the world ` so much so that on his victory day a group of villagers in the eastern Turkish city of Van sacrificed forty-four sheep in his honor as the 44th president of the United States! Very few leaders in modern history have enjoyed such a warm reception and show of trust. The danger of setting the standard so high is that President Obama may try to do things too hastily, seeking to get quick results in order to meet the expectations.

The Obama presidency presents a unique opportunity not only for the American people but also for the Middle East and the larger Muslim world. The deep damage caused by the Bush administration's policies following the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan will take a long time to repair, and the Obama administration should fully know that it will be facing numerous challenges in the most volatile region of the world. So much mistrust has been built, and so many wounds have been created, it will take enormous amounts of time, courage, patience and political capital to mend and improve the relations between the United States and the Muslim world. It is obvious that the US will have to do more than just put out a new public relations campaign to win the minds and hearts of the Muslim world. Closing Guantanamo Bay will be a good step but should be only the first of many more substantial policies. The Obama administration needs to plan extensive modifications and introduce substantial changes to the way US foreign policy is conducted around the world.

The `war on terror' as defined and executed by the Neo-conservative cronies of the Bush administration has come to symbolize the imperialistic designs of a group of American intellectuals, strategists and politicians driven by power and greed. Since 2002, the United States has invaded two Muslim countries, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the wounding of millions, arrested thousands, and spent hundreds of billions of dollars in the process. The human and political consequences of the failed Bush policies are too obvious and numerous to be repeated here. It suffices to remember, besides the deplorable situation and loss of life in Afghanistan, the death of close to a million Iraqis and the catastrophes of Abu Ghurayb and Guantanamo Bay. Bush's war on terror has not eliminated the threat of al-Qaeda terrorism. To the contrary, it has given al-Qaeda and its likes a carte blanche to play on the grievances of Muslim societies and expand their recruitment grounds.

The war on terror has alienated the US from the rest of the world and created suspicion, anger and resentment. The world that stood with the American people on the horrific day of 9/11 has quickly distanced itself from the policies of the Bush camp. As the Obama administration prepares to take over, it has to do away with Bush's war on terror and chart a new course in fighting terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations. To have a clean break with the Bush legacy, a move the whole world expects from the new administration, President Obama will need to turn a new page in US foreign policy not in words but in deeds. President Obama is bound to throw a large canvass of political wisdom and global justice to reduce the costs of ill-advised expansionist adventures and contain the follies of empire.

US-Turkish Relations: Developing a Regional Perspective
Despite periods of turbulence and uncertainty over the last sixty years, US-Turkish relations have always maintained their strategic significance. The main reason for this is the fact that the relations between two countries go beyond bi-lateral relations and extend to key regional issues in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Turkey has a unique geo-political position at the interface of several continents and civilizational fault lines. As an heir to the rich legacy of the Ottoman Empire and as a dynamic modern Republic, Turkey occupies a special place between East and West, Europe and the Middle East, the Muslim world and the West. From the Caucasus to Middle East politics and energy security, US-Turkish relations are essential for regional stability and the global balance of power. The Obama presidency should build upon the good will and strategic partnership between the two countries. A new beginning in US foreign policy towards the Middle East and the larger region, including the Caucasus, will mean Turkey's further involvement in key regional issues. Charting a better course in US-Turkish relations requires developing a regional perspective and deeper sense of partnership.

US-Turkish relations are closely intertwined with developments in several regions and the new US foreign policy towards those regions will have a direct impact on relations between the two countries. A US-Turkish partnership based on a shared regional vision and sense of global politics involves the coordination of various policy elements, from strengthening bilateral relations to dealing with pressing issues in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. As evidenced by the unilateralist and polarizing policies of the Bush administration, it is impossible for the US to maintain good relations with Turkey (or any other country for that matter) without agreeing on some fundamental principles of policy and engaging the other countries in the region. Turkey's security concerns regarding PKK terrorism, for instance, cannot be addressed in isolation from other policy issues in Turkey's immediate neighborhood. Given Turkey's energy dependence on Iran and Russia, a belligerent policy of isolation and unilateralism towards these two countries will not only raise tensions throughout the region but also affect US-Turkish relations. A similar situation exists concerning the future of post-American Iraq, Lebanon and the Middle East peace process more broadly.

The key to a successful multilateral policy is to engage regional actors without preconditions. Instead of forcing countries to fulfill certain conditions before talking to them, one needs to include them in the talks to deal with the issues comprehensively. Turkey's increasing involvement in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine proves that talking without preconditions works, and that a carefully crafted diplomacy can deliver ` a theme President Obama emphasized during his campaign. Turkey insists on engaging Syria and Iran as well as other non-state actors to establish stability in the region. As a result of these efforts alone, Turkey has broken new ground in the Syrian-Israeli talks. The significance of this accomplishment should not be diminished by the fact that these talks have been suspended for the time being because of Israel's brutal war on Gaza. By talking to Iran, Turkey has avoided isolating Iran and dispensed with provocative and polarizing policies in the region. Turkey has taken a similar stance by choosing a middle path during and after the Russian-Georgian war; this policy line helped contain the tensions between a defiant Russia and a surprised and largely confused EU and US. In short, the success of bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States depends on formulating a shared regional vision and coordinating efforts on key policy issues.

Fighting PKK Terrorism
For over two decades, one of the most contested issues between Ankara and Washington has been the lack of cooperation in fighting PKK terrorism. Rumors of secret or implicit US support for the PKK have fueled anti-American sentiments in Turkey. Since the first Gulf War of 1991-1992, US policies in Iraq and the surrounding region have been seen as failing to support Turkey in its struggle to stop PKK terrorist activities. Given the fact that the European countries did not have any better record, Turkish officials and the public have felt that their security concerns have not been attended to by Turkey's traditional allies. While the onus of finding a long-term solution to the Kurdish problem remains on the shoulders of Turkey as a sovereign country, international cooperation is a sine qua non for fighting PKK terrorism which has increasingly become an international issue. As PKK terrorists have found shelter in various parts of the world, much of the anti-American and anti-European sentiment in Turkey has come about as a result of the West's failure to address Turkey's security concerns.

The meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister ErdoÄ?an at the White House on October 5, 2007 marked an important turning point in strengthening US-Turkish relations on the PKK issue. The agreement between the two on instant intelligence sharing and further cooperation and President Bush's declaration of the PKK as a terrorist organization was hailed as a serious commitment and appreciated as such by the Turkish public. While the extent and success of intelligence sharing on PKK activities in Northern Iraq has been debated, it did provide a new boost for US-Turkish relations which had turned sour in March 2003, when the Turkish Parliament rejected a motion to allow US troops to use Turkish soil for the invasion of Iraq.

Today, in spite of this boost, Turkey is fighting a revitalized PKK. The steps taken to address the root causes of PKK terrorism have been very slow in coming and insufficient in execution. Yet even now, there are new opportunities to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish issue through a national consensus in Turkey. The launching of TRT 6 broadcasting in the Kurdish language is a step in the right direction. Yet neither the AK Party government nor other Turkish actors, including the military and civilian forces, can afford to take bold steps when large-scale fighting continues and security concerns take precedence over democratic rights and economic development. Given the long record of this issue in the US Congress and the White House, the Obama administration will be in a position to appreciate its urgency for Turkey. President Obama and his team need to give priority to combating PKK terrorism as a critical component of US-Turkish relations. To that effect, the new administration should urge Iraq's Kurdish leaders to help Turkey root out PKK installments in Northern Iraq and prevent the PKK from poisoning relations between Ankara and Arbil on the one hand, and Ankara and Washington on the other.

The Armenian Issue and Relations between Turkey and Armenia
US-Turkish relations are too important to be reduced to the Armenian genocide claims. Moreover, a contested issue of history cannot be resolved under pressure from lobbying groups and diaspora communities. The virulently anti-Turkish attitude of Armenian lobby groups in the US and in Europe has not brought Turks and Armenians closer to one another. While the Armenian lobby acts with a sense of fiat accompli and refuses any reconciliatory measures, Turkey has made several goodwill gestures to start a process of talks, proposing to form a committee of historians to look into the events of 1915-16. While a historical reconciliation needs to be sought, keeping in mind the terrible loss of life on both sides in the First World War, the first glimpses of a new page in relations between Turkey and Armenia should be fully supported.

Turks and Armenians share a long history of peaceful co-existence and creative partnership, from music and architecture to politics and diplomacy. Today, geo-political realities and regional imperatives rather than misplaced emotions and oppositional identities should be the guiding principles of Turkish-Armenian relations. The process which started with the visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gül to Yerevan in September 2008, the first of its kind, presents a unique opportunity to change the current deadlock from contested history to shared future. So far, the trilateral talks between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia have made considerable progress in easing tensions between these three neighboring countries. Any attempt to bring the Armenian genocide issue back to the center of the political process will surely poison relations between Turkey and the new Obama administration and thwart the process of reconciliation between Ankara and Yerevan. From a geo-political point of view, it is in the interest of all parties to help improve relations between Turkey and Armenia and prevent the narrow agenda of genocide claims from dominating the political landscape. Priority should be given to Ankara and Yerevan to sort out the issues between the two countries.

Diversifying US-Turkish Relations
Despite their strategic significance, US-Turkish relations suffer from the absence of diversification. US interests in the region usually determine the shape and extent of relations, leaving little room for other areas to claim any prominence. A century of predominantly good relations between the two countries has not led to major cooperation and partnership in such areas as trade, education and culture. In his last visit to Washington for the G-20 meeting in November 2008, Turkish Prime Minister ErdoÄ?an complained about the small volume of US-Turkish trade and made a call to expand it. While there are many Turkish students studying at American institutions of higher education, the current level of cooperation does not reflect the countries' true partnership potential. Despite calls by numerous American officials and private citizens who follow Turkey closely, a similar state of affairs exists in the field of cultural exchange. Diversifying US-Turkish relations and generating enough social capital in areas other than foreign policy are crucial steps needed to maintain a sustainable relationship at times of crisis.

Energy Cooperation
A rather underdeveloped area of partnership in Eurasia at large is the energy sector. Turkey is an energy-dependent country, but it straddles world energy corridors from Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe. There are already important energy routes that go through Turkey, and more routes are expected to be constructed. For instance, NABUCCO is expected to go over Turkish land, bringing gas from the Caspian basin and Central Asia to points west. Once completed, it will be the largest energy pipeline of the world, and will increase energy supply security, both for the EU countries and for Turkey. NABUCCO will strengthen Turkey's strategic position as well.

Iranian gas is another potential area for international collaboration. After Russia, Iran has the largest natural gas reserves in the world. Possession of such reserves is probably the most valuable leverage Iran could use to affect a rapprochement with the West in general, and with the EU countries in particular.

The Obama administration is expected to pursue a more active Eurasian energy policy. The new administration is expected to collaborate more enthusiastically with friendly countries in the region to help them become more energy independent, while encouraging diversification. The Turkish idea of transporting Turkmen and Iraqi gas to Europe via Turkey was supported by the Bush administration; this position is expected to be maintained by the Obama administration. The proposed transportation plan would further Turkey's goal of becoming an energy hub for transporting rich energy reserves from neighboring regions to world markets.

The Cyprus Peace Process
The Obama administration should support the talks currently underway between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. One should not anticipate a partial and one-sided US approach because of Joe Biden's past record on the issue. As Vice President, Biden is likely to adopt a realist policy of maintaining good relations with both Turkey and Greece. The new administration should note that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots fully supported the Annan Plan in 2004 to create a united island in Cyprus. The US should support efforts to end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots as a constructive step towards reconciliation between the two nations on the island.

A Post-American Iraq and Turkey
Before and during his election campaign, President Obama opposed the war in Iraq and pledged to withdraw US troops within the first sixteen months of his presidency. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between Iraq and the US before the end of 2008 assumes the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by 2011. While committing oneself to a tight time-table involves certain risks, US withdrawal is an eventual necessity in order to let Iraqis rule themselves and rebuild their country with the help of the international community. While the details of Obama's withdrawal plan are yet to be worked out, it will need to have three main pillars. The first is to prepare Iraqi military and policy forces to take over the security situation in Iraq. The necessary training of these forces and the improvement of their condition will be provided in collaboration with NATO. Although US calls for further NATO involvement did not receive a warm response from the European allies, Obama is confident that NATO and the international community will extend their support once the US plan for withdrawal is put in motion.

The second pillar of the American exit strategy will be to strengthen the central government in Baghdad and create a functioning political and economic system to prevent internal fighting and chaos in the post-US phase. It is necessary to set up a political framework for the central government that will represent all segments of Iraqi society, prepare the regional governments of Iraq to take care of the security situation, and improve state efficiency in social services in order to normalize Iraqi lives. This process must also include measures to accommodate differences among the diverse ethnic, religious and sectarian groups that make up Iraqi society.

The third pillar is to seek support from neighboring countries and the international community to establish the stability and security of Iraq after the US withdrawal. In tandem with the indication that Obama will put an end to US unilateral policies, he should bring all countries in the region on board in dealing with Iraq's pressing problems, from security to the economy. Since its launching, Turkey's Iraqi Neighboring Countries Initiative has provided a valuable platform for regional cooperation and should be supported and strengthened to help post-American Iraq. An important component of this process is to ensure that the US troops that will remain in Iraq, whose extent is not known, will not pose threats to Iraq's neighbors including Iran and Turkey. A large American military presence in Northern Iraq, for instance, will be a source of concern and tension for Turkey.

Afghanistan: Avoiding the Graveyard of Empires
The Obama campaign favored the idea of increasing the number of soldiers in Afghanistan and seeking more support from NATO and its allies to deal with the situation in that country. Obama is likely to increase the number of US troops in Afghanistan. NATO-ISAF forces will receive more support and Obama will lobby in the capitals of Europe for active involvement to stabilize Afghanistan. Turkey has already some troops in Afghanistan, helping the local communities to cope with the difficulties of occupation, warlords and a weak government. Prioritizing Afghanistan is a step in the right direction. But the new Obama administration needs to start a new process of national reconciliation to bring together all parties, including the Taliban. Those elements of the Taliban and other fighting groups that are willing to be part of the political process should be allowed to do so. In a traditional society like Afghanistan where the mere presence of foreign troops is a major source of social unrest and mistrust, a comprehensive agenda of rebuilding Afghanistan with all Afghani groups involved must be set in place. Turkey's good credentials with the Afghan people can be a valuable asset in this process. In addition, the Obama administration will need the close cooperation of Pakistan and Iran to establish order in Afghanistan and formulate a reasonable exit strategy.

Going Beyond the Nuclear Issue in Iran
President Obama made it clear than the idea of Iran having nuclear weaponry is unacceptable. Together with other countries in the region, Turkey shares the same point of view, but supports Iran in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. During his campaign, Mr. Obama talked about the possibility of direct and unconditional dialogue with Tehran. This is an important possibility and should be given a chance in order to counteract the sense of isolation and insecurity which the Iranians have been experiencing for a number of years. The current state of Turkish-Iranian relations is a valuable capital that could be used to steer Iran away from pursuing nuclear weapons, and to contribute to peace and stability in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine. Just before coming to the G-20 meeting, Turkish PM Erdogan stated that Turkey is willing to facilitate talks between Tehran and Washington. Turkey would not make such a proposal unless it had received a green light from Iran. This opportunity should be seized in good faith and a process of direct and indirect talks should begin. Given Turkey's long-standing experience with Iran as a neighboring country, the Obama White House should give more room to Turkey to address Iranian concerns. Now that Turkey has started its tenure in the UN Security Council, it is all the more pertinent to handle the Iranian nuclear dossier with an inclusive and constructive approach.

Pakistan
Pakistan occupied the center of Obama's campaign as an outstanding foreign policy issue. Obama considers Pakistan a source of international terror and blames Pakistani groups for spoiling the US operations in Afghanistan. Obama considers the situation in Pakistan dangerous for regional and international politics. Pakistan has a fragile and polarized political system, and the internal situation could easily turn to an intra-societal conflict; this fragility poses serious threats to regional stability due to rogue elements in the uncontrollable zones on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. This situation also poses a serious threat to international security due to concerns over the Pakistani administration's ability to control Pakistani nukes. The deplorable Mumbai killings on November 26 have made the situation much more explosive and dangerous. Given Turkey's good relations and historical ties with Pakistan, a comprehensive policy agenda can be developed by including Turkey in the process in order to ease tensions between Pakistan and India on the one hand, and Pakistan and Afghanistan on the other. The second round of trilateral talks between Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari took place in Turkey on December 6th 2008. Increased Turkish involvement in Pakistani-Afghani relations has been welcomed by all sides, and by the US administration. Mr. Obama can and should benefit from Turkey's good relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Dealing with a Resurgent Russia in the 21st Century
While the full extent and details of Obama's future policy towards Russia have not yet been made public, Obama has criticized the so-called realist policy towards Russia. Instead, he said during his campaign, he would follow a value-based policy. It is clear from the Russian-Georgian war of last year that Russia will remain largely defiant in the face of what it perceives as a Western policy of encirclement. Russia is a significant player in Turkey's immediate neighborhood; it is also one of Turkey's top trading partners. The regional perspective discussed above can provide a framework of trust, partnership and effective diplomacy not only for Turkish-Russian relations but also for relations between Russia and the US. In the wake of the Georgia-Russia crisis, Turkey proposed a Caucasian Stability Platform to start a dialogue between three Caucasian states, Russia, and Turkey to prevent future crises in the region. So far, Turkey's efforts have been helpful in containing a larger conflict in the Caucasus. Turkey's good relations with Russia and other countries in the region should be seen as an asset by the new US administration.

The Middle East Peace Process
The Obama administration is likely to recognize that all of the problems in the Middle East are interconnected. The Arab-Israeli peace process cannot progress without taking into consideration the isolation of Iran and the fragile dynamics in Iraq. The art of diplomacy is to bring together all parties concerned in an effort to identify common interests and challenges. This is why, under the Obama administration, the Middle East peace process will need a jump start with an international conference, similar to the Madrid Summit of 1991. A major mistake in Madrid was the exclusion of Iran. This time, this new international summit should embrace all major actors in the region, including Iran and Turkey, in addition to the Middle East Quartet comprised of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.

Istanbul provides the best venue for such a summit. Turkish diplomacy has already made substantial inroads in terms of mediating between Israel and Syria. The Turkish government has also expressed willingness to mediate between Iran and the United States. Just as the 1990s were characterized by the `Oslo Peace Process,' the next era of diplomacy and cooperation in the Middle East can be launched with a summit in Istanbul under the name of the `Istanbul Peace Process.' Such an effort would not only amount to a paradigmatic change in Turkish-American relations ` bringing much needed credibility to the strategic partnership ` but it would also demonstrate the Obama administration's willingness to adopt a genuinely multilateral platform for peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Obama has indicated that he will give priority to the Middle East peace process. It is clear that there will be no lasting peace between the US and the Muslim world unless the Palestinian issue is resolved. While this is the right approach, it carries certain risks at the level of domestic American politics. The Israeli lobby will continue to approach the peace process from a narrow and distorted point view, divide the Palestinians, and present Arabs as unwilling or unable to make peace with Israel. Obama's appointment of pro-Israeli figures to his team has raised questions about the even-handedness of his approach towards the Palestinian issue. Mr. Obama should give a new start to the Middle East Peace process and avoid President Bush's deadly mistakes. The Obama presidency should take the Arab Peace Initiative seriously and start a process of integrating Hamas into its negotiations. Unless Hamas is made part of the solution, there will be no solution in Palestine. As a country close to the region, Turkey has recognized this fact and developed good relations with all parties in Palestine. The key points of the Palestinian conflict which include the 1967 borders, the Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem should be addressed in a regional framework, and the Arab countries as well as Iran and Turkey should be invited to be part of the process. The Obama administration should also support the process of integrating Syria into the regional political process. Turkey's efforts in this regard have been considerable and should be supported by the US and the Europeans.

Mr. Obama's silence over the Israeli war on Gaza has shaken people's hopes in his ability and willingness to bring a fresh point of view to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Israel's suicidal war on Gaza has taken more than 1,300 lives, most of them civilians, women and children, and wounded over 5,000 Palestinians. Currently, Israel is undermining all possibilities for a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue. By defying the UN, neighboring countries and the rest of the international community, Israel has proven itself unwilling to make peace with anyone in the region. While this attitude will certainly further isolate Israel, it will also jeopardize the safety and welfare of Israeli citizens in the long run. President Obama must follow an even-handed policy towards the Palestinian conflict with a sense of justice and determination. Decades of neglect and unjustified pro-Israeli policies have worsened the situation on the ground and poisoned US-Muslim world relations. The Obama presidency should provide a new framework for the Palestinian issue and support the two-state solution on the principles of justice and equality.

Turkish Officials Invite Obama To Alliance Of Civilizations Meeting
A member of a Turkish parliamentary delegation has been holding a series of talks in Washington D.C..
07 February 2009

A member of a Turkish parliamentary delegation that has been holding a series of talks in Washington D.C. said on Friday that the delegation invited U.S. President Barack Obama to Turkey again.

Holding a press conference on the Turkish delegation's talks in USA, Cuneyt Yuksel, member of the Turkish-U.S. Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, said that the delegation invited Obama to the "Alliance of Civilizations" meeting to be held in Turkey on April 6-7.

Upon a question on the criticisms claiming that Turkey's active policy in the Middle East damaged the country's ties to the West, Yuksel said, "Turkey has a clear strategic target which is full membership to EU. Those trying to show Turkey as something else, are acting unfair".

Commenting on Turkish-Armenian relations as well, Yuksel said both Turkish and U.S. officials expressed during the talks that the positive atmosphere between Turkey and Armenia should be maintained. AA


Sudbury Star, Canada, Feb 7 2009, Students Learn About Genocide, Social Activism By Leanne Davis, The Canadian Press ,
A group of Toronto high school students making a presentation on their first day of a groundbreaking course on genocide are suddenly and without warning bombarded with paper airplanes and catcalls by their peers.

There's shock and confusion on the faces of classmates watching the chaotic scene unfold, but no one does anything.

Finally, one student at the back of the class says: "Enough is enough."

This is CHG 381 -- Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity -- and the student brave enough to call for an end to the assault is "up-standing" in the truest sense of the term.

Silverthorn Collegiate teacher Mitch Bubulj lets his class know the students behind the abuse were instructed to prevent the group from presenting. He then asks if they understood the point of the exercise.

"To see if anyone would tell them to stop?" one girl says.

"Exactly," Bubulj replies.

In addition to discussing the often gruesome history of genocide, the course -- being taught at nine Toronto high schools -- revolves around discussing ways the students can act to "achieve effective change."

It's called "up-standing," a term coined by author Samantha Powell meant to describe the opposite of a bystander.

The stereotype of the teenager who is wrapped up in their own world is met head-on, says Bubulj.

"The true story is they're caring, they're concerned, and they might not show it right away -- on the surface they seem disengaged and apathetic, but that's not the case," said Bubulj.

"You just have to offer a course like this to see the best in these teenagers and I've seen it. Students want to do the right thing and they get angry at the injustice."

It took five years for the course to make it into the classroom since it was first conceived at the Toronto District School Board. It's now being taught for just the second time.

The first crop of kids graduated from the class last month.

"This course can be brutal. It is brutal," Bubulj tells the new students.

"People figure you won't be able to handle it -- hearing about killing, torture and rape, but the last class proved that you can handle it, and some of them are now on the road to becoming activists for social change."

The course received media attention last year when some members of the Turkish community lobbied the board to remove any teaching of the Armenian genocide of 1915 -- a core aspect of the course and one that many Turks deny ever took place.

The material remains, and halfway into the school year a new group of students are preparing to learn about it, the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide.

Seventeen-year-old Damir Cvetkovic doesn't look like a child of war, but the boy with the shy smile came to Canada in 1998 -- three years after the war in Bosnia ended.

Individuals have been convicted of committing acts of genocide in the Bosnian war, including former Serbian political leader Radovan Karadzic. In 2007, the UN's top court ruled that while Serbia broke international law by failing to stop the killings, the state was itself not guilty of genocide.

Cvetkovic was too young to remember all of it, but his mother has told him what it was like.

"It was like being in a cage the way my mom explains it. She trembles when she talks about it."

Cvetkovic is a graduate of the first semester class and says it has given him a greater awareness and understanding, and has even helped him mature.

"We had to watch these videos, things like concentration camps, and kids turned their heads," he said.

"I don't want them to be disgusted but I thought, good -- now they understand what actually went on. They get that it's not a joke."

Bubulj says while the course makes students more empathetic, the dark side of human nature must be explored to bring about that awareness.

"It also leaves them with a disgust at times when people have been so evil that they've eliminated whole groups of people," he said.

"It just reaffirms what it means to be human."
www.thesudburystar.com


Let’s Remember The Head Official Of Bogazliyan
Let me make a contribution to the ones who don’t know or who do not remember. Kemal Bey, head Official of Boğazlıyan, was executed at Beyazıt Square on 10 April 1919…

Why was he executed?

In order to satisfy invasion forces…

Yes, you have not read wrong; in order to satisfy invasion forces…

The basis of the Ottoman government those days was not the Turkish nation; but Europe…

It had lost its sovereignty and function…

When Europe demanded the judge to be changed during the trial it was changed…

Europe suppressed; the Ottoman hanged Kemal Bey, head Official of Boğazlıyan at Beyazıt Square in Istanbul on 10 April 1919…

Look carefully at the date; “this execution” had started days before Atatürk’ journey to Samsun..

Okay then, what was his fault?

He only had one fault; “to be an Ottoman and Turkish nationalist and attempt to protect Muslim Turks” and be in an effort of preventing the members of Armenian resistance movement from attacking, killing looting Turks…

I would like to remind the date once again: 10 April 1919… Days before the Bandırma steamer set out…

The sky was extremely dark; the ones who wished to claim their Turkish nationality, Muslims and the government, which they believed they will protect them, were “hopeless”!

They were extremely pessimistic… “An official” who was in an effort of protecting his principles in the name of his government was being executed by forcing law with the demand of Europe…

However, there was something that they did not know; “a few days were left for the Bandırma steamer to set out!

Turkish nation was counting days to claim “its religion, land and future”!

I will not write any more…

How many more “Kemal Bey” does Europe, America demands!

Let’s not forget the “Kemal Bey”s!

This country mounts on “Mustafa”s and “Kemal”s!

And it will continue to do so! Despite everyone and everything!

Source: Yigit Bulut-Vatan Daily Newspaper-26.01.2009, www.genocidereality.com/htmpage.asp?id=469


Serj Sarkisyan, the Baron of Contradictions…
Serj Sarkisyan, the first man of Armenia who took over presidency in the year of 2008, maintains his image which reflects his intention of not losing his position as an expert of shallow Armenian diplomacy, which has reached to a sickening point. It will be helpful to freshen up memories:

Sarkisyan’s statement before his presidency:
“Turkish-Armenian relations and genocide are, of course, the significant factors that should be taken into account during Turkey’s membership process to European Union.” 22 December 2006-The Wall Street Journal

“Turkey should open her borders without any pre-condition. Then, we will be ready to form an inter-governmental commission that would discuss all existing issues.” 03 February 2008 NTV-MSNBC

“We desire establishing diplomatic relations and opening borders with Turkey if no pre-condition is presented over the Armenian genocide and mountainous Karabagh issues.” 20 February 2008 BBC, EuroAsia.net and BİA News Center
Serj Sarkisyan’s statements after he won the elections in Armenia dated 19 February 2008:

“We are prepared for consultations with Turkey without any pre-conditions.” 08 March 2008-Zaman Daily Newspaper

“Condemnation and recognition of the 1915 incidents by the international community as ‘genocide’ is ‘inevitable’ and it will continue to be a part of Armenia’s foreign policy.” 25 April 2008-tümgazeteler.com

“Establishing diplomatic relations with Turkey does not mean forgetting genocide; we do not put interests of our country away for a certain target.” 03 February 2009-NTV

“The Republic of Armenia, the homeland of all Armenians, should double her efforts (propaganda activities) for historical justice.” 05 February 2009-Zaman

(…) Now we ought to ask; which statement that is backed by Sarkisyan is right and coherent? Doesn’t to suggest “not to put forward pre-conditions” as a prior condition or to stipulate the recognition of a fake hatred legend, such as genocide, automatically constitute the prerequisites of Armenia?

While “good will” messages are delivered on one hand; on the other, political labyrinths that are based on mass hysteria and which does not lead to a solution, are kept to be produced in order to diminish the pressure of the racist Tashnak Party in power by saying: “We won’t get out of the lands we have invaded, we will double genocide propaganda and even if you do not accept our pre-conditions, you should open your borders ‘pretending that no pre-condition exists”, etc.”

Briefly, it seems like Sarkisyan cannot be successful as much as necessary at bilateral relations, and Armenian people still stimulates these kinds of illusions. Moreover, the statements, which continue without a break and are full with contradictions, are expressed under the sword of Tashnak Party. Consequently, Armenia’s efforts for getting rid of genocide virus, which established itself silently at its national code, are once again sabotaged with these racist statements, which cannot suit into any kind of peaceful attempts.

Ülkü Eryaman, soykirkur at yahoo.com www.genocidereality.com/htmpage.asp?id=471


Armenians In CHP (Turkish Opposition Party) AZG Armenian Daily #020, 07/02/2009, Translated by L.H.
According to Turkish press, approximately 5.000 citizens of Turkey are admitted into Turkish opposition Republican People's Party and have got their badges, Marmara reports.

Turkish press underlines there are Armenians and Jews among the new members of the party. The names of Raffi Hermon Araksi and Hrant Topakian are mentioned among the new members of the opposition party.


Press Release From "Armenian Rights Council Of Australia" 6 February 2009
The Armenian Rights Council of Australia, which is the human rights advocate branch of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Organisation, welcomes and is supportive of the Armenian government's efforts, at the highest levels, to normalise relations between Armenia and Turkey. The Armenian Rights Council believes that nations who share borders must resolve their differences in accordance with international norms and protocols

The normalisation of relations between Turkey and Armenia should not be conditional on other issues such as the resolving of the Karabagh issue or demands by Turkey that the Armenian Government stop pursuing the international recognition and acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. The issue of the Armenian Genocide needs to be resolved through dialogue and negotiations between Turkey, the Armenian Government in collaboration with representatives of the Armenian Diaspora.

The Armenian Rights Council supports the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide by the Republic of Turkey and the global community. We also believe that for true justice to be achieved the formal recognition by the Republic of Turkey must be accompanied by non-symbolic measures and initiatives including but not limited to: the return of the territories making up Western Armenia and granting Armenia access to the Black sea; compensation for the loss of human life and property during the period 1915-1923; setting up a joint commission to restore and preserve Armenian cultural monuments scattered throughout Turkey.

The Armenian Rights Council believes that reconciliation efforts between Turkey and Armenia should be conducted at state level and also between representatives of Diaspora based political parties and Turkey. Any attempts based on individual initiatives for reconciliation are naïve and can become counterproductive. While individuals are free to express their opinions on any specific issue including the reconciliation efforts between Turks and Armenians, such individuals need to be mindful that by engaging in such activities, their opinions could get distorted and used for political purposes to threaten and compromise the national interests of the Armenian nation.
Armenian Rights Council, Sydney Australia, arcaustralia hotmail.com


Armenian Genocide Resolution To U.S. Congress By The End Of February 7 February 2009, Krikor Amirzayan / armenews
The group of pro-Armenian senators will submit to Congress at the end of the month, a resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. This text was presented by Adam Schiff (Democrat, California), Frank Pallone (Democrat, New Jersey), George Radanovich (Republican, California) and Mark Kirk (Republican, Illinois). Last October, the vote on resolution 106 related to the recognition of the Armenian genocide had failed to pressure the ex-president George W. Bush. The ANCA (Armenian National Comitee of America) also hopes that the new administration of President Barack Obama, this resolution could be passed. Furthermore, the Armenian community of the United States (estimated at 1.2 million members) hopes that the next April 24 to recognize Barack Obama on behalf of the United States, the Armenian genocide. Krikor Amirzayan



FRA Dachnaktsoutioun: Open Letter Addressed To Jack Lang 6 February 2009 by Stéphane / armenews
Sir,

The words that you said in the opening of a symposium organized by the Collectif Blois "Freedom for history" have aroused great emotion in public opinion. I, on behalf of FRA Dachnaktsoutioun (Armenian Socialist Party) attempted to meet with you before your departure to Japan. In vain. We need to understand why you had expressed some what akin to the denial. You do not deign to give this matter the importance it deserved. Damage.

In a reply that you run, you're "saddened by the unfair and dishonest campaign orchestrated against me (...)"

The outrage provoked by your words seems to entail legitimacy. In your presentation of Blois, you talk about the Armenian genocide in quotation marks. Why in quotes? You express your regret for having voted for the bill recognizing the Armenian genocide in the National Assembly and you claim to be doubly guilty, the first time as a member and the second time as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Why now regret what you done yesterday? Why this denial? How would you react the opinion that Mr. Jack Lang? How do these reactions come from a "dishonest and unjust campaign"? We believe that the Armenian genocide is genocide in its own right, recognized as such by all the historians who worked on the topic. Many states, including France, have recognized, in light of historical works, and on the basis of the legal definition of the word genocide, the massacres of 1915 as genocide. Rafael Lemkin himself, the inventor of the word genocide, said he applied to the Armenian case.

We understand now that you have taken the measure of the inappropriateness of the terms of your speech Blois, since in a letter that you broadcast on 3 February 2009, you write: "It is I who, as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, have passed by the Assembly's statement on Armenian genocide. I then broke it was not simply that the Senate adopted in identical terms. "

Admittedly, this is right! But why you are reporting in Blois your regret and you are twice guilty? Should we understand, Mr. Lang that you regret the remarks made today at Blois in October? To justify your words, you are talking about the "context": "We must remember the context of what I have lent. It was in the context of a scientific debate among historians about the competence of parliaments to enact legislation memorial.

You are a lawyer Mr. Jack Lang and you know perfectly well that the French perfectly "competence" to pass legislation of any kind. Although we believe that the law on recognition of the Armenian genocide is not "memory". It is not Parliament that is history. History of the Armenian genocide was the subject of decades of research by dozens of international historians. The French Parliament has simply recognized the Armenian genocide contested for decades by successive governments in Turkey which refer to "the so-called Armenian genocide" or ... the Armenian genocide in quotation marks.

As to the proposal of socialist law criminalizing denial of Armenian genocide, you have refused to vote on 12 October 2006. In your letter, you write: "I am not in a favorable effect to the laws of criminalization on the dispute of facts history. It is better to convince them that force. "Except that in this case, Mr. Jack Lang, it is the negation of the reality of a genocide can be likened to" the challenge of historical facts. " Challenge a historical fact may have little significance in isolation. It depends on the nature of historical fact in question. Why, again, you engage in a vain attempt to normalization?

You do not dispute the merits of the Gayssot Act, which penalizes the denial of the Jewish genocide, and you were quite right. Why you have a different assessment on criminalizing denial of Armenian genocide? We have seen, the Gayssot Act passed in 1990 has not prevented historians to continue their work. It just prevented the revisionists to do theirs. And so much the better! Could you imagine that books or articles denying the reality of the Holocaust was published in France. Could we talk of the Jewish genocide in quotation marks? No, of course not. It would be heinous, unacceptable, intolerable! Racism and antisemitism are banned in France. The denial of the Holocaust is prohibited. The Armenian genocide should be it.

You are now defended by sites negationist Turkish widely theses Turkish government and fascist organizations and paramilitaries. Can you accept it?

Mr. Jack Lang, it is time that this controversy is a positive term.

We expect you to take a real initiative frank explanation.

Mourad PAPAZIAN
Co-Chairman of the FRA Dachnaktsoutioun - Armenian Socialist Party


Denial Of The Armenian Genocide: Where Is The Survival Of The Jewish People Is In Question, There Is No Room For Moral 7 February 2009 by Stéphane / armenews

OPINION BY Yehezkel Dror (**), IN THE FORWARD (USA), THURSDAY 15 MAY 2008

(Any citizen who aspires to justice and peace must be aware that some political and military strategists do not hesitate to consider and prepare, on behalf of "security" of Israel. The State of Israel , is built on Arab land, they fly sinks continuously pursues its expansion by building new settlements, and then he imagined, with his friends in the West, strategies to kill the people that humiliates, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, if they seek to defend itself! The text you can read here, written by an Israeli political analyst and strategist, who teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is really impressive. It gives us important clues on the current political and strategic vision of Israel, and the foundations of his political doctrine in the world. He openly proclaims the right of Israel to avoid the moral precepts of common humanity. And he called "any Jewish leader any Jewish organization, the entire Jewish community and every individual Jew "to do the same. It's cold in the back. Cattori Silvia)

"Few people disconviennent that any Jewish leader, a Jewish organization, the entire Jewish community and every individual Jew has the duty to help ensure the continuity of the Jewish people. But in a world where the existence of long-term the Jewish state is far from assured, the need to exist leads inevitably to difficult questions, whose principal is this: when the survival of the Jewish people is in conflict with the morals of the Jewish people its existence it is worth the candle, or even the existence is possible?

The physical existence, I would tend to argue, should be first. Also a moral aspires Does being, physical existence is necessarily a prerequisite.

Obvious dangers, both internal and external, threatening the very existence of Israel as a Jew. It is very likely that the collapse of Israel or the loss by the State of Israel's Jewish identity would undermine the existence of the Jewish people as a whole. And even the existence of a Jewish state, hazards, less obvious but no less fatal, threaten the continued existence in the long-term diaspora. When the necessities of life come into conflict with other values, therefore, realpolitik should be given priority. Since the threat of a disastrous conflict with Islamist actants such as Iran, the need to maintain distinctions between "us" and "others" to limit assimilation, this imperative should guide policy makers policies.

Unfortunately, human history idealist rejects the assertion that, to live a long time, a State, a society or people must be moral. Given the predictable realities of the 21st century and beyond, the choices are inevitable, where the necessaries of life, contradict, in many cases, other important values.

It could be argued that the existence of priority could be counterproductive in terms of existence, because what can be regarded as an immoral action can undermine the support, both internally and externally is vital to the existence [of Israel]. However, the logic to realpolitik gives primacy to the existence, leaving only a minor to any ethical considerations. The sad reality is that the Jewish people may be faced with tragic choices, in which important values must be sacrificed in the interest of even greater value.

Decisions that are responsible in such situations require a clear knowledge of the moral issues involved, carefully weighing all values and all the assumptions of responsibility for training its own self-judgment. Those decisions also require an effort to reduce as much as possible the violation of moral values.

Nevertheless, confronted with such dilemmas, the Jewish people should not be obsessed with political correctness, or by other means likely to obstruct the thought. When it comes to China, for example, some efforts to strengthen ties between the Chinese super power and the Jewish people should impose a mute to well-intentioned campaigns to interfere in domestic politics in Beijing, especially in his way of managing Tibet. The same goes for Turkey, given the crucial role played peacemaker in this country in the Middle East, the debate over whether the Ottomans committed (or not) of atrocities against the Armenians should be left historians, and historians rather than non-Jews.

This is not necessarily to support the Chinese, nor to deny the Armenian history. No: it is much more to recognize that as the legal position may (or may not) be, the Jewish people must give primacy to existence.

What is required is an evaluation of a priori values, in order to have guides ready to form an opinion in specific contexts, or in conditions of crisis. The question, more generally, is whether the imperative for the Jewish people to exist, is a categorical imperative surpassing almost all other values, or whether it is an imperative among many other requirements of similar rank. Given both the history that the current situation of the Jewish people, I would argue that the need for its existence is a moral imperative, which presides over all others.

Leaving aside the use of transcendental arguments, the biblical commandments and the sayings of wise men who, all together as much as the others, open to various interpretations. The justification for the priority to be given to the necessities of life is fourfold:

First, the Jewish people has the inherent right to exist, just like any other people or any other civilization.

Secondly, a people who have been regularly persecuted for two thousand years is morally based, in terms of distributive justice, to be particularly ruthless when it comes for him to take care of its existence, particularly in terms of moral rights, that I say, having to kill and be killed, it is essential for its existence - albeit at the cost of other values, and others. This argument is even more unstoppable in the light of the unprecedented killing, only a few decades, one third of the Jewish people - a crime of mass which was supported directly and indirectly, or at least, with no was not prevented, when it would have been possible, by large segments of the civilized world.

Thirdly, given the history of Judaism and Jewish history, it is likely that we will continue to make contributions to particular ethical humanity. However, to do so, we need a stable life.

Fourth, the State of Israel is the only democratic country whose very existence is threatened by deeply hostile players, without, again, that the world should take decisive countermeasures necessary. This justified - as I say, this means - actions that would be not only unnecessary, but that would be immoral even potentially in other circumstances.

The Jewish people should give more weight to the need to it to ensure its survival, as any other value. There are, of course, limits, nothing could justify the setting in motion a genocide. But apart from rare exceptions, where being killed is destroyed rather than the transgression of total and absolute standards, the existence of the Jewish people, including the State of Israel, should be regarded as the first priority .

So if Israel's security is enhanced significantly by good relations with Turkey and China, some argue that Turkey is guilty of genocide in the past against the Armenians, and that China, today is in the process of suppression of Tibetans and its internal opposition and the leaders and Jewish organizations should support Turkey and China, or at least remain neutral as regards the internal affairs of both countries. At a minimum, the Jewish leaders should not join the chorus of liberal and humanitarian actors who condemn and Turkey, and China.

In the same way, the Jewish leaders should support the harsh measures taken against terrorists who potentially put Jews in danger, albeit at the cost of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. And if the threat is sufficiently serious, the use of weapons of mass destruction by Israel would be justified, since it would clearly be necessary to ensure the survival of the state, some important as the enormous number of civilian casualties innocent which would have regretted.

Undoubtedly, the debate is wide open on the question of what is truly necessary to existence. The process of giving priority to the imperative does not necessarily exist for support from A to Z of Israel policy. In fact, the opposite is true: the leaders, organizations and individuals in the diaspora have a duty to criticize Israeli policy, which, in their view, threatens the Jewish state and existence of the Jewish people. They also have the duty to offer alternative policies to guarantee the existence (the Jews).

But ultimately, there is no way to circumvent the practical implications, merciless and painful, due to give priority to the existence, as a higher moral standard, on being moral as d other aspects. When it is important for the existence (the Jews), the violation of the rights of others should be accepted, with regret, but with determination. Support (or condemnation) of various countries and their respective policies must be decided before anything else, in light of the probable consequences of [this decision] for the existence of the Jewish people.

In summary: the imperatives of existence should be given priority over other considerations - important as they are - the progressive values and human, or support of human rights and democratization.

This tragic conclusion, but final is not easy to swallow, but it is crucial to the future of the Jewish people. Once our existence warranty, which includes the basic security of Israel, a lot can - and must - be sacrificed on the altar of Tikkun olam [Heb. "Repairing the world", ndt]. But given the present realities and the foreseeable future, the security of existence is the top priority. "

Yehezkel Dror 15 May 2008
PS
(*) Translated from French by Marcel Charbonnier.
Original in English: "When Survival of the Jewish People Is at Stake, There's No Place for Morals," by Yehezkel Dror, Forward, May 15, 2008. Http://www.forward.com/articles/13388/
(**) Yehezkel Dror, founding president of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, is professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Israel Prize laureate, he was part of the Winograd Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli war against Hezbollah in summer 2006.
http://www.oulala.net/Portail/article.php3? id_article = 3466


The Police Denies Wanting To Acquire Armenian In Turkey 6 February 2009, Gari / armenews
Armenian police denied reports in the Turkish press that it would be on the verge of Turkey to provide water cannons and other anti-riot equipment. The Turkish daily Hurriyet has reported in its February 4 edition of the Turkish company Nurol Machinery and Industry, specializes in defense equipment, is in negotiations with the Armenian authorities for the delivery of water cannons to disperse the demonstrations to Armenia. Responsible for a Turkish company, Tanju Torun, quoted by the newspaper, stated that Armenia had contacted him and that discussions were underway for some time about this. He did not specify how many anti-riot vehicles Arménei the desired order. Colonel Sayat Chirinian first spokesman of the Armenian Police, categorically denied such information, saying that the police had no need of new vehicles of this type. Yet some officials and media close to the opposition find the information credible and Turkish use them will, ironically on the Armenian authorities seeking to ensure their survival through Turkey. Water cannons have always been in the arsenal of the Armenian police, but were little used in the suppression of events succeeding the presidential election of February 2008. There was no one in the bloody clashes on 1 March 2008 in Yerevan. According to witnesses, he fell down shortly after entering into action, which would accredit the assumption that the Armenian police want to acquire new vehicles, in Turkey or elsewhere ...


Armenians Are Mobilizing Congress To Get Recognition Hurriyet Feb 5 2009 Turkey
WASHINGTON - The largest U.S. Armenian group has asked Armenians throughout the United States to urge lawmakers in the House of Representatives to support an upcoming resolution for the country to recognize the Armenians' claims of "genocide", a strong sign that the legislation is due to be introduced soon.

"With the Obama-Biden administration and new Congress now in place, we have the best opportunity in years to end Turkey's gag rule on American recognition of the Armenian genocide," The Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, said in a statement released yesterday for U.S. Armenians.

The ANCA's Web site included a template letter Armenians could send to lawmakers. In the letter, lawmakers are encouraged to become early co-sponsors of the "genocide resolution," likely to be introduced to the House soon by pro-Armenian representatives Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, and George Radanovich, a Republican also from California. Nearly half of the 1.5-million-strong U.S. Armenian community lives in California. The ANCA also reiterated a call for U.S. Armenians to send messages to President Obama to urge him to keep a pledge made during the election campaign last year to recognize the claims of genocide if elected.

"We are, of course, looking forward to President Obama honoring his pledge to recognize the Armenian genocide and are turning to you to help build support for proper congressional recognition of this crime against humanity," the ANCA told U.S. Armenians.

Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican and co-chairman of the Armenian Caucus in the House, said the U.S. Defense and State Departments would always oppose the resolution, citing strategic aspects of the relationship with Turkey. "I think we are the strongest at the beginning of a Congress, at the beginning of a presidency... So it's best if we move now," Kirk said.

With Obama as president, Armenians hope this time they will win formal U.S. recognition for the claims of "genocide".


Erdogan's Hypocrisy Shouldn't Hurt Israel-Turkey Ties By Zvi Bar'el Ha'aretz Feb 5 2009, Israel
Dear Miss Manners. No matter how hard I try, everyone is against me. They accuse me of having a secret agenda, of supporting terror organizations in the Middle East and of trying to force women to wear a head covering. All that has a strong effect on my nerves, and sometimes I simply want to explode. But when I explode, the accusations against me only increase. My staff claims that my behavior is childish and unworthy of a statesman. How can I express my emotions without being accused repeatedly of hysterical behavior?"

This passage, from a clever piece by Turkish columnist Nazlan Ertan, which was published in the Hurriyet Daily News, is of course directed at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who caused an uproar at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Ertan, as Miss Manners, suggests to Erdogan that instead of shouting at elderly statesmen, he would do better to learn from them. "Miss Manners believes that anyone can learn manners, or at least pretend to have learned," wrote Ertan.

And in fact, there is a character trait that every diplomat who arrives in Turkey is briefed about if he has to meet Erdogan: the prime minister's short fuse. Erdogan, who began his career selling lemonade in the town of Rize on Turkey's Black Sea coast, was shocked, like other European leaders, by the pictures of destruction in Gaza and by the numbers of dead and wounded. But as someone who believes that "anger is an art of rhetoric," as he once said, he chose an unconventional way of expressing his.

This is not the first time that Erdogan has shouted at Israeli leaders. About a year and a half ago he screamed at Shimon Peres when he hosted him in Ankara, and before that he called former prime minister Ariel Sharon a "terrorist," and described the deal signed between Turkey and Israel for renovating Turkish tanks as a "disgrace."

We can only console ourselves with the fact that his close aides are also exposed to a great deal of flak from him.

Erdogan has apparently forgotten a dark chapter in Turkish history, and no, we are not referring to the massacre of Armenians in 1915. In the 1990s, Turkey destroyed about 3,500 Kurdish villages in the southeast of the country as part of the long struggle against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which is classified as a terror organization.

Hundreds of thousands of Kurds were left homeless and were forced to migrate to the large cities. Anyone visiting Istanbul or Ankara can still today see the results of that huge migration. Thousands of apartments that were built virtually overnight in order to house the uprooted population decorate the approaches to those cities, and in the area of Diyarbakir, in the southeast of the country, there is still fear of the Turkish security forces.

In a phone conversation, a senior member of the Kurdish administration in the Kurdistan region also compared the recent Turkish firing of artillery on villages inside Iraqi Kurdistan to "the way you fired into Gaza."

Incidentally, according to Turkish sources, the intelligence regarding the location of the PKK training camps inside Kurdistan was gathered with the help of Israeli drones that Turkey purchased - and continues to purchase - from Israel.

As with the Armenian massacre, Israel bit its tongue when the Kurdish villages were destroyed. The relationship formed at the time with Turkey was more important. Only in off-the-record conversations are Israeli officials willing to express anger and to remind Turkey that it will soon need Israel's help again when in about two months' when the Armenian issue comes up for discussion in the United States Congress.

The enigma of Turkish logic

But this accounting with Turkey is too simple. Israel needs Turkey just as much as Turkey needs Israel. It's not only a matter of Israel Air Force exercises, weapons deals, flourishing tourism, Turkish mediation between Israel and Syria and intelligence cooperation. A unique strategic alliance has developed between the two countries, an alliance that is no longer so dependent on the nature of the governments or the prime ministers serving at any given time in either country.

Turkey is being led at present by a religious party that makes sure to present itself as a social-democratic group and is conducting a nerve-racking dialogue with the army, which considers the party a "fundamentalist danger," in the words of former chief of staff Hilmi Ozkok.

And nevertheless that same "danger," which has excellent commercial ties with Iran and good relations with Hamas and Hezbollah, is the government that prevented the passage to Syria of Iranian transport planes carrying weapons and whose ministers are frequent travelers to and from Israel.

And that same "danger" that did not permit American forces to reach Iraq through its territory in the Second Gulf War, is an ally of the United States and a member of NATO.

Ostensibly, Turkish policy is a tangle of contradictions, but when the country's constitution grants the army the power to preserve the character of the country as a secular country, while over 40 percent of its approximately 70 million citizens vote for a religious party; and when 1 million people demonstrate against Erdogan and the headscarf law, but at the same time millions demonstrate against Israel after seeing Palestinian Muslims being killed in Gaza - it is hard to complain about the political and diplomatic zigzagging.

Israel is an important factor among Turkey's many considerations, but it is only one factor. A proper dialogue between the government and its citizens, between the government and the army, and between the government and its most important ally, the U.S., and all in light of Turkey's aspiration to become a member of the European Union -mark the trail of Turkish logic.


Obama Should Make A Turkey Trip by Liam Hardy, Just International www.just-international.org ,Feb 5 2009, Malaysia
Washington DC - During his election campaign, US President Barack Obama promised to make a trip to a Muslim country during his first 100 days in office to demonstrate that he is serious about easing tensions between the United States and the Muslim world. If he decides to follow through with this promise, Obama should seriously think about making that visit to Turkey.

The United States and Turkey have had a long partnership, which was based on mutual interest in containing communism during the Cold War and in strengthening regional security and democracy in the post-Cold War era. Recently, however, the relationship between the United States and Turkey has become strained, threatening the partnership at various levels.

Philip Gordon and Omer Taspinar, two scholars at the Brookings Institution, describe in a recent publication that major policy differences over Iraq, Armenia, Cyprus and Israel have created serious stumbling blocks to US-Turkish relations.

These differences have fuelled distrust of the United States within Turkey, which has ranked over the past few years at the very bottom of opinion polls, such as the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which measures individual countries' popular support for the United States and its policies. They have also contributed to heightened nationalism and isolationism, as well as scepticism of institutions perceived as close to the United States, which indirectly have a negative effect on popular support for Turkey's European Union reform process and membership application.

Pressures stemming from the Iraq War have been paramount. In particular, the public perception in Turkey of US support for an autonomous Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq has created resentment and fear among Turks because the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) has waged a violent separatist movement during the past several decades. Although relations improved when the Bush administration agreed to work with Turkey to fight terrorism stemming from the PKK within Iraq's borders in late 2007, public opinion still remains highly resentful toward the United States over the invasion of Iraq.

In addition, domestic pressure within the United States to pass a resolution in Congress condemning Turkey for the killing of Armenians during World War I has further alienated Turks, most of whom admit that killings occurred but argue that the violence was also reciprocated. They seek an independent international commission to determine whether the events at the time actually constituted genocide, a claim that most Turks deny.

Severe tension between the two countries has arisen most recently with regard to the conflict in Gaza. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who had previously tried to build a reputation as an honest broker in the Middle East by overseeing discussions between Israel and Syria, spoke out repeatedly against Israel's recent military action in Gaza. He even walked out of a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in January when Erdogan felt the moderator did not allow him to respond to comments by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Turkish-Israeli relations, which have historically been good, are now being put to the test, creating another wedge between Turkey and the United States, whose House of Representatives passed a resolution supporting Israel during the recent conflict.

Some in Turkey question whether the country should remain committed to its partnerships with the United States and Europe, instead preferring closer relations with other power players in the region. These sentiments are often found among those who are upset by US regional policy and perceive a lack of respect from the West in general.

Despite these recent disagreements, the Obama administration should remember that Turkey's democracy, despite its flaws, has proven to be one of the most successful and enduring in the region. If he addresses the Muslim world from Turkey's Grand National Assembly in Ankara early on, Obama's administration would send a signal that the United States is committed to promoting democracy and compromise in the region.

This could do much to reinvigorate the partnership between the United States and its longest-standing Muslim-majority ally. It would also send a positive message to fledgling democracies in the region that the United States, which is often described even today as an "experiment" in democratic rule, firmly supports free elections and representative governance as the most legitimate path to the law.

Obama must show that he stands behind Turkey's quest for a deep and stable representative democracy, committed to prosperity and liberty for all citizens. Furthermore, addressing the rest of the Muslim world from this platform would signify the beginning of positive change between the United States and the region.

* Liam Hardy is an independent researcher on issues related to Turkey and the region. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) and can be accessed at www.commongroundnews.org.


Us Armenians Launch New 'Genocide' Recognition Campaign Today's Zaman, Feb 5 2009, Turkey
An influential Armenian organization based in the United States has launched a new campaign to put pressure on the new US administration to officially recognize Armenian claims of genocide.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called on Armenian-Americans to send letters to both US President Barack Obama and the representative of the district they live in to urge them to officially recognize the alleged Armenian "genocide," the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday.

"We are optimistic concerning the recognition with the new Congress and the new administration," Mark Kirk, a Republican congressman close to the Armenian diaspora, was quoted as saying by Anatolia. Kirk is co-chairperson of the US Congress' Armenian Caucus.

Late last month some 20 Armenian-American advocacy, civic, religious, charitable and educational organizations sent a joint congratulatory message to Obama to mark his inauguration while also outlining the Armenian community's expectations of the incoming Obama administration.

"Our government must clearly condemn the 1915 crime of race extermination by Ottoman Turkey that, during the course of eight years, killed 1.5 million Armenians, emptied vast areas of the Armenian homeland and inflicted grave material harm to every aspect of the Armenian people's cultural heritage, depriving it, to this day, of its right to exist on its native soil. Sadly, the inevitable consequence of Turkey's refusal to acknowledge this crime has been its inability to adapt to the changing realities in the region," the message said.


Anti-Israel: Is Turkey The Next Venezuela? by Aimee Kligman, Examiner.com Feb 4 2009
Ataturk would be extremely unhappy about the state of affairs in the country he founded and endeavored to keep secular. The election of Turkish Prime Minister and head of the Conservative Islamist Party Tayyip Erdogan may change the secular element. From a historical perspective, Turkey enjoyed good relations with Israel, and as of late, was party to peace brokering on its behalf with Syria. The two countries have enjoyed a close relationship, especially in the 1990's brought about by mutual fear of Iran, and Syria.

Since Israel's incursion into Gaza in late December, the Muslim majority in Turkey has been incensed and there have been several antisemitic incidents in Istanbul, where a Jewish community of about 25,000 still thrives.

"Down with Israel", and "We don't want you in the Turkish Republic" were slogans painted in red on a building close to Istanbul's Neve Shalom Synagogue. A huge Palestinian flag was unfurled by the street's inhabitants, which has been closed and protected by police vehicles. In addition, Turkish authorities have beefed up security around the Rabbinate and buildings owned by the Jewish Community.

The Israeli Consulate in Istanbul received many threatening emails accompanied by antisemitc slurs. Two synagogues, one in Izmir and the other in Kadikoy have been vandalized with graffiti. It has been reported that some Jews are thinking of leaving the country as they indicate that this is the worst wave of antisemitism they have witnessed, and believe it is exacerbated by PM Erdogan. He recently stormed out of a conference at Davos where he told Israeli President Simon Peres that Israel was murdering children on beaches.

There has been a call in the country to boycott Jewish businesses and in Osmangazi, the largest city in Bursa, Jews were banned from entering a local organization which also bans Armenians.

Yesterday, Turkey's deputy prime minister Cemil Cicek told a news conference: ""We attach importance to our relations with Israel and we want to preserve those relations. Turkey is not targeting Israel or its people. We have been expressing concern over the killing of civilians and human tragedy in Gaza."

We'll keep watching this one.


Turkish Scholar Exposes Ankara's Vain Attempt To Split Armenia From Diaspora By Harut Sassounian, AZG Armenian Daily
04/02/2009
In their persistent efforts to distort the facts of the Armenian Genocide, Turkish denialists resort to all sorts of tricks. Their latest scheme is trying to drive a wedge between Armenia and the Diaspora by claiming that authorities in Yerevan are all too willing to forget about the Genocide and reconcile with Turks, were it not for the "sinister influence" of Diaspora Armenians who constantly undermine all attempts at reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey.

Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, during a press conference in Ankara last week, claimed that "the Armenian Diaspora is plotting. We can see very clearly and sharply that their efforts are aimed at utilizing [the Armenian Genocide issue]. This is so obvious. But I also see that the current administration in Armenia doesn't take part in this."

Significantly, it was Turkish scholar Taner Akcam who exposed the false arguments of all those who share Prime Minister Erdogan's false notion that Armenia and the Diaspora are split on the issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In a recent issue of the Turkish newspaper Taraf, Prof. Akcam wrote a lengthy analysis of Turkish misperceptions and misrepresentations on this issue. He argued against the view that "good neighbor" Armenia and the "bad" Diaspora have opposing views on the Armenian Genocide. Prof. Akcam correctly stated that Armenians everywhere agree that what occurred in 1915 was genocide and feel that it needs to be acknowledged by Turkey. He noted, however, that there are differences among Armenians (regardless of where they live) about the consequences of such an acknowledgement.

Prof. Akcam dismissed the Turkish claim that "the Armenian state has not been very insistent on the subject of 'recognition of the Genocide.'" Most Turkish analysts wrongly allege, according to Akcam, that Armenia is a very "good" neighbor to Turkey and that it reflects its "goodness" by "refraining from use of the word 'Genocide' and by not demanding 'recognition'" during the course of Pres. Gul's visit to Armenia last September. Turkish analysts further claim that "the Armenian state is seriously in the grip of and under the influence of the 'bad' diaspora." They conclude that "in order to relieve Turkish-Armenian tension, 'our good neighbor Armenia' must be saved from the 'bad' diaspora."

According to Prof. Akcam, Turkish analysts falsely claim that "the biggest reason why Armenia has fallen under the influence of the 'bad' diaspora" is "poorly conceived Turkish policies. As a result, in order to save Armenia from the diaspora, Turkey must relinquish its bad policies and foster 'good' relations with Armenia. Consequently, Armenia will be able to distance itself from the bad policies of the diaspora, policies like 'insisting on recognition of genocide.'"

Prof. Akcam categorically refuted those allegations by stating that "when it comes to acknowledging the genocide, Armenia and the diaspora are on the same page. It is improper to draw a distinction between the sides on an axis of 'those who insist on recognition and those who do not.' It needs to be emphasized right here, right now, that Armenians everywhere agree that what occurred in 1915 was genocide and they feel that it needs to be acknowledged by Turkey."

Prof. Akcam then acknowledged that there may be legitimate differences among Armenians, regardless of whether they live in Armenia or the Diaspora, on such complex subjects as "what does it mean to recognize the genocide?" and "on the issue of addressing an historical injustice, what steps Turkey might take that will be considered sufficient?"

Prof. Akcam then wondered which option Turkey should pursue -- the Japanese or German model -- in confronting its history? The Japanese model, he explained, would entail a "half-hearted expression" of apology. The German model, on the other hand, constitutes "acceptance of all consequences that arise from that acknowledgement, including providing reparations if necessary, would be required. To follow in Germany's footsteps, Turkey would have to identify the events of 1915 as genocide and make serious effort to compensate all who were injured by those events both emotionally and materially." He thus raised the serious issue of bringing "restorative justice" to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

It is high time that Turkish denialists face squarely the brutal history of their nation and focus their attention on making amends to heal the wounds of the past rather than seeking to blame the descendants of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, be they in Armenia or the Diaspora!


The Dangers Of Rejecting Turkey Melik Kaylan, Forbes, www.forbes.com Jan 3 2009, NY
Erdogan's exclamations are the least of it.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walked out of Davos in a huff last week during a discussion about Gaza in which he berated Israel and was greeted--like some gold medalist returning home--at Istanbul airport by banner-waving supporters. For a moment, the rift between Islam and the West appeared once again to begin at the border between Turkey and Europe, just as it did for so many centuries.

Nothing could be further from the truth--for now. Most Turks value their Western secular institutions, and anyway the fault-line begins deep inside Europe itself, where insular blocs of immigrant Muslims, from Bradford to Copenhagen, show no inclination to Westernize their values. They are a good deal more Islamist than Turks in Turkey.

But who knows what the future holds? Every time Erdogan makes a populist gesture against the West or Israel, he generates a Putinesque flurry of support for himself in his country--not just among Islamists but among Turks who resent the West for any number of grievances, real or imagined.

These days, at a time when Muslims worldwide are in the habit of conjuring up grievances to suit any occasion, it seems rather unrewarding to enumerate Turkey's. But Turkey is a hugely strategic country, a NATO ally and a longstanding friend to the West. What Turks do and think affects the balance of power in the world, positioned as they are between the Middle East and Europe, between Russia and the Arab-Islamic bloc, while serving as a conduit for trade and supplies to Iraq in the south and Georgia in the north.

So let us consider Turkey's perspective. To start with Erdogan's personal motives, the first and most important: As the global economy tanks and brings Turkey with it, he needs to distract attention from the bottom line.

The Turkish journalist Asli Aydintasbas noted in this section recently that Erdogan has acquired a reputation within Turkey for brutal and bullying flashes of temper, which he doesn't bother to curb even on camera. One might argue that he felt some personal resentment toward Israelis for attacking Gaza and thereby spoiling his painstaking efforts at peacemaking between Israel and Syria for upward of two years. But publicly accusing Israel's president of being a child-murderer, as Erdogan did at Davos, does not much advance the cause of peace, especially as, during public visits to Turkey by the presidents of Iran and Sudan, Erdogan didn't see fit to mention suicide bombings or the genocide in Darfur.

No, the fact of the matter is that Erdogan was playing to the gallery. The gallery he sees in his mind's eye is packed with Arabs deploying oil money, interspersed with excitable Turks aching over Turkey's post-Imperial powerlessness, who will sympathize with him for venting before the world's news media. Politically, he needs Arab oil money to fund his Islamic political party, the AKP, and a cross section of domestic public opinion to support his internal struggle against the secularist military.

Since Turkey's military has in past years made strategic alliances with Israel, Erdogan is striking a shrewd blow against the generals in rabble-rousing anti-Israeli sentiment. Currently, at the behest of Erdogan's party, Turkey's judiciary is conducting a witch hunt against an ever-growing number of pro-secular journalists, intellectuals and ex-soldiers, who are accused of a highly nebulous "conspiracy" to overthrow the constitution. No doubt, some of them will soon be tarred with evidence of having worked too closely with Israel.

The larger issue, though, revolves not around Israel but around Turkey's disillusion with its friends in the West. Turkey has learned the hard way that you cannot depend on friends if they don't need you, and for a while, as the Russian threat diminished, it seemed like Turkey could be ignored. When push came to shove, decades of membership in NATO didn't count for much as Turks watched the 1990s slaughter of former Ottoman-Empire cousins in the Caucasus and Balkans.

In the meantime, the U.S. didn't fulfill its pledge to reimburse the $100 billion the first Iraq war cost Turkey (from which war, it should be remembered, the U.S. treasury ultimately made a profit). Some 500,000 Kurdish refugees entered Turkey at that time, and pretty soon the Kurdish insurgency within Turkey spiked to new heights. Then the U.S. wanted another go-around in 2003. This time the younger Bush administration hadn't even bothered to consult the Turks on the operation, while the Turkish military was perfectly aware of clandestine U.S. co-planning with the Iraqi Kurds.

In the meantime, the E.U. clearly didn't intend ever to accept Turkish membership, and all over the West national assemblies kept up the threat of Armenian Genocide bills.

Prime Minister Erdogan knows that when he plays the Islamic card, he is also playing to the anti-Western sentiments of large numbers of non-Islamist patriotic Turks, even leftist ones. They sense that even after Turks have embraced the West culturally and politically for nigh on a century, the West thinks nothing of spurning their embrace. The Arabs, however, are delighted, as are the Iranians and the Russians.

In all of this, it doesn't matter whether the Turks are right or wrong, wise or ill-advised in their sense of grievance. What matters is what happens if the West loses Turkey. The generals could step in with a coup to right things, but they're not feeling particularly pro-Western either as Kurdish PKK terrorists continue to operate out of Iraqi Kurdistan under the noses of American observers.

Iran, Russia and Syria would feel instantly emboldened at having a flanking threat go neutral on their borders. Up north, Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, hemmed in by Russia and Iran, would become fully isolated. Down south Lebanon would be re-swallowed by Syria. Mideast oil states would feel the pull of a renewed pan-Islamic momentum, and Israel's security would suffer directly.

That's just for starters. In the long term, Europe would find that it has allowed an Islamic state to burgeon again on its frontiers, adding an external threat to its internal security woes. Imagine a dominant country like Turkey, a Sunni one at that, adding its weight to the nuke-swapping, jihad-spewing, crusade-invoking mentality already at large in the region. Now imagine if the country got destabilized, creating a kind of Pakistan as a geographical arrowhead into Europe.

Erdogan is certainly playing a dangerous game, but the West is not in the game at all. While Russia has become Turkey's main trading partner, Iran a partner in the struggle to contain Kurdish separatism, Syria ditto, and Arab oil money a major investor, the West keeps not turning up to the dance while Turkey waits, publicly humiliated.

It won't last. With the likes of Erdogan at the helm, the West's loss will be its enemies gain.

Melik Kaylan, a writer based in New York, writes a weekly column for Forbes.com. His story "Georgia in the Time of Misha" is featured in The Best American Travel Writing 2008


Armenia, Diaspora Vulnerable Now PanARMENIAN.Net 03.02.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia is facing serious challenges, an analyst specializing in international relations said.

"The Armenian Center for National and International Studies will work to resist these challenges, since both Armenia and Diaspora are vulnerable now," Richard Giragosian, the new ACNIS director told a news conference in Yerevan today.

He said the center will engage in regional political and economic affairs and named strategic research and national security issues as ACNIS priorities.

Mr. Giragosian denied any links between his future activities and Heritage party leader and ACNIS founder Raffi K. Hovannisian.

"Our record will be available for all," he said. "Independence of political forces will be the guiding principle of the center."

Richard Giragosian is a regular contributor to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) publications and is a contributing analyst for the London-based Jane's Information Group.


A Faulty Description Of Ignatius Hurriyet, Jan 3 2009
ISTANBUL - The prime ministerial walkout from the Davos summit last Thursday generated a lot of blame, directed explicitly at the moderator, David Ignatius, and implicitly at his identity, Jewish and Armenian. Except that Ignatius is not.

Many Turkish newspapers, including the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review, reported over the weekend that Ignatius was of Jewish and Armenian origins, based on a Wikipedia entry: "Ignatius, (born to a Jewish family May, 26 1950) an American journalist and novelist of Armenian descent." Later, however, Wikipedia modified content on Ignatius'profile page to say he "is of Armenian descent with ancestors from Nor Kharberd." Ignatius is not Jewish. How the mistake occurred is unknown but it was soon corrected in the Internet encyclopedia early Saturday.

The origins of the moderator was reported in Turkish media for different reasons. Some conservative newspapers tried to show his ancestry as proof of his "biased" stance. For others, his origin was provided only as an informative detail for people who had not heard of him.

The daily Radikal, wrote in one of its captions "Jewish Journalist" for Ignatius last Friday while reporting the heated debate between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Davos.

"The first lesson of this, is of course, that journalists should eye Wikipedia warily," said David Judson, Daily News editor-in-chief. "It's a great resource, but it is assembled by volunteers and we need to remember that.

The second is that in a highly combustible story such as this one, extra care needs to be given to ethnic monikers as they can easily become the tool of demagogues.

And it's hard to escape the conclusion that there was some demagogic tampering with Wikipedia in the midst of this dust-up."

Judson regrets contribution of paper to misunderstanding Judson said this represented a failure of standards at the Daily News and added he apologized to readers and Ignatius for any contribution the newspaper may have made to the misunderstanding.

Ceyda Karan, the foreign news editor of daily Radikal blamed that newspaper's error on an intern downloading of information from Wikipedia. After the newspaper was published, she said, they noticed the mistake and corrected it in Radikal's Internet version.

According to Karan, Wikipedia had lost credibility as a result. "They claim to offer accurate information. They should have been more careful," she said.

Although there should be no problem citing the origin of a person, it can become controversial in cases such as this and it is better not to mention it, Karan said. "We talked about that later in our editorial meeting. We believe it is not necessary to mention his ethnic origins. He is an American journalist and that's all," said Karan. She also said it's been a good lesson for their intern too about Wikipedia.

Ignatius identified himself as an Armenian-American in an Oct. 14, 2007 Washington Post article discussing the history of Turkish-Armenian relations. He said in that article that some of his own relatives perished in the events of 1915. He has been variously described in the Turkish press as having roots in the Anatolian city of Harput and also as having roots in Armenia.

A colleague and friend of Ignatius, CNNTurk correspondent Ahu Ozyurt, said underlining Ignatius' ethnic or religious origins in the Turkish media did not do any good but only served to increase racism in Turkey.

Islamist media, especially television, uses people's origins too extensively to target people, such as Ignatius, even though he is not part of any kind of anti-Turkey lobby, said Ozyurt, who reports for daily Milliyet as well as CNNTurk.

"Ignatius joined in all the editorial board meetings at the Washington Post that occur with a Turkish representative," said Ozyurt Ignatius is a good journalist who really knows about the Middle East and has a great respect for Ottoman heritage, "He uses the Ottoman term Pasha in his novels for strong characters."

Referring to the false information in Wikipedia, Ozyurt said it could have been a mistaken entry or there may be another reason. She said it was carelessness by Turkish journalists, however, who published this information from Wikipedia. "Wikipedia is not a primary source, especially for journalists.

I know it was late at night when newspapers in Turkey went to print that day, but they should still check this," said Ozyurt. Moreover, Ignatius is not an unknown person in Turkey and Turkish media. He was in Turkey to promote his recent movie "Body of Lies" around two months ago, said Ozyurt.

Despite repeated calls and emails to Ignatius, the Daily News could not reach him. He had said to friends that he would not talk about the issue. "I think he believes he has been pulled into a fight in Davos that he is not a part of," said Ozyurt.

Wikipedia had not responded to the Daily News questions when the newspaper went to press.


Dennis Papazian: I Have Nothing To Do With "Apology To Turks" Campaign PanARMENIAN.Net, 03.02.2009
U.S. scholar Dennis Papazian said he is neither initiator nor participant in the "apology to Turks" campaign.

"A while back, I made a personal statement of sorrow for all bad things that happened in the Ottoman Empire to good people of all nationalities, sorry for present-day Turks who have unjustly suffered for anything I have done or claimed to be done in my name, and I pledged to work for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and reconciliation between the Armenian and Turkish people. That is all," Dr. Papazian said in letter addressed to PanARMENIAN.Net.

"I cannot apologize for anything I have not done, and think a campaign of this sort begun by Armen Gakavian is counter productive and has numerous pitfalls.

I did not instigate it, I have not lent my name to it, and I want to keep out of it. I expressed this position a while back in a reply to an earlier attempt to involve me and some of my text. I have also informed Armen.

I speak for myself only and do not want to be involved in any campaign instituted by others speaking for themselves or attempting to speak for the Armenians. No one is authorized to speak for all Armenians," he said.

Yesterday, Radikal Turkish newspaper said Sydney University professor Armen Gakavian offered to make apologies to the Turkish nation. Dr. Dennis Papazian was reported to support the initiative.


Turkey: The Longer View Jerusalem Post Feb 2 2009
In considering the Israel-Turkey relationship, Israelis have reason to feel let down by the behavior of the Turkish government and people. From the start of Operation Cast Lead on December 27, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been on a diplomatic rampage. His words - coupled with the unbalanced media coverage prevalent worldwide - incited the Turkish masses into an anti-Israel, anti-Jewish frenzy. Turkish leaders declared that Israel was committing atrocities against Gaza and would be punished by Allah.

Israel's Ankara embassy has been in a virtual security lock-down. Turkish basketball fans chanted "Death to the Jews" during a recent match against Bnei Hasharon. Signs in Anatolia declare: "No Armenians or Jews. Dogs OK."

In the latest outrage, Erdogan stormed off the stage in Davos after shouting, "You are killing people" at President Shimon Peres; he was welcomed home as "The Conqueror of Davos."

No wonder Israeli tourists - over 500,000 in 2008 - are staying away.

The 25,000-member Turkish Jewish community doesn't have that luxury.

Anti-Jewish prejudice is endemic. The Izmir synagogue has been vandalized; anti-Jewish posters in Istanbul urge patrons to boycott Jewish shops. Jewish schoolchildren felt compelled to stand during a nationwide moment of silence for the Palestinian dead in Gaza.

SO Israelis have good reason to think Turkey has chosen Hamas over Israel, and Iran over the West. But it may not be quite that simple. Turkey, a nation of 71 million people, a quarter under age 25, is too multifaceted to pigeonhole. While its masses are unsophisticated and easily manipulated by demagoguery, key segments among the elite oppose Erdogan's policies.

In the old days the army might have intervened; the generals saw themselves as Turkey's "constitution," charged with defending Kemal Attaturk's legacy in the face of tyranny, governmental incompetence or threats to civil liberties. Paradoxically, as Turkey has moved closer to EU membership - a prospect now on hold - the army's overt role as the system's final arbiter has diminished.

Nowadays the army has pro-Iranian elements, and the Islamist government is suspected of trying to discredit pro-Western generals. The state of play is truly Byzantine.

Erdogan's tirades against Israel have not been uniformly popular, notably in the Western-oriented press. Many in the elite care deeply about Turkey's relationship with Israel. They argue that only 7 percent of Turks are hardcore extremists, but the complicated political system gives them disproportionate influence. They claim the number of anti-Israel demonstrators has been exaggerated and is small in ratio to the population. They point, further, to $6 billion a year in bilateral trade (factoring in military sales); Turkey will take delivery of Israeli-manufactured armed drones next month. The IAF has used Turkish airspace to train, according to foreign press reports.

As for Iran, our friends in the elite explain that Persians and Turks have a long history of animosity, but Turkey needs to import oil and gas from its neighbor.

Beyond all this, the Turkish premier's outbursts are attributable, those friends emphasize, to his strong sense of personal betrayal by Ehud Olmert.

During the prime minister's farewell visit to his Turkish counterpart, Erdogan invested his energies in ironing out a deal for direct talks between Israel and Syria. With Olmert in an adjacent room, he spent hours on the phone with Bashar Assad teasing out a statement that would have led to face-to-face talks. We don't know what price Israel would have been expected to pay for such contact. Nevertheless, before departing for Jerusalem on the eve of the war, Olmert told Erdogan to keep at it.

So when Israel launched its operation mere hours after Olmert's departure, Erdogan was accused by members of his Islamist coalition of "conspiring with the Zionists to betray the Palestinians." If he knew the Gaza operation was imminent, the pro-Israel Turks say, Olmert should have stayed away. With critically important regional elections set for March 29, Erdogan switched tracks - from being tirelessly helpful on Syria to verbally bludgeoning Israel.

CAN the relationship survive Erdogan's term, which expires in 2011? Ankara may well have forfeited its role as honest broker for a long time to come. Still, those who care about the bond between Turkey and Israel want to see relations back on an even keel.


British Mp Calls On Turkey To Recognize Assyrian Rights Assyrian International News Agency, Jan 30 2009
(AINA) -- A new "Early Day Motion" was put in the UK parliament calling on the Turkish government to recognize the Syriac, Armenian and Kurdish names of villages in its eastern regions, and to respect the international treaties it signed regarding religious and cultural freedom.

The motion was put by Andrew Dismore, the hard-working Labour MP who is chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. The motion reads:

Early Day Motion 621 SYRIAC AND ASSYRIAN CULTURAL RIGHTS 28.01.2009 Dismore, Andrew

That this House is concerned about the cultural and religious rights of the Syriac and Assyrian community in Turkey, whose numbers in the Tur Abdin heartland have decreased from over 100,000 to under 3,000 in recent years; believes that the prohibition of the Syriac language violates the freedom of religion; calls on the government of Turkey to respect the international treaties it signed regarding religious and cultural freedom and officially to recognise the Syriac, as well as Armenian and Kurdish names, of villages in its eastern regions.


Erdogan: "Shame If Efforts Made A Victim Of Armenian Diaspora", www.worldbulletin.net, Jan 30 2009
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey and Armenia should take bold steps to boost stability across the region.

"It would be shame if all these efforts are made a victim of (Armenian) diaspora's works," Erdogan told a panel session during the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos titled "The Great Game Revisited" which was also attended by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki and Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.

"The biggest challenge here is the diaspora," Erdogan said.

He blamed the Armenian diaspora for undermining steps taken by Turkey and Armenia and said Turkey wanted to settle the problem in the shortest time possible.

In September 2008, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul paid a visit to Armenia which was described as a "historic visit to build bridges between the two countries." Gul invited his Armenian counterpart for the return match to be played in October 2009 in Turkey.

At his visit, Gul said he hoped matches between Turkey and Armenia would contribute to removing barriers to the rapprochement of two peoples with a common history, and contribute to regional peace and stability

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The meeting between Erdogan and Sargsian lasted about 20 minutes.


2 February 2009, Armenians Still Demand Recognition And Reparation Of Their Genocide By Turkey
The European Armenian Federation has carefully followed recent debates in Turkey regarding the Armenian Genocide.

We have noted the development of a new campaign in Turkey by which the Armenian people would need appeasement provided by certain strata of Turkish society, thereby solving the Armenian question without causing too much damage to Turkey.

While being fully receptive to genuine expressions of sympathy and outreach by Turkish individuals who choose to speak out against their own government’s policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide, we must also make clear that the cause of justice with regard to this mass crime cannot be “apologized” away by populist initiatives, however well-intentioned such actions might seem to be.

The recently publicized “apology” campaign in Turkey is, indeed, a populist initiative, which deliberately avoids the term “genocide” and which, by so doing, intends to de-criminalize the destruction by the Ottoman Turkish government of 1,5 million Armenians, as precisely claimed one of its initiators, Mr. Baskin Oran in a Turkish newspaper (Milliyet - December 19, 2008).

The Armenian Genocide is a crime against Humanity committed by Ottoman Turkey and recognised as such by the legislatures of a growing number of countries, especially of modern democracies, including the European Parliament. It was jointly recognized in 1915 by France, England and Russia, the world powers of the period.

The present Turkish government – the successor state of the Ottoman Empire and the notorious beneficiary of Ottoman Turkey’s genocidal undertakings – must formally recognize this Genocide and take full responsibility for all its legal consequences under the United Nations Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide instead of pursuing an aggressive policy of denial in every capital of the world: there is no other alternative for Turkey than Recognition and Reparation of the Armenian Genocide, supplemented by the Education and Prevention of new crimes that would threaten the safety of Armenians and all people living in the area.

Armenians have inalienable rights to justice and truth within the framework of international law as clearly expressed in the Charter of the European Armenians officially adopted in October 2004.

The Turkish civil society must also come to terms with this hard reality: What happened in Turkey during 1915 through 1923 was a full-fledged genocide which cannot be characterized in another way. Relying on euphemistic and evasive language will simply prolong Turkey’s denialist worldview and leave these burning issues unaddressed for another generation.

The Armenian Genocide was and continues to be an undeniable crime against Humanity, which requires a political solution that cannot be reduced to civil society’s expediencies or to inconsequential dialogues between peoples.

European Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy, Avenue de la Renaissance 10, Brussels, 1000


Armenian And Turkish Fms Meet In Davos, Gaziante Haber 27 www.haber27.com ,Jan 30 2009
Within the framework of World Economic Forum in Davos the meeting of the Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan and Foreign Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan took place, spokesman for the Armenian minister Tigran Balayan told Armenpress.

Nothing is yet reported about the discussed issues. The meeting was the continuation of the process of improvement of Armenian-Turkish relations.

"Our approach is the same: to regulate the relations, open borders without pre-conditions. Such approach is also expected from Turkey. If such two-sided approach be displayed the relations may be regulated quite soon," Edward Nalbandian said at a press conference January 21.


Turkey's Ruling Akp Removes Article Denying Holocaust From Its Web
An article that denied the Holocaust took place and defined Jews as "grasshoppers herd" was removed from the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) Web site

The removal came after Radikal daily correspondent Tarik Isik made the discovery and contacted party officials before submitting his story on the issue.

The article, which appears on the Web site of the Ankara branch of the AKP entitled, "Promised Land - Palestine", has no mention of the date of publication or the author,

The report said the article included the main arguments of anti-Semitism.

The article claimed some close aides of Adolf Hitler were Jewish. "The claims that Hitler incinerated and carried mass killings against Jews do not abide with the historic facts. Those who died were killed to ensure that others migrate to Palestinian territory," Radikal quoted the article as saying.

The chairman of AKP's Ankara branch, Halis Bilge, told Radikal that he is not aware of the article, adding that it was added by someone who knew or hacked the site’s administration password.

Radikal said the article was removed from the Web site after the reporter contacted Bilge, but published screenshots of the site before the article was removed.

Source: Hurriyet (Turkey), February 6, 2009


Will The Usa Adopt The Genocide Resolution? By Aghavni Haroutiunian, AZG Armenian Daily, 06/02/2009
"The draft resolution on recognition of the Armenian Genocide isn't yet presented to the new US 111th Congress, but it is expected that the new version of the resolution will be submitted to the Congress for approval in the nearest future", Armenian Assembly of America Country Director for Armenia and Karabakh Arpi Vardanian informed January 4 in "Urbat" club speaking of the processes of the Genocide recognition, its present situation and prospects.

According to Arpi Vardanian, the Armenian Assembly of America works parallel with the Congressmen and the new President's new board of administration in order to persuade the USA to adopt the Genocide resolution at least in 2009.

Touching upon the announcements of Turkish press that the new administration of the United States has become the most pro-Armenian administration in the U.S. history, Arpi Vardanian informed that the Turkish government recently sent a new delegation to present Turkish position.

Moreover, similar delegations visit the United States many times during the year. However, according to Mrs. Vardanian, a process has started, which cannot have a regress. A process of understanding the Genocide issue and recognizing that kind of crimes has started not only in the USA but also in other countries.

As an example, Vardanian mentioned the internet campaign launched in Turkey for apologizing to Armenians. Connected with that, Turkish government passed a resolution not to take punitive measures.

The AAA Country Director for Armenia and Karabakh added that on March 1-3 the Assembly would hold a campaign-conference in the USA with participation of the US Congressmen and representatives of the Department of State. It is anticipated that the new President and Vice-President of the United States will keep their pre-election promises.


Avi Shlaim: ‘israel Needs Turkey More Than Turkey Needs Israel’ Professor Avi Shlaim
Professor Avi Shlaim became one of the best-known names worldwide during the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed more than 1,300 people -- almost half of them civilians.

His popularity skyrocketed after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was interrupted while trying to refer to his now famous article, published in The Guardian on Jan. 7, strongly condemning the Israeli operation.

An Oxford professor, Professor Shlaim is not an ordinary Jewish academic. He is an insider, in a way, as he served as a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the mid-1960s.

In an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman, Professor Shlaim strongly argued that Erdoğan was right in his reaction in Davos, roundly lambasting Israeli military actions and the behavior of Israeli President Shimon Peres. Stressing that the perception of Erdoğan's reaction in Davos was generally favorable in the West, Professor Shlaim said the Turkish head of government is seen as someone who stood up against the Israeli aggression.

Calling Israel a rogue state with an “utterly unscrupulous set of leaders,” Professor Shlaim argued that Israel needs Turkey more that Turkey needs Israel and flatly rejects the comments that Turkey has lost its status of an honest broker after Erdoğan’s spat with Peres in Davos.

The following are excerpts from the interview:

Professor Avi Shlaim

What is your reaction to the spat between Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan and Israeli President Peres?

My sympathy is with Mr. Erdoğan because he was not given a fair chance to respond to Mr. Peres’ speech. Shimon Peres made a very strong defense of a very controversial subject. Quite naturally Mr. Erdoğan wanted to respond to the defense of, what in my view, is indefensible. Peres was given 25 minutes to speak and he was not interrupted. Mr. Erdoğan was only allowed half of this time. When he was trying to respond, the chair of the session stopped him and stopped him rather rudely. It was extremely rude of him to interrupt the prime minister and to say, “Sorry, we don’t have time and we should go to dinner.” Surely he could have given the prime minister a few more minutes. The American moderator was very rude, he was not impartial and he was not a fair-minded moderator. He gave Shimon Peres as much time as he wanted; he then prevented the response from the Turkish prime minister.

Then you think Erdoğan was right in reacting the way he did?

Yes, I do. I think the prime minister was a bit emotional and used strong language, but he expressed his genuine feelings of outrage, and his feelings of outrage are shared by millions of people around the world and by masses of people throughout the Arab world as well. During the mass protest in Egypt, Mr. Erdoğan became a hero -- not only for Egypt but all throughout the Arab and Muslim world.

Some argue that his reaction was not diplomatic.

Mr. Erdoğan’s comments were not diplomatic because diplomats use very low key, cautious language and usually end up saying nothing. He expressed a strong position and his language was not diplomatic. But I uphold his right to express his feelings in his own way.

How do you assess Mr. Peres’ speech?

I am afraid I have not seen Mr. Peres’ speech. I was told that his tone was very aggressive, offensive and uncompromising. But this is second-hand information; I did not hear the speech myself.

How has Mr. Erdoğan’s reaction been perceived in the West?

I think that the reaction in Europe and in the West was pretty favorable to him because he had the courage to stand up and tell the truth as he saw it. In the Arab world, he became a real hero. The Israeli attack on Gaza was a vicious attack against Arab and Muslim civilians. No Arab leader has spoken up against the attack or against Mr. Peres. There were Arab representatives in Davos. Mr. Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, was in the meeting and he did not challenge Mr. Peres. The only person, the only Muslim who did so was Mr. Erdoğan. So he became a voice for all Arabs and Muslims. In the West he has been seen as someone who stood up against the Israeli aggression. The general perception was pretty favorable to him.

Professor Shlaim strongly argues that Erdoğan was right in his reaction in Davos, roundly lambasting Israeli military actions and the behavior of Israeli President Shimon Peres. Stressing that the perception of Erdoğan’s reaction in Davos was generally favorable in the West, Professor Shlaim said the Turkish head of government is seen as someone who stood up against the Israeli aggression

Do you think Turkey can really play a key role in the Middle East or is Turkey punching above its weight?

I think that there is a major role for Turkey to play as a mediator. It is not just a potential role. Turkey has begun to realize this role as a mediator particularly in the context of Israeli-Syrian relations. It is Turkey, not anyone else. Not the UN, not the US, not Britain, not the Quartet but Turkey who sponsored the indirect talks between Syria and Israel. It is a major contribution to the Middle East peace process.

Moreover, Turkey is an honest broker. Turkey has very good relations with Israel and with the Arabs. Turkey has a strategic alliance with Israel. It can be an honest broker -- unlike America, which has been a dishonest broker. Since 1967 there have been many opportunities to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of UN Resolution 242 and on the principle of land for peace. And yet all peace plans based on 242 were defeated by an axis of Israel and America. America has always been partial and partisan on behalf of Israel.

Some pundits argue that Turkey lost its status of an honest broker after Erdoğan’s spat with Peres. Is this true?

These pundits are wrong. Israel needs Turkey more than Turkey needs Israel. The Davos episode did not cause irreparable damage to Turkish-Israeli relations. The proof is that the Israelis played down rather than played up this isolated incident. Mr. Peres contacted the Turkish side in order to smooth things over.

Some claim the US has been an Israeli colony with its unconditional support?

I think it is going too far to say America is a colony of Israel. On the other hand, Congress has been described as “Israeli-occupied territory.” Israel has always enjoyed overwhelming support in the Congress, which is used to defeat any attempt to put pressure on Israel.

In your now very famous article, you have very strong words for Israel. You wrote: “Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace.” Why is your rhetoric so powerful against your country?

I stand by every word I wrote in that article. It did not give me any pleasure to say these harsh words against Israel. What I was doing was describing honestly the reality of present-day Israel as I see it. I did my national service in the IDF in the mid 1960s when it was true to its name. It was the Israeli Defense Force. Israel was surrounded by enemies, and it needed a strong army for self defense. After 1967, Israel became a colonial power. It built an empire in the occupied territories and it became an oppressive colonial power. So my position is clear-cut. I regard Israel fully legitimate within the pre-1967 borders, but I utterly reject the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line, beyond the 1967 borders. The occupation has been terrible for Palestinians. The Palestinians have lived under brutal military occupation for the last 41 years. They are the real victims of this conflict and my sympathy is with them.

How are you regarded by Israelis?

I have not received many reactions from Israelis because I live in Oxford. I received well over 300 positive e-mails to my Guardian article. They are from all over the world, including Muslim countries like Pakistan. They were extremely positive. They said that it is encouraging to see a Jew and an Israeli speaking the truth, that I am honest about Israel and about the war in Gaza. I received six hostile messages to the article.

Do you have any concern that you might be denied entry to Israel like Professor Norman Finkelstein?

No, I do not think there is a danger like that. Israel despite all its faults is a democracy, I mean inside Israel proper, not in the occupied territories. I have been outspoken for many years and I have never encountered any difficulty in expressing my views.

In your article, you strongly condemn the US and the EU for demonizing Hamas. Should the West start talking to Hamas?

It is high time for Western governments to engage with Hamas. Hamas is described as a terrorist organization, but it is much more than that. It is a political party and a broadly based social movement. It has a military wing which does practice terror, and I denounce terror which uses violence against civilians for political purposes. I denounce every form of terror, whether committed by Hamas or by the state of Israel. Killing civilians is wrong. Period. That applies to everyone.

But the important point is that Hamas, despite all its faults, has been democratically elected. Hamas leaders are not angels, but they have been democratically elected. Hamas represents the Palestinian people. If we want any progress toward a settlement, we have to engage with Hamas. The new secretary of state, Ms. Hillary Clinton, said in her congressional hearing that she refuses to talk to Hamas. But she needs to wake up and smell the coffee. There can be no peace and stability in the Middle East without engaging Hamas. The sooner the West realizes this, the better.

You argue that Israeli spokespersons are liars. According to Israel, Hamas broke the cease-fire. Who really broke the cease-fire?

Israeli spokespersons have been telling many lies in the course of this conflict. The single-biggest lie is the question of the cease-fire. If your readers do not understand who broke the cease-fire, they simply won’t understand anything about the recent war. The Israeli version is that there was a cease-fire and that Hamas broke it. But the facts, based on official Israeli figures, indicate that Israel is the guilty party.

On June 19, 2008, Egypt mediated a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. There were two main terms to the cease-fire. One, Israel would lift the economic blockade of Gaza. Israel imposed an economic blockade stopping food, fuel and medical supplies from reaching the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza. This is a form of collective punishment which is strictly forbidden by international law. Israel in fact intensified the blockade of Gaza. Second, and more important, both sides had to stop shooting. Hamas would stop firing rockets on Israel and Israel would stop aerial bombardment and targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders. Hamas observed the cease-fire. Contrary to Israeli propaganda, the cease-fire was a stunning success.

In the six months in 2008 before the cease-fire, the average monthly number of rockets fired from Gaza on Israel was 179. In the next four months after the cease-fire took effect, the number dropped dramatically to three rockets per month. These are figures from the Web site of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. They cannot be challenged. The cease-fire was a complete success until Israel chose to break it. It did so on Nov. 4, 2008. It launched a raid into Gaza, killing six Hamas men. Israel alone violated and breached the cease-fire. There is no room for debate on this issue.

One of your concluding remarks on Israel is that the Jewish state has now become a rogue state.

My academic discipline is international relations. In the academic literature in international relations, a rogue state is defined as a state which has three characteristics. The first is habitual, regular violation of international law. Israel is guilty of it. The second is possession of or quest for weapons of mass destruction. Israel possesses weapons of mass destruction. It meets the second criteria. The third is the use of terror. Terror is the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel uses terror against civilians for political purposes. The most recent and cruelest example of it is the Gaza War. So Israel meets all three criteria of a rogue state and that is why I used this expression.

The toll in the latest Gaza offensive is terrible. Almost 400 children and 200 women were killed. How do you envisage the future of the Israeli state?

The saddest aspect of the war in Gaza is that it was completely unnecessary because if all Israel wanted was to protect its citizens from rockets, then all it had to do was observe the cease-fire. So it is a real tragedy. As far as the future is concerned, the only prospect of peace is an independent Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank alongside Israel. It is not me saying this. It is Ehud Olmert, who in a famous interview to Yediot Ahronot said this to his fellow countrymen -- the only way to achieve peace with the Palestinians is a complete end to the occupation and a complete withdrawal. If Israel is to keep any territory in the West Bank, it must compensate the Palestinians in a one-to-one ratio from Israeli state land. Israel cannot survive if the occupation does not end. In other words, an independent Palestinian state is an existential necessity for Israel. My view is that, for Israel’s own sake, it must give way to an independent Palestinian state. Israel should end the occupation and withdraw from the West Bank not as a favor to Palestinians, but as a favor to itself. As a very wise Jew, Karl Marx said that a people who oppress another cannot themselves remain free.

07 February 2009, SELÇUK GÜLTAŞLI BRUSSELS Zaman


by Aslı Sağlam Doing More Harm Than Good To Ottoman History
ISTANBUL - The Public Procurement Laws inadvertantly result in restoration tenders mostly going to contractors with the lowest budgets. Archaeologist Necmi Karul says the cheapest never means the best. The lack of education about renovations, and not knowing the real meaning of restoration results in destructive work, brings social consequences

If sultans of the Ottoman Empire had used today’s bidding system for restoration work on the city’s magnificent buildings, today’s Istanbul would look more like a slum, according to one cultural assets directorate member.

Ahmet Selbesoğlu, a restorer at the Istanbul Statistical Survey and Monument Directorate, a division of the General Directorate of Cultural Assets and Museums, said the Public Procurement Laws inadvertantly result in restoration tenders mostly going to contractors with the lowest budgets.

The Istanbul Statistical Survey and Monument Directorate undertakes the restoration of cultural assets in and outside Turkey. According to Selbesoğlu, historic artifacts and buildings are being renovated on considerably small budgets.

Until today, most of the restoration work was done with the overall cost turnkey procedure, said Selbesoğlu. "The restorers are told about the places and how those places should be renovated by the landlord and a budget is designated, once the work is complete the same amount is charged if the landlord asks for additional restoration."

According to Selbesoğlu, using this procedure is not possible on ancient monuments. "Today’s system foresees the administration of the company who offers the lowest budget. The cost value of the restoration may be 100 (Turkish) liras but if a company spends 50 liras for the restoration and wants at least 10 liras profit out of it, the project is impossible to fulfill. The contracting firm would want to lower costs by using low-grade materials and labor without insurance. The government should take precautions and change the criteria of law."

The bids are carried out with the competing companies. They prepare detailed information, including details of the materials they plan to use. They also clarify the budget before making an offer.

The tenders are not given to big companies in Turkey, where lumber merchants can become contractors. The lumber merchants win bids without any surveys, plans or further projects on the buildings. Most of the work ends in disappointment.

’No such stipulation in the law’

Archaeologist and assistant professor at Istanbul University Necmi Karul said there was no such stipulation in the law that the restoration contract must go to the company with the lowest budget. "The law says the restoration work should be given to most agreeable and suitable company, yet in Turkey the bids are taken by the companies offering the lowest budget for the work," he said.

There is one thing that people should not forget according to Karul: the cheapest never means the best. The important thing is to determine the criteria, yet this is not possible in a country where there is competitive market.

"A company may claim to be able to finish the contract with three workers, paying them minimum wage. Amendments to law are not possible so the solution is giving the contracts to companies that don’t expect commercial profit. A professional group should determine the qualifications and the work should be controlled," Karul said. According to him, restoration does not mean just fixing or repairing, it means protecting the current state of the pieces and making them last as long as possible.

According to Karul the worst example of the renovation work in Turkey is Bursa’s city walls. "In Turkey occupational chambers don’t operate, so people who ruin one restoration can still win on other tenders," Karul said.

According to the restorer finding workers for restorations is also not easy. "Most of them don’t have workmanship certificates. The workers are migrants from different places in Anatolia. They are not experienced but they claim they can do it.

They don’t understand what’s important about restoration work, so problems occur. The earning of a real restoration worker should be around 10,000 liras yet they hire inexperienced workers for 1,000-1,500 liras," Selbesoğlu said. Yet the restorer gives the example of Süleymaniye and how beautifully it was renovated. "The workers during the restoration of Süleymaniye were conscious about the history and the structure of the building."

Comparing it to current restoration projects, Selbesoğlu said during the Ottoman Empire the system of construction worked well and they archived everything pertaining to blueprints and construction, yet today there is a lack of any archive system.

Once historic places, such as Süleymaniye and the Hagia Sophia are destroyed, it will be impossible to recover them. It is important to photograph copy the plans. "A professional group of photographers should follow every detail of the work done by carpenters, designers, stone masons and the rest of the construction workers," said Selbesoğlu.

’Protecting what we have and own is fundamental’

Protecting the historic and cultural assets is vital because the newly built pieces are no different than fake copies of an art piece. But repairing the historic assets is important. "One can copy Picasso’s painting but it wouldn’t cost a penny whereas the real Picasso painting costs millions of dollars. Protecting what we have and own is fundamental," he said. "Protecting an asset is keeping the memories and traces of history and it needs a certain capacity, laboratories and researchers. There shouldn’t be a Public Procurement Law to fulfill all these."

According to Karul there is also a lack of education about renovations and on the protection of history.

He said if workers in Turkey are to be successful in not destroying historical artifacts, then they should be led by a professional. According to him the equipment and materials are also as important as the management.

"A society like us is most proud of its past, yet people are informed incorrectly because of poor renovations, which has social consequences. Finishing the work does not mean that it is completed perfectly," Karul said.


Milliyet Moderator: No Bad Intentions Toward Pm
ISTANBUL - After coming under fire for his role in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's storming out of Davos last week, the debate's moderator and columnist for the Washington Post, David Ignatius, has reiterated he never intended any disrespect to the Turkish prime minister.

Ignatius was harshly criticized by Erdoğan. "A moderator cannot put his hand on the shoulder of a prime minister at an international meeting. This is shameful," Erdoğan said.

No bad intentions

The columnist contacted by Milliyet said that he had frequently written positive columns on the prime minister and his administration regarding their efforts of mediation between Syria and Israel. Ignatius also said he was looking forward to meeting with Turkish government officials again.

"If I was not being diplomatic there, then that (being diplomatic) was not what I was supposed to do. I have defended the honor of Turkey. We cannot let anyone humiliate Turkey," Prime Minister Erdoğan said three days ago. Ignatius spoke to daily Milliyet about those remarks; "Let me repeat it one more time. I did not mean to be disrespectful to Prime Minister Erdoğan." he said, mentioning again his positive columns on Erdoğan’s policies towards Israel and Syria. "The things I wrote on Turkish diplomacy are a part of my effort to reflect on all sides of a matter fairly as a journalist of 30 years," he said. Ignitus then mentioned how he had lived in a village in the West Bank to write about the feelings of Palestinians during the Israel invasion, "I have interviewed Hizbullah leader, Hasan Nasrallah, twice, Syria leader, Beşar Esad, twice and Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad twice. I also did interviews with many Israeli leaders. I will continue to do my best to reflect the sad situation in the Middle East in a fair and honest way."

Igantius visited Turkey last December and met with Ahmet Davutoğlu, the prime minister’s head counselor for foreign politics.

Hurriyet Daily News Turkish Fm To Meet Armenian Counterpart At Munich Conference
Turkey's foreign minister, Ali Babacan, will meet his Armenian counterpart on the sidelines of a conference in Munich on Friday. (UPDATED)

Babacan told reporters before his departure for Munich that he would meet Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian on the sidelines of the security conference to be held in this city.

Babacan said he would proceed to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku from Germany, adding he would meet Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and President Ilham Aliyev there on Monday.

Münih'ten sonra Bakü'ye gideceğini belirten Babacan, burada 9 şubatta Azerbaycan Dışişleri Bakanı Elmar Memmedyarov ile görüşeceğini, ayrıca Cumhurbaşkanı İlham Aliyev tarafından da kabul edileceğini kaydetti.

Babacan last week met Nalbandian on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, and said there has been an ongoing process between Turkey and Armenia, who have no diplomatic relations. He added that when a tangible outcome is achieved it would be announced.

The two countries have no diplomatic relations and their border has been closed for more than a decade, as Armenia presses the international community with the backing of the diaspora to admit the so-called "genocide" claims instead of accepting Turkey's call to investigate the allegations, and over Armenia's invasion of 20 percent territory of Azerbaijan.

A warmer period began in relations when Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries on the invitation of Sargsyan. The two countries have been holding contacts at the ministerial level since.

Future of European security, disarmament, developments in Afghanistan, Caucasus, Balkans and the Middle East, would be discussed during the 45th Munich Security Conference, Babacan also told reporters.

The Turkish foreign minister said he would attend a panel discussion on Balkans and the Middle East on Saturday.


by Vercihan Ziflioğlu History Of Insurance In The Ottoman Empire

ISTANBUL - The history of insurance in the Ottoman Empire is on display for the first time in an exhibition featuring documents from the collection of David M Kohen, an insurance agent in the late 1800s. The exhibition can be seen at the Ottoman Bank Museum in Istanbul’s Karaköy

The history of insurance during the Ottoman Empire has been revealed for the first time in Turkey. Historic documents and policies on display show the world how citizens of varied backgrounds subscribed to a multitude of international insurance companies.

The Kohen family from Thessalonica started working in the field of insurance in the Ottoman Empire in 1906, during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II. Although the family started the business in Thessalonica, they moved to the Ottoman capital, Istanbul, sometime later. After Thessalonica and Istanbul, the Kohens went to Germany. They worked in the highest positions for the country’s largest insurance company Victoria from France to North Africa.

This sudden rise of the family in the field of insurance ended when Adolf Hitler came to power. Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review, David M. Kohen, 85, a third generation member of the family, said: "My family was fired from Victoria when Hitler’s pressure grew in the country. Sometime later, Victoria was closed. My grandfather stayed in France, while my father returned to Istanbul and continued selling insurance."

The Kohen family has decided to gather a collection of the history of insurance in the Ottoman. The collection has become wider as they added new pieces that shed light on the history of insurance in the Ottoman. Some pieces from the collection are on display at an exhibition titled "What Hurts the Purse, Hurts the Soul - Insurance in the Ottoman Empire with Documents from the Collection of David M. Kohen" at the Ottoman Bank Museum in Karaköy. Allianz Insurance Company sponsors the exhibition.

The exhibition, open through until March 14, displays 33 policies, 15 maps and 21 fire marks, which are metal signs bearing the name of an insurance company. These signs used to be hung on buildings insured by the company. A catalogue has also been published in Turkish and English simultaneously with the exhibition.

150 foreign insurance companies in the empire
Kohen said there were 80 to 150 foreign insurance companies originally from England, France, Italian and Germany within the borders of the empire until the declaration of the Republic. He said policies were sold in Anatolia via marketing people. "They were closed down one by one after the declaration of the Republic. Among these companies only Union, which is now Axa, and Ergo-Switzerland, the continuation of Victoria, and Italy-based Generali and Allianz still survive," he said.

Union shares were sold most in eastern Anatolia
Kohen said Greek, Armenian and Jewish citizens conducting trade in the Ottoman Empire were most interested in the concept of insurance. He said, "Many churches, monasteries, schools and business places from the east of Anatolia to Greek islands and Thrace were insured in this period. An Armenian family, claiming to hold one of these policies, filed a suit in California a few years ago. Union, known as Axa today, sold most of its policies in the East."

Just like the great fire that scorched London in the early 1600s, Istanbul suffered its own inferno in 1870. The fire started on Feridiye Avenue in Taksim and swept through Tarlabaşı and Galatasaray, burning 6,000 houses in only a few hours.

Kohen said there were Armenians and Greeks in that region. "After this fire, the Ottoman citizen Greeks and Armenians learned about insurance from their relatives living abroad, and insured their houses against fire."

Kohen said the exhibition was a first for Turkey. "Even the managers of insurance companies do not have information about the history of insurance in the Ottoman era. This exhibition is very important because it shows the development of insurance business in this land."


by Gül Demir and Niki Gamm Ibrik, The Ewers Of The Ottomans
ISTANBUL - Over the centuries the form of the ibriks shows a number of changes going from a rather squat shape to that of an elegant swan to that of an overdressed plump pigeon. It moved from being a useful item to being one to be coveted for its beauty.

Water, the one element that humans can’t do without, is a theme that runs through the traditions, customs, everyday life and beyond. Without drinking water, we would die and without eating we would also die. From leaves as plates to the most elaborate ceramic dinnerware and kitchenware, man has moved from a primitive but handy leaf through so many centuries and cultures to very sophisticated bone china.

Water is a very important in Muslim society. For instance to perform the prayer service one has to be clean and particularly one has to use flowing water since standing water is not considered pure. In mosque courtyards, one finds ablution fountains so that the men coming to worship can wash before entering the mosque to pray. Since Muslims are not necessarily required to go to a mosque for worship and can even pray at home, obtaining running water at a time when there were no water pipes meant drawing water from wells in buckets or obtaining water from water sellers. So in order to ensure that the water was actually flowing, it would be poured over one’s hands and feet. İbriks or ewers were designed for just that.

The ibrik is one of the most elegant of shapes produced in the Middle East. Its rounded body stands on a base and stretches into a slender neck and delicate lip and handle. The material was ceramic, porcelain, clay, metal and sometimes glass depending on needs and orders. This was not an exclusive form because it was produced mostly in the Middle East region.

According to information from a recent exhibition at the Louvre Museum in Paris, "Metalwares and arms produced between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries in the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires display a number of common characteristics. This is particularly true of Persian and Indian productions, which are often of comparable shape and decoration. However certain alloys or surface treatments only exist in one region, such as a type of zinc-based metal alloy inlaid with gold, silver or copper known as bidri and produced in India, and mercury-gilded copper alloy objects made in the Ottoman provinces. "One striking feature is common to the three empires: all witnessed the disappearance of copper alloy objects inlaid with precious metals (silver and gold) during the first decades of the sixteenth century. The silver and gold inlays on Persian and Indian portable objects were replaced by colored pastes, mainly black, standing out against the golden yellow or reddish brown metal background. The ornamental repertory displays vegetal and calligraphic, rather than figural compositions."

The ewer has an overall comprehensive design as mentioned above. The difference between the ewer produced in the eastern part of Muslim society and those in the west primarily centers around the materials used. In the east, such ewers were made with a zinc slip while the Seljuks and subsequently the Ottomans discovered how to use a copper slip. However there is a general prohibition in Islam against using metal ware with food so quite often porcelain would be used instead. Quite clearly such a prohibition was intended to deal with the issue of being poisoned by certain metals. The Ottoman sultans for instance ate from food mostly served on porcelain later on.

The items used among the Ottomans were of copper or copper alloy objects (such as brass) gilded using a mercury gilding technique. The copper surface was cleaned, first with acid then water. An amalgam of one part gold to six parts mercury was brushed onto the surface. The mercury evaporated away when the object was fired.

Such metal work is dated to between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. While they normally were quite plain, sometimes certain motifs that were popular at the time might be hammered around the collars of the ewers or the body of the ibrik. Later centuries would see ibriks worked in repousse or polychrome enamel.

Over the centuries the form of the ibriks shows a number of changes going from a rather squat shape to that of an elegant swan to that of an overdressed plump pigeon. It moved from being a useful item to being one to be coveted for its beauty. As more wealth entered the upper classes in Ottoman society, the more the emphasis on having highly prized and decorated trophies that symbolized these people’s rise in status was placed. The general population would use clay for water pots and never the ibrik.

A later version of the ceramic ibrik is from Çanakkale in Turkey, dating from the last half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. These usually have very plump bodies and long necks stylized to resemble bird heads and usually plaited handles. Flowers, rosettes, leaves and birds appear as relief on the bodies and front part of the neck. They have lids that are not removable but can be filled through a separate opening. Colors are brown glaze ceramic with overglaze painting in gold, orange and green. In Gönül Öney’s book on Çanakkale ceramics, the author decries these late period pieces. The earlier period pieces were much, much better.

Doesn’t this always happen? From simple to elegant to crass? A pity.

A special ceramic ewer
According to Ayse Erdoğdu’s description of a particular ceramic ibrik, "This ewer has a pyriform body attached to a curved spout by a cloud-shaped bridge. Vessels of this type imitate ewers used in the Middle East, and began to be produced in China in the fifteenth century. On either side of the body are foliate medallions, one containing two peach branches and the other two loquat branches. The ground is decorated with chrysanthemums, peonies,camellias and roses. Along the handle is a lingzhi (mythological fungus) pattern. Three drilled points on the base were added later as the owner’s mark."


Why Neo-Ottomanism Is Bad For Turkey
During the Cold War, Turkish conservatism was anti-communist. Today it is xenophobic. The West would hate to see it, but religion as a pillar of foreign policy risks pushing Turkey into radicalism

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth." That was a line from President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech. Take out two words, Hindus and nonbelievers, it could well have been a speech by an Ottoman sultan embracing all too diverse religions and ethnicities of the empire. Today, with an increasingly sharp "neo-Ottomanism" shaping Turkey’s foreign policy, things are different. Neo-Ottomanism, or call it the Turkish-Islamic synthesis in foreign policy, is actually Ottomanism minus multiculturalism since at the heart of the "neo" version lies religion and an uncompromising quest not only for monolithic religious order, but also a monolithic practice for the same religion Ñ at times overcome by pragmatism. Hence, it was not surprising at all when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan insisted on Tuesday that "from this day on we’ll make our own foreign policy and not listen to the others." He said that in response to criticism of his "more-Arab-than-any-Arab" rhetoric on Gaza.

But what is "our own policy" that Mr Erdoğan said he will not deviate from? During the Israeli offensive on Gaza, "our own policy" was to order millions of school children to stand for a minute’s silence, or the reflections on a poor 7-year-old street vendor who was telling a TV crew how he now hated the Jews and would donate his last 5 Turkish lira-note (about $3) for the Palestinians. Religion, like others things of importance or no importance, is at the heart of Mr Erdoğan’s foreign policy calculus (could anyone honestly imagine Mr Erdogan making an inaugural speech in which he would embrace also atheists?).

But there are two problematic aspects about this experimental neo-Ottomanism.

First, religion-based politics can be particularly perilous in a country which traditionally Ñ and increasingly Ñ borders on ethnic and religious nationalism, which has Europe’s youngest population, which is poor and where education is becoming more and more religious. Add to that fine blend rapidly increasing conservatism, socially and politically engineered by the Mr Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, you’ll inevitably end up at various shades of intolerance coupled with a collective shift toward radicalism. My parents grew up with their non-Muslim neighbors. My generation grew up with sympathy for the last remaining members of this tiny community. Younger generations are killing non-Muslims. Next generations may simply not find any non-Muslim to target. Recently I rang my old summertime neighbors, an elderly Turkish-Armenian couple who live in Germany, to ask why they have not come for the last three seasons. "Son," he said, "Our country is too Muslim for us to come, and we have grown tired of hiding our identity. I sometimes fear not even my purely Turkish name could suffice to conceal our otherness." In Samuel Huntington’s view, culture is underpinned and defined by power. The West had once been pre-eminent and militarily dominant, and the first generation of third-world nationalists had sought to fashion their world in the image of the West. But Western dominion had cracked, Huntington argued. Demography best told the story: where more than 40 percent of the world population was "under the political control" of Western civilization in the year 1900, that share had declined to about 15 percent in 1990, and is set to come down to 10 percent by the year 2025. Conversely, Islam’s share had risen from 4 percent in 1900 to 13 percent in 1990, and could be as high as 19 percent by 2025.

A similar demographic change has occurred in Turkey. I am not going to repeat or quote hundreds of opinion polls whose results tell the same thing: Under the AKP’s governance, the Turks have become less tolerant and more conservative (often the same thing), less secular and more "Islamic." In the meantime, they have become anti-Western and anti-Semitic. Today, anti-Americanism in Turkey is nowhere to be seen in the world. If measured today, anti-Semitism, too, could be the world’s highest.

Second, neo-Ottomanism conceptually can have too little leverage on the Arab world, despite Mr Erdogan’s more-Arab-than-any-Arab rhetoric. Mr Erdoğan’s, and his Middle East policy architect, Ahmet Davutoğlu’s, ambitions for a powerful Muslim state with genuine influence over the entire region are a little bit too naive. They do not only contain several zigzags and bizarre, temporary alliances which often fail to achieve designated policy goals, but also ignores the realities of the post-Islamist Arab world. These policies often disregard the love (our Sunni Muslim brothers) and hate (our rivals) relationship with Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They, now, tend to irreparably offend Israel and Fatah. Tomorrow they may have to offend Iran and Syria (and Hezbollah and Hamas). But they almost always lack consistency.

Arab nationalism and its reflections on many minds which make policy in this part of the world are still alive. Too bad, Turks may be Muslim, but they are not Arabs. Even worse, the Arabs know that!

Burak Bekdil, Hurriyet TDN


"Intelligence Lies Leave Dink's Murder in Dark"
One may disagree with Hrant Dink's writings and sayings but he could have defended himself if he were alive. Now he's left dead, I had to act against those violating his rights. Journalist Sener talks to bianet about his latest book.

Bia news center - İstanbul 04-02-2009 Erol ONDEROGLU

"Injustice reigns even after Dink's murder, as justice is averted during the case. He would have defended himself as a journalist, if he were alive. Now he's dead, I take it as a duty to defend his rights. So I decided to do something against those trying to leave the murder in dark."

Journalist Nedim Sener explains his motivation for his latest book, "Dink Murder and Intelligence Lies". Turkish Armenian journalist Dink had been murdered on January 19, 2007 and amid pouring evidence regarding authorities neglect to protect him, the case remains unsolved in a just manner. Bianet's Erol Onderoglu interviewed Sener.

How did you come to write this book?

Pure coincidence. I was talking to an experienced police officer one day and he told about a case of injustice. Something was going on in the Department of Intelligence. I can't say the details but it was then I decided to take on this subject.

Nevertheless, it was impossible to cover the case as news articles. Murder investigations were scattered between Istanbul and Trabzon. On the other hand, no one focused on Ankara. It was imperative to paint a complete picture, overcoming the dispersity of evidence put forward by civil service inspectors in Ankara. I decided to tackle the issue in the form of a book.

What is your aim in writing this book?

One may disagree with Hrant Dink's writings and sayings but he could have defended himself if he were alive. Now he's left dead, I had to act against those violating his rights. Despite two past years, not all details of his murder have been brought to light and this makes me pessimistic. All evolved before the eyes of people but only the murderers are on trial. Quoting Dink's brother's words, no one will live in peace as long as this murder remains in dark. Because you would never know the truth if something happens to you. For example, we still don't know the murderers and the motives of the killings of journalist like Abdi Ipekci or Ugur Mumcu.

Withholding intelligence by the police and the gendarmerie, how this is affecting the case?

The most horrendous aspect of this case is that those accused of neglect in his murder are still serving in high posts in the police and in the gendarmerie. No such case exists in advanced democracies. But this is turkey.

It's obvious that public servants obliged to enlighten this murder are trying to cover up by forging false documents, by lying and deceit. Prime Ministry's investigation revealed that intelligence officers such as Ramazan Akyurek and Ali Fuat Yilmazer still hold their positions.

How would this case be solved?

Planning of the murder was conducted under police control for the most part. Especially the Trabzon police department... Upon his release from prison, Yasin Hayal had killing Dink on his mind. Informant Erhan Tuncel relayed all parts of the murder plan to the police. Some of this information had been sent to central intelligence department in Ankara. Those reports openly said that Dink was going to be murdered. They should have at least appointed a guard for Dink.

Anyways, following the Prime Ministry's report, these points became formal facts and it asks for investigations into Akyürek and Yılmazer's misconduct. PM Erdogan approved this. Despite those facts they remain in their posts. As this is the case, it's not possible to await justice out of this case.

There is a special emphasis to the link between Ergenekon case and Dink's murder. Why?

I believe that the two cases should be merged. Numerous personalities involved in Dink's murder are on trial in Ergenekon. The court's efforts to link Trabzon Gendarmerie commander Ali Öz to Ergenekon defendants is important. Revealing all relations between the accused in Dink's murder and Ergenekon defendants remain as a problem. When this is accomplished we may have a more precise picture.

We know the killers but we don't know exactly why this murder was committed. Some say Dink was a victim of extreme nationalist backed up by the state, others claim he was the target of the Armenian Diaspora. The fact is, we don't know the exact truth.(EÖ/AGÜ)

US House to receive ’Genocide’ bill again
WASHINGTON - Pro-Armenian lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress, are preparing to introduce later this month a fresh resolution calling on the United States to formally recognize the 1915incidents in the Ottoman Empire as "genocide," sources said.

US House to receive ’Genocide’ bill again The bill will be introduced by four senior members of the Armenian Caucus in the House of Representatives, Adam Schiff, a democrat from California, Frank Pallone, a democrat from New Jersey, George Radanovich, a republican from California, and Mark Kirk, a republican from Illinois, the sources said. The pro-Armenian lobby is presently working to garner the support of a large number of lawmakers as cosponsors for the resolution.

Parliamentary deputies, Suat Kiniklioglu and Cuneyt Yuksel, from the ruling Justice and Development Party, currently on a visit to Washington, confirmed that the U.S.-Armenians were working hard on two fronts to win U.S. "genocide recognition" this year. "With the Barack Obama and Joe Biden administration and a new Congress now in place, we have the best opportunity in years to end Turkey's gag rule on the United States’s recognition of the Armenian genocide," The Armenian National Committee of America, the largest U.S.-Armenian group, said recently.

Two-pronged effort

On one hand the Armenians are urging President Obama to keep his promise last year to recognize the "genocide" if elected. And on the other, they are seeking congressional recognition. When asked if he thought President Obama would qualify the Armenian killings as "genocide," Kiniklioglu said he did not know.

With Obama as president and many other pro-Armenian officials in top positions in the new administration and Congress, Armenians hope that this time they will win formal U.S. "genocide recognition." Analysts also agreed that this is highly probable. But the Armenians fear that this may not be the case, given the fact that some earlier presidents, including Obama's predecessor George W. Bush, have promised "genocide recognition," and then changed their decisions when in power.

Located in the middle of the volatile Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans, Turkey warns that formal U.S. recognition of the killings as genocide would hurt bilateral relations in a major and lasting way.


by Ümit Enginsoy 31.01.2009 Samantha Power Gets A Top White House Job, Backs Armenian Claims
Hurriyet Daily News Online

U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Samantha Power to a senior foreign policy job at the White House. Power supports the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents, a move likely to create concern in Turkey.

Officials familiar with the decision told the Associated Press that Obama has tapped Power to be senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council.

Power has resigned from the Obama campaign after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster" and made some pro-Israel activists unhappy with her past criticism of Israel.

Her new post will require close contact and potential travel with the Secretary of State Clinton.

Power is an expert on human rights and foreign policy. She is currently a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

She also known as a fierce supporter of the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents.

The issue of 1915 incidents is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. Around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.

MOST PRO-ARMENIA ADMINISTRATION

The new US administration became the most pro-Armenian claims administration in the history with the appointment of Power, Hurriyet daily reported on Saturday.

Obama had pledged to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents during the election campaign. Vice President Joseph Biden, Clinton and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi also support Armenian claims.

Also the new director of CIA, Leon Panetta, also backs the Armenian claims on this highly controversial issue on which the historians and experts are divided.

Hurriyet said it is worried that Obama will use the term "genocide" in his statement on April 24 or a new legislation will be pushed to the Congress to recognize the Armenian claims, such moves likely to spark crisis between Ankara and Washington.

Positive steps should not fall victim to Armenian diaspora: Turkish PM

Hurriyet DN Online with wires

It would be a shame for the positive steps taken by both Armenia and Turkey fall victim to the efforts of Armenian diaspora, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a session in Davos. (UPDATED)

Erdogan was speaking at the session titled, "The Great Game Revisited", which was also attended by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, Armenia's Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations and their border has been closed for more than a decade, as Armenia presses the international community with the backing of the diaspora 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 in relations when Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries on the invitation of Sargsyan. The two countries have been holding contacts at the minister level since.

The Turkish prime minister earlier told reporters that he would meet with Aliyev again ahead of his meeting with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan this evening on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, and signaled a road map for further developments in the region.

"It is very normal that I meet Azerbaijan's President Aliyev ahead of the meeting with President Sargsyan. Our talks with Aliyev will determine the framework of my talks with Sargsyan," Erdogan told reporters.

The Turkish prime minister dined with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Davos on Wednesday.

"We can never leave Azerbaijan alone in the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh," Erdogan also told reporters.

"If Armenia shows a sincere attitude in the works conducted at lower levels, we can determine a road map in the meetings after today's talks with Sargsyan," he added.

Erdogan said Wednesday he is hopeful regarding the normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations. "I am hopeful, but I do not know how hopeful the Armenian side is," Erdogan was quoted by the Anatolian Agency as telling reporters on Wednesday. The Turkish prime minister said that he desires to make progress.

Before the talks between Erdogan and Sargsyan, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is also expected to hold a second meeting with his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian in Davos.

There is an ongoing process between Turkey and Armenia and when a tangible outcome is achieved it would be announced, Babacan had said after his talks with Nalbandian in the Swiss town on Wednesday.


Turkey Sees Armenian Government And Diaspora On Different Pages Hurriyet Daily News Online
The diaspora is trying to benefit from the recent situation in Turkish-Armenian relations, but the Yerevan administration does not share the same view, Turkey's prime minister said Wednesday. Turkey’s FM met his Armenian counterpart in Davos. (UPDATED)

"The Armenian diaspora is working, but their efforts are aimed at gaining benefits from the situation. From what I see, the Armenian administration does not share these (efforts)," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters before his departure to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Erdogan said meetings between Turkey and Armenia continue at the lower ministerial levels, and it is aimed to gradually increase the level of these meetings.

"We have always been sincere in our dealings (with the Armenian administration)," he added.

After arriving in Davos, Erdogan told reporters he would probably meet with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the forum.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations and their border has been closed for more than a decade, as Armenia presses the international community with the backing of the diaspora 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 in relations when Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries on the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan. The two countries have been holding contacts at the minister level since.

BABACAN MEETS NALBANDIAN

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Wednesday he met his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian in Davos, adding they would meet again in the Swiss town.

Babacan said there is an ongoing process between Turkey and Armenia and when a tangible outcome is achieved it would be announced.

He ruled out a trilateral meeting between Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan in Davos.

Babacan said earlier Wednesday that 2009 could be a milestone in Turkish-Armenian relations. He told broadcaster CNNTurk in Davos that he expected the problems between Turkey and Armenia to be solved in 2009.

"Actually, it would not surprise me if a solution was found this year. 2009 can be a milestone in Turkish-Armenian relations as long as both parties maintain their political will till the end," he said.


Opinion 24.01.2009 Impossible Not To Like American Democracy Mehmet Ali Birand
You may not like American lifestyle. You may slam American politics. You may even say that America with its intervention in international politics in recent years, especially regarding Iraq, has caused great distress. And you may be right with all this.

But there is one subject where America is considered above blame. That is the country’s loyalty to democracy, self-confidence and the power for self-perpetuation. You won’t see this chain of quality in any other country in the world. Not long ago, I’ve seen it myself. Banners that stated that blacks and dogs were not allowed into restaurants, I’ve seen them myself. I watched blacks being treated like dirt. Today the same American can see the world change and elect a black president. This is what’s called generosity, maturity. You can’t help but admire them.

Every American election passes as a different democracy show. You’ll watch competitors shaking hands as soon as one of them becomes elected whereas they were slamming each other during election campaigns. During the race everything is lawful. They might throw mud at each other but when the final period is placed there is an end to everything. Did you notice the relationship between Obama and the opponent party leader Bush after it was understood that Obama had been elected?

Neither did Obama talk in purple prose about taking over a ruin from the former administration. Nor did President Bush hold a speech saying that the new president would ruin the country. They embraced and behaved with due respect. Let’s remember former Bush-Al Gore elections. Millions of votes were used and in the end Bush won by a court order and only a few hundred votes. You can’t help become crazy. Al Gore did not spend a word after the decision was announced. Contrary to what we see in our country, he did neither say he would give him a hard time at the White House, nor did he try to boycott the White House. He shook hands with Bush, accepted the decision immediately and withdrew from the scene. My God, how mature... What kind of self-confidence does he exhibit here? The Americans show great care in order to continue with their system. It is impossible not to admire them. It is discussed whether or not Obama’s election as president will have an impact on Turkey. Obama will have a positive impact on the world. And this will impact Turkey positively. If we are afraid that the Armenian issue will come to the forefront its better if we improve our relations with Armenia, instead of arguing.

The public prosecutor of Ankara is on the verge of deciding whether or not to refer those who started and joined the "I apologize" campaign to court in violation of Article 301, which penalizes "insulting Turkishness."

According to press releases, if the chief prosecutor decides to pursue an investigation then permission is needed. I can’t even understand why the chief prosecutor would investigate complaints. Could there be anything worse than inflicting a heavy blow on the incontestable right of freedom of a society to announce its view point?

Anyway the Turkish judiciary has still not changed its mind. It will happen but will take some time. I don’t believe that Minister of Justice Şahin will shut his eyes to the court case regarding the campaign. This approach neither suits the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, nor Şahin ... No, this primitiveness needs definitely to be stopped and a message needs to be delivered to the public. We don’t deserve such a conception and approach. Enough now.


20.01.2009 Armenians Reiterate Claims To Obama by Ümit Enginsoy
WASHINGTON - Major U.S.-Armenian organizations sent a joint letter to President-elect Barack Obama, who formally takes over presidency today, urging him to keep his promise from last year's election campaign to recognize Armenian claims of "genocide."

The 20 advocacy, civic, religious, charitable and educational groups congratulated Obama for his planned inauguration, but their three-page letter sent over the weekend mostly included Armenian demands for the new administration.

The U.S.-Armenian community of about 1.5 million solidly backed Democrat Obama, who it saw as the candidate sensitive to Armenian matters, against Republican John McCain in last November's presidential election.

"As a community, we have been proud that you have stood with us as we have worked toward congressional commemoration, presidential recognition and Turkish acknowledgement of the Armenian 'genocide,'" the Armenian organizations said. "As you have stated so eloquently and repeatedly, the facts of this crime are undeniable."

Obama pledged at least twice last year that he would recognize the 1915 incident as "genocide", if he became president . "Our government must clearly and unequivocally condemn the 1915 crime of race extermination by Ottoman Turkey that, during the course of eight years, killed one and a half million Armenians," the organizations said. "As you have stated on several occasions, America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides," they said.

Sensitive matter
Turkey says that both Armenians and Muslims died in the unrest during the Ottoman Empire's disintegration and that the events did not constitute genocide.

Ankara has warned that formal U.S. recognition of the deaths as "genocide" would hurt bilateral relations in a major and lasting way.

Outgoing President George W. Bush's administration has declined to utter the word genocide and successfully prevented genocide resolutions from passing through the U.S. congress over the past eight years in an effort not to alienate Turkey, a critical ally in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. But with Obama as president and many other similar-minded officials in top positions in the new administration and in congress now, the Armenians hope that this time they will win formal U.S. "genocide" recognition. Analysts also agree that this is highly probable. The Armenians have counted Vice President-elect Joe Biden, future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and several other Obama cabinet members among the officials seeking "genocide" recognition.

The Armenian organizations also urged Obama to boost economic and other relations with Armenia and effectively back ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Previously Turkey’s foreign minister has warned Obama's incoming administration that any U.S. recognition of Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents could derail reconciliation efforts between the two neighbors. "It would not be very rational for a third country to take a position on this issue... A wrong step by the United States will harm the process," Ali Babacan said last week.

Babacan said the dispute was among the issues that Ankara and Yereven had been discussing since reconciliation efforts gathered steam in September when Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Armenia.


13.01.2009 Look Everywhere But The Backyard by Şafak Timur
ISTANBUL - The below ’classified ad’ is entirely imaginary, but its elements are not. These are the realities many experts of the Kurdish language point to in the wake of an argument by the head of the university watchdog that there are too few experts in Kurdish literature in Turkey

Finding experts in Kurdish language and literature will not be difficult for Turkey, where many amateurs have passionately enriched their knowledge of their mother tongue and are eager to contribute to creating Kurdish departments in universities.

While many Kurdish language experts in Turkey do not have academic titles, they have battled bans and peer pressure to develop their knowledge of their mother tongue, refuting the comments made by Higher Education Board, or YÖK, President Yusuf Ziya Özcan who said on Sunday Turkey had too few experts in Kurdish language and literature.

"As there is no education in Kurdish, there is no opportunity in Turkey to have a registered academic career in Kurdish. Only those people studying other fields can transfer their knowledge if they are competent in Kurdish," said Sami Tan, the head of Istanbul Kurdish Institute, which was founded in 1992.
The institute has undertaken serious work on the Kurdish language and culture, such as preparing dictionaries and grammar books. "Those friends who study Kurdish, they are self-educated and Turkey has great potential in this regard. If the state wants to benefit, then it can," Tan said.

While experts were not against the idea of having Kurdish academics coming from abroad, they had concerns relating to the need to understand the political and linguistic intricacies of Turkey’s Kurdish culture and population.

"Turkey has had people and institutions that taught Kurdish for many years now. The statements of Özcan are about employing academics who think the way he does. The general aim is to prevent the involvement of the Kurdish political movement in this process," said Bülent Ulus, the news editor of the Kurdish language culture journal Tiroj.

Linguist Necmiye Alpay also said she was concerned about the hesitation of the state to recourse to existing potential about the issue for political reasons.

"I cannot understand why they do not ask for help from the Istanbul Kurdish Institute. If this is because they do not like its political stance, politics should not be involved in issues of language," she said.

Özcan in his statement said YÖK could benefit from the Kurdish Institute in Paris and universities in northern Iraq.

The Istanbul Kurdish Institute should not be excluded from that process, according to Kurdish author Muhsin Kızılkaya.

However, Kızılkaya also said the number of people who are equipped to teach Kurdish is very few. The situation is not like the one abroad, he said, pointing out well-established Kurdish studies departments in universities like Sorbonne in France and Uppsala in Sweden. It is natural to benefit from experts abroad who have studied where Kurdish studies is so well developed, especially in places where the Kurdish diaspora lives, mostly in Sweden and in former Soviet countries and Armenia, Turkish studies expert Mehmet Bayrak said.

However, it would be more correct to benefit from domestic potential first and then look abroad, said Bayrak, whose first book, which was about Kurdish folk music, was banned. Using this internal potential shows the sincerity of the state, the government and YÖK on the issue, Bayrak said.

Tan said it would be more correct to solve this problem by depending on internal sources, adding that in the last three years more than 300 books in Kurdish were published.

"When the official Kurdish language courses opened, we trained teachers who would teach Kurdish in these courses. My books on Kurdish grammar are used in these classes," said Tan. However, Tan himself had to pass the official test of the courses to document that he is in command of Kurdish. "The debates should include Kurds," he said, although he is regarding all these latest debates as positive developments.

Dialect matters
Another issue about foreign support for the Kurdish language is differences about dialects.

Some experts hesitate about any academic support from northern Iraqi universities. "The education language in northern Iraq is in the Sorani dialect and they use the Arabic alphabet. However Kurds in Turkey use the Kurmanji and Zazaki dialects," said Tan.

Alpay also highlighted that the use of Sorani would not be helpful for Turkey. However, according to Kızılkaya the dialect difference would not matter that much. "Academics in northern Iraq are well in command of both Sorani and Kurmanji dialects," he said. "Academics in Selahattin University are also working on uniting the two dialects to make a single one."

Meanwhile, Joyce Blau from the Kurdish Institute of Paris said there had been no official contact with the Turkish government yet for any kind of support they could offer.

However, Blau said the institute would be very happy to put all their resources at the disposal of the government for university-level Kurdish programs.

KURDISH SERVICES

* Large group of native Kurdish speakers seeking work in a forward-thinking organization
* Experienced in both oral traditions and extensive written literature
* Familiar with Kurmanji and Zazaki dialects
* Part-time or full-time positions negotiable, salary requirements flexible
* Available to work immediately in Istanbul and other Turkish cities

CONTACT : Look out the window


BÜLENT KORUCU @todayszaman.com Even If Lobbyists Get Upset
Some of the arguments against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's walkout at Davos function as veiled threats.

We are being threatened with blackmail and criticism and that if Jewish lobbyists in the US get upset, we should be ready to face their wrath.

But even if they get upset, what could they do?

The first answer is -- Armenian legislation syndrome. They claim they will support legislation recognizing the World War I Armenian genocide and ensure that it is passed.

Last year, when there were no Gaza or Davos concerns, the bill was brought to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs with the support of its Jewish members.

If the Bush administration had not blocked the bill for its own interests at the last moment, we would be referring to the law instead of the draft law today. The fact that 41 of the 50 US states voted the same is another reason for this irrational fear.

Many state schoolbooks focus on the history of the genocide as a fact, and it is a crime to deny the genocide in many European countries. But we are still occupied with seeking help from Jewish lobbyists in the US Congress, which has turned a blind eye to the matter.

It seems we have forgotten the trick that was played on us last year. There were many consequences to mon cher diplomacy. It is the end of the road for those who do not take risks and find alternatives and for those who think there is merit in being able to delay problems.

Turkey's most recent rebuke, which was essentially related to the Armenian state, was an attempt to reach the source of the problem and find a solution.

The second consequence of the Davos storm is a bit unsound.

Some have interpreted President Süleyman Demirel's statement that there will be a price to pay without even knowing it as a warning sign of a coup, and others believe countries that mess with Israel are bound to be destroyed.

In other words, they mean Israel will utilize the relations that were formed with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) during the Feb. 28, 1997 process to formulate a movement against the Turkish government. This is valid considering the international dimensions of previous military coups. But internal dynamics had been set up to legitimize the interventions in the eyes of the public.

At this point, it is important to remember that exploiting the statements of Brig. Gen. Metin Gürak, who said it is a necessity to act in line with national interests, is an insult to the TSK.

Some people are happy that Turkey will have to pay a price. This could be seen in the Hürriyet daily's coverage of the delaying of Turkish diplomats for two hours at the airport in Tel Aviv.

If Turkish diplomats were disrespected like this in Iran, you can guess how differently it would have been reported.

The real concern that we must focus on is provocation and anger toward the Jewish community. Precautions are necessary against deep operations like those during the events of Sept. 6-7, 1955. Although the Ergenekon terror organization investigation has weakened this possibility, we must still remain on the alert.

Mon cher mentalities -- this does not necessarily refer to former foreign affairs bureaucrats -- are slipping up. They are seeing Hamas and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terror network as equals. This is the same as saying Turkey and Israel are equals. Israel is a state that is occupying the lands of another people. We do not support Hamas' attacks that target civilians. But, its fight against Israel, which is occupying their lands, is their natural right to self-defense. Would a PKK-Hamas comparison not lead to an absurd Israeli-Turkey comparison?
07 February 2009, BÜLENT KORUCU Zaman


Senior Armenian Police Official Shot Dead
Armenia's deputy chief of police, a former presidential aide, was shot dead late on Tuesday outside his home in Yerevan, police said.

Col. Gevorg Mheryan, 33, was shot three times in the head and once in the body near the entrance to his 7th floor apartment shortly before 8.30 p.m. (1630 GMT), a police statement said. Mheryan was an aide to the president on judicial issues before being appointed deputy chief of police in July 2008. Local media reported that he also previously led a team monitoring efforts to stamp out rampant corruption in the former Soviet republic. The police statement said the country's prosecutor-general, police chief and security committee head had inspected the crime scene. “The emergency services established that Mheryan died from bullets to the head and body," the statement said. "A criminal case has been launched and police are trying to track down the person responsible.” 05 February 2009, REUTERS YEREVAN


K.Balci Todayszaman.Com Armenian Genocide Hypocrisies
Washington-based Jewish lobbies are angry at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It seems that at least some of them have already threatened Turkey with withdrawing their support against the repeated attempts of the American-Armenian diaspora to pass a resolution over allegations of an Armenian genocide.

Even those who are not yet ready to burn bridges with Turkey are making implicit threats. Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), for example, is reported to have said that they "would not support the Armenian genocide bill as long as the Turkish-Israeli diplomatic links continue to exist."

Leave aside the fact that the alleged genocide never took place, and look at the internal inconsistency of these open or implied threats. Genocide is a crime against humanity. Denying a genocide claim, lobbying against that claim and supporting the antithesis of that claim necessitates a conviction that the alleged genocide never took place. The reverse is also true. An accusation of genocide necessitates a conviction that it took place. A deliberate, conscious false genocide accusation is a serious crime, and a deliberate denial of a genocide that is known to have happened is as serious as the first.

Now the threatening Jewish lobbies are trying to say either one of these:

1. We know that an Armenian genocide took place, but we supported the Turkish thesis because it best suited Israel's interests. But now, as Turkey has started to criticize our brethren in Israel about their policies in Palestine, we can abandon this "deliberate denial of a fact" position.

2. We know that an Armenian genocide never took place, and we supported the Turkish thesis accordingly, but now, we have decided to consciously support a "deliberate lie."

3. We know nothing about what happened in 1915, and we actually don't care. We use this issue as leverage for and against Turkey, whenever and whichever fits Israel's interests.

Which one should we believe?

Look at the confusion Jack Lang caused in France. Lang is a former minister of culture, a Socialist politician and a staunch supporter of the Armenian genocide bill that was passed by the French Parliament in 2001.

This Jack Lang appeared in a Web-broadcasted video record of an Oct. 11 debate with the Liberté pour l'histoire (Freedom for History) association, a group led by historian Pierre Nora.

Lang makes a mea culpa during his speech on the vote of French laws relating to the Armenian genocide. He claims that the parliamentarians voted for these laws not because of their allegiance to a nation or a history, but in order to garner votes. Lang labels the 2001 bill that recognized the Armenian genocide denial as a horrible mistake. Lang was then chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly. "So I am doubly guilty, if I may say so, because I was both the committee chairman and a member," he said.

After the revelation of his mea culpa statement, Lang reverted to his former public position. In a letter sent to nouvelobs.com, where the revelation first appeared, he said he still believes that "the recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey should be a condition for Turkey's accession to the EU" and that he "will continue to fight in order to bring about worldwide recognition of the genocide of the Armenian people, including in Turkey."

Lang legitimized his "guilty plea" by saying that he was speaking in the "context of a scientific debate among historians about the competence of parliaments to enact legislation on historical issues."

What shall we believe now? A supporter of the genocide claim says that in a political context he supports the claim to the point of pledging a lifelong struggle for its recognition, and in a scientific context he feels guilty doing so!

April is looming -- the Armenian diaspora has already started pressuring American politicians over the genocide resolution so that it will be brought before the House. With what motives will American politicians vote: political ones or scientific ones?

Come on! Just support the truth for the sake of truthfulness! You may well be cheated by fake historical material fabricated by the Armenian diaspora and believe in the truthfulness of a lie. But being cheated by others is better than deliberate hypocrisy.

You have the option to give an ear to the Turkish thesis, though.
05 February 2009, KERİM BALCI


Erdoğan Makes Clear Distinction Between Diaspora And Yerevan
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) spoke at a press conference in Ankara ahead of his departure for Davos yesterday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday dismissed claims linking a recent thaw in relations between estranged neighbors Turkey and Armenia to the fact that April 24 -- the day when Armenians commemorate an alleged genocide perpetrated during World War I -- is approaching, with the Armenian-American diaspora more hopeful than ever about official US recognition of the alleged genocide.

Erdoğan was speaking at a press conference in Ankara ahead of his departure for Davos for an annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) when he was asked whether he planned to have talks with Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan, who was also due to participate in the WEF meeting.

"We may meet; there is no obstacle in front of this," Erdoğan replied.

In a follow-up question, Erdoğan was reminded that more than four months had passed since President Abdullah Gül visited Yerevan and that April 24 was approaching and was asked whether he believed that Turkey and Armenia had in the meantime made progress toward the normalization of ties. "At the moment, there is no obstacle in front of a meeting between us. We may hold a meeting," Erdoğan reiterated. "That's another issue. But April 24 is also another issue. April 24 is no doomsday."

Armenians claim that up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically 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 for the independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops that were invading Ottoman lands.

In 1993 Turkey shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan, which was at war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Ankara wants Armenia to abandon its campaign for the recognition of the killings as genocide and make progress in its dispute with Baku before formal diplomatic relations can be established.

But a visit by President Gül to Yerevan in early September to watch a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia's national soccer teams, upon an invitation by Sarksyan, broke the ice between the two countries.

Every year, a few months before the US president delivers an annual speech on April 24, the day on which Armenians commemorate the alleged genocide, relations between Turkey and the US enter a tense period. Recently, US-based Armenian diaspora organizations have increased their pressure on US President Barack Obama for the official recognition of Armenian claims of genocide. "We have displayed our sincerity [for normalization of ties]. I'm always saying this; as Turkey, we have opened our airspace to Armenia. Furthermore, according to the information given to me, there are almost 40,000 undocumented Armenians in Turkey. These people came here because of the poverty in their country. But we didn't extradite them," Erdoğan said, referring to Armenians living in Turkey without work permits.

"We are a country that renovated and restored the Armenian Orthodox church on the island of Akhtamar. We have always made gestures," he said, referring to the fact that Turkey, in a symbolic move hoped at the time to help ease longstanding animosity with Armenia, reopened the ancient Akhtamar Church, located on an island in Lake Van in eastern Anatolia, in March 2007 after three years of restoration.

"But of course, in addition to these efforts, the Armenian diaspora is plotting. But we can see very clearly and sharply that their efforts are aimed at utilizing [this issue]. This is obvious. But I also see that the current administration in Armenia doesn't take part in this," Erdoğan stressed.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who departed for the Davos meeting on Tuesday, told reporters that he might have a bilateral meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, on the sidelines of the WEF meeting.

During a special session on Gaza during his two-day stay in Davos, Erdoğan will have a chance to meet with Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, which has been harshly criticized by Erdoğan over its deadly offensive in Gaza.

29 January 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN ANKARA
"I Am A Tomb" 6 February 2009 by Stéphane / armenews
When Jack Lang, for his unfortunate connection, has awakened from their sleep eternal martyrs slaughtered Armenians between 1894 and 1923, and dismembered burials, while their descendants, shocked, are awaiting mourning 94 years since, it is rigor to listen to the moving duet Diane Minassian and Vincent Baguian sing "I'm a tomb."

Jean Eckian
www.inhomage.com

Making Of de "I'm a tomb" in duet with Diane Minassian
sent by VincentBaguian


How will I know where
If I do not know where I come
Where is my past
I search endlessly
The beginning of a path.
How do I know who I am
Without knowing who I want
I'm overseas myself
By not knowing anything
The name that is mine
Me,
I am the grave of one part of the world
I can not, I'm here, I am the shadow
Environments rubble
To understand the history
I get the memory
Before you take the main
Let my fear finally stops
In my heart remains etched
What can stop any
Happen overnight
Me,
I am the grave of one part of the world
I can not, I'm here, I am the shadow
Environments rubble
To understand the history,
I get the memory
I am not talking about a country
But all of Armenia
When added to the injury
The unbearable insult
Deaths that we deny
Me,
I am the grave of one part of the world
I can not, I'm here, I am the shadow
Environments of rubble.
To understand the history
I get the memory.

http://keghart.com/node/279


Sydney University Professor Clarifies His Interview With Turkish Daily ArmInfo 2009-02-04
ArmInfo. Sydney University Professor Armen Kakavyan clarifies to ArmInfo his interview with Turkish Radikal Daily, which Turkish and Azerbaijani media presented as 'an action of apologies by Armenian intellectuals to Turkey.

He says 'I refer to media reports about an Armenian counter-apology allegedly being prepared in response to an online petition launched by Turkish intellectuals (see http://www.ozurdiliyoruz.com) in December 2008.

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the situation.

Together with some friends, I recently drafted a response to the abovementioned Turkish apology with the intention of circulating it by email for input and advice. This statement is a humanistic response to the humanistic gesture by a group of Turkish intellectuals and signatories. As stated in my interview with Radikal, the response is nothing more than a draft for circulation and discussion. There is a possibility that it could later be presented as a counter-petition if there is enough interest.'

He emphasizes: 'the response is a personal initiative of mine, with the input of some friends, and there is as yet no "group of Armenian intellectuals" behind the response. There is as yet no decision about producing a counter-apology or about the nature of any potential counter-apology, due to concerns about "relative trivialisation" and the possibility of such a counter-apology being manipulated or misunderstood in the current environment'.

'On Saturday 31st January, the Turkish Daily Radikal found out about the draft response and I accepted their invitation for an interview', he says.

As regards his interview, A. Kakavyan says his answers were not distorted.

However, the introduction by the editor and a big photo of Armenian revolutionaries as well as highlighting of his own apology created wrong impression.

'I am grateful that my responses to the journalist's questions were mostly produced word-for-word. However, the Editor's Introduction framed the article primarily in terms of an Armenian apology. It did so by including a large photo of Armenian revolutionaries and related caption; and highlighting my personal apology for human rights violations committed by Armenians.

In addition, there seemed to be some confusion between my personal apology and the draft response being prepared. However, the two were in fact not connected. I would therefore like to provide some points of clarification regarding the "apology" aspect of the interview:

1. I did offer a personal renunciation of, and apology for, crimes committed by Armenians against innocent Turks. To me, this apology reflects basic human morality. I stand by that apology, which stems from my ethical beliefs and rejection of all forms of violence against innocent civilians, as per international law.

2. However, I CLEARLY stated in my interview that any crimes committed by Armenians "cannot compare to the attempted annihilation of an entire nation : and one does not negate or trivialize the other."

3. I did not mention the specific era of the victims, i.e. "Ottoman" versus "Turkish".

4. For the record, let me state categorically that I distinguish between, on the one hand, legitimate and heroic acts of resistance and self-defence by Armenian revolutionaries from the 1890s through to the end of the Genocide, and, on the other hand, wanton acts of terrorist violence against civilians (recognised by international law as crimes against humanity). It is the latter for which I apologised.

5. The purpose of my apology was to illustrate my following point: "If I were the Turkish state, I would see an apology as an excellent way of restoring the dignity lost through decades of denial."

6. My personal apology had no relation to the draft response to the Turkish apology that is currently being circulated for discussion.

7. I did not apologise on behalf of anyone except myself, as no one could possibly offer an apology on behalf of someone else.

'Finally, and importantly, near the end of my interview with Radikal, I wrote: "So, any Armenian response to the apology should be similar." In saying this, I was referring to the fact that the Turkish apology did not attempt to "address the question of definitions and political explanations etc". I did not mean that it should match the Turkish apology with an Armenian one.

In conclusion, the main purpose of my interview with Radikal was to acknowledge the Turkish apology, to emphasise that this apology is only a start, and to remind the Turkish reader that what is really needed is an apology by the Turkish state, followed by corrective action. I believe this point would not have been lost on the honest and thorough reader', the professor says.

He also highlights that PanArmenian.Net rightly reported: ""During an online discussion, Sydney University (sic.) professor Armen Gakavian expressed an opinion which was later ascribed to the entire Armenian community," Mr. Manoyan said."

However, the PanArmenian.net article unfortunately reproduced some of Radikal's errors, namely, regarding the nature of my personal apology, which I have already addressed. It also repeated Radikal's assertion that Prof.

Denis Papazian was involved in the initiative, which is not correct. Prof.

Papazian has at no stage been involved in this initiative and has never expressed his support for it. I did not mention Prof. Papazian in my interview, and I believe information about his alleged involvement was taken from an inaccurate statement, made in good faith, in an earlier edition of Radikal.


$5 Million Raised for ARF Political Activities at Dubai Gala February 2 2009
DUBAI (ARF Press Service)--An unprecedented $5 million dollars was raised over the weekend at a gala benefit for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation's political activities throughout the world. The benefit gala, held Saturday at the Festival City Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai was attended by hundreds of benefactors and presided over by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.

The event's contributions surpassed previous such gatherings held in Geneva in 2001 and in Paris in 2005.

The global economic crisis did not deter benefactors from stepping forward this year and recognizing the important work of the ARF's international political offices in the last four years. The money raised will greatly elevate the work of Hai Tahd in meeting the challenges facing Armenia's foreign policy priorities.

Presided over by Catholicos Aram I, a large number of businesspeople and ARF members and supporters from Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Armenia came together to reaffirm their commitment to the political activities of the ARF. More than 250 donors took part in the event.

Members from the ARF's ministerial rank in Armenia, Arsen Hamabrtsoumian, Aramayis Grigorian and Spartak Seyranian were joined at the event by their counterpart in Lebanon Andre Tabourian. Members from the ARF's Armenian parliamentary bloc and the ARF's Lebanon member of parliament, Hagop Pakradouni were also at the gala. Also present were Armenia's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Vahagn Melikyan, Armenian Relief Society Central Executive chairwoman Vicky Marashlian, as well as the majority of the ARF Bureau and directors of Hai Tahd offices in Europe, the Middle East and Moscow.

Shahe Barsoumian, a Master of Ceremonies and a member of the organizing committee, welcomed the guest and those who were unable to attend for their continued support and generosity. He discussed the various the activities of the ARF's political offices around the world, underscoring the positive impact of their work on Armenia's standing in the world.

Representing the UAE and Dubai region, Hrair Soghomonian welcomed those gathered and throughout the evening recognized the donors who had generously contributed to the event.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's message was read by Armenia's Education Minister Spartak Seyranian.

New components are continually being added to the concept of %u218Hai Tahd', said Sarkisian in his message, adding that international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the just resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are being supplemented by new challenges. We need to assist in the strengthening of our homeland.

The second Master of Ceremonies, ARF Bureau member and chairman of the ARF parliamentary bloc, Vahan Hovannesian, presented the gathered guests with a list of donors.

With a message to believe, work and triumph, ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian addressed the gathering, expressing gratitude to the generous benefactors gathered at the event on behalf of the organization.

Markarian said the network of Hai Tahd offices are effectively second embassies in Washington, Brussels, Moscow, Beirut and Tbilisi. They coordinate and marshal the efforts of Armenians and our friends toward elevating Armenia's political stature internationally, securing economic assistance to Armenia, defending rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, the realization of the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and to counter Turkish and Azeri anti-Armenian propaganda.

Markarian added that defense of the Armenian Cause was, for decades, an undertaking and priority of the Diaspora. He welcomed that Armenia and its population have now joined the fight for justice, making Hai Tahd a truly pan-Armenian reality.

At the conclusion of the event, Catholicos Aram I addressed the gathering highlighted the pan-Armenian nature of Hai Tahd, commending the current Armenian leadership for elevating the Armenian Cause within the country's foreign policy priorities. He called the event not merely a fundraiser but rather an opportunity to renew the commitment toward the successful fruition of national aspirations.

Renowned and popular singer Rouben Hakhverdian entertained the guests during the banquet.

A DVD chronicling the ARF's political activities in Europe, Russia and the CIS, the Middle, and within international bodies was distributed to the guests and donors.

Towards A Roadmap Between Armenia And Turkey 30 January 2009, Stéphane / armenews
Talks between Turkey and Armenia could lead to a roadmap for relations between the two countries if Yerevan shows a "sincere", said Thursday the Turkish Prime Minister.

"If Armenia shows honest behavior in the work of sub-level talks after our last night, the talks today are in one way or another to present a roadmap," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Davos to journalists.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan held discussions at the World Economic Forum with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian

"I have another meeting with Nalbandian later," said Ali Babacan at the first meeting.

Ali Babacan said he had met Edouard Nalbandian five or six times since the football match between the two countries in September 2008.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to meet with Armenian President Serge Sarkissian early Thursday evening.

"Armenia should take the necessary understanding," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also reaffirmed the strong ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

"Regarding the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, we'll never give up the Azerbaijan" he said indicating that he had a meeting Wednesday with President Ilham Aliev of Azerbaijan.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan Attacked The Armenian Diaspora 29 January 2009, Stéphane / armenews
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Wednesday a probable meeting with Armenian President Serge Sarkisian on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Before his departure for Switzerland, Erdogan said that "there was no obstacle for a meeting with Armenian President and that he could talk with him." "The Armenian diaspora continues its anti-Turkish propaganda and benefits but I see that the power in Armenia does not share the attitude of the diaspora," he added. "We have never supported the steps that would cast a shadow over the peace and will not," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan in response to a question.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the meetings between Turkey and Armenia will continue to lower government levels and that Turkey aimed to increase gradually the level of these meetings.

"We have always been sincere in our relations (with the Administration Armenian)", he added that more than 40,000 Armenians from Armenia living illegally in the country and that Turkey had failed to deportation because of the economic situation in Armenia.

However, remember that on several occasions Edouard Nalbandian had reaffirmed Armenia to the recognition of the Armenian genocide and in particular on 11 November 2008 where he had said about a possible reversal of the policy of Armenia vis-à-vis international recognition of the Armenian genocide: "The information media Turkish officials Armenian statements are distorted and presented in reverse. I have said many times and I would like to reiterate that the Armenian officials have never spoken and never speaks of a suspension of the process of international recognition of the Armenian genocide. Moreover, Armenia will not tolerate any expression that deny the Armenian genocide. "


First Meeting Between Recep Tayyip Erdogan And Serge Sarkissian In Davos 31 January 2009, Stéphane / armenews
Armenian President Serge Sarkissian and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose countries are seeking to end decades of tense relations, met for the first time Thursday in Davos, announced Friday the Armenian presidency.

The meeting, held on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos, was "positive", Yerevan said in a statement.

"President Sarkissian and Prime Minister Erdogan have held their first meeting positive and instructed the foreign ministers of both countries to promote efforts to normalize relations between the two countries has further underlined the presidency.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that its share of the Turkish and Armenian sides should make courageous step for the development of bilateral relations.

"It would be unfortunate if the steps taken in the relations are sacrificed to the interests of the Armenian diaspora," he said speaking at a panel meeting in Davos on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the head of the Iranian diplomat Manouchehr Mottaki and Armenian Foreign Minister Edouard Nalbantian.

"The goal of Turkey is to contribute to peace in the region," he added. "To do this, we developed the project of cooperation in the Caucasus to the resolution of problems in the region," he added.

"The Armenian diaspora is working non-stop and for this reason, not to sacrifice the positive steps made (between Ankara and Yerevan), we must continue our efforts to improve relations," he said.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul had agreed in September 2008 the invitation of President Serge Sarkisian to come follow the football match Armenia-Turkey in Yerevan. This visit as "historic" by a Turkish president in the Armenian capital had enabled the resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

Armenia and Turkey are "close" to the establishment of diplomatic relations and open their borders, said January 21 the head of the Armenian diplomacy Edouard Nalbandian.

He however clarified qu'Erevan does not renounce the "process to obtain international recognition of the genocide" of Armenians.


Tashnaks Did Not Allow To Study At Archives
Permission to work at Taşnaksutyun archive was not given to Prof. Şükrü Hanioğlu, who is one of the person who knows political developments of that period and the “Union and Progress” Society very well.

Indicating that Armenian researchers also have complaints over the issue, Prof. Hanioğlu, the current Chair for the Middle East Researches Department of the Princeton University said: “As far as I can understand, they only give permission to the ones who adopt policies, which are close to the party.”

Prof. Şükrü Hanioğlu, a well-known person with his qualified studies over the Union and Progress Society and II Constitutional Monarchy period and whose books are considered as a reference at international science circles, especially the one entitled, “the Ottoman Union and Progress Society as a Political Organization and Jon Turks” stated that his application for studying at the Armenian Revolutionary Federation was not even responded. Prof. Hanioğlu said: “The Party gives permission to anyone it desires instead of opening its archive to the public.”

Prof. Şükrü Hanioğlu, the current Chair for the Middle East Researches Department of the Princeton University, one of the most famous universities of the USA said: “I made an application a couple of years ago in order to conduct a research. I believe that permission would be given due to my studies on the issue. But they didn’t even reply. Prof. Hanioğlu stated the following:

"Taşnaksutyun archive is well classified as was indicated by some researches that were made beforehand. Again for the same reason, it is also possible to estimate that there are serious amount of documents written in Ottoman and French languages. However, instead of opening these to the public, the party prefers to give permission to the people, who wishes to. It is not possible to object that. As a result, it is the archive of an active political party.

As far as I can understand, they only give permission to the ones who adopt policies, close to the party. The Armenian researchers also have complaints over the issue. There are few people among them, who are permitted to make research. Of Course, the point whether they show everything or not, is unknown. They have not responded to my letter, which is rather strange. In this country, they at least give a reply to the applications. Nevertheless, this is not an archive of a country; it is the archive of an active political party. Therefore, it is difficult to say: “We are opening our archives, you should do the same. It is only possible to say it for the Armenian archives.”

Prof. Hanioğlu said: “Taşnaksutyun should open this archive to the researchers if it wishes to reveal the things that had occurred in 1915.”

Upon a news that was published at the Hürriyet Newspaper before, Tatul Sonetz-Papazian, the person in charge of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Taşnaksutyun) archive, who had replied to the questions of The Armenian Reporter, which is published in New York, claimed that the classification and microfilm process was completed in 1995 and the archive was opened to all researchers since then. (*)

The things that occurred over the archives, display the fact that Armenian side, which attempts to introduce relocation as “genocide”, do not posses scientific evidence.

It is natural that if forged documents, which are proved to be falsified and the newspapers, which are produced by the Western media as a propaganda tool, cannot be characterized as a scientific evidence, then it is more possible to believe that an argument, which supports the eternal claim for mistreated Armenians (?), which has become a topic for magazine news, does not exist.

Source: (*) Hürriyet Daily Newspaper-14.01.2009 26.01.2009 www.genocidereality.com


Yerevan Talks Nonsense Again
Indicating that they will not give up their foreign policy priorities over Armenian claims on the incidents of 1915, Eduard Nalbantyan, Foreign Affairs Minister of Armenia, stated that “Armenia would not make any sacrifice for normalizing her relations with Turkey.”

According to the Armenian news agencies Eduard Nalbantyan, who held a press conference at the capital city, Yerevan, stressed that they will in no way stop their efforts for ensuring the recognition of their claims on 1915 incidents at the international arena and stated that they will avoid attempts, which will create suspicion over their claim, which is asserted to be a historical fact.

Nalbandyan’s speech reminds of the criminal, who confesses his thievery while talking about his heroism. They are aware of the fact they can end up in into a suspicious situation; and they are deeply occupied with not laying themselves open to criticism by taking a wrong step.

Expressing that he agrees Foreign Affairs Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan’ s thought, which is: “The compromise between the two countries is very close”, Nalbantyan said: “Still, these issues can be solved after Turkey accepts to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia without any preconditions.”

Nalbandyan gives advices to Turkey according to his opinion: Turkey should sit at te table without precondition.

In another words, Turkey should forget about her expectations like;
-Don’t long to possess our lands and borders,

-Let the scientists search the actuality of your genocide claims and reveal the truth.

Foreign Affairs Minister of Armenia is within an unbelievable approach like: “You should give up from these conditions, but we will never step back from our aggressiveness, we will never make the genocide issue as a subject of discussion, we will never recognize the agreements, which draws the lines of the borders, we will rise the Serves Treaty again, we will call Eastern Anatolia as “Western Armenia” and we will claim rights over your lands.

Nalbantyan also noted over Upper Karabagh issue that “the solution process will be locked if Yerevan reacts to every sharp expression of Baku on the issue and a mutual environment of trust should be created in order to ensure a solution.” It is probably another country, which attacked to Azerbaijan, invaded her lands and slaughtered her citizens!

They will invade a part of your country, they will kill your citizens, they will make the people who were not dead, escape from their lands, they will maintain the invasion in spite of all the international attempts and all the resolutions, they will continue to procure arms from Russia in spite of the four resolutions that was adopted by the UN Security Council and later they will talk about creating an environment of trust.

The administration in Armenia is deceiving the whole world on the causes of her economical crisis she is experiencing in the country. They say that the Armenian people are exposed to poverty because of the closed borders with Turkey…

However, there is one point that is overlooked: Armenia’s borders are open with Russia, Iran and Georgia. Trade is continuing with them. They have made agreements with China recently. In fact, Armenia does not posses a serious production that will be subject to a foreign trade. Therefore, the resource of the solution to the problem is somewhere else.

Armenia currently composes the center of the illegal action at the Caucasus; there are every kind of evil like arms and nuclear substance smuggling and sheltering terrorists. When this is the issue, money trafficking gathers at the hands of power and the mafia groups that are close to it. So the people of Armenia suffer poverty. Before Turkey opens her borders with Armenia, she should obtain powerful technology and personnel which would prevent nuclear substances arms and terrorist transfer to Eastern Anatolia. Otherwise, the Tashnak gang, which in the power currently in Armenia, would not hesitate to turn the Eastern provinces of our country into a hell even for a moment. If we do not wish to experience the period before and after the World War I all over again, we must under take our borders with Armenia under guarantee before opening our borders.

Meanwhile it is worth mentioning the following: The government of Armenia is in trouble with the UN! The UN is putting a serious pressure on Armenia over the incidents before and after the recent general elections, quieting the opposition parties and imprisoning the opponents. The Council of European Parliamentary Assembly is occupied with preparing a resolution regarding the sanctions that will be imposed against Armenia. The Armenian diplomats and politicians are in an attempt of saving their government from a despot and oppressive image at the doors of EU. Expecting to establish good relations from a government, which is so cruel against its own people, with her neighbors, cannot go beyond a dream.

As long as this hypocrite and aggressive government exist at power, the peace attempts at the region does not seem possible despite all the good-intentions of her neighbors.

Editor www.genocidereality.com


What Had Happened On The January 19?
I close my eyes and think about a photograph I saw a moment ago. “What had happened on the 19th of January?” was written underneath it.

What had happened?

I am standing up. I an turning my back to numerous books, where notes and bookmarks are placed, newspapers, unfinished articles, which lacks a title, the pen I like, a cup, which is still hot on the table and smell of the coffee that was spread in the room. I am entering into million windows that has lost its conscious of imagination, which although I don’t like much I cannot escape even if I wanted to.

I am opening the matrix of the digital world, whose search engine is ciphered. I am writing down “19 January” inside the rectangular box. What had happened on the 19th of January…, what else had happened that I couldn’t remember...

I am waiting for the result of the search for couple of long minutes…
Suddenly, the result of the search is appearing.
“A thousand of 19 Januaries” that is reached in couple of seconds”… I am leaving out one and examine the “others”.

A page entitled “The Martyrs of the January 19” catches my attention.
I am entering the page…
The page opens silently.
I close my eyes for a moment once more and start to think.

I am thinking of our sons, who are currently assigned to keep watch and guard our borders and whose hearts are away from restlessness of a pigeon, and who open their eyes wide open with an eternal patience to just to help that pigeon fly easily.

Suddenly, decades of images spill over the screen.
And now…

The names of the martyrs, the places they were born, the places they were killed, the names of their mothers and fathers, the pages are opening one by one…,

Most of them were born on the month of January.

One of the children, who felt the beat of his hearts, which he heard decades of months inside him, after he looked at her mother’s face when his mother first hugged him. His mother had taken care of him.

She had held him just as holding a pigeon; she had listened to her heart without hurting him in the nights, watched his breath and fever. Later, he had played games with his father. They had cheerful and painful moments. While he grew up he was offended and later was reconciled with his friends. He went to school, he became a teacher, an orphan child had become his best friend for years. They had gone to the same school. They had gone to do their military obligation together…Their birth day is January 1, 1987, their date of death is January 19, 2007…

I am closing my eyes over again; I weep…I have to complete my article. I stand up. I turn towards from the computer to the pen and open the voice of the television.

“Today is January the 19th”, announcer says, “Thousands of people are gathered at the point, where Hrant Dink was killed… ”

I am ashamed of myself.

Since I didn’t remember January 19.

Since, I don’t know the anniversary of the martyrs, and I have never commemorated it…


Ülkü Eryaman / info at soykirimgercegi.com , soykirkur at yahoo.com www.genocidereality.com


Striking Determinations And Comments From Murat Bardakçi
Murat Bardakçi, the author of the book entitled “Talat Pasha’s Evrak-i Metrûke” have made a striking statement, during an interview dated 12 January 2009 on the Milliyet newspaper, which proves the rightfulness of Turkey.

Murat Bardakçi;

“I was examining the documents I posses prior to the preparation for that series of articles I was going to write for Hürriyet newspaper in 2005 due to the 90th anniversary of 1915. I called Ayşegül Bafrali, grand-daughter of Talat Pasha, in case she has something else in hand. She said: “There is nothing else. My grand-mother had given everything to you. However, I’ll check again.” Next day, she called me and said: I have found a note-book. In fact, her grand-mother possessed an empty suitcase from her Berlin days. While she was examining the suitcase, she realized an elevation. When she examined it more closely, she saw that there was sewing upon it. After pulling the sewing up, she comes across a note-book that is covered with black cover.

-A note-book that is covered with black cloth comprised of 77 pages. It is Talat Pasha’s notebook. It is about the changes at the population at the Ottoman lands during 1876-1916. There is information over Muslim Turkish population, who had immigrated because of the wars and Arab and Greek population in the notebook. I have already included all of it to the book.

- You have written in the introduction of your book that “the role of the German general staff, which has been active over the Ottoman army during the relocation period, is still unknown”; in response to the question of “What do the German archives say about this?

-“I don’t know, because, the military documents related with that period have not been revealed in Germany yet. And I wonder why, the ones, who launch an apology campaign, do not demand those documents to be revealed? In fact, the relocation incident was not a type of a logistic work we could manage by ourselves those days. We had done the logistic planning together with the Germans; Germans had helped a lot; and this is known by everyone.

-Germans do not wish to participate to such a relocation after the Jewish genocide committed by them; and therefore they cannot open. Also, there is something interesting there; the leading Turkish defenders of the Diaspora always take money from German associations, which is a fact that should be written aside.

- You cannot find documents there (German archives) as well. There are some documents, which put forward their support on logistics and shipment; however, these are not shown to the researchers.

There is nothing that could scare Turkey on the relocation issue; only if this matter is discussed by politicians, authorities, journalists, researchers, who is familiar with the world or people who have academic notion.

-Talat Pasha is a statesman, who has done what he has to do; that’s it.

-Unfortunately, currently, some facts have become ordinary empty words in Turkey. See, there is an instance of “hitting at the back”. This is the simple truth. I am ashamed of saying this; however, this is the case.
You are at a war; moreover, it is the World War I…If the army you are with is attacked at the back, and then of course, precautions would be taken. Every government would do the same under the same circumstances. Yes, there is relocation. I am not saying there is no relocation. However, this has never turned into genocide.

- Why should there be an “intention”? I mean, the man did not wake up from his sleep and said: “let me get rid of these Armenians”. A long period of time has passed over the decision for relocation. It occurred after a long period of time passed over the uprisings. It is reported that our soldiers eventually started to return back to their villages with their guns when they learned from the telegraphs that were send to Istanbul by the army commanders at the Russian borders, that the Muslim villages were attacked, the women, girls and the children were raped or killed. Pashas said: “We will have to pull the armies back if no precaution is taken.” This is the reason why it had to be done, or else there was no intention or something else…

- I’ll tell you something; the ones, who say that there is an “intention”, do not know how to read or write; that’s it. Of Course I am not saying that “it was done perfectly” but rather “the thing that should be done was done”. However, none of them, including Taner Akçam, can read these documents. Not only this document, but also any old documents; but this does not keep them from making judgments without restraints. However, this should be done by reading; with the truth. It cannot be done by thinking or with the people who are influenced by intellectuals.

- (Upon the question of Prof. Dr. Halil Berktay on the telegraph that belongs to Talat Pasha) Yes, there are two telegraphs. The first one is the forged one, which is said to be written by Andonyan. I would not mention about its contents. A person, who only knows how to read an archival document, would perceive at the first sight that it is a forged document. The form of the official Ottoman correspondence is not like that. They do not understand what the text is saying at the second telegraph. The man is not saying “Kill them as well, the same way you killed those” at this telegraph. It is saying just the other way around. However, Halil Berktay does not possess the Ottoman information, which would help him read the forged one or the other; they cannot read them. As to the signature campaign, only one or two of them could read those documents a little. None of them could read.

- Don’t say but… If someone is making judgments without restraints, putting an idea forward, then he should read and know about that document. This is very important. And no buts could be accepted.

-I wish none of them had occurred. No one can deny these. However, why they think in a single-sided way and why don’t they remember the annihilation of the Muslim population at the Balkans, Caucasus? This is the case. You will forget all the relocations, deportations but somehow you will bring only one, the Armenian relocation into agenda. I would think of it as an intentional move. First we should come to terms on this matter; then we can talk about the sorrow part.

- One other argument, which is constantly expressed: There were Muslims, who were brought from Balkans, Crimea to Anatolia, and Anatolia had to be evacuated for opening a space for them. Therefore, Armenians were annihilated in order to open space for them. First of all, there were no people coming from the Balkans to Turkey, so they should not say something stupid like this. They were expelled from there. That 1913 Balkan War is one of the greatest defeats in the Turkish history. Hundreds of people had either died or had to immigrate.

- Relocation is the settling policy of the Ottoman. The policy goes back to Byzantine-Roma period. You are not taking people from one country and throw them away to another country. You are sending people from one place to another in the same country. That is the matter.

- I would tell it if Turks had started it after I published this book; however, the Armenians have started it. Independence was in fashion those days. After Greece in 1820, the Emperorship had started to become weak. Bulgarians, Arabs…,

-The incidents on the Armenian issue starts in 1870’s. That means, 50 years later the Greek uprising. Of Course, the Greek uprising had occurred under the influence of the French revolution.

- Now, we took a machine gun in our hand with our friends and got on a minibus; we started shooting while we are going. In another words if police or soldiers stop us, would they say: “Ladies can go; we will shoot you.” It is that simple. Because, it the war itself is bad. And that period was the war time. But don’t let me be misunderstood. I don’t mean: “Relocation is something very nice; we made a cleaning.” It is a great sorrow for both sides. But, it occurred. Because, the following is the rule in the history: “One should evaluate the incidents according to the circumstances of the period it occurred.” If you evaluate them within the current circumstances you will fail. It would be something like saying: “Kanuni Sultan Süleyman was not a good ruler; if he had been a good ruler, he would constitute a parliament and adopt democracy.” We should evaluate the relocation in the same way. Evaluate it according to the circumstances of war in 1915. You would reach at an extremely wrong point if you evaluate it according to the current circumstances.

- (In response to the question: What is your impression over Talat Pasha’s wife Mrs. Hayriye? Do you think she was sorry for the relocation?) They had killed her husband. What would you feel if they had done the same to you? God bless us, are you that intellectual? She was looking out of the window when they shot her husband. I couldn’t understand; how could she feel sorry for the relocation…,

-Let me tell you something. The relocation is nothing besides the things that were experienced by the Muslims during the Balkans War. Nevertheless, our memory is very poor; we do not know anything.

- (In response to: “Turning Anatolia into a Muslim and Turkish country; which was claimed to include ethnical intention”) the ones, who say that, are putting forward a claim first and then attempt to prove it. Nevertheless, let me tell you something more important about these claims: If you resort to the Ottoman archive, a permission to study would be given to you in 15 minutes. This permission is given to everyone except for one or two thieves. Everything is registered like when you have entered the archive, when you left the archive, which document you took and when did you take it, when did you give it back, which document did you photocopied and when did you leave the archive. Not only in our country, but it is the way that is done in the whole world. All the archives in the world works like that since you are entering to the memory of a state. It should identify what is taken and who it is taking it and archival registrations are open. None of the ones, who put these claims forward, has probably ever been to the archives. And I am not exaggerating.

- Of Course, I have examined; none of them has ever been to the archives. Once, I had written that. One of them sent me an e-mail saying: “I have been to archives and have studied there.” I replied him: “Yes, your latest visit was when you were a student and took a document on the women’s rights.” In another words, none of them has gone to the archives. The ones, who organize that campaign, including Taner Akçam, cannot read. I always say that a person who does not know the Ottoman language is not an intellectual in Turkey. If you cannot read a book that is written 80 years ago, you cannot talk about being an intellectual. And if a historian cannot read a document then…, these people are not historians.

- I would understand if a statement of sorrow was presented towards all the elements including Turks, who suffered during 1915-1924; however, this cannot be single-sided. Moreover, this was done before.

- This is the second try in Turkey, but no one knows it. The first apology campaign was in 1919. And it was perfectly used against us.

-The ones who launched that campaign are Turks… The ones, who share the same thoughts with the current ones; let’s say so…,

- (In response to the question: “Do you think that the apology campaign is equal to the campaign, which is launched by the diplomats and their families, who were damaged by the activities of ASALA?”) One moment, death is death. There is no difference between 1915 and 1985. What would you do if your wife, mother or your father was killed by them? Would you sign or oppose? Put your self in their shoes, what do they call it? Empathy; What would you do?

- I know. The two people I had dinner with were shot by ASALA next day.

- However, you are young; at night you are having fun, in the morning you hear that people are dead. It is not easy. Don’t see the matter in such a humanist way; you should be more realistic.

Editor www.genocidereality.com


Statements From The Archbishop That Create Turmoil!
The statements of Abdulahad SHABO, the archbishop of Sweden and Scandinavia, continue to attract attentions by the racist circles.

The statements of Abdulahad Shabo, who delivered a speech upon the requests of the Turkish and Swedish journalists, due to Turkey’s Republic Day on October the 29th, made repercussions at the Swedish news agencies on 13 November 2008, and it was also noted that the statements has caused severe reactions of the extremists groups, which make attributions to the 1915 claims with their racist statements.
Syriacclerics…

The statement of “Archbishop of Sweden”, who serves as the archbishop in Sweden, is as following:

“Turkey is a country of indulgences. We owe thanks to Turkey for the good behavior that is displayed towards the Christians. There is no country like Turkey that has shown respect to Christians. Turkey should set an example for all countries. Turkey has deserved to enter EU long time ago.”

While discussions have started at many Syriac internet sites and forum pages in Sweden following the statement of Shabo, the moves like removing all pictures of Shabo all of a sudden and showing him as a target by criticizing his statements in a racist manner, is evaluated as attention provoking developments, which could easily turn into conflicts among the Syriac community and the extremist groups that are under the influence of Armenians. www.genocidereality.com


Dossier For Those Who Believe That Ottoman Archives Are Not Open:
http://arsiv.ankara.edu.tr/english/yazi.php?yad=36 About the Turkish Archives (20-03-2003)

The Republic of Turkey who has inherited valuable records from the Ottoman Empire is now one of the few countries which has the richest archives in the world both in quantity and quality. These archives is an important authentic source not only for Turkey but also for other nations in the Middle and Near East, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Arab lands in order to determine and write their national and common histories. The Turkish archives, which own a cultural and historical heritage of 700 years, include 150 million documents pertaining to the Ottoman period.

Democracy and transparency for the access to knowledge are in the foreground all over the world. For this reason, "transparency", which is the main principle of modern archival studies, is also a basic principle which applies to the Turkish archives. In the Turkish archives classified documents are immediately available to researchers without any restrictions. Up to the present, thousands of researchers from 80 countries have either carried out or are still continuing to research in the State Archives of the Prime Ministry.

Recently, the General Directorate of State Archives of the Republic of Turkey has taken some more measures for accessing the archives in accordance with the European Union (EU) standards and today's needs.

Within this framework, the General Directorate of State Archives of the Republic of Turkey has concluded classification studies of several subjects concerning Europe and World history, and especially on the Armenian question. The classified documents are immediately available to local or foreign researchers without any restrictions. Priority has been given to the classification of the documents concerning the Armenian question. All the documents on this subject have been classified. Moreover, the importance is given to the publication of the classified documents on which the justification of our thesis is based. These publications have been disseminated all over the world.

"The Essentials for Real and Legal Persons Either Turkish or Foreign Intending to Conduct Research at the State Archives" were revised with the Decision of the Council of Ministers on March 1, 2002. The foreign researchers and their representatives who have come to Turkey by legal way can apply to the archives to carry out research in person or through mail. Researchers' applications are replied on the same day. The local or foreign researchers, who applied to make research in the archives, can start their catalogue research at the same day. The applications from abroad (by means of Turkish embassies or consulates) are also accepted.

Archive document which has been classified and whose date of procedure has been expired by limitation (normally 30 years) can be used for research and study without any restrictions. The documents requested by researchers reach them within two or three hours.

The number of documents, registers and files given to researchers in a working day has been increased. The copies (photocopy, microfilm and digital copy) of the documents requested by resarchers can be provided. Researchers can use portable typewriters or computers during their studies in the places approved by the archives authorities.

A web site is also available to facilitate the studies of scientists, to provide information as well as to decrease obstacles to access knowledge. The document catalogues and detailed information about this subject are available on the web page www.devletarsivleri.gov.tr Beginning from the second half of the year 2003 scientists can carry out their studies on the digitized documents using the PCs in the r'esarch room. Moreover, dissemination of the full text documents through Internet is planned.

With the implication of these serious measures, the Turkish archives, especially the Ottoman archives were re-organized according to the needs of modern archives. Thus all, bureaucratic obstacles have been abolished, Turkish archives are now accessed freely by local and foreign researchers.


No Foreign Interest in Official Records on Armenians
After a decision for joint action against Armenian allegations by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, all eyes are now on what kind of steps will be taken over the issue.


Turkey's trump card is the historical records and documents held at the General Directorate of State Archives of the Prime Ministry. About 2,000 out of 300,000 documents have been opened to the public after the completion of their classification, but no foreign scientists have applied to examine the documents so far.

Two thousand documents at the General Directorate of State Archives of the Prime Ministry include clear information showing that the Armenian genocide never happened. Documents translated into Turkish mostly from Ottoman language are published on the official Internet site of the Directorate. It is striking that none of the documents have yet been analyzed by foreign social scientists yet.

President of the Directorate Yusuf Sarinay announced Thursday (March 10) that Turkey has historical documents that are sufficient to convince the world, but no foreign attention has been directed to these. Pointing out that recent speculations do not reflect the truth, Sarinay expressed that they have documented that Armenian terrorist organizations killed 524,000 Turks. "Those alleging genocide should also document where, when and by whom Armenians were killed," said Sarinay and explained that Britons and French had arrested 144 Turks in 1920, but had released them through lack of evidence. Indicating that scientists from 75 countries have applied to the Directorate and asked for documents, Sarinay emphasized that no documents were demanded about Armenian issue. Sarinay also stressed that there are researchers on the Armenian issue at every university in Turkey, but that foreign scientists do not study this issue. He interpreted this situation as a manifestation that, "They don't want to be faced with historical realities."


General Staff Sheds Light On Armenian Reality
A seventh volume of archival documents has been published by the Turkish military to shed light on the Armenian reality in the World War I era, with copies of original documents.

The Turkish General Staff has added another level to the efforts to bring the realities of the Armenian genocide allegations to public attention by publishing the seventh volume of the “Armenian Activities in the Archive Documents (1914-1918).” The new volume, prepared through the efforts of the Military History Archives and Strategic Studies Institute (ATASE) and the Supervisory Directorate of the General Staff, consists of further copies of original documents written in Ottoman Turkish, modern Turkish and their English translations, along with relevant pictures. Without the addition of any commentary about the documents and pictures, the book details Armenian activities and organizations and demonstrates through official records who the real perpetrators were of events that took place in eastern Anatolia in 1914-1918.

Countering allegations of forced Armenian immigration with official documents and indicating the reasons for their relocation, the book shows how the Ottoman Empire was forced to struggle against the Armenians, who had become the “internal economy,” at a time when the country was dragged into World War I. Contrary to the “genocide” allegations made by the Armenian community, the book proves that the relocated Armenian families were welcomed by Turkish families. The documents and pictures also reveal the sufferings of human beings that were subjected to torture, cruelty and even massacre by Armenian gangs.


Armenia,Turkey Close To Diplomatic Ties - Armenia Foreign Min January 21st, 2009 / 17h24
YEREVAN, Armenia (AFP)--Armenia said Wednesday that it was "close" to establishing diplomatic relations and opening borders with neighboring Turkey to end decades of enmity.

"I share the opinion of my Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, that we are close to establishing diplomatic relations and the opening of borders," Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian told reporters.

"We can make a new step forward if Turkey, like Armenia, accepts a settlement without preliminary conditions."

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and their border has been closed for more than a decade due to deep differences over the World War I massacre of Armenians under Turkey's erstwhile Ottoman Empire.

In September, Turkish President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish head of state to visit Armenia, boosting a tentative dialogue process between the two countries.


Cartoons Illustrate Lack Of Press Freedom In Turkey NRC International in partnership with RNW 27-01-2009
In Turkey, prosecution for insulting the nation is almost an occupational hazard for journalists and cartoonists. A number of provocative Turkish cartoons are on display at an exhibition in the Netherlands. Afterwards the organisers hope an internet auction will raise money to cover the legal costs for these controversial court cases.

In 2006, the Armenian Turkish editor-in-chief Hrant Dink was prosecuted for insulting the Turkish identity under Article 301 of the penal code. In January 2007, he was murdered.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a poor sense of humour. In recent years, he has taken many a cartoonist to court. But the deluge of court cases has not stopped the illustrators from mocking the lack of press freedom in the country. In one cartoon, Sefer Selvi draws the prime minister, dressed in hunting gear, shooting at one of the newspapers he has taken to court. His dog tears up another copy.
"As soon as cartoonists raise taboos like the division between church and state, the army, the Armenian genocide and Atatürk, the founder of the republic of Turkey - the government intervenes,"

says freelance journalist Mehmet Ülger, chairman of Röportaj, a Dutch organisation promoting press freedom in Turkey. He organised the exhibition The Power of the Imagination, which opens in the Press Museum in Amsterdam on 29 January. The murder of publicist and journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 was reason to breathe new life into the organisation, set up in 1996 as a bridge between journalists in the Netherlands and Turkey.

"If you want to write news, then you have to keep inside the line"

Keeping inside the line
On his computer, there's a cartoon by Sefer Selvi in which Prime Minister Erdogan paints a circle around a dumbfounded journalist, saying: "If you want to write news, then you have to keep inside the line". Mr Ülger:

"Since 2004 Turkey has had media legislation guaranteeing freedom of the press, as part of the deal for Turkey's accession to the European Union. But press freedom has only improved on paper. Turkey is one of the few countries to protect sources by law. But this doesn't happen in practice. Even the prime minister takes journalists to court."

Dutch censorship
There have been cases in the Netherlands in which press freedom has come under pressure. In April last year, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende demanded rectification when an imaginary speech by him on Islam was printed in weekly magazine Opinio. In May 2008, a Dutch cartoonist with the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot spent the night in a cell for allegedly discriminating against Muslims in his cartoons. Mr Ülger was surprised by the events.

"I don't agree with the tenor of the cartoons, but Nekschot has the right to draw what he likes."

Last year, charges were brought against Turkish journalists and cartoonists 190 times. As a result the media are cautious about what they publish, otherwise they risk losing government advertising, the right to accreditation or a press card and being investigated. Only a few media become recalcitrant. Mr Ülger:

"There is a lot of self-censorship, but now and then risks are taken. If there is a lot of publicity around a case, the authorities do not intervene straight away. Sometimes a year goes by before action is taken."

The Power of the imagination exhibition can be seen from 30 January until 8 March in the Press Museum in Amsterdam. During the opening on Thursday 29 January, Dutch cartoonist Jos Collignon debates with his Turkish colleague Güneri Içoglu, who was once sentenced to eight months in prison for his cartoons.

For more information see: http://www.roportaj.nl/

CARTOONS ILLUSTRATE LACK OF PRESS FREEDOM IN TURKEY
Radio Netherlands http://www.roportaj.nl/
http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/region/netherlands/090127-Turkey-cartoonists
Jan 26 2009 Netherlands

In Turkey, prosecution for insulting the nation is almost an occupational hazard for journalists and cartoonists. A number of provocative Turkish cartoons are on display at an exhibition in the Netherlands. Afterwards the organisers hope an internet auction will raise money to cover the legal costs for these controversial court cases.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a poor sense of humour. In recent years, he has taken many a cartoonist to court. But the deluge of court cases has not stopped the illustrators from mocking the lack of press freedom in the country. In one cartoon, Sefer Selvi draws the prime minister, dressed in hunting gear, shooting at one of the newspapers he has taken to court. His dog tears up another copy.

"As soon as cartoonists raise taboos like the division between church and state, the army, the Armenian genocide and Ataturk, the founder of the republic of Turkey - the government intervenes,"

says freelance journalist Mehmet Ulger, chairman of Roportaj, a Dutch organisation promoting press freedom in Turkey. He organised the exhibition The Power of the Imagination, which opens in the Press Museum in Amsterdam on 29 January. The murder of publicist and journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 was reason to breathe new life into the organisation, set up in 1996 as a bridge between journalists in the Netherlands and Turkey.

"If you want to write news, then you have to keep inside the line"

Keeping inside the line On his computer, there's a cartoon by Sefer Selvi in which Prime Minister Erdogan paints a circle around a dumbfounded journalist, saying: "If you want to write news, then you have to keep inside the line". Mr Ulger: "Since 2004 Turkey has had media legislation guaranteeing freedom of the press, as part of the deal for Turkey's accession to the European Union. But press freedom has only improved on paper. Turkey is one of the few countries to protect sources by law. But this doesn't happen in practice. Even the prime minister takes journalists to court."

Dutch censorship There have been cases in the Netherlands in which press freedom has come under pressure. In April last year, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende demanded rectification when an imaginary speech by him on Islam was printed in weekly magazine Opinio. In May 2008, a Dutch cartoonist with the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot spent the night in a cell for allegedly discriminating against Muslims in his cartoons. Mr Ulger was surprised by the events.

"I don't agree with the tenor of the cartoons, but Nekschot has the right to draw what he likes."

More from NRC Handelsblad International Last year, charges were brought against Turkish journalists and cartoonists 190 times. As a result the media are cautious about what they publish, otherwise they risk losing government advertising, the right to accreditation or a press card and being investigated. Only a few media become recalcitrant. Mr Ulger:

"There is a lot of self-censorship, but now and then risks are taken. If there is a lot of publicity around a case, the authorities do not intervene straight away. Sometimes a year goes by before action is taken."

The Power of the imagination exhibition can be seen from 30 January until 8 March in the Press Museum in Amsterdam. During the opening on Thursday 29 January, Dutch cartoonist Jos Collignon debates with his Turkish colleague Guneri Icoglu, who was once sentenced to eight months in prison for his cartoons.


Armenian Genocide The Statement By The Younger Brother Policy Erdogan 27 January 2009, Stéphane / armenews
Numan Kurtulmus the chairman of the Saadet Party (the party of Happiness) said that people should not use the rhetoric that polarizes the Turkish people and especially the rhetoric is identical to that of the Armenian diaspora on the Armenian issue.

The Saadet Party is an Islamic party, much more modest than the AKP and not represented in Parliament, but very close to it, and not less, see more, denial.

Speaking at a conference entitled "Armenian question" which was organized by the University of Commerce in Istanbul, Numan Kurtulmus said the Armenian issue was not a political issue and should be discussed by Scientists using scientific methods. Affirming that the Armenian issue is a historical event, Numan Kurtulmus developing its reasoning by saying that this issue has been used for political purposes. He claims that this has become the subject of polarization as in the "Ergenekon". But he added, this issue should not be changed in a matter of bias, particularly in Turkish public opinion.

Numan Kurtulmus said "both parties have been losses and pain but it is a mistake to turn this issue into a conflict."

Affirming that people should not talk about who is right or wrong on the issue, Numan Kurtulmus said "if we fight to prove something, then we take part in the discussion directly.

He concluded "if we really want to solve this question we must recall Artin Penik. Artin Penik was a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin. Artin Penik was slain by fire on Taksim Square to protest against the actions of an Armenian terrorist organization in Europe against Turkish diplomats. We must continue. We will build him a monument where he was slain. This is my suggestion. So we will show the world that we do not have a taboo issue. "

Kurtulmus Numan, 49, is presented as a brilliant academic, an economist trained in Turkey and the United States, which embodies the rejuvenation and modernization of the Party of happiness, hitherto dominated by the old figures of Turkish Islamist movement as its founding father, Necmettin Erbakan. His intellectual qualities and he is thus to a serious rival of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who had tried to coax him in 2007 by proposing, unsuccessfully, to integrate his party to the AKP. Grand-son of a hero of the Turkish war of liberation, Numan Kurtulmus clearly displays its Islamic identity. Led by Kurtulmus, the Party of happiness would attract the basis of the AKP - which, after six years in power, was "corrupt" and "westernized." In these conditions, Kurtulmus would be able to challenge the hegemony of the AKP in making his party a synthesis between Islamic and nationalist aspirations of part of the Turkish electorate.

Speaking at the same conference Dr. Mim Kemal Oke said that the petition of apology is a bad initiative. He said: "I wonder how anyone can sign such a document and what is its point of view." Stating that the issue should be resolved by historians, Mim Kemal Oke concluded "a circle in Turkey argues that Turkey must recognize the Armenian Genocide to be democratic. I think we are democratic. I can not recognize the genocide just to please some people. "


Israel May Recognize Armenian Genocide To Spite Turkey 26 January 2009, Panarmenian
Israel formally described this language (Erdogan’s statement on Gaza) as "unacceptable" and certain Israeli media outlets have raised the stakes. The Jerusalem Post editorialized that given Turkey’s record of killing tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq, "we’re not convinced that Turkey has earned the right to lecture Israelis about human rights."

Israel’s deputy foreign minister was even more pointed, "Erdogan says that genocide is taking place in Gaza. We [Israel] will then recognize the Armenian-related events as genocide."

Turkish columnist Barcin Yinanc, shrewdly wrote, "When April comes, I can imagine the [Turkish] government instructing its Ambassador to Israel to mobilize the Israeli government to stop the Armenian initiatives in the U.S. Congress. I can hear some Israelis telling the Turkish Ambassador to go talk to Hamas to lobby the Congress."

“Then-candidate Barack Obama twice pledged that he would recognize the Armenian Genocide. But so had candidate George W. Bush eight years earlier, until he was elected and faced the Turkish/Jewish lobby. Armenian Americans and their backers are already pressing Mr. Obama to fulfill his pledge. With the Turkish-Israeli alliance deeply strained, the position of the leading Jewish organizations is very much in question this time. Whatever the outcome, be sure that politics, not genocide, will be the decisive factor,” Yinanc wrote.


Cartoons Tell Political Journey Of Turkey
A new political comic has announced its imminent arrival. Cafcaf’s young team promises a different point of view from other such publications.
Definitions of it vary in different sources, but what we know is that cartoons have a long history for Turks, mostly revolving around the theme of politics. Drawing a cartoon is the act of "molding a real model's appearance in a strange way but keeping the basic outlines of it untouched," as described inthe first issue of the comic magazine "Kalem," dated Sept. 4, 1908.

Nowadays, there are three famous weekly political comics published in Turkey -- Leman, Penguen and Uykusuz. They reflect the political as well as the social agenda of the country through a humorous point of view. Yet, a large importance is placed on their content since they are highly influential, especially on young people. Zaman daily columnist Ahmet Turan Alkan says these comics affect people and the majority of them are issued by people who have leanings to the left of the political spectrum.

"Political cartoons have always been drawn from the opposition point of the most popular points of view. We have always been a bit socialist," Bahadır Boysal, one of the head cartoonists of famous Turkish weekly comic Leman, said to Sunday's Zaman, verifying the opinion of Alkan. Boysal further said even though the caricaturists are generally leftists, they would not have any reservations in drawing cartoons which would criticize leftist parties if they were the ruling parties. "If it were the Republican People's Party (CHP) -- which is known to be leftist -- in power, there would be cartoons satirizing them as well," he insisted.

Apart from the leftist tendencies of the cartoon magazines, there is another thing that both Boysal and Alkan agree on; the freedom of cartoonists. During the interview, Boysal emphasized the independent character of the cartoon magazines and the magazine he worked for. Yet the caricaturists are not completely free. "There is not a censorship system within the magazines and a cartoonist can draw anything he wants. But there are unwritten rules that we know. For example, you cannot exaggerate the joke and the cartoon. Everybody knows the lines which should not be crossed, but they are minimal for magazines such as ours," he noted.

Boysal further emphasized that although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not welcome the criticisms from comic magazines, former Prime Minister Turgut Özal was also drawn widely yet had no problems with his depictions. "Erdoğan has filed several lawsuits at various times against comics, however, he has never won a single one of them, as far as I know," he stated. Boysal also said the editors do not intervene in their work and no one asks the other to justify why they drew a cartoon. "It is a supremely free atmosphere," he stressed.

As a caricaturist who has drawn many political cartoons, Boysal said he constantly follows the news and knows what is going on in political circles: "Since we do not have regular working hours, I do not sleep every day at the same hour. I sleep in my living room and there is always a news station on my TV." He also said they try to read every kind of newspaper. As for the Ergenekon case, a shadowy crime network accused of plotting against the government, Boysal said he has never drawn anything about it, expressing the view that it is not a very clear case. "It seems strange. There is not really any information about it. Is there even a crime? It is like sentencing one to death without proving that he committed a crime," Boysal claimed. However, as Boysal also accepts, it is only one aspect of the interpretation of Turkey's political agenda from a cartoonist's point of view.

Another comic magazine has announced its imminent arrival, Cafcaf, promises a different point of view from others. Political cartoons will also appear in Cafcaf and they will feature cartoons about the Ergenekon case, unlike other magazines. "We could not find any reactions about the Ergenekon case in other magazines. It is clear that someone has tried to censor the topic and people should object to this," said the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Asım Gültekin, to Sunday's Zaman.

Gültekin also finds it ridiculous that political cartoons are always drawn by leftist people. "Such a claim would be as wrong as saying, 'Cartoons should only be drawn by religious people,'" he said.

The magazine already accepts the name it will be labeled with after being released on the market: religious. "We will be published as a weekly comic magazine like Uykusuz, Penguen or Leman. We already accept that our magazine mostly consists of religious people. I want to tell people about this before they hear about it from other people. We are not on the left side of the spectrum like others. We are not ashamed of our religion [Islam], but we can talk about things in a comic way," Gültekin said.

How did the art of drawing cartoons develop in Turkish history?

Cartooning began to become an art after the second half of the 18th century in Europe. Then comic magazines began to be published during the 19th century. The world saw political cartoons in the 18th century drawn by Spanish painter Goya. A British painter, William Hogarth, also gave a place to cartoons in his many works. Cartoons were also seen for the first time in a French newspaper. A French painter, Charles Philipon, established La Cartoon newspaper in 1831 in Paris. At the time British and Germans began to use cartoons in their newspapers. Famed British comic magazine Punch led this trend.

Cartoons came into Turkish history during the Ottoman period with the first cartoonist Ali Fuad Bey, who started working as a journalist in 1869 and was a lover of the art of cartooning, as journalist and historian Orhan Koloğlu claims in his book called "Türkiye Karikatür Tarihi" (The History of Turkish Cartoons). Later during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid, the drawing of cartoons was prohibited in the empire until the second Constitutional Period in Ottoman history in 1908. Author and caricaturist Ferit Öngören says in his book, "Cumhuriyet Dönemi Türk Mizahı ve Hicvi" (Turkish Humor and Irony during Republic Period), the year 1908, when the Young Turk Revolution occurred -- which led to an awakening of a national consciousness instead of domination by the sultans -- was a turning point for Turkish cartoons. At this time, traditional Ottoman humor began to be replaced by more Western styles of humor. Comic magazines began to be produced by Turks and the first caricaturists emerged during that time. In 1908, Ali Fuad Bey, who fled to Europe came back to the Ottoman Empire and launched a new magazine called "Karagöz," referencing traditional Turkish comic puppet characters. The prohibition of the publication of cartoons within the borders of the Ottoman Empire led caricaturists to draw abroad. Thus, Turkish cartoons from 1878 to 1908 were produced abroad.

The first comic, Diyojen, came out in 1869 and was produced by Ottoman journalist and author Teodor Kasap, who has Greek roots. Kasap was the first cartoonist in Turkish history to be imprisoned for his Karagöz-style cartoons. A man is talking to Hacivat with his hands cuffed. Hacivat asks him about what is going on and he replies, "This is what freedom means in the department of law."

During the republican period, which started from the establishment of the modern Turkish republic in 1923, and continued until 1928, when the Arabic alphabet was replaced with the Latin alphabet in Turkey, political party organizations and a democratic atmosphere determined the humor expressed in Turkey. Öngören says further in his book that the republican period witnessed cartoons written in the Ottoman language and that they were celebrating the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

While Turkish cartoons were widely drawn by artists who were educated in Europe or by non-Muslim artists of the Ottoman Empire, Cemal Nadir Güler started a new phase in Turkish cartoons with his simple style that was closer to that of the Turkish people. He drew cartoons over the period between 1920 and 1945. 1945 was another turning point in Turkish cartoons since it was the year when the multi-party system was introduced.

The coming of opposition parties caused some political cartoons to be favored over others and it created another problem. Some magazines were closed by ruling parties because they were criticizing them. One of them is "Uykusuz," which was closed several times, so it was published under different names. The longest-lived Turkish political comic, Akbaba, was first published in 1922 and lasted until 1977.

12 October 2008, Esra Maden, Zaman


The Legacy Of The 1915 Genocide In The Ottoman Empire Conference armenica.org 26.1.2009
March 23, 2009, Kungsholmens Konferens, Fleminggatan 18 (Trygg-Hansa huset), Stockholm, Sweden

Programme • 08:00 – 09:00 Registration
• 09:00 – 09:10 Introduction Vahagn Avedian, Chief Editor of Armenica.org, Chairman of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden
• 09:10 – 09:25 An Ongoing Living History Stefan Andersson, Project manager, Living History Forum, Stockholm
• 09:25 – 09:45 Coffee break
• 09:45 – 10:45 The Aftermath of Genocide: From Indifference and Denial to Urgency Klas-Göran Karlsson, Professor, History Department, Lund University
• 10:45 – 11:00 Break
• 11:00 – 12:00 The Phases and Faces of Denial of the 1915 Genocide Richard G. Hovannisian, Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History, UCLA, Los Angeles
• 12:00 – 13:30 Lunch break
• 13:30 – 14:30 Assyrian Identity Problems and the Struggle for Assyrian Genocide Recognition David Gaunt, Professor, History Department, Södertörn University, Stockholm
• 14:30 – 14:45 Break
• 14:45 – 15:45 The Legal Dimension of the Atrocities of 1915: Then and Later Ove Bring, Professor, International Law, Swedish Defence College, Stockholm
• 15:45 – 16:40 Turkey's Policy and Fractures with Regard to the Armenian Genocide in the Framework of its EU Accession Prospect Laurent Leylekian, Executive Director, European Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy, Brussels

Moderator: Marika Griehsel, journalist, foreign correspondent

Conference language: English

Please notice: The numbers of seats are limited. Free admission. Registration via email to vahagn.avedian@armenica.org. The closing date for entries is March 18.

Photographing prohibited. Accredited photographers only. Photos can be downloaded from www.levandehistoria.se and www.armeniska.se after the conference is closed.

The Conference is arranged in cooperation between The Living History Forum, ABF - Workers' Educational Association, The Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden, The Assyrian Federation in Sweden, Evxinos Pontos Stockholm, and Armenica.org.

Richard G. Hovannisian is Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He served as the Associate Director of the G.E. von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies from 1978 to 1995. A member of the UCLA faculty since 1962, he has organized the undergraduate and graduate programs in Armenian and Caucasian history. The author of five volumes on the history of the first Armenian republic, he has also edited and contributed to five volumes on the Armenian Genocide and eight volumes on historic Western Armenian cities and provinces. He is a six-time president of the Society for Armenian Studies, and serves on the board of directors of nine scholarly and civic organizations

Klas-Göran Karlsson is Professor of History at Lund University, Sweden and the chairman of the National Research School in History. He is the head researcher for the grand project The Holocaust and the European Historical Culture, founded by the Jubilee Found of the Swedish Central Bank, including ten researchers from Lund, Stockholm and Uppsala. The project aims to analyze how the Holocaust is handled in different societies and states and how it is a part of their national and European history. His research has also included other ethnic conflicts, terror, and genocide, among others the Soviet era and the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

Ove Bring is Professor of International Law at Swedish National Defence College (SNDC) since 1997. He has also held the professorship at Stockholm University 1997-2005. Formerly Legal Adviser at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Expert in International Law on the use of force, the Law of the UN Charter (including the Law of Peace Operations), International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law, the law of Diplomatic Protection, Foreign Investment Law and International Claims. Dr Bring has represented Sweden in the Sixth (legal) Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations for a number of years. He participated in the Thomson/Blackwell humanitarian missions to former Yugoslavia reporting on treatment of prisoners in Bosnia to the Committee of senior Officials of the Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe (1992-93).

David Gaunt is Professor of History at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden. He is also the Director of Planning for the Baltic and East European Graduate School. During 1988-97 Director of Research at Stockholm Social Services Division. Has been visiting researcher at Cambridge Group for the Study of Population and Social Structure; the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen; and the University of Edinburgh. He is corresponding member of the editorial board of Social History.

Laurent Leylekian is the Executive Director of The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (E.A.F.J.D.), a non profit organization. EAFJD represents European citizens with Armenian origin to European Institutions, federating several national organizations and associations of European countries, promoting and defending cultural and political rights of Armenian people worldwide. Stefan Andersson is Project Manager at Living History Forum, Stockholm, Sweden. The Living History Forum is a government agency which has been commissioned with the task of promoting issues relating to tolerance, democracy and human rights – with the Holocaust as its point of reference. By spreading knowledge about the darkest sides of human history, the agency wants to influence the future. They learn to see patterns, reflecting on issues such as justice, humanity and personal responsibility.


Taner Akçam: "The Armenia is no longer taboo in Turkey "
Taner Akçam, Turkish historian who lives in exile in the United States, where he teaches, complains in his latest book the responsibility of the Turkish state in the genocide of Armenians. In "A shameful act" which has just been published in French and has signed yesterday in Nice at the 8th book fair of the Armenian community, it shows that the genocide was carefully planned and executed in 1915 by the party in power at the time "Young Turks". Meeting.

Your life in exile is it proof that the issue of génodde unleashes violence yet in Turkey?

I could live in my country. I also give time to time. But it is always risky in Turkey to talk openly about the truth. We can address the genocide, writing articles, my book is also for sale, but after a discussion, you can be killed in the street. The murder of an Armenian journalist in January 2007 has sadly recalled. I just compare my country that would be Texas in the nineteenth century.

How you are you interested in this?

In 1988 I started working in an institute

Research in Hamburg on the history of violence in the Ottoman society. In addressing this issue, it happens automatically in the massacre of Armenians. Genocide is still a controversial issue in Turkey but it is no longer taboo. Things start to change. Turkish intellectuals have launched a campaign last month of repentance. If a portion of the population is ready to face, finally, the reality of his country's history, a fringe continues to deny the genocide.

What is your position on the accession da Turkey to the European Union?

Turkey should join the European Union. It is the only way to transform the country into a democracy ready to recognize the Armenian genocide. I think this is the best alternative for Turkey, but also for the European Union. This membership will thus moving the country in the XIX * XXI century.

Interview by Sophie CASALS | A shameful act. Arniénien Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, Taner Akcam of Publishing
The Turkish historian, Taner Akçam, an exile who lives in a Turkish génodde Armenians.


A Denial Conference 23 January 2009, Stéphane / Armenews

Yuksel Oktay * notorious Holocaust denier established in the United States (NJ), recounts his visit to the University of Commerce in Istanbul, where last Monday held a panel discussion at the launch of the Turkish version of the book " The Genocide of Truth "(700 pages) Sukru Server Aya, a retiree of 78 years. The book, called, of course, excellent addition to the observer as' should be read by anyone wishing to see this issue resolved and that all the Armenians and the Turks could talk to each other, as we have done freely with Ara Sarafian when he discussed the Armenian question in Istanbul, Oktay wrote in his commentary.

This conference, moreover, sought to educate the audience, composed of former ambassadors, academics, writers, entrepreneurs and some Armenian-turcos, whose lawyer Kagami Karabetyan note Yusul Oktay.

Kagami Karabetyan, from Kastamonu, signed the preface to the book and marries the argument that "some Armenians were used by the Western powers for their own purposes, especially the Russians, French and British, and it is here to tell the truth. "Truth", which, according to the author did not receive the expected attention from the media and the public.

Surprised by this, Mengi ruhát journalist of "Vatan", put forward his own struggle as an example, particularly when it had to face the courts to defend his writings, especially with Halil Bektay. In addition, referring to the Internet campaign of "Atonement," Mengi ruhát indicate that the initiators of the petition had close ties with the Armenian diaspora.

Concluding his paper, published on a forum mentioning number of Turkish Armenian activists of all countries including some from France, Yuksel Oktay, referring to Barak Obama position vis-à-vis the recognition of the Genocide of Armenians, said: "I fear that Senator Obama does support the resolution of the Armenian genocide. "

Jean Eckian

* Engineer, graduated from the School of Architecture and former President of the Federation of Turkish American Associations, changed literary critic, specializing in Turkey and so-called the Armenian question.

Yuksel Oktay's Response

The Third Conference In A Series Featuring Turkish-Armenian Relations Was Hosted By The Uk Turkish Federation 05 February 2009, Londra Gazete
THE THIRD conference in a series featuring Turkish-Armenian relations was hosted by the UK Turkish Federation at the London School of Economics last Friday.

The conference was chaired by Professor Belma Baskett and featured Prof Jeremy Salt from Bilkent University, as well as journalist and researcher Sukru Server Aya from Turkey.

The conference addressed the so-called Armenian genocide at a time when the Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The event also served to remember those Turkish diplomats and citizens who were killed by Armenian extremists in recent times.

Prof Jeremy Salt said the figure of 1.5 million Armenians killed by Turks was incorrect and much wider research and investigation into Ottoman history was needed to reveal the truth.

Prof Salt also said Armenians died due to many other reasons like starvation and diseases. However he added that some 2.5 million Ottomans died at that time too. “People should re-consider and re-write about this Armenian case”, Prof Salt said.

Sukru Server Aya , who is author of "Soykirim Tacirleri ve Gercek" and "Gercegin Soykirimi", which deal about the so-called Armenian genocide said "70 people including four ambassadors and four general consuls were killed. There were 240 terror attacks, 105 hostages taken and 12 of them were killed by Armenians but world is still interested in the murder of journalist Hrant Dink. I have lots of evidence from foreign archives and I cannot accept the lies involving the so-called Armenian genocide.”

Prof Belma Baskett said 70 people including 34 diplomats were killed by the Armenian terror organisation called ASALA and other organisations between 1973 and 1994.

Prof Baskett added that it cost hundreds of million dollars for USA, Australia, Middle East and Europe as a result of 240 terror attacks on Turks.

Undersecretary of Turkish Ambassador Atilay Ersan, Ambassador of Azerbaijan Fahrettin Kurbanov, Undersecretary of Politics Serra Kaleli, Turkish Consul General Bahadir Kaleli, Turkish Federation chairman Sener Saglam, and a number of Turkish diplomats, military attaches, academics, businessmen, non-governmental organisations and students also attended to the conference


Armen Gavakian: I Never Said That Armenians Should Apologize To Turks 05 February 2009, Panarmenian
Dr. Armen Gakavian, lecturer at Macquarie University, Sydney, has presented his remarks regarding his recent interview with Radical Turkish newspaper.

“In an interview with Turkish Radikal Daily, published on 1st February 2009, I acknowledged and thanked the current campaign for an apology initiated by Turkish intellectuals and signed by over 30,000 Turks around the world. I emphasized that this Turkish apology is only the beginning, and clearly stated that there needs to be a Turkish state apology for the crime of the Armenian Genocide, followed by corrective action,” he said in a statement obtained by PanARMENIAN.Net.

The statement goes on:

“I also referred to my own “thank you” statement for the Turkish apology that I, with the help of some friends, am drafting for discussion. However I never stated that we were preparing a “counter-apology”; nor are there any plans of issuing a “counter-apology”.

In the interview, I never claimed to speak for other Armenians, nor did I state that the Armenians should apologize for anything. I merely stated my own personal view, in the context of a broader discussion, that Armenian terrorist acts by groups such as ASALA were morally unjustifiable (as per international law) and that I am sorry that these acts happened.

Unfortunately, these few words were blown out of proportion, and the emphasis of my interview was lost; hence the need for this clarification. In the light of the subsequent distortions, I now regret having made these statements to the Turkish media and will be obviously more careful in future.

Responses, both positive and negative, that I have received from some Turks reveal that my main points in the interview about the Armenian Genocide were not lost on the honest and thorough Turkish reader.

In my interview, I offered a personal disagreement with terrorist acts committed by Armenians against Turks. To me, this stance reflects basic human morality. I stand by that stance, which stems from my ethical beliefs and rejection of all forms of violence against innocent civilians, as per international law.

However, I clearly stated in my interview that any crimes committed by Armenians “cannot compare to the attempted annihilation of an entire nation … and one does not negate or trivialize the other.”

Let me state categorically that I distinguish between, on the one hand, legitimate and heroic acts of resistance and self-defense by Armenian revolutionaries before and during the Genocide, and, on the other hand, wanton acts of terrorist violence against civilians (such as by ASALA, recognized by international law as crimes against humanity). It is the latter that I was referring to in my interview.

The purpose of my comments about ASALA, in the context that they were made, was to illustrate my following point: “If I were the Turkish state, I would see an apology as an excellent way of restoring the dignity lost through decades of denial.”

Near the end of my interview with Radikal, I wrote that “any Armenian response to the [Turkish] apology should be similar.” I was referring to the fact that the Turkish apology did not attempt to “address the question of definitions and political explanations etc”, and that the Armenian response would also not address questions of definitions of what happened. I did not mean that the Armenian response should match the Turkish apology with an Armenian apology – any such insinuation may have been due to a mistranslation.

Finally, it incorrectly stated that Prof. Denis Papazian was involved in the initiative. Prof. Papazian has at no stage been involved in this initiative and has never expressed his support for it. I did not mention Prof. Papazian in my interview, and I believe information about his alleged involvement was taken from an inaccurate statement, made in good faith, in an earlier edition of Radikal. Thankfully, Prof. Papazian has already personally refuted such claims.”


Turkey Exposes Itself To A Tsunami Of Political Misfortunes By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher / Managing Editor, USA Armenian Life Magazine, January 30, 2009
At one time during the early stages of the "I Apologize" Turkish campaign in Dec. 2008, Turkey threatened to prosecute its authors and signatories. Then, in late January, it back-peddled.

According to various news reports, Turkish "prosecutors have decided not to take action against the organizers of an online apology campaign for the World War I massacres of Armenians in Turkey, a prosecutor's office official said Monday, suggesting an easing of attitude toward free expression," reported the Associated Press on Jan. 26.

Why this change of politically driven judicial policy? Is this the beginning of the end of the infamous anti-freedom of expression criminal code's article 301? Or are the political fortunes of Turkey fast-evaporating?

In recent years, Turkey, facing the imminent possibility of being permanently isolated, has desperately embarked on a series of high level political maneuvers in the Middle East and Caucasus in order to successfully reflect the image of a regional important state.

Failed Attempts to Broker Peace Between Syria and Israel:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan initiated a shuttle diplomacy between Damascus and Tel Aviv. Soon after its launching, the Turkish shuttle lost its course and crashed somewhere between the Arabian and Negev deserts.

Turkey's embarrassing failure to broker a peace deal between Syria and Israel caused loss of Turkish prestige in the Middle East and Europe.

Stability and Cooperation Platform on Caucasus: A Bridge to Nowhere:

Having lost face both among the Syrians and Israelis for its obvious inability to enhance the negotiations, Turkey looked elsewhere to boost its international image.

In the aftermath of the 2008 South Ossetia-Georgia war, Ankara initiated the Caucasian platform diplomacy adding that the Russian Federation, along with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia should be part of it. Turkey's Pres. Abdullah Gül boasted that the idea of establishing a Caucasus Stability Forum would bring economic development and welfare to the people in the region.

Despite the initial conference on the Stability and Cooperation Platform on Caucasus in Istanbul in late January, many political observers believe that this latest Turkish posturing aims to make all talk and no action. The future will tell how long will this Turkish platform last vis-à-vis the shifting political plates in the Black Sea region and the Caucasus.

During Gaza War, Attempts to Gain Favor With Arabs Backfires in Israel:

Turkey has long been frowned upon by Arab nations for its close cooperation with Israel. Its strategic military and economic alliance with the Jewish state has caused anti-Turkish feelings and even animosity among Arabs.

With the advent of the Israel-Gaza war, and subsequent Israeli bombardment of Gaza Strip ruled by Palestinians, Turkish officials saw an opportunity to viciously condemn Israel in order to gain favor with Arab states and to calm Turkish public's fury at home.

Harut Sassounian, the Publisher of The California Courier wrote this week: "The dispute between the two strategic allies began with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan harshly denouncing Israel's incursion into Gaza and accusing the Jewish state of committing crimes against humanity. He suggested that Israel be barred from the United Nations as mass demonstrations were held throughout Turkey with banners that read: 'Gaza will be a grave for Israel' and 'Put Israel on trial for war crimes.' Israel's Consul General in Istanbul, Mordehai Amihai, told Milliyet that the consulate received hundreds of anti-Semitic e-mails every day during the fighting in Gaza."

Sassounian continued: "Initially, Israeli officials expressed their displeasure through diplomatic channels. But as the anti-Israel rhetoric intensified, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister publicly warned Turkey that Tel Aviv might retaliate by acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. Last week, Israel's Prime Minister Olmert invited the leaders of France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic to dinner in Jerusalem after their summit meeting in nearby Egypt. Significantly, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, who also had attended the summit, was excluded from the dinner."

As Turkey's international political misfortunes increase, Ankara needs to stop running away from its domestic duties and begin focusing:

- On establish genuine freedom of expression by abolishing the infamous article 301;

- On publicly supporting not only the "I Apologize" Turkish campaign, but also on coming to terms with its history by expressing readiness to make amends to the victims of the Armenian Genocide through Restorative Justice in the form of reparations, and return of Turkish-occupied Western Armenia to its rightful owners, the Armenians;

- On making amends to the Greeks of Pontus and Smyrna; The Arabs and the nearly 16 million Alevis; The Assyrians and the nearly 25 million Kurds.

If Turkey continues to ignore its obligations, it will continue to undergo both internal and external political pressures, which may ultimately lead to its implosion. It is not a question of "if." It's a question of "when!"

Does Turkey desire to avert an uncontrolled economic and political disintegration? Ankara must realize that a fair settlement of the Armenian Genocide along with cases concerning Turkey's other minorities will usher in a period of genuine stability and cooperation that it desperately needs and seeks.


Armenia May Once Be Surrounded By Turks, Historian Says 28 January 2009, Panarmenian
Arrests of leaders of Armenian organizations in Akhaltsikhe are pregnant with grave consequences, an Armenian historian said.

“The Armenian organizations in Samtskhe Javakheti were working correctly. Meanwhile, Georgian authorities have decided to get rid of those who dare to touch upon delicate issues,” Haykazun Alvrstyan told a news conference in Yerevan today.

According to him, the struggle for Armenian churches and the factor of Meskhetian Turks, openly supported by Azerbaijan and Turkey could provoke the arrests.

“Just look at the map. Armenia can once be surrounded by Turks. Heirs of Kyzylbashes live in the north of Iran, Turkey is in the west, Azerbaijan is in the east. Only Javakhk opens a northern window for Armenia,” Alvrstyan said.

“Armenia has always gambled on Javakhk, in an attempt to secure communications with Georgia. Any activity in Samtskhe Javakheti was not welcomed. Making Javakhk an article of commerce, Armenia will lose all arguments, since no Armenian will remain living in Georgia,” he concluded.


Jewish Support At The Us Congress By Ömer Engin Lütem 27 January 2009, ERAREN
The five major Jewish organizations at the US sent a letter to Prime Minister Erdoğan last week complaining about the rise of anti-Semitism in Turkey. In this letter, they also stated that they did not agree with the Turkish government’s policy on Gaza and the statements of the Prime Minister in this regard.

As a result of the widespread depiction by the world media of the tragedy in Gaza, anti-Israeli demonstrations have taken place also in certain parts of Turkey. Yet, it would not be appropriate to define these within the category of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is the type of racism targeting the Jewish people. It is difficult for such movements to have developed in Turkey which has a multi-national imperial past.

Yet, this is not the issue we would deal with now, but the statements implying that as a response to Turkey’s policy on Gaza, some leading Jewish figures will no longer assist Turkey in its efforts against the Armenian resolutions at the US Congress. Some articles along these lines are taking place also in the Turkish press.

It is true that a majority of the Jewish organizations in the US oppose resolutions submitted to the Congress that aim to ensure the recognition of Armenian genocide allegations. However this attitude has been changing in the recent times. Abraham Foxman, president of one of the largest Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, has stated on 21st of August 2007 that they have reached, as a result of the diverging views within this organization, the conclusion that the events of 1915 should be defined as genocide. Yet, he also stated that due to the negative consequences it will entail, they will oppose at the Congress the resolution which recognizes Armenian allegations of genocide. As a result, a majority of the Jewish organizations in the US have assumed a pro stance regarding Armenian genocide allegations.

On the other hand, it is not true that American Jewish organizations have prevented the adoption of Armenian resolutions, while opposing them in principle. These organizations have not been able to prevent the adoption of the resolution by the Foreign Affairs Committee and its referral to the House of Representatives in the year 2000. Only through personal intervention of President Clinton has this resolution fallen off the agenda of the Assembly. The resolution put forth in 2007 has also passed at the Foreign Affairs Committee, in fact 7 of the 8 Jewish members voting in its favor. The resolution has not been tabled at the House this time due to the efforts of President Bush and his ministers. In short, the reason for the rejection of the resolutions presented to Congress is not the efforts of Jewish organizations, but the opposition of the American presidents.

It could be anticipated that American Jewish organizations who are disturbed by the Turkish Government’s Gaza policy will not expend their efforts to prevent the forthcoming Armenian resolutions to be presented to Congress in the next-coming period. Yet, this will not have an impact on the fate of those resolutions. As it has been the case before, whether these resolutions will be adopted or not will depend not on the stances of the Jewish organizations but rather on the approach of the US President. These resolutions will be adopted in case the President does not intervene, or else will probably fade from the agenda.


A German Officer During The Armenian Genocide” Book Published In English
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ English translation of Paul Leverkuehn’s “A German Officer during the Armenian Genocide” book was published on initiative of London-based Gomidas Institute.

One of the tangible links between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust is in the person of Max Von Scheubner-Richther, the German Consul in Erzurum in 1915 who later became a co-founder of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party in Germany. This personal link to Adolph Hitler has led to much speculation about Hitler’s intimate knowledge of the Armenian Genocide, and how such knowledge might have influenced the organization of the Final Solution in Europe.

Scheubner-Richter was one of Hitler’s most trusted and revered colleagues, one deemed irreplaceable by the leader following his death in the Munich Putsch of 1923. Given their close relationship it is unthinkable that the mass murder of an ethnic group that Scheubner-Richter witnessed was never discussed with Hitler who had a similar plan in mind for Jews. In “A German Officer during the Armenian Genocide”, it is impossible to ignore the observations that Scheubner Richter made about the Armenian Genocide, both verbally and in written correspondence, that were later to become features of the Holocaust.

A German Officer during the Armenian Genocide” is a new English language biography of Scheubner-Richter, translated from the German original, and gives unique insights into one of the most tantalizing links between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. This translation also includes a seminal introduction by the German historian, Hilmar Kaiser, who discusses Scheubner-Richter’s involvement in the genocide of Armenians in 1915. Kaiser’s introduction draws on German foreign office documents and other archival materials including Armenian testimonies, to bring fresh light to otherwise speculative and sometimes sensationalized discussions about Germany’s involvement in the Armenian Genocide.

According to both the original German biography, which was written by a colleague of Scheubner-Richter in the Ottoman Empire, and Kaiser’s introduction, Scheubner-Richter took a commendable position in trying to avert the destruction of Armenians. His contacts varied from direct relations with the Armenian prelate of Erzurum (Smpad Saadetian), and the provincial governor (Tahsin Bey), to various intermediaries and Armenian deportees. Scheubner-Richter also communicated his concerns to the German ambassador Hans Von Wangenheim in Constantinople, and thus created an archival record of what he observed around him. He was not the only German consul in the Ottoman Empire who acted to save Armenians, yet as in other cases, the German foreign office was confronted with the hard reality that the fate of Ottoman Armenian was an internal Ottoman matter, while the German priority had to be the maintenance of the Turk-German alliance and winning the war.

According to Ara Sarafian, the publication of “A German Officer during the Armenian Genocide” is part of the Gomidas Institute’s ongoing commitment to engage the Armenian Genocide issue in a critical manner.

This publication is the Gomidas Institute’s second publication addressing German involvement in the Armenian Genocide.
"Former French Culture Minister Can't Decide On Armenian Genocide " 06 February 2009, Panarmenian
The Armenian community of France urged former French Culture Minister to explain his position on the Armenian Genocide issue.

Jack Lang, a Socialist politician and a staunch supporter of the Armenian genocide bill that was passed by the French Parliament in 2001, retreated from his position when appearing in a Web-broadcasted video record of an October 11, 2008 debate with the Liberte pour l’histoire (Freedom for History) association, a group led by historian Pierre Nora.

“I passed the first resolution of the National Assembly on the recognition, in quotes, can we say, because it is also necessary that historians do their work, the Armenian genocide. I voted because I thought it was an act of moral and repair history, and given the absolute refusal of the Turkish government to accept any discussion, any debate on this subject, it seemed to me the French National Assembly could perform this act. I do not know if I react the same way today, but in any case I have voted. And at the time, I was chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, so I am doubly guilty, if I may say, MP and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. However, I am prepared with force against the second law on Armenia, already at that time I committed a crime, vis a vis the instructions of my own group, I refused to vote as a text monstrous,” he said.

Lang claimed that the parliamentarians voted for the law not because of their allegiance to a nation or a history, but in order to garner votes and labeled the 2001 bill that recognized the Armenian genocide denial as a horrible mistake.

Moved by these remarks, Alexis Govciyan, president of the Federation of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF), addressed an open letter to the parliamentarian, requesting him for an explanation.

As a response to the stormy reaction of the Armenian community, Lang, who is currently on a visit to Japan, said he is “saddened by the dishonest campaign orchestrated against him.”

“I do not have to get into argument with anyone. I do not need to be taught a lesson,” he told AFP.

“I will work for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, specifically by Turkey,” he said.


International Conference In Armenia Dedicated To The 100th Anniversary Of The Massacres In Adana 06 February 2009, Arm Radio
The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute organizes an international conference on April 20-21, 2009 dedicated to the centennial anniversary of the Armenian massacres in Adana district of the Ottoman Empire.

Historians from Armenia, Italy, Hungary, Austria, France, USA and Sweden specialized on these issues will make speeches at the conference.

The speakers will have the opportunity to present their papers and share their knowledge about the massacre in Adana district and in the city of Adana itself in spring 1909 in the main reverting on the motives of massacres as well as international responses.

In 1908, the Young Turkish revolution brought some hope for change for the Empire’s Christian minorities. However, the initial euphoria and hopes for equal rights for Muslims and Christians were dashed in brutal slaughtering of Armenian population in Cilicia and its center Adana. This massacre revived the fears of Christian minorities, particularly of Armenians towards the traditional Ottoman policy against them.

The Adana massacres of April 1909 became a symbolic prelude for the state orchestrated and executed policy of genocide against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Ethnical cleansings and large-scale massacres were carried out even earlier; during the Hamidian massacres in 1894-1896 about 300.000 Armenians were annihilated and evicted.

The study of Adana massacre reveals several important issues, particularly in terms of crime investigation, reparation and involvement of Turkish regular army in the massacre. These tragic events resonated with the events of the earlier attacks on the Armenians and brought back the feeling of the coming catastrophe.

The Adana massacres heralded a large-scale extermination policy, which was implemented shortly after the breakout of the WWI. This resulted in the genocide of Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during 1915-1922, and expulsion of several hundred thousand people from their homeland.


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