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29 March 2009

2790) Media Scanner Mar-Part 2 2009 (159 Items)

  1. Letter From Turkkaya Ataov to Senator Feinstein
  2. Turkey `Hawk' Touted As Obama's Man For Europe / Obama’s Istanbul Visit Could ‘Help Reduce Tensions’ Between Cultures Divides / Obama Aims At Revitalising Relations With Turkey During Upcoming Visit / If Obama Does Not Use / What Will Be After Obama Pronounces That Word
  3. Confronting The Denialist Jewish Lobby: Mission Accomplished?
  4. Turkey Changes Tactics On "Genocide"
  5. Caucasus Knot
  6. Turkish-American Relations Should Be Boosted, Turkish PM
  7. Timely Testimony: Armenian Assembly Testifies To US Congress On Funding
  8. Obama Visit Gets Media Attention: Opportunity Awaits For US President In Turkey / Obama’s Visit to Turkey & Relations Discussed / Obama & Turkish Leaders To Discuss Karabakh, Genocide, Armenia
  9. Life In Turkish Prime Ministerial Bull’s-Eye
  10. Obama’s Nominee Refuses To Call 1915 Events As Genocide / Obama Nominee Defies Senator’s Pressure To Criticize Turkey
  11. Ezidis: Children Of Sun Living In Anatolia
  12. Armenian, Greek Cypriot Ministers To Attend Civilizations Meeting
  13. Between West & Kremlin
  14. Obama To Woo Turks / Obama Visit: Risks & Opportunities
  15. Pre-Emptive Gestures In Turkish-American-Armenian Triangle
  16. "Ally Beyond Any Suspicion?"
  17. Top 20 Tall Turkish Tales
  18. What Is Main Aim Of Discourses On Border Opening
  19. Armenian Council Of America's Letter To Clinton
  20. Keynote Speech By Turkish President
  21. Most Dangerous For Journalists
  22. Genocide: Normalization Of Turkish-Armenian Relations Could Relieve Obama's Dilemma
  23. Don’t Use Treaty To Discriminate
  24. Parliament Prepares For Obama / Obama’s Genocide Dilemma: My Solution
  25. Advantage Of Diaspora
  26. Turkey: Impasse Negationism
  27. Le Temps Des Avants by Aznavour
  28. Taraf: Solution Package Soon
  29. Recommendations On Armenia's Defense Strategy
  30. Forbes:Armenia: 37th World Corrupted Country
  31. Genocide: Ergenekon Linked To Sites On Internet
  32. Obama Will Be President America Deserves?
  33. Armenia & World: Interview With Nalbandian
  34. Deciphering Turkey's Delay Tactics in Opening Border / Armenians Oppose Opening Border
  35. Armenia Concerned At Russian-Turkish Relationship
  36. Akcam: Obama Should Recognize Genocide & Liberate Turks & Armenians
  37. Prof Cicek: "Bardakci Is Not Even Amateur Historian"
  38. Remembrance Of Things Past
  39. Pre-Emptive Gestures In Turkish-American-Armenian Triangle
  40. Syrian Armenians' Last Chance To File Claims For Their Properties In Turkey
  41. When Armenia Is Not Component In Armenian-Turkish Relations
  42. Prominent German Historian Hilmar Kaiser Challenges Politically Motivated 1915 Arguments
  43. Campaign Vow to Call Armenians' Deaths 'Genocide' to Be Tested
  44. Foreign Desk @ New York Times: Maintaining Balance in Turbulent Times
  45. Dialogue & Intrigue: Yerevan Forum & Visits Between Leaders
  46. Second Blow To Diaspora
  47. Armenian Issue Conference In Munich
  48. "Mass Graves Should Be Showed To Obama"
  49. London Symposium On "Remembering Adana 1909" Rescheduled For Istanbul
  50. Against Falsification Of Armenian History
  51. Online Armenian History Textbook To Be Launched
  52. Corruption In Armenian Universities Terrifying
  53. Russia Is Turkish Intelligence's Top Priority
  54. No Congressional Vote On Genocide Soon
  55. Department Of State Does Not Reflect USA's Position?
  56. Turkey Belongs in Europe
  57. US National Security Department Letter to CREW
  58. Genocide Resolution
  59. AKP Promised US Opening Armenian Border
  60. Armenian Film Festival: Istanbul
  61. Turkey Has 3 Problems:Cyprus, Kurdish, Armenian
  62. Plans For Obama's Trip To Turkey
  63. Turkey, U.S. Play Down Tensions Over Armenia Issue
  64. Obama Visit Of New Era
  65. Obama Gets Big Thumbs Up From Turks
  66. U.S. To Host Conference On Diaspora Relations
  67. If Obama Pronounces "Genocide", We Set New Tasks To Turkey
  68. Obama & Genocide
  69. Let Turkey & Armenia Work Out Differences
  70. Affirmation Of US Record On Genocide
  71. House Resolution 252
  72. Text Of Resolution-Affirmation Of US Record On HR 252
  73. Talaat Pasha’s Black Book Documents His Campaign Of Race Extermination:Ara Sarafian
  74. Deciphering Turkey's Delay Tactics in Opening Border: Sassounian
  75. Recognizing Opportunity: Obama Visit To Turkey Casts Doubt On Recognition
  76. Chomsky: Obama Coming To Turkey For Energy
  77. Obama Wavers On Pledge To Declare Genocide
  78. Obama Likely To Refrain From Naming "Genocide"
  79. Follow-Up “Anca Up Date” - Spread Some Honey On Words, Collect Cash To Attack With Swords!
  80. Armenian Golgotha: Memoir Of Genocide,
  81. "Armenia & Turkey Sign Contract This Year" ARF
  82. Obama's Planned Trip To Turkey Is Opportunity, Armenian Assembly Supports Obama's Efforts
  83. Genocide Scholars Issues Open Letter To Obama
  84. Turkey’s Abkhaz Diaspora Dreams Of Home
  85. Establishing Relations With Armenia Turkey Chooses Path Of Least Resistance
  86. AP: Turkish Trip Intensifies Dilemma For Obama
  87. What Price Should Armenia Pay For Turkish Border Opening?
  88. Armenian Minister Upbeat On Turkish Ties
  89. Open Letter To The President Of Armenia
  90. Recognition of Armenian Tyranny by Ankara Equals Colonization of Turkey by Freemasonic EU – US
  91. Frozen Relations Between Armenia & Turkey Showing Some Signs Of Melting
  92. Recognition Redux: Waiting for April 24th
  93. Identity Crisis: Diaspora-Armenians are Foreign Nationals in Armenia
  94. Turks were Killed with Torture at Alaca, Cinis, Yes,ilyayla, Yan?k and Dere
  95. Genocide Recognition Should Be Followed By Indemnity
  96. OE Lutem: EP & Genocide Allegations
  97. "Turkey: Land Of Fools" Ahmet Altan
  98. Scandal: Presence of Armenian delegation to Erzerum
  99. Armenia: Tyranny Kept Isolated by Turkey
  100. Private Record Of One Of Armenian Genocide Instigators Made Public
  101. The Armenian Reporter Talaat Pasha's Black Book Published
  102. A Genocide, A Turkish Apology And An Armenian Thank You
  103. Turkey May Establish Relations With Armenia To Gain Time To Settle `Genocide' Problem In Future: Experts
  104. Armenian FM Nalbandyan: Nothing Can Question Fact Of Armenian Genocide
  105. Turkish Foreign Policy Repairing The Bridge
  106. Omnibus Bill Maintains Military Aid Parity To Armenia And Azerbaijan; Increases Aid To Nagorno Karabagh
  107. Third Annual Anca / Genocide Intervention Network Capitol Hill Advocacy Days Set For April 22-24, 2009
  108. Justice Minister Doesn't Permit B Oran & I Kaboglu Trial Under 301
  109. State Departments' View On Hillary Clinton's Turkey Visit
  110. Denialism In Perversion
  111. Genocide Recognition A Priority: Letter To Obama
  112. Obama In Turkey:Another Missed Opportunity?
  113. I’m Concerned About My Safety about “ASALA”, I Call On All Armenian Soldiers To Flee Country"
  114. "Beyond Genocide, Great Catastrophe"
  115. Book Review: William Saroyan's Where The Bones Go
  116. Turkish Writer Published Collection Of Documents Belonging To Talat Pasha
  117. Sassounian: Turkish FM Should Never Be Welcomed In Yerevan
  118. Kurdish Council President,Armenia: Turkey Still Committing Genocide
  119. Armenian Lobby Increases Pressure
  120. Armenians Problems:Syria
  121. Oskanyan: America Should Recognize Genocide...
  122. Turkish-American "Strategic Partnership":On Way To Rejuvenation?
  123. Will Obama Risk Turkey's Wrath?
  124. What Could Make Turkey Open Borders in 1,5 Years?
  125. ATAA Commends Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
  126. Russian Finger Inside Capitol Hill
  127. Turkish American Solidarity At Capitol Hill By Kirlikovali
  128. Rep. Frank Pallone And . .
  129. Highlighting Strategic Relationship With Turkey
  130. Obama's Visit To Thaw In Relations With Israel
  131. Genocide Recognition A Priority, CongressMembers Send Obama Letter
  132. US Lawmakers Pressure Obama On Armenian Issue
  133. TUSKON: Armenian Bill May Harm Rapprochement
  134. Seven Topics Of Turkey-US Negotiations
  135. Meeting Between Armenian & Turkish Students In Nevsehir
  136. Canada:Students Follow A Course On Genocide Bold
  137. Turkey Sees Greater Role in Obama's FP
  138. Winners & Losers With "Genocide" Resolutions
  139. Turkey, Armenia To Open Border Gates
  140. Genocide: U.S. Congress Rep Warned Colleagues on Role of Turkey
  141. Turkey:Clinton Presses ’Reset’ Button With Key US Ally
  142. Bolstering Ties to Turkey
  143. US Daily Slams Clinton On Turkey’s Human Rights Report
  144. US Spokesman Faces Questioning On Obama Skipping Greece
  145. Obama Visit To Turkey Significant
  146. Obama’s Turkey Visit Message In Itself, Gül
  147. We Used Dead Bodies As Bridges
  148. Russian General’s Report On Genocide Against Turks By Armenians Published
  149. What Were Armenian Officials Thinking, If They Were at all? Sassounian
  150. “Obama To Make Turkey US Outpost”
  151. Obama To Turkey:’Yes We Can’
  152. Hillary Gets Personal On TV ChatShow / Clinton’s Surprises / Clinton Generates Lot Of Pr But No Real News / ’She Came, And We Were With Her’/ Clinton Tells How She Fell For Bill "Long Ago" / Turkey at Center Stage in US Policy / On Clinton's Travels, Duality in Style / Clinton Rolls Out Foreign Policy Approach In Trip / Turkey Warms To Clinton's Candor
  153. Obama Won't Use ‘G'-Word, Pro-Armenian Congressman Says
  154. Obama visit puts Turkey at center stage in US policy
  155. Prof Questions Ethnic Conflict, Armenian Students To Genocide Denials
  156. Letter to Clinton From American Hellenic Institute
  157. Uruguay: Port Of Weapons & Genocide
  158. Evening With Pamuk
  159. "Let Garlic-Growing Armenians Beg to Join You"


Letter From Turkkaya Ataov to Senator Feinstein ( senator at feinstein.senate.gov )
Sent: March 27, 2009

Dear Honorable Senator Feinstein,
I am a Professor of International Relations, and I received my educational degrees from American schools, including a B.A., two Masters and a Doctorate (Syracuse University, 1959).

I devoted three decades of my life, inter alia, to the study of Armeno-Turkish relations, on which I published no less than eighty books/booklets. Three of the most recent ones were printed in New York. They are entitled: (1) Armenian Falsifications (2008), (2) What Happened to the Ottoman Armenians? (2006), and (3) The British Blue Books: Vehicles of War Propaganda, 1914-18. I shall do my best to mail to you a copy of each of the last-mentioned three publications.

You may also be interested in knowing that I am presently on a rather long speaking tour of the United States that will eventually total no less than thirty-six public addresses, mostly in various universities and a few meetings with some US Congress members, or their chief advisors.

I have in my possession now the draft resolution pertaining to the Armenians, prepared by a group of members of the House. I have also seen your reply to Mrs. Nisan Giftgi on the same question.

Both the text, prepared by Mr. Schiff and co-sponsored by some other House Members, and your private letter, reflect a totally one-sided and biased approach that omits crucial facts and presents a distorted picture that has no relation with the actual events in history. I have no intention to take this opportunity to reply to the inaccurate assertions, outright exaggerations and scandalous omissions. A proper response can only be expressed in book form. You may consider that I have done this in the eighty publications since the early 1980s.

I may underline here that it is the duty of scholarship to question the validity of a mainstream idea. The idea in this case happens to be a prejudiced attitude or the equivalent of a "trial" in your Congress, where you as "prosecutors" and "judges" are trying to pass through a "verdict", moreover in the name of the American people.

The draft resolution does not take into account any Turkish view. It does not seem to have taken into any consideration even Armenian confessions, expressed in memoirs, war histories, series of articles and official communications, all describing how armed Armenians, acting as independent units or in the ranks of Turkey's enemies, killed Turks and other Muslims. Those Armenian and some third party sources agree that both armed Armenians and their victims had reached six-digit figures. There exist a host of reliable documents and acknowledgements to this effect in published works as well as in the archives of the interested parties. A total disregard of this wealth of information goes to prove that the US Congress is not the place to pass a verdict on this topic.

The draft resolution is basically a product of the Armenian ethnic lobby, well-organized and well-to-do but already facing a complaint registered with the US Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate.

I wish to come to your short reply to Mrs. Giftgy, in which you state the following: "We must remember and recognize this tragedy to ensure that it never happens again".

Your generalization, which misses the point entirely, is misleading in ways more than one. It is a rationalization that may comfort you but actually helps to hide the origins of genocide. Unless you are able to accept the correct diagnosis of the true source of this brand of crime, massacres will occur, thanks in part to such incorrect assessments.

I shall put aside the fact that you are virtually under the arrest of carefully-selected justifications, with absolutely no mention of opposing documentation. You have never become a part of scholarly debate on that issue. For instance, a prominent British source (Stephen Pope and Elizabeth-Anne Wheal, Dictionary of the First World War) recorded that between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians were living in Turkey in 1914, and that the Armenians "slaughtered an estimated 120,000 non-Armenians while the Turkish Army was preoccupied with mobilization." It adds that the armed Armenians attacked the Turkish quarters of the Ottoman city of Van in April 1915, and proclaimed there a government of their own, seceding in the process this province from the State. This was the beginning of Armenian massacres, pillage and rape directed against the non-Armenians.

Notable Armenians (such as the first Prime Minister of independent Armenia Hovhannes Katchaznouni, K. Serope Papazian), British functionaries (Captain C.B.Norman, A.G.Hume-Braman, Sidney Whitman) and men-of-letters (C.F. Dixon-Johnson, Bernard Lewis, Roderic Daveson, Andrew Mango, Norman Stone), Russian officers (General Mayevski, Lieutenant-Colonel Tverdo-Khlebov, Captain I.G. Plat, Dr.Khoreshenov), American academics (Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, William L. Langer, Stanford J.Shaw, Justin McCarthy, Heath W. Lowry, Edward J. Erickson, Guenther Lewy), men from legal professions (Samuel A. Weems) and many others do not share the mainstream opinion about the "innocence" of the Armenians. You may kindly familiarize yourself with such sources. Fact-finding in history demands that all relevant parts of the truth is taken into consideration.

Let me come back to your misleading generalization that you intend to end genocide by punishing the Turks. I have to underline that genocide is a product of racism; and racism was born and rose in certain parts of the Western world. It is an offshoot of a particular level in the development of the capitalist society; it is the result of an advanced stage of a certain mode of production. It is like a hand and a glove with the process of colonial and imperialist exploitation.

One may believe to be "different" from the "other", in terms of racial, ethnical or religious background. But when this difference is regarded as innate and unchangeable, and moreover, justifying a sense of superiority over the other, then, one is confronted with a racist attitude or a set of beliefs, which also expresses itself in the practices, institutions and structures which help to justify it. Racism theorizes about human differences and things badly about another group. It proposes to establish an order, a permanent group hierarchy believed to reflect "laws of nature" or even God's preference. This is what the British, French, German, Spanish, Dutch and, the Americans have done in various parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Racism has two components: difference and power. It originates in the mind that regards "them" as different from "us", and the difference is supposed to be permanent and unbridgeable. Government-sanctioned segregation, colonial subjugation, exclusion, enslavement and genocide may follow that racist orientation. White supremacy, Christian selectivity, and anti-semitism are the result. The Blacks, the Muslims, and the Jews were tolerated as long as they stayed in "their place". In some Western societies, racism was fully worked out, elaborately implemented, and carried to its extremes.

There is no racism in the Turkish psyche. It has never been a part of the Turks' social, political, and psychological set-up. They are the ones who recognized the Orthodox, Armenian, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestants as separate peoples with the right to worship in their own way, built their own religious structures, elect their own representatives and be led by them, go anywhere within the large confides of the State, indulge in any kind of profession or work, and eventually join the State administration. This is known, dear Senator, as the famous "millet" system about which you give no hint of having accumulated sufficient knowledge. The Turks achieved all that when Europe was fighting religious wars, when Cromwell was pursuing his Catholics, the French butchering their Huguenots, and others subduing the Calvinists.

The Turks recognized the Armenians as a separate community as early as 1461 when the Christian centers virtually excommunicated this Gregorian people for centuries. Consequently, the Ottoman Foreign Minister only a year before the outbreak of the First World War was an Armenian – Gabriel Nouradoungian. Would Hitler appoint a Jew to be his Minister of Foreign Affairs? Did even the Weimar Republic do that? Antisemitism, thus, is a disease of the Western societies. Hitler did not learn anything from the Turks. There was enough racism accumulated in Germany, Austria, and in some other Western nation-states. They were the ones who gave to the world racist theoreticians – for instance, Gobineau in France, Chamberlain in Britain, Nietzche in Germany, and the Social Darwinists in the United States.

The Turks, on the other hand had saved the whole of European Jewry from total extinction during the Inquisition in 1492. Turkey was a place of refuge for all of those running away from Russian autocracy, the failure of the 1830 and the 1848 Revolutions, the setback of the progressive political movements in Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere and of course the onslaught of Fascism in Italy, and Nazism in Germany. Likewise, the Turks made no contribution to racist theories, but presented to world civilization the celebrated Renaissance men such as Sinan the Architect, Yunus Emre the great humanist poet, and Ibni Sina whose book on medicine was utilized as the basic text book in all schools of medicine in Europe for 300 consecutive years.

But the Catholic missionaries from France and Protestant missionaries from the United States came to Ottoman Turkey to "teach" the Gregorian Armenians that they were "superior" to the Muslim Turks, by virtue of the fact they happen to be Christians. An American Protestant missionary (A.W.Williams) and the president of the Armenian Patriotic Alliance in New York (M.S. Gabriel), in their joint book, printed in Chicago as late as 1896, or only four years before our entry into the twentieth century, wrote the following on the Turks: "... the Turk is not a member of the best human race- the Indo-European, or Arian, like the Armenians. The Turk does not belong even to the next best of races, the semitic...the Turk is a wild beast to be caged. [We] beg pardon of the hounds, hyenas...and all wild beasts for using their names in simile or metaphor..." It is unfortunate that racist publications have become the teachers of a number of parliamentarians and conditioned them, along with the organized and politicized propaganda of the Armenian pressure groups who are so active in Washington, D.C.

However, such an assault on the Turks, and their views represents something like a lynch mob. One should note that such an attitude may well augur the advent of a new form of a totalitarian society.

You are merely helping the Armenians to redefine their identity as a group of "victims". In Freudian terms of psychology, this form of selection is called "the egoism of victimization" that totally disregards the bloodshed and the trauma that the so-called "victims" have caused to others. Such a distorted version of events contradicts what actually happened in history. Throughout the First World War there was a non stop news coverage in the Western Allied press on the Armenians. Non of the attacks, destruction, murder, massacre, theft, pillage, and rape by the Armenians were ever reported. There was even a law against such reporting, on the basis of "aiding the enemy". In the meantime, however, the Ottoman Armenians had joined hands with Turkey's enemies who provided that minority with weapons, ammunition, military training, uniforms, logistics, lines of communications, and money.

Self-styled leaders may try to convince themselves and mislead others that if their selected "scapegoat" is punished, things will be right. This will never be the case, so long as the actual breeding source of genocide, which is racism, remains as it is in some Western societies.

Best wishes,
Türkkaya Ataöv
Professor of International Relations
groups.yahoo.com/group/AmerikadakiAyYildiz


Turkey `Hawk' Touted As Obama's Man For Europe By Stefanos Evripidou, Cyprus Mail, Cyprus, March 28 2009
THE US Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave President Barack Obama's next `man in Europe' a grilling over his apparent `pro-Turkish' stance during his confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Obama nominated Philip H. Gordon, a Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, to replace Daniel Fried as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

However, during his hearing, Gordon came under fire from Democrat Senator Robert Menendez for his apparent pro-Turkish views, expressed during his career as academic and analyst, and his reported unwillingness to recognise Turkish occupation of a third of Cyprus.

The Senator also raised the issue of Gordon's opposition to US recognition of the Armenian Genocide, due to the crisis it would stoke in Turkey.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the US Senator held a private meeting with Gordon before the hearing which failed to convince the New Jersey senator that his views in office would be impartial and not affected by the apparent pro-Turkish views expressed in the past.

Menendez referred to articles written by Gordon against US recognition of the Armenian Genocide, his reaction to the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan Plan in 2004 and his views on Turkey's role in the world.

During the hearing, Menendez called on Gordon to say whether he agreed with the statement in Obama's pre-election campaign which referred to a political settlement of the Cyprus issue which will end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and correct the tragic division of the island.

Gordon replied that he agreed. However, he claimed that the view concerning occupation was expressed by the government of Cyprus and some experts.

He went on to claim that there is a Turkish presence in the northern part of Cyprus which is not accepted by the Cyprus government. This is an issue under negotiations for a solution which the US supports, he said.

According to CNA, when Menendez indicated that the occupation was included in Obama's declaration on Cyprus, Gordon said he has not changed his views on the matter.

Menendez invited Gordon to provide the committee with evidence on the funds which he and the organisations he worked for as analyst received and also whether they come from countries which will be under his jurisdiction as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

On the issue of the Armenian Genocide, Gordon talked about `a tragedy' that occurred to 1.5 million Armenians which must be recognised by Turkey. In the past, he has written that the US `should stand with Turkey in opposing efforts to punish modern Turkey for an Ottoman `genocide' against Armenians' while encouraging greater honesty about Turkey's past.

In his testimony before the committee, Gordon said the US had to show leadership in the Balkans. It also `must engage energetically on enduring conflicts in Moldova and Nagorno-Karabakh; support the negotiations on a settlement in Cyprus; promote Turkey's EU aspirations while encouraging it to improve relations with Armenia, Cyprus and Greece; and vigorously promote the diversification of European energy supplies.'

Gordon noted his time under Bill Clinton on the National Security Council staff, where he was tasked with coordinating US policy toward NATO in the run up to its 50th anniversary. He described NATO as `the closest, most enduring, and most powerful alliance in history'

In contrast to earlier statements, the former analyst said, if confirmed, he looked forward to protecting `national sovereignty and territorial integrity' across the region and resolving the `enduring conflicts that cause needless suffering on a daily basis'.

Given Turkey's high profile NATO membership, its proximity to the some of the hottest crisis zones in the world, and the key role it plays in Europe's plans for energy supply diversification, there is little doubt as to Turkey's importance in US foreign policy.

In her introduction to the hearing, presiding committee chairman, Senator Jeanne Shaheen referred to the `critical relationship' between US and Turkey while noting that NATO relations would be high on Gordon's agenda.

`Dr. Gordon will also be responsible for managing our relations with Turkey, a valuable NATO ally with a predominantly Muslim population in a dangerous and geopolitically strategic location. How we define our relationship with Turkey over the next decade will have significant repercussions for our long-term interests abroad,' she said.

House President Marios Garoyian said yesterday as far as he knew, Obama's positions on Cyprus had not changed, suggesting Gordon had come `unprepared' to the hearing.

Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou, refrained from commenting, saying he had yet to be briefed on the matter.

Gordon has written extensively on Turkey's role in the world, most recently in a co-written book called: `Winning Turkey: How America, Europe, and Turkey Can Revive a Fading Partnership.'

The book presents a plan to restore the partnership between Turkey and the West where the authors suggest a series of efforts, including a political settlement in Cyprus and Turkish EU accession, to `anchor Turkey in the West'.

In 2007, Gordon published `Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World' where he suggests a paradigm shift in the `war on terror'.

One way of fighting the `right war', Gordon writes, is to `win Turkey back' which requires `new efforts to repair strained relations with Turkey, the most advanced democracy in the Muslim world'.

Regarding the need to make and maintain allies in the greater Middle East, Gordon wrote: `In this regard, no relationship is more important- or more at risk- than the one with the Republic of Turkey.'

On Cyprus, he wrote: `(The US) can make more of an effort to lessen the diplomatic and economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, who in 2004 courageously- and with Ankara's backing- supported a political settlement on the long-divided island that the Greek side rejected.'

In 2006, he wrote that Turkey was `on the brink' of a nationalist backlash, referring to growing nationalist frustration with the US and Europe.

Obama’s Istanbul Visit Could ‘help Reduce Tensions’ Between Cultures DividesJames Reinl, United Nations Correspondent March 29. 2009
NEW YORK // The eagerly anticipated arrival of Barack Obama at an intercultural summit in Istanbul would mark his first visit to a Muslim-majority country since becoming US president and shine a spotlight on the so-called clash of civilisations.

The UN’s Alliance of Civilisations, about Islam’s polarised relationship with the West, “is here to pave the ground, to work on the cultural dimension and reduce tensions so that international efforts by the Security Council and the process of peace building can have their impact”, Marc Scheuer, the organiser of the AOC, said.

Mr Scheuer described the AOC as a “trigger, catalyst, inspirer and coordinator” of projects that “reduce tensions across cultural divides that threaten to inflame existing political conflicts and trigger new ones”.

But critics say the meeting will amount to little more than a talking shop whether or not Mr Obama is there in Turkey. Commentators have called the meeting, to be held on April 6 and 7, an Iranian-backed “murky venue” for the president’s Islamic world debut and say it will only present another chance for conference stalwarts to push their agendas.

Even Mr Scheuer said the event would shy away from heavy political issues, such as the decades-old dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, that have spawned the civilisation rift.

The intractable debate over free speech and blasphemy, which made headlines during the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy, serves only to rehearse “entrenched positions” and is likewise off the agenda, Mr Scheuer said.

One initiative the AOC supports, Silatech, funded by Qatar’s royal family and headquartered in Doha, seeks to create jobs for the Arab world’s mushrooming population of young adults and prevent the radicalisation of jobless youth. While Mr Scheuer promises “concrete outcomes”, phrases from conference documents present clichéd goals such as “restoring trust”, “building bridges” and fostering “meaningful exchanges” that are intangible and difficult to measure.

Mr Obama’s expected attendance would complement a coterie of intercultural denizens, including Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general; Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish president, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE’s Foreign Minister, will be among about 50 government representatives to take part, flanked by Gulf brethren Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned of Qatar and Prince Turki al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former US ambassador.

In Istanbul, delegates will discuss eradicating racial stereotypes from television shows, making cities more multicultural and changing school curriculums to instil cosmopolitan views among future generations.

Such themes echo goals of other cultural initiatives, including Jordanian attempts to bridge gaps between Christians and Muslims, called “A Common Word”, and efforts by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to bring together leaders of rival faiths.

Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, is a veteran of intercultural seminars and said he was “very sceptical” about whether lofty debates could affect the views of ordinary people from Dubai to Detroit.

“You get one of two phenomena. Sometimes people show up and proclaim how committed they are to understanding each other without addressing any of the difficult questions that actually divide people,” Mr Ibish said.

“Otherwise, westerners just show up and talk about the problem of extremism in the Islamic world and Muslims talk about the problems of discrimination and stereotyping. They just talk past each other and don’t have any real dialogue.”

Claudia Rosett of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies questions Israel’s absence from the meeting and asked why a session on Islamic contribution to Europe is not mirrored with a discussion of European influences on Islamic culture.

Analysts have wondered whether such topics are added to conference schedules to placate delegates from the Muslim world before engaging them in countering the growth of Islamic extremism.

Ms Rosett traced links between the AOC and Iran and branded the event a “UN-approved Slush Fund for Advancing Iranian and Other Islamic Interests” that Mr Obama is unwise to attend. But Mr Scheuer insisted such allegations are “far-fetched” and described Tehran as an “important contributor to the alliance”.

“They do not dictate the agenda and are certainly not making a takeover bid.”
jreinl@thenational.ae


Obama Aims At Revitalising Relations With Turkey During Upcoming Visit, Mcdonough
White House Security Advisor Denis McDonough said U.S. President Barack Obama wanted to revitalise it's alliance with Turkey.

White House officials held a press conference Saturday and briefed reporters on Obama's upcoming trip covering England, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Turkey.

McDonough said Turkey was an important ally of the U.S. and a leading member of the NATO. He said the importance of Turkey for the U.S. stemmed from its leadership in the region and the role it played in talks between Israel and Syria.

McDonough pointed out that Turkey served as a real bridge between Asia and Europe adding that Obama was looking forward to focusing on these issues.

He said Obama who would arrive in Ankara on April 5th would meet Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and meet local and cultural representatives in İstanbul.

McDonough said Obama would address the youth in Europe and South East Asia with a video conference from a roundtable meeting to be held in İstanbul with the participation of the youth and press members.

McDonough said the event aimed at reshaping the U.S. image in the world.

"We want to reach as many people as we can. We've got a lot to tell," said McDonough.
29 March 2009, ANATOLIA NEWS AGENCY WASHINGTON


Richard Giragosian: If Obama Does Not Use Mar 27, 2009 "Genocide" Word, It Does Not Mean US Congress Will Not Recognize Genocide"

The Director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies Richard Giragosian says he is sure both Armenia and Turkey will have economic benefits from opening the closed border. According to Mr. Giragosian diplomatic relations will be established after the border is opened. Find below Mr. Giragosian's exclusive interview given to Panorama.am.

-Mr. Giragosian, do you think that the U.S. President Barack Obama will use the genocide world in his 24 April statement?

Despite the strong statements by the Obama campaign promising to recognize the Armenian genocide, recent developments suggest a shift in policy. Specifically, there is now a significance difference between Barrack Obama the candidate and Barrack Obama the president. In terms of US foreign policy, President Obama is challenged by three strategic needs: to improve US-Turkish relations, to encourage Turkey to cooperate with US plans for Iraq and Afghanistan, and to use Turkish influence in the Middle East.

Moreover, President Obama is under added pressure form Turkey, which is now arguing that this is "a sensitive time" for Turkish-Armenian relations, asserting that the current stage of diplomacy is "too delicate and fragile" for any move by the US on the Armenian genocide. Thus, I do not believe that President Obama will use the genocide word in his 24 April statement. But this does not mean that the US Congress will not recognize the genocide on its own.

- How do you treat Obama's visit to Turkey? Does it mean anything? How will that visit influence on Armenia-Turkey relations?

The Obama visit to Turkey represents US recognition that Turkey is now struggling with its deepest and potentially most disruptive degree of change, with a profound reexamination of the very tenets of its national identity, driven by a combination of internal reforms and external challenges. And most recently, there has been an equally significant strategic reorientation involving Turkey's role within the region and its future position in a broader international context. The depth and degree of change and redefinition in Turkey is also matched by a battle with itself, redefining itself and the very core of its identity.

- Do you have any expectations from the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to Armenia? Will there be any developments?

Babacan's possible visit to Armenia also reflects the fact that recent developments have bolstered Turkey's position. For Turkey, this newly enhanced position stems from three key factors. First, Turkey's position within the problematic European Union ascension process was only refreshed and refurbished during the January 2009 visit to Brussels by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The premier's visit, his first in four years, reaffirmed EU ascension as a top priority for Turkey, demonstrated by the decision to form a new special ministry to manage with EU entrance talks and the move to launch a new Kurdish-language television station.

But the second factor contributing to greater Turkish weight goes beyond Ankara's new pledges to "step up" reforms in human rights and democratization. More specifically, Turkey's role as an "energy hub" for Europe was significantly enhanced in the wake of the recent Russian-Ukrainian dispute over natural gas transit. For the EU, the new imperative is to forge ahead with the $12-billion Nabucco gas pipeline project, which would transit Turkey and transport gas to Europe, overcoming Russian dominance of the region's energy infrastructure.

But while Armenian expectations from the new American leadership remain very high, in many ways, Turkey has assumed an even more essential role for the United States. In fact, it is the set of Obama Administration's stated policy priorities, topped by its withdrawal from Iraq and a planned expansion of operations in Afghanistan that serves as the third factor in enhancing Turkey's strategic position. In addition, Ankara's cooperation in both dealing with the post-Gaza conflict in the Middle East and for engaging Iran represents pressing needs for Washington.

- Do you think that the Armenian-Turkish closed border will be opened in 2009?

Despite the poor record of past initiatives, the potential benefits from even the most basic and rudimentary form of engagement are clear for each country. For Turkey, opening its closed border with Armenia would constitute a new strategic opportunity for galvanizing economic activity in the impoverished eastern regions of the country, which could play a key role in the economic stabilization of the already restive Kurdish-populated eastern regions and thus meet a significant national security imperative of countering the root causes of Kurdish terrorism and separatism with economic opportunity. Likewise, an open border with Turkey would offer Armenia not only a way to overcome its regional isolation and marginalization, but also a bridge to larger markets crucial for economic growth and development. In addition, the commercial and economic activity resulting from opening the Armenian-Turkish border would foster subsequent trade ties between the two countries that, in turn, would lead to more formal cooperation in the key areas of customs and border security. And with such a deepening of bilateral trade ties and cross-border cooperation, the establishment of diplomatic relations would undoubtedly follow.

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



What Will Be After Obama Pronounces That Word
Let us assume that on April 24, the U.S. president Barak Obama recognizes the Armenian genocide and pronounces that word; what will happen afterwards? Few in Armenia expressed their opinion in this connection, though the answer to this question seems quite important. To this extent, perhaps, our collocutor was right when asking at a discussion of a narrow circle: "what will happen after Obama recognizes the genocide?" it is difficult to predict the U.S. next step be, the next step of Turkey, Russia, Kramnik, Anand or Aronyan. But the forecast of the Armenian next step is rather easy. The next step of Armenia will naturally be including Obama in the number of the saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and then Obama's birthday will be included in the church holidays' calendar, accompanying it with secular events. The following step will be naming a lot of streets, gardens, cultural centers and house-museums in all the region centers after Obama.

A TV report, for example, from a far village of the Shirak region will follow it, where the descendants of the survivals of the genocide call their twins Barak and Obama, adding that they would be happy if their children's godfather was Barak Obama. Jointly with all of this, Zori Balayan will rename the Kilkia ship and call it Kenya, and the history of our friend Kenya will be thought in schools. No doubt, sheep will be sacrificed in front of the U.S. embassy to Armenia, the Armenian children will thank on bended knees the U.S. embassy, sure if the author of this idea Alexander Givoev was alive, who did the same thing in front of the French embassy a few years ago. Unfortunately, Givoev is not alive now, though it should not be ruled out that his action is immortal and someone will assume that mission.

There may be other people, who, despite of this entire, will again ask "and then, what will happen after?" We may ask the same question for ever. Is not it enough what is going to be? After this, the whole world will be astonished and will envy Obama's luck, and Obama will be so much pleased that will keep pronouncing the word "genocide" not only on April 24, but on each 24 of every month expecting the same response.

This perspective in case of the genocide recognition seems so real as if it has already happened. "But, what else?" the question seems unanswered. The problem is said to be the restoration of the historical justice and this is the reason we look forward the genocide recognition. If a potential winner demanding a cash register receipt at a market or an envious seller who does not want to give the receipt to the potential winner thinks so, it is yet comprehensible, but if the State diplomacy thinks so, mildly speaking, it is weird. The genocide recognition, besides the historical justice, cannot but pursue a political goal, cannot but serve the Armenian political interest. Maybe it is wrong to aloud this but, there is no need either, as for everyone, and including the U.S. and Turkey, the presence of a political influence is evident.

Consequently, the appropriate steps of the Armenian government to the U.S. recognition of the genocide should be cleared out, if not on the level of an official but at least a public discussion. Does Armenia have anything else to return besides infinite thank? Under these two ways there are a lot of paths in which regard public discussions should be held, which are possible to enable the official Yerevan to make a decision, to work out a strategy or change the existing one, if there is such one. Whereas, today, we only hear discussions on "will he recognize or not" topic. It is also possible, that we may help Obama with our discussions too, which will launch the official Yerevan in a non-official way, in order to show Obama what we are ready to do, what we want and what are able to do besides sacrifices and giving names.
HAKOB BADALYAN 25/03/2009 Lragir.am


Confronting The Denialist Jewish Lobby: Mission Accomplished? 2009/03/28 By David Boyajian
By any objective measure, the two-year old campaign against the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) denial of the Armenian genocide has been a spectacular success. The ADL, the Jewish American community, Israel, and Turkey were taken by surprise and shaken to their roots. As shockwaves from the campaign spread, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel cut short his vacation to return to Tel Aviv to complain to Israeli leaders.

Grassroots Armenians in Massachusetts have flexed, and continue to flex, their political muscles as never before, targeting the Massachusetts Municipal Association and the elected officials and human rights commissions of 14 cities: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Easton, Lexington, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Peabody, Somerville, Watertown, and Westwood.

As a result, they have all ceased sponsoring No Place for Hate (NPFH), the alleged anti-bias program created, trademarked, and funded by the ADL.

Successful Results
Among campaigns initiated by Armenian Americans, only the Congressional genocide resolution has generated more exposure and controversy.

The campaign has spawned thousands of news reports, editorials, commentaries, radio interviews, and letters in non-Armenian media in the U.S. and around the world.

The battle against the ADL and NPFH has underscored to non-Armenians that the genocide issue directly affects them, their cities, and their schools.
Armenian Americans now have a louder voice in their communities. And those who deny the genocide have been put further on the defensive.

Exposing the ADL’s holocaust hypocrisy reportedly helped to push the House Foreign Affairs Committee into approving the genocide resolution two years ago.

The campaign is the main reason why recent news reports on the strained relations between Turkey and Israel refer to the Jewish lobby’s collusion with Turkey in genocide denial.

Other denialists, such as the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith, have also been exposed.

Armenian Leaders Fall Short
Sadly, outside Massachusetts, Armenians and lobbying organizations such as the Armenian National Committee of America and Armenian Assembly of America have done little to defend Armenians and others against the ADL denialism and programs. This is a major failure.

Even in Massachusetts, the Armenians who have been fighting the ADL are mostly grassroots activists and several ANCA leaders. With rare exceptions, our so-called Armenian leaders in politics, academia, business, journalism, law, medicine, and the church have remained shamefully silent and uninvolved. The reasons? Laziness and, in my opinion, an unwarranted fear of criticizing a Jewish organization.

The fact is that the Massachusetts campaign has drawn enormous support from non-Armenians, many of them Jews: human rights commission members, city officials, journalists, academicians, and more.

Armenians must not permit genocide denial, whether by a Turkish, Jewish, or any other kind of group.

The ADL and America
As Americans, Armenians have a wider responsibility to expose the ADL and similar organizations that falsely claim to espouse “human rights.”

ADL programs besides NPFH, such as World of Difference (WOD), have infiltrated thousands of cities, workplaces, law enforcement agencies, and public schools, the latter often attended by Armenian American children.

When Glendale’s Hoover High issued an invitation to WOD, the Armenian community put a stop to it, but only - only - because it was aware of the campaign in Massachusetts. WOD even tried to penetrate St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown.

Were it not so damaging to society, it would be laughable that an organization that conspires with Turkey to cover up mass murder is strong-arming countless American citizens - children, teachers, workers, law enforcement officers, and ordinary citizens - into its “anti-hate” and “tolerance” training programs.

Some ADL members who conduct these programs may be well intentioned. But the national ADL leadership is not. It is clear, particularly given its collusion with Turkey, that the ADL is a political, not a civil or human rights, group. Its “human rights” programs are a cover - a way to influence and buy unsuspecting Americans who will later support, or at least not criticize, the ADL’s foreign and domestic agenda.

Incredibly, ADL agents have also conducted illegal surveillance of African Americans, Latinos, labor unions, and others. The police chief of Arlington, Massachusetts has even admitted that the ADL provides police with investigative intelligence that they cannot legally obtain themselves.

One can surmise, therefore, that the ADL may operate covertly against Armenian Americans.

Continuing the Campaign
There are compelling moral and practical reasons why Armenians must continue this campaign.

Human rights experts say that the Armenian genocide was - and denial of any genocide is - an offense against humankind as a whole. All people, therefore, Armenians included, have a responsibility to confront denialists.

Even Israelis acknowledge that Israeli - Turkish accords include an unwritten proviso that top Jewish lobbying groups such as the ADL work against Armenians on virtually every issue of concern to Armenian Americans, such as military aid to Azerbaijan and Turkey.

According to political analyst Harut Sassounian, for example, AJC and B’nai B’rith officials issued “a public pledge to help enact pro-Azeri and pro-Turkish legislation and counter Armenian and Greek initiatives in the U.S. Congress.”

Exposing the holocaust hypocrisy of the ADL and other organizations reduces their credibility and, therefore, their ability to damage Armenian American interests.

Even locally, ADL members have worked against Armenian interests. A top ADL officer and well-connected Boston figure, Peter Meade, has made himself the main opponent of the proposed Armenian Heritage Park - which includes a genocide plaque - on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Will Armenian Americans confront organizations that harm not just their interests, but also those of the wider American society? In Massachusetts, yes. Elsewhere, it remains to be seen.

The author is a freelance writer. Several of his articles are archived at Armenianpedia.org. http://hetq.am

Turkey Changes Tactics On "Genocide" Golos Armenii, Feb 21 2009, Yerevan
Armenia is losing in the "information war" against Turkey and Azerbaijan, says a columnist with the pro-government Armenian newspaper Golos Armenii. Turkey has recently changed its tactics to prevent international recognition of the Armenian genocide, Razdan Madoyan says. The Armenian language and literature have started to be taught at several universities in Turkey. The Turkish government has also decided to start "TV propaganda" in Armenian, Madoyan says in an article headlined "They have started to act..." He accuses the Armenian authorities of not doing enough to counteract Turkey. Subheading as given:

According to Turkish news agency reports, universities there have started to open departments of Armenian language and literature. They are almost competing with one another on this. Universities not only in Istanbul but in other places are also doing so. Thus recently Erciyes University in Kayseri province received the Turkish Higher Education Council's permission to open such a department.

[Passage omitted: the rector of the university says the faculty will be set up in two months and students for 2009-2010 will be enrolled].

A boom for tutors of the Armenian language has started in Turkey. There is a lack of such tutors. For this reason, the University of Nevsehir (another out-of-the-way place in Turkey), for example, cannot start enrolling students into the already opened department of the Armenian language and literature.

Under the conditions of the quite tense and mutually uncompromising Armenian-Turkish relations, regardless of the football diplomacy, this Turkish policy (this is a policy and not a private initiative) is of course explained not by altruistic motives but an urge to know a neighbour better, which can be welcomed per se.

Turkey understands that the mere denial of the Armenian genocide is already not enough; both countries not favourably disposed to it and its yesterday's friends and allies already do not believe it. The USA will use the fact of genocide in every possible way as a means of putting pressure upon it; Israel has proved by its behaviour that it needs Turkey's friendship as long as it benefits from this friendship, and will not refrain from throwing it in Turkey's face upon necessity. Turkey understands that it is impossible to stop the avalanche and tries to avoid it with minimum losses.

Turkey has comparatively recently said that the genocide did not take place, as it has no documents proving this in its archives. The archives are open for researchers, Turkish politicians said, and anyone can get convinced of this in person. However, the archive topic was no further developed. It is apparent that not all were allowed access [to the archives] and not to all materials. It is quite possible that Turkey is going to again announce the opening the archives, and ahead of this it wants to comb them out, in particular, to carry out a total check of Armenian materials; of course there should be many of those there. Their own reliable personnel are needed for this cause, and Turkish universities have been assigned to prepare those. It becomes clear that in such state of affairs why there is a lack of tutors: naturally those cannot be accidental people, invited from the side.

Turkey is shifting from the unproductive policy of denying the genocide to anti-propaganda, and this requires other types of means and other actions. Turkey's decision to start TV propaganda for Armenia in Armenian should be considered in this perspective. On the one hand, Turkey will try to break the stereotypes established in the Armenian public by presenting itself as a tolerant, democratic country, which is full of love for its neighbour. Much space will be allocated to cultural interference, which of course did take place; to stories how well they treat Armenia and Armenians in modern Turkey; maybe they will create soap operas. It will be, of course, done with great professionalism, and specialists of Armenian language and literature - Turks - are needed for this very purpose. Unfortunately, all this will look very attractive against the background of idiocy broadcast by Armenian TV channels.

Under the quickly changing conditions Turkey needs peculiar "rapid reaction forces" of propaganda, which would monitor the everyday situation in Armenia, drawing conclusions and submitting recommendations. This is another reason of the "boom" of Turkish love for Armenian things.

The Turks are not just good: they are great diplomats, and we get convinced of this again and again. They can turn even their military and economic defeats into diplomatic victories. In the contemporary world it is much more important to win in the information-political war than in the battlefield, moreover that the latter happens rarely.

Armenia has no TV propaganda against Turkey

We have been trying to make ourselves heard by our government, saying that we are losing in the information war with Turkic Azerbaijan, that it, as any war, cannot be let take its course, that it can't be won with the efforts of individual heroes, and that the state, and not bushfighters should wage this war. If the state of affairs at the second Armenian-Turkish front is a little better at present, this is due no to the Armenian state, but to the Diaspora. However, the Diaspora cannot take upon all the functions of a state.

In the days of [former President Levon] Ter-Petrosyan's junta, when every parvenu who had power shouted "I am the state!", the general staff of the ideological and information war was destroyed due to its being dangerous for the junta people, and the whole sector got under the control of their people. The second president [Robert Kocharyan] did not manage to, and rather did not want to change the state of affairs, the third one [Serzh Sargsyan] will do something but will he do it?

That's why one feels sick of the programmes of almost all Armenian TV channels, and the satellite ones are a disgrace. That's why we have not been able to take time and establish not a special channel for broadcasting for Turkey but even an ordinary 15-minute news bulletin in Turkish. That is why we do nothing but talk. If the Turks open their archives, no-one will be able to work there, as we do not have specialists of Ottoman [Turkish] language.

We are not preparing tutors or specialists of the Azerbaijani language while we have an opportunity to do this. We will have to do it from scratch in the future.


Caucasus Knot by Aleksei Makhlai, WPS Agency DEFENSE and SECURITY, March 27, 2009, Russia
WHAT PROMOTES TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN THE CAUCASUS, PARTICULARLY IN INGUSHETIA AND DAGESTAN?; Russia needs a precise strategy of security in the Caucasus.

Problems existing in the Caucasus might be divided into two categories: events in the Russian Caucasus and sources of threats and tension in Moscow's relations with foreign countries of the southern part of the region. One might recall August 2008, the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and its aftermath and corollaries. All of that affects the strategy of Russia's relations with foreign countries of the region. This strategy is also affected by the complicated situation in the Caucasus itself, a situation that never shows any turns for the better. The increase of terrorist activity in the region and particularly in Dagestan and Ingushetia compels the Russian leadership to design new approaches to the situation.

The Caucasus remains an area of never-ending hostilities. Terrorism against major objects in the region gave way to terrorism against individuals but it remains a tragic fact of life all the same.

This state of affairs is fomented by several factors like
- low living standards;
- chronic unemployment;
- corrupt ethnic elites; and
- low level of education.

Also importantly, federal laws are barely paid lip service in the region.

The Caucasus is in a deep economic decline. What remnants of the local economic infrastructure are still functioning were seized by the ruling clans for their own. Small businesses in the Caucasus are rarer than they are elsewhere in Russia.

The lack of stability is also bred by exodus of the Russian-speaking population from the region. It is Russian-speakers who served as a social and political "absorber" before the 1990s. The Russians were the fifth largest ethnic group in Dagestan in the early 1990s. In early 2000, they amounted to only one half of their numerical strength in this republic a decade ago. These days, the Russians account for only 3.5% of the population (80,000 men).

Performance and skills of local law enforcement agencies do not entitle the Russians to hopes for adequate defense of their lives and worldly assets. Islamic jamaats as parallel power structures mushroom in the region. Granted that not all of them promote terrorism or fundamentalist Islam, each and every one of them creates social and legal norms that challenge the officially existing ones.

Dagestan in the meantime is Russia's gateway to the Caspian region and key to stability in all of the Caucasus. Dagestani ports harbor the Caspian Flotilla, Moscow's principal instrument of military-political clout with all of the region. Dagestani coast with its infrastructure constitutes a considerable resource of influence with the Central Asian region.

Subjectively and objectively, the Caucasus is a region where Russian statehood and Russia as such are put to test, inadvertently or deliberately. Volatile in itself, the factor of the northern part of the Caucasus is augmented by the influence of the no less destructive factor of the southern part of the region.

There is one other potential source of threats and tension in Russia's relations with countries of the southern part of the region. The matter concerns the still unsettled Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Serious politicians in both capitals understand all too well that any effort to settle the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh by sheer strength of arms may and probably will spark an all-out war in the region. All the same, negotiations invariably fail to produce a coveted result because neither warring party wants to make successions in so serious a matter.

Foreign countries of the southern part of the Caucasus are interested in advancement of relations with Russia. It is also clear on the other hand that the shooting war last August did create some negative phenomena. The question that really matters is this: will Russia manage to return its relations with the Western partners to the plane of advancement of cooperation with interests of every state of the region taken into account?


Turkish-American Relations Should Be Boosted, Turkish Prime Minister Anadolu Agency, March 27 2009
ISTANBUL (A.A) - 27.03.2009 - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Thursday Turkish-American relations should be boosted.

Appearing on a TV program on private TV channel Show, Erdogan said that several matters including Turkey's position in the Middle East, withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq and the role of Turkey in Afghanistan would be discussed during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey.

The incidents of 1915, Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, problems between Russia and Georgia as well as Azerbaijan and Armenia would also be discussed during Obama's visit to Turkey, he said. The United States could play a leading role in putting an end to these problems, Erdogan said.

"I consider that the relations between Turkey and the United States should be enhanced," he said.

Obama's visit to Turkey will constitute a significant foundation for the future of relations, Erdogan said.

Replying to a question, Erdogan said Turkey was ready to do all it could for restoring of peace in the Middle East.


Timely Testimony: Armenian Assembly Testifies To Us Congress On Funding, Recognition As Obama Visit To Turkey Approaches By John Hughes
ArmeniaNow editor

In testimony before a US Congress appropriations subcommittee Thursday (March 26) the Armenian Assembly of America urged the Americans to allocated `not less than $70 million' for Armenia in its 2010 budget.

Last year the US budget included $48 million for Armenia. The Assembly request also calls for $10 million for Nagorno Karabakh, $4 million in Foreign Military Financing and $1 million for International Military Education Training.

Testifying as one of 12 witnesses that included other powerful advocacy groups, the Assembly was represented by board member, attorney Van Krikorian, who also raised issues of Armenian-Turkey/Turkey-US relations.

Krikorian pointed out during the hearing that Turkey is in violation of its treaty obligations to Armenia with respect to its ongoing blockade. "Ironically, the same treaty obligations which established the current border between Turkey and Armenia in the Treaties of Moscow and Kars also guarantee Armenia an open border with Turkey and 'free movement of persons and goods without any delays.' Turkey has been in breach of these treaty obligations for years now without repercussion."

In written testimony, the Assembly highlighted the effect of the blockades, which "cost Armenia hundreds of millions of dollars annually" and were "compounded by the economic losses incurred as a result of the Russia-Georgia conflict last year." Click here to read the entire testimony (English only).

As the United States under newly-elected President Barack Obama is entering the so-called `re-set era', in foreign relations, Krikorian pointed out the uniquely friendly relations Armenia shares with both Russia and the United States. The Assembly board member also expressed hopes that talks started last autumn between Turkey and Armenia will lead to further talks and improved relations between the estranged neighbors.

Krikorian's testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State Foreign Operations and Related Programs (Subcommittee) comes just 10 days before Obama is scheduled to visit Turkey for talks there that are expected to include - among other matters -- discussions of Turkey's assistance as an exit point for a US withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Since his appearance in Washington as a senator, Obama has supported recognition by the United States of the Armenian Genocide, and his pledge to see an official recognition during his presidency is expected to be challenged during his April 5 trip to Ankara.

"President Obama's visit presents a unique opportunity for the President to hold Turkey accountable to the norms of international law, as well as his own statements reaffirming the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide to help liberate Turkey and the Turkish people from their own toxic legacy,' Krikorian told the subcommittee, adding that recognition would `make sure the rest of the world knows that the days of selective genocide prevention by the U.S. are over."

Kirkorian further stressed that `normalization of relations and Turkey's lifting of its 15-year-long blockade of Armenia should not be held hostage to U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide." Normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey or strengthening ties between the US and Turkey, he said: `should not come at the expense of rewriting U.S. history."

Senator Jesse Jackson Jr. (democrat from Illinois) raised concerns over funding the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) for Armenia - a multi-million dollar grant that has been frozen since accounts of fraud in last year's presidential election and subsequent violence in Armenia. In his written testimony, Kirkorian addressed the issue, saying:

`To be clear, the Armenian Assembly, the entire Armenian-American community, and citizens of Armenia want to see faster improvement in democracy, rule of law, an independent and fair judiciary, clean elections, removal of any questions over politically charged trials, security, and good governance. Armenians themselves recognize the stakes in these challenges, and accept that they will continue to be carefully monitored by the international community. In this regard, I would like to underscore the important work of Armenia's Human Rights Ombudsman and the constructive role he has played in Armenia's democratic system.'


Obama Visit Gets Media Attention: Opportunity Awaits For Us President In Turkey, By John Hughes Armenianow Editor

An analysis this week by Reuters news agency entitled `Obama to woo Turks, Armenian pitfall awaits', cites an Oxford University expert saying that `the Armenian issues is the thorniest' of matters facing US President Barack Obama on his visit to Turkey next week. According to the analysis of Reuters special correspondent Alistair Lyon: `Obama may unlock the kind of goodwill generated by former U.S. President Bill Clinton when he came to Turkey in 1999, but risks dissipating it all if he uses another G-word, genocide, to describe the fate of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.' Similar in tone to a piece that appeared in the Washington Post last week (see ??), the analysis points to regional relations from Irag, to Syria, to Iran, to Afghanistan to underscore the need for the US to have a friend in the middle east - specifically Turkey, which, among other issues, could serve as a staging ground for Obama's planned exit of US troops from Iraq.

The US president's visit will be scrutinized particularly by American-Armenian advocates of Genocide recognition, coming as a new recognition resolution (HR252) has just appeared before congress (see ??) and taking place less than three weeks before the president's expected address on Armenian Genocide Recognition Day (April 24). In Yerevan, the country director for the Armenian Assembly of America (www.aaainc.org), Arpi Vartanian, called Obama's visit `an extraordinary opportunity for President Obama to discuss, face-to-face, the well-documented fact of the Armenian Genocide with Turkish officials.' She also emphasized the fact that while there have been positive steps towards rapprochement, recognizing the Armenian Genocide is an issue that should in no way be held hostage to this or other issues, nor should the United States be intimidated by `what if?' scenarios that the Turkish government has used in the past.

President Obama’s Visit to Turkey and Turkish-America Relations Discussed on Atlantik Otesi – Beyond the Atlantic – with Bulent Aliriza, WDC

A Program on TRT 1, Thursday, March 27, 2009, 23:05 – 23:55 PM

The Red House defines the word ‘’otesi’’ as ‘’the rest,’’ or ‘’what follows.’’ The host of the new program on TRT 1, ‘’Atlantik Otesi’’, which I translated as ‘’Beyond the Atlantic’’, Bulent Aliriza in WDC, discussed the significance of US President Obama’s upcoming trip to Turkey and the new developments in the Turkish-American relations. His hosts were Former US Ambassadors to Turkey, Morton Amromowitz (1989 - 1991) and Mark Parris (1997 - 2000).

Both former ambassadors stated that the trip of President Obama during the first 100 days of his presidency is very significant and will be a milestone in the Turkish-American relations. The discussions centered around the very important Cyprus issue, the increasing role of that Turkey is playing in the region, especially in relations with Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Both stated that, in summary, the US wants to work with Turkey along with Israel, in solving the issues that impact, not only the Middle East, but the US, Europe and the region.

President Obama will arrive in Ankara on April 6 and, before attending any meetings and addressing to the Turkish Grand National Assembly, he will visit the Ataturk Mausoleum. This in itself is very significant and will give a very strong message to the world that he considers Turkey as a secular state, still following in the footsteps of is founder and the great reformer of the 20th century.

Responding to the questions posed by the Cypriot born Bulent Aliriza aon a variety of issues, Mark Parris and Mortin Abromowitz both presented information on Turkish-American relations during their term in Turkey, both with ups and downs. They both explained the United States’ strong support of Turkey’s membership in the European Union. Following discussions on the importance of Turkey’s relations with all of its neighbors, including Russia, Mark Parris stated his belief that, in his historical speech at the Grand National Assembly, President Obama will address to the Islamic World since Turkey is a Republic with vast majority of her people being moslem.

The last discussion was on the most important foreign affairs issue between the United States and Turkey, that is whether the President will use the ‘’g’’ word in his message on April 24 and the House of Representatives will accept and vote for the Armenian Resolution, which has already been submitted by the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mark Parris stated that if the President recognizes April 24 as the remembrance of Armenian genocide day and the Resolution passes, the relations will not disappear but it will cool down. Mortin Abromowitz mentioned that everything that was discussed earlier will enter a difficult stage, including the help of Turkey in withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Everyone in Turkey is looking forward to seeing President Obama in Turkey which is bound to open a new chapter in the Turkish-American relations. One disappointment is the First Lady Obama’s decision not to accompany her husband in order to be with their two daughters during the Presidents trip to Europe and Turkey. I hope the two first daughters can convince their parents, as they did when they wanted dogs in the White House, to travel to Turkey with them, at least during the Turkey leg, which is getting ready to celebrate the ‘’Children’s Holiday on April 23’’ with young students from many countries, including the US .

Yuksel Oktay
26 March 2009
Istanbul


In Talks With Obama, Turkish Leaders To Discuss Karabakh, Genocide, Armenia Ties asbarez.com March 27, 2009
ANKARA (Combined Sources)--The Armenian Genocide, Turkish-Armenian relations, and ongoing peace talks around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be on the agenda of talks between Turkey's leaders and US President Barack Obama on his upcoming visit to Ankara early April, Turkish and Azeri news agencies reported on Friday.

Speaking in a televised interview on Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he would underscore several issues during Obama's visit, including Turkey's position on the Middle East, South Caucasus and Central Asia, the Azeri Trend News agency reported.

Erdogan's remarks come less than a week ahead of Obama's scheduled visit and only five weeks ahead of April 24, the day internationally commemorated as the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Obama's Ankara trip, which will take place between April 6-7, was announced on March 7 during an official visit to Ankara by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The LA Times reported on March 17 that Obama's administration has been soliciting Ankara's help on Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and other security issues. Erodgan is expected to play up Turkey's ability to help the United States in confrontations and conflicts that stretch from Israel to Afghanistan -- via Syria, Iraq and Iran -- and from Cyprus to the Caucasus.

"I do not find the level of Turkey-U.S. relations adequate. I believe the relations between Turkey and the United States should be enhanced," Erdogan said.

According to Trend, Erdogan also said the talks would focus on, among other things, how the United States could play a leading role in resolving lingering conflicts in the Caucasus, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the impasse created by the Russian-Georgian war last August.

The Turkish Prime Minister was quoted by Trend as saying that a solution to the "problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia will help overcome the difficulties in relations between Turkey and Armenia."

The Turkish World Bulletin online news portal, meanwhile, reported that Erodogan said the "incidents of 1915" would also be on the agenda of talks with Obama.

Turkish President Gul also spoke on the issue in Brussels Friday, echoing his Prime Minister's sentiments and telling reporters that President Obama's visit to Turkey would underscore "Turkey's global importance."

"There are strategic and quite important relations between Turkey and the U.S. Those relations go beyond the issues concerning our countries," Gul told a press conference before leaving for Ankara. "Turkey and the United States hold perpetual consultations about regional and international developments from Afghanistan to the Middle East."

He said Turkey is pleased with Obama's decision to pay a visit to the country, and added this will enable the countries to hold mutual consultations on a range of issues.

Ankara and its hired lobbyists in Washington have argued that Turkey is a valuable ally to have as the new administration prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq, to boost troops in Afghanistan and to seek peace in the Middle East. Official Ankara signaled last week that it would be willing to allow the transit of U.S. troops through the country.

But despite winds of optimism on the future of Turkish-American relations, the first fissure between the two governments has already emerged on the suspension of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) indictment of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. Turkey favors a deferral and looks set to vote in that direction if a vote takes place at the United Nations Security Council, despite requests to do the opposite from the Barack Obama administration.


Life In Turkish Prime Ministerial Bull’s-Eye
ANKARA - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s anger lately has been focused on Hürriyet columnist Bekir Coşkun, who is known as Turkey’s greatest opposition writer. Not surprisingly, Coşkun has not been intimidated and has been criticizing what he sees as the government's wrongdoings . Through humor and his skill with words, Coşkun has held his ground firmly and has provided his readers with many fun-to-read articles.

For the past 25 years, Coşkun has made a name for himself with his incisive writing and recently with his involvement in a war of words with Erdoğan. This has come to a point where Erdoğan, in his rally to stop the Turkish public from buying Doğan newspapers, including this one, singled Coşkun out from the rest of the journalists. Erdoğan even claimed in one recent speech that Coşkun sleeps with dogs. But who exactly is this man who has been the target of the prime minister’s wrath?

The 64-year-old writer has been defined as Turkey’s grandest "anti" writer. Coşkun is aware of this. "I have always been anti. When I started my career as a journalist, I was opposing my editors, my boss. É Because I was opposing my camera, I never could take a decent photograph. I play the violin; I also oppose my violin. At home, I am [my dog] Postal’s biggest opposition because I react to him messing up our garbage can," he said.

Coşkun was born in the southeastern town of Şanlıurfa on Turkey’s Syrian border. His father was a government official, who, like Coşkun, frequently got into trouble because of his dissident stance toward the government’s policies. "He was exiled constantly, and I followed him around [different towns in Anatolia]," said Coşkun.

Coşkun’s column, "The Tenth Village," calls to mind the Turkish saying "who speaks the truth gets expelled from nine villages." The saying refers to the fact that people are bothered by someone who speaks the truth. In fact, for Coşkun the purpose of his column is to tell the truth. "Why is that column given to me? It is not so that I curry favor. It was given to me so that I can write about those things that should be criticized but that the people cannot voice," he said.

"This is important in societies that somehow cannot set themselves free, that are underdeveloped, where there is hunger, misery, poverty and ignorance, and where [the contemporary standards] in democracy and law have not caught on."

The veteran columnist believes that his decision to write the truth makes his life difficult. "I have a restless life; full of fear and concerns. É I cannot go to a cinema or theater, or to a restaurant just like anyone else. There is always the likelihood that someone will assault me. Is this something nice? Not at all," he said. "But if I give priority to my own life, it would mean I am not doing my job."

Coşkun is celebrated for his use of humor in his articles. "I do not use this much humor in my daily life," he said. "This is why I do not interfere with myself [when I write]. As a person, I am human. I might have troubles; my shoe may be pinching my foot, I may be hungry. É But when I sit in front of the computer and start writing, then I become someone else." He does not believe he has the right to write about his personal issues or worries in his columns.

Although Coşkun steadily opposes the government, he is also upset with Turkish society. He believes society itself is responsible for what happens to it. "I think that the biggest obstacle Turkish society faces is itself. Hunger, misery, poverty, ignorance, blood and tears É but the Turkish society itself is primarily responsible for these," he said.

"It is hard to believe that only 3-5 million [people] read newspapers in a society of 70 million. It is also hard to believe that a society is praying in a language it does not understand, it does not know what that prayer means, and is not even curious to know."

Coşkun said Turkish society always blames the politicians, the Constitution, the laws, journalists, but never itself. "Parliament has changed many times, there have been 59-60 governments, the Constitution has changed seven times, and there have been 11 different presidents. Everything has changed," he said. "The only thing that has not changed in this package is the voters, society itself. And in parallel to that, it is this unfortunate fate that has not changed."

Pako, the dog that left his mark
Coşkun is also known to be an animal lover, the "father" of Turkey’s most famous dog, the late Pako. He is also a violin player, and a man in love with the sea. His harsh, yet humorous criticism of the Turkish government as a journalist clashes with Coşkun as a person, a romantic, emotional man. "I judge myself, too, and tell myself to be more positive. That is when I play the violin," said Coşkun, who plays well-known Turkish classical music songs. "Or I play with Postal as I used to play with Pako," he said, referring to his dogs.

Pako, Turkey’s best-known canine, was a 13-kilogram ragged black dog. Using Pako’s point-of-view, Coşkun made programs for television, wrote columns and organized campaigns that yielded results in laws regulating hunting, animal rights and the preservation of forests.

"But the most interesting part was Pako’s death," Coşkun said. Upon Pako’s death, the head of the leading opposition party and health minister each issued a statement, the president had sent his condolences, thousands of people sent faxes expressing their sorrow, and Pako’s death became a news story in all newscasts and newspapers. "It was almost like a saint or a scientist had died. I was not aware either that Pako had become the voice of children, of women, of anyone with a conscience in Turkey," said Coşkun. "He had surpassed me."

Hobbies complementing work
The writer believes his hobbies and work complete each other. "While I play the violin, a piece I am playing can open the door for an article," he said. "Then the sea Ğ the sea is a philosophy. It taught me not to sink; it taught me how to stay on it, how to walk on the most slippery ground," said Coşkun, whose love for the sea started during his childhood.

"My father was stationed in the Harran Plain [on the Syrian border]. It was a place in the middle of a desert where water was drawn with a bucket from a 60-meter well. I had a colored comic book. In that book, an American family, father, mother, a boy, and a girl, sail off to the sea. The boat starts sinking so they take refuge in an island," said Coşkun.

"I had only one thing to read and that was that comic book. I kept reading it from beginning to the end. But there was one problem: Every time the brazier was lit at home, my book would lose some of its pages. At the end, only one page remained. It was a full page of a picture of the father and the son repairing the sailboat while the mother and the daughter lit a fire. That picture is where my love for the sea began.

"I dreamt that I would be a sailor when I grew up, that I would sail out to the sea. When I grew up, I came to Ankara for university. I bought an inflatable plastic boat with the first money I earned and took it to the lake here."

Coşkun sees carpentry, another of his hobbies, as one more element that completes his writings. "I believe all materials have an identity. Stone is very loyal. Stones wait by graves for 2,000-3,000 years. Iron is warrior-like. Tips of all weapons are made of iron. Earth is motherly; it tends to give. The material I hate the most is plastic. It is elusive and hypocritical; it will take any shape," he said. "But wood is not like that. It is very emotional. You see its veins as you caress it. It is a lover; it is love. All cribs are made of wood. Children grow up in wood, especially in poor societies. Most, if not all, of musical instruments are made of wood. That is why I love working with wood."

Coşkun thinks he had no other choice but to become a writer. "For me, expressing myself in a written manner was an absolute necessity. I cannot pronounce the letters ’s’ and ’z.’ And when I get angry, I cannot speak at all," said the columnist. He explained he would resolve issues with his parents or siblings through letters. "And I wrote long love letters to girls," he said. "It developed into expressing myself by writing."

Coşkun started his career as a photojournalist in 1974. He then became a reporter. "Being a newsperson was not for me. A man would tell me something off the record, and I would honor that. When I read that same story in other newspapers the next day, I decided I could not do this job," he said. "Or while writing a news story about a man who has betrayed his wife, I would think that maybe the man has a child that goes to school and that the child’s friends would read this. I would consider how the child would run crying to his mother. There have been many stories like this that I have decided not to report."

Coşkun found writing columns to be more honest. He likes the word "village" in his column’s name and considers himself to be a villager. "I like walking around in my socks, I do not like using silverware much, I like dipping my bread in the sauce of my food, I get confused when there are too many glasses on the table. I like sitting on the floor, creaking doors and leaking faucets. Because my wife is French, she tries to turn the house into an urban home. I spend time in the ’village’ part of the house in the basement," said Coşkun.

Coşkun believes the biggest problem of the media is that it is not independent. "Because newspapers and TV stations are entities that live on income from advertising, they are dependent on the capital sector. In the Western world, the media needs to be dependent on capital. But in Turkey, it also needs to be dependent on the government because laws are not very effective and justice is not very central and the future of the media is between the lips of the government. This is the case with [the government and] the Doğan Group recently," he said.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CLASH
The war of words between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hürriyet columnist Bekir Coşkun has been ongoing for a while. Some highlights are as follows:

"The man scratching his belly" was the title of Coşkun’s article that angered Erdoğan. The article, published May 3, 2007, in the months leading to general elections, describes Justice and Development Party, or the AKP, voters as ignorant men, oblivious to what is going on in the world or to the protests by Kemalists. Coşkun also wrote in the article that democracy could not flourish in a society where "the man scratching his belly" is in the majority.

During a speech in the city of Sivas during the local elections rally Feb. 14, Erdoğan, without mentioning the columnist’s name, accused Coşkun of being a partisan writer for the opposition, citing the columnist’s "the man scratching his belly" article and saying: "These have beloved dogs. They sleep with their dogs." This was clearly referring to Coşkun, who is known for his love of animals. Coşkun replied to Erdoğan in his column the next day through the point of view of his dog Postal, expressing the dog’s disappointment in Erdoğan’s lack of love for animals and saying that such a love would be able to prevent wars. "This became very interesting Ğ for the first time in the history of Eastern media, a dog responded to the prime minister. Then the prime minister, realizing that he could not overcome Postal, did not comment," said Coşkun during an interview with the Daily News.

On Aug. 15, 2007, Coşkun wrote that with Parliament’s election of Abdullah Gül, who had served as foreign minister in the AKP government and who is a long-time close associate of

Erdoğan, as Turkey’s president would put an end to Turkey’s secular stance. He also wrote that Gül was elected by "the man scratching his belly" and could be his president but not Coşkun’s because the new president did not represent his sentiments.

Erdoğan replied to Coşkun’s "He will not be my president" article of Aug. 15 harshly, saying, "If he is not your president, then renounce your Turkish nationality." The columnist’s reply came in his Aug. 22 article, "I have nowhere to go," where he explained how he loved Turkey and had done all his duties toward his motherland.

The animal-lover in Coşkun took another political turn when Cihan, the horse that kicked Erdoğan off his back a couple of years before, died. In his article "We lost Cihan" on Dec. 30, 2007, Coşkun referred to Cihan as a valuable, respectful, sensitive and conscious horse that had never tried to curry favors but courageously did what was necessary. Moreover, Coşkun, wrote in his article that no one, including Erdoğan, had tried to punish Cihan for what he had done. This, argued Coşkun, was interesting in a culture where animals that bothered people were killed.
www.hurriyet.com.tr


Obama’s Nominee Refuses To Call 1915 Events As Genocide
WASHINGTON - Phil Gordon, nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Thursday declined to qualify World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as "genocide" during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Senate must confirm all senior administration officials.

During the confirmation hearing at the committee, pro-Armenian Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez complained that Gordon, in his articles as an expert, in recent years had written that congressional recognition of the Armenian killings would not be useful because of the backlash it would cause in Turkey. Menendez then asked Gordon his latest position on the Armenian killings.

Gordon qualified the deaths as a "terrible tragedy" that should be seen as such by everybody, including Turks. But he declined to use the word "genocide."

The term "terrible tragedy" does not satisfy U.S. Armenians, who strongly push for formal U.S. recognition of the killings as genocide.

Turkey warns that any U.S. genocide recognition will damage relations in a major and lasting way.

Cyprus
On Cyprus, Menendez asked Gordon if he qualified Turkey's military presence on the island as an "occupation." Gordon instead used the term "Turkish presence."

Menendez then said Obama had used the term "Turkish occupation" during last year's presidential election campaign.

Greek News, a New York-based U.S. Greek magazine, said in October last year that Obama, in a statement to Greek Americans, had called the Turkish military presence in northern Cyprus "Turkish occupation."

But no such statement was released by Obama's official Web site. Also an Obama position paper on foreign policy matters made no mention of a Turkish occupation. But at the same time the Obama campaign never denied the Greek News story. Gordon said Turkey had a major role to play in its region and that U.S.-Turkish relations should be improved.

If Gordon is approved first by the Foreign Relations Committee and later in a Senate floor vote, he will take over the job from Dan Fried, who has been former President George W. Bush's assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs for the past four years.

During former President Bill Clinton's term, Gordon was European director at the National Security Council at the White House.

Gordon was a senior Europe expert at the Brookings Insti-tution, a major Democratic-leaning think tank here.
www.hurriyet.com.tr


Obama Nominee Defies Senator’s Pressure To Criticize Turkey
Philip Gordon, recently appointed by US President Barack Obama as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, has refused to call Turkey's presence in Cyprus an "occupation" and insisted that any US move to back Armenian "genocide" claims would be counterproductive, despite pressure from a senator at a Senate committee.

At his confirmation hearing at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Thursday, Gordon was asked to comment on a pre-election statement by Obama outlining his foreign policy priorities in which he said "a negotiated political settlement on Cyprus would end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and repair the island's tragic division while paving the way to prosperity and peace throughout the entire region." When asked if he agreed with the statement, Gordon said "yes," but when Sen. Robert Menendez pressed him to say if he considered the Turkish presence on the island an occupation, he only said the Greek Cypriot government and a number of experts considered it an occupation.

Gordon was then criticized by Menendez for opposing past attempts in the US Congress to pass a resolution recognizing claims that Armenians were subjected to a genocide campaign at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Menendez then said he was concerned over whether Gordon would act in a balanced manner regarding this matter. Gordon, for his part, insisted that congressional measures on the issue would provoke a "nationalist backlash" in Turkey. To prove that he would take a balanced approach, Gordon talked of the need to "recognize that terrible tragedy took place," and said "more than 1.5 million people were driven from their homes and massacred."

Congress has recently introduced a new resolution calling on the US president to describe the killings of Armenians as genocide. Turkey says any such move would both harm Turkish-US relations and undermine the efforts between Turkey and Armenia to normalize their relations, severed, among other reasons, due to the dispute over history. Ankara denies the genocide accusations and says the killings were a result of civil strife.

In a sign of the importance attached to Turkey by the new US administration, Obama is expected to visit Ankara to discuss a wide range of issues including Iran's nuclear program, Iraq and Afghanistan.

When asked why good relations with Turkey were important by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gordon noted that the US image in Turkey had deteriorated badly in recent years and added that it was "hard to get work done in a democracy when there is such skepticism about our country." He added: "We have a lot of work to do with them. Turkey is critical for the energy routes between the Caspian, the Middle East and the West. Turkey is a country that has borders with Greece, the Black Sea, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean. For that reason alone it's a critical strategic player in the world. And it is an aspirant to EU membership. The global symbolism of a majority Muslim country joining EU will be very powerful."

"We have a compelling national interest in working with Turkey, which is not to say we agree with them on everything," he also said.

Gordon, a senior fellow for US foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, was nominated to replace Daniel Fried on March 11.
28 March 2009, Alİ H. Aslan Washington, Zaman


The Ezidis: Children Of The Sun Living In Anatolia by Vercihan Ziflioğlu
ISTANBUL - In Turkey there are only 400 members remaining of the Ezidis, one of the oldest communities in Anatolia. The largest Ezidi populations in the world are in Armenia and Germany, according to a research by a master student

Misunderstood for centuries, one of the oldest minority communities in Anatolia has lived in silence in Turkey, keeping their traditions alive through oral history and a religious caste system.

For centuries, many have claimed the Ezidis were Satanists, but Ezidis are a religious community with hundreds of years of oral history. They are monotheistic, have no place of worship and their holy scripture has been lost.

They have derogatorily been called "Yezidis," in reference to the belief that they descended from the Emevi emperor Yezid bin Muaviye, who killed the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.

The name Yezidi was used to insult the group, forcing the Ezidis to hide their identity. They took shelter in Anatolia and have continued to exist in hiding for centuries. Unlike the assumption, they have never been Satanists. They stand facing the sun and have prayed to God for centuries.

Holy books
The "Kitab el Cilve" (Apocalyptic Book) and "Mishef-i Reş" (Black Book), the holy books of the Ezidis, were burned during attacks from Turkmenistan’s Bedrettin Lulu in Lales, their holy place in Iraq, in the 13th and 14th centuries. These holy books have been orally transferred from one generation to another for centuries.

Five years ago, Istanbul Bilgi University Department of History master’s student Amed Gökçen began research into the community, hoping to remove the prejudices against the Ezidis and reveal their centuries-old culture. As a result of research in the southeastern Anatolian cities of Mardin, Batman, Diyarbakır and Şanlıurfa, Gökçen learned that the Ezidis population was only 400 in Turkey. He said the most important factor that enabled this community to survive against all odds is a caste system, similar to the one in India, which creates religious cooperation.

He pursued the migration routes of the Ezidis and extended his research from Syria to Iraq and from Armenia to Germany. He discovered that the largest Ezidi population was in Armenia and Germany. He wrote about their traditions, religious beliefs and legends, and collected 26 hymns and 21 folk songs.

Gökçen’s research was put up for sale last week by Kalan Music in a detailed book in the Ezidis’s Kirman language (a branch of Kurdish), English and Turkish, and on two CDs. "The Ezidis are a community that assimilate themselves," said Gökçen. "They hesitate to reveal their identity. They generally try to integrate into the societies where they live and try to get lost among them."

Difference between the German and Armenian Ezidis

Gökçen said he faced many difficulties during his research and that it was not possible to gather information about the community without the reference of a community member.

Speaking about his impressions during his research in Armenia and Germany, Gökçen said: "The Ezidis are being assimilated in Armenia. The Ezidis define themselves as a branch of Kurds everywhere else in the world but in Armenia they call themselves only Ezidikis."

Gökçen said the Ezidis of Germany live in very comfortable conditions. "In order to take advantage of special rights the German government grants to the minorities, those who are not Ezidis and who even called them Yezidis have introduced themselves as Ezidis," he said. There are 50,000 Ezidis living in Armenia and 300,000 in Germany, according to Gökçen.

The Collected Ezidi Mythology
The Ezidis date their bloodline back to Seyid Bin Cer, the first son of Adam and Eve. According to a legend, after God created Adam and Eve, he put their souls in jars to see which one was fertile. When he opened the jars 40 days later, Seyid Bin Cer was in Adam’s jar and all of nature’s insects and birds were in Eve’s. Since Seyid Bin Cer could keep the bloodline of humanity alive, God sent him a beautiful virgin, or Houri, from heaven. There is the concept of "clean blood" in the Ezidis because they consider themselves from the bloodline of Seyid Bin Cer and a houri from heaven. Therefore, Ezidis only marry other Ezidis. 26.03.2009 hurriyet.com.tr


Armenian, Greek Cypriot Ministers To Attend Civilizations Meeting
An international forum to be held in İstanbul next week will be a compelling event with high-profile participation from world leaders, while 30 foreign ministers had already confirmed their participation in the forum as of yesterday.

The Second Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) will be held on April 6-7, coinciding with US President Barack Obama's visit to the Turkish capital, which is also expected to begin on April 6. The White House has yet to release a detailed agenda of Obama's visit, but he is expected to participate in the forum in İstanbul on its second day after wrapping up his talks in Ankara.

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou, whose government is not recognized by Ankara, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, with whose country Turkey has no diplomatic relations with, and Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, whose country is still at odds with Turkey over disputes concerning the Aegean Sea, are among the at least 30 foreign ministers who will participate in a high-level brainstorming meeting within the framework of the UNAOC forum in İstanbul.

Among those expected to be present at the second forum is former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, whose earlier "dialogue of civilizations" initiative laid some of the groundwork for the UNAOC.

Iran, along with 82 other countries, is a member of the Group of Friends of the alliance. As of yesterday afternoon, the alliance secretariat had not yet received an affirmative or negative response from Tehran for the invitation extended to Iran at the foreign ministerial level. Forbes magazine on Thursday said, "Though the alliance this week would neither confirm nor deny, it's a good bet there will be representatives there from Iran."

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose probable candidacy for the top NATO post has led to a heated debate both in his country and abroad, will also be in İstanbul to participate in the UNAOC Forum, only a few days after a NATO summit on April 3-4 when the transatlantic body is expected to announce its next chief.

Rasmussen, along with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev, Bulgarian Georgi Parvanov, Slovenian President Danilo Türk, has already confirmed to Ankara his participation in the forum, diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Today's Zaman yesterday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who will participate in a trilateral summit with the presidents of Turkey and Pakistan on April 1 in Ankara, is also likely to attend the forum.
The UNAOC held its inaugural forum in early 2008 in Madrid. 28 March 2009, Zaman


Between The West And The Kremlin by a.akcakoca todayszaman.com
It's not easy being a state of the former Soviet Union. Although Russia may have accepted that these nations will never again be part of its territory "proper," it still considers itself as having the right to influence what it calls its "near abroad."

However, the combination of the increasing geostrategic importance of this neighborhood and the desire of the countries concerned to broaden their horizons and integrate themselves further with the West has resulted in something of a tug-of-war beginning to take place between the West and Russia. Six states in particular -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine -- find themselves in an increasingly undesirable situation of being caught in the middle. The two most troublesome have been Georgia and Ukraine. Both held color revolutions, allied themselves closely to the West through the election of pro-American anti-Russian presidents and pushed for closer integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions. Georgia has already paid the price and Russia successfully crushed the tiny nation following the events of August 2008. While the West declared that Russia should not be allowed to get away with its actions and that business as usual would be off the agenda until it complied with international law, six months later it seems that it is very much business as usual and Russia is more assertive than ever. The EU is back to business and the US is seemingly prepared to give the Russians a fresh start, too.

While Ukraine, on the other hand, may not have been crushed (yet), the country is down on its knees both politically and economically. Although its leadership is heavily to blame, there is no doubt that meddling from Moscow, including involvement in Ukraine's energy sector and extensive shady oligarch links are also a big factor. Then there is the hotspot of Crimea, which is basically a mini-Russia (Ukraine is home to the largest Russian-speaking minority of the former Soviet Union) and which could be used by Russia to stir up trouble for Kyiv at any given moment. Russia wants its nose in everything; earlier this week when Ukraine presented in Brussels a "master plan" to modernize its energy transit infrastructure, the Russians declared that both the Ukraine and the EU's energy security might suffer if the Kremlin was not consulted.

In addition, the NATO aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine have also been crushed. All the promises made to these fledgling nations have disappeared in a puff of smoke and I have serious doubts either will ever make it into NATO.

As for the others, Armenia and Belarus remain under Moscow's thumb. The West is attempting to woo Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, but hopes are not high as Belarus is heavily dependent on Moscow economically. Moldova still struggles with a frozen conflict -- backed by Moscow -- on its territory and attempts to play the West and Russia off each other. Only Azerbaijan finds itself in the somewhat privileged position of having a choice because of its extensive hydrocarbon reserves in the Caspian Sea, which both Russia and the West are fighting to get their hands on.

However, at the same time, the EU has finally woken up from its comatose position on this region and realized it needs to make some efforts to counterbalance Russia if it wants a stable, secure and prosperous neighborhood. At the recent EU summit, heads of state agreed to adopt the so-called Eastern Partnership. The Eastern Partnership aims to strengthen relations between the EU and these six countries through closer economic and political ties, including free trade and eventual visa-free regimes. This is something the EU should have done a long time ago, but as usual it always takes a crisis to spur them into action. The events in Georgia woke the EU up from its complacency and while there is still no desire for any of these countries to be allowed to join the EU, there is a realization that it is in their interests to promote closer economic and political relations with them, including helping them democratize and have increased respect for the rule of law and human rights.

Although Russia does not necessarily see the EU initiative as a threat in the way it views NATO enlargement, the Kremlin still remains wary of anything it sees as encroaching on their sphere of influence. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has already accused the EU of something the EU usually accuses the Russians of -- trying to get these countries under its sphere of influence. However, the difference is that the EU goes about it in a different way. It is the free choice of the countries involved as to whether they engage with the EU. On the other hand, the Kremlin has other methods to keep these countries under its thumb. Nonetheless, I don't imagine the Russians really have much to worry about because of three things. First, the finance offer is peanuts -- 600 billion euros for all six countries. Second, the EU has no intention of offering any of these countries the prospect of membership. Without such a prospect it would seem highly unlikely that these nations would be able to muster the political will to carry out the reforms necessary to reap the benefits offered by the EU. Finally, for some in the EU, Russia will always take priority over the likes of Ukraine and Moldova.
25 March 2009,


Obama To Woo Turks, Armenian Pitfall Awaits
US President Barack Obama has created a chance to turn Turkey's role in the wider Middle East to maximum advantage simply by going there so early in his term.

Turkey, a sometimes prickly NATO ally, holds no magic solutions, but it can help the United States in confrontations and conflicts that stretch from Israel to Afghanistan -- via Syria, Iraq and Iran -- and from Cyprus to the Caucasus. Obama's April 5-7 visit is a nod to Turkey's regional reach, economic power, unrivalled diplomatic contacts and status as a secular Muslim democracy that has accommodated political Islam. "It's a symbolic piece of public diplomacy at a time maybe not of crisis, but great uncertainty in US-Turkish relations," said Philip Robins, a Middle East expert at Oxford University.

Turkey will not be the venue for Obama's promised major speech in a Muslim capital, but Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said his stop there was still a way to emphasize his message of reaching out to Muslims. Obama may unlock the kind of goodwill generated by former US President Bill Clinton when he came to Turkey in 1999, but risks dissipating it all if he uses another G-word, genocide, to describe the fate of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

"With the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party] under control in Iraq and the Americans at least not confronting Iran at the moment, the Armenian issue is the thorniest," Robins said.

In his election campaign, Obama pledged to call the killings of Armenians genocide, and a resolution to so designate them was introduced in the US House of Representatives last week. A similar resolution two years ago was approved in committee but dropped after Turkey denounced it as "insulting" and hinted at halting logistical support for the US war in Iraq. Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks during World War I, but denies that up to 1.5 million died as a result of systematic genocide.

Ironically, Turkey and Armenia are perhaps as close as they have ever been to normalizing ties and reopening the border. Ömer Taşpınar, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, argues that accelerating this process could relieve Obama's dilemma. "This is exactly what President Obama needs," he wrote, urging Turkey's ruling party to show "visionary statesmanship."

If the Armenian issue can be finessed, Obama has everything to gain from reinvigorated US-Turkish ties, particularly when he is making overtures to adversaries such as Iran and Syria. He has already sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell on visits to Ankara. "Turkey plays a pivotal role in this region," said Karim Makdisi, at the American University of Beirut. "If you are going down this route of cooperation and dialogue, countries that have open channels like Turkey are the ones you want to talk to."

Turkey, once on uneasy terms with many of its neighbors, now has ties that span fault lines in the Middle East and beyond. "Who else can go to Moscow and Tbilisi, to Tehran and Tel Aviv? Who else can speak to Hamas in Damascus and also to the Egyptians and have good relations with the Saudis on top of that?" asked Hugh Pope, an International Crisis Group analyst.

US-Turkish ties suffered badly in 2003 when Ankara opposed the invasion of Iraq -- and opinion polls show most Turks remain hostile toward Washington -- but former President George Bush's administration began to repair the damage five years later. "The US is now cooperating with Turkey over Iraq and that has had amazing consequences," said Pope, noting there had been no big clash for several months between Turkish forces and PKK, which has bases in northern Iraq.

Logistical support
Turkey, vital to Washington as a logistical hub for US forces that are set to ramp up in Afghanistan and draw down in Iraq, has its own vital interests in regional security. "The breadth of relationships and the involvement of Turkey is huge," said a Western official in Ankara, citing Turkish mediation between Syria and Israel among other examples. "The United States is working very closely in sharing intelligence against the PKK and supports contacts between Turkey and the Kurdish regional government."

President Abdullah Gül this week became the first Turkish head of state to visit Iraq in over 30 years. He won harsh words for the PKK from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and signaled Turkey's growing acceptance of the autonomy Iraqi Kurds enjoy.

Steven Flanagan, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the United States welcomed Turkey's stated willingness to play a bigger role in central Asia and help more in Afghanistan, where it has more than 800 noncombat troops.

"Turkey will also want to hear more about the US withdrawal plans for Iraq," he said.

Turkey declared this month it would consider mediating between Iran and the United States, although Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later said there was no need for this. Reuters

Armenian parliament steps in for US ‘genocide’ resolution

It has emerged that a leading member of the Armenian National Assembly recently urged members of the US Congress to adopt a resolution that would declare the killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I to have been genocide.

The resolution was introduced last Tuesday. A US-based Armenian news portal, www.huliq.com, reported yesterday that Armen Rustamian, chairman of the Armenian National Assembly's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, expressed on Thursday his strong support for the US affirmation of the alleged Armenian genocide in a letter sent to Howard Berman, chairman of the US House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In his letter, Rustamian suggested that US recognition would be the greatest contribution to the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.

"I have the pleasure to write you upon the introduction of legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and to share with you and your colleagues our complete support for the adoption of this measure affirming the commitment of the United States to the cause of genocide prevention," Rustamian was quoted as saying in the letter.

"I am confident that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United States not only would not hamper, but on the contrary will contribute to the prospects of a thorough dialogue between Turkey and Armenia. A clear and principled stance by the US can only assist in developing awareness that the recognition of the Genocide is not at all a demonstration of anti-Turkish sentiments, but a necessity emanating from the need to condemn this crime against humanity," he wrote.

"Any durable improvement of Armenia-Turkey relations must rest upon a foundation of shared respect for truth and justice," he added in his letter. Today's Zaman 25 March 2009, Alistair Lyon Beirut Zaman


The Obama Visit: Risks And Opportunities s.kiniklioglu at todayszaman.com
President Obama's visit to Turkey next month promises to be a historic event in recent Turkish-American relations.

There is no doubt that even the news of the visit has already sparked such an atmosphere that the visit will be registered in the annals as an important step in "rebuilding the strategic partnership with Turkey." This is a phrase I borrowed from the Obama-Biden policy platform on Europe published before the election.

Apart from the niceties pertaining to the fact that a US president is engaging with Turkey early on at the highest level, there are many issues that are expected to be on the table. It is highly likely that Obama will ask Turkey to increase its contribution to the NATO effort in Afghanistan, something that is being discussed internally within the Turkish decision-making structure. Provided that other NATO members contribute equally, it is not too farfetched to contemplate Turkey sharing more of the burden there.

Turkey will ask President Obama to use US influence on Greek Cyprus to convey a clear message to Nicosia that there will be a cost to the failure of the UN-sponsored talks. This is a relatively cost-free policy issue for Washington, but it must be highlighted as the talks are extremely significant this time.

The issue of US troop withdrawal from Iraq, the future of Iraq as well as thorny issues such as Kirkuk will be discussed. Provided the appropriate modalities are mutually agreed upon, there appears to be little resistance to a US withdrawal among the parties in the Turkish Parliament. Obviously, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) issue in light of the recent rapprochement with the northern Iraqi authorities -- possibly leading to the final eradication of the PKK menace from northern Iraq -- will be discussed.

Continued US support for Turkey's EU drive will be reiterated. Reviving the Israel-Syria talks under Turkish auspices or joint auspices is likely to be talked about. Naturally, the issue of Israel-Palestine as well as views on the Middle East will be shared. Iran -- and how to deal with this complicated issue -- is certainly going to be high on the US agenda, particularly in consideration of Turkey's UN Security Council seat.

Last but not least, the only pressing short-term issue will be brought up: the Armenian resolution in the US Congress and the president's statement on April 24. On this issue there are divergent views. Some in Washington believe that it will be difficult for Obama to retract his campaign promises, while others argue that he will follow what every president has done before him and act responsibly. Regardless of what he and his administration feel about this issue, there is little doubt that the current normalization effort with Armenia will figure prominently in everyone's mind. The visionary diplomacy undertaken by the two sides is historic and we want to believe that all sides understand the sensitivity and the opportunity at hand.

Despite the risks that the Armenian issue poses for Turkish-American relations, they have the potential to develop in a fashion that would remind us of the strong partnership both nations enjoyed for five decades. The US and Turkey have common interests in the region, although they sometimes choose to emphasize different means. Obama made a great start with his message to Al-Arabiya and Iran on Nevruz. His visit to Ankara may even add to the positive momentum he has garnered. The Middle East and the wider Islamic world will be eagerly watching how the visit will unfold.
24 March 2009,


Pre-Emptive Gestures In Turkish-American-Armenian Triangle k.balci at todayszaman.com
Turkey is going to be the first predominantly Muslim country that US President Barack Obama will step foot in after assuming office. That is no privilege.

He could have easily chosen to start from Iraq, and while that wouldn't make Iraq the leader of the Muslim world, neither would it say anything about the future of Iraqi-US relations. The visit is exciting, indeed, but it becomes even more exciting when examined within its contextual setting.

Once the US secretary of state made known the plans of the US president to visit Turkey in April, Turkish diplomats tried to use this new opportunity in order to show that "there is nothing extraordinary in this since Turkey and the US have been strategic allies for over half a century"; the politicians usurped it in order to show that "our prime minister's manners in Davos are actually being implicitly supported by the US president." President Abdullah Gül has moved up from the corridors of the Foreign Ministry, and we have heard him adopting a more diplomatic line; Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's line is understandably political.

Neither line is objective.
Let it be known that the writer of this column is happy that the US president is coming to Turkey. I would have loved to see him come to Turkey even before he went to Canada as his first trip abroad. But I have a feeling that what makes this visit exciting is not the contrast between what Turkey did previously and the fact that the US president is still willing to come; it is more about the contrast between what the Americans are planning, or are feeling obliged to do after the visit and the fact that they wanted to pay this visit as a pre-emptive gesture in order to prevent the destruction of a probable Armenian genocide resolution may have on mutual relations.

Obama's visit will overlap with the Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations that will be held on April 6-7 in Istanbul. Spanish diplomats claim that Obama is actually coming to the forum. However, the United States is still not a member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance and it probably won't ever be as the Euro-centrism of the alliance is well-known and its reports about world peace have been loaded with implicit criticism of Israeli policies.

A better explanation for Obama's visit is the Armenian genocide resolution that will come to the US Congress. The US president is a prisoner of what he promised during his election campaign: legislative acknowledgment of the genocide claims. Capitol Hill knows very well how Turkey will retaliate. Let me just speculate: If the government does not close down İncirlik Airbase, the people will do so. That is not what I would like to see, but that is what a careless US administration will see. Turks won't let the Americans label our forefathers as "genocide perpetrators" without any historical insight and then continue to fly over this land.

Neither the Turkish government nor the Americans want that to happen. So the American president is coming to Ankara to make a pre-emptive gesture to Turkey in order to prevent the destructive effect of an Armenian genocide resolution that will most probably pass both the Congress and the Senate. The content of this gesture is open to speculation, and I am sure the Americans are still working on a better package rather than just guaranteeing the resolution won't be reflected in the administration's foreign policy decisions in any way whatsoever.

The Turkish government, on the other hand, is working on a "repelling pre-emptive" gesture: a further rapprochement package with Armenia that will include not only opening the borders between Turkey and Armenia, but also a future "road map" for the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani territorial disputes. Foreign policy observers have been speculating that Turkey and Armenia would disclose the details of a deal during the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meeting on April 16. Originally set for April 29, the meeting was moved to April 16, the observers claim, just to pre-empt the April 24 events and the resolution in the US Congress. Obama's visit may further push the agenda, and we may have a warm Turkish-Armenian spring before the Golden Age of Turkish-American relations.

If the US president is coming to Ankara in order to apologize for a yet to be made mistake, he will most probably be received by a surprise rapprochement bouquet that no genocide resolution can ever bring about.
24 March 2009


Pre-Emptive Gestures In Turkish-American-Armenian Triangle
US President Barack Obama, who is due to arrive in the Turkish capital on the evening of April 5, is expected to participate in the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) forum scheduled for April 6 and 7 in İstanbul.

US officials in Ankara were not immediately available to confirm or deny Obama's participation at the second day of the UNAOC forum on April 7, since they were not able to make any confirmation on items on the agenda of Obama's trip to Turkey. However, they noted that the US president has expressed a desire to attend the event.

Obama's visit to Turkey will include time in both Ankara and İstanbul. Obama is to meet with President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 6, and Obama and Erdoğan are expected to fly to İstanbul together to attend the meeting of the UNAOC initiative on April 7.

The second forum of the UNAOC will see the participation of Erdoğan, in addition to Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, who is the high representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. The forum will be attended by heads of government and more than 50 ministers.

The İstanbul forum follows the success of the inaugural gathering, which was held in Madrid in January 2008. Officials said the İstanbul forum will be action oriented, with an emphasis on delivering concrete projects and practical outcomes. A number of high-profile initiatives will be presented, including Euro-Mediterranean projects aimed at restoring trust and rebuilding bridges in the region in the wake of the Gaza crisis.

There is also a project called the Alliance Fellowship Program that aims to facilitate the exchange of young leaders between a number of countries and establish working relationships between them.

The Global Model United Nations (GMUN) 2010, a world-class student diplomacy training program on the theme of the UNAOC, will take place in addition to a presentation of "Doing Business in a Multicultural World -- Challenges and Opportunities," a joint report of the UNAOC and the UN Global Compact showcasing a range of best practices and case studies for companies to use in responding to the diversity of today's business environments.

The forum will also see the launch of "Mapping Media Education Policies Around the World," a joint publication by the UNAOC and UNESCO on media education policies.

Obama expected to address Islamic world from Turkey
Obama's visit is seen as a sign of the Obama administration's willingness to work with Turkey on a number of key foreign policy issues, including the stabilization of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Iran's controversial nuclear program.

The Turkish government is likely to raise the issues of Armenian allegations of genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I and cooperation in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Obama is also expected to address the Islamic world with a speech from Turkey.

The Financial Times, a daily in the United Kingdom, reported on Monday, "After that is the NATO summit in Strasbourg, where Mr. Obama will try and probably fail to get big European assistance for his 17,000 troop surge in Afghanistan, a stop in Prague for a meeting with European leaders and then a big speech to the Islamic world from Turkey -- Mr. Obama's first, much-awaited visit to a Muslim country."
24 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN


"An Ally Beyond Any Suspicion?" By Jean Eckian 27 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Frankly, how the international community can have confidence in a country which not only denies the reality of crime on Ottoman Armenians, will blow up the ears of Algeria (2007) that France should apologize for crimes committed during the Algerian war and supports a charge of crimes against humanity in the person of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, while criticizing Israel for its attack against Gaza? (even if it jusitfié)

If I wanted to be vulgar, I would say that it makes us bad ...

With its strategic position incontournable, he wipes his feet on the carpet synthetic West, wears day after day by return trips to the taste of gall, in defiance of human rights.

To Israel, which he made a court unrestrained while threatening to restrict the flow of water if the work of the Knesset resulted in the recognition of the Genocide of Armenians.

In the United States who need to land on its soil in the fight against terrorism, but just be disappointed by the position of increasing starry face the charge imposed by the UN Security against the Sudanese President, subject to the charge of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

At the EU to move forward while falling.

In the diaspora living overseas syndrome Mutafian (where compassion is needed for the disease that strikes him), because of the so called International Standard states. A trick in which the international community had plunged the feet together and with the descendants of genocide survivors will be the cost if the U.S. President, like his predecessors, is dedicated to this machine from top flight.

Yes, Armenians are the cocus of history. But perhaps for less time than previously thought. All will depend on the cohesion of the diaspora. In the meantime welcome the South Australia just to condemn the crime of genocide on the Armenian people.


Ahmet Davutoglu: Diaspora Armenia Condemns To Poverty 27 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
The Foreign Affairs Advisor of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Professor Ahmet Davutoglu gave a speech at Princeton University SUTR principles of foreign policy of Turkey. Commenting on relations with Armenia, Ahmet Davutoglu said the inappropriate attitude of the Armenian diaspora in the United States affects the Turkish-Armenian relations negatively. Asserting that Turkey is likely to have an agreement with Armenia, Professor Davutoglu said "the Diaspora is fighting for the recognition of the alleged Armenian genocide but it did not take into account the interests of Armenia. A Armenian who lives in San Francisco does no investment in Yerevan. Today, Armenia is the poorest country in the region. We hope to have more economic cooperation with our neighbors. We want rich neighbors because we believe this will make our region safer. "

Ahmet Davutoglu said that if the United States recognize the alleged Armenian genocide, not just the United States and Turkey in Armenia but also suffer. Declaring that the solutions of problems of Armenia with Turkey and Azerbaijan will benefit the United States, Ahmet Davutoglu said "if the United States lose Azerbaijan in the Karabakh issue, so this will mean that she lost the door east of the Caspian Sea. "

The Azeri opposition to Turkey recommends to be careful with regard to open borders with Armenia 27 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews

"Although the current government of Turkey has increased to some certain interests in our decisions, we must not abandon this country. We must maintain high-level," said the chairman of an opposition party party of the Azerbaijan Democratic Sardar Jalaloglu.

To justify Sardar Jalaloglu said that the Turkish Prime Minister announced some time ago that changes in policy regarding Armenia have been coordinated with the Government of Azerbaijan.

"Secondly, Turkey has its own interests and it must provide. Thirdly, I think that the policy of blockade of Armenia is not effective now," said the president of the ADP.

He said that the blockade by Azerbaijan on Armenia does not allow Armenia to participate in trans-regional projects. "This process is already finished. There is no plan now which Armenia can participate," said Sardar Jalaloglu.

Sardar Jalaloglu says that 3 million Armenians in Turkey maintain contacts with Armenia through different means. "The decision by Turkey to open its borders will result in formal mechanisms that operate informally so far. Unfortunately, Turkey should take into consideration that the Karabakh problem remains unsolved by taking such measures. If the authorities Turks say they have taken these measures taking into account the interests of the state, we can not say anything, "he said.


Top Twenty Tall Turkish Tales 2009/03/27 By Lucine Kasbarian
1.That Turks, who turned up in Anatolia from Central Asia thousands of years after the ancient Hittite, Urartian, Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine structures in present-day Turkey were constructed, are somehow responsible for having built them.

2. That Turks and Armenians lived in peace, brotherhood, and equality ever since the Seljuk Turkish invasions, and that the Ottoman Empire was a model of tolerance towards its subject peoples.

3. That the Ottoman massacres of hundreds of thousands of Armenian civilians in 1894-1897 and 1909 were simply examples of Turkish self defense.

4. That there was no Armenian Genocide. The deaths were just an unfortunate consequence of civil war or wartime conditions. But if there was a genocide, it was Armenians who committed it.

5. That US Ambassador Morgenthau, American and European diplomats, missionaries and others who witnessed and wrote about the Genocide were not credible since they disliked Turks. Even German eyewitnesses (allies of Turkey in World War I) were not credible since they disliked Turks too.

6. That the hundreds of historians and genocide experts who confirm that there was an Armenian Genocide have all been duped by Armenians.

7. That those peoples who “revolted” against the Ottomans or Turkey deserved whatever the Turks did to them because all such revolts were unjustified. (The Young Turks’ revolt against the Ottoman Sultan in 1908, on the other hand, was entirely justified.)

8. That the Armenian death toll was “only 600,000,” not 1.5 million, hence the deaths could not be considered a genocide.

9. That due to wartime necessity, the “deportations” were limited to Armenians from the eastern part of the Ottoman Empire (even though, in fact, Armenians from all parts of the Empire were “deported”).

10. That the Ottoman Turkish archives are fully open, haven’t been tampered with, and prove that Turkey did not commit the Armenian Genocide.

11. That the Genocide survivors and their descendants seek recognition, reparations, restitution, restoration, and return of their so-called historic homeland out of delusion and greed.

12. That the enormous amount of territory allocated to Turkey in the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres was somehow inadequate.

13. That teaching and talking about the Armenian Genocide is a form of hate speech.

14. That Turkey and Armenia would be “reconciled” by now were it not for the malevolent Armenian Diaspora which, instead of acting in Armenia’s best interests, vilifies Turkey with baseless allegations. (Naturally, Turkey acts only in Armenia’s best interests.)

15. That Turkey’s proposal to hold a joint historical commission on 1915 — which would include denialist historians — is not a delaying tactic, but is sincere and would arrive at a truthful verdict.

16. That the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR) is not historically Armenian; that it was the Armenians in Karabagh who initiated pogroms against Azeris; and that NKR is not entitled to self-determination.

17. That Turkey is qualified to be a member of the European Union and should have been admitted years ago (even if it violates the human rights of its population, stifles free speech, and condones torture).

18. That Turkey is a loyal NATO ally (even if it threatens the United States and Europe and rejects US requests for military cooperation).

19. That if the Genocide resolution passes in the US Congress, Turkey will severely punish the United States.

20. That Turkey’s efforts to penetrate the Caucasus and Central Asia are not attempts to fulfill a longstanding ambition to create a Pan-Turkic empire.

Lucine Kasbarian is an Armenian-American writer. hetq.am


What Is The Main Aim Of The Discourses On Border Opening LRAGIR.AM 26/03/2009
The conversations on the Armenian and Turkish border opening are just the propaganda steps of the Turkish government which are aimed at the prevention of the genocide recognition on April 24, because of the U.S. president Barak Obama's promise in this regard. On March 26, this idea was brought up by the former speaker of the National Assemble Tigran Torosyan hosted at the Hayeli press-club. According to him, the conversations on this issue are determined by the fear of Turkey that Obama may fulfill his promise which is naturally undesirable for Turkey. The conversations on the border opening are circulated just in order to prevent the event development in this direction.

Tigran Torosyan brought into our attention the fact that Turkey has not issued an official statement on the border opening topic, the Turkish officials keep silence in this connection, and these discourses are represented by the "leakage" of the Turkish media, the aim of which is absolutely clear, stated Tigran Torosyan.
ACA addressed issues to Clinton concerning US relations with Armenia and Turkey


27.03.2009
The Armenian Council Of America (Aca) Sent U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton A Letter. In the letter, the ACA addressed several issues of concern regarding U.S.-Armenia and U.S.-Turkey relations.

Recently Secretary Clinton visited the Republic of Turkey, and President Barack Obama has an upcoming trip scheduled for April 5th. The letter stated, "President Obama’s upcoming visit to Turkey, especially in the month of April, is a unique opportunity for the United States to encourage the Republic of Turkey to rectify its historical past in order to develop a strong Armenian-Turkish relationship and for the future of Turkish nation itself." Secretary Clinton spoke on the telephone as well with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan regarding current affairs.

This April will mark the commemoration of the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and an anticipated annual statement is expected from the White House. "The Armenian Council of America appreciates the administration’s engagement on these issues and looks forward to positive statements and fulfillment of their pledges reaffirming the American record on the Armenian Genocide," stated ACA Board Member Peter Darakjian.

The full text of the letter is presented below:

“On behalf of the Armenian Council of America and the Armenian American community, we would like to thank you for your continuous support and interest in the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Armenia.

In light of your recent visit to the Republic of Turkey, your telephone conversation with Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan, and President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Turkey, we would like to bring your attention to a few issues. We acknowledge and appreciate the United States supporting the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relationship and that you discussed this matter with Turkish Foreign Minister Babacan. We are encouraged that recently there has been some progress made on this front, and we support the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two neighbors and opening of the border.

However, acceptance of the Armenian Genocide should not be hindered in lieu of establishing relations between the two nations. The Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel have established diplomatic relations, while at the same time the German people and government has acknowledged the crimes of the Holocaust. Therefore, we do not understand the Turkish rgument of deterring acceptance of the Armenian Genocide and the American acceptance of this
tactic.

America as the bastion of democracy and champion of human rights should nurture these bilateral relations as well as the historical truth. President Obama’s visit to Turkey, especially in the month of April, is a unique opportunity for the United States to encourage the Republic of Turkey to rectify its historical past in order to develop a strong Armenian-Turkish relationship and for the future of Turkish nation itself. This will be beneficial for the United States in its approach of strengthening its and neighborly relations in the South Caucasus and the greater Near East.

The Armenian Council of America supports the U.S.-Armenia relationship and cooperation. We favor the continuation of the Millenium Challenge Account assistance program to the people of Armenia. The United States has always stood by the Republic of Armenia from the beginning of its independence in 1991. As we are in the United States, Armenia is also currently being affected by the global economic crisis. Any decrease in U.S. humanitarian and economic assistance would affect the livelihood of its citizens. As part of this relationship, we would like to encourage the United States to foster the growth of democracy and a civil society in Armenia. The 2008 Armenian presidential election and the subsequent clamp down on the opposition hindered the growth of these critical elements. Without these solid foundations, Armenia cannot truly develop into a democratic, prosperous, and free market nation.

The Obama Administration has been very dynamic in implementing its domestic and foreign policy changes. The Armenian Council of America and the Armenian American community look forward to this leadership standing by its pledge on acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. This will demonstrate the administration’s stance that genocide is not acceptable to the United States regardless of geopolitics.

We thank you and the administration again for your commitment in improving America’s relations and image abroad, as well as promoting peace throughout the world.”
Public Radio of Armenia


Keynote Speech By The President Of The Republic Of Turkey At The European Business Summit, (Brussels, 26 March 2009)

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to participate in the Seventh European Business Summit. I am confident that, the Summit will provide to the business community yet another occasion to address important problems that face Europe, at present.

Business people will better know that, the “fine line” between success and failure is the ability to shape perceptions according to changing conditions. I believe that the same applies to international affairs.

To influence global developments, we should be able to renew our perceptions about political, social and economic challenges.

The European Union was conceived by such visionary leaders as Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman: They have changed the perceptions about the future of Europe by launching the idea of a united continent.

This project started as a marriage of coal and steel. However, today, the same project has reached the dimension of a political, economic and social integration process. The dream of a “European Union” is today a reality.

Furthermore, the European Union is now poised to be a major force to run world affairs in the 21st century.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
While the EU is now a global economic and political powerhouse, it is not immune to global challenges.

Quite the opposite!
The most immediate challenge the EU, together with the world community, faces is the recent global financial and economic crisis. This is a testing time for Europe. But Europe has faced other challenges in the past. It has always succeeded in overcoming them. Europe should be confident in its capacity to overcome today’s ordeal and emerge from it even stronger.

The EU today draws its strength from the sense of common destiny, with its common values, policies and institutions. It is well equipped to face present challenges.

I have no doubt that at the end, thanks to the truly European spirit of debate and compromise, we shall emerge from this crisis stronger than before. Such a debate has already started to produce creative ideas.

The EU’s greatest achievements of the last decades, from the “Single Market” to “enlargement”, have all been the results of acting collectively and responsibly in an inclusive way. Today, the EU, employing the same principles and instruments, is finding the right path to its political and economic future.

No one can claim that, in the face of today’s economic, political and social crises, an inward-looking, divided, weak or smaller EU would be better off.

Distinguished Guests,
Turkey, as an accession country, a member of the G-20, and the sixth largest European economy, is uniquely placed to work hand in hand with the EU to overcome the global economic crisis which started out in the financial markets.

Turkey is ready to do its share in order to deal with this global economic crisis and to provide sustainable solutions. Indeed, Turkey went through such a financial crisis in 2001. We lost almost one fourth of our GDP. As a result, we made extensive structural reforms focused on strengthening the regulatory bodies. This proved to be an expensive but valuable lesson. At least today, our banking system is very sound.

We all know that the basis of economic activity is transparency and trust. Therefore, while reforming the financial system, this basic tenet must be upheld. We share the consensus view that governments, central banks and the business world must engage in strong collective action in this direction.

We must also stimulate economic growth while keeping inflation under control. Therefore, it is essential to support the real economy and at the same time promote social solidarity.

We need to give much thought to a new global financial architecture based on supervision and regulation. It is a positive development, that such issues are now being dealt with, not only at the national level, but also at the supranational level. In this direction, the World Bank, the IMF and other financial organizations need to be restructured to answer the requirements of modern economic times.

A well-regulated free market economy should definitely continue to be our main point of reference. We should never overlook the productivity brought about by private sector activity. Although the shares of some financial institutions have been or will have to be transferred to national treasuries, these shares should come back to the hands of the private sector whenever conditions permit.

Protectionism is also a dangerous trend. In the medium to long term, it is our own people, the consumers, who pay the price of protectionist policies. At the end of the day, such policies hurt everybody.

In this respect, Turkey is ready to cooperate with the EU at the G-20 and the Doha Round.

I hope that the EU will also stand up for the basic principles which have made it a great economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let us consider some of the major challenges facing Europe today:

Economic recession; Unemployment; Demographic decline; Illegal immigration; Terrorism; Energy security; Climate change and others.

I am convinced that all of these challenges will be tackled much more effectively when the EU finally enlarges to Turkey. The ties that bind Turkey and the EU together are already strong and deep-rooted:

- Our common values, like democracy, rule of law and human rights,
- Our strong economic partnership framed by a highly successful Customs Union,
- Our shared interests on matters like energy security, good governance, effective regulation of the free market and the fight against poverty,
- Our joint objectives of expanding peace and stability in our region and beyond.

The interests of Turkey and the EU overlap in a vast geography and across many areas.
Turkey’s geography and its historical ties in a large region covering the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia give it unique opportunities. Out of the thirteen European Security and Defense Policy missions worldwide, seven are being conducted in Turkey’s neighborhood. Turkey is the largest non-EU contributor to ESDP missions.

On issues as diverse as Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kosovo and others, Turkey’s efforts directed at facilitating dialogue and compromise are clearly constructive. Just to cite a few examples:

- Israel and Syria began indirect peace talks under Turkey’s auspices.
- Turkey, together with Egypt, is actively working for inter-Palestinian reconciliation.
- My trips to Baghdad two days ago and to Teheran two weeks ago are indications of our efforts to contribute to international peace and stability.
- Next week, we shall bring together the Presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan together with their military and intelligence officials in Ankara.
- My first-ever trip to Armenia last year and our initiative for the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform have been part of our commitment to a better atmosphere in the Caucasus region.

In short, Turkey is a force for good in a number of the world’s principal pressure points. Clearly, increased synergy between Turkey and the EU will be to our mutual benefit.

Therefore, obstacles preventing benefits of such a synergy, like the Cyprus issue, should be removed before wasting more time and losing more opportunities. Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have already done their share for a peaceful settlement of this issue. We are committed to continue in the same line. Our vision is to create another strong pillar of Europe in the Eastern Mediterranean among Turkey, Greece and the island of Cyprus once a comprehensive settlement has been reached.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Energy is yet another area of interest for all of us. It is obvious that energy security is closely associated with prosperity and stability.

In this respect, let us not forget that Turkey is close to nearly 70 percent of the world’s energy resources. It has a strategic location along the main transport routes of the oil and natural gas resources of the Middle East, Central Asia and Caspian regions.

Turkey’s energy security strategy overlaps with the EU's policy of diversification of energy supply routes. Indeed, Turkey is aiming at becoming Europe’s fourth artery of natural gas after Russia, Norway and Algeria. Following the realization of the main projects of the East-West Corridor, we are now working with our partners to realize the Southern Energy Corridor which includes natural gas pipeline projects going through the territory of Turkey.

In this context, the Nabucco Project is a priority of our energy strategy. It will play a crucial role in moving gas further towards European markets.

Distinguished Guests,
I have outlined some of the main areas where Turkey is uniquely placed to help address the challenges faced by Europe. Turkey is a negotiating candidate country determined to join the EU. Turkey continues on its path to accession and an enormous transformation process is also taking place. The comprehensive political reforms enacted in the past six years have enhanced our democratic system. We are determined to take them further ahead.

We will continue the negotiations in good faith with the shared objective of accession as clearly stated in the negotiating framework of the EU. It is essential that Turkey’s accession process be continued objectively, fairly, in a foreseeable way and according to the rules of the game.

Distinguished Guests,
Strategic vision is no longer confined to military or geopolitical considerations alone. Strategic approaches now aim for common values, intercultural dialogue and mutual harmony. Such a strategic approach implies Turkey’s accession to the EU.

Turkey’s accession will carry within it some keys to solving many of the EU’s political, social and economic problems. I shall remind you that tomorrow’s Turkey will be a much different and stronger country compared to what it is today. When Turkey becomes a member, it will shoulder some of the burdens of Europe.

Turkey is proof that a well-functioning secular democracy in a predominantly Muslim society can prosper, preserve its traditional values and also be a part of Western institutions.

None of these are new concepts in defending the cause of Turkey’s accession to the EU. However, their importance increases as the challenges confronting us gain urgency with every day going by.

The case is a rather simple one: The world needs the EU’s soft power. And to become a global power, the EU needs Turkey. For such a successful “peace project” involving 500 million people, Turkey’s integration is the most viable way forward.

Distinguished Guests,
The EU needs to approach this matter with a sense of vision.

It must take the vision of its own Founding Fathers who aimed to eliminate barriers which divided Europe and not create new barriers. Therefore, I wish to recall the Czech Presidency’s motto: “Europe without barriers”.

Thank you for your attention.


Most Dangerous For Journalists 25/03/2009 Lragir.am
The Journalists' Defense Commission of New York issued the non-penalty index which includes those countries where journalists' assassination are committed and not revealed. The first in this list is Iraq which leads the list for the second year continually. Among the 14 countries of the list, Russia is the 9th. Sierra-Leona and Somali are the 2nd and the 3rd; Sri-Lanka and Columbia follow them. Philippines, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Mexico, Bangladesh and Brazil are included in the list too. In addition, Brazil is the only newcomer in the list. In general, in 2008, 95 journalists were killed in the world.


Armenian Genocide: Normalization Of Turkish-Armenian Relations Could Relieve Obama's Dilemma PanARMENIAN.Net 25.03.2009
Barack Obama's April 5-7 visit is a nod to Turkey's regional reach, economic power, unrivalled diplomatic contacts and status as a secular Muslim democracy that has accommodated political Islam. "It's a symbolic piece of public diplomacy at a time maybe not of crisis, but great uncertainty in US-Turkish relations," said Philip Robins, a Middle East expert at Oxford University.

Turkey will not be the venue for Obama's promised major speech in a Muslim capital, but Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said his stop there was still a way to emphasize his message of reaching out to Muslims. Obama may unlock the kind of goodwill generated by former US President Bill Clinton when he came to Turkey in 1999, but risks dissipating it all if he uses another G-word, genocide, to describe the fate of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

"With the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party] under control in Iraq and the Americans at least not confronting Iran at the moment, the Armenian issue is the thorniest," Robins said.

Ironically, Turkey and Armenia are perhaps as close as they have ever been to normalizing ties and reopening the border. Omer TaÅ~_pınar a fellow at the Brookings Institution, argues that accelerating this process could relieve Obama's dilemma. "This is exactly what President Obama needs," he wrote, urging Turkey's ruling party to show "visionary statesmanship."

If the Armenian issue can be finessed, Obama has everything to gain from reinvigorated US-Turkish ties, particularly when he is making overtures to adversaries such as Iran and Syria. He has already sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell on visits to Ankara. "Turkey plays a pivotal role in this region. If you are going down this route of cooperation and dialogue, countries that have open channels like Turkey are the ones you want to talk to," Today's Zaman cited ," said Karim Makdisi at American University of Beirut as saying.


Don’t Use Treaty To Discriminate, Report
ANKARA - A Council of Europe report has warned Turkey against using a "wrong interpretation" of the Lausanne Treaty as a pretext for refusing to implement minority rights, it has been learned.

The 30-page report, which has not yet been published, highlights that minority rights are human rights and cannot be denied under the argument of reciprocity, European officials told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review yesterday. Article 45 of the Lausanne Treaty stipulates that the rights conferred by the relevant provisions on the non-Muslim minorities of Turkey will be similarly conferred by Greece on the Muslim minority in its territory.

The report says Turkey and Greece refer to the "reciprocity" and interprets the 1923 treaty in negative terms, while failing to observe the rights of their citizens who are members of the minorities protected by Lausanne.

On Tuesday, the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, or PACE, adopted the report on "Freedom of religion and other human rights for non-Muslim minorities in Turkey and for the Muslim minority in Thrace (Eastern Greece)."

The committee acknowledged that the topic was emotionally very highly charged and called on both Turkey and Greece to treat all their citizens according to the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights rather than invoking "reciprocity."

"The report is not about ignoring the Lausanne Treaty; it is a question of interpretation," an official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Daily News. "The interpretation of the treaty is wrong. The Lausanne Treaty does not state that granting rights falls under the condition of reciprocity. It instead states that the rights which are for one minority are also for the other minority in another country, but they are not related to one another."

In a draft resolution, the committee termed the recurrent invoking by Greece and Turkey of the reciprocity principle as a basis for refusing to implement rights guaranteed to the minorities covered in the Lausanne Treaty "anachronistic," saying it could jeopardize each country's national cohesion. It also invited the two neighboring states to treat all their citizens without discrimination.

Discussions in June
The official said the resolution would probably be discussed in June at PACE, adding that the document was not binding and that if the countries failed to obey it, then the assembly could return to the issue and draft a new report in order to see if Turkey and Greece would keep the commitment.

Greece does not recognize its minority population in Western Thrace as "Turkish," labeling them "Muslims" instead. Turkey is still on the post-monitoring procedure of the Council of Europe, a human-rights watchdog whose reports are taken into consideration by the European Union.

The draft resolution keeps the definition of a 'minority' broad, saying that the diversity and existence of minority groups should be able to be expressed.

Article 10 of the resolution stipulates that generally speaking, the assembly fully shares the position of the Convention on Human Rights, according to which "freedom of ethnic self-identification is a major principle in which democratic pluralistic societies should be grounded and should be effectively applied to all minority groups, be they national, religious or linguistic," and the expression of which must be consistent with national unity.

"This means the draft is not only considering the groups officially characterized as minorities under the Lausanne Treaty," said the unnamed official. "It is much broader." Greeks, Armenians and Jews are the three groups officially listed as minority populations in Turkey.

The resolution further urges Turkish authorities to recognize the "ecumenical" title of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, to find a mutually agreeable solution to the reopening of the Heybeliada Greek Orthodox seminary and to ensure that the Orthodox Assyrian monastery of Mor Gabriel, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world, is protected in its entirety and not deprived of its land holdings. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/


Parliament Prepares For President Obama
Preparations have already begun for extraordinary safety measures that will be in place in Parliament during a visit by US President Barack Obama, who is expected to arrive in Turkey on April 5.

Officials said Parliament’s general meeting hall has been under close scrutiny when it comes to security since Obama is going to give an address there on April 6; he will be the second US president to give a speech in Parliament after Bill Clinton did so 10 years ago. US Secret Service agents together with Turkish police officers have begun to inspect all corners of Parliament, including the Mobile Electronic System Integration Project (MOBESE) -- an alarm system with integrated security cameras placed throughout the Parliament building.

During their inspection, Secret Service agents even took down huge chandeliers to check them. After ensuring that the chandeliers were steady and strong, they were remounted.

Extraordinary precautions will be in place when Obama enters Ankara, such as closing some of the streets to traffic and setting up checkpoints in certain locations in the capital.

No ceremonies are planned ahead of Obama’s entrance into Parliament for security reasons. No visitors will be allowed into the Parliament building on April 6, and no cars will be allowed to park in the Parliament parking lots. Deputies will be warned not to bring weapons into the building.

Other measures include preventing mobile phones from functioning in Parliament during Obama’s presence there and positioning sharpshooters on the roof of the building.

Meanwhile, an American cargo plane arrived in Ankara yesterday with nine truckloads of supplies to be used during President Obama’s visit. The supplies were taken with a police escort to the hotel where Obama will stay during his visit. A large number of Americans who got off the cargo plane left the airport aboard a private bus.

According to the program, which has not been finalized, Obama will be greeted in Parliament by Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan. US military and security personnel are expected to take seats in Parliament during Obama’s speech as was the case during Clinton’s address to Parliament in 1999.
26 March 2009, Zaman


Obama’s Genocide Dilemma: My Solution By * Simon Maghakyan 27 Mar 2009
In several days, Barack Obama will visit Ankara. In largely Muslim Turkey, America’s popular president is still a favorite. But how will Obama deal with a human rights issue he has long considered a matter of principle?

President Obama will undoubtedly be asked by journalists in Turkey of his views about a newly introduced Congress bill recognizing the WWI Armenian Genocide.

How will he react? How should he react?

Scenario A: Obama will avoid public questions about the genocide. Asked by reporters if he supports the congressional resolution, Obama will stay away from comment or say he doesn’t oppose it. This is what many Armenian-Americans hope for: if Obama stays out of the genocide resolution, it will pass. But by staying out from such a vibrant development, Obama will let Congress undermine his authority as foreign policy chief. He can’t afford Congress run the show.

Scenario B: Obama will acknowledge in his reaction the Armenian Genocide (like he did in 2005 in Baku when confronted by angry Azerbaijani journalists) and try to justify the move. Obama will have limited time and much pressure in his reaction. It won’t be a good articulation and he may regret the consequences. He can’t afford ruining a press conference in his first foreign policy trip.

Scenario C: Obama will say he doesn’t support the resolution, condemn the Armenian Genocide but use the most elegant linguistic exercise to avoid usage of “genocide” itself. If his does this, he will mimic George W. Bush. Obama can’t afford being George W. Bush.

Is there hope for genocide recognition without nationalist backlash in Turkey and without undermining the presidency in the US? Yes there is – but there may be one and only one option: Obama needs to be proactive.

Most scenarios on Obama’s handling of the Armenian Genocide issue are of reactive measure: how he will respond and what he will answer. Instead, Obama needs a proactive approach.

In his Turkey speech before the Q&A, Obama should talk about honor and genocide. He should say the following:

“I represent one of the best stories on earth, one of the best countries in history, and of the most proud places in the Universe. And the country I love more than anything else has its dark sides. You see, America was founded on the corpses of its native people who were subjected to genocide and destruction. Acknowledging this fact doesn’t make America a worse place. In fact, it is by recognizing history that Americans can claim greatness. It is my hope that the great people of Turkey will do the same – acknowledge and denounce the destruction of the Armenian community during WWI who, like Native Americans, saw genocide and destruction.”

Many Turks have justly noted that America should see its own problems before denouncing others’. If Obama recognizes the genocide of Native Americans in Turkey, he will maximize the chances of finding an audience ready to listen and accept. And after that speech, there won’t even be a need for a congressional resolution.
blogian.hayastan.com
* A graduate student at University of Colorado


The Advantage Of The Diaspora by Marcel Leart, 26 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
The Republic of Armenia, which had succeeded the Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia, resurfaced really acquainted with the Armenian diaspora in the aftermath of its independence. Of course, links existed in Soviet times, but they remain limited to certain components of the diaspora and the intellectual - and this, in a very controlled. The population of Soviet Armenia is also itself the result of a symbiosis between Armenians of the Russian Empire and survivors from the Ottoman Empire, who were assistants, over time, especially in 1946 -- 1948, a wave of new migrants from the four corners of the diaspora. The real reunion of the two Armenian took place during the earthquake of December 1988 that destroyed the north-west, creating an unprecedented international mobilization. Within days, thousands of Armenians in the diaspora have organized around the world to bring relief to a country that most of them did not know. Isolated for decades, Armenia suddenly discovered a whole section of the Armenian nation with which it had previously as contacts "coordinated" by the Soviet regime. This tragic event occurred while the "Karabakh Movement" of Armenia, who campaigned for democracy and the attachment of Nagorno-Karabakh, shaking the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev for months. Despite the state of emergency imposed by Moscow and harassment of Soviet consular services were reluctant to issue visas, the Diaspora has undertaken across the board, in a vast enterprise of solidarity, which figure will probably Charles Aznavour (1).

This meeting between the two components of the Armenian nation marked the end of an era and the beginning of a lasting relationship. Until then, the term "diaspora" applied to the Armenian communities that had formed after the 1915 genocide, dispersing to the four winds the survivors, including the Near East, the United States and France. But the earthquake of December 1988, followed by conflict with Azerbaijan on the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh, which must be added the economic crisis following the end of the USSR resulted in the three newly independent states of the South Caucasus a real disaster. Energy shortages, sudden drop in industrial production, dizzying decline in living standards have led to a terrible bleeding population: hundreds of thousands of Armenians were moved in the Russian Federation, particularly in the North Caucasus (region Krasnodar), in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where they are integrated into communities from the eighteenth century and especially during the Soviet era. A new diaspora has emerged before our eyes in less than twenty years. With almost two million souls, with its own benchmarks, it still retains a strong link with the families left behind.

When we speak of the Armenian diaspora, should be taken into account at least two of its components: the diaspora formed in 1920 from the survivors of 1915 and which was recently formed in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet bloc.

The dispersion is not a new phenomenon among Armenians. In the Middle Ages there have been massive migration to Central Europe (Crimea and Poland) and a unique case, the Cilicia, in the eastern Mediterranean, where the Armenian migrants have founded, the twelfth to the fourteenth century, an ally of State Crusader States. In the seventeenth century, Armenian merchants had established settlements in the major ports in Europe, especially in Venice (where the Armenian presence is older, related to trade between Venice and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia), in Livorno, Marseille , Cadiz and Amsterdam, where they built churches and houses. These same dealers have also established important institutions in India (Madras and Calcutta), the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies and to China (Canton). But there can be no question of assimilating these establishments Armenian diaspora in the modern sense. The contemporary diaspora before the demise of the Soviet Union is primarily an effect of the dispersion of Armenian refugees expelled from their homeland in the Ottoman Empire.

We can at most indicate the early formation of a diaspora in Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, when the massacres and repression orchestrated by Sultan Abdulhamid in the 1890s led tens of thousands of Ottoman Armenians to flee to the heavens more lenient. There are 120 000 Armenian refugees in the United States on the eve of the First World War. Today, it is estimated that the Armenian diaspora represents a total of seven million people.

Quest and its reciprocal effect
History has separated these two entities: one is marked by the Russian presence in the Caucasus since the early nineteenth century, the other end of the Ottoman Empire, still bears the scars of violence organized by the mass Young Turk regime during the First World War.

In many ways, current experience is not unlike the waves of "return home": the survivors of genocide in the early 1920s, those organized by the Soviet power in 1936, after the Great Depression and in 1946-1948, after the Second World War, when tens of thousands of Armenians established in the West or the Middle East have been repatriated. The similarity is particularly striking that these demographic contributions have been extremely valuable to the Soviet Armenia, where much of the intellectual and scientific elite was recruited from among these newcomers cultures.

Armenian in the dyad, we on the one hand a state which has the prerogative to ensure the safety of its citizens and the socio-economic development of countries on the other, a diaspora whose roots lie in a country that is called Turkey and struggling for decades to receive compensation from this Turkey. Clashes have not failed to occur during the last twenty years between the two sides of the same reality, sometimes separated by a barrier of misunderstanding. But time has allowed the two entities Armenian get to know and to gradually bring about joint projects. The diaspora has come to be convinced that his mark is now the Republic of Armenia. As to the latter, it recognized that these diasporic Armenians had the right to be involved in the fate of Armenia. More prosaically, the authorities in Yerevan have understood that the Armenians established on all continents are carriers of knowledge and multiple skills and various highly useful for the development of the country.

It should also create mechanisms to foster a reconciliation taking into account the sensitivity of each group. Many initiatives have been taken. One of the first decisions of the Armenian State (1992) was the creation of an "Armenia" to raise money in the world to finance large projects. More than twenty branches have emerged in the United States, France, Argentina, Australia, Canada, etc.. This fund has contributed to the establishment of infrastructure essential to economic development, communication, water supply, irrigation, hospitals, schools. In recent years, an extensive program of development of rural areas has been achieved.

Also noteworthy is the role of the Western diaspora in the reconstruction of the disaster area by the earthquake in December 1988. In addition the Fund "Armenia", which the French, the Armenian Fund of France, has been particularly active, foundations as Lincy (offshoot of the financial empire of the Armenian-American billionaire Kirk Kirkorian) have injected hundreds of millions dollars to relocate the affected decently - an effort that the Armenian budget would have been hard to bear alone. Sectors of higher education and research, who were the first victims of the changes resulting from independence, have also benefited from the Diaspora to open relay abroad. Researchers in the exact sciences, physicians, social scientists have benefited from large transfers of knowledge. The medical associations of Armenia, as in France and UMAF AMIC globally enabled professionals to train in specialty previously unknown in the Soviet health system.

Countless initiatives or from small associations focused on agriculture, banking and, more generally, SMEs and SMIs. Thanks to the diaspora, Armenia has gradually caught up with international standards. The organization of professional forums opened the country to potential investors, most of the investments being made, however, by residents or citizens of Russia from Armenia, adapted to the social environment and local economy. Investors in the Western diaspora or Middle East are not so far away, even if they are more difficult to integrate the rules of the game Armenian.

The Turkish issue at the heart of relations between the Diaspora Arménieet
This inventory of areas of cooperation should not obscure a central foreign policy around which crystallize debates strongest. The recent history of the Armenians there is prominent, the contentious history with Turkey remaining in the heart of all discussions. If there is one issue on which Armenia can not be dead, it is that the sensitivity of its diaspora vis-à-vis the Turkish case. The first Armenian president, Levon Ter Petrossian, had chosen to freeze the bilateral dispute with Ankara in order to facilitate the establishment of diplomatic relations. His main concern was to defuse tensions with the powerful neighbor and to ensure the security of Armenia.

However, it was the same at the initiative of the foundation of the Museum-Institute of the genocide in 1995 in Yerevan. It is true that the acute economic crisis that affected then Armenia, against a backdrop of war with Azerbaijan, the dramatic shortage of energy resources (forests have been swallowed whole during the winters of 1992-1994) and external pressures it does not leave a choice. In Turkey, some politicians have even asked how Armenia still held upright in these conditions "inhuman", particularly since Ankara, which had closed its borders in 1993, filed its new neighbor with a land blockade. In other words, the pragmatic president has managed a crisis with the means at his disposal, while having to engage with diaspora still uninformed of the realities of Armenia and unaware of the constraints imposed by the survival of a state.

The signing in 1994, under the auspices of Russia, a cease-fire between the belligerents in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, followed by the restart of the Medzamor nuclear power plant (taken as a precaution after the earthquake land and under pressure from environmentalists in 1989) have indeed returned to Armenia a few colors. But the terrible suffering endured by the population during the years 1992-1994 (one or two hours of electricity per day and almost no heat in a country where the thermometer down to -20 ° couramment winter) have had a lasting impression on our minds . At that time, the political class does not make criticism of the lack of enthusiasm with which the diaspora has mobilized to provide assistance to his brethren in Armenia.

In some circles diasporic also wanted on a charge the President Ter Petrossian's policy of helping hand to Turkey. Hand that was not enough to defuse Turkish nationalism, always ready to condemn the "enemy" Armenian and return appeasement of relations with Armenia to better days. The first president and his successor, Robert Kocharian (1998-2008), who was its first minister, had an analysis of the situation diametrically opposed. Levon Ter Petrossian was convinced that Armenia can not develop if they made concessions to obtain a lifting of the Turkish-Azeri. On the contrary, Robert Kocharian was convinced that economic recovery was possible without giving in to external pressures on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. The sequence of events seems to have proved the second. It was observed in 1999, a significant recovery in investment and a higher standard of living that may not have benefited equally to all social strata, but whose socio-economic effects were undeniable.

Robert Kocharian has obviously learned the lessons from the difficulties encountered by his predecessor and had to immediately clarify its position on Turkey. While reaffirming that Armenia was ready to establish unconditional diplomatic relations with his neighbor, he said that the issue of genocide was an integral part of the country's foreign policy. The Turkish response was swift. Ankara-attacked against proposing to Armenia the establishment of a "commission of historians' and 'opening of archives on both sides. It is with great skill that Turkey had communicated on the subject by giving the impression of political openness. Most Western media have taken the message without flinching ignored the Turkish and Armenian position. He has obviously never been to Ankara to sit at a negotiating table with Yerevan, but rather to maintain doubt about the nature of violence committed in 1915 by the Ottoman State and to a lengthy debate "landmark" that has long been settled by historians. The proposed "commission" was nothing but a smokescreen designed to conceal the intransigence of Turkey and to avoid a formal dialogue between the two states. Dialogue urged the European Union and the United States for years, but has difficulty to take shape.

It seems to return the situation and force Turkey to prove its intentions that the new president, Serge Sargsyan, has launched his famous invitation to President Abdullah Gül to attend a football match between the two teams in September last. However, the vehement reactions caused by this initiative have shown that on the question of relations with Turkey, the Armenian diaspora original Ottoman remained skeptical to say the least. How people who have fought for decades against a State which they accuse of covering the crime on which he built could they understand the requirements of diplomacy? They can criticize the instrumentalization of this informal meeting between two presidents whose States do not maintain diplomatic relations. They argue that it is for Turkey to make amends and take the lead in soothing gestures.

Of course, the principled position of the diaspora - there is some consensus on the Turkish question - not trying to take into account the regional situation and the reality of power. The most perceptive observers note that the current Turkish-nationalist kémalo remains dominant and that its intentions in respect of Armenia are not "benevolent". It is obvious that the Armenian dossier embarrasses Ankara that would benefit from its strong position in Yerevan to impose its interpretation of history. Or at least wishing that Armenia and Armenians are mute their demands in exchange, for example, the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the border. We are here facing a rare scenario where a small State, born in pain, must assume a heavy historical legacy of a powerful neighbor and self-confident regional ambitions to become more pronounced. The unequal struggle bother, in fact, everyone. It disturbs because it carries with it unwavering fidelity to the memory of victims of 1915 which is outside the political guns of our time, especially when it comes to national policy. It disturbs, also because it reminded the international community was unable or failed to impose a fair punishment for perpetrators Young Turks, as was underlined when Raphael Lemkin developed the concept of genocide. Armenia is to date one of the most advanced in the prevention against this type of crime supreme.

If the Copenhagen criteria do not specifically on Turkey to fulfill its past, this requirement is still a "political conditions" that will need to fill at one time or another hope integrate to the European Union. It is likely that the Eurocrats are aware of the sensitivities of the Turkish side, most often avoid to address this issue at the present stage of negotiations in order not to discourage Ankara. These same eurocrats barely hide their exasperation when they are challenged on the issue of genocide. But you can bet that the Armenian diaspora, especially one that is rooted in France, will not fail to weigh on this embarrassing. It will be supported in its efforts by an informed public opinion and European political circles of all stripes. In other words, Armenia and the diaspora are both stakeholders in the case of Turkey and can not escape from one another.

Diaspora and mainstream opinion about the Armenian State
The Armenian diaspora has experienced profound changes during the twentieth century. Paris has long been the political and intellectual development of Armenian refugees, before being supplanted in the 1960s through Beirut, and then by New York and Los Angeles in the 1980s. Wherever its location, the Armenian diaspora has a relatively homogeneous structure. It soon reconstituted his network of churches serving a population for which identity is combined with membership of the Armenian Church (2), including among agnostics. It is known, we are married and it is blessed before being buried.

The first Armenian refugees have also reshaped the political currents that had developed under Ottoman. But in their new environments, they quickly lost their respective social sensibilities to become vigilant guardians of memory and promoters of national identity. The inter-war years led to a "reconstruction of the nation through the education of tens of thousands of orphans in 1915 and rehabilitation of young women abducted. This recomposition of the "community link", which was based on a vibrant press, owes much to the tremendous work throughout the world by associations compatriots in writing to save the memory of the Armenian land, oral traditions, dialects , habits and all the regions of high Armenian Plateau drained of their population.

It is in this context that emerged from a major split within the Armenian diaspora. In the 1930s, the current diasporic left rather Communists and charities, such as the Armenian General Benevolent Union (3), are committed to the sides of the Armenian SSR: the first to have supported policy skillfully exploited by the Comintern, the second significant financial support to facilitate the construction of this new home, it was all Soviet. This resulted in tensions, especially with the circles of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (4), bears the main force claims against Turkey. This same phenomenon was accentuated when the Cold War spread to the Armenian diaspora in the early 1950s. These power struggles have left deep, so much so that one may wonder if the most radical have not projected their visceral anti independently on Armenia. It is the finger touches a taboo: the legitimacy of certain circles of the diaspora to be involved in the policy of the Armenian State on behalf of their historical antecedents.

To better assess these issues, the Armenian authorities have successively held three conference "Armenia-Diaspora" (1999, 2003 and 2006), attended by several thousand people from around the world. Addressing both issues of identity, education, culture and politics, especially these congresses have shown how difficult it was to overcome the misunderstandings and establish a constructive dialogue. However, they triggered a dynamic and allowed the elites of the two entities know each other better, learn to trust and to eliminate the remnants of the Cold War.

But the best cement is probably tourism. The journey in Armenia is developing very quickly. It is an opportunity for youngsters to discover one of the foundations of their identity became plural and focus on that country. Some even wonder about the possibility to settle permanently in Armenia or at least conduct professional activities. The interest of the diaspora to Armenia - to take the form of transfers of skills, investment or financial support - is a significant advantage in terms of development.

After years of declining population, Armenia has recently seen the return of Armenians of Russia, but also the installation of hundreds of members of diasporas Middle Eastern and Western. The phenomenon is probably known to increase. The recent establishment of a Ministry of Diaspora in Armenia indicates, in any case, qu'Erevan thinking seriously about this. Another decision was taken (following the 2005 referendum), which facilitates the acquisition of dual citizenship for Diaspora wishing to settle in Armenia. The issue is primarily established Armenians in Russia, which now form the largest diaspora, and whose future depends on developments in the Russian Federation. In the regional competition, including from Azerbaijan (which has energy resources to providing significant revenue until 2020) and Georgia (which is, by its unique geographical position, a country of transit must-read), the Armenia has is a trump card, which is not the only, but can contribute to regional balance, essential to establishing a lasting peace.

Among the factors likely to change the regional situation and influence the foreign policy of Armenia towards Turkey, the activities of the Armenian diaspora, especially in France and the United States, is not to be taken lightly. In France, the adoption by Parliament of the law of January 2001, recognizing the genocide of 1915, triggered a strong reaction from Ankara, with threats of a boycott of French companies. The vote on first reading a law penalizing the denial in October 2006, also caused a crisis in Franco-Turkish relations, without consequences on trade between the two countries. Recall that in 1987 the European Parliament, under pressure from the Armenian diaspora, adopted a resolution calling on Turkey to fulfill its past and the genocide of Armenians.

The conviction by the courts of Switzerland, in March 2007, at the initiative of the Association Switzerland-Armenia, a notorious Holocaust denier Turkish, Dogu Perinçek, on the basis of a universal law against racism and xenophobia - because it is the reason - has reminded Turkey that the enormous budget allocated each year to conduct anti-Armenian lobby is not enough to reduce the world to silence. Proof: For the first time in history, one of its citizens, now charged in the trial "Ergenekon" (5), was convicted of genocide denial in 1915, described as "a conspiracy of imperialism against Turkey. "

In line with the Franco-Swiss, the Armenian diaspora in the United States has succeeded on several occasions to obtain from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate or the House of Representatives, a vote for a positive motion is subject to these assemblies. But each time, the combined intervention of the State Department, Pentagon and White House allowed to stop at the last minute, the adoption of a resolution. The United States is, in fact, the last element of the dam to prevent the truth to light. Since the arrival of Barack Obama business, Ankara wondered if her old recipes, a mix of lobbying and blackmail, work again tomorrow. It is not safe, in fact, that the new administration - which al'exemple of Darfur under the eyes - continues to build a state with which it has since 1951, when Turkey's accession to NATO, of relations if not always harmonious. A record of the State Department made public recently, and sent to the International Tribunal in The Hague in 1952, reveals that U.S. diplomacy be used without restriction, the term genocide to describe the crimes committed against Armenians. In other words, the United States do no facts, they have simply been taken to avoid taking a public stand. If Team Obama is also no doubt that Turkey would hasten to start dialogue with Armenia, after reiterating the expression of its denial, became a slogan of local nationalism. In this case, the Diaspora will have nothing else to say.

During his first official trip to the United States as President of the Republic, Serge Sarkissian held about flattering to the Armenian-American community. But he recalled that it was relatively "fragile" and that she needed to find answers to their problems at the risk of identity disappear in the longer term (6). Through this message the President refers to the eternal problem of diasporas: ensure their survival. Survival all the more easily they can build on a strong and confident with an independent State.

The context appears today for the development and implementation of a concerted policy to help the diaspora to overcome its difficulties. The improvement of living standards, the establishment of a government better educated, the progress made in services give Armenia a real and attractive to the State a more broad. Serge Sargsyan has apparently joined the new order. Did he not opened his presidency by announcing that one of his priorities would be to develop a partnership with the diaspora? In this respect, one of the keys to success is the quality of expertise that the Armenian President will be eligible. With regard to issues as complex as diasporic phenomena, it is always difficult to establish a correct diagnosis. La jeune génération de chercheurs arméniens, souvent issue des meilleures universités occidentales, pourrait y contribuer à condition qu’elle soit associée à la nouvelle politique mise en musique par Serge Sarkissian.
www.politiqueinternationale.com


Turkey: The Impasse Negationism by Yves Ternon, 26 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
From April 1915 to July 1916, between 1 200 000 1 500 000 Armenians, or two thirds of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, is murdered. The Central Committee of Union and Progress Committee, the ruling party (whose members are called in the West the Young Turks), plans and orders, with the support of several government ministers, deportation and extermination of the population Armenian empire. Since 2 November 1914, the Ottoman Empire was engaged in the First World War, alongside the Central Powers. The killings were first reported, on 24 May 1915 by the Foreign Ministers of the Entente, who describe him as a "crime against humanity and civilization." Europe and America are informed in real time, of the facts, their mechanism and their nature.

In 1919 and 1920, after the fall of the Young Turk regime, the evidence that this plan was agreed at the highest levels of government is provided by the Ottoman courts during trials which are designed to fall on the Union Committee Progress and the responsibility for these crimes and allow the government to Istanbul to attend in better conditions before the Peace Conference held in Paris.

On 9 December 1948, when the UN adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ", the word" genocide ", coined by Raphael Lemkin (1), enters the vocabulary of international criminal law. It appears immediately evident that this term applies to the Armenian tragedy - a truth that all historians recognize freedom of expression (2). However, the Republic of Turkey, State arising in heir of the Ottoman Empire since 1923, rejects the characterization of genocide. If it does not deny the killings, she disputes the scale and tries to explain the dead by the military situation and a betrayal of the Armenians. This denial was gradually organized into a system of lies, now identified as a state of denial. It is necessary to the Turkish government as a political priority. Nearly a century after its implementation, because Turkey refuses to recognize and name it as such, this genocide is a unique news. Its recognition by Turkey has become an international policy issue.

Specificity negationism: discursive processes
The denial is still present after a genocide. One can say that this is the final phase of the crime, it continues and maintains. In the case of the Armenian genocide, it is both the act of a State that refuses to bear the burden of this crime, and that groups or individuals motivated by a racist or nationalist ideology to deny the obvious. "Every time, this violence planned by a State shall, at will and shooting, concealment, manipulation and lies" (3). The word "denial" was coined by Henry Rousso in 1987. It then designates the denial by the "revisionist" of the use of deadly gas chambers and, more generally, the reality of the genocide of Jews perpetrated by the Nazis. This semantics was to strip the "revisionists" of their pseudo-scientific arguments and describe their approach: Holocaust denial is a lie, a vicious and malicious maneuver, the deniers are counterfeiters. Comparative research on the genocidal violence in the twentieth century, initiated in the United States as part of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, extends the scope of this term to other events. These studies highlight the logic of negation, a real implementation of the denial system, "sui generis composed of lies and delusions ratiocination, is slipping syllogistic" (4), but the fact of applying the term "denial" so leads to a larger risk of commoditization.

If it is appropriate to expand the meaning of this word, it is also necessary to define the limits of his job to the negation of the Crime of Genocide, and especially the denial of genocides of the twentieth century proved a comparative approach aujourd ' now recognized by most social scientists. For historians who claim this approach, the suffix "ism" identifies a system, a practice codified in denial, which leads to propose a definition of denial: "The organization of a lie in a system whose purpose to escape to a direct or indirect responsibility in the commission of genocide. "As with the concept of denial in the genocide, and especially of genocides in the twentieth century, we are able to distinguish mechanisms of identified. Indeed, if each genocide is a singular event that falls within a specific historical context, its negation obeys general rules. One can isolate in denial about the four processes common discourse that give it coherence apparent rationalization, reduction, reversal, anamorphosis.

Rationalization is the usual ploy of the university introduced a controversy, accusing witnesses, search for a fault between the source and that allowed the administration of evidence an hypercriticisme. Reducing the number of victims by manipulating figures and statistics trivializes the event and drowns in a situation of extreme violence. The reversal of the charge is the argument most cynical negationism: the roles are reversed, the "alleged victims" of "supposed genocide" had betrayed and plotted against the state and have perpetrated massacres; if had killed them, they were asking for, it was a legitimate defense against life-threatening. Of these arguments, the book négationniste a distorted picture of reality, anamorphosis: the disappeared had emigrated or been displaced, the number of deaths is lower than announced, the evidence of the crime were manufactured by enemy propaganda, while n was qu'imposture and hoax.

We find these processes in the denial of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Here, however, the argument is centered on the rejection of the criminal intent element of the crime of genocide. Failing to prove that intent, we could not talk about genocide. The maneuver is to recognize some of the facts, to justify the war, so that the point of application negationism is moved a mass murder is acknowledged only is denied planning a murder mass. As denial is led by a sovereign state, there is presence of a singular phenomenon: a state of denial.

Genealogy Of A Denial
Fathers Criminals
From its conception to its execution, the crime is characterized by denial. He is denied even before it is committed. The first violence against the Armenians were victims are justified as a necessary response to a latent threat, the Armenians are likely to collaborate with the enemy. When the destruction process is initiated, it is not presented as a killing, but a deportation legitimized by a military situation. To understand the genesis of this denial, it must go back several centuries. From the birth of the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century, the non-Muslim subjects of the empire multi-ethnic and multi are dhimmis, ie the protected subject of the sultan in return for this protection to a number of constraints, including equality before law. The calls for reform of the Ottoman Empire, demanded by Russia from the late eighteenth century, then by European powers, open Question d'Orient. Speaking to the Powers to get the reforms that they promised the Sultan without them, the Armenians introduce the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, an "Armenian Question", which becomes a component of the policy issues. This community is far more vulnerable emergence of Armenian revolutionary movements calling for independence. The Sultan responded by orchestrating, from 1894 to 1896, the massacres in the provinces inhabited by Armenians. The cycle of violence seems to be interrupted with the arrival in power in 1908 the Young Turks to restore the Constitution and give hope equal citizens of the empire, a "Ottoman". These promises of democracy are quickly forgotten in favor of an intolerant turquisme which is summarized in a formula: "Turkey for Turks" and a panturquisme planning to meet the Turks in Azerbaijan and Central Asia in a wide range the same language, same culture and even "race".

For the most fanatical of panturquisme, the entrance of the Empire in World War provides an opportunity to realize this dream. But early in their engagement, the Young Turks are accumulating threats: Loss of Sarikamich on the Caucasian front, where the Ottoman Third Army was destroyed; failure of an attack on the Suez Canal; threat of Anglo-French fleet in the Straits of Dardanelles. They fear, rightly, that if a State defeat Armenian is created by the victors and that part of eastern Anatolia, where Armenians are the largest minority and are often the majority, is attached to this state. It is primarily in this context, that of life-threatening for turquisme and the panturquisme, that the senior leaders of the Union and Progress - the Interior Minister, Talaat Pasha, the Prefect of Constantinople, Djambolat the heads of the Special Organization, Dr. Nazim, and Shakir - make the decision to clear the Eastern Anatolia of its Armenian population, with performances on the spot and deportations. The program was inaugurated on 24 April 1915 by the arrest and deportation of the Armenian intelligentsia of the capital. It continues from May to July, by eliminating the Armenians of the seven provinces of eastern Anatolia, according to a same pattern replicated in every city in every town: arrest and torture of the notables to make them confess to a conspiracy and caches weapons; order of deportation, separation of men who led roped, were murdered near their homes, starting in convoys of women, children and the elderly. Deportation is a disguised extermination. The convoys are regularly decimated. This first step accomplished - from May to July 1915 - This program is complemented by the deportation of Armenians from the rest of the empire (from August to December 1915) to Aleppo, where they join the few survivors of the convoy of Eastern Anatolia . In Aleppo, the main flow of deportees is run throughout the year 1916, along the Euphrates, a concentration camp to another (as mouroir) to Deir-es-Zor, scheduled completion of deportation. At the end of 1916, the last concentrations of deportees are destroyed. A group of about 120 000 people are sent to camps in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. The governor of these provinces, Djemal Pasha, keeps them alive in hopes of separate negotiations with the Entente. Thus, 2 100 000 Armenians identified by the Armenian Patriarchate in 1914, two thirds died. Only the Armenians have survived in the province of Van, which were released by the Russian army and have followed in his retirement, the survivors of the camps in Syria, women and children converted to Islam, the Armenians of Smyrna and Constantinople spared deportation, and small scattered groups in Anatolia.

The legacy of son
After the First World War, while the Allies are preparing a peace treaty that would dismember the Ottoman Empire - in Sevres treaty signed in August 1920 by the Ottoman government, but never ratified - the revolutionary movement that develops in Anatolia under the leadership Mustafa Kemal intends to preserve the achievements of the destruction of Armenians carried out by the Young Turks. The American project of a mandate on Armenia was quickly abandoned, an international commission sent on site had found that there were more Armenians in the eastern provinces of Anatolia. The Republic of Armenia, formed in Transcaucasia in 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution (5), was attacked in December 1920 by the Kemalist army. The Bolsheviks are ahead of the Turkish Republic and include this in the future Soviet Union. The home established in Armenian Cilicia (under the protection of France) with the survivors of the camps in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine is rapidly evacuated in 1921 after agreements between the French and Turkish. The Greco-Turkish war ends with the destruction of the Armenian community in Smyrna. The issue of the Armenian massacres is not even mentioned in the Lausanne Conference is developed where the peace treaty between Turkey and the Allies. At the League of Nations, the idea of an Armenian household is quickly abandoned. From 1923 to 1929, the Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923, includes Armenian survivors remained in the provinces and deported to Syria under French mandate. From the ancient Armenia, which, for twenty-seven centuries, had survived many invasions, will remain with its identity, that the small community of Istanbul, consists of approximately 70 000 people. Armenian Question seems definitively resolved by oblivion.

The Republic of Turkey produces a representation of its glorious past. In the 1920s, the Turkish Historical Society writes a fantasy story of Turkey adapted to the image that Mustafa Kemal - Ataturk became the "Father Turk" - wants to give the world of this nation. This story removes inglorious episodes of the Ottoman period, which distorted the vision of a Turkish people courageous, generous and tolerant. It does not even Armenian presence in Anatolia, an area regarded as the home of the Turkish people since time immemorial. There are two other reasons for this "Armenian taboo": the fear that the eastern borders of Turkey can be challenged, and the fact that many leaders of the planned destruction of the Armenians were among the founders of the Republic. Indeed, the secretary responsible for organizing special - men who have, in the provinces, led and directed operations of killing - were ministers of the Turkish Government, one of them, Djelal Bayar, even became President of the Republic (6).

A denial of state: the structure
The introduction of the word "genocide" in the vocabulary of international criminal law in 1948 changed the situation. Turkey signed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, but it refuses to acknowledge that the Young Turks have perpetrated a. To make this refusal, it focuses its argument on the denial of criminal intent. The Armenian diaspora, almost entirely consisting of genocide survivors and their descendants gradually becomes aware that it previously identified as "major disaster" had been a genocide. This provision becomes the basis on which it bases its request for recognition. Denial facing any wording of this request is then experienced by the survivors, and especially their children and grandchildren, as a second death: they have to prove the crimes they were victims. Citizens of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia share the same outrage. On 24 April 1965 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the arrest of Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople, an event symbolizing the beginning of the genocide, the Armenian diaspora and Armenians in Soviet Armenia require Turkey to recognize the genocide and return the territories of Armenia (7). Surprised and forced to structure his denial, the Turkish government opened a new phase of denial. We can then talk about the emergence of a state of denial. Since then it has continued to tighten and adapt to changes in international politics.

Successive Turkish governments are rooted in the denial. This becomes an obsession and led from the start to excesses. Each time, somewhere in the world, the Armenian genocide is mentioned, Turkey rises niche. It threatens all those - individuals, governments, corporations, humanitarian organizations and politicians, including at the highest level - who rejected his version of events. The government is going to break off diplomatic relations with nations that have allowed or supported the Armenian community when he claimed to have been the victim of genocide. It even cancel contracts with companies (national or private) on the pretext that the leaders of countries to which these companies have only mentioned the Armenian Genocide!

The Ankara government not to yield any points. As he feels his position weakened before the work undermines historians who, stimulated by this denial, intensify their research and provide evidence about the devastating genocide, he said the maneuvers by grotesque - or, rather, that would be grotesque if the academic quality of their authors made them effective. Turkish universities open laboratories disinformation which refined the arguments of denial. These are organized in the directions defined since 1915: Armenian revolutionaries had prepared a plot threatening the security of the empire, the Young Turk government had to move the Armenian population; deplorable acts have certainly produced during these movements, but they were severely punished, and the dead that has been deplored are related to the difficult conditions of war, the documents presented by the Armenians are false, a tissue of distortions and lies. Development, this thesis is then exported denial in American universities. At UCLA (Los Angeles), Professor Stanford Shaw described the Armenians as privileged citizens of the Ottoman Empire (8). He says that evacuating the war zones, the Ottoman government has given the greatest care of their safety and their well-being. Justin Mac Carthy (9) manipulates the figures to reduce the number of victims. In 1982, an Institute of Turkish Studies is open to Princeton. The publications of the institute, headed by Heath Lowry, are summarized in a thesis: the Armenian genocide is a historical falsification. It is then shown that Lowry is in close relationship with the Turkish Embassy in the United States (10). When Bernard Lewis comes to France, on the occasion of the release of his book on the emergence of modern Turkey, he says there are two versions of events: Turkish and Armenian. The case can not be pleaded to criminal misconduct of a law on the denial of the Armenian genocide, the 1st chamber of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris is captured by Armenian organizations and the League, under Article 1382 Civil Code, which states: "Anyone who has caused harm is required to repair it." Bernard Lewis is sentenced to pay the Forum of Armenian Associations sum of 10 000 francs and the League a total of 4 000. The court acknowledges that it has no mandate to mediate or settle the controversy or controversies of historical events can generate, or to decide what should be called this or that event in history. He adds that the historian has in principle a free exhibit, according to his personal views, actions and attitudes of those who participated in these events. But he fixed the bounds of the legitimate exercise of freedom necessary for acceptance of responsibility. When a historian as true the allegations patently false or that it fails to mention events or opinions that meet the accession of qualified persons, he shall assume responsibility towards the people affected by the denial or omission. The court finds that the thesis of Bernard Lewis is contradicted by the documents in the debate and that over them, he "failed in his duties of objectivity and prudence" (11). Indeed, without denying the reality of the massacres, Bernard Lewis only expressed a doubt about the intent of the Ottoman government and required to be satisfied, an irrefutable proof of that intention. The argument was subtle, historians can not present evidence that a decision taken in secret. Even if such evidence is sufficiently convincing to prove the premeditation of the crime, the Holocaust deniers deem inadequate. They follow this line to excess, beyond the limits of intellectual honesty ... until it should be admitted that these interlocutors are in bad faith, they do not respect the rules of the controversy and they do not recognize the obvious. Historians have come to adopt the rule defined by Pierre Vidal-Naquet: there is no discussion with Holocaust deniers. Because they can be settled among historians in good faith, recognition of the Armenian genocide, genocide proved, becomes a matter of international politics.

Genocide in international forums
For over forty years this question has ceased to be raised in politics. The controversy opens in 1967 when the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination against and for the protection of minorities - Subcommittee of the Commission on Human Rights, itself linked to the Economic and Social Council of the UN - began studying the prevention and punishment of genocide. The reference in a preliminary report to the Armenian genocide as the "first genocide of the twentieth century" triggers an orchestrated campaign of protests by Turkey. The report was buried in 1973. The end of inadmissibility raised by Turkey to the legitimate claims of Armenian causes, in reply, from 1975 to 1983, episodes of violence and terrorism Armenian increasingly blind (12). Although he contributed to the Armenian cause, this "advertising terrorism" is denounced in its excesses by Armenian Armenian cause and returned to a political and judicial.

The shift occurs in 1984 with the holding at the Sorbonne for a session of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, an independent organization composed of international personalities including several Nobel Prize winners. The Court recognizes that, under the law, the 1915 massacres constituted genocide (13). Having appointed a new Rapporteur, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination against and for the protection of minorities adopted in 1985, the Whitaker report which, in a paragraph dealing with genocide in history, mentions the Armenian genocide (14) . But the report was not forwarded to the Commission des droits de l'homme de l'ONU, several members expressed reservations about the reference. The question is posed to the European Parliament on 18 June 1987, recognizes the Armenian genocide, and a recommendation on Turkey, said that his denial would create a barrier to its entry into the European Community (15). In fact, recognition of the Armenian genocide by international and interstate as well as by the courts has been steadily growing since the 1970s (16). On 29 January 2001, France passed a law declarative taking an article: "France publicly recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915." This result is obtained at the end of a marathon that saw Turkey, at each stage preceding the adoption of the text, put pressure on Parliamentarians and the Quai d'Orsay. Ankara did not hesitate to threaten to sever diplomatic relations, to cancel the contracts awarded by the French companies with Turkish companies and a boycott of French products. In vain.

Surrounded by the flood of recognition of the Armenian genocide, Turkey retreats into a defense of increasingly incoherent. It compensates for the thin beam of arguments available to denounce the "alleged genocide" by an increase in political and economic pressures. More proof of criminal intent is established as an evidence to inform policies on this mass murder, the more the Turkish denial is absurd. Finally, Turkey falls into the reverse direction: it is, it claims now that the Armenians committed a genocide of Turks (17).

When, at the Copenhagen summit in 2002, the European Union made an appointment in December 2004 for the opening of negotiations on Turkey's candidacy, it is invited to meet the criteria defined in 1983, especially respect human rights and minority rights. The resolution adopted on 18 June 1987, which made the admission of Turkey in what was then the European Community to several conditions, including recognition of the Armenian genocide, is retracted. With this diplomatic victory, Turkey shuts himself in his denial. In August 2002 a circular of the Turkish Ministry of National Education had imposed on secondary school teachers to treat of "baseless allegations of Armenian, Greek and Pontic Greek" and ordered the rewriting in the sense of textbooks. In April 2003, the Ministry issues a circular on the organization of conferences and essay competition on the subject in schools. 500 Turkish teachers refuse then the "racist" and "to provoke hatred" of new textbooks and create a monitoring group called "History for Peace". This is the first draft in Turkey to a movement of intellectuals seeking more information about the events of 1915 and 1916. Before the end of December 2004, Turkey threatened to retaliate if the EU refuses to open negotiations. Effective pressure as it gets satisfaction. Rather than tempering his rage denial, Turkey still hardens his positions.

Keeping radical positions of Turkey
In Turkey, the Islamist Party of Justice and Development Party (AKP), which are in power, and those committed to the preservation of the Kemalist legacy, agreed to refuse recognition of the Armenian genocide. Their disagreement concerns the question of secularism and Westernization of Turkey in the 1920s. This is why article 301 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment up to ten years for anyone who violated the "Turkishness" (Article liberticidal considered by the EU and the organizations defense of human rights) has not been removed: it concerns security, a problem that is primarily military. Hundreds of legal proceedings are brought, under section 301, against journalists, historians and writers, among others, have mentioned the Armenian genocide. Indeed, the only reference, as well as the occupation of the eastern part of Cyprus by the Turkish army, enough to launch a charge. Most of these procedures were abandoned before reaching trial.

It is in this context that the killing occurred in Istanbul on 19 January 2007, the director of the Armenian newspaper Agos, Hrant Dink (18). The event provokes an emotion unprecedented 100 and 000 to 200 000 people attend his funeral. The Nobel Prize for literature in 2006 Ohran Pamuk, who is, as Hrant Dink had been the subject of legal proceedings, took refuge in the United States, fearing for his life. On 30 April 2008, Article 301 is amended: the insult to "Turkishness" is replaced by "insulting the Turkish nation"; prosecution requires the prior consent of the Minister of Justice. However, procedures do not stop: they are targeting the writer Tanara Demirer, Ahmed Altan newspaper Taraf or Agos and its columnists.

Hrant Dink proposed a reading of the Turkish past. He claimed that there was no democracy without truth, without dialogue, without respect for others. He was killed because his Democratic threatening combat the extreme positions of the nationalist right. In March 2008, three people Kemal, whose columnist of Cumhuriyet daily, are accused of complicity with the Ergenekon network. This group of ultranationalists suspected of being linked to the "deep state" - a hidden power involving government ministers - was dismantled in January. He was accused of having planned the assassination of Hrant Dink and projected that of Ohran Pamuk (19).

Some Turkish historians acknowledge the reality of the Armenian genocide. Their purpose is different depending on whether they reside abroad - including Taner Akçam or Fuhret Adami - or in Turkey, as Hilel Berktay, a professor at Sabanci University in Istanbul. Increasingly, intellectuals asking the country to face this tragic page of history and overcome the issue of bias against the perception of two national memories. But instead, they believe that the adoption of a law criminalizing denial of Armenian genocide would be counterproductive. Nevertheless, this freedom of speech, developed especially by the Turkish organizations of human rights, is quickly countered by the government, which maintains its denial. The Turkish daily Taraf reveals, in an article published September 18 entitled "brainwashing before leaving," as students of the University of Marmara bound for Europe under the Erasmus program are forced to follow a Seminar on official Turkish theses on sensitive issues, including the Armenian genocide. The former director of the Turkish Institute of History, Yusuf Hacacoglu a fanatical denial, dealing with the Armenian question! A museum of the Turkish army was opened in Istanbul: it honors the memory of Talaat Pasha, architect of the Armenian genocide. As for the Turkish ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, he went up to warn against an Israeli parliamentary possible recognition of the Armenian genocide: it would call into question the alliance Ankara-Baku-Jerusalem on delivery oil to the Jewish state.

Misunderstandings
In July 2001, a commission of Armenian-Turkish reconciliation (CRAT) was created with support from the U.S. State Department. Shortly after the publication of a study conducted by a Human Rights based in New York - International Center for Transitional Justice - who had concluded that the murder of one and a half million Armenians amounted to the internationally accepted definition of genocide, representatives of the Turkish CRAT decide to leave, leading to its dissolution. Turkish President Erdogan then proposed to Armenian President Kocharian to establish a joint commission composed of historians from both countries would be to study the events of 1915. He agreed to limit debate on the Armenian genocide in a dialogue between Turks and Armenians and go in the discussion, the existence of two theses, Armenian and Turkish. Kocharian said that the issue could be further off that diplomatic relations would be restored and open borders between the two countries. Today, his successor, President Sarkissian, seems to accept the principle of a joint commission of historians. He hoped that access remains difficult, the Ottoman archives would clarify certain points of history. But, like his predecessor, he said there was no question of returning to the qualification of "genocide." Moreover, in 2000, 126 specialists in the Holocaust, including Elie Wiesel and Yehuda Bauer, have officially declared that the Armenian genocide is an incontrovertible reality. That is why it affects all humanity and can not be limited to a dialogue between Armenians and Turks - dialogue that would, in effect, reducing as it would give the agenda the presentation of two versions Armenian and Turkish, for this event.

This is another misunderstanding offered in France, in December 2005, a group of historians, entitled "Freedom for history". The signatories of this call will make the laws known as "memory" and practice a mix between different texts adopted by the French Parliament, which the law declares the 2001 Armenian genocide. Of course, Parliament did not intend to legislate on historical events, but it makes laws to punish crimes. But as racism, Holocaust denial is not an opinion but a crime: it is a threat to values, it affects the public interest. In 2008, "Freedom for history" includes a large number of French historians. The group lobbied the French Parliament to encourage him to oppose the adoption of "memory laws" and the European Parliament to condemn a framework law proposing to penalize the denial of genocide recognized by States . The views of these "trouble-grief 'is partly explained by the reluctance of academics who fear that researchers dragged before the courts. But in fact, no historian working on the crime of genocide has never been prosecuted, if there is a threat, it is that created by the denial. Finally, if the member is not a historian, he remains a citizen like any other and, if he commits a crime, it is, like any citizen, the laws of the Republic. In Turkey today is not the negation but the affirmation of the genocide which is punishable by law! It should, in the case of Holocaust denial, to restore the balance and, in democracies, punish the crime of denial.

The American challenge
In 1951, the UN General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the reserves of some countries to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. The U.S. government had filed written observations and defined genocide as the "Turkish massacres of Armenians." This document remained unknown (20). More recently, when Turkey developed its business négationniste, successive U.S. administrations have kept to recognize the genocide, despite the promises made in 1980 by all the candidates then elected to the presidency of the United States. Yet, a majority of U.S. states have, independently of their government, recognized the genocide. Each of these recognitions caused a replica at Turkish diplomatic or government, whose level was set to the importance of a particular vote. On many occasions, especially at the April 24, when the commemoration of the genocide, a resolution calling for the recognition of Armenian genocide has been submitted to the House of Representatives or the Senate. Each time, Turkey has tried to block it. Indeed, if such a resolution was put to a vote, the outcome of it is no doubt. Thus, on 20 October 2000, for fear of Turkish reactions, the State Department is pressing the House to abandon to consider a draft resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. To justify the withdrawal of a text already on the agenda, the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, said that President Clinton is concerned that this resolution has a negative effect on events in the Middle East. In May 2006, the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, is thanked for having asserted that the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire were victims of genocide. After hearing before a committee chaired by the future vice-president of the United States, Joseph Biden, the Senate begins veto the nomination of Richard Hoagland - who refused to speak about the Armenian genocide - and then approve the appointment of Marie Yovanovitch . The position of the new U.S. ambassador to Armenia on this point is not clearly known. The U.S. administration, however, seems to evolve towards a recognition of the facts. In 2007, a Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, chaired by Nancy Pelosi, said in favor of recognizing the Armenian genocide. But the proposal has still not been submitted to a vote.

In January 2008, Barack Obama says during his campaign: "The United States deserve a president who tells the truth about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully against all genocides. I will be the president '(21). Erdogan was quick to react after the election of Obama. On 5 November, he congratulated the new president, while stating: "We hope that some argument in the election campaign will remain a part of the campaign (22).

In conclusion, the deadlock
Children are not responsible for the mistakes of their fathers, grandchildren still less, except to refuse to face the past and, by this refusal to take such errors. By collecting the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has accepted the assets and liabilities. But a historical evidence is not negotiable: on the Armenian genocide, no compromise is possible. The offense is called. The political, diplomatic subtlety of Turkey will do nothing: it is the Young Turks who planned and perpetrated this crime. Turkey has been misled in a deadlock. For his obstinacy to deny the obvious, it was enclosed in double round the dark room she could, however, leave at any time by saying a single word, an open sesame to him the ways of democracy. Within this nation, voices were heard calling this clarity, but they are still a whisper that cover the screams of hatred of nationalists and qu'étouffent government actions led by the AKP. Nations have the duty to help these bold and risky recognizing the facts with sufficient evidence that any politician can declare itself satisfied without having to go beyond its function and to encroach on the territory of the historian. These two levels of pressure - one from outside by the recognition of the genocide, the other, most importantly, from within, by word of Turkish defenders of human rights - that will a day of removing the obstacle of the denial of State and obtain from Turkey an objective reading of its past. Recognize that in this respect, Turkey is not the only one to receive lessons: Many democracies have yet to get past them ...
www.politiqueinternationale.com/


Le Temps Des Avants by Charles Aznavour, 26 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
It has not started very well
I look at the sun through dark glasses my glasses, in those rare moments of inactivity, I do not bother me. I do not get bored. Sometimes I think the son to person that I am, that Americans would call a survive. If everything is in front of me, I did not erase the past of mine, no, I keep it in a corner of my memory and now, having reached the age unhoped seventy-nine spring -- I should say fall - when I have nothing to do, I dream. Young people dream of their future, my future is widely consumed, I try to relax by immersing myself in my past - I should say our past because the past is never quite personal, it is contrary to the collective, especially to an Armenian family. I dream and I tell myself that I could very well never see this star. I could stay locked in liquefied semen with my father, sweating, struggling to stay alive in their long march, the bloody crossing of the desert between Istanbul and Damascus. The hordes of Kurds - who later suffered the same situation - and the gendarmes of the Ottoman nation chase and harass the poor to gain some wealth they took with them, such as gold teeth adorning their mouths . I kill you and an intellectual, and I t'empale a priest, you and I hanging decapitates you, and I'll violate a young or old woman, and I make out the head of a baby to hear the sound this is when it is projected violently against a tree ... Or I might have been low, miscarriage on the sand of the desert, while my poor mother would have continued its slow and painful march toward death, his legs covered blood that would have eliminated me leaving from this world where the new government "Young Turk" hoped to see both disappear. Eliminated, wiped out, goodbye, or rather the devil, the Armenians, and on its way to the final solution! Oh! The lovely phrase! Es Der Zor: cemetery nearly a million and half of mine, my parents, my ancestors, stolen, raped, murdered, on behalf of the race, in the name of religion, why, in truth, I ask you? On behalf of Enver and Talat (1), pashas crime, murderers lawless, performing at their convenience that the Koran does not justify these bloody acts. Talat is the only major criminal who has his statue in the middle of a place in Turkey.

Final Solution? Missed my bastards, you do not have me. And I still, however much still to some, a man of memory. I am not now provided a sworn enemy of the Turkish people, and now my dream is to visit the country of my birth mother, but ... but ... but.

They fell without really knowing why
Men women and children who did not want to live
With heavy gestures as drunken men
Maimed, massacred their eyes open with fear
They fell by invoking their God
On the threshold of their church or outside their door
In herds of desert stumbling in cohort
Floored by thirst, hunger, iron, fire

Well, I

I was born at the end of the trip to hell, where paradise begins is called migration. Misfortune had taken place both in those who had escaped the genocide, as my parents, that most of them avoided speaking of the ancestors, or spoke so little that my accomplice - my sister Aida - and I have managed to reconstruct, through our life, past fragments of the family: not much really. "Look where we come and where we are today ... In excess of modesty, or not to stir painful memories of our parents have very rarely spoke about the history of hundreds of thousands of Armenians scattered around the world, the flight up to the horror established in a host country. Some bribes wandering conversations between those who have lived and survived the same events we do have a vague idea of their exodus. What is certain is that they do not travel first class, with Vuitton bags filled with some much needed and superfluous, and in their portfolios essential credit cards.

Today, when I see bundles of the poor emigrants from all walks of life, tied somehow containing all their possessions - a miserable bric-a-brac, a pittance, so valuable to them, yet the last refuse-hand with disdain - when I see these heart-breaking, it gives me, although I do for nothing in their misfortune, shame and guilt.

When I see the unfortunate illegal immigrants who have come from I know not where, in search of a better life in our country they see as a land of plenty, I have a small pinch in the heart by imagining the journey of my uncles , aunts and grandparents who never returned from the "Club Med of horror."

How others have done to cope? God alone can tell. Here, precisely, where it was, it so often absent in these times? Allah, God, Jehovah, where were you? When we needed you, Turkey, Germany and Cambodia, where were you? Go to know.

I know
If any force in this world
Would be able to destroy this race,
This small tribe of unimportant people,
Habits all people and always
Fought and lost,
Whose structures have been fragmented,
Literature read, not listened to music,
And whose prayers have remained unanswered
Go destroy Armenia
See if you can do this,
Send his people in the desert
Without bread, without water,
Burn houses and churches,
See if they can not laugh
Sing, and play again
And see
When two of them meet
Anywhere in the world,
If they do not create

A new Armenia (2)

Today, France recognized the genocide of Armenians. It took eighty-five years for its consent. The reason of State, said. Finally it's done, but for my part, although I am proud and satisfied with the decision of my country, I will not triumphalism. I did indeed never shown virulent on the issue. To my parents, only the important recognition, and compensation for the restitution of land or houses were not major issues: they have no intention of returning to this country, a land of too many memories, some good, much more painful. Of course, this recognition is a first step, but as long as Turkey does not recognize the genocide, it will remain a recognition askew.

These few lines on the tragic past of Armenians seemed necessary to explain who we are and where we come from.

I opened my eyes to a sad furnished
Rue Monsieur-le-Prince in the Latin Quarter
In an environment of singers and artists
Qu'avaient a past, not tomorrow
Many wonderful people, a little fanciful
Who spoke Russian and Armenian and

But whatever some Turkish and Azeri journalists have been said or written in the past, I never - I repeat, never - parade in Paris or elsewhere April 24 to commemorate the massacre, I have not sent weapons or even to Kharabag organized a collection of money to buy arms during the war between Azerbaijanis and Armenians Kharabag. I have too much respect for the human being to commit me in a process to injure or kill women and children. I prefer to believe - perhaps naively - to diplomacy, goodness, intelligence and honesty of men, even if diplomacy, which is steeped in oil, has so far given that bad results.

My mother, Knar Bagdassarian had the knack to find filiations - it probably fills a void and a longing for a family she had not had. When encountering someone from the city where she was born, with the announcement of the name, she remembered the grandfather or grandmother. And even if they had been neighbors, they suddenly became almost parents. I used to call "my cousins walls:" Oh yes, he was a baker, or creamer ... "My mother was Turkish, since born in Turkey as I am French. It was Turkish of Armenian origin, born in Adapazari father of a tobacco expert. She had two brothers and one sister, all disappeared, God knows how, at the time of the genocide. My father, Mischa Aznavourian, Georgian of Armenian descent, was born in Akhaltzkha. The Armenians of Georgia did not suffer genocide. Both were artists, my mother an actress, my father singer with a voice that was telling Louiguy - composer successful Cerisier rose et pommier blanc among others - which implied days singing "I l ' impression that in your voice jumped a generation! "How my parents met there, where and when they were married, we do not know. It was the time when the Church kept the records of marriage, which took the place of civil status. Our churches, unfortunately, were looted, destroyed ... One thing is certain: I never caught my parents to vilify modern Turkey, they never were reared in hatred of this people. On the contrary, I've always heard them say that Turkey is a beautiful country, that women were beautiful, that their food was the best in the entire Middle East, and that, basically, we had many affinities with these people. If the genocide had not taken place - or at least had been - the dispute is not now so deeply rooted in the memory of the second and third generations of us.

Pursued, despite the Georgian passport of my father, my parents managed to Istanbul on board a boat Italian. My mother was already on board when a zealous military, ignoring the passport, blocked the road and heard my father speak hated. It is the commander who came to his rescue, shouting that the boat was international territory and that it could in no way prevent a passenger to board. A rich American of Armenian origin was proposed to pay for the trip of all the survivors who had the chance to climb aboard. The boat took the sea and landed the Armenians and Greeks in Salonika, where my sister was born. It gave him, to thank Italy, the name of an Italian opera - Aida - in fact a name of Egypt. A year passed and the time to learn Greek, and the mirage American head, my parents and my sister arrived in Paris via Marseille I suppose, where they gave Nansen passport, a kind of residence permit the need to repeat often. Then there were days waiting at the Embassy of the United States in the hope of obtaining a visa, the famous visa which would reach the promised land, the land of opportunity, where everyone can try his luck and may become rich and powerful (3).
www.politiqueinternationale.com/


Taraf Newspaper: Solution Package Very Soon 'Genocide' Survey Goes On
Turkish Taraf newspaper reported that Ankara will propose a normalization package for Turkey-Armenian relations just before the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Turkey. Taraf claimed that the first clause of the package is opening of border.

Taraf newspaper reported that the package that aims the normalization of relations with Armenia will be proposed within April. First step of the package for normalization is launching diplomatical relations with Armenia and opening of border. Other levels of the package will be actualized step by step. Package also includes establishment of a joint historians committee for discussion of 11915 events and Nagorno Karabakh problem.

According to the report of Taraf newspaper 'solution package' will form a change in 15 years old Armenia policy of Turkey and first step will be opening of diplomatical representation offices. Solution package is expected to include clauses over Nagono Karabakh problem and establishment of a joint historians committee.

Solution package that Armenia and Turkey had a deal over it, according to the report of Taraf, will be introduced to U.S. President Barack Obama. The Turkey visit of Obama has special importance since it is just before of discussion of so called Armenian genocide resolution in the U.S. Congress. On the other hand, TRT will start broadcasting of Armenian radio with the visit of Obama.

Armenia border of Turkey was closed after occupation of Nagorno Karabakh and seven surrounding region by Armenian armed forces in 1993. Another matter of dispute between Turkey and Armenia is different approaches of two country to the events that took place in 1915. But the main reason of lack of relations between two neighbour country, is invasion of another Turkic country Azerbaijan by Armenia. Ongoing occupation of Azerbaijan prevents establishing diplomatic relations and as it is stated by high level Turkish officials many times, opening of border and establishment of relations will be possible after an agreement over withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh.
http://historyoftruth.com


Expert Recommendations On Armenia's Defense Strategy Review armradio.am 24.03.2009
The recurrent sitting of the interdepartmental commission coordinating the Defense Strategy Review held its recurrent sitting at the Ministry of Defense. The sitting was presided over by co-chairs of the commission, secretary of the National Security Council Arthur Baghdasaryan and Defense Mnister Seyran Ohanyan.

Member of the international advisory expert group, expert of the US Department of Defense, Dr. Antonio Bernards, as well as experts from the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Ilya Nalbantov and Colonel Vladimir Milensky, were invited to participate in the sitting.

During the sitting discussed were issues related to the second stage of the defense strategy review. Dr. Bernards gave recommendation to members of the Commission on the methodology of the second stage.

An agreement was reached to hold the next sitting in June of the current year.


Forbes Reports Armenia To Be On 37th Horizontal Of World Corrupted Countries Panorama.am 25/03/2009
International Forbes magazine reports that Armenia is on the 37th horizontal of the world corrupted countries. According to the magazine the most corrupted countries of the world are Chad, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and Kyrgyzstan.

Burundi, Gambia, Venezuela and Azerbaijan follow the first four horizontals. Russia is on the 13th horizontal, Kazakhstan is the 17th and Ukraine - 20th. Armenia's neighbor country Georgia is on the 72nd horizontal, Poland, Lithuania and Turkey are on the 79th-81st horizontals.

According to Forbes non-corrupted countries of the world are Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Island, Canada and Australia.


Armenian Genocide: Ergenekon Is Linked To Sites On The Internet Negationist 25 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
A large number of websites offering professional literature nationalist and pseudo-scientific research against the thesis of Armenian genocide, against the existence of a Kurdish people in Turkey or opposed to religion in Turkey have been able to operate through the Ergenekon network, clandestine terrorist organization that tried to overthrow the Turkish government, according to the latest leaks in the Turkish press.

According to the Turkish daily Zaman these websites, which are updated frequently in Turkish and English, show the ultra-nationalist propaganda against the Greeks, Kurds and Armenians, as well as certain categories of the Muslim population of Turkey.

They are a professional and informative, videos, photographs and documents, without ever offering, however, possibilities of contact and made jourrégulièrement spreading so véhémante the official ideology in a broad range of issues and sometimes even information deemed confidential.

The investigation in recent months on the Ergenekon network and particularly the arrest of computer expert Yildirim Hüseyin Ataman allowed to know more. This was also the spokesman of the movement Biz Kaç Kisiyiz (How many of us) is a former naval officer. It is also the owner of a software company based in Istanbul called Naryaz.

Yildirim Hüseyin Ataman was also the administrator of the website 4000ler.trnet.com, who as members of retired military officers as members and reservists. One member is the Koramiral A. Feyyaz Ogutcu, which the Turkish secret services (MIT) was one of the founders of the Houses Karargah, which according to the Ergenekon investigation has revealed that they were used as venues for the army generals organizing a coup State as well as houses to hide the killers and ammunition. The Ergenekon investigation has recently revealed that 35 areas on the Internet with the same content and the same design have been made with the same company. These sites appear to have been created in order to format the public in accordance with the purposes of the Ergenekon organization. The sites comprising www.abdullahocalanakademisi.info, apopkk.com, armenianreality.com, cameria.org, gencizbiz.net, genclik.info, gnkur.net, greekmurderers.net, irtica.net, irtica.org, naksilik.com, nurse . info, pkkapo.com, pkkgercegi.com, terorveguvenlik.net, and turkatak.com turkeyturks.com.


Obama Will Be The President That America Deserves? 25 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Info Collectif VAN - www.collectifvan.org - Washington intends to postpone the presidential statement to formally recognize the Armenian genocide: U.S. President Barack Obama would thus on its election promise, officially not to hinder the process of warming between Turkey and Armenia, informally, for fear of the dangers that such a declaration would put U.S. troops, if the aid of Turkey in Iraq were to be lacking. Turkey and Armenia may have relationships that they like to have: a genocide the values of humanity and its appreciation need not be linked to political, economic, diplomatic or otherwise. As strategic alliances with Turkey, especially in the context of the war in Iraq, they already existed during the American election campaign. They did not stop Barack Obama said: "The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or point of view, but a widely documented and supported by a large number of historical evidence. (. ..) America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully of the Armenian genocide and strongly condemns all genocides. I intend to be the president.. " Obviously, "intend" is not enough ... Collectif Van offers translation of excerpts from the article in the Los Angeles Times, published on 17 March 2009. Hesitant about Obama's commitment to recognize the Armenian genocide Excerpts

The administration plans to postpone a presidential statement on the Armenian genocide, because of problems it would risk using the Turkey in the Middle East.

By Paul Richter
17 March 2009
Live from Washington - The administration is reluctant Obama on a promised presidential statement, acknowledging that Armenians were victims of genocide in the early 20th century for fear of alienating Turkey when U.S. officials need of its aid.

Obama The President and other senior representatives of the administration have promised during the presidential campaign of genocide officially describe the massacres of Armenians committed by Ottoman Turks in 1915. (...)

But the administration has also sought assistance from Ankara on Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and other issues including safety warnings stating that a Turkish official statement threatens U.S. assistance Turkey.

The representatives of the administration plan to postpone a presidential statement, citing the progress towards a thaw in relations between Turkey and neighboring Armenia. New signs of global warming - like the discussions to the reopening of the border - would strengthen the arguments that the U.S. statement could threaten progress.

"Right now, our concern is how to move that the United States can help Armenia and Turkey to work together to achieve a reconciliation with the past" - said Michael Hammer, a spokesman for the Council of National Security. He said that the administration was "encouraged" by the improved relations and believed it was "important that the two countries begin a dialogue open and honest about the past." (...)

For Obama, the controversy comes at a particularly sensitive. He went to Turkey on April 5 and its positions on the issue will attract global attention. Meanwhile, the Armenian-Americans insist on a statement from the White House April 24, annual day of remembrance. Supporters of the Congress projecting soon also represent the resolution on the genocide.

Obama's visit to Turkey has become risky for the administration, said Mark Parris, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey. "To plunge the president there, is really up the stakes," said Parris, currently co-chair of the program on Turkey of the Brookings Institute. "Now it can not be ignored .... This would undermine its credibility. "(...)
Representatives of the Congress supporting the resolution on the genocide have expressed their frustration to this resistance.

"The argument that only now is the ultimate incarnation of the old worn refrain: 'we should recognize the genocide - but just not this year'," said Republican Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), one of the sponsors of the resolution.

Another lawyer, Republican Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said that although the strength of warnings from Turkey has been declining, the Turks remained influential with Congress who believe that the aid cutoff Ankara could harm U.S. troops. Sherman has designated this as "their last card down."
(...)
"The Turks are very good that the danger of the resolution (genocide) do not withdraw," said Bulent ALIRIZ, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
paul.richter latimes.com 20 March 2009


Armenia And The World - Interview With Edward Nalbandian 25 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
driven by The drafting of International Politics

International Politics - Mr Nalbandian, you were appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in April 2008, after thirty years of work abroad. How do you see the world from Yerevan? And what is the position of Armenia in this world?

Edward Nalbandian - In truth, the world has become so small that it is difficult to separate the inside from the outside! It is quite impossible to live in isolation without seeing what is happening around you. This applies especially for Armenia and, more generally, for the South Caucasus. On the one hand, this region is seeking to integrate further the "great world" on the other hand, the "great world" which looks more and more to us. The present-day Armenia - which we call the Third Republic, the first being the period 1918-1920 and the second, which was part of the USSR, that of 1920-1991 - is the legacy of the past, with all the consequences. It now aspires to join up in global processes as predictable and reliable partner. That is why we do a lot of cooperation at bilateral level and play our full role in international structures, both European and regional.

You should know that, when we speak, only one third of our people lies in Armenia itself. Two thirds of our countrymen are scattered over a hundred countries of the world. Perfectly integrated into the societies in which they live, the members of the diaspora have largely retained the language and traditions of their ancestors, and a spiritual connection - and not just spiritual - with the mother. They are all united by the desire to see realized the dream of their parents and grandparents: a Prosperous Armenia. These people have created dozens of "Little Armenia" around the globe. The place of Armenia in the world is also defined by all of these "Armenia".

PI - When you say that Armenia has the legacy of previous realities, what are you referring exactly?

IN - This legacy is reflected in everything that is part of the construction of the state: the political system and legislation, we have quickly reformed and we are continuously improving, the economy and the social situation, the education system and ultimately, society itself with its mentality, its habits and aspirations. It is also evident, especially in complex political and security issues that still await their solution.

PI - these issues seem primarily related to Armenia - the Third Republic, as you say ...

FR - I would not want to entrust the role of the historian, but I remind you that it is impossible to understand the realities of today if it does not those of the past. For example, issues such as the Nagorno-Karabakh or the Armenian-Turkish relations are not new: they are the direct consequences of what happened between the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The consequences, in part, of the Bolshevik revolution. In Soviet times, these subjects were ignored, both for ideological reasons and because they had no place in the logic of the Cold War. This taboo has been lifted after the collapse of the USSR - even if the Soviet authorities had to take into account the opinion of the Armenian people and have allowed the building in Yerevan in the 1960s, of a monument to victims of the Armenian genocide. As for the decision to annex Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, it was taken in 1921 on the initiative of Stalin, by the Bureau of Caucasian Bolshevik party, but in a little strange to spread the Bolshevik ideology in the Muslim world of the Orient. Yet, for millennia, the Nagorno-Karabakh was an Armenian territory populated by Armenians! I leave you to judge the legitimacy and "rationality" of this political affiliation ...

PI - Armenians How did they react to the incorporation of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan?

EN - The Armenians have never accepted this injustice. They have repeatedly appealed to the Soviet central authorities to ask them to reconsider this decision. Many activists of the Armenian cause were imprisoned, some have lost their lives ... but things have changed at the time of thaw gorbatchévien. In February 1988, taking advantage of "freedom" of perestroika on the Armenian authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh presented in Moscow, Baku and Yerevan to demand reunification with Armenia. Until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the Kremlin has not been able to propose solutions. Baku, for its part, has categorically rejected this demand. Azeri authorities have first removed the autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh. Then they suppressed the people of this region - yet they say that it is "their own citizens - through against them under the pretext of strengthening the system of passports, a real ethnic cleansing, with the support of the army Soviet. And finally, they started the war! Armenia could not remain indifferent. Naturally, she came to the aid of the Nagorno-Karabakh. In this war that has been imposed and which has claimed tens of thousands dead on both sides, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have managed to defend their independence. In 1994 a cease-fire was signed between all parties to resolve the issue through negotiations. That is the reality of the Third Republic had inherited. I gave these details of history to give you a clearer picture of the current situation.

PI - Exactly where are the negotiations on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh? Despite their efforts, the Minsk Group of OSCE and its three co-chairs - the United States, Russia and France - have not reported results so far and suffer the criticism, and rightly or not ...

EN - I do not share this analysis. Since May 1994, the ceasefire is respected - and that only through the commitment of the parties to the conflict, since no international force to maintain peace is present, which should be highlighted. Even if this situation of "neither war nor peace is unstable, it is essential that the ceasefire is respected. Firstly, because it has led to the loss of life, secondly, because it gave the parties an opportunity to focus on domestic problems of their respective countries, such as the establishment of State structures, economic and social reforms, and a host of other issues caused by the collapse of the USSR. If the cease-fire in Karabakh has been maintained, it is also thanks to the relative balance of military forces . Unfortunately, Azerbaijan continues to increase steadily its military budget: it has more than a dozen times over the last six years ...

IP - What are the consequences of this attitude of Azerbaijan?

IN - This policy constitutes a flagrant violation of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. Yet it has not yielded an adequate response from other Member States of the Treaty. But the events around South Ossetia in August this year clearly show the danger of an excessive accumulation of arms. In Armenia, we are aware of this threat long ago. We tried to warn our friends and partners on the fact that the arms race in the region could lead to a resumption of military conflict. The situation is that of a classical piece: if, from the first act, there is a gun at the scene, the last act he must draw! In any case, we hope that the events of August have reminded everyone of the obvious: war is never a solution.

PI - How do you see the work of the Minsk Group?

IN - A year ago, during the OSCE Ministerial in Madrid, the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group submitted to the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan the proposals on the principles of a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. These principles could serve as a basis for further negotiations. Unfortunately, for months, the Azerbaijani side has ignored the existence of these proposals, and it was not until June of last year that the President of Azerbaijan eventually consent - during his interview, to St. Petersburg with President of Armenia - to continue the negotiations on the basis of Madrid. At the end of another meeting between the two presidents held in Moscow on November 2 at the initiative of President Medvedev, a statement was signed by the three heads of state. It stressed the need for a political settlement of the conflict. We thought that the Declaration of Moscow will open a new stage in the peace process. But a few days later, the Azerbaijani leadership said that the peaceful settlement was not synonymous with duty of non-use of force! They have even gone so far as to say that "the military option has never been, is not and will never be excluded as a means of resolving the conflict ... Although the Moscow Declaration proclaims that the solution of the conflict should be based on norms and principles of international law, Azerbaijan insists that the settlement is made on the basis of a single principle, that of respecting the integrity territorial states. Moreover, although the statement makes clear that the negotiation process should continue within the framework of the Minsk Group, Azerbaijan complicates things by discussing this issue, in parallel, in other instances.

PI - The OSCE has ruled once again on this issue at its last Ministerial Conference ...

EN - Yes. At the conclusion of the Ministerial Conference of the OSCE held in Helsinki on 2 December, the 56 foreign ministers of the Organization, to which Armenia and Azerbaijan, adopted a statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh . This statement makes clear that the regulation should be done only by peaceful means and the need to maintain the positive momentum created by the meeting of Presidents in Moscow and continue negotiations in cooperation with the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group to bring the parties' positions on the basis of Madrid proposals. In addition, in Helsinki, a joint statement, in the same direction, was made by the French and Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bernard Kouchner and Sergei Lavrov, and the Deputy Secretary of State Daniel Fried. Armenia fully shares this vision. To resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh, we must continue to negotiate in the spirit of the declarations of Helsinki and Moscow, is our certainty.

PI - specifically, about how the negotiations turn it? And on what principles are they based?

IN - Although the details of the negotiations are not yet announced, the principles are known. Much has been written on this topic. Today, negotiations are conducted on the basis of the principles of fundamental documents of the OSCE, including the Helsinki Final Act on non-use of threat or use of force, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination (1). The issue is the final status of Karabakh, the recognition and realization of the right to self-determination of its people and ensuring its security, in the broad sense of the term.

PI - Azerbaijan has placed the issue of "occupied territories" to the agenda of the UN General Assembly. Having "rescued" a resolution on this issue, he tries to change the format of the negotiations by saying that the Minsk Group is "ineffective." Moreover, as you pointed out, Baku does not preclude the use of military force if the matter behind. In such circumstances, how can we not question the effectiveness of the current negotiations?

IN - There are several explanations for this attitude of the authorities in Baku. Among others: 1) Azerbaijan seeks to put pressure on Armenia to get it over compromise. 2) It tries to put pressure on the Minsk Group. 3) This position responds to an internal logic.

What is certain is that Azerbaijan cherishes the illusion that you can easily convert its oil revenues into military superiority and resolve the issue in its favor. These are miscalculations that are dragging the conflict. The military balance on which exists today between Armenia and Azerbaijan still possible to secure a fragile cease-fire, while the arms race, it promises nothing good to anyone. The war does not solve anything, we have already seen. The rare cases of violation of the cease-fire - a few exchanges of fire that occur sporadically here and there - are a great danger, especially given the continuing militaristic propaganda of Azerbaijan. This propaganda has led nearly a third of the population that the military solution is the only path that would end the conflict. In contrast, Armenia, you will not find not even 1% of people who share this view! We are very vigilant on these issues and we call on the Azerbaijani side to deal with the same responsibility. Attempts to test the military capability of the other party are extremely dangerous: they may accidentally result in extensive military operations that will cost dearly to our peoples. Again, the case of South Ossetia has the unfortunate example.

IP - What are the consequences of the Azeri propaganda?

EN - I want to say that from my point of view, it would be reasonable to prepare societies of both countries to reconciliation! Unfortunately, Azerbaijan, the official propaganda anti-Armenian borders on the arménophobie. At such a point that tomorrow if we reach an agreement in negotiations, the Azerbaijani side will argue that his company will not accept it - it's already happened once, when after the agreement on the "Paris Principles "(2), Azerbaijan has stated that his opinion was not ready. I would add that the Azerbaijani propaganda also targeted the Minsk Group. This seems strange: on the one hand, our neighbors call the United States, France and Russia to play a role as mediators and on the other hand, they criticize! Result: 82% of Azeris are now opposed to mediation of the Minsk Group. You mentioned the draft resolution submitted by Azerbaijan to the UN General Assembly. I recall that this project has been formally approved by 39 of the 192 UN members. In addition, the vote showed another reality: the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group voted against it and the overwhelming majority of Member States - including all members of the European Union - refused to support this approach. For a simple reason: it was of a partial and non-constructive because it put forward only one principle of international law - territorial integrity - and ignored the other principles, starting with the right of peoples to self which is, in our view, irrevocable.

PI - Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, followed in August of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These events could be considered as precedents for the case of Nagorno-Karabakh?

IN - This question is often asked. We have always said that each conflict has its peculiarities and its own logic. It is true that we could use the precedent of Kosovo, as well as Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and to recognize ... then formally recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. In terms of international law, the arguments in favor of independence of these three parts are quite valid for Karabakh. I would say they are even more valid for the Karabakh! But today, I repeat, the negotiations around the Nagorno-Karabakh are underway and we hope to find a compromise solution.

PI - In spring 2008, Armenia has a new president: Serge Sarkissian succeeded Robert Kocharian. This change at the top of the State have changed the position of Armenia on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh and, more generally, the foreign policy of your country?

EN - As President Sarkissian said in his inaugural speech, substantial changes are not expected in foreign policy. We continue to conduct an active foreign policy, multifaceted and multidirectional, which aims, as before, to reduce tensions in our region, to establish relations of cooperation and good neighborly relations with other countries in the area and to raise extensive international involvement. This international involvement will, we hope to consolidate stability, security, peace, development and prosperity in the Caucasus and beyond.

PI - Armenia is closely linked to Russia, which it regards as its best ally in the region of the South Caucasus. It was in Moscow that Mr. Sarkissian has made his first visit as president in June ...

EN - Russia is our strategic partner, even if some wish to see more nuances in the narrow Armenian-Russian relations, there is nothing to hide here. Our peoples are bound by an old friendship and deep mutual sympathy. And while there may be changes, it will be to consolidate further our relationship. Nevertheless, while remaining faithful to the obligations we have subscribed as allies, we want to strengthen our relations across the board we are determined to deepen our ties with the United States; to confirm our cooperation with the structures and European countries, to strengthen the relationship with our neighbors and establish new ones with all other States.

PI - What about Turkey? The issue of Turkish-Armenian relationship has always been particularly complicated. How do you see these reports in the future? What actions have you taken to improve them?

IN - In early June, President Sargsyan invited his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül to visit Yerevan to watch a football match between national teams of Armenia and Turkey. The President Gül has long thought before responding to this invitation. It is possible that the events of August around South Ossetia has weighed on its final decision. Nevertheless, a few days before the meeting, held on September 6, President Gül said that he accepted the invitation. We understand that for him it was not an easy decision, but it was certainly a wise decision.

This football match, the team of Armenia has unfortunately lost, but the "football diplomacy" has won. One can even say that this concept now has its place in the diplomatic vocabulary! The interview that the two presidents were on 6 September in Yerevan has created a favorable atmosphere. The foreign ministers of both countries have been asked to begin negotiations aimed at normalizing bilateral relations. Since then, with my Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, we had many meetings that I think I can describe as very constructive and useful. Our last two meetings were held in Istanbul on 24 November, in the framework of the Organization of Economic Cooperation of Black Sea, of which Armenia is the President, and in Helsinki on December 4, in the framework of the Ministerial Conference of the OSCE.

PI - What do you mean by "normalization of bilateral relations"?

EN - specifically, we want the establishment of diplomatic relations and open borders. Armenia is ready to do so without any preconditions. We hope that Turkey is ready to do the same.

Here I wish to emphasize that it is not fair to present the possible opening of borders as a favor that the Turks would do to the Armenians. The Turkish side is not less interested than us! Similarly, none of us would do a favor to the other by accepting the establishment of diplomatic relations. The two countries also need. Such a development would be in the interest of our two nations. Everywhere in the world, many countries have differences, but still maintain normal relations. This allows them to discuss in good conditions of their disagreements peacefully and to consider all issues of mutual interest. Why would it be different between Armenia and Turkey?

PI - The Turks accuse you of having brought the issue of recognition of the Armenian genocide on the international scene, and make territorial demands against Turkey and Azerbaijan ...

IN - A genocide is a crime against humanity. As such, it concerns the whole of humanity and not just the people who had suffered. Moreover, the descendants of genocide victims are not only in Armenia but also in many countries around the world, and nobody can take away the right to memory, just as nobody can ask the Jews to forget the Holocaust. I want to emphasize - as I have done repeatedly - no personality official Armenian never asked and never asks the Armenian diaspora to waive the requirement for the international recognition of the Armenian genocide. It is absolutely impossible.

As for the territorial demands, it is simple: Armenia has never made any statement to that effect. Finally, with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh, I remind you that Turkey is also member of the Minsk Group. Therefore, it is obliged to remain neutral and to have an impartial and balanced approach to this issue.

My belief is that we must, in expectation of positive results, we engage in a constructive dialogue. Maybe I'm optimistic, but I believe in the future Armenian-Turkish reconciliation.

PI - The Armenian-Turkish issue is also addressed in the negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU: Europeans call on Turkey to resolve its disputes with your country. How the Armenia Does the European perspective of Turkey? Do you think that Turkey should recognize the Armenian genocide before joining the European Union - as the French President Jacques Chirac during his visit to Armenia in September 2006? Or do you think that Turkey is not intended to join the Union, as stated by President Sarkozy?

IN - It is to the peoples and countries of the EU to decide whether a country meets the criteria or the EU. In any case, would not have a neighbor who fully shares the European values?

PI - You often talk about common interests of the South Caucasus. But gas and oil pipelines bypassing your country, the railways and roads are closed on three sides, and you do not have access to the sea ..

IN - In my opinion, this situation would be to anyone. Of course that Armenia is losing, but do you think that whoever wins? Even Azerbaijan and Turkey - which, for fifteen years, we impose a blockade - do not win, whether it soitau economic or political. It is through that pass Armenia railway linking Russia to Turkey and Iran (after passing through Georgia and Azerbaijan). But they do not work because of closed borders. As a result, Azerbaijan and Turkey are obliged to spend large sums to build more! Similar to major roads north-south through Armenia, they are not used for the same reasons. Armenia is the shortest and fastest transit of fuel ... and yet other states commit huge financial resources to go around!

Despite these obstacles, Armenia continues to grow. Our economic results speak for themselves: we recorded on average 12% annual growth over the past eight years. We are well integrated into the international community, which sees us as a reliable partner. In short, the embargo imposed on us had made no economic or political advantage to anyone. While open borders and freedom of movement for goods and people would be extremely beneficial to all countries of the region! Those who lose the most are the ordinary course.

Armenia has repeatedly proposed to Azerbaijan and Turkey to establish favorable conditions for economic cooperation and launch joint projects which not only contribute to the development of our country but in addition, decrease tension and promote the resolution of the most complex problems. All I can say today is that we remain on this same position.

PI - Another neighbor of Armenia, Iran, focused international attention. You maintain good relations with that country. Except error, an Iran-Armenia gas pipeline is currently under construction, and you have other projects in the field of energy. In the years of embargo and energy crisis, Iran has always been a vital supply route for you. The tension you are concerned about it?

IN - Of course it concerns us! We would like the issues around Iran's nuclear program are resolved through diplomatic channels. Regarding the South Caucasus, Tehran has always taken a balanced position, has tried to contribute, to the extent possible, to resolve existing conflicts. We appreciate it. Political and economic relations Armenian-Iranian are based on mutual interest. I recently traveled to Tehran, where I met the highest political authorities of the country. We discussed the prospects for deepening bilateral cooperation, particularly in the fields of energy and transport sectors, where major projects are planned.

IP - If the Iran-American conflict and deepen as the United States asked you for your support, what would be your response?

EN - I do not consider deepening the conflict. We support the peaceful resolution of conflicts. We will do everything in our power to ensure that this conflict does not degenerate.

PI - The three South Caucasus countries are included in the Neighborhood Policy of the EU, as well as in the Individual Action Plan for the Partnership (IPAP) and NATO (3). But, as regards regional organizations, the three states appear quite divided (4). At a time when Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh represent serious sources of tension, this dispersion is not too much for such a small area?

EN - Yes, without doubt. This fact shows that the reconfiguration of the South Caucasus after the collapse of the USSR has not ended. As you know, the Caucasus is one of the most sensitive of the world. Since ancient times, peoples, religions, cultures and civilizations co-exist. Today the danger of the emergence of dividing lines in the region is real. We do not encourage this development. The status and trends at work in the South Caucasus and neighboring countries require each of us a maximum restraint and responsibility.

PI - Given that the last fifteen years, Turkey keeps its border with Armenia closed, Iran and Georgia are the only means of communication in your country with the outside world. How have you reacted to the Russian-Georgian conflict of last summer?

EN - The fighting around South Ossetia, which have caused great damage and many human tragedies, we were obviously worried. Because of these events, the economy of Armenia has suffered losses that we estimate at 600 million. The supply of our country was severely disrupted. Armenia is probably one of the countries most interested in stability and security of our neighboring Georgia - not only because more than 70% of our trade is done through Georgian territory, but also because our two nations are linked by an old friendship.

IP - Regarding the events of last summer in Georgia, two opposing views: 1) the fact that Russia has to respond, so strong indeed, an irresponsible provocation of Georgian President, 2) Russia s is guilty of an unprecedented aggression against a sovereign member of the UN. Which of these two visions do you feel closest?

IN - This war was a terrible tragedy. The key now is to unite our efforts to prevent such a disaster happening again. The important thing is the future. We believe that the agreements reached through the efforts of French and Russian presidents are a basis for the peaceful solution of this problem. The position of Armenia on this issue was expressed in the Declaration of the Heads of States of the Organization of Collective Security Treaty, of which Armenia is currently the President.

IP - What is your view on the agreement signed between Russia and the EU in Moscow on September 8? Is this a victory for the EU (which ended the crisis) or Russia (who managed to ultimately endorse the secession of the two separatist regions of Georgia)?

EN - I do not think that in this situation, it is advised to try to determine who won and who lost. The bottom line is that the agreement works. The guns have fallen silent. There are no more victims and casualties. Now he is overseeing the implementation of this agreement, verifying that each party keeps its commitments, and ensuring that the negotiations in Geneva (which bring together all the parties to the conflict) may lead on outcomes.

PI - The region of Javakhk, Georgia, which is mainly populated by Armenians, is another source of tension in the region. The precedent of South Ossetia can encourage Armenia to challenge the frontiers inherited from the Soviet Union?

EN - I do not share your review about the tensions in Javakhk. It is true that the social and economic situation is bad in this region, but it is in recent times, the object of special attention of the Georgian authorities. And we consistently constructive discussions with them. Regarding the Armenian-Georgian border, let me be clear: we have never questioned.

PI - Russia should be seen as a threat to regional security?

IN - The policy that leads Russia in the Caucasus since the collapse of the USSR shows that would be wrong to ask the question in those terms. It should be remembered that it is precisely through the active intervention of a Russian cease-fire was established in 1994 to end the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Basically we believe that Russia is an important factor of stability, security and cooperation in the region.

PI - The situation in the Caucasus is particularly complex, and if your country is well illustrated. On the one hand, you are a member of the Collective Security Treaty - a military alliance in which Moscow plays a central role - and Russia has an important military base land to the north, and an air base not far Yerevan. On the other hand, Armenia is engaged in the program "Partnership for Peace" of NATO, military assistance receives significant U.S. and sent soldiers in Iraq. How you position yourself between Russia and the United States? Are you planning to become a member of NATO?

IN - You're right: the regional situation is anything but simple! The conflict of last summer in South Ossetia has shown that at the slightest imprudence, the Caucasus may become an explosive bomb! Everyone knows that. We are engaged in close cooperation with NATO. At the Armenia-NATO meeting in Brussels, the Alliance has been very pleased with the way we have completed the cycle of two years of the PISG. As we speak, the preparation of the next program is in its final phase. These good relations with the Alliance should not make you think that we are about to apply for membership. I say very clearly: the accession to NATO is not on the agenda of Armenian politics.

As for the Organization of Collective Security Treaty is a military structure and policy regulating the strategic relationship of member countries. Our membership in the CSTO helps to ensure our security.

PI - In this context, how have you reacted to the initiative of Turkey to form a platform of stability and cooperation in the Caucasus "(5)?

IN - In our region, cooperation and security are areas that need to be discussed continuously. Therefore, one can only welcome a project to improve cooperation, mutual trust and security - even if some issues remain to be clarified, including the format and mechanisms of this platform.

IP - What are your plans vis-à-vis the European Union?

IN - One of the priorities of our foreign policy is the rapprochement with Europe. This desire is in the close cooperation we have with European structures. As I said, we are actively participating in the Neighborhood Policy of the EU. During the visit of President Sarkissian in Brussels in November, and during the Armenia-EU cooperation in December, the Union has commended us for the quality of our implementation of the Action Plan. Armenia also welcomes the initiative of Eastern Partnership of the EU (6). We see an additional way to bring even greater Armenia in the EU.

PI - To end this interview, we would like to return to our first question: how Armenia will perceive it? For its historical and cultural roots, it has its place in European civilization, and is one of the first Christian nations, but throughout its history it was part of Persia, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, and Russia during the last two centuries. Finally, Armenia belong to the East or the West?

IN - It is true that, for our roots and our values, we see ourselves as Europeans. It is also true that history and geography have profoundly influenced our country. To summarize, there is a bit of everything here! I believe that this diversity is our wealth, and the uniqueness and charm of the Caucasus ...


Deciphering Turkey's Delay Tactics in Opening the Border with Armenia
By Harut Sassounian, Senior Contributor, USA Armenian Life Magazine

While some Armenians are dismissing Pres. Obama's solemn campaign pledge to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, Turkish leaders have taken the president's promise very seriously.

Ankara has dispatched to Washington several high-level delegations, both before and after Obama's inauguration, with the express purpose of lobbying key decision-makers in the White House and Congress on this issue.

The Turkish scheme to induce Pres. Obama not to acknowledge the Genocide, however, was dealt a serious blow after Prime Minister Erdogan harshly criticized Israel's invasion of Gaza and angrily confronted Pres. Shimon Peres in Davos. Incensed by Erdogan's words, Israeli and American-Jewish leaders told visiting Turkish dignitaries that they would no longer oppose the pending congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

As April 24 gets closer, Turkish leaders have accelerated their two-pronged campaign, trying to block the congressional resolution as well as Pres. Obama's anticipated statement on the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Beyond Turkey's persistent efforts in Washington through its Ambassador, lobbying firms, and parliamentary delegations, Turkish leaders also pressured American officials passing through Ankara in recent weeks, such as U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After returning home from their lobbying junkets, Turkish officials said they were repeatedly told in Washington that unless Turkey opens the border with Armenia promptly, there is a good chance that Pres. Obama would use the term genocide in his April 24 statement. This may be the reason why Foreign Minister Ali Babajan admitted last week that there is a "risk" the American President would acknowledge the Armenian Genocide next month.

Why is Turkey then seemingly going against its interests by continuing to keep the border closed and risking a presidential acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide?

In my view, highly experienced Turkish diplomats are playing a sophisticated game of delay tactics to gain maximum benefit from the eventual opening of the border with Armenia.

The Turkish game plan is to block or dilute Pres. Obama's April 24 statement, either without opening the border at all or by delaying the opening as much as possible. Turkish officials create the impression that relations between Armenia and Turkey are steadily improving, as demonstrated by "secret" meetings which are then leaked to the press as well as publicized high-level meetings. Such encounters, including "football diplomacy," have scored public relations points for Turkey and given credibility to its claim that relations are indeed improving.

The Turks have several reasons for preferring to give the impression that they are about to open the border, without actually doing so.

First, any conciliatory move towards Armenia would damage Turkey's relations with Azerbaijan. Turkish officials have tried to manage this problem by making the return of Artsakh (Karabagh) to Azerbaijan a pre-condition for opening the border. Since the Armenian side appears to have rejected this proposal, Ankara has been forced to abandon any direct linkage between the border opening and the Artsakh conflict.

Second, by constantly repeating that they are engaged in "delicate negotiations" with Armenia, Turkish officials have sought to prevent other countries, particularly the United States, from acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, even though these two issues are completely unrelated.
Third, Turkish officials realize that opening the border promptly would not be in their best interest. The more they drag the negotiations, the more concessions they hope to secure from Armenia -- a time-honored Turkish diplomatic practice!

Fourth, by delaying the border opening, Turkey also gains more time to negotiate with the Obama administration and reach a favorable understanding on both the congressional resolution and the President's April 24 statement.

Fifth, another important reason why Prime Minister Erdogan and his ruling party are using delaying tactics is that any deal with Armenia before the March 29th local Turkish elections would harm their standing in the polls.

Sixth, Turkish officials would probably wait until the first week of April, when Pres. Obama is expected to visit their country, to discuss directly with him the linkage between the border issue and granting transit rights to U.S. troops leaving Iraq, sending additional Turkish soldiers to Afghanistan, as well as blocking U.S. acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.
Even though Armenian-Americans can neither match Turkey's vast resources nor its powerful clout in Washington, they are naturally very concerned about these Turkish ploys and are hard at work to ensure that Pres. Obama carries out his campaign promise on the Armenian Genocide.

Despite reports from reliable sources that Armenia and Turkey will be signing an agreement when Foreign Minister Ali Babajan visits Yerevan on April 16, one would hope that Armenian officials would delay signing any document with Ankara just before April 24. Otherwise, the Armenian leadership would not only desecrate the memory of the Armenian martyrs, but would also provide the perfect excuse to the Obama administration not to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide in April. After waiting for the opening of the border for 16 years, Armenia could well afford to wait a few more days!


Armenians Oppose Opening The Border
ISTANBUL – The majority of Armenians oppose opening the country’s border with Turkey, according to a public survey conducted in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, NTV television reported yesterday.

Seventy percent of respondents said they were against rapprochement with Turkey, while 20 percent said Turkey will give up on opening the border. Forty percent of the participants in another survey said the border will not be opened in the next three years.Hurriyet


Armenia Concerned At Russian-Turkish Relationship www.messenger.com.ge March 24
Ruben Megrabian from the Armenian Centre for Political and International Research thinks that improvements in Russian-Turkish relations might be a threat for Armenia. He points out that these relations are based on their attitudes towards the West and that the Armenian elite should consider this possibility. Megrabian thinks that both Russia and Turkey have their own particular interests and therefore might ignore the Armenian interest.

Megrabian thinks that Russia and Turkey will use Armenia to achieve their individual goals. For Russia this is preventing Armenia’s integration with the West. Turkey however seeks to build up its relations with Armenia to make concrete steps in the Western direction and resist Western pressure over this.


Akcam: Obama Should Recognize Genocide And Liberate Turks And Armenians By Khatchig Mouradian, editor The Armenian Weekly, 24 March 2009
WORCESTER, Mass. (A.W.)—On March 19, prominent Turkish-born genocide scholar Taner Akcam delivered his inaugural lecture at Clark University titled, “Facing History: Denial and the Turkish National Security Concept.” In 2008, Akcam was appointed the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marion Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University.

Speaking to an audience that had packed the Tilton Hall of the Higgins University Center, Akcam sent a powerful message to U.S. President Barack Obama, asking him to liberate Turks and Armenians by properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Talking about the reluctance of Congress and some former U.S. presidents to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, Akcam said, “[T]here’s an ongoing theatrical drama—perhaps ‘comedy’ would be a better term—that all the parties engage in every year, and that has started to grow old. It’s time to end this dishonorable play-acting.” He explained how every time a U.S. president or Congress has the issue of the genocide on their table, “Rhey end up denying for one day what they believe the other 364 days of the year.”

Akcam continued, “All of the parties involved know very well what the U.S. administration and Congress think about 1915. But Turkey asks them to tell a lie only for one day. I have never understood why the Turkish government extracts so much joy out of making the United States lie for one day. I also find it completely dishonorable. Not only does this lie fail to lead to a resolution, it needlessly locks up the debate.”

Hence, Akcam argued, the importance of official U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide—”if the United States declares what it believes to be the truth and stands behind it”—would not only gain it “some self-respect on the subject, but it will liberate Turks, Armenians, and itself in the process.”

Akcam ended his lecture by asking Obama to stand up for truth. “I believe that we will enter a new era where morality and real politik will not be considered mutually exclusive, if President Obama should put an end to this lingering problem and liberate everybody in the process by an official acknowledgment of genocide,” he said.

Obama, both as a Senator and a presidential candidate, was an outspoken advocate for proper U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. He repeatedly called on former president George W. Bush to recognize the genocide and expressed reservations over the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans for his remarks recognizing that crime. In January 2008, Obama issued a campaign statement, noting that “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.”

The complete statement may be read at Barack Obama on the Importance of US-Armenia Relations

Last week, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), George Radanovich (R-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) were joined by 70 of their House Colleagues in the introduction of Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.252) calling on the president to recognize the Armenian Genocide. That resolution is identical to the one introduced in the previous Congress, which was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a vote of 27 to 21, and had over 200 co-sponsors.
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Barack Obama on the Importance of US-Armenia Relations
| January 19, 2008
www.barackobama.com/2008/01/19/barack_obama_on_the_importance.php
I am proud of my strong record on issues of concern to the one and a half million Americans of Armenian heritage in the United States. I warmly welcome the support of this vibrant and politically active community as we change how our government works here at home, and restore American leadership abroad.

I am a strong supporter of a U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy. As President, I will maintain our assistance to Armenia, which has been a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and extremism. I will promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America's founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination. And my Administration will help foster Armenia's growth and development through expanded trade and targeted aid, and by strengthening the commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governments.

I also share with Armenian Americans – so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors - a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history. As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of 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. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics - displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter - that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915. I have visited Darfurian refugee camps, pushed for the deployment of a robust multinational force for Darfur, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Sudan. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.

I look forward, as President, to continuing my active engagement with Armenian American leaders on the full range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community. Together, we will build, in new and exciting ways, upon the enduring ties and shared values that have bound together the American and Armenian peoples for more than a century.


Israel Continues Policy of Not Recognizing 1915 Genocide, [ 2009/03/25
The March 25 edition of The Jerusalem Post reports that the official Israeli position of not recognizing the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide hasn’t changed despite a serious strain with Turkey in recent months.

“Our position on this has not changed,” one senior Israeli diplomatic official told The Jerusalem Post. Israel’s position on this matter was last formally articulated in March 2007, when the Knesset shelved a proposal for a parliamentary discussion on the issue.

The diplomatic official said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vicious criticism of the IDF’s actions in Gaza had not altered Israel’s position on the Armenian genocide issue.

American Jewish leaders insist that “the relationships between Turkey, Israel and the United States remain very important,” said Conference of Presidents executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein. “Our position hasn’t changed,” added Jess Hordes, head of the Anti-Defamation League’s Washington office. The position currently states that that a congressional resolution on the issue would be “counterproductive.”

While the ADL has labeled what happened to the Armenians a genocide, Hordes noted, “this issue is best handled by the parties themselves” rather than by Congress. He also noted that since the Gaza operation, the ADL had seen Turkey take steps to deal with anti-Semitism domestically.

But for all the assurances, some Jewish groups say they are beginning to see support for Turkey’s positions decrease among American Jews.

In February, shortly after the worst of the Israel-Turkey row over Gaza, a senior official in a major American Jewish organization admitted that “no Jew or Israeli in his right mind will insult Turkey, but next time they might not come to Turkey’s aid or equivocate quite so much on the issue.”

Another senior official, speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, suggested the shift may be more dramatic. “The grassroots membership of the major organizations has never been happy about looking the other way about the massacre of Armenians, even if it happened so long ago. After all, ’so long ago’ was just 25 years before the Holocaust,” the official said. “But [supporting Turkey] was seen as a matter of life or death for Israelis.”, HETQ


Professor Cicek: "Bardakci Is Not Even An Amateur Historian"
Turkish Historical Society reacted to the book of Murat Bardakci, "The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha."

President of Turkish Historical Society Armenian Researches Department Professor Kemal Cicek said that 924 thousand Armenians were telled as they were massacred in the book of Bardakci and reacted the book saying, "Bardakci is not even an amateur historian".

Turkish Historical Society harshly reacted to the book of historian and writer Murat Bardakci's book "The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha". President of Turkish Historical Society Armenian Researches Department Professor Kemal Cicek said that the contribution of the Bardakci to the book is nothing more than writing a preface for it and said, "The job of historian is not converting historical documents into latin alphabet." He said, "History science is comparing the documents you reached with other sources and presenting them in the methodology of science of history. Leaving many numbers and tables alone and telling ‘comment is left to the reader’ is not practice of an historian, not even an amateur historian's."

A BIG MISTAKE
Stating that the documents of Talat Pasha that is published by Bardakci is important since it shows that the Armenian population is reduced about 924 thousand which was 1,5 million before the deportation, Cicek said that the enormous mistake is mentioning them as death. Cicek said that the report of Presidency of General Staff in 1915 defines the number of Armenian citizen that were deported as 413 thousand and the number of Armenian citizen that is deported is more than that number since those are the records of 1917. Cicek said that all of the migrations in Otoman geography is showed in the documents of Talat Pasha but there are no documents that tells where those Armenians migrated after deportation.

Professor Doctor Kemal Cicek said that Armenians struggles to make world recognize 1915 events as genocide even after 100 years. He complained over the lack of studies on Armenian issue in Turkey and said that Turkey does not attach enough importance to the issue. Cicek said that Armenians have research centers in four big university and academics and students studies 1915 events.

Stating that European historians claiming that those 924 thousand Armenian were death refering to the book of Murat Bardakci, Professor Kemal Cicek said that this number includes the Armenians who migrated to another state in the Ottoman Empire or Russia, Armenia and Georgia. Cicek said that according to the report of humanitarian organizations about 300-325 thousand Armenian migrated to Caucasia. Cicek said that the total number of Armenians that are deported is about 700,000.
http://historyoftruth.com/


Remembrance Of Things Past, by Christopher Vasillopulos* - Zaman
Some years ago in my first days on northern Cyprus, I participated in an ugly incident. While attending an international conference on nationalism at Eastern Mediterranean University, I lost my temper with a Turkish-Canadian economist. Instead of presenting an academic paper, he complained of Armenian-Canadian efforts to insert the Armenian massacre into the school curriculum.

His children were being called "war criminals" and "murderers." As a father he was outraged and eager to protect his children from abuse. As an ethnic Turk he felt disrespected and misunderstood. He went so far as to deny that anything happened to the Armenians beyond the normal horrors of war. As he received a standing ovation from a largely Turkish-Cypriot audience, the rest of us were stunned into silence. Except for me.

I had agreed to go to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) despite many objections, mostly from the Greek-American community, and personal concerns. I did not want to become a propaganda weapon in an inter-cultural conflict. And I certainly did not want to be associated with a claim that several hundred thousand Armenians took a walk in the Syrian desert and who knows what happened to them. So I confronted a Turkish-Canadian colleague in a way that was rude and insensitive to his concerns as a father and an ethnic Turk. When I regained my composure, I apologized to him and forgot the incident.

Until this week, that is. A friend of mine, Manoug Manougian, had produced an award-winning four-hour documentary, "The Genocide Factor." As part of our human rights program, he spoke to faculty and students at my university. Some of my Turkish students came to the lecture, which included graphic illustrations of many massacres and heart-breaking descriptions of rape, torture and murder by survivors and relatives of survivors, including Armenians. I was concerned that Manougian's natural and inevitable emphasis on Armenians would trouble my Turkish students. They said they were all right, when I inquired about their reaction to what must have seemed to them to be a one-sided presentation. Although the presentation did speak of many other atrocities, it did spend more time on Armenians than any other. My students seemed stricken and upset. What surprised me more was how upset I was. It was not that I thought the presentation was unfair, but that I could not stand to see my students hurt.

So, finally, after 20 years, I understood, at least partially, my Turkish-Canadian colleague's concern for his children. It is not disrespectful to the suffering of thousands to be worried about the suffering of your children or your students or anyone you feel responsible for. My thoroughly decent students were being singled out, unintentionally to be sure, as the descendents of war criminals, no matter how many years ago, no matter how many regime changes have intervened. So the damage to Armenians nearly 100 years ago continues to do damage today.

Resuming my role as a political scientist, I considered what might be done to close out this tragic issue. What must be done to place it in its proper historical and cultural context? What must be done to honor the deaths of so many innocent women and children? What must be done to honor the children of the present of all nationalities? What must be done to make such tragedies less likely? I do not have answers to these questions. Let me echo instead the suggestions of my German colleagues, who have had experience in this sort of thing. There should be an inquiry conducted under the supervision of international scholars who produce a report. The purpose of the report is not to indict or condemn but to ascertain the facts in the context of the political and cultural conflicts of World War I. This is more than a process of setting the historical record straight, of eliminating the exaggerations of the victims and the denials of the perpetrators. It is more than an acknowledgment of Armenian suffering and Turkish complicity. A definitive and objective account would enable Turks and their friends to live in the present and to face the future without fearing that their children will be held responsible for atrocities done by different people in a different time and a different place and under circumstances than can only be imagined. I cannot say that the pain inherent in this revisiting the past will be worth it. I can say that the pain endured by many by not clearing the record is as difficult to endure as its promise to be unending.

*Christopher Vasillopulos, Ph.D., is a professor of international relations at Eastern Connecticut State University.
23 March 2009


Pre-Emptive Gestures In Turkish-American-Armenian Triangle k.balci todayszaman.com
Turkey is going to be the first predominantly Muslim country that US President Barack Obama will step foot in after assuming office. That is no privilege.

He could have easily chosen to start from Iraq, and while that wouldn't make Iraq the leader of the Muslim world, neither would it say anything about the future of Iraqi-US relations. The visit is exciting, indeed, but it becomes even more exciting when examined within its contextual setting.

Once the US secretary of state made known the plans of the US president to visit Turkey in April, Turkish diplomats tried to use this new opportunity in order to show that "there is nothing extraordinary in this since Turkey and the US have been strategic allies for over half a century"; the politicians usurped it in order to show that "our prime minister's manners in Davos are actually being implicitly supported by the US president." President Abdullah Gül has moved up from the corridors of the Foreign Ministry, and we have heard him adopting a more diplomatic line; Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's line is understandably political.

Neither line is objective.
Let it be known that the writer of this column is happy that the US president is coming to Turkey. I would have loved to see him come to Turkey even before he went to Canada as his first trip abroad. But I have a feeling that what makes this visit exciting is not the contrast between what Turkey did previously and the fact that the US president is still willing to come; it is more about the contrast between what the Americans are planning, or are feeling obliged to do after the visit and the fact that they wanted to pay this visit as a pre-emptive gesture in order to prevent the destruction of a probable Armenian genocide resolution may have on mutual relations.

Obama's visit will overlap with the Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations that will be held on April 6-7 in Istanbul. Spanish diplomats claim that Obama is actually coming to the forum. However, the United States is still not a member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance and it probably won't ever be as the Euro-centrism of the alliance is well-known and its reports about world peace have been loaded with implicit criticism of Israeli policies.

A better explanation for Obama's visit is the Armenian genocide resolution that will come to the US Congress. The US president is a prisoner of what he promised during his election campaign: legislative acknowledgment of the genocide claims. Capitol Hill knows very well how Turkey will retaliate. Let me just speculate: If the government does not close down İncirlik Airbase, the people will do so. That is not what I would like to see, but that is what a careless US administration will see. Turks won't let the Americans label our forefathers as "genocide perpetrators" without any historical insight and then continue to fly over this land.

Neither the Turkish government nor the Americans want that to happen. So the American president is coming to Ankara to make a pre-emptive gesture to Turkey in order to prevent the destructive effect of an Armenian genocide resolution that will most probably pass both the Congress and the Senate. The content of this gesture is open to speculation, and I am sure the Americans are still working on a better package rather than just guaranteeing the resolution won't be reflected in the administration's foreign policy decisions in any way whatsoever.

The Turkish government, on the other hand, is working on a "repelling pre-emptive" gesture: a further rapprochement package with Armenia that will include not only opening the borders between Turkey and Armenia, but also a future "road map" for the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani territorial disputes. Foreign policy observers have been speculating that Turkey and Armenia would disclose the details of a deal during the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meeting on April 16. Originally set for April 29, the meeting was moved to April 16, the observers claim, just to pre-empt the April 24 events and the resolution in the US Congress. Obama's visit may further push the agenda, and we may have a warm Turkish-Armenian spring before the Golden Age of Turkish-American relations.

If the US president is coming to Ankara in order to apologize for a yet to be made mistake, he will most probably be received by a surprise rapprochement bouquet that no genocide resolution can ever bring about. 24 March 2009 zaman


Syrian Armenians' Last Chance To File Claims For Their Properties In Turkey Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
In a column I wrote last year, I alerted Armenians in Syria, Egypt and Iraq that they had a unique opportunity to receive compensation for their properties in Turkey.

All four governments, after protracted negotiations stretching over several decades, are finally close to resolving their conflicting land claims arising from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Republic of Turkey had confiscated tens of thousands of properties owned by citizens of the three Arab countries and vice versa.

During a meeting on May 12, 2008, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan signed an agreement which is expected to be implemented shortly.

Turkey claims that in 1956 the Syrian government confiscated a large number of lands belonging to Turkish citizens. In a reciprocal move, Ankara confiscated in 1966 properties owned by Syrian nationals. After lengthy negotiations, Turkey and Syria signed a protocol in 1972 and created a joint commission to investigate these claims, including the properties Syrian Armenians left behind in the Sanjak of Alexandretta (Hatay), after its annexation by Turkey in 1938.

The Turkish government transferred the title of the confiscated Syrian-owned properties to the National Real Estate General Directorate. The total estimated value of real estate owned by Turks and Syrians in each other's countries, including rental income since 1966, is more than $40 billion, according to an article by Ercan Yavuz in the March 3, 2009 issue of Today's Zaman. The Real Estate Directorate has been renting these Syrian properties to Turkish farmers and businesses. The Central Bank of Turkey is holding the rental income in a special account under the name of "the rightful owners." The agreement signed by Syria and Turkey stipulates that by 2010 the Central Bank will return these accumulated funds to the original property owners, according to Yavuz. The Turkish National Real Estate General Directorate's figures indicate that Syrians own 15,067 properties in Turkey, corresponding to 135,000 hectares (334,000 acres or 135 million square meters). On the other hand, Turks reportedly own 2.3 million square meters of property in Syria. "The monetary value of Syrian property in Turkey is estimated to be $10 billion, while the estimated value of Turkish property in Syrian territory is $40 billion," Yavuz reported. In an interesting sideline, Turkish citizen Mustafa Muzaffer Salih, whose father was a major landowner in Syria, told Yavuz: "Syrians own more than 200 stores in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar=80¦. Some of these properties were given to relatives of ministers in the parties that were in the coalition governments of the first and second National Front governments." To set things right, Salih advocates that "The shame of the past should be cleansed."

Turkey, Egypt and Iraq have had a similar quarrel. In 1982, Turkish officials signed an agreement with Egypt to settle their land dispute. In 1985, Turkey and Iraq agreed to allow property owners in their respective countries five years to file a claim. The due date was subsequently extended twice. Turkey claimed that its citizens own in Iraq about 160,000 acres of land, 150 buildings, 11 charitable foundations, more than 2 million Iraqi dinars and 8,000 pounds sterling. On the other hand, Iraq claims that its citizens own 48 buildingsand 11 plots of land in Turkey. The American invasion of Iraq interrupted the settlement of these claims.

Armenian organizations in Syria, Iraq and Egypt should urge Armenians citizens of these countries, including those who have migrated overseas, tosubmit to them copies of trust deeds or other documentary evidence of properties they owned in Turkey. The organizations should then provide the list of these properties to their respective governments, demanding that Turkey pay an appropriate compensation to the heirs of the original owners.

As I mentioned in my earlier column, the main advantage of this approach is that Armenians do not need to hire lawyers and go to court, as officials ofthe three Arab countries, on behalf of their citizens, are negotiating directly with their Turkish counterparts to settle all such reciprocal claims. This is a unique opportunity for Armenians in Syria, Iraq and Egypt to take advantage of without delay. Once the settlement is finalized, it would be too late for Armenians to make any further claims from the Turkish government regarding their properties.

Just to set the record straight, receiving compensation for such personal properties does not invalidate the Armenian people's legitimate claims to Western Armenia which remains under Turkish occupation.


When Armenia Is Not A Component In The Armenian And Turkish Relations James Hakobyan, Lragir.am 20/03/2009
Barac Obama is not the first U.S. president candidate who promised to recognize the Armenian genocide during his electoral campaign. In other words, if he does not fulfil his promise, it can hardly be a tragedy for the U.S. Except the Armenian community in the U.S. no on else will note that Obama went back to his promise. But, considering that Obama is a decent person, he will try to reason why he cannot fulfil his promise on the Armenian genocide recognition now. And the reason may be the Armenian and Turkish relations, which acquired a new external shade after the "football diplomacy". Within the framework of this diplomacy, conversations on the opening of the Armenian and Turkish border began to circulate very often. It is not ruled out, that Turkey will bind a red ribbon on the Armenian and Turkish border and cut it on the eve of the April 24 at the opening ceremony of the Armenian and Turkish relations. Evidently, Barac Obama is not the person who will ruin the Armenian and Turkish relations. It is above all doubts that he may prefer harming his reputation by going back on his promise rather than ruining the Armenian and Turkish cordiality.

To this extent, it is probably senseless to except that on April 24 Obama will pronounce the word "genocide" and also that the U.S. administration will not obstacle the Congress to adopt the resolution on the Armenian genocide. What is that theatrical spectacle needed for which is being played on these days through the conversations on the opening of the border and through the resolution introduced on the Congress Agenda? This show is performed in connection with the visit of Barac Obama to Turkey in the beginning of April. Turkey will try to manoeuvre with the help of the conversations circulated about the opening of the Armenian and Turkish border, and the U.S. will try to make some demands to Turkey with the help of the resolution introduced before the Congress. In other words, Turkey and the U.S. are balancing each other before Obama's upcoming visit to Turkey. But this does not mean that the visit is the end; in other words, if nothing valuable is reached during the meeting the U.S.

will certainly recognize the genocide. Everything is continuous and natural, and Turkey will go on the exploitation of the Armenian and Turkish relations in its sake and the resolution will assume the role of an instrument against Turkey for the U.S.

This entire is so simple that even a person who is not aware of anything seems to be able to understand everything. Moreover, the simpleness is so evident that one begins to doubt whether questions of this scale maybe so simple. No doubt, there are other components in the 0ATurkish and American relations, besides the Armenian and Turkish relations and the question on the Armenian genocide. And these components may wield influence on the significance of the Armenian and Turkish relations and the genocide issue.

But, the question is that Armenia does not seem to have any role in all of this. In other words, for instance, the Armenian and Turkish relation is a component, but Armenia is not. At first sight it seems a paradox, but everything is very logic. The point is that the process called Armenian and Turkish ties, even if at some point was under Armenia now Armenia does not have any other role besides meeting with the Turkish officials. Armenia succeeded in one thing: Turkey does not demand trilateral meetings with the participation of Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. It is clear that this format would be just unacceptable for the Armenian government because the threat to the Armenian security is too evident in this case. Although this format creates additional work for the Turkish party, after each meeting with the Armenian side it has to meet with the Azerbaijani side too, nevertheless Turkey made that step, because in the opposite case it may lose every chances to meet the Armenian authorities, while Turkey needs them just for its links with the U.S., let alone its relations with the EU and Russia.

In this state of things, it seems that the main worry of Armenian should be the elevation if its position and, for example, the Genocide recognition issue should be viewed in this context. Will the recognition increase the Armenian role both in connection with its relation with Turkey and in general with the regional matters? But, perhaps, the problem is that Armenia, especially during the last months, has embraced too many enterprises which in fact do not have anything in common with the Armenian State interest and has done this for hiding its failures in the home policy, and afterwards, Armenia lost both its capacity to decide its own role and the capacity of thinking about it.




© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com © Hilmar Kaiser This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com

Prominent German historian Hilmar Kaiser Challenges Politically Motivated 1915 Arguments
The general tendency to debate the events of 1915 -- the killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I -- by employing politically motivated theories on the nature of these events stands as a barrier between the peoples of Armenia and Turkey, preventing them from adequately airing their deep, almost century-old grievances.

Prominent German historian Hilmar Kaiser is presently in Ankara carrying out research in the Turkish archives. In an interview with Sunday's Zaman this week, Kaiser says the field of history "is flooded with political advocates who are less historians than opinion-formers," drawing a picture full of gray areas, showing there is still ample room for research on the 1915 events.

In the 1990s, Kaiser was working exclusively in İstanbul and that period, he was only granted access to the Ottoman archives, which were under special regulations, and had been declined permission to carry out his research in any other library or archive by the then-Tansu Çiller government. Today, however, Kaiser believes that there aren’t any issues as far as access to the state archives is concerned.

“Two weeks ago, I was in Washington, D.C., presenting my research and photos at an Armenian Assembly [of America] conference, and I suggested that if they are looking for a good director for their archives and genocide museum, they might consider hiring Yusuf Sarınay, the head of the Turkish state archives, or Mustafa Budak, the head of the Ottoman archives. These are two highly qualified people with vision, determination and commitment. Some people were surprised, but I was very serious about it,” says Kaiser.

“Yes, there are still problems, but having said this, I should immediately add there are problems everywhere. The important thing is there is a process in place to overcome these problems. It’s a huge administration, and encountering problems is part of the daily work. I can only say that, as far as I’m concerned, and I know the same for many, many researchers -- both Turkish or foreigner -- that they have had exactly the same experiences. If there is a problem, it’s immediately addressed and resolved. That’s all you can ask for. Turkey has gained a lot of credit with its new archive policy, and it will gain more credit if the present government would support the archives more strongly with additional funding,” he notes.

Historical research and reassessments
Kaiser is critical of colleagues who prefer doing their work without researching the context of original documents and thus making “reassessments” of certain theses -- one of which is that the İttihat ve Terakki (Committee of Union and Progress) had a racist motivation, acted premeditatedly and had developed a systematic extermination policy during the 1915 events.

“One should stop thinking of the [Committee of Union and Progress] CUP as a kind of monolithic party. Research on the Armenians in WWI has tended to try to create the impression of a Turkey that was like a small version of Nazi Germany, with a single party and with a poor man’s SS named Teşkilat’ı Mahsusa. I think this is totally wrong; one has to study the Turkish-Armenian case on its own. Yes, there were some people within the CUP inspired by European positivists, who were partly racist, but thinking that this was not the general party line. That racism was not the driving motive behind the Armenian policy is quite clear because if you compare it to the German racism, you cannot explain the survival of tens of thousands of Armenian women and children in Muslim houses, even in the government orphanages. This would have been completely impossible if the government had been inspired by the German type of racism,” says Kaiser.

“People like to compare Young Turk-Turkey to Nazi Germany, but it is not a comparison; they equate it. A comparison should also stress the fundamental differences,” he continued. “Racism as well as Muslim fundamentalism were not driving forces. Some allege that Islam was very conducive to large-scale massacres of Armenians. It’s totally illogical. If Islam is very conducive to large-scale massacres of Armenians, why were they here for 600 years? Second, why did the survivors survive in Muslim societies in the Middle East?”

‘Ridiculous’ mega explanations
There is a major argument over demographic planning, suggesting that it was planned by the Committee of Union and Progress and culminated in the Armenian relocation.

Kaiser stresses demographic planning is as old as the Ottoman Empire, starting in the 14th century.

“There has always been demographic planning -- before and after 1915. One has to establish a direct link between the policy against Armenians and demographic planning, more specifically that the demographic planning was a motive behind the policy. I’m very skeptical about this. Demographic planning played a role, but let’s be realistic: When you have tens of thousands of Muslim refugees from the Balkans and from the Russian border areas camping in the open and you start deporting Armenians, and you have access to empty houses, what do you do with it? Of course, you use it. To make the claim that this was the driving force behind the deportations is, in my view, wrong because it cannot explain the timing of the deportations. This demographic argument is in a way a substitute for a blueprint,” he asserts.

“People who believe there was more some kind of long-term planning, like since 1909 or 1912, have had a problem in showing a concrete link between what happened in 1915 and these alleged earlier plans. So we are faced now with a lot of substitutes after the earlier arguments had been dismantled. Yes, demographic planning is very important, but is not the driving motive. Not in my research; I haven’t found any convincing proof -- on the contrary, the evidence points in different directions.”

Kaiser also is opposed to those who depict the Committee of Union and Progress and the Ottoman army as homogeneous bodies.

“Yes, the CUP was a nationalist group, but it also included very religious groups. These people cannot be united. They obviously put on a straight face in public, like some politicians do today. And even if you’re a Turkish nationalist, that doesn’t make you a killer. There were people who were famous Turkish nationalists like Halide Edip; she advocated assimilation of Armenians, but she very strongly opposed any kind of murder. On the other hand, this opposition against it was not just limited to nationalists; it also included anti-CUP opposition, for example, from the Liberal Party. Believe it or not, this opposition that concentrated on Cemal Pasha in the area of the Fourth Army cooperated -- there is proof for this -- with the Armenian underground against Talat,” he explains.

“Let me say something more radical: The one person who saved most Armenians in World War I was nobody other than Cemal Pasha. That this hasn’t been discussed so far is just due to the fact that we have a couple of political problems with the whole thing, and our field is really flooded with political advocates who are less historians than they are opinion-formers. We have reports from German navy officers who were on the staff of Pasha because he was also minister of the navy. Sometimes when he saw abuse of Armenian deportees, he just let the official be hung on the spot, he didn’t even wait for it. There are many, many Armenian sources about this as well, like memoirs. On the other hand, one should not be too romantic about it.”

And cheap political arguments
Kaiser also has crucial notes suggesting that the Turkish Republic was built by killers, and the alleged “Armenian genocide” was the founding act.

“Then you can also find other founding acts like the defeat in the Balkan Wars. I mean this is nonsense. You have to establish a direct link. The Armenian population base was destroyed, and look around Turkey today: It’s obvious, and this had a strong impact, but the republic wasn’t founded on this. This is very important; it was a part of the environment that the republic was founded in, and as far as I can see, I haven’t found anything from contemporary sources that would suggest that Mustafa Kemal was involved in the killings. The only thing I found is that he was very much opposed to it, very outspoken at the time. But that later his opinions about Armenians changed has something to do with the war in the Trans-Caucasus and then the Soviet-Turkish problems. But what we were told about what happened in 1915, 1916 does not lend itself to any kind of interpretation that Kemal followed any policy that was not dignified for a Turkish officer.

“Coming to the army -- the Fourth Army, they have resisted. We do have a problem with the military; this is the Third Army because it is there where the big killing took place. The problem with the Third Army is that you have a kind of ‘çorba’ [soup in Turkish] among political officers who owed their quick advancement to positions of prominence to their party connections, or their dependency on Enver Paşa. These people were not very much liked by the standard career officers who had earned their position on merit.

“Secondly, you have all sort of elements of the so-called Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, the special organization operator, and I remind you I was able to identify some of these units who were killing Armenian villagers before even Sarıkamış. So there you have elements and players that had been already active under Abdulhamid. They were just continuing that trade under a different name.

“We need precision in research and these mega explanations -- the army, the Turks, the Muslims -- this is simply ridiculous, and this is only useful if you want to make a cheap political argument, which I don’t.”
22 March 2009, EMİNE KART Zaman


Campaign Vow to Call Armenians' Deaths 'Genocide' to Be Tested, by Glenn Kessler; Washington Post March 20, 2009
For years, President Obama has not minced words about labeling as "genocide" the deaths of Armenians more than 90 years ago during the demise of the Ottoman Empire. Nor have Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Biden.

All three regularly signed letters to President George W. Bush demanding that he recognize "the mass slaughter of Armenians as genocide" and saying that such an act "would constitute a proud, irrefutable and groundbreaking chapter in U.S. diplomatic history." During last year's presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly insisted that, as president, he would "recognize the Armenian genocide."

"An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy," Obama said in a statement dated Jan. 19, 2008.

Obama's pledge may have been smart politics: His campaign rival, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), infuriated Armenian Americans when he said it was unfair to blame present-day Turkey for the deaths. But now that Obama is president, his pledge has put him in a diplomatically difficult position. The question of calling the deaths a genocide has returned just as Obama is preparing for a visit next month to Turkey, which firmly rejects such a label.

"There is no substitute for speaking plainly when you are talking about mass murder," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who introduced this week a resolution calling on the president to publicly recognize a genocide and whose district contains the largest concentration of Armenian Americans in the country. "I hope he will use the opportunity to prepare Turkey for U.S. recognition and to encourage Turkey to have an open examination of its past."

The Armenia resolution is but one example of how a candidate's narrowly tailored and effective foreign policy appeals can become problematic once he is in office.

Clinton, for instance, has come under fire from some conservative Jewish groups for criticizing Israeli plans to demolish homes in East Jerusalem -- which Palestinians want to make the capital of a future Palestinian state -- during her recent trip to Israel.

"She used to be very strong on a united Jerusalem, and now that's out the window," said Morton A. Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, citing a September 2007 position paper from Clinton's campaign. "I am beginning to wonder if she just said what she needed for the Jewish vote."

Administration officials argue that Obama has made huge strides in fulfilling many of his campaign promises on foreign policy. They point to his moving to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; ordering the withdrawal of troops from Iraq; appointing a special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peace; and reaching out to Syria, Russia and other countries on bad terms with the Bush administration.

But officials also acknowledge that Obama's pledge on Armenian genocide poses a tricky diplomatic balancing act.

"Our focus is on how, moving forward, the U.S. can help Armenia and Turkey work together to come to terms with the past," said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer. "It is important that countries have an open and honest dialogue about the past. At the same time, we want to work closely with both Turkey and Armenia on the key issues that confront the region."

Few people deny that massacres killed hundreds of thousands of Armenian men, women and children during and immediately after World War I. But Turkish officials and some historians say that the deaths resulted from forced relocations and widespread fighting when the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire collapsed, not from a campaign of genocide -- and that hundreds of thousands of Turks also died in the same region during that time.

U.S.-Turkish relations are on an upswing after a dismal period immediately after the invasion of Iraq. Turkey, a NATO member, also plays an increasingly important role in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans.

Ahmet Davutoglu, the chief foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan, said he stressed that point in meetings this week with senior administration officials. He also made the case that Turkish-Armenian relations are improving in the wake of Erdogan's recent visit to Armenia, and that any U.S. resolution on genocide would only set back that progress.

"There is a process, and everyone should strengthen this process and not try to weaken it," Davutoglu said in an interview. "We hope that the discussions on the Armenian issue do not affect this process in a negative sense."

Davutoglu sidestepped a question of what would happen if Obama raised the Armenian issue before or during his trip to Turkey. "His visit will be a historic visit in terms of U.S.-Turkish relations," he said. "We think the success of this visit is essential."

But the administration's outreach to Turkey must be balanced against the high hopes that Obama inspired among Armenian Americans. For decades, they feel they have been disappointed by presidents on the genocide debate. Only President Ronald Reagan, in 1981, referred to "the genocide of the Armenians."

Among other things, the proposed House resolution calls on the president to use his annual message to "accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide." Obama repeatedly has said he would embrace that language.

"This is the change he promised, and this is the change we expect," said Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America.


Foreign Desk at New York Times: Maintaining Balance in Turbulent Times by Aydogan Vatandas , Journal of Turkish Weekly March 21 2009
Greg Fabian Winter is a Foreign Desk Editor at the New York Times, responsible for Latin America and Africa coverage. He previously worked as a reporter, covering education and business. In the following interview, Winter discussess the challenges of providing foreign news coverage in these pressing times, when newspapers are cutting back budgets and the internet is replacing traditional mainstream media. A staunch believer in the power of truth telling, Fabian says The Times will continue to stick to its mission of delivering global news, at a time when the public may prefer celebrity gossip soundbites.

Winter takes us through the inside process of deciding the daily news and shares his insights on reporting such events as the Israel-Palestenian conflict.

How long have you been working as a journalist and how and when did you decide to be a journalist?

I actually have an untraditional, unorthodox path into journalism. I worked as a homeless advocate and public policy director in San Francisco after collage for a number of years building houses for homeless families and trying to develop a coordinated strategy for the city of San Francisco in terms of dealing with issues of poverty, substance abuse, homelessness, welfare things of that nature and I decided that I was tired of smashing my head against a very very solid brick wall. It was not moving at all. So I am very interested in writing and obviously interested in social issues so I transitioned to journalism about 10 years ago and what I did not expect actually is how much you can actually change things and move the ball within journalism. I was not always working as a foreign editor, I was a writer for five years of The Times and I wrote about education, business and national news. You know one story can spark legislation in congress and really change the major issues. It teaches you to be very careful about what you say and teaches you to be very, very attentive to details, what you write because people really watch them.

How many correspondents do you have all over the world right now?

Right now probably in the order of 40 correspondents working around the world in various bureaus and then those correspondents work also with a number of stringers, so for example, any given country (for example my area that I supervise is Latin America, Africa and UN) but we all have to dabble pretty much in everything because they are not enough of us in terms of editors. And one of my correspondents, for example, is based in Nairobi and he covers all of East Africa. It is impossible for one person to be in upwards of 20 countries at any given time, so he has a network of journalists that he works with who we pay locally in places like Somali, Uganda, Ruwanda, Congo- all over the place who can feed him information when things are developing so that he can know what is occurring around the region.

Do you think the quality for the coverage has been impacted by the recent cutbacks in the news industry?

Generally, around the country with regard to American media there has been major closure of bureaus around the world. For example just look at Iraq, if you are talking about the time of invasion you probably have upwards of 100 organizations that have permanent presence or some kind of continuing presence in Iraq. Now you have about five news agencies in the US that have a permanent presences in Iraq. The Times, like any news paper, has had major financial constrains, everybody probably read about, it has not yet impacted foreign coverage. There has been a very concerted effort on the part of the paper to maintain foreign bureaus not cut them back sometimes we trade one bureau for another. So for example we closed one in Jakarta but we are going to open additional slots in India for example. We may do some of that trading but we haven't reduced the number of over all correspondents. I hope that doesn't change. It is still very very expensive to cover foreign news. Our bureau in Bagdad for example costs more than three million dollars a year. It costs a hundred Iraqi journalists, as well as security guards, as well as translators who we hire, so these things are extremely expensive to maintain that is why there is a lot of pressure on Wall Street to especially for public companies to reduce your spending on news gathering. Locally at the Times we have a strange stock situation where the publisher, the family actually owns the controlling stock so while Wall Street always is calling on us to severely cut the newsroom the family resists. So I hope that maintains a balance quite a while.

When you send correspondents throughout the world how important is it that they speak the local language and have some in depth knowledge of the region they are covering?

It depends. Obviously it is always important as far as language training it depends on where they are going. If they are going to China for example we typically put the correspondent in a year language training before they go. Some people who are going to China have been experts in China for a long time they speak Chinese before they sign up for the post. Some people are neutral it is usually a mix. If you are going to Paris there are people who speak French already. We don't have to put them into language training probably just insist person who knows French before hiring. So it depends on where you are going. But generally there is always primacy on the correspondent speaking a language but that doesn't mean that they won't rely on translators as well. Often times a correspondent will learn to be able to conduct all of their interviews in the local language within a relatively short time being there. Let's say, after the first year and then they have a few more years where they can pretty much go on their own.

How do you go about covering a story like Israel-Palestine situation for example? And how do you maintain balance in covering something that is this sensitive?

Well, in truth nobody is happy with the coverage of the Middle East, you know nobody is happy. And sometimes that is a major sign that you are doing a good job because you are heading extremely angry responses from readers who are favoring the Palestinians and from readers who favor Israelis. Amazingly there is a balance in terms of angry response of them. And they are extremely vociferous. Personally I would hate to be the Jerusalem bureau chief. That is a very tough job. The strategy for covering something like Gaza is multiple, manifold. First of all, you have problem of not getting into Gaza yourself. So that is a very difficult problem luckily the Times has a correspondent who is Palestinian and who lives in Gaza. We had somebody there from day one. In fact, the moment the air strikes started, people were fleeing away from the buildings , she ran toward them. She has been there for a long time. She covered the Second Intifada, she covered the battle between Hamas and Fatah, so she started going straight toward the missiles, straight toward the hospital and she was there throughout the entire time and she wrote a number of front page stories from there. Now, she was very endangered by her coverage. First of all, she lived in Gaza she lived in an apartment building.

She lived near various important sites that were constantly being bombed. She had a very difficult time of sleeping at night. She slept with the windows open since the bombs could shatter the glass. She slept under a table because of air strikes. In a situation like that I may know my neighbors a little bit but I don't know who lives in the apartment down the way. I don't know if that person is wanted by Israel or suspected by Israel to be some kind of a militant. I don't know the family next door, maybe they are nice but I don't know what is the status of their son.

There is constant fear when she is reporting and she is going around to the various areas alone. She could not obviously do it alone. Later as the conflict started to wane we were actually able to also get Sabrina Tavernise who is the Istanbul bureau chief. She was able to come and she was a very experienced war correspondent she covered the Hezbollah War, she was in Iraq for a long time so she is very good in those situations but in addition to that we had two of our Jerusalem correspondents who were writing every day. We also had our Paris correspondent who used to be the Jerusalem bureau chief, he was going to the border of Gaza through Rafah after Egypt. Now how do you make sure that everything is fair? Now, first of all, any journalist has to apply the measures of fair journalism. You know, this really angers a lot of readers. Because Israel would say things and reporters would report it. Reporters might offer evidence or an assertion. Let's take a specific example, the shelling of the UN school, outside of the UN school, innocent people were killed. Israel says fire was coming outside of the school, they were responding to the warfire and other types of militants there. So the story will include the assertion by Israel. The story will also include the assertion by the UN, saying `look, that is not true, we had no knowledge of any activity in the area. We have no reason to believe there are any militants there'. The story also found somebody who was in the area;'yes, I think, there was somebody who is known to be militant, but he was several hundred yards away¦'

These are all things that you do as a journalist. You try to report what each side says as well as you try find whatever independent confirmation you can. But all three of those things angers the readers depending upon where you are coming from. You will hear one side that says the U.N. especially INRA!(the organization working in Gaza) has historically had a bias so anything they say will be against Israel. You cannot possibly include anything they said. The problem you have as a journalist is that by doing your job you will be open to very vociferous criticism on both sides. The only thing you can really do is to try to be consistent in what you do. You do a story about Palestinians mourning the deaths of many civilians in Gaza. We did several of those and you make sure that at some point you are also doing a story about Israelis' mourning deaths, when they occur as well. The question then becomes should you do more stories on the Palestinians' dying than you do on Israelis' dying. Of course you end up doing it that way because news drives in that way but many pro-Palestinian readers would say `Why would you even include any stories on Israelis' dying when they were such a small proportion of those who die'. It is a very difficult balance in the end. It includes not only the articles that you write because each day you might have four or five articles on the conflict itself so you try to include the right mix each day as well as the right mix of pictures as well as the right mix of headlines but whatever you do you are going to be criticized very angrily. That is fine, that is part of democracy. I am not saying that you should not be criticized.

What kinds of measures do you take to guarantee the safety of your correspondents in these kinds of conflict regions?

Well, we give them flak jackets and helmets and body armor in Iraq, Bagdad we provide them armored cars secured with body guards.

Do they have bodyguards?

Yes, sure. Lots of bodyguards it used to be that you could go into Gaza when things were getting very heavy they sometimes would go around with a team of bodyguards. In some places you can't operate without that. Three million dollars spent, a lot of it is security. It is over hundred people strong, the Iraqi staff and about a quarter of Iraqi journalists and translators but there are a lot of body guards, drivers, translators, security consultants. Ultimately however, if you are in a war, if you are going to a country like Zimbabwe, where may reporters often go, there is always so much you can do. I have many reporters arrested and held, sometimes by the government sometimes by separate agents who have a political ax to grind. We had reporters held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. In the end, it is the choice of the reporter whether they want to go. We do not force a reporter to go into that type of situation in which their life is going to be in danger. That is their choice. It turns out that most reporters who are foreign correspondents are motivated by an intense interest and desire to get the story. So we often times have to hold them back. I say maybe this is not the best time to go into Zimbabwe, given they have arrested reporters. Have you considered the security measures that you have to take? But it is very difficult to be the boss of somebody who is deciding to go risk their life. And people do get killed, we actually had two Iraqi correspondents killed in the past seven years. Sometimes just working for a news agency makes you a target. We had one person just recently killed in the past year in Bagdad who was clearly assassinated and the only reason is he worked for The New York Times.

Can you please give some details about the process of putting a story in the paper? For example how do you decide which foreign photos land on the front page?

We actually don't decide which foreign photos land on the front page. Front page is its own entity, if you will. The front page web site is a separate entity. But I will talk about the paper. There are obviously multiple sections in The New York Times. There is foreign news which is obviously a very critical one. There is business and these days business is very important, obviously. There is national news, there is metro. There is sports. There is culture. There is dining. There are a million different sections. Some of them are never going to be in the front page. But everyday all of main news sections go to a meeting twice a day with the top editors of the paper, including the executive editor, the managing editors and the people who decide hear pitches from us, just like our reporters pitch stories to us and say I want to do this and we say that sounds good or I don't know I would skip that focus and on something else. The heads of each of these news sections go to the front page and say `yesterday we had multiple foreign stories that we think you should consider' we had the story about an investigation. There was a story about Hamad Karzais brother, the entrepreneur. There were further stories about the attacks on the cricket team in Pakistan. There was the international criminal court issue for President Basir of Sudan. These are a number of stories and these are foreign stories. So the front page editors have to decide which of all those they are going to put on front page. We don't control that, we try to influence its best we can. But in the end the decision is not ours. The same thing is for the photo. Photo editors go and show the pictures. Sometimes it is a compromise. For example in today's paper you notice that the picture of president of Sudan is on the front page but the article is inside the paper. You get half what you are looking for. So we don't really control the front page. As far as the inside foreign section, however, we can have more control over that there is a separate picture editor but she will show us in the course of the day the kinds of pictures that she is looking at various stories. If we have a problem with one of the pictures because it does not match the story then we would say so. That becomes particularly important in issues like you are saying covering the Gaza war because we have a ton of pictures of dead Palestinians which we did and ran everyday. Then we might also say ok well in the next day let's make sure we have a picture of funeral in Israel from a rocket attack. Again, it is a judgment- there is no science to it. It is all a judgment call.

So we can say that The New York Times isn't just influential in the U.S. but all over the world. When The New York Times gives a certain story attention, the world will pay attention.

We would like to think so but I don't know¦

I am curious if American readers are really interested in what is happening in Sudan?

A lot of the stories that we put on the front page are not things that American readers necessarily are interested in. And we are aware of that.

What is the reason?

Because the people don't necessarily want to take their medicine either but you have to give it to them just because Americans might be more interested in Britney Spears than in Omar Bashir. That does not mean we are going to change our approach to covering, what we think are the most important stories of the day. If you would govern by that then we would be a very different news paper. There is some attention to try to get what we might call a light story on the front page. Obviously the front page is dominated by bad news most days, most a lot of are news is dominated by bad news. So the front page is conscious of trying to get some kind of light feature, sometimes on the front page something that maybe a little bit more entertaining than just sad but that only sort of reinforces the notion that their primary job is to designate what we think that the most important stories of the day the most important occurrences and to signal that to the readers.

Can we say that NYT is an `agenda setter' of the world?

It depends. I think that honestly the hegemony of the mainstream press has definitely lessened in recent years. My own personal theory (this is not the theory of NYT) is that while the proliferation of news outlets on the internet has been beneficial in many ways, it actually detracts from people's understanding of what is going on the world. There was a time period in which you had a great powerful mainstream press and as a result you had a greater common understanding and focus of whats going on in the world. Now I am not saying that the picture of the world was always accurate or always perfect, but you did have a greater solidification or common set of understanding in principles of what was happening in the world. Currently what you have is if you are a believer of a right wing agenda or if you have right wing sympathies you have no reason to pay attention to what is necessarily in the mainstream press. You can go straightly to FOX news. And your view of the world will be entirely shaped according to your personal political preferences. So the same goes on the left you could read a blog or you could read a particular outlet that is suited to your own ideological preferences. As a result, the two readers that we are talking about have wildly different conceptions on what is going on in the world, what is actually happening people are operating not only from a different political perspective but from a wildly different set of facts. And I don't actually think that that is necessarily a great service to public debate. You have a very scattered conception on what is actually happening in this country and in this world. And it does not necessarily serve political discourse because people end up being unable to talk to each other about the same issue.

Do you sometimes question the reliability of the stories sent to you from your correspondents and what kind of measures do you have for the accuracy of the stories?

You have to challenge if any time a correspondent is making an assertion in a story. First of all, if they are making an assertion in the story as a matter of a fact, as an assertion of fact. lf it is not understood to be a mutually accepted fact it needs to have attribution it needs to have a source. You have to say `where did you get that fact, is it coming from this particular government or agency? That is just basic journalism, it has to have attribution. If you feel like the reporter is making an assertion, for example, of a trend that is occurring or some other assertion that is not merely a fact, but an assessment. There are issues of fact and then there is `how did you bring these facts together' to say what is the story that were actually telling provides some analysis on what is going on. If the person is making an analysis you don't think that substantiated by the fact. Then that is your job as an editor to make sure that any assertion or analysis is going to be substantiated by fact. That should be spelled out in the story more or less. Not every single attribution is going to be listed in the story because there is somethings we may have reported multiple times that we may know already to be fact. But for the most part everything should be well substantiated. As far as the agendas, is your question also is somebody is pushing a particular personal agenda? I think that most of the reporters you know over time and you know sort of what they think about `x' and `y', so you are able to police them. You are able to say `ok, I know you don't like this person very much' because you think that he is bad guy. But really you don't need to call them a dictator; you can call them an authoritarian president. I think everybody would agree. So there are some ways of policing people over time just because they are human beings they have natural preferences. For the most part I don't really feel like there are strong agendas on the part of the correspondents. Correspondent never let their personal biases getting in the way of a good story. For example, my own personal background is, I was an education writer for a long time as well as a business writer. I am personally in favor of affirmative action. In terms of an educational policy I probably should not be saying that but I am saying `I believe that affirmative action has been an important tool to rectify educational discrimination over the years'. But as an educational writer I certainly had to write stories in which new social science findings came out saying that affirmative action did not work for one reason or another or there is a new research study coming out debunking the affirmative action for this or another. So as a journalist you don't let your personal feelings get in the way of a story. That is why you are there you are there to be deliverer the information and to provide an analysis, so the correspondents. They are seasoned journalists. They are not there because they are pushing an agenda.

I remember the story of your Istanbul bureau chief about the Gulen Schools. She is based in Istanbul and wrote about the schools in Pakistan. So how did the Pakistan reporter contribute? How did they cooperate?

This was a story about how the Turkish schools movement was actually quite moderate even though in Turkey it was a big controversial issue. But when you look at these schools they are actually quite moderate and they are nothing like necessarily the more religious schools, hard line schools you might find in much of Pakistan. First of all she is writing about a line of schools which are relevant in Turkey. And have been an issue in Turkey. When you are a correspondent you can travel all over the world. You don't have to just stay in your area. While she is reporting the story in the course of her reporting leads her to Pakistan to illustrate a point about Turkey then it is just simple. First of all it is logical to do that. Secondly, she can tell the correspondents in Pakistan do you mind if I come and work on this topic as it relates to Turkey?

How would you characterize the importance of foreign news to NYT and its impact on the readers in the US and do you think American readers care enough about the issues out of the borders. Because sometimes it is said that before September 11 American people were not necessarily interested in foreign news, do you think that was true and if so, do you think September 11 has changed that?

I think that there was probably a lot more interest in foreign news immediately after September 11 than we could expect to be sustained certainly they are not interested in Iraq any longer certainly people probably their eyes glaze over when they hear the words Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan you know what I mean. I think there is substantial numbers of American readers who are very interested in foreign news. Certainly the paper believes that it would not continue to spend so much money on foreign news coverage at a time when everybody is telling to cut back and spend less money. But as far as the Times is concerned they consider the foreign news one of the essential elements of its trade mark. If you are interested in foreign news you come to the NYT, you don't go to USA Today. That is not only part of its identity but also its marketing strategy. I would say that it will continue for a long time as long as the paper stays in business, hopefully that is a long time.

It is very amazing that the news about Turkey takes place in the Europe section in NYT in the web site.

I think there is a strange quandary about Turkey in terms of how it is categorized. Geographically it is categorized in Europe or Asia or Middle East. I think that we generally categorize it in terms of technicality as Europe. I don't know how that decision was made.

Where do you think Turkey is?

I guess if there was a quasi category that you could say spanning the bridge of the continents. But personally I think it is not terrible to list it as part of the Europe. But I am sure there is a plenty of room for debate over that.

Do you think that one day Turkey will be a member of EU?

It is hard to tell. It depends as much on the EU and what happens in the EU and anything that Turkey does. It seems like obviously the thrust for the EU in recent years to add the Eastern European members. The war in Georgia seemed like it will slow that process. The financial crisis exposed a lot of tensions within the EU even the referendum on the EU constitution did not exposed. So I actually don't know.

Do you think that the image of Turkey changed in the US when the Turkish Parliament did not allow the American troops to use their territory to invade Iraq.

I don't know if people were paying a close attention honestly. I don't know what the American image of Turkey is right now. I know, we have read about Turkey and I think Turkey is in a very interesting moment politically, culturally with the tension between political power of religious groups and traditional seculars. I think it is a very fascinating time for Turkey. I would guess that most Americans have not paid attention to that.

Do you think that during Obama's presidency the foreign policy for Turkey would change, considering the Armenian issue or Cyprus ?

I would be surprised if the Armenian issue changes under the presidency of Obama. I don't think Turkey is its highest priority at this time. He clearly made Afghanistan is his primary priority.

Why is that?

First of all he is responding to intense pressure from generals there and the military establishment there who have been calling for more troops for Afghanistan. He seems to indicate that Afghanistan is a war he thinks he can wage and make a significant difference. Where in Iraq he has indicated that he wants to remove the emphasis there. I think in Afghanistan it's clear that things are spinning out of control there and Afghanistan is in tremendous flux. So I don't think it is an improper assessment to say that the war in Afghanistan has not been going very well for Americans and that if anything, destabilizing Pakistan to a significant degree. I am guessing he thinks Afghanistan is a big enough issue that it requires immediate attention. I won't make any statement on whether or not it is right to send more troops. I am not even a military expert.
21 March 2009

Dialogue And Intrigue: Yerevan Forum And Visits Between Leaders Focus Spotlight On Armenian Genocide Recognition By Aris Ghazinyan Armenianow reporter

A weekend conference in Yerevan brought together more than 30 Armenian and Turkish Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) on the initiation of the Turkish side and sponsored by the British Embassy in Turkey. According to Artak Kirakosyan, Civil Society Institute NGO representative, although there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries, trade relations are more active, and relations on the level of public organizations are in the intermediate stage between diplomatic and trade relations. "The visit of the President of Turkey Abdullah Gul to Armenia (last September) was the green light for the societies of the two countries to come closer." Regardless of the issues discussed at the forum, the very fact of holding the meeting is noteworthy in this case. It is perceived against the background of activation of the Armenian-Turkish dialogue, which is in the interests of the current authorities of Armenia and Turkey.

Turkey's interest is also manifested in the striving to fit the issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition into the narrow frame of bilateral dialogue. This is particularly visible today, when the situation is more favorable than ever - and when, just this week, a new resolution on the issue was raised in the US Congress (see "New Chance for US to do the Right Thing"). It comes, too, as US President Barack Obama has announced an early-April trip to Turkey. Before he was even a candidate for presidency, Obama had supported recognition. In August 2005, when he was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Senate, he dispirited Azeri journalists announcing in Baku that he was one of the few American senators to sign the petition to George Bush about the necessity to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Azeri journalists labeled him "a good-for-nothing" politician. However, Obama called the genocide "a historical fact" and stated that mass extermination of civilians in the course of military clashes is unacceptable. In 2006, he, a senator for the state of Illinois, announced the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide again and called on the Turkish government to stop campaigning the denial of this crime.

Obama called the Armenian Genocide "the most terrible tragedy of the 20th century" brought about by the Turkish government. The Senator also stressed that "it's time to start telling the truth, which in some systems is a hindrance to people's careers." It was taken as a reference to American Ambassador to Armenia John Evans who was recalled from Yerevan because of a statement he made in which he described Turkey's crimes as "genocide". Obama had sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in which he condemned her removal of Evans. Obama's views are likewise shared by his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton who, as senator from New York supported HR106, an earlier resolution pressing the US to join other countries in condemning the 1915-23 acts as "genocide".

In general, an unprecedented situation has taken shape, including the fact that for the first time the Jewish lobby may take at least a neutral, if not "pro-Armenian" position, following a recent squabble between Turkey and the Jewish community. It was in this very period that a stage of radical activation of Armenian-Turkish contacts began. Turkey is very seriously considering this issue, and it is not surprising that Barack Obama will visit Ankara exactly in April. No wonder the visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babajan is planned to take place in Yerevan exactly in April. It is clear that a simple chronological coincidence is out of the question. The coincidences are too many.... "Turkey is making every effort to hinder the process and is doubtlessly interested in show-off activeness in the Armenian-Turkish dialogue," states Armen Ayvazyan, Head of "Ararat" Strategic Research Center. "That's exactly why Turkey has come up with the initiative of the forum in Yerevan." A Turkish delegate to the forum Aka Ataman stated in an interview to "Liberty" radio station that "the communication of Armenian and Turkish societies will eventually grow into natural relations between countries." Another conference participant Geka Kelench pointed out that there are distinct problems between the two nations. "We have gathered here to find a solution to those problems. And to do that, it is necessary not to focus exclusively on the past, but also to look ahead. We need to discuss what we can do in the future by joining our efforts.

" An interesting announcement was made on March 16 by Kiro Manoyan, the Head of "Hay Data" Central Office and ARF "Dashnaktsutyun" political expert. He made a supposition that "in the spring of 2009 a certain Armenian-Turkish agreement will be signed." In his opinion, this is seen from the announcements made by the Turkish Prime-Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Gul. "I don't suppose such a document will be signed before April 24, even on the basis of the results of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babajan's visit to Yerevan. Turkey will wait and use the opportunity of signing an agreement with Armenia as a factor forcing Barack Obama to abstain from using the word "genocide" in his annual address to the Armenians of the world," said Manoyan. One way or another, little time is left to wait. It is evident that by the end of April the picture concerning the prospects of the development of Armenian-Turkish relations will considerably clarify.


Second Blow To Armenian Diaspora
U.S. Ministry of Justice decided for a federal investigation to be made for Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) over accusations of participating in political campaigns and violation of federal tax law.

Last month director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Melanie Sloan had applied to U.S. Ministry of Justice and filed a complaint pointing that ANCA does not behave as a charitable organization but acts like a foreign agent of a political party in Armenia.

The reply that is sent to director of CREW Sloan by President of U.S. Ministry of Justice National Security Department Heather H. Hunt said that an investigation will be initiated to investigate whether acts of ANCA violates laws and the documents that are supplied by CREW will be taken into account during investigation.

The seven page complaint file that is issued by CREW to U.S. Ministry of Justice says that ANCA has close relationship with Tashnaktsutiun Party of Armenia and participates political campaigns in US. Complaint also pointed that ANCA and ANCA Endowment Fund violated tax law.

U.S. Ministry of Justice may decide for a judicial fine. http://historyoftruth.com


Armenian Issue Conference In Munich
International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO) member and Abant Izzet Baysal University lecturer Associate Professor Kamer Kasim gave a lecture on 1915 events in Munich, Germany.

Speaking in the meeting that is held in Munich, Kasim said that the events that took place in 1915 definitely can't be defined as a genocide and the process was the transfer of the Armenian people from one region to another within the lands of Ottoman Empire.

Reminding that the archives on this issue are open for researchers, Kasim said that Armenia or Armenian diaspora does not interest in these archives. Kasim said that it is the best way for this issue is leaving the issue to the decision of historians.
http://historyoftruth.com


"Mass Graves Should Be Showed To Obama"
President of Federation of Organization for Fighting Against Groundless Genocide Claims, Associate Professor Suleyman Cigdem invited U.S. President Barack Obama, who is about to pay an official visit to Turkey, to Erzurum to see mass graves of Turkish people who massacred by Armenians.

Associate Professor Cigdem said that they decided to invite American President Obama to Erzurum by sending a mail, who will pay a visit to Turkey as a last stop of his Europe visit. Reminding that Armenian diaspora arranges campaigns that are slandering Turkey especially in US, Cigdem said, "Turkey visit of Obama should be used very well and we should correct lies of Armenian diaspora with archive documents. We invite President Obama to Erzurum to terminate the continuing lies of Armenian diaspora. We want to show President Obama Cinis, Alaca and Yanikdere and want to show who made the real massacre. We want to tell the truth by showing some of the mass graves that belongs to our 520,000 people who were massacred by Armenian partisans."

Stating that Obama mentioned about a 'change' in the foreign policy of U.S. during elections, Cigdem said, "We hope for Obama to bring a new understanding over genocide claims which bases on information and documents. The genocide claims against Turkish people who treated all the nations under its administration with tolerance and justice since the first day of it in Anatolia, is nothing more than production of a systematic fictional lie."

Contrarily, historical truths, documents tell how Armenian gangs murdered people who treated them with tolerance and justice for centuries, how they committed merciless tortures. We invite Mr Obama to see the truth in the place where it was lived. http://historyoftruth.com


Hitler And Enver Pasha In 'Genocide' Resolution Names of Hitler and Enver Pasha found place in the resolution that foresees Congressional recognition of 'Armenian genocide' allegations by United States. Signed by 77 members of Congress, Armenian resolution calls for reflection of 'genocide' that allegedly happen between 1915 and 1923, to the foreign policy of U.S. by President.

Resolution claimed that major leaders of 'genocide' action were Minister of War Enver Pasha, Minister of Internal Affairs Talat Pasha and Minister of Navy Cemal Pasha. The resolution claimed that provost court that is held after World War One sentenced these officials to death but that was not applied. The resolution that is issued to Congress claimed that Hitler wanted his commanders to attack over Poland because so called Armenian genocide inspired Hitler since he allegedly told to opposing commanders; "Who remembers termination of Armenians?"

Resolution also stated that Raphael Lemkin, inventor of the word 'genocide' defined Armenian events as the first 'genocide' of the 20th century.
http://historyoftruth.com/


London Symposium On "Remembering Adana 1909" Is Rescheduled For Istanbul Turkey AZG DAILY 21-03-2009
The Gomidas Institute is pleased to announce that its London symposium, "Remembering Adana 1909: A Hunderd Year Perspective", at the London School of Economics on 28 March 2009 has been changed and will now take place at Sabanci University in Istanbul on 6-7 November 2009. The new time and venue was recently agreed and the meeting will take place with the sponsorship of the Gomidas Institute, the Hrant Dink Foundation and Sabanci University.

"Holding our symposium on Adana 1909 in Istanbul later on this year was an opportunity we could not miss", said Ara Sarafian, the current director of the Gomidas Institute.

"The Adana massacres of 1909 are part of Ottoman history and there is already great interest to have such a meeting in Turkey. We plan to broaden our approach with a new call for papers to encourage more Turkish participants".

The Gomidas Institute is also launching a photographic exhibition on Adana 1909 as well as a commemorative publication. For more information please contact adana@gomidas.org or visit www.gomidas.org

The Gomidas Institute is an independent academic institution specializing in modern Armenian history.


Against Falsification Of Armenian History, AZG DAILY 21-03-2009
Dear Armenian!
There has been ongoing falsification of Armenian history in the academic publications and universities across the United States. Please raise your voice and publish the official statement made by the Pan Armenian Network (PanArmenian.net). Also, please sign and urge all your readers to sign the petition Against Falsification of Armenian History


Online Armenian History Textbook To Be Launched
09.03.2009 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenian students in the United States called on the academic councils of the universities in the U.S. to remove from circulation the book titled "The Armenian People: From Ancient to Modern Times" because of the numerous mistakes it contains, the student initiative group told PanArmenian.net.

"Outrageous mistakes and falsifications in The Armenian People: From Ancient to Modern Times are countless. Any student, who would make such horrible mistakes during an exam, would receive an F and fail. So, how come this anti-scholastic book and its authors have continued to use this book since 1997, and even have republished it in 2004 without making ANY CORRECTIONS whatsoever? For many years, Armenian scholars from Armenia have repeatedly exposed and criticized this falsified book in their scientific publications. Yet, the chief editor continues to insist that the critics of this unscientific textbook are violating the freedom of academic expression," the students' letter says.

On February 23, 2009, Armenian Ministry of Diaspora sent an official letter, which stated that the efforts of creating an online Armenian History textbook for colleges and universities are already underway. This textbook will be in many languages (Armenian, English, Russian, etc.) and will be available online at the official site of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences for a free download to all students of Armenian History and Culture. Finally, the New Generation of Diasporans will have at their disposal an Armenian History textbook that will contain genuine Armenian Studies book, without falsifications and distortions.http://www.panarmenian.net/news/eng/?nid=29268

See the material below on how the Armenian History is grossly falsified in The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times. This "textbook" is used throughout many colleges and universities across the United States. The removal from circulation of this anti-scholastic and anti-Armenian textbook is essential.

It is beyond ignorance to speak about "Ancient Turkey" and "Ancient Turkish Art" in 330 BC. This is simply falsification of history in a "prestigious" United States university like UC Berkeley.

There are more than 130 gross mistakes and falsifications of Armenian History in this textbook entitled - The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times. Armenian students are being "taught" this falsified History of Armenia throughout the colleges and universities in the United States.

The Petition against Falsification of Armenian History

We, the undersigned, call on the academic councils of the universities in the US to remove from circulation the book - The Armenian People: >From Ancient to Modern Times.

Why is it essential that The Armenian People: From Ancient to Modern Times two-volume textbook must be removed from circulation? We will present a number of simple examples.

1. There are countless gross mistakes in this textbook. The book (J. Russell) calls the Armenian people "colonists" (Vol. I, page 23-24) in their own Motherland, who have "overran" the native "Hurro-Urarteans". The textbook (J. Russell) falsely "teaches" (Vol. I, page 27) that the Fortress of Erebuni was erected by Argishti the Second, when in fact the fortress was built by Argishti the First. Furthermore, the book (N. Garsoian) states (Vol. I, page 42) that during the Yervanduni dynasty (5th to 2nd centuries BC) the Armenians did not have cities. (Garsoian also falsely states that the Yervanduni dynasty is not Armenian). In the ninth chapter (R. Thomson), 5th century Armenian historians are called "extremely shadowy figures" who "cannot be taken at face value". Furthermore, the same author (Vol. I, page 215) calls the Father of Armenian History, a pseudo-historian who never lived in the 5th century. In the chapter on the medieval Armenian literature and culture (Vol. I, page 295), the author (P. Cowe) reaches new heights of treachery by presenting giants of Armenian culture like Kostandin Erznkatsi, Hovhannes Erznkatsi and Nahapet Kuchak as authors who "adopted" Turkish, Persian and other Islamic literature. In fact, in the same book, Cowe claims that Nahapet Kuchak is a pseudo-author. He also claims that the Armenian national epic, the Daredevils of Sasun, is simply the later Armenian version of the Persian Rustam Zal. In many of the chapters of the book a number of authors use the Turkish terminology for Armenian Highland and call it "eastern Anatolia" (just one example from R. Suny, Vol. II page 127). The chief editor of this book, R. Hovannisian, in Volume II, page 232, purposefully states (Vol. II, page 232) that even after the Armenian massacres of 1909, Armenian freedom fighters continued to "collaborate" with the Turkish government and Armenian leaders called the people to enlist into the Turkish Army and fight with "valorous deeds" against the Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs during the Balkan Wars. In line with unending unscientific gross mistakes, the book states (Volume II, page 432) that the first Armenian book was printed in 1660, in Holland, when in FACT it was published by Hakob Meghapart in 1512, in Venice.

As we noted above, these kinds of outrageous mistakes and falsifications in The Armenian People: From Ancient to Modern Times are countless. Any student, who would make such horrible mistakes during an exam, would receive an F and fail. So, how come this anti-scholastic book and its authors have continued to use this book since 1997, and even have republished it in 2004 without making any corrections whatsoever? For many years, Armenian scholars from Armenia have repeatedly exposed and criticized this falsified book in their scientific publications. Yet, the chief editor continues to insist that the critics of this unscientific textbook are "violating the freedom of academic expression".

2. In this textbook, the Armenian people are presented as newcomers and "colonists" in their own homeland who have overran the indigenous "Urartian" population (Vol. I, pages 23-26). In fact, you can find these kinds of "theories" only in the publications of Turkish "historians". In fact, world renowned scholars from various disciplines including linguistics, archaeology, anthropology, molecular biology and genetics have proven that Armenian Highland is the cradle of the Indo-European speaking peoples and that the Armenian people are native to their homeland. Why is this fundamental scientific proof on the origins of the Armenian people completely LEFT OUT of the above noted textbook?!

Khachatur Marozyan: Corruption In Armenian Universities Terrifying 20.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Lawyers and Psychologists Association NGO surveys have shown that in 2008 corruption was more common for State Universities and central schools of Yerevan, rather than for uptown schools.

"Corruption in Armenian Universities assumes terrifying forms, and unhealthy relations between teachers and students present a serious threat to effective education and reforms in this area. Tutors take unprofessional attitude towards students," Lawyers and Psychologists Association President Khatchatur Marozyan noted.

To eliminate corruption, the OGO has created anticorruption auditoriums in Universities, to organize meetings and discussions between tutors and students outside educational process.

According to Khatchatur Marozyan, the organization has already addressed to RA Ministry of Education and received an endorsement to undertake struggle against corruption in schools and universities.


Russia Is Turkish Intelligence's Top Priority 20.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Turkish national intelligence has defined 10 priorities of their activity: tracing Russia's policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as delivering energy carriers from the Caspian Sea to the world markets.

According to Sabah newspaper, the Turkish secret service laid stress on foreign intelligence and resolution of problems affecting the international society in the framework of their reforms.

Russia and its policy in the Caucasus is the top priority for the Turkish intelligence. In Central Asia and Caspian Sea region, the Turkish special services are interested in Russia's energy policy of, Russian-Chinese energy cooperation, the problem of oil and gas output in the Caspian Sea, the construction of mains and the strategies of delivering energy carriers to the world markets.

Georgia's aspiration to join NATO, relations between Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Nagorno Karabakh conflict are also among the priorities.

No Congressional Vote On Armenian Genocide Resolution Soon 20.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked if it is a good time to bring up the Armenian resolution, reiterated her view that Genocide occurred.

Whether Obama travels to the region or not "does not deny the fact that there was an Armenian Genocide, and there are those of us in Congress who will continue to make that point," the California lawmaker told Reuters.

Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly, said he does not know whether the sponsors of the latest resolution have enough support for it to pass in the House but "no one's talking about a vote any time soon."

Similar resolutions have been introduced in Congress for years and Pelosi has been a longtime supporter of having Congress declare the killings a genocide.

But as speaker, she did not bring the legislation to the floor for a vote in 2007 after pressure by the Bush administration, amid concerns over the sensitivities of Turkey.

Obama has not said whether he will support the resolution. He must also decide whether to mark an Armenian remembrance day on April 24 with a statement using the term Genocide.

The Department Of State Does Not Reflect The Usa's Position? Aravot March 19, 2009 Armenia
MP from the [ruling] Republican Party of Armenia, Armen Ashotyan, yesterday [18 March] asked Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan in the parliament why Armenia had not reacted to the section of the US Department of State's annual report on Azerbaijani territories, including on the "occupation" of Nagornyy Karabakh.

Nalbandyan answered: "If you mean the territorial integrity, that is the emphasis put in that report, it had been announced numerous times previously and after that, and at present as well. You can find this on the website of the US embassy in Armenia - that the USA's position in this issue is based on three principles. Those are - the non-use of force, the right of self-determination and the territorial integrity. I do not believe that this formulation in the report in question reflects their [USA's] attitude towards the Karabakh settlement itself."


Turkey Belongs in Europe by Jan Marinus Wiersma*
Almost four years ago Turkey and the EU took a historical step forward and started accession negotiations. However, full Turkish membership in the union does not look much closer today than it did in 2005. Increasing ambivalence on the European side and the exclusionary discourse of some European leaders negatively affect Turkey's reform process.

But the main reason for this state of affairs is the uncertainty about the process of internal reform in Turkey. Even a sympathetic outside observer cannot but notice the deepening polarization in Turkish politics and society. Controversy over secularism and the role of religion in the public sphere is one of the divisive issues. The hopes and enthusiasm in Turkey and in Europe seem to be giving place to doubts and skepticism on both sides.

As a European Socialist, I have always supported the accession of Turkey to the EU and rejected the notion of "privileged partnership" advocated by European conservatives as a euphemism for the rejection of Turkey. I believe in a Europe united by shared values, principles and ideals, not in a closed club bound by fixed cultural and religious identities. To us, Turkey is not a threatening "other," but a European country that has a place in the EU. To achieve it, Turkey must be a fully democratic and secular country where respect for human rights, individual liberties, protection of minorities, separation of religion and state and the rule of law are fundamental values.

It is because of the European Socialists' commitment to this historical vision that I am so concerned about the slowdown of the pro-European reform process in Turkey over the past few years. To be sure, there are some encouraging developments, like the launching of 24-hour broadcasting in Kurdish and steps toward reconciliation with Armenia. But joining the EU is unthinkable without fundamental consensus about basic values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Therefore, signs of growing polarization are disconcerting for Turkey's friends in Europe. I am fully aware of the difficulties of the transition from a tutelary democracy to a full-fledged one. But it is imperative that Turkey forge a democratic system that respects not just the right of the majority to decide, but also protects and guarantees the rights of the minority.

This means that whoever emerges victorious in the upcoming local elections on March 29 must engage in a dialogue with the opposition and civil society, and demonstrate tolerance for dissenting views. In this context, the track record of the administration of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in its relations with the critical media is unconvincing. In a democratic country, it is not acceptable for a prime minister to call for a boycott of the press that is critical of him and his party. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) also needs to pay utmost attention to the concerns about the creation of pro-government business circles through a selective granting of contracts and licenses. Such practices can be a hindrance to the efforts of joining the EU, since they go against EU rules and norms on competition.

The concerns on the rule of law in Turkey are even broader. I appreciate the importance of the Ergenekon case in cleansing Turkey's politics and security apparatus of clandestine networks and coup plotters. However, the investigation itself, the conduct of security forces during the arrests, privacy violations, public exposure of persons who may not be related with the case and other violations of legal procedures raise serious concerns and may in the end overshadow the final verdicts. It is extremely important to ensure that this case is not perceived as a case of partisan revanchism by the government and its supporters.

There is a growing tension between secularist and religiously oriented visions for Turkey. The tactics used by some secularists, particularly their failure to condemn the e-ultimatum in April 2007 and the closure case against the AK Party, are unsavory. But these unhelpful tactics of some groups need to be decoupled from the legitimate concerns voiced by the secular part of Turkish society.

In the aftermath of its landslide victory in the July 2007 elections, the AK Party government did not seek consensus with the opposition and civil society on further pro-European reform. Instead, it opted for a piecemeal approach, rushing to ease the restrictions on wearing Islamic headscarves at universities. While the initiative is in itself commendable, the AK Party has failed to change the perception that it cares only about the pious Turks and ignores the large secular segment of the society.

Freedom to choose one's religion and to practice it openly is a fundamental human right. But the right not to hold religious beliefs and to lead a secular way of life is just as fundamental. This is why the concerns that the right to lead a nonreligious life is under strain in some places in Turkey need to be taken seriously. To prevent any possible pressure, abuse and discrimination based on beliefs, nonreligiousness and lifestyle choices, Turkey could establish an office of "secularism ombudsman" -- a proposal already made by Turkish political scientists and Olli Rehn, the EU's enlargement commissioner. Most importantly, all stakeholders in Turkey must realize that secularism is not an abstract philosophical concept, but a core tenet of a democratic and inclusive polity.

The situation of women is at the heart of the secular vision. The creation of an equal opportunities committee in the Turkish Parliament is a step in the right direction. More importantly, a value revolution in the society must follow legal reforms. Women must be provided with opportunities to make their own choices and be emancipated from intrusive control. The key is women's access to employment, education and social and political life. It is disappointing that out of 14,000 candidates nominated for local offices throughout the country for the upcoming March 29 elections, only 400 are women.

To bring Turkey closer to the EU and its values, Turkish advocates of their country's European future can make an effective use of the possibilities already there. Turkey's political parties, NGOs, trade unions and other civil society organizations need to get involved in creating alliances, negotiating common platforms and sharing ideas with partners in Europe. European Socialists are ready to collaborate with likeminded individuals and organizations in Turkey.

Turkey's EU membership will benefit both Turkey and the EU. The government, the opposition and civil society must recommit themselves fully to the reform process. The EU must shed its ambivalence toward Turkey and help the vision of a fully democratic, secular, pluralist and prosperous Turkey to come true.

*Jan Marinus Wiersma is the vice president of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament.

22 March 2009, Zaman

Letter of National Security Department to CREW
U.S. Department of Justice
National Security Division
Washington, D.C. 20530
MAR 16 2009

Ms. Melanie Sloan
Executive Director
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
1400 Eye Street, NW
Suite 450
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Ms. Sloan:
This is in response to your letter of February 18, 2009 requesting that the Department of Justice initiate an investigation of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended, 22 U.S.C.§ 611 et seq. (FARA).

Your interest in this matter is appreciated. We will take the information you provided under advisement to determine if it raises a FARA concern, and we assure you that if the statute is applicable, we will take the appropriate action.

Sincerely,

Heather H. Hunt, Chief
Registration Unit
Counterespionage Section
National Security Division

The Armenian Genocide Resolution, Ömer Engin Lütem, AVIM
On March 17 a draft resolution describing the events of 1915 as genocide was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This legislation, H.Res. 252, is identical to H. Res. 106 introduced in the previous legislative period which, after not being adopted, became null and void.

In brief, this draft resolution calls upon the President to ensure that U.S. foreign policy “reflects the appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide”. This vague wording appears to express the aim of enabling the U.S. to intervene in other countries concerning the stated three issues.

In addition, the said draft resolution calls upon the President to “characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide” in the annual Presidential message issued on April 24. As is known, President Bush refrained from using the term genocide in the presidential statements issued on this day during his term in office; however, to placate the Armenians he resorted to synonymous expressions such as ”annihilation” and “mass killings”.

It should be pointed out that in the findings set forth in the draft resolution many errors are present. For example, the resolution makes mention of the “deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians”; however there is not a single Armenian or other source which parallels or upholds such a number. In tandem with this, it is not appropriate to talk of the deportation of Armenians, as the Armenians were moved within, and not expelled from, the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. To cite another fallacy found within the resolution, one may draw attention to how it claims that the United Nations recognized the Armenian “genocide”. However, as stated by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, there have been no resolutions issued to this affect concerning events preceding the establishment of the UN. It is bizarre that this error repetitiously made in (and brought to the attention of those who spearheaded) similar resolutions issued over the years, has not been corrected. As such, it appears that the pioneers of this resolution are concerned not with establishing historical truths, but with vilifying the Ottoman Empire.

The resolution garnered 77 members of the House as co-sponsors. This number, however, appears to be insufficient should one take into account how 218 votes are required for an absolute majority in the House. It seems that many members are waiting on President Obama to declare his stance vis-à-vis this draft resolution.

On the issue of the haste with which the resolution was introduced in the House, this may very well be related to Presdient Obama’s imminent visit to Turkey. If so, one may deduce that extremist Armenians have been persistent in pushing forth the recognition of Armenian genocide claims. It also appears possible that this resolution may have helped the White House as it has set forth the extent of the pressure faced by the U.S. government with respect to Armenian genocide claims.

Meanwhile the word is spreading that during his visit to Ankara, President Obama may press forward either the House of Representatives option or that of the presidential message. Ankara is not expected to make such a choice.

In closing it should be stated that the Armenian genocide allegations, which have no basis in fact, should immediately be taken off the agenda of both these nations.

The AKP Has Promised The United States Opening The Armenian Border States Sukru Elekdag 20 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
The House Republican People's Party (CHP) Sukru ELEKDAG made a sensational statement, writes the newspaper Sabah.

The newspaper writes that at meetings of the delegation to discuss "alleged Armenian genocide in the U.S. Congress, parliamentarians from the AKP promised that the borders with Armenia be opened after the elections in Turkey."

The delegation included Murat Mercan, Suat Kiniklioglu, Nursuna Memecan the AKP, Mithat Melen's Sukru ELEKDAG MHP and the CHP.

"The members of the AKP said that the borders would start after March 29 (local elections). They said that negotiations with Armenia were at the last step and that any decision by the U.S. Congress would have a negative influence on the relationship. I told them not to say that. But they said the agreement would be reached in connection with this, "said Sukru ELEKDAG.

The AKP parliamentary Nursuna Memecan rejected those assertions and said: "The presidents will meet". "During the meeting we said that Turkey and Armenia were in talks for a year and have stressed that the negotiations were held with Azerbaijan. The presidents of three countries deal with this issue. If in this step the United States passed a resolution that will have a negative influence, "said Memecan Nursuna. Memecan Nursuna confirmed they said negotiations between Turkey and Armenia was at the last step. "But we did not say that we open the borders after the municipal elections."

An Armenian Film Festival in Istanbul 20 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Efforts to Turkish-Armenian rapprochement is growing day by day. Thus, Thursday, Vanyan George, president of the Center for peace initiatives in the Caucasus, announced to journalists that the Armenian Film Festival will be held this year in Istanbul in September.

The Armenian Film Festival in Istanbul following the Turkish Film Festival in Armenia held these days in several cities. It was created to "educate young people with the Turkish way of life and the problems of Armenian youth," says Vanyan, adding: "It is a tool for dialogue between the two countries."

No restrictions are imposed on participants. They will submit a short or feature film, but also a documentary

The non-governmental organization "Center for peace initiatives in the Caucasus" was founded in February 2002 in order to establish good relations between the peoples of the South Caucasus, through regional cooperation in the protection of human rights, ecology, education, art and information exchange. Jean Eckian

Turkey Has Three Problems - Cyprus, Kurdish And Armenian observercyprus.com 20.03.2009
France's ex Prime Minister Michel Rochard said that he believes that Turkey deserves its place in Europe but, on Turkey's road to acceptance into the EU, it has to face three major obstacles, namely the Cyprus, Kurdish and Armenian problems. Rochard said that a Cyprus solution will be a political decision that would greatly help Turkey move a step closer to the EU. According to a press release from Turkey's Altogether Development Foundation (IKV), joint work has been carried out by IKV, Yeditepe University Law School and the University of Paris X Nanterre with there aim being 'To Move on from the fears of Turkey entering Europe'. A conference was held in Paris on the 12 and 13 March at which the former French PM made a speech in which he said that their main aim was to abolish customs duties between the rest of Europe and Turkey and after a while for it, like the rest of Europe, to start using the euro. He believed that Turkey deserved a place in the EU, but that they will immediately have to face their three biggest problems, the Cyprus, Armenian and Kurdish problems. Rochard said the current state of the Cyprus problem is the main cause of the set back. Turkey has taken the right steps under the United Nations supervision and by the Turkish Cypriots saying 'Yes' to the referendum was also one step closer to a set solution and EU acceptance.

Making Plans For Obama's Trip To Turkey Next Month By Thomas Omestad U.S. News & World Report March 19 2009
Shaping an agenda for the visit to a majority Muslim nation that is a close U.S. ally

Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Turkey--his first as president to a majority Muslim nation--is expected to touch heavily on themes of partnership with the NATO ally and like-minded views on key security issues rather than the disagreements that plagued U.S.-Turkish relations during the Bush administration.

A senior Turkish foreign policy official, Ahmet Davutoglu, is in Washington to help prepare for the April 6-7 visit. "Our policies are almost identical on all issues," he says.

Obama is expected to stop both in the capital, Ankara, and in Istanbul.

Davutoglu, the chief foreign policy adviser to Turkey's prime minister, said that his consultations with the State Department, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and White House National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones--a meeting that ran longer than expected this morning--had gone well, prompting him to add, "There is no historical baggage" in the Turkish-U.S. relationship.

That signals Ankara's desire to set aside past tensions with Washington over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq (which Turkey advised against), U.S. Middle East policy, and interest inside the United States in formally recognizing the mass deaths of Armenians early in the past century as a genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turks.

Davutoglu conceded, though, that since 2005 there has been a "problem of image perception of the United States inside Turkey." Opinion polls in Turkey have shown dramatically low favorability ratings for the United States in recent years.

Obama is making U.S. outreach to the Muslim world a key foreign policy goal, in part to repair damage done during the Bush years. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included a stop in Turkey on her first swing through Europe. In Turkey, she hailed the country's democracy and secular Constitution as well as its embrace of religious freedom and free markets. The upcoming Obama visit, at the end of his first trip to Europe as president, is "a reflection of the value we place on our friendship with Turkey."

Turkey's backing is needed, or at least helpful, in the reconstruction of Iraq and in the withdrawal over time of American soldiers and military equipment. Turkey says it wants to help with both, and its OK is needed to use the U.S. air base at Incirlik, Turkey, for troop and materiel transit.

Turkey has also been an important player in NATO forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. And as a country with generally friendly and full relations with Israel, it played a key role in organizing recent indirect talks between Israel and Syria. Davutoglu said Turkey is ready to continue with the effort if the next Israeli government--now being formed under conservative Likud leadership--wants to. He said five rounds of the talks had "achieved a lot."

On Iran, another key security issue in which Turkey has a stake, Ankara is urging Iran to comply with all of its obligations for running a transparent nuclear program as laid out by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency. However, Davutoglu cautioned that Turkey opposed any efforts to restrict energy trade in the region--a possible tactic in any stronger, future efforts to pressure Iran to suspend its nuclear activities.

The Turkish official sought to play down the issue of Obama's own stance on the question of past genocide. As a candidate, Obama clearly stated that he believes "the Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view but rather a widely documented fact." However, expressing the same as president could renew tensions with Turkey and complicate getting Ankara's help on issues that Obama says are central to his foreign policy.

The Turks seem determined to avoid the Armenian issue and to welcome Obama's visit as a fresh start. "I am sure it will be a very successful visit," Davutoglu predicted. "Nothing can shatter this successful visit."


Turkey, U.S. Play Down Tensions Over Armenia Issue By Sue Pleming Reuters March 19 2009 UK
WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - Seeking to avert tensions during
President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey, both sides are playing down potential fallout from a renewed attempt by some U.S. lawmakers to declare the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide.

Ahmet Davutoglu, foreign policy advisor to Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters on Thursday the issue, which caused U.S.-Turkish relations to plummet in 2007, would not "hijack" Obama's visit early next month.

"Nothing can shadow the success of this visit," Davutoglu told reporters after meeting Obama's national security advisor Jim Jones at the White House.

During his 2008 campaign for the White House, Obama referred to the killings of Armenians in World War One as genocide, which Turkey strongly rejects. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-sponsored a genocide resolution on Armenia when she was in the Senate.

The reintroduction on Tuesday by several lawmakers of a new resolution in the House of Representatives could complicate Obama's visit and Davutoglu said the issue was discussed in his meeting with Jones.

Asked whether Obama's views might have changed, Davutoglu was noncommittal.

"I did not say yes or no," he said. "Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of General Jones, but we went through all these issues in a very friendly and cooperative manner."

Recognizing how sensitive the issue could become in U.S.-Turkish relations, the State Department has avoided comment on the resolution or what the Obama administration's policy is on labeling what happened as genocide.

"I don't want to go any further on it until we have had a chance to take a closer look at it and discuss it within the government, and that's where I'm going to leave it," State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters on Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked if it was a good time to bring up the Armenian resolution, reiterated her view that genocide occurred.

Whether Obama travels to the region or not "does not deny the fact that there was an Armenian genocide, and there are those of us in Congress who will continue to make that point," the California lawmaker told Reuters.

Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly, said he did not know whether the sponsors of the latest resolution had enough support for it to pass in the House but "no one's talking about a vote any time soon."

Similar resolutions have been introduced in Congress for years and Pelosi has been a long-time supporter of having Congress declare the killings a genocide.

But as speaker, she did not bring the legislation to the floor for a vote in 2007 after pressure by the Bush administration, amid concerns over the sensitivities of NATO ally Turkey. (Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

Obama’s Trip to Turkey: Genocide Recognition on the Back Burner? 2009/03/20 HETQ
The plethora of reports in the international press regarding U.S. President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Turkey and the predictions surrounding whether or not the American leader will bring up the issue of the 1915 Armenian Genocide while in Turkey, continue unabated. Today, both Reuters and U.S. News and World Report, have articles devoted to the issue.

A senior Turkish foreign policy official, Ahmet Davutoglu, is in Washington to help prepare for the April 6-7 visit. “Our policies are almost identical on all issues,” he says.

Ahmet Davutoglu, the chief foreign policy adviser to Turkey’s prime minister, said that his consultations with the State Department, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and White House National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones—a meeting that ran longer than expected this morning—had gone well, prompting him to add, “There is no historical baggage” in the Turkish-U.S. relationship.

The USNWR article comments that, “That signals Ankara’s desire to set aside past tensions with Washington over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq (which Turkey advised against), U.S. Middle East policy, and interest inside the United States in formally recognizing the mass deaths of Armenians early in the past century as genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turks.”

The article goes on to say that the Turkish official sought to play down the issue of Obama’s own stance on the question of past genocide. As a candidate, Obama clearly stated that he believes “the Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view but rather a widely documented fact.” However, expressing the same as president could renew tensions with Turkey and complicate getting Ankara’s help on issues that Obama says are central to his foreign policy.

The Turks seem determined to avoid the Armenian issue and to welcome Obama’s visit as a fresh start. “I am sure it will be a very successful visit,” Davutoglu predicted. “Nothing can shatter this successful visit.”

Meanwhile Reuters reports that Davutoglu met with ” Obama’s national security adviser, Jim Jones, at the White House. “Nothing can shadow the success of this visit,” Davutoglu told reporters after meeting

During his 2008 campaign for the White House, Obama referred to the killings of Armenians in World War One as genocide, which Turkey strongly rejects. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-sponsored a genocide resolution on Armenia when she was in the Senate.

Asked whether Obama’s views might have changed, Davutoglu was noncommittal. “I did not say yes or no,” he said. “Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of General Jones, but we went through all these issues in a very friendly and cooperative manner.”

White House National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer declined to comment on what Jones and Davutoglu discussed regarding the Armenian issue.

“Our focus is on how, moving forward, the U.S. can help Armenia and Turkey work together to come to terms with the past,” he said. “It is important that countries have an open and honest dialogue about the past. At the same time, we want to work closely with both Turkey and Armenia on the key issues that confront the region.”

Recognizing how sensitive the issue could become in U.S.-Turkish relations, the State Department has avoided comment on the resolution or what the Obama administration’s policy is on labelling what happened as genocide.

“I don’t want to go any further on it until we have had a chance to take a closer look at it and discuss it within the government, and that’s where I’m going to leave it,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters on Wednesday.


Lobby Accuses Turkey Of Dividing Armenian Diaspora
WASHINGTON - The largest U.S. Armenian group Wednesday has accused Turkey of seeking to divide Armenia from the Armenian diaspora.

"Turkey's leverage over America is starting to slip; its ties with Israel fraying; its threats falling on deaf ears. Desperate, they're spreading lies to try to divide the diaspora from Armenia, and stop the president and Congress from recognizing the genocide this April," Ken Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in a late Wednesday statement for U.S. Armenians.

"We've got to strike while the iron is hot," said Hachikian, calling on U.S. Armenians to grant money to the ANCA to bolster the Armenian cause.

Ankara is presently working on a measures package to normalize relations with Yerevan. But Turkey also warns that any formal U.S. recognition of the World War I-era killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide would greatly damage recent efforts in Turkey-Armenia reconciliation.

If normalization measures take effect, including the establishment of normal diplomatic relations and the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border, Armenia would greatly benefit, analysts agree.

Meanwhile, the top objective for U.S. Armenians is to win U.S. genocide recognition.

Hachikian's remarks came one day after a group of pro-Armenian lawmakers introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a resolution calling for the recognition of Armenian deaths as genocide.

It is not clear when the resolution might enter the House agenda but President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Ankara and Istanbul in early April to boost ties with Turkey.

Obama is also expected to release a statement on April 24, the day of commemoration of the Armenian deaths.

Turkey and the Armenians are both waiting to see whether Obama qualifies the deaths as genocide in that statement.

At a time when Turkey and Armenia are working on the package to normalize relations, many analysts suggest that Obama is not expected to qualify the Armenian killings as genocide on April 24.

Obama Visit To Be Start Of New Era, Atilgan Says
US President Barack Obama's planned visit to Turkey in April will be a milestone in the two countries' relationship, according Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy and Retired Gen. Kürşat Atılgan.

Speaking to Today's Zaman about his views on Obama's plans, Atılgan said he believed Obama's visit will be followed by military operations against Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) terrorist bases in northern Iraq.

Atılgan expressed the opinion that Obama's decision to visit Turkey at such an early phase of his presidency could be a watershed event for future developments. "This visit could be the first step in changing the region's balances from head to toe."

Also a member of the NATO Parliamentarians Assembly, Atılgan projected: "President Obama's first point of discussion will be the NATO summit. I think his decision to visit Turkey after the summit is highly indicative of the importance the US administration attaches to Turkey. … The US administration understands that none of its policies would succeed without Turkey's support and contribution," he said.

He listed four central themes to the discussions taking place in the upcoming meeting: developments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and the Caucasus, highlighting the issue of Iraq as the most crucial subject.

"This will be a visit where conflicting policies over Iraq will be harmonized. With the US's partial pullout from Iraq, Turkey's new position in the region will be established," Altıgan noted.

He said the US has taken terrorist organizations PKK and the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian offshoot of the PKK, out of the equation and will start clearing these elements from the region in April and May, believing the US would support a Turkish operation into northern Iraq in April. However, the US will support the Kurdish political struggle. "The armed Kurdish movement has nothing left to do. But the US has made its mind up to take the initiative in the resolution of the Kurdish question.

The issue will be put on the table at events such as conferences, summits and international gatherings. .... As long as they don't contradict Turkey's sensitivities, important steps can be taken in the region towards solution of the Kurdish question."

He also said he doubted that Obama would appease the Armenian community, adding that the president will not fulfill his promise to declare that the killings of Anatolian Armenians during the early 20th century amounted to genocide. However, Atılgan said the US will ask Turkey to do more to normalize its relations with Armenia.

"Armenia has the [political] position of being the country in the Caucasus closest to Russia. They [the US] will want Turkey to open its border with Armenia in order to pull Armenia out of Moscow's sphere of influence. Turkey might have special demands, and in return for these, Obama might not mention genocide in his speech on April 24. The Armenian diaspora, which is aware of this, has already started pressuring Obama to keep his promise." 20 March 2009, ERCAN YAVUZ ANKARA

Obama Gets Big Thumbs Up From Turks Ahead Of Visit
More than half of all Turks have a positive opinion of Barack Obama, marking a stark contrast to their perceptions of his predecessor, George W. Bush, an recent opinion poll has revealed.

Indeed, Obama, who took over the post from Bush on Jan. 20, tops the list of foreign leaders with a healthy approval rating, according to İstanbul-based İnfakto Research Workshop's poll conducted in mid-February, before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Ankara earlier this month, when she announced that Obama will pay one of his first foreign visits in office to Turkey in April. According to the poll's results, 51.6 percent of Turks have a positive opinion of Obama. Popularity rates of the United States or Americans are lower when compared to Obama himself: 25.5 percent of Turks say they have a positive opinion of the United States -- up from 22.9 percent in 2005 -- and 40.8 percent say they view Americans positively, representing a slight improvement from 37.5 percent in 2005.

Obama is also seen as a trustworthy leader by 39.2 percent of the poll's participants. In this category, he is followed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was the most trusted leader in 2005 with a 24.9 percent credibility rating, which dropped slightly in 2009 to 22.5 percent. In 2005 Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, with a score of 9.3 percent, was only under-ranked by Osama bin Laden, who was at the bottom of the list of trustworthy leaders with 4.6 percent.

According to the survey, Obama was viewed most favorably by voters aligned with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), with 56.9 percent. The most skeptical segment of the population is the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) electorate (43.6 percent).

The survey shows Obama and Assad are followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (15.5 percent) and Russian President Alexander Medvedev (12.4 percent). Bin Laden is still at the bottom of the list with 4.1 percent.

Despite giving the thumbs up to Obama, the poll also revealed that Turks see the United States as Turkey's greatest enemy (44 percent). Israel follows with 15.2 percent and Greece with 5.7 percent. Emphasizing the dominant feeling of insecurity in the international arena, 33.4 percent of respondents said Turkey has no international ally. Azerbaijan and the United States topped the list of the countries viewed as friends, with 5 and 4 percent, respectively. In a break with past trends, the respondents also mentioned Iran as an ally of Turkey, following the United States on the list with 3.7 percent.

Relations between the United States and Turkey were badly strained after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Turkey refused to cooperate militarily with the United States in the war, and the United States later appeared to be punishing Turkey by turning a blind eye to Turkish demands for action against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists, who launch attacks on Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq. The mood has been improving gradually since late 2007, when the US administration described the PKK as a common enemy and began to actively cooperate with Turkey in its efforts to fight the terrorist group.
20 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN İSTANBUL

U.S. To Host Conference On Diaspora Relations 19.03.09 Azerbaijan, Baku, March 19 /Trend News, A.Huseynbala/
New York will host a scientific-practical conference on "Role of diaspora organizations in developing relations amongst nations and countries as in Azerbaijan and U.S. case".

"The Azerbaijan-New York Association, Caucasus Jews Cultural Centre in U.S. and AZEM society which comprise representatives of different nations moving to U.S. from Azerbaijan are organizers of the event," the Azerbaijani State Committee on Diaspora told Trend News on March 19.

The conference will take place with support of the State Committee and the Azerbaijani Permanent Representation to UN. "The event will focus on discussions, and reports on the topic: cultural relations between the diaspora organizations in U.S., intellectual potential diaspora, countrymen's adaptation to conditions of the new U.S. policy, as well as perspectives of its relations with the Azerbaijani and Jewish Diaspora organizations," the committee said.

Officials of the Azerbaijani diaspora organization Azerbaijan-New York Association, US-Azeris Network, International Mirvari Foundation, American-Azerbaijani Cultural Centre in Boston, as well as Turkish diasporas, Georgian community, community of highland Jews, Bokharan Jews, including representatives the Jewish organizations in New York will attend the conference. "An exhibition of work of Azerbaijani artists and sculptors in U.S. will be held as part of the event," the state committee said.


Vahan Hovhannisyan: If Barack Obama Pronounces A Word Genocide, According To His Promise, We Should Turn This Word Into Resolution And Set New Tasks To Turkey ArmInfo 2009-03-18
ArmInfo. 'It will be very correct and fair if President of the United States Barack Obama fulfills his promise and pronounces a word Genocide on April 24', Head of the parliamentary faction of ARF "Dashnaktsutyun" party Vahan Hovhannisyan told ArmInfo.

'It is also important for the Armenian people to show activity as regards recognition of the Genocide. Unfortunately, there are people both in the Parliament and in the government, as well as in the different public organizations who are even unaware of what April 24 is connected with', the parliamentarian emphasized. According to him, the USA president gave a promise to his electorate during the election campaign. Armenia is looking forward to see whether Obama will fulfill his promise or not. 'If Obama pronounces a word Genocide, according to his promise, we should turn this word into a resolution and set new tasks to Turkey', V, Hovhannisyan emphasized. He also said the primary target of B. Obama's upcoming visit to Turkey is discussion of the Armenian- Turkish relations.

'Naturally, the Turkish party will claim that pronouncing of the word Genocide hinders the process of establishment of the Armenian-Turkish relations, however, the Armenian party must insist on the contrary', the parliamentarian emphasized.

Obama And Genocide by Spectator.co.uk March 18 2009
It's nearly April which means it's nearly Armenia time too. That is, we are approaching the latest edition of Washington's reluctance to call the Armenian genocide what it is and was: genocide. On the campaign trail, of course, everyone says how important this is; in power such concerns melt away. My friend Matt Welch points out that, unsurprisingly, the Obama administration is no different to any of its predecessors in discovering that the responsibilities of power require a degree of historical trimming.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the administration is "hesitating" about making any presidential statement affirming the genocide or, presumably, endorsing the annual effort to have Congress call a genocide, you know, genocide. Apparently...

"At this moment, our focus is on how, moving forward, the United States can help Armenia and Turkey work together to come to terms with the past," said Michael Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council. He said the administration was "encouraged" by improvements in relations and believed it was "important that the countries have an open and honest dialogue about the past."

If you think you've heard this tune before it's because you have. It's become a ritual: all Presidential candidates decry the Armenian genocide on the campaign trail and the successful ones always welsh on calling it that once they are in power. George W Bush was no exception. Realpolitik you say? Just the usual campaign stuff you have to say? Well, perhaps. But if politicians want to be taken seriously perhaps they should cease being quite so cynical.

Here's what Obama said on the campaign trail:

I also share with Armenian Americans - so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors - a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history. As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of 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. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In a better world it would be tough to walk back from this.

Let Turkey And Armenia Work Out Their Differences Mar 18 2009,
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the administration is reconsidering President Obama's campaign promise to declare that the Armenians were victims of a genocide during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire nearly one hundred years ago.

Also yesterday, the House of Representatives introduced H. Res 252, which declares the killings genocide.

To understand these recent announcements, it is important to understand the underlying politics.

To paraphrase Brent Scowcroft, the issue of whether to declare the killings genocide is not a foreign policy issue, but a domestic political issue. Similar to our policies toward Israel and Cuba, a well-mobilized and well-funded minority - in this case led by the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly of America - wields disproportionate influence.

President Obama's decision to "postpone" his genocide declaration should not come as a surprise. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton each also refrained from using the word as president after pledging to do so as candidates.

The reason for this is simple.

A genocide declaration would be deeply harmful to our relationship with Turkey, a relationship that has already suffered in recent years - due primarily to disagreements about the Iraq war, but also because of Turkey's increasingly independent foreign policy and prominent regional role under the moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) that assumed power in 2002.

Washington needs Turkish cooperation on a wide range of issues - Iraq, Afghanistan, energy security, and Iran to name a few - and is in no position to alienate the Turks.

Those who doubt the likely severity of the Turkish response should note the uproar that the "I apologize" campaign - an initiative by Turkish intellectuals and journalists to apologize for the "Great Massacre" of Armenians - has caused.

Furthermore, this year there is another, perhaps even more compelling reason to leave history to the historians.

Turkey and Armenia are closer to normalizing relations than at any point since Turkey closed the border in 1993. But a genocide declaration by Washington would likely undo more than a year of diplomatic progress.

As part of the ongoing dialogue between Ankara and Yerevan, Turkish officials have offered to compose a joint commission of historians to determine whether a genocide occurred or not - and Armenian president Serzh Sargsian has left the door open to this possibility.

If Turkey and Armenia can let the historians decide, then so too should the United States.

As Sameer Lalwani has written on this blog, we have skeletons in our own past - including what might be considered the genocide of Native Americans and more than 75 years of racial slavery.

Supporters of the resolution tend to make arguments like Scott Paul's (from October 2007) - "that setting an example by doing the right thing might build some goodwill and encourage others to behave similarly, which would advance our interests in the long run."

While I agree that setting examples that lead to genuine norm creation and that raise the global moral bar are important, it would make more sense for us to confront our own historical memory than to meddle in the historical memories of others.

We also need to abide by the Geneva Conventions, outlaw torture, and honor civil liberties. Those are the kinds of examples that we need to set.
-- Ben Katcher

Reader Comments
Posted by Aram Hamparian, Mar 18 2009,
I read this piece hoping for a thoughtful analysis or insightful treatment of the moral imperative for the U.S. to end its complicity in Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Instead, I found a rather clumsy reworking of the Turkish Embassy's standard set of talking point.

Your readers deserve better.

Posted by ..., Mar 18 2009,
ben - i agree with you... this is one more potential example of the usa getting involved in issues that they'd be better off not.. far better as you said to raise the mantle of the usa's role in the world by abiding by the geneva conventions, outlawing torture and honoring civil liberties...

politicians can't resist a handout from a lobby group... it seems everything goes to the highest bidder with usa's present political system and values being up for sale like everything else...

Posted by Dany Beylerian, Mar 18 2009,
Ben, everyone know that what happened to American Indians was genocide. No one is denying it. Similarly, no one is denying the Holocaust or Slavery. The dangers of denial invite infinitely more problems than outright recognition. It makes us look weak. It hands moral leadership to countries that have already recognized it (and did not suffer retaliation). Turkey can swallow this pill and in the long run will benefit from it. The ongoing denial is pathological considering Turkey's own documents and tribunals. Worse, your approach helps create a blueprint for genocide denial. Imagine this same article about the Holocaust 30 years down the line when a new right-wing German government decides to 'revisit' the Holocaust. See what I mean? I hope you consider this other view.

Posted by Ben Katcher, Mar 18 2009,
Dany,
Thanks for commenting. I do have to take issue with you claim that "everyone knows what happened to American Indians was genocide."
I bet that if you polled Americans, most would say that there was no genocide. Therefore, a government recognition would likely make a difference.

Aram,
Thank you also for commenting, though I think it is only fair that you identify yourself as the executive director of the Armenian Committee of America.
I would like to ask you sincerely whether you think that a resolution would complicate Turkish-Armenian relations, and why such a resolution is worth that price.

Thanks again for reading and commenting.

Posted by Dany Beylerian, Mar 18 2009,
Ben, thanks for your response. I totally agree and strongly believe that the Genocide of American Indians is not properly discussed. That said, I don't know know of any country or organization that outright denies the Genocide of American Indians. And we have come a long way from the days of Western movies that depicted them as savages. We have extended almost extra-national privileges to descendants and now have a monumental museum in DC. There is plenty more to do...

As for your inquiry, on the contrary, I believe that passage of this resolution would greatly benefit Turkish-Armenian relations. Both recognition and the opening of the borders are inevitable and must come together. And I believe the administration knows this. By prolonging we are giving hope to the old guard in Turkey. By prolonging the inevitable we are encouraging all sides to dig their heals. By prolonging we are being detrimental to all sides, including to ourselves. There is a new Turkey now, and after the forthcoming elections, I believe passage of the resolution will encourage further crackdown on extremist elements in Turkey, especially those elements linked to Ergenekon. Intellectuals in Turkey have already spoken. A strong, reliable Turkey needs its intellectuals - yet they are still purged and marginalized by fascist elements. They need our help. How else can Turkey come to terms and move forward?

The issue of the Armenian Genocide was often used as a US foreign policy tool to extract benefits from Turkey and its old guard. We used this as leverage, but it is now antiquated. I strongly believe that the way forward for Armenia and Turkey is total honesty. And by giving hope to extremists, we are sending Turkey in the wrong direction. No doubt, many in Turkey will be disappointed by official US recognition. But that will be short-lived, and in no time Armenia and Turkey can embark on their new journey. I strongly believe that US recognition and leadership is sound policy. it's good for Turkey in the medium and long run, it's good for us, for Armenians, and it's good for the region, for trade, for stability and cooperation -- it is inevitable, and I hope writers like you can help all sides move on.

Posted by Bruce Tasker, Mar 19 2009,
The problems the US would face should it recognize Armenian Genocide are well understood, as are the reasons for Turkeys steadfast denial. But it is hard to understand, at this time when the US is so close to eventually adding its recognition, following numerous promises from President Obama and the most senior members of his administration, plus a House of Representatives resolution introduced by 77 congressmen, why the Armenian administration has given the US the chance to again back down from its promises by pressing ahead with the establishment of the joint commission of historians for which Turkey has been pressing for many years.

Posted by Sandie Minasian Orsini, Mar 19 2009,
Of course this is another example of yellow journalism. What did we expect?

If in fact it is true that past presidents have "changed their minds" about declaring what happened to 1.5 million Armenians, then we can only assume The Jerk Turks have something very heavy they are holding over our nations head, just WHAT it is, is to be determined. It is very clear this nation is being manipulated by these mass murders, the question is WHY? WHAT DO THEY HAVE ON THE USA THAT MAKES US ABRUPTLY BACK DOWN every time we take a step forward on declaring it A GENOCIDE? I believe our country has a very dark secret that only the Turks know about. Was the United States somehow involved in the genocide directly or indirectly? What IS the great cover up? It is time to for answers. There is a lot more going on then we are being led to believe by our own government.

Posted by Rich, Mar 19 2009,
Ben Katcher paraphrased by writing;

"To paraphrase Brent Scowcroft, the issue of whether to declare the killings genocide is not a foreign policy issue, but a domestic political issue. Similar to our policies toward Israel and Cuba, a well-mobilized and well-funded minority - in this case led by the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly of America - wields disproportionate influence."

"...disproportionate influence," from who's perspective?? Is it the State Department, the past Executive Branches, Eight former Secretaries of State? Past President Bush personally calling Congressmen not to vote on the Armenian genocide resolutions? Limitless millions of dollars by the Turkish Governments media blitz, year after year?
Surrogates such as yourself witting or un-witting enablers of genocide denial? Threatening public statements by Turkey to US Officials, by phone calls/meetings with US Heads of State? U.S. President's annual April 24th message shamelessly watered down each year and never accuratly described the genocidal events, as a genocide.

On the other end of the spectrum grass roots organizing, multiple human rights organizations representing various ethnic groups. Congressmen representing there constituants working to represented the people, tax payers of the United States want fair and just representation!

How utterly ubsurd equating Cuba and Isreal to a grassroots organisations. Those are State Governments with practically limitless funds.

You know what has the ultimate value and is NOT on the side of genocide enablers?

The Truth...

Posted by temoc94, Mar 19 2009,
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the administration is reconsidering President Obama's campaign promise to declare that the Armenians were victims of a genocide during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire nearly one hundred years ago.

Wow, big surprise there. Will Samantha Power call Obama a monster now? Posted by Sebastien J. Vals, Mar 19 2009, 4:56AM - Link

Ben, by chance I see your analysis on the Armenian question from France.

I want to recall you that France recognized the Armenian genocide without worrying about the bad political repercussions with Turkey. This is a fundamental question of Human rights. It is also the way to say, no blackmail is not acceptable, while Turkey supports Sudan President Omar El Bechir… Where is the error?

Not, this genocide is a black spot in the History of humanity. The descendants still suffer from the injustice, as suffered black people with slavery. Thank you Abraham Lincoln.

Ben, President Obama knows this history. Himself enters the history by the large door and understands that these people have suffered enough for 94 years.

Posted by Richard, Mar 19 2009,
This emotional issue is pushed far more in the US by the Armenian Committee in America than by native Armenians. Armenia is an ally of the Russian Federation, whose troops provide security as a trip wire. There is no real industry of any sort and the comparisons of Armenia to Switzerland, which I often heard from government officials, is laughable.

After living three years in the impoverished, land-locked and barely democratic Armenia it was clear that the Armenians and its government should be left alone by the American, in particular, diaspora to resolve their disputes with Turkey and Azerbaijan. They want to come to an agreement, open their borders and settle generational issues but can't do it because of outside interference, particularly on this issue. The diaspora sends it children to Armenia for a couple of weeks vacation to supposedly get in touch with their heritage. They might learn more from actually working in the country and actually providing much needed assistance for a long period of time, such as happened in Israel.

Finally, if we want to look at this from a purely geopolitical point of view, Armenia is strategically insignificant to US interests while Turkey is a NATO ally, a significant economic, military and social player in the entire region. Why on earth should this be jeopordized? And please save us all from people who want to "do the right thing" (and this declaration is really marginal and helps no one)even though it will disrupt whatever progress is being made and further irritate the really important players. This declaration if signed will not be forgotten in Turkey as has been stated and will result in serious damage to Turkish/US cooperation for which the proponents will garner a self-satisfying, meaningless victory to assuage their historical memory. The United States should cease its pandering to groups like this (and the Israeli lobby) especially since they will simply continue to discover issues by their ceaseless patrol of the borders of their own damaged self-esteem.

Posted by Harout Ekmanian, Mar 19 2009,
I'd like to be more specific about this part:
"... and Armenian president Serzh Sargsian has left the door open to this possibility."
This is another example of how one sided is this article, in other words, its writer.
In Moscow, President Serzh Sargsyan has declared that "after establishing diplomatic relationships we are open for any discussion".
I don't think that diplomatic relationship means in any way a commission of historians, which draws doubts about the fact that a genocide has occurred. Way too different.

It was just an intended mal interpretation by the Turkish newspaper "Zaman", which was answered back then by the President's office and made clear that the President doesn't accept the Turkish preconditions about the Armenian Genocide.

Apart from that, the foreign minister of Armenia Mr. Edward Nalpantyan himself has declared in France that "Armenia will welcome every step forward in the process of worldwide campaign of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide".

"If Turkey and Armenia can let the historians decide, then so too should the United States."
As mentioned above, Armenia have made it clear in several occasions that there's no place for discussion about the fact of the Armenian Genocide.

I think Mr. Ben should check the press about the topic he chose to write, before publishing.

Thank you.

Posted by Ertank, Mar 19 2009,
Let me put my cards on the table from the beginning:

* I'm a Turkish citizen, born and bred.
* I believe what the military officers of the late Ottoman Empire planned and executed qualifies as genocide.
* I also believe that the political atmosphere in Turkey is not liberal enough to freely discusss this issue.
* I argue that the Armenian Genocide is not the only issue in Turkey's history of nationalisation. As a matter of fact, my country has a very bloody history, because of nationalism, the most disastrous concept that could have been introduced to the Balkans.
* Nevertheless, I find the US intervention on the issue a) imperial, b)patronising, c)having a great potential to backfire. although, I have to make it clear that the US avoiding to use the term 'genocide' solely because of realpolitik is highly unethical. It's either genocide or not.
* As far as I observe, a substantial majority of the Armenian population in the US adopts the patronising approach that Turkey can and should be 'forced' to admit genocide, partly because Turkey's political dynamics will never get to the level that requires facing the past, the truth.
* I think such an approach damages the just and fair Armenian demand that their right to own their memory, their sufferings, should be respected. However, no one asks the question whether this would help a true experience of coming to terms with history.
* On the other hand, it would be a big mistake to define AKP, the current conservative political party on power, as a potential actor to solve the issue. Addressing Dany Beylerian's comment, let me remind you that it was the spokesperson of AKP, who is a prominent extreme right-wing figure, denounced the organisers of the Armenian Conference in Istanbul, as 'traitors and backstabbers' in his highly fervent speech in the Parliament.
* Even the liberal people in Turkey are not sure whether the Armenians ask for respect, or ask for territory, compensation, etc. It's technically very difficult to make it clear, because legally, anyone who is a relative of the genocide survivor can establish a precedent. I think it's very important to make the distinction. And I wonder what other commentators think on that.

Posted by Sonayk, Mar 19 2009,
Let's also put these points right:
1- Turkey does not provide its citizens maybe the most liberal atmosphere in Europe, but the Armenian issue is not a taboo anymore. Go to any book store in Turkey where you can find numerous books on the issue by various scholars, including those of Varakh Dadrian and Taner Akcam. Also, in the academia, if you want to study this issue from any perspective, you're allowed to do so. I wrote a paper on the issue 8 years ago from a critical point of view to be submitted to one of the most conservative members of the faculty. Guess, what happened? I got my good grade and my professor encouraged me to work more on the issue. So, in this respect, Turkey is more liberal than France if you're one of the true advocates of freedom of speech! (I am sure you know what I am talking about here!)

2- Yes, the conference on the Ottoman Armenians faced some challenges, also from the officials of the government. This was good though because we started a debate, public got involved. Other politicians raised their voices in favor of the conference and for the first time we had a major conference on Ottoman Armenians where more than 95% of the panelists used the "G" word freely. And believe me, this was not the last conference on the issue. Others were not that controversial since noone attempted to stop them. Therefore, you might not have seen them on the media.

3- There is already rapproachment between Turkey and Armenia because some people truly want it. There're around 70.000 Armenian guest workers in Turkey, no negative incident was reported since their arrival. Although most of them are illegal, the government does not deport them and they live side by side with Turkish neighbors, and work at Turkish-owned businesses. Furthermore, there are student exchanges, workshops, summer programs, funded both publicly and privately where young people call each other "Jans" during and after. There are three times direct flights from Istanbul to Yerevan. Armenian tourists come and see their villages, their relatives and the other side of Ararat, in all aspects. Turks and Armenians already started crying for their own and each other's losses, for their common tragedy before the demise of an empire they shared.

Diaspora:
if you could please let Turks and Armenians understand each other and at the same time help your country of origin to develop and flourish as a democratic, social, truly independent state which does not need to consult with the big brother all the time, peace will loom in the region.

In the name of humanity, this is what needs to be done, not another House Resolution.

Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Mar 19 2009,
Sometimes I think the fog of history clouds the clarity through which we should see the present.

Long rambling diatribes about yesterday's horrors haven't seemed to dampen our appetite for creating modern horrors to rue tomorrow.

Thirty years, fifty years, a hundred years from now will we be arguing the facts of Israel's eradication of the Palestinian people? And, like Ben says about the American people in denial about the genocide of native Americans, will the Israelis be denying their own sordid and murderous history?

To be honest, I don't give a rat's ass about what happened to the Indians, or to the Armenians. Or, for that matter, the Jews. There is absolutely nothing I can do about what happened to them. The only possible benefit to arguing the facts surrounding these three holocausts is the lessons we can learn about man's ability to inflict horrors upon his fellows. And it is a "benefit" that we are obviously not taking advantage of. We have learned nothing.

So, as you scholars of history debate yesterday, today Israel is frying Palestinians in white phosphorous, starving them, penning them up, denying them the basic essentials of health and hearth, razing their infrastructure, with pure and simple racism rising to the forefront as the only tenable motive. And they are using our tax dollars to do it.

My advice to you pseudo-humanitarians would be to get your heads out of yesterday and wake up to the present. If you really must debate holocausts, why not debate the one unfolding as we speak? Are the dead victims of yesterday more important than those who will die today because we are doing NOTHING to stop the carnage?

History only serves us as a teacher. Don't you think its time we learned something?

Posted by JamesL, Mar 19 2009,
The two families of arguments in the comments above circle round and round. They will never go away. "We/they are not ready." "This is an especially sensitive moment, not one for opening old wounds." They can be trotted for show repeatedly.

Exactly when would be a propitious time to set the record straight with a neighbor? That is, what future generation will have the courage (if this one does not) to acknowledge one's true history?

In the past century or two, every major nation and many minor ones have the stain of genocide on their hands. The question is whether we of the current generation wish to acknowledge and honor the innocents who perished, or instead protect those (mostly dead now) who caused those deaths?
When will Turkey not be an internationally important nation? When will the denial of wrongful deaths of innocents acceptable? How will the enmity rresulting from those deaths be disempowered?

We of the curent generation are playing with weapons too dangerous to continue this charade. We place ourselves in unnecessary peril when we allow the young of our societies who have their fingers on the triggers to be guided by unresolved enmities of the past. Hoarded, protected, and prized enmities increase the probability that new, unnecessary deaths of innocents will occur. This is foolish. The only way to escape the past is to have the courage to accept it.

The Text Of The Resolution Appears Below:
Affirmation Of The United States Record On The Armenian Genocide House Resolution 252
Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide , and for other purposes.

Resolved,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This resolution may be cited as the `Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The House of Representatives finds the following:

(1) The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland.

On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, England, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing `a crime against humanity'.

(3) This joint statement stated `the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres'.

(4) The post-World War I Turkish Government indicted the top leaders involved in the `organization and execution' of the Armenian Genocide and in the `massacre and destruction of the Armenians'.

(5) In a series of courts-martial, officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, as charged, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people.

(6) The chief organizers of the Armenian Genocide , Minister of War Enver, Minister of the Interior Talaat, and Minister of the Navy Jemal were all condemned to death for their crimes, however, the verdicts of the courts were not enforced.

(7) The Armenian Genocide and these domestic judicial failures are documented with overwhelming evidence in the national archives of Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, the United States, the Vatican and many other countries, and this vast body of evidence attests to the same facts, the same events, and the same consequences.

(8) The United States National Archives and Record Administration holds extensive and thorough documentation on the Armenian Genocide , especially in its holdings under Record Group 59 of the United States Department of State, files 867.00 and 867.40, which are open and widely available to the public and interested institutions.

(9) The Honorable Henry Morgenthau, United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led protests by officials of many countries, among them the allies of the Ottoman Empire, against the Armenian Genocide .

(10) Ambassador Morgenthau explicitly described to the United States Department of State the policy of the Government of the Ottoman Empire as `a campaign of race extermination,' and was instructed on July 16, 1915, by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the `Department approves your procedure . . . to stop Armenian persecution'.

(11) Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 of February 9, 1916, resolved that `the President of the United States be respectfully asked to designate a day on which the citizens of this country may give expression to their sympathy by contributing funds now being raised for the relief of the Armenians', who at the time were enduring `starvation, disease, and untold suffering'.

(12) President Woodrow Wilson concurred and also encouraged the formation of the organization known as Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, which contributed some $116,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.

(13) Senate Resolution 359, dated May 11, 1920, stated in part, `the testimony adduced at the hearings conducted by the sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations have clearly established the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered'.

(14) The resolution followed the April 13, 1920, report to the Senate of the American Military Mission to Armenia led by General James Harbord, that stated `[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages'.

(15) As displayed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying `[w]ho, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' and thus set the stage for the Holocaust.

(16) Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term `genocide' in 1944, and who was the earliest proponent of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide , invoked the Armenian case as a definitive example of genocide in the 20th century.

(17) The first resolution on genocide adopted by the United Nations at Lemkin's urging, the December 11, 1946, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96(1) and the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide itself recognized the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations intended to prevent and punish by codifying existing standards.

(18) In 1948, the United Nations War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian Genocide `precisely . . . one of the types of acts which the modern term `crimes against humanity' is intended to cover' as a precedent for the Nuremberg tribunals.

(19) The Commission stated that `[t]he provisions of Article 230 of the Peace Treaty of Sevres were obviously intended to cover, in conformity with the Allied note of 1915 . . ., offenses which had been committed on Turkish territory against persons of Turkish citizenship, though of Armenian or Greek race. This article constitutes therefore a precedent for Article 6c and 5c of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Charters, and offers an example of one of the categories of `crimes against humanity' as understood by these enactments'.

(20) House Joint Resolution 148, adopted on April 8, 1975, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1975, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide , especially those of Armenian ancestry . . .'.

President Ronald Reagan in proclamation number 4838, dated April 22, 1981, stated in part `like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians, which followed it - and like too many other persecutions of too many other people - the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten'.

(22) House Joint Resolution 247, adopted on September 10, 1984, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1985, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide , especially the one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry . . .'.

(23) In August 1985, after extensive study and deliberation, the United Nations SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities voted 14 to 1 to accept a report entitled `Study of the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ,' which stated `[t]he Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the 20th century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are . . . the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916'.

(24) This report also explained that `[a]t least 1,000,000, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated to have been killed or death marched by independent authorities and eye-witnesses. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally Germany.'.

(25) The United States Holocaust Memorial Council, an independent Federal agency, unanimously resolved on April 30, 1981, that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum would include the Armenian Genocide in the Museum and has since done so.

(26) Reviewing an aberrant 1982 expression (later retracted) by the United States Department of State asserting that the facts of the Armenian Genocide may be ambiguous, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1993, after a review of documents pertaining to the policy record of the United States, noted that the assertion on ambiguity in the United States record about the Armenian Genocide `contradicted longstanding United States policy and was eventually retracted'.

(27) On June 5, 1996, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to House Bill 3540 (the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997) to reduce aid to Turkey by $3,000,000 (an estimate of its payment of lobbying fees in the United States) until the Turkish Government acknowledged the Armenian Genocide and took steps to honor the memory of its victims.

(28) President William Jefferson Clinton, on April 24, 1998, stated: `This year, as in the past, we join with Armenian -Americans throughout the nation in commemorating one of the saddest chapters in the history of this century, the deportations and massacres of a million and a half Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the years 1915-1923.'.

(29) President George W. Bush, on April 24, 2004, stated: `On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1,500,000 Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.'.

(30) Despite the international recognition and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide , the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides.

SEC. 3. DECLARATION OF POLICY.

The House of Representatives-

(1) calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and

(2) calls upon the President in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide . Armenian Reporter

Talaat Pasha’s Black Book Documents His Campaign Of Race Extermination, 1915–17, By Ara Sarafian March 13, 2009
The proportion of the Armenian population deported and missing in 1917 according to Interior Minister Talaat Pashas Black Book is shown in black. © 2009 Ara Sarafian

"[Talaat stated that]... they had already disposed of three quarters of them [Armenians], that there were none left in Bitlis, Van, Erzeroum, and that the hatred was so intense now that they have to finish it. . . . He said they would take care of the Armenians at Zor and elsewhere but they did not want them in Anatolia. I told him three times that they were making a serious mistake and would regret it. He said, We know we have made mistakes, but we never regret.'"

8 August 1915 diary entry of conversations between Talaat Pasha and U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, United States Diplomacy on the Bosphorus: The Diaries of Ambassador Morgenthau, 19131916, comp., ed., and intro. Ara Sarafian (Princeton and London: Gomidas Institute, 2004)

A handwritten black book that belonged to Mehmet Talaat Pasha, the Ottoman minister of interior in 1915, was published in facsimile form in the end of 2008. It is probably the single most important document ever uncovered describing the destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 191517. The Black Book draws on Ottoman sources no longer available to answer many questions about what those sources showed.

Looking through the Sifre Kalemi or cipher telegram collection at the Prime Ministry Archives in Istanbul some years ago, I was struck by the number of telegrams in 1915 from Talaat Pasha ordering the deportation of individual communities, inquiring about the state of convoys, and giving instructions for further deportations. What emerged was a picture of a ruler obsessed with the progress of his signature program. Much of the responses to Talaat's inquiries were not available. What the Black Book does is to summarize the data he collected.

Ottoman archives
Turkish state intellectuals in recent years have insisted that the 1915 deportations of Ottoman Armenians were not part of a genocidal exercise, but an orderly population transfer and resettlement. They have insisted that Ottoman archives in Turkey today support their contention. Yet, between them, they have only managed to cite an amalgam of official deportation and resettlement regulations, certain reports related to deportations, and no substantial account of what actually happened to deportees.

Indeed, no historian working in Turkish archives has managed to present a coherent picture of the deportation and resettlement of Armenians from any region in the Ottoman Empire based on Ottoman records. This is because Ottoman records do not support the official Turkish thesis on the Armenian Genocide.

While there is broad agreement between Turkish archives and other sources that thousands of Armenians were removed from their homes in 1915, there is no solid account of what happened to these deportees in Ottoman records. However, foreign archives, such as the consular records of the United States, give a better qualitative assessment of actual developments than the available Ottoman documentation.

This absence of Ottoman records could seem perplexing, because according to Ottoman regulations, Ottoman officials had to keep detailed records of the deportation of Armenians, as well as an inventory of their properties, as well as details of the final settlement of the people concerned. The total absence of such registers in Turkish archives today is therefore remarkable.

A handwritten book
The recent facsimile publication of Talaat Pasha's Black Book may well answer many questions with the authority of Ottoman records. At 77 pages, the book includes a substantial section on the deportation of Armenians in 191517. The book and its content were never disclosed in Talaat's lifetime, including in his posthumous memoirs published in 1921. After his assassination in 1921, the book was kept by his widow and given to the Turkish historian Murat Bardakçi in 1982. Mr. Bardakçi made parts of the booklet public in Hürriyet newspaper in 2005. The full account was not published until the end of 2008.

The significance of the Black Book lies in the authority of the owner, the fact that its content was drawn from Ottoman administrative records no longer available to historians in Turkey, and the actual data that it gives about the deportation of Armenians. Neither the book nor the data it yields bear clear dates, though Mr. Bardakçi thinks that the figures refer to 19151916 though I think that could be the end of 1916 or even the beginning of 1917.

The state perspective
The data presented in this book can be considered to be a view of the Armenian Genocide from the perspective of the state. This state perspective still needs to be evaluated critically, which I am doing in a separate study. The purpose of this article is to introduce the core data that informed Talaat Pasha about the actual state of Armenians.

The statistics regarding the destruction of Armenians in the Black Book are enumerated in four categories covering 29 regions (vilayets and sanjaks) of the Ottoman Empire.

These statistics are supposed to reflect:
The Armenian population in each region in 1914
Armenians who were not deported (presumably 191516)
Armenians who were deported and living elsewhere (1917)
Armenians who were originally from outside the province they were living in (1917)

From these statistics, we can also have an idea of the number of Armenians who were deported but not accounted for in 1917. Some of these missing Armenians undoubtedly fled the Ottoman Empire, such as those in the province of Van (where there was fierce resistance) or parts of Erzurum (which fell under Russian occupation after the Ottoman offensive collapsed in the east). However, very few Armenians were able to flee in such a manner, and for our discussion today, we will assume that the vast majority of the "missing Armenians" in 1917 were killed or died during deportations.

Questions answered
The figures from Talaat Pasha's Black Book answer some fundamental questions about the Armenian Genocide. Two such questions concern the nature of the actual deportations of 1915, and the specific fate of those deportees as they were pushed into the deserts of Der Zor, one of the main areas identified for resettlement.

Talaat Pasha's information contradicts the official Turkish thesis that deportations were an orderly affair governed by Ottoman laws and regulations, or that deportees were actually successfully settled in Der Zor. Interestingly, Talaat's Black Book also shows the number of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire to have been were much higher than supposed by official figures.

Talaat Pasha's figures confirm that most Ottoman Armenians outside Constantinople were indeed deported, and most of these deportees had disappeared by 1917. On average, 90 percent of provincial Armenians were deported, and 90 percent of those deported were killed. The number of people who went missing was over 95 percent for such provinces as Trabzon, Erzurum, Urfa, Diyarbekir, Mamuret-ul-Aziz, and Sivas. These figures clearly show that deportations were tantamount to a death sentence, and they give credence to United States consular reports that said as much, especially for those deported from the eastern provinces.

The Der Zor massacres of 1916
The data at hand also tells us about the scale of the Der Zor massacres of 1916. There is general agreement that hundreds of thousands of deportees were sent into this desert region in 191516, the main resettlement zone according to Ottoman decrees. Ottoman sources yield little information on what happened to these deportees. Survivor accounts and sources outside Turkey (such as those in United States archives) attest to the fact that deportees in the Der Zor region mostly wasted away.

By 1917, even those Armenians who had been able to settle in this area, mainly because of the efforts of the provincial governor Ali Suad Bey, were taken away and massacred after a new governor, one of Talaat Pasha's henchmen, was sent. Deniers of the Armenian Genocide who do not have adequate records from Turkish archives cite United States records to argue that up to 300,000 people were sent into this area omitting the fact that practically none of them survived to 1917. Talaat Pasha's records show 6,778 Armenians in this province in 1917.

Population totals
The Black Book also gives interesting insights into the number of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire circa 1914. While these figures are still smaller than some statistics cited outside Turkey, Talaat Pasha's dataset contradict the figures cited by deniers of the Armenian Genocide, who minimize the number of Ottoman Armenians as part of their strategy.

The Black Book cites official figures from the 1914 Ottoman population survey, with a note explaining that this figure, like the figures for Armenians registered in 1917, should be increased by a factor of 30 percent to account for undercounting.

The note thus increases the main Apostolic (or Gregorian) Armenian community from 1,187,818 to 1,500,000 people before deportations. The note also mentions the figure for Catholic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as 63,967 (which could also be revised upward to 83,157). There is no figure given for Protestant Armenians. These figures bring the number of Ottoman Armenians, based on official figures, close to 1,700,000 people. According to these figures, the total number of Armenians who were missing in 1917 was around 1,000,000 people. If one discounts those who might have fled to Russia, the number of missing Armenians was still in the region of 800,000 to 900,000 people.

Talaat Pasha's Black Book gives us invaluable insights into the type of bureaucratic control Ottoman officials wielded over Armenians and the type of information they gathered as a matter of course. The existence of such information in Talaat Pasha's Black Book again raises the question of what happened to the archival trail that underpinned his data. The Black Book also provides actual details about the apparent destruction of Armenians in 191516, and it dismisses the official Turkish assertion that deportations were an orderly affair in moving and resettling people between 1915 and 1916. Indeed, the image painted by the Black Book validates the more impressionistic or passing accounts of atrocities against Armenians reported throughout the Ottoman Empire by foreign observers and survivors between 1915 and 1916.

Commentary Deciphering Turkey's Delay Tactics in Opening the Border with Armenia By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
While some Armenians are dismissing Pres. Obama's solemn campaign pledge to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, Turkish leaders have taken the president's promise very seriously. Ankara has dispatched to Washington several high-level delegations, both before and after Obama's inauguration, with the express purpose of lobbyingkey decision-makers in the White House and Congress on this issue. The Turkish scheme to induce Pres. Obama not to acknowledge the Genocide, however, was dealt a serious blow after Prime Minister Erdogan harshly criticized Israel's invasion of Gaza and angrily confronted Pres. Shimon Peres in Davos. Incensed by Erdogan's words, Israeli and American-Jewish leaders told visiting Turkish dignitaries that they would no longer oppose the pending congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

As April 24 gets closer, Turkish leaders have accelerated their two-pronged campaign, trying to block the congressional resolution as well as Pres. Obama's anticipated statement on the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Beyond Turkey's persistent efforts in Washington through its Ambassador, lobbying firms, and parliamentary delegations, Turkish leaders also pressured American officials passing through Ankara in recent weeks, such as U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After returning home from their lobbying junkets, Turkish officials said they were repeatedly told in Washington that unless Turkey opens the border with Armenia promptly, there is a good chance that Pres. Obama would use the term genocide in his April 24 statement. This may be the reason why Foreign Minister Ali Babajan admitted last week that there is a "risk" the American President would acknowledge the Armenian Genocide next month. Why is Turkey then seemingly going against its interests by continuing to keep the border closed and risking a presidential acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide? In my view, highly experienced Turkish diplomats are playing a sophisticated game of delay tactics to gain maximum benefit from the eventual opening of the border with Armenia.

The Turkish game plan is to block or dilute Pres. Obama's April 24 statement, either without opening the border at all or by delaying the opening as much as possible. Turkish officials create the impression that relations between Armenia and Turkey are steadily improving, as demonstrated by "secret" meetings which are then leaked to the press as well as publicized high-level meetings. Such encounters, including "football diplomacy," have scored public relations points for Turkey and given credibility to its claim that relations are indeed improving. The Turks have several reasons for preferring to give the impression that they are about to open the border, without actually doing so. First, any conciliatory move towards Armenia would damage Turkey's relations with Azerbaijan. Turkish officials have tried to manage this problem by making the return of Artsakh (Karabagh) to Azerbaijan a pre-condition for opening the border. Since the Armenian side appears to have rejected this proposal, Ankara has been forced to abandon any direct linkage between the border opening and the Artsakh conflict.

Second, by constantly repeating that they are engaged in "delicate negotiations" with Armenia, Turkish officials have sought to prevent other countries, particularly the United States, from acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, even though these two issues are completely unrelated. Third, Turkish officials realize that opening the border promptly would not be in their best interest. The more they drag the negotiations, the more concessions they hope to secure from Armenia -- a time-honored Turkish diplomatic practice! Fourth, by delaying the border opening, Turkey also gains more time to negotiate with the Obama administration and reach a favorable understandingon both the congressional resolution and the President's April 24 statement. Fifth, another important reason why Prime Minister Erdogan and his ruling party are using delaying tactics is that any deal with Armenia before the March 29th local Turkish elections would harm their standing in the polls. Sixth, Turkish officials would probably wait until the first week of April, when Pres. Obama is expected to visit their country, to discuss directly with him the linkage between the border issue and granting transit rights to U.S. troops leaving Iraq, sending additional Turkish soldiers to Afghanistan, aswell as blocking U.S. acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.

Even though Armenian-Americans can neither match Turkey's vast resources nor its powerful clout in Washington, they are naturally very concerned about these Turkish ploys and are hard at work to ensure that Pres. Obama carriesout his campaign promise on the Armenian Genocide. Despite reports from reliable sources that Armenia and Turkey will be signing an agreement when Foreign Minister Ali Babajan visits Yerevan on April 16, one would hope that Armenian officials would delay signing any document with Ankara just before April 24. Otherwise, the Armenian leadership would not only desecrate the memory of the Armenian martyrs, but would also provide the perfect excuse to the Obama administration not to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide in April. After waiting for the opening of the border for 16 years, Armenia could well afford to wait a few more days!


Recognizing Opportunity: Obama Visit To Turkey Casts Doubt On Recognition Commitment, By John Hughes ArmeniaNow editor
The announcement last weekend that US President Barack Obama would be visiting Turkey soon was a de facto signal to many here and in Diaspora that recognition of the Armenian Genocide will not be a priority of the new Washington administration.

Previously, hopes ran high that Obama would acknowledge the Genocide during remarks on April 24 - the day Armenians around the world commemorate their loss of family and nation.

The new US president has been an advocate of recognition since early in his career in D.C. as a senator from Illinois.

Likewise, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced the president's visit while herself in Turkey, has spoken in favor of recognition since 2005 while a senator from New York. Former president Bill Clinton, however, was among several US presidents who - prior to election - appeared ready to make recognition part of their policy, only to renege on their promises once in office.

While in Turkey last weekend, Secretary Clinton announced that Obama would be visiting Ankara `in the next month or so'. The trip could coincide with his attending the G20 summit in London on April 2.

It is believed that the US may be trying to strengthen its ties with Turkey for two strategic purposes. First, to use Turkey as a transport base for Obama's announced withdrawal of troops from Irag. And, secondly, the US wants to see Turkey resume its role as third-party negotiator in disputes between Syria and Israel.

More generally, one mandate of the Obama White House is to restore America's reputation with Muslim nations, following eight years of decline in which Islamic republics (of which Turkey is one) were routinely lumped into former president George W. Bush's `axis of evil'. By visiting Ankara, Obama would be making significant outreach to the vast Muslim community.

From its side, Turkey may parlay the Obama visit into bolstering its image for membership in the European Union - a task that has been hampered by criticism of Turkey's human rights' record. In that regard, Turkey gaining assurance from Obama that he would not use the term `genocide' in April 24 remarks could carry considerable currency.

Led by the Armenian Assembly of America (www.aaainc.org ), lobbyists in D.C. were quick to react to news of Obama's travel plans.

On March 10, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), joined by Representative George Radanovich (R-CA) and the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), sent a letter to the president, encouraging him to remain steadfast in his support of recognition.

"During your upcoming trip to Turkey," the letter reads, "and in discussions with your advisors over how to commemorate the events of 1915-1923, you will doubtless be counseled by some to continue the practice of avoiding the truth in favor of short-term political expediency. We do not minimize Ankara's threats of adverse action when you recognize the genocide, or when Congress takes action to formally recognize the genocide, but we believe that our alliance is strong enough to withstand the truth."

The letter also recalls President Obama's record on the issue and how he has "demonstrated time and again [his] understanding of the importance to Armenian-Americans of formal American recognition of the crime that was committed against their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents." Adding that "their pain is not unlike that of American Jews, who live each day with the memory of the Holocaust... Whether it is today's Sudanese government or yesterday's Ottoman Empire, the perpetrators of genocide, as well as the victims, must know that the United States will not shrink from confronting the truth."

The support of the congressmen - all representing districts highly populated by Armenian-Americans - earned praise from Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

"President Obama's upcoming trip to Turkey presents a unique opportunity to address the consequences of genocide and its denial,' Ardouny said in a written statement. ` We, therefore, applaud the initiative of Representatives Schiff, Radanovich, Pallone and Kirk."

Chomsky: Obama Coming To Turkey For Energy
There has been many scenarios about U.S. President Barack Obama`s visits to Turkey.
18 March 2009 World Bulletin / News Desk

Chomsky, the famous U.S. political thinker, said Obama`s main objective during his vist to Turkey is to guarantee the Middle East energy resources.

There has been many scenarios about U.S. President Barack Obama`s visits to Turkey. USA's leading political thinker Noam Chomsky believes the main and the most important agenda will be energy during the visit.

Chomsky told Turkish newspaper Sabah, "The U.S. is trying to develop a new system in the Middle East. It wants to guarantee energy resources in the Middle East. It has preferred country models, such as Turkey, Israel and Iran in the Shah period."

Highlighting Turkey's strategic position, Chomsky said, "Turkey should assess this carefully as it serves as "energy bridge". At the same time, it should increase the level of their relations with Central Asian countries."

Chomsky states the United States has given much importance to Turkey`s armaments since the Cold War and added "as Turkey is the the world's fastest armed country, the relations have strengthened since especially 1997. But, in 2003, the Turkish government has made an interesting surprise (rejecting US troops to invade Iraq). The United States could not tolerate the idea that Turkey is a democratic country ."

Chomsky also said that Obama`s foreign policy is not different than Bush`s and the reason for increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan is to reduce the impact of Iran and Russia on this country.

Obama Wavers On Pledge To Declare Armenian Genocide 17.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Obama administration is hesitating on a promised presidential declaration that Armenians were the victims of genocide in the early 20th century, fearful of alienating Turkey when U.S. officials badly want its help.

President Obama and other top administration officials pledged during the presidential campaign to officially designate the 1915 killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks as genocide. Many Armenian Americans, who are descendants of the victims and survivors, have long sought such a declaration.

But the administration also has been soliciting Ankara's help on Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and other security issues amid Turkish warnings that an official U.S. statement would imperil Turkey's assistance.

Administration officials are considering postponing a presidential statement, citing progress toward a thaw in relations between Turkey and neighboring Armenia. Further signs of warming -- such as talk of reopening border crossings -- would strengthen arguments that a U.S. statement could imperil the progress.

"At this moment, our focus is on how, moving forward, the United States can help Armenia and Turkey work together to come to terms with the past," said Michael Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council. He said the administration was "encouraged" by improvements in relations and believed it was "important that the countries have an open and honest dialogue about the past."

Armenian Americans and their supporters, however, say policies that avoid offending Turkey merely advance Ankara's denial of brutal periods in its history.

An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were victims of planned killings by the Ottoman Turks as the empire was dissolving during World War I, an episode historians have concluded was a genocide. But Turkey and some of its supporters contend that the deaths resulted from civil war and unrest and that their numbers were exaggerated.

American presidents have long sought to avoid calling the killings a genocide, fearing repercussions from a NATO ally that is acutely sensitive to the charge. In 2007, the Bush administration argued for a delay in a congressional genocide resolution, saying that Turkish assistance was needed for the safety of U.S. troops in Iraq.

For Obama, the controversy comes at an especially sensitive time. He is visiting Turkey on April 5, and his views on the issue will command worldwide attention. Armenian Americans, meanwhile, have been pushing for a White House declaration on April 24, the annual remembrance day. Congressional supporters are also planning to reintroduce the genocide resolution soon.

Obama's visit to Turkey has become risky for the administration, said Mark Parris, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey. "Plopping the president down over there really does raise the stakes," said Parris, now co-director of the Brookings Institution's program on Turkey. "Now it can't be overlooked. . . . It could carry costs to his credibility."

Obama declared repeatedly during his campaign that the killings were genocide. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are on record with similar positions.

But the Obama administration would like to use Turkey as part of the military supply line for Afghanistan. It also would like more help regarding Iraq, Iran's nuclear program, Russia and Mideast peace.

Relations between Turkey and Armenia began warming noticeably in September, when Turkish President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia. The countries are considering opening borders and embassies, initiating economic cooperation and establishing a historical commission.

But Parris said further openings to Armenia would carry domestic risks for Turkish leaders, who could be reluctant to do so if they thought Obama would declare a genocide on April 24.

Congressional supporters of the genocide resolution expressed frustration about the latest resistance.

"The argument that some are making now is only the latest incarnation of the same old tired refrain: that we should recognize the genocide -- just not this year," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), one of the sponsors of the resolution.

Another advocate, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), said that though the strength of Turkey's cautions was declining, Turks remained influential with lawmakers who believed a halt in Ankara's aid could hurt U.S. troops. Sherman called it "their ugly ace in the hole."

Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, remained optimistic. Obama "is a man of his word and has been crystal clear on the issue," The Los Angeles Times cited him as saying.

But Turks remain uneasy. Ali Babacan, the Turkish foreign minister, warned in a TV interview last week that Obama's visit didn't preclude a genocide declaration.

"The Turks fully understand that the danger of the [genocide] resolution is not going away," said Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.



Obama Likely To Refrain From Naming 1915 Incidents As "Genocide" Hurriyet March 17 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama is likely to backtrack from his earlier pledge to recognize Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents as Washington seeks Turkey's support in its new Middle East approach, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Administration officials are considering postponing a presidential statement, citing progress toward a thaw in relations between Turkey and neighboring Armenia, the report said.

Further signs of warming between Turkey and Armenia -- such as talk of reopening border crossings -- would strengthen arguments that a U.S. statement could imperil the progress, the LA Times added.

"At this moment, our focus is on how, moving forward, the United States can help Armenia and Turkey work together to come to terms with the past," Michael Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council, was quoted as saying by the LA Times.

He said the administration was "encouraged" by improvements in relations and believed it was "important that the countries have an open and honest dialogue about the past," according to the report.

OBAMA'S TURKEY VISIT
The report is the latest signal that the Obama administration will not take any steps towards recognizing the Armenian claims despite pledges made during the presidential campaign.

Obama, his Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised to recognize the Armenian claims, forming the most pro-Armenian administration in the United States.

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 erupted when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate what happened in 1915 and has opened all official archives, but Armenia has continued to drag its feet on accepting the offer.

Obama will pay a visit to Turkey early in April ahead of the presidential statement on April 24 to commemorate the 1915 incidents.

The date of April 24 is commemorated by Armenians as a day of remembrance for the 1915 incidents, for which U.S. presidents issue a letter of respect, which have all so far refrained from including the word "genocide".


Follow-Up “Anca Up Date” Of 18.2.2009
Spread Some Honey On Words, Collect Cash To Attack With Swords!

AncaUpdate
Subject : Where you come in

Dear ANCA activist,

This is your chance.

With the launch of the Armenian Genocide Resolution yesterday, the President's trip to Turkey days away, and April 24th around the corner, right now is the best time to get America to stand up for what's right.

We've got to strike while the iron is hot.

Turkey's leverage over America is starting to slip; its ties with Israel fraying; its threats falling on deaf ears. Desperate, they're spreading lies (no surprise) to try to divide the Diaspora from Armenia, and stop the President and Congress from recognizing the Genocide this April.
We're working night and day to set the record straight.

But there are heavy-hitters on the other side. Lobbyists like Dick Gephardt. "Experts" who think it's OK to trade away America's moral standing. Holdover bureaucrats trying to deliver for Turkey in the shadows what they lost at the ballot box last November.

We won't let them get away with it.

We've come this far because of dedicated activists and secure on-line donations sent by people who share your generosity, vision, and respect for our past and our future.

Every dollar leverages your most powerful ally in our common effort: The warm hearts and selfless spirit of hundreds of thousands of grassroots Armenian Americans like you across the country.

So, right now, please send a secure on-line donation of $50, $100, $500, $1,000 or whatever you can afford. All gifts make a difference, so please send what ever you can, even if it's $5 or $10.

Chairman

P.S. Your secure on-line donation right now will empower us to take advantage of the vital opportunities we'll face in Washington in the next few days.


Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir Of The Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918 Review by Elizabeth R. Hayford, Library Journal Reviews, March 15, 2009
Balakian, Grigoris. Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918. Knopf . Apr. 2009. c.544p. tr. from Armenian by Peter Balakian with Aris Sevag. photogs. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-0-307-26288-2 . $35. HIST

Grigoris Balakian (1876-1934), a cultural and religious leader in Istanbul's Armenian community, was arrested in April 1914 with 250 other leaders and began almost four years of deportation, forced march to the Syrian desert, and abusive treatment. Thus was launched the Turkish government's program to rid the country of Armenians. Hundreds of thousands were viciously murdered or died of cold and starvation, but Balakian's fierce will to live and his encounters with a few generous people allowed him to survive and tell the story. This memoir, which Balakian published in Armenian in 1922, vividly portrays Turkish brutality as it provides his and others' stories along with well-informed commentary on Turkey's actions. Peter Balakian (English, Colgate Univ.; The Burning Tigris ), the author's grandnephew, has translated this rich historical document and provided scholarly support, making available a readable and moving account that will be welcomed by both the English-speaking Armenian community and a broader audience committed to witnessing and understanding the massive cruelty and suffering that characterized widespread crimes against humanity in the 20th century. Important for readers who want to judge whether or not this was the first genocide in modern times.-Elizabeth R. Hayford, President Emeritus, Associated Coll. of the Midwest, Evanston, IL


Romantism Or Reality? Will Barack Obama Keep His Promise Regarding "Genocide"? Panorama.am 16/03/2009
After his visit to Turkey dated on 6 April, the President of the United States of America Barack Obama will use "genocide" term in his speech of 24 April, says Kiro Manoyan, the director of ARF Armenian Cause office in Yerevan. "He is paying a visit to Turkey to please the Turkish before 24 April," said K. Manoyan in a press conference today. The adverse developments would offence the Armenian Community in the U.S.A, he says. "It should be taken into account that Obama's visit to Turkey has been marked just a day before the State Secretary Hillary Clinton arrived in Ankara. Such a quick decision leaves no other comments," he says.

According to him there are some other interpretations to the situation - Obama might pay a visit to Turkey to say that the relations with Armenia should be improved as soon as possible. "After Obama's leaving, Ali Babacan arrives in Armenia and signs a document here," says Kiro Manoyan adding that he does not agree with the current statement. To the question whether it is not a Romanism to think that the U.S. President will mention "genocide" in his speech, Kiro Manoyan answers: "No, because the Americans treat the question rather seriously stressing that no other American official speaks about the issue. This is the only question that the American party does not wish to publish the content of their negotiations with the Turkish. I think, we think, that during his visit to Turkey President Obama will say that he will keep his promise." Note that saying "we think" Kiro Manoyan meant ARF.


"Armenia And Turkey Will Sign A Contract This Year" Arf Member Panorama.am 16/03/2009
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnakcutyun party is going to publish a study presenting ARF's comments, concerns and recommendations on opening the border of Armenia-Turkey, announced the director of ARF Armenian Cause office in Yerevan Kiro Manoyan in a press conference. Regarding the statements made by the Turkish party that soon an agreement will be signed between Armenia and Turkey, Kiro Manoyan says that it is difficult to make comments on it. He says, it is difficult to say what an agreement that will be. One thing Mr. Manoyan knows for sure - something will be signed this year.


President Obama's Planned Trip To Turkey Is An Opportunity, Armenian Assembly Supports President Obama's Efforts To Affirm The Truth
Washington, DC - "As President Barack Obama plans his trip to Turkey next month, we would like to express our support for this decision," said Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "An irreversible trend has commenced in Turkey and President Obama's visit presents a unique opportunity for the President to reinforce this message, as well as his own statements reaffirming the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide."

The Assembly wholeheartedly agrees with President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton that the Armenian Genocide is an historical fact that must be affirmed. As then Senator Obama stated "America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides."

The Assembly looks forward to change in Washington, including the repudiation and reversal of the Bush Administration's doctrine that disallowed State Department officials to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, and what our own U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, described as a campaign of race extermination.

The Assembly is encouraged by the recent signs of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, and commends Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan for his bold actions. Normalization of relations and Turkey's lifting of its 15-year long blockade of Armenia should not be held hostage to U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


International Association Of Genocide Scholars Issues Open Letter To President Obama, Urges Armenian Genocide Affirmation
Washington, DC - Last week, in an open letter to President Barack Obama, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the leading organization of scholars who study genocide, urged Obama to "refer to the mass slaughter of Armenians as genocide in your commemorative statement," adding that it was what "you urged President George W. Bush to do in a letter dated March 18, 2005," reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

"By acknowledging the Armenian Genocide," the letter reads, "you would demonstrate that you are that 'leader' you referred to on January 19, 2008, who 'speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides'." Moreover, "you would signal a new chapter in U.S. diplomacy. You would also honor the truth of our own valiant history, which saw brave and selfless Foreign Service Officers risk their lives rescuing Armenians during the Genocide and compiling the more than 40,000 pages of documentation now housed in the National Archives."

In regard to Turkey's refusal to acknowledge its history, the letter reads, "We also believe that it is in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as participants in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of the Holocaust. Over the past decade a growing number of Turkish scholars, writers, intellectuals, and publishers have been risking imprisonment and assassination to tell the truth about the Armenian Genocide. They understood that facing and accepting the history of one's country, however dark, is an essential part of growing a healthy democracy.

"We believe that security and historical truth are not in conflict, and it is in the interest of the United States to support the principles of human rights that are at the core of American democracy."

"President Obama's upcoming trip to Turkey presents a unique opportunity to address this critical human rights issue and the irreversible trend toward its reaffirmation. We applaud the International Association of Genocide Scholars and its President, Gregory Stanton, for its open letter and its steadfast support of the importance of historical accuracy as one method of countering the problem of genocide denial," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

US report: Obama weighs postponing Armenia statement
The US administration is hesitating over a promised presidential declaration that the killings of Anatolian Armenians during the early 20th century amounted to genocide, fearful of alienating Turkey when US officials badly want its help, a leading US daily reported yesterday.

Turkey has become so pivotal to US goals in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East that President Barack Obama included it on his first overseas tour. But relations between the countries could be at risk unless Obama is willing to break a campaign promise to describe as "genocide" the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks almost a century ago.

"Administration officials are considering postponing a presidential statement, citing progress toward a thaw in relations between Turkey and neighboring Armenia. Further signs of warming -- such as talk of reopening border crossings -- would strengthen arguments that a US statement could imperil the progress," the Los Angeles Times said in a report posted from Washington.

The LA Times is published in Los Angeles, where there is a strong Armenian-American community, and is distributed throughout the western United States.

"At this moment, our focus is on how, moving forward, the United States can help Armenia and Turkey work together to come to terms with the past," Michael Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC), told the daily. He said the administration was "encouraged" by improvements in relations and believed it was "important that the countries have an open and honest dialogue about the past."

‘A man of his word'

The report sparked a rapid reaction by an influential US-based Armenian lobby organization.

In a swift reaction to the report, Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), posted a statement on the organization's Web site.

"During Barack Obama's years in the US Senate and in the months leading up to his election last November as president, he clearly characterized the Armenian Genocide as a thoroughly documented instance of genocide, forcefully called for US recognition of this crime and consistently pledged to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide if elected to the White House. We know the president to be a man of his word, respect his commitment to ending the cycle of genocide and look forward to his finally bringing an end to US complicity in Turkey's shameful campaign of genocide denial," Hamparian said in his brief statement.

ANCA, on its Web site, highlighted remarks by a congressional advocate of a resolution for Washington's official recognition of genocide allegations.

"The argument that some are making now is only the latest incarnation of the same old tired refrain: that we should recognize the genocide -- just not this year," Rep. Adam B. Schiff, one of the Democratic sponsors of the resolution, told the LA Times.

The daily also spoke with Mark Parris, a former US ambassador to Turkey, on the same issue.

Obama's visit to Turkey has become risky for the administration, said Parris, referring to Obama's upcoming visit to Turkey in early April, days before April 24, when the new US president is expected to make th e traditional statement to mark the annual Armenian Remembrance Day.

"Plopping the president down over there really does raise the stakes," said Parris, now co-director of the Brookings Institution's program on Turkey. "Now it can't be overlooked. … It could carry costs to his credibility." 18 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN


Turkey’s Abkhaz Diaspora Dreams Of Home
MEZİT, İnegöl - High atop a mountain chain in western Turkey stands Mezit village, a hamlet founded in the 19th century by Abkhaz rebels on the run from Tsarist Russian troops. More than 130 years later, Mezit's Abkhaz residents now have one goal, to return to Abkhazia, where Russian troops are now a welcome presence.

"We would like to see this place through our own eyes, a place where our language is spoken," Nalan Uran, a middle-aged Mezit homemaker, told the EurasiaNet Web site as she held a black-and-white photograph of her great-grandfather in the Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi.

That is a desire the de facto Abkhaz government would like to encourage. Promoting the return of diaspora members is seen as one way to strengthen efforts to secure the territory's independence from Georgia.

Thousands of Abkhaz, known as makhadjiri, fled Abkhazia for Turkey in the mid-19th century after resisting the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. Today, Turkey is home to the world's largest Abkhaz diaspora community. Size estimates vary Ğ diaspora leaders say 1 million people, but Abkhaz estimate a range from 150,000 to 500,000.

Their value for the de facto government in Sukhumi lies more in their interest in Abkhazia and their financial influence. Turkey's diaspora community reportedly remains a potential key source of outside investment, a long-term priority for de facto leader Sergei Bagapsh's administration. Campaigning for Turkish recognition of Abkhazia's independence fulfills another role.

The catch lies in getting those diaspora who return home to stay. Since the end of the 1992-1993 war with Georgia, only about 3,500 diaspora members have returned to live permanently in Abkhazia, according to Anzor Mukba, head of the territory's Committee on Repatriation. "Not everyone wants to return to a place where a war might start tomorrow," Mukba said.

The financial incentives are limited. The committee pays for housing for those members of the diaspora who wish to return and have no property within Abkhazia. It also pays for any school-related expenses and for a 150-guest wedding. Those who can demonstrate that they are of Abkhaz origin are additionally eligible to receive Abkhaz passports. To cover the expenses, the de facto government takes a 2 percent cut from each paycheck issued in Abkhazia.

"I don’t expect a mass migration [from Turkey]. A mass migration can only happen if people feel they are badly off where they are, and they don't feel badly off in Turkey," said Mukba.

Some members of the diaspora community concede as much. "Turkey opened their arms to us and we really appreciate that," said Turgut Cilo, the ethnic Abkhaz owner of a transport company in İnegöl. "We've always been conscious of our culture, but we've tied our destiny to this country."

Investment lets these Abkhaz balance both identities, they say. Emphasis reportedly falls on tourism and agriculture, yet details are scant.

Abkhaz diaspora entrepreneurs in Turkey say that now is a great time to invest in Abkhazia. Georgian pressure on Turkey to block any such investment has declined since the August 2008 war with Russia, they said. "The situation has changed," said Irfan Argun, chairman of the Istanbul-based Caucasian-Abkhazian Solidarity Committee, a diaspora group that was established to support separatist Abkhaz during the war with Georgia in the early 1990s. "The Turkish attitude is getting softer."

Disappointment
Immediate hopes focus on establishing a direct plane or boat link between Turkey's Black Sea port of Trabzon and Abkhazia. Members of the diaspora wanting to visit their homeland must currently travel via the Russian city of Sochi to reach Abkhazia, a lengthy route that requires a Russian visa. Travel via Georgia is not considered an option.

Some diaspora members who visit are disappointed to find that reality does not live up to their preconceived notions. Dilapidated buildings and a sketchy phone system perplex one middle-aged woman from Ankara. "It wasn't what I expected," she said.

Seated at a diaspora-owned cafe in downtown Sukhumi, a group of ethnic Abkhaz from Turkey recently complained that Russian border guards demanded a $5 payment for each visitor to Abkhazia not on a pre-approved list. "They're setting the conditions and pushing hard. They're asking where we're going in Abkhazia, why, when," said Aslan Yavuz Sir, a young foreign policy analyst from Ankara. The impression left on some diaspora travelers is that "the Russians don't want us to come back," Sir said.

Skepticism over Moscow's intentions among some diaspora members conflicts with the views of many Abkhaz in Abkhazia, where Moscow's support is seen as an essential, if not always beloved, buffer against a belligerent Georgia. Diaspora leaders in Turkey maintain that pragmatism alone drives Abkhaz ties with Russia. "The Russia thing didn't come out of sincere love or affection," said the Caucasian-Abkhazian Solidarity Committee's Argun. "The negative policies of the world states pushed Abkhazia closer to Russia." Transportation company owner Cilo agrees. Russia's recognition of Abkhaz independence "we do not see as a gracious act, but as something to pay its debt from the past," he said.

But for Turkey's Abkhaz diaspora, that past includes no Soviet experience. Some say they had no information about Abkhazia until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The ignorance worked both ways. On a 1991 trip to Abkhazia, local Abkhaz "looked at us like aliens," Cilo recalled with a chuckle. More than 17 years on, the reference points can still be different. Abkhazia's tendency to see the present in terms of the past strikes one Sukhumi hotel owner who migrated from Istanbul in 2001. "The war [with Georgia] ended 15 years ago. We need to strengthen [our people's] psychology," said Talik Khuatish. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr

Establishing Relations With Armenia Turkey Chooses The Path Of Least Resistance: Local ExpertArmInfo 2009-03-16
ArmInfo. Turkey has chosen the path of least resistance denying the Genocide and does not allow any other country to recognize it at the same time establishing its relations with Armenia independently, Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan, the local political expert told ArmInfo.

'Given the fact that one of the preconditions of Turkey's admission to the EU is normalization of relations with Armenia, Turkey is establishing good-neighbored relations with Armenia automatically lifting the problem of genocide recognition at least for the transitional period of joining the EU', he said.

The expert does not share the certain sense of euphoria among Armenian citizens for establishment of relations between Yerevan and Ankara. 'I don't think this new wave of Armenian-Turkish relations is a reason for such euphoria. Let's remember Garegin Nzhdeh and his great phrase "Turks are masters in imitating friendship". I think it is the very situation now', he said.

'Turkey simply needs improving relations with Armenia or at least creating such visibility for several reasons. First, Turkey wants to prevent recognition of Armenian Genocide by a number of states. They will have a new triumph card since Turkey is launching negotiations with Armenia for establishment of diplomatic relations and declares that recognition of Armenian Genocide by a third country will have a negative impact of Armenia-Turkey relations. The logic is not clear, of course. However, it works', the expert says.

The Associated Press: Turkish Trip Intensifies Dilemma For Obama ArmInfo 2009-03-16
ArmInfo. 'Turkey has become so pivotal to U.S. goals in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East that President Barack Obama included it on his first overseas tour. But relations between the countries could be at risk unless Obama is willing to break a campaign promise to describe as "genocide" the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks almost a century ago.

Such a declaration would infuriate Turkey, which could complicate U.S. military operations in the region by withholding cooperation.

This is not an obscure historical debate that Obama can avoid easily.

It will be on the mind of government officials, media and the public when Obama arrives in Turkey on April 5.

Just weeks later, Obama must decide how to deal with the issue in a statement to mark the annual Armenian remembrance day, April 24.

Also, a resolution will be introduced soon in the House of Representatives that describes the killings as genocide. The House almost passed a similar resolution two years ago, but congressional leaders did not bring it up for a vote after intense pressure from then- President George W. Bush and top members of his administration.

The Obama administration has not said what they will do on either the statement or the resolution. The State Department said it is considering the issue and the White House declined to comment directly.

"At this moment, our focus is on how, moving forward, the U.S. can help Turkey and Armenia work together to come to terms with the past," said Mike Hammer, a spokesman at the White House's National Security Council.

The emphasis dovetails with an argument that the Turkish government has been making: A U.S. statement on genocide could scuttle current diplomatic attempts at rapprochement between Muslim Turkey and Christian Armenia. The distrustful neighbors have no diplomatic ties, and their border has been closed since 1993 because of a Turkish protest of Armenia's occupation of land claimed by Azerbaijan.

In September, Turkish President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia, where he and Armenian President Serge Sarkisian watched their countries' football teams play a World Cup qualifying match. The Armenian government appears to be interested in further talks.

Armenian-American groups and supporters in Congress are focused on passing a genocide resolution and argue that it should not undermine diplomatic efforts.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, however, contending the toll has been inflated, and the casualties were victims of civil war and unrest.

Previous presidents, including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton avoided the word, even after committing in their campaigns to use it as president.

Armenian groups are pointing to Obama's more extensive and unequivocal statements on the issue.

"The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence," Obama said in a January 2008 statement on his campaign Web site. "America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president."

Other Obama administration officials, including his secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, made similar comments about the killings before joining the administration and have yet to comment since.

Obama's trip inevitably will focus attention on the dispute.

"The Obama administration was in a very difficult position before the trip was announced," said Bulent Aliriza, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Turkey research program. "With this trip, the expectations have been raised on the Turkish side that he will avoid use of the word genocide, and meanwhile, he will almost certainly see increased pressure from the Armenian lobby prior to the trip."

Obama could influence the congressional leadership on whether to allow a new resolution to proceed. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chief sponsor of a draft resolution now being circulated, said the administration has not discouraged him.

While a congressional resolution would not reflect the administration's policy, Turkey threatened serious reprisals when the last resolution was considered.

Schiff said he expects Obama to maintain his support.

"We are working to persuade the administration that the president needs to follow through with the commitment that he made, and we are hopeful and optimistic that he will," the lawmaker said.

It is not clear whether the resolution has adequate support in Congress, where arguments about the security implications of the U.S.-Turkish relationship have resonated.

What Price Should Armenia Pay For Turkish Border Opening? Karine Ter-Sahakyan, PanARMENIAN.Net, 14.03.2009
Armenia is a bone in the throat of Turkey and Azerbaijan, whose final aim is but complete destruction of the Armenian nation.

With the Armenian-Turkish border opened, if it should ever happen, there would be put a final stop to the story of the World War I. If we believe the Turkish sources (and there is absolutely no ground not to believe them), Armenia has agreed to the "preconditions" put forward by Ankara. As we recall, the basic condition was the recognition of the modern borders of Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. After the USSR breakdown, Turkey has been looking forward to getting confirmation from Armenia and Russia of her right of full succession of the Soviet Union including all the agreements, in spite of the fact that the Moscow and Kars treaties were signed by Russia and not by the USSR.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Another condition was the establishment of a joint commission on investigating the events of 1915. Besides, the Turkish authorities have laid down a new condition before Yerevan -the opening of the Turkish border is possible only after April 24.

According to the Turkish newspaper Star, the talks between Armenia and Turkey have entered the final stage. "The document to be signed by both parties envisages opening of the common border, establishment of trade relations and formation of a commission for investigation of 1915 events. Karabakh issue is not a governing condition," Turkish newspaper Star quoted a source in the ruling AK Party as saying. It is quite clear both for Turkey and Armenia that the joint commission can define nothing regarding the "events of 1915". The Ottoman archives of the period of World War I, if any are preserved, must have long been "cleared". However, there are also the archive documents of the US State Department, which keeps all the dispatches of US Ambassador to Istanbul Henry Morgenthau... Besides, it is improper for historians of international fame to deny the fact of the Armenian Genocide.

Talks between Armenia and Turkey started still in Berne in 2007. Despite the fact that the Armenian side kept denying the information on secret negotiations between the two countries, Turkish media circulated the misinformation for rather long. It is common knowledge that Turkey needs opening of the border much more than Armenia does, and under such circumstances it becomes incomprehensible why should Armenia give another tramp card to Turkey for the latter's integration into the EU and consolidation of her position as a regional power. If we consider the changes in the Armenian-Turkish relations for the past year, it must be admitted that it wasn't so successful for the Armenian diplomacy, though the border is nearly certain to open and Armenia has more chances to be part of regional projects. It is also of no small importance that Turkey is carrying out her policy without a glance at Azerbaijan. It would be too naïve, however, to consider that Ankara will utterly refuse the support from Azerbaijan, but, at the same time, she will make a curtsey to Yerevan, perfectly realizing that there is no other way out. However, we Armenians should never forget that Armenia is a bone in the throat of Turkey and Azerbaijan, whose final aim is but complete destruction of the Armenian nation. Even 94 years later the words of Talat Pasha put us on our guard as before, "No Armenian can be our friend after what we did with them..." One does not even want to believe that Armenians might be made to forget the year of 1915 and those following it.

Head of the Caucasus Institute, political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan believes, opening of the border depends on two factors. "The first factor is the Municipal elections in Turkey due on March 29. At the forthcoming elections the ruling AK Party must ultimately strengthen its positions in the field of domestic policy. The other factor is related to the United States: whether President Barack Obama will use the term 'genocide' in his April 24 statement or not," Iskandaryan said, adding that the Karabakh issue is not, in fact, a key condition for Turkey in improving relations with Armenia.

Naturally enough, no border can remain eternally closed, especially in the 21st century. But one must always be aware and make sure that each of the sides is ready to pay the price for the uncertain world and for even more uncertain friendship. Karabakh issue is not central for Turkey now, but the situation might be changed when Turkey has to obey the orders of the USA and Europe in relation to Armenia. Then she will have a lever for oppressing Yerevan and there will be no need to close the border another time once again.

Armenian Minister Upbeat On Turkish Ties, Public Television Of Armenia, March 11 2009
[Presenter] Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan made a speech on the topic of South Caucasus: Reality and Prospects on Thursday [10 March] evening at International Diplomatic Academy in Paris. Diplomats accredited in Paris, political figures and journalists gathered at the authoritative diplomatic institution. Nalbandyan also answered numerous questions.

[Correspondent over video of a meeting] During the meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization in Yerevan, Armenia invited the Azerbaijani foreign minister. Armenia is the acting chair of this organization, and naturally it invites representatives of all states -members of this organization, including Turkey and Azerbaijan, to a meeting of ministers planned to be held Yerevan, Nalbandyan said.

[Nalbandyan speaking in French with overlaid Armenian translation] I will undoubtedly be very glad if the Turkish foreign minister comes to Armenia. I have also invited the Azerbaijani foreign minister.

[Correspondent over video of a meeting] The Azerbaijani authorities, on the contrary, are not hospitable - they do not invite Armenian officials to international meetings held in their country. No invitation arrived for the recent Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia (TRACECA) summit, they did not invite [Armenia] to NATO manoeuvres, that's why those were cancelled. This approach of Azerbaijan is unacceptable, Nalbandyan said. Anyway, formation of Armenian-Turkish relations becomes the number one issue in the Paris audience of the [Armenian] foreign minister. Nalbandyan is optimistic.

[Nalbandyan speaking in French with overlaid Armenian translation] We believe we are very close to normalization of relations and opening of the borders without preconditions.

[Correspondent over video of a meeting] The foreign minister denied yet another time the talk that Turkey is taking up a mediating role in the Karabakh settlement.

[Nalbandyan speaking in French with overlaid Armenian translation] There have been statements both in Azerbaijan and Turkey that they are two parts of the same nation. So, how can one part of this nation be a mediator between the other part and another country?

[Correspondent over video of a meeting] If Washington recognizes the Armenian genocide can this have a negative impact on normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations? They also recalled these statements which are being made in Turkey.

[Nalbandyan speaking in French with overlaid Armenian translation] Normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations cannot call into question the fact of the Armenian genocide. If the Armenian and Turkish sides have the political will and sincerely strive to normalize the relations, then no circumstance can hinder this.


Open Letter To The President Of The Republic Of ArmeniaKeghart.com , By a group of concerned individuals March 1, 2009
One year has gone by since the tragic events that unfolded in the streets of Yerevan on March 1-2, 2008, following the presidential elections. Armenia’s security forces opened fire at civilians who were protesting against electoral irregularities and fraud. The violent show of force resulted in 10 deaths and numerous injuries, thus inflicting a deep wound to a people’s psyche.

To Honourable Serzh Sargsyan, President of Republic of Armenia :

Your Excellency:
One year has gone by since the tragic events that unfolded in the streets of Yerevan on March 1-2, 2008, following the presidential elections. Armenia’s security forces opened fire at civilians who were protesting against electoral irregularities and fraud. The violent show of force resulted in 10 deaths and numerous injuries, thus inflicting a deep wound to a people’s psyche.

You heard the voices of outrage coming immediately from the Armenian communities of the Diaspora as well as the world community at large, and you pledged to act swiftly to restore your people’s confidence in the fairness and integrity of your administration. Specifically, you promised to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into this tragedy, to bring to justice those responsible for the violence, and to release the arrested protesters.
We are alarmed to note that your administration has made little or no progress on this front: none of the deaths has been accounted for and most of the arrested protesters remain in prison.

President Sargsyan, we recognize that Armenia is facing major economic difficulties and grave security issues. We are also aware that your administration is engaged in intense diplomatic activities on multiple fronts. While it is understandable that your government might be preoccupied with these challenges, it is crucial to remember that Armenia can not solve its domestic problems or improve its international stature if Armenian governments fail to honor the basic human rights of its citizens, including the rights to freedom of expression and a fair judiciary.

We call on you to act urgently on your promises to restore justice, fairness, and accountability to the victims of the post-election violence and their families.

We eagerly await your public response.

Respectfully,
Concerned Individuals

CC: Honourable Minister of Diaspora Affairs


Recognition of the Armenian Tyranny by Ankara Equals Colonization of Turkey by Freemasonic EU – US
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
March 15, 2009
In several earlier articles, I discussed the ongoing phenomenon of Turkey´s colonization as performed first through Turkey´s participation in the NATO (earlier, limited, and slow stage) and second by means of an Islamist administration (ongoing, expanded, and accelerated stage).

I presented Turkey´s policy toward the Aramaeans (Suryani) as purely colonialist, because the acceptance by Turkey of the colonial term "Assyrians" for the nation of the Aramaeans represents Turkey´s harmonization with the policies of the colonial regimes of England and France that passionately pursued all possible methods in order to destroy first, the Ottoman Empire and second, Republican Secular Turkey.

The transformation of Republican Secular Turkey into an Islamist pseudo-state fitting in the postcolonial Middle East (which is in its entirety a complete Freemasonic Anglo-French fabrication) will be the end of Turkey and the beginning of the Middle Eastern wars machinated by the regimes of London and Paris.

Quite indicative of Turkey´s harmonization with the colonial orders issued in London and Paris is the ongoing change of Turkey´s stance and policy toward the collapsing and disintegrating tyranny of Armenia.

Turkey does not need Armenia in any sense; Turkey must not open its border to the vicious, revengeful tyranny of Erevan that pursued purely racist policies toward Azerbaijan – a country with which Turkey must unite, abandoning the idiotic dreams of a participation in an otherwise useless Europe.

Under any circumstances, and prior to the elimination of the racist regime of Erevan, before the abandonment of the Anti-Turkish, racist propaganda of the Armenian Diaspora about the supposed ´Armenian Genocide´, and without the retreat of the Armenian army from parts of the Azeri territory, Turkey should not recognize Armenia. Except, Islamist Turkey is urged to help PKK and Armenia shape an even stronger terrorist and racist front against many nations and peoples of the wider Middle East and Caucasus region.

Turkey´s colonization is proven through the harmonization of the current, unrepresentative, Islamist pseudo-government with the Anti-Turkish interests of Paris and London that want simply to avoid the disintegration of the ailing Armenian tyranny by forcing the "independent" Islamist government of Turkey to open its border and thus preserve the (already asphyxiated at an advanced level thanks to the correct policies of the assassinated President Turgut Ozal) Armenian tyranny in life.

The policy imposed on the unrepresentative Islamist pseudo-government of Gul and Erdogan is not only gravely detrimental to Turkey´s interests and prejudicial for the regional peace; it is also contradictory with the Anglo-French colonial contents´ demands for the supposed Turkey´s further democratization.

If Turkey should be further democratized and harmonized with Europe, then why should Turkey open its borders to a criminal tyranny denounced as such by the HRW in a lengthy and devastating Report?

It makes no sense – not only for an average Turk but also for any balanced and fair person allover the world.

In two earlier articles entitled "Turkey´s Ongoing Colonization: Only Reason for Recognizing Racist Armenian Tyranny" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94451) and "Devastating HRW on Armenian Tyranny Imposes Cancellation of the Gul – Erdogan Pro-Armenian Policy" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94453), I republished parts of the devastating HRW Report (the HRW Press Release issued on the occasion of the Report publication a few days ago, the Contents, the Summary, and the Methodology), and called for a master coup against the unrepresentative Erdogan gang of high traitors, freemasons and besotted pseudo-Islamists, who implement the Anti-Turkish colonial agenda of England and France; in fact, the colonial powers imposed on the Freemasonic pupils Gul and Erdogan the Turkish – Armenian rapprochement.

In the present article, I republish the HRW Report chapter on the Background, which is focused on the tyrannical regime of Hatred that rules from Yerevan as puppet of the Armenian Diaspora that linked its interests with the vicious Anti-Islamic, Anti-Ottoman, and Anti-Turkish policies of the Anglo-French Apostate Freemasonic Lodge. In forthcoming articles, I will republish further parts of the devastating HRW Report on the Armenian Tyranny.

III. Background

Early Post-Soviet Politics and Society in Armenia

http://www.hrw.org/en/node/80933/section/5

Armenia was propelled to independence as the Soviet Union unraveled in 1991. As elsewhere in the Soviet republics, a nationalist movement had emerged at the end of the 1980s to directly challenge one-party Communist rule. In 1990 many Soviet republics held multiparty elections for their national legislatures; in Armenia these were won by the Armenian Pan-National Movement (ANM).[1] A reformist, nationalist-oriented government was installed, which in September 1991 held an independence referendum that produced a 94 percent vote in favor.[2] Armenia achieved independence when the Soviet Union ceased to exist at the end of 1991, and this independence was internationally recognized in early 1992.

In Armenia, a catalyst for the nascent nationalist movement was the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave within neighboring Azerbaijan with a majority ethnic Armenian population. Confrontation started in early 1988 when the local ethnic Armenian population, backed by Armenia, sought through its legislature to separate the enclave from Azerbaijani administration and transfer it to Armenia. Political confrontation tipped into outright conflict with an anti-Armenian pogrom in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait at the end of February, and mass expulsions from Armenia and Azerbaijan of their respective Azeri and Armenian minorities.[3] The conflict escalated in 1991 into full-scale war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It raged on through Armenia's first independence years, with Armenian forces gaining the upper hand, until a ceasefire in 1994.[4] The conflict remains unresolved, and as a consequence, Armenia's border with Azerbaijan is closed, as is its border with Turkey (which supports Azerbaijan), complicating foreign trade relations and economic development.[5] The Karabakh conflict continues to loom large in Armenian political life, as the basis on which many leading politicians have built their careers and connections.

Adding to the dire conditions surrounding Armenia's independence, in 1991 the country had barely begun to recover from a December 1988 earthquake that had massively damaged the north, including Armenia's second and third cities Gyumri and Vanadzor, and killed some 25,000 people.[6] And as everywhere in the former Soviet Union, the abrupt end of central economic planning and subsidies and the switch to market conditions caused a catastrophic economic contraction that did not turn around until 1994.[7] Unemployment, food shortages, and drastic rationing of public utilities forced hundreds of thousands to emigrate from Armenia, temporarily or permanently, for work.[8]

The Ter-Petrossian Presidency, 1991-98

The Armenian Pan-National Movement had evolved out of the Karabakh Committee, founded in 1988 by a group of Armenian intellectuals, which championed the Karabakh cause inside Armenia.[9] Levon Ter-Petrossian entered politics as one of the Karabakh Committee's and later the ANM's leaders.[10] When the ANM won the 1990 parliamentary elections he became parliamentary chairman and titular head of state. He went on to win Armenia's first presidential election, held in October 1991 while Armenia was still formally part of the Soviet Union, with 83 percent of the vote, and led the country to independence.[11]

As president during the troubled first years of independence, Ter-Petrossian struggled to maintain popular support. He was reelected in 1996 only by a narrow margin (see below). In 1997 he advocated compromise with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh; this, together with lingering questions about the legitimacy of his election victory the year before, cost him the presidency. He was forced to step down in early 1998 when the then defense minister, Vazgen Sargsyan, a prominent former Karabakh war commander, called for his resignation and 40 members of parliament quit the bloc that supported the president.[12]

Robert Kocharyan, a Karabakhi whom Ter-Petrossian had appointed prime minister in 1997, took over as acting president (as the constitution required), and went on to win the early presidential election held in March 1998. In May 1999 parliamentary elections the ANM was routed, holding on to only one seat in the 131-seat National Assembly. Vazgen Sargsyan became prime minister.

Prevailing Characteristics of Armenian Party Politics

On October 27, 1999, five gunmen entered the National Assembly chamber while the Assembly was in session with the government present. They took the entire chamber hostage, and assassinated prime minister Vazgen Sargsyan, parliamentary speaker Karen Demirchyan, and six other ministers and parliamentarians.[13] They then gave themselves up. After a protracted trial, five persons, including the group's leader, were sentenced in December 2003 to life imprisonment.[14] It has never been fully explained what motivated the attack: the gunmen claimed to have been acting on their own initiative,[15] and despite abundant conspiracy theories, no convincing evidence surfaced to suggest that any political leader or party was behind the attack. Nevertheless, the killings left a leadership void in the political establishment.

Armenia in the post-Soviet era has held four parliamentary elections and four presidential elections. It has remained stuck in a cycle of unfair contests, fraud, and disputes that more often than not spill onto the streets. There is low public confidence in the way elections are run, and widespread cynicism about their outcome.[16] The functioning of Armenia's multiparty system and genuine political competition are hampered by the persistent failure of the array of political parties to stabilize and consolidate-established parties have waxed and waned dramatically, fragmented, and major new players have emerged, with almost every parliamentary election.

Disputes and Violence a Fixture in Armenian Elections

Ter-Petrossian's reelection, 1996

Ter-Petrossian ran for reelection in September 1996, his main challenger being fellow ANM founder Vazgen Manukyan, around whom most of the opposition had rallied. Ter-Petrossian passed the 50 percent threshold required for a first-round outright victory by just under 22,000 votes, but discrepancies of an almost identical number were recorded in the official results both in terms of ballot papers issued to polling stations but subsequently unaccounted for, and ballot papers recorded as issued but not recorded as being present in the ballot boxes.[17] On the basis of these and other irregularities international observers called into question the integrity of the overall election process.[18] The opposition's own suspicions of electoral fraud brought protestors onto the streets of Yerevan: demonstrators marched on and broke into the National Assembly, where the Central Election Commission (CEC) was then housed, to demand a recount. In the process protestors beat up the parliamentary speaker and deputy speaker. In response, police beat demonstrators and later arrested at least 28 opposition leaders and supporters and CEC staffers.[19] In the wake of these events, police detained about 200 more individuals believed to have participated in the demonstration, President Ter-Petrossian banned public demonstrations and called in army troops to patrol Yerevan, and the prosecutor general announced his intention to bring criminal charges against Vazgen Manukyan and seven other opposition leaders, for attempting to violently overthrow the government. Police closed the offices of, among others, the National Democratic Union, Manukyan's party.[20]

These were not the first political party restrictions imposed by Ter-Petrossian's administration. At the end of 1994 Ter-Petrossian had suspended the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), a major opposition party, and ordered the closure of 12 media outlets allegedly associated with it, claiming that the ARF had become a cover for a secret organization allegedly responsible for terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal arms trading. In January 1995 the Supreme Court upheld the ARF's suspension for a six-month period, citing, however, not threats to national security, but the presence of foreigners in the party's board. The government claimed that it was by mere coincidence that the six-month suspension was to lapse just after parliamentary elections (Armenia's first post-Soviet elections) on July 5, 1996. The government allowed individual ARF members to run for parliament, but the party's absence paved the way for a resounding victory of Ter-Petrossian's ANM.[21]

Kocharyan's 1998 election and 2003 reelection

The snap 1998 presidential election went to two rounds, with Robert Kocharyan beating Karen Demirchyan in the second-round runoff. Election observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) found both rounds to have been marred by extensive fraud, and stated outright that the second round did not meet OSCE standards.[22]

Kocharyan was reelected in 2003 in an election that also went to two rounds and was again marred by irregularities.[23] The OSCE once again found the election fell short of international standards for democratic elections, declaring that the overall process failed to provide equal conditions for the candidates; voting, counting, and tabulation showed serious irregularities including widespread ballot box stuffing; and the political atmosphere was charged and marred by intimidation. The OSCE found, "The failure of the 2003 presidential election to meet international standards lay not in technical or procedural lapses, but in a lack of sufficient political determination by the authorities to ensure a fair and honest process."[24]

Between the announcement of preliminary first round results on February 20, 2003, and the official start of the second round campaign, the opposition who supported second-placed candidate Stepan Demirchyan held large unsanctioned rallies in Yerevan. Police on February 22 began detaining opposition supporters for alleged hooliganism and/or participation in unsanctioned public meetings: At least 200 individuals were detained including many opposition staff, and many were sentenced to up to 15 days of administrative detention, a clear attempt to damage the opposition prior to the runoff election held on March 5.[25] Following publication of the preliminary second-round results, the opposition resumed protest gatherings in Yerevan and staged a picket outside the CEC building for several days up to the announcement of the final results.[26]

Stepan Demirchyan challenged the 2003 second-round results in the Constitutional Court. The Court did not rule in his favor, but struck down results in 40 polling stations, and recommended that the National Assembly and president hold a "referendum of confidence" within a year.[27]On April 12, 2004 (almost a year to the day from the Constitutional Court ruling), Armenia's political opposition united in mass peaceful protests to force this "referendum of confidence" on President Kocharyan and to call for his resignation. The government dispersed the demonstrations using excessive force: repeating the cycle of repressive tactics from the 2003 election, the authorities arrested opposition leaders and supporters, violently dispersed demonstrators, raided political party headquarters, attacked journalists, and restricted travel to prevent people from participating in demonstrations. In response to international pressure, the government released some opposition leaders detained during the crackdown, and participated in discussions about cooperation with the opposition.[28] However, the referendum recommended in the 2003 Constitutional Court ruling never happened.

Notes
1] Human Rights Watch, World Report 1990 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1990), Soviet Union chapter, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1990/WR90/HELSINKI.BOU-03.htm#P263_60248; Keesing's Record of World Events, vol. 36, 1990, pp. 37323, 37618.

2] Keesing's Record of World Events, vol. 37, 1991, p. 38418.

3]Thomas de Waal, "The Nagorny Karabakh conflict: origins, dynamics and misperceptions," in Laurence Broers, ed., "The Limits of Leadership: Elites and societies in the Nagorny Karabakh peace process," Accord series, Conciliation Resources, 2005, http://www.c-r.org/our-work/accord/nagorny-karabakh/origins-dynamics-misperceptions.php (accessed September 16, 2008).

4] Ibid. At the ceasefire, Armenian forces controlled most of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as a large swathe of Azerbaijani territory between the enclave and the Armenian and Iranian borders. See also Volker Jakoby, "The role of the OSCE: an assessment of international mediation efforts," in Broers, ed., "The Limits of Leadership," http://www.c-r.org/our-work/accord/nagorny-karabakh/osce-role.php (accessed September 16, 2008).

5] Turkey and Armenia severed diplomatic relations in 1993 over Turkish criticism of Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh. There has been a recent rapprochement: Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Armenia on September 6, 2008, at President Sargsyan's invitation, and the resulting warming in Armenian-Turkish relations has included talks on reopening the border. See "Turkish - Armenian Relations In 2008," Turkishpress.com, January 5, 2009, http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=256512 (accessed January 9, 2009), and International Relations and Security Network, "NK: Frozen, but not still," January 9, 2008, http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?coguid=A647C846-E3F9-CF68-A317-42373E9ED3FB&lng=en&id=95151 (accessed January 9, 2009).

6] "History of deadly earthquakes," BBC News Online, May 12, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/2059330.stm (accessed September 16, 2008).At the time of the earthquake Gyumri and Vanadzor had the Soviet-era names Leninakan and Kirovakan, respectively.

7] According to Armenian government figures, the economy contracted by 54 percent in the period 1991-93. See "Economic Priorities and Prospects for Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction," speech by Prime Minister Andranik Margarian at the Paris Consultative Group Meeting on Armenia, July 10, 2001, http://www.gov.am/enversion/premier_2/primer_home.htm?mat=235 (accessed September 15, 2008). Armenia began recording modest economic growth in 1994. Ibid.

8] Armenian International Policy Research Group, "Economics of Labor Migration from Armenia: a Conceptual Study," January 2006, http://pdc.ceu.hu/archive/00003150/01/economics_of_labor_migration_from_Armenia.pdf (accessed September 16, 2008), p. 14, citing estimates that in the period up to 2002 Armenia lost to emigration between 14 and 24 percent of its population (as calculated in 1990) of 3.4 million.

9] International Crisis Group, "Armenia: Internal Instability Ahead," ICG Europe Report No. 158, October 18, 2004, http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/europe/caucasus/158_armenia_s_internal_instability_ahead.pdf (accessed September 16, 2008).

10] "Armenia: Vote 2008, Levon Ter-Petrosian â€" Candidate biography," Eurasianet.org, http://eurasianet.org/armenia08/gallery/levon/shtml (accessed May 21, 2008).

11]Ibid.

12]Human Rights Watch, World Report 1999 (New York:Human Rights Watch, 1999), Armenia chapter, http://www.hrw.org/worldreport99/europe/armenia.html.

13] Human Rights Watch, World Report 2000 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2000), Armenia chapter, http://www.hrw.org/wr2k/Eca-01.htm#TopOfPage; Kenneth de Figueiredo, Armenia: Presidential Elections February 2008 (Oslo: Norwegian Centre for Human Rights/NORDEM, 2008), http://www.humanrights.uio.no/forskning/publ/nr/2008/0608.pdf (accessed September 16, 2008).

14] "Five defendants in Armenian parliament shooting case sentenced to life," Mediamax (Yerevan), December 2, 2003, reproduced by Eurasianet.org, December 3, 2003, http://www.eurasianet.org/resource/armenia/hypermail/200312/0006.shtml (accessed September 16, 2008).

15] The group's leader, Nairi Unanyan, said at the opening of his trial that his actions were intended to save Armenia from "disintegration and government corruption." See "Armenia parliamentary killings trial begins," BBC News Online, February 15, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1171809.stm (accessed September 16, 2008).

16] The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) noted, "[V]iolations and shortcomings observed [during 2008 Presidential elections] did nothing to increase currently lacking public confidence in the electoral process." CoE PACE Resolution 1609 (2008), "Functioning of Democtatic Institutions in Armenia," http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta08/ERES1609.htm (accessed February 6, 2009).

17] Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), "Armenian Presidential Elections September 24, 1996, Final Report," October 24, 1996, http://www.osce.org/documents/odihr/1996/10/1208_en.pdf (accessed September 16, 2008).

18] Ibid.

19]Adrian Karatnycky, Alexander J. Motyl, Boris Shor, Nations in Transit, 1997: Civil Society, Democracy and Markets in East Central Europe and the Newly Independent States, (Transaction Publishers, 1997), p. 42

20] Human Rights Watch, World Report 1997 (New York:Human Rights Watch, 1997), Armenia Chapter, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1997/WR97/HELSINKI-01.htm#P95_35834.

21] Human Rights Watch, World Report 1996 (New York:Human Rights Watch, 1996), Armenia Chapter, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/WR96/Helsinki-02.htm#P168_33365.

22] Human Rights Watch, World Report 1999, Armenia chapter. The OSCE observer mission's final report noted that observers witnessed ballot stuffing, discrepancies in the vote count, a large presence of unauthorized persons in polling stations, and intimidation of voters, election workers, and even the international observers themselves.

23]Â "Armenia: Election Marred by Intimidation, Ballot Stuffing," Human Rights Watch news release, March 7, 2003, http://hrw.org/english/docs/2003/03/07/armeni5383.htm.

24] OSCE/ODIHR, "Republic Of Armenia Presidential Election 19 February and 5 March 2003, Final Report," April 28, 2003, http://www.osce.org/documents/odihr/2003/04/1203_en.pdf (accessed September 23, 2008).

25]Ibid.;Human Rights Watch, An Imitation of the Law: The Use of Administrative Detention in the 2003 Armenian Presidential Election, May 23, 2003, http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/armenia/index.htm.

26] OSCE/ODIHR, "Republic Of Armenia Presidential Election 19 February and 5 March 2003, Final Report."

27] Ibid. The OSCE/ODIHR reported, "[The court] found that the arguments brought by Demirchyan were not refuted, but did not invalidate the results of the election. To address the violations identified during the case, the court ordered that in 40 designated polling stations where the results were proved to be implausible, the number of votes given to the candidate who won in that polling station should be deducted from the candidate's overall total. The Decision also stated that the Office of the Prosecutor General should investigate these cases and hold accountable those responsible for falsification of election documents in the 40 polling stations."

28] Human Rights Watch, Cycle of Repression: Human Rights Violations in Armenia, May 4, 2004, http://hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/armenia/0504/.

Note

Picture: An Armenian Church.

The post-soviet state of Armenia is not a modern state. It attempts to revivify the medieval ages´ Christian anti-Islamism against two non Islamic countries, Turkey and Azerbaijan, that are inhabited by the world´s most tolerant and most moderate Muslims. The tyrannical regime of Yerevan is not constituted by pious Christian statesmen whose ideal is Medieval Armenia; it is controlled by criminal gangsters who are the lowest level puppets of the colonial Freemasonic establishments of Paris and London – through the interposition of the Armenian Diaspora. They use the Armenian Christian Medieval Heritage for their Anti-Christian nationalistic purposes; and their real masters truly despise and loathe the Armenian Christian Medieval Heritage in the same way they hate Christianity, Islam, and all the religions whatsoever.

http://www.americanchronicle.com/

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
Orientalist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 52, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages. He refuted Greek nationalism, supported Martin Bernal´s Black Athena, and rejected the Greco-Romano-centric version of History. He pleaded for the European History by J. B. Duroselle, and defended the rights of the Turkish, Pomak, Macedonian, Vlachian, Arvanitic, Latin Catholic, and Jewish minorities of Greece.

Born Christian Orthodox, he adhered to Islam when 36, devoted to ideas of Muhyieldin Ibn al Arabi. Greek citizen of Turkish origin, Prof. Megalommatis studied and/or worked in Turkey, Greece, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Russia, and carried out research trips throughout the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and Central Asia. His career extended from Research & Education, Journalism, Publications, Photography, and Translation to Website Development, Human Rights Advocacy, Marketing, Sales & Brokerage. He traveled in more than 80 countries in 5 continents.


The Frozen Relations Between Armenia And Turkey Are Now Showing Some Signs Of Melting By Grenville Byford NEWSWEEK Mar 9, 2009
It’s almost April, so Washington is gearing up for another performance of the “Armenian Genocide Resolution Spectacular,” a regular event since 1984. Here’s the historical plotline: the Armenian-American lobby gets a few U.S. congressmen to sponsor a resolution recognizing the 1915 massacre of Armenians in what is now Eastern Turkey as a “genocide.” Then other members of the House are induced to support it. (Members of the House may not be history buffs, but they understand the importance of stroking a powerful domestic lobby.) Next, the Turkish government says Turkey is too important to be insulted like this. In response, the American administration, recognizing that Turkey is indeed a critical NATO ally whose Incirlik Air Base is vital to the Iraq mission, starts twisting congressional arms to abandon the resolution. Offstage, the Israeli lobby, generally keen to boost Turkish-Israeli relations (though less so this year), w! orks against the resolution. Finally, the House leadership reluctantly shelves the whole thing and the curtain falls.

Before staging this year’s performance, however, Congress should note that hitherto frozen relations between Armenia and Turkey are now showing signs of melting, and that this may be the first step toward reconciling the Turkish and Armenian peoples. In September, Turkish President Abdullah Gül attended a Turkey-Armenia football match in Yerevan at the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who recently met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Davos. The two foreign ministers, Turkey’s Ali Babacan and Armenia’s Eduard Nalbandian have also been meeting. Both have made optimistic noises.

Progress has been possible because the Armenians have focused on the concrete issue of opening the Armenian-Turkish border—a vital matter to them since none of their other neighbors (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran) can offer a viable trade route to the West. Both sides have wisely avoided the genocide dispute, surely recognizing it will have to be dealt with eventually but that developing economic ties will make it easier to do so. Lingering in the background, however, is the Armenian diaspora’s passionate insistence that there was a genocide—and its mirror image in the fury of the Turkish people denying it. Right or wrong is not the point. No Turkish government could contemplate opening the Armenian border with this issue front and center, and Congress should recognize that a genocide resolution would put it there.

In all probability, Turkey and Armenia can only resolve the genocide dispute if they recognize that “was it a genocide?” may be the ultimate question, but it is not the most important one today. To those aiming for reconciliation, two questions outrank it: what common facts can Turks and Armenians be brought to accept, and is the common ground sufficient for both sides to start binding up the wounds? To this end, Erdogan’s proposal to establish a joint historical commission should be pursued. Though Armenia has rejected the idea so far—largely because it is winning its argument on the world stage—the government has softened its stance recently. If the aim is reconciliation, persuading the Turks to abandon the blanket denial they are taught as schoolchildren is what counts.

Progress is not as implausible as it sounds. In the early days of the Republic, Kemal Atatürk, who was not personally implicated, described the Armenian massacres as “shameful acts.” No ex-Ottoman officials were investigated, however, as Turkey needed the newly minted heroes of its War of Independence to have no stain on their characters. Today, Erdogan will accept an investigation. In return, Armenia must accept a reciprocal investigation into the Ottoman Armenians, who fought with the sultan’s Russian enemy, and their responsibility for massacres of Turks and Kurds. Weaving together these two violently opposed historical perspectives will take time and patience. As important as the final answer, however, is the development of empathy across the divide.

Congress can help keep the path to reconciliation open if it is willing to deny the Armenian-American lobby the instant gratification of a genocide resolution. Surely doing so would be far better than repeating the exercises of the last 25 years over and over again until a resolution finally passes and all the House’s leverage over Turkey evaporates, along with most of the good will in the Turkish-American alliance, and maybe even the alliance itself. For its part, the Armenian diaspora might even support reconciliation if only as its second choice.
Finally, good relations between Turkey and Armenia would further U.S. objectives in the Caucasus. The proposed hydrocarbon corridor through the Caucasus from Central Asia looks much more secure in the context of Turkish-Armenian friendship, and it might give Armenia the confidence to break with the status quo in the longstanding Nagorno-Karabakh dispute with neighboring Azerbaijan. C! ongress and others should recognize that this year holds real promise for the beginning of reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples. If nothing comes of it, Congress can always return to a resolution.

Byford writes frequently on Turkish affairs and is a regular contributor to Newsweek.com.

Recognition Redux: Waiting for April 24th [ 2009/03/16 ] HETQ , Anahit Shirinyan
09_03-aprilFor the past twenty-five years, starting way back in 1984, it has become a time-honored tradition for U.S. presidents to deliver a commemorative statement in honor of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The debate rages on twenty-five years later – will the president actually use the word “Genocide” when he makes his April 24th remarks?

This year, however, the hopes of the Armenian people that he will are running higher than ever before. The prospects that the U.S. government will officially recognize the 1915 Genocide have grown due to several factors. The first factor that could compel Barack Obama to utter the “G” word is his promise to do so during his presidential campaign. In addition, the current crisis in Israeli-Turkish relations might force the powerful American-Jewish lobby to at least not work against congressional efforts to recognize the Genocide.

On the other hand, other factors have arisen that could once again prevent developments from leading to the desired result of recognition. The most important factor, naturally, is the thesis being circulated by Ankara that relations between Armenia and Turkey have reached a critical breakthrough stage and that any outside “intervention” could harm the process now in progress.

“We do not use threatening rhetoric,” declared Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, “All we are saying is that if you pass the resolution we will act accordingly. We are sincerely telling them (the Americans) the truth about the present situation in the South Caucasus. A settlement of the issues dividing Armenia and Turkey has never been any closer at hand. We are at the closest point now with Armenia than we have been since 1915. I don’t say that we have reached a settlement but we are arriving at one.”
Turkish-American relations have seen better days as well and in all likelihood Washington will be careful not to risk taking any steps that might sharpen tensions even further. U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent trip to Turkey took part in a NTV television women’s program entitled “Come and Join Us”. The show has a very intimate and relaxed format and four women from different professional backgrounds serve as commentators, discussing a wide range of subjects with the invited guest.
According to certain reports, it was the American diplomatic corps in Ankara that was responsible for getting Clinton to appear on the program with the aim of shaping a positive image of the United States in light of recent anti-American sentiment within segments of the Turkish society,

In general, the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State to Ankara can play a pivotal role in Turkish efforts to thwart any recognition of the Armenian Genocide on the part of Washington. In the view of the analysts, where this issue is concerned, Hillary Clinton can become a trusted defender of the Turkish position in the United States not only in terms of preventing Barack Obama from uttering the word genocide but also in thwarting the U.S. Congress from passing such a resolution.

Predictions regarding President Obama’s upcoming April 24 statement are still being formulated. In the opinion of Richard Giragosian, Director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS), for example, President Obama will not use the term “genocide” in this year’s speech. “Obama’s a clever person. So that they won’t condemn him for breaking his promise to the American-Armenian community he’ll say that he’s waiting for the decision of the U.S. Congress. If the Congress passes a resolution recognising the Armenian Genocide, Barack Obama will sign the legislation and thus fulfil his promise. If not, then so be it,” notes Mr. Giragosian.

They are also mulling over the appropriateness of the move in the United States given the present situation. “…good relations between Armenia and Turkey will expand American prospects in the Caucasus,” writes Newsweek Magazine, “the planned for hydro-carbon corridor stretching from Central Asia through the Caucasus would seem more secure in the context of Turkish-Armenian friendly relations and it can instill confidence in Armenia to break the existing status-quo with neighboring Azerbaijan regarding the long simmering Karabakh conflict. The Congress and others must understand that this year is indeed promising in terms of reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples. If nothing comes out as a result, the Congress can always return to the resolution.”

Then too, Ankara’s continual and stubborn claims that Armenian-Turkish relations are close to being settled and that any third party intervention in the process is impermissible actually serves to further restrict Ankara’s possibilities of conditioning the resolution of Armenian-Turkish relations on a third government; in this case on its relations with Azerbaijan.

It is clear that regarding the priority of preconditions previously set forth vis-a-vis the opening of the border and the establishment of diplomatic relations, Turkey will be obliged to withdraw from its adopted policy of regarding the settlement of the Karabakh conflict as a precondition. If the recognition of the Genocide by the United States can hinder the “reconciliation process then, by the same token, it can prevent Ankara from putting forth demands regarding the Karabakh conflict.

This is very well understood in Baku and is probably the reason behind Baku’s suspicious attitude regarding the processes underway in Armenian-Turkish relations. “Turkey intends to improve its relations with Armenia at the expense of our country’s interests…” writes the Azeri Press Agency, adding that, “…Turkey removed the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh from the discussions to avoid recognition of the “Armenian Genocide” this year. And what price will it be willing to pay in the years to come?”
Given the existing situation Ankara is attempting to wring out examples of “goodwill” from Yerevan as well. Ankara will attempt tom portray Any corresponding move on the part of Yerevan during this period as an indirect agreement on the Armenian side that in the present stage of Armenian-Turkish relations it is not worth endangering the process by superfluous statements. Only in this case will Ankara’s thesis be convincing.
Reports periodically appearing in the Turkish press particularly bear this out. The statement of RoA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan in which he referred to the possible participation of Turkey in the construction of a new Armenian nuclear reactor was interpreted in the Turkish press as “another sign in the thaw between Ankara and Yerevan”.

Two weeks ago a news report appeared in Today’s Zaman stating that the Armenian government had changed the date of the session of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization’s foreign ministerial meeting set to take place in Yerevan from April 29 to April 16 as a “goodwill gesture” intended to ensure the participation of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. The newspaper alluded to the fact that Babacan’s visit to Armenia might not be possible after April 24 for a number of reasons. The news report made a reference to diplomatic circles as the source. The RoA Foreign Affairs Ministry refuted the news stating that April 16 had been picked as the date from the start and that the news was just the opinion of the Turkish newspaper.

Also of note is the statement of Egemen Baghis, Turkey’s Minister of State, of two weeks ago claiming that Turkey had taken all possible steps to normalize relations with Armenia and that the ball was now in Yerevan’s court.

Thus, it becomes clear that Turkey expects Yerevan’s assistance in the delaying of any Armenian Genocide resolution on the part of Washington. As Today’s Zaman writes that the April 6-7 forum of the Civilizations Alliance that will convene in Ankara can serve as a good opportunity for this when, “Babacan and Nalbandian will come to an agreement and declare that a new beginning has dawned between the two nations, replete with new challenges and possibilities. This would be a good message to the entire world that risks are overcome solely via peaceful means and negotiations.”

In the present reality, the following dilemma possibly awaits Yerevan – choose the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United States (if, of course, the position of Yerevan has the possibility of playing any role), or decisive forward movement in Armenian-Turkish relations (if, of course, the parties involved are sincere regarding their desires and are nor conducting a policy of pretense or bluff).

One Response to “Recognition Redux: Waiting for April 24th”

1. Grish Begian Says:
March 17th, 2009
Every calendar year start from January, Turkish political media increase their activities in Middle East….they hope that US Government will listen to Turkey’s “good will” intention toward a peaceful resolutions. Turks do not understand, their double standard position regarding their “goodwill” resolutions in the West.
Turks have to forget, if they have influence in Middle East or any where in this world.

The destruction, that they have created specially in M.E. is not forgotten yet, Israel can not trust Turkey’s double standard position as a Muslim friend in Middle East.
Turkey can not be a Jews or Christians friend or work for a peaceful resolutions with them. Turkey historically never support a Jewish State in Middle East, but Palestinians.

All these Turkish “good will” intention is based on “Armenian Genocide Recognition” by US and Western World, when the time is ticking toward April 24, each year, political activities of Turkey sky rocketing, they love to bury their ancestral committed Genocide toward Armenians, and other Christian population of Ottoman Turkey, but how much longer??


Identity Crisis: Diaspora-Armenians are Foreign Nationals in Armenia, [ 2009/03/16 | HETQ public health diaspora Shushan Stepanyan
Two days before New Years, Hrant, a United States citizen of Armenian descent, slipped and fell on an icy Yerevan street.

“It all happened in the blink of an eye. My right foot slipped out from under me and twisted with a crack. I knew that a bone was broken. We took a taxi to the Saint Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center up in Nork Massif. My friends suggested we take a cab rather than calling an ambulance to avoid mounds of paperwork,” recalls Hrant who has been residing and working in Yerevan for the past two years.

Luckily that evening the hospital was near deserted. They took some x-rays and the diagnosis came back - a closed fragment fracture of the right shin-foot joint. “The doctor strongly advised surgery to insert metal pins to join the fractured bone fragments,” Hrant continues.

On January 6 the surgery, osteosynthesis with metal lamina and screws was performed, under spinal marrow anesthesia. Hrant remained in the hospital until January 13.

“It was the holiday season, so there weren’t many people milling about the place, especially at the cashier’s office. The doctor just happened to stop by my room and asked me if I was aware that the huge amount of 750,000 drams was listed on my patient’s report. He said that he was telling me this just as a precaution. Officially, no one from hospital management ever came up to the room to explain the hospital fees or to explain why I was to be charged such a large sum. All they ever told me, in passing, was that not being a citizen of Armenia I had to pay five times the normal amount,” Hrant recalls.

The 750,000 drams collected as the hospital’s fee wasn’t the only sum that Hrant wound up paying for medical services. He paid 42,000 drams for the hospital room (3,000 per day) and several thousand more for sundry health expenses (dressing changes, tips, etc).

“The Chief Physician at the hospital was a man named Orgusyan. My friends called on him prior to the surgery to see if anything could be done about the fee. He told them that since I was already here and the pre-surgery tests had been made, it made sense to go ahead with the operation. The fee, he said, would be discussed afterwards. He seemed sincere so I decided to stay. After the surgery, I talked to the department head as well; asking if anything could be done to lower the fee a bit, and was told that the fee was stipulated by the law and that there was no way around paying the full amount. The hospital administration even went so far as saying that they’d send the police after me if I tried to leave without paying the full fee. I had already managed to scrape together some 500,000 drams from here and there and had paid this to the hospital, but they were adamant about the balance. I told them there was no way I could pay the rest at the moment and wanted to leave, offering to pay the balance later, on installments. It was then that they asked for my Armenian and U.S. passports. I realized it was a safety measure on their part, to prevent me from slipping away in the dead of the night. When I asked why, I was given some flimsy excuse that they needed to check certain information. I handed over the Armenian ten year passport as a hostage. After paying the full sum, it was returned to me,” explains Hrant, adding that he has been living and working in Yerevan for the past two years and that he possesses a ten-year special residency passport that, in practical terms, only serves as “glorified visa”. In cases like this, its existence is all but overlooked. We should also point out that Hrant is a taxpayer and that taxes withheld from his wages go into the state coffers.

“In the hospital they advised me to apply for dual citizenship so that when I return in June to have the metal pins removed I could avoid paying the 300,000 dram fee; five times the 60,000 fee charged to RoA citizens. I might have to find another hospital for this operation if I don’t receive the citizenship papers by then. For example, the Erebuni hospital said I could have the pins removed there for much less,” states Hrant.

Hrant has not applied to either the Ministry of Healthcare or to the Diaspora Ministry for redress.

We tried to get some answers from the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and to see if they thought that such treatment meted out to an Armenian from the Diaspora was legal and moral.

Hamlet Aghoyan, who heads the legal department of the Diaspora Ministry, which claims to be a “home away from home” for Diaspora Armenians, told us that they didn’t have the time to answer our questions and requested that we present our queries in writing. An answer from the ministry was late in coming. Deputy Minister Stepan Petrosyan explained the delay by stating that, “The Ministry of the Diaspora had consulted with the Ministry of Healthcare.”

In reply to our questions forwarded to Hranush Hakobyan, Minister of Diaspora Affairs, what we were given was a folder full of legal definitions and laws. We wanted to know what rights and privileges are afforded a diaspora-Armenian who possesses a ten-year Special Residency Status passport, what protocol is applied regarding health issues facing diaspora-Armenians and what assistance does the ministry offer in such cases. According to the package of documents we were given, a diaspora-Armenian is considered to be a foreign citizen whose rights and responsibilities are defined in the RoA “Law on Foreign Nationals”. If, in reality, there is no distinction between a diaspora-Armenian and a foreign national, perhaps the question should be asked what pressing need is there to justify the operational existence of the Diaspora Ministry.

Deputy Minister Stepan Petrosyan, perhaps expecting that such a question would come up after his reply, wrote that, “The Ministry of the Diaspora keeps diaspora-Armenians in the focus of its attention by helping to resolve issues related to RoA residency status, obtaining dual citizenship and educational matters. Presently, the ministry is in the process of formulating and discussing a series of changes and addendums to some laws and government decisions on the books directed towards improving the residency status acquisition process for diaspora-Armenians and to lessening their college tuition fees.”

We also received a reply from the Ministry of Healthcare. First Deputy Minister Hayk Darbinyan stated that, “The designation ‘diaspora-Armenian’ isn’t used in RoA statutes, but rather the common ‘foreign national’ term is employed. Foreign nationals in Armenia have the right to receive medical care and service, and this can vary for citizens of different countries.”

The Saint Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center is registered as a CJSC (closed joint stock company) and according to the RoA Law on “Joint Stock Companies” the prices for payable services, as well as charges for individual illnesses and services, are independently set by the given medical establishment or center.

Deputy Health Minister Hayk Darbinyan replied that, “The Ministry of Health doesn’t implement a separate pricing policy regarding payable medical and services of medical institutions. The Health Ministry only defines the costs of payable services of those medical establishments when the ministry itself has acted as the initiating or establishing body.”

Not only does the Ministry of Healthcare have nothing to do with the “pricing policy” but has the following advice for any diaspora-Armenia disgruntled with the medical care he or she has received – “In order to resolve any grievances or outstanding issues that arise in the course of receiving medical care, a foreign national or a diaspora-Armenian can appeal to the director of the particular CJSC, or to a higher authority, the founder of said establishment. The aggrieved individual can also apply to the courts to seek restitution if they believe their legal rights have been violated,” states Deputy Minister Darbinyan.

Hrant agrees that he must obtain dual citizenship as soon as possible in order to avoid paying five times the going rate a second time for future medical costs.

“There are many diaspora-Armenians residing in Armenia and God forbid that they wind up in a similar situation,” says Hrant, emphasizing that, “I don’t have any complaints against the individual doctors who treated me. They were very attentive and did a fine job despite the less than favorable conditions in which they must perform their professional duties. I am more irritated with the unreceptive attitude shown by hospital management. All they did was quote the “law” but somehow, in Armenia, such assertions ring hollow. When dealing with Armenians from the diaspora, some of these officials definitely need to improve their personal relations skills, especially those in charge of institutions in the public sphere. And here I’m not merely referring to the treatment meted out to tourists from overseas but to those from the diaspora who have come to Armenia with the intent and desire to stay.”

“In essence, hospital management deceived me when they said – let’s go ahead with the operation and we’ll talk about the costs afterwards - and afterwards claiming that the fees were set by the RoA government and that they weren’t authorized to make any changes on their own. In reality, as a private concern, they could have made some concessions. Rightly or wrongly, I was left with the impression that they stereotypically believed that as a diaspora-Armenian I could pay whatever they charged and so they billed me for the maximum. As proof of this discriminatory treatment, one of my friends witnessed a Georgian citizen only being charged 150,000 drams at the cashier’s office; that’s to say the same as a citizen of Armenia. When my friend asked why they were making an exception for a foreign national, the answer they gave was – hey, he’s a Georgian, they don’t have money,” states Hrant.

“If I had the opportunity of meeting the Diaspora Minister I’d advise her to pay more serious attention to the varied problems and issues faced by diaspora-Armenians living in Armenia. It was less than encouraging when, at my request, one of my friends went to the Diaspora Ministry to obtain information regarding dual citizenship and the ministry’s legal division were hard pressed to give any definite answers and merely offered some half-assed generalities instead. They weren’t even aware of the minister’s own directives regarding the proper Armenian translation of names documented in foreign languages. If these basic minimum courtesies are problematic then I can only imagine how the ministry will tackle the more complex issues it has set out for itself. If this example is representative of the ministry’s work ethic, it better think twice before attempting to tackle the conundrums of the Diaspora. The Diaspora Ministry has a practical, and I’d dare say, much more urgent mission to undertake right here in Armenia. General pleasantries and outdated rhetorical oratory will not be enough for the ministry to justify its existence,” Hrant concludes.

In any event, until the required reforms are put into practice, it appears that Armenia’s health system will be welcoming other diaspora-Armenians in the same manner. The doctors, for their part, will most likely come up with some “wonder balm” as a palliative. Just note how the hospital staff attempted to comfort Hrant by saying – You’re lucky you broke your foot here. If it happened in the U.S., you’d be paying out the nose.”

Ararat Says:
March 17th, 2009
Hi All
You know the sadest and the most in umane thin that should not have happened in azad an kakh haystan, was the issue of identity. armenian armenian and diaspora armenian. If we are all Armenians and Armenian belongs to all, then why the diferences or treating eachother differently. I for one have given up on this armeniannes thing. It is not interesting any more. My approach is like this.
The is a persian poetry which goes like this.
In a country where they steal the walking stick from the blind,
People outside wished for kindness.

Sadly in Armenia even the Armenian Armenians are not safe and are being treated like animals, what do you (diaspora armenians) expect.
As times have changed and a lot of class issues are on the surface, our approach should be class struggle. not this attictude of em hayastan, masis sar, etc. Those days are gone. Hayastan only meant something when people lived together in harmony and respect. Every body had jobs, house, children went to school free of charge, Hospitals were free for all. yes even in those days Armenians had found a way to ruin things but at least they had something and we felt good and proud about Armenia.

The Turks that were Massacred by Armenians
The Turks that were massacred by Armeians at Alaca village of Aziziye/ Erzurum on April 10, 1918, were commemorated with a ceremony.

During his speech that was delivered at the ceremony at Alaca village, Fatih Çobanoğlu, the head official of Aziziye district, stated that the ones, who used Armenian gangs in order to divide the country 91 years ago, now use the PKK terrorism with the same intention. Expressing that although the incidents that occurred in the past are tragic, they should be remembered and reminded, in order to constitute a conscious for the mutual history, Çobanoğlu, said the following: “We do not intend to incite the international hatred or bring the hostilities into a permanent position. We also do not intend attribute everything that was done by the gangs to a national or call the grandsons to account for the things that were done by their grandfathers. However, we are obliged to put the facts forward, to avoid forgetting the tragedies that were experienced by our people and to direct our future by knowing our past.”

Reminding that Armenian gangs had slaughtered 178 Turks at Alaca village, Assistant Professor Erol Kürkçüoğlu, the Manager of the Research Center of Turkish-Armenian Relations at Atatürk University (AÜ), said: “Armenians have massacred Turks in these lands. This is also evident with the archival documents.” Stressing that Armenia should give up its genocide claims in order to start mutual relations, Kürkçüoğlu, said: “If they wish the border gates to be opened, they should remove the following expression in their constitution: ‘Western Armenia, which include Erzurum, Kars, Iğdır, and Van’. They also need to get out of the Azerbaijan lands.”

Noting that historians from both countries should come together and start talking about the facts based on the archival documents, Küçükoğlu indicated that Metzamor Nucleer Power house in Armenia should also be closed down. Assistant Professor Süleyman Çiğdem, Erzurum Federation President of Association for Struggling with Baseless Genocide Claims, stated that 91 years ago violence had occurred at Alaca village.


The Turks that were Killed with Torture at Alaca, Cinis, Yeşilyayla, Yanık and Dere
Expressing that the violence, which injures the conscience of human kind, could neither be explained by the reality of the history not by the sense of justice, Çiğdem said: “It is a pity that certain circles both within the country and abroad do not even let us feel our sorrow. They suppose that these people, who were proved to be innocent with documents, had not experienced any sorrow. On one hand; false reasonings are produced over genocide, and on the other hand; imaginary borders are drawn on the holy lands of our country, which were irrigated with martyr’s blood.”

As if that were not enough, heaven knows why, apology campaigns are organized by the intellectuals and scientists. The intellectuals and scientists, are not aware of the incidents at neither Alaca, nor Cinis, nor Yeşilyayla, and nor Yanık Dere. They have never mentioned about them; they never express that innocent people were killed with tortures.

Delivering a speech on behalf of the Turkish Armed Forces, Major Polat Can stated that there is a document that illustrates the slaughters that were committed by Armenians. İsak Söylemez, the headman of Alaca village, stressed that 91 years ago 278 people were killed at their village by the Armenian gangs, and that fact should not be turned a blind eye.

The commemoration ceremony that was attended by Muhyettin Aksak, Erzurum Deputy of the AK Party, İsmail Efe, İsmail Efe, the Major of Aziziye , Ertuğrul Çankırı, Regiment Commander, and many citizens and students, ended when it was prayed for the Turks at the cemetery, who were slaughtered by the Armenians.

Source: A.A–10.03.2009 17.03.2009 http://www.genocidereality.com/newsdetail.asp?id=498


Armenian Genocide Recognition Should Be Followed By Indemnity16.03.2009
"The official Yerevan will never demand Diaspora refuse the recognition of Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The international recognition of the Genocide is one of the components of RA National security, ARF Dashnaktsutyun Bureau's Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office Director Kiro Manoyan told a news conference in Yerevan. "Yerevan should take firm position on the issue at Ankara negotiations, as stabilization of Turkish -Armenian relations is in Turkey's interests as well."

"The official Genocide recognition is not the end but the beginning of our way. The Turkish society must in its turn recognize the political fact. Genocide recognition must be followed by a compensation to Armenian people," Kiro Manoyan stated.


Ömer Engin Lutem, The European Parliament And The Armenian Genocide Allegations, Avim
Each year, the European Commission prepares ‘Progress Reports’ for candidate countries to the European Union. This report analyses candidate’s relations with the European Union, its situation towards political and economical criteria and capacity to fulfill its obligations. Then, this report is sent to the European Parliament which expresses its views in a resolution.

The European Parliament back in 1987 and after the end of Armenian terror had adopted a resolution under the title of ‘A Political Solution to the Armenian Question’ in which the Parliament accepted the Armenian genocide claims, and declared that Turkey should also to the same, or else its adhesion was going to be prevented. Turkey had applied for membership the same year. Recognizing genocide claims was one of the concessions that Turkey had to make for its adhesion. This was also a way to recompense the militant Armenians for ending terror. At that time of period, since Turkey’s membership was not accepted, this resolution remained without any result.

After Turkey’s second application, its candidacy was accepted in December 1999, and since 2000 every year a Progress Report is being prepared for Turkey. In these reports, except one year, the European Parliament has always referred to genocide allegations directly, or indirectly mentioning the 1987 resolution. Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s powers have been expanded and the adhesion of new members depends on the affirmative views of the Parliament. In other words, in the future if a treaty is signed for Turkey’s adhesion, the European Parliament will have first to ratify it. Therefore, it will be possible for the Parliament, taking into account the 1987 resolution, to demand Turkey to accept the Armenian genocide allegation before the ratification.

During the discussions of the 2006 resolution, a disagreement came forward in the Parliament concerning Armenian genocide allegations. While the Conservative Group was trying to prevent Turkey’s adhesion using the Armenian genocide allegations, the majority of the Socialists, Liberals and Greens although believing in these allegations, did not want them to get in the way of Turkey’s adhesion. On September 26 2006, the resolution on the 2005 progress report was approved after fierce discussions and Turkey recognition of the Armenian genocide allegations was deleted. In 2006 and 2007, this topic is not mentioned again.

In the 2008 resolution adopted a short time ago, despite Armenian’s strong efforts, this subject is not referred to. In the 37th article of the resolution, concerning Turkey-Armenia relations, only the following matters have been mentioned;
The Parliament:

- Welcomes the visit of President Gül to Armenia, and hopes that it will indeed foster a climate favorable to the normalization of relations between the two countries,

- calls on the Turkish government to re-open its border with Armenia and to restore full economic and political relations with Armenia,

- calls on the Turkish and Armenian governments to start a process of reconciliation, in respect of the present and the past, allowing for a frank and open discussion of past events.


A seen in the text, the word ‘genocide’ is not used. There are no statements mentioning that Turkey cannot be a member of the European Union unless the ‘genocide’ is recognized. It is only stated that a reconciliation process should begin and history should be clearly discussed. A call is made not only to Turkey, but also to Armenia.

The article, with these aspects, is acceptable for Turkey but not for Armenia which, while making efforts to normalize the relations with Turkey, is trying in a contrary way that other countries recognize the genocide allegations.

After the acceptation of Turkey’s candidacy, a non-governmental organization called ‘The European-Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy’ was founded in 2000 to look after the interests of Armenian diaspora and the Armenia in the European Union. This organization, other than expressing the Armenian views on different subjects, also acts as a pressure group. The latest evidence of this pressure is the case of Mrs. Ria Oomen- Ruijten who prepared the European Parliament report on Turkey. She said that Armenian Lobby threatened her by preventing her reelection to the Parliament if she would not mention genocide allegations in her report. Without any doubts, this incident will have negative effects on the Armenian lobby.

In conclusion, the European Parliament is changing its approach towards the genocide allegations. But this change doesn’t come from the fact that the allegations are considered baseless. As in the United States, the majority of the European public opinion believes in these allegations. The cause of this change is that an event almost 100 years old could not have a priority today considering that Turkey is needed for the European defense and the European Union’s Middle East and Caucasus policies.


"Turkey: The Land Of Fools" By Ahmet Altan 17 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Info Collectif VAN - www.collectifvan.org - The Turkish writer and journalist Ahmet Altan us accustomed to articles brave, lucid and clear. The paper he signed in February 19 Taraf, whose Collectif VAN offers translation here, not an exception to the rule. The Turkish intellectual describes "The country of madmen" (Turkey) where teachers and staff are raising a new generation of young children in hatred of the Armenians, with the mandatory screening of the DVD racist Sari Gelin , released on the orders of the General Staff in all primary schools in Turkey. Ahmet Altan, although subject to a charge under Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code for having asserted the existence of the Armenian genocide, drives the nail with courage: "You killed more than a million Armenians you remove all traces of Armenians in Anatolia, you plundered their property and above all, you watch videos for children that is saying that "the Armenians have done." Almost all those who live outside Turkey are aware of the events of the Armenians. They know that the leaders of Union and Progress have practiced genocide in a way deliberately. "Altan is also done on another shocking and said that at Kayseri, the president of the teachers' union E?itimi-Sen, was distributed 'Helva' in tribute to Hitler. And Ahmet Altan to question the future of a country that entrusts the education of its children to teachers admirers of Hitler and a headquarters racist.

(Ahmet Altan) - 19.02.2009

The country of madmen
At the time of the Ottoman Empire, the princes lived in fear of being killed.
One of them even shouted 'I do not want the throne', thinking it was a trap when we had wanted to release him from his prison to the place on the throne in place his brother.

Among them were lost to reason. Because being forced to live in the belief that all people around you are "enemy" that you watch, they are preparing to kill you, finally lose it.

In our republic, there are no "princes."

We are inflicting to our children and young people, treatment of princes locked in cages. We teach them ever "this world is our enemy."

We transform into human beings suspicious, without trust, hating anyone outside their race.

And we do this in the name of "patriotism."

You know the latest scandal on the agenda, named "Sary Gelin.

In schools it has been shown in videos telling children that "The Armenians were the Turks." An incredible effort to produce a generation of "Enemies of Armenian."

You killed more than a million Armenians, you remove all traces of Armenians in Anatolia, you plundered their property and above all, you watch videos of children saying this is what "the Armenians have done."

Almost all those who live outside Turkey are experiencing the events of the Armenians.

They know that the leaders of Union and Progress have practiced genocide in a way deliberately. They know the suffering endured by the Armenians.

The Turks are the only ones not knowing the truth. Now imagine what they will feel when these children grow up learning that "The Armenians killed Turks, will face the truth known and known by the world. They will believe that the whole world and that ment the world is the enemy of their race, namely their enemy.

We the children away from the rest of the world while they are still so young.

We cut their links with their past. We dynamitons bridges could be built between young people and all mankind, even before they are built.

So we go crazy in raising with lies, locked in a cage fictitious.

It was discovered that this bizarre (CVAN Note: the spread of DVD Sari Gelin denial) was the work of the General Staff.

The DVD entitled "Gelin Sary" was distributed to schools by the staff, and without preventing the Ministry of Education.

The generals know everything of course, better than everyone else: they believe that preparing young people hating the world and ignoring the truth, can only be beneficial for the future of Turkey.

They distort a generation according to their beliefs. When these children are adults, we are long gone.
They will live in a different world.
In a world where all truths emerge.
And we will leave as their legacy, our follies.
Do we have the right to do that? No.

But the Staff is not concerned about things like law, history, truth. All it wants is the image of 'Young Turk' he had in his head, and tries to paste all children with this image. God be praised, the scandal erupted and the Minister of Education said they have stopped the spread of video in schools (CVAN Note: This ad has unfortunately not been implemented).

Of course, our concern about education is not limited to the staff.
There are also our teachers.
In Kayseri, the president of the teachers' union E?itimi-Sen, has circulated the 'Helva' to 'Hitler' (CVAN Note: that Hitler's soul rest in peace).

This man, admirer of Hitler, is at the head of a body of teachers.

Since it is the president, many teachers supporting this man, living in our country. These people admire Hitler.

And they teach their children this admiration, racism, fascism.
In which country in the world can we find a similar group of teachers admirers of Hitler?

In which country in the world, let there be teaching people that go that far in fascism in their admiration of up to Hitler?

In which country in the world, can we entrust the education of children to admirers of Hitler?
Where can we tolerate the fascism enters an education so poignant?
Look at these two that go together.

L'Etat-Major and the group of teachers: enemies of the Armenians, they combine their forces and try to prepare a youth racist and admirer of Hitler.

And they arrived at their goal, what will happen?
In thirty years in the world of that time, how will these children live?
How are these children going to govern this country with their "mental world"?
Everyone will become a prince mad.

He will think that everyone wants to do murder. If the world offered him a throne, it feels good for fear he will think it is evil, a threat and he will refuse.

In an age where communication is going at such speed, that the movement is so developed, how can children live with ideas so bizarre in their heads and with such beliefs? How will they share the happiness and well-being they deserve?

And now, we condemn them to loneliness and unhappiness. Whatever the outcome of municipal elections ... (CVAN Note: this is the news in Turkey, there are municipal elections soon). Anyone who is in power ...

As long as we make our children fools, this country can not have a future ...

Us to destroy both our children and our future. And we did this in the name of 'patriotism and Turkish identity.

In my opinion, before children, we must educate our generals and our teachers. We have to explain that the Turkish identity, and fascism or racism, is something quite distinct. Otherwise, when our children will become adults and go see the world, they will scream like crazy "I do not want happiness."
(Ahmet Altan) - 19.02.2009 Turkish translation of the SC for the Collectif VAN - 11 March 2009

Scandal: Presence of an Armenian delegation to Erzerum in ceremonies of the "liberation" 16 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
A curious event took place during the celebration of 91st anniversary of the liberation of Erzurum in Turkey. Waiting for a ski race as part of the cut Palandoken with other athletes from 20 different countries, Armenian athletes participated in the march with the flag of their country.

The ceremony for the "liberation" began with the filing of a wreath at Ataturk monument in the district of Havuzbasi 9:00. Health Minister Akdag Recek, Governor Sami Bulut, Ahmet Kucukler Mayor, the Commander of the 9th Corps Lieutenant General Tevfik Ozkilic, members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), representing Erzurum Muzaffer Gulyurt, Muhyettin Aksak, Fazilet Dagci Ciglik, Abrahim Kavaz, and other citizens Erzurum attended the ceremony held in the Avenue Hastaneler.

In his speech the Mayor Ahmet Kucukler said "the people of Erzurum feels the pain of inhuman events that arrived on 12 March 1918. The number of Muslims who were massacred in this holy city has reached 50,000 in three months. Ago graveyards of martyrs in Alaca and Yanikdere before us as a living museum. Those who mention the alleged Armenian genocide should be aware that it has traces of the murders committed by Armenian gangs. hurlons Again we in this world. We have put a signature on this land with our blood and our lives. "

Speaking after the mayor, the Minister of Health Recep Akdag said "We are celebrating the 91st anniversary of our city with sacred celebration. I believe that these celebrations are not just for the people of Erzurum but this is done on behalf of our nation as a whole. The sun has reappeared in Erzurum warmed the whole country over time. "

After the speeches, soldiers, veterans, students, athletes from 20 countries came to Turkey participated in a walk. The flags of different countries that included the flag of Armenia have been worn by girls in folk dresses. After the flags several athletes from different countries have followed.


Armenia: A Tyranny to be Kept Isolated by Turkey on Poor Human Rights Record
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
March 15, 2009
- If Turkey should be further democratized and harmonized with Europe, then why should Turkey open its borders to Armenia - a criminal tyranny denounced as such by the HRW in a lengthy and devastating Report?

In five earlier articles entitled "Turkey´s Ongoing Colonization: Only Reason for Recognizing Racist Armenian Tyranny" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94451), "Devastating HRW on Armenian Tyranny Imposes Cancellation of the Gul – Erdogan Pro-Armenian Policy" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94453), "Recognition of the Armenian Tyranny by Ankara Equals Colonization of Turkey by Freemasonic EU – US" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94492), "Turkish – Armenian Rapprochement to Be Linked on Human Rights Conditions´ Improvement in Armenia" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94496), and "Turkey Cannot Open Its Borders to the Heinous, Rancorous Tyranny of Armenia" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94498), I republished parts of the devastating HRW Report (the HRW Press Release issued on the occasion of the Report publication a few days ago, the Contents, the Summary, the Methodology, the Background, the 2008 Presidential Elections, and parts of the chapter on the Post-Election Protests and Violence).

I called for a master coup against the unrepresentative Erdogan gang of high traitors, freemasons and besotted pseudo-Islamists, who implement the Anti-Turkish colonial agenda of England and France; in fact, the colonial powers imposed on the Freemasonic pupils Gul and Erdogan the Turkish – Armenian rapprochement.

In the present article, I republish further parts of the HRW Report´s chapter on the Post-Election Protests and Violence. In forthcoming articles, I will republish the remaining parts of the devastating HRW Report on the Armenian Tyranny.

V. The Post-Election Protests and Violence
http://www.hrw.org/en/node/80933/section/7

Demonstrators gather near the French embassy
As news spread about the morning's violence and the de facto house arrest of Ter-Petrossian, other people started making their way to Freedom Square, only to find it closed off by a police cordon. Police were ordering people away. Two eyewitnesses described separately to Human Rights Watch how police attacked, beat, and detained groups of 20 to 30 people who attempted to gather near the square.[75]

Unable to assemble on Freedom Square, many people started to gather near the Alexander Miasnikyan monument on Grigor Lusavorich Street, about 15 minutes walk across the city center from Freedom Square. The monument faces a large open area in front of the new Yerevan City Hall, with the French embassy on the adjacent corner. The Italian and Russian embassies are also in the vicinity.

The number of people assembling at this location grew very fast. Anahit Bakhshyan, a member of parliament from the opposition Heritage Party, told Human Rights Watch that when she arrived there at around 10:30 a.m. she saw fewer than 100 protestors, but in just 20 minutes the entire street became packed.[76] Protestors initially were divided into two groups, those gathered in front of the French embassy and those across the road at the Miasnikyan monument, with police standing in between and preventing them joining up.[77] Bakhshyan, together with other women, made a line between police and the protestors, trying to calm the angry crowd. She told Human Rights Watch:

Police allowed me to use their loudspeaker to address the protestors, calling for calm. Some people threw stones at police. We managed to calm people down a bit … Police threatened to beat people up unless they dispersed. One young man objected to them, saying that they had no right to beat the protestors. As soon as he said that, a policeman hit him with a truncheon on his head and he fell down. We tried to help him and drag him away, but police also were pulling on him and they managed to take him away.[78]

The protestors started setting up barricades of motor vehicles.[79] As one participant, Gevorg. G., a 28-year-old painter, explained to Human Rights Watch, "We were expecting police to attack, and unlike in the morning we wanted to be more prepared for it. We made barricades at Grigor Lusavorich Street, by stopping buses and trolley buses and mini vans … and then using them to barricade."[80]

Lack of accurate information about the earlier police operation at Freedom Square contributed to numerous rumors about possible casualties and heightened feelings among the demonstrators. As Gevorg G. explained to Human Rights Watch, "There were rumors floating around about a 12-year-old girl having been killed during the police attack in the morning. People were just furious about it and wanted to be more prepared if police attacked again."[81] (This rumor was untrue: there were no fatalities during the events at Freedom Square.)

Negotiations and police withdrawal
Around 11:30 a.m. other opposition leaders arrived near the French embassy.[82] Estimates vary widely as to the number of protestors gathered by then, but they were at least many thousands.[83] David Shahnazaryan and Levon Zourabyan, close Ter-Petrossian associates, led negotiations with police officials Alexander Affyan, deputy police chief and Ashot Giziryan, head of the 6th Department, on changing the venue for the spontaneous rally that was already in progress. The police offered to allow the demonstration to continue at the Dinamo football stadium, but the protest leaders rejected this; according to Anahit Bakhshyan, "we were afraid it would be too easy to entrap people there and beat them."[84]

According to Zourabyan, the police seemed genuinely engaged in negotiating a new venue and in deescalating the situation, and even provided a car for him to travel to Levon Ter-Petrossian's residence to talk to him about a possible new venue for the rally.[85] The police offered to move the demonstration to a venue in front of Matenadaran, the museum of ancient manuscripts in downtown Yerevan, a venue frequently used for political meetings. They allowed David Shahnazaryan to address the crowd through a police loudhailer at 1 p.m., to announce that the police would withdraw soon to allow the crowd to move to Matenadaran.[86] Believing that they had agreement that police would leave and people would move on, at around 2 p.m. police began withdrawing, allowing the two groups of protestors to come together.[87]

Deputy police chief Mahtesyan told Human Rights Watch that Nikol Pashnyan, an opposition leader and member of Ter-Petrossian's pre-election campaign, broke the deal, calling for people to stay put.[88] However, eyewitnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch claimed that people did not want to leave as they felt more secure at the present location, as roads were barricaded and the venue was close to several foreign embassies, and also that they wanted to see Ter-Petrossian first.[89]

As police withdrew, an incident occurred that led to the first violence at the afternoon demonstration. A police car with three policemen inside drove into people at high speed, injuring at least two protestors; two witnesses who recounted the incident to us believed that the driver lost control of the car in panic at being among the last police to leave the scene.[90] The incident further infuriated the protestors, who attacked the police car and set it on fire, while the policemen escaped.[91]

A group of mostly young protestors began throwing stones at a group of about 50 policemen outside Yerevan City Hall.[92] Recounting the episode to us, Stepan S., a 35-year-old doctor, noted, "The crowd did not look like the crowd that had been demonstrating peacefully for 10 days. People were furious."[93] Another group of protestors tried to protect the policemen by forming a line between the sides. Heritage party MP Armen Martirosyan, who also tried to calm people down and protect the police officers, was stabbed in the stomach by a member of the crowd.[94] The police retreated inside the building.

In a statement issued by Heritage on March 1, the party blamed what it alleged were government agents acting as "provocateurs" inside the crowd for the incident:

An unfortunate incident did take place today, however, when a group of provocateurs tried to attack a high ranking police officer. Their effortswere hindered by Heritage party member and parliamentarian Armen Martirosyan. As a result, Mr. Martirosyan was stabbed and hospitalized in the third hospital, where he received immediate and urgent care. It is interesting to note that before the stabbing, one of the members of the group had yelled out "This is the deputy who asked a question to Serj [Sargsyan]." It is evident that these provocations are well planned and that, if repeated, they will present a serious threat. We once again call upon the peaceful rally participants to restrain from responding to any such incitements.[95]

The authorities have investigated the stabbing of Martirosyan together with other aspects of the March 1 events, but according to Martirosyan they have not identified any suspects, as far as he knows. The investigation has granted him status as an aggrieved party in a case against seven alleged organizers (see Chapter VI), something which Martirosyan has unsuccessfully tried to have rescinded.[96]

Demonstrators prepare for police attack
There were two construction sites near City Hall. Gevorg G. told Human Rights Watch:

We went into the construction sites and collected the iron and wooden bars. We did not destroy anything, but collected loose iron bars from there. Some also collected stuff from the nearby parks…. We were expecting to be attacked and wanted to be better prepared for it.[97]

Gevorg G. also said that demonstrators broke closed-circuit television security surveillance cameras in front of City Hall.[98]

Vigen V. told Human Rights Watch:
People were getting makeshift weapons from a construction site. Almost everyone was under the impression that the protestors were violently dispersed in the morning and there were rumors about several deaths. People were very angry. They wanted to see the leader, but we heard on the radio that Levon Ter-Petrossian was under house arrest.[99]

During this time police was not making any calls to the protestors to disperse.[100]

Around 5 p.m. loudspeaker equipment was brought to the rally (opposition leaders had been attempting to address the crowd before this with a loudhailer, but their attempts had been largely inaudible).[101] The leaders called for the gathered demonstrators to stay calm and not to provoke the police. At the same time, however, calls to build further barricades to prevent police from attacking were also made.[102] People were shouting "Levon! Levon!" and demanded his appearance.

Police build-up, evening of March 1
Towards the end of the day journalists and demonstrators saw police and other security personnel regrouping in parts of the city center close to where the demonstrators were gathered, notably in the vicinity of Republic Square and Mashtots Avenue, and on Leo and Paronyan streets.[103] A journalist who attempted to drive through Republic Square around 9 p.m. told Human Rights Watch:

The whole of Republic Square was packed with military and police. I could see them holding shields, but could not see weapons. It was getting dark already. I counted three armored troop carriers by the government building. I also saw six-seven buses and several lorries full of military.[104]

Violent clashes and police use of force
At the Miasnikyan monument, a rally continued until around 3 a.m. on March 2. An aggressive police action to disperse the crowd began at around 9:30 p.m. on March 1, and was met with stone throwing and even petrol bombs from the side of the demonstrators. After that, the police retreated and left the large crowd alone. A smaller group of demonstrators, however, engaged in a violent confrontation with police and security forces. It was in this context that most of the fatalities occurred.

Tracer bullets and police attack
Multiple witnesses told Human Rights Watch that shortly after 9 p.m., without prior warning, police started shooting tracer bullets in the air, apparently intending to intimidate the demonstrators and make them disperse. A first episode of tracer fire lasted about 10-15 minutes.[105] Half an hour later, police in riot gear began approaching from the direction of Leo and Paronyan streets. Organized in four to five rows, they advanced toward the demonstrators, accompanied by the second episode of tracer fire.

One witness who was on Shahumyan Square, just behind the Miasnikyan monument, told Human Rights Watch, "I could see the sky full of tracer bullets, shining in red lights. The intense fire lasted for at least 10 minutes and I saw the police advancing in several lines, beating truncheons on the shields and making loud noises."[106]

Whether the police were supported by other security personnel is unclear. Two witnesses stated that military personnel accompanied police, but their accounts differ substantially: Gurgen G. said the first three to four rows of approaching security forces were young military conscripts, followed by riot police shooting the tracer bullets,[107] while Arevik A., observing from her balcony as the forces got into formation on Paronyan street, described police forming into four to five rows, and military personnel lining up behind them.[108] Speaking to Human Rights Watch, deputy police chief Ararat Mahtesyan, denied that any military units participated in the operation until the state of emergency was decreed by the president at 10:30 p.m.[109] According to him, only riot police and regular police were deployed until then.[110] The head of the Special Investigative Group, Vahagn Harutyunyan, suggested to Human Rights Watch that the belief that the military was involved earlier might stem from the fact that military conscripts, sometimes wearing military uniforms, also serve in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.[111]

Numerous witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described in similar terms the sequence of ensuing events. Security forces were making short advances towards the demonstrators. According to witness Gevorg G., the painter, twice police made short advances and then stopped. The third time, however, they "advanced for real, attacking the demonstrators."[112]

Grizelda Kazaryan, 58, and her daughter Gayane Kazaryan, 24, were trying to leave the rally around that time, as Gayane felt sick, and there was a friend's apartment nearby where they could rest. Their departure coincided with a police advance. Grizelda Kazaryan told Human Rights Watch:

We were in between the security forces and the demonstrators. They were in blue and green uniforms. Some of them had iron shields. We tried to talk to them, asking "why are you doing this?", begging them to stop. One of them in a mask came to me and hit me with a truncheon in the stomach. It was very painful.[113]

The women retreated back to the rally. The advancing police started to press the crowd back toward the monument. Gayane Kazaryan told Human Rights Watch:

Men in white helmets attacked us. We were trying to find shelter in the apartment building entrances. I saw my mom trying to get inside one as she was hit with a truncheon on her head and fell down.[114]

Grizelda Kazaryan recounted to Human Rights Watch:
I got a blow from the back and I fell down. They continued to beat me with a truncheon and also kicked me on the head, shoulder, and back. Momentarily I lost a sense of reality; I could not understand where I was and what was happening. I felt dizzy and wanted to throw up.[115]

When Grizelda regained consciousness she saw four or five officers grab her daughter, shouting, "We should beat this whore!"[116] Gayane told Human Rights Watch that as she fell down police continued to assault her, kicking her on the face, back, and legs.[117] Eventually, mother and daughter were saved by a security official, who recognized them, dragged them into a building entrance, and locked the door behind them.[118]

At the time when Human Rights Watch interviewed her, Gayane still had numerous bruises, including on the shoulder, right arm, legs, and back. She had difficulty sitting upright and was confined to bed. Grizelda herself was diagnosed with concussion and required eight stitches on her head. Human Rights Watch interviewed another person who witnessed the entire incident and corroborated the account.[119]

According to Gevorg G., when the police fired teargas "that's when we started to fight back. We hid behind cars and buses and threw stones in return. Some also threw Molotov cocktails made of petrol."[120]

Another protestor who was in a part of the crowd standing near the Russian embassy told Human Rights Watch:
Internal troops came and without any warning attacked the demonstrators. I stood in the middle of the protestors. … When the police were approaching, demonstrators first retreated toward the trolley buses which were used to barricade off the main demonstration site. But then we realized that we could not retreat any further as behind stood our mothers, sisters and brothers… I did not see who threw the first stone, but stones were thrown from both sides. We collected stones from the sidewalks, broke them into pieces and used them to throw at police.[121]

A journalist observing the events described to Human Rights Watch what she saw:
I had a feeling that they [security forces] were going to kill us all. I was terrified and ran back through Proshyan Street. People were throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. They intended to slow down the approaching police.[122]

Although Human Rights Watch was not able to determine under what exact circumstances the first casualties took place, the resistance from demonstrators intensified when at least one of the protestors was shot. A witness described to Human Rights Watch that around 9 p.m. he saw a man get shot in the leg near the Russian embassy as the police were retreating, but he could not elaborate the exact circumstances of the incident.[123] Possibly describing the same incident, another witness told Human Rights Watch that she saw a man in his forties with an apparent gunshot wound to his leg: "I could actually see the hole in his left leg. It was bleeding and his pants were covered in blood."[124] Human Rights Watch was not able to obtain additional information about those casualties and their fate.

Gevorg G. described to Human Rights Watch how a group of 10-15 young men took the fight to the police, chanting "Struggle, Struggle, Struggle to the End!"[125]

Faced with this level of resistance, police retreated, but a small part of the crowd-one witness said around 100 people-pursued them, continuing to attack them.[126] According to Gevorg G., police attempted to block the street with razor wire, "but [the barrier] did not prevent the people. It was simply pushed aside." A lorry carrying razor wire was set on fire.[127] Witness Gurgen G. described to Human Rights Watch seeing five police vehicles burning and a civilian car turned upside down as a result of the first clashes.[128]

Gevorg G., stressed that most others stayed near the barricades. Some had the feeling that "it was over, we won," he said.[129]

Clash between police and demonstrators near Kentron police station
Police regrouped north of the demonstration site at the junction of Paronyan and Leo streets, several meters away from an arch that leads to the Kentron (central district) police station.[130] According to Stepan S., 40, high-ranking police (as evident from their uniforms and epaulettes) were at the arch from the time of the police advance on the crowd,[131] which suggests that operations were being directed, or at least officially observed, from there.

This witness, and another interviewed separately by Human Rights Watch, gave similar descriptions of the ensuing clashes between police and demonstrators who advanced on them. Stepan S. was in the archway and observed from the ground. The other, Arevik A., observed the events from a balcony overlooking the junction.[132] At least three other witnesses corroborated parts of the two accounts.[133]

About 15 to 20 meters away from the police line stood several dozen mostly young demonstrators, chanting "Levon, Levon!" and throwing stones at police.[134] The protestors were not armed, but collected stones from the sidewalks and broke them into pieces. Some also had iron and wooden sticks.[135] Both witnesses described to Human Rights Watch that without any advance warning, police used teargas against the protestors. Arevik A., told Human Rights Watch:

I heard some kind of an explosion on the crossroad of Paronyan Street and Mashtots Avenue. I could see a big cloud of smoke rising from the spot and soon it became hard to breathe. It did not burn my eyes, but it became impossible to breathe and I started choking and had to run inside.[136]

Stepan S. also felt the teargas effects while standing inside the arch when he had to run inside the yard together with the police.[137] Both witnesses told Human Rights Watch that tracer bullets were shot by military standing behind the three to four rows of riot police.[138]

Some protestors attempted to ram an unmanned car into the police line. Stepan S. told Human Rights Watch:
I saw an Ural type car driving towards the police line, but there was no driver inside. The car stopped in the middle. Security forces immediately opened intense fire from submachine guns at the car. I saw a young man was trying to get into the car, but then police used teargas and I had to run inside the yard to get fresh air.… When I came back the shooting was over and I saw a dead body next to the car. Another young man, apparently his friend, was crying for help.[139]

Stepan S. ran to help. The man on the ground was about 40, slightly bald, and wearing a black coat; his head and neck were covered in blood. Stepan S. helped to carry the body to the sidewalk, where somebody checked for a pulse and said the man was already dead.[140]

Arevik A. saw a minivan with about 15 young protestors drive toward the police lines. Police opened fire on it, bringing it to a stop, and those inside the minivan fled (the witness did not report seeing whether any of them had been injured).[141]

Stepan S. also described to Human Rights Watch how, around 10 p.m., a police officer stepped from beneath the arch, pointed his Makarov pistol in the direction of protestors a few meters away who were throwing stones, and fired six shots, apparently randomly. Stepan S. did not see whether anyone was hit.[142]

Arevik A. saw one man shot dead, and another shot in the leg, as they walked toward police lines:
I saw two young men together coming from Mashtots Avenue and when they approached the crossroads I heard a shot and one of them fell on the ground. The other of the two started crying that he was killed. Then a policeman who stood under the arch came and kicked the body, but he was told by others not to do that as he was already dead. Four-five minutes later the other guy was shot in the leg as well and he fell down. He was picked up by others and put into a Zhiguli and taken away.[143]

Stepan S. described to Human Rights Watch how four policemen dragged a wounded protestor into the arch and beat him with truncheons until he was unconscious.[144] Arevik A. also saw how about six officers attacked three young men who approached the lines from the direction of the main demonstration:

Policemen hit one boy with truncheons on his legs. He buckled over with pain and then police made him lie down on the ground and started kicking him and beating him with truncheons. He was then picked up and put into a police car and taken away.[145]

The clashes were over by midnight. As one witness told Human Rights Watch, "The crossroad and nearby streets resembled a battlefield."[146] On the other hand, the main demonstration in front of the Miasnikyan monument with about four or five thousand protestors continued and stayed peaceful.[147] It appears that the majority had no idea about the series of clashes that had taken place a block north at the crossroads. When a witness of the events went to the leaders asking if they knew what was happing on the other side of the barricades, the opposition leaders told her that police was shooting, but just to scare them.[148] The protestors at the main demonstration dispersed around 2-3 a.m. after Levon Ter-Petrossian addressed them by phone, asking them to do so in order to avert greater casualties.[149]

Notes
75] Human Rights Watch telephone interviews with Lala L. and Zhanna Z., March 1, 2008.
76] Human Rights Watch interview with Anahit Bakhshyan, MP, Heritage Party, Yerevan, March 26, 2008.
77] Ibid.; Human Rights Watch interviews with Levon Zourabyan, Yerevan, March 12,; and David Shahnazaryan, Yerevan, March 28, 2008.
78] Human Rights Watch interview with Anahit Bakhshian, Yerevan, March 26, 2008.
79] Ibid.; Human Rights Watch interview with Gohar Veziryan, journalist, Chorrord Ishkhanutyun, Yerevan, March 26, 2008.
80] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., Yerevan, March 27, 2008.
81] Ibid.
82] Human Rights Watch interview with David Shahnazaryan, Yerevan, March 28, 2008.
83] Deputy Police Chief told Human Rights Watch that there were about 7,000 people gathered at the Miasnikyan monument. Human Rights Watch interview with Ararat Mahtesyan, March 28, 2008. David Shahnazaryan, an opposition leader and Levon Ter-Petrossian's close associate, put the number of protestors at 100,000. Human Rights Watch interview with David Shahnazaryan, March 28, 2008.
84] Human Rights Watch interview with Anahit Bakhshyan, Yerevan, March 26, 2008.
85] Human Rights Watch interview with Levon Zourabyan, Yerevan, March 12, 2008.
86] Human Rights Watch interviews with with Levon Zourabyan, March 12; and David Shahnazaryan, March 28, 2008.
87] Ibid.; Human Rights Watch interview with Ararat Mahtesyan, March 28, 2008.
88] Human Rights Watch interview with Ararat Mahtesyan, March 28, 2008.
89] Human Rights Watch interview with Tsovinar Nazaryan, freelance journalist, Yerevan, March 26; Levon Zourabyan, March 12; and Lala L, March 1, 2008.
90] Human Rights Watch interviews with Anahit Bakhshyan and Tsovinar Nazaryan, March 26, 2008.
91] Human Rights Watch interviews with Stepan S., Yerevan, March 27; Levon Zourabyan, March 12; Tsovinar Nazaryan, March 26; and Anahit Bakhshyan, March 26, 2008.
92] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 26, 2008.
93] Ibid. A journalist who was present told Human Rights Watch that even though the two people taken to hospital after being hit by the car were announced to the crowd as not being seriously hurt, absent proper loudspeaker equipment few could hear this, and rumors took hold that there had been fatalities. Human Rights Watch interview with Tsovinar Nazaryan, March 26, 2008.
94] Human Rights Watch interview with Anahit Bakhshyan, March 26, 2008.
95] "Heritage Supplementary Statement," Heritage party press release, March 1, 2008, http://www.heritage.am/pr/010308-1.htm (accessed September 18, 2007). Human Rights Watch cannot comment on the veracity of Heritage's claim that "provacateurs" were present.
96] Human Rights Watch interview with Armen Martirosyan, Yerevan, January 14, 2009.
97] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., March 27, 2008.
98] Ibid.
99] Human Rights Watch interview with Vigen V., Yerevan, March 29, 2008.
100] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., March 27, 2008 and Human Rights Watch interview with Vigen V., Yerevan, March 29, 2008.
101] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 26, 2008. Human Rights Watch interviews with David Matevossyan, March 23; and Gohar Veziryan, March 26, 2008.
102] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 26, 2008.
103] Human Rights Watch interviews with Gohar Veziryan, March 26; Tsovinar Nazaryan, March 26, and Gevorg G., March 27; 2008.
104] Human Rights Watch interview with Gohar Veziryan, March 26, 2008. The head of the Special Investigative Group, Vahagn Harutyunyan, insisted to Human Rights Watch no military forces had been involved before the declaration of the state of emergency. He explained that the police had, however, requested and used military vehicles borrowed from the military because of a shortage of vehicles. Human Rights Watch interview with Vahagn Harutyunyan, January 15, 2009.
105] Human Rights Watch interview with David Shahnazaryan, March 28, 2008.
106] Human Rights Watch interview with Gohar Veziryan, March 26, 2008.
107] Human Rights Watch interview with Gurgen G., Yerevan, March 26, 2008.
108] Human Rights Watch interview with Arevik A., Yerevan, March 29, 2008.
109] Human Rights Watch interview with Ararat Mahtesyan, March 28, 2008.
110] Ibid.
111] Human Rights Watch interview with Vahagn Harutyunyan, January 15, 2009. In also insisting to Human Rights Watch that no military forces had been involved before the declaration of the state of emergency, Harutyunyan explained that the police had, however, requested and used military vehicles borrowed from the military because of a shortage of vehicles.
112] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., March 27, 2008.
113] Human Rights Watch interview with Grizelda Kazaryan, Yerevan, March 11, 2008.
114] Human Rights Watch interview with Gayane Kazaryan, Yerevan, March 11, 2008.
115] Human Rights Watch interview with Grizelda Kazaryan, March 11, 2008.
116] Ibid.
117] Human Rights Watch interview with Gayane Kazaryan, March 11, 2008.
118] Human Rights Watch interview with Grizelda and Gayane Kazaryan, March 11, 2008.
119] Human Rights Watch interview with Tatevik T., Yerevan, March 29, 2008.
120] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., March 27, 2008.
121] Human Rights Watch interview with Gurgen G., March 26, 2008.
122] Human Rights Watch interview with Gohar Veziryan, March 26, 2008.
123] Human Rights Watch interview with Vigen V., Yerevan, March 29, 2008.
124] Human Rights Watch interview with Gohar Veziryan, March 26, 2008.
125] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., March 27, 2008.
126] Human Rights Watch interviews with Gurgen G., March 26; and Gevorg G., March 27, 2008.
127] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., March 27, 2008.
128] Human Rights Watch interview with Gurgen G., March 26, 2008.
129] Human Rights Watch interview with Gevorg G., March 27, 2008.
130] Human Rights Watch interview with Ararat Mahtesyan, March 28, 2008.
131] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 27, 2008.
132] Human Rights Watch inspected the scene and confirmed that Arevik A. would have had an unobstructed view of the events from his balcony.
133] Human Rights Watch interviews with Grizelda and Gayane Kazaryan, March 11; and Tatevik T., March 29, 2008.
134] Ibid., and Human Rights Watch interview with Arevik A., March 29, 2008.
135] Ibid.
136] Human Rights Watch interview with Arevik A., March 29, 2008.
137] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 27, 2008.
138]Â Ibid., and Human Rights Watch interview with Arevik A., March 29, 2008. Tracer bullets are modified to accept a small pyrotechnic charge in their base, which ignites upon firing and burns very brightly, making the projectile visible to the naked eye.
139] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 27, 2008.
140] Ibid.
141] Human Rights Watch interview with Arevik A., March 29, 2008.
142] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 27, 2008.
143] Human Rights Watch interview with Arevik A., March 29, 2008.
144] Human Rights Watch interview with Stepan S., March 27, 2008.
145] Human Rights Watch interview with Arevik A., March 29, 2008.
146] Human Rights Watch interview with Gohar Veziryan, March 26, 2008.
147] Human Rights Watch interview with David Matevosyan, March 27, 2008;
148] Human Rights Watch interview with Gohar Veziryan, March 26, 2008
149] Human Rights Watch interviews with David Matevossyan, March 27; and Levon Ter-Petrossian, March 29, 2008.

Note
Picture: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Karabakh, and the illegally occupied by Armenia Azerbaijani territories. A state oppressing its own populations has great chances to fast become a destabilizing factor in regional and global politics. From:

www.eu-russiacentre.org/news/nagornokarabakh-yerevan-accuses-baku-breaching-promises.html
www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/94504




Private Record Of One Of Armenian Genocide Instigators Made Public 14.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ A handwritten black book that belonged to Mehmet Talaat Pasha, the Ottoman minister of interior in 1915, was published in facsimile form in the end of 2008. It is probably the single most important document ever uncovered describing the destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915`17. The Black Book draws on Ottoman sources no longer available to answer many questions about what those sources showed.

Looking through the Sifre Kalemi or cipher telegram collection at the Prime Ministry Archives in Istanbul some years ago, I was struck by the number of telegrams in 1915 from Talaat Pasha ordering the deportation of individual communities, inquiring about the state of convoys, and giving instructions for further deportations. What emerged was a picture of a ruler obsessed with the progress of his signature program. Much of the responses to Talaat's inquiries were not available. What the Black Book does is to summarize the data he collected. Ottoman archives

Turkish state intellectuals in recent years have insisted that the 1915 deportations of Ottoman Armenians were not part of a genocidal exercise, but an orderly population transfer and resettlement. They have insisted that Ottoman archives in Turkey today support their contention. Yet, between them, they have only managed to cite an amalgam of official deportation and resettlement regulations, certain reports related to deportations, and no substantial account of what actually happened to deportees.

Indeed, no historian working in Turkish archives has managed to present a coherent picture of the deportation and resettlement of Armenians from any region in the Ottoman Empire based on Ottoman records. This is because Ottoman records do not support the official Turkish thesis on the Armenian Genocide.

While there is broad agreement between Turkish archives and other sources that thousands of Armenians were removed from their homes in 1915, there is no solid account of what happened to these deportees in Ottoman records. However, foreign archives, such as the consular records of the United States, give a better qualitative assessment of actual developments than the available Ottoman documentation.

This absence of Ottoman records could seem perplexing, because according to Ottoman regulations, Ottoman officials had to keep detailed records of the deportation of Armenians, as well as an inventory of their properties, as well as details of the final settlement of the people concerned. The total absence of such registers in Turkish archives today is therefore remarkable.

The recent facsimile publication of Talaat Pasha's Black Book may well answer many questions with the authority of Ottoman records. At 77 pages, the book includes a substantial section on the deportation of Armenians in 1915`17. The book and its content were never disclosed in Talaat's lifetime, including in his posthumous memoirs published in 1921. After his assassination in 1921, the book was kept by his widow and given to the Turkish historian Murat Bardakçi in 1982. Mr. Bardakçi made parts of the booklet public in Hürriyet newspaper in 2005. The full account was not published until the end of 2008.

The significance of the Black Book lies in the authority of the owner, the fact that its content was drawn from Ottoman administrative records no longer available to historians in Turkey, and the actual data that it gives about the deportation of Armenians. Neither the book nor the data it yields bear clear dates, though Mr. Bardakçi thinks that the figures refer to 1915`1916 ` though I think that could be the end of 1916 or even the beginning of 1917.

The data presented in this book can be considered to be a view of the Armenian Genocide from the perspective of the state. This state perspective still needs to be evaluated critically, which I am doing in a separate study. The purpose of this article is to introduce the core data that informed Talaat Pasha about the actual state of Armenians.

The statistics regarding the destruction of Armenians in the Black Book are enumerated in four categories covering 29 regions (vilayets and sanjaks) of the Ottoman Empire.

The Armenian Reporter Talaat Pasha's Black Book Published: March 14, 2009 Engaging Turkey
President Barack Obama will be visiting Turkey shortly. He is expected to attend the April 6-8 Istanbul summit of the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative launched recently by Spain and Turkey with the blessing of the United Nations.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Turkey last week as part of a trip to Europe and the Middle East.

The two visits in short succession so early in Mr. Obama's tenure are an indication of the Obama administration's welcome commitment to mending frayed alliances in general and reaching out to majority-Muslim countries in particular. They also indicate how important the Obama administration considers Turkey for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some, including people in our community, will be concerned about these visits, seeing a vigorous U.S.-Turkey relationship as a negative thing. Despite the many positive aspects of a strong U.S.-Turkey relationship and the potential benefits to the both the United States and Armenia, many feel that Turkey is not deserving. Certainly, Turkey is among the U.S. allies with a troublesome track record - both in terms of human rights and in terms of reliability as an ally. And for Armenia and Armenians, Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide, its land blockade, its military alliance with Azerbaijan, and its complete solidarity with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh not-so-frozen conflict warrant our highest concern and vigilance. Nevertheless, we are favorably inclined toward engagement with Turkey. Such engagement makes it possible to raise difficult issues, urge constructive action, and see a relationship to go through a tough patch without unraveling.

Since Mr. Obama's visit will probably take place just a couple of weeks before April 24, the question inevitably arises: will the Turkish authorities be successful in persuading the president to avoid acknowledging the Genocide this April 24?

The answer is, not necessarily.

As it happens, the State Department issued its annual country-by-country report on human rights only two weeks before Mrs. Clinton arrived in Turkey. The report criticized Turkey's human rights record, as it should have. Turkey's laws and practices on ethnic and religious minorities do not meet democratic standards. Not surprisingly, anti-minority intolerance is endemic. Did pointing out such deficiencies weaken the U.S.-Turkey relationship? Not at all. Indeed, Mrs. Clinton's presence gave the Turkish authorities an opportunity to complain about the report, and it gave Mrs. Clinton a chance to reiterate the concerns raised in it.

The U.S.-Turkey relationship too will survive U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.

Turkey's leaders are trying to persuade President Obama to not to acknowledge the events of 1915-17 as a genocide this April 24. They are not confident that they will succeed. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on March 8 he still saw "a risk" of U.S. affirmation of the genocide. "Mr. Obama made the promise five times in a row," he noted.

We wish Mr. Obama success in his trip to Turkey. Meanwhile, with his given his willingness to address difficult issues head on instead of sidestepping them, Mr. Obama can and should speak clearly and unequivocally about the Armenian Genocide.

The proportion of the Armenian population deported and missing in 1917 according to Interior Minister Talaat Pasha's Black Book is shown in black. For a larger map, www.reporter.am/pdfs/Black-Book.pdf . [Adobe Acrobat Reader required. © 2009 Ara Sarafian Talaat Pasha's Black Book documents his campaign of race extermination, 1915`17 A handwritten black book that belonged to Mehmet Talaat Pasha, the Ottoman minister of interior in 1915, was published in facsimile form in the end of 2008. It is probably the single most important document ever uncovered describing the destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915`17. The Black Book draws on Ottoman sources no longer available to answer many questions about what those sources showed. Historian Ara Sarafian studies the document.


A Genocide, A Turkish Apology And An Armenian Thank You By Dr Armen Gakavian Published in Garoon Monthly, Sydney, March 2009
In December 2008, a group of Turkish intellectuals published the following apology:

"My conscience does not accept the insensitivity shown to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe [Medz Yeghern] 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."

This brave and moving statement was posted at http://www.ozurdiliyoruz.com, and the accompanying petition has now been signed by over 30,000 Turks around the world. Some Armenians have criticized this apology as inadequate because it does not mention the word "Genocide". Others see it as a way for Turkey to wriggle its way out of a full state apology and compensation. I understand the concerns but am more interested in the opportunities. This Turkish apology is an important step in the right direction, and has put yet another dent in the Turkish "wall of silence". And I personally know of many Turks who have signed the petition because they cannot stand by and let injustice continue.

In response to this Turkish apology I, the grandchild of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, wanted to acknowledge the hand that was being extended by Turks of good conscience, and reply with gratitude. I also wanted to take the opportunity to remind the reader of the need for a Turkish state acknowledgment. I therefore prepared a draft response for discussion among my Armenian friends and colleagues, with the hope that it might turn into an Armenian petition.

A Turkish newspaper, Radikal Daily, found out about this initiative and I agreed to an online interview. In my interview, I warmly welcomed the Turkish initiative. I also emphasised that the apology is only the beginning, and that there needs to be a Turkish state apology, followed by corrective action. I wrote:

"The sincerity of a Turkish state apology will be measured by what steps are then taken to reverse, as much as possible, the consequences of the crime committed."

My interview was published in full on 1st February 2009. Unfortunately, the editor's introduction and accompanying column gave the impression that my draft reply to the Turkish apology was the work of an organized group of Armenians, and that an Armenian "counter-apology" was soon to be released. Both claims were incorrect, the result of a misunderstanding. Other Turkish and Armenian newspapers then reported me as saying that the Armenians should apologise to the Turks; however I never stated such a thing.

What I did state in the interview was my personal view that all terrorist acts and other killings (apart from acts of self-defense) committed were morally unjustifiable and therefore regrettable, and that this principle also applies to Armenians. My view on this is in line with universal Christian teaching and modern international law.

However, I also made it clear that any Armenian acts of violence "cannot compare to the attempted annihilation of an entire nation", adding that:

"If I were the Turkish state, I would see an apology as an excellent way of restoring the dignity lost through decades of denial."

Emails I have received from a number of Turks who read my interview indicate that my overall message - welcoming the Turkish apology and calling for Turkish state acknowledgement - was not lost on those whose "conscience does not accept the insensitivity shown to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915."

There are a growing number of Turks who want to deal with their nation's dark past - a past that has engulfed both the Armenian and Turkish nations in its tragic fury. These Turks form a small, young, fragile but rapidly growing movement. We need to reach out to these Turks, and walk together with them on the path of truth. But we cannot do so from behind the wall of self-protection, defensiveness, prejudice and hatred.

Since the murder of Hrant Dink, I have had the privilege of meeting several Turkish students and graduates in Sydney. I consider some of them my good friends. We have spent many hours discussing the Genocide and other terrible events of the past, the ongoing denial of those events by the Turkish government, and how we can create a just and peaceful future. And, in May 2008, I had the privilege of speaking to a classroom of over 30 Turkish university students and academics in Istanbul about Armenian-Turkish relations and the Armenian Genocide.

We are at a crucial moment in the history of Armenian-Turkish relations. More than ever, it is important for the two nations to engage with each other at both the political and grassroots level. We must continue the twin struggle for recognition and reconciliation. We cannot have one without the other. Everyone - governments, political parties, community groups, religious groups and individuals - must get involved.

"My conscience refuses" . to stand by and watch, when so many Turks are asking the hard questions and making brave choices. They are risking their lives and deserve our support.


Turkey May Establish Relations With Armenia To Gain Time To Settle `Genocide' Problem In Future: ExpertsAzerbaijan, Baku, March 12 /Trend News, E. Tariverdiyeva/

Turkey may establish the relations with Armenia without agreement of the 'genocide' problem, so that to gain time for more successful resolution of the problem in the future, experts believe.

"Having de-facto multi polar economic relations, Turkey and Armenia will more likely to postpone the genocide problem in order to use the present chance and to settle challenges de jure," Azerbaijani expert Tofig Abbasov said.

Settling the Armenian-Turkish ties can not run into doubt the fact of "genocide" of the Armenians, said Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian delivering a speech at the International Diplomatic Academy in France.

Turkey and Armenia is trying to normalize relations, which were interrupted in 1993. Turkish President Abdullah Gul accepted the proposal of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to visit Armenia to attend the football match between Armenia and Turkey on Sept. 6 last year. After this visit the sides are continuing diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between the two countries.

The reasons for the diplomatic gap in 1993 were Yerevan's anti Turkish campaign-related to claims of the Armenians to recognise the so-called "genocide", as well as occupation of 20 per cent territories of Azerbaijan and territorial claims in the Turkish Anatolia.

Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor the Ottoman Empire has committed genocide against Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915. Armenians want this fact to be recognized and enhancing the promotion of the so-called "genocide" in the world. Some parliaments have already recognized the genocide. The Armenian lobby is expected to enhance its activity in other parliaments, especially in the U.S. Congress due to the anniversary of the "genocide".

On the eve of the U.S. President's visit to Turkey, scheduled for April, four congressmen sent a letter to Barack Obama. The letter urged Obama to retain commitment to the recognition of "genocide" of Armenians in 1915.

According to political scientists, Turkey may establish relations with Armenia without a final agreement on the "genocide", but only in order to gain time to successfully tackle this problem in the future.

The discussion of Armenian "genocide" in the U.S. is a subject to blackmail and pressure on Turkey, as the recognition of this issue will be a blow to Turkey's foreign policy, said Turkish political scientist Sinan Ogan.

"Turkey can improve relations with Armenia without preliminary agreement on the "genocide" in order to solve this problem in the future. For Turkey it will be easier to agree with a partner," Turksam Center for Strategic Studies Director Ogan told Trend News

According to Abbasov, Turkey has advantage and is able to block the "genocide" issue. Then, Armenia will have to agree. Yerevan does not have an alternative, he said.

"Armenia does not posses the potential to dictate conditions to Turkey on stage-by-stage settlement of problems, including the "genocide", Media-Holding Lider Analytical Group expert Abbasov told Trend News.

Even if there would be favorable prerequisites for tackling of the issue, it will be pushed shut. The "genocide" issue is too tough and protracted and for this reason it can not find a rapid resolution," Abbasov added.

According to Armenian political scientist Tevan Pogosian, there are two different issues historical truth and the problem of relations between the two countries which are neighbours and need to improve the relationship for the sake of future prosperity and peaceful coexistence with each other.

"I do not think that one issue could be a problem to solve another," Armenian International Social Development Centre Pogosian told Trend News.

Armenia stated repeatedly that it was ready to improve the relations and establish diplomatic ties without any preliminary terms.

'The improvement of relations with Turkey is a matter of the future and the genocide problem is a matter of the past," Pogosian added.

R.Hafizoglu and D.Ibrahimov contributed in the article.


Armenian FM Nalbandyan: Nothing Can Question Fact Of Armenian Genocide12.03.2009
Yerevan (Yerkir) - Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan lectured at the French Diplomacy Academy on March 10 with a speech entitled "South Caucasus: The Reality and Future." Politicians, diplomats, experts and journalists attended the lecture.

Speaking on the Artsakh conflict, Nalbandyan said that while the wounds of the war launched by Azerbaijan have not healed yet Baku is provoking a new war. Nalbandyan spoke about the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement and paid attention to the belligerent and non-constructive policy of Azerbaijan. The Armenian FM said Azerbaijan has been circulating documents at the UN which not only negatively affect the negotiation process but also aim to justify possible use of force.

Nalbandyan also talked about normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations in his speech. According to him the solution process of the problems between Armenia and Turkey could not question the fact of the Armenian Genocide. "If Armenia and Turkey have a political will and sincere intentions to normalize the relations, no factor could prevent it," he said.

Armenian FM said the "crucial" meeting of Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Abdullah Gul in Yerevan gave a new momentum to the negotiations and is in the interests of the two states and peoples. According to the minister, the negotiations are aimed not only at normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations but also assumed a serious contribution to assure regional security and stability.


Turkish Foreign Policy Repairing The Bridge Mar 12th 2009 | ANKARA AND TEHRAN The Economist, The Diplomatic Benefits Of An Undiplomatic Outburst

WHEN Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a panel discussion with Israel's President Shimon Peres in Davos last January, denouncing Israel's offensive in Gaza and quoting the sixth commandment `Thou shalt not kill', many wondered whether he had just demolished Turkey's position as the bridge between the Jews and the Arabs, and between the West and the Islamic world.

He certainly won plaudits among many Muslims, not least Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yet his outburst'and the rancour against America and Europe that many Turks now express'seem not to have done him any harm with the administration of Barack Obama. On the contrary, at a time when America wants to reach out to the Muslim world, Mr Erdogan's popularity may be useful.

After visiting London, Brussels and Prague next month, Mr Obama will travel to Turkey, keeping a pledge to visit a Muslim country in his first 100 days. Delighted Turkish officials see favourable omens: they say it will be the first time an American president has visited Turkey without also making an obligatory visit to its rival, Greece. They interpret Mr Obama's decision to visit as part of a European tour, rather than a Middle Eastern one, as confirmation of Turkey's importance in NATO and a message of American support for Turkey's wish to join the European Union.

One senior official spoke of a new `golden era' in Turkish-American relations, with co-operation on a host of issues: the Arab-Israeli dispute; opening a dialogue between America and Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear programme; stabilising Iraq as American forces leave; and opening energy pipelines through the Caucasus.

Perhaps the most important of these issues is Iran. This week Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, in Tehran for a regional economic summit, met the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It was the first time the leader of a NATO member state had been given such an audience, said Mr Gul's entourage. Iranian leaders listened as Mr Gul, who recently met the American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, urged Iran to take up an American olive branch. Mrs Clinton said Iran would be invited to a meeting in The Hague later this month of Afghanistan's neighbours and countries contributing troops to the NATO-led stabilisation mission there.

Still, Turkish officials are holding back their hopes of an early breakthrough between America and Iran. It is hard for `an iceberg to melt overnight', says one. America will probably not want to move until after Iran's presidential elections in June. It fears that a quick thaw would strengthen the hardline Mr Ahmadinejad, who could claim that his policy of nuclear defiance had succeeded in forcing America to deal with Iran on its own terms. Until then, Turkey hopes America will restrain the incoming Israeli government from turning up hostile rhetoric against Iran, or from trying to attack its nuclear facilities.

Iran, for its part, told Turkey it wants more confidence-building steps from Washington. In public, it shows little sign of softening. Mr Ahmadinejad dismissed Turkey's mediation. Mr Khamenei said America had made `big mistakes' in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza. `The American government is continuing the same previous path and there is no sign of efforts to make up for the mistakes,' he said.

Turkey wants to highlight Mr Erdogan's other moves: helping repair Syria's relations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and pushing for reconciliation between the two Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. Turkey also claims to have played a part in bringing together the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. `Obama knows that,' says Mr Gul.

As Europe frets about the reliability of oil and gas supplies from Russia'a dispute with Ukraine in January left much of eastern and central Europe freezing'Turkey's position as the alternative route for energy supplies through Georgia should enhance its standing. This fragile corridor would be strengthened if Turkey were to succeed in another ambition: a grand bargain to resolve border disputes involving Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.


What message should Obama deliver in Turkey? Today's Zaman, March 12 2009, by Emre Uslu & Önder Aytaç*
When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that President Barack Obama would visit Turkey, most Turkish political observers were caught by surprise.

However, conventional wisdom suggests that the possibility of Obama's visit to Turkey was in fact always there. In one of Emre Uslu's earlier analyses about the Obama administration's approach to Turkey, which appeared in The Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor, the following facts were underlined:

"With Barack Obama, almost everyone, from the prime minister down to the man in the street, is ready to open a new chapter in Turkish-US relations. They do, however, have some concerns as well. They want to know how he will handle the Armenian claims of genocide and whether he will continue to support Turkish efforts to curb Kurdish separatist terror activities. Given the fact that Obama's inaugural messages were warmly welcomed in a Muslim country like Turkey, where anti-Americanism was on the rise, it would perhaps be a wise step for Obama to visit Turkey in his early days in office to reinforce his positive position toward the Muslim world." (Eurasia Daily Monitor, Jan. 21)

Since not only Turks but most people in the Muslim world will be closely watching what Obama says in Turkey, it is critical for Obama to come to Turkey with a message that grasps the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. Unlike many political observers who think that vital American interests in the Muslim world deeply contradict the values of Muslim societies and that lead to anti-Americanism in this region, I believe that there is a medium in which Obama could deliver a message that could address the basic needs of Muslim societies in this part of the world, while at the same time helping America maintain its vital interests.

One way to deliver such a message is to draw a parallel between the foundation of the United States, which is not based on ethnic or religious exclusionism or any ideology but principles that value human rights, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and democratic values, and the foundation of Islam, which advocates human dignity, does not permit killing, allows women to participate in activities in society and other things that complement Islam. Drawing a parallel between the values that lie at the foundation of the US and the foundation of Islam will easily grasp the hearts and minds of the majority in the Muslim world.

One of the problems of the Middle East is that tyrants of the region have long been manipulating their own people to maintain power. More importantly, ethical principles and the understanding of human dignity in this part of the world are very closely associated with Islam. In other words, there is almost no "secular ethic" in this part of the world. Because the society's ethical principles are so closely associated with Islam, any opposition group that emerges in this part of the world, in one way or another, has to refer to Islamic values because they are part of the social genes. Thus, the Obama administration should understand why successful opposition groups use Islamic references in their stance against the tyrants of the Middle East.

Second, Obama should realize that democracy in this part of the world is still vulnerable and that leaders, including military and civilian leaders, could easily manipulate it. Also, the lack of institutions, a civil society and interconnectedness with the democratic world slowed down the process of a flourishing democracy in this region. Thus, instead of putting too much emphasis on bringing democracy to the region (the Bush administration made this mistake), Obama should underline the issue of promoting civil society and institutions that reinforce the democratic culture as well as the reform process in the region.

Related to this, the Obama administration should know that one of the reasons the Bush administration lost the support of Turks in general and some circles in particular is because such circles in Turkey that do not want the current government in power used their traditional ties in the US, which include military and diplomatic connections (a general went to Washington and stated that there was a possibility of a military coup in Turkey), to topple the democratically elected government and received the support of at least the former vice president.

The Obama administration should be aware of the fact that ideas in Turkish and Middle Eastern societies are not developed in "public spheres" and then circulated by the mainstream media; rather, ideas are developed in "community valleys" (religious networks, liberal intellectual circles, Alevi communities, neo-nationalist circles and Kemalist plazas) and circulated by word of mouth and by media outlets. Whenever one or more ideas come from an alternative "community valley" and undermines the dominant idea, a "clash of ideas" occurs. These days, Turkey is witnessing such a trend and the dominant idea, which was empowered by the powerful state bureaucracy, was undermined by an alternative idea(s) that was promoted by religious networks, Alevi communities and liberal intellectual circles, making Turkey a "zone of confrontation" between the idea of supporting "democracy" and the idea of supporting a "hypocrisy" that has long claimed to be supportive of democratic values but, upon losing power, tried everything to bring the old regime back.

Knowing that such is the fabric of this society, Obama should come with a message that encourages nothing but democracy in which every idea should be discussed freely and without fear of powerful security institutions and the government in power.

All in all, Obama should understand the fabric of this society, where ideas are developed by "clique" circles that have a great deal of influence. Targeting those segments of society in his message is very critical for the US if he wishes to reduce anti-Americanism in Turkey. Once Obama gains the confidence of those "community valleys," or "cliques," deep state-run clandestine public campaigns meant to increase anti-Americanism and harm the current government in the eyes of its most critical ally will not work forever. This will not only normalize US-Turkish relations but also normalize Turkish democracy.

*Emre Uslu is an analyst working with The Jamestown Foundation, a Washington-based think tank. Önder Aytaç is an associate professor at Gazi University's department of communications and works with the Security Studies Institute in Ankara.
12 March 2009, Zaman


Omnibus Bill Maintains Military Aid Parity To Armenia And Azerbaijan; Increases Aid To Nagorno Karabagh
-- FY2009 Aid Package includes $48 Million in Economic Aid to Armenia - Double the Bush Administration's Request but Still $10 Million Short of Last Year's Level

WASHINGTON, DC - The 2009 Appropriations bill, signed into law by President Obama earlier this week once again maintained military aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and included $48 million in assistance to Armenia and another $8 million for Nagorno Karabagh, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"We would like to thank Chairwoman Lowey, Chairman Leahy, and all the supporters of Armenian American concerns on their two panels for reaffirming military aid parity, approving a robust aid package for Nagorno Karabagh, and doubling the Bush Administration's patently insufficient $24 million aid request for Armenia," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "We look forward, in the coming year, with a new Administration in the White House, to working with our Congressional friends to restore U.S. aid to a level commensurate with actual needs in Armenia, the many challenges she faces in the region, and the scope of the growing U.S.-Armenia relationship."

The FY09 Armenia appropriation of $48 million is twice the amount proposed by the Bush Administration, which consistently sought to reduce U.S. support for Armenia, but still $10 million (17%) less than the actual FY08 allocation, and $22 million (31%) short of the $70 million proposed by the Armenian Caucus.

The Congress, in rejecting the Bush Administration's final attempt to break the military aid parity agreement it reached with Congress in 2001, set Foreign Military Financing levels for both Armenia and Azerbaijan at $3 million.

The $8 million aid figure for Nagorno Karabagh reflects the U.S. House's version of the foreign aid bill, crafted under the leadership of Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, and represents a historic high-water mark in direct U.S. support for this program.

Among the strongest supporters of Armenian American concerns on the Senate foreign aid panel are Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Republican Judd Gregg (R-NH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Arlen Specter (R-PA). In the House, supporters include Chairwoman Nita Lowey, full Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Mark Kirk (R-IL), Steve Israel (D-NY), Jesse Jackson (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (R-MN), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), and Adam Schiff (D-CA)
#####
Third Annual Anca / Genocide Intervention Network Capitol Hill Advocacy Days Set For April 22-24, 2009
-- Drive to "End the Cycle of Genocide" Takes on Added Urgency with Emerging Turkey-Sudan "Axis of Genocide"

WASHINGTON, DC - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net) have teamed up, once again, for the third annual Capitol Hill advocacy campaign to encourage Congressional action to end the cycle of genocide.

The three-day program, titled, "End the Cycle of Genocide: Grassroots Capitol Campaign," will take place from April 22nd-April 24th, coinciding this year with the actual date of worldwide commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. The effort will kick off with a special breakfast briefing on the morning of April 22nd and will be followed by three days of Congressional visits to encourage U.S. action to stop the genocide in Darfur, to support the adoption of the soon-to-be-introduced Armenian Genocide Resolution, and, more broadly, to strengthen U.S. resolve to act against all instances of genocide.

"The Grassroots Capitol Campaign is an important opportunity for anti-genocide activists to demand that their elected officials take action to end the cycle of genocide," said Genocide Intervention Network Executive Director Mark Hanis. "Now more than ever, with the escalating tide of violence in affected regions around the world, we need to ensure that ending mass atrocities is a priority for Congress."

The multi-faceted program will coincide with the annual Armenian Genocide Observance on Capitol Hill, organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, in the historic Canon Caucus Room on April 22nd. On April 24th, interested participants are invited to join in the annual protest outside the Turkish Embassy urging the Turkish Government to deal honestly with its past and end its campaign of genocide denial.

The End the Cycle of Genocide: Grassroots Capitol Campaign is one of the nationwide array of anti-genocide activities planned during the April 2009, Genocide Prevention Month. This effort is organized by the Genocide Prevention Project, which was "founded in the Fall of 2008 to build the public will to call on the international community to take meaningful actions when 'early warning' indicators signal possible onset of mass-scale atrocity crimes, and to mobilize resources to avert or halt such ongoing crises and protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes." A full list of the group's anti-genocide activities may be viewed at www.genocidepreventionmonth.org

"This April, as the world commemorates the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides - in fact all genocides - it is imperative to send a clear message to our elected officials that genocide and its denial cannot be tolerated," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Clear action in the face of genocide - by the Administration and Congress - is essential if we are to give real meaning to "never again."


Turkish Minister Of Justice Does Not Permit Baskin Oran & Ibrahim Kaboglu Trial Under Article 301 13 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews

The Turkish Minister of Justice Mehmet Ali Sahin has not given his permission for the continuation of the former chairman of the Committee on Human Rights of the Prime Minister Dr. Ibrahim Kaboglu and former chairman of the Sub-Committee on Minorities Professor Baskin Oran under section 301. The Turkish Minister of Justice Mehmet Ali Sahin has not given his permission for the continuation of the former chairman of the Committee on Human Rights of the Prime Minister Dr. Ibrahim Kaboglu and former chairman of the Sub-Committee on Minorities Professor Baskin Oran under section 301 .

Prof. Dr. Kaboglu and Professor Oran facing charges of incitement to hatred and hostility among people under Article 216 and insulting the Turkish nation under Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code for writing up their report on "cultural rights of minorities." Prof. Kaboglu and Professor Dr. Oran facing charges of incitement to hatred and hostility among people under Article 216 and insulting the Turkish nation under Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code for writing up their report on "cultural rights of minorities." The First Ankara Criminal Court No. 28 were acquitted of charges under section 216 and has dropped the accsations under section 301. The First Ankara Criminal Court No. 28 were acquitted of charges under section 216 and has dropped the accsations under section 301. The High Court stated that the Department should first take a decision on the case. The High Court stated that the Department should first take a decision on the case. The ministry refused to give his permission for a trial under Article 301. The ministry refused to give his permission for a trial under Article 301.


State Departments' View On Hillary Clinton's Turkey Visit, 13 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
QUESTION: why has that Mrs. Clinton announced the Obama trip to Ankara next month for the first time in Turkish-American history at a bilateral level? QUESTION: why has that Mrs.. Clinton announced the Obama trip to Ankara next month for the first time in Turkish-American history at a bilateral level?

Mr. WOOD: Well, I think it is quite significant that the President - President Obama to go to Turkey. Mr. WOOD: Well, I think it is quite significant that the President - President Obama to go to Turkey. They are developing the details of this visit. They are developing the details of this visit. But Turkey is an important ally and there are many cases to deal with Turkey and we believe it is significant that the President has decided to go. But Turkey is an important ally and there are many cases to deal with Turkey and we believe it is significant that the President has decided to go.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton she discussed the issue of Armenian genocide with the Turks? QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton she discussed the issue of Armenian genocide with the Turks?

Mr. WOOD: Well, see, this issue was certainly a topic that was discussed, but I will not go into details of the discussion. Mr. WOOD: Well, see, this issue was certainly a topic that was discussed, but I will not go into details of the discussion.


Denialism In Perversion By Edmond Y. Azadian
While the Turkish government has been trying to convince the European Union and US leaders that Turkish-Armenian relations have been improving, the same authorities are initiating a new campaign to deny the Genocide and not only to add new fuel to the denialists fire, but also to go a step further and actually represent the victims of the Genocide as its perpetrators. Only the perverted Turkish Government machinery can concoct such a monstrous design. This time around, the culprits are not right-wing extremists, but the government itself. This is how the Turkish public opinion is shaped and then when the hour of truth arrives, the Turkish officials use the pretext that the government cannot take bold actions, because Turkish public opinion has to be a consideration a public opinion which had been distorted and shaped with the news and commentaries fabricated by the very same authorities.

Recently, the Armenian community in Turkey became the target of such a perverted action by the government. Indeed the High Command of Turkeys military forces had commissioned the making of a documentary, titled "Sari Gelin," with the subtitle "The Truth about Armenian Allegations."

Before going any further, we have to note that the Turkish army controls all aspects of life in that country. The unelected army brass has given itself a mission to defend the principles of Ataturk and the Turkish constitution. Under that guise, the army has full control of all phases of society, including politics and education. Elections are held only to demonstrate to the West that Turkey is the only Muslim country which practices democracy. But in case the elected officials veer from the militarys charted course, the army leaders intervene (mostly with a coup) to "restore" Ataturks principles. That very same military brass has sent the movie to the Ministry of Education, which in turn has forwarded it to all the schools including the Armenian schools. The Ministry of Education has also sent accompanying instructions that the movie must be shown to the students and that a report should be filed with the ministry, signed by the principals.

The movie contains atrocious scenes, where supposedly Armenians are murdering Turks. The directors of the movie have not realized that even high school students have enough common sense to ask how could a defenseless minority commit such crimes at the time, when the big guns were in the hands of the Turkish state? They might ask what weapons the Armenians would use, since all their weapons, including crude knives, had been confiscated by the authorities.

The viciousness of this project lies in the fact that they are not only preaching to the majority-Turkish population, but also to Armenian students, whom they want to intimidate and in whom they want to create self-hate and doubt. Some of the Armenian parents have even questioned the impact of such a movie on 12 million Turkish students. The critics have expressed the fear that the movie can inflame latent hatred among the larger populations towards the Armenians.

This kind of cynical action indicates that Turkish mentality has never changed over the centuries. In the past, the Ottoman Government used to snatch the healthiest children from Christian families, indoctrinate them with Muslim fanaticism and conscript them in the Jeniseri Army, which became the most ferocious force persecuting the minorities. This very same diabolic intent is behind this project: to turn the Armenian youth against their own identity.

The movie has touched raw nerves in the Armenian community and the Turkish news media, triggering a hot controversy. Many newspapers reacted negatively to the governments rash decision. The newspapers Taraf, Radikal and Milliyet severely criticized the government action. They were joined by the teachers union and an influential organization called TARIH VAKFI.Emboldened by the media reactions, the Armenian community took a courageous stand. On February 16, all the principals of the Armenian schools, the Patriarchates representatives and several lawyers convened at the Nazar Shirinoglu Hall in Ferikoy to discuss the issue and to take an appropriate stand. In a defiant mood, the educators gathered and decided unanimously to challenge the Ministry of Educations order and to resort to legal action, in case the ministry decided to mete out punitive measures.

In the meantime, 500 Armenian citizens signed an appeal, which was sent to the Prime Minister Erdogan, asking him to rescind the ministrys order.

Istanbul Armenians are usually known to be docile and peaceful community, shying away from any controversy. Therefore, this sort of rash and brutal policy, has led to the creation of political awareness and courage in the community. In the face of the rising tide of protest, the ministry has backed down, issuing an announcement that the movie was not intended for the students, but was sent to the teachers as an extra educational material. Of course, the original orders indicated otherwise.

The denialism is a tool in the hands of the Turkish government. They seem to have determined to continue denialism to the very bitter end. For Armenians in Turkey and around the world it is an uphill battle against the denialists policy of the Turkish government. But the wall of silence is cracking, paving the way for the Turkish government to abandon denialism and to opt for a more honest and honorable policy. That, of course, cannot happen until the Turkish public is properly educated.

Once again, this was a cynical attempt to doing the very obvious, which generated more reaction than the Turkish government had anticipated.

AZG DAILY #44, 13-03-2009


Armenian Genocide Recognition A Priority: Letter To President Obama Prior To Planned Trip To Turkey, 12.03.2009
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), joined by Representative George Radanovich (R-CA) and the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), sent a letter to President Barack Obama thanking him for his strong record in support of Genocide affirmation and urging him to remain steadfast in his commitment. The letter comes after a recent announcement that President Obama plans to visit Turkey next month, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

"During your upcoming trip to Turkey," the letter reads, "and in discussions with your advisors over how to commemorate the events of 1915-1923, you will doubtless be counseled by some to continue the practice of avoiding the truth in favor of short-term political expediency. We do not minimize Ankara's threats of adverse action when you recognize the genocide, or when Congress takes action to formally recognize the genocide, but we believe that our alliance is strong enough to withstand the truth."

The letter also recalls President Obama's record on the issue and how he has "demonstrated time and again [his] understanding of the importance to Armenian-Americans of formal American recognition of the crime that was committed against their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents." Adding that "their pain is not unlike that of American Jews, who live each day with the memory of the Holocaust... Whether it is today's Sudanese government or yesterday's Ottoman Empire, the perpetrators of genocide, as well as the victims, must know that the United States will not shrink from confronting the truth."

"President Obama's upcoming trip to Turkey presents a unique opportunity to address the consequences of genocide and its denial. We, therefore, applaud the initiative of Representatives Schiff, Radanovich, Pallone and Kirk," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

The full text of the letter is presented below:

“Dear Mr. President,
As we approach the upcoming 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, we want to thank you for the courage you have always shown in characterizing properly the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 as genocide. No president in the postwar era has come into office with a stronger understanding of the historic facts of the genocide, or with a greater track record of speaking plainly on this terrible chapter in the past.

As a United States Senator, your record on the Armenian Genocide was clear and unequivocal. In 2005 and 2006 you joined many of your colleagues in asking President Bush to refer to the slaughter of Armenians as genocide, noting that “[i]t is in the best interests of our nation and the entire global community to remember the past and learn from these crimes against humanity to ensure that they are never repeated.”

In 2006 you wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the wake of the recall from Yerevan of Ambassador John Evans for using the term “genocide” to describe the events of 1915-23. In your letter you described the official U.S. position on the genocide as “untenable” and reminded the Secretary that “the occurrence of the Armenian genocide in 1915 is not an %u218allegation,' a %u218personal opinion,' or a %u218point of view.' Supported by overwhelming evidence, it is a widely documented fact.”

In questions submitted to Ambassador-designate Marie Yovanovich last year, you pressed her on the issue of genocide recognition, specifically asking her what steps she would take to recognize the genocide and what actions the Department of State was undertaking to press for Turkish recognition of the crimes committed by their Ottoman forebears. Last April, in a statement printed in the Congressional Record, you pledged to “continue to push for the acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide.”

As a presidential candidate, you were also forthright in discussing your support for genocide recognition, saying that “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides.” We agree with you completely.

During your upcoming trip to Turkey and in discussions with your advisors over how to commemorate the events of 1915-23, you will doubtless be counseled by some to continue the practice of avoiding the truth in favor of short-term political expediency. We do not minimize Ankara's threats of adverse action when you recognize the genocide, or when Congress takes action to formally recognize the genocide, but we believe that our alliance is strong enough to withstand the truth.

Elie Wiesel has described the denial of genocide as the final stage of genocide 's a double killing. Sadly, our nation's foreign policy has, for too long, abetted this denial. As you told Secretary Rice in your letter about the sacking of Ambassador Evans, “when State Department instructions are such that an ambassador must engage in strained reasoning 's or even outright falsehood 's that defies a common sense interpretation of events in order to follow orders, then it is time to revisit the State Department's policy guidance on that issue.”

Mr. President, you have demonstrated time and again your understanding of the importance to Armenian-Americans of formal American recognition of the crime that was committed against their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Their pain is not unlike that of American Jews, who live each day with the memory of the Holocaust, and African-Americans, whose view of themselves has been colored by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. But, of course, the importance of speaking unequivocally about a matter as grave as genocide is a human rights imperative affecting us all. Whether it is today's Sudanese government or yesterday's Ottoman Empire, the perpetrators of genocide, as well as the victims, must know that the United States will not shrink from confronting the truth."
© 2003-2009 Public Radio of Armenia


Obama In Turkey: Another Missed Opportunity? by Robert Spencer , 03/12/2009
President Obama’s coming trip to Turkey will not feature his first “major speech” in a Muslim nation. But, as Secretary of State Clinton explained, the trip was “a reflection of the value we place on our friendship with Turkey.” She spelled out the substantive reasons for that friendship: “We share a commitment to democracy, a secular constitution, respect for religious freedom and belief and in free market and a sense of global responsibility.”

For Obama to stand for those things in the Islamic world would be good. But does Turkey?

For decades, Turkey has been a cornerstone of NATO, essential to the defense of Europe and America’s most underrated ally. But that stature and our relationship have eroded.

Compared to the Turkey of the 1970s and 1980s, today’s Turkey is far less committed to democracy and secular government.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), while Mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Turkish secularism: “If the people want it,” he declared, “of course secularism will go away. You cannot rule this people by force; you don’t have the power to do that. This [i.e. secularism] cannot work in spite of the people.”

And the people, he suggested, wanted Islamic law: “But the fact is that 99% of the people of this country are Muslims. You cannot be both secular and a Muslim! You will either be a Muslim, or secular!...For them to exist together is not a possibility! Therefore, it is not possible for a person who says ‘I am a Muslim’ to go on and say ‘I am secular too.’ And why is that? Because Allah, the creator of the Muslim, has absolute power and rule!”

Erdogan was imprisoned for four months in 1998 for his agitation for the restoration of Islamic law in Turkey: he had declared that “mosques are our barracks, domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, believers our soldiers. This holy army guards my religion. Almighty our journey is our destiny, the end is martyrdom.”

Islam has historically always been a political and social system as well as an individual religious faith. Islamic law, Sharia, is a comprehensive system governing every aspect of individual behavior. It also contains laws for the governance of the state and the ordering of society. If it is imposed in Turkey, women and non-Muslims would be subjugated under a system of institutionalized discrimination; the freedom of conscience and of speech would be restricted; and the relatively Westernized aspects of Turkish society would wither away.

In light of all this, and especially given Clinton’s statement, Obama in Turkey could deliver a ringing defense of secular government -- that is, of the First Amendment principle of non-establishment of religion as being the only workable basis for any genuinely pluralistic society. And given Clinton’s praise for Turkey’s “respect for religious freedom,” Obama could speak out for the rights of the embattled Christian minority in Turkey, which faces increasing harassment with the complicity or indifference of government officials. But will he? Probably not.

In 2005, journalist Sando Magister reported that “apart from lacking legal recognition, in fact, these [Christian] minorities are prevented from constructing, and even from restoring, their places of worship, from possessing buildings and land, and from opening schools. Christians are forbidden from taking up some offices and professions, particularly in the military.” In southeastern Turkey, Muslims are now disputing the centuries-old boundary line of the Mor Gabriel Monastery -- local Christians charge that the dispute is part of a larger pattern of anti-Christian activity that is sanctioned by Turkish officials. Sometimes Christians are also physically threatened: just two weeks ago, a Christian bookstore in southern Turkey was threatened and then twice vandalized by Islamic jihadists.

In earlier talks with Russian representatives and in speaking of coming talks with the Chinese, Clinton has spoken derisively of human rights concerns, saying those issues “can’t interfere” with economic or security matters.

It’s hardly believable that Obama would say different things to the Turks. It is much more likely that he will ignore the attacks on Turkish secularism and the rights of non-Muslims in Turkey and make his address there part of his ongoing attempts to reach out a conciliatory hand to the Islamic world.

Unfortunately, there have not yet been any signs whatever that his conciliatory gestures have been taken as anything but signs of weakness and naivete, and consequently they have been reciprocated only with the contempt and aggressiveness with which oppressors always meet appeasers. Thus Obama’s address in Turkey is, both for the President and for Turks who are concerned about the assaults on Turkish secularism by the Erdogan government, another opportunity missed.

Mr. Spencer is director of Jihad Watch and author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)", "The Truth About Muhammad," and "Stealth Jihad" (all from Regnery -- a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

Reader Comments:
The only thing Obama knows how to do is campaign. I really thought some of those "handlers" would do a better job of advising him. Give the nitwit time, he'll screw this up just like everything else.
Mar 12, 2009
Keith, Far Left Coast
Spencer,
What else can we expect from a anti-Semetic socialist government. Communists hate Jews. American liberal Jews are 'oven ready', cooperating with the Socialists that will eventually destroy them (just like the National Socialists in Germany).

Turkey's Government also persecutes Christian minorities.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, the ACLU allows Sharia Schools to operate without legal challenge in Minnesota, publically funded foot baths, etc. The ACLU also continues its relentless anti-Christian lawsuits everywhere, but Islam and Sharia is untouchable. Beam me up Scotty.

Mar 12, 2009

Obama is a terroist hugging jihadists wet dream....
Mar 12, 2009 Jessie, Milwaukee
Let's really talk Turkey now, and, another missed opp.

We all heard that Al Gore invented the internet. And that computer's are perfect, not like a human that makes many mistakes time and time again. But there's a thin line between a common mistake, and out and out Racketeering Influenced by Corrupt Organizations. Our nation's RINO's and Log Cabin Republicans in Congress and capital hill is filling with nouveau New Dealers and social engineers, men and women with a glint in the eye. All are anticipating the orgies.

And it goes like this folks. If the global economy were a 100-yard dash, the U.S. would start 23 yards behind its closest competitors because of health care that costs too much and delivers too little. Americans spend $2.4 trillion a year on health care. Americans in 2006 spent $1,928 per capita on health care, at least two-and-a-half times more per person than any other advanced country. The United States is 23 points behind five leading economic competitors: Canada, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France. The five nations cover all their citizens, and though their systems differ, in each country the government plays a much larger role than in the U.S. Higher U.S. spending funnels away resources that could be invested elsewhere in the economy, but fails to deliver a healthier work force. Spending more would not be a problem if our health scores were proportionately higher, the U.S. is not getting higher levels of health and quality of care.

It seems that the Republican Congress allows the Rx Companies and Medical Association, to keep their hands in their pocket's, along with their lobbies group, the FDA, and it works like this, a third party study is done on a medication, only the good was reported back to the Rx Company, anyone that died or had a bad reaction to the medication is never reported, then they get their lobbies group the FDA to lobby Congress about this wonderful new drug, that'll cure anything, Congress says ok to it at that time, now the launch starts from the Rx Company, Congress on the other hand has a "ground floor" opportunity to quickly but cheap stock's, with this "insider trader information" and that to is part of their reward, and then you start to see the TV ad's about that drug, and the Doctor's get plenty of free samples to TRY on new patients at a high Doctor Office Visit call. The rest of the reward's come from the Rx Companies to Congress in the form of BIG BUCKS campaigns contributions and a secret stash as well that goes into a offshore account somewhere.

Let me tell you something first about spam, that's something ya'll will be eating when we go into the great depression real soon. Thanks to Rush and "W". Without fully knowing first, and checking fully first, have you ever thought that the "R" in Republican, that someone is using before their name, while running for a seat in "where-ever-ville", might just stand for "Robber", "Racketeer Influenced by Corrupt Organizations", and they are hiding a secret, as they just act as if their just a "grass-root" good ole boy network, of a honest, god loving, anti-abortion, true representative of the conservative movement in America?. That, perhaps is nothing more then a log cabin republican homosexual in the first place, also on drug's.

While you, still wet behind the ears, still in your Huggies, sucking-your-thumb, whiner conservatives, on the young Republican side, from Generation X'ers upward, we are addressing now, that still rant and rave, "it's my money", "it belongs to us", I earned it", "I worked hard for it", look around. And, make up any kind of excuse's you can, that someone other then yourself can think up. you need to know one thing here. Those same Member's of Congress you elected, and, put in that GOP seat, does this with your income tax monies every year. THEY SEND IT OFF TO SOME THIRD WORLD COUNTRY, all of it, and, NONE of it is spent in America. It's what YOU spend in America, on item's that has a tax on it, those monies stay right here. On a City, County, State and Federal level.

Right after the Viet Nam war ended, right then and there on the spot, you all should of demanded Congress and the President to abolish the IRS, not this hogwash of a Kemp flat tax garbage and NAFTA crap to, but the Republican's needed that money to send overseas, to help them out, in their so called compassionate ways, in the name of "the poor children over there and women need it more", and to stuff their pocket's full of it to, for their own pet pork project's here in the form of political favoritisms and pay backs, and to support more bureaucrats and lobbyists, and for more re-election votes, and campaign contributions at their country club outings. That's not the way this here conservative was raised nor brought up, regardless what Rush Limbaugh says or does. Limbaugh will always be nothing more than a marginally talented buffoon who has developed a real talent for manipulating the G-spot of the neocon consciousness and massaging the hate gland of so many economically displaced white voters. You know, crack-heads to will tell you any lie, and make it sound as if it's the truth, with a straight face to, just to make money off of you, to support their habits, and get you to believe it to. Question is, why do ya'll even want to worship this looser?.

Mar 12, 2009
Republican_Secondclass_Citizen , Tampa Bay area - Florida USA
Ok here is the most useless article on the 'net'. Who in the hell cares about this missed opportunity with the economic turmoil America and the world is currently in? This article is bull s$%#t and a filler on this page. Turkey got their own problems to work out just like we do so cut this blog off at 5 and move on.
Mar 12, 2009
Bill G., Atlanta, Ga
Yes, a very useless article indeed.

Turkey remains the most secular Muslim nation in the region. Erdoğan has indeed attempted many re-Islamization laws in the country, all of which have failed.

It remains illegal for women to wear Islamic head-scarves in any government building or university. Anybody who works in the "public sector" also cannot wear head-scarves. Erdoğan tried to change that, but the laws were over-turned.

Just because other Muslim-majority countries are run by nutcases does not mean that the same oppression applies to the Turks. Turkey is a secular, Westernized democracy, and has been since 1923. And yes, they are living proof that one can be a secular and Muslim.

Erdoğan needs to get his clocks fixed.
Mar 12, 2009


“ASALA” Therefore I’m Concerned About My Safety." Stepanyan Said.
Today.Az » Politics » Armenian soldier: "I Call On All Armenian Soldiers To Flee The Country"
12 March 2009
Armenian soldier Paruyr Stepanyan who fled Armenia last year in protest of widespread violence and tyranny in the Armenian Army has gained 24 kg weight, according to ANS Press.

Armenian soldier Paruyr Stepanyan who fled his country in 2008 in protest against widespread violence and tyranny in the Armenian Army has been handed to the third country in accordance with his own will. He said in his interview with ANS TV shortly before his departure that he spent a very pleasant year in Azerbaijan stressing that he did not even feel how the days passed. ?I didn?t quite feel I was an imprisoner thanks to the people dealing with me. They developed a special program for me. I was watching TV and even walking out. I was also provided with plenty of food," Armenian soldier said.

Stepanyan who was only 48-kg in weight now added up to 24 kilos. He now weighs 72 kg. He also sent a message to a newly conscripted Armenian soldiers. ?I call on them to pass to the Azerbaijani territory. I already know how hospitable Azerbaijani people are. They will get here everything they want to. I?m absolutely sure of that,? Stepanyan noted.

"I call on them to flee Armenia. Because they will forcibly be taken to the army and Daqliq Qarabaq. People don?t want to fight. I lived in Armenia myself. I know what is happening in the country. People don?t think about war. All Qarabaq Armenians have gathered in Yerevan. They kill the local Armenians. Because, the leaders of the country are also Qarabaqi Armenians. People perfectly understand that they can?t live in such a country?, he said.

Stepanyan says Armenians should make a decision about their future and should throw their weapons off and return the occupied territories to their true owners. He believes Armenia might develop only after taking that step. He preferred to keep it secret to which country he was going to. ?I regret I can`t answer your question. It is connected with my security. You know that there is a terrorist organization called ?ASALA?. Therefore I?m concerned about my safety." Stepanyan said.
www.today.az/news/politics/51013.html


"Beyond The Genocide, The Great Catastrophe" by Cengiz Aktar 12 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
There was a fair amount of thoughtful reactions in Turkey and abroad about the pardon campaign which was launched on 15 December 2008. The main criticism of the Armenian Diaspora and some researchers and activists pointed out that the Turkish word "genocide" is omitted in the body of the short text.

Developed in the West, the concept of genocide and its meanings are very important not only for Armenians, but also to Western public opinion. For them, the word "genocide" and what it represents goes beyond the dispute, time and space. But I'm not sure that the concept of genocide is adequate to describe fully what happened. To overcome the dilemma I propose to return to a time of horror and how the Armenians themselves have described.

With due respect for the enormous knowledge accumulated through studies of the genocide, I must point that the concept of genocide remains as far as the Armenian Genocide is concerned, limited to the understanding and description of the act as well as victims genocide as executors. The term "Great Catastrophe", which was trained and employed by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire at that time to describe what happened then and we used in the campaign to pardon, however, is more evocative of Events past. In fact the decision of the Committee of Union and Progress to eliminate the Armenians, then one of the oldest in Anatolia, is a disaster that affected permanently the future, not only Armenians but also all other living entities on the same land. Already ravaged by war, Anatolia, who lost his Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, became a piece out of land that has struggled with the disintegration human, economic, social, political and cultural decline.

In this sense, the Armenian Genocide is a common tragedy of Anatolia and even today what is spoken in the villages of Anatolia as part of the old stories is the account of an unprecedented disaster. Again, I am not convinced that the word "genocide" is sufficient to read accurately the consequences of this irrational decision that Anatolia has been submitted. It is inadequate to explain what happened next to the genocide of the Armenians and to confine the historical understanding of this horrific event. The Armenian history was then removed from Anatolia and was revived in the world by the Diaspora. It does not, however, Anatolia after 1915.

Today the gap between the word "genocide", its coldness, its meaning to shudder and "remote" and "privacy" of words like "map" (massacre), disaster, catastrophe or murder on the other, is as deep as the void * in this terrible state of the decision made at Istanbul and the human drama that took place in Anatolia.

In fact so many gray areas remain among the victims of genocide and criminals: so many people including those who had to change their identities to survive, those that have been made indirectly to the victims, those who have saved lives, those that are simply left to bear the consequences of genocide.

The Great Catastrophe is the great disaster for all those people too. Family histories and personal disasters that have been unearthed by historical research reveal the emerging dimensions of the disaster that Anatolia has experienced and witnessed a disaster that will one way or another in - than genocide. In this perspective, the Great Catastrophe means more than genocide. Again in this sense, the recognition of genocide will be punished, the study of the Great Disaster is a virtue paving the way for a new life together.

The discussions began with the campaign to pardon on 15 December 2008 offer a great opportunity for us to learn what happened to the Armenians as well as their neighbors. Similarly, this year is the centenary of the takeover by the military wing of the Union and Progress and consequently the commencement of the special political mentality that continues to keep Turkey in its grip. More centenarians are coming almost every year until 2023 and beyond, we will provide more opportunities to learn and remember the fate of the Armenians, as well as the consequences of this disaster for the common people Anatolia. Justice will prevail when we learn the dimensions of the process that began a hundred years ago and what it has cost us all.
Agos


Book Review : William Saroyan's Where The Bones Go , By Charles Marowitz Swans.com ,March 9 2009
Saroyan, William: Where The Bones Go, edited by Robert Setrakian, The Press at California State University Fresno, 2002, ISBN 0-912201-36-3, 141 pages

William Saroyan was an early love. I discovered him when I was a teenager and the love affair remained hot and heavy for some fifteen years. The bait that I swallowed whole was the short story collection, The Flying Young Man On The Flying Trapeze. It seemed to me that Saroyan was the only writer I had come across who was able to dramatize and decipher the grains of sand that, in some arcane but translatable language, contained all of life's secrets. While other writers wove tales, created suspense, developed, then resolved conflicts, Saroyan seemed to be stubbornly ethereal --communing with a deeper consciousness that bypassed the mundane, and yet often used the mundane as a starting point for revealing life's mysteries.

But when I moved to England, I was razzed by Oxbridge-educated literary friends for admiring such a soppy, sentimental, trivial, and Pollyanna-like writer. My reverence for the enchanting Armenian, I must confess, lapsed as I was wooed away by writers such as Gide, Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, etc. But occasionally, the old love rekindled and I found myself not only re-reading the early works but actually directing the British premiere of Saroyan's The Cave Dwellers and, thrill-of-all thrills, actually corresponding with the holy man himself.

Referring to the dramatists who were nudging him off the pedestal on which he had been placed in the late 1930s and '40s, Saroyan wrote in a letter dated March 29, 1961:

...the time is coming when the greatest dramas will be laughable, parodies almost, to the human race in general. Now the theatre belongs to a kind of specialist who is actually very backward. Tortured plays, tortured audiences; well, when the audiences aren't tortured, as we must presume they shall eventually become, a whole new order of drama has got to come along; Beckett, Ionesco, Adamov, Genet et al are serving that new order well by making the old as sick as it is possible to be an hour or two before death itself. Genius and trauma are the cliché partnership, but there are other partners for genius --but not now, maybe, and that's a little of the reason my stuff can annoy some people terribly. They see all in themselves and around them as sickness and impending death, and they have got to be impatient with anything else...

This, of course, was Saroyan the Outsider speaking, a writer whose plays such as Sam Ego's House and Jim Dandy, Fat Man in a Famine were rejected by the main stream critics who regularly looked back fondly to the early award-winning works like The Time of Your Life and My Heart's In The Highland as freak successes by a writer who obviously was fixated in another period -- another style -- and had little or nothing to say to the Swinging Sixties or beyond. But the gentle, probing, humanistic outlook that enriched those early works could just as readily have been found in the later, rejected plays, if the times hadn't had such a low estimation of their wayward sentimentality.

Where The Bones Go, Saroyan's posthumous prose work, was undertaken in his last years, when he was suffering from prostate cancer and looking death in the eye. The manuscript was uncovered ten years after his death in l981 and represents the work of a man who, having maintained all of his life by assembling words to convey his insights about the human condition, was addicted to writing and used it to sustain what little there remained of his life. To the last breath he took, Saroyan was playfully Saroyanesque, and Where The Bones Go is full of short, terse, whimsical prose that virtually never descends into self-pity. Saroyan's most passionate love affair was with life itself and it sustained him, as he revered it, to the very end of his days.

The book, a fragile l40 pages, masterfully edited by Robert Setrakian, is divided into seven sections, beginning with Saroyan's meditation on death that, of course, plunges him into celebratory memories of life. There are short essays on writing, music, films and theatre, memories of Fresno where he was born and raised and whose influences he never forgot, as well as a section of obituaries in which he recreates people such as Nelson Rockefeller, Charlie Chaplin, Walter White, James Joyce, Leonard Lyons, etc. Everywhere, in each brief flurry of recollection, the Saroyanesque sense of wonder and whimsy shines through, enlivening the most ordinary events and recalling people he knew or wished he had known. There is a touching, vulnerable reverie over a suppressed love for a lovely young understudy in The Time of Your Life and reflections on commonplace subjects such as his weakness for Fig Newtons and stuffed grape leaves.

Everywhere, Saroyan celebrates the ordinary, the inane, the overlooked, and the commonplace -- seeing all of these as elements in a multifarious tapestry, which would be part of our every-day life, if only we had the insight to recognize it. Sprinkled through its pages is the author's impregnable bond with Armenia; an historical rootedness that he can never shake off. It is as if everything that Saroyan was, and every word he ever wrote, was in some way fashioned by those Armenian roots; a land that, although virtually obliterated, Saroyan manages lovingly to recreate.

To someone who loved life as devoutly as Saroyan did, death appears as a hideous atrocity that makes one loathe its inevitability. Once, when asked about his profession, he replied: "My work is writing, but my real work is being." Thankfully, that celebration of "being" permeates every page of Where The Bones Go and, so long as the books, the plays, and the stories survive, Saroyan can be said to have outwitted his nemesis, death.


Turkish Writer Published A Collection Of Documents Belonging To Talat Pasha 10.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ According to a long-hidden document that belonged to the interior minister of the Ottoman Empire, 972,000 Ottoman Armenians disappeared from official population records from 1915 through 1916.

In Turkey, any discussion of what happened to the Ottoman Armenians can bring a storm of public outrage. But since its publication in a book in January, the number--and its Ottoman source--has gone virtually unmentioned. Newspapers hardly wrote about it. Television shows have not discussed it.

`Nothing,' said Murat Bardakci, the Turkish author and columnist who compiled the book.

The silence can mean only one thing, he said: `My numbers are too high for ordinary people. Maybe people aren't ready to talk about it yet.'

For generations, most Turks knew nothing of the details of the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1918, when more than a million Armenians were killed as the Ottoman Turk government purged the population. Turkey locked the ugliest parts of its past out of sight, keeping any mention of the events out of schoolbooks and official narratives in an aggressive campaign of forgetting.

But in the past 10 years, as civil society has flourished here, some parts of Turkish society are now openly questioning the state's version of events. In December, a group of intellectuals circulated a petition that apologized for the denial of the massacres. Some 29,000 people have signed it.

With his book, `The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha,' Mr. Bardakci (pronounced bard-AK-chuh) has become, rather unwillingly, part of this ferment. The book is a collection of documents and records that once belonged to Mehmed Talat, known as Talat Pasha, the primary architect of the Armenian deportations.

The documents, given to Mr. Bardakci by Mr. Talat's widow, Hayriye, before she died in 1983, include lists of population figures. Before 1915, 1,256,000 Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire, according to the documents. The number plunged to 284,157 two years later, Mr. Bardakci said.

To the untrained ear, it is simply a sad statistic. But anyone familiar with the issue knows the numbers are in fierce dispute. Turkey has never acknowledged a specific number of deportees or deaths. On Sunday, Turkey's foreign minister warned that President Obama might set back relations if he recognized the massacre of Armenians as genocide before his visit to Turkey next month.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was bloody, the Turkish argument goes, and those who died were victims of that chaos.

Mr. Bardakci subscribes to that view. The figures, he said, do not indicate the number of dead, only a result of the decline in the Armenian population after deportation. He strongly disagrees that the massacres amounted to a genocide, and he says Turkey was obliged to take action against Armenians because they were openly supporting Russia in its war against the Ottoman Empire.

`It was not a Nazi policy or a Holocaust,' he said. `These were very dark times. It was a very difficult decision. But deportation was the outcome of some very bloody events. It was necessary for the government to deport the Armenian population.'

This argument is rejected by most scholars, who believe that the small number of Armenian rebels were not a serious threat to the Ottoman Empire, and that the policy was more the product of the perception that the Armenians, non-Muslims and therefore considered untrustworthy, were a problem population.

Hilmar Kaiser, a historian and expert on the Armenian genocide, said the records published in the book were conclusive proof from the Ottoman authority itself that it had pursued a calculated policy to eliminate the Armenians. `You have suddenly on one page confirmation of the numbers,' he said. `It was like someone hit you over the head with a club.'

Mr. Kaiser said the before and after figures amounted to `a death record.'

`There is no other way of viewing this document,' he said. `You can't just hide a million people.'

Other scholars said that the number was a useful addition to the historical record, but that it did not introduce a new version of events.

`This corroborates what we already knew,' said Donald Bloxham, the author of `The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.'

Mr. Bardakci is a history buff who learned to read and write Ottoman script from his grandmother, allowing him to navigate Turkey's written past, something that most Turks are unable to do. He plays the tanbur, a traditional string instrument. His grandfather was a member of the same political party of Mr. Talat, and his family knew many of the important political figures in Turkey's founding.

`We had a huge library at home,' he said. `They were always talking about history and the past.'

Though he clearly wanted the numbers to be known, he stubbornly refuses to interpret them. He offers no analysis in the book, and aside from an interview with Mr. Talat's widow, there is virtually no text beside the original documents.

`I didn't want to interpret,' he said. `I want the reader to decide.'

The best way to do that, he argues, is by using cold, hard facts, which can cut through the layers of emotional rhetoric that have clouded the issue for years.

`I believe we need documents in Turkey,' he said. `This is the most important.'

But some of the keenest observers of Turkish society said the silence was a sign of just how taboo the topic still was. `The importance of the book is obvious from the fact that no paper except Milliyet has written a single line about it,' wrote Murat Belge, a Turkish academic, in a January column in the liberal daily newspaper Taraf.

Still, it is a measure of Turkey's democratic maturity that the book was published here at all. Mr. Bardakci said he had held the documents for so long--27 years--because he was waiting for Turkey to reach the point when their publication would not cause a frenzy.

Even the state now feels the need to defend itself. Last summer, a propaganda film about the Armenians made by Turkey's military was distributed to primary schools. After a public outcry, it was stopped.

`I could never have published this book 10 years ago,' Mr. Bardakci said. `I would have been called a traitor.'

He added, `The mentality has changed.'


Harut Sassounian: Turkish Foreign Minister Should Never Be Welcomed In Yerevan 10.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The second disturbing development is an invitation by Armenian officials to Turkey's Foreign Minister to attend the Black Sea Economic Conference (BSEC) on April 16-17, just days before the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Armenia's six-month rotating chairmanship of BSEC ends on April 30.

While Ankara officials are constantly bombarding Washington with such fake messages, the Armenian side stays astonishingly silent, giving credence to Turkish misrepresentations which are intended to undermine the prospects of any U.S. declaration on the Armenian Genocide.

`It is hard to believe that the Armenian government would invite the Turkish Foreign Minister to Armenia just one week before April 24. Mr. Babajan, a Genocide denialist and high-ranking official of a hostile country that is blockading Armenia, should never be welcomed in Yerevan, unless he intends to place a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument and offers an apology to the Armenian people,' The California Courier editor Harut Sassounian emphasized.


President Of Kurdish Council Of Armenia: Turkey Still Committing Genocide 2009-03-10
ArmInfo. Turkey committed Genocide of Armenians at the state level in 1915. Now it is committing Genocide of Kurds, President of Kurdish Council of Armenia Knyaz Hasanov said at a press conference in Yerevan Tuesday. He said Kurds are severely repressed in Turkey and put against each other. In particular, thousands of Kurds are forcefully sent to Iraq to fight against their compatriots residing in that country.

As regards the participation on Kurds in the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, K. Hasanov said those were separate Kurds and not the whole nation.

For his part, Chairman of the Public Organization of Greeks of Armenia 'Patrida' Eduard Polatov said Greek have always been for recognition of Armenian Genocide. 'Armenians and Greek are two nations that have always been subjected to pressures in the territory of Armenia. The purposeful genocide was against Armenians and Greeks, the real masters of today's Turkey. Instead of repenting, Turkey denies the reality', E. Polatov said.


Armenian Lobby Increases Pressure As Obama Considers His Position
Four pro-Armenian Congresmen had sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to keep his promise of recognizing Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents as the issue is expected to be discussed during the new president's visit to Turkey.

"During your upcoming trip to Turkey... and in discussions with your advisors over how to commemorate the events of 1915-1923, you will doubtless be counseled by some to continue the practice of avoiding the truth in favor of short-term political expediency," the Congressmen said in the letter to Obama, according to a written statement issued by Washington-based Armenian Assembly of America.

The letter, signed by Democrats Adam Schiff of California and Frank Pallone of New Jersey, and Republicans George Radanovich of California and Mark Kirk of Illinois, comes a while after the announcement of Obama's visit to Turkey early in April.

"We do not minimize Ankara's threats of adverse action when you recognize the genocide, or when Congress takes action to formally recognize the genocide, but we believe that our alliance is strong enough to withstand the truth," the letter added.

The letter, in which Congressmen also thanked Obama for his strong record in support of Armenian claims, is the latest step taken by the Armenian lobby organizations to have their claims recognized by the new administration During the election campaign, Obama had pledged to recognize the Armenian claims, a move seen as a risk factor by Turkey that will harm the mutual relations as well as the reconciliation period between Ankara and Yerevan.

Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. Turkey rejects the claims saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

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

OBAMA'S POSITION STILL UNCERTAIN
Although Obama had promised to recognize the Armenian claims, American ambassador to Ankara said the issue is being evaluated by the new administration and the final decision is yet to be made.

"The issue was discussed during (Secretary of State Hillary) Clinton's visit. The Turkish officials said (any recognition) will hurt Turkish people and negatively affect the relations. Obama will also listen to what Turkish officials will say," James Jeffrey told Radikal daily in an interview published Thursday.

The Washington administration supports the renewed dialogue between Turkish and Armenian governments and believes progress should be made not only in opening the border between two countries but also on the solution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Radikal quoted Jeffrey as saying.

"We, just like the previous administrations, have not determined a final stance on how to commemorate April 24," Jeffrey added.

The day April 24 commemorated by Armenians as the day for the remembrance of the 1915 incidents and the U.S. presidents issue a letter to commemorate the day but they refrained to use "genocide" so far. © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


Problems Of The Armenians Of Syria: The Armenian Community Of Damascus, "Noravank" Foundation, 09 March 2009, Araks Pashayan
Armenians settled in Syria from ancient times. Armenia had secular historical and cultural ties with that region. The Armenian community of Syria widened in 1915 by the emigrants, who had escaped the Armenian Genocide and then by the refugees from Cilicia. At current moment the number of Armenians in Syria is about 65-70 thousands. There are large Armenian communities in Aleppo, Kamishli, Damascus, Latakia, Kesap. Armenian Apostolic Church has two dioceses in Syria: the diocese of Beria (with the residence of the head of the diocese in Srb. Qarasun mankunq (St. Forty chrisoms) church in Aleppo) and the Diocese of Damascus (with the residence of the head of the dioceses in Srb. Sargis (St. Sargis) church).

The Armenian community of Damascus, which is one of the traditional and accomplished communities, takes a special place among the Armenians of Syria. The number of the Armenians of Damascus does not exceed 5-6 thousands.

The Armenian apostolic community (as well as other Christian communities) is regarded on behalf of the state as a religious minority, which is represented by the Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Damascus belonging to Echmiadzin. In fact, the church represents its community to the state and the state to the community. The Armenian community of Damascus has local national authorities, which have worked basing on the national constitution elaborated in 1853 and ratified in 1863 by the sultan's government. At present moment the head of the Armenian Diocese of Damask is His Holiness bishop Arsham Nalbandyan.

The domestic affairs of the community are administered by the Council of province, the legislative organ, which chooses the City council playing the role of the executive organ. Armenians gained real scope in the issue of the arrangement of their national life. They were allowed to teach Armenian and Christianity in Armenian.

Syrian Armenians have good reputation and recognition in the country. In different periods of Syrian history Armenians assisted Arabs, including their struggle for independence. At the second half of the 19th century in the period of national, cultural and political blossom (Nahda) the people of Armenian descent played a significant role. Among them one of the founders of professional Arab theatre Adib Ishak (1856-1882) and Rzkallah Hasun (1823-1880) who is supposed to be the founder of Arab political journalism. There are a lot of Armenians who became the officers of Syrian Arab Republic and took part in the defense of the country and general-lieutenant Aram Karamanukyan, who is supposed to be one of the founders of Syrian army, took part in Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

Today Armenians of Syria, including Armenians of Damascus, are also actively involved in social and economic and cultural spheres. The name of the conductor of the symphonic orchestra of Syria Misak Baghbudaryan is rather well-known in Damascus. There are three members of the writers union of Syria ` Nora Arisyan from Damascus, Alexander Keshishyan and Hrach Kalsahakyan.

The Armenians of Damascus are mainly involved in trades and private enterprise. At current moment there are almost no Armenians among military and state figures. The number of intellectual persons is not big. There are only some individuals engaged in academic science.

It is characteristic that in Syria, including Damascus, for the last twenty years the Armenian youth has been showing much more interest in education and there are even more young people who have gone into higher education than in 1970-1980th and this mainly due to the improvement of the wealth of the Armenians.

The activities of the Armenian parties in Syria are prohibited that is why they work under restrictions in Damascus, i.e. in the frame of public, cultural and sport organizations and unions (clubs). The Armenian community of Syria is, in fact, a net structure, because all the unions and religious trends have their substructures or branches in almost all the districts inhabited by the Armenians. Various sports and cultural events are arranged in those clubs. The most well-known in Damascus is `Knar' chorus, directed by Shant Keshishyan, which was established in 1960 th by the Armenian catholic union.

The unions working in Damascus are officially licensed and registered in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour; they have their own regulations and they follow the order of the Ministry. The branches of Hamazkayin Armenian (Pan-Armenian) Educational and cultural Association, the New Generation cultural Union, Armenian General Benevolent Union, Tekeyan Cultural Union, and Armenian Catholic Union work in Damascus. Though belonging to different associations reflects rather complicated inner mosaic but it does not affect the protection of Armeniancy.

The Armenians of Damascus belong to different religious trends with some special peculiarities. The apostolic, catholic and evangelistic communities are distinguished. The largest is the apostolic community. Armenian Catholics have residences in Damascus and Aleppo, and Armenian evangelists in Aleppo. The spiritual leader of Armenian Catholics is Bishop Hovsep Arnautyan and the leader of Armenian evangelistic church is Tatev Pasmachyan. There is close cooperation between Armenian apostolic, catholic and evangelistic churches. By joint efforts they arrange some all-Armenian events, including those confined to the April 24th.

The Catholic community of Damascus is small, mainly Arab speaking; they have a residence and church, which is the centre of the community. The `connecting link' of the community is Sargis Keshishyan who plays a significant role in the arranging of the national life of the Armenian catholic community. As for the Armenian Evangelists then their community is also small but as compared with the Catholics it is more Armenian speaking. Armenian Evangelists have their church and school in Damascus.

Arab speaking (mainly catholic) old Armenians (arman kadim) form the special stratum among the Armenians of Damascus. Their national consciousness is almost fully clouded.

The embassy of the RA in Syria plays a great role in the issue of rallying the Armenian community of Damask. All Armenian unions are invited to the events arranged by the embassy including the representatives of catholic and evangelistic communities.

In recent years there has been only one Armenian member of Syrian parliament due to the demographic factor. The Armenian candidate is regarded as a candidate from Armenian Diocese of Aleppo (Berio) and is elected on party list. The last parliamentary elections took place on April 2007. The present Armenian member of Syrian parliament is S. Sumbulyan, who became the deputy for the second time. He is a member of the parliamentary commission on external affairs and the chairman of the parliamentary commission on Armenian-Syrian friendship. The Armenians of Damascus are not engaged in politics, though there are members of ruling party `Baas' among them.

The issue of the dioceses is one of the most topical issues for the Armenian community of Damascus1, which has in some sense divided community into two wings. The first includes the circles oriented on Echmiadzin, i.e. hnchakyan, beneficial, ramkavar, communist circles, and the second are the dashnak circles, which has Antiliasian orientation and they tend to return the Damascus diocese to Cilician cathalicosat; they consider that the belonging of Damascus diocese to Ehcmiandzin is illegal. They boycott all the events arranged under the sponsorship of the leader of the Armenian Diocese of Damascus. That issue of the Diocese has turned into practically unsolvable problem. It is supposed that the problem of the diocese brings some activity to the life of the community but this seeming activity, in fact, is a result of unhealthy competition, and the new generation in most cases is tired of old controversies.

The Armenians of Damascus being integrated to the Syrian society at the same time tend to preserve their national identity. There are national schools (as well as nurseries) in the community belonging to the Armenian apostolic community. The following schools are known in Damascus: Targmanchats (Translators) National School, the first educational institution established in Damascus (1898), National Joint School (1929), Kyulpenkyan-Sahakyan School of Kyulap (1929). There are also three schools of Armenian Catholics and one school of Evangelists. After graduating from the school Armenian pupils continue their education either in Arab20or in private (paid) schools. National Joint school today has 170 Armenian pupils. In the near future the school will move to a more modern building, which is situated in one of the suburbs of Damascus. There are 160 pupils in Kyulpenkyan-Sahakyan School of Kyulap and 350 in Targmanchats School.

The national education goes on both in sports and cultural unions and in the family. According to the point of view of one part of Armenians of Damascus Armenian education is most strongly expressed in dashnak circles.

There are no Armenian newspapers published in Damascus, but they get it from Beirut. The most widespread newspapers are `Azdak' and `Zartonk'. `Gandzasar' weekly from Armenian Diocese of Aleppo (Berio) and other periodicals are also delivered to Damascus. Though there are printing houses, which belong to Armenians in Damascus but no Armenian literature is published there.

There are also beneficial organizations working in the Armenian community of Damascus. The poor care commission of Srb. Sargis (St. Sargis) church, which was established in 1890th, the Cross of help of Syrian Armenians ` a women's beneficial organization established in 1929 on the initiative of Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnakcutyun.

Both Syrian authorities and the society take kindly to the Armenians of Syria. This is conditioned by their merits, their reliable and law-abiding behavior (in the opinion of the lecturer of Damascus University Nora Arisyan in certain cases Armenians know their responsibilities better than their rights), and also by the tolerant policy of the present authorities towards the religious minorities. At present the representatives of various ethnic and religious trends peacefully coexist in Syria. Separate mosques and churches are located side by side. Armenian spiritual figures from time to time meet not only Muslim religious figures but also the representatives of other Christian or religious trends to discuss the issues of collaboration, the interfaith dialogue and the religious and ethnic tolerance.

In spite of this, there is an internal danger concerning security. Interethnic and interfaith discrepancies in Iraq spark concern as a possible precedent in case of the problems of the same kind. The processes, going on in the neighbour countries also have an economic impact on Syria. It is not a mere chance that the intensifying emigration also has economical motives. Armenians mainly emigrate to the US, Canada, and the Gulf countries. The most part of the emigrants are young and they go to study (mainly to the US and Europe) and never return.

Today the Armenians of Damascus faced various problems which are, on the one hand, connected with the preserving of the Armenian identity and, on the other hand, with economic issues. The efforts focused on preserving of Armenian identity are get ting even more difficult; the influence of foreign cultures is growing, there is a lot of Arab speaking families which appetence to stay in Armenian environment is reducing, the number of mixed marriages is growing at some extent (mainly with Christian Arabs). According to the leader of the Armenian diocese of Damascus Bishop Arsham Nalbandyan there is a certain stratum, which is `lazy' in national sense and stay away from everything.

The Armenians of Syria, including the Armenians of Damascus have certain expectations concerning activation of national life from Armenia. They want Armenia range itself on the side of all-Armenian interests and Diaspora. There are some realities in Armenia they regard negatively. The Armenians of Damascus are first of all concerned about a number of vicious occurrences such as, e.g. the expansion of the religious sects. After many of them (including Armenians from Syria in general) faced on different occasions administrative and social problems in Armenia, they regard it a country, which is still in the progress. In accordance with separate points of view the Republic of Armenia is not a Motherland they were dreaming of. This circumstance may cause in many cases the crisis of national consciousness.

From the point of view of boosting national life in Damascus the satellite television, which allows to watch `Õ1' (Public Armenian Television H1) programmes, plays great role.

Though the Armenian community of Damascus manages traditional and efficient mechanisms of self-regulation and has a substantial potential it needs to modernize the traditional functions of national organization.

1The Damascus Diocese was formed in the middle of the 15th century by Jerusalem patriarchy and worked under its management till 1929. In order to reform the Great Cathalicosat of Cilicia (after the Armenian Genocide and the exile of the Armenians from Cilicia only Aleppo Diocese stayed under its protectorate) in 1929 with the blessing of the Cathalicos of All Armenians Gevorg V Surenyanc the patriarchy of Jerusalem assigned Damascus Diocese, together with the Diocese of Beirut and Cyprus to the Cathalicosat of Cilicia. After the church split in 1956 the administrative belonging of the Diocese has not been clarified yet. At present the head of the Damascus Diocese is appointed non-officially froim Echmiadzin.


Oskanyan: America Should Recognize Armenian Genocide...2009-03-09
ArmInfo. America should recognize the Armenian Genocide and it will not hinder normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, ex-foreign minister of Armenia Vardan Oskanyan said in an on-line interview with Center 'Region' when asked by ArmInfo to assess Armenia's steps towards normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations.

'I support just one criteria of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations. It is not even establishment of diplomatic relations. It is opening of the boundary. If it takes place within the nearest future, all the steps and efforts by Armenia will be justified. Otherwise, it will mean that Turkey abused the good will displayed by Armenia. I think that America should recognize the Armenian Genocide and it will not hinder normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. Quite on the contrary, I think that putting of the Armenian Genocide on the domestic political agenda by many states and recognition of this fact by many parliaments over the last ten years has led to the fact that Turkey is currently studying the issue of opening the boundary', Vardan Oskanyan says.


Turkish-American "Strategic Partnership": On The Way To Rejuvenation?
Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 45March 9, 2009 Foreign Policy,
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Ankara on Saturday, the highest-level direct contact between the administration of President Barack Obama and the Turkish government so far, highlighted the value each side places on sustaining the Turkish-American partnership. In addition to her meetings with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Clinton met with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan after which the two held a press briefing and made a joint statement about strengthening the bilateral relationship. Clinton also visited Ataturk's mausoleum in Ankara and appeared on a popular show on the private NTV channel.

The joint declaration stated that the parties "reaffirmed the strong bonds of alliance, solidarity, and strategic partnership...as well as the commitment of both countries to the principles of peace, democracy, freedom, and prosperity enshrined in the Shared Vision and Structured Dialogue document agreed to in July 2006" (www.turkey.usembassy.gov, March 7).

Clinton had a chance to discuss a wide range of issues with Turkish officials including the Middle East peace process, Iraq, Afghanistan, energy security, the global financial crisis, terrorism, developments in the Balkans and the Caucasus, Turkey's EU membership process, and the Cyprus problem. The continuing discussions on using Turkish territory as a possible route for US troops leaving Iraq reportedly occupied the major part of Clinton's agenda during her private discussions with Erdogan and other Turkish officials (ANKA, March 8). In response to a question about Turkey's possible role in the U.S. withdrawal plans, Clinton noted that the process was still in its initial phases and Washington would maintain discussions with Turkey on the subject. Babacan repeated his earlier remarks on the issue, emphasizing that talks at the technical level were already underway and that Turkey had a constructive approach to the subject (Anatolian News Agency, March 7).

Another major item discussed was Turkey's contributions to resolving conflicts in the region. Clinton reiterated American appreciation of Turkey's role with regard to the Palestine issue and the indirect talks between Syria and Israel. Both sides said that they would work together to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable peace in the region. Likewise, Clinton expressed her country's support for the process of reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia that Ankara initiated. Clinton also noted that Washington found Gul's visit to Iran this week important (Sabah, March 8). Although some Turkish sources speculated that Gul might have carried messages from Washington to Tehran (Hurriyet, March 9), this has yet to be confirmed officially.

Overall, statements from both sides stress that the two parties had useful discussions and found mutual ground on issues of common concern, which might herald a new era in Turkish-American relations. Achieving consensus on strategic matters aside, a major roadblock in Turkish-American relations has been the public animosity toward the United States and how to reverse the anti-Americanism that became strongly engrained in the Turkish body politic during the Bush years. Cognizant of these challenges, the American side did its best to appeal to the Turkish people, as reflected in Clinton's appearance on a TV show targeting female viewers (EDM, March; www.ntvmsnbc.com, March 7).

Likewise, Clinton capitalized on Obama's vision of change to emphasize that Turkish-American relations were entering a new phase. She announced that Obama would visit Turkey in a month. A White House official said that Obama's trip "will be an important opportunity to visit a NATO ally and discuss shared challenges," adding, "It will also provide an opportunity to continue the president's dialogue with the Muslim world" (www.cnn.com, March 7). It is not yet known, however, whether the speech Obama had promised to deliver in a Muslim capital during his first 100 days in office will be given in Ankara or in the capital of another Muslim country. Given the positive feelings of the Turkish people toward Obama's election as president (EDM, November 7), the visit might indeed help improve the deteriorating American image in Turkey.

A similar move in public diplomacy concerns attempts to diversify bilateral relations on the societal level. The joint statement announced that a new program called "Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age" would be launched. It would establish ties between emerging young leaders from both countries "to develop initiatives that will positively impact people's lives and invest in future ties between the leadership of [the] two countries" (www.turkey.usembassy.gov, March 7).

The Turkish side was apparently satisfied with the trip. Speaking on the private NTV channel, Babacan said, "Turkish-American relations have entered a new phase ... Our foreign policy priorities are completely in line with each other. In the new phase, the focus is on consultation and cooperation." Underlining Turkey's willingness to work together with the United States as partners, Babacan added, "Clinton emphasized Turkey as a strategic partner. She accentuated this more powerfully than the previous administration, and the new administration is aware of Turkey's importance." Nonetheless, Babacan debunked the overly optimistic expectations that Clinton's visit indicated that Obama might not use the word "genocide' in his Armenian Memorial Day address in April, This possibility was not completely off the table, he said (www.ntvmsnbc.com, March 8).

In the 1990s, under the Bill Clinton presidency, the Turkish-American relationship flourished in many areas and came to be called a strategic partnership. The Iraq War and ensuing developments turned "strategic partnership" into an oxymoron to describe Turkish-American relations. Despite efforts to save the relationship from further deterioration, disagreements between Ankara and Washington were difficult to bridge. The 2006 Shared Vision document, which the Babacan-Clinton joint statement referred to, for example, outlined a framework of close cooperation and structured dialogue to regulate bilateral relations. It was not put into practice, however, and relations hit a low point in 2007, when Washington criticized the Turkish government for its silence on anti-Americanism in the country and Ankara censured Washington's inactivity toward PKK terrorism. This time, there appears to be a more solid basis for rejuvenating the partnership: strong references to the 2006 document after a long break are coupled with both sides' carefully worded statements, which take each other's sensitivities into account, and a determination to address problems through dialogue without playing blame games. With political will on both sides, it is not be wrong to assume that finally they may not only "talk the talk" but also "walk the walk."
www.jamestown.org/


Will Obama Risk Turkey's Wrath? Thomas Seibert, Foreign Correspondent, March 10. 2009, UAE
ISTANBUL // Although there are many issues that Turkey would like to discuss with the new administration in Washington, Ankara's politicians and diplomats will be concentrating on one task in the coming weeks: to prevent Barack Obama from using the word `genocide' to describe the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians almost 100 years ago.

Attention is focused on the traditional message of the US president on April 24, the day commemorating the massacres against Armenians in what was then the Ottoman Empire.

In recent years, presidents have avoided the term `genocide' to not offend Turkey, a strategic US ally. But Ankara has been concerned that Mr Obama may change this, as the new president used the term during his election campaign and promised to recognise the genocide.

In a statement in January last year when he was a US senator, Mr Obama talked about his `firmly held conviction that the Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable.'

He added: `As president I will recognise the Armenian genocide.'

Turkey's concerns formed part of the talks between high-ranking Turkish officials and the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, in Ankara last weekend.

Mrs Clinton's visit was seen as an effort to put US-Turkish relations on a new footing after a period marked by tensions over the US invasion in Iraq. Judging by Turkish reactions, Mrs Clinton succeeded.

Turkey's foreign minister, Ali Babacan, said relations between the two countries had `entered a new era'.

But despite that positive assessment and a cautious rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia that started last year, the prospect that the United States may officially label the events that took place during the First World War a genocide is still so explosive in Turkey that Ankara warned of irreparable damage to Turkish-US relations, should the term be used.

`I see a risk here,' Mr Babacan told the NTV news channel last weekend. `Just one word may seem easy for them. But ¦ they have to understand the consequences, the reaction of our people,' the minister said. `We conveyed that message to Clinton as well.'

Armenians and much of the international community say that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a genocide orchestrated by Ottoman authorities that started in 1915.

Turkey rejects that term, puts the number of victims much lower and argues the death of the Armenians was the result of a resettlement under wartime conditions. Several countries around the world have passed resolutions recognising the genocide, but the United States has not done so yet.

Turkish media speculated in recent weeks that the possibility of Mr Obama's recognising the genocide had risen after the latest spat between Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, over Israel's attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Other observers think that an announcement, made during Mrs Clinton's visit, that Mr Obama plans to travel to Turkey in early April has taken much of the pressure off Ankara.

`To think of a visit to Turkey would not make sense for an American president who is going to use the word `genocide',' Kadri Gursel wrote in a column in Milliyet, a daily newspaper.

According to news reports, Mr Obama's visit is expected around April 7, about two weeks before he is to make his first official statement on the Armenian question as president.

Mr Obama may also be hesitant to fulfill his campaign pledge on the Armenian issue because such a step could endanger efforts to make a new start in relations between Turkey and Armenia.

A joint statement after talks between Mrs Clinton and Mr Babacan in Ankara underlined `US support for the efforts of Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations'.

Omer Taspinar, a Washington-based columnist for Sabah, a daily newspaper, wrote on Monday that Mr Obama would tell Turkey and Armenia to open a new chapter in their relations. `The time has come to sign an historic agreement with Armenia.'

Turkey broke new ground in its relations with its neighbour when the president, Abdullah Gul, visited Yerevan in September. There have been several high-level contacts since then, and Armenia's president, Serzh Sarkisian, is expected in Turkey this year.

Some Turkish observers have predicted an opening of the border between the two countries, which has been closed for more than 10 years, and the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Wrapping up a visit to Washington a few days ago, a group of Turkish lawmakers also expressed their expectation that Mr Obama would not use the term and that Congress would not pass a resolution recognising the genocide.

`I do not think that President Obama will use that despicable term,' said Sukru Elekdag, a deputy and former Turkish diplomat, according to press reports.

`Congress will look at what the president says.'

But another Turkish lawmaker, Nursuna Memecan, said Armenian groups were lobbying for recognition of the genocide by Washington. `We cannot rest peacefully,' she said.
www.thenational.ae


What Could Make Turkey Open The Borders Within 1,5 Years? 09.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ `We expect a serious progress in Armenian- Turkish relations in a month and a positive approach to the opening of borders in a year,' Republican Party of Armenia Leader, Galoust Sahakyan told a news conference today. According to Sahakyan, Turkey plans to join EU, and EU Member States do not accept closed borders.

Galoust Sahakyan stressed that Turkey's preconditions are unacceptable for Armenia. `Armenia sets no preconditions, we're open to negotiations,' he said referring to the future of Armenian-Turkish diplomatic relations.

There are no official diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey. Armenian ` Turkish border has been closed by Ankara since 1993 because of Nagorno Karabakh conflict.


Show Your Support To Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ergun Kirlikovali March 7, 2009
Nurten Ural, President, ATAA
Gunay Evinch, President-Elect, ATAA
assembly at ataa.org

ATAA Commends Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson For Her "Dear Colleague" Letter

Dear Friends and Members of the Turkish-American Community,

We already sent the following letter to all the representatives at Capitol Hill and would like you to join us sending the same letter as a "Turkish American community letter" to the district offices of your local representatives.

We ask you to give your highest priority to this effort.

We look forward to your participation and thank you in advance for your urgent efforts.
ATAA
***
Dear Representative:
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) commends Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson for her Dear Colleague letter of February 25, 2009, which states that a proposed resolution equating the Armenian case with genocide is a one-sided assessment of the inter-communal war between Ottoman Armenians and Ottoman Muslims in 1915, and that the resolution prejudices Turkish and Armenian rapprochement.

Over 1.1 million Ottoman Muslims perished as the Armenian Revolt (1885-1919) and inter-communal attacks aimed to carve out an ethnically and politically pure Armenian state from the eastern Ottoman Empire.

To recognize this Muslim suffering is not to diminish Armenian suffering, but to respect all tragedies regardless of the race, ethnicity or religion of the victims, and to place the Armenian tragedy in its proper context of a violent independence movement that failed at a tremendous human cost to Ottoman Armenians and Muslims alike.[1]

Most experts on the Ottoman history disagree with the Armenian allegation of genocide. Princeton University Ottoman Historian Bernard Lewis commented on C-Span as follows:

"[T]hat the massacre of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was the same as what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany is a downright falsehood. What happened to the Armenians was the result of a massive Armenian armed rebellion against the Turks, which began even before war broke out, and continued on a larger scale."[2]

The ATAA supports United States foreign policy not to disturb the Turkish and Armenian rapprochement to which Congresswoman Johnson referred in her letter. The ATAA supports United States foreign policy to encourage Armenia to accept Turkey's proposal to establish a historical truth commission, which would address the legal issue of whether either of the tragedies, Armenian or Muslim, constitute genocide, utilize Ottoman and WWI historians as expert witnesses, and secure absolute access to the archives of the relevant parties, particularly those of the Armenian Republic and Armenian Revolutionary Federation who carried out the Armenian Revolt.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Nurten Ural
President,
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations
***
[1] The ATAA recommends viewing war documentary producer, Marty Callaghan's, "The Armenian Revolt" and "Blood and Oil, The Middle East in World War I."

[2] April 14, 2002, at the National Press Club on C-Span 2. Other scholars whose work ATAA recommends for any disinterested reader are Guenter Lewy, Andrew Mango, Avigdor Levy, Stanford Shaw, Masaki Kakiszaki, David Fromkin, Norman Stone, Edward Erickson, Heath Lowry and Justin McCarthy.
***
7 March 2009

ACTION ALERT: CALL TEXAS CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON TO SUPPORT HER OPPOSITION OF THE BIASED GENOCIDE BILL
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, an eight-term legislator from Dallas, Texas, is valiantly opposing the U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide for what it is: a one-sided, partisan, and hate-filled view of a historic dispute.

In a letter circulated on February 25th to all 434 of her House colleagues, she correctly identified the alleged Armenian Genocide as an inter-communal war.

The Congresswoman's line of opposition is supported by the legitimate historians. Armenian version of history is a particularly toxic form of denial that seeks, without any basis in fact, to excuse the Armenian war crimes, rebellions, raids, treason, and territorial demands that resulted in massive Muslim, mostly Turkish, suffering which, in turn, caused a wartime home security measure of TERESET (Temporary resettlement of 1015) to be taken. Totally ignoring Armenian excesses and exaggerating, and at times even fabricating, Armenian suffering, the Armenian falsifiers intimidate others to declare the TERESET a genocide.

Please call her office to politely share your concerns show your full support.

Call Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) (202) 225-8885 .

Calling is quick, easy, and hassle free 's usually taking less than 2 minutes.

What to expect: The receptionist will answer your call and, in most instances, simply write down your message, and say thank you.

What to say: Introduce yourself and mention that you are calling regarding the Congresswoman's recent opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution. (See phone script for suggestions.)

How to say it: The keys to effectively communicating your concerns are to always be very polite, to stay on-message, and to refrain from heated rhetoric that will be used to undermine your credibility.

SUGGESTED PHONE SCRIPT
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson,

Hello, my name is [YOUR FULL NAME] and I am calling to say I'm so happy with your recent letter in opposition to Armenian Genocide recognition. Your letter is factually correct and morally flawless.

The Armenian Genocide is a pure fabrication and only partisan genocide scholars have called on Congress to pass this measure. In fact, the only supporters left are the Armenian diaspora crooks, Glendale mobs, and their Washington lobbyists.

Please convey the Congresswoman my full support in her stand.

Together, we shall win over the evil forces of deception, division, polarization, and hatred.

Together, we shall see to it that the truth, love, and peace prevail over Armenian lies.
***
www.turkla.com


Russian Finger Inside Capitol Hill : Armenian Lobby? Ergun Kirlikovali
(Note to readers: The fact that Armenian lobbying is a Russian tool against USA, NATO, and European Union remains unchanged for many years. The article below is an interesting one that supports this finding. ) ***

Russian Finger Inside Capitol Hill : Armenian Lobby? Written By Baris Sanli
Turkish Daily News Wednesday, 17 October 2007

"When I and Khachatur entered the house, our soldiers had nailed a 13-year-old Turkish child to the window.He was making much noise so Khachatur put mother's cut breast into his mouth. I skinned his chest and belly. Seven minutes later the child died. As I used to be a doctor I was humanist and didn't consider myself happy for what I had done to a 13-year-old Turkish child. But my soul was proud for taking 1percent of vengeance of my nation. Then Khachatur cut the body into pieces and threw it to a dog of same origin with Turks. I did the same to three Turkish children in the evening. I did my duty as an Armenian patriot. Khachatur had sweated much. But I saw struggle of revenge and great humanism in his and other soldiers' eyes. The next day we went to the church to clear our souls from what done previous day. But we were table to clear Khojali from slops of 30 thousand people."

This text is from Zori Balayan’s book “Revival of our souls” from 1996 , pages 260-262. This paragraph is the most disgusting thing I have ever read. I haven’t even heard of an Armenian response to this paragraph.A nation proud of a massacre is joyfully dropping a note to the history!

And then we see the Armenian representatives lecturing in America and Europe about humanity, human rights, genocide. And policy makers are applauding. Not even one of them dare to ask the question “What has happened in Khojali?”, “Why are you still occupying your neighbour’s land?” .Yet, poor Armenian policy makers are expressing their security concerns about Turkey.

If it is just to pressurize Turks more, then humanity is nothing but a lip service. If humanity is degraded to a lip service, and eyes are closed to what has happened in Khojali, how come we believe that Armenian lobby is true in its aims about human history, human rights and other humanized terms that they recklessly waste to gain political power. Cutting his mother’s breast, silencing the boy by stuffing the cut breast into boy’s mouth and skinning the boy alive! And yes, honourable men and women in Capitol Hill. Raise your fingers to award the worst criminals of the near history. Do not even mention Khojali. Do not think of the brutually murdered thousands!

Now you may be thinking that, the title is irrelevant to the content. After thinking about Khojali and an Armenia occupying its neighbour’s land, how sincere do you think the Armenians are? With the blood of Khojali on their hands, they are forcing politicians to accept Turkey to EU if Turkey accepts Armenian claims. No, Armenians should first accept Khojali and then they should start spelling Ottoman Armenians. There is no sincerity in any of the Armenian claims.

Now, ask yourselves another question. Who will gain most from the Armenian lobby’s pressure on Capitol Hill. United States or Putin’s Russia? May be this is just like an ordinary debate for American readers. But for Turkish people the debate is very emotional and politicising such a debate will not help. Turkish people always showed their good intentions for historians to decide on this. Very understandably(!), Armenia rejects to discuss the issue with Turkish historians.

I believe what we will read 3 months later will be a comment of an analyst from an institute in Washington claiming how the religious groups are affecting Turkish American relations and rising anti-Americanism in Turkey, but no mentioning of the current Armenian provocation’s results on Turkish public. Then US will think that the problem in Turkish-American relations are because of a political party and eventually she will act wrongfully.

After 9/11, Americans became more paranoid. Years ago, when I first wrote about US’s failures to understand Iraq, I was accused and blamed for being Anti-American. But what I claimed has turned out to be true. Because it was obvious. And it is obvious in this case again.

The Armenian lobby’s favour to Russia is very clear. America is losing one of the most important allies in the Middle East. Not only the stability in Iraq will be risked by such an act, but also the security questions related to Georgia, Iran, Syria and Central Asia will be at stake. A Turkish public deceived by Washington will be very hard to persuade for supporting US policies. And this will be a wonderful opportunity for Russia to increase its power and cooperation with Azerbaijan and Turkey. What is the US’s interest in this?

Just answer one question, for whom the Armenians of the Khojali are lobbying for in Capitol Hill?

barissanli2 at gmail.com


Turkish American Solidarity At Capitol Hill Ergun Kirlikovali March 6, 2009

Nurten Ural, President, ATAA
Sueda Sonmez, Executive Director, ATAA
www.ataa.org Tel: 202.483.9090

On Thursday, February 26, 2009 under the leadership of Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) joined forces with Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA), Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and Ari Foundation representatives to represent our members at Capitol Hill, to show solidarity and emphasize on the importance of the Turkish American relations at these critical times. The group separately attended meetings for Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL/23rd), the Chair of the Helsinki Commission and Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI/13th) and former Chair of the Black Caucus readdressed the issues that are threatening the Turkish American relations.

The group, as a whole continued meetings at the Longworth and Rayburn House Office Buildings visiting Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL/19th) who just returned from Turkey after holding meetings with the top government officials and private sector executives. His support of Turkey and Turkish Americans continue as Co-Chair of Turkish Caucus. The group had informative and supportive meetings with Chief of Staffs of both Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX/30th) and Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL/23rd) and visited Chris Van Hollen's (D-MD/8th) office briefly and held a meeting with one of his staff members on issues concerning the mutual interests of Turkey and the United States. Both Chief of Staffs for Hastings and Johnson are Turkish Americans, and it is very important to give them support.

It is critical and necessary; We, as Turkish Americans should focus our collective energy and consciousness to support the Turkish Caucus and work in every way we can at the local level with our district representatives to bring the member count to 109. As of today there are 73 members at the Turkish Caucus.

All Turkish American Organizations' solidarity at these important events encourages the Turkish Americans to put their differences on the side and reunite under our irreplaceable Leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's message "Buyuk iSler, muhim teSebbusler ancak muSterek mesai ile mumkundur." and show the world one more time the proactive power of Turkish people and Turkish Americans.

06/03/09 www.turkishjournal.com


Rep. Frank Pallone And . .
Ergun KIRLIKOVALI

The following article by Lincoln McCurdy, President of the Turkish Coalition of America was published on NJ.com, the online version of the New Jersey Star Ledger, on March 2, 2009. The article can be viewed online .

Recently, a letter seeking cosponsors for a renewed drive to secure the adoption of an "Armenian Genocide Resolution" was circulated on Capitol Hill. The lead authors of the proposed legislation included four members of congress from districts with sizable Armenian constituents. They included Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

Rep. Pallone has turned his office in the U.S. Congress, home also to tens of thousands of New Jerseyans of Turkish descent, into an anti-Turkey nerve center.

Incidentally, one of the Armenian groups that showers Pallone with praise and support, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), this week has been accused by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an ethics watchdog, for violating campaign finance and lobbying laws.

Among other things, CREW argues that ANCA is closely related with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), which is part of the ruling coalition government in the Republic of Armenia, but fails to disclose this. A few years ago the then ANCA chairman, Mourad Topalian, was convicted on charges relating to Armenian terrorist attacks against Turkish diplomatic mission in the United States back in the 1970's and early '80s and served three years in federal prison.

None of this seems to bother Pallone. To roaring cheers at an ANCA rally in Times Square back in 2005, he pronounced that the United States should not only recognize an "Armenian Genocide" but that it should pressure modern Turkey to pay reparations for the near century-old alleged crime. This alone should lay to rest the claims that the perennial Armenian resolutions are pursued for emotional reasons by its lead proponents and the Armenian lobby.

In fact, a congressional recognition is but a first step in the Armenian lobby's irredentist agenda against Turkey and, if Pallone will have it his way, it will be advanced by U.S. Congressional fiat.

The so-called "Armenian Genocide Resolution" is a textbook example of ethnic lobby pandering at the expense of America's national interests. Once enough members sign on, with the all too well-known time and attention that lawmakers will be giving to sift through its history lesson, this "non-binding" resolution will gather such international storm that it required presidential interventions in the past to prevent a diplomatic fall-out with Turkey.

The latest resolution will certainly be no different and pose a significant stumbling block to President Obama's efforts to improve international cooperation on the many challenges he faces and foster better U.S. standing abroad. In his zeal to please his supporters, Pallone has and continues to undermine U.S. foreign policy, under either Democratic or Republican administrations, toward a balanced U.S. foreign policy in the Southern Caucasus and toward Turkey.

To add insult to injury, Pallone frequently admonishes opponents of this resolution by pointing to a "moral obligation" of the Congress to "pronounce" that the now-defunct Ottoman Empire, committed "genocide" against Armenians nearly 100 years ago. In doing so, he chooses to ignore the many well-regarded Ottoman historians who dispute the genocide claim.

Moreover, if Congress owes such moral obligation to America and the world, it ought to compile a list of all the crimes that appall us, beginning here at home, and start writing commemorative resolutions for all.

In fact, selective morality is no morality at all and Armenian resolutions persist year after year, not on moral grounds but on the efforts of an organized lobby that has turned hating Turkey into an existential cause and that keeps greasing the wheels of Washington.

Singling out Turkey and its history for political expediency and as payback for domestic election support is far from moral. Doing so at a time when Turkey's Prime Minister has invited Armenians and all interested parties to form an international commission of historians and experts to establish the facts and pave the way for reconciliation-- a proposal rejected by frontrunners of the "Armenian Genocide Resolution" in Congress and the Armenian lobby-- and when Turkey and Armenia are actively negotiating ways to overcome their differences, is outright hypocritical.

The U.S. faces a devastating economic crisis and two wars abroad. Members of Congress should be held accountable for spending time and resources on addressing a nearly century-old event with no foreseeable policy benefits for the United States, but the potential of a great public relations and foreign policy disaster involving our ally Turkey.

In reality, this will remain behind closed doors in Washington until too much damage has already been done. Members of Congress, like Pallone, will not answer to anyone unless the larger American public demands an answer. It is high time to demand an answer.
***
For more information on issues related to US-Turkey Relations and Turkish Americans, please visit our website at www.turkishcoalitionofamerica.org

TURKISH COALITION OF AMERICA - TCA
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW - Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20036
info at turkishcoalitionofamerica.org
***
04/03/09 www.turkishjournal.com


Highlighting Our Strategic Relationship With Turkey Ergun KIRLIKOVALI, March 2, 2009

Dear Colleague:
As a Member of the Armed Services Committee and a member of the Congressional Turkey Caucus, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you this recent article from the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR that highlights the important role the Republic of Turkey is playing, and will continue to play, in U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our relationship with Turkey and Turkey's strategic location are critical to achieving our goals in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sincerely,
Bill Shuster
Member of Congress
***
The Habur Gate - A Dusty Two-Lane Checkpoint - May Be One Of The Best Routes Out.

By Gordon Lubold
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
From the February 18, 2009 edition

Washington - Turkey is likely to play a prominent role as the US begins to remove thousands of tons of equipment and supplies from Iraq over the next year or so.

The American military has been quietly shipping construction materials, food, fuel, and other nonlethal items into Iraq through Turkey using a two-lane commercial border crossing known as the Habur Gate in southeastern Turkey. But as the US considers its options for pulling out of Iraq - and the pace of that redeployment - the route through Turkey may play a conspicuous part, defense officials say.

In addition to Kuwait, and probably Jordan, Turkey would give the US military an alternative exit as it attempts to move thousands of trucks, Humvees, and as many as 120,000 shipping containers back home. "Basically, nothing is off the table," says one American defense official, referring to the role Turkey might play.

The country, which hosts a large US airbase at Incirlik, could also be a major hub for the United States as it ramps up operations in Afghanistan. Earlier this month the government of Kyrgyzstan announced it would no longer allow the US to operate a key base there. That presents a prickly logistical challenge as the US prepares to send as many as 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan.

Today, some 1,000 commercial trucks cross the Turkish border into Iraq every day, many of which carry goods for the US military.

That's a reverse from 2003, when Turkey, which opposed the American- led invasion of Iraq, refused to allow US troops to use the country for the invasion, despite a generous incentive package offered by the US.

The US 4th Infantry Division, led by then-Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, was to have entered Iraq through Turkey but instead mobilized through Kuwait.

General Odierno is now senior commander in Iraq and will preside over the massive drawdown of troops and equipment. Relations between the US and Turkey cooled for years until the two allied in response to the growing threat posed by the PKK, the militant Kurdish nationalist group operating along the Turkish-Iraqi border. The US and Turkey created a joint intelligence center in 2007 to help target the militants, and the two countries have worked on other issues concerning Iraq as well.

The dusty, busy supply line through Turkey illustrates the new ties between the two countries. "It is so much more than that right now," says one Turkish diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "This issue is just a mere proof of us being allies. This is as it should be."

The supply line would give the US a ground exit in northern Iraq that probably would not be as hostile as the two other likely exit points, Kuwait and Jordan.

"Turkey is going to be very instrumental in terms of the withdrawal from Iraq," says Stephen Flanagan, a senior analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

US and Turkish officials have tried to keep a low profile regarding the Habur Gate. But in 2007 about 25 percent of the fuel for "coalition forces" entered Iraq through it. The crossing is also a boon to the local economy. Turkish officials say they would welcome an expanded use of the Habur Gate should the US decide to leave Iraq through it.

"Postconflict stability" is in the Turks' best interest, Mr. Flanagan notes. But there is a limit to what they will support the US doing in Turkey, he says. "They don't want to give us a blank check for staging Counter insurgency operations."

Kuwait, on Iraq's southern border, was the main launching point for American forces in the 2003 invasion. The conventional wisdom has been that Kuwait will be the main exit point as American troops and gear are loaded onto ships and airplanes. But there have been concerns that Kuwait could become a chokepoint, and the US has searched for other options.

One of President Obama's campaign pledges was to bring troops home from Iraq within 16 months. Plans based on either a 16-, 19-, or 23-month schedule are now under discussion. It remains unclear how much gear would be left behind and turned over to the Iraqis, but having multiple exit points could allow the military to speed its withdrawal.

US marines stationed in Anbar Province in western Iraq are working with Jordan to determine if the port of Aqaba could be another option for troops leaving western Iraq.

Gen. James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, said last month that the US expects to have options. "We don't think it has to be Kuwait," he said.
***
04/03/09


Obama's Visit To Thaw In Relations With Israel, Milliyet, Turkey March 8 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton crowned her visit to Ankara yesterday with her statement that US President Barack Obama would visit Turkey almost one month later. Obama's planned visit indicates that the new administration in Washington and the AKP [Justice and Development Party] have reached a general understanding and accord about issues of mutual interest irrespective of the fact that Obama will visit Turkey during a tour covering Europe and the Middle East. But, indications that "Davos ice" has started to thaw were the main factor which prepared the ground for the visit.

Remove those placards!

Hillary Clinton said that the final decision about the visit was made in Washington on Friday. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met with Tzipi Livni, his Israeli counterpart, in Brussels where he was attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. The meeting was intended to put bilateral relations which have been derailed as a result of the incident witnessed in Davos back on track. Thus, the diplomats of both countries made the same comments by using carefully selected words: bilateral relations were important, they had a strategic character, and they were based on a solid foundation.

You can be sure that Obama's visit to Turkey would not have been announced if those statements reflecting a common stance had not been made on last Thursday in a bid to mend bilateral relations which were almost ruptured after the Davos incident. It is as simple as that.

A logical step has been taken in order to mend Turkish-Israeli relations. Fortunately, those steps aimed at normalizing bilateral ties were not postponed until after the local elections to be held on 29 March in a bid to achieve some trivial goals.

Now, they should remove those placards which read "Erdogan, the conqueror of Davos" because it has become clear that the stand taken in Davos cannot be maintained.

It is certain that he will not utter the word "genocide"

The joint statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Minister and his US counterpart emphasized that the two countries were determined to cooperate with regard to various issues, including the settlement of the Palestinian question based on the existence of two states, energy security, alternative energy routes, settlement of the Cyprus question under the aegis of the United Nations, and lifting the current embargoes imposed on Turkish Cypriots in that context.

A tacit reciprocity was ensured by emphasizing that Al-Qa'idah and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] were "common enemies" in the fight on terrorism. Interestingly, it was noted that the United States was considering how it could provide further support against the PKK in addition to intelligence support which it promised to continue.

The joint communique also said that the United States was supporting efforts aimed at normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia.

It was announced that Obama would visit Turkey within the next thirty days and this announcement implied that the US President would not utter the word "genocide" in a speech he will make on 24 April. It would be illogical to think that the US President who plans to use the word "genocide" would pay a visit to Turkey. Thus, the "imminent threat" to Turkish-American relations has been partly eliminated.

Emphasis laid on secularism and reforms

The joint communique stated that the United States was giving support to Turkey's accession to the EU and its reform process. It was as interesting as remarks made by Clinton during her joint news conference with Babacan. She listed common values shared by the two countries as "democracy, a secular constitution, religious freedoms, confidence in free market, and global responsibility."

This list also represents the moral ground of the bilateral relations from the standpoint of the Obama Administration. You can add the "annual report on human rights" issued by the US State Department which was ignored by the pro-AKP media because it drew attention to the rapid deterioration in Turkey to the list.

In that case, you will see that cooperation between the Obama Administration and the AKP government cannot be squeezed into a simple "given-and-take" relationship.

I hope that Obama's anticipated visit will contribute to the revival of our commitment to join the EU which we are inclined to neglect as a result of the choice made by the ruling party.

[translated from Turkish]


Armenian Assembly of America, www.aaainc.org
Armenian Genocide Recognition A Priority, Members Of Congress Send President Obama Letter Prior To Planned Trip To Turkey

Washington, DC - On March 10, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), joined by Representative George Radanovich (R-CA) and the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), sent a letter to President Barack Obama thanking him for his strong record in support of Genocide affirmation and urging him to remain steadfast in his commitment. The letter comes after a recent announcement that President Obama plans to visit Turkey next month, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

"During your upcoming trip to Turkey," the letter reads, "and in discussions with your advisors over how to commemorate the events of 1915-1923, you will doubtless be counseled by some to continue the practice of avoiding the truth in favor of short-term political expediency. We do not minimize Ankara's threats of adverse action when you recognize the genocide, or when Congress takes action to formally recognize the genocide, but we believe that our alliance is strong enough to withstand the truth."

The letter also recalls President Obama's record on the issue and how he has "demonstrated time and again [his] understanding of the importance to Armenian-Americans of formal American recognition of the crime that was committed against their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents." Adding that "their pain is not unlike that of American Jews, who live each day with the memory of the Holocaust... Whether it is today's Sudanese government or yesterday's Ottoman Empire, the perpetrators of genocide, as well as the victims, must know that the United States will not shrink from confronting the truth."

"President Obama's upcoming trip to Turkey presents a unique opportunity to address the consequences of genocide and its denial. We, therefore, applaud the initiative of Representatives Schiff, Radanovich, Pallone and Kirk," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
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NR#2009-014
Editor's Note: The complete text of the letter is available here.
aaainc.org/fileadmin/aaainc/pdf_1/2009_Q1/POTUS_Armenian_Genocide_3.10.09.pdf

To read Obama's record on the issue, click here.
aaainc.org/fileadmin/aaainc/pdf_1/2009_Q1/Obamas_Legislative_Record__3a_.pdf

The Assembly's video about Obama's record is available here.
armeniangenocideaffirmation.com/


US Lawmakers Pressure Obama On Armenian Issue Mar 11, 2009 By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) - Several U.S. lawmakers have written to President Barack Obama urging him to follow up on campaign statements and label the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide.

The pressure on Obama comes ahead of an expected presidential trip to Turkey, which has warned that such declarations by the United States would damage relations.

Turkey denies that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War One. Turkey accepts many Armenians were killed, but denies they were victims of a systematic genocide.

Ronald Reagan was the only U.S. president to publicly call the killings genocide. Others avoided the term out of concern for the sensitivities of Turkey, an important NATO ally.

Four members of the House of Representatives urged Obama to make a statement ahead of the 94th anniversary of the killings on April 24.

"As a presidential candidate, you were ... forthright in discussing your support for genocide recognition, saying that 'America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides.' We agree with you completely," the letter said.

It was signed by Democrats Adam Schiff of California and Frank Pallone of New Jersey, and Republicans George Radanovich of California and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to Turkey last week, said Obama would visit "within the next month or so" in his first trip as president to a Muslim country.

During Clinton's visit, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey would consider mediating between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.

The foreign minister also said in a recent television interview that he saw a risk that Obama would describe the Armenian deaths as genocide, because Obama had done this during his campaign. But Babacan said the United States needed to understand the sensitivities in Turkey.

Another consideration for Obama will be that both Turkey and Armenia say they are close to normalizing relations after nearly a century of hostility.

Other members of the administration, including Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, have in the past supported calling the Armenian killings genocide.

Democratic aides said they also expected several lawmakers to reintroduce a resolution branding the massacre of Armenians as genocide. Armenian-Americans have been pushing for passage of similar proposals in Congress for years.

Two years ago, a resolution was approved in committee but dropped after Turkey denounced it as "insulting" and hinted at halting logistical support for the U.S. war effort in Iraq.

www.reuters.com/article/joeBiden/idUSN11312025


TUSKON: Armenian Bill May Harm Rapprochement
The US Congress' approval of a resolution for the official recognition of Armenian genocide allegations may harm an ongoing reconciliation process between the two estranged neighbors, Armenia and Turkey, the head of a leading Turkish business organization has warned in remarks delivered in Washington.

Rızanur Meral, president of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), delivered a speech titled "The Turkish Economy: EU Accession amid Global Crisis," at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Tuesday. He touched upon the benefits for the Turkish business sector of Ankara's "zero problem" foreign policy toward neighboring countries.

The Turkish business sector wants to develop commercial relations with Armenia, Meral said, adding they expect further progress due to the positive atmosphere between the two countries, which started with President Abdullah Gül's visit to Yerevan to watch a soccer match between the national teams of Armenia and Turkey. "We hope the US Congress will not adopt an Armenian resolution, because this may harm Turkey-Armenia rapprochement. We have already been solving our own problems," Meral said. The US-based Armenian diaspora poses the main problem concerning the issue, he said, adding: "If such resolution is not adopted, then Turkish-Armenian relations can rapidly improve in a very short time."
12 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN WASHINGTON


Seven Topics Of Turkey-Us Negotiations
Extremely important processes have started with the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Ankara. Important steps were taken in matters mentioned below. It will take time to obtain results but we can easily say that a great period of time has started in which "give and take" or "bargaining" will take place. Within time new developments will be seen and for sure new "commodities" will be added to the transaction process but I will share with you what I have observed so far.

Armenia: The Obama administration promised Armenians during his election period to support genocide allegations. Now he is expecting a gesture from Ankara in order to back out of his commitments. If for example the border would be opened up Erivan would be pleased and the postponement of the genocide issue would not lead to a loss in prestige for Obama.

The problem here is whether or not Turkey will take this step. This will be the point where the transaction process will encounter a knot.

Afghanistan: The United States is caught in the Afghanistan issue. The U.S. requests military support from its NATO allies. And regarding this issue Turkey is the most comfortable country. The governments of Germany and Netherlands sending military support pave the way for reactions in public whereas cross border duties of the brave Turkish soldier are a source of national pride. This is Turkey’s most important joker card to be played in almost every hand.

Cyprus: In this matter Turkey is again constricted. As long as the Greek Cypriots do not lift embargos applied toward the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or KKTC, Turkey will not open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships. And as long as ports are closed membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU do not progress. For this is the reason for eight subjects to be temporarily put on hold. If Washington manages to convince the Greek Cypriots to lift the embargo then the way will be paved for negotiations and the probability for a solution to the Cyprus issue will increase.

Energy: The natural gas pipeline called Nabucco carries energy to Europe via Turkey and is an extremely important alternative to Russian gas. The realization of this project will provide Turkey with an important income source, diversification of its own energy resources and thus strengthen Turkey in the eyes of the EU. But the realization of this project in the lines of Turkey depends on support by the United States. If Washington approves of it Ankara’s expectations will be greatly met. This is one more bargaining card of the United States.

MIddle East - Iran: Most of the cards in this issue are held by the United States. If it pleases, it creates space for Turkey or else leaves Turkey outside the game. Turkey’s cards regarding Palestine and Iran are not very strong. But good relations with Hamas give one advantage and another comes from being the only country in the region on good terms with Iran.

But both roles do not matter much other than "easing negotiations." Turkey’s real card, which it never used but could create adverse effects, is negative politics. Balance in the region would be disturbed if it tries to follow politics in the lines of opposing Israel and supporting Tehran. This kind of attitude would of course harm the country itself. Nevertheless, this card should receive attention in conducting general bargaining.

Iraq: One of Turkey’s middle sized cards in the long run is contributing to Iraq’s stability and supporting Baghdad. In the short run it is granting permission to the U.S. military, which is due to leave the region in 2010, to use ground, air and sea routes in Turkey. Ankara signaled very positively regarding this matter. Babacan gave the green light and showed that it will play its card in favor of Washington.

Northern Iraq and the PKK: Turkey’s biggest concern is the PKK. The most important card held by the United States is its strength to get the PKK to do anything through northern Iraq.

Washington wants Ankara to be on good terms with Barzani and not push him around, to take some steps toward the Kurdish issue in the country and toward the PKK. Bargaining revolves around these "steps." If Ankara takes these steps then Washington will be able to put its "plan to elimination the PKK" into effect. There is no more space left today. But I’ll take up this subject in more detail tomorrow.
Mehmet Ali Birand © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


Meeting Between Armenian And Turkish Students In Nevsehir 11 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
In an attempt to break down stereotypes between the two countries, students have organized a camp for a Turkish-Armenian dialogue in the Anatolian city of Nevsehir.

According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet the goal of the camp was to bring students from universities in Turkey and Armenia to overcome the prejudices between the two nations. Eighty students from 20 Turkish and Armenia have spent a week in a hotel in Urgup, an important tourist center in the region of Cappadocia.

The project was initiated by an association of Turkey (Turkiye Universiteleri Öğrenci Yaklasmlari) and was also sponsored by the Turkish Foundation of Economic and Social Studies, or TESEV, the Assembly of Citizens of Helsinki and the newspaper Agos.

The camp included art workshops, concerts, panel discussions and meetings. At the end of camp, students have published a joint statement which said "We are disturbed by the fact that Turkish and Armenian communities, who have lived together for centuries, are alienated and turned against one another to because of the policies on both sides as to the events of 1915. "

"We believe that relations between the two sister nations must be based on the basis of peace and friendship and not on the dilemma of deportation or genocide. The only possible way is to implement all projects and campaigns that we believe will grow rapidly with the active participation of youth, "said the statement.

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


Canada: Students Follow A Course On Genocide Bold 11 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Students at a high school in Toronto were suddenly bombarded with paper planes in addition to suffer the insults of their peers while they engaged in an oral presentation, the first day of a bold course on genocide .

The astonishment and confusion read on the faces of their classmates who are attending this chaotic scene, but none of them does anything. Finally, a student sitting in the back of the class decided to run: "Enough is enough."

Professor of the course "Genocide and crimes against humanity," Mitch Bubulj explains to his class of students had received the orders to prevent the group to make their oral presentation. He asked the youth if they have understood the purpose of the exercise.

"It was to see if anyone would stop them?" Asks a young girl.

"Exactly," replied the teacher.

In addition to discussing the history of genocide, students of the course - taught in nine secondary schools in Toronto - also speak of actions they can take to "bring about real change."

It took five years between conception of the course at the Toronto School Board and its implementation in the classroom. He is currently teaching for a second time only. The first students to have followed the completion last month.

"This course can be brutal. It is brutal, "says Bubulj to its new students. People believe that you will not be able to bear it, to hear about murders, torture and rape, but the last shows that you can bear, and some (students) are positioned to become activists for social change. "

The course has attracted media attention last year when some members of the Turkish community have asked the school board to remove any mention of the Armenian genocide of 1915, an event at the center of the course. Several Turks deny that this genocide took place.

The training material has been hit and no change in the middle of this school year, a new group of students will hear about this event, like the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide.

As part of their final exam, students had to write to their MP to condemn genocide today.

This MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, has already seen first hand the consequences of the genocide in Darfur. In 2005, he became the first MP to visit this region, for a research mission that he had financed himself.

The students knew nothing about the experience of their MP, and it was unaware that the course was given in his constituency. He claims, however, have written a letter to the Toronto Board of Education to support the concept when it was announced.

"It is important that students understand that this is part of human reality that evil exists and that we must protect," he said, adding he hopes to meet with young people instead of answering their letters.

Zarah Rostamijam, a student of 17 years who have completed the course, says it remains unclear how she became involved in the future, but she was convinced she would denounce injustice whenever it see.

"It opened my eyes. I want to do something (against the genocide). And I want to find ways to stop this. Adolescents who are interested in politics and what is happening in the world, it does exist. "


Turkey Sees a Greater Role in Obama's Foreign Policy By Pelin Turgut / Istanbul Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2009
Turks hold posters of Barrack Obama reading "You are a real hero -You will change the destiny of the world."

When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, villagers in a remote Turkish province made headlines by sacrificing 44 sheep to celebrate his victory. Those villagers will feel their celebration was vindicated by Washington's announcement that Obama will travel to Turkey next month — an event being hailed here as proof of Turkey's elevated strategic role in the foreign policy of the new Administration.

"There has never been such a high-profile period in U.S.-Turkish relations before," says columnist Cengiz Candar, referring to Obama's planned trip, which follows a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Ankara last weekend. "Never in history has a U.S. President visited Turkey so soon after taking office." (See pictures of cultures coexisting in Istanbul)

Ties between Washington and Ankara had become increasingly fraught under the Bush administration, never fully recovering from the Turkish parliament's refusal in 2003 to allow U.S. troops to use Turkey as a launching pad into neighboring Iraq. During the subsequent war, U.S. popularity fell to an all-time low in Turkey. But Obama appears to view Turkey — a predominantly Muslim but officially secular country straddling Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East — as having a key part to play in his effort to heal U.S. relations with the Islamic world. An increasingly assertive regional power, Turkey has significant influence in a number of conflict zones critical to U.S. foreign policy objectives, ranging from relations between Israel and its neighbors to the Caucasus, Iraq and Iran. "The new administration is aware of Turkey's importance," said Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan after meeting Clinton. "Turkish-American relations have entered a new era."

Since last May, Ankara has hosted several rounds of secret peace talks between Syria and Israel. It also played a role in helping secure the tenuous cease-fire that ended hostilities in Gaza earlier this year. Turkey has also been approached by Tehran to mediate in its standoff with Washington over Iran's nuclear program. A day after Secretary Clinton's Ankara visit, a high-profile Turkish delegation flew to Tehran, with whose regime Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's moderate Islamist-rooted government enjoys good relations.

And while Turkey would not allow U.S. troops to transit its territory on the way in to Iraq, it has said it will allow them to pass through Turkey on their way out, in line with President Obama's withdrawal plans. Ankara may play an even larger role in Afghanistan, another key focus of the Obama Administration. Turkey already has about 800 troops on the ground as part of the NATO mission there, and could potentially provide more — the Obama Administration is currently struggling to convince other European NATO allies to send reinforcements. Washington could also seek Ankara's help in persuading some its neighbors to allow NATO to run supply lines for its Afghanistan mission through their territories.

Turkey's rising star in Obama's Washington could also help keep the country's democratization process on track. Elected twice on a platform of change, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been faltering on democratic reforms in recent months. Having been frustrated in its efforts to expedite its acceptance into the European Union, Turkey's government has instead put greater emphasis on looking east, burnishing its influence in the Islamic world. The Kurdish conflict in the southeast, which spills over into Iraq, remains unresolved and reforms have stalled, while a recent U.S. State Department human rights report cites police misconduct, allegations of torture and limits on freedom of expression as problems in Turkey.

By dangling the prospect of a high-profile strategic role for Ankara, Obama can help ensure that Turkey gets back on track on issues that matter: E.U. membership, fully addressing the grievances of the country's large Kurdish minority and better democracy. And a more stable Turkey can only strengthen its position as a moderate role model for the countries to its east.


The Winners And Losers With The So-Called Armenian Genocide Resolutions (Mehmet Kalyoncu)Today's Zaman
Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines "genocide" as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, and racial or religious group, as such:"

(1) "killing members of the group"; (2) "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group"; (3) "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part"; (4) "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group"; and (5) "forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." So, the key is the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part," or in other words, the intent to "annihilate, or put out of existence." Therefore, the committing of any or all of these acts constitutes genocide only if done with such intent. By this definition, the Holocaust obviously constitutes genocide because the very definition of the word "genocide" seems to almost perfectly describe the Nazis' horrendous treatment of the Jews during World War II.
However, describing what befell a portion of the Ottoman Armenians as genocide is tantamount to either refuting the credibility of the Holocaust, or paving the way to describing every kind of war casualty as genocide because "causing casualties within a group while internally displacing a portion of that group in the time of war, or causing unintentional civilian casualties within that group" is not a part of the "genocide" definition. Similarly, the exploitation of the UN convention on genocide to prosecute crimes retrospectively is contradictory to the very logic of law, if such a law had not been enacted with such a purpose in the first place, which, if it was, would jeopardize the credibility of all other international laws. Another matter of curiosity is the fact that then-Ottoman Minister of Interior Talat Pasha's controversial telegrams, which allegedly approved the annihilation of the Ottoman Armenians, are the only evidence to certify such intention and that the very authenticity of those telegrams is still questionable and has yet to be verified.

One wonders if Reps. George Radanovich (R-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) paid attention to these nuances, or if they were even aware of these nuances, before they introduced the so-called Armenian genocide resolution, HR 106, in the House of Representatives. It would not be a surprise if they had not or were not because of what some would call the so-called Armenian genocide industry seems to have long been yielding lucrative profits for the resolution sponsors, the Armenian diaspora organizations and for Washington's lobbying establishment. Next month, the whole "Armenian genocide resolution" play is likely to be staged once again and to strain US-Turkish relations, thereby yielding lucrative profits for some while harming others.

Armenian diaspora and the so-called Jewish lobby
Within the Armenian diaspora, the proponents of the so-called genocide resolution think they simply have nothing to lose no matter how long they prolong their campaign against Turkey. After all, there are two likely outcomes. If the resolution does not pass Congress, and/or the US president does not mention the "g"-word in his annual speech commemorating the 1915 tragedies, then business continues as usual: The Armenian diaspora reaffirms its allegedly "underdog" status, portrays Turkey as an anti-democratic state incapable of facing its history and embarks on yet another year of intensive political campaigning, which in turn strengthens the diaspora's solidarity and creates lucrative lobbying opportunities.

If the resolution passes Congress and the US recognizes the so-called genocide, then the whole so-called genocide enterprise becomes an international business. Relying on the fact that the US government recognizes the so-called genocide, a US state or federal court or an international authority such as an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor could take the issue to The Hague to prosecute the late Ottoman government for the alleged genocide and war crimes. Similarly, the proponents of the so-called genocide would try to convince one or more of the UN member states to take the issue to the International Court of Justice against Turkey. The ICC cannot rule for any reparations to be given to the Armenians because the ICC does not have jurisdiction over Turkey, as Turkey is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which founded the ICC. However, the mere existence of the ICC prosecution would bring, the Armenian diaspora thinks, satisfactory damage to Turkey's image. No need to mention that such an outcome would materialize, if ever, only after several decades throughout which lucrative lobbying opportunities would emerge, and Turkey would be forced to a series of concessions to the Armenians -- and not necessarily only to the Armenians.

The Armenian diaspora organizations' unrelenting defamation campaign against the Turks and Turkey is somewhat understandable given the fact that the hatred of the Ottoman Empire -- if not of the Turks and contemporary Turkey -- seems to be the only factor binding the different factions and generations within the Armenian diasporas, and that the so-called genocide resolutions seem to be the most effective means for the political mobilization of the Armenian diasporas. However, some Jewish-American organizations' pattern of shifting loyalties vis-à-vis the so-called Armenian genocide allegations is confusing at best.

In his "Backstabbing for Beginners," Michael Soussan observes what used to be probably the most distinguishing characteristic of Jack Abramoff, Washington's legendary lobbyist who is currently serving a prison term for federal felony charges. Soussan suggests that potential clients would walk into Abramoff's office thinking that they had a tiny problem, and then walk out thinking that they were in huge trouble and that Abramoff was the only person who could help them out. From one perspective, what Abramoff used to do was just "business as usual," doing what any other Washington lobbyist would do. It also reflected general characteristics of the broader entity that Abramoff belonged to: what the two American scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt termed as the "Israel Lobby." From another perspective, what Abramoff used to do was not any different from what certain Jewish organizations do whenever a so-called Armenian genocide resolution is introduced in the House of Representatives. Simply stated, certain Jewish organizations in the US have taken advantage of these infamous resolutions to manipulate Ankara and make the Turks agree to what they might not otherwise vis-à-vis Turkish-Israeli relations. Although it would be unfair to assume that these Jewish-American organizations have simply been manipulating US-Turkish relations for the sake of Israel's interests, the continuous shift of these organizations' attitude toward Turkey that almost always occurs in parallel to the changes in the Turkish-Israeli relations makes one rethink the situation.

It seems like certain Jewish-American organizations -- and Israel indirectly through them -- have vastly benefited from the recurring waves of the so-called Armenian genocide resolutions popping up on the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs agenda every year around April. However, with the changing political and economic dynamics both in the US and Turkey, not only are such resolutions no longer profitable, but also what some may term "Jewish opportunism" may grow increasingly detrimental to the wellbeing of Jews in general.

One should be reminded of the fact that -- no matter how hypothetical a situation it is -- if the Americans turn cold on the Jews and Israel at some point in the future, the Turks are pretty much the likeliest, if not the only, people whose help the Jews can seek and possibly get. At least, that is what history teaches. With that thought in mind, the Jewish organizations in the West in particular and the world Jewry and Israel in general would be better off avoiding the shortsighted practices and policies that would alienate the Turks in the long run. Although seemingly a hypothetical situation at the moment, it has already been forecasted by many Jewish intellectuals in the US. Thankfully, despite the oscillating attitude of certain Jewish-American organizations, there have always been Jewish-Americans who have never wavered in their support for Turkey and for the improvement of the US-Turkish and Turkish-Israeli relations.

The US and the American people
Although the United States and the American people have always been victimized by the manipulation of the US Congress by certain interest groups, there have not been many -- if any -- scholarly studies that scrutinize the impact of the so-called Armenian genocide resolution on US interests. Some tend to make comparisons between the Ottoman Empire in its last century and the United States today. As the argument goes, in the late 19th century, the Ottoman Empire introduced a comprehensive series of democratic reforms that intended to improve the political environment so that the non-Muslim minorities, a prominent component of which was the Ottoman Armenians, could become more politically active and take a role in the Ottoman administration. However, it continues, that certain militant Armenian groups such as the Tashnaks exploited this window of opportunity to pursue their own narrow interests, thereby contributing to the collapse of the empire. Similarly, as the argument goes, in the last several decades certain Armenian-American organizations such as the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), which itself originates in the Tashnak movement, have been exploiting American democracy to pursue their narrow group interests, even though it gravely damages the US's image and interests.

Whether such a similarity exists is certainly something that their fellow Americans are to decide. However, one difference is certain: While within the Ottoman Empire numerous militant Armenian groups engaged in armed conflict against the empire, massacred some 800,000 Muslims and defected to the invading Russian army, such is not the case today in the United States. The only similarity is that Armenian terrorists such as Murad Topalian and his accomplices in the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) inflicted terror on American soil long before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 by assassinating Turkish diplomats and attacking the American scholars who called for an objective investigation of the genocide allegations. While these terrorist acts deserve condemnation, they should not overshadow the fact that today there seems to be a sizeable peace-loving Armenian-American community that is as disturbed by ANCA as many Americans and Turks are.

What should Turkey do?
Turkish Ambassador to the US Nabi ?ensoy recently commented that "the Turkish nation is ready to struggle altogether against [a possible passage of the so-called genocide resolution in the Congress]," and hoped that the US administration would understand the importance of Turkey, the meaning of this issue to the Turkish people and the harm it would bring to Turkish-American relations. More important than the US administration's comprehension of this is the American people's understanding of how such resolution and its concomitant political intrigues harm their country.

In this regard, by reaching out to the American people via ads in the major newspapers, Ankara should express Turkey's respect for the rights of Americans and for their representatives in the Congress to do what is right and rational, and what they believe serves the US's national interests. The ad should point out that Turkey believes that passing a controversial resolution in Congress recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide is neither right nor rational, nor does it serve US national interests. Nevertheless, it should assert that Turkey would respect it no matter how wrong, irrational and detrimental to the US interests that resolution would be. Moreover, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government should say what it can guarantee is that it would do its best in the aftermath of such a resolution to counter the Turks' rising discontent with the US and everything related to it, because Turkey is committed to the US-Turkish partnership. However, the AK Party government should clarify that it cannot guarantee that Turkey will be able to maintain its responsiveness to cooperation with the United States. The American people would appreciate the fact that, just like any other democratic nation's government, the Turkish government is bound by the preferences of its citizens.

Finally, the Turks should remain calm and enjoy the blessings of the Armenian diaspora's defamation of Turkey, because there could literally be no better justification and reason for mobilization than this continuous defamation effort for the Turks to reach out to the US Congress and the American people, introducing Turkey and all it stands for.
*Mehmet Kalyoncu is an international relations analyst and author of the book "A Civilian Response to Ethno-Religious Conflict: The Gülen Movement in Southeast Turkey."


Turkey, Armenia To Open Border Gates (Hasan Kanbolat) Today's Zaman
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Ankara has shown that the Obama administration's perspective on Turkey contains radical departures from the Bush administration. Thus, Clinton's visit serves as the first step of a new relationship between the US and Turkey.

The new US administration seems to be determined to cooperate with Turkey in undertaking concrete and permanent projects in the Middle East and Eurasia. Armenia serves as an important benchmark for this cooperation as it will produce results in 2009. The joint declaration emphasized that the US will lend support to the efforts for normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. The statements in the joint declaration imply that the Obama administration will make a statement that is close to Turkey's position on April 24, and at the same time, Turkey will soon declare that it will enter into a normalization process with Armenia.

It has already become obvious that the thawing of ice between Turkey and Armenia started following Turkish President Abdullah Gül's visit to Yerevan to watch a football match on Sept. 6 will continue with new initiatives. For some time, the two countries have been holding secret talks in Europe. During his visit to Y'stanbul in his capacity as the term president of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) to attend a ministerial gathering of the BSEC on Nov. 24, 2008, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian disclosed that Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan will visit Turkey in October 2009 upon an invitation from Gül.

In late March, a meeting of the transportation ministers of the BSEC will be held in Yerevan because Armenia is the term president. Turkey is expected to send its transportation undersecretary to this meeting. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will attend the meetings of the Committee of Senior Officials of the BSEC to be held in Yerevan on April 15. There is also a meeting of energy ministers in late April, also to be held in Yerevan. Energy Minister Hilmi Güler is expected to attend this meeting. Until Azerbaijan takes office as the BSEC term president on May 1, a steady stream of ministers and top bureaucrats traveling from Turkey to Armenia is expected.

After the local elections slated for March 29 and before April 24, Turkey and Armenia are likely to make public their plan for normalizing relations. Thus, establishing diplomatic ties will be the first step of this plan. As a second step, border crossings will be opened. The two countries have already decided to set up a joint committee of historians. The total length of the border between Turkey and Armenia, which starts with border landmark No. 4 and ends with the border landmark No. 148, is 325 kilometers. There are two border crossings that are currently closed on this border: "Alican Highway Border Crossing" and "Akyaka Railway Border Crossing." Alican Highway Border Crossing is near the Alican village of I?dy'r. Akyaka Railway Border Crossing is near the Akyaka district of Kars. The former name of Akyaka was Ky'zy'lçakçak. For this reason, the Akyaka Railway Border Crossing was formerly called "Ky'zy'lçakçak Gate." This border crossing, located 66 kilometers away from Kars, is known to the public as the "Eastern Gate," while Armenians tend to call it "Ahuryan Gate." In addition to the railway, there is a secondary country road that passes through this gate.

The biggest obstacle to the announcement and implementation of the normalization steps between Turkey and Armenia is the Armenian diaspora and the militant Karabakh Armenians. Sarksyan is afraid of being killed after announcing the process of normalization with Turkey. The Russian Federation lends support to the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, while the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry seeks to express Baku's opinion through a meeting titled "Azerbaijani-Turkish Strategic Partnership and Regional Security" in Ankara in June. However, Baku should realize that it can no longer take Turkey's partnership as a given, as it used to be for years. It should be understood as well that Turkey has returned its attention to the Caucasus, which it neglected from the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire to the disintegration of the Soviet Union (1923-1991), and has started to be one of the forces influencing internal dynamics.


Armenian Genocide: A representative of the U.S. Congress warned his colleagues on the role of Turkey 10 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
A member of U.S. Congress advised her colleagues to consider the importance of cooperation with its NATO ally Turkey for the achievement of U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a letter sent to 434 members of the House of Representatives, the Republican Bill Shuster said that Turkey had an important role in its support for the U.S. reach its objectives in these two countries in trouble. Bill Shuster has attached an article published on 18 February in the Christian Science Monitor, "which Déline how Turkey can help in the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

The letter from Bill Shuster occurs when members of Congress are stepping up their efforts to present a resolution recognizing Armenian claims of genocide during the First World War. Ankara has repeatedly warned that the strategic relationship will suffer a fatal blow if such a resolution was adopted. The Representative Adam Schiff introduced a new resolution and said he was hopeful that it goes in the end.

Greece dismayed at Clinton's visit to Ankara

Greek Government officials are dismayed at Clinton's official visit to Turkey (Ankara) and the follow-up announcement that U.S. president Barack Obama will visit Turkey next month. Athens not on the agenda of both highest ranking US. diplomats.

"Cold shower" states Greek daily Eleftheros Typos commenting the H. Clinton's visit to Ankara. "This clearly shows US politics will not change towards Turkey, the Aegean and Cyprus" says "Ethnos" with Athens daily "Ta Nea" adding "Clinton answered Cyprus questions using phrases coined by Turkish diplomats, mainly suggesting the ethnic Cypriot Turks must not be isolated".

It's a clear sign who the U.S. thinks is the dominant player in the region and the importance it gives to Ankara. //03.10.09
macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/5934/2/


Turkey: Hillary Clinton Presses ’Reset’ Button With Key US Ally Yigal Schleifer 3/10/09
Combining statecraft with stagecraft, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have turned around US-Turkish relations. For most of the Bush administration’s tenure, Washington had a strained relationship with Ankara, but Clinton’s first visit to Turkey as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state has Turkish officials feeling more optimistic about the future of bilateral relations.

"Her coming to Turkey is [like the] pressing of the reset button and starting with a clean slate. Turkey is ready for that. The last eight years have been troublesome," says Suat Kiniklioglu, a member of parliament and Deputy Chairman of External Affairs for Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The last few years have been dismal for Turkey-US relations and for America’s image in Turkey. Turks were strongly opposed to the war in Iraq, while many also felt that the United States was not doing enough to deal with the presence of Kurdish guerillas that were using their bases in northern Iraq to attack Turkey. Many policymakers in Washington, meanwhile, never forgave Ankara for failing to pass a 2003 motion in parliament that would have allowed American troops to invade Iraq through Turkey.

Clinton and Turkish officials had significant issues to discuss during her one-day visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara on March 8, including the possible use by American troops on Turkish soil -- this time for withdrawing from Iraq -- and her announcement that Obama will make his own trip to Turkey in early April.

"We share a commitment to democracy, a secular constitution, respect for religious freedom, belief in a free market and a sense of global responsibility," Clinton said during a press conference with her Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan. She added that Obama’s upcoming visit is "a reflection of the value we place on our friendship with Turkey."

But the secretary of state had another important mission during her Turkish visit: to polish America’s battered image in Turkey, where, according to a 2007 public opinion survey, only 9 percent of the population held a favorable view of the U.S., down from 52 percent in 2002.

In a departure from traditional diplomacy, Clinton sat down for a Saturday night interview on a popular Turkish television talk show. She proceeded to open up on prime time about everything from how she fell in love to her challenged sense of fashion. (Clinton did something similar during her recent trip to Indonesia, visiting the set of a youth-oriented television show).

"This is good for American public diplomacy. Whoever planned this did it well," says Huseyin Bagci, a professor of international relations at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University. "She is reducing the damage to the American image here in Turkey. I think Turks are ready to take a different look at America."

Public appearances in Turkey by American officials during the Bush administration tended to be few and far between. Former president George W. Bush’s lone visit to Istanbul, for a NATO summit, saw him confined to a large security zone that turned a large part of downtown Istanbul into a ghost town.

Hosted by four women, the program, called Haydi Gel Bizimle Ol (Come and Join Us), is the Turkish version of the popular American talk show "The View." For an hour, Clinton smiled pleasantly while the hosts and members of the audience tossed her mostly softball questions. Asked by one of the hosts how she deals with life’s difficulties, Clinton answered: "You know, family, faith, friends are the core of my life and I don’t know anybody whose life is smooth sailing."

At a low budget hotel in the heart of Istanbul, night clerk Ali Demir, splitting his attention between Clinton’s television appearance and a soccer game streaming live on his computer screen, said he liked the secretary of state’s approach.

"This is a good change. It’s a different way," the clerk said about Clinton’s television appearance. "She’s more colorful and seems closer to the people, more likable."

Certainly, the Clinton name still has star power in Turkey. A 1999 trip by then president Bill Clinton and his wife, where he visited an area that had been devastated by an earthquake, is still fondly remembered by Turks. In Istanbul’s sprawling Grand Bazaar, it seems like almost every shop has a picture of the owner shaking hands with a beaming Bill Clinton.

"In Turkish-American relations, as much as the message matters, the messenger also matters," says Kiniklioglu. "The name Clinton resonates differently here."

Still, some observers caution that television appearances alone will not be enough to sway Turkish public opinion. "Overall, Obama’s policies towards the region, towards Muslims -- these are the things that will help improve America’s image in Turkey. Clinton’s appearance is a good start, but without a change in the main policies, you can’t expect things to improve," says Lale Sariibrahimoglu, an Ankara-based analyst and a columnist for the English-language newspaper Today’s Zaman.

"You can’t just appoint someone to be in charge of PR," Sariibrahimoglu added. "The product has to be good if you want it to sell."

On the other hand, analysts hailed the planned Obama visit, scheduled for April 6-7, as another important step in restoring the Turkish-American relationship.

"The fact that the president of the United States is coming to Turkey illustrates his willingness to put an end to the downward slide in Turkish-American relations that began with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. An American president who opposed the Iraq war is now selecting a democratic country that also opposed the war and refused to help the United States for his first visit to the Islamic world. This symbolism should not be lost," Omer Taspinar, Director of the Turkey Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, recently wrote in a column in the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

"Probably for the first time in its relations with the superpower, Turkey is getting the presidential attention it deserves. That this is happening in a non-crisis environment is all the more remarkable."

Editor's Note: Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul.
March 10, 2009 © Eurasianet


Bolstering ties to Turkey, By Jill Burcum March 10, 2009
The good news, bad news scenario on America’s approval rating in Turkey became a running gag among the journalists on the International Reporting Project’s Gatekeeper Editors’ trip in September 2008. The bad news, as delivered by a Turkish journalist, was that our nation’s approval rating stood at just 14 percent according to one recent opinion poll. The good news? It was up from an even more dismal 8 percent in an earlier poll.

So reports that President Barack Obama will visit Turkey next month are a welcome sign to this IRP alumnae. Turkey has been a staunch NATO ally for a half century, serving as the frontlines during the Cold War. Now, its secular democratic government in a nation comprised mostly of Muslims, as well as its location as an energy transit hub, continue to make it a crucial ally for the decades ahead. A visit by the popular American president will shore up that partnership at a critical time; it will also be important to Turks that Obama chose their nation for his first visit as president to a Muslim country.

Obama’s visit comes as concerns mount about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His ruling party has just enough Islamic flourishes — one example: support for women wearing head scarves, a sign of their religious devotion — to put Turkey’s military establishment on high alert. The so-called "deep state" watches closely to see if Erdogan is moving the government too far from its secular roots and rethinking the nation’s Westernized course. An episode in January at an economic forum in Switzerland underscored those concerns internationally. Erdogan made an abrupt and huffy exit from the stage during a sharp debate over the Gaza conflict, earning him cheers through the Islamic world for his perceived defiance towards Israel.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already paid Turkey a visit. Earlier this month, Clinton met with the prime minister, foreign minister and president in Ankara. She also, according to Britain’s Financial Times, appeared a chat show, fielding questions about her fashion sense and love life.

Obama’s upcoming visit likely is intended to do far more than bolster goodwill. According to the Financial Times, the U.S. may request support from Turkey for American military operations in Iraq or those in Afghanistan. And, the Obama administration’s emphasis on Turkish relations may well signal U.S. intent to re-engage Syria and Iran. Turkey, because of its unique position as crossroads between the West and the Islamic world, has often helped bridge that divide by playing mediator. A high-ranking Turkish official told IRP editors in September that the government is actively seeking out these mediator opportunities on the world stage.

It was clear during that trip that the longstanding U.S.-Turkey alliance is more critical than ever. Obama’s foreign policy team was smart to make a visit to this beautiful, often overlooked nation a priority on the new president’s travel itinerary.

www.startribune.com/opinion/41032647.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUsZ


US Daily Slams Clinton On Turkey’s Human Rights Report
A major US newspaper has harshly criticized US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's balanced approach toward Turkish leaders' reaction against a human rights report on Turkey that was recently released by the US State Department.

Ahead of Clinton's visit to Ankara over the weekend, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had reacted harshly to the report by the US State Department, which mentioned that there was government pressure on the media in Turkey. Erdoğan said then that he would discuss the report with Clinton during her visit. The report regarding Turkey's human rights record in 2008 included a number of criticisms, from accreditations cancelled by the Prime Ministry Press Office to lawsuits filed by the prime minister against cartoonists.

An editorial in The Washington Post on Tuesday said Clinton had undercut the State Department's own reporting regarding two "problematic" American allies, Egypt and Turkey.

The editorial recalled that Clinton was asked by a Turkish journalist what she told Erdoğan when he complained about the State Department report.

"Well, my reaction was that we put out this report every year, and I fully understand … no politician ever likes the press criticizing them," Clinton had replied. "Overall, we think that Turkey has made tremendous progress in freedom of speech and freedom of religion and human rights, and we're proud of that."

The daily said: "In fact, as the State Department has documented, Turkey is retreating on freedom of speech. In Egypt, the human rights situation also is getting worse rather than better. By minimizing those facts, Ms. Clinton is doing a disservice to her own department -- and sending a message to rulers around the world that their abuses won't be taken seriously by this US administration."
11 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN ANKARA


US Spokesman Faces Questioning On Obama Skipping Greece
A US State Department spokesman struggled to explain why US President Barack Obama has decided to visit Turkey and not its neighbor, Greece, insisting at a press conference that the president is planning to visit Turkey to discuss many issues of common concern.

"I think it's quite significant that President Obama will be going to Turkey. They're working out the details of that visit," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said at a daily press briefing on Monday. "But Turkey is an important ally, and there's a lot of business to do with Turkey, and we think it is significant that the president has decided to go."

The Greek media expressed resentment over Obama's plan to visit Turkey within the month -- a short time after his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, traveled to Ankara for talks with Turkish leaders -- rather than next turning his attention to Greece, another NATO ally that has had problematic ties with Turkey in the past.

In the past the US policy was to maintain a balance between its relations with Turkey and Greece; US officials visiting Turkey also visited Greece to show that the US equally valued both allies. The Greek media lamented that the US no longer seems to be concerned about maintaining such evenhandedness and reported that the upcoming Obama visit to Turkey could strain relations with Greek diplomats.

Asked whether Obama is also planning to go to Greece, Wood said the president is not scheduled for such a visit. Regarding Clinton's plans, Wood remarked, "I think, at some point, she will be going to Greece," adding: "All I can tell you is that Greece is an important ally of the United States. Foreign Minister [Dora] Bakoyannis was here last week to meet with the secretary [of state], and we've got a lot of business as well to do with the Greek government. And so I wouldn't -- folks -- I wouldn't draw conclusions about this."

Wood was later questioned by the same journalist as to whether Clinton discussed the Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, whether the Cyprus dispute that has put Greece and Turkey at odds with each other for decades was also on the agenda and how much money Clinton had proposed to give the Turks for a possible withdrawal of US troops via Turkey.
11 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN İSTANBUL


Obama Visit To Turkey Significant
WASHINGTON - The U.S. State Department said Monday that President Barack Obama's planned visit to Turkey next month was significant, as "there's a lot of business to do with Turkey."

State Department spokesman Robert Wood spent part of his daily briefing defending Obama's decision to visit Turkey in the face of a Greek reporter’s criticism along the lines of "why does he go to Turkey, but not to Greece?"

Over the weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Ankara Obama's plan to visit Turkey "within a month or so."

Obama is expected to arrive in Turkey around April 7, after a tour of several European nations to attend international meetings. He will take part in a G20 meeting in London, a NATO summit in Strasbourg, France, and a European Union summit in the Czech capital of Prague.

"Turkey's an important ally and there's a lot of business to do with Turkey. And we think it is significant that the president's decided to go," Wood said, when the Greek reporter asked why Obama decided to visit Turkey.

Asked again if Obama or Clinton had immediate plans to visit Greece, the spokesman responded negatively.

At this point the Greek reporter protested and said, "they are, of course, a NATO ally as well as Turkey."

Wood agreed and said: "Greece is an important ally of the United States ... Foreign Minister Bakoyannis was here last week to meet with the secretary. And we've got a lot of business as well to do with the Greek government."

Asked about the U.S. position on the Armenian claims of "genocide" and if it had been discussed during Clinton's visit to Ankara on the weekend, Wood said: "That issue certainly was a subject that was discussed, but I'm not going to get into the details of the discussion."
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


Obama’s Turkey Visit Message In Itself, Gül
ANKARA - The new U.S. administration has taken a fresh angle on its global outlook and its messages to the world, the Turkish president said yesterday.

At a press conference prior to his departure for Iran, where he will attend a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization, President Gül was asked if Ankara could be the venue for a speech Obama is supposed to deliver to bridge ties with the Muslim world.

"If you establish a connection in that sense, his visit to Ankara is a message in itself. It is a fact that this visit is very important for both the United States and for us. Just as the United States is dealing with a number of issues facing the world, Turkey is also dealing with them especially in our own region," Gül said.

Date not set yet
Bilateral relations would also be discussed considering that ties with Washington are one of the most important pillars of Turkish foreign policy, he said. The exact timing of the visit is still vague and Gül said consultations with U.S. officials were under way to fix its scope.

The trip by Gül and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to Tehran, after their talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the weekend, has roused speculation on whether or not Ankara has a message to convey from Washington to Iranian officials. Babacan earlier dismissed that he would pass on any message but said Turkey would consider serving as a mediator between Iran and the United States.

'Do not miss the opportunity'
Yesterday Gül said he would share views with the Tehran administration in a sincere, honest and transparent way like in the past. Cengiz Çandar, columnist for Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review accompanying the president en route to Iran, said the president would tell Iranian officials not to "miss the opportunity," stemming from the positive climate the Obama administration is spreading.

Meanwhile, Gül will not visit a northern Iraqi city during his planned trip to neighboring Iraq scheduled for this month, private channel CNNTürk reported, adding that the Turkish president will visit only Baghdad. © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


We Used Dead Bodies As Bridges
The “disgrace of the humanity” of the Armenians, who play the “victim” and “oppressed” in every respect, was this time expressed by an Armenian, who had personally experienced the incidents.

The author of the book, will be put under a threat by this society, which “commits the real genocide”, which attempts disgraceful and dishonorable activities for the human kind.

(*)David Veriyan, an Armenian journalist, who is currently living in Beirut, had fought in the war at the mountainous Karabagh in the past, “for the sake of cross”. He told about the incidents he had witnessed in his book entitled “for the sake of cross”. According to Azertac’s news; the violence of the Armenians againt Azerbaijanis is mentioned in the book, which was published in English.

Following are the parts from the book: “Sometimes we had to pass over the dead bodies of the Azerbaijanis, who were killed. I remember that we made a bridge from the dead bodies in order to pass over a bog near a place called Daşbulag. When I did not wish to pass over these dead bodies, a major named Ohanyan ordered me not to be afraid. Since you have to obey the orders of an officer, I obeyed his order. I had to step over the chest of a girl, who was 9-10 years old and passed over a bog. My shoes and my camera were all over blood.”

An incident, which was described at page 63, displays Armenians’ actions, ruthlessness and cruelty, which does not suit to human kind: “A group called ‘Gaflan’, which was in charge of burning the dead bodies, was gathering hundreds of bodies of Turks (Azerbaijanis) at one center and burning them at one kilometers west of Hocalı on 2nd of March. I saw a girl who was 10 years old and was wounded from his head and her hands. Her face had completely turned into purple. She had survived despite hunger, cold and her wounds. She could hardly breathe. I still cannot forget the fear in the eyes of the little girl. A soldier named Tigranyan took the girl and throws her onto the bodies, which was getting prepared for burning. It seemed to me as if the dead bodies were crying, asking for help and screaming. I was not able to bear this any longer and I also wished to see Şuşa. Therefore, I left the front and returned back. The ones at the front continued with the front war.”

(*) ANS (Internet)-02.03.2009 GenocideReality.com


Russian General’s Report On Genocide Against Turks Committed By Armenians Published As A Book [ 10 Mar 2009 ]
Istanbul. Mayis Alizadeh–APA. Dogan publishing house published the report found in the archive of the Russian General Staff by Professor Mehmet Perincek of Istanbul University, APA Turkish bureau reports. Russian general Bolkhovotinov’s report on the “Armenian issue” was published for the first time in 1915 in Turkish under the title of “Armenian report”. Bolkhovotinov was one of the commanders of Russian army in the Caucasus fighting against the Ottoman troops. Perincek told APA Turkish bureau that it was very important document. “General Bolkhovotinov reported to the General Staff about the uprising of Armenians in Anatolia against the Ottoman Empire and killing of local Turkish residents by the Armenians. The general of army, who was fighting against the Turks and secretly supported the Armenians, reported Armenians were committing genocide against the Turkish people. The document shows how Turkey is fair in his struggle against the slanders. We published in this book many historic photos for the first time, which describes the genocide against the Turks committed by the Armenian bandits”.


What Were Armenian Officials Thinking, If They Were Thinking at all? By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
Two shocking announcements made by Yerevan officials have deeply troubled Armenians worldwide.

The first statement was made by Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan in Tsakhkadzor, Armenia on February 21, during an international economic forum -- "Outlook for International Economic Cooperation: Problems and Solutions." The conference was attended by high-ranking officials and businessmen from Russia, Bulgaria, Iran and many other countries.

In his speech titled, "International Economic Cooperation: New Policy," the Prime Minister invited the participation of Russia and Turkey in the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Armenia. He said that the multi-billion-dollar project had not only economic but also political significance. The existing power plant, located near Yerevan, was commissioned in 1976. Several international organizations as well as neighboring Turkey have been pressing for the closure of the Medzamor power plant for several years, citing safety concerns. The new power plant is expected to be operational in 2016.

Turkish leaders have not yet responded to Mr. Sargsyan's invitation.

However, according to Russian sources, Ankara is said to be interested. An unidentified Turkish spokesman was quoted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta as stating: "The government of Turkey is anticipating an official appeal on participation in the atomic power plant from Armenian official circles. Only after that, the Turkish side may consider the prospect of participating in the project and announce its decision. If all the issues involved are complied with, Yerevan's proposal may be accepted."

Several Armenian analysts have raised serious concerns about involving Turkey in such a sensitive project. Some pointed out the risk to Armenia's national security, given Turkey's historical enmity. Other commentators brought up the total lack of experience of Turkish companies in constructing nuclear power plants. Ara Nranyan, an Armenian parliament member representing the ARF, a junior member of the governing coalition, stated that his party opposes Turkey's participation in the new nuclear power plant and views it as "damaging to Armenia's interests."

How can Armenian officials offer a role in constructing a nuclear power plant to a country that denies the Genocide, refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, sets up a blockade to destroy its economy, and provides political and military support to Azerbaijan in the Artsakh (Karabagh) conflict? The second disturbing development is an invitation by Armenian officials to Turkey's Foreign Minister to attend the Black Sea Economic Conference (BSEC) on April 16-17, just days before the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Armenia's six-month rotating chairmanship of BSEC ends on April 30.

Armenians were further irritated by a report in the Turkish newspaper "Today's Zaman" that "Armenia has rescheduled a foreign ministerial meeting of Black Sea countries, apparently as a goodwill gesture to ensure Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babajan will be among the participants." Zaman reported that Armenian authorities had moved the date of the BSEC meeting "from the previously announced April 29 to April 16. The shift is significant because April 29 is only a few days after April 24."

To add insult to injury, Zaman quoted unnamed Turkish officials as stating that Babajan has not confirmed his attendance, and that his participation depended on "Armenia's commitment to the ongoing rapprochement process and the course of closed-door talks with Armenia."

Turkish officials make frequent statements about "rapprochement" with Armenia in order to give the false impression that the two countries are reconciling with each other, thus hoping that the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress would not take any action on the Armenian Genocide.

While Ankara officials are constantly bombarding Washington with such fake messages, the Armenian side stays astonishingly silent, giving credence to Turkish misrepresentations which are intended to undermine the prospects of any U.S. declaration on the Armenian Genocide.

In a rare display of responsiveness, Tigran Balayan, the acting spokesman of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, issued a statement denying that the BSEC conference was rescheduled to accommodate Turkish concerns. Mr. Balayan, however, provided no explanation as to why the conference was not held before the month of April.

It is hard to believe that the Armenian government would invite the Turkish Foreign Minister to Armenia just one week before April 24. Mr. Babajan, a Genocide denialist and high-ranking official of a hostile country that is blockading Armenia, should never be welcomed in Yerevan, unless he intends to place a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument and offers an apology to the Armenian people!
Hillary Clinton’s Visit To Ankara And The Armeny'an Issue By Ömer Engin Lütem
The United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Ankara had for purpose reestablishing close cooperation with Turkey. While the new American government is determining its foreign policies, it is understood that collaborating with Turkey is necessary when it comes to matters like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Palestine issue, the Caucasus and energy security. Hillary Clinton’s visit constitutes this cooperation’s first step. It is expected that President Obama’s visit in the beginning of April will not only implement but also strengthen cooperation with Turkey.

In the part of the visit open to the press, Hillary Clinton has mentioned very little about the Armenian issue. The joint communiqué only mentions the Turkish-Armenian relations, not genocide allegations. There is no doubt that during the talks the Turkish side has emphasized the fact that in case the Congress passes a resolution and the President puts forth in his April 24 message genocide allegations, not only bilateral relations will be effected but it will also have a negative impact on Turkish-Armenian relations which are just starting to develop.

On the other hand, there are some signs showing that this issue will not be in the agenda of Turkish-American relations for sometime. Congressmen Brad Sherman known for his pro-Armenian tendency has implied that the Congress will not pass a resolution recognizing the genocide in the next 60 days. This shows that the Congress’s Armenian supporters’ attempt for this resolution to pass on a date around April 24 will not give any results.

The members of a delegation of Turkish Parliament which has visited The United States for talks concerning a possible resolution on to the genocide issue, has stated that this matter is falling out of the agenda and that Congressmen they have met with are more than ever ready for cooperating with Turkey.

For the solution of some problems, like the ones mentioned above, the new American government needs to cooperate with Turkey, it is clear that this fact has affected also Congress members, in majority composed of Democrats. Since there are no elections in the United States in 2009, Armenian’s political support will not be needed. But there are promises made, and the majority of Democrats support the Armenian allegations so a way to meet in the middle has to be found. In this context, a solution might be the submission to the Congress a resolution recognizing the genocide allegations but its voting would be delayed. The existence of such a resolution might be used against Turkey in case she is reluctant in responding to some demands that the United States might have.

As for President Obama’s message to be published on April 24, just like his predecessors, Armenians expect the President to use the ‘genocide’ word, in accordance with his election commitments. There is a very weak possibility that the President will use this word, not only because of Turkey’s objections, but also because the United States will be needing Turkey’s collaboration for some of its policies to be applied. Like his predecessor, instead of pronouncing that word to qualify the 1915 events, the President might choose to use synonyms. He even might put forth a different approach: absolving Turkey of any responsibility for the 1915 event and at the same time refusing any further Armenian claims like reparations etc…

For the moment, it is difficult for neither the Congress nor the President to conduct in a way that might offend Turkey. But this situation will not be permanent. If not this year, next year (the election year) the adoption of such a resolution will be again on the agenda of the Congress. Establishing normal relations with Armenia will provide a possibility to counter in an effectively that kind of initiatives.


“Obama Trying to Make Turkey US Outpost”
Associate Professor Çalışkan believes that Obama’s impending visit is aimed at getting Turkey to support the US withdrawal from Iraq.
Bia news centre - Istanbul, 10-03-2009, tolgakorkut at bianet.org

The sudden announcement that US President Barack Obama is to visit Turkey within the next month, so Associate Professor Koray Çalışkan, is an indication that the US is trying to avoid another Vietnam by reducing the size its occupation of Iraq. Countries neighbouring Iraq are to be involved in bearing the costs.

During her visit to Turkey on 7 March, US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton told Prime Minister Erdoğan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Babacan that Obama would be visiting within a month. According to Voice of America, Clinton said that Obama was going to confer with Turkey on how to withdraw US soldiers from Iraq in the safest and most effective manner.
Turkey would be exploited

This, according to Çalışkan from Bosphorus University, does not mean an end to the US occupation, but rather an attempt at downsizing it. “There are bases in Northern Iraq, and they will keep a base in the south, where the Sunnis are dominant.”

“What they want to do is to take control without guns getting lost everywhere. Turkey represents the cheapest and closest option for moving them. They intend to leave some of the weapons at the Turkish base of Incirlik. We don’t know how many heavy weapons, how much nuclear material, or how many cluster bombs this would involve; and they would not give us an inventory.”

Çalışkan called on Turkey not to become an outpost for the USA; he believes that the USA is trying to subcontract Turkey. He warns that if Turkey cannot even control the violence in its own country, it should not get involved in what would amount to civil war.
US should pay compensation for deaths and damage

The academic also pointed out that the weapons that would pass through this country have been used to kill hundreds of thousands of people. Blaming the US administration for the deaths, he called on billion dollar investments by the USA in Iraq in order to rebuild the country.
No "new" policies for Middle East

When Hillary Clinton visited, she praised the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) even more than George W. Bush did. Obama will do the same, showing that his image of an “extraordinary president with a new vision” is a myth created throughout his campaign. Çalışkan believes that nothing much will change in US Middle East policy. The only thing that has changed for Turkey is that the Obama administration will avoid using the term “moderate Islam”, thus also gaining favour with the Kemalists.

Çalışkan notes that the crisis-ridden USA has no money for an occupation. In order to increase their influence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US will put pressure on NATO, including Turkey. The AKP will not resist.

As for Israeli-Palestine relations, the academic points to one of the architects of the Obama campaign, Rahm Emanuel. “The Israeli press was able to write, ‘Finally a real Israeli in the White House.’ The suffering of the Palestinians is a result of Israel’s imperialist policies, the Zionism represented by the right and the Workers’ Party in Israel. As long as Emanuel is part of the team in the White House, Obama will not act; there is no indication anyway that he is planning to do anything.” (TK/AG)


Obama Says ’yes We Can’ To Turkey
ANKARA - US Secretary of State Clinton’s visit promises a ’good beginning’ for Washington and Ankara, as the NATOallies develop a real strategic partnership. This new era will be heralded by US President Obama’s visit to Turkey, expected next month

Following U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s successful visit this weekend, Turkey is now preparing to host U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama’s decision is a cue for Turkey’s central role in the new administration’s foreign policy and likely the beginning of an era of intense cooperation that will amount to a strategic partnership. "When I return home, I'll tell President Obama he will find a warm welcome when he comes here," Clinton said at a news conference on Saturday. "He will find, as I have always found, not only a partner for the challenges and opportunities that we face together, but a friend for all times and challenges that lie ahead."

The timing and scope of Obama’s visit remain unclear but he is expected to come at the end of a European tour next month, which will include a G-20 summit in London and a NATO summit in Strasbourg during the first week of April. It is likely that Obama will be in Turkey between April 6 and 8, when he is expected to participate in an Istanbul summit of the United Nations-sponsored Alliance of Civilizations.

Obama, who promised during his election campaign that one of the top priorities of his presidency would be to work to repair America's reputation worldwide, has pledged to deliver a speech in the capital of a Muslim nation early in his presidency.

Neither Turkish nor American officials expect that Obama will deliver this highly anticipated speech from Turkey.

"He will deliver his speech for Turks," Clinton said. "Turkey, as everybody knows, is a good model of democracy with its secular constitution. It proves that Islam can coexist with them."

"Barack Obama is coming for a bilateral visit, that means not for a multilateral meeting," Babacan said yesterday in an interview with the private television station NTV. "He specifically wants to visit Turkey. I don’t know whether the Alliance of Civilizations will be on his agenda or whether he will deliver a speech to Muslim world. These things are not certain yet."

For many in Ankara, both the talks with Clinton and the upcoming Obama visit mark the beginning of a new era between two allies, whose ties had become strained in recent years over Turkey’s refusal, in 2003, to open a northern front to the U.S. in its war in Iraq. "Turkish-American relations have entered into a new era," Babacan said.

Turkey and the U.S. reaffirmed the strategic nature of their relations in 2006, but the chill between the two countries only started to thaw after Washington decided to provide actionable intelligence to Turkey in its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq.

More cooperation needed
Both Babacan and Clinton underscored the similarities between their governments’ foreign-policy priorities, saying that makes more cooperation in these fields inevitable. "The coexistence of democracy, secularism and Islam in Turkey is a major example for the region," Babacan said. "The U.S. attaches importance to this. They have expressed their intention to work together in many fields in this new period."

On the Middle East, Clinton offered her appreciation both to Babacan and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the "leadership role" Turkey has played in bringing Israel and Syria together.

"The U.S. supports a comprehensive peace where Israel lives in peace and security with the Palestinians and the Palestinians have their own state and Israel lives in peace with all of its Arab neighbors, including Syria," Clinton said. "The importance of this [Israel-Syria] track cannot be overstated."

Babacan said Turkey was ready to mediate between Israel and Syria if the two parties made such a request and if the international community, including the United States, supported the process. Babacan told Clinton that problems in the region were inter-linked, making a "piece by piece" solution impossible, an official involved in the talks said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official added that Ankara also urged Washington on the need to bring Hamas into the political picture and to engage with Iran and that Clinton expressed support for the Egyptian efforts for peace.

Another important issue discussed over the weekend, and will be addressed during Obama’s visit, was Washington’s plans to withdraw some of its troops and military equipments from Iraq via Turkey. Though Clinton said no final decision has been made yet on the matter, Babacan said Ankara was ready to cooperate, saying the details would have to be discussed during consultations between the allies, but "some technical talks have already been held between the two sides."

The United States is pushing its allies to send more combat troops to Afghanistan, where NATO is in the middle of a struggle against Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. The NATO summit is expected to focus on this issue and Turkey is among the countries whose contributions are highly sought by Washington.

"We’ll discuss it. It’s up to the Turkish government [to send more troops]," Clinton said in an interview with CNNTürk on Saturday. Babacan said the issue was not on Clinton’s agenda but added, "It does not mean that there will be no such request."

Turkey is unlikely to increase its military presence in Afghanistan, Babacan said.

Clinton hinted that Turkey could play a key role in the normalization of ties between Washington and Tehran. "You know them much better than we do," she said in her CNNTürk interview. "We would need your influence on Iran’s attitudes."

Coincidentally, just a day after meeting with Clinton, Babacan traveled to Iran to participate in a regional economic meeting where he will meet with his Iranian counterpart. Babacan said he would not convey a massage from Clinton to Tehran.

Risk of recognition
Diplomatic sources said efforts for the U.S. Congress to recognize the killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide did not appear on the agenda of the Clinton-Babacan talks. But a joint statement released following the meeting highlighted U.S. support for "the efforts of Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations."

Still, that does not rule out the possibility of U.S. recognition of Armenia’s claims. "I still see a risk," Babacan said. "Mr. Obama made the promise five times in a row," Babacan said.

Clinton assured Turkish officials that the intelligence sharing would continue during Obama’s tenure "The U.S. will continue its intelligence support for Turkish operations against the PKK and is reviewing ways to be more supportive," the statement said.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


Hillary Gets Personal On Tv Chat Show
ISTANBUL - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a sideshow to diplomacy, shared personal anecdotes and explained how she dealt with personal struggles.

Appearing on a popular Turkish television chat show, "Hadi Gel Bizimle" (Come and Join Us), Clinton talked about her personal life, such as when she "last" fell in love. "It was so long ago, with my husband," she said, adding that she first met former President Bill Clinton in the spring of 1971 when they were at law school. "We have been talking to each other and enjoying our life together ever since," she said.

Interviewers delicately asked Clinton to explain how she had dealt with bitter personal experiences, without mentioning a scandal involving Bill Clinton and a former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. "Oh, love! And forgiveness, and friendship, and family," said Clinton.

Asked what she missed most about private life, Clinton said it was shopping for herself and sitting around in pavement cafes, drinking coffee and people-watching. "I sacrificed a lot of my privacy, which I regret," she said, adding that the benefits of public service were huge.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


Clinton’s Surprises
From asserting the leadership role of Turkey in its region and emphasizing the role the country could play in regional peacemaking efforts to the Cyprus issue and continued cooperation between Turkey and the United States in the fight against the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, there were many expectations in Ankara for the 16-hour visit of new U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But probably none of the political leaders of Turkey were thinking in their wildest dreams that Clinton would be traveling to Ankara for the funeral of the March 1, 2003, "syndrome", would lend an unexpected and strong support to Ankara’s calls for an end to Turkish Cypriot international isolation and would raise the curtain on a new era in Turkish-American relations by announcing that Turkey would be among the places visited on the first European tour by President Barack Hussein Obama.

The Clinton visit, beyond any doubt, reflected a change in perception of Turkey in Washington. Whether that would please the Islamist Justice and Development Party, or AKP, administration of Turkey is of course something else, but Clinton underlined at every opportunity she could that the perception of the Bush administration that Turkey is a "moderate Islamic country" that would be a "role model" for Muslim nations Ğ against the radical Iranian model Ğ has been replaced by a perception of a "democratic and secular republic with an overwhelming Muslim population." Does this mean the "moderate Islamist" AKP has completed its lifecycle in Turkey? It’s too early to make a comment on that yet. Still, such remarks by Clinton underscore the opening of a new climate in the American approach towards Turkey that centers on the respecting of human rights, individual rights, democracy and secular democracy.

The highlight of the Clinton visit indeed was indeed the news that Obama would be visiting Turkey "in a month or so." Commentators immediately started speculating whether Obama would visit Ankara as part of his European tour early in April, or within the framework of the yet-unscheduled visit to the Middle East sometime later. When and as part of which program the visit Ğ which definitely carries the prospect of being the most important diplomatic development for Turkey in 2009 Ğ would take place of course has meaning. Does the Obama administration consider Turkey as part of Europe, or just as a key player in the Middle East?

Obama coming on April 7
Reports from Washington indicate that Obama will be visiting Ankara on April 7 as the last stop of his European tour, which will take him first to London on April 2 for the Group of 20 summit, then to Strasbourg, France, for a NATO summit to be held on April 3 and 4. His third stop will be Prague, for a meeting of European Union leaders on April 5. After that, we are hearing from friends in Washington, he will head to Turkey.

Clinton told the Ankara news conference that the visit was decided while she was flying to Turkey and the timing of it would be set soon. That means the Turkey visit was added to Obama’s already-scheduled European tour. This itself is a revolutionary development as the schedules and itineraries of U.S. presidents are decided upon well in advance, and do not change unless extraordinary situations present themselves. Obviously, not only was the schedule of the European tour of Obama changed, but a very strong message is being given by the new U.S. administration to the EU in support of the Turkey’s EU membership bid. Furthermore, the stress made on the decision of the U.S. and Turkish foreign ministers to work together to lift the international isolation of Turkish Cypriots is both boost to the Cyprus talks and a reminder to the EU that punishing Turkey over Cyprus would be a gross injustice.

Armenian resolution
But, do all these things imply that the threat of the U.S. Congress legislating the contentious so-called Armenian genocide bill this year is over? Well, let’s hear what Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is saying: "I still see a risk. Obama pledged five times during the campaign and even made a written statement that he would take that move. I still see a risk."
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


Clinton Visit Generates Lot Of Pr But No Real News
If the contemporary meaning of the term "public diplomacy" is meant to be a "truthful propaganda" which may include "all activities designed to appeal to public, to enhance the home country’s attractiveness or appeal, by using media in order to enhance private-private partnerships" then, the appearance of Mrs. Hilary Clinton at the "all woman" chat show of NTV channel was certainly a textbook case for a successful operation.

The show "Haydi Gel Bizimle Ol" ("Come and join us") is a free chat show among four successful women from all walks of life: a writer, a journalist, an actress and a model of various age groups appealing to different target audiences, who come together every week and discuss with a different guest anything which falls in that well known category "from sex to politics;" an informal chat which can get very funny or very serious but can also become aggressive or superficial. But it is a show that enjoys constant high ratings in Turkish television.

Still for the new boss of the State Department, who arrived in Turkey on the eve of the International Woman's Day, that was a perfect occasion to exercise one of the main principles of modern style "public diplomacy": using the media especially television, in order to shape the message that her country wishes to present abroad and to use the tools of listening and conversation as well as the tools of indirect persuasion for otherwise diverse citizens in order to promote her message.

And if one of the aims of Mrs. Hilary Clinton's first visit to Turkey as a US Foreign Secretary was to reverse the strong anti-American feeling, then her choice to appear among Turkish women and to show herself as "just another woman" was very clever. Appearances first, Mrs. Clinton sent us the message that she is "one of us" by her outfit to start with. She arrived in Turkey in the early hours of Saturday, wearing a smart yellow jacket and black trousers with minimum make up and jewelry. Then she probably took part in the recording of the chat show Ğwhich was shown on Saturday evening- and then had meetings with the president, the prime minister and the foreign minister; even the visit to the Mausoleum of Ataturk was not an occasion for her to change her attire. The viewers of the chat show who watched her on Saturday night, saw her in the same attire as she appeared on the news during all her meetings all through the day.

Undoubtedly, Mrs. Hilary Clinton’s short trip to Turkey was a good PR exercise both for her and the new Obama administration. She flattered the Turkish public as well as the Turkish government in a most skillful way. But speaking purely on journalistic terms, it did not generate major news stories, per se. That was probably the reason why all the headlines in the Turkish press concentrated only on the new American president’s visit. To what extent for example, the new American administration will define Turkey no longer as a "moderate Islamic country" Ğ as president Bush used to do? To what extent this will have any affect on the "bridge making" role that the present Turkish government has been pushing forward as the main reason for entering the EU or mediating in the Middle East? What role does the US wants to assign to Turkey in the region and will it be different that before? I suppose we will have to wait for Obama’s visit.

Obviously behind the sweet smile of Mrs. Clinton there is a lot of tough bargaining going on behind the scenes and things are not as smooth as they look. One could get a taste of it reading between the lines of the statement by the Turkish foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday when talking about the Armenian "genocide" issue: "I can easily say that the current U.S. administration perceives Turkey's opinion and sensitivity on this matter. We have no difficulties with communication in that sense, he said but added that he hopes that the "issue could be solved without any problems and without overshadowing the relations between Turkey and USA."

So we have to wait for a little while. However, we may have some interesting news about Obama’s visit to Turkey, coming from É Greece! As reported exclusively by the private Mega TV Channel, Obama’s visit to Turkey will take place on April 6 And 7 and, interestingly, will not be preceded or followed by a presidential visit to Greece. According to the same information which has not been denied by the White House, president Obama plans to come to Turkey via Istanbul where he will take part in the summit for the Alliance of Civilizations which is going to attended by the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon. There is a thought among Obama’s advisors that he will appeal to the Muslim world by saying, "We are extending out a hand of friendship and cooperation, take it." Whether this will happen or not is not certain but it is almost certain that during his visit to Turkey, he will visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fener. The Americans are traditionally sensitive towards the issue of the statute of the Istanbul Patriarchate as well as the still unsolved issue of the Chalki Seminary. After all the strong presence of Greek Americans in the Obama camp is indicative of the importance that the new American administration is expected to show towards issues related to the Patriarchate as well as to Cyprus. With regards to Cyprus, though, there is nothing to show so far that the new American administration wishes to interfere with a problem that continues to give no indication for an easy solution.
Ariana Ferentinou © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


’She Came, And We Were With Her’
At this point, the best summary we could offer of the "Clinton Show" over the weekend would be to put the name of the TV program on which she appeared in the past tense: "Hey, she came and she was with us." Or, "Haydi, bizimle geldi, bizimle oldu." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put a new communications ball into play with the intimate, chatty hour or so she spent among four prominent feminists on NTV in front of a cheerful studio audience. Then she went on to pop the surprise that her visit would be followed by one from her boss, President Barack Obama, in a few weeks.

We expect no less a departure from the conventions of press conferences and staid interviews with well-known pundits when Obama arrives. The guessing game now begins on Obama’s choice of venue: Will it be the "Beyaz Show," the "Sabah Sabah Seda Sayın Show," "A’dan Z’ye Esra Ceyhan"? The race to line up what is no doubt Ğ at least in ratings terms Ğ the best guest in the world has surely already begun. We might have expected as much. After all, upon assuming office in the White House, Obama did not call the New York Times or an American television network for his very first interview. No, he invited Hisham Melhem, a distinguished Lebanese journalist in Washington and now the bureau chief for Dubai-based Al Arabiya television station.

This was Round Two of what we might call "asymmetrical communication." No filters, no canned questions. And, from Clinton’s perspective, no control. Our hats are off to a job well done. She spoke and communicated from her heart to the heartland of Turkey.

We will not embrace with great relish the request to send more Turkish troops to Afghanistan. We will want to read the fine print in any deal to help America extract itself from Iraq. What’s that sign you’ll find in any American curio shop? "You break it, you bought it." Turkey should help America and Obama glue back together the superpower’s fractured relationship with the rest of the world. But we will be looking for the "Made in America" stamp on the glue.

Those minor reservations aside, we thank Clinton for her refusal to retreat on the matter of human rights generally, and the right of press freedom specifically. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blustered all week before her arrival that he would clarify the "real" situation in Turkey. It was clear when the meetings were over that Clinton had clarified to the prime minister the "real" meaning of press freedom.

The fact Clinton timed her visit to coincide with International Women’s Day sent another powerful message that we both salute and we heed. We don’t want to get carried away. America’s interests and Turkey’s are no more one and the same today than they were when George W. Bush was trying to run the world. But we are impressed. And we are hopeful.

It is clear a new era has begun. © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet


Clinton Tells How She Fell For Bill "Long Ago" Mar 7, 2009 By Sue Pleming
ANKARA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a sideshow to diplomacy, lamented on Saturday her fashion sense, divulged when she fell in love and shared how she dealt with personal struggles.

Appearing on a popular Turkish television chat show, Hadi Gel Bizimle (Come and Join Us), Clinton tackled a few diplomatic questions but the main focus was on her personal life, such as when she "last" fell in love.

"It was so long ago, with my husband," she told the studio audience, adding that she first met former President Bill Clinton in the spring of 1971 when they were at law school.

"We have been talking to each other and enjoying our life together ever since," she said.

The appearance on the show, with four female interviewers, is part of Clinton's strategy to reach out to ordinary people through public diplomacy efforts.

She appeared on a popular television show while in Indonesia last month on a tour of Asia. During her swing through Europe and the Middle East this week, she met students on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and held a town hall meeting in Brussels. Clinton returns to Washington on Sunday.

Asked what she missed most about private life, Clinton said it was shopping for herself and sitting around in pavement cafes, drinking coffee and "people-watching."

"I sacrificed a lot of my privacy, which I regret," she said, adding that the benefits of public service were huge.

"You can't have everything, you have to make some choices and I am very excited that I get a chance to serve my country in working with President Obama," she said.

But despite her love of shopping, Clinton said she did not have good fashion sense and often told her daughter Chelsea the "fashion gene" had skipped a generation when it came to the former first lady.

But she praised current U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama for her "fabulous" fashion sense and handling of the job.

"I was a first lady and I know how important that role is. I think Michelle Obama is doing a wonderful job and she is also balancing her responsibilities very well," said Clinton.

"She has two young children and she has put their well-being first, because it is hard when your father is elected president and you are still a child."

Interviewers delicately asked Clinton to explain how she had dealt with bitter personal experiences, without mentioning a scandal involving Bill Clinton and a former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

"Oh, love! And forgiveness, and friendship, and family. You know, family, faith, friends are the core of my life and I don't know anybody whose life is smooth sailing," said Clinton.

"If you meet such a person, I want to know them. Because I've lived a long time and I have yet to meet that person."

(Reporting Sue Pleming; Editing by Giles Elgood)
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved


Turkey at Center Stage in US Policy * Barack Obama visit puts Turkey at center stage in US policy
US President Barack Obama will visit Turkey early next month, making the Muslim NATO country one of the first foreign visits of his presidency. The visit, announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a less-than-24-hour trip to Ankara on Saturday, is a sign of the Obama administration's readiness to reverse the relationship that soured during former President George W. Bush's administration and to work with Turkey as a key partner as it pursues its major foreign policy goals in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

"We share a commitment to democracy, a secular Constitution, respect for religious freedom, belief in a free market and a sense of global responsibility," Clinton said Saturday after meeting with Turkish leaders in the capital, announcing Obama's plans to visit Turkey in "the next month or so."

The visit is "a reflection of the value we place on our friendship with Turkey," the chief American diplomat said on the last stop of her weeklong trip to Middle Eastern and European countries. The president asked her to make the announcement, she added.

"This visit is not about healing some EU-NATO rift. This is about underscoring our deep alliance with Turkey, that it is an important part of Europe and that it is an important voice in the Muslim world," said a senior Obama administration official, speaking to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.

The US has made it clear that the president's visit will be a bilateral one, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said in televised remarks on Sunday. This, in a sense, makes Turkey the first country President Obama visits within a bilateral framework.

Soon after he took over the presidency on Jan. 20, Obama did travel to Canada for a bilateral visit, but this is a traditional practice by American presidents.

In his European tour, Obama will visit Britain, Germany, France and the Czech Republic. But Babacan said in all of these countries, Obama will be attending international meetings: a G-20 meeting in Britain, a NATO summit in Germany and France and an EU meeting in the Czech Republic to discuss the global financial crisis.

Obama is most likely to visit Turkey at the end of his European tour, which ends on April 5. From April 6-7, a UN-backed meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations will take place in Ä°stanbul and officials have already said Obama has been invited to attend that meeting.

Babacan did not say if Obama will be coming at the time of this meeting, but emphasized that his visit will have a bilateral agenda.

The visit also makes Turkey the first Muslim country Obama visits as president, but it was not clear whether he will use this visit to deliver his anticipated address on Islam, a speech that he promised during his campaign to give in a Muslim capital in the first 100 days after taking office.

When asked whether Obama will deliver his address to the Muslim world from Turkey, Clinton said "no," adding that work was still under way to designate the venue for that speech.

The Washington Post also wrote that Obama was not expected to deliver his address in Turkey. But Babacan signaled Turkey could still be the venue for Obama's anticipated speech, saying yesterday on NTV that discussions were still continuing.

"We are just at the beginning of the planning. This decision was reached late yesterday in Washington," Clinton said on Saturday. "We don't even have the dates decided yet," she added, noting that she received a call from the White House while she was flying to Ankara late Thursday night, giving her the go-ahead to announce the visit.

Obama had promised during his presidential campaign that one of his top priorities would be to work to repair America's reputation worldwide, and one element of that effort would be a speech delivered in a Muslim capital. His ascension to the White House was cheered around the world as a sign that America will be more inclusive, more open to change. In his inaugural address he said, "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

From 'moderate Islam' to partnership
Speaking in a televised interview following her talks with Turkish leaders, Clinton was careful not to describe Turkey as a "moderate Islamic country," a term that was mostly invented by the Bush administration but has proven to be problematic as Turkey is a constitutionally secular country that wants to be known for its democratic credentials.

Clinton said in an interview with CNN Türk that the US administration did not want to use religious terms to define Turkey. She emphasized that Ankara has proven it is a reliable partner when asked if she thought Turkey was becoming an Islamic country.

The shift in the US terminology underlines the new administration's readiness to work with Turkey on major foreign policy issues in the Middle East and in Afghanistan and also concerning energy security as a strategic partner, rather than merely a US ally in the Muslim world that will toe Washington's line in key issues.

"The main message of Clinton's visit was that there would be close consultations on all issues from now on," said Babacan, hailing the secretary of state's trip as opening a "new era." He said the fact that Obama is making one of his foreign trips to Turkey showed the new US administration was aware of Turkey's importance. It is also a clear message for the region and the entire world, he added.

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government received a great deal of criticism when it called for dialogue with Iran and had talks with Palestinian radical group Hamas, steps opposed by the previous US administration. But Clinton appeared to welcome innovations of the Turkish foreign policy under the AK Party government.

On Iran, she said the US might ask Turkey's assistance in changing the way the Iranian regime behaves, apparently giving the green light for Turkish mediation between the US and Iran. Turkey said Iran asked for Turkish assistance in dialogue with the US and that it was ready to step in if it is asked to help. Regarding Hamas, she declined to comment directly on the Turkish contacts with them, but said every effort to push Hamas away from Iran's influence and closer to a conciliatory stance was appreciated. "We support the regional and global leadership role Turkey plays in major issues," she told CNN Türk, in remarks simultaneously translated into Turkish.

Clinton also praised Turkey's role as mediator in peace talks between Syria and Israel. The talks were suspended after four rounds of indirect negotiations when Israel launched its deadly offensive in Gaza. Babacan said Turkey would resume its role as mediator but emphasized that conditions should be ripe for this -- a reference to a lasting cease-fire between Israel and Hamas -- and both sides should ask Turkey to restart its mediation. Clinton said the US would be in close consultation with Turkey in the future stages of the Syrian-Israeli peace efforts.

Washington and Ankara are consulting on ways Turkey can help facilitate the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Turkey has said it is ready to serve as an exit route for the Americans. "We have to discuss what will pass, what kind of equipment," Babacan said at the news conference with Clinton. "We are ready to cooperate," he added.

On Afghanistan, Ankara thinks the US should put more focus on expanding and improving the Afghan security forces and on pressing Afghan authorities to reconcile with elements of the Islamic insurgency, rather than sending tens of thousands more US troops.
Monday, 9 March 2009 Journal of Turkish Weekly


On Clinton's Travels, a Duality in Style
Unlike Straight Talk in Asia Trip, Caution Rules Mideast and Europe Visits

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, flanked by hosts Pinar Kur, at far left, Mujde Ar, second from left, and Cigdem Anad, second from right, attends a talk show in Ankara, Turkey.

By Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 8, 2009;

ANKARA, Turkey, March 7 -- When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with foreign officials, the initial welcome is formal, as in "Greetings, Madame Secretary." But invariably, the officials slip into calling her "Hillary" -- a global brand name on par with "Diana" or "Tiger."

Clinton's celebrity status -- and her skill at exploiting it -- were again apparent during her first visit as secretary to the Middle East and Europe this past week.

At a private dinner with European foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, she was the center of attention, patiently answering questions from her counterparts -- who took the unusual step of bursting into applause after the meal.

When she spoke to hundreds of young political activists at the European Parliament on Friday, President Hans-Gert Poettering gushed that there is "enormous goodwill toward you" in Europe. He later paid her what he probably considered the ultimate compliment -- that her answers "mostly could have been said by Europeans."

But compared with her visit to Asia last month, this trip had a different diplomat on display.

In Asia, Clinton generated headlines with frank remarks, such as when she questioned the efficacy of sanctions against the repressive junta in Burma, spoke openly about a possible succession crisis in North Korea and said she expected to make little progress on human rights in China.

This week, she was more cautious, especially in the Middle East. She was often careful to hew to talking points, and her answers to reporters' questions were more opaque. She also was less available for sustained give-and-take with the reporters traveling with her. Not counting short news conferences, she conducted one briefing for reporters on her plane in seven days of travel.

In Israel, she never publicly mentioned long-standing U.S. concerns about settlement expansion in Palestinian territories. When questioned about settlements in Ramallah, on the West Bank, she avoided uttering a word that might have upset Israeli leaders: Instead of "settlements," she referred to "that issue."

Clinton conducted no interviews with Israeli media, even though secretaries of state generally take time to meet with Israeli reporters. Nor did she meet with Palestinian reporters; instead, she met with a group of high school students, who asked her mostly personal questions.

But, in contrast to the "listening tour" of Asia, Clinton was much more diplomatically active. Throughout the week, she engineered an effort to reach out to nations, especially adversaries, that the Bush administration had spurned.

She dispatched two senior U.S. diplomats to meet with top Syrian officials on Saturday; she extended an invitation to Iran to be part of an international gathering on Afghanistan; and she tried to "reset" relations with Russia by winning NATO approval to restore high-level meetings and by having dinner with her Russian counterpart.

In each case, Clinton said she would look for areas in which the countries could work with the United States, while acknowledging and confronting topics of disagreement.

"We are being extremely vigorous in our outreach because we are testing the waters, we are determining what is possible, we're turning new pages and resetting buttons, and we are doing all kinds of efforts to try to create more partners and fewer adversaries," she said on National Public Radio.

Clinton also had to soothe allies unnerved by some of these moves. Arab and Israeli leaders are worried about the outreach to Iran, while Eastern and Central European countries are wary of potential deal-making with Russia on missile defense.

By week's end, Clinton could claim progress, at least in terms of process. In Syria, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem and other officials met for about four hours with Acting Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman and White House official Dan Shapiro. "We found a lot of common ground today," Feltman told reporters in a conference call from Damascus. "It is my view that Syria can play an important and constructive role in the region." But he added, "The differences between our two countries will require more work."

At a news conference Saturday in the Turkish capital, where she held talks with Turkish officials, Clinton said it was too soon to say whether the United States would send an ambassador to Syria for the first time since 2005.

But she emphasized that the administration will press for peace talks between Israel and Syria, saying that the "importance of this track cannot be overstated." Turkey last year brokered indirect talks between Israel and Syria, but the Bush administration stayed aloof from that effort.

On Saturday, Iran responded positively to Clinton's plans to invite it to the conference on Afghanistan, an overture that could bring the secretary face to face with her Iranian counterpart by the end of the month. "The U.S. and global powers have realized that the issues in Afghanistan cannot be solved without the presence of the Islamic republic," Gholam Hossein Elham, a spokesman for the Iranian government, told reporters in Tehran.

The dinner meeting in Geneva on Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yielded no breakthroughs on arms control, missile defense or other thorny issues. But the atmospherics were strikingly different than Lavrov's often-stormy sessions with Clinton's predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.

"I hope Hillary will agree with me," said Lavrov after the two diplomats emerged from the dinner. "I venture to say we have a wonderful personal relationship."
www.washingtonpost.com


Clinton Rolls Out Foreign Policy Approach In Trip
Hillary Clinton’s celebrity status as former first lady, New York senator and presidential contender was evident, with foreign leaders gushing over the change in administration.

Six weeks into the job, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is starting to roll out the Obama administration’s approach to the most prickly foreign policy challenges from Arab-Israeli peace to Russia. In her second foreign trip which ended early on Sunday, Clinton dipped into Middle East peacemaking and promised to work for a “comprehensive” Arab-Israeli peace.

She tried to charm European institutions in Brussels and literally hit the “reset” button in strained US-Russia ties during a dinner with Moscow’s foreign minister in Geneva, and then came to Turkey. Clinton also took first steps to deal directly with traditional enemies, “testing the waters,” she said, of a campaign promise of President Barack Obama to engage rather than isolate protagonists as the Bush administration had done.

In Israel, Clinton announced two US envoys would be in Syria this weekend to explore better ties and as part of a US bid to get a more comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. While at NATO headquarters in Brussels, she made the new administration’s first public overtures toward Iran by inviting Tehran to a conference on Afghanistan, possibly at the end of this month.

But in Israel, where hawkish prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to form a government, Clinton faced a tougher challenge in trying to push for Palestinian statehood, which Netanyahu opposes.

She was criticized by Palestinians for not being tough on Israel over Jewish settlement expansion and the razing of homes in Arab East Jerusalem. She dodged questions on this issue in Israel and saved her comments until a news conference in the West Bank, calling Israeli moves “unhelpful.”

At an aid conference for Gaza in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik, she continued the Bush administration’s harsh language over Hamas, saying not one dime of a US aid pledge of $900 million would go to the group that runs Gaza.

Clinton’s rhetoric on Hamas was so similar to that of her predecessor Condoleezza Rice that the Palestinian newspaper al Quds ran a story with the headline “Condoleezza Clinton.”

Public diplomacy
As she did during her first trip as top US diplomat to Asia last month, Clinton’s schedule was packed with back-to-back meetings with presidents and ministers but she also sought out nontraditional diplomacy. Clinton said the motivation for her work as top US diplomat, was to help children reach their “God-given potential” and she made room in her schedule for youth events.

In the West Bank she gave an interview to a Palestinian youth television station and was asked what she would have done if her daughter Chelsea had been “unfortunate enough” to have been born under Israeli occupation.

“I would love her ... I would never lose hope. I would never give up of the dream of a Palestinian state, no matter what happens,” she said.

In Ankara, she appeared on a popular talk show with four female interviewers, answering questions such as when she “last” fell in love (it was with Bill Clinton in 1971); her fashion sense (she said the “fashion gene” skipped her) and what she missed most (sitting in cafes and shopping).

While opening up on Turkish television, Clinton, who is surrounded by a coterie of advisers from her political past, limited access to the journalists traveling with her.

Unlike in Asia where she often briefed the “traveling press,” Clinton gave just one in-flight news conference the entire week despite appeals to her staff for more access. But her celebrity status as former first lady, New York senator and presidential contender was evident, with foreign leaders gushing over the change in administration.

She attracted more than 500 “young professionals” at a European Parliament meeting in Brussels, with 800 more in overflow rooms. One man in the audience, wearing an “I Love Hillary” T-shirt, was an obvious pick for a question.

In Egypt, Arab reporters clapped at the end of her news conference and she was also applauded by European ministers. But not everything ran smoothly. In Geneva, where she met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for dinner, her gag gift of a “reset” button to symbolize a new chapter in US-Russia relations went awry.

Taped onto the red button was the word reset in English and Russian. The only problem, said Lavrov, was that reset had been incorrectly translated by a Russian-speaker on her staff. Instead of saying reset, it meant “overcharge” or “overload.” Such overloading was evident in her schedule, with Clinton running late for most events.
09 March 2009, REUTERS SUE PLEMING/WASHINGTON



Turkey Warms To Clinton's Candor
Was it TV magic or intelligent diplomacy? A month before Obama's visit, Hillary charms Turkey in a talk- show stop.
By Yigal Schleifer | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor March 9, 2009 edition
Correspondent Yigal Schleifer discusses differences between US secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Turkey over the weekend and past visits by former Secretary Condolezza Rice.

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Stagecraft appears to have helped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton score a few points for America's battered reputation here.

In a departure from her busy agenda of traditional diplomacy, Secretary Clinton sat down for a Saturday interview on a popular television talk show, opening up on prime time about everything from how she fell in love to her challenged sense of fashion.

Asked by one of the hosts how she has dealt with life's difficulties – including much-publicized bumps in her marriage – Clinton answered: "You know, family, faith, friends are the core of my life and I don't know anybody whose life is smooth sailing."

Clinton and Turkish officials had significant issues to discuss during her one-day visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara, including the possible use of Turkish soil for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and her announcement that President Obama will make his own trip to Turkey in the next month.

But Clinton also had another mission: to resurrect America's shabby image in Turkey, where, according to a 2007 public opinion survey, only nine percent of the population held favorable views of the US, down from 52 percent in 2002.

The Turkish people were ready for the dose of warmth and candor offered by Clinton, says Huseyin Bagci, a professor of international relations at Ankara's Middle East Technical University.

"This is good for American public diplomacy. Whoever planned this did it well," he says. "She is reducing the damage to the American image here in Turkey. I think Turks are ready to take a different look at America."

A departure from the past

The past few years have been dismal for America's image in Turkey. Turks were strongly opposed to the war in Iraq, while many also felt that the US was not doing enough to deal with the presence of Kurdish guerillas who were using their bases in Northern Iraq to attack Turkey.

Meanwhile, public appearances by American officials over the past few years were limited. Former president George W. Bush's one visit to Istanbul, for a NATO summit, saw him confined to a large security zone that turned a large part of downtown Istanbul into a ghost town.

Clinton discusses Bill, fashion, life

Although security was tight during Clinton's visit, perhaps more noticeable were her efforts to connect with everyday Turks, including the much-watched Saturday evening interview.

Hosted by four women, the program, called "Haydi Gel Bizimle Ol" (Come and Join Us), is the Turkish version of the popular American talk show "The View."

For an hour, Clinton smiled pleasantly while the hosts and members of the audience lobbed mostly softballs in her direction. Clinton made a similar appearance during her recent trip to Indonesia, visiting the set of a youth-oriented television show.

last week, on her first trip to Europe and the Middle East as secretary of state, Clinton's public diplomacy push included a town hall-style meeting in Brussels and a meeting with students in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Her stop in Israel did not include any interviews with the Israeli media, however.

During the television interview in Ankara, she tackled such important questions as her fashion sense and when the last time was that she fell in love.

"It was so long ago, with my husband," she told the studio audience. "We have been talking to each other and enjoying our life together ever since."

Regarding her clothing style, Clinton joked that the "fashion gene" had skipped her generation and went to daughter Chelsea.

The discussion might not have offered deep insight into the vexing geopolitical problems that plague the region, but her openness was noted. At a low-budget hotel in the heart of Istanbul, night clerk Ali Demir, splitting his attention between Clinton's television appearance and a soccer game streaming live on his computer screen, says he likes the secretary of state's approach.

"This is a good change. It's a different way," the clerk says about Clinton's interview.

"She's more colorful and seems closer to the people, more likable."

Any substance to the message?

Certainly, the Clinton name still has power in Turkey. A 1999 trip by then president Bill Clinton and his wife, where he visited an area that had been devastated by an earthquake, is still fondly remembered by Turks. In Istanbul's sprawling Grand Bazaar, it seems like almost every shop has a picture of the owner shaking hands with a beaming Bill Clinton.

"In Turkish-American relations, as much as the message matters, the messenger also matters," says Suat Kiniklioglu, a member of parliament and Deputy Chairman of External Affairs for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "The name Clinton resonates differently here."

He adds: "Her coming to Turkey is probably going to be a pressing of the reset button and starting with a clean slate. Turkey is ready for that. The last eight years have been troublesome."

Still, some observers warn that television appearances alone will not be enough to sway Turkish public opinion.

"Overall, Obama's policies towards the region, towards Muslims, these are the things that will help improve America's image in Turkey. Clinton's appearance is a good start, but without a change in the main policies, you can't expect things to improve," says Lale Sariibrahimoglu, an Ankara-based analyst and a columnist for the English-language newspaper Today's Zaman.

"You can't just appoint someone to be in charge of PR. The product has to be good if you want it to sell."
http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0309/p06s01-wogn.html


Obama Won't Use ‘G'-Word, Pro-Armenian Congressman Says
A member of the US Congress has cautioned Armenian-Americans not to be very optimistic for either approval of a resolution for the official recognition of Armenian genocide allegations or the US president's affirmation of those allegations.

Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, both Democrats from California, have warned Armenian-Americans "not to take the success of the resolution or presidential affirmation for granted," the Armenian Reporter, an English-language online daily reported on Friday.

Sherman told the Armenian Reporter that he was "not particularly hopeful" that President Barack Obama's message to the Armenian-American community on April 24 of this year "will contain the word genocide." Sherman added that when it comes to the affirmation of the genocide, he expected "no success in the next 60 days," pointing to Turkey's importance to the Obama administration's Middle East priorities.

Another congressional supporter of affirmation, Jim McGovern, also a Democrat, struck a similar note, the report said, citing his remarks that "a lot still remains unclear" on the subject of the Obama administration's approach to the Armenian genocide issue.

Underlining that McGovern's comment came after speaking with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prior to her departure on a tour of Europe and Turkey last week, the report quoted him as saying that while he did not know whether the administration would "soft-pedal" on pre-election pledges, he "shared the apprehension" that it might do so.

In 2007, US-Turkish relations deteriorated when Congress took up the issue against the wishes of then-President George W. Bush's administration. Ankara rejects allegations of genocide.
09 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN ANKARA


Barack Obama visit puts Turkey at center stage in US policy
US President Barack Obama will visit Turkey early next month, making the Muslim NATO country one of the first foreign visits of his presidency. The visit, announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a less-than-24-hour trip to Ankara on Saturday, is a sign of the Obama administration's readiness to reverse the relationship that soured during former President George W. Bush's administration and to work with Turkey as a key partner as it pursues its major foreign policy goals in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

"We share a commitment to democracy, a secular Constitution, respect for religious freedom, belief in a free market and a sense of global responsibility," Clinton said Saturday after meeting with Turkish leaders in the capital, announcing Obama's plans to visit Turkey in "the next month or so." The visit is "a reflection of the value we place on our friendship with Turkey," the chief American diplomat said on the last stop of her weeklong trip to Middle Eastern and European countries. The president asked her to make the announcement, she added.

"This visit is not about healing some EU-NATO rift. This is about underscoring our deep alliance with Turkey, that it is an important part of Europe and that it is an important voice in the Muslim world," said a senior Obama administration official, speaking to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.

The US has made it clear that the president's visit will be a bilateral one, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said in televised remarks on Sunday. This, in a sense, makes Turkey the first country President Obama visits within a bilateral framework.

Soon after he took over the presidency on Jan. 20, Obama did travel to Canada for a bilateral visit, but this is a traditional practice by American presidents. In his European tour, Obama will visit Britain, Germany, France and the Czech Republic. But Babacan said in all of these countries, Obama will be attending international meetings: a G-20 meeting in Britain, a NATO summit in Germany and France and an EU meeting in the Czech Republic to discuss the global financial crisis.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Turkish talk show hosts, is seen during the taping of a talk show for private news station NTV in Ankara.

Clinton appears on popular Turkish talk show

In addition to her talks with Turkish leaders, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday appeared on the popular TV talk show "Haydi Gel Bizimle Ol" (Come and Join Us), which focuses on women's issues.

Several women asked Clinton about the first lady, Michelle Obama, whom the secretary of state praised as a good role model. None brought up Clinton's personal life, but one interviewer asked her about a comment she made during her swearing-in ceremony at the State Department on Feb. 2 in which she thanked her husband for "a lifetime of -- all kinds of experiences." The interviewer asked how she coped with those experiences. Clinton replied that she relied on forgiveness, friends, family and faith.

"I don't know anybody whose life is smooth sailing. If you meet such a person, I'd like to know him because I've lived a long time, and I've yet to meet such a person," she said. İstanbul Today's Zaman with wires

Obama is most likely to visit Turkey at the end of his European tour, which ends on April 5. From April 6-7, a UN-backed meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations will take place in İstanbul and officials have already said Obama has been invited to attend that meeting. Babacan did not say if Obama will be coming at the time of this meeting, but emphasized that his visit will have a bilateral agenda.

The visit also makes Turkey the first Muslim country Obama visits as president, but it was not clear whether he will use this visit to deliver his anticipated address on Islam, a speech that he promised during his campaign to give in a Muslim capital in the first 100 days after taking office. When asked whether Obama will deliver his address to the Muslim world from Turkey, Clinton said "no," adding that work was still under way to designate the venue for that speech. The Washington Post also wrote that Obama was not expected to deliver his address in Turkey. But Babacan signaled Turkey could still be the venue for Obama's anticipated speech, saying yesterday on NTV that discussions were still continuing.

"We are just at the beginning of the planning. This decision was reached late yesterday in Washington," Clinton said on Saturday. "We don't even have the dates decided yet," she added, noting that she received a call from the White House while she was flying to Ankara late Thursday night, giving her the go-ahead to announce the visit.

Obama had promised during his presidential campaign that one of his top priorities would be to work to repair America's reputation worldwide, and one element of that effort would be a speech delivered in a Muslim capital. His ascension to the White House was cheered around the world as a sign that America will be more inclusive, more open to change. In his inaugural address he said, "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

From 'moderate Islam' to partnership

Speaking in a televised interview following her talks with Turkish leaders, Clinton was careful not to describe Turkey as a "moderate Islamic country," a term that was mostly invented by the Bush administration but has proven to be problematic as Turkey is a constitutionally secular country that wants to be known for its democratic credentials.

Clinton said in an interview with CNN Türk that the US administration did not want to use religious terms to define Turkey. She emphasized that Ankara has proven it is a reliable partner when asked if she thought Turkey was becoming an Islamic country.

The shift in the US terminology underlines the new administration's readiness to work with Turkey on major foreign policy issues in the Middle East and in Afghanistan and also concerning energy security as a strategic partner, rather than merely a US ally in the Muslim world that will toe Washington's line in key issues. "The main message of Clinton's visit was that there would be close consultations on all issues from now on," said Babacan, hailing the secretary of state's trip as opening a "new era." He said the fact that Obama is making one of his foreign trips to Turkey showed the new US administration was aware of Turkey's importance. It is also a clear message for the region and the entire world, he added.

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government received a great deal of criticism when it called for dialogue with Iran and had talks with Palestinian radical group Hamas, steps opposed by the previous US administration. But Clinton appeared to welcome innovations of the Turkish foreign policy under the AK Party government.

On Iran, she said the US might ask Turkey's assistance in changing the way the Iranian regime behaves, apparently giving the green light for Turkish mediation between the US and Iran. Turkey said Iran asked for Turkish assistance in dialogue with the US and that it was ready to step in if it is asked to help. Regarding Hamas, she declined to comment directly on the Turkish contacts with them, but said every effort to push Hamas away from Iran's influence and closer to a conciliatory stance was appreciated. "We support the regional and global leadership role Turkey plays in major issues," she told CNN Türk, in remarks simultaneously translated into Turkish.

Clinton also praised Turkey's role as mediator in peace talks between Syria and Israel. The talks were suspended after four rounds of indirect negotiations when Israel launched its deadly offensive in Gaza. Babacan said Turkey would resume its role as mediator but emphasized that conditions should be ripe for this -- a reference to a lasting cease-fire between Israel and Hamas -- and both sides should ask Turkey to restart its mediation. Clinton said the US would be in close consultation with Turkey in the future stages of the Syrian-Israeli peace efforts.

Washington and Ankara are consulting on ways Turkey can help facilitate the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Turkey has said it is ready to serve as an exit route for the Americans. "We have to discuss what will pass, what kind of equipment," Babacan said at the news conference with Clinton. "We are ready to cooperate," he added.

On Afghanistan, Ankara thinks the US should put more focus on expanding and improving the Afghan security forces and on pressing Afghan authorities to reconcile with elements of the Islamic insurgency, rather than sending tens of thousands more US troops.
09 March 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN İSTANBUL


Professor Questions Ethnic Conflict, Armenian Students Respond To Genocide Denials February 26, 2009, Matthew Rist, Hatchet Reporter
One of history's most controversial debates came to the Marvin Center Monday night. Turkkaya Ataov, a professor at Ankara University in Turkey who is internationally recognized for his vehement denials that the 1915 massacre of Armenians was a genocide, presented a lecture entitled, "How to Come to Terms with One's Past: Searching the Truth Behind Armenian Claims on Genocide."

A handful of Armenian students listened in silence among a crowd of 100 mostly Turkish or Turkish-Americans as Ataov discounted Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Turks during World War I.

"I'm not saying that nothing has happened, but certain things have happened and that there are omissions, and omission is a way of censorship," Ataov said.

The professor appeared to speak directly to the Armenian students in the audience at times and even pointed at them at one point in the lecture, telling them to see him afterwards to discuss what he was talking about.

"The Armenians are very fine people, very intelligent, very hard-working, very able," Ataov said.

Ataov characterized Turkey and its people as, historically, accepting of other ethnicities. "Genocide is the natural outcome and continuation of racism. Only racists can pursue policies of genocide," Ataov said.

Ataov went on to talk about the disagreements that have arisen between the two opposing viewpoints on the interpretation of historical facts.

"We must agree on dispassionate, nonpartisan, open-minded controversy," Ataov said. "I have met very few [Armenians] that fit this description."

During his lecture, Ataov compared the misinformation about the Armenian massacres to a game he played as a child, similar to the game of telephone, asserting that this verbal passing of information is to blame for some of the misinformation.

"What actually happened in history is very different, or to a great extent different, than what the younger generations keep hearing from their elders," Attaov said.

Leah Brayman, president of the Armenian Student Network, said she was offended by Ataov's analogy.

"For professor Ataov to relate the genocide to an elementary school game of telephone is not only completely inaccurate, but it humorizes mass genocide," she wrote in an e-mail after the event. "As a critic of 'uneducated people' professor Ataov's claims about Armenian history and genocide were extremely false, completely misstated and he made a mockery of the Armenian people."

Esra Alemdar, president of the Turkish Student Association, said her organization brought Ataov to campus in order to educate students about the allegations of genocide. "I feel like we, as Turkish-Americans, really do not have a lot of information about this issue, so that's one of the reasons why I wanted to have the professor speak," she said. Alemdar said she was pleased to have students from the Armenian Student Association in the audience.

Brayman said that relations between the Turkish Student Association and the Armenian Student Association have never been a problem.

She added, "Unfortunately our history of conflict is still a national and international issue that we hope will be resolved very soon, so that all future relations will be nothing but peaceful and productive."

After his lecture, Ataov had a specific message for GW students of Armenian and Turkish descent looking to move forward and work together in the future. "The duty of scholarship is to study the views of the other side because the Armenian side is making this mistake; which is described in psychology as the egoism of victimization, in which one side thinks only of its own losses and rejects the other," Ataov said. "In reality, what the other suffered may be even worse."

© Copyright 2009 GW Hatchet

Tc-America.Org

Letter to Secretary of State Clinton From American Hellenic Institute
The Honorable
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madame Secretary:
On behalf of the nationwide membership of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), we are writing to you in advance of your forthcoming visit to Ankara, Turkey and your meetings with key Turkish officials, in order to bring to your attention a number of issues.

While you prepare for your meetings, we would appreciate your taking the time to consider a number of issues to discuss with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan that relate to matters affecting U.S. interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The projection of U.S. interests in the region depends heavily on the stability of the region. Therefore, the U.S. has an important stake in fostering good relations between two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey, and in achieving a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Greece is of vital importance for the projection of U.S. strategic interests in the region by virtue of among other factors, its geographic location and by being home to the most important naval base in the Mediterranean Sea, Souda Bay, Crete.

A key to stability in the region is for Greece and Turkey to have good relations with each other, promote democratic ideals and principles, and maintain growing economies. However, Turkeys continuing occupation of Cyprus, its intransigence in solving the Cyprus problem, its refusal to recognize Cyprus as a member of the European Union, its refusal to allow vessels or planes registered under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus to enter Turkish ports, its continuing violations of Greeces territorial airspace integrity, and continuing religious and human rights violations in Turkey, threatens and prevents this stability, and damages U.S. interests.

Listed below are three items for your consideration.

Aegean Sea Boundary
Turkey has made an outrageous claim to one-half of the Aegean Sea in total disregard of all the relevant international treaties and agreements in force, has engaged in provocative activities in the Aegean and does not agree to the referral to the International Court of Justice of the issue of the delimitation of the continental shelf. Despite the opening of accession negotiations with the EU and Greeces sincere efforts to achieve complete normalization in relations with Turkey, the latter continues to threaten Greece with war (casus belli) and promotes claims that are unfounded and devoid of any legal basis.

Provoking tension in the Aegean, Turkish military aircraft violate Greek national airspace on an almost daily basis, even flying over Greek islands. One such violation contributed directly to the death in 2006 of a Greek air force pilot who went up to intercept an illegal incursion and collided with a Turkish fighter plane. The Turkish pilot parachuted safely. These are not the actions that promote stability and good neighborly policies.

These activities have intensified recently, undermining Greek efforts for rapprochement. There have been several flights over two inhabited eastern Aegean islands, Farmakonisi and Agathonisi, as well as incidents involving harassment of Greek helicopters within Greek airspace. There has also been an incident involving the sailing of a Turkish frigate in Greek territorial waters, just off Greeces mainland coast near Athens, in a way which is not in conformity with international law. In addition, late last year, a Norwegian research vessel, acting on behalf of the Turkish Petroleum State Company and accompanied by a Turkish frigate, attempted to conduct research on the Greek continental shelf south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, in the Dodecanese.

Since Turkey aspires to become a full member state of the EU and is currently a non permanent member of the UN Security Council, she should especially be more respectful of international law and the commitments she has undertaken in the context of the EU accession process, including the full respect for the principle of good neighborly relations.

Madame Secretary, the situation in the Aegean has become acute and has the potential to trigger a flash point that would be detrimental to the stability of the region.

We call upon you to:

publicly state that the United States does not accept the unfounded Turkish claims in the Aegean Sea, which are in contravention of the relevant international treaties.

The relevant agreements are the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, the Italy-Turkey Convention of January 4, 1932, the Italy-Turkey Protocol of December 28, 1932 and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, under which the Dodecanese Islands and adjacent islets were ceded by Italy to Greece.

The United States is a signatory to the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty and that treaty is U.S. law. The State Department has refused to declare publicly what the law is and should do so now. The United States should also vigorously repudiate any challenge to the treaty-defined boundary and urge Turkey to:

adhere to international law and legal procedures with respect to any dispute it has with Greece in the Aegean Sea; and immediately abandon its provocative actions in its violations of Greek territorial waters and airspace.

Cyprus
President Obama, in a campaign statement released to the Greek American community in October 2008, stated:

As president, [he] will show U.S. leadership in seeking to negotiate a political settlement on Cyprus. [he] believe[s] strongly that Cyprus remain a single, sovereign countrywithin a bi-zonal, bi-communal federationA negotiated political settlement on Cyprus would end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and repair the islands tragic division while paving the way to prosperity and peace throughout the entire region.

Since 1974, Vice President Biden has been a leading voice in the Congress in his support for ending the Turkish military occupation of Cyprus and for seeking a just and viable solution to this problem.

On July 20, 1974, Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus with the illegal use of U.S.-supplied arms and equipment in violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, the United Nations Charter article 2 (4), the preamble and article 1 of the NATO Treaty and customary international law. Turkey occupied about four percent of Cyprus during the initial phase of its invasion. Turkish pilots flying American planes dropped American-made bombs (including napalm bombs), terrorizing and killing innocent Greek Cypriot civilians in Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia, and elsewhere.

On August 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched the second phase of its invasion of Cyprus. During this second phase, Turkey grabbed another 33 percent of the island, expanding its land grab to over 37 percent of Cypruss sovereign territory.

The Turkish army has continued to occupy this territory ever since. It is an affront to the international legal order and a continuing threat to regional stability.

The invasion and Turkeys continuing occupation have drawn universal international condemnation, as reflected in U.N. resolutions, statements by members of Congress, The Council of Europe and from many nations, and various court decisions in Europe, with a notable exceptionthe Executive Branch of our government.

Turkey contributes more than $350 million annually in direct economic support to the regime in the occupied parts of Cyprus, and it is estimated that the total cost to Turkey of its illegal occupation amounts to $1 billion annually. To secure its land grab of Cypriot territory, Turkey has illegally settled northern occupied Cyprus with more than 180,000 Turks from Anatolia in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949, section III, article 4, which prohibits colonization by an occupying power. These colonists are beholden to their Turkish sponsors whose heavy annual outlays subsidize them. As money is fungible, U.S. economic aid has subsidized Turkey's occupation of Cyprus for decades.

There is no legal distinction between Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation by Turkey. The European Court of Human Rights in Cyprus v. Turkey found that Turkey committed massive violations of human rights. Viewed objectively, Turkey in 1974 committed war crimes in Cyprus in view of the evidence presented to the European Commission of Human Rights and the findings of the Commission in its report of July 10, 1976. The London Sunday Times on January 23, 1977, published excerpts of the report (page 1, col.1) which stated: It amounts to a massive indictment of the Ankara government of the murder, rape and looting by its army in Cyprus during the Turkish invasion of summer 1974.

Cyprus is an important nation for U.S. interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. The so-called Sovereign British Bases on Cyprus and the British listening posts on Cyprus are on Cypriot territory and have been of significant importance to the United States. Cyprus is a member of the European Union (EU) and a Western-oriented country. It is important to U.S. interests that it remain so.

The government of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots, under the leadership of the late former, President Tassos Papadopoulos, played an exceptional role in evacuating 14,000 Americans from Lebanon during the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006.

President Papadopoulos initiative with Secretary-General Kofi Annan on February 28, 2006, and the subsequent agreement of July 8, 2006, between President Papadopoulos and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat initiated by U.N. Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, included a commitment to the unification of Cyprus based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, and an agreement to begin a process immediately, involving bi-communal discussion of issues that affect day to day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues both of which will contribute to a comprehensive settlement.

Since September 3, 2008, when the new round of negotiations began, there have been 19 meetings held between President Demetrios Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. We welcome these developments. However, unless Mr. Talat is allowed to negotiate solely on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots, without the external pressures that are being placed on him by Turkey, there will be little chance for progress to be made.

We support a settlement of the Cyprus problem through negotiations based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in a state with a single sovereignty and international personality, incorporating the norms of a constitutional democracy embracing key American principles, the EU acquis communautaire, U.N. resolutions on Cyprus, the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and of other European Courtsas in the best interests of the United States.

Madame Secretary, we endorse and call upon you to impress on Turkey to:

demilitarize Cyprus;

withdraw its 40,000 occupation troops illegally in Cyprus;

return to Turkey the 180,000 illegal settlers/colonists from Turkey in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949;

tear down the green line barbed-wire fence across the face of Cyprus which, together with Turkeys 40,000 occupation forces, is the cause of the alleged isolation of the Turkish Cypriots in the occupied northern part of Cyprus; and

warn Turkish leaders not to manipulate the current talks or restrict Mr. Talat at the bargaining table.
The removal of Turkeys troops, colonists and barbed-wire fence would end the Turkish Cypriots economic isolation caused by Turkey and go a long way to solving the Cyprus problem because the Greek and Turkish Cypriots could then work out a fair and effective agreement.

Turkeys Suppression of the Religious Freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its violations of the rights of non muslims communities in turkey

President Obama, in a campaign statement released to the Greek American community in October 2008, stated:

[He was] one of 73 Senators who signed a letter to President Bush in 2006 urging him to press Turkey to restore the full rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Christian Church in Istanbul. [And that he sent] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a personal letter on the same matter. [He called on] Turkey to respect the Ecumenical Patriarchates rights and freedoms, including its property rights. Turkey should allow the reopening of the Patriarchates school of theology on Halki Island and guarantee the right to train clergy of all nationalities, not just Turkish nationals.

Madame Secretary, you too signed this letter.

We commend the President and you for your support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, very little progress has been forthcoming on behalf of Turkey regarding safeguarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the spiritual leader of approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians around the world, including about 6 million in the United States, and its affiliate institutions in Turkey. On the contrary, in view of Turkeys aspirations to join the EU, one can argue that there has been regression regarding any progress concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The Turkish government has tolerated assaults against its Greek Orthodox Christian religious minority and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and continues the illegal closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.

These actions violate U.S. principles on freedom of religion and U.S. law as expressed in Section 2804 of the Omnibus Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1998 (PL 105-277). The law states that the United States should use its influence with the Government of Turkey to suggest that the Government of Turkey:

recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its nonpolitical religious mission;

ensure the continued maintenance of the institutions physical security needs, as provided for under Turkish and international law, including the Treaty of Lausanne, the 1968 Protocol, the Helsinki Final Act (1975) and the Charter of Paris;

provide for the proper protection and safety of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Patriarchate personnel; and

reopen the Ecumenical Patriarchates Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.
Further, there are severe restrictions on property ownership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which have allowed the Turkish government to confiscate nearly 7,000 properties from the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1936.

Former U.S. Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman, Congressman Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), has stated: The concern of this Commission is the protection of religious rights and freedoms. Turkeys treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate violates its obligations under international human rights law. Mr. Smith blamed Turkey for systemically attempting to prevent the activities of the Patriarchate by disallowing the opening of the Halki Theological School forcibly closed in 1971, destroying churches by creating hurdles preventing their repair, denying the Patriarchate the opportunity to purchase and or sell property and not recognizing the Patriarchates Ecumenical status, in effect, denying its universal status.

Turkeys restrictions on the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate reveal that democratic norms have still not taken root. In view of Turkeys horrendous human rights record, U.S. policy toward Turkey should be driven by forceful incentives for democratic reform.

We condemn Turkeys toleration of assaults against its Greek Orthodox Christian minority, the limited progress so far on the protection of the human and minority rights of the non Muslim communities in Turkey, its continuing illegal closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki Patriarchal School of Theology and its illegal seizure of property of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox minority of Istanbul, Imbros and Tenedos.

Under the International Religious Freedom Act (IFRA) of 1998, the President of the United States is obligated to oppose violations of religious freedom in any country whose government engages in or tolerates violations of religious freedom and promote the right to religious freedom in that country. The Act further obligates the President to take one or more of 15 enumerated actions with respect to any such country.

We call on you, Madame Secretary, to impress upon Turkey that our government:

will not tolerate such violations from an ally and calls on Turkey to immediately implement and enforce strictly the guarantees of religious freedom and human and minority rights set forth in the Treaty of Lausanne, the UN Charter, other international agreements, and U.S. laws;

expects that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be safeguarded and that legal personality will be granted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate;

calls for the immediate reopening of the Halki School of Theology and the lifting of restrictions to the elections of the Patriarch;

calls for the immediate return of the nearly 7,000 illegally confiscated properties from the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Turkish government since 1936; and calls for the respect for human and minority rights in Turkey

Advocating these policy decisions would underscore support for the rule of law and respect for international law. This would illustrate that the United States truly wishes to advance the cause of solving the 35-year-old Cyprus problem. Continuing former failed policies that promote a double standard in applying the rule of law to Turkey and the continuing appeasement of Turkey does not serve U.S. interests.

The arguments set forth above are based in each case on the question of what is in the best interests of the United States and are drawn from the issues that concern Americans of Hellenic descent.

Finally, in the interest of regional stability and dispute resolution, the U.S. should promote Turkeys emergence as a fully democratic state whether or not she enters the EU. This will require fundamental changes in Turkeys governmental institutions, a significant improvement in its human rights record, the settlement of the Cyprus problem on the terms referred to above and publicly acknowledging the existing boundary in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey established by treaties. Past and current U.S. policy has not had this effect and needs to be critically reviewed.

A good time would be to begin with your forthcoming visit to Turkey.

We appreciate the opportunity to bring these issues to your attention and thank you for your consideration of them.

Sincerely,


Uruguay: Port Of Weapons And Genocide Of Armenians, 8 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Senator Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro referred in his column in the newspaper "the Republic" polemic about the possession of weapons. The title of the latter is "Jews, blacks and poor, they should not have weapons".

Uruguayan Senator Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro defended the right to have arms, indicating that the ban is a "racism, fascism and tyranny." He added that in England since the thirteenth century they know that "there is no parliament without arms between the people."

Then the senator had referred to "the reform of Article 166 of Turkish Penal Code (1911) which ended with the" weapons free. " This "change" has prepared the genocide of Armenians, whose survivors arrived in Uruguay have been here have guns. And descendants, like other Oriental can now continue to have if they wish. "


An Evening With Pamuk By Sunil Sethi Business Standard, 8th march 2009
Mumbai: Two foreign women hover in animated excitement at the entrance to the busy restaurant and hurry over to the table with looks that say, `How did he get here before us?' They are Turkish, and have just spotted the best-known, certainly the most widely read writer Turkey has produced, the country's first and only Nobel prize winner. Orhan Pamuk is charmed but not surprised; India has long been on his radar, a fascination he shares with many of his compatriots.

It is his second visit, and he has lingered awhile in Goa, soaking up the landscape, looking at old churches, and reconsidering the development of the miniaturists' art in the 16th and 17th centuries-the subject of his most famous novel, My Name Is Red (2000). `It is from the Portuguese in Goa that Indian miniature painters learnt perspective. And when the demand for miniatures dried up in Turkey it is to Akbar's court, where it flourished, that Turkish artists migrated.'

My Name Is Red is much more than a disquisition on the meanings of art=80'a reflection on orthodoxy versus innovation, authenticity versus falsification-and it aptly sums up the life of a writer who originally wanted to be a painter but fulfilled his quest in words and actions. Pamuk, who is 57 this year, is an easily approachable man, expansive, quick-witted, allusive and argumentative. Asked in Mumbai if his thinly-veiled, and often plainly candid, portraits of his family ever got him into trouble, he cheerfully replied, `And talking about them at press conferences gets me into more trouble.'

Orhan Pamuk, the quintessential liberal, born into the educated cosmopolitan bourgeoisie of Istanbul, a city at the cusp of Europe and Asia, beset by the ghosts of the Ottoman empire and the reforms of Atatürk, is a man engaged in the battle between modernity and tradition, between pro-Europe secularists and diehard nationalists. For his frank, free-thinking opinion he has been targeted by both sides, not to speak of Islamic fundamentalists who loathe him the most.

Three years ago, in an interview to a Swiss newspaper, Pamuk brought up the injustices of the past and present-a million Armenians killed in the closing decade of the Ottoman empire and 30,000 Kurds by modern Turkish forces-and all hell broke loose.

Criminal charges were brought against him under a clause of the penal code that orders imprisonment for insulting and denigrating the Turkish republic. In the outcry that erupted at home and abroad, Pamuk stood his ground:

`I repeat, I said loud and clear that one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey.' Support from intellectuals worldwide, in defence of freedom of speech, prevented Pamuk from going to jail. But his friend, journalist Hrant Dink, of Armenian descent, was imprisoned and later shot dead.

Pamuk realises that his fame as a writer is a buffer against direct attack (`They don't use that law against authors, they use it against political activists and fundamentalists') but he is gripped by the ambiguities of history, identity and memory. It is painfully clear in the brutal conflicts of the most overtly political of his novels, Snow (2004). But the quest to evoke the past, in the melancholy-drenched Arabic word huzun, is as painfully prevalent in his non-fiction homage to his city Istanbul, perhaps the most widely read of his books. What starts as a memoir of family life, becomes by stages, a study of Istanbul's buildings, its seasons and history, brought to life through the characters who inhabit it as much as through the eyes of foreign visitors.

But Orhan Pamuk's new novel, The Museum of Innocence, a runaway success in his own country and out in an English translation later this year, sounds like none of his other works. It is a love story, he says, about a love between two people as obsessive as a person's love for beautiful objects in a museum. Like the multiple narrators of My Name Is Red, who are animate and inanimate, Pamuk's art is an ongoing reflection of life viewed through a succession of mirrors.


Armenian National Committee of Canada, www.anccanada.org, March 5, 2009
"Let the Garlic-Growing Armenians Beg to Join You [Azerbaijan]" Thomas Goltz' Racist Remarks About Armenians

Ottawa, March 4 - At a lecture sponsored by the Assembly of Azerbaijani-Canadian Organizations, with "kind assistance from the Azerbaijani Embassy in Ottawa", American journalist and professor of political science Thomas Goltz made racist and derogatory remarks about Armenians in Ottawa earlier this week. Goltz' remarks were in response to a question from the audience on how to convince Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh to stay within the "current boundaries of Azerbaijan." Goltz, who teaches at the Montana State University, replied: "By building a forward-looking democracy you will be able to let the garlic-growing Armenians beg to join you [Azerbaijan]."

Goltz was in Ottawa as a speaker, invited by the Azeri embassy and the Assembly of Azerbaijani-Canadian Organizations, to talk about the events of February 26, 1992 in the town of Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabagh. Goltz delivered his speech "Khojaly Massacre: Crime and No Punishment", at the National Archives of Canada. Some 60 people (mostly Azeris and Turks) attended. Next day Goltz delivered a variation of the same lecture at the National Press Club's Newsmaker Breakfast series, hosted by the Azeri embassy. About 20 people attended that gathering.

As an informal mouthpiece of the Azeri government, Goltz delivered propaganda and rant against Armenians. First he talked about the contradiction in the self-determination versus territorial integrity concept of the United Nations. He then praised Azeri "secularist attitude" and how Azeris preceded Ataturk in adopting this stance as a governing model by five years.

Goltz accused Armenians of perpetrating "ethnic cleansing" in Khojaly and said the Armenia argument that the Khojaly operation was a necessary pre-emptive and defensive measure to relieve Nagorno-Karabagh's capital Stepanakerd from relentless shelling from Khojaly was "nonsense". He asserted that Khojaly did not have military significance. He also mocked Armenian claims that the heavy Azeri civilian casualties were the result of Azeri internal strife and intrigue.

The most dramatic moment of the lectures occurred when Aris Babikian from the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) successfully refuted two controversial statements by Goltz. Goltz had paraphrased two quotes from author Thomas de Waal's book where supposedly the current president of Armenia [Serzh Sarkisian] had said: "We showed to the Azerbaijanis that we [Armenians] are not afraid of killing civilians." The second quote cited by Goltz was from a book by the brother of Nagorno-Karabagh military leader Monty Melkonian. According to the American journalist, when Melkonian visited liberated Khojaly and saw the Azeri corpses, he exclaimed: "What have you done?"

At the Newsmaker Breakfast lecture, Aris Babikian, executive director of the ANCC, confronted Goltz and mocked him for his "command performance of misrepresentation and revisionism." Babikian exposed Goltz' hypocrisy by pointing out that the American journalist had "conveniently forgotten to mention the Sumgait, Baku and Maragh massacres of Armenians by Azeris... and that had it not been for the Russian Navy 230,000 Armenian inhabitants of Baku would have not survived."

Regarding the Khojaly killings, Babikian said: "Armenians did not claim that Azeris had perpetrated the massacres of their own people. It was the Azeri president, Ayaz Mutalibov, who made such a statement in an April 2, 2004 interview published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta. In the interview with Czech journalist Yana Mazalova, Mutalibov said that his opposition, the National Front of Azerbaijan, were behind the killings to undermine his authority and to topple him.

In further questioning, Babikian asked Goltz to explain why the bodies of Azeri victims were found 11 km from Khojaly and 2 km from the most heavily fortified Azeri military town of Aghdam. "Is it logical for Armenians to follow Azeri 11 km, risking their own lives to eliminate the enemy around Aghdam, instead of killing them in Khojaly?" Babikian asked.

Babikian challenged Goltz to explain why so "many Azeri journalists who had questioned Azeri government's version of Khojaly events were jailed or killed. Babikian cited the case of jailed Azeri journalist Eynulla Fatullayev whose jailing was investigated by the European Court for Human Rights.

Babikian asked Goltz to be honest and impartial when employing quotes and to do so "without misrepresentation and misquotation so that they can fit and augment his [Goltz'] narrative of the events."

The ANCC executive said that he found it strange that Goltz praised his "old friend" the late "great" Aliyev as an "extraordinary guy" when everyone in Azerbaijan knows that he was a despot and a man who stiffled democracy while his son, the current president, follows in his father's infamous steps. Babikian said it was obvious that for Goltz "the lure of the petro-dollar is much stronger than the lure of truth and impartiality."

Goltz did not answer any of Babikian's questions and skirted around them.

Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of ANCC, said: "We condemn such racist and hate-disseminating lectures spewed by the mouthpiece of a foreign government on Canadian podiums. It is unfortunate that some Canadian Parliamentarians, Senators, and journalists had to hear such vile statements without even raising an objection or questioning the organizers and the speaker about the validity of their words and action."

The ANCC leader added that "The Canadian government and police should investigate the grave and far-reaching consequences of such hateful speeches. We also would like to ask Canadian Parliamentarians to disassociate themselves from this lecture and the anxiety it has caused to the Canadian-Armenian community."


Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler Ohio Congressman, Paul Gilmore "No One Ever Asked Me!"
At an instance, the US congress halts the delivery of helicopters for which Turkey has already made payment. At an instance, one will witness the name of Turkey, a 50-year ally of the United Stated missing from the list, the US government calls "Most Favorite Trade Nation Status", when China, the 50-year old foe of the US is in that list.

I have to state unequivocally that the average American citizen holds no grudge against Turkey or the Turks. As a matter of fact, as someone who has been in all 50 states of this wonderful country, having been the house guest of countless Americans, and as someone who has come to fully appreciate and understand the American society in his long years in America, I can state with the most absolute certainty that Americans are some of the most friendly, hospitable, generous, and humanist people.

However, there is also another group of Americans whom I call "the out of the ordinary." These are those, who either have been poisoned with the hatred of Turks earlier in life due to ancient ethnic reasons, or they are those who are obligated to forgo their better judgment for various reasons; some in the media for their subscription numbers, therefore a financial benefit, and some politicians for votes, therefore political longevity.

In that case, when the anti-Turk mongers are in such a minority, why do we then witness the bilateral relations of 50-year-old allies, Turkey and America experience periodic difficulties? The answer lies within the United States Congress. Without fully understanding this assessment, and without fully comprehending how the US Congress works, sometimes being negative towards America is an unfair feeling on the part of us, the Turks.

The Hellenic Caucus in the US Congress has roughly 190 members. The Armenian Caucus numbers reach 130s. Therefore, when an issue concerning Turkey is brought on the floor of the house, the final result of a vote taken on Turkey, or even Azerbaijan does not require extreme mathematical genius. The members of congress who have been elected by the out-of-the-ordinary, but diligent American minority have the upper hand. This particular reality must not have any bearing on the average conscientious American on the street.

New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell

The only path of action to change this equation goes through a conscious act on our part to attempt to reverse the balances on the US Congress.

Currently, there are entities such as the lobby firm who get paid handsomely also attempt for a change in this balance. In addition of course, there are those amateurs and plain citizens such as us who produce an effort only because we desire to repay some of our debt to Turkey.

Two of the many US congressmen to whom I paid visits during last year, agreed to join the Turkish Caucus only because I happened to ask.

I visited a Democrat, Mr. Ben Chandler of Kentucky at his office. He welcomed me warmly at his door. I introduced myself, and shared with him some thoughts on the Turkish-American alliance and friendship. At one point, he interjected enthusiastically:

"You know, I was in Turkey during my school years."

"I loved it."

"My Mom just returned from Turkey"

"I admire Ataturk."

"You have an extraordinary country."

Then, he paused and added: " Ercument, how can I help you? What can I do for my Turkish friends?".

I wasn't even certain whether it was my place to even declare to an American congressman, but I did blurt out the question: "Would you consider joining the Turkish Caucus?". I was struck by his answer, "No problem, count me in!"

Can it be that easy, I thought to myself. After all, this was the job for professionals.

After a few minutes truthfully, thinking that I was talking to a politician, I revisited my earlier request, and asked him: "Sir, you did agree, but what is next? Should we send you a letter requesting it formally, and wait for a formal reply, or would you be calling the chairmanship of the Turkish Caucus, Mr. Wexler to indicate your intention?"

"What is there to complicate things? he said turning to his aid and said: "Call Mr. Wexler and tell him I am in."

I was quite touched. I didn't quite know how to thank him. Whether to get up and hug him or send him my gratitude in a letter later!

As I asked for permission to leave, I asked to have a photo taken with him. Uncommon to many Americans, he came beside me and out his arm on my shoulder. I was further humbled by the this gesture and sincerity of this Southerner.

VIRGINIA CONGRESSMAN FRANK WOLF
As I left Ben Chandler's office, I could not help it, therefore I asked: "Sir, you have such affinity with Turkey, why then have you not joined the Turkish Caucus earlier? His answer was one that made me saddened: "No one asked me!"

Dear friends, this particular incident was experienced by me twice. The second congressman who joined the Turkish Caucus just because I happened to ask, and stated at the end: "No one ever asked me?" was a Republican, Paul Gillmor of Ohio. And during this exchange, I wasn't alone. I was accompanied by my assistant Terken Hacaloglu, and the Washington Representative of Turkmen Front of Iraq, Mr. Orhan Ketene.



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