- Turkey's Evolving Dynamics:Strategic Choices For US-Turkey Relations:Download CSIS Report
- Armenian-Americans Met Obama Policy Advisors Before Turkey
- Armenia And "Border Economics"
- Embassy Notes: Bolster Turkish-American Alliance
- History Should Be Analyzed By Historians
- Open Letter To Obama
- Alliance Of Civilizations: Misplaced Union
- Aliyev May Boycott İstanbul Meeting Over Armenia Ties
- News Media & Diplomats & Those Who Believe In Easy Pacification In Armenian-Turkish Relations
- Letter From Retired Turkish Ambassadors To Speaker Of Us House Of Reps
- Why Should Turkey Normalize Relations With Armenia?
- Six Armenians In Istanbul’s Municipal Councils
- "Armenia On Crisis"
- Promises Of Obama, Then & Now
- Elin Suleymanov: "California Is Not Armenia...
- Letter From Retired Turkish Ambassadors To The Speaker Of US House Of Representatives , Mrs.Nancy Pelosy
- Anca "Fierce Urgency Of Now"
- Azerbaijan Gains Little through Expensive U.S. Lobbying Firms
- Like A Sly Fox, Turkey Was Trapped With Two Legs At Once
- Laciner: Ankara Won't Open Border With Armenia
- Did Armenian Genocide Have Its Own Primo Levi?
- Forgetting Armenians, 2009
- Real Jew: Lesson From Turkey
- Jews Plotted Armenian Holocaust!
- U.S. Congressmen Send Letters To Turkish & Armenian Presidents
- American Congressmen Call Presidents Of Armenia & Turkey For Stopping Disagreements. .
- Armenian Orientation Of Ergenekon
- 60.000 Armenians In Turkey
- Obama Encouraged To Lobby Against Genocide Bill
- Us Think-Tank's Odd Suggestions On Turkey
- Confronting Denialist Jewish Lobby
- Genocide: Filmmaker Torosyan To Present "The Morgenthau Story"
- Azerbaijan Threatens To Cut Gas Supply To Turkey if Border Opens
- Genocide Issue As A Means For Exerting Pressure On Turkey
- Turkey & Armenia Pave Way For Historic Accords
- TRT Radio Broadcasting In Armenian
- Washington Times: Possible Armenia-Turkey Deal
- Turkish Architects Work For Turkish Intelligence
- Minister Nalbandian To Attend "Alliance Of Civilizations" Forum In Istanbul
- Us President's Visit To Turkey May Seriously Change Alignment Of Forces In Region
- 10 Years After Clinton, A Week Before Obama
- Obama Visit Should Be Read Properly
- Disturbing, New Revelations on Border Opening
- Obama In Turkey: Enticing Ankara Westward
Turkey's Evolving Dynamics: Strategic Choices For U.S.-Turkey Relations, CSIS, 30th Mar 2009 by Stephen J. Flanagan and Samuel J. Brannen
CSIS, Mar 30, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-89206-576-9
Relations between the United States and Turkey stand at a critical juncture. Turkey is a key ally in the advancement of U.S. interests vis-à-vis the Middle East, Eurasia, and global energy diversification. Turkey still sees the United States as its closest ally and wants to be a partner in advancing mutual interests, particularly in its immediate environs. This confluence of interests gives revitalization of bilateral ties greater urgency. Yet the relationship remains somewhat strained and lacks the strategic character it once enjoyed. The two governments have made steady progress during the past few years to repair the damage done by differences over the Iraq War and the handling of its turbulent consequences. The visits by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the first few months of the administration suggest a commitment to further strengthening relations. However, much remains to be done.
Turkey has been buffeted in recent years by turmoil in its neighborhood, beginning with the consequences of the Iraq war, then again with the Russian invasion of Georgia in the summer of 2008. Turkish leaders will continue to pursue policies that seek to avoid such regional instability, and they expect understanding from Washington on this score. Washington, too, has the right to expect that Ankara will behave as a loyal ally when mutual interests are threatened.
This report, prepared by seven senior CSIS scholars and two colleagues from other institutions, offers a comprehensive and balanced assessment of the uncertain state of Turkey’s domestic political and social dynamics and the complexity of its relations with its neighbors. It reflects extensive field research in Turkey and neighboring countries, as well as consultations with a wide range of officials, scholars, journalists, and leaders of business and trade associations.
This is an update of a previous report, Turkey's Shifting Dynamics.
Download The Full Document Here
Days Of Expectation: Armenian-American Leadership Met Obama Policy Advisors Prior To President's Departure For Turkey By John Hughes ArmeniaNow editor
Advocates for recognition by the United States of the Armenian Genocide turn attention to Ankara, Turkey in the coming days when President Barack Obama meets Turkish President Abdullah Gul April 5.
Hopes that Obama will lead his administration to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide have run strong, strengthened by repeated statements of support the president has made during (and before) his campaign which was backed by Armenian Americans.
Last week, prior to Obama's departure for the G-20 Summit in London, from which he is to travel to Turkey, representatives of the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America met, at the invitation of the White House, with Obama's senior foreign policy advisors.
"The Armenian-American leadership continues to look forward, this April, to President Obama honoring his repeated pledges to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide, to broaden U.S.-Armenia relations, and to support other issues impacting Armenia and the surrounding region," said a statement released by the Assembly (www.aaainc.org).
Both the Assembly and ANCA (www.anca.org) have launched massive awareness campaigns and are urging their American-based members to rally the support of the US Congress, as it now considers HR252 - a resolution calling for recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
At a press conference in Yerevan today (Friday), Assembly country director Apri Vartanian said she is confident the Genocide issue as well as discussion of opening borders will come up during the Obama-Gul meeting.
" . . . And I believe Turkey will do anything to prevent Obama from using the word 'genocide' and recognizing it at all. I also think that Turkey will resort to blackmail, if necessary - by affecting America's interests that depend on Turkey as well," Vartanian said. "I nevertheless think that Obama will be consistent and keep his pledge. Anyway, pronouncing the word doesn't mean that the Genocide will be recognized today - it's a process that may be launched by just using the word."
Just three months into his presidency, Obama may find it prudent to avoid potential controversy over raising the Genocide issue. It is likely, though, that meetings will focus on Turkey's role in helping America strengthen its position in the region as it begins withdrawing troops from Iraq, while starting a build-up in Afghanistan.
A more likely opportunity for the US President to fulfill his pledge will come when he makes the traditional statements on April 24 -Armenia's Day of Remembrance.
Weathering The Storm: A Commentary On Armenia And "Border Economics" By Richard Giragosian
Several recent developments have only confirmed the negative impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the Armenian economy, with signs that the downturn will only continue to worsen in the coming months.
These most recent indicators of a worsening economic crisis in Armenia include a recent report released by the Armenian Central Bank showing a significant reduction in the flow of remittances, or money from abroad, coming into Armenia. According to the Central Bank report, released on March 31, the level of cash transfers among banks handling remittances for the first two months of the year was some 20 percent lower for the same period last year.
In addition, because remittances do not rely solely on the banking system, the actual reduction in formal bank transfers suggests an even larger drop in the amount of money coming into the country. Other recent signs point to an even deeper and more lasting economic downturn, however.
For January and February of this year, Armenia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) also fell, posting a significant three-percent contraction that formally ended several years of double-digit economic growth. Even more troubling for the Armenian state, was the news that tax collection also fell by some $230 million, or almost 15 percent, for the same period.
Other recent signs point to an even deeper and more lasting economic downturn. According to Yerevan's largest private realtors, the real estate market in Armenia, whose exorbitant prices were long thought to be artificially sustained, is now suffering severe pressures from low demand and falling prices. The so-called real estate "bubble" of Yerevan has begun to deflate, with the statistics for real estate transactions reporting a sharp decline in prices for homes and apartment rents alike.
Faced with these developments, the Armenian government has recently decided to "postpone" some $359 million in planned spending programs until later in the year, hoping to ride out the economic storm through the coming months.
Against the backdrop of several months of constant reassurances and vague optimism expressed by Armenian officials, this move suggests that the severity of the mounting economic crisis has finally become too painful to ignore. In fact, the government's decision to defer spending is a serious step, as it effectively freezes about 14 percent of total state spending.
Look to the Borders
In light of these negative economic trends, there may be at least a partial way out of this mounting crisis, however. Open borders and free trade have long been recognized as basic prerequisites for economic growth and development. In Armenia's case, the economic isolation from closed borders and landlocked geography has been particularly severe, and has only tended to exacerbate a deeper economic vulnerability.
Yet it may be the benefits of "border economics" that offer the country a way out of the crisis. For a recent example of the significance of "border economics," Armenia hosted a massive influx of tourists from neighboring Iran. During the last week of March, for example, an estimated 20,000 Iranian tourists flocked to Yerevan to celebrate the Iranian New Year, known as "Novruz."
This recent influx of tourists from Iran brought new hope and fresh business to Armenian merchants and hotel operators, as well to restaurants, as thousands of Iranian young people celebrated their temporary "freedom" from Iran's ban on drinking alcohol.
Even more important than the tourism-related revenue from the Iranian influx to Armenia, with some economists estimating that the average tourist spends about $1000 per week, was the longer term significance of the event.
More specifically, the influx of Iranian tourists to Yerevan to celebrate their New Year in a relaxed and hospitable environment affirms the potential benefit for cross-border trade and tourism. And this is also a lesson of what can happen if Turkey opens its long-closed border with Armenia. Instead of Iranian tourists, Armenia can well expect to receive a sudden influx of Kurds and Turks, eager to drive only a few hours across a newly opened border to enjoy a refreshingly welcoming atmosphere in Armenia.
For Kurds, such a new opportunity to come to Armenia offers not only entertainment and tourism, but even more importantly, provides a welcome relief from the repression of daily life under the constant surveillance of Turkish police and security forces.
In this way, the potential for Armenia to emerge as a safe haven for a new boom in tourism is a real opportunity. And Armenia may become the destination for not only Iranians eager for the freedoms of daily life that they are denied in their own country, but also for a new wave of tourists, coming to Armenia through a newly opened Armenian-Turkish border. And this may be one of the most important economic gains from an open border, with benefits apparent for both sides.
But the impetus is now squarely on Turkey, which must open the border that it closed. Turkey must also accept the reality of Armenia as its neighbor by extending normal diplomatic relations, and must come to terms with the reality of addressing the legacy of the Armenian genocide. Only then can an opening of the border help to open minds as well.
Richard Giragosian is the director of the Yerevan-based Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS). "Weathering the Storm" is a weekly column exclusively for ArmeniaNow.
Embassy Notes: Visit to Bolster the Turkish-American Alliance and Strategic Partnership
U.S. President Barack Obama will make an historic visit to Turkey next Monday and Tuesday, April 6 and 7, highlighting the importance of the United States' friendship, strategic partnership, crucial alliance and cooperation with Turkey.
As the fifth U.S. president to visit Turkey, President Obama will meet with President Abdullah Gul as well as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and will speak at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in the Turkish capital of Ankara. He will then proceed to Istanbul, where, among other engagements, he will attend the Alliance of Civilizations Summit reception and meet with Turkish students in a roundtable discussion. The roundtable forum will be an opportunity for President Obama to reach out to the youth in Turkey and in the region from Istanbul, a city that bridges Asia and Europe, the East and the West, and that embodies unity in cultural diversity.
President Obama's visit represents yet another major step in the course of a time-tested, ever-deepening and expanding relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. The two countries' special relationship, drawing from a mutually beneficial history of friendship, is currently based on a shared strategic approach to the contemporary challenges. Indeed, the U.S. and Turkish governments are currently working together in a vast number of areas both regionally and globally, to name a few: transatlantic security, Afghanistan and South Asia, Iraq, the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans, establishing energy security, countering terrorism, assisting non-proliferation, and overcoming the global economic downturn.
The White House has announced that the visit is intended to reinforce Turkey's importance as an ally. As Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said in a March 28 press briefing, President Obama "wanted to make very clear on this first trip that Turkey is a vital ally, a vital member of NATO, and a vital bilateral partner to the United States in a range of issues, not only as it relates to NATO but as it relates to many other concerns." McDonough cited Turkey's leadership role in facilitating the Israeli and Syrian talks, as well as Turkey's efforts to serve as a geopolitical bridge between Asia and Europe. He also added that the President looks forward to addressing each of these issues with Turkish leaders.
Not surprisingly, President Obama's visit to Turkey, his second bilateral foreign visit following his inauguration as the 44th U.S. President in January, comes at a time when U.S.-Turkey relations are on a rising trajectory. The visit follows and effectively culminates earlier phone conversations between President Obama and President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's recent visit to Turkey.
On a final note, the leaders of both countries intend not only to ensure a strong relationship between their governments but also between the Turkish and American peoples. To this end, both governments are announcing the establishment of a "Young Turkey/Young America Initiative", which will enable emerging young leaders in Turkey and the United States to develop initiatives that will positively affect people's lives and invest in future ties between the leadership of both countries.
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Javier Solana: History Should Be Analyzed By Historians Javier Solana
One of the most senior politicians in Europe, Javier Solana, said history is history and should be analyzed by historians when asked if some European national parliaments' resolutions on the Armenian "genocide" had helped the reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia.
Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana gave one of his rare interviews to Today's Zaman hours before the crucial NATO summit kicked off and days before new US President Barack Obama's historic visit to Turkey. A former Spanish foreign minister and former NATO secretary-general, Solana has been one of the pivotal leaders of the EU known for his strong support for Turkey's EU bid.
A political figure who knows Turkey and her politics very well, Solana, commenting on the recent rapid rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, said it was very good news. Asked whether he thought some European national parliaments' resolutions and laws on the Armenian "genocide" had contributed to reconciliation between the two embattled neighbors, Solana said history was history and should be left to historians to be analyzed. "I don't think we need to put the past every day on the table," he said, hailing President Abdullah Gül's visit to Yerevan last September.
‘I really believe that history is history. I don’t think we need to put the past every day on the table. History needs to be analyzed by historians,’ said Solana on Armenian ‘genocide’ claims in an interview with Today’s Zaman.
Solana, who as a youngster fought against the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco in his native Spain, said events related to the Ergenekon investigation were very serious and should be dealt with very seriously. Stressing that any activity that has the aim of toppling an elected government should be punished, Solana underlined that the EU would support the investigation "without any doubt" as long as legal guidelines were fully respected.
Attaching great importance to Obama’s upcoming visit to Turkey, the veteran leader said the visit had the purpose of conveying a very strong message that Turkey is and should be an important player in the international community. According to Solana, the new US president is very keen on reconstructing good relations with Turkey.
As a former secretary-general of NATO speaking hours before the historic summit in Kehl and Strasbourg, Solana refrained from commenting on who should be the next secretary-general; however, he stressed that he did not think the decision would be made during the summit. Regarding Turkey’s reservations about Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Solana said he had no doubt that Rasmussen had the required capabilities but underlined that he should be approved by each and every member country. “And Turkey is an important member in the alliance,” he said.
The following are excerpts from the interview:
‘AK Party got a very good score’
Turkey has recently concluded local elections in which the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lost slightly. Looking from Europe, how do you read the election results in terms of European reforms?
If I recall correctly, the AK Party received 39 to 40 percent of the total ballots. That is not a bad result. It is a little lower than before, but it is a very good score. And, from our point of view, there is nothing to say.
Do you think that the government has received a vote of confidence?
I think it’s a pretty good score. For us, it does not matter if they received 39 or 47 percent. What is important for us is that the government should continue the reform process. In any case, the government is doing a good job, and we support the process of reforms. I hope very much the reforms will get Turkey closer to the EU.
Actually, the expectation in Europe was a swift return to reforms after the local elections.
As you know, the process of reforms is something we welcome. That will be, in our mind, not only good for your country, the development of the economy, but it will also bring you closer to the EU. For those people, like me, who want to see Turkey getting closer to the EU, the continuation of reforms is good news. When Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan said that he will continue with the reforms, it was something we welcomed, and I hope this will be the case.
Stressing that any activity with the aim to topple an elected government should be punished, Javier Solana underlined that the EU would ‘without any doubt’ support an investigation so long as the law is fully respected.
‘Ergenekon should be punished if proven guilty’
The European Parliament, in its last two reports, called on Ankara to investigate a network called Ergenekon. You have been, maybe, the most consistent European leader asking Turkey to establish civilian-military rules according to European standards. How significant is this investigation when seen from Brussels?
Well, first, I think those events were very serious, and they have to be taken as they are, I mean, very seriously. Of course, the process of trial and investigation should be done correctly. Those sorts of activities that go against the established democracy have to be investigated, and if proven, they need to be punished. We will support it if it is done in the correct manner. No doubt about that!
The Spanish experience is a bit similar to Turkey’s history with military interventions. This is the first time in Turkish history that four-star generals have been indicted for coup attempts. Do you think the investigation is an opportunity to raise Turkish civilian-military relations to European standards?
It is an opportunity to make clear the truth of events. As I said, they were very serious events. To revolt against a constitutional government is something that has to be punished. I hope very much that truth comes out of the investigation by the appropriate handling of this case.
I remember very well that we quite frequently spoke with you about Cyprus in 2004 and 2005. You were very keen on finding a solution at the time. Unfortunately, it did not come about. The EU decided back in 2006 to look into the developments in 2009. Is 2009 a deadline on Cyprus?
It is a moment to look at how the situation has evolved. I would like to say that a new process has been put in place in 2008 led by the UN. In the last several days, the two sides have started to talk about issues related to the EU, which is, I think, very good news. You know how much I will like to see this historical crisis resolved. I did my best in all the positions I had in international and European politics to contribute to the solution.
Some members want to see 2009 as a deadline. Is this interpretation correct?
I think it is an important date in which, without any doubt, an analysis has to be made about how much the process has moved. I hope we arrive to that date with the problem solved.
If the talks between Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias do not go well, will you freeze another five or six chapters?
I think this is not the right approach. The right approach would be to get everybody together and work hard to make 2009 the year of solution. Then, all the questions you’re putting to me now will be irrelevant.
Don’t you sometimes think that it would have been much better to admit a unified island rather than a divided one?
I don’t think we will benefit a lot if we keep looking into the past. The situation right now is as it is. To speculate on how it could have been done does not lead anywhere but to certain melancholy. It is not a good exercise to look back and see what could have been done. The right approach would be to handle the present and future properly. The past, unfortunately, cannot be removed.
‘Obama wants to construct good relations with Turkey’
US President Obama will be visiting Turkey in a few days’ time. Turkey will be the first Muslim country he will visit. What does this tell you?
I think Mr. Obama is a very wise man. In such a short time since taking office, he has proven to have a very intelligent sense about what the important issues and priorities are. He will be in İstanbul and Ankara. He will be meeting with the leaders and people. I think he wants to give a very clear message that a country like Turkey, a democracy with a predominantly Muslim population, is and should be an important player in the international community. President Obama is a very clever man who wants to construct and reconstruct good relations with your country.
President Gül paid an important visit to Armenia, which European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso dubbed “historic.” Now high-level political contact is taking place. Do you expect a breakthrough?
I would very much like to see it happen. I had the opportunity to speak with President Gül both before and after his visit to Yerevan. I have a very good personal relationship with your president. I respect him very much, and I think he is a very intelligent man. I have the impression from these talks that Turkey has the will to move forward. I also have the feeling that taking the next step would not be that difficult.
Could the next step be opening the border?
I think that should be a step. But which step, I do not know. It could be the next or the one following the next.
You know very well that relations between the two countries are already very complicated. Do you think the resolutions passed by some national parliaments of EU member countries have helped the reconciliation?
I really believe that history is history. I don’t think we need to put the past every day on the table. History needs to be analyzed by historians. The relations between countries, Armenia and Turkey in this case, need to be reconsidered and restarted.
There was a spat between Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan and Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos. Some said Turkey lost all its leverage in the region after this incident. Do you think that Turkey can still play a pivotal role in the Middle East?
I have no doubt about that. Turkey is already playing a role in the region, it has played [a role] in the past and it will continue to do so in the future. No doubt about that!
‘I have some concerns about the new Israeli government’
Do you have any concerns about the new Israeli government?
Yes, I have some concerns. I have devoted much of my energy to try to construct a two-state solution. This is our dream and objective, like Turkey as well as the international community. I think dealing with an Israeli government that does not recognize the two-state formula will be more difficult. I hope very much that this government, despite some of the statements that have been already made, will continue to work for a two-state solution and do this very rapidly. This should not be done in 100 years’ time. That has to be done now.
In the wake of the Erdoğan and Peres spat, there have been some articles stating that the AK Party government is taking Turkey not to the EU but to the East, to the Islamic world. Do you have such a perception?
I do not. The government is continuing the reform process and taking your country closer to the EU.
04 April 2009, SELÇUK GÜLTAŞLI BRUSSELS
An Open Letter To President Obama
Dear Mr. President, The last time I saw you, you were in Manassas, Virginia, talking to a crowd of almost 100,000 people, including my humble self. It was the very last night of your election campaign, which promised a change that the whole world could believe in.
Luckily, you won the elections, and thus strengthened the hopes of not only millions of Americans but also billions of others from the four corners of the world. The latter includes many Turks, too. As indicated by a recent survey (by the Infakto Research Workshop), you are now the most popular foreign leader in the eyes of the Turkish people. In this highly skeptical nation, that is really a very hard reputation to get.
Turkey and Hamas
That is one of the reasons why I will be happy to see you in my country this Monday. I hope your visit will transform the image of the U.S for the better. Because, as you might have guessed, that image has been severely damaged in the past eight years. The military adventure that you wisely opposed from the beginning, the Iraq War, made most Turks quite disturbed with, and even provoked against, America.
The ongoing plight and tragedy of the Palestinian people, as you would know, also matters much. And while it is mostly related with Israel, it affects not just the image of the Jewish State, but also the whole Western world, and particularly the United States. A recent poll has shown that the attitude toward the West worsened dramatically during the recent Gaza War, in which 1,300 Palestinians were killed. If you can’t help bring some "change" on the Arab-Israeli conflict, this part of the word will not really change that much. But how? I have just read that a group of American foreign policy experts, wise people like former national security advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, have concluded a "Bipartisan Statement on U.S.-Middle East Peacemaking." They call for intense American mediation for a two-state solution, and "a more pragmatic approach toward Hamas." Their latter idea includes bold suggestions such as the following:
"Shift the U.S. objective from ousting Hamas to modifying its behavior, offer it inducements that will enable its more moderate elements to prevail, and cease discouraging third parties from engaging with Hamas in ways that might test its behavior." This is interesting, because Turkey’s foreign policy makers, especially the prime minister’s chief foreign policy adviser, Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, have been saying these things all along. Indeed, Turkey itself has been acting as a "third party" that engages with Hamas in order to pull it to a more moderate line.
The previous administration in Washington didn’t like this effort very much, because it was rather focused on "isolating" the groups or countries that it disapproved. Since you are much more willing to engage in dialogue, I believe you can use the help of "third parties" such as Turkey to reach out to actors like Hamas, Syria, and Iran. Even in Afghanistan, Turks have a much better image than other NATO members. What makes Turkey so unique is obvious: It is a predominantly Muslim country having strong ties with other Muslim nations. It is, of course, a Western ally and a secular democracy, too. The combination of these two paradigms is very powerful.
Your advisers might have told you that there is a risk in articulating this fact: Some Turks actually don’t like to hear anything from Americans, or from anybody actually, about the Muslim identity of their country. They believe in a bizarre version of secularism, in which the secularity of the state is expected to define the nation as well. You can either dismiss their paranoia, or, perhaps, help them understand that the secular state does not need to create the society, and the individuals, in its image.
Ah, before I forget, here is a final note on the way we deal with the Armenian tragedy of 1915. I know that you see those events from a different perspective than most Turks, and I respect your willingness to stand by the truth. But please also note that an imposed truth is hardly appreciated, and when political figures make strong comments about what happened a century ago, it is perceived here as an imposition. It also blocks the rapprochement that we need to have with our Armenian neighbors Ğ something our President recently, and wisely, initiated. Finally, let me extend my best wishes for your time in my country. Enjoy the people, the place and the food. And, if you can, spare more time to Istanbul than Ankara. The two are really incomparable.
Mustafa Akyol © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Alliance Of Civilizations: A Misplaced Union
At first glance, the Alliance of Civilizations, or AoC, founded by Turkey and Spain in 2005, seems like a sensible and strategic undertaking. In the post-Sept. 11 world, it boldly promises to bring two clashing civilizations peacefully together. But this is a fundamentally incorrect assumption.
In fact, Turkey and Spain belong not to opposing civilizations, but to the same one Ğ Western civilization. While the two countries have different religions, in the 21st century, civilizations are not about religions but shared values and institutions. The two nations share Western values such as liberal democracy, free markets, gender equality, secularism and rule of law.
Turkey and Spain are both members of many Western institutions, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
They are allies in the foremost Western security club, NATO, and part of the European Union family, as Spain is a member and Turkey is in accession talks with EU.
The AoC, which will hold a summit in Istanbul on April 6 and 7, is a misplaced entity. It represents a view of the modern world distorted by religion, as it suggests that Turkey and Spain cannot belong to the same civilization due to their different faiths.
The AoC, which was established on the initiative of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, implies that Turkey does not belong to the West. This is not a good way of promoting Turkey’s EU membership. Simply put, a Turkey that does not see itself as Western cannot hope to join the EU.
Ever since the AKP’s ascension to power, some analysts have suggested that Turkey’s rapprochement with Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and Sudan is guided by Islamist motives. Others have disputed this claim, saying the AKP is loyal to Turkey’s Western orientations. The AoC, however, suggests otherwise, offering a glimpse into the AKP mindset; according to this party, Turkey is not a member of the West.
United States President Barack Obama will visit Turkey during the AoC summit in Istanbul. Obama is traveling to Turkey as part of a European visit, stopping in Istanbul after attending NATO and EU summits. With this visit, the U.S. president hopes to counter Turkey’s alienation from the West by emphasizing the country’s Western inclinations.
Obama will tell the Turks that they belong to Europe and the West, while the ongoing AoC summit will suggest otherwise. By purporting that Spain and Turkey belong to different civilizations it suggests that the United States and Turkey do too.
In its current form, the AoC runs counter to Obama’s message of a Western Turkey. Turkey and Spain both belong in the Alliance for Europe.
Soner Çağaptay is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Aliyev May Boycott İstanbul Meeting Over Armenia Ties
Azerbaijan has expressed concern at the prospect of the border between its old foe Armenia and Turkey being opened, with Azerbaijani news reports saying yesterday that Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev will not attend a UN-backed Alliance of Civilizations meeting in İstanbul next week due to unease over the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.
Azerbaijan's Apa news agency said Aliyev decided not to attend the İstanbul gathering of world leaders, including US President Barack Obama. Turkish leaders, on the other hand, denied reports of an imminent deal between Turkey and Armenia in a bid to ease Baku's concerns.
With growing signs of a thaw in relations between Turkey and Armenia after a century of hostility, the chances of Ankara opening the frontier it closed in 1993 have improved sharply. Turkey's closure of the 268-kilometer border had been in solidarity with Azerbaijan, which was fighting Armenian-backed separatists over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region -- a festering conflict that remains unresolved.
"If the border is opened before the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, it would run counter to Azerbaijan's national interests," Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told Azerbaijan's ANS television. "We have conveyed this opinion to the Turkish leadership," he said, adding that Turkey accepted Azerbaijan's concerns.
Turkey, Baku's principal ally in the frozen conflict, has no diplomatic ties with Armenia and a relationship haunted by the killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War I. But both say they are close to a breakthrough on "normalizing relations," which could lead to the opening of the border. Such a step would have major significance for Turkey's role as a regional power, its European Union membership bid and for energy flows from the Caspian Sea to Europe.
Analysts and local media reports suggest an announcement could come this month. The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday that Turkey and Armenia could unveil an agreement on opening the border and normalizing relations as early as April 16, days before April 24, which is marked by Armenians as "genocide" commemoration day. But President Abdullah Gül, speaking to reporters before departing for Germany to attend the NATO summit there, said such reports were "not accurate."
He said, however, that Turkey is making an effort to have peaceful relations with its neighbors and that the neighbors were also responding to these efforts positively. In London, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested that a normalization of relations depended on progress in efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and urged the international actors involved in the peace process to step up their efforts.
US presidents traditionally issue a statement on April 24, and Obama, who pledged during his election campaign to recognize the World War I killings of Armenians as genocide, is under pressure to use the g-word in his statement. Turkey denies there was a genocide, saying the deaths were the result of inter-ethnic conflicts that also killed Muslim Turks.
Obama is visiting Turkey on April 5-7, an acknowledgement of Turkey's regional reach, economic power and status as a secular Muslim democracy. NATO ally Turkey could help Washington in confrontations and conflicts that stretch from Israel to Afghanistan.
Diplomats say Azerbaijan fears Turkish-Armenian rapprochement would weaken its hand in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. But landlocked Armenia, reeling from the effects of the global crisis and its ally Russia's drift into recession, would derive enormous economic benefits from the opening of the border and the potential restoration of rail links. Western-backed pipelines pumping oil and gas from the Caspian Sea to Turkey's Mediterranean coast bypass Armenia and instead bend north through neighboring Georgia.
Georgia's security as an energy transit route was severely tested during last year's five-day war with Russia, and Armenia stands to present itself as an attractive alternative.
04 April 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN
News Media And Diplomats And Those Who Believe In An Easy Pacification In Armenian-Turkish Relations (for which I try hard to pull down the mask of these charlatans):
Below new URGENT CALL by ANCA is self-explanatory! Will you keep on hoping by keeping your eyes close? Or will you wake up to REALITIES?
In 72 Hours
Dear ANCA activist,
ANCA NATIONAL CALL-IN DAYS APRIL 6th & 7th
Less than 72 hours from now President Obama will land in Turkey.
On Monday, April 6th and Tuesday the 7th, he'll hear all the lies and threats the Turkish government has to offer.
After he gets back to Washington, in the days before the 24th, he'll face even sharper attacks from Turkey's lobbyists and apologists, all conspiring desperately to somehow get him to go back on his word to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
They're banking on a business as usual approach, one in which the U.S. leaders, as they have done far too often, reduce the moral imperative of opposing genocide to a political commodity to be bartered away or retreated from under threats of retribution.
This is a disgrace, not just for Armenians, but for all Americans. A danger not just for America, but for all the world.
We've got to break this cycle. And now is our best chance.
On Monday, April 6th, take part in the ANCA White House Call-in Day to encourage President Obama to honor his pledge.
On Tuesday, April 7th, take part in the ANCA Congressional Call-in Day to urge your U.S. Representative to work for passage of H.Res.252.
Phone numbers and sample phone scripts for both days will be provided on http://www.anca.org/change.
And, throughout April, continue visiting this site to add your voice to the FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW campaign for Armenian Genocide recognition.
I'm making this personal appeal to you, very simply, because, in working to end the cycle of genocide, there can be no retreat, no defeat, no delay.
Consider the stakes:
Breaking Turkey's stranglehold this April, will finally lift the U.S. response to the Armenian Genocide, and with it all genocides, above the level of politics, to where genocide-prevention rightfully belongs, at the level of American values.
The opposition is intense, but we have right on our side, we have you on our team, and we have a President in the White House with an unparalleled record of Armenian Genocide recognition. If you haven't seen them already, read his remarkably direct pledges on this score: http://www.anca.org/change/docs/Obama_Armenian_Genocide.pdf.
Even with all this, as we know too well, we can't take anything for granted.
So, please join with friends and family in visiting http://www.anca.org/change on April 6th and 7th to take part in these two vital Call-in days. (We'll send you a reminder on Monday morning.)
Aram Suren Hamparian
ANCA Executive Director
PS: To see how the mainstream media is covering this issue, take a moment to read this fascinating report in the latest issue of The New Republic.
Letter From Retired Turkish Ambassadors To The Speaker Of The Us House Of Representatives
A letter sent to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and signed by almost all retired Turkish Ambassadors has been disclosed Thursday morning, April 2nd, just a few days before President Obama’s visit to Ankara. Unusually strong wording reflects the Ambassadors’ serious concerns regarding a recent initiative taken by the Armenian-American lobby in Washington.
Every year in April, the Armenian lobby asks the US Congress, so far without success, to adopt a resolution recognizing its allegations of an “Armenian Genocide” claimed to have been perpetrated during the First World War, under Ottoman rule.
Diplomats state that the arguments used in the draft resolution are inaccurate or unfounded. The omission of the losses and sufferings of the Turkish people during the same period adds to the draft resolution’s completely one-sided bias, therefore raising serious questions as to its fairness and credibility.
In a long text, the Ambassadors highlight one by one the shortcomings and the distortions contained in the descriptions of the historic events referred to in the draft. For instance, they point out that the court martials formed in 1919 at the end of the War in Istanbul under Allied military occupation are assumed to be valid bases to prove the guilt of the Ottoman rulers, while they were considered at that time even by British lawyers to be a “farce”, undermining the credibility of the proceedings. They also underline that the US archive documents of the time had been dismissed by the British Attorney General in 1920 as “personal impressions and opinions” unsuitable for use in legal proceedings.
The Ambassadors go on to explain how Armenians manipulated the US Ambassador Morgenthau, who had his own particular vision about Turks and “Orientals”, and how some subsequent American ambassadors, as well as Admiral Bristol and the “US Observer Mission” contradicted him.
They reject references made to international institutions stating that neither the United Nations, nor the Genocide Convention ever recognized or made mention of “an Armenian Genocide”, as suggested in the draft resolution. At the United Nations, consideration of a report with these claims was refused on the grounds that it was not the UN’s task to pass judgment on history.
The Ambassadors also quote a report from Secretary of State R. Lansing to President Wilson, where R. Lansing expresses the opinion that “The betrayal of the Armenians against the State is the cause of their relocation”. They also mention official records in which Armenians present themselves as “de facto participants in the war” on the Allied side against the Ottoman State, in order to be admitted to the Peace Conference.
Providing detailed census figures taken from various official records, the Ambassadors make the following interesting observation to illustrate what they call "the malicious exaggeration" of the death toll: "If the present global Armenian population is accepted as the descendants of a a limited number of Armenians to have survived the relocation, this would mean a population explosion unheard in the history of mankind. By the same rate of growth, the present day population of Turkey would have reached three hundred million, almost equal to the population of the United States, instead of the present 72 million". They also add that: "Prominent scholars (Turkish, American and others), refute these exaggerations as the remnants of war propaganda (as later acknowledged by British historian Arnold Toynbee) or as the products of ethnic and religious bias. The same bias also explains the lack of any reference to Turkish-Muslim deaths".
They also draw our attention to the juridical inconsistencies of the Armenian claims by stating that “Genocide” is a legal concept defined in the 1948 UN Convention and only a due and impartial legal process by a competent court can certify its existence and issue an indictment to this effect. Hence, they expect the Congress of the United States, itself an edifice of law, to refrain from acting as a self-appointed tribunal.
The following paragraph in the Ambassadors’ letter is particularly interesting. They recognize that "the number of casualties is important". "However" they say: " in order to qualify such unfortunate events as “genocide”, it is not the numbers, but irrefutable proof about the existence of the intent to destroy a people "as such" that needs to be established. At the end of the War, Allied governments who were in possession of all official records and archives could not produce any credible document or evidence proving this element of intent. They consequently released all the ministers and parliamentarians who were detained or interned in Malta for prosecution of war crimes".
The Ambassadors suspect that some Armenian circles may consider such allegations to be politically useful, even a convenient cover for the ongoing occupation of a fifth of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the expulsion of more than one million people from their homes.
According to the Ambassadors, if the US Congress adopts this draft Resolution while failing to make the slightest effort to consider arguments other than those raised by ethnic Armenian activists, such an adoption will inevitably have a serious debilitating effect on Turkish-American relations and will postpone indefinitely the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. They add that, to speak about different versions of the events is not prohibited in Turkey, in contrast to prohibitions imposed by some European states. The refusal, by the Armenian side, of a Turkish proposal for the establishment of a commission composed of Turkish and Armenian scholars clearly demonstrates who in reality is afraid of facing the truth.
Finally, the Ambassadors warn that "many possibilities of cooperation between Turkey and the USA in the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans, in Afghanistan and Iraq, in the field of energy, in the joint struggle against terrorism and other transnational challenges are likely to suffer as a result" and that "the goodwill already generated by the planned visit of President Barrack Obama to Turkey”, as well the positive effects of the overtures made to Armenia for the normalisation of relations “may be lost".
Why Should Turkey Normalize Her Relations With Armenia? Birsen Goksu Turkish Weekly
Armenian and Turkish press has been recently talking about the rapprochement and possibility of the normalization of relations between the two countries. In spite of fifteen-year severed diplomatic ties, closed border and tense relations, the winds of change have begun blowing between Ankara and Yerevan with the visit paid by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Armenia, upon the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, on the occasion of a soccer match. This historic visit was followed by a series of gatherings held on several occasions, such as the BSEC or Davos meetings, where the parties voiced their willingness with respect to the settlement of existing disputes between Turkey and Armenia. Considering the lack of dialogue between the two states since early 1990s, it is obvious that Turkey and Armenia have entered an unprecedented period in their history as two independent and sovereign states. It is currently a serious point of concern in Turkey and Armenia whether or not these steps will enable the parties to come out of the fifteen-year deadlock in their relations. However, instead of asking whether parties will be able to normalize their relations, a more important point that has to be discussed is why parties should normalize their relations.
The conflicts between Turkey and Armenia gradually emerged when newly-independent Armenia attempted to define Eastern Anatolia as “Western Armenia” and not to officially recognize the borders it has with Turkey. Following this, genocide allegations poisoned the relations between the two as they began to be voiced more loudly by the Armenian government and as the diaspora intensified its initiatives to have the 1915 events recognized as genocide in national parliaments all around the world. Nevertheless, the landmark event causing Turkey to close her doors completely to Armenia was the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh breaking out between Armenia and Azerbaijan as a territorial and administrative dispute from 1988 to 1992 and as a full-fledged war from 1992 to 1994. Moreover, even though the term of Levon Ter-Petrosian can be considered as more moderate with respect to the genocide allegations in particular, the hawkish discourse of Robert Kocharian, a Karabakh native and the region’s former president, sharpened the tone utilized by Armenia from late 1990s onwards. Finally, resolution of the disputes, reopening of the borders and establishment of diplomatic ties with Armenia have been linked to the resolution of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, bringing about nothing but turning the situation into a “mutually hurting stalemate” for both Turkey and Armenia.
The nature of the conflicts between Turkey and Armenia is a perfect example of hurting stalemate inasmuch as that both sides are damaged by the continuation of conflicts to a certain extent. From the Turkish side, stalemated conflicts with Armenia means facing the gradually increasing international pressure with respect to the recognition of genocide allegations, waiting the remarks of US Presidents with a bated breath every 24 April and perceiving the threat of being obliged to pay compensation and give some parts of Eastern Anatolia to Armenia, causing Turkey to suffer from Sèvres Syndrome even 90 years after the signing of the treaty, which feeds the “foreign enemies” discourse of ultra-nationalists in Turkey.
From the Armenian side, on the other hand, insistence on the continuation of conflict points with Turkey costs the embargo imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan on this state, including exclusion from energy transit routes passing through the region, limited diplomatic relations with neighbours and dependence on the money poured into the country by the diaspora because of lacking trade relations with neighbouring countries, inefficient investments and young population leaving the state, which turns Armenia into an old people’s home.
It is unequivocally true to say that associating the conflicts between Turkey and Armenia with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and pushing the resolution of this conflict as a prerequisite for the normalization of relations between the two states only increase the severity of stalemate both parties suffer from. Given the fact that Azerbaijan has lost ground regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and support of the third parties has tilted towards Armenia since early 1990s, the support extended by Turkey to the Azerbaijani side is beyond price and intensely needed. However, for a number of reasons, Turkey should normalize her relations with Armenia not despite Azerbaijan, but for also Azerbaijan.
First and foremost, there is no doubt that, in contrast to Turkey’s expectations, thinking the conflict points with Armenia in the same basket with Nagorno-Karabakh issue and confining this state to economic and political isolation in the region did not drive her into a corner but, instead, caused the hawks to come to power in 1998 and led the diaspora to sharpen its tone through intensifying genocide allegations and accelerating pro-Armenian campaign regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. It is true that Robert Kocharian pursued a totally different policy from Ter-Petrosian in that he tried to turn the isolation imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan on his state into an advantage through attracting the attention of diaspora to send more financial aid to Armenia and through depending on Russia and Iran further and, thereby, constituting a second axis in regional equation vis-à-vis the axis consisting of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Moreover, with a view that it is the diaspora underscoring the genocide allegations much more and taking an irreconcilable stance regarding the resolution of existing disputes, Turkey must make a clear-cut differentiation between the diaspora Armenians and Armenian residents. The main motive pushing the diaspora to put emphasis on genocide allegations so intensely is the need for an argument which will bring Armenians all over the world together and maintain their identity and integrity through serving as cement. What is more, compared with the initial years of newly independent Armenia, the influence of diaspora on the Armenian state and her foreign policy as a whole has become much more decisive from late 1990s onwards. From this point of view, it is undoubtedly true to argue that the shared policy pursued by Turkey and Azerbaijan to isolate Armenia in the region was one of the basic reasons for the hardening of the tone used by the diaspora and its increased impact on Armenia. As a result, given the fact that it seems impossible to establish an immediate dialogue with the diaspora due to its irreconcilable stance and decentralized character, normalization of relations with Armenia is in the interests of Turkey in that it can find a counterpart to defend her point of view and to come to a common point with respect to the disputed issues.
To put it another way, considering that, in our period, public diplomacy does not matter only at the margins any more, Turkey must give weight to shaping the lenses through which Armenian people see Turkey. Today, public opinion matters in the conduct of foreign policy more than ever. For that reason, even if an immediate establishment of diplomatic relations cannot be expected in the short and mid-run, opening borders with Armenia, increasing the number of direct flights to Yerevan and establishing more trade links between the two countries would make a substantial increase in the interaction channels between two societies and this would have a crucial impact on the point of views through which both nations see each other. At the end, this would make further dialogue possible between them, making it more costly for Armenia to sustain her irreconcilable attitude and leading a way to the settlement of conflicts between Turkey and Armenia.
Furthermore, as of today, the Nagorno-Karabakh issue seems to meet the criteria for being called as an intractable conflict, i.e. long-lasting conflicts that are protracted in nature and failed to be accommodated despite the efforts exerted both by the adversaries themselves and by the third parties. What is more, it is difficult to deny that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is full of failed third party mediation attempts, which comprise the attempts of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan and the Minsk Group under the auspices of OSCE (then-CSCE). Needless to say that, failure to settle the conflict mostly derives from the nature of the conflict itself -inability to integrate the principles of self-determination and territorial integrity in a way that both parties would accept, identity considerations attributed to the conflict by both adversaries and reluctance of the party having military advantage to give concessions-. Nevertheless, the role of third parties plays an important part in turning Nagorno-Karabakh conflict into a protracted one. Here, the most significant point which has to be stressed is the conflict of interest between Russia and the West in asserting their impact in the region. Given the fact that a weak Azerbaijan would enable Russia to maintain her role in energy markets and a weak Armenia means a loyal supporter of Russian interests in the region, Russia, from its very beginning, has been quite reluctant to accept Western-sponsored roadmaps for peace, which was evident, for example, in Russian objection to the deployment of an OSCE-led international peace-keeping force in the region, instead of a Russian or CIS force.
When all these conditions under which the Nagorno-Karabakh issue has evolved are taken into consideration, it would be pure optimism for Turkey to wait for the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in order to normalize her relations with Armenia. Therefore, the best thing that should be done on the way to the normalization of relations with Armenia is to increase the dialogue with this state through turning every occasion, including both official and non-official ones, into advantage. Accordingly, the historic visit paid by President Abdullah Gul to Armenia and other meetings held by some lower-ranking government officials on several occasions, like BSEC and Davos meetings, can all be thought as landmark steps towards re-establishing relations with Armenia.
In effect, it should not be forgotten that Russian-Georgian war of August 2008 played a part in paving the way for the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. Indeed, considering severed diplomatic and commercial relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, Armenia sustains her commercial relations with the world via Georgia’s Black Sea ports, which were paralyzed during the war. This short period of deprivation might have made obvious the catastrophic repercussions of being depended on only one state and might have urged Armenia not to mortgage her future on a controversial part of history, especially in a period when the poor Armenian economy began facing the impact of global financial crisis.
Moreover, the Russo-Georgian war was a wake-up call to the states in Caucasus inasmuch as that it unveiled the extent to which frozen ethnic conflicts in the region and Russian willingness to reassert her influence over the region can pose a threat to the peace, security and stability in Caucasus when there is no cooperation and coordination among the neighbouring states of the region. For that reason, it is clear that, since the war in August, Turkey and Armenia have not been in a position to turn down the dialogue appeals any more, not only for their own sake but also for the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
Maybe a more important thing, following Russia’s war in Georgia, is the increasing contacts between Azerbaijan and Armenia. To be more precise, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey came together in tripartite meetings held in New York in September and, then, in Helsinki in December and voiced their willingness for a solution. Moreover, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed Moscow Declaration in November 2008, following the talks hosted by Russia and under the auspices of Minsk Group, OSCE. Although the Declaration was downplayed because of not leading to any important result with respect to the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it should be labelled as crucial when it is considered in conjunction with other recent developments.
As conclusion, whether Turkey and Armenia will be able to turn these steps into an advantage towards normalizing their relations depends on the answer of the question to what extent parties are ready and eager to move the relations ahead. If these steps are not to be followed by additional demarches, then it means that they will be confined to the dustbin of history like other steps remaining inconclusive. However, if parties sustain their willingness to take the relations further ahead and if they feed this willingness with concrete initiatives, then, a warming in Turkish-Armenian relations will be righteously anticipated in the mid-run.
Birsen Goksu, Marmara University
 The concept of “mutually hurting stalemate” was firstly used by William Zartman to define a situation in which both sides of a conflict end up in such a costly deadlock that there is no use escalating the conflict to escape from it. I.W. Zartman, “Ripeness: the Hurting Stalemate and Beyond,” In Conflict Resolution After the Cold War, ed. P.C. Stern and D. Druckman, (Washington, DC: National Academy Press), pp. 225-250.
 Louis Kriesberg, "Nature of Intractability," Beyond Intractability, eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess, Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder, posted: October 2003. http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/nature_intractability/
 David D. Laitin and Ronald Grogor Suny, “Armenia and Azerbaijan: Thinking a way out of Karabakh,” Middle East Policy, vol.7, no.1, October 1999, p.158.
Six Armenians In Istanbul’s Municipal Councils Agos-Bianet News Centre - 31-03-2009
Five Turkish-Armenian men and one woman have been voted into municipal councils in four district municipal councils in Istanbul.
The weekly Turkish-Armenian Agos newspaper has reported that six Turkish-Armenians have been voted into municipal councils in Istanbul.
In the Princes’ Islands district, Raffi Hermonn Araks has entered the municipal council under elected mayor Mustafa Farsakoğlu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
On the islands, there was also an Armenian mayoral candidate, Dr. Garabet Yayla. He received 68 votes, 0.8 percent.
Agop Sarıyan was second municipal councillor candidate for the CHP on the islands; however, because one candidate each of the CHP and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) were elected, Sarıyan has not entered the council. Independent municipal councillor candidate Avedis Hilkat also did not win.
Three councillors in Bakırköy
In Bakırköy, a district on the European side of Istanbul, three Turkish-Armenians have entered the municipal council with the CHP mayor Ateş Ünal Erzen: Ohannes Karabeyan, who was sixth on the list, Yervant Özuzun, who was ninth, and Bedros Avedikyan, who had been a reserve candidate.
One each in Şişli and Beyoğlu
Under the AKP mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan in Beyoğlu, central Istanbul, Verkin Arıoba has entered the municipal council.
In Şişli, mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, for the Democratic Left Party (DSP) has won again, and Vazken Barın has entered the council in the district. Harutyun Ergüneş, in sixth place on the CHP list, did not get in.
CHP councillor candidate Antranik Yontan (13th on the list) in Fatih did not get in, nor did Herman Balyan, 4th councillor candidate for the AKP in Kadıköy. (TK/AG)
"Armenia On A Crisis" by Jean Eckian 30 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Despite the ongoing payments by the diaspora, and each year by wealthy donors and the Armenian Fund, this windfall is only a drop in the social landscape of Armenia. "Almost half the Armenian population lives below the poverty line indicates Gagik Tarassian, director of Caritas-Armenia. in a report published by Caritas Tyrol (Austria). According to official figures, Armenia had in 2008 165 394 families in need.
Since the massive earthquake (1988) that devastated part of Armenian territory, the war in Nagorno-Karabakh (1988-1994), the collapse of the USSR (1991) and the unilateral closure of the border with Turkey (1994 ), Armenia is experiencing the worst problems to face head on the economic and social development. These elements, added to each other have precipitated the country into extreme poverty, pushing a portion of youth in crime, while 230 000 people have migrated since 2002 deal with unemployment reaching 90% in some regions.
This configuration could increase deadly return by "forced" to around 240 000 Armenians living in the territory of the Russian Federation itself in the grip of a worsening economic crisis, while Armenia has just enter into recession, unable to offer that 25 000 jobs per year, while the number of unemployed is constantly increasing touched on 1 March 75 700 people.
Thus, the economic crisis sweeping the brunt of the poor despite a growth of 8.3% of GDP for 2009 announced by the government (since revised downward) for inflation of 4% to 5 against, 2 % in 2008. But according Aristomène Varoudakis, head of the World Bank office in Yerevan, GDP growth will be zero in 2009, and even negative, according to the IMF. He explained, moreover, that the strengthening of imports ($ 220 million, January 2009), as advocated by Prime Minister Tigran Sarkissian, despite the return to floating exchange rate, will increase inflation, then the need for intensified exports. A feeling shared by Ara Nranyan, economist, member of the FRA. Varoudakis said he was also against the systematic assistance to enterprises who have difficulties because of declining demand for their products, "a well without end that severely strain the state budget.
In reading these statistics, measuring the heat taken by the President Sarkissian to normalize the relations of Armenia with Turkey.
In this possible extension to opening up of trade, Armenia is actively strengthening its political and economic relations with the European Union under a partnership program between East and West.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian, it multiplies contacts abroad in order to increase trade and economic relations, including Lebanon, which has invested in Armenia in nearly 50 companies. The presence of Lebanon has recently extended to the banking sector by buying 51% stake in Bank Anelik for $ 30 million. The banking sector will also be enriched by the creation of the Pan-Armenian Bank, a corporation founded by the Central Bank and the Republic of Armenia with participation of private investment from the diaspora.
The shadow of Big Brother Russia
According to Abel Aganbegyan economist of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the crisis in Armenia is only just beginning because of the lack of foresight on the production of public markets and the depreciation of work. In addition, housing prices in Armenia grew by 15 2% over the period January-December 2008 compared with the year 2007 when the decline in Russia is around 40%. The fight against unemployment is a priority, "that is why a response to the crisis is to foster and develop industries with high rates of labor." He explained.
Abel Aganbegyan indicates that, despite everything "there is no reason to panic or to be pessimistic," adding: "The crisis after the collapse of the USSR or the crisis that followed the blockade of Armenia have been infinitely more difficult, and we survived. ". In this connection, the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, said March 7: "The economy of Armenia has failed because all depends on the Russian market, and when the Russian market collapsed, the same fate struck the Armenian economy.. " What disclaims Samvel Farmanyan, spokesman for the Armenian presidency, reinforced by the analysis of the Minister of Economy Nerses Yeritzyan, saying: "by attracting investment in Armenia, the crisis should be limited to two years" ...
The Russian aid
To stem the financial crisis, Russia has allocated to Armenia a loan of 500 million dollars, while its investments have exceeded 1 billion euros in 2008, particularly in the field of railways, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia. This year, the Russian company "South Caucasian Railway" will inject $ 78 million in restoring the railway infrastructure of Armenia, while a project initiated by the company Shaydullin is being finalized, which seeks to construction of a railway line between Iran and Armenia. For his part, Igor Chernyshenko, MP in the Duma, member of the "United Russia", told the Congress "Prosperous Armenia" on 19 February last: "Last year, the trade turnover between Russia and Armenia increased by over 20% ", noting that the Armenian-Russian inter-regional cooperation is expanding and that Russia welcomes the joint work of the governments of both countries to stability in the Transcaucasus region, socio-economic development of both countries and the welfare of both peoples. A joint which is illustrated shortly, according to Tigran Askissian, by the use of the ruble, in place of the dollar, in the calculation of inter-state transactions.
The anti-crisis program focuses also on the construction sector is expected to generate many jobs through an injection of € 230 million allocated, inter alia, to the reconstruction of the affected area of Spitak.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide a loan of 8, 5 million euros towards the funding of micro and small enterprises. It also decided to increase the funding allocated to Armenia. 63 million euros (2008), the volume will increase to 80 million in funding for projects already identified. Along the line Inecobank is willing to make micro-credits for the benefit of service companies and small businesses to a maximum of 10 000 dollars per loan over 24 months.
European Commission later, 600 million euros have been earmarked to help promote stability and prosperity in Armenia, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova, while the World Bank has approved a package of four loans at the Armenia totaling $ 85 million in assistance to the needy and the development of small and medium enterprises. In addition, Ara Hovespian Director for Armenia from the Millennium Challenge Account, which announced on February 21 having already seen the U.S. MC Corporation, a grant of $ 30 million to finance the restoration of rural roads, irrigation systems and reduce poverty in rural areas, expects to receive in 2009, $ 70 million. It signed on 27 March 2006 with the Armenian government is an envelope in the amount of $ 235 million over 5 years.
On the other hand, to preserve jobs, Armenia has granted a loan of $ 10 million to combine copper and molybdenum in Zangezur. A question about jobs at the plant for the production of mineral water Bjni since the takeover by Ruben Hayrapétian as a result of an indictment for tax evasion by the former owner Khatchatour Soukiassian, has been invalidated.
Finally, as the Prime Minister Tigran Sarkissian, the opening of the border with Turkey will start a "new and competitive expansion of the Armenian economy."
For its part, Vartan Oskanian, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the lack of public dialogue of the Armenian authorities, which according to him, have not taken the measure of the crisis, announcing in 2009 unrealistic growth of about 9%, focusing on image-government, rather than face the reality publicly. The newspaper also Jamanak abounds in this sense, accusing the authorities have for months created an "illusion of stability" that has cost the Central Bank of the State, $ 600 million. What replied to Tigran Sargsyan, during a meeting with businessmen of Armenia on 27 February in Moscow: "after a mild recession, the situation is stabilized. We are all witnesses of the beginning of a new era which no longer operate the old patterns. In this sense, the crisis is not the cause of that new situation. "But according to Nienke Oomes, permanent representative in Armenia of the IMF, the deficit in Armenia is inevitable. That is why the international institution will affect the country $ 540 million to help stabilize its balance of payments, while the Central Bank of Armenia have announced 1.2 billion dollars (budget production TF1) of gross reserves to meet all the challenges of the financial crisis ... In fact, Nienke Oomes predicted for 2009 devaluation of the dram up to 34% with a recession of more than 1.5% and inflation of 8%. The Armenian government announcement about it, for the year 2009, spending about 945 billion drams for a receipt for 905 billion.
A scenario much black, put into perspective by Ruben Vardanyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Group "Troika Dialog", provides for the bankruptcy of several medium-sized country in three to five years. He explains in an interview with Russian newspaper "Kommersant" that "it is possible that in the next two years, began the process of disintegration of the financial system." Thus justifying "that the old model is obsolete, and that the State is not the panacea for all ills and savior of the crisis.".
Price control and corruption to economic deterioration, the fall of Dram and some unjustified increases of up to 30% and 50% on goods, Ashot Shahnarzaryan, President of the State Commission for the Protection of Competition and prize, announced in early March that "abuse will be brought to justice according to law", encouraging consumers to report them. 40 markets and supermarkets will be monitored daily.
Moreover, some observers say they are amazed the speeches of Armenian authorities that they suffer from a clear lack of credibility, while corruption is always the leaders. A situation that attempts to curb the USAID *, by an anti-corruption efforts in creating 11 centers for protection and support to citizens who register cases of corruption and complaints throughout the country.
Social crisis in Gumri
80% of the population of Gumri living below the poverty line and over half survive in extreme poverty, according to the latest report of the United Nations, and among which are 600 elderly people living alone and without resources.
Only 60% of houses destroyed during the earthquake of 1988, were rebuilt. "The average income is one-third lower than the rest of the country. One in ten eat once a day, "said Gagik Tarassian, director of Caritas-Armenia.
Chronic hunger and malnutrition affects single mothers, refugees, families and patients. It is not uncommon that these people share their furniture against the food in the unbearable cold of the Siberian winter that "children are particularly affected," said Gagik Tarassian, adding: "Armenian children are too small to their age. They have no winter clothing and are suffering from respiratory diseases, pneumonia and other viral associated diseases. "
Today, Armenia will face the second phase of the crisis that affects the real sector rather than the financial markets.
* United States Agency for International Development involving the U.S. government and private voluntary organizations in humanitarian relief and assistance for economic development. It has developed a strategy against corruption by helping poor countries to establish transparent mechanisms for the commitment of expenditure and audit, and enforce their laws against corruption. The staff is trained to detect signs of corruption in governments and organizations that receive funds from U.S. aid to development.
Promises Of Obama, Then And Now - Los Angeles Times 30 March 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Excerpts from the editorial in the Los Angeles Times - USA
The President will abide by its commitments it or will it just that any chairman, balancing policy and principles?
On the part of his campaign, Barack Obama was very clear. The Armenian genocide was not a "claim" or "personal opinion" or "a point of view." It was, he said, a fact well documented. He promised that if elected, he would issue a formal presidential statement asserting that the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 by the Ottoman Turks constituted nothing less than genocide.
But President Obama is not so sure. As he prepares for a visit to Turkey next month, his advisers have suggested that the President could postpone the declaration promised that Armenian-Americans were waiting for the annual days of remembrance on April 24.
The Obama administration has eagerly sought the help of Turkish government on Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran and now, as the man who once promised "to speak honestly of the Armenian genocide," is not the time to send the Turks on the wrong track.
What does this mean? Is this qu'Obama is a hypocrite? A liar? Another good speaker cynical will say anything it takes to be elected and that changes completely after the votes?
We believe it is too hard. Each president is tempered by its goals of political contingencies, beliefs hatched by new facts learned behind closed doors (...). In the real world, turn the hope for a change is a big and difficult. project. As Mario Cuomo once said: "you campaign in poetry. You govern in prose."
The principle of the Armenian genocide, for example, collapsed on the front of realpolitik. It is undeniable that the United States need the assistance and goodwill of Turkey, Turkey is the only Muslim country in NATO and a reliable strategic partner in a dangerous region, ready to ignite. Of course it was advised Obama not to upset the Turks and they are advised on its predecessor.
But as we have said before other politicians have bent to pressure Turkey, denying reality is not the solution. It is time to make a statement on genocide, and Obama should make it quickly. If this is not done before 24 April, it must be done soon after.
We admire President Obama. We have supported. We are pleased that he has ended some of the worst excesses of the Bush era. And given the problems facing the country right now, we recognize that may not be able to accomplish all that he once promised.
But like all presidents, he must choose his battles. They must learn when to be flexible and when to hold the company on principles. Its success will depend on how he made these rulings, recognizing the political, but adhering to values.
Los Angeles Times - CA, USA
Elin Suleymanov: "California Is Not Armenia..." 01 April 2009 - Today.Az
Our work in line with the tasks set by the leadership is primarily aimed to assist to strengthening of partner relations between Azerbaijan and the United States, said Azerbaijani consul general in Los Angeles Elin Suleymanov, speaking about the work of the consulate.
He said the negative reaction of some Armenian mass medias on the activity of Azerbaijani diplomats in the United States is surprising.
Certainly, there are many Armenians residing in California, the influence of the Armenian lobby is felt here but California is not Armenia and the US interest in our region are not limited with narrow ethic views of some representatives of Armenian diaspora. Therefore, our activity in the framework of bilateral US-Azerbaijani relations should not be perceived so painfully", noted Suleymanov.
"The US-Azerbaijani partnership includes a wide range of issues including cooperation in spheres of transport of energy sources of the Caspian Sea and international security, creating conditions for intensification of the dialogue of civilizations and fight with different demonstrations of extremism. The United States support Azerbaijan's efforts in the sphere of regional integration and pragmatic policy of the country leadership for strengthening stability and peace in our region.
In this background, the ethnocentric and sometimes even racist statements of some radical representatives of Armenian side unfortunately stress the tendencies that continue damaging the future of Armenia", noted the consul.
As for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict and the real changes in the attitude to the conflict in the United States, the consul said:
"I think Washington always understood the importance of the resolution of the conflict for the future of our region, including for the strategic interests of the United States. Practice shows that unsettled conflicts pose a serious threat to regional stability. Therefore, I think the intention to help the resolution is quite sincere, though its too early to judge about the way it will influence the real actions of the co-chairing states".
Speaking about the work with Azerbaijani diaspora organizations, in particular from Los Angeles, he said the work with compatriots is the integral part of the activity of the general consulate in Los Angeles.
"We are glad to observe the recent intensification of the organizations, representing Azerbaijani diaspora in the United States. Moreover, the activeness of Azerbaijani diaspora becomes more effective and large scale.
I do not consider that we should regard the activity of our diaspora only as confrontation or competitive to Armenian. Interests of US Azerbaijanis are comprehensive in science, culture, regional policy and other issues. For example, the US-Azerbaijani council is actively cooperating with Jewish organizations on interreligious dialogue, while the history of Turkic people was in the center of attention of the scientific conference held by this organization in December of 2008", noted Suleymanov.
He said in conclusion that Azerbaijani diaspora also reached significant success in the sphere of organization of academic arrangements.
"As for the Armenian diaspora, it continues to be one of the organized and numerous ethnic-political groups in the United States, that have influence on politicians on the spots and on the federal level", said Suleymanov. /Day.Az/
Letter Of A Group Of Retired Turkish Ambassadors To The Speaker Of The House Of Representatives Of The United States Of America , Mrs.Nancy Pelosy AVIM
Once again, extremist factions within the American-Armenian communities have launched their yearly campaigns asking the US Congress the adoption of a resolution recognizing their claims of “Armenian Genocide”.
We, a Group of Retired Turkish Ambassadors, whose friends and colleagues have been brutally murdered by Armenian terrorists, categorically object to such political initiatives based on false and untenable premises.
The arguments set forth in the draft resolution are inaccurate, unfounded and are no more than tendentious assertions. If adopted, it will constitute a monumental symbol of one-sidedness, and an affront to the dignity of the Turkish people whose ancestors are accused of a detestable crime they had not committed. The silence of the draft Resolution on the losses and sufferings of the Turkish people during the same period is another regrettable aspect.
The “FINDINGS” in Section 2 of the draft resolution calls for a detailed rebuttal which we are ready to provide in an appropriate setting in the Congress. Here we shall draw Your attention to a few points of overriding importance:
• The “post-World War I Turkish Government” was not a government legimately representing its people, but merely a remnant of the Ottoman Government under the captivity of British troops. It had no authority beyond the city of Istanbul under occupation. The so-called “court martials” formed in /1919 by that government were no more than the tools of the occupation forces. Their judges, who had even refused to hear the witnesses of the defendants, were appointed by the political opponents of the “Young Turks”. Even the British lawyers considered these courts to be a “farce” and an offence to the credibility of the British and Ottoman Governments.
• According to international law, the crime of genocide cannot be ascertained by parliamentary sub-committees or other political organs, but only by competent and impartial courts.
• Documents in the US archives (derived mainly from missionaries who had relied on Armenian sources) have been dismissed by the British Attorney General in 1920 as “personal impressions and opinions” unsuitable for use in legal proceedings. At the time the British had the possibility of obtaining any document they wanted in Turkey.
• US Ambassador Morgenhtau never visited Eastern Anatolia. When writing his “story”, he relied on the words of his two Armenian assistant-interpreters. His efforts to convince the United States to declare war against the Ottoman State was well known, as were his personal political ambitions. Most of the subsequent American ambassadors, including Admiral Bristol, as well as the American Observer Mission have contradicted his allegations. The reports of Captain Emory Niles and Mr. Arthur Sutherlands on the atrocities carried out by Armenian gangs and volunteers attached to occupation forces can be found in the American archives albeit in a mutilated form (U.S. 867.00/1005).
• The three Ministers mentioned by name were tried in absentia not for the “massacre” of the Armenians, but for having dragged the State into World War I on the side of Germany. Two of them were subsequently assasinated by Armenian terrorists, as were 31 innocent Turkish diplomats who had not yet been born at the time of these events. All members of the Ottoman Parliament and high level officials detained by the British Government and deported to the Island of Malta were later released for “lack of evidence” of war crimes.
• It has been clearly established that the presumed words of Hitler were the invention of a journalist, and were not recorded in any archive.
• Personal merits or stance of Mr.Lemkin cannot change the internationally recognized legal principle that only a competent court can rule whether or not the crime of genocide has been committed.
• Neither the United Nations, nor the Genocide Convention have ever recognized or made mention of “an Armenian Genocide”, as suggested in the draft resolution. The special UN Working Group refused to endorse the “Whitaker Report” containing this allegation on the gounds that it was not the Group’s task to pass judgement on history.
• Statements such as the “first genocide of the 20th Century” are thoughtless assertions against the Turkish nation, are morally unjust and ethically wrong, given the facts of history. In the Balkans alone, the 19th and 20th centuries witnessed the death of millions of Turks and Muslims subjected to ethnic cleansing, as a result of massacres, diseases and hunger. Only a part of them succeeded to reach Turkey in a pitiful state. No missionary or relief organization helped them; their sufferings were scatcely reported in the West, they remained as the forgotten sons and daughters of history.
The collusion and cooperation of the elements of the Armenian population with the invading Russian, French and British forces, and the destruction and massacres they have committed against civilian populations is a fact attested to not only by official Ottoman records, but also by several American, British and Russian sources. Secretary of State R.Lansing is unequivocal when he reports to President Wilson: “The betrayal of the Armenians against the State is the cause of their relocation”. Official records set forth that an Armenian Delegation wanted to participate in the Peace Conference as “the representatives of the Armenians who were de facto participants in the war on the Allied side against the Ottoman State”. The memorandum they submitted on Febuary 28, 1919 to the Conference confirms their “betrayal”, alongside the extreme territorial claims they had advanced. . As Secretary Lansing has admitted, the relocation of the Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia was prompted by real security concerns.
It is acknowledged, however, that under the conditions of war, the relocation process could not be managed as it should have been. During the relocation, unwarranted deaths and suffering was witnessed mainly due to disease, bandits and tribal attacks (in particular of those who had found refuge in Anatolia after their expulsion from their homelands by Armenians); but the same tragic destiny was shared also by Turks and other Muslim populations. More than 2.5 million of them perished in the same war; according to some estimates 518,000 Turks and some Jews were killed by Armenian para-military troops and gangs. It was these very organizations that had spearheaded the uprisings, fought against the Ottoman armies, massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. and destroyed entire settlements and communities. Their objective was to prepare ethnically clean territories for a future Armenian state in areas where they never held a majority There is extensive documentation that these groups were armed and organized by Tsarist Russia and France, and received financial help from missionary organizations.
It is a common knowledge that relocation of populations during wars and national emergencies is not a measure that has been resorted to solely by the Ottoman State. The exchange of Greek and Turkish populations (as seen fit, inter alia, by Winston Churchill) was agreed to at the Lausanne Peace Conference. During the Second World War, as a precautionary measure, the United States had interned 300,000 of its own citizens of Japanese origin for several years under dire conditions for fear of their collaboration with an enemy thousand of kilometers away in another corner of the globe. US Courts later recognized this measure as legitimate. At the end of this war, six million German inhabitants of Central Europe were deported to Germany by a decision taken at the Potsdam and Yalta conferences. The insufficient organization, logistics and in particular poor protection provided by the victorious Allied armies were the main causes of the death of at least 1,000,000 Germans. If the Ottoman armies fighting on five fronts could not provide sufficient protection to relocated groups, or could not prevent losses caused by natural causes and diseases, this was not due to an intent to destroy these groups but resulted from the insufficiency of their means and resources under war conditions.
In fact, immediately after the War, Allied Governments were unable to put forth a single genuine document proving the Ottoman Government’s intent to annihilate their Armenian subjects. However, there is abundant documentation to the contrary. The Ottoman Ministry of Interior had given strict instructions for the protection of these people, monitored their progress, warned or punished those officials who had failed their duties and diverted considerable sums for logistics from the war budget. We are not aware of another example of a government that permitted its subjects to receive foreign humanitarian assistance while acting at the same time with the intent of killing them. By permitting the continuation of the activities of the American missionaries and the distribution of relief material to relocated Armenians without hindrance, both the Ottoman and Nationalist governments had showed that they did not harbor such intent. Besides clearly attesting to this fact, report No.192 of the “Near East Relief” approved by the joint session of the Senate –House of Representatives on 22 May 1922, provides invaluable information regarding the numbers of those assisted (obviously alive) and the emigration movements, thus confuting the exaggerated numbers presented as corresponding to the victims of the relocation.
How could this be designated as genocide if the State took all measures possible under the conditions of war to ensure the protection of the relocated population?
The malicious exaggeration that 1,500,000 Armenians died has no factual basis. . According to Ottoman census figures, the total Armenian population at that time in Turkey was 1,294,000. It is estimated that about 900,000 of them living in Eastern Anatolia were to be subjected to relocation; meaning their transfer and resettlement within the territory of the same state. Ottoman documents also show that 220,000 of the relocated subjects later returned to their homes. Even if credit is given to American documents only, the report of the American Consul in Aleppo informing his government of the safe arrival and resettlement of 500,000 Armenians in his consular area appears to challenge these exaggerated figures, which presume a death toll higher than the total Armenian population of Anatolia. The registers of several Western Governments recorded large numbers of Armenian immigrants and refugees. Russian records and the Report No.192 of the “Near East Relief” show that no less than 350,000 Armenians followed the retreating Russian forces or preferred to emigrate instead of returning to their homes at the end of the War. The 132.000 children mentioned in the draft resolution as being adopted by American families should be added to these figures. A simple calculation made by demographers is sufficient to prove the unrealistic exaggeration of these figures: If the present global Armenian population is accepted as the descendants of the such a limited number of Armenians to have survived the relocation, this would mean a population explosion unheard in the history of mankind. By the same rate of growth, the present day population of Turkey would have reached three hundred million, almost equal to the population of the United States, instead of the present 72 million.
Prominent scholars (Turkish, American or others), refute these exaggerations as the remnants of war propaganda (as later acknowledged by British historian Arnold Toynbee) or as the products of ethnic and religious bias. The same bias also explains the lack of any reference to Turkish-Muslim deaths.
Of course, the number of casualties is important. However, in order to qualify such unfortunate events as “genocide”, it is not the numbers, but irrefutable proof about the existence of the intent to destroy a people as such that needs to be established. At the end of the same war, Allied governments who were in possession of all official records and archives could not produce any credible document or evidence proving this element of intent. They consequently released all the ministers and parliamentarians who were detained or interned in Malta for prosecution of war crimes.
As the Republican generations of our nation, we may not relish delving into the sad pages of our history. However, this does not mean that we are not prepared to face the truth. We acknowledge also the human suffering in the histories of other nations including those of the colonial period . We object, however, to the misuse of these events for revanchisme and narrow political or other interests. In our country, speaking for or against a version of the events of 1915 is not prohibited by law in contrast to the practices of some other countries. The Turkish Government has formally proposed the formation of a commission composed of Turkish and Armenian scholars and the opening for their examination of all state archives, including the archives of the Armenian organizations that had spearheaded the uprisings. The refusal so far to accept joint and impartial research is the irrefutable evidence of the lack of good-will behind the genocide accusations. We have therefore to conclude that not us, but those who refuse objective research, are afraid of facing the truths of their own history. We will wait patiently for a positive answer, because it is only through dialogue that reconciliation can ever be attained between the Turkish and Armenian nations.
We hope that the Honorable members of the Congress will recognize the risks of the formalization by legislative fiat of such contested allegations by political decisions, parliamentary or otherwise. To attempt to codify history in a political context is bound to have serious implications well beyond the subject matter of that Resolution. “Genocide” is a legal concept defined in the 1948 UN Convention and only a due and impartial legal process by a competent court can certify its existence and issue an indictment to this effect. We would expect that the Congress of the United States, itself an edifice of law, to refrain from acting as a self-appointed tribunal.
We believe that the final objective of any survey of the events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries should be to promote peace and mutual understanding between the Turks and Armenians. These two peoples lived together for almost ten centuries in friendship and cordiality. We should therefore ask : What other interests are served besides the self-serving interests of the “Armenian Genocide” industry, were the Congress to adopt such a resolution? Will it help the on-going delicate process of normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia or the resolution of the the issue in contention? Will it serve the interests of Armenia, or of the United States? And finally, what impact it would have on Turkish-American relations which are no less important today than they were in the past?
Some in the Republic of Armenia or elsewhere may consider such allegations as politically useful, even a convenient cover for the occupation of a fifth of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the expulsion of more than one million people from their homes. Even recent history shows that such illusions can only serve to fuel feelings of injustice and pave the way to enmities and new conflicts. Victimized and offended peoples would legitimately consider any cooperation with the aggressors and offenders as immoral. The feelings of the Turkish people, which consider Azerbaijan as a sister nation, cannot be much different.
Turkey was among the first to recognize (for the second time in modern history) the independence of Armenia, lending a helping hand for the development of relations based on legally binding bilateral and multilateral treaties. The responsibility of the present unsatisfactory state of relations falls upon the extremists supported by Diaspora organizations which do not seem to care about the harmful consequences of an indefinite postponement of the normalisation of relations between Turkey and Armenia. These elements prevent the Armenian State from following the path of reason, moderation and reconciliation.. No reasonable observer can overlook the benefits which a land-locked Armenia with scarce natural resources, reduced to the position of a forward military base of the Russian Federation stands to gain from regional cooperation in the Caucasus. The harm done to the true interests of the Armenian people struggling with poverty is obvious.
The Honorable members of Congress should therefore take into consideration that the adoption of this resolution will undoubtedly pose new barriers to the Turkish and Armenian governments in their search for common understanding and solutions concerning these issues.
The adoption of this draft resolution will inevitably create serious complications affecting Turkish-American relations as well. How one can imagine that the Turkish people could overlook the injustice done by the highest political authority of its long-time ally if the Congress fails to take the slightest trouble to consider arguments other than those raised by ethnic Armenian activists? For some governments and political bodies to act under the impulse of local political interests may be attractive; however, we believe such motives should not overshadow their even more important responsibility in regards to international moral, legal, strategic and political implications of their actions. With regard to extreme Armenian claims, the Turkish people will assess the actions and policies of our friends and foes on the basis of what stand they take on our views and arguments.. Provoking sentiments of injustice and discrimination can only benefit the radical ideologies
It is unthinkable that the Turkish people tolerate and forget about the injustice done, if the US Congress adopts this draft Resolution. That is bound to have a serious debilitating effect on Turkish-American relations which can reach the desirable level only with the support of their peoples. The many possibilities of cooperation between Turkey and the USA in the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans, in Afghanistan and Iraq, in the field of energy, in the joint struggle against terrorism and other transnational challenges are likely to suffer as a result. The goodwill already generated by the planned visit of President Barrack Obama to Turkey may be lost.
We certainly would not relish the happening of such negative developments in the relations of the two allies who had fought against common foes side by side in the distant corners of the globe. What we are asking now from the Honorable members of the US Congress is to be fair and refuse to adopt this draft resolution based on the distortion of the history. It is only through justice, fairness and truth that Turkish-American friendship and cooperation can endure and the real interests of the Armenian nation can be served.
Anca "Fierce Urgency Of Now" Campaign Spotlights Obama Pledge To Stop Darfur Genocide; Recognize Armenian Genocide
WASHINGTON, DC - On the eve of the April 1st arrival of Genocide Prevention Month, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today launched a nationwide online and print campaign urging concrete action to end the Darfur genocide and full U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Echoing Martin Luther King's famous remarks at the Lincoln Memorial in August, 1963, the "Fierce Urgency of NOW" campaign urges anti-genocide activists across the U.S. to visit www.anca.org/change to learn more about the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur and how this atrocity fits into the cycle of genocide that started with the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. The website provide simple ways for citizens to call on President Obama to show "unstinting resolve" in the effort to stop the Darfur Genocide, by participating in Save Darfur "add your voice" effort (www.addyourvoice.org). Activists can also call on the Obama Administration and Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide, putting to an end to U.S. complicity in Turkey's international campaign of genocide denial.
On Monday, March 30, 2009, full page ads were placed in The Politico and Roll Call newspapers, primarily targeting Administration and Congressional decision makers in Washington, DC, with a powerful graphic bringing together child survivors of the Armenian Genocide and Darfur Genocide into a stark visualization of the ongoing cycle of genocide. The photos are juxtaposed with President Obama's January, 2008, campaign pledge to the American people stating:
"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."
To read the complete "Obama file" on Armenian Genocide recognition, visit: http://www.anca.org/change/docs/Obama_Armenian_Genocide.pdf
Companion internet ads will be running on the key political news websites www.politico.com, www.thehill.com, and www.rollcall.com -which will coincide with President Obama's upcoming two-day trip to Turkey on April 6th and 7th.
This past weekend, over 100,000 postcards were distributed to communities and campuses across the U.S. urging activists to visit http://www.anca.org/change and take action. These will be accompanied by a nationwide mailing program to activate the growing anti-genocide constituency across the United States.
The ANCA's campaign coincides with efforts to have the White House designate April as Genocide Prevention month, an initiative spearheaded by the Genocide Prevention Project (http://www.preventORprotect.org). With successive genocides -from the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust to the genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda - commemorated in the month of April, GPP has worked with a nationwide coalition of organizations, including Save Darfur, the Genocide Intervention Network, Enough Project and many others, in spotlighting a month-long campaign of activities commemorating past genocides and urging action to stop the killing in Darfur. Anti-Genocide activities are listed on a special website - www.genocidepreventionmonth.org .
The official kick-off for Genocide Prevention Month will take place on Tuesday, March 31st, at 7:00pm at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I Street NW, in Washington, DC. After a 20-minute preview of the documentary, "The Last Survivor", former CNN anchor Andrea Koppel will moderate a discussion among a group of survivors, anti-genocide advocates, policy experts, and the filmmakers.
Among Genocide Prevention Month activities is the "End the Cycle of Genocide" Advocacy Days, organized by the ANCA and Genocide Intervention Network - bringing activists to Capitol Hill from April 22nd through 24th to urge recognition of the Armenian Genocide and concrete action on the Darfur Genocide. The effort coincides with the April 24th worldwide commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. To participate in ANCA / GI-Net Advocacy Days, register at www.anca.org/stopgenocide.
Individuals can help expand the "Fierce Urgency of NOW" campaign by asking friends, family and coworkers to visit www.anca.org/change and take action. The effort can be publicized through a number of online sharing tools reaching the vast array of social networking sites including Facebook and LinkedIn, among others. To promote the campaign on college campuses or local communities
Azerbaijan Gains Little from Hiring Expensive U.S. Lobbying Firms By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
The Government of Azerbaijan, using its considerable oil income, has been waging a propaganda campaign to win over U.S. politicians and denigrate Armenia and Artsakh (Karabagh).
To accomplish these twin objectives, Azerbaijan has spent millions of dollars over the past 3 years to hire several major lobbying firms, such as: The Livingston Group; JWI; Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates; and Melwood Communications. In addition, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles hired Sitrick & Company over a year ago and later replaced it with The ToolShed Group, founded by Jason Katz, former Director of Public Affairs for the American Jewish Committee.
While Azerbaijan's Embassy, with the support of its lobbying groups, has been targeting top U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., its Consulate in Los Angeles has been more interested in countering the political influence of California's large Armenian community. Fortunately, neither the Embassy northe Consulate has had much success.
Recently, the Embassy of Azerbaijan tried to get members of Congress to go on record condemning Armenia for the alleged killings of hundreds of Azeris in 1992 during the Artsakh war. Despite concerted efforts by its high-powered lobbying firms, Azerbaijan succeeded in convincing just 1 out of 535 members of the House and Senate to do so. Cong. Ed Whitfield (Republican-Kentucky), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey, was the only member of Congress who made remarks about this highly controversial incident.
Azerbaijan was even less successful in California, despite its heavy investment of time, money, and manpower. Back in 2005, Pres. Ilham Aliyev appointed Elin Suleymanov, a graduate of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, as Azerbaijan's first Consul General to Los Angeles.Suleymanov told the Azeri Press Agency that one of his key assignments is to counteract the political cloutof California's Armenian community. He promptly wrote a letter to the owners of a theater in Los Angeles, requesting the cancellation of an Artsakh-related event organized by a local Armenian group. The diplomat's complaint was summarily dismissed and the event took place as scheduled.
Consul General Sueleymanov's failure cannot be attributed to his lack of enthusiasm and energy. He has actively tried to promote Azerbaijan's interests, while missing no opportunity to belittle Armenia and Artsakh. The lobbying firms hired by his government have arranged for him to tour Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, and Wyoming and parts of California to deliver speeches to university students, greet local politicians, and have guest editorials published under his name in obscure newspapers.
Suleymanov even visited the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana and claimed that there are racial similarities between Azerbaijanis and Native Americans. A student at the University of Montana quoted Suleymanov as stating that Native Americans actually originated from the region of Azerbaijan and thatis why the Consul General "felt a certain kinship for tribal people of the U.S., like brothers or cousins."
A major accomplishment of Azerbaijan's lobbying firms was arranging the visit of four California legislators to Baku in September 2007. Reciprocally, several members of Azerbaijan's Parliament and a Minister have visited California more than once in the past three years.
Nevertheless, despite Azerbaijan's intensive lobbying of California legislators, only 1 out of 120 members of the State Assembly and Senate agreed to send a letter to President Aliyev in February 2009, expressing sympathy for "the victims of Khojali." This letter, signed by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, was copied from a draft provided by lobbyist Jason Katz. It was noteworthy thatKatz had raised the possibility of sending friendly legislators on junkets to Azerbaijan.
California State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (Democrat-Glendale) worked to prevent other legislators from signing the Azerbaijani letter by alerting his colleagues about the falsehoods contained in it. The lone letter signed by Assemblyman Fuentes was hailed by Consul General Suleymanov as a major victory for Azerbaijan. The Azeri media disseminated that letter worldwide, misrepresenting it as a condemnation of an alleged "genocide" committed by Armenians!
The government of Azerbaijan and its representatives in the United States do not seem to realize that it is not in their best interest to denigrate and provoke the influential Armenian community in California. It was no mere accident that Suleymanov's recent appearance at California State University at Northridge was greeted with a student protest.
Should Azerbaijan's Consul General and his hired guns continue to disseminate falsehoods about Armenia and Artsakh in the Western United States, Armenian-Americans could neutralize their propaganda by establishing a public affairs office for Artsakh in Los Angeles, as a branch of the one now operating in Washington, D.C.
Like A Sly Fox, Turkey Was Trapped With Two Legs At Once Karine Ter-Sahakyan, PanARMENIAN.Net, 28.03.2009
The events of 1915 were a good rehearsal for the Holocaust, and Israel, that persistently denies the Armenian Genocide, has to remember it always.
Much has changed in the world since the beginning of 2009, and for these changes we, above all, owe the new US President Barack Obama. Still his first decision as a president to close the jail at Guantanamo made it clear to everyone that now Washington has someone who keeps his word. And all the following steps of the President have proved it - from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq to reconsideration of the war strategy in Afghanistan.
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ However, it is also essential to mention that in foreign policy of the United States the statements are still only declarative. Â"FriendshipÂ" with Iran and Â"restartÂ" of relations with Russia - these are enough to trust the seriousness of intentions of the White House. Obviously not accidentally did Barack Obama put forward the candidacy of Philip Gordon for the position of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. During the hearings of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Robert Menendez asked a range of questions to Senior Fellow for the US Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution Dr. Philip Gordon, who in an article published in November 2007 noted the important role of Turkey for the US and called in question the necessity to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Menendez particularly expressed concern over the fact that a foreign country is trying to impose a veto over domestic policies of the United States and those of the US Congress. "I have a real concern that those who would be in a position of authority would actually seek to fashion that... You suggested the need for balance and I absolutely agree. I agree that the United States and Congress and citizens, including in Turkey, need to recognize that a terrible tragedy took place, that more than a million and a half people were driven from their homes and massacred. People need to recognize that and honor the victims of that tragedy. And that sort of balance is necessary, as I say, not only here but in Turkey," stated Gordon. Possibly, Armenians can be reproached with increased attention to the goings-on in the US-Turkey relations, but it shouldn't be forgotten that for many years the United States has encouraged Turkey's policy of denying the Armenian Genocide. No doubt, Turkey plays a great role in the Near East, she is a NATO member and an alleged strategic ally, without which Â"neither withdrawal of American troops from Iraq nor struggle against the Kurdish terrorists is possibleÂ". At first glance it is true. But Washington ought to remember how many times Turkey has turned down this or that project of the United States, referring to Â"the Armenian lobby that has been forcing a wedge between the United States and Turkey, between Turkey and ArmeniaÂ".
In a wider sense, nothing already depends on what Barack Obama will say on April 24. Like a sly fox, Turkey has been trapped with two legs at once. Ankara kept repeating that in 1915 there was only a deportation and not genocide, but as a result she proved that for martyring 1.5 million Armenians responsibility is borne not only by Turkey but also by Imperial Germany which so unsuccessfully drew the Ottoman Empire into the World War I. Let us once again quote Ambassador Morgenthau: "...For centuries the Turks have ill-treated their Armenians and all their other subject peoples with inconceivable barbarity. Yet their methods have always been crude, clumsy, and unscientific. They excelled in beating out an Armenian's brains with a club, and this unpleasant illustration is a perfect indication of the rough and primitive methods which they applied to the Armenian problem. They have understood the uses of murder, but not of murder as a fine art. But the Armenian proceedings of 1915 and 1916 evidenced an entirely new mentality. This new conception was that of deportation. The Turks, in five hundred years, had invented innumerable ways of physically torturing their Christian subjects, yet never before had it occurred to their minds to move them bodily from their homes, where they had lived for many thousands of years, and send them hundreds of miles away into the desert. Where did the Turks get this idea? Admiral Usedom, one of the big German naval experts in Turkey, told me that the Germans had suggested this deportation to the Turks. But the all-important point is that this idea of deporting peoples en masse is, in modern times, exclusively Germanic. Any one who reads the literature of Pan-Germany constantly meets it..."
There are many archive documents, which confirm the participation of Germany in the destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. It is understandable that the Armenians, as always, were of interest to the Great Powers, but it is necessary to note that in 1915 the USA behaved more properly than Germany. "...In order to curb Armenian espionage and to prevent new Armenian mass uprisings, Enver Pasha, by putting the state of war (or emergency) forward as a pretext, intends to close a large number of Armenian schools, to suppress Armenian newspapers, to prohibit Armenian postal correspondence and to resettle in Mesopotamia all those families from the recently insurgent Armenian centres who are considered to be not quite unobjectionable. He urgently requests us not to hinder him in doing so... Of course, the Turkish measures will again cause great excitement in the whole of the enemy world and will be used against us. Also the measures will certainly mean great hardship for the Armenian population. But I am of the opinion that we should moderate the measures in their form, but not basically hinder them. Wangenheim, German Ambassador to Istanbul, 31 May 1915".
There are many written materials about participation of Imperial Germany in the massacre and deportation of the Armenians. Particularly, there was published a collection of documents in 1995, called "The Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. Materials of Imperial Germany MFA Political Archive." The events of 1915 were a good rehearsal for the Holocaust, and Israel, that persistently denies the Armenian Genocide, has to remember it always.
As for the German Bundestag Resolution "Commemoration Day of Armenians on occasion of the 90th anniversary of the massacre of 24 April 1915 -Germany should contribute to reconciliation of Turks and Armenians" adopted on 15 June 2005, it says: "Over 1 million Armenians were killed in the deportations and mass murders. Numerous independent historians, parliaments, and international organizations have described the expulsion and the extermination of the Armenians as genocide." Turkey yet has no courage for such recognition. but Germany admitted her guilt for the Holocaust, i.e. for the death of 6 million Jews...
Sedat Laciner: Ankara Won't Open Border With Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net 30.03.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey's International Strategic Research Organization says though Armenian issue will be discussed during U.S. President's visit to Turkey, Ankara will not compromise and open borders with Armenia.
"U.S. and Turkey will discuss Armenian issue. But it is politically incorrect to think that Ankara will compromise Yerevan and open borders under Obama's pressure," Turkey-based International Strategic Research Organization director Sedat Lachiner told Trend News in a telephone conversation from Ankara.
Turkey's SABAH newspaper quoted the anonymous EU official as saying that he hopes the Turkey-Armenia border will be opened following U.S. President Barrack Obama's visit to Turkey in April.
Obama will trip to Turkey on April 5-7.
Lachiner said Turkey was put on more pressure regarding Iraqi issue during former U.S. President George Bush's office. However, Turkey did not allow U.S. troops to use its territory.
"Turkey will never act in detriment of Azerbaijan's interests. Azerbaijan is aware of all talks between Turkey and Armenia," Lachiner said.
He said media is exaggerating reports on opening of the Turkey-Armenia border.
The border can be opened after Armenia withdraws from "occupied Azerbaijani lands". "Turkey will not harm its interests under the pressure of any state," he said.
Did The Armenian Genocide Have Its Own Primo Levi?, By Adam Kirsch, Nextbook.Org March 30 2009
A week before Germany's invasion of Poland, Hitler reportedly urged his generals to slaughter civilians--Slavs and Jews, the two most hated groups in Nazi ideology--without mercy. "After all," he flippantly asked, "who remembers the Armenians?" In fact, the attempted genocide of the Armenians by the Turks during the First World War was very well documented, at the time and ever since. Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the massacres, wrote at length in his memoirs about this attempt to wipe an entire population off the face of the earth. The word genocide had not yet been coined, but that is clearly what happened in Armenia between 1915 and 1918; in fact, Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish activist who coined the term, had the Armenian example in mind.
Yet it is true that the Armenian genocide has not entered into America's common cultural memory in the same way as the Nazi Holocaust. In part that is because it took place in the Ottoman Empire, from which few Americans come, rather than in Europe, where many Americans have their roots; in part it is because the U.S. never fought the Ottomans in World War I, as it did the Germans in World War II; in part it is because of the greater prominence of Jews than Armenians in American life. And sadly, it is also due to the continuing refusal of the Turkish government to acknowledge the crimes of its predecessor state, thus creating an illusion of controversy about a history that no historians doubt. (When the Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk spoke publicly about the Armenian genocide, he was charged with the crime of "insulting Turkishness" and forced to flee abroad.)
In 2007, the Anti-Defamation League was rightly embroiled in scandal when it supported the Turkish government's plea to the U.S. Congress not to officially recognize the Armenian genocide. (After much controversy, the director of the ADL, Abraham Foxman, tempered his stance.) For, as many writers urged at the time, it is surely incumbent upon Jews, above all, to remember the Armenians, whose oblivion Hitler counted on.
That is why the publication of Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918 is especially noteworthy for Jewish readers. In this eyewitness account of the genocide, written in 1918 and now translated into English for the first time, Grigoris Balakian offers an Armenian equivalent to the testimonies of Holocaust survivors like Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel. Balakian, a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was deported from Constantinople in April 1915, along with a large group of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders. For the next three years, until Turkey's defeat and surrender in September 1918, Balakian lived constantly under the shadow of death. Exiled, sent on forced marches, threatened by bandits and government officials, starved and sick, he managed to survive only by a combination of luck, daring, the corruption and inefficiency of Turkish officials, and the support of righteous non-Armenians who hid and fed him.
As Balakian, along with his fellow deportees, was sent from place to place, he witnessed and heard about the unbelievable horrors inflicted on the Armenians of Turkey. The Ottoman state was far less powerful and organized than the Nazis' would be; it did not have the resources to build gas chambers, or even the railways to bring people to them. The mechanics of mass murder, then, were primitive and face-to-face. Armenian deportees were attacked by mobs and groups of bandits armed with axes and farm tools, much as in the Hutu massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda. Balakian records many scenes of Armenians being tortured, mutilated, and decapitated, of babies torn apart by soldiers, of women raped dozens of times until they died; he shows us fields of decomposing corpses and hills of bones and skulls. Most of those who survived these organized attacks succumbed to starvation and illness. In total, an estimated 1.2 million Armenians died.
The enmity between Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks was of long standing, dating back to the Middle Ages, when Turkish invaders had conquered the ancient kingdom of Armenia in Asia Minor. By the 20th century, most of the other Christian subject populations of the Ottoman Empire--in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and Serbia--had broken free of the sultan's rule. The Armenians, however, lived in the heartland of Turkey, and were deeply integrated into the region's economy. Rather like the Jews of Poland, they served as merchants and craftsmen to the mainly rural Muslim population; also like the Jews, they attracted envy and hatred. In one terribly ironic passage, Balakian notes that "German officers [stationed in Turkey] would often speak of us as Christian Jews and blood-sucking usurers of the Turkish people."
One signal difference between the Jewish and the Armenian cases, however, is that the Armenians had a comparatively recent history of sovereignty, and strong hopes for regaining an independent Armenian state. Many Armenians lived across the border in Russia, the Christian power that was historically the greatest foe of the Ottoman Empire. When the First World War broke out, the Russian Armenians and some Turkish Armenian rebels took up arms against Turkey. This offered the pretext for the Ottoman government to undertake a "final solution" to the Armenian problem, by annihilating the entire population, men, women, and children. (And it was a pretext: as Balakian notes, the vast majority of Turkish Armenians were totally uninvolved in the war.)
Balakian writes that he was already worried about the intentions of the Turks before the war started, and tried to alert his superiors in the Church. But "no one gave any credence to the possibility of such a huge political plan, because in human history from prehistoric times, there had never been a forced displacement of an entire nationality. But as we will unfortunately see, that which had seemed impossible to everyone at that time, and even became a subject of derision, became possible during the world war, as did a litany of other tragic and criminal events." Like Hitler during the Second World War, the Turkish government used the First World War to cover and justify a scale of killing that was unimaginable in ordinary times.
Readers familiar with the literature of the Holocaust will read Armenian Golgotha with a combination of recognition and estrangement. Many of the events Balakian writes about could be taking place in Poland or the Ukraine 20 years later. Again and again, we hear about how Turkish policemen would tell the residents of a village to assemble for a long journey, herd people into carriages, then drive them to a remote spot, where they would be murdered and their possessions divided up among the murderers. Armenians were told that they were simply being relocated to the Syrian desert province of Der Zor, just as Jews were told that they were being resettled in the East; the name of Der Zor takes on, in Balakian's account, the same aura of nightmare and death that "the East" did for Jewish victims. Balakian even wonders, as have some Jewish observers of the Holocaust, why more of the victims did not fight back. "They had the psychology of a herd of dumb sheep, going to their death without complaint," he complains about one group of deportees who failed to seize the chance to flee.
Yet as the title of Armenian Golgotha suggests, Balakian's story has a unique religious and political context. Victims of the Holocaust were often brought to question the existence of God, and even the possibility of meaning and order in the universe. Primo Levi famously wrote about Auschwitz as a place where "there is no why." But Balakian viewed even the worst trials of his people as a prelude to the rebirth of an independent Armenia--a crucifixion that would be followed by resurrection. In one astonishing passage, he remembers how he and some fellow Armenians, meeting secretly during the war, "got so excited that we started to draw the borders of tomorrow's liberated Armenia on a map. . . and calculate the number of surviving Armenians." This national faith went hand in hand with Balakian's unbroken Christian faith: "But no matter, for hadn't Christ suffered? Hadn't he been tortured? Wasn't he betrayed because he preached justice in this world, while perhaps justice could only be celestial and eternal, not worldly?"
Moments like these make clear that even genocide did not destroy Balakian's faith or his belief in his nation's future. He was, after all, a senior clergyman in the Armenian Church, and throughout his wanderings, he was treated by other Armenians as a leader. He writes movingly of the burdens of that role--having to remain rational and inspirational when he, too, was hungry and afraid. Yet without his sense of vocation, Balakian would doubtless never have survived to write this terrible, necessary book. "Like many who were going to die," he recalls about one man he encountered, "the late Hamamjian often asked me to chronicle this tragic story of the Armenian Golgotha. And with this account, I think I have executed the will of those who are no more."
Adam Kirsch is the author of Benjamin Disraeli, a new biography in Nextbook's Jewish Encounters series.
Forgetting The Armenians, 2009 Edition Alex Massie, Spectator.co.uk March 30 2009
At the New Republic Mike Crowley picks up where this post left off and lays-out the familiar arguments on US recognition of the Armenian genocide. It's tough for the Armenians: all they have on their side is principle (and Obama's campaign promises) while, as Crowley points out, the Turks have realpolitik and a well-oiled lobbying machine (that currently employs the combined efforts of Dick Gephardt and Denny Hastert) that takes opposing any formal, President-endorsed recognition of the genocide very seriously indeed. As Mike reports:
Obama can be forgiven for dodging the explosive subject of genocide while he is a guest in Ankara next week. But, when the Armenians' annual day of genocide remembrance comes on April 24, the White House will be expected to release a statement. In the past, these proclamations have been exercises in strained euphemism. Last year, for instance, George W. Bush lamented "mass killings and forced exile" and "epic human tragedy"--but did not use the term "genocide." The Armenian-Americans who supported Obama in November (John McCain never endorsed genocide recognition) expect him to use the occasion to say the magic word.
But sources on Capitol Hill and those familiar with Ankara's thinking both predict Obama will punt on the issue. "I fully expect him to fold," laments one human rights activist who wishes otherwise. "I would be shocked if he didn't." But the real shock should be in seeing Obama break such a clear promise. Reasonable people can differ on whether recognizing the genocide is worth the possible consequences. It is not debatable, however, that Obama made a promise, or that he ran as a man of integrity and principle. To be sure, Obama's high-minded rhetoric has always concealed a deeply rooted pragmatism (think of the convenient difference between troops and "combat troops" in Iraq). But there is a line between pragmatism and hypocrisy, and Obama may be about to cross it.
All true. But hypocrisy can breed opportunity. As Daniel Larison - who has written a lot about this - observes, relations between Turkey and Armenia show signs of improving. Opening the border between the two countries and "normalising" relations between them might do rather more for the average Armenian than a welcome, but still symbolic, declaration from the American Congress and President.
Larison suggests that delaying the resolution (again!) for another year might not be the worst thing in the world. And that seems reasonable. Provided, that is, Washington pressures Ankara to improve its relations with Yerevan. Indeed, suggesting that Washington will certainly recognise the genocide next year if there's no significant progress in moving towards Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. That might at least permit Obama a less than wholly shameful retreat from his campaign positioning on the issue. Of course, the Armenians have heard "wait for next year" many times before. If Obama does choose expediency over principle - and one would be amazed if he does not -then he should also make it clear that this is a one time only offer*.
Of course, this may be far too optimistic.
*Suppose there is this progress you seek? Wouldn't recognition next year be seen as being too risky and too likely to jeopardise that progress? Perhaps. But that's something to be determined at a later date. Meanwhile, the genocide issue would, for once and at last, be being used to advance Armenian (and, in the wider scheme of matters, Turkish) interests rather than being just a political irritant to be dealt with as shabbily and as quietly as possible.
The Real Jew: A Lesson From Turkey, By Arnold S. Leese www.jrbooksonline.com March 1939
The Turkish revolution which dethroned the Sultans was Jewish. The Jews used Freemasonry as a tool. It has been said with considerable truth that the Young Turks were old Jews.
The active agency of Revolution was the Committee of Union and progress.
This was fostered and manned by Freemasonry while Freemasonry was itself in the hands of the Jews. The center of revolt was at Salonika where a majority of the population was actually Jewish.
The Jew Emmanuele Carasso used the Masonic Lodge "Macedonia Resorta" for the secret meetings of the Committee of Union and Progress and when Sultan Abdul Hamid was deposed Carasso was one of the four men who went to Yildiz to tell the Sultan that his reign was at an end. The Committee of Union and Progress firmly seated itself in the saddle of government with Mahommed V as puppet Sultan.
The Minister for the Interior of this regime was Talaat Bey. De Nogales in his Four Years Beneath the Crescent (Charles Scribners Sons, 1926 p.26) reveals Talaat as "the renegade Hebrew (Donme) of Salonika." A "Donme" is a kind of Marrano Jew, a descendant of Jewish refugees in Turkey who pretended to be Muslims. This fact of the Jewishness of Talaat is of great importan ce and little known. The Encyclopedia Britannica 12th edition Vol. XXXI p. 1222, calls him "the sinister figure largely responsible for the downfall of the Ottoman Empire."
In The Cause of World Unrest he is stated to have been responsible, "perhaps, more than anyone else for handing over Turkey to Germany and thus encompassing her ruin." Talaat had been President of the Committee Party. De Nogales in his work above cited says Talaat was "the principal organizer of the massacres (of Armenian Christians) and deportations." Dr. H. Stuermer in Two War Years in Constantinople (Hodder & Stoughton, 1917) says on p. 72 "Enver, and still more Talaat, who as Minister of Interior and really Dictator of Turkey was principally responsible for the Armenian persecutions...."
Until now Talaat seems to have remained unrecognized by the world as a Jew "patriot" who ruined his country and was responsible for the wholesale slaughterer of Christians.
The German Government made use of the services of a criminal Jew called Nelken to gain control over the Young Turks. He called himself Mehmed Zekki Bey and edited several newspapers in Constantinople. These and other Jew run newspapers in the town did all that was possible to poison the Turkish mind against the British.
Talaat's Finance Minister was another Jew, Djavid Bey, who arranged the f inances of revolution in Turkey with Jewish banks abroad. He had a Jew Messim Russo as 'his chef de cabinet.'
When Djavid Bey was finally hanged by Kemal Ataturk, "a number of great financial concerns including the banking houses of the Rothschilds in Vienna and London tried to persuade the English and French Governments and the leading newspapers in both countries to use all their influence to make a personal appeal for Djavid." (Grey Wolf by H. C. Armstrong published by A. Barker, Ltd.) The French Freemason Sarraut actually visited Kemal in Angora and appealed to him as a fellow mason to spare Djavid's life. He was not successful. Kemal Ataturk who had been a Freemason and a revolutionary, seemed to have changed his nature with his name when he ceased to be Mustapha Kemal and closed the Masonic Lodges. His actions were Aryan. His mother is said to have had Donme blood (Lewis Browne's How Odd of God, 1935) but The Times November 1, 1938, said she was an Albanian who "may have transmitted the Nordic type to her boy." She had fair hair and blue eyes. The Donme blood if present, must have been thin.
Kamal's Turkish patriotism was his only decent quality.
Another leading Jew of the Committee of Union and Progress as Refik Bey who in 1939 was Prime Minister of Turkey under the Refik Saydam. During the First World War the Jew=2 0Carasso became a food controller in Constantinople and as a result, many people died of starvation. Meanwhile he amassed a fortune of two million Turkish pounds which was seized from him after the war. He saved some of it by suddenly claiming to be under Italian protection. Another "Turkish patriot!"
In The Cause of the World's Unrest published by Grant Richards, Ltd. in 1920, we learn that even the counter revolutionary forces were controlled and made ineffective by Jews. The Commander being the Jew Renzi Bey. Jews controlled the Revolutionary Press.
Whoever was prominent in the revolution and was not a Jew was a Freemason of "synthetic Jew."
Jews Plotted The Armenian Holocaust! By Brother Nathanael Kapner Real Jew News (SM)
BUSINESS AS USUAL is a powerful motivating force especially when Jews like the Rothschilds are running an oil business. Banking is the forte of the Jewish House of Rothschild. But raw materials-especially oil-are money in the bank.
The Young Turk movement, AKA Committee of Union and Progress, arose out of the Rothschilds' oil interests in the Black Sea area of the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s. 'Creating stability' in an incendiary realm was necessary for the Rothschilds' new oil enterprise Baku Oil.
The instability of the Armenian Christians' financial and intellectual prominence in the area was not "good for business."
Thus hand-picked Jews of Salonika, (Jews made up the majority of the city's population), and foreign agitators such as the Russian Zionist, Vladimir Jabotinksy, the editor of The Young Turk newspaper, were just what the Rothschilds needed for ridding the source of that instability, the Armenian Christians.
Now, the Zionist Young Turks who sought for the break up of the Ottoman Empire in order to obtain Palestine-and the House of Rothschild, who needed a Jewish-controlled Turkey and hegemony over the entire Middle East, could work together. This meant funding for20the Jewish Young Turks and revolutionary subversives for the Rothschilds.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE JEWISH YOUNG TURKS
1680: Sabbatai Zvi, a Turkish Jew, proclaims himself to be the Jewish Messiah in Salonica. After amassing a following of thousands of Jews -he led them on a Zionist exodus to Palestine. On the way he decided to become a Muslim. Many of his followers saw this as God's plan and also became Muslims.
1716: A group called the "Donmeh" forms in Salonica of Sabbatai Zvi's followers headed by Sabbatai Zvi's successor, Baruchya Russo.
By the early 1900's, the Donmeh numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
They were known as "Crypto Jews" because though outwardly appearing to be Muslims, they were still Jews following the customs of the Jewish occult Kabbala which Sabbatai Zvi taught. They continue in their fervent, (yet secret), Zionist vision.
1860: Jewish Hungarian Zionist named Arminius Vambery becomes an advisor to the Sultan Abdul Mecit while secretly working as an agent for Lord Palmerston of the British Foreign Office. Vambery tries to broker a deal between the Zionist leader Theodore Herzl and Sultan Abdul Mecit over the creation of Israel but fails.
1891: Out of the Donmeh a Zionist political group forms called The Committee of Union and Progress, later called The Young Turks. The group is headed by a Freemason Jew b y the name of Emmanuel Carraso who organizes the secret Committee of Union and Progress in Geneva with the help of the Rothschilds.
1895-1896: Sephardic Jews of Salonika together with the Turks massacre Armenian Christians in Istanbul.
1902 & 1907: Two Congresses of The Young Turks meet in Paris to plan, prepare, and effect the penetration the Sultan's army leading to the military coup of 1908.
1908: The Jewish Young Turks revolt and force the Sultan Abdul Hamid II into submission.
1909: The Jewish Young Turks rape, torture, and slaughter over 100,000 Armenians in the city of Adana, also known as Cilicia.
1914: The Jews of The Young Turks create unrest, turmoil, and bolster the paid Serbian assassin, Gavrilo Princip, which leads to World War I.
1915: The Armenian Holocaust engineered by the ruling Jews of The Young Turks, leaves 1.5 million Armenian Christians starved, tortured, and murdered.
1918: Jew Mustafa Kemal 'Attaturk' ascends into leadership.
1920: Russian Jewish Bolsheviks supply Attaturk iwth 10 million gold roubles, 45,000 rifles, and 300 machine guns with ammunition.
1921: Attaturk occupies the Port of Batu in conjunction with the Russian Jewish Bolsheviks ceding it to the Bolsheviks five days later. The Rothschilds are delighted.
1922: Jewish Khemalists orchestrate the burning of Smyrna resulting in the 'ethnic cleansing' of over 100,000 Armenian and Greek Christians left tortured, starved, raped, and dead.
THE BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE SIR GERALD LOWTHER'S LETTER TO SIR CHARLES HARDING, May 29, 1910
-- "Shortly after the revolution in July 1908, it soon became known that many of the Young Turks' leading members were Freemasons. It was noticed that Jews of all colours, native and foreign, were enthusiastic supporters of the new dispensation, till, as many Turks expressed it, every Hebrew became a potential spy of the Young Turks. Turks began to remark that the movement was rather a Jewish than a Turkish Revolution." --
JEWISH MURDERERS KNOWN AS THE YOUNG TURKS
1. Emmanuel Carraso: B'nai B'rith Official of Italian origin. Grand Master of the Macedonia Ressurected Masonic Lodge in Salonika; Established the 'secret' Committee of Union & Progress in Salonika in 1890.
2. Tallaat Pasha (1874-1921): Thought to be a Turk but in reality a "Donmeh Jew." Interior Minister of Turkey during World War I; Member of Carasso's Masonic lodge and Grand Master of the Scottish Rite Masons in Turkey; Chief architect of the Armenian Holocaust and Director of Deportations. He wrote, "By continuing the deportation of the Armenians to their destinations during the intense cold we are ensuring their eternal rest."
3. Djavid Bey: "Donmeh Jew." TalaatE2s Finance Minister; Arranged the finances of revolution in Turkey with the Rothschilds; Later assasinated by Attaturk as a perceived rival.
4. Messim Russo: Assistant to Djavid Bey.
5. Refik Bey, AKA Refik Saydam Bey: Editor of Young Turk newpaper Revolutionary Press; Became Prime Minister of Turkey in 1939.
6. Emanuel Qrasow: Jewish propagandist for The Young Turks. Headed the delegation to inform Sultan Abdul Hamid II that "the nation has removed you from your office."
7. Vladimir Jabotinsky: Russian Zionist who moved to Turkey in 1908.
Supported by B'nai Brith of London and Dutch Zionist millionaire, Jacob Kann; Editor of Young Turk newpaper. Later started the terrorist Irgun political party in Israel.
8. Alexander Helphand, AKA Parvus: Financier/liaison of the Rothschilds of the Young Turk revolution; Editor of The Turkish Homeland.
9. Mustafa Kemal 'Attaturk' (1881-1938): A Jew of Sephardic (Spanish) origin. Attaturk attended the Jewish elementary school known as Semsi Effendi School run by the Jew Simon Zvi. Over 12,000 Jews welcomed to Turkey by Attaturk in 1933 when Hitler came to power.
JEW ABE FOXMAN OF THE ADL DENIES THE ARMENIAN HOLOCAUST
For many years, the Anti Defamation League and now its director, Abraham Foxman, refuse to acknowledge that the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 constituted genocide. Jews simply can't=2 0 stand to share their so-called "martyred-race" status with anyone else. And besides, Jews don't like to have their crimes pointed out to them. If one does, he is instantly labelled an "Anti Semite!"
Foxman has reiterated the ADL's opposition to formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian Holocaust calling a proposed Congressional resolution "a counterproductive diversion." This position is inconsistent with the ADL's mission statement "to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike."
But the Jew Abe Foxman and his racist ADL organization do not care about any other ethnic group but their own. And they will lie and suppress the historical facts (and all historical facts that incriminate the Jews) of the Armenian Holocaust and the role that the Jews played in it. Foxman and all Jews do this in order to perpetuate their image as "innocent victims."
WE CANNOT ALLOW THE JEWS to get away with their suppression of historical facts that incriminate the Jews any longer. Abe Foxman and his racist Jewish friends love to see Revisionist Historians thrown in jail for questioning particulars of the Jewish Holocaust in Germany.
But it is Foxman and the rest of the Jewish censors who should be thrown in jail for denying the Armenian Holocaust! Why do Jews abide by a double standard constantly? Aren't we all sick of it and20all these Jews for that matter by now?
I, for one, Brother Nathanael Kapner, a former Jew and now an Orthodox Christian, will do all in my power to expose the Jews. For the Jews are *not* innocent victims of persecution against them but have *prompted* backlashes against them throughout their "wandering-among-the-nations" history.
The Jews in fact are the most fierce perpetrators of racist crimes the world has ever known. And the Armenian Holocaust of which the Jews are responsible is a clear example of their Jewish racist crimes.
Sources: Jack Manuelian, The Founding Fathers of Modern Turkey Times of London, The Armenian Massacres Joseph Brewda, Young Turks To Control Middle East Christopher Jon Bjerknes, Jewish Racism Documents, Photos, History of Armenian Massacre By The Young Turks
Jacob M Landau, The Zionist Jews who founded the idea of Turkish Nationalism; National Geographic Magazine, September 1916 issue, Saloniki; Yair Auron, The Banality Of Indifference: Zionism & the Armenian Genocide
Richard Davey, The Sultan and his Subjects; Arnold S. Leese, The Real Jew-A Lesson From Turkey; Grant Richards, The Cause of The World's Unrest; Dr. H. Stuermer, Two War Years in Constantinople; Andrew Mango, Attaturk; Clifford Shack, The Armenian & Jewish Genocide Project that Eliminated the Ethnic Conflict; Joseph Hantman,The Turkish-Israeli Connection and Its Jewish Roots; Hillel Halkin, Attaturk's Turkey Overturned; Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope
U.S. Congressmen Send Letters To Turkish And Armenian Presidents APA March 31 2009 Azerbaijan
Washington - APA. Four members of the U.S. Congress, representatives of Democratic Party sent letters to Turkish and Armenian Presidents, APA reports quoting CNN Turk.
The congressmen said they support the efforts to normalize the relations between Turkey and Armenia. Co-chair of the US-Turkey friendship group in the Congress Robert Wexler said it is of great importance that the US and international community support the efforts to normalize the relations between Armenia and Turkey and achieve positive dialogue and dynamic development.
"Laying healthy foundation to remove divergence between Yerevan and Ankara, achieve cooperation between the two countries and improve diplomatic relations are in favor of the US, Turkey and Armenia," Alongside with Robert Wexler, Ike Skelton John Murtha and Alcee Hastings signed the letter.
American Congressmen Call Presidents Of Armenia And Turkey For Stopping Disagreements And Establishing Diplomatic Relations Noyan Tapan, March 31, 2009
ANKARA, MARCH 31, NOYAN TAPAN. A group of U.S. Congress members sent a joint letter to Presidents of Armenia and Turkey calling them for "stopping the disagreements between the two countries and establishing diplomatic relations." Turkish media report this.
"In order to bandage the wounds, to heal wounded hearts, and to establish a better future for the two peoples an atmosphere of confidence and cooperation should be established. As Congress members, who believe that the relations between Armenia and Turkey are primary for the United States, we want you to know that we are ready to assist your efforts of normalization of the relations and creating better future for the next generations," the letter of four Democrat Congressmen to Presidents of Armenia and Turkey read.
On Armenian Orientation Of Ergenekon Ruben Melkonyan www.noravank.am 31 March 2009
You can steadily assert that in the recent period the developments around the terrorist organization called Ergenokon are among the most important and significant in many aspects happenings in the domestic political life on Turkey. This case is very often associated with the notion of "deep state". It is mentioned that the disclosure of Ergenekon and trial in reality are a kind of struggle between pro-Islamic government and secular militaries. The fact that there are militaries in Ergenekon, and even high-ranked militaries, is irrefutable.
It is enough to mention that at present the high-ranked Turkish militaries, e.g. famous retired general Veli Kucuk, majors Mehmet Zekeria Ozturk, Mehmet Fikri Karadag, captain Muzaffer Tekin are all targeted in the investigation either as defendants or suspects. There were also detainees who were set free after interrogation, for example, generals Hursit Tolon, Sener Eruygur, who was set free for health reasons. By the way, the problems with health and the usage of that reasoning is rather widespread amid the suspects in Ergenekon case. And most of them are either already in the hospital, or they applied with such a request and militaries are very often taken to Gulhane Military Medical Academy. On every court session 5-7 suspects are absent for health reasons. At present moment about 100 suspects are targeted in the investigation of Ergenekon case and this number constantly tends to rise. It is noteworthy that there are representatives of different professions and areas. Thus, the chairman of Turkish Labour party Dogu Perincek, retired general Veli Kyucuk, retired colonel Mustafa Levent Gorgtas, the former acting chairman of Special operative administration Ibrahim Sahin, the chief of Department for Combating Organized Crime of Istanbul Serdar Sacan, journalist Tuncay Ozkan, lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, scientist Yalcn Kucuk, the chairman of the Chamber of Trade of Ankara Sinan Ayguz and many others.
The fact that among the members of Ergenekon there are many people who have definite anti-Armenian attitude and who contend actively with Armeniancy and Armenia strikes the eye. It is significant that in the course of investigation it became clear that the organized nature of their anti-Armenian activity was applied by the Ergenekon terrorist structure.
One of the persons, most well-known for his obvious anti-Armenian activity is retired general Veli Kyucuk. He is pan-Turkist and today he is regarded by the representatives of those circles as one of the most notable pan-Turkists of 20th century. One of the most important pledges of that sonorous title was obvious at times support to "younger brother" Azerbaijan during the war in Artsakh and after it. Kyucuk is implicated in many shady deals and cases but it should be mentioned that for us his name became even more interesting particularly in the context of the persecutions and the assassination of Hrant Dink. Let us remind you that youth nationalist organizations, which called themselves "idealists", initiated actions against Dink, and especially after Dink published in "Agos" newspaper the article, which evidenced about the Armenian descent of Sabiha Gukcen, the first Turkish woman-pilot and one of the most important symbols of Turkey. "Idealist" arranged protest action in front of the office of "Agos" with the poster saying "Dink, you are our target". It should be mentioned that "idealists" is the youth wing of radical nationalist organization "Grey wolves", and it is not a mere chance that Dink was assassinated by a young radical nationalist. General Veli Kucuk is a decisive authority for all those circles. There are facts, which evidence to the direct contacts of Kucuk and people involved in the murder of Dink. He even took part in the trial on Dink's case. By the way, that fact bothered Dink and his milieu, as Hrant's brother Khosrov Dink said after the assassination, his brother began to realize the real danger and the seriousness of the persecutions especially after Veli Kucuk had appeared on the scene.
Within the framework of Ergenekon trial many noteworthy incidents also happened. On one of the hearings during his speech for defense, while speaking about his activity after he had resigned from the army in 2000 he stated: "I took part in the activities arranged by Turkish research educational foundation, sometimes I had also made reports. I made reports on Eastern issue and I have always been of the opinion that it is not Kurdish issue. In every village I explained that PKK (Kurdish workers party) is not Kurdish, and that Eastern issue in not Kurdish but Armenian issue. The reason I am here today is because some people do not like". Such accusations against Armenians are not new in Turkish political discourse, but it is interesting that high-ranked Turkish military speaks about it openly and points out as their main enemy Armenians, who are alien to them, while Muslim Kurds are, after all, their coreligionists. By the way, other defendants also expressed the same idea and believed that the main reason for their arrest was the Armenian problem. It should be mentioned here that Turkish officials of different rank have spoken about the alleged Armenian belonging of PKK: from the minister of internal affairs to the governour; that theme is one of the important components in Turkish arsenal of political speculations. From time to time Turkish press and different organizations make a big deal about PKK fighters and their camps, which are alleged to be situated in Armenia.
Turkish lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, who prosecuted a claim against writer Orhan Pamuk after his famous statement, has also been detained on the case of Ergenekon. He is also one of the "pupils" of Veli Kucuk and he took an active part in the trial of Hrant Dink.
The other suspect, the chairman of the Chamber of Trade of Ankara Sinan Ayguz, was the first who expressed his dissatisfaction at the slogan used after the assassination of Hrant Dink "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink".
The other well-known figure who is the target of the investigation is the chairman of the Workers' party of Turkey Dogu Perincek. It would be not out of place to mention that he is one of the most important links in the Tukish propaganda machinery working against the international recognition of Armenian Genocide. It is also known that Dogu Perincek is of Armenian descent but his activity is directed against Armeniancy. Such a phenomenon sometimes can be seen in the circles of those who have converted faith or lost their identity1.
During the process on Ergenkon case it occurred that Perincek was one of the leaders and founders of that organization, but the most important fact is that the aforementioned organization communicated with PKK and its guerillas with his help. The pictures of Dogu Perincek and Abdullah Ocalan in one of the fighters' camps were also published. In the course of the trial the "advisory" letter of Perincek to Ocalan dated on may 26 20002 was presented. By showing the alleged connection between PKK and Ergenekon, Turkish authorities, in our opinion, gain several aims. Firstly, they show the connection between Kurdish guerillas and Turkish "deep state", which used all that to destabilize the situation in the country, i.e. to create prerequisites for the revolution and to implement it, but it is even more important that this exposure caused deep keen disappointment among oppositional Kurds, and a part of them have even felt themselves deceived. On the other hand, today the present Turkish government is engaged in the opening of Kurdish TV channel and radio and it is obvious that it would soften Kurdish issue at some extent.
The phase of the activity of Dogu Perincek, which is devoted to the struggle against the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, has also been reflected indirectly in the trial. Thus, it is known that, that the organization with unequivocal name "Taleat Pasha" arranged many actions particularly against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Europe. Perincek was one of the active members of that organization.
"Taleat Pasha" organization was especially active in 2005-2006, when a number of Turkish politicians, scientists initiated joint campaign in that line. Among them were the ex-president of the unrecognized republic of North Cyprus Rauf Danktas, pseudo-historian Halacoglu and others. As a result, the proceedings were initiated against Perincek in Switzerland for the denial of the Armenian Genocide (later he turned to the European Court of Human Rights making a big noise round that issue). But it is remarkable that within the framework of Ergenekon trial it became clear that the committee of "Taleat Pasha" was one of the structures created by Ergenekon and worked on the instructions of the terrorist organization3. While speaking about it Perincek announced the following in the court: "That group included Nevzat Yalcndaz, Mehmet Dulger and Ibrahim Ozdogan who were the members of parliament from the ruling "Justice and Development" party at that time"4.
Then, after listing the names of scientists and other politicians, Perincek stated: "If all that was arranged by Ergenekon, then it means that all those people are the members of Ergenekon"5. The radical-nationalist leader of the Workers party did not forget about the political orientation adopted by him and blamed "imperialist powers" and mainly the USA in his arrest.
Apropos to the radical anti-Armenian views of Perincek it should be mentioned, that Turkish press has published recently his statements made before on Armenian issue in general, which speaks for his changeable and contradictive image. "Zaman" newspaper, the mouthpiece of ruling Turkish party, re-published the article of Perincek, which had been published in issue 88 of "Turkish left" magazine, entitled as: "Ittihan compradores killed hundreds of thousands of Armenians". By the way, those views were expressed during the trial which had taken place earlier. Thus, in 1961 Perincek establishes "Turkish workers and peasants party", which was closed in 1971 after the military interference, and Perincek and his friends were arrested. His defensive speech in the court later was turned into a book, where, on page 154, he spoke about Armenia issue: "Ittihan compradores implemented the policy of persecution and massacre of national minorities. In the East hundreds and thousands of Armenians were killed, the others were deported from the country. Abdul Hamid coloured the Empire with the blood of hundreds of thousands of workers killed in Anatolia and thousands of Armenians killed in the streets of Istanbul.
Among the defendants on that case the former chief of Special operative department of Turkey Ibrahim Sahin stands out for his scandalous testimony. There are interesting details in his testimony, concerning Armenian direction. He handled Armenian issues on different stages of his activity, mainly in 1983 he was posted a commander of a special police forces combating ASALA and he was in Germany and in the US to get necessary education7. According to the material of the criminal case, Sahin created a group, which consisted of 300 people, and it included the officers of Operative department and soldiers who were under 308. With the help of that group the terrorist organization arranged and implemented various acts. In the court Sahin testified that the he had created the group at the at a will of the commander of the Seventh corpus of Turkish army, general Bekir Kalyoncu and the chief of the department of communications support and public affairs of General Staff brigade-general Metin Gurak. In 1993 Sahin by the order of the Ministry of Internal affairs of Turkey created Special operative department, where he worked till 1996; in 2002 he was sentenced to six years in prison on the charge of involvement in the well-known case of Susurlik, but Sahin under the pretext of the health problems was amnestied by the president. By the way, the name of Veli Kucuk was also mentioned in the view of that case.
As it becomes apparent form the testimony of Sahin, he delt with Armenian issues after he had retired. Thereunder we make a quotation from his testimony: "I know a woman Fatma Cegiz, nicknamed Asena, who lived in Kesaria, and sometimes I visited her. She knew that I was interested in Armenian problem and so she acquainted me with a writer. During the conversation with him he told that Armenians arranged monthly assembly in Tomarza and the person responsible for it was a jeweller from Sebastia. So I gathered detailed information on that and decided to inform about it intelligence"9. "...a person, whose name was Hudayi, told me about a woman, whose name was Sepil. He told that the real name of that woman was Matild Sarsanyan and she searched gold in the district of Erznka. Hudayi also told that woman established houses in different South-Eastern provinces where she sheltered Armenians, who had come from abroad. So I told people from National Intelligence Service (MIT) whom I knew about it, and they wanted to know more"10. It is also remarkable that Sahin tried or got the instruction to find out material on the ethnic origin of members of different parties, politicians and celebrated persons. According to his testimony, there are 520 Armenians in Kurdish Democratic Society Party.
But there were even more remarkable facts, found in Sahin's notebook: there were mentioned different facts on ethnic origin of different politicians. There was mentioned in handwriting that the leader of Nationalist movement party (MNP, "Grey Wolves") Devlet Bahceli, Democratic Society Party leader Ahmet Turk, the parliament deputies from MNP Mehmet Sandir, Mahmet Eimur had Armenian origin11. There is also a statement in the aforementioned notebook that the population of the area between central and south-eastern part of Anatolia allegedly consists of Armenians.
Sahin, just like Veli Kucuk and others puts forward the statement that PKK is not a Kurdish, but an Armenian structure: "PKK is not an organization, which represents our Kurdish brothers, it is Armenian organization13". He asserts that he has struggled against PKK during his professional carrier, and after he had gone on pension he began to write books, where he presented the idea that PKK was an Armenian structure14. He also expressed those views on local TV channels15.
In the course of investigation it became clear that Sahin's group had arranged assassination attempts. Among supposed victims the names of Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Mesrop Mutafyan, the general secretary of Alevi-bektasi union Kazem Genci, the chairman of the same organization Ali Balkez were mentioned16. It is remarkable that Sahin called those planed actions "internal clean-up" and he regarded the involvement in the Armenian issue as a priority while choosing targets. Thus, Sahin confessed that if he had not been arrested then in a week they would have began a campaign against the leaders of the Armenians17. Within the framework of "internal clean-up" there were also some measures planed against some representatives of Turkish intelligentsia, those who had arranged recently "We apologize" campaign. During the activity of Sahin and his criminal group Alevi organizations also were in the focus of their attention mainly because, in accordance with their sources, there were also Armenians in those organizations. They also planed the assassination of the leader of the Armenian community of Sebastia Minas Duran Guler18. According to Minas Guler's brother Ervand Guler the number of the Armenians in Sebastia does not exceed 200 and this number reduces day by day, though according to the official sources there are 1136 Armenians in Sebastia. Minas Guler is also a person responsible for the Armenian "communities" of Kesaria, Tokat, Erznka19. It is obvious that one could hardly call the shatters of Christian Armenians preserved in the eastern parts of Turkey communities. The choice of Sebastia by the criminal group of Sahin is explained by the fact that it has more or less multi-ethnic picture and is convenient to deepen the atmosphere of fear and to boost instability, which finds room within the logic of Ergenekon's activity. It should be mentioned, as it turned out the assassination of three Christian employees of publishing house in Malatya, which caused a stir in Turkey and abroad, was also arranged by Ergenekon.
Thus, this scandalous trial and the exposures made in its course come to prove that various anti-Armenian actions were arranged and implemented by the Turkish state or its "deep" variant. At the same time it is obvious that Turkish propaganda and state machinery, as a matter of fact, still regard the Armenians as their enemies. It is remarkable and at the same time expected that the issue of ethnic origin is in the focus of attention of the state institutions, and this once again gives the evidence of the fact that the problem of ethnic origin and it various expressions are on the agenda in Turkey today.
60 Thousand Armenians Live In Turkey PanARMENIAN.Net, 01.04.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ A group of Turkish scientists has prepared a report on the ethnic structure of the country.
The research showed that Turkic groups number about 50 million. There are 12 million 600 thousand Kurds, 2.5 million of whom think of themselves as Turks.
Circassians number 2.5 million but 80 of them have forgotten the native tongue. There are 2 millions Bosnians, 1.3 million Albanians, 870 thousand Arabs, 700 thousand Gypsies, 60 thousand Armenians, 20 thousand Jews, 15 thousand Greeks and 13 thousands Hamshens and Syrians.
85 percent of Turkish citizens are Muslims.
Obama Encouraged To Lobby Against Genocide Bill By Bridget Johnson, The Hill April 1 2009 DC
A new report warns President Obama that recognizing the World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide -- or not lobbying Congress to ditch the bill -- would be a bad foreign-policy move.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies report released this week studies the future of U.S. relations with Turkey, in advance of Obama's visit to the Muslim nation next Monday and Tuesday.
"A near-term uncertainty in the [American-Turkish] relationship is the 'Armenian genocide resolution,'" the report states. "If President Obama takes no action to prevent congressional enactment of the resolution (H. Res. 252), endorses the measure, or uses the word genocide himself, the Turkish response will be harsh and trigger a bitter breach in relations."
The resolution, introduced March 17 by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) with 77 co-sponsors, now has 88 co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Rep. J. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.), a co-sponsor on the day of the bill's introduction, withdrew his sponsorship on March 23.
The contentious resolution calls the deaths of as many as 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire starting in 1915 "genocide." Turkey blames the deaths on civil upheaval toward the end and directly after World War I, saying that 300,000 Armenians were killed and at least as many Turks.
In a January 2008 campaign statement, Obama vowed to back such a resolution if elected.
"The facts are undeniable," Obama said. "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."
The CSIS report, introduced Monday by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, says, "Rather than seek to legislate history, the United States and the international community should provide maximum encouragement and support to the diplomatic rapprochement being pursued by the governments of Turkey and Armenia, as well as to emerging regional cooperation."
The report calls the bill "of foremost concern in bilateral relations," and said the issue has been "hanging like the sword of Damocles over the relationship for 20 years."
It adds that "there seems to be a real danger of either the White House refraining from lobbying against the resolution and thus permitting its passage or of a direct acknowledgement through a presidential statement."
Armenian leaders have expressed hope that Obama will follow through on that pledge. The Armenian National Committee of America is encouraging its website visitors to lobby their legislators to support the bill.
Aram Hamparian, executive director of ANCA, questioned whether CSIS was receiving foreign funding that may have influenced their report. "The best way to understand where CSIS is coming from is to understand where their money comes from," he said.
"We're confident that President Obama is a man of his word," Hamparian said. "...We look forward to him honoring his pledge."
Us Think-Tank Report Contains Odd Suggestions On Turkey, Today's Zaman, April 1 2009, Turkey
Releasing an updated report on Turkey days before US President Barack Obama's official visit to the Turkish capital, an influential Washington-based think tank has also examined the impacts of a prospective change of power in Turkey on the future of bilateral relations between the two NATO allies.
The report, titled "Turkey's Shifting Dynamics," an update of a previous report, was released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which also hosted a press briefing with several of its scholars: Bulent AlirÄ±za, director of the CSIS Turkey Project; Reginald Dale, director of the Transatlantic Media Network; Stephen Flanagan, the Henry A. Kissinger Chair; and Steven Schrage, Scholl Chair in International Business.
"If a more nationalist civilian or military leadership were to emerge in Ankara, this need not necessarily threaten the alliance. Although such governments would be more likely to be isolationist and to focus on perceived internal and external enemies, the relationship would be sustained by enduring common interests. Nevertheless, continuous high-level engagement by US and Turkish officials would be required to prevent disagreements from derailing the relationship. An avowedly Islamist Turkey would severely reduce the extent of cooperation, however, and might even challenge US policies, particularly in the Middle East," says the report.
It also notes in its foreword that "civil-military relations in Turkey are far from the Western model, and the military studiously insulates itself from civil society."
"A major economic downturn would likely stoke nationalist sentiments and could erode democracy. The TGS [the Turkish General Staff] would not seek a role of policy leadership under these circumstances, but it could become even more influential. This would not mean the end of the US-Turkish alliance as more limited cooperation on common interests could probably be sustained," it says. "A new national consensus on how greater religiosity and the secular state can coexist comfortably is not on the horizon, and in the meanwhile, Kemalist ideology will remain the official dogma of the state enshrined in its constitutional order, motivating the TGS and restricting the power of elected governments to act without the necessary and belated redefinition of what exactly it means for the country in the twenty-first century."
CSIS scholars were asked to elaborate whether they believed that there is a risk of the emergence of an Islamist state in Turkey, because the report says that certain "strictures, often called Kemalism, maintained by the Constitutional Court and the TGS, effectively prevent the emergence of an Islamist state in Turkey."
Flanagan said that they were trying to describe the balance of political power within Turkey without taking sides in that debate. "We didn't think that the AK Party's [the ruling Justice and Development Party] agenda was hidden at all," he added.
"I don't think we are going to have an Islamist state in Turkey. I don't think too many people want an Islamist state even if it could be done. I also think the secular system needs to be revised, restructured," AlirÄ±za said.
Obama and a new strategic framework
The report, meanwhile, highlights that "opportunities for enhanced cooperation and restoration of the basic structure of Turkey's Euro-Atlantic relationship exist," and more importantly "these can be found in Turkey's diplomacy with Iran, Iraq, and Syria; moves toward normalization of relations with Armenia; and a continued positive role in the democratization, economic development, and stabilization of the Caucasus and beyond."
CSIS scholars mainly shared their assessments which, they said, they hope "will further dialogue on the renewal of this strategic and increasingly complex relationship" between Turkey and the United States.
According to the scholars, the administration of US President Barack Obama has an opportunity to forge a more strategic relationship with Turkey, one in which both governments find ways to manage lesser differences in order to maintain effective cooperation in the advancement of critical, long-term interests.
"The US-Turkey relationship is increasingly complex and sometimes messy. Fundamental changes and uncertainty in Turkey's domestic situation and neighborhood have altered how Turks perceive and pursue their interests. US global and regional priorities have also shifted since 2001. These differing political and geo-strategic situations will continue to lead the two countries to pursue distinct and sometimes divergent policies, and relations may remain somewhat volatile. Ankara's 'zero problems' approach to dealing with its neighbors and commitment to dialogue with them will sometimes be problematic for Washington. The question will linger whether Turkey can be counted on to take a tough stance with the United States when more palatable options are exhausted. There will also be times, however, when Turkey's ability to engage independently with some of its nettlesome neighbors can be used to advance mutual interests, as has been the case with Ankara's facilitation of the Syria-Israel indirect talks.
"A new strategic framework for bilateral relations that reflects these evolving geopolitical dynamics and articulates a concrete positive common agenda could help keep relations on course. Such a framework could allow each country to forge common or complementary policies where there is consensus and manage areas where policy preferences or interests diverge. A sustained, high-level dialogue and a more structured process to orchestrate diplomatic, economic, and military cooperation would be a useful mechanism to manage this complexity."
Warning over 'genocide' resolution
The report, meanwhile, urges that "rather than seeking [to legislate] history, the United States and the international community provide maximum encouragement and support to the diplomatic rapprochement being pursued by the governments of Turkey and Armenia, as well as to emerging regional cooperation." It warns the US of a harsh reaction from Turkey toward the US over a "presidential proclamation" for recognizing killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I as genocide as well as over adoption of a congressional resolution for such recognition.
"A near-term uncertainty in the relationship is the 'Armenian genocide resolution.' If President Obama takes no action to prevent congressional enactment of the resolution, endorses the measure, or uses the word genocide himself, the Turkish response will be harsh and trigger a bitter breach in relations," the report states.
"Creation of a joint Turkish-Armenian commission to explore this painful chapter in history and its continued legacy could also be helpful to that process," it suggests, in apparent reference to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 2005 letter to then-Armenian President Robert Kocharian, inviting him to establish a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915 using documents from the archives of Turkey, Armenia and any other country believed to have played a part in the issue.
Confronting The Denialist Jewish Lobby: Mission Accomplished? By David Boyajian, www.hairenik.com/ April 1, 2009
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.
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 Armenian 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's 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, Mass., 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.
Armenian Genocide: Filmmaker Apo Torosyan To Present "The Morgenthau Story" 02.04.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Descended from survivors of the Armenian Genocide, filmmaker Apo Torosyan hopes his art transforms prejudice and hate into tolerance and compassion.
Growing up in Turkey, he learned his father's parents had both starved to death after the genocidal massacres of 1915.
Yet when Torosyan screens his newest film Wednesday in the Framingham Library in Massachusetts, it will honor a man who fought oppression at great personal risk while refusing to preach hate, Daily News reports.
His hour-long film, "The Morgenthau Story," was shown on Wednesday, April 1 in the Costin Room of the library in Framingham (US). "I'm trying to reach out and warn people genocide is still with us today," said Torosyan. "Too often we don't see it. But when you say 'us' and 'them,' you're already prejudging people."
A shorter version of his film will be shown on April 23 in Peabody City Hall.
The son of a Greek mother and Armenian father, Torosyan earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts in the 1960s.
He has exhibited his rich, moody paintings in more than 40 solo and 20 group shows in Europe and North America. His paintings are in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in Bordeaux, France, the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, and the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.
Now 67, Torosyan has made seven documentaries, including four dealing with aspects of the genocide and three others he describes as philosophic "meditations." Since immigrating to the United States in 1986, he fears he can't return to Turkey because on an earlier visit he expressed his opinion about the Armenian Genocide, which puts him in danger of imprisonment.
Torosyan's documentary incorporates interviews with the three descendants of Henry Morgenthau Sr., ambassador to Constantinople from 1913 to 1916, and archival footage about Turkish oppression of the Armenian minority.
He credits Morgenthau for trying to alert the world to the Ottoman massacres of Armenians and other Christians and later, as chairman of the Greek Resettlement Commission, saving thousands after the 1922 Smyrna massacre.
Torosyan said his films present history objectively so future generations can recognize the symptoms of ethnic, religious and racial prejudice before they take effect. "I believe history should be known so we don't forget the past," he said. "I'm trying to reach out to youth in high school and college. They should know what happened."
Azerbaijan Threatens To Cut Gas Supply To Turkey In Case Armenia Border Opens armradio.am, 02.04.2009
Concerned that the Turkish government might open its border with Armenia before reconciliation is reached, the Azerbaijani government has signaled it might stop selling natural gas to Turkey, Hurriyet Saily reported.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told third parties that Baku would cut gas supplies to Turkey if Ankara reaches an agreement with Yerevan before substantial progress is underway on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review has learned. As a sign of how serious it is, Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia last week for long-term supply of gas at market prices.
Turkey and Armenia are said to have come very close to an agreement on the timetable to normalize relations. This development in turn has upset the Azerbaijani government, which argues a decision to open Turkey's borders with Armenia would leave Baku at a disadvantage in negotiating for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territory. The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has been the target of severe criticism in the Azerbaijani press with commentators there accusing the Turkish government of selling out. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has been informed that Aliyev has told third parties that were Turkey to open its borders to Armenia, cooperation on energy suppl ies would end.
Armenian Genocide Issue As A Means For Exerting Pressure On Turkey Anna Nazaryan "Radiolur" 02.04.2009
The rumors that US President Barack Obama will utter the word genocide are just pressure on Turkey on the way of realization of objectives of the United States. Some mention exact days of opening the border. However, Turkologist Artak Shakaryan considers that there is little possibility for its opening.
"Some progress in relations is possible within the coming months. The border will be opened partially, the visa regime will be mitigated," he said.
According to Shakaryan, the Armenian-Turkish relations depend not only on Armenia and Turkey: it is a diplomatic gamble on a higher level. According to him, Barack Obama is not visiting Turkey for the sake of Armenian-Turkish relations. He is coming to reach agreements on a number of other issues.
Among those issues the Turkologist pointed out the forthcoming presidential elections in Iran and the possible thaw in American-Iranian relations, where Washington ascribes an important role to Turkey, the improvement of Turkish-Russian relations and the position of the United States.
However, According to Shakaryan, there may be some improvement in the Armenian-Turkish relations as a result of Obama's visit, which will find its manifestation in milder statements of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan during his visit to Armenia in April.
Turkey And Armenia Pave Way For Historic Accords By Marc Champion Wall Street Journal April 2 2009
Neighbors' Bid to Open Border and Establish Ties Could Sideline Genocide Dispute, Improve Security for Fuel Pipeline to West
BRUSSELS -- Turkey and Armenia could soon announce a deal aimed at reopening their border and restoring relations, according to diplomats, a move that could help stabilize a region that's increasingly important as a transit route for oil and gas.
The timing of the deal is being choreographed with the schedule of U.S. President Barack Obama, who visits Turkey next week, these people say.
The Turkish and Armenian governments have agreed on terms to open formal talks in three areas: opening and fixing borders, restoring diplomatic relations and setting up commissions to look at disputes, including one on the tense history between the two nations, according to the diplomats, all of whom declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.
There is strong opposition to a deal in both countries, as well as in Armenia's neighbor Azerbaijan. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to protest Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave in Azerbaijan, following a bloody war. That conflict remains unresolved.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the media at the headquarters of his Justice and Development Party, the AKP, in Ankara, Turkey, on Sunday.
But an accord would be seen in Western capitals as a major potential success that could help to open up and stabilize the Caucasus. The region is studded with unresolved conflicts and hostile borders, and saw war between Russia and Georgia in August.
Normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia would "create a new and positive dynamic" in relations across the region, "as well as in developing the economic and transport links we have been pursuing ever since the collapse of the former Soviet Union," said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew J. Bryza, the State Department's point man in the Caucasus.
Mr. Bryza travels to Azerbaijan Thursday to discuss how a Turkish-Armenian agreement could help revive efforts for a settlement on Nagorno-Karabakh.
Announcement of a Turkish-Armenian pact is also being influenced by Mr. Obama's campaign promise to support a Congressional resolution that would recognize as genocide the Ottoman Empire's 1915 killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in what is now central and eastern Turkey. Turkey fiercely denies the killings were genocide. The White House traditionally makes a statement to mark Armenian Remembrance Day on April 24.
Analysts say Turkey's government hopes progress in reviving its relations with Armenia could prompt the White House not to recognize the killings as genocide and to block the Congressional resolution.
If the U.S. proceeds with the genocide resolution, "I cannot imagine any Turkish government opening the Armenian border," said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director of the Ankara office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank.
A Senior Turkish foreign-policy official said the U.S. is trying to facilitate the agreement with Armenia. Turkish and Armenian officials declined to comment on the status of their talks.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said on Turkish television last week he would discuss Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian "genocide" and relations between Russia and Georgia with the U.S. president, among other issues.
Mr. Obama's decision to make Turkey the final, two-day stop on his European tour has been welcomed in Ankara as a sign of the country's strategic importance.
Turkey, a secular Muslim nation of 70 million people, is taking on a growing role as a regional player in the Caucasus and the Middle East.
Turkey opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and refused to let its territory be used for the assault. Now the U.S. again wants to use its bases in Turkey for Iraq, but this time to withdraw troops --something much easier for Ankara to accept.
Turkey could also prove a helpful ally in the Mideast, where it has played a mediating role between Syria and Israel and has offered to mediate with Iran.
One date under discussion for signing the deal with Armenia, diplomats say, is April 16. But Mr. Unluhisarcikli said he believes Turkey and Armenia won't be ready to sign the deal before April 24, and Turkey instead will "signal" its commitment to reopen the borders in the hope that will be enough for Washington.
Russia's invasion of Georgia last August opened the door for Turkey to become more heavily engaged in the Caucasus. The war showed the limitations of U.S. and EU influence in the region and exposed the extent of Armenia's isolation. When Russia cut Georgia's main East-West railway by blowing up a bridge in August, it also cut off the dominant supply route to Armenia, a close Russian ally.
The war in Georgia also showed the vulnerability of pipelines that have been carrying oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan to Western markets via Georgia since 2006. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline carries 1 million barrels of crude per day to Turkey's Mediterranean coast. The pipelines were targeted unsuccessfully during the Georgia war.
--Nicholas Birch in Istanbul contributed to this article.
Turkey's State Run Trt Began Radio Broadcasting In Armenian Language 02.04.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey's state run Television and Radio Corporation (TRT) began radio broadcasting in Kurdish and Armenian languages.
Kurdish radio programs began on April 1 while Armenian radio programs began on April 2, the TRT said in a written press release.
Armenian programs would be broadcast everyday between 07.00-07.30 a.m. and 18.00-18.30 p.m. as part of "The Voice of Turkey" radio.
Washington Times: Possible Armenia-Turkey Deal Hetq.am 2009/04/03
Another major U.S. newspaper, The Washington Times, has picked up on yesterday's The Wall Sreet Journal article regarding a potential deal between Armenia and Turkey that would pave the way for the opening of the border, diplomatic relations and a commission to tackle the events of 1915. Below are excerpts of today's Washington Times article entitled, "Diplomats forsee Turkey, Armenia pact".
Turkey and Armenia could be on the brink of a historic reconciliation that will include a joint investigation of the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915, Turkish diplomats and specialists say.
Hugh Pope, Turkey project director for the International Crisis Group, said that after two years of secret talks, the historic rivals are nearing agreement on a sweeping package that includes opening a border closed since 1993, diplomatic relations and a bilateral intergovernmental commission on issues ranging from taxes and public health to the history of what Armenians have called genocide by the Ottoman Empire, which preceded modern Turkey.
Turkey is also expected to issue a "road map" on a solution for Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan that has been under de facto Armenian control since 1994.
"The parameters of the deal are very much set," Mr. Pope said. "The only thing holding things back now is nerves."
"These are extremely serious negotiations," said a senior Turkish diplomat, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. "We are optimistic and we have been working hard and hopefully we will see positive developments."
"These are highly sensitive negotiations and both sides have gone to great lengths to keep them secret," added a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman.
Mitq: Turkish Architects Work For Turkish Intelligence 03.04.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ After a presidential meeting in Davos, Ankara set to development of mechanisms of pressure on Caucasus countries, an Armenian expert said.
Promoting the Caucasus stability platform, Turkish politicians work for creation of international Caucasus parliament engaging youth in the process. A number of youth NGOs have been already formed in Georgia and Azerbaijan," Eduard Abrahamyan, expert at Mitq analytical center, told PanARMENIAN.Net.
He also said that Turkish architects in Caucasus are Turkish intelligence officers. "A department titled "Armenia" is also functioning. It develops the methodology of public propaganda and psychological projects targeting demoralization and political split of Armenian people," he said.
"Destruction of Armenian self-actualization through gradual Turkification is Ankara's main goal," Abrahamyan concluded.
Minister Nalbandian To Attend The "Alliance Of Civilizations" Forum In Istanbul armradio.am 03.04.2009
April 6-7 the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, will visit Istanbul to participate in the 2nd "Alliance of Civilizations" forum under the auspices of the UN.
The aim of the "Alliance of Civilizations" forum is to develop the intercultural understanding and cooperation. The first forum took place in Madrid in January 2008.
The forum in Istanbul will feature senior officials from 30 countries -Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers.
Visit To Us President To Turkey May Seriously Change Alignment Of Forces In The Region, Armenian Oppositionist Thinks 2009-04-03
ArmInfo. US President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey may seriously change alignment of forces in the region, representative of Armenian National Congress, David Shakhnazaryan, told journalists today.
'Over Obama's visit to Ankara and Istanbul along with other issues the Karabakh conflict will be also discussed, which Ankara as well as Washington are interested in today. At present the USA is trying to repeat the past year manoeuvre of Moscow with signing of the Maindorf Declaration, taking the initiative on the Karabakh conflict settlement in its hands', - he said.
Shaknazaryan thinks after Obama's visit Armenian authorities may be also invited to visit Turkey, as Turkey also is striving to raise its role in the Karabakh settlement.
'Turkey is striving to become the OSCE MG co-chair state. There is even the information that Ankara is negotiating with France in the matter. This will become quite real if Obama does not mention the Armenian genocide in his April speech. Immediately after that Ankara will become more active in the Karabakh issue', - he concluded.
10 Years After Clinton, A Week Before Obama
ANKARA-“All told, there are now billions of people around the region and the world whose future depends upon decisions made in this very room over the next 25 years. Each has a stake in Turkey’s success in defining itself as a strong, secular, modern nation, proud of its traditions, fully part of Europe. That will require hard work and vision.”
This prophecy belongs to Bill Clinton, former United States president who addressed to Turkish Parliament during his visit to Turkey in 1999, almost ten years ago from another Democrat President Barack Obama’s trip to this country, as part of his first overseas tour since his election.
Since Obama’s visit to Turkey was declared by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton early March, there were numerous analyses and commentaries made on the new American leader’s decision to include this country to his itinerary. There will surely be a lot of them during and after the visit. Thus, before questioning why he comes to Turkey or what he will say in his statements or etc., it would be useful to take a look at to what extent the former president’s previsions were proven to be right. That is, did Turkish Parliament really shake the world with its decisions?
It was August 3, 2002 when the Turkish Parliament adopted a set of constitutional amendments that included the abolishment of the capital punishment; just months ago before the crucial European Union summit which historically decided to start accession talks with Turkey. Between 2002 and 2005, again this parliament voted in favor of more than nine constitutional amendment packages to make Turkey closer to the EU.
The commitment of Turkish lawmakers, with ups and downs, for the EU membership and the start of the negotiations in 2005 had positive affects on the entire Muslim world, which felt humiliated by the West at the post-9/11 era. Despite opposition within the organization, the European leaders have taken a courageous step in the direction of avoiding a potential “clash of civilization,” but of course thanks to Turkish Parliament’s dedication.
Another important decision of Turkish Parliament in which its effects went beyond national borders was on March 1, 2004 when it rejected a government motion allowing the U.S. to use the Turkish territory to be able to open an additional front for attacking against Saddam Hussein administration in Iraq.
Though the move had very negative impacts on Turkey’s ties with the U.S., it was praised by the rest of the world, which were against of the Iraqi war.
Turkey’s decision to stay out of Iraqi war has also found scores of response from the Muslim world, as it was seen as a mark of more independent foreign policy.
On 28 August, 2007 the Turkish Parliament elected Abdullah Gül as the 11th president of Turkey, whose wife wears an Islamic headscarf, after months of tense debates on the grounds that it would be seen as a deviation from the secular orders of the republic. On 6 February, 2008 the Parliament voted in favor of annulment of the ban imposed on women wearing headscarf to study at the universities. That started another flurry of political struggle in the country, which caused top prosecutor to open a closure case against the ruling party arguing that the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has become the focal point of anti-secular acts.
The discussion put many both within and outside Turkey into a dilemma between “democracy or secularism”, hurting the image of the country. Foreign observers made calls to Turkey to keep its both secular and democratic principles together and not to give up one of them in favor of the other. Unfortunately, until now, the Parliament failed to renew the constitution, a production of 1980 coup d’état, which is seen as a missed to chance to turn Turkey into a more modern nation.
Nevertheless, with both its failures and successes, the Turkish Parliament has been among important actors defining the parameters of some important decisions not only for Turks but also for people in its greater region and the world. There is surely a long way to reach Western standards in achieving a stronger secular democracy with strengthened economy and human resources quality in order for greater contribution to global affairs to sustain a more peaceful world.
Barack Obama will sure be fair in voicing the progress this country made so far but should at the same time renew Clinton’s expectations with just one fact that there is 15 years left before this end.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Obama Visit Should Be Read Properly
U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to come to Turkey at such an early stage in his administration has surprised many in Turkey. Apparently even those pundits who are watching both countries in Washington D.C. were also taken by surprise. In fact many thought that it was too much of a reward for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, especially after he has stormed out of the Davos panel following a harsh exchange of words with Israel’s President Shimon Peres.
But those who believe that Obama is coming to reward the Justice and Development Party, or the AKP, administration are missing a point. What pushed Obama’s aides to convince their president for an early visit to Turkey was not a need to show appreciation for the AKP’s policies. To the contrary, the sense of loosing Turkey has also played an important role in the administration’s reasoning. Let me come back to this point in a moment.
The Turkish officials believe National Security Adviser General James Jones has played a key role in the decision to come to Turkey. Jones not only knows Turkey well, it also understands Turkey’s importance. He is a close acquaintance to former Foreign Minister Hikmet Çetin, to the point of staying in his residence in Afghanistan when Çetin was in Kabul as NATO’s representative.
Jones and Obama’s advisers also see the role Turkey can play in achieving American foreign policy goals, as the two countries visions’ mainly overlap on various issues. In the eyes of the Obama administration there is great potential for an effective cooperation between the two countries, provided that Turkey does not slip away. Turkey has a track record under the AKP rule of going on its own. The fact that Turkey has become less predictable in Washington’s eyes has played a role in Obama’s team country analysis.
The fact that Obama comes to Turkey at the end of a Western tour is interpreted by the Turkish bureaucrats as a wish on the part of Obama’s team to emphasize Turkey’s western identity. The embassy in Washington has insistently and specifically asked Obama’s team whether he was coming to attend the summit of Alliance of Civilizations or for a bilateral visit. The answer was that Obama was coming for the bilateral visit. The fact that the speech he will deliver in Ankara at Parliament will be the highlight of the visit rather than his attendance at the summit in Istanbul, shows that the new administration in Washington wants to see, in the words of a Turkish observer "a transatlantic partner which has good relations with the Middle East, rather than a Middle Eastern country, which is also a NATO member." As another Turkish observer rightly put it, western institutions like the EU and NATO have become nearly non existent in the rhetoric of Turkish officials. NATO is celebrating its 60th anniversary this weekend, a phenomenon hardly noticed in Turkish public opinion. But whose fault is it?
The government has not moved a finger for a special commemoration.
It is thus very important for the AKP leaders to understand this nuance. The new administration in Washington wants to underline Turkey’s western characteristics, its secular democracy. They should not misinterpret the United States’ traditional way of dealing with Turkey: "first praise the administration by giving it a sense of importance and then talk about the details of cooperation."
The "my way or highway attitude," of the neoconservatives under the administration of George Bush has backfired not only in Turkey but all over the world. Now there is an administration in Washington that listens to its allies. But it also expects them to deliver. In order to avoid any crisis in the relations, AKP rulers should have the right analysis of the new administration.
Disturbing, New Revelations on Border Opening Ara Khachatourian, Asbarez, 30 March 2009
The verbal back-and-forth on an imminent agreement between Armenia and Turkey continued Monday with the Turkish press reporting that Turkey and Armenia had agreed on a roadmap to establish diplomatic ties and open the border, with the sides reportedly contemplating the timing of the announcement and some asserting that the announcement should come next week before President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey.
Some media reports also attributed an announcement about the border opening after Obama's visit to Armenia's Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian. The Armenian Foreign Ministry only denied that Nalbandian ever made such an announcement.
But what of the other revelations blanketing the Turkish press Monday?
“Turkey and Armenia are readying to sign a protocol that marks commitment by both sides to establish diplomatic relations and set up committees on issues ranging from border management, customs, history and more. Having achieved a satisfying deal which includes setting up a history committee to discuss 1915 events, on which Yerevan dragged its feet for a long time, the remaining dilemma for Ankara is the proper timing of the announcement,” reported the Hurriyet Daily News.
“The draft protocol will set the framework for transition to full diplomatic relations possibly starting with low-key representations in Ankara and Yerevan or accreditation of ambassadors from other neighboring capitals. Simultaneously Turkey will come up with a road map for a solution in Nagorno-Karabakh. The modalities of the new border regime will be determined upon the work by the border committee while as part of a show of good will immediate measures would be taken for a gradual opening. Diplomatic recognition will be supported by social and economic projects with coordination of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council, or TABDC,” added Hurriyet.
Several key issues were “revealed” including the troubling assertion that Armenia has agreed to the formation of a commission of historians to address the Armenian Genocide and Turkey's alleged role in drafting a “road map” to Karabakh peace.
While this could be yet another sensationalist attempt by Turkey to create an illusion that all systems are go for Turkish-Armenian detente on the eve of the Obama visit in an effort to derail the Genocide recognition issue, but the question of the veracity of Turkish claims that Armenia has agreed to the formation of the commission remains un-refuted by the Nalbandian apparatus.
On several occasions, Nalbandian and President Serzh Sarkisian have reiterated that Armenia was in favor of establishing diplomatic ties and opening of borders without any preconditions. Last week, Nalbandian said that the issue of the Armenian Genocide is not up for discussion during the ongoing negotiations to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey, when asked by a reporter to clarify Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan's announcement that the sides were, in fact, discussing the Genocide issue.
“I don't want to believe that the Turkish Foreign Minister can make such a statement, because the Armenian Genocide issue has not been discussed with the Turkish side,” asserted Nalbandian.
We do not want to believe it either. Any agreement on establishment of a commission to address the veracity of the Genocide or a leading role for Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process are unacceptable and will jeopardize Armenia's national interests and security.
Next week Obama will be in Istanbul to attend a United Nations Summit on Civilizations. We learned Monday, through the Turkish press, that Nalbandian will also attend that event, leading the Turkish press to speculate that the setting would be ripe to announce the so-called border agreement.
To end the confusion and to further articulate Armenia's national interests, Nalbandian should make clear and thorough announcements, because one-off responses to reporters' inquiries and one sentence denials by a spokesperson on this crucial matter of pan-national importance are not enough as we enter what appears to be an historic time for our nation.
Obama In Turkey: Enticing Ankara Westward, By Soner Cagaptay April 2, 2009
On April 6 and 7, after attending the NATO and European Union summits, President Obama will visit Ankara and Istanbul as part of his European tour. The visit seeks to build on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's March 7 trip to Ankara, where she underscored Washington's commitment to a European and Western Turkey. The president's sojourn is an important step in rebuilding troubled U.S.-Turkish relations, which have cooled in the past several years as Ankara has turned away from the West. Bringing Turkey back into the Western fold will require an ongoing concerted effort by the Obama administration and, given Turkey's importance to the United States, should be a priority for Washington.
Turkey's Importance to the United States
In past years, Turkish public opinion toward the West and the United States hit an all-time low. When Obama took office, those in Turkey with a favorable view of the United States were a miniscule 9 percent. This trend coincides with a shift in Turkish foreign policy away from the United States on important issues such as Russia, Sudan, Hamas, and Iran, ever since the 2003 Iraq War. Policy differences caused by Ankara's religious point of view continue to emerge between Turkey and the United States. The latest example involves Turkey's veto of Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's appointment as NATO secretary general because he failed to apologize for cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in 2005 that were deemed offensive by some Muslims. Many Western governments defended the publication of the cartoons in the name of freedom of speech.
While some have questioned whether the new administration should devote much effort to improving U.S.-Turkish ties, President Obama's visit early in his tenure indicates that the administration understands that it cannot afford to lose Turkey. Turkey has NATO's second largest army and is Europe's sixth largest economy. Turkey borders Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and is a base for U.S. operations in Afghanistan and beyond. Ankara's possible nuisance value as a problematic, alienated former ally should be a serious concern for Washington.
Challenges for Obama
Building a strong relationship, however, will not be an easy task. Presidential efforts at strong public diplomacy, such as Bill Clinton's 1999 trip to Turkey, have positively affected Turkish attitudes toward the United States. Although the Obama visit has plenty of public diplomacy appeal, including a proposed town-hall-style meeting, the president will encounter one particularly sensitive subject, the Armenian question, during the visit.
Any statement Obama issues on Armenia will be closely monitored. According to polls, 90 percent of Turks do not think that the deaths of many Armenians during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide. While U.S. presidents traditionally issue a proclamation every spring commemorating the events of 1915 and recognizing the suffering that took place during World War I, they have never used the word "genocide" to describe the Empire's activities. This year's presidential proclamation will be Obama's first, and its wording will be important in setting the public tone of U.S.-Turkish relations. If Obama describes the 1915 events as genocide, as some news reports suggest could happen, it will hit a raw nerve in Turkey, hurting U.S. interests at a time when Obama is hoping to win Turkish hearts and minds and secure Ankara's cooperation. What is more, such a proclamation would create a backlash in Turkey, blocking the anticipated breakthrough in Turkish-Armenian relations; analysts are suggesting that Turkey will soon establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and open its border to trade with that country. It will be impossible for the Turkish government to push for these steps if Obama were to describe the events of 1915 as genocide.
Obama will also face a challenge in winning over younger Turks, including midlevel Turkish military officers. Although U.S.-Turkish military ties have been getting stronger among the top brass as a result of cooperation against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorists, this does not appear to be the case among midlevel officers. If the United States cannot win the confidence of Turkish captains, it cannot sustain military ties with Turkey in the long term. NATO remains the key to success in this area, since it is the international institution respected most by the Turkish military. Using NATO as a platform to rebuild ties with the Turkish officer corps through special initiatives, including large-scale exchanges and training programs, will be critical to success in this area.
Rebuilding Strong Ties
Once Obama's visit is over, the administration can take a number of longer-term steps to strengthen U.S.-Turkish ties and influence Turkish policy in key areas.
Make EU accession the leitmotif of U.S. policy. The president should be applauded for going to Turkey after attending NATO and EU summits, thereby treating Turkey as part of Europe and emphasizing its NATO role. Turkey cannot be a Western country or a U.S. ally if its EU prospects collapse. Ankara's EU membership talks are stalled due to French objections, as well as the slow pace of Turkish reforms. As the president renews transatlantic ties, he might consider using his dialogue with the French president to convince Paris to adopt a more flexible position on Turkey's EU accession -- a tall order even for Obama -- though the benefit for Paris is that Turkey would lift its veto on France's return to NATO's military command structure. In addition, setting the EU as a benchmark for Turkey would strengthen the country's enfeebled liberal democratic values and forces.
Treat Turkey as more than a Muslim country. Since the Iraq War, U.S.-Turkish relations have been focused on the Muslim Middle East, particularly Iraq. This development has come at the expense of previous U.S.-Turkish cooperation in the Caucasus, Black Sea, Central Asia, and within Europe and NATO. Turkey is more than just a Muslim partner for the United States. Washington's singular focus on Middle East issues has empowered a Muslim vector in Turkish foreign policy, stimulating an exclusively Muslim identity among Turks at the expense of European and pro-Western identities. Obama has a grasp of this issue; news reports suggest the president is not going to deliver his "address to the Muslim world" from Turkey. According to the White House, Obama's Turkey stop is not linked to his campaign promise to visit a Muslim country during the first 100 days of his presidency. Washington needs to cooperate with Turkey on non-Muslim issues if it wants to keep Turkey's non-Muslim foreign policy vectors alive and various Turkish identities thriving.
Emphasize NATO as the benchmark for Turkish foreign policy. Turkey has participated in every NATO operation since it joined the alliance in 1952. When Obama builds consensus in NATO, such as a common stance on Iran, he can and should expect to find Turkey on board.
Build an economic component to bilateral ties. Although the United States and Turkey have been military and political allies for six decades, they have not built comparable economic ties. Because of this, each time U.S.-Turkish relations have faced political problems, as they did during the Iraq War, official cooperation and amity have nearly collapsed. In 2008, the U.S./European share of Turkish trade dropped to less than 50 percent, and Russia became Turkey's top trading partner for the first time. If the West and Turkey are not tightly linked economically, their political and military ties will be susceptible to the influence of Russia and Iran, where Turkish investments have grown substantially.
Partner with Turkey on energy security. One way to diversify U.S.-Turkish relations and shift the focus from the Middle East would be to join forces with Turkey to reach the energy fields of the Caspian Sea basin and to build pipelines, such as the long-projected Nabucco line, to connect Central Asia and Europe via Turkey. This strategy would decrease the West's dependence on Middle East oil and Europe's dependence on Russian energy, providing a sweetener for Turkish-EU talks.
Turkey is at a crossroads in terms of its international political identity. The Obama visit will be a success if the president endorses Turkey as a European country that is seen as part of the West rather than part of the "Muslim world." With political stars in Turkey aligned against the United States, a passive U.S. policy toward Ankara would only deepen the Turks' growing sense of alienation from the West. Rather, the Obama administration should take an active interest in Turkey and formulate a broad-based policy coordinated across various government agencies.
Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.