24 Apr 2009, Yerevan, Armenia
The White House Office Of The Press Secretary
Statement of President Barack Obama on Armenian Remembrance Day
Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people
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The White House Office Of The Press Secretary
Statement of President Barack Obama on Armenian Remembrance Day
Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people. . .
History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Just as the terrible events of 1915 remind us of the dark prospect of man’s inhumanity to man, reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of reconciliation. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.
The best way to advance that goal right now is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward. I strongly support efforts by the Turkish and Armenian people to work through this painful history in a way that is honest, open, and constructive. To that end, there has been courageous and important dialogue among Armenians and Turks, and within Turkey itself. I also strongly support the efforts by Turkey and Armenia to normalize their bilateral relations. Under Swiss auspices, the two governments have agreed on a framework and roadmap for normalization. I commend this progress, and urge them to fulfill its promise.
Together, Armenia and Turkey can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive and prosperous. And together, the Armenian and Turkish people will be stronger as they acknowledge their common history and recognize their common humanity.
Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Meds Yeghern. But the contributions that Armenians have made over the last ninety-four years stand as a testament to the talent, dynamism and resilience of the Armenian people, and as the ultimate rebuke to those who tried to destroy them. The United States of America is a far richer country because of the many Americans of Armenian descent who have contributed to our society, many of whom immigrated to this country in the aftermath of 1915. Today, I stand with them and with Armenians everywhere with a sense of friendship, solidarity, and deep respect.
Kanal B TV Discussion On Armenian Issues on Wednesday
1- Sukru Server Aya will be on air in Ankara, in the below program:
“Kanal B” TV (Başkent Uni) 29/4/09 Wednesday 21.30 – 23.30
“Hariciye Kliniği” Moderator: Mithat Sirmen- Subject: Armenian Issues
Speakers: Bilâl Şimşir (Ret Ambassador-Author) Şükrü Server Aya (Researcher) Dr. Şenol Kantarcı (TÜRKSAM)
2- TV Broadcat Live On The Net: www.wholetv.com/tv/kanal-b-canli-tv-izle.htm
- # Their Sacrifice, Our Friendship Ersavci, Turkey's Ambassador To Australia, Writes Of An Unbreakable Bond
- # Dashnaktsutyun Condemns Turkish-Armenian Deal
- # Hak Demands Publication Of “Road Map” Document
- # Turks Get Armenian Invite
- # Armenians Luke Warm On ’Road Map’
- # Davutoğlu: We Did Not Promise Anything Excessive
- # Now New Period Begins
- # Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité - Et Realité
- # Global Economic Crisis Hits Turkish Workers Abroad
- # Neo-Cons in French Ministry of Culture Promote Genocidal Turkey in France, Jabarian
- # Call President Obama : Voice Your Opinion:
- # Hilmar Kaiser Is Expressed In Daily Zaman
- # Unearthed Confessions Suggest Link Between PKK, ASALA
- # After Turkey's Hype Over Obama Comes Hard Implementation
- # Armenian Journalist Says Turkey-Armenia Rapprochement Postponed
- # Has Turkey Traded Genocide For Karabakh?
- # Think Tank's Report on Armenia: You Get What You Pay For Harut Sassounian
- # Russian Political Scientist: Return Of Five Occupied Regions To Azerbaijan Must Undoubtedly Become First Step
- # Dilemma Of Lebanese Armenians
- # Elnur Aslanov: Good Neighbor Better Than Distant Relative
- # Turkey's Missed Opportunity V Oskanian Guatemala Times
- # Sarkisian, Biden Discuss Turkey-Armenia Ties
- # On April 24, Thousands To Demand End To Cycle Of Genocide At Turkish Consulate
- # Erdogan Tells Turks To 'Forget About' Armenian Border Opening
- # I Apologize For Not Apologizing
- # Over 12,000 Documents On Armenian Genocide Stored In National Archive Of Armenia
- # Genocide Of Circassians
- # Issues Of Organization Of Armeniancy
- # Turkey Recalls Ambassador to Canada in Protest of Genocide Event
- # Sos Sargsyan - “Turks Always Our Enemy”
- # Margaryan - “Armenian Side Must Accept Defeat”
- # Armenian-Turkish Alliance? Yermolayev
- # Q&A With Taner Akçam On Obama's Visit To Turkey And If Obama Will Use The Word Genocide On April 24th.
- # History Texts Draw Set Of Blank Pages
- # Erdoğan Defends Akp Baku Stance
- # Dreams from My President: Obama Sails to Byzantium
- # A Date, A Word And A Shrug
- # Commission Of Historians Welcomed By Academic
- # Karabakh Hurdle
- # Torosyan Talks About Making of ‘Morgenthau’ Film
- # Boyajian Speaks About Denials By Anti-Defamation League
- # Fethullah Gulen: Infiltrating U.S. Through Our Charter Schools?
- # Erdogan, Ergenekon, And Struggle For Turkey Michael Rubin
- # In The Name Of Our Lands
- # Hovhannisyan Expects Harsh Speech Without Word Genocide
- # Turkey Calls Back Ambassador To Canada
- # Normalization Of Relations With Armenia Is Stemming From Interests Of Turkey, Armenian Turkologist
- # Armenia's Security Strategy Should Not Suffer Because Of Normalization Of Relations With Turkey
- # “Karabakh Issue More Important For Armenia’s Future Than Genocide Recognition”
- # Turkey :Accord Reached With Armenia On Roadmap
- # Turkey & Armenia: Normalization
- # Turkey, Armenia Agree 'Roadmap' On Normalising Ties
- # History Overshadows Hope On Turkey’s Armenian Border
- # Ambassador To Canada Recalled Over Armenian Issue
- # How Much Will Us Change Under Obama?
- # Will Genocide Guillotine Fall Tomorrow?
- # Does Azerbaijan Follow ’One Nation-Two States’ Concept?
- # Letter From Armenian People To Obama
- # Armenia Is In 91st Position Among 133 Countries
- # History Inoperative
- # 12,000 Documents On Genocide Of Armenians
- # Taner Akçam: Alone Against All
- # Genocide: Shocked, Turkey Recalled Its Ambassador To Canada
- # Genocide: Canada's Position Does Not Modern Turkey
- # 100 Signatories To Resolution On Genocide
- # Why Armenian Holocaust Must Not Be Airbrushed From History
- # Calling White House, Parev All, Lets Flood Entire White House Telephone Lines
- # Architects Of Diaspora In Parliament National Assembly of RA
- # Canada's Stance For 'Genocide' No Indictment For Turkey-Official
- # Turkey-Armenia Dialogue Process & Existing Disputes
- # Obama Not Expected To Recognize Armenian Claims After Joint Statement
- # Armenian Efforts Under Way
- # Debates On Turkish-Armenian Border Opening To Be Held In Izmir On 23-25 April
- # Turkey's Dark IntentionsThe Australian
- # European Police Detain 50 Armenian Mafia
- # Dashnak Leader Blasts Armenia's 'Failed' Policy On Turkey
- # Hovhannisian: Armenian-Turkish "Football Diplomacy" Is Not A Continuation Of Chinese-American "Ping-Pong Precedent"
- # ACNIS Holds Seminar on "Armenian-Turkish Diplomacy"
- # Turkey, Armenia In Broad Accord Bitter Rivals Agree To Framework For Normalizing Ties
- # Turkey-Armenia Border Deal Done, Details To Follow
- # Turkey Declares Armenia Deal At Eleventh Hour, Baku Uneasy
- # Ara Baliozian Reads The Armenians, Yo’
- # Biden, Obama: "Prevention Of Genocide Is A National Priority"
- # Road Map: Avoiding Pronouncing Word Genocide
- # Day G
- # Opening Of Turkish Border: Skepticism In Armenia
- # "Armenians", Mauritius Fanon "In Armenia, Even The Footprints Were Not Executed, Exterminated"
- # Switzerland: Hesitation Waltz Around Word "Genocide"
- # Roadmap Berne: Vive Concern Of Diaspora
- # Road Map "Of Smoke And Mirrors"
- # More Obstacles On Road To Reconciliation Between Turkey And Armenia
- # Taner Akçam In Le Nouvel Observateur: It Was A Genocide Atatürk About Genocide: "A Shameful Act"
- # Turkey Steps In To Soothe Azerbaijani Concerns On Armenia Thaw
- # ANC Cambridge and the Armenian Community Centre host Three MPs
- # Canada is Not Banana Republic
- # Feds Downplay Rift With Turkey
- # Statement By Anca April 24th U.S. Presidential Statement
- # Armenian Revolutionary Federation Statement
- # Acnis Director Giragosian Comments On Recent Trilateral Armenian-Turkish-Swiss Joint Statement
- # Will Obama Use The Word Today?
- # Last Warning From Us Think-Tank To Obama Over April 24 Message
Their Sacrifice, Our Friendship Murat Ersavci, Turkey's Ambassador To Australia, Writes Of An Unbreakable Bond. * April 24, 2009
After 94 years the Gallipoli campaign is still something Australians and Turks carry in their hearts. It has become a noble link binding our two countries in a unique friendship, and I hope it will always continue to do so.
The first friendly contacts between Australian and Turkish soldiers took place near the place known as "Anzac Cove" in May 1920, digging graves to bury their dead. The Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli had come from the other side of the world, to fight in a futile conflict which had little or nothing to do with them or their country. They were being asked to give their lives in a war which was not really theirs. The Turkish soldiers were the sons of a land which was desperate and close to starvation. They knew that if they lost this battle, the country would be open to invaders and Turkey would probably be partitioned.
A more horrific war scenario is hard to imagine. Yet for many years our countries have approached the Gallipoli anniversary in a friendship of fellowship, even brotherhood, mourning the young and hopeful lives on both sides that were thrown away, and the heroism and valour of their sacrifice.
Gallipoli plays an important part in the national memories and self-consciousness of Australia and Turkey. Without the bitter but heroic experience of the campaign there, people today in both countries would see their land rather differently. That is why in March and April the various key dates in the Gallipoli calendar are commemorated with flags and ceremonies and speeches in Turkey, and in Australia.
In 2009, the veterans of the campaign are no longer with us. The families which once directly remembered the loss of a son, an uncle, a father, or a brother at Gallipoli, are represented only by later generations.Yet on both sides the memory of those who fell fighting is still as strong as ever.
There is of course a good deal of comfort to be gained from the sense of reconciliation and peace which our shared commemoration of the Gallipoli campaign brings us, regardless of which side our country was on. This solidarity is expressed perhaps best of all in the words of the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He declared that the fallen soldiers of other countries who lay buried in Gallipoli were now the sons of Turkey too and should sleep peacefully. It is due to him, and his genius as a man of peace and reconciliation as well as a commander, that the first shared commemorations of the Gallipoli campaign took place within a few years of the ending of the war.
Turkey and Australia have come a long way since 1915. We have a great deal in common. We are both prosperous industrial countries, democratic nations, and as allies, our soldiers today stand side by side in Afghanistan and in UN peacekeeping forces. We can both be proud of our record as upholders of international peace and stability, as well as of our commitment to spread the prosperity we have achieved to those who have not yet had this good fortune. All of this comes, at least in part, from the formative experience we both endured at Gallipoli and the lessons that we learnt from it.
But of course we also know that we live in a world which has many fearsome storm clouds of its own and has yet to achieve peace everywhere. No one before 1914 appreciated the terrible catastrophe that a world war would bring. I hope that in this generation we have a better idea of the benefits of peace and co-operation and mutual understanding and we should see those who work against them for what they are.
To me and my compatriots, the friendship between Turkey and Australia is a unique bond, forged in the horrors of battle, but strengthened over the years by people of goodwill on both sides, seeking to honour their dead by building a better world, one based on shared experiences and understanding.
Together with the Government and people of Australia, I salute the heroic dead of Gallipoli. Their sacrifice, whichever side they were on and whichever country they came from, was not in vain if we keep faith with them by ensuring that future generations live in a world worthy of humanity.
Dashnaktsutyun Condemns Turkish-Armenian Deal RFE/RL 23.04.2009
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Thursday strongly condemned a far-reaching agreement announced by Ankara and Yerevan and said it could pull out of Armenia's governing coalition in protest.
"For us it is absolutely unacceptable to normalize relations with Turkey at the expense of a viable and sovereign existence of our state and the state-national rights of generations," Dashnaktsutyun said in a statement. "Being committed to these principles, we regard as unacceptable and condemnable the signing by Armenia's Foreign Ministry on April 22 of a joint statement with Turkey."
The influential nationalist party said the announced "roadmap" for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations heralded a "negative" change in Armenia's foreign policy. Dashnaktsutyun's leadership will therefore "discuss in the coming days the expediency of its participation" in President Serzh Sarkisian's four-party coalition government, it said.
The extraordinary move, which could have major repercussions for political developments in Armenia, came the day after Dashnaktsutyun's top leader, Hrant Markarian, publicly lambasted Sarkisian's year-long diplomatic overtures to Turkey, saying that they have seriously damaged Armenia 's national interests. He said that Yerevan has made major concessions to Ankara while failing to secure the lifting the of the Turkish economic blockade of Armenia.
Markarian and other Dashnaktsutyun leaders spoke at a special seminar in Yerevan on Turkish-Armenian relations. They seem to have been unaware that the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries are about to issue a joint statement.
Dashnaktsutyun emphasized the fact that the statement came on the eve of the annual commemoration of more than one million Armenians slaughtered during the dying years of the Ottoman Empire. It warned earlier that the Turks are exploiting the dialogue with Armenia to prevent an official U.S. recognition of the massacres as genocide.
The party also cited on Thursday "overtly anti-Armenian statements" made by Turkish leaders of late -- an apparent reference to their renewed linkage between Turkish-Armenian relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Dashnaktsutyun agreed to join Sarkisian's coalition cabinet a year ago despite challenging him in the February 2008 presidential election. Its leaders have repeatedly voiced serious misgivings about the ensuing thaw in Turkish-Armenian ties. The party, which has branches in all major Armenian communities abroad, has traditionally favored a harder line on Turkey.
Hak Demands Publication Of “road Map” Document 2009/04/24
HAK (Armenian National Congress), an alliance of political opposition forces led by Levon Ter-Petrosyan, issued the following release regarding the April 22 “road map” agreement.
Yesterday, the foreign ministries of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland issued a joint statement regarding the process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. In the statement it is noted that, “The two parties have achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding in this process and they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations in a mutually satisfactory manner.”
This signifies that, in essence, that negotiations regarding reconciliation have ended and that an agreed upon bilateral document exists. Since at issue here is the matter of a final agreement, the HAK demands that the Armenian government immediately publish this document that relates to the interests of not only Armenia but the worldwide Armenian community. The HAK will offer its political evaluation of the document once it has been officially published. hetq.am
Turks Get Armenian Invite
YEREVAN-Armenian state archives are open to all and officials are ready to sit down and help Turkish historians who want access documents dating from the early part of last century, said Armenian State Archives Director Amaduni Virabyan.
As he denied claims that the archives were closed, Virabyan said 12,000 documents were transferred to the digital medium, while the rest were being kept in special underground depots for protection.
He said except for what is left in the Turkish military archives, Turkey had destroyed most of its documents concerning the 1915 events.
Armenia argues that the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 constituted an organized genocide while Turkey denies the claim, arguing that during World War I, hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Turks perished in civil disturbances amid wartime conditions.
Virabyan said the entire blame for what happened in 1915 was laid on the feet of Turks, but the real culprits were the Germans, an ally of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and the Russians.
"If Germany had not permitted it, the genocide would never have happened. Western powers that allowed it to happen, especially Germany, are now trying to place the blame on Turkey to blackmail the country in order to escape their own culpability," he said.
He said April 24 was first a remembrance day for those who died in 1920. "On each April 24, Armenians around the world mark the day with ceremonies. However, between 1920 and 1927, Soviet authorities banned the practice," he said.
Mediation not needed
Virabyan said Turkey and Armenia did not need the mediation of Western countries to establish their own dialogue. "My roots are in Van [in eastern Turkey]. The antagonism between us needs to end and the new generations should be free of it. Genocide happened but it is time for Turks and Armenians to produce solutions." He also said Kurds had played a part in 1915, saying, "Kurds are now paying the price for what they did to Armenians. Most Armenians who died in 1915 died at the hands of Kurds."
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Armenians Luke Warm On ’road Map’
YEREVAN - Reactions to the agreement between Turkey and Armenia for a road map to normalizing relations were largely muted on the streets of Yerevan, with only a radio station announcing it to the public.
Newspapers, maybe due to the late hour of the announcement, did not cover the issue, with only Yerevan-based Radio Liberty reporting it. Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review talked to people on the streets of Yerevan for their thoughts on the matter.
Siranuys Dvoyon, an academic from Yerevan State University, said he had not heard of the agreement but did not find what he heard informative. "What does the road map mean? It is meaningless. Both sides should play it open. Let’s not forget that Turkey unilaterally shut down its border at the worst of times for Armenia," he said.
He also found it strange for the announcement to come a day before the scheduled remembrance ceremony for those who died in 1915. "It is wrong to announce this agreement a day before April 24," he said. Mihitar Markaryan agreed, noting: "The fact that this announcement was made a day before we were getting ready to put our hearts out to remember those who died is meaningless. It hurts. The only way to normalize relations is for Turkey to recognize the genocide." Sergey Bedrosyan, checking the story at an Internet caf?, said such agreements were meaningless if Turkey set any preconditions. "We also know that Turkey will never withdraw those preconditions. It is hard to believe the border between Turkey and Armenia will really be reopened. If they open now, they’ll shut it back up tomorrow," he said. Bedrosyan also said he wanted to ask what exactly a "road map" meant. Meanwhile, thousands of Armenians are marking today as "Genocide Remembrance Day."
Davutoğlu: We Did Not Promise Anything Excessive
After my article was published yesterday Ahmet Davutoğlu, chief advisor of the prime ministry, called to say he wants some corrections to be made. I wrote that word "was out" about Davutoğlu. During his trip to Washington before Obama’s visit to Ankara, he exhibited behavior that increased Americans’ expectations about the readiness to open the border.
Especially during Clinton’s and Obama’s visits, Ankara reflected the impression in the press that it approached this matter with sympathy.
Based on these impressions I said that people wondered whether or not "The Turkish side gave exaggerated hopes to the Obama administration and, if so, if Washington feels deceived then might a genocide decision pass through congress." Ahmet Davutoğlu said, "There is no such thing." Neither during contact with Washington nor during Clinton’s and Obama’s visits did we promise "the opening of the border" and repeated insistently they have not engaged in any commitment they cannot fulfill. He said, "I called because I did not want to be misunderstood."
Davutoğlu stressed the fact that they have never exhibited behavior that might mislead the American administration. Then why did the Azerbaijani take on such a brisk attitude? Davutoğlu is very clear about it. "We shared each development with our Azerbaijani siblings. We did not hide anything from them. In any event that cannot be the case. Would we take a step without the Azerbaijanis?"
Now A New Period Begins
Davutoğlu did not want to go beyond this point in our conversation. He only said, "What we talked about with the Americans surfaced with the announcement last night. We negotiated with the Armenians, informed the Azerbaijanis and started a new period." The purpose is the opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia, get relations back to normal and at the same time solve the Karabakh issue. Consider a two-way road. Armenia will take a step and Turkey will answer with a corresponding step. Turkey will make a gesture and the Armenians will answer in the Karabakh issue. One needs to view this as a package agreement. And the parts in this package are interconnected. The content of the process to normalize relations is top secret and it has no timeframe.
Azerbaijan being punished like this and speculations being made regarding the new period is only natural. For, now the 17-year-old frozen Karabakh issue is trying to be thawed. The Minsk Group with its 10 members (including its co-chairs the United States, France, Russia) was established to solve this problem, but has not been able to change the status quo for 17 years. Countries like the United States and France that house Armenian diaspora especially did not want to change the status quo. For, the status quo serves Armenia well.
The realization of the agreement between Turkey and Armenia depends on an agreement between the Azerbaijanis and Armenians regarding Karabakh. And to provide for this agreement the Minsk group needs to spend some effort. This means that Washington and France need to roll up their sleeves and provide support.
One needs to show understanding for reactions in Baku. They are suspicious and concerned about any change after 17 years of status quo. They want to be on the safe side of things in the new balances to be formed. If Ankara increases dialogue with and response to the sensitivity of our Azerbaijani siblings then there won’t be any problems. But this will be a long process. We will see in the future if we can come to the end of the tunnel.
In summary, Turkey has taken a step and started an intelligent process.
Mehmet Ali Birand © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité - Et Realité
False: If the French did not object to Turkey’s European Union membership everything would come up roses and Ankara would win a well-deserved nod for accession.
True: In 2009, EU candidate Turkey is still oceans away from having truly absorbed the values cherished in the club it hopes to join one day Ğ or so it pretends. If Turkey’s all too visible short-comings have not been fairly put under a magnifier over the past few years, it is because of its "nuisance value," or, in more polite words, its "strategic importance."
False: Some Europeans don’t want Turkey in because it’s Muslim.
True: The same Europeans will sooner rather than later (but most likely before Turkey) admit Muslim Bosnia as a full member. Islam per se is not an obstacle for EU membership. Its archaic, dogmatic, political interpretations can be.
False: The biggest single obstacle to Turkish membership is France.
True: The biggest single obstacle to Turkish membership is Turkey.
False: Europe is negatively discriminating Turkey.
True: Europe is positively discriminating in favor of Turkey.
If a Turk and a Frenchman met at a bar, the Turk would probably think the Frenchman owed him a lot of money because he would reflexively think that the Frenchman was the barrier to the fat salary he would be earning in Berlin, Paris or London. The Turk would also think that this Frenchman was not only blocking his nice salary but was also torturing him in long visa queues. Ah, Antoine, what have I done to you to deserve this torment?
Does Ankara want to win French hearts and minds? Yes. Can it? Not with the current state of "Turkish affairs." Most recent public opinion polls put the French support for Turkish membership at 35 percent, with the ’mais non!’ group hovering at around 55 percent. Various other researches also reveal that a majority of the ’s’il vous plait’ camp consists of the French left. Yes, the French left could have been Turkey’s only hope of winning France. Too bad, there are signs that the French left no longer buys into the illusion that Turkey is run by liberal Muslims.
It was not in vain that Bernard Kouchner, France’s socialist foreign minister and until recently a keen supporter of Turkish membership, has remarked that Turkey, which would be the EU’s first Muslim member, was actually heading towards "a reinforcement of religion and a lessened affirmation of secularity?" Why did Mr Kouchner "betray" his Turkish friends? Optimists would cite French domestic politics, European Parliament elections and Mr Kouchner’s desire to look pretty to President Nicolas Sarkozy and therefore to escape losing his cabinet seat. All of which would make for make another "false." The truth is Mr Kouchner said so only because that’s what he thinks. Turkey is on the way of losing the tiny support it got from the country with which it established its first ever diplomatic relations Ğ back in the 16th century Ğ because even the most na?ve French intellectual increasingly tends to believe that Turkey’s Islamists with the masks tagged "hey-we-are-the-real-democrats-not-the-others" have been embarrassingly unmasked.
"We genuinely believed thatÉ the Turkish government deserved a chanceÉ We feared we would otherwise have behaved unethically. Today we only regret being too na?ve. Turkey has just sailed towards Islamic autocracy, pretending it was sailing westwards," a senior French diplomat told me in Paris. "At times when we were the strongest advocates of a democratic, European Turkey we were teased. We shouted back, loud and clearÉ The same teasing goes on today. And we just bow our heads and keep silent." Where we stand on the Ankara-Paris axis today is the accumulation of unpleasant Turkish affairs in the last few years. You can expect the Frenchman who is sympathetic to the idea of Turkish membership to ignore Turkey when the Turkish prime minister, commenting on a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights, publicly declares that the Court should have taken advice from the Ulema (Islamic scholars). You can expect him to delete from his memory the fact that the Turkish prime minister holds the title of having sued a record number of writers, journalists and cartoonistsÉ Or that he once asked for a prison sentence for a female protestor because she had held out a placard that read "Whose prime minister are you?"
But the Frenchman could not just turn around and whistle when his knowledge of Turkish affairs becomes overwhelmingly dominated by bits and pieces of Islamic autocracy. He does not. This is exactly where the Americans are miscalculating. France is not Georgia where one could orchestrate any color of popular movement. When the French should go to the polls for Turkey, they won’t vote to open Europe’s doors to a country run by political Islam disguised as a democracy.
Putting all that into real-life language? Easy. The Sept. 10, 2008 issue of the French humor magazine drew the Pope and Mr Sarkozy together under the headline "Rencontre au sommet entre Pape et Sarkozy (Summit meeting between the Pope and Sarkozy). A second line read: "Le suppositoire et le trou du cul." That line is probably not fit for printing in EU candidate Turkey, so I shall leave it to the curious reader to find out what it quite vulgarly means.
The heart of the matter isÉ France is an overwhelmingly Catholic country; and Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim. France is an EU member state; and Turkey is an EU member candidate. Could anyone even in the distant future reasonably expect the Turkish government to make legal and mental amendments in the country so that one day the Islamic/Turkish version of the same caricature could appear in a Turkish magazine without prosecution Ğ and possibly torching and fists and bullets too? Turkey will certainly deserve membershipÉ just when it governmentally and nationally is prepared to democratically absorb a cartoon that shows, say, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen with the same title and the same line underneath, or even a much lighter version of the same caricature. Ah, that’s just hundreds of years ahead? Peut-etreÉ
Burak Bekdil © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Global Economic Crisis Hits Turkish Workers Abroad
The number of Turkish employees who lost their jobs in 2008 due to the ongoing global financial crisis makes up 31 percent of the population of Turkish workers in some 55 countries, according to a recently released report from the Ministry of Labor.
The number of Turkish workers or job seekers abroad had reached 1.34 million as of 2007, of whom 17.7 percent were without work. The ministry’s report states that many Turks living overseas have decided to return to their homeland amidst a growing unemployment problem.
Official Turkish data put the number of Turks living abroad at 3.66 million, with 3.1 million residing in Western Europe, 291,000 in the US and Canada, 112,203 in the Middle East, 61,500 in Australia, 31,000 in the Turkic republics, 30,326 in Israel and 26,000 in Russia. The majority of European civil institutions and unions, however, say there are some 4.2 million Turks living in Europe alone and that 1.4 million of them are employed. The ministry report says the number of Turkish workers abroad has exceeded 1.3 million, and the majority, some 1.03 million, work in Western European countries.
According to Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) figures, unemployment in Turkey has reached a peak, approaching a historic high of 15.5 percent, which translates to some 3.6 million jobless in the country. Analysts suggest this number has increased with the arrival of Turks who were left jobless in foreign countries. Turkish workers are found mostly in regions where companies from Turkey have made sizeable investments. Now that the crisis has hit these places harder than any other, Turkish workers in these countries are facing serious problems.
The Turkish Employment Organization (İŞKUR) sent some 141,734 Turkish workers to 55 countries in 2006 and 2007 combined. The largest group went to Russia, while Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan accepted 14,402 Turkish workers in the same period. Many these workers now have little choice but to return to Turkey due to the crisis. An important detail is that most of these workers were well-trained personnel, yet the ministry has not released a figure for the number of these workers who have returned.
Number of jobless Turks jumps in Europe
Among countries where Turks are densely concentrated, Belgium, France and Germany have the highest number of unemployed Turks, while Liechtenstein has the lowest. Among all countries, the fewest unemployed Turks live in Japan, followed by Switzerland. In both countries, Turkish workers are engaged in relatively high-status jobs.
In Germany, some 387,000 people lost their jobs in January, and the number of unemployed in the country hit 3.49 million, 8.3 percent of the entire labor force. The 732,000 Turkish in Germany have been badly affected by the crisis, as the unemployment rate among Turks living in Germany increased from 23.3 percent in 2007 to 29.2 percent in 2008. France, which is home to the second-largest Turkish population in Europe after Germany, has 32,623 jobless Turks. The unemployment rate among Turks in this country jumped from 30 percent in 2007 to 35 percent in 2008. Around 42 percent of Turks in Belgium are unemployed, the highest rate in Europe, according to 2008 year-end figures. Of the 51,000 Turkish workers in the Netherlands, 17,000 are jobless. The unemployed in Austria number only 6,874, a relatively low figure compared to the rest of Europe.
There are some 23,000 Turkish workers in the Turkic republics, mostly working in the construction sector.
Turkish workers in Middle East lucky amid crisis
As can be deduced from general indices, the oil-rich states of the Middle East have by far faced the least problems due to the crisis. Very few Turkish workers in the Middle East and North Africa have lost their jobs amid the crisis. İŞKUR says this stems mainly from the fact that countries in the region accept a limited number of employees and because Turkish companies in the region primarily choose to hire Turkish workers. İŞKUR also notes that many Turks who have lost jobs in Europe have applied for jobs in the Middle East. There are 112,203 Turks in the Middle East, and 105,089 of them are employed. Of the 102,121 Turks in Saudi Arabia alone, 95,000 have jobs. Of the Turks living in Qatar, 400 are employed in various sectors.
According to 2007 figures, one out of every three Turkish workers in Russia had to return to Turkey. There were some 10,514 Turkish workers in the country, but this number has fallen to 6,000. Most Turkish construction companies in Russia have suspended operations, leaving 2,000 workers jobless and some without even enough money to return to Turkey.
Meanwhile, the population of foreign workers in Turkey has increased remarkably. While there were only 855 recorded foreign workers in Turkey in 2003, this number increased to 28,198 in 2008. The majority of foreign workers in Turkey are employed in the tourism sector, according to İŞKUR.
24 April 2009, Ercan Yavuz Ankara
Neo-Cons in French Ministry of Culture Promote Genocidal Turkey in France By Appo Jabarian Executive Publisher / Managing Editor USA Armenian Life Magazine Friday, April 24, 2009
In an April 10 article titled "Ice between Turkey, France to melt during ‘Season of Turkey,’" Ali Pektas of Today’s Zaman reported: "Turkey’s relations with France, which opposes its accession to the European Union, have sustained significant damage in recent days -- but an important opportunity lies ahead for both countries, a chance to repair and develop bilateral relations. This opportunity is the nine-month "Season of Turkey in France," set to run from July 1, 2009, until March 31, 2010."
According to various sources, Turkey will be the subject of over 400 events held in France during the nine-month period at a cost of 30 million euros.
Through the Turkish "invasion" of France, Turkish officials such as Görgün Taner, the event’s Turkish commissioner, have high hopes to eliminate many of the stumbling blocks in the way of Turkey’s EU accession.
Political observers agree that Turkey’s ties with France have deteriorated in recent years over a French Parliament decision to recognize the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and its subsequent legislative plans to criminalize any denial of the genocide. Ties are also strained over French President Nicolas Sarkozy's outright objection to Turkey's accession to the European Union, proposing instead a Turkish involvement in a separate Union of the Mediterranean with nations having close ties to the EU.
"The Season of Turkey," organized in an effort to ease tension between the two nations, will be marked with an official ceremony in October, at which Sarkozy and Turkish President Abdullah Gül will be present.
Taner said: "What is important is that we represent ourselves correctly, breaking prejudices."
Deep down Mr. Taner knows full well that these French and European "prejudices" are really troubling concerns about Turkey’s criminal past and its present unrepentant attitude. Europeans and French along with Italians, Greeks, Serbs, Austrians and Armenians remember very vividly that their common concerns vis-à-vis genocidal Turkey have roots in the bloodied fields of Armenia (through the Turkish invasions in 1071A.D., genocidal campaigns through Hamidian ethnic cleansings of 1890’s; Adana massacres of 1909; and the culminating major genocide of 1915-1923), Serbia (1386), Greece (early 1400’s), Austria (1683).
It is understandable why in France in particular, doubts remain as to what Turkey could contribute to the EU.
In order to prevent any negative reaction by the French population, the organizers have embarked on a massive disinformation campaign claiming that "The Armenian diaspora community hasn’t posed any opposition to the project and is, to the contrary, supporting it."
Today’s Zaman Turkish daily, the official mouthpiece of the Turkish officials in charge of the "Turkish Season" falsely claimed that "In the cities of Marseilles and Lyon, where many people of Armenian descent live, municipal administrations have provided a significant amount of support and aid to planning efforts."
Turkey also attempted to blow dust in the eyes of French Armenians boasting that "Taner evaluates this aid positively, opining that the Turkish president’s trip to Armenia last year played a part in swaying public opinion to make this support possible."
Armenians in France and around the world are fully aware of the facts that Turkey continues to use every opportunity to misguide Armenia and Armenians by attempting to lure them into false "dialogues."
According to another source, a number of French companies that had pledged sponsorship for a major event in France aimed at strengthening ties with Turkey have withdrawn their contributions due to financial problems stemming from the ongoing global economic crisis.
Turkey has committed 13 million euros to the event in addition to France's contribution of around 5 million euros, 2 million of which will be provided through the sponsorship of private French companies with investments in Turkey.
Yet the "organizers have voiced disappointment, saying they haven't been able to find as many sponsors as expected, apparently due to the global economic crisis." French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën and bailed-out Belgian bank Dexia SA have withdrawn their sponsorship pledges for the event.
Meanwhile, French businesses such as oil giant Total, energy transmission and distribution company AREVA, Accor hotel group and the nation's largest bank, BNP Paribas SA along with AXA, EADS, Groupama insurance stand as the largest contributors, while Renault SA, France's second-largest carmaker, which has made major investments in Turkey, will keep the amount of its contribution relatively low.
It’s distasteful on the part of the French companies to aid the genocidal government of Turkey and abate its invasion of France through its packs of lies and misrepresentations.
The French companies and the neo-cons in the French Culture Ministry may do well by remembering that the U.S. predecessor of the "Season of Turkey" in France, the so-called "Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival" in Southern California of early April was met by California wide boycott and worldwide condemnation. The misleading Turkish festival failed to achieve its stated objectives.
The French companies may gain some business from harboring genocidal Turkey in the midst of France’s population, but may definitely expose themselves to worldwide criticism and even boycotts that may well offset any financial gains secured through going to bed with a criminal state.
By the way, have they forgotten that Turkey still owes an apology to the countless drug-addicted victims and their families for its century-old state-sponsored exportation of social ills to Europe and the United States?
Finally, how could they become accessories to Turkish lies about Turkey having a "rich" culture, a "tasty" cuisine, "historically Turkish" lands, and over 70 millions "Turks?" Turkey continues to be a major human rights violator. Ankara continues to suppress the real identity of the forcibly Turkified millions of Arabs, Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians, Kurds, Alevis and others.
Call President Obama : Voice Your Opinion:
· Importance Of Us-Turkish Relations
· Importance Of Azerbaijan
· Support For Turkish - Armenian Commission
· Problems With Incriminating Proclamations
Dear Friends and Members of the Turkish-American Community:
As American of Turkish Heritage, "Yes We Can"!
Following President Obama's tremendously successful visit to Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, WE CAN take this opportunity to thank him for his positive outreach and to commend to him our full support as a key heritage community.
WE CAN join together in solidarity - over 500,000 Turkish and Turkic Americans - to voice the importance we give to U.S.-Turkish relations, including a shared vision for a democratically solid, economically vibrant, and strategically strong Turkey in a peaceful and prosperous Eurasia, Middle East and Central Asia.
WE CAN voice the importance we give to Turkish and US relations with Azerbaijan, including Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, the well-being of the Azeri people and over a million Azeri refugees fled the Armenian invasion, and Azerbaijan's western oriented political and energy policies in the face of challenges from Iran and Russia.
WE CAN voice the importance we give to America's neutral support for Turkey's and Armenia's efforts to work out their differences, including the establishment of a Joint Historical Commission to examine not only the events of 1915, but the entire Armenian Independence Revolt and Ottoman response, 1880-1919.
And, WE CAN voice the critical importance we give to a Presidential Proclamation which does not prejudice the Turks and Muslims or their Turkish and Ottoman heritage with a criminal conviction of any kind, let alone genocide, and which recognizes the mutual tragedy that befell all Ottomans equally, including over 1.1 million Muslims that perished in eastern Anatolia during the Armenian Revolt.
CALL THE WHITE HOUSE NOW
Please call 202.456.1414 between 9:00am and 5:00pm, ETS, and ask to leave a message for the President of the United States. Please encourage your friends to do the same.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (202) 483-9090 or at email@example.com.
Please Keep Us Informed Of Your Follow Ups And Let Us Know If We Could Be Of Further Help.
We thank you for defending your heritage.
The Assembly of Turkish American Associations
Hilmar Kaiser Is Expressed In The Turkish Daily Zaman 21 April 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
The German historian Hilmar Kaiser is currently in Ankara to conduct research in the Turkish archives. In an interview with the Turkish daily Zaman March Hilmar Kaiser said that the scope of the story "is flooded with lawyers who are less political historians as manufacturers of opinion."
In the 1990s, Hilmar Kaiser has worked exclusively in Istanbul and had access to Ottoman archives, which was run by special regulations with the government intervantiond u Tansu Çiller.
Hilmar Kaiser said that time was over and now there are more problems to access the archives of the State.
"Two weeks ago I was in Washington with my research and photos to a conference of the Armenian Assembly [American] and I suggested that they seek a good director for the museum and archives of the genocide, they could consider hiring SARINAY Yusuf, leader of the Turkish State Archives or Mustafa Budak, the head of the Ottoman archives. These are two highly qualified people with vision, determination and lots of easements. Some people were surprised, but I was very serious in saying this, "said Hilmar Kaiser.
"Yes, there are always problems, but having said that, I must add immediately there are problems everywhere. The important thing is that there is a process in place to overcome these problems. It is a huge administrative and encounter problems is part of daily work. I can only say that as I am concerned and I know the same for many, many researchers - both Turkish and foreigners - they were exactly the same experiences. If there is a problem, it is immediately taken up and resolved. That's all you can ask. Turkey has gained a lot of credit with its new policy on archives and gain more credibility if the government now supports the archives more strongly with additional funding, "he noted.
"We must stop thinking of [the Union and Progress] CUP as a kind of monolithic party. Research on the Armenians during the First World War has tended to try to create the impression of a Turkey that was like a small version of Nazi Germany, with a single party of the poor and named SS Teskilat'i Mahsusa. I think that is totally wrong and it should explore the Turkish-Armenian case separately. Yes, there were some people in the CRF positivist inspired by Europe, which were partly racist but I think that this was not the thrust of the party. This racism was not the reason leading Armenian policy is quite clear because if you compare it to racism German, you can not explain the survival of tens of thousands of women and children in Armenian houses Muslim even in government orphanages. That would have been completely impossible if the government had been inspired by the German type of racism, "said Hilmar Kaiser.
"People like to compare the Young Turks and Turkey in the Nazi Germany, but this is not a comparison, but even all that. A comparison should also stress the fundamental differences, "he continued.
"Racism as well as Islamic fundamentalism were not forces. Some allege that Islam was contributing to the very small-scale massacres of Armenians. This is totally illogical. If Islam was contributing to the very small-scale massacres of Armenians, why were they here for 600 years? Secondly, why the survivors have survived in Muslim societies in the Middle East. "
In his interview Hilmar Kaiser pointed out that population planning is as old as the Ottoman Empire beginning in the 14th century. "There have always been population planning - before and after 1915. We must establish a direct link between the policy against the Armenian population planning and, more specifically that population planning was the reason behind the policy. I remain very skeptical about this. Population planning has played a role, but we must be realistic: When you have tens of thousands of Muslim refugees from the Balkans and the border areas adjacent to Russia Camping out and you start to deport Armenians and you have access to empty houses, what are you doing this? Of course, you are using. Claim that there was a driving force behind the deportations, in my opinion, a mistake because it can not explain the timing of the deportations. The demographic argument is somehow a replacement for the project "he says.
"People who believe that there is a long-term planning, as from 1909 or 1912, have a problem in their exposure of a concrete link between what happened in 1915 and previous alleged plans. So now we face a lot of changes after the previous arguments have been dismantled. Yes, population planning is very important, but is not the thread. In my research I have found no convincing evidence - on the contrary, the evidence will point in different directions. "
Himar Kaiser was also opposed to those who portray the Union and Progress Committee and the Ottoman army as homogeneous body.
"Yes, the UPC was a nationalist group, but it included very religious groups. These people can not be united. They are obviously a unified face in public, as some politicians do today. And even if you are a Turkish nationalism that does not make you a killer. There were people who were Turkish nationalists known as Halide Edip, has advocated the assimilation of the Armenians, but was strongly opposed to any kind of murder. On the other hand, the opposition against it was not just limited to nationalists, but also included the opposition anti-CIP, for example, the Liberal Party. Believe it or not, the opposition focused on Cemal Pasha in the Fourth Army has worked - there is evidence of this - with the Armenian resistance against Talat, "he explained.
"Let me tell you something more radical: a person who saved most of the Armenians during the First World War was anyone other than Cemal Pasha. And this has not been discussed so far because we have a set of political problems with this and our field is really flooded by lawyers who are less political historians they are manufacturers of opinions . We have reports of officers of my German navy who were in the General Staff of Pasha because he was also Minister of the Navy. Sometimes, when he witnessed mistreatment of prisoners, he ordered to hang the head, not even waiting for it that it is finished. There are many many testimonies of Armenian on this subject in their memories. However, we should not be too romantic about it. "
Hilmar Kaiser, however, told the Turkish newspaper that the Turkish Republic was not built by killers and the Armenian genocide was a founding act.
"So you can also find other founders such as defeat in the Balkan wars. I mean it is a nonsense. You must establish a direct connection. The basis of the Armenian population had been destroyed and looking around the Turkey of today it is obvious and this has had a strong impact, but the republic has not been based on that. It is very important and was a part of the environment in which the republic was founded and as long as I could see, I found nothing in the contemporary sources that suggest that Mustafa Kemal was involved in the murders. The only thing I found is that it was strongly opposed. But later his views on the Armenian changed in connection with the war in Trans-Caucasus and then the Turkish-Soviet problems. But what we do not say that what happened in 1915, 1916 can not be interpreted as Kemal followed a policy that was not honorable for a Turkish officer.
"On the military - in the Fourth Army, they have resisted. If we have a problem with the military, it is the Third Army because it is where the major killings took place. The problem with the Third Army is that you have a 'de corba [Turkish soup] policies among the officers who were fast to their positions in connection with the party or in relation to their dependence on Enver Pasha. Employees standards have not really liked these people who had earned their position on merit. Second, you have all sorts of things like the so-called i-Teskilati Mahsusa, the special and I would remind you I was able to identify some of these units who killed Armenian villagers before Sarikamis. So there you have items that had already been active in Abdulhamid. They just continued doing this under a different name. We need precision in the research and these mega explanations - the army, the Turks, Muslims - it is simply ridiculous and is only useful if you want to make a cheap political argument, which I do not .
Unearthed Confessions Suggest Link Between PKK, ASALA
Published 25 years after their recording, the statements of a former terrorist supporter have introduced new viewpoints and allegations of cooperation between different ethnic minorities in Turkey in the perpetration of terrorist attacks.
It has emerged that Behçet Cantürk -- murdered in January 1994, ostensibly for his support of terrorist groups -- confessed in testimony to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) that he had aided the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Armenian terrorist organization ASALA by dealing in drugs and arms. Interrogated by MİT for 45 days in 1984, Cantürk had also smuggled weapons from Bulgaria for the PKK ahead of the 1980 coup.
Following remarks on Nov. 4, 1993 by then Prime Minister Tansu Çiller to correspondents at the İstanbul Holiday Inn along the lines of "Turkey is faced with a widespread terror movement that has turned into the likes of a paramilitary movement. We know the names of the businessmen and artists that the PKK exacts funds from, and we're going to hold them accountable," a series of unsolved murders were committed. About two months after Çiller's statements, the wealthy Cantürk, "known" for his support of illegal pro-Kurdish organizations, was murdered.
But it is for the first time now that his statements certifying his ties to terrorist organizations have emerged -- with the publishing of his 93-page statement in the book "Behçet Cantürk'ün MİT İtirafları" (Behçet Cantürk's MİT Confessions) written by journalist Ercan Gün. In his testimony, Cantürk says he entered the drug trade in 1978, giving a cut of his profits to the Revolutionary East Culture Associations (DDKD). He also admits to involvement in the illegal arms trade, claiming to have taken 7,000 weapons from now Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and sold them to terrorists in Diyarbakır.
Cantürk, who has Armenian blood through his mother, says in his statement that Misag Sarnisliyan, the husband of his aunt Sato living in Syria, was the head of ASALA. He also claims that his aunt's son, Ohannes Palancıyan, worked for Syrian intelligence under Rıfat Esad and also as ASALA's Kamışlı representative.
21 April 2009, Bülent Ceyhan Istanbul zaman
After Turkey's Hype Over Obama Comes Hard Implementation By Fadi Hakura April 21, 2009
President Barack Hussein Obama swooped into Turkey on April 6 for two days of fence-mending bilateral relations with its erstwhile, if sometimes prickly, ally Turkey while disseminating a message of friendship to the wider Muslim world. Obama cut a dashing figure, mesmerizing the normally skeptical Turkish public with self-deprecating references to his inspirational life story of struggle and achievement.
This trip could be characterized as a success in terms of public diplomacy. Opinion polls indicated that Turks had an increasingly favorable attitude toward the new US president. Turkish media was also mostly upbeat, bringing into sharp focus the contrast between the positive vibes directed toward Obama and the negative perceptions of his predecessor, President George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Obama heaped praise on Turkey's European aspirations, as well as on its democratic and secular traditions and its regional ambitions in the Middle East. He deftly maneuvered around the hot Armenian issue, without conceding on his points of principle.
Obama also awed audiences beyond Turkey. After all, the visit was not just about Turkey, but additionally about the Muslim world in general. His speech to the Turkish Parliament - in which the sound bite that the United States is not at "war with Islam" was interpreted as a radical break with Bush's "war on terror" rhetoric - attracted the close attention of media in the Arab world.
Now that the party is over, however, a more sober assessment of the ultimate impact of Obama's Turkey jamboree is needed. For starters, it is fair to say that US-Turkey relations had already undergone a rapid turnaround even before Barack Obama took office, namely during the tail end of the previous administration, after President George W. Bush agreed to actively cooperate with the Turkish military in its fight against Kurdistan Workers' Party combatants infiltrating Turkey from northern Iraq.
But Obama's charm offensive has generated heightened expectations of a substantive shift in US foreign policy, specifically when it comes to the Middle East. Turkey welcomes Obama's current desire to open a dialogue with Iran and Syria, as well as its ongoing plan to withdraw American combat troops from Iraq by mid-2010, and all troops by the end of 2011. But, as always, the litmus test will be the stance of the United States on the dispute between Israel and its neighbors, particularly the Palestinians, but also Syria and Lebanon. How the US handles the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and the glaring divide exiting between the Palestinian groups will be closely watched by Turkey and by the Muslim world.
Naturally, heightened expectations are not just a one-way street. Obama expects Turkey to deliver on its promises to improve ties with Armenia by re-opening the border that has been closed since 1993, and by establishing diplomatic relations with Yerevan. Whether Turkey can re-open the border in the absence of a resolution to the Azerbaijani-Armenian dispute over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is open to debate. Yet, there is a serious risk of disappointment rising in Washington if the promises fall short or flat.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly abrasive style of diplomacy, displayed in full during his adamant opposition to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's candidacy to take the helm of the NATO alliance recently, could eventually irk policymakers in Washington. Obama seems to prefer a Turkish foreign policy of the quiet and constructive type rather than one based on emotional gestures and religious undertones. So the ground exists for some disappointment here as well.
Despite the pitfalls, there is no doubt that US-Turkey relations are, at least for now, on a firmer, realistic footing than they were during the Bush years. Gone are the poisonous atmospherics of the past, while in have come greater mutual cooperation and respect between Washington and Ankara. However, the present mood cannot be taken for granted. That the persistence of instability in the Middle East and the Caucasus region could provoke events that scuttle relations with Turkey is possible, perhaps resulting from the ongoing conflicts between Arabs and Israelis, Iran's nuclear program, and developments in Iraq, Afghanistan or Armenia, to name just a few examples. Public diplomacy is the easy part. Delivery is a far harder prospect when it comes to the United States and Turkey.
Fadi Hakura is the Turkey analyst at Chatham House in London.
Armenian Journalist Says Turkey-Armenia Rapprochement Postponed
Turkish and Armenian officials have been working hard to devise a formula to solve the problems between their countries, but the rapprochement has not only reached deadlock, it has been postponed, one observer pointed out.
Boris Navasardyan, the Yerevan Press Club president, said one important factor making a negative contribution to the process from the Armenian side was them not taking decisive action.
"Armenia is traditionally an inert country. It never takes decisive steps. That's true for Turkey-Armenia relations," he said, adding that the limited political resources of Armenia are not utilized well, so experts who could contribute to the process are isolated.
"They are in a position to criticize but are never involved in the process," he said yesterday at a roundtable meeting organized by the Global Political Trends Center on "Turkey-Armenia Dialogue: New Prospects."
Making things even more difficult could be the approaching municipal elections on May 31 in Yerevan as one of the critics of the Armenian government is running for a mayoral post.
"It's a very important political event because Yerevan is half of Armenia. Politics, economy and citizens' activities all occur in Yerevan. Because we have had problematic presidential elections, the opposition claims that this is not an election for the mayor and city council of Yerevan but a second round of presidential elections," Navasardyan said.
In mid-March, Levon Ter-Petrossian, the first president of Armenia, was selected to head the ticket of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) in the upcoming elections.
Yerevan has until now been governed by officials appointed by the president of the republic. Under one of the amendments to Armenia's constitution enacted in November 2005, Yerevan mayors are chosen by a municipal council elected by voters.
"After the [Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation] BSEC meeting of foreign ministers in Yerevan, Armenian-Turkish relations have been forgotten. Everyone is focused on elections in Yerevan. We have to admit that the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement will be postponed for some time," he said. "Now the Armenian government will wait and focus on internal issues."
Even though Turkish and Armenian officials have been working hard to devise a formula between their countries, they seem to have reached a deadlock as Azerbaijan, an ethnic and strategic ally of Turkey, has grown uneasy about the prospects of rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan, fearing it will lose key leverage in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute if Turkey opens its border and resumes diplomatic ties. Turkey closed its border and severed diplomatic ties with Armenia in 1993 in protest over the Armenian occupation of a chunk of Azerbaijani territory during a war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
When it comes to how the Nagorno-Karabakh issue affects Turkey-Armenia relations, Navasardyan said both Armenia and Azerbaijan are insisting on their full demands, and Turkey and Armenia are not showing any willingness to compromise.
21 April 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan İstanbul
Has Turkey Traded Genocide For Karabakh? By Bruce Tasker, Khosq, UK-Yerevan, April 2009
With Turkish / Armenian negotiations reaching a peak, the focus of attention is moving from the wider debate to petty bickering over who said this and who said that, the inevitable outcome of a process in which a country’s leaders discuss fundamentals of agreements with their international counterparts then hide the truth from their domestic audience. The Armenian negotiating parties, President Sargsyan and MFA Nalbandian, have unashamedly deceived the Armenian public with respect to their year-long negotiations on Karabakh and Genocide.
Today, they would have the Armenian public believe that Turkey has suddenly introduced pre-conditions for opening the border, an untrue statement and particularly alarming as it came immediately after discussions with the US President in Turkey, which surely must have led to a common understanding between Turkey, Armenia and the US. True, the Turkish side did change its position after Obama’s trip to Turkey and re-introduced Karabakh as a pre-condition. But in contrast to Armenia, Turkish reports on its position have been consistent, in Ankara, in Baku and in Yerevan.
Turkey resolutely denies that the hostilities involving the slaughter of Armenians in the early 20th century amounted to Genocide and each year it spends considerable resources to defend its position, especially in the US. This year Turkey’s leaders spent several months and went to extraordinary lengths to avoid US recognition, realizing the new US President and most of his senior administration supported Armenia’s claim of Genocide. That is understandable from a Turkish perspective. But it is disturbing that the Armenian negotiating parties have not added their voices to the Armenian lobby for the US to recognize Genocide, but understandable, as US recognition would put a stop to the plan they have been doing all they can to keep from the Armenian public. Sargsyan and Nalbandian have been ‘warming to the Turkish proposal to establish a commission of historians’ and they have said so on several occasions, not for the good of the Armenian Republic, but in pursuit of personal gain.
On April 6th and 7th, Turkey was host to the US President, first in Ankara then in Istanbul, hailed as the highlight of Obama’s European tour. Several weeks prior to the Obama visit, Turkey announced that it had removed the Karabakh issue from its list of pre-conditions for opening the Turkish / Armenian border, seemingly infuriating Azerbaijan, but clearly a tactical move to demonstrate Turkish acquiescence in a ‘warming relationship’ with the Armenian administration and part of Turkey’s concerted effort to avoid what seemed to be an inevitable US Genocide recognition. The Obama trip went according to plan with the US and Turkey singing each others praise. But for Armenia, whilst Obama confirmed his personal position had not changed, he avoided using the word Genocide.
Armenia’s MFA Nalbandian decided not to travel to Ankara to meet with US President Obama on the 6th April as planned, but he eventually managed to find time on April 7th in Istanbul. He returned to Yerevan bristling with confidence of an imminent border opening and assuring the Armenian public that he and his President would do nothing to jeopardize a possible US recognition of Genocide. In fact, they had already done their damndest to jeopardize a possible US recognition of Genocide, they had announced that negotiations with Turkey were developing well and they anticipated an early opening of the Armenian / Turkish border – possibly in April. Under these circumstances it would have been confrontational for Obama to talk about Armenia’s ‘Genocide’ in Turkey and he would have been blamed for spoiling the Turkish - Armenian reconciliation process.
Nalbandian had barely finished his press conference in Yerevan, when Turkey announced in Ankara, Baku and Yerevan that it was to re-introduce Karabakh to the border-opening list of pre-conditions, a seemingly provocative move, especially after the Obama visit and only two weeks prior to a much anticipated 24th April Obama declaration on Genocide in the US. The Turkish move completely contradicted Nalbandian’s statement, plus many such Nalbandian statements in the run-up to Obama’s trip to Turkey. Sargsyan responded in Yerevan, accusing Turkey of suddenly introducing hitherto unknown pre-conditions, although pre-conditions have been known and documented throughout the nearly year-long negotiation process, and neither Sargsyan nor his Minister of Foreign Affairs had ever explained in Armenia how they had been resolved. However, the ‘newly introduced pre-condition’ did not dampen Sargsyan’s enthusiasm and he re-confirmed he would be travelling through the newly opened border on his way to watch football in Turkey this October.
From this somewhat implausible chain of events, it is presumably to be believed that President Gul had a change of heart after negotiations between President Obama and Armenia’s MFA Nalbandian; that he decided to slap the well-intentioned face of his most powerful strategic ally by revoking on this critical and most sensitive of issues. If true, that would surely invoke US recognition of Armenia’s Genocide on the 24th.
Of course not, Turkey’s President Gul would never concede on the Genocide issue, knowing that 90 percent of the Turkish population is opposed, and at a time when his ratings had plummeted in a keenly contested democratic election. The conclusion can only be that Obama left Turkey thankful and relieved that Turkey and Armenia had agreed to resolve the Genocide issue between them, through Turkey’s commission of historians, or some other such mechanism. Armenia’s President Sargsyan is on record as saying he has no ambitions with regard the historic Armenian lands in the eastern part of Turkey, so only the Karabakh issue needs to be resolved for him to travel through the border in October this year, and Bryza’s opinion is that Karabakh will soon be resolved.
Armenia’s former President Kocharian has been preparing his deal on Karabakh for several years, held back firstly by the lack of an acceptable Azerbaijani compensation package, and secondly his nerve to commit to the deal, knowing he would face the backlash from an angry Armenian public. Kocharian waited his time and supported Sargsyan as his successor on the understanding that Sargsyan, when President, would go through with the agreement he dare not sign.
However, in the same way that Turkey would never withdraw its support from Azerbaijan with regard Karabakh, Azerbaijan is equally committed to supporting Turkey on Genocide. In July 2008, seeing that Sargsyan was determined to finalize the Kocharian deal on Karabakh, the Azerbaijani / Turkish allies joined forces and threw Genocide into the equation, knowing the self-imposed illegitimate Sargsyan regime would jump at the chance of adding to the package of compensation it was demanding in return for one of Armenia’s very few state assets left after Kocharian’s eight years of pillaging - Karabakh.
In August 2008, the Georgia conflict prompted Moscow to force the pace of negotiations, so Medvedev dangled a $500 million carrot; then the World economic crisis presented the opportunity for the US to throw a billion or so more dollars into the pot, conveniently facilitated by the World Bank and the IMF. Now half the World is on tenterhooks, waiting the next episode in this most unsavory Caucuses conflict resolution saga, which is due this 24th April in New York.
The Kocharian / Sargsyan Karabakh ‘Ace’ has already been played several times with the EU and PACE to chock up the illegitimate Sargsyan Presidency. Soon it will be played for the last time, to draw massive compensation in return for a beneficial agreement for Azerbaijan on Karabakh and for a Turkish commission of historians to finally eliminate Armenia’s claims of Genocide.
Turkey and Azerbaijan will have solved their longstanding problems with Armenia, the US will have been relieved the burden of Genocide recognition, Russia will see additional political clout and economic benefits in the Caucuses, and the Sargsyan / Kocharian regime will have a compensation package worth several billion dollars.
The vast majority of Armenians will be hoping that the US president stands by his promise and formally recognizes the Armenian Genocide this 24th April; in the longer term it will be beneficial to all parties concerned. Otherwise the Kocharian / Sargsyan regime will be having to cope with the backlash in Armenia, after having sold Armenia down the river with their ‘Karabakh / Genocide Deal’.
Think Tank's Report on Armenia: You Get What You Pay For By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
Several pro-establishment Washington think tanks, such as the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, and American Enterprise Institute, have recently published special reports that seek to influence U.S. policy-makers in favor of Turkey.
The latest such biased report, titled: "Turkey and Armenia: Opening Minds, Opening Borders," was issued on April 14, by the International Crisis Group. Serving on the ICG's Board of Trustees are: Morton Abramovitz, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey; Richard Armitage, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and member of the Honorary Council of Advisors of U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce; Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor to the President and member of the Honorary Council of Advisors of U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce; Guler Sabanci, Chairperson of Sabanci Holding, Turkey; and Stephen Solarz, former U.S. Congressman and lobbyist for Turkey. Listed among the ICG's senior advisors are: Ersin Arioglu, a member of the Turkish Parliament, and Shimon Peres, the President of Israel. Not surprisingly, the Foreign Ministry of Turkey is a major donor to the ICG. Not a single Armenian serves on ICG's board or on any of its advisory bodies.
The group's 40-page report makes outrageous suggestions that are extremely detrimental to Armenia's interests. Here is what the ICG recommends that the Armenian government do:
-- Establish bilateral commissions with Turkey, which would include a historical commission on the Armenian Genocide.
-- Prepare the public opinion for reconciliation with Turkey.
-- "Avoid statements or international actions relating to genocide recognition that could inflame Turkish public opinion against the current [reconciliation] process."
-- "Start withdrawals from Armenian-occupied territories in Azerbaijan; and pursue peace with Azerbaijan in full consciousness that only in this way can normalizations with Turkey be consolidated.
-- "Make clear that Armenia has no territorial claim on Turkey by explicitly recognizing its territorial integrity within the borders laid out in the 1921 Treaty of Kars."
-- "Encourage universities and institutes to pursue more research on matters relating to the events of 1915, preferably with the engagement of Turkish and third-party scholars; modernize history books and remove all prejudice from them; and organize the cataloguing of known Armenian archives pertaining to the events in and around 1915 wherever they may be located."
The Executive Summary of the Report starts its first line by trying to perpetuate the false impression that "Turkey and Armenia are close to settling [their] dispute." Everyone, except the "experts" who drafted this report, knows full well that the negotiations between Armenia and Turkey have collapsed and that the problem between the two countries is not a "dispute," but committing Genocide!
The Executive Summary makes the surprising statement that the views of Armenians and Turks on the Genocide are "converging," supposedly "showing that the deep traumas can be healed." Continuing to present fantasy as reality, the undisclosed authors of the report state: "The advance in bilateral relations demonstrates that a desire for reconciliation can overcome old enmities and closed borders. Given the heritage and culture shared by Armenians and Turks [!], there is every reason to hope that normalization of relations between the two countries can be achieved and sustained."
One of the most outrageous comments made in the report is the one claiming that "hardline" Diaspora representatives "have softened" their stance, dropping their "demands that Turkey surrender territory in its north east, where Armenians were a substantial minority before 1915."
The report welcomes Pres. Obama's "prudent middle course," despite the fact that he "repeatedly promised on the campaign trail to formally recognize" the Armenian Genocide. Leaving no stone unturned in favoring Turkey, the ICG also suggests that the U.S. House of Representatives abandon the pending resolution on the Armenian Genocide.
Finally, the ICP urges that the United States, Russia and the European Union "avoid legislation, statements and actions that might inflame public opinion on either side and so could upset the momentum towards Turkey-Armenia normalization and reconciliation."
This report is full of faulty analysis and one-sided judgments. The sinister role played by think tanks such as the ICG should be exposed to the public at large and their reports discredited.
The document published by ICG reads more like the terms of capitulation imposed by a conquering army over a demolished nation than a professional report drafted by impartial wise men. Clearly, those who paid for it, dictated its content!
Russian Political Scientist: Return Of Five Occupied Regions To Azerbaijan Must Undoubtedly Become The First Step
Today.Az April 20 2009
The results of the visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Moscow are positive, said head of the center for post-Soviet area study Alexei Vlasov.
"The very information background around this visit both in Russian and Azerbaijan mass medias and analysis of speeches of Dmitri Medvedev and Ilham Aliyev by results of the meeting prove that the Russian-Azerbaijani relations are just close to a very serious breakthrough in a positive direction. Personally, I have this impression", said the political scientist.
As for the Karabakh conflict, he said that Russia during the presidency of Vladimir Putin and especially now since the start of Medvedev's presidency has repeatedly voiced a common approach - Russia is for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
"I have not heard any different position from our officials on this issue. Second, Moscow, Baku and I think Ankara and Yerevan realize that the internal negative energy around the Karabakh conflict is growing.
And if some positive changes in the resolution of the conflict do not occur soon at least in the step by step format, the situation might simply come out of control and Moscow is absolutely not interested in this, not speaking of the direct participants of the conflict.
Therefore, I suppose that Moscow has some ideas about the step by step advancement to the resolution of this conflict and I think (this is my personal opinion) that the result of at least five occupied regions of Azerbaijan, which are under occupation. And this step, I think, must be taken beyond the context of the resolution of the issue about the status of Nagorno Karabakh", said the political scientist.
The Dilemma Of The Lebanese Armenians Azad-Hye Special
Since the formation of modern Lebanon, the Armenians in Lebanon were not part of any direct political alliance or coalition. For this reason, they were frequently considered as neutral or without political alignment. This has not always been as risk-free as it may seem, especially during times of crisis (such as the Civil War), when not having a backup support meant in reality to be targeted by two or more adversaries at the same time.
The upcoming parliamentarian elections in Lebanon (07 June 2009) have created an awkward situation, a kind of dilemma for the Lebanese Armenians. The highly polarized and antagonistic political situation in the country (between the March 8 and March 14 alliances) is dragging also the Armenians into its web.
At the last legislative elections in May and June 2005, the March 14 alliance (Led by Saad Hariri, president of the Future Movement, Samir Geagea president of the Lebanese Forces, Amine Jemayel, president of the Lebanese Phalanges and Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party) turned to be the dominant group in the Parliament, with 72 Members out of 128. Two MPs affiliated to the March 14 alliance belong to the Armenian Ramgavar and Hunchak parties, in addition to 2 other "independent" Armenian MPs.
The opposing March 8 alliance is a coalition of various political parties in Lebanon including Hezbollah, Amal Movement, Marada Movement, Lebanese Communist Party and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. In 2006, the Free Patriotic Movement (Led by Michel Aoun) joined this alliance after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah. Two MPs in this alliance belong to the ARF (Tashnagtsoutyoun) party. In March 2008 Michel Murr (who has always been an ally to the Armenians) and his bloc quit the alliance, causing some tension within the Armenian voting ranks. The ARF has now allied itself with Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement of General Michel Aoun, at the same time maintaining links with Michel Murr (as a person and not as bloc).
During the first week of April 2009, Hagop Pakradounian of the ARF became the first Lebanese MP to win a parliamentary seat in 2009, after winning the Matn district seat uncontested, following the withdrawal of rival candidate Nazaret Sabounjian.
The sharp divisions between the above-mentioned two alliances have created a new reality for the Armenians and especially for the ARF, who represents 70-75% of the community in Lebanon. It has forced them out of their traditional neutrality.
The involvement has reached to the point that Lebanese Armenians in Diaspora, from Kuwait to UAE, from Canada to France are called upon to participate in the elections, with all the travel expenses from abroad to Lebanon undertaken by the Armenian political parties, exactly in the same way the Lebanese parties try to allure their supporters.
In the wake of the Lebanese elections, some politically motivated pens are questioning the nature of the loyalty of the Lebanese Armenians and the political motivations of the leading ARF party.
Hagop Pakradounian rejects any accusation of duality of allegiance (Armenian versus Lebanese). In an interview with the Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat (17 April 2009) he says: "We are one of the sects that form the Lebanese pluralism. We are members of the Armenian Church, so we are Lebanese Armenians. There is no contradiction in being Armenian and Lebanese. We hold Lebanese citizenship and not Armenian. That is the basic characteristic. We are all for abolishing political sectarianism in Lebanon. We might then assume high-ranking positions."
Regarding the international affiliations of the party, ARF is clear about it. The party is an international one headed by Hrant Markarian, who holds Armenian citizenship, even though he was born in Iran. The party has branches in many countries, while the central committee (bureau) convenes in a general conference once every four years to discuss common Armenian issues and not internal political issues related to each branch. In conclusion, there is no intervention whatsoever from the party's central committee in the internal affairs of Lebanon or any other country.
ARF has its own internal challenges, such as the Free Lebanese Armenian Movement, founded two years ago by several displeased ex-ARF members, headed by General Nareg Aprahamian. The Movement is said to be supported by the Future Movement (Saad Hariri), with the aim of weakening the voting power of the ARF. In May 2008, the radio station of the Movement (Radio Sevan) was burned during a Hezbollah raid on Beirut suburbs (Hezbollah is perceived as an ally to ARF). In January 2009, one of the founding members of the Movement (Hrag Akian) was heavily wounded and paralyzed by a shot fired by ARF supporter in Bourdj Hammoud's Amanos neighborhood, during a heated encounter. On 06 April 2009 General Nareg Aprahamian announced his candidacy for the Armenian seat in the city of Zahle, heralding a fierce confrontation on that seat with ARF.
The situation inside the Ramgavar party is critical. A group of members have formed a sort of inner opposition to the leader Hagop Kassarjian and Avedis Dakessian, the deputy-chairman. Kassarjian, who had managed to gain one of the Armenian seats in the 2000 and 2005 elections though his affiliation to the Future Movement (Hariri clan), might eventually lose support for the same position. Ramgavar opposition circles claim that Kassarjian and Dakessian have orchestrated an illegal general meeting on 29 March 2009, with the sole aim of consolidating their positions in the June elections.
Armenians have been always careful not to fall into alliances during Lebanese crisis. They have always served as an element of balance and stability. The community nowadays is witnessing political and cultural diversity, manifested in the numerous parties and trends. This in a way is bringing fresh air to the society. On the other hand, the Armenian votes could easily be exploited, in a political culture, that favors blind party comradeship and a traditionally introvert society governed by semi-authoritarian normes.
It is obvious that, the political options of the Lebanese Armenian are now divided between March 8 and 14 Alliances. Would they be able to achieve a common "Armenian Bloc", despite their differences? Would they succeed at least to enjoy a sort of harmony within the community itself? Would they still be able (on pan-Lebanese level) to play a certain balancing role? Or would they be strongly influenced by the acute polarization in the Lebanese political scene?
Last year was the 50th anniversary of the inter-Armenian killings of the 1958 in Beirut, when the political polarization in the Cold War era Lebanon led to the death of at least a hundred Armenians in an internal strife. The Lebanese Armenians preferred to keep the taboo intact and did not even pray for the souls of those lost in tragic circumstances. While it is highly unlikely that a physical lose could inflict the Armenians in the same manner that happened in the past, the prospect of being manipulated as proxies in hostile camps remains real.
Elnur Aslanov: Good Neighbor Better Than Distant Relative S.Agayeva Trend News Agency April 20 2009
Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Political Analyses and Dataware Department Head Elnur Aslanov spoke with Trend News in a quick interview.
Trend News: During Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's Moscow visit, Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev expressed his country's readiness to fulfill own mandate on settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and noted necessity to rely on international law and resolutions of the UN and OSCE. As to you, which role can Russia play in settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Elnur Aslanov: Russia is one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and plays one of key roles in the conflict settlement process. Moreover, Russia is a considerable regional figure in the South Caucasus and direct participant of political, economic and even socio-cultural processes. The Russian president's position which was expressed at the meeting with President Ilham Aliyev testifies that the Russian foreign policy conception bases on understanding of reality and strategic partnership spirit. As international law and principle of territorial integrity is a key factor in solving the conflict, Russia's position is natural.
As to Russia's role in the conflict settlement, I can say that this or other OSCE Minsk Group co-chair's involvement in the settlement process is specified by the participant-country. The time and coherence of steps to liberate the territories occupied by Armenia will show efficiency of this role. But we believe the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs understand that Azerbaijani territories' occupation cannot last for a long time and it is necessary to take active and effective measures.
Q: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly declared that Azerbaijan sees Russia a friend and strategic partner. What fruits of political and economic cooperation will bring to Azerbaijan the strategic relationship with Russia?
A: Azerbaijani-Russian relations have a solid base and are characterized by balanced and mutually beneficial growth. The trade turnover between the states is growing, border delimitation problem are being resolved, new views of already existing relationships and communication emerge and there are additional areas of cooperation. The heads of states have established a dense political dialogue. This relationship is called a strategic partnership. These processes are the result of a natural historical process, but not imposed by force.
The strategic relations with Russia provide an opportunity for Azerbaijan to diversify the transportation of hydrocarbons ensuring its energy security. On the other hand, Russia is a huge market where, in terms of global economic crisis, Azerbaijan can find customers for its products. At the political level, the strategic nature of relations with Russia for Azerbaijan's foreign policy line provides a mutually beneficial relationship with the neighboring countries. After all, a good neighbor is better than distant relative.
On the other hand, since the global economic crisis, the world order is changing, and the architecture of international relations is in a state of transformation. It is obvious that in the near future the world will be multipolar, more regional than global. Azerbaijan should take into account the realities and to shape its geopolitical priorities of the potential world centers on the basis of national interests.
Q: What are your expectations from the newly created Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia and how success may be its work in advancing the interests of the Azerbaijani youth in Russia and in the world?
A: The establishment of AYOR was another milestone in the revitalization of young Azerbaijanis throughout the world. The initiative to create a youth organization in Russia, where a large number of Azerbaijanis live and hundreds of students receive education, was launched a year and a half ago. During this period huge work has been done, which has led to an inaugural conference of AYOR with attendance of over 300 delegates. The potential of young Azerbaijanis in Russia is very great, and I'm confident that we will witness successful projects of youth organizations under the chairmanship of Leila Aliyeva.
Turkey's Missed Opportunity Vartan Oskanian The Guatemala Times April 20 2009
Abba Eban used to say of the Palestinians that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Turkey, sadly, seems to be falling into that habit in its relations with Armenia. And, as with Palestine, failure to act only breeds wider regional instability.
In the two weeks before US President Barack Obama's recent visit to Turkey, there was almost universal optimism that Turkey would open its border with Armenia. But Obama came and went, and the border remained close.
Turkish-Armenian relations remain more about gestures than substance. Indeed, Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's dismissive recent statements hint that Turkey may even be backtracking on its plans to establish more normal bilateral ties.
Those ties have been strained since 1993, when Turkey closed its border with Armenia in solidarity with Azerbaijan in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. When Erdogan and Gul came to power in 2003, nothing changed. The border remained closed.
In my first meeting with Gul, who was Turkey's foreign minister in 2003, he acknowledged that Turkey had not benefited from its policy of linking Armenia-Turkey relations to a resolution of the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. Turkey, he said, wanted to establish normal bilateral relations with all neighbors. That was music to my ears, and I told him so.
But Azerbaijani pressure prevailed, and Turkish policy did not change. Of course, at that time, Turkey's own interests were not what they are today. Accession talks with the European Union had not begun; Turkey wanted an oil pipeline from Azerbaijan; the resolution condemning the Armenian genocide had not gathered steam around the world; Turkey's economy was not in crisis; and Georgia-Russia tensions were not in free-fall.
Today, the world is so different that even Russia and the US agree about opening the Turkish-Armenian border. Indeed, in the face of Russia-Georgia strains, Turkey can benefit from a new role in the Caucasus. Its proposed "Platform for Cooperation and Security in the Caucasus" is a first step. And public opinion in Turkey is more ready than ever for a rapprochement with Armenia.
Such a move would make Europe happy, too. Although Erdogan likes to call Turkey a natural bridge between East and West, Europe is waiting for Turkey to assume the function that geography has bestowed upon it.
As for Azerbaijan, now that a pipeline from Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is operational, Azerbaijan needs Turkey more than Turkey needs Azerbaijan.
And, this month, Turkey has a deadline. Obama committed himself during his presidential election campaign to calling the violence against the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire by its name - genocide. The anniversary of those events is April 24.
One would think that these developments provide Turkey with a great opportunity to act in its own best interests and open its border with Armenia. But Turkey has already missed two such opportunities. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the right time to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. Turkey did not, instead offering mere recognition of Armenia's independence. No functioning relationship could come from that.
Then, in 2004, with the beginning of EU accession talks, Turkey had ample cause to explain to Azerbaijan why improved relations with Armenia were inevitable. It did not do so, allowing the opportunity slip away.
History is now offering Turkey a third chance to play a greater regional role. By actually opening borders, or at least announcing a real date and actual modalities, Turkey would open doors to a shared future. But Gul and Erdogan are signaling that they cannot.
Before Obama made it back to Washington, they forcefully and repeatedly announced - presumably to appease Azerbaijan - that they would not act to open the border until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved.
But Turkey and Azerbaijan are wrong. Keeping the border closed will not solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. On the contrary, an open border would facilitate resolution of the conflict - not because it would be a tradeoff for something else, or come with strings attached, but because an open border demonstrates evenhandedness towards all neighbors.
An open border between Armenia and Turkey would mean that Azerbaijan could not shirk negotiations. My grandmother from Marash would have said that Azerbaijan today believes that, with Turkey, it "has an uncle in the jury," and thus that it can persist in its petulance and intransigence.
An environment of compromise requires a regional environment devoid of threats and blackmail. Without Turkey tipping the scale for the benefit of one side in this conflict, both sides must become more accommodating, especially on security issues. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is about security. Armenia, sandwiched between two hostile states, is unlikely and unable to agree to security compromises. Closing a border is an act of hostility. Opening that border would mean creating a normal regional environment.
History is offering Turkey the opportunity to take regional relations to a new level. Symbols and gestures are insufficient. And waiting for a Nagorno-Karabakh solution is no solution at all. It is merely one more missed opportunity.
Vartan Oskanian, president of the board of the Yerevan-based Civilitas Foundation, was Armenia's foreign minister from 1998 to 2008.
Sarkisian, Biden Discuss Turkey-Armenia Ties Asbarez April 20, 2009
YEREVAN -Armenia's President Serzh Sarkisian had a phone conversation with US Vice President Joe Biden on Monday in which the two discussed the current negotiations to establish diplomatic relations between Yerevan and Ankara.
The conversation comes after speculations of an imminent deal between Armenia and Turkey failed to materialize on Thursday when Sarkisian met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan as he visited Yerevan for a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization (BSEC).
Recent reports in Turkish and Western media said that the two governments could use the BSEC meeting to announce agreement on a gradual normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. But no deal was announced.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated over the weekend that Turkey will not normalize relations with Armenia before the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Turkish government appeared ready to drop that linkage when it embarked on an unprecedented dialogue with Yerevan last year to establish diplomatic relations and reopen its border with Armenia, which it closed in 1993 out of solidarity with Azerbaijan. Over the last two weeks, however, Erdogan and Turkish President Gul have repeatedly stated this precondition ostensibly responding to warnings by Azerbaijan that an unconditional deal with Yerevan would constitute a betrayal of its closest Turkic ally.
On April 24, Thousands To Demand End To Cycle Of Genocide At Turkish Consulate Asbarez April 20, 2009
As Obama Seeks Stop To Genocide in Darfur, Calls Intensify for Affirmation of Turkey's Genocide of Armenians
LOS ANGELES--The United States has the best chance in a generation to help end the cycle of genocide and recommit the world to the noble and necessary cause of a future without genocide. Inspired by this fierce urgency of now, thousands across the state of California will rally at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles on Friday April 24 at 4pm to call for an end to over a century of race murder, fueled by Turkey's ongoing denial of its genocide against the Armenian people.
Last year, nearly 15,000 activists converged on the Turkish Consulate amid intensified activity by the Turkish government to prevent the US House of Representatives from recognizing the Genocide.
This year's demonstration, at 6300 Wilshire Blvd., will draw attention to Turkey's expanding multimillion dollar campaign to erase all memory and culpability of its crime against the Armenian people and how it has spawned a string of genocides, from the Nazi Holocaust to the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur.
In 1915 the Ottoman Turkish government set out to annihilate the indigenous population inhabiting the lands under its dominion. Between 1915-1923, the government executed a systematic campaign to exterminate the Armenian people and remove it from its historic homeland. The Armenian Genocide, recognized as the first genocide of the 20th century by historians the world over, resulted in the death of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians and the loss of millions of dollars in property and land now under occupation by the Republic of Turkey.
Organized by the Armenian Youth Federation, this year's protest comes a month after US legislators introduced a resolution calling on the U.S. president to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.
"We as Armenian-Americans know that our nation should properly recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide, and all subsequent genocides," said Vache Thomassian, the chairman of the AYF. "Now, more than ever, we have to rise above political expedience and take a moral stance against genocide 's and I firmly believe Barack Obama has the integrity to be the leader that does so."
The demonstration will also take place against the backdrop of a series of anti-genocide events organized throughout the US and around the world during Genocide Prevention Month.
In Washington DC, human rights activists will be participating in three full days of Congressional visits to demand U.S. action against the genocide in Darfur and support for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The annual grassroots advocacy campaign, from April 22-24th, is being organized by the Armenian National Committee of America and the Genocide Intervention Network.
Earlier this month the ANCA launched a nationwide effort to urge concrete action by the US government in fully recognizing the Armenian Genocide end finally ending the genocide in Darfur.
Echoing Martin Luther King's famous remarks at the Lincoln Memorial in August, 1963, the ANCA's "Fierce Urgency of NOW" campaign has been mobilizing anti-genocide activists across the US to visit www.anca.org/change to learn how the atrocities in Darfur fit into the cycle of genocide that started with the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
The website provides simple ways for citizens to call on President Obama to show "unstinting resolve" in the effort to stop the Darfur Genocide and end U.S. complicity in Turkey's international campaign of genocide denial.
As a Senator and as a presidential candidate, President Obama was a strong advocate of proper Armenian Genocide recognition and swift action to stop the Darfur Genocide. During his 2008 campaign for the White House, Obama repeatedly pledged to "respond forcefully to all genocides," including the one currently ranging in Darfur.
"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'sdisplacement, starvation, and mass slaughter'sthat were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915," Obama said in the statement.
"America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President."
Previous president's have wavered in their commitments to accurately recognize the genocide in their annual statements on April 24. This year, activists across the US are expecting the President to break that trend and bring a long overdue change to US policy on genocide.
Two weeks ahead of the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, President Obama commemorated the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda by urging the United States and its world partners to deepen their commitment to ending the cycle of genocide begun in 1915.
Erdogan Tells Turks To 'Forget About' Armenian Border Opening Asbarez April 20, 2009
ANKARA (RFE/RL)--Turkey will not normalize relations with Armenia before the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated over the weekend, again dismissing recent reports to the contrary.
"Forget about the opening of the border with Armenia before the settlement of the Karabakh problem," Haberturk.com quoted Erdogan as saying during an unofficial visit to Germany.
Erdogan made similar statements on three separate occasions earlier this month, pouring cold war on expectations of a breakthrough in Turkish-Armenian relations. Recent media reports, most of them citing unnamed Turkish government sources, said that the two neighboring states could sign an agreement on the gradual establishment of diplomatic relations and reopening of their border as early as this month.
The reports sparked an uproar in Azerbaijan. Its government and leading politicians have warned Ankara that an unconditional deal with Yerevan would constitute a betrayal of its closest Turkic ally.
Armenian leaders insist that the Turks effectively dropped their long-standing linkage between Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and Karabakh when they embarked on a dialogue with Armenia last year. Despite Erdogan's tough talk, President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian have sounded cautiously optimistic about the success of that dialogue.
Sarkisian's office on Monday declined to comment on the Turkish premier's latest statement. The Armenian Foreign Ministry also had no comment.
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official was due in Ankara on Monday to discuss with Turkish leaders ways of kick-starting the fence-mending talks with Armenia strongly backed by Washington. The issue was on the agenda of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza's brief visit to Yerevan late last week.
I Apologize For Not Apologizing The Armenian Weekly www.hairenik.com April 20, 2009
The concept Vergangenheitsbewaltigung, which we first heard from Theodor Heuss, the first president of Federal Germany following World War II, was difficult to translate to other languages. This German term was translated as "coming to terms with the past" to some languages, and as "coping with the past" or "dealing with the past" to others. Those who wanted to avoid the negative tone in these phrases used more neutral terms such as "relationship with the past," "politics of the past," "processing the past," and "culture of remembrance."
Mithat Sencer, who has significant contributions in this field, makes his choice in favor of "coming to terms with the past," as the title of his book Coming to Terms with the Past (Iletisim, 2007) shows. The phrase "coming to terms with the past" (gecmisle hesaplasma) captures not only the courage and openness to debate the past, bring it to light, and accept its "realities," but also other deeds (for instance, legal consequences such as trial, compensation, and punishment) related to the past. The term that I prefer is "making peace with the past" because of its more positive tone.
The attractiveness of forgetting
In Ancient Greece, after the Peloponnesian War, remembering the unpleasant events of the past was forbidden. In Rome, after Caesar's murder, the great orator Cicero said in the Senate, "All memories about this event must be consigned to eternal oblivion." One of the conditions of the Peace of Westphalia (1648) that ended the bloody Thirty Years' War in Europe was about forgetting the crimes committed during the war. After the French Revolution, first Napoleon, and then Louis XVIII who acceded to the throne after Napoleon's exile, outlawed the remembrance of the revolution. More or less until the end of World War II, forgetting bad events of the past and forgiving them was the rule.
At the present, however, a radical change is occurring. Although, as happened in Spain, Austria, and Mozambique, some preferred to move on to more peaceful relations without much talk about the atrocities committed by one generation, the general inclination today is to face the past. One of the main reasons for this is that the 20th century witnessed the most horrible massacres in history, in particular the Holocaust.
But another reason is that globalization has changed and improved the ways in which individuals and societies observe others. Today-fortunately-wrongdoings can hardly remain secret. With globalization, local and national memory is evolving into global (cosmopolitan) memory. Cosmopolitan memory, unlike traditional (national, communal, local) collective memory, cannot limit itself to what happens on a piece of land. Contrary to national and ethnic memories, cosmopolitan memory filters everything that happens through the totality of all national memories. This is one of the most important components of the modernization project. In this sense, genocide is one of the most important sources for cosmopolitan memory. Because in genocide we can see all the elements of the ideas of good and evil. Because genocide is the most significant breaking point of civilization.
"Collective memory," the main element of facing the past, became a major research topic in the social sciences. In that context, the relationship between individual and collective memories are put under a lens.
The more we know about the workings of memory, the better we can understand that memory is not a mirror to reflect the exact historical reality. No memory can quite preserve the past as it is. On the contrary, what remains is what the individual's group is able to reconstruct according to its context. For instance, "identities," which cause passionate arguments nowadays, cannot be built without appeal to "real" and "made up/created" virtual memory.
Let's take a quick look at some types of memory. Communicational memory covers more recent memories. Some have more communicational memory than others. After a period of 40 years or so, communicational memory turns into something else and "cultural memory" enters the stage. The main components of cultural memory are processes such as symbolization, mythologizing, and ritualization. Shamans, priests, teachers, writers, philosophers, and other community leaders, pass this memory from generation to generation using tools like monuments, sculptures, history books, place names, memorial days, and anthems. These two types of memory heavily interact with one another.
Why must we remember?
Why is the past remembered? For two main reasons: First, in order to not diverge from the direction of the past, and second, in order to diverge from it. In the first case, what is important is to "reconstruct" the past according to the needs of the present. The glorious aspects of the past are emphasized and the bad aspects are swept under the carpet. Those societies, especially, that want to make a fresh start use strategies of "suppression" in an attempt to "draw a thick line on the past" and set a "zero point" so that they can turn their faces to the future. Suppression sometimes occurs as "public silence" and sometimes as an "official ban on remembering." "Forgetting" and "remembering" (including the remembrance of the past in a different way) are combined because, as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Man . . . cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him.
" What must we remember?
An overwhelming majority of scientists working in this area emphasize the need to remember past injustices and victimizations, because suppressing and not remembering the past constitutes a second victimization of the victims. This is a very new approach in the history of humanity, because until today collective/national memory was constructed either by taking a heroic past as a reference point, or by the actual perpetrator's embracing the role of the victim. Today's politics of "facing the past," however, suggests that a nation define itself in terms of its wrongdoings.
Germany, which built its official political identity on rejecting and condemning the Nazi regime, is the first example of what we may call "negative memory." To be sure, Germany did not do this wholly voluntarily. In fact, if there hadn't been a "caught red-handed" situation, perhaps they would have kept their old ways. Nevertheless, given the fact that hundreds of crimes have been swept under the carpet in Turkey since the 1970's, we cannot but admit that the German experience deserves praise despite everything.
Looking through the eyes of the victim
At this point, I want to draw attention to something, especially the attention of those who immediately think of trials and punishments (as in the Germany case) when they hear the phrase "coming to terms with the past": The point here is not to declare some people to be guilty, but to put an end to human suffering and victimization.
The best way to stop such suffering is to look at the past through the eyes of the victim and mourn with them. In this way, the dignity of the victims, which has been trampled on by the perpetrators, is restored to some extent. And there arises a stronger sense of trust and solidarity between the individuals, generations, and societies, who are now ready to talk. Establishing social peace and understanding becomes easier between people who trust one another. Moreover, learning from the experiences of the past helps us in preventing the same evils from occurring again.
Collective guilt/collective apology
Here, I will turn to the "I apologize to Armenians" campaign, which was started by a group of intellectuals in Turkey. I did not put my signature on this statement, which was signed by some 30,000 people. Before explaining why I didn't, I want to summarize my views about collective apologies in general. Although many scientists claim that apologizing is a rhetoric aimed at fixing one's image, I wholeheartedly believe in its virtue. I never hesitate for a second to apologize for my mistakes. Collective apology, on the other hand, has its merits as well as defects. In order to understand collective apology, we must understand collective guilt.
Collective guilt, which is a concept from social science rather than law, can be understood as the society's collaborating with the perpetrator of a crime and then taking responsibility for the crime.
Collaboration may be overt and direct, as well as covert and indirect. In a society whose past contains events that can be regarded as "crimes against humanity," coming to terms with the past may be the way to prevent the crime from turning into a collective burden carried from generation to generation. Thus, collective apology has a very important function in "coming to terms with the past" or "making peace with the past/history."
Some claim that this new "culture of apology" is closely related to the Judeo-Christian concept of "original sin" and the practice of "confessing," and argue that it may lead to an escapist attitude that may be summarized as "confess and be done with it." Some draw attention to such examples as the United States' and NATO's legitimization of their intervention in Kosovo through appeal to Auschwitz, and Israel's legitimization of its strategies in Palestine through appeal to the Holocaust, and point out that memory politics aimed at forming a universal morality can be misused.
Others, on the other hand, do not dwell on such analyses and see an apology by the highest representatives of a society for the crimes committed by its members in a positive light, because of the collective responsibility that lies behind it. However, everyone agrees that great care must be taken in order to avoid the trivialization of these apologies.
What has to be done is to consider an apology in its context, as part of a certain process. What experts describe as a "legitimate," "consummate," or "perfect" apology (or similar terms) must satisfy certain conditions. First of all, "apologizing" must be dialogical rather than one-sided. An "apology" is meaningful when seen as part of a process of correcting an injustice or putting a peaceful end to a dispute. Experts call such a process "coming to terms with the past" or "making peace with the past." In the terms that I favor, this process of making peace with the past has political, scientific, cultural, psychological, and legal dimensions and stages. When these stages are disregarded, apology does not serve its purpose, and even results in unwanted consequences.
Who is the Subject?
Here are my views on issuing a collective apology:
1) A collective apology must be based on the demands of a determinate, defined victim group.
2) A collective apology must be constituted by the apologies of the representatives of the groups who played a role in the crimes, not by the apologies of those who identify with such groups.
3) Those who apologize by saying "we" must be saying that they identify with that "we" of the past, that they belong to the same politics, that they once approved of these crimes, or that they at least could not prevent the crimes from being committed.
4) Those who apologize by saying "we" must not speak for those who do not want to apologize.
5) Those who say "we" must not apply contemporary moral criteria to the past, and they must not apologize in the name of the dead who committed the crimes and regarded them as moral or legal.
6) Those who say "we" must not merely express regret and sympathy for the victims; they must at the same time express a collective responsibility for the continuing effects of the crimes on the victims and their descendants.
7) The apology must be supplied with a firm, clear, and determinate commitment. Those who say "we" must be ready to take every compensatory, reparatory, and restorative step, including tangible and/or symbolic wrongs.
The apology campaign in Turkey
In my view, the "I apologize to Armenians" campaign did not satisfy the above conditions. The apology did not seem to be part of a proper, well-thought out, and comprehensive "facing the past" campaign. If there was such a background, I was not aware of it.
Who were those that "apologize[d] on [their] part"? Those, whose conscience cannot accept the indifference towards the "Great Catastrophe" (Medz Yeghern, in Armenian) that Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915 and its denial, and who reject this injustice?
Are they the Turks, the intellectuals, the citizens of Turkey? If we are apologizing as Turks, why should I apologize in the name of an ethnic group that I have never seen myself as belonging to? If we are apologizing as intellectuals, wouldn't it be insincere for me to apologize, given that I do everything I can to fight the injustices that Armenians suffer? If we are apologizing as Turkish citizens, would Turkish citizens of Armenian descent apologize too? If yes, to whom and for what?
It was not clear from the text to whom the apology was extended. Does "my Armenian brothers and sisters" mean those who are alive or those who have passed away, those who were personally subjected to the terrible crimes, or those who were badly affected by them? It was hard to tell. Why were we apologizing only for 1915? Did the Great Catastrophe happen only in 1915? What about the things that Armenians were subjected to between 1915 and 1923, and throughout the republican history? Did the aforementioned conscience accept them? Was there no need to apologize to Assyrians and Yezidis who were deported along with Armenians?
It was not clear for what the apology was offered. I don't think that the term Great Catastrophe is the right term for what Armenians were subjected to in 1915. Unless this term is meant to replace the term "genocide," which causes negative reactions in Turkey for understandable reasons-if, that is, this new terminology is only a suggestion-then the text should have included other alternatives such as massacre, slaughter, elimination, and genocide, or the terminology should have been left blank to be filled in by those who signed the statement. If, on the other hand, the terminology was the public declaration of a decision by the group that started the campaign, then it amounted to an imposition and did not fit the dialogical nature of peace processes.
Who is the Perpetrator?
It was also a shortcoming of the text that it wasn't clear who the perpetrator of this Great Catastrophe was: the Ottoman state? The Ittihadist (CUP) government? The Ittihadists? Turks, Kurds, Circassians, others, all of the above?
What is our commitment?
In the text, we only apologized "on [our] part."As a general principle, those who deal with human rights violations in the past must have the following two aims: first, to make sure that such violations and injustices do not happen again in the future; and second, to repair the damages that these injustices have caused. There was no such promise in the text. For instance, why weren't we demanding reparations for the material and moral damages that our Armenian brothers and sisters suffered after 1915? Why weren't we asking the people who appropriated Armenian properties and accounts, and destroyed their cultural inheritance, to compensate for these material and moral damages?
Wouldn't I have to apologize also to Kurds, inhabitants of Dersim, Alawites, Assyrians, Yezidis, Gypsies, communists, Islamists, and many other groups who have suffered in front of my eyes? Where does it end? Might there be groups that I was forgetting about? Would it be best to play it safe and say mea culpa!, in accordance with the Judeo-Christian tradition that considers even being human as sinful? In the end, I thought it would be insincere to sign such a document that I disagreed with in many respects.
Over 12,000 Documents On Armenian Genocide Stored In National Archive Of Armenia ArmInfo 2009-04-21
ArmInfo. Over 12,000 documents on the Armenian Genocide are stored in the National archive of Armenia, Director of the National Archive Amatuni Virabyan said at today's press-conference in the National press club.
He said the archive documents also contain memorials of the Russian servicemen and diplomats from different countries of the world accredited in the Ottoman Empire. According to A. Virabyan, only half of the archive materials has been studied as of this day. 'However, we keep on working towards acquisition of new documents on the Armenian Genocide', he emphasized.
To note, new documents regarding the tragic events of 1915 are received by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute almost every week. The can be conventionally divided into two parts: those with the proved authenticity and included in the exposition and those under study by the Museum employees. To replenish the exposition, the Museum periodically participates in the internet-auctions where rare documents are exhibited.
The information about the documents is received in different ways, including through the embassies and representatives of the Armenian Diaspora. Among the most affecting acquisitions of the Museum, there is a greeting card written on April 23, 1915, i.e. on the eve of the Genocide.
12,000 documents on the Armenian Genocide are kept in the National Archive of Armenia. Director of the Armenian National Archive Amatuni Virabyan said to reporters today that in reality their number is much larger, and their registration still continues.
According to Amatuni Virabyan, four types of documents are kept in the Archive. The first group includes the articles from Tbilisi based "Mshak" newspaper of 1916.
The next group includes the documents the church possessed. Since there was no statehood then, but there was the church that had substituted the state for centuries, the Catholicos f All Armenians was receiving letters from different sites of the world. The letters provide information about the massacre of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, about the number of victims and emigrants.
There are also documents, in which the corresponding services of the Russian Army report about the occupied territories, the annihilation of Armenian citizens, destruction of Armenian villages and other details.
At last, the Armenian National Archive possesses the documents of the two Armenian delegations participating in the Paris Conference following World War I. They present information about the material and human losses Turkey inflicted.
"Many documents have been=2 0brought from the archives of European countries. The existence of such documents in European Archives can be explained by the fact that on those years their diplomatic representatives launched activity in Turkey," Amatuni Virabyan stressed.
Some of the documents kept in the Armenian National Archive have been copied and provided to the newly established Armenian Genocide Museum of the US.
There are many documents on display at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.
Genocide Of The Circassians David Hamilton Independent, 11 April 09, UK
Robert Fisk is, of course, right to keep reminding us about the Armenian genocide of 1915, which has left an indelible stain on the Young Turk government of Enver Pasha (report, 6 April). But he risks ungenerosity in dismissing as "usual weasal cliches" the statement by the White House security spokesman Mike Hammer that "the US can help Turkey and Armenia come to terms with the past".
The Turks, no less than the Armenians, are just now awakening from a long nightmare of censored history. It should not be unduly offensive to Vladimir Putin, with his immaculate KGB credentials, to point out that the greatest crime of the later tsars, overshadowing all other pogroms, was the genocide of the Circassians or Cherkassians, in the 1860s and 1870s. These people used to inhabit the Black Sea coastline between Georgia and the Crimea. The ethnic Abkhazians are a remnant.
The Circassian masses that fled to the Ottoman Empire can only have been too relieved to be allowed to call themselves Turks, something no self-respecting Armenians or Kurds will ever allow themselves to be known as, in the same way the Welsh and Scots would never answer to being English.
The Circassians were nomads, scarcely Muslim, profoundly pagan, and in considerable necessity. The problem of their resettlement was eventually solved by the Armenian genocide. Thus it was that the denial of one genocide created the conditions for the next.
Issues Of Organization Of Armeniancy Gagik Ter-Harutyunyan www.noravank.am 16 April 2009
We can meet both pessimistic and optimistic and sometimes even "realistic" forecasts, which are formed by a simple combination of "bad" and "good" scenarios, on the informational field regarding the current "crisis".
Anyway it is difficult to evaluate those scenarios. The crisis processes change our notion of the system of values, and this, in its turn, makes the notion of what is "good" and "bad" rather relative. Under such an uncertainty the issue of the adequate orientation of national elite becomes of vital importance.
And, at first, let us try to mention briefly the ongoing system changes:
1. Liberal (democratic) ideology cedes its dominating position and at current moment some kind of multi-ideological field, which consists of combined universal (liberal, socialistic) and national ideological provisions, is formed in the leading countries. National component comprises the information regarding a separate civilizational unit and, in fact, it is the factor, which conditions the competitive ability of the society.
2. The former unipolar and "overorganized" military and political system has changed into a multi-polar system. On this stage the possibility of new (even nuclear) conflicts has grown.
3. New realias influenced the globalization. Now, this process is initiated not by one, but by several civilizational centres, which have enough spiritual, mental and material resources. Such a process intends both convergence (mutual influence) and confrontation (collision). As a result, the level of global "chaos" rises and at the same time the necessity of the "dialogue of civilizations" is underlined.
The aforementioned changes inevitably influence Armenian realias. There is no doubt that in order to resist those new challenges, it is necessary not only to centralize the means we possess, but also to create the resources of a new quality. Among them, in our opinion, the elaborations of various strategies and technologies should be included.
At the same time the every strategy supposes the clear perceptions of the initial situation.
Characteristic of Armenia-Armeniancy system
It is obvious that in the context of the aforementioned problems our competitive ability can be provided only when the resources of the RA, the NKR and Armeniancy are united. Though we should keep in mind that the considerable part, if not the main part, of those resources belongs to the Armenians who live abroad and who are of different faith and speak different languages. Depending on the point of residence their geopolitical orientation also differs. From the informational point of view there are some difficulties connected with the difference between "eastern Armenians" and "western Armenians". Taking into consideration all those facts, it should be stated that today the main constructive and uniting idea of the Armeniancy is the Armenian civilization and political community1.
At the same time, one should realize that Armenian civilization, as it was mentioned above, is not uniform and the perception of the world on behalf of its different stratum very often differs. That means, according to those measures, our civilization can be regarded as the so called "split civilizations" and possibility of the fall of such civilizations, as it is known, is rather high.
Thus, there is a bit paradox situation: under the newly formed circumstances the only guarantee of our development and survival is to be a united civilization unit but the current condition of that civilization objectively contains definite risks of degeneration.
Accepting the objective essence of the abovementioned challenges one should not forget that any crisis, "negative" situation contains also new possibilities. Particularly, the diversity of Armeniancy can benefit to our national interests. For example, under the conditions of current civilizational collision our various faith and different language speaking parts can carry out a definite mission and become the implementers of the interests of the Armeniancy in different geopolitical and cultural fields. But it is obvious that the implementation of such a policy is possible only under the condition of highly organized national nature.
On the net centric system
Today, undoubtedly, more attention is paid to the issues of the organization of Armeniancy. Particularly in the publications you can often meet the idea that the most efficient mean of national organization is the formation of "net centric system of government". At the same time there is an impression that this notion is taken a bit simple. From this point of view it would not be out of place to touch briefly upon the history of the formation of that technology and its essence.
The concept of "net centric warfare" was elaborated at the end of the 90th of the last century by the employees of American RAND Corporation J. Aqvil and D. Ronfelt. The point that in the informational society the strength of the state (community), first of all, depends on its ability to inform, to get the information, to fix it in proper way is accepted as a reference point. According to the author's conception the notion of "net" supposes the cancellation of the "Centre-periphery" hierarchic governing method, which is characteristic of industrial society, and the elaboration of the system, which have no distinct structure, i.e. unstructured system, and which supposes non-linear process logic. Within such a system there is no "centre", but every link, constituting the part of that system, can obtain the functions of the governing "centre".
The concept, offered by RAND, captured the attention of military strategists (D.Rumsfeld, P.Wolfovitz and etc.) and very quickly many "think tanks" took over the implementation of that concept. The department of "reorganization of Armed Forces", which on the assumption of net centric warfare principles implements the reforms of the American armed forces and carries out new elaborations, was established.
Thus, "net centric" concept is:
the system with high intellectual resources, which components can be adequately informed and can fix properly and fast the obtained information, the understanding of the state of war (the broad concept and not exclusively military actions) and an appropriate psychology and way of conduct.
It appears from this that the implementation of "net centric" organization and governing technologies demands from the Armenincy the critical mass of intellectual and organizational resources and spiritual and psychological training. It is obvious that in order to possess and to use the resources the elite with the appropriate skills is necessary. It is characteristic that famous British political scientist Arnold Toynbee conditions the survival of the civilizations by the presence of such a "creative minority".
1Thereby, let us mention that the attempt to narrow the perceptions regarding Armeniancy, trying to present it as an ethno-religious unit and not civilizational unit, definitely conflicts with our interests.
Turkey Recalls Ambassador to Canada in Protest of Genocide Event [ 2009/04/22
Turkey has temporarily called home its ambassador for consultations in protest against events commemorating Canada’s recognition of mass killings in Armenia as a genocide, this according to the April 22 Globe and Mail.
The Canadian government participated in a commemoration ceremony last night of a parliamentary vote five years ago to recognize the crimes as genocide. The temporary return of Ambassador Rafet Akgunay also follows a message from Prime Minister Stephen Harper recalling the “terrible loss of life during the demise of the Ottoman empire in 1915, and in particular the horrific suffering endured by the Armenian people.”
The Turkish government said it is concerned over last night’s event and with Mr. Harper’s note.
The note appeared on the website of the Congress of Canadian Armenians, but it has been removed and a new and slightly amended statement was issued yesterday.
Kory Teneycke, a spokesman for PM Harper, said last night the Turkish position is not a new one.”It’s not new that the Turkish government has a difference of opinion around the issue of the Armenian genocide,” Mr. Teneycke said. “The Canadian government’s position is long-standing and has been affirmed by all-party resolutions in the House of Commons. We stand by our position and it’s not done with any intent to offend.”
He said Turkey is a friend and an ally.
The Prime Minister’s note also praises individuals on both sides of the issue who are examining the events and who “seek to achieve a common understanding with honesty and in a spirit of reconciliation.”
At last night’s event, an official representing the Armenian community said he was not concerned by the Turkish recall. “In my view, it is hollow threats,” said Taro Alepian, chairman of the Congress of Canadian Armenians, which put on the event. “Canada cannot be bullied. Canada must do the right thing.”
Sos Sargsyan - “the Turks Have Always Been Our Enemy” [ 2009/04/22 Shushan Stepanyan
At an ARF sponsored roundtable discussion of Armenian-Turkish relations noted actor Sos Sargsyan commented that the Turks have historically been the enemy of the Armenian people and that they continue to be.
“They have only one issue confronting them - to erase Armenians from the map,” Mr. Sargsyan commented, adding that, “Gul comes to Armenia and we greet him like he’s our long lost uncle or something.”
The actor described the present negotiations as a diplomatic game. “600,000 copies of a DVD are being distributed in Turkish schools portraying Armenians as committing acts of violence against the Turkish people. Twelve million Turkish school children have watched this anti-Armenian film. What kind of game are they playing at. We need to ask Mr. Gul why he is distributing this film and what kind of Turkish citizens he is preparing for the future. Armenians shouldn’t be playing politics. If we Armenians lose sight of our history then we have no future. We’ve played the diplomatic game for too long. We’re all over the map - Russia, Europe, the West, the East. We don’t have the gift of playing this game and we don’t need to.”
Sos Sargsyan asked what Armenia would gain from the opening of the Turksih border. He stated that he didn’t agree with President Sargsyan’s opinion that Armenian businesmen would benefit. “The opening of the border will signify the beginning of the end for us,” proclaimed the actor.
Mr. Sargsyan referred to a quote made by Sultan Abdul Hamid in which the Ottoman leader, known as the “Bloody Sultan”, said that however strong the weapons of the enemy, the weapon of the Turks will be the cushy pillow.
“It’s an amazingly true statement that describes them to a tee. Yes, they always resorted to using a soft pillow. I deeply believe that today the Turks have been able to deceive the world once again by saying - ‘Look, we are friends, etc. So don’t utter the genocide word’. I, for one, am convinced that Obama will not utter the word genocide,” stated Mr. Sargsyan.
ARF member Artzvik Minasyan noted that the matter of reconstituing the fatherland was absent from any documents today. “I am a descendant of that generation of Genocide survivors. I am a descendant of that generation that possessed a large fatherland. Naturally, I come to the table with demands.”
Hrant Margaryan - “at Present The Armenian Side Must Accept Defeat” 2009/04/22 Shushan Stepanyan
At a round table discussion held today regarding Armenian-Turkish relations, Hrant Margaryan, a representative of the ARF Bureau, commented that Turkey had delievered a strong blow against the issue of the Armenian Genocide by making its two preconditions for talks indirectly part of the negotiations. Mr. Margaryan stated that both Armenian and Turkish media reports bore this out as well as the statements of President Obama.
“One year ago Turkey didn’t have the moral right to present an opinion regarding the Karabakh conflict while today it is seen as a possible party to the talks. Turkey has also made it clear that the setlement of the Karabakh conflict is a vital step in the normalization of Armenian-Turksih relations.Thus, Turkey has proven that it is an interested party in the Karabakh issue. At this juncture, the Armenian side must accept the fact that it has lost out,” Mr. Margaryan commented.
In his view, Armenia has lost out since it has conceded certain principles that the Armenian government had adopted since 1990. “If we had held fast to those principles today the Turkish side would be perceived as the guilty party,” Mr. Margaryan noted.
The ARF representative stressed the fact that a retreat of principles stems from a simplified and disjointed approach to national issues.
“Our approach to national issues needs uniformity. and that uniformed approach must be based on a overriding perspective. We fall into a trap when we believe that we can concede nothing when it comes to the Karabakh issue but that we can give much elsewhere. This is what we need to understand - that the issues of Karabakh, the Genocide, Javakhk, the liberation of Western Armenia and Armenia’s independence, are all intertwined and comprise a totality. They all must be tackled as parts of a whole, in which one cannot be sacrificed at the cost of another.”
Armenian-Turkish Alliance? Dmitry Yermolayev WPS Agency April 20, 2009 Russia
ESTABLISHMENT OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN TURKEY AND ARMENIA WILL CHANGE GEOPOLITICAL SITUATION IN THE REGION; Armenia and Turkey are about to establish diplomatic relations.
What information is available to Rossiiskiye Vesti indicates that an agreement to establish diplomatic relations will be signed in the course of Turkish Foreign Minister Ala Babacan to Yerevan, Armenia, on April 16. The agreement to do so was made during negotiations between Babacan and his Armenian opposite number Edward Nalbandjan in Ankara on April 7 night. It is only fair to add that US President Barack Obama Enhanced Coverage LinkingBarack Obama -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days was present at the talks.
It was Obama Enhanced Coverage LinkingObama -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days who impressed on Babacan and Nalbandjan the importance of normalization of the Turkish-Armenian relations. It was Obama Enhanced Coverage LinkingObama -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days who emphasized that official Ankara could become an effective intermediary in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. Finally, it was Obama Enhanced Coverage LinkingObama -Search using: Biographies Plus News News, Most Recent 60 Days who advised Yerevan to show goodwill and return to Azerbaijan some of the least strategically important occupied districts - in return for its withdrawal from isolation.
Babacan and Nalbandjan met the following morning tete-a-tete and discussed details. The former mentioned that he cared little about Baku's reaction to the forthcoming establishment of diplomatic relations between their two countries. Babacan even said that "... Azerbaijan clearly aspires to the role that far exceeds its weight and status in the region."
Experts point out that establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia will dramatically alter geopolitical situation in the region. Isolation of Armenia will be history. Even more importantly, Armenia will have Turkey's support in the matter of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara in its turn will want at least neutrality (but support will be better, of course) from the powerful Armenian lobby in the matter of Turkey's entry into the European Union.
Establishment of diplomatic relations with Turkey will enable Yerevan to diversify its foreign policy. It does not mean of course that Armenia will withdraw from the strategic alliance with Russia. Moscow's positions there are safe. All the same, Yerevan will try to develop broader and more intensive contacts with Washington and perhaps even start thinking about joining NATO.
Azerbaijan will took it bad of course. Instead of Nagorno-Karabakh, it will be told to be happy with just several districts that have always been Azerbaijani in the first place. It will probably save President Ilham Aliyev's image domestically but never placate official Baku entirely. In order to sweeten the bitter pill, US diplomacy will promise Azerbaijan more energetic contacts with NATO and the prospect of membership in it one fine day. For the time being, however, the US Department of State is looking for substitutes for Aliyev in Baku -just to be on the safe side.
There is only one potential fly in the ointment. Establishment of diplomatic relations with Turkey may foment a drastic rearrangement of political forces in Armenia itself. Modern history of Armenia plainly shows that it may spell trouble.
Q&A With Taner Akçam On Obama's Visit To Turkey And If Obama Will Use The Word Genocide On April 24th.
Question 1) Can you evaluate the statements that were made by Obama regarding the subject of genocide during his visit to Turkey? What kind of message do you believe he was trying to give...
Obama gave a very clear and singular message. What he said was this: “You possess the strength to play a very important role in the region and the world; I want you to play that role and support you but you must confront your history. There’s nothing shameful in doing that, in fact it’s a good thing and it will bring you to a good place. Look at me, I became the president of a country which engaged in slavery and where people like me couldn’t even vote. Confront your own history, become more democratic and you’ll see that it will bring you to a good place. This is absolutely necessary in order for you to fulfill the duty that’s been placed upon you in the region and the world. Otherwise you won’t be able to fulfill that role. If you think you can continue to treat frank discussions of history within a framework of crime and punishment, if you continue to treat the denial of historical truth and injustices as some kind of special talent and believe you’re going to play this big role in the region and the world, well I’m here to tell you. It ain’t happening.”
2) Do you believe that he will use the word genocide on April 24th?
I don’t live in the White House so I don’t know what to tell you. I’d like to continue to believe that he will use the word. He should use the word. If he doesn’t it basically comes down to a continuation of this meaningless tragi-comedy, this “Chinese water torture”. Besides, by telling the Turkish Parliament “what I think isn’t important” Obama opened the door a crack. What are we going to do if he says “It doesn’t matter what I think but I’m going to say what I think anyway”? Remind him that we’d really appreciate it if he could tell a bald faced lie?
What I keep wondering is this: If Obama was to say “I believe that what happened in 1915 was genocide but you want me to tell a lie for one day. Do you really believe that by getting me to deny what I think, your problems are going to be solved?” “Do you really believe that you can solve problems by lying about it? Wouldn’t it be better if everyone just stated what they believed and then we could get on with trying to solve our differences?”
I don’t see any point in Turkey sending Obama threats. Here’s a country that told Peres, with a straight face, “You know very well how to kill people”. What’s it going to say to Obama, “If you dare tell the truth, I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich”? I’m sorry, but this whole business is one big meaningless, absurd comedy to me. It would be a relief to everyone, if it would just come to an end.
3) If the word “genocide” isn’t used this year, does that infer it may not be used in the future?
No, if the word isn’t used this year then it means the comedy continues in the years to come. I am dead serious here: I don’t get our government’s persistence on this subject. I just don’t. It strikes me as the ultimate in ludicrousness. And frankly, it’s embarrassing too. Think about it: you have the American President and Congress before you and they all believe in the genocide. That doesn’t bother us for 364 days of the year but we insist “PLEASE PLEASE DON’T MENTION THE WORD GENOCIDE ONLY FOR ONE DAY.” And as if that isn’t enough, when the American President uses words like “total destruction or total annihilation” on April 24th instead of genocide, words that are even worse in my mind, we get happy. Let’s put an end to this nonsense. I believe Obama is ready to do that.
4) Do you believe that Turkey’s diplomatic overtures to Armenia are some kind of political maneuvering in light of April 24th? Obama said he supported both countries developing closer relations but there has been some negative feedback from the public, Karabağ as a pre-condition? How do you think the American administration is going to follow the . developments…
Turkey prefers to muzzle the American Congress and President with words and threats each year. Turkey’s strategy is built on “Let’s get them to play mute this year and we’ll see about next year.” What it’s really doing is using “its military and strategic power” in the region as a source of threats. I don’t know if America is going to back down again. I don’t live in the White House. The opening of the borders with Armenia may be leveraged for the “avoidance of the word genocide”. Meaning, Turkey opens the border and Obama refrains from using the word genocide. However Tayyip Erdoğan was pretty clear about it: he said the border wouldn’t be opened without a resolution on Karabağ. I believe that it’s a big mistake for Turkey to peg Karabağ against the opening of the border. It’s a bad move. With that policy Turkey automatically puts itself outside the loop. If it could exercise any influence at all in Armenia, that’s going to prevent it from happening and it will be their own fault. Let’s not forget: people will listen to their friends; they don’t listen to their enemies.
5) What do you think of the fact that the “genocide” issue has been used as political fodder on policy matters?
Of course it’s going to be used that way. An act of historical injustice is inevitably going to be used for political purposes. You can’t prevent that. What’s important is what sort of “political fodder” you’re making it into. I don’t believe that a political position that doesn’t mention historical injustices, that doesn’t incorporate the honest confrontation of history and acknowledgment of past wrongs as a central theme has any hope of success in the Middle East. What I mean is that you can’t possibly create peace and security in the Middle East without mentioning the pain felt by Kurds, by Armenians, by Palestinians, without discussing the painful experiences of the past and their negative consequences, without being willing to take the steps needed to address those consequences. That is the biggest reality check that Middle Eastern politicians have to get.
History Texts Draw Set Of Blank Pages
ISTANBUL - The Ministry of Education has published a revised chapter for Year 8 history books and asked instructors to teach from the new text. Changes include removing the names of influential politicians and a shifted definition of fundamentalism. The ministry’s move has sparked a lively debate over whether the chapter alters or updates the history of the Republic
Changes made to textbooks for Republic history classes have left significant gaps in the country’s past 40 years, revealing that Turkey’s recent history is still considered a difficult issue to tackle.
"Turkey after Atatürk: The Second World War and afterwards," the seventh chapter of the book, was criticized for mentioning the 1999 capture of the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and significant alterations made by the department of the Education Ministry have raised eyebrows.
The ministry has published the altered, 27-page chapter on its Web site, asking instructors who teach Year 8 Republic history to use the revised version rather than the one in the book.
The chapter focuses on the history of the country after 1939, which includes Turkey’s role in World War II; the start of multi-party democracy; the 1960, 1971 and 1980 military coups; the 1970s, dominated by left-wing and right-wing terrorism; Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union; the start of PKK attacks in the 1980s and the capture of its leader in 1999; both Gulf Wars; and the region after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Historians believe that recent history should be held in an objective way. Toktamış Ateş, an academic from Istanbul University, said the Board of Education and Discipline prepared the textbooks in line with their political views and opinions. "Recent history should be mentioned without any reference to values and opinions. Those people who experienced those days are still alive and praising [the coups] may hurt them," he told the NTV news channel yesterday.
But Zübeyde Kılıç, head of the Education Personnel Union, or Eğitim-Sen, said the history textbooks do not meet their expectations, especially on the issues of the military coups. "The military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, was a major intervention into democracy and it should not be mentioned in such a shallow way," she said.
Daily Milliyet focused on the changes, mainly on the section about fundamentalist threats to the country.
While the original version defined fundamentalist acts as efforts to create chaos through religious differences and accusing secularism of being anti-religion through propaganda against the state and Turkey’s founder Atatürk, the new version does not refer to secularism and instead accuses fundamentalists of trying to "perpetrate anti-scientific actions by rejecting the progressive values of the society in order to bring back a medieval system."
Yunus Öztürk, head of Eğitim-Sen’s Bahçelievler branch, said the changes reveal the intervention of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, to the curriculum as a way to defend political Islamic views. "The fundamentals define Alevism as the same as atheism, and they condemn Atatürk for introducing a secular system to Turkey," Öztürk said. "But those details were removed, which makes it difficult to teach children about fundamentalism in Turkey in a concrete way." The new version also cites Atatürk’s statement warning that the republic faced threats from people and groups that wanted to turn back time. The chapter also argued that fundamentalists had been a threat since the establishment of the Republic.
The new chapter refers to the 1960, 1971 and 1980 military coups as suspending the country’s democratization process and adds that their negative consequences were overcome by constitutional changes, new political parties laws and broader reforms.
Two pages dedicated to the coups in the original chapter were removed and were replaced with two sentences. The section about the Feb. 28, 1996, statement released by the military that led to the toppling of the coalition government, referred to as the post-modern coup, was simply removed.
Mustafa Kovanlık, head of Eğitim-Sen’s Taksim branch, said the removal of the coups from the curriculum is a positive development because the former version depicted the coups as reasonable or legitimate things.
Among the sections that were not included in the new chapter were those that mentioned former Presidents Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel and former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. Demirel and Ecevit were key political leaders starting from the 1960s until after 2000. Özal, credited with opening the economy overseas, dominated Turkish politics from 1983 until his death in 1993.
Missionary activities were included in a section on threats to the country and fundamentalist threats.
The chapter said: "Missionary activities are not simple religious proliferation efforts. It cannot be protected by freedom of thought and freedom of expression. It is an organized and systematic movement that forces individuals to change their religion. Missionary activities also carry a political, economic and cultural perspective and are supported by nongovernmental organizations and foreign forces. Missionaries exploit individuals’ economic problems and constitute a threat to national unity and sovereignty."
The section called "Why are Armenians the problem?" in the original was replaced with a new section called, "Turkish-Armenian Relations."
The new section lists the Armenian terrorist activities in the 1970s and 1980s directed at Turkish diplomats and notes that Turkey opened its archives concerning the 1915 incidents.
Daily Akşam noted that the changes came as Turkey and Armenia were trying to improve bilateral relations.
Erdoğan Defends Akp Baku Stance
ANKARA - The Turkish PM is upset by opposition to Turkey's rapprochement with Armenia before Yerevan solves its dispute with Azerbaijan over occupied territories that include Nagorno-Karabakh. Opposition leaders deny the viability of any solution without Azerbaijani consent.
Azerbaijan’s loud opposition to prospects of a Turkish decision to open its border with Armenia before a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has disturbed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan but was backed by opposition leaders.
When speaking to Justice and Development Party, or AKP, deputies in Parliament yesterday, Erdoğan denied that the party would take actions that would ignore Azerbaijan’s concerns about Nagorno-Karabakh.
The AKP’s views on Azerbaijan are clear," said party-leader Erdoğan. "Unfortunately, such an important and sensitive matter is abused for the sake of politics."
Azerbaijani women deputies, who gifted a box of soil from the occupied Karabakh region to Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan during a recent visit to Turkey, were exempt from Erdoğan’s criticism.
"My words are also for those who come from Azerbaijan and follow misguided policies here. We have never let down our Azerbaijani brothers before," Erdoğan said. The women deputies visited the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, but left the AKP headquarters off their agenda.
"Azerbaijan’s normalization efforts with Armenia and Turkey’s similar efforts with Azerbaijan are related to each other. They are parallel," Erdoğan said, adding that his government has been urging the participating parties to act quickly in the Minsk process. "We constantly tell the U.S., France and Russia to reach an end in the talks."
The Minsk group was established by the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1992 (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to encourage a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Turkey closed its borders with Armenia in 1993 as a reaction to an Armenian military occupation of mainly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh territory of Azerbaijan along with other Azerbaijani soil inhabited by Azerbaijanis.
’Turkey’s biggest mistake’
Baykal agreed with Erdoğan on the need to normalize relations with Armenia but emphasized the major obstacle as the "Armenian occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani soil, condemned by the United Nations in the past." "The problem is not confined to Nagorno-Karabakh, but involves other Azerbaijani territories where Azeris live under Armenian occupation," Baykal said. "What we have is that Azerbaijan holds a deep bitterness toward Turkey," the opposition leader asserted. "If this trend continues, Turkey will establish its biggest diplomacy mistake." He elaborated his position by outlining power relations in the South Caucasus. "Armenia and Russia have close relations, and Russians have soldiers on their soil. Moreover, Iran nurtures good relations with Armenia. We must keep our ties with Azerbaijan good," Baykal said, "or else you will witness Azerbaijani natural gas and oil being marketed by Russia. That would leave the European Union, Turkey and Azerbaijan in a very difficult position. President Abdullah Gül must visit Baku and make it up to Azerbaijan."
"Turkey must show the same attention to Azerbaijan as it shows to Somalia and Bahrain," he said.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli reiterated Baykal’s position regarding Turkey’s policy of rapprochement toward Armenia. "The MHP’s position is clear enough to rule out any hesitations," Bahçeli said.
Dreams from My President: Obama Sails to Byzantium
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come To the holy city of Byzantium. W.B. Yeats
“Sailing to Byzantium”
So how did President Barack Obama do on his visit to Turkey? For those who love the idea of living in a democratic, secular, social state governed by the rule of law, bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice, respecting human rights, and loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk, indeed Obama said all the right words.
At Anıtkabir, President Obama praised Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as tenacious and courageous. He spoke of Atatürk’s continuing legacy to “generations around the world” and noted, in writing, his signature words “Peace at home, peace in the world.” In short, President Obama reaffirmed not only the founding premises of the Turkish Republic, but also the relevance of the nation’s Constitution, a document that the ruling party is intent on changing.
Obama consistently referred to Turkey as a modern nation respectful of democracy and the rule of law. He disavowed the Bush administration’s nonsense of Turkey being a “moderate Islamic state,” thus stripping away one of the veils that brought the present government to power in 2003. “Respectful” was a popular word used by the president. He also observed to President Abdullah Gül that he considered Turkey not as an Islamic nation but, similar to the United States, a “nation of citizens.” In so saying, he underscored the fundamental and essential secularity of Turkey, and indeed all democracies.
Obama also addressed an embarrassingly lethargic parliament, that mostly sat on its collective hands throughout the speech, except for a momentary awakening when the president mentioned two Turkish NBA basketball players. President Gül and Prime Minister Erdoğan looked consistently sullen. And perhaps for good reason. Early in his speech, President Obama likened Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (not the two Turkish leaders favorite subject) to George Washington. (Forget George Washington, I would argue that no statesman in recorded history comes close to Atatürk, but that is a subject for another day.) Among other items, Obama mentioned that Turkey had strengthened laws that “govern freedom of the press and assembly.” He encouraged that these new laws should be implemented and the reform momentum sustained. No sarcastic moaning broke out among members of the opposition parties. Turkish politicians are just so polite and refined. With the Ergenekon fiasco sweeping a fear-filled nation, and Obama’s reference about “an enduring commitment to the rule of law,” no wonder Gül and Erdoğan had faces like heartburn victims. Obama closed with an appeal to promote education and economic opportunity for Turks of Kurdish origin. And for all Turkish youth as well. In his later meeting with Turkish students, he, like Atatürk, singled out young people as “our best hope” for a peaceful, prosperous future. He encouraged student activism, failing to note that in Turkey, students are usually beaten by gangs of police for their political activism, social responsibility, and idealism.
In President Obama’s extraordinary memoir, Dreams from My Father, he importantly wrote that “politics will need to reflect our lives as they are actually lived.”(1) And therein lies the problem with President Obama’s visit. He was speaking about the Turkey of Atatürk, that product of Atatürk’s enormous mind and will. Sadly, that country no longer exists, and the actual lives of the Turkish people are not lived under the enlightened principles of Atatürk. Turkey is neither democratic, nor respectful of the law. In fact, Turkish politicians have no understanding of democracy, certainly not of the delicate balance of governance provided by the independent separations of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The Turkish people have even less knowledge, and the Turkish media have the least of all.
In undemocratic Turkey, the prime minister is also the self-proclaimed “chief prosecutor” of a witch hunt called Ergenekon. Turkey has not the slightest resemblance to a nation that respects the rule of law. In Turkey, virtually all rules of evidence are ignored, illegal searches and seizures are routine, false and unjust imprisonments are common, and the democratic provisions of habeas corpus, that is, the right to a fair and speedy trial universally ignored. All opposed to the tyrannical rule of the majority party are being purged, either physically or emotionally. And the elected political opposition in parliament are craven and ineffective beyond belief. Like the gestapo of old, early morning police raids and confiscations of personal property have struck fear in the citizenry. Telephone conversations are recorded, and tampered, tainted evidence is leaked to the favored religious press that is the servant of the ruling party. So one can forget secularity as well. Atatürk, whose surname means “father of the Turks,” would be ashamed. And Atatürk, that great revolutionary leader, would be particularly ashamed of the docility of the Turkish people.
Thus regarding President Obama’s visit...Hoşgeldiniz, Mr. President, but you were addressing people who now live on the dark side of the moon. Wrong people. Wrong country. Wrong time. The brutal truth is that the country that was the realized dream of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has turned into a nightmare. A dear friend and confidant of Atatürk, Falih Rıfkı Atay wrote, “There was never a man like Atatürk. He was a mighty torrent that flowed over barren soil and was lost.”(2)
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died on 10 November 1938. His Turkey has been perishing ever since, killed by his beloved “Turkish youth of future generations.”(3)
Cem Ryan, Ph.D.
21 April 2009
(1) Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father. Three Rivers Press, New York, 1995 (page 457).
(2) Atay, Falih Rıfkı. The Atatürk I Knew. Yapı ve Kredi Bankası, Ankara, 1981. (page 293)
(3) Atatürk. The Great Speech. Atatürk Araştırma Merkezi. Ankara, 2005. (page 716)
by Cansu Çamlıbel A Date, A Word And A Shrug
YEREVAN -While Ankara holds its breath to see if U.S. President Barack Obama will state the word "genocide" this Friday, it seems that on the streets of Yerevan such recognition does not hold such fundamental importance. As much as Armenians would welcome such a move, the general mood is that international recognition has already been established and the time has come for Turkey to take steps toward "emotional acceptance."
A date, a word and a shrug April 24 is the commemoration of the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, and on this day each year the U.S. Congress reiterates its official stance on events.
Armand Pınarbaşı, born in Turkey but brought up in France, now lives and works in Yerevan as an accountant for an international company. "The important thing is not what Obama says but what he believes in. Nobody on the streets of Yerevan really cares about Obama’s speech. What he says will be only discussed for two minutes," he told to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Sunday.
For Armenians there is no question about "genocide," Pınarbaşı said, adding that any official recognition by Obama would probably have a more profound effect on Turkish public opinion than for the people of Armenia.
Executive director of the International Center for Human Development, Tevan Poghosyan, said the Armenian side should not even discuss the term "genocide," referring to the reported compromise on a committee of historians within the ongoing reconciliation talks with Turkey. "Armenia does not have an issue of proving it. 90 countries and 48 states in the U.S have already recognized it. So what is the point of waiting for a new parliament to pass a similar bill?" Poghosyan said even if Obama did not make the expected statement, he personally would not feel bitter about it. The same response can be heard in the remarks of Hovhannes Igitian of the opposition Armenia National Movement Party, which was founded by the country’s first president, Levon Ter-Petrossian. "In Turkey some authorities think that if Obama does not use the word, it means it did not happen. In fact the U.S. uses this issue as a carrot and stick with Turkey to put pressure concerning other American interests," he said.
The discussion of Poghosyan and also reflect the mood of daily talks between Armenian and other diplomats here: "The whole world knows Obama`s position, which he also reiterated in Ankara. Obama believes it was ’genocide’ and if he will still not say so, so as not to offend Turkey, then this is a strange paradox for Ankara and in fact more difficult than recognition itself."
The ’G’ word
Former Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian lines up with the others predicting that Obama will not state the word. "If what he said in Turkey is an indication, then my sense is that he will not. But, I could be wrong, he may do unconventional things," Oskanian told to the Daily News.
The "G" word has even inspired jokes among diplomatic circles. Diplomats have even been placing bets on what new diplomatic expression the U.S administration can conjure up for Obama to use this year, if there are any left in the dictionary.
"If we look at previous declarations of U.S presidents in the past, they in fact say ’recognize mass killings of Armenians in 1915.’ For me it is enough. If you look in the dictionary for words they have used they refer to only one thing: genocide," veteran politician Igitian recalled. For Igitian the best formula was found by the European Parliament in its resolution voted in 1987, which said: "The tragic events in 1915-1917 involving the Armenians living in the territory of the Ottoman Empire constitute genocide within the meaning of the convention on the prevention and the punishment of the crime of genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly on Dec. 9, 1948.
"It recognizes, however, that present Turkey cannot be held responsible for the tragedy experienced by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and stresses that neither political nor legal nor material claims against present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this event as an act of genocide."
According to Poghosyan, however, if Obama takes the bold step and goes where no U.S president has gone before, then it may have an informative effect on Turkish people. Describing Turks as "illiterate" on the issue, he advocated that with education perceptions may change and gave the striking example of former Soviet states, including Armenia.
Poghosyan uses the Soviet analogy in an effort to argue that the Turkish perception of Armenians and the events of 1915 may also go through change if there is a willingness. "The issue is the emotional acceptance in Turkey. The only interest for us is that the Turkish state recognizes genocide," he said.
Hovhannes Igitian pointed out that sometimes unexpected circumstances led to more important steps than recognition from Turkish side "Hrant Dink, through his life and death, did more than one declaration of a U.S president of ’genocide’. I see that in Turkish society people need to have discussion on this issue to understand what happened. It was a taboo before."
The visit of Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal Ğ the grand-son of Cemal Paşa, who the Armenians claim was one of the master minds behind 1915’s events Ğ to the "Armenian Genocide Museum" in last September, is also regarded as a such meaningful step taken in recent years in Yerevan.
Commission Of Historians Welcomed By Academic Hürriyet
While most Turkish and many non-Turkish historians continue to object to the term "genocide" as an accurate description of Armenia’s tragic years around 1915, recently there has been a convergence of views. The earliest Turkish historian to move beyond the black and white debate was Halil Berktay of Istanbul’s Sabancy' University. Berktay has suggested "proto-genocide" might be a better term, given that the legal definition of genocide was written made 33 years after 1915.
One of the few Turkish figures to embrace the emotional word "genocide" without reservation is Taner Akçam, a scholar at Clark University in the U.S. His use of that word netted him an indictment for "insulting Turkishness" at one point, a charge of which Turkish courts acquitted him.
In the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent Turkish visit, his past use of the symbolic term and comments in Turkey that his views have not changed in the run-up to April 24 are evidence enough for Akçam, who believes Obama is likely to use the term in his expected address Thursday.
"I’d say there is a high possibility of such recognition, it’s not possible to say he absolutely will do so," Akçam told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. More important for Turkey and Armenia, he said, is a full and candid exploration and discussion of the two societies’ mutual history and he said he welcomes Turkey’s proposal for a commission of historians as a positive step.
But it should not be tasked to "come to a decision about history," but rather to work to complete the still incomplete archival record, he said. Akçam pointed out that many documents would still need to be presented to the historians committee once it is founded.
There are other archives, including references in Boston and at the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem as well that have not yet been made fully available to scholars, he said.
More archival work will not change anyone’s broad conclusions, he said, but will facilitate better understanding.
The Karabakh Hurdle (Amanda Akçakoca) Today's Zaman
After months of diplomacy, Turkey and Armenia seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough in relations that could end years of hostility. Papers had been drawn up, ready to be signed, and it appeared the restoration of diplomatic ties and the reopening of the border was just around the corner.
Then Azerbaijan, which had perhaps been too quiet in recent months, exploded. Baku was fuming over the fact that Turkey was apparently prepared to reopen the border with Armenia without having secured concessions from Yerevan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In Azerbaijan Turkey has been portrayed as betraying the nation. Baku has threatened to pull out of the Nabucco gas pipeline project, apparently blocked Turkish television channels and run off to Moscow for discussions with the Kremlin -- clearly to signal that it has other options on the table. Although I would say that aligning itself increasingly with Moscow and turning its back on longtime friends is not in the real interests of Azerbaijan. What will happen next is anybody's guess.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 following Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh (an Azerbaijani province with a predominantly Armenian population) and seven surrounding districts (17 percent of Azerbaijan's territory). Ethnic Azerbaijanis were driven out of Karabakh and the conflict created a massive humanitarian crisis. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that Azerbaijan has the fourth-largest number of displaced people in the world -- 570,000 people (15 percent of its 8-million-strong population). Today Nagorno-Karabakh is more or less an extension of Armenia (linked by the Lachin corridor), and its population of 130,000 is almost entirely ethnically Armenian. The territory is dependent on imports and exports from and through Armenia and uses the Armenian currency. The Nagorno-Karabakh budget is mainly funded by government loans from Armenia and the diaspora community, which is a big investor in the region, and around half the budget is spent on the army. There is considerable unemployment and many people depend on money sent home from abroad (almost all families have at least one family member working or studying overseas).
The 1994 cease-fire has remained mostly intact, although there continues to be sniper fire on an almost daily basis across a 175-meter "line of contact" with approximately 30,000 troops on each side. In 2008 over 30 people were killed. There are no international peacekeepers -- just a small group of six unarmed Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers who monitor the line of contact on an irregular basis and cannot arrive unannounced.
Furthermore, both the Azerbaijani and Armenian governments have engaged in a serious arms race, making the Southern Caucasus the most heavily armed region in Europe. For the last 15 years, the OSCE Minsk Group, through its co-chairs, Russia, France and the US, has acted as the intermediary for peace talks. Progress has been slow and although there have been at least three peace plans, they were principally rejected because of failure on both sides to seriously engage in the talks. Furthermore, the political interests of the three co-chairs have also interfered in the process. The most recent proposal, known as "the basic principles," is a step-by-step approach that allows for the quick return of most of Azerbaijan's territory with international security guarantees and peacekeepers, and on many of the points the leaders have reached consensus. However, the eventual status of Nagorno-Karabakh still remains unresolved and continues to block the whole process. Therefore, making progress on Nagorno-Karabakh, unless there is sufficient outside pressure, will remain difficult.
In light of this, will Turkey really revert to its old policy of stating that the normalization of relations is conditional on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue -- a policy that has over the last 17 years had no effect whatsoever on Armenia's position and has only helped contribute to regional instability in the Southern Caucasus. I fear this would be a grave mistake. On the other hand, there is no doubt that Russia could push Armenia into making some concessions -- if the Kremlin so desired. Russia has shown signs that it wants to push for the resolution of this conflict, but clearly it would need to take into account its own interests in the region, including security concerns. In this respect the upcoming visit of the Armenian president to Moscow will be important, as will the meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents on the sidelines of the Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on May 7.
However, I fear that if there is no movement after these encounters, things will look rather bleak. Armenia will no doubt find it difficult dealing with an increasingly "we told you so" diaspora community and may be pressured to back out of further talks. It will also put increased pressure on US President Barack Obama, given that he was counting on Turkey to avoid having to deliver on his genocide pledge. Therefore, the fallout of Baku's objections could be huge. In this case, unless the Turkish government can convince Baku or take a leap of faith and move forward regardless, it seems it will be difficult to find a way through.
Torosyan Talks About the Making of ‘Morgenthau’ Film Kay Mouradian February 09, 2009 Armenian Reporter
At the Western Diocese Presentation in Burbank, CA, last month are President of Organization of Istanbul Armenians Simon Acilacoglu, Filmmaker Apo Torosyan, Appo Jabarian (Editor of USA Armenian Life Magazine), Dr. Ohannes Kulak, President of Cultural Committee of OIA.
Burbank, Calif. — On January 25, Apo Torosyan’s documentary “The Morgenthau Story” was screened at the Western Diocese in Burbank. The extensively researched film, which premiered in Athens last year, tells the story of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. While serving as U.S. Ambassador in Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1913-16, Morgenthau issued thousands of documents chronicling the Armenian Genocide, and worked tirelessly to assist Armenian and Greek victims of ethnic cleansing.
Torosyan, who lives in Peabody, Mass., is a passionate advocate of human rights and conflict resolution. He was born the son of an Armenian father and a Greek mother (both genocide survivors) in Istanbul in 1942, and moved to the United States in 1968. A multimedia artist, filmmaker, and lecturer, Torosyan has several documentary movies to his credit, and his artworks, some of which are in permanent collections such as the Florida Holocaust Museum, have been exhibited throughout the world.
While a number of Torosyan’s films (“Witnesses”, “Voices”, and “Discovering My Father’s Village: Edincik”) explore the plight of Armenian and Greek survivors of genocide, two of his short movies -”The Gates” and “Water” — are poetic meditations on art and nature.
I caught up with Torosyan at the Armenian Reporter office in Burbank.
Kay Mouradian: Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
Apo Torosyan: It started in 2003, when the Forum on Tolerance at the North Shore Community College [Lynn, Mass.] asked me to make a presentation on the Armenian Genocide. I was honored and traveled to Turkey to make a documentary exploring my roots. The result was the film “Discovering My Father’s Village: Edincik”, which I completed in October 2003 and presented it for the first time at the Forum on Tolerance, in November of the same year.
KM: How did the idea of making a film on Ambassador Morgenthau come about?
AT: A Greek professor from Athens, Nikolaos Ouzounoglu, saw “Discovering My Father’s Village: Edincik” in Yerevan. His parents were refugees transferred from Turkey after the burning of Smyrna in 1922. Ouzounoglu emailed me and asked if I would do a film on Morgenthau [with support from a number of Greek organizations]. Once we agreed on the length of the documentary [about one hour], it took more than a year to tape the interviews and produce the film.
KM: How did you manage to get the Morgenthau descendants to agree to the interviews?
AT: It wasn’t easy. It started with Pam Steiner, a great granddaughter of Henry Morgenthau Sr. She wasn’t anxious to meet me, but finally agreed to after Marc Mamigonian of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) in Belmont, MA informed her of my credentials. She asked me to submit 40 questions, which meant I needed to read and research more about Ambassador Morgenthau. Interestingly, this also forced her to start studying about her great grandfather.
Next I needed to find a way to connect to Robert Morgenthau, the District Attorney of New York and grandson of Ambassador Morgenthau. The Armenian grapevine led me to an Armenian New York Deputy District Attorney, who, after reading my proposal, arranged for me a meeting with Robert Morgenthau in New York City.
After that successful interview and knowing that Robert’s 90-year-old brother, Henry Morgenthau III, was not in good health, I asked Dr. Steiner about the possibility of interviewing him as well. Dr. Steiner arranged the meeting, and, after this final interview, the hard job of creating a storyboard, extensive research, and editing began. Currently there is a possibility of distributing the film in Europe, with Greek financing. The Greeks also funded this film because of their remembrance and appreciation of Ambassador Morgenthau, who helped organize and fund the relocation of 1.6 million refugees from Turkey to Greece in 1923.
The most exciting and gratifying part was when I went to Athens for the premiere of “The Morgenthau Story” in September 2008. After it was screened and I gave a speech, people came up to me speaking in five different languages: Greek, Armenian, Turkish, French, and English. I’ve never had a challenge like that in my life. The film was also shown in Nikaia, a town just outside of Athens, whose population comprises Armenians and Greeks alike. While there, I was taken to a school that was built and funded by Ambassador Morgenthau. It is still functioning today. And in Athens there is a street named after Morgenthau.
KM: What’s next on your agenda?
AT: The International Association of Genocide Scholars will be showing two of my films, “Voices”  and “The Morgenthau Story” , at its conference in June in Arlington, Virginia.
KM: What do you hope to accomplish through screenings of your documentaries?
AT: My goal is to reach students to talk about human rights and genocide. My view of history is that we keep making the same mistakes over and over. My own solution is one of hope, not hate. We need that message because we are living in a repetitious and vicious circle.
This article by Kay Mouradian is reprinted from the Armenian Reporter.
©2008 The Jewish Journal Boston North
Boyajian Speaks To St. James Men’s Club About Genocide Denials By The Anti-Defamation League
David Boyajian, who initiated the drive against the Armenian genocide denials of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), spoke before a capacity crowd of some 200 people at the St. James Armenian Church Men’s Club dinner in Watertown, Massachusetts on April 13.
After thanking Boston area activists and the Armenian National Committee of Massachusetts for their efforts in the campaign, Boyajian declared that the human rights battle “has been a spectacular success which took the ADL and Turkey by surprise and shook them to their roots.”
A freelance writer and political activist, Boyajian described how in July of 2007 he came to write a letter to the Watertown Tab in which he objected to the town’s sponsorship of No Place for Hate (NPFH), an anti-bias program created by the ADL.
On Turkey’s behalf, the ADL has for years lobbied the U.S. Congress to oppose passage of a resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide. The ADL has also refused to forthrightly
acknowledge the Armenian genocide and has used language that casts doubt on whether the mass killings were genocide.
On August 14, 2007, Watertown became the first Massachusetts city to rebuke the ADL and drop the NPFH program. Had Armenian Americans not appeared before the town council in sufficient numbers on that date, according to Boyajian, it might not have severed ties with NPFH.
Since then, 13 Massachusetts cities, most recently Easton, have officially terminated their NPFH program in what Boyajian termed one of the “finest Armenian grassroots efforts
Among the positive results of the campaign, Boyajian cited the “thousands of news reports, editorials, commentaries, letters, and radio interviews in the non-Armenian media.” While he criticized the American Jewish Committee’s national office and B’nai B’rith for having stances against Armenian similar to the ADL’s, Boyajian also praised the many Jewish people who have supported the Armenian campaign and the Congressional resolution.
He said that the ADL and similar groups support Turkey “on virtually every issue, such as military aid to Azerbaijan and Turkey.” Therefore, by its having “weakened the credibility of these organizations,” the campaign against the ADL’s genocide denials has reduced these groups’ overall ability to inflict damage on Armenian American interests.
Despite the campaign’s ongoing success, Boyajian lamented that “Armenian leaders in politics, academia, business, journalism, law, the church, and in community organizations have done little to help this campaign” in Massachusetts.
The national ADL is a “political,” not a “general human rights,” organization, said Boyajian. The ultimate purpose of its “civil and human rights programs” is to “influence and buy people, getting them dependent on ADL money, and seeing things the ADL way.” As evidence that the ADL is not dedicated to human rights, he cited a 1990’s California case in which an ADL agent conducted illegal surveillance of minority groups such as the NAACP and Latinos.
Boyajian also explained that wellknown Boston figure Peter Meade, an official of the New England ADL, has been the “main opponent” of the Armenian Heritage Park on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway. Meade is the chairman of The Greenway Conservancy.
Contrary to assertions made by the Boston Globe and Meade, the Armenian park isn’t the only ethnic or memorial project slated for the Greenway, according to Boyajian.
There are many such projects, including a Jewish affiliated museum, the Memorial Rail, and the Mother’s Memorial Walk.
Boyajian had informed the Boston Globe that it is a “conflict of interest” for an ADL official to judge an Armenian project that included mention of the genocide. The newspaper “refused” to report it, he said.
Boyajian urged audience members to become more politically active and ask “tough questions” of their leaders.
Armenian American elected officials, in particular, “are not in office to be adored by us.”
Boyajian urged people to spend 5 minutes each month engaging in Armenian American political activism, saying, “Armenian political organizations can’t get the job done without you.”
The program was hosted by Dick Janjigian, president of the St. James Men’s Club, which organizes a dinner with a guest speaker, usually on the first Monday of each month, except during the summer
Fethullah Gulen: Infiltrating the U.S. Through Our Charter Schools? by Guy Rodgers, www.actforamerica.org
For some time we have been researching a Turkish-based Islamist movement that has a significant network here in the United States. Given Turkey’s history of secular, democratic government, and some of the remarks made by President Obama in his recent speech there, many of our members and other readers will likely be surprised by what we have found.
I suspect that even many who are well-read on the issue of Islamism are unfamiliar with the Fethullah Gulen Community (FGC), a movement a February 2009 article in the respected Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst labeled “Turkey’s third power.” Indeed, the article noted in its Key Points: “Turkey’s Islamist Gulen movement, while a powerful political force, is largely an unfamiliar entity to the West.”
The FGC is named after Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish imam who now lives in the United States. He fled Turkey in 1998 to avoid prosecution on charges that he was attempting to undermine Turkey’s secular government with the objective of establish an Islamic government. Since Gulen’s arrival here the Department of Homeland Security tried to deport him, but he successfully fought the effort in federal court because it was ruled he was an individual with “extraordinary ability in the field of education” – although he has no formal education training.
The FGC emerged in Turkey in the 1970’s. According to the Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst piece, Gulen stated that “in order to reach the ideal Muslim society 'every method and path is acceptable, [including] lying to people.’” This public acknowledgement of taqiyya (employing deception to advance Islam) is highly pertinent to Gulen’s activities here in the United States.
A recent article in the Middle East Quarterly by Rachel Sharon-Kreskin titled “Fethullah Gulen’s Grand Ambition” sheds light on Gulen’s background:
Gülen was a student and follower of Sheikh Sa'id-i Kurdi (1878-1960), also known as Sa'id-i Nursi, the founder of the Islamist Nur (light) movement. After Turkey's war of independence, Kurdi demanded, in an address to the new parliament, that the new republic be based on Islamic principles. He turned against Atatürk and his reforms and against the new modern, secular, Western republic.
Sharon-Kreskin documents how the FGC, in league with Turkey’s ruling party, Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP), has been successful in gradually moving Turkey away from its secular democratic governance, towards an Islamist state governed by Shariah law, and reorienting itself toward Iran. What’s more, other evidence suggests that Gulen’s ultimate goal may well be the resurrection of the Ottoman Empire so as to reinstate the Islamic Caliph. Clearly this has immensely serious ramifications for geo-political affairs in the Middle East as well as for the continued rise of radical Islam throughout the world.
What makes Gulen particularly dangerous is his strategic and tactical means to achieving this goal. He oversees a worldwide network of businesses, schools, foundations and media outlets, with an estimated budget of 25 billion dollars. Here’s what Gulen had to say in a sermon in 1999 aired on Turkish television:
You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria … like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it … You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey … Until that time, any step taken would be too early—like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside. The work to be done is [in] confronting the world. Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all—in confidence … trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here—[just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.
Simply put, he is brilliantly and patiently employing taqiyya on a global scale, because this strategic approach is not confined to Turkey.
Here in the U.S. the FGC runs over 90 charter public schools in at least 20 states. This was brought to our attention by ACT! for America members who actually have relatives who teach in one of these schools, an illustration of the growing reach of ACT! for America’s “eyes and ears” across our country. For obvious reasons we cannot reveal the identity of our sources.
Our readers may be familiar with the numerous emails we have released regarding the operation of the Tarek ibn Zayed Academy (TiZA), a publicly funded charter school in Minnesota that is so blatantly Islamic in nature that the Minnesota Department of Education issued two citations against it and the ACLU is suing it. FGC schools appear to be very different, and reflect the Gulen’s exhortation to “move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers…”
Indeed, the fact that so little has been written about the FGC schools here in the U.S., as well as the accolades that have been accorded the FGC as a model of “moderation” by some in our government, would appear to confirm that the FGC and its schools are doing an excellent job of heeding Gulen’s exhortation and masking their true intent.
During several discussions and emails with our sources inside FGC schools, I asked specifically if the schools promote Islam in the way that the TiZA school in Minnesota does. I was told that this was not the case in the schools these sources were familiar with. However, one particular school (and likely numerous others) appears to be in violation of state law because the school’s affidavit for its charter does not acknowledge that it is connected with a religious institution or group. In other words, those who chartered this school practiced taqiyya by hiding this fact. (Enterprising readers may want to research this with respect to FGC schools around the country. For a list of the FGC network in America and its schools, click here).
What’s more, the schools appear to be a source of recruitment for outside school activities sponsored by the FGC, such as summer camps, which would be in keeping with the pattern of recruitment of members and followers that FGC employs worldwide, according to both the Jane’s and Middle East Quarterly articles.
As a further example of the use of taqiyya, the Jane’s article gives examples of how FGC’s Turkish language media outlet Zaman runs stories with information and headlines that are missing from the English language media outlet Today’s Zaman. This practice of two different messages, one to the indigenous Islamic population and one to the West, is common in the Islamic world, and has led many in the West, including political leaders and academics, to be misled as to the true intentions of Islamists.
In building a sophisticated and well-funded worldwide network, including a substantial presence here in the U.S., Fethullah Gulen is following in the footsteps and exhortations of Mohammed, who counseled patience and deception as a means of overcoming the infidel when the power of the infidel was greater than the power of the umma, the Muslim community. In a very real sense this is as or more sinister than the frontal assault strategy of Islamist organizations such as al Qaeda and Hamas, because, like the proverbial “frog in the kettle,” we are incrementally “boiled alive” without realizing it.
For years American Congress for Truth, and now its “sister” organization ACT! for America, have been ringing the alarm bells about what is variously known as “cultural jihad,” “creeping jihad,” “stealth jihad,” and “creeping shariah.” Much of Europe and Great Britain has been Islamized through this process, a process that invariably does not lead to peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims, but leads to Islamic self-segregation, increased Islamist militancy and aggression, and the eventual forced imposition of Islamic shariah law within the society.
The FGC charter schools in America may outwardly appear innocuous, but they are serving a greater and long-range objective of Fethullah Gulen. We in the West need to be less gullible and more discerning when it comes to the elements of “stealth jihad” within our midst.
Guy Rodgers is Executive Director of ACT! for America.
Erdogan, Ergenekon, And The Struggle For Turkey by Michael Rubin
Michael Rubin, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School.
Last month, Turkish prosecutors issued a 2,455-page indictment detailing an alleged plot to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by an elaborate network of retired military officers, journalists, academics, businessmen, and other secular opponents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Although the precise facts of the case are not yet clear, the so-called Ergenekon conspiracy appears to be a largely fictionalized construct, with an ongoing investigation geared mainly to warding off constitutional challenges to the ruling party, not coups.
The AKP, the latest of several Turkish Islamist political reincarnations, rose to power in November 2002 on a wave of popular dissatisfaction with economic malaise and corruption scandals within establishment parties. Although the AKP captured barely a third of the vote, this translated into a two-thirds parliamentary majority because much of the popular vote went to parties that failed to meet the 10% electoral threshold for winning seats.
When the AKP came to power, Erdogan disavowed any intention to implement the Islamist agenda he had embraced in the past. Nevertheless, his government worked to weaken or disable all of the inherent checks that would prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in the longer run.
Although Erdogan has presided over economic growth averaging nearly 7% per year, his management of the economy has been deeply politicized. Turkey's banking and financial board now consists exclusively of AKP appointees, most of whom had careers in Islamic finance institutions. A number of civil servants in technocratic posts have said that the AKP has instituted an interview process, controlled by party loyalists, to supplement the examination process that screens government employees.
The AKP has greatly compromised the independence of the media. Its most notorious encroachment came last year, when the government seized control of the country's second largest media group, ATV-Sabah, sold it to a holding company managed by Erdogan's son-in-law, and pressed state banks and the emir of Qatar to provide the financing. In addition to cultivating a massive loyalist media base, the prime minister has effectively bought the silence of other large media conglomerates by distributing lucrative government contracts and privatization deals.
The AKP has also limited the military's influence in politics by reducing the power of the National Security Council and placing it under a civilian head. This is not a cosmetic change. Almost every month, government ministers appear before the council to answer questions and justify government actions. The cabinet prioritizes the National Security Council's recommendations. Civilian leadership has removed the military's ability to set the agenda and, in practice, strengthened the separation between uniformed services and civilian governance.
The Erdogan government has tried to undermine Turkey's secular educational tradition, most notably by lifting a long-standing ban on religious attire in universities. According to Egitim-Sen, a left-of-center teachers' union, Islamic influences are creeping into textbooks. Only fierce public opposition stalled more sweeping educational initiatives.
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer served as a critical check on the AKP's ambitions. During his presidency, he vetoed 65 bills, largely on constitutional grounds, negating more than 6% of those submitted by the AKP-dominated parliament. For example, he vetoed a bill that would have lowered the mandatory retirement age of judges. Had it passed, the bill would have greatly expedited Erdogan's drive to replace Turkey's justices with party loyalists. Since the AKP gained control of the presidency last year, this check has been eliminated.
This leaves the judiciary as most powerful check on the AKP's power. The Constitutional Court, which has sweeping authority both to overturn legislation and ban political parties that contravene Turkey's secular constitution, has remained staunchly independent thus far because the president appoints the justices (from among candidates nominated by other judicial organs). Although AKP co-founder and parliamentary speaker Bulent Arinc warned in 2005 that the Constitutional Court could be dissolved if it continued to veto legislation, it remains intact and resolute. However, the election of AKP loyalist Abdullah Gul as president means that its independence won't last forever.
The AKP has had more success exerting influence over the lower courts. In December 2007, the government enacted a new law that requires all judicial candidates to take an oral exam administered by the AKP-controlled Ministry of Justice (codifying a practice already in place). The Union of Turkish Bar Associations organized a demonstration by thousands of lawyers, arguing that this law would allow the ministry to screen candidates based on their political and religious views. According to the US State Department's annual report on human rights practices in Turkey, the Erdogan government has "launched formal investigations against judges who had spoken critically of the government."
Wherever the AKP has managed to penetrate the judiciary, the results have been worrisome. Pro-AKP judges have placed liens against the property of political opponents, seized media outlets, and overturned earlier decisions levied against Islamists.
The AKP has extensive control over the police. Followers of Fethullah Gulen, a cult leader whose followers seek to Islamize Turkish society if not overthrow the secular order have, according to a broad range of Turkish journalists, civil society leaders, and even Gulen followers, infiltrated the police. The police often target secular opponents of the AKP on both the national and local level. Businessmen who donate money to AKP opponents have complained of police harassment and spurious investigations.
The AKP has also expanded the authority of the police. In February 2007, according to the State Department, parliament "significantly expand[ed] the authority of security forces to search and detain a suspect." Four months later, the Turkish news newspaper Radikal noted a rise in allegations of mistreatment and torture by police in Istanbul.
One of the most egregious abuses of power in the criminal justice system involved Yucel Askin, rector of Yuzuncu Yil University in Van. Askin had staunchly opposed Erdogan's efforts to reduce barriers to college admission for students educated in exclusively religious seminaries and also had enforced the ban on Islamic headscarves on campus. In 2005, police raided his house in search of illicit artifacts (Askin was a known collector of antiquities) and hauled him off to jail. However, they were forced to release him after it was discovered that he had government licenses for every artifact in his possession. Three months later, police arrested him again, this time on charges of accepting kickbacks from the university's purchase of medical equipment. Again, however, he was released when a judge determined that the university bought the medical equipment in question a year before Askin became rector. While Askin got his life back, the university's general secretary was not as lucky. Enver Arpali committed suicide after being held for months in prison without trial in the same case.
While the AKP has moderated its Islamist agenda at the national level in order to maximize its appeal at the ballot box and stave off the threat of military or judicial intervention, secular opposition leaders fear that this moderation is tactical - that Erdogan is biding his time until obstacles are out of the way. "Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off," he said when he was mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s. At the local level, where tactical caution is not required, the AKP continues to pursue a more radical agenda in municipalities firmly under its control, such as banning alcohol and imposing gender segregation in public transport.
Secular leaders also point to the prime minister's dictatorial style as a harbinger of what lies ahead. Erdogan, who once bragged of being "the imam of Istanbul" when he was mayor of the city, rules over the AKP in much the same fashion. "Erdogan accepts no advice and no criticism. He's become a tyrant," one member of the AKP's own parliamentary bloc told The Economist. AKP members say that Erdogan handpicked the slate of parliamentarians who could run for re-election under his banner. While the dictatorial control of Turkish political parties is a phenomenon that spans the political spectrum - affecting the center-left Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and National People's Party (MHP) just as much - the problem is more worrisome in a ruling party that governs without coalition partners.
Rather than bridge the gap between Turkey's religious and secular constituents, Erdogan has widened it. Although the AKP won 47% of the popular vote in the latest parliamentary elections last year, millions of Turks took part in the waves of anti-government demonstrations that erupted the preceding May. In one recent public opinion poll, only 30% of respondents said they would vote for the AKP if elections were held today.
Staunch secularists believe that this is an insufficient mandate to make sweeping unilateral decisions on basic national issues, and they are using one of their last remaining institutional footholds - the Constitutional Court - to do something about it. In recent months, the court has overturned Erdogan's attempt to allow Islamic headscarves in universities and formally sanctioned the AKP for its contravention of the constitution (as well as levying financial penalties against it). Erdogan's supporters denounce such opposition as anti-democratic and reactionary, even fascist. It is in this context that the Ergenekon investigation emerged.
Allegations of a vast conspiracy by prominent secularists to murder and terrorize civilians first began to dominate the headlines in March 2007, when the left-of-center Turkish political weekly Nokta published what it claimed to be diary entries of retired admiral Ozden Ornek. The excerpts discussed a 2004 plot to incite violence as a precursor to a military coup. Although Ornek denied the authenticity of these excerpts, their publication revived a long-standing claims that a shadowy network of generals, intelligence officials, and organized crime bosses have worked in tandem over the years to stage acts of violence.
The timing of these explosive revelations raised suspicions, occurring just weeks before parliament was scheduled to elect a new president, amid widespread speculation that the AKP would attempt to put a dedicated Islamist in the post. While Gul (like Erdogan) has moderated his public pronouncements over time, he was once very direct. As Islamists rose in political power in the mid-1990s, Gul said, "This is the end of the republican period . . . the secular system has failed and we definitely want to change it."
As Erdogan's attempts to anoint Gul to the presidency faltered for lack of a parliamentary quorum and the country prepared for early elections, pro-AKP media outlets produced a stream of stories about an alleged "deep state" conspiracy, reporting that went hand in hand with efforts by Erdogan and his allies to portray secularists as the true enemies of Turkey's constitutional order.
In June 2007, police raided an apartment belonging to a retired military officer in the Umraniye district of Istanbul and discovered a cache of 27 hand grenades, providing a modicum of evidence to support what heretofore had been only rumor and coincidence. According to police investigators, the grenades matched another one that was used (but failed to detonate) in a May 2006 attack on the office of the center-left newspaper Cumhuriyet.
The government, for its part, argues that many of the Islamist terror attacks that have taken place in Turkey in recent years are false flag Ergenekon operations. In May 2006, an assailant swept into the Danistay, the supreme administrative court. Shouting "God is great" and "I am a soldier of God," he sprayed the justices with gunfire, in alleged protest for the Court's refusal to ease restrictions on the Islamist headscarf, murdering Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin. Tens of thousands of Turks attended his funeral, chanting anti-AKP slogans, and heckling Gul (then foreign minister) when he arrived to represent the government. According to police, the assailant confessed to participating in the Cumhuriyet grenade attacks, although his past Islamism and the lack of evidence showing any linkage leads many secularists to conclude that the killer gave a false confession to further glorify his exploits.
In a similar fashion, various pro-AKP media outlets have suggested that the murders of an Italian Catholic priest, Turkish Armenian writer Hrant Dink and the April 2007 murder of Christian missionaries were also Ergenekon corollaries. The problem is that the Islamists captured in these cases have no credible links to the secular establishment.
The Umraniye raid led to the first of several arrest sweeps over the next thirteen months. All of them coincided very closely with major political developments and lacked adherence to basic investigatory and judicial protocols. Authorities detained nearly all suspects prior to issuing an indictment. While such detentions have occurred before in security cases, seldom if ever did they involve such senior personalities, continue for so long and with such sensationalist media leaks.
Most of the arrests occurred in middle-of-the-night raids. Police held these suspects incommunicado for the first 24 hours without allowing them even to call their lawyers. In most cases, police initiated questioning only on the fourth day of detention in order to raise detainee anxiety. Lawyers for those arrested say that police have refused to furnish them with transcripts of the interrogations.
Kuddusi Okkir was arrested in June 2007 on suspicion of financing the alleged Ergenekon plot and held for over a year without charge. For the first eight months he was held solitary confinement, with the authorities refusing even to allow his wife to visit. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer while in prison, officials rejected numerous petitions to enable him to receive outside medical treatment. They finally relented when he fell into a coma in early July 2008, but by then it was too late - he died four days later without ever regaining consciousness. Another detainee held without charge, Ayse Asuman Ozdemir, developed liver disease while in captivity and was also denied critical medical treatment. She finally received furlough after the death of Okkir caused an embarrassing uproar for the government, but it may also be too late to save her.
On March 21, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, chief prosecutor of Turkey's Court of Appeals, filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court demanding the closure of the AKP and the banning of over 70 top AKP officials from politics for five years for "violating the principles of a democratic and secular republic." Erdogan responded hours later with a midnight roundup of new Ergenekon suspects. Whereas previous suspects arrested had been largely fringe figures, this time the net was widened to include some of the most prominent secular intellectuals in Turkey, such as Dogu Perincek, leader of the Workers' Party; the bed-ridden octogenarian editor of Cumhuriyet, Ilhan Selcuk; and Kemal Alemdaroglu, a former president of Istanbul University. It appears that Erdogan also put the offending judges under surveillance. A scandal erupted in May when the vice-president of the Constitutional Court complained that he was being followed. Uniformed police responding to his complaint found that his pursuers were undercover officers. However, there have been neither subsequent charges nor explanations of the incident.
On July 1, as Yalcinkaya stood before the Constitutional Court to present his case for closing the AKP, Turkish police responded with another tit-for-tat roundup of leading secularists, including Mustafa Balbay, the Cumhuriyet Ankara bureau chief; Sinan Aygun, the president of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce; retired general Sener Eruygur, the president of the Ataturk Thought Society, and retired general Hursit Tolon. Once again, the timing of the raid was not coincidental - the police received their warrant on June 29, but delayed executing it until Yalcinkaya's arguments were underway.
On July 24, police detained another 26 people, including several members of the Workers' Party and staff members of Milli Cozum, a right-wing journal, who were charged with "insulting top state officials via media organs." In total, over one hundred journalists, politicians, and others have been detained in the investigation.
Many of the suspects in these later waves of arrests appear to have been victims of expansive electronic surveillance and guilty of little more than criticism. Those who have been released from detention describe interrogations which resemble fishing expeditions, with police asking them questions such as "Are you aware that you have insulted government leaders many times?" and "Why do you swear so much when you talk on the phone?" Police have even asked some to list with whom they talked when they attended receptions at the US embassy. Selcuk was confronted with wiretapped conversations he had with Cumhuriyet foreign correspondents, discussing their work and story ideas. Ufuk Buyukcelebi, editor of Tercuman, told reporters that police confronted him with a phone tap showing that he had said the AKP "would be closed." Balbay says that all police questions related to his critical reporting on the AKP. G-9, a group of nine press associations, called the arrests "an effort to silence opposition journalists."
Another disturbing aspect of the investigation is the cozy relationship between investigators and pro-AKP media outlets. The most egregious example of this came in May 2008, when the Islamist daily Vakit published an apparently wiretapped conversation between the deputy leader of the CHP and a governor.
When the authorities finally unveiled an indictment in July 2008, the contents were unconvincing. The prosecutors said they prepared the indictment with the assistance of 20 witnesses whose identities they refuse to reveal. According to CNN-Turk, these witnesses will also testify in secret. The "coup diary" was omitted from the indictment, even though its alleged contents were the primary impetus for the Ergenekon prosecution. Accordingly, the accused cannot address the authenticity of the diary as it will not be entered into evidence. The indictment appears to absolve both the military and the Turkish intelligence service, and limits the charges to terrorism or forming an illegal group, rather than plotting a coup per say.
Especially troubling is that, despite being a couple thousand pages long, the indictment lacks specificity as to which suspects are charged with what crimes. Indeed, many of the charges center on incitement and interfering in government work, the type of language more common in dictatorships like Syria and Saudi Arabia than in Turkey. Selcuk, for example, is accused of "providing guidance, with his writings, to the suspects engaged in a coup effort," a charge that an Islamist newspaper has also leveled against this writer.
Another concern is the fact that Zekeriya Oz, the lead prosecutor in the case, is a virtual unknown, in his early thirties, with previous experience only as a public prosecutor in two small towns. This has raised questions as to his competence and whether he has the stature to resist political interference.
Even the limited amount of physical evidence in the case is only as reliable as the integrity of the police who uncovered it. Suspiciously, the grenades seized in Umraniye were reportedly destroyed by court order (though some reports have suggested that only the explosive cores were destroyed). Should the justices uphold the police reports, the defense will be unable to advance alternate theories about the provenance of the grenades, the availability of their type across Turkey, or the linkage between them and other incidents.
At any rate, there are widespread suspicions that police investigators may have planted evidence. On April 10, 2008, workers at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce reported the discovery of a handgun hidden in a toilet in Aygun's private office, which Aygun had them promptly report. His subsequent arrest led his associates to suspect that the gun had been planted to be found during a subsequent raid. After his July 1 arrest, Nuri Gurgur, the organization's assembly chair, commented, "If we had not found that handgun then, the police would surely find it today, and it would be impossible for us to prove that Aygun had nothing to do with the gun." Such suspicions will rise as the indictment focuses on secret witnesses and computer files whose origins are already disputed.
Throughout this saga, pundits close to the ruling party have repeatedly drawn equivalence between the Constitutional Court case and the Ergenekon investigation. "Circles who invited everyone to have respect for the judicial process in the [AKP] closure case raised hell the other day during the Ergenekon arrests and made accusations that Turkey has become a 'police state,'" columnist Cengiz Candar wrote, "But these same groups regarded the closure case as the judiciary's business." Ali Aslan, a columnist for the Islamist daily Zaman, expressed similar logic. The obvious subtext of such columns, many of which reference private conversations with the prime minister, is that those who defend Turkey's secular tradition have no right to demand rule of law and or complain about prosecutorial misconduct. They also indicate that the ruling party may be more interested in headlines than in actually seeing the Ergenekon prosecution through.
In the end, the Constitutional Court did not ban the prime minister from office or strip his parliamentary immunity, making it more difficult to determine to what extent the Ergenekon case is fabrication or exaggeration. An Istanbul court slated to hear the Ergenekon case has cleared its docket until April 2009. At stake when a verdict is returned on Ergenekon, though, will not just be Turkish national security, but also the credibility of the judiciary.
 "Circulation wars; Turkish media," The Economist, 10 May 2008.
 "Flags, veils and sharia: Turkey's future," The Economist, 19 July 2008.
 Sabah (Istanbul), 30 March 2007.
 Cited by columnist Sahin Alpay, Zaman, 7 May 2005. Review of the Turkish Islamist press, BBC Monitoring, 7 May 2005.
 US State Department, Country Report on Human Rights Practices, 2007.
 Ibid; Radikal, 22 June 2007.
 Sabah, 13 November 2005.
 "The Erdogan Experiment," The New York Times, 11 May 2003.
 Hurriyet, 8 January 1995.
 "Flags, veils and sharia: Turkey's future," The Economist, 19 July 2008.
 "Thousands stage new pro-secular rally in Turkey," Agence France Presse 26 May 2007.
 Milliyet, 30 June 2008. See also Gareth Jenkins, "Poll Suggests Weakened but Stable Support for AKP," Eurasia Daily Monitor, 30 June 2008.
 Stephen Kinzer. "State Crimes Shake Turkey as Politicians Face Charges," The New York Times, 1 January 1998.
 "Turkish Islamists aim for power," Manchester Guardian Weekly, 3 December 1995.
 "Ergenekon remains hidden in the shadows," Turkish Daily News, 17 July 2008.
 Yavuz Baydar, "Conspiracies flourish in times of mass psychosis." Today's Zaman, 16 June 2007.
 Sebnem Arsu, "Thousands March in Turkey at Funeral of Slain Judge," The New York Times, 18 May 2006.
 Today's Zaman, the daily newspaper of the Islamist Gulen movement, urged prosecutors to dig deeper into links between the Dink assassination and the alleged Ergenekon conspirators. Emine Kart, "Dig deeper into Dink murder-Ergenekon link." Today's Zaman, 13 July 2008.
 Yusuf Kanli. "Death of the 'financier of a gang,' Turkish Daily News, 7 July 2008.
 "Ayse Asuman Ozdemir tahliye edildi," Radikal (Istanbul), 18 July 2008.
 See Gareth Jenkins, "Alleged Surveillance of Senior Judges Raises Questions about Politicization of Turkish Police," Eurasia Daily Monitor, 20 May 2008.
 "Opposition says Ergenekon government tool," Turkish Daily News, 2 July 2008.
 "26 detained in new wave Ergenekon arrests," Turkish Daily News, 24 July 2008.
 Email communication with Turkish academic, Istanbul, 12 July 2008.
 "Sorguda ilginc sorular," Hurriyet, 5 July 2008.
 "Former generals arrested as Ergenekon leaders," Turkish Daily News, 7 July 2008.
 "Ex-generals, journalists detained in Turkish probe: report," Agence France Presse, 1 July 2008.
 Vakit, 26 May 2008; "Watergate Scenes in Ankara: Who Bugged the CHP?" Turkish Daily News, 29 May 2008.
 "Military prosecutor steps into Ergenekon." Turkish Daily News, 15 July 2008; "Ergenekon indictment accepted," Turkish Daily News, 26 July 2008.
 "Ergenekon indictment accepted," Turkish Daily News, 26 July 2008.
 NTV television, 14 July 2008.
 Hasan Karakaya, "Ergenekon-dan Neocon'-lara bir yol gider!" Vakit, 5 July 2008.
 Taraf, 26 July 2008.
 "A few hours when jeopardy doubled." Turkish Daily News, 2 July 2008.
 Cengiz Candar, "Waking up to Ergenekon," Turkish Daily News, 3 July 2008.
 Ali H. Aslan, "Turkey's American Prosecutors," Today's Zaman, 18 April 2008.
© 2008 Mideast Monitor. All rights reserved.
In The Name Of Our Lands Simon Aynedjian Gibrahayer Nicosia 22 April
Armenians in Cyprus have a singular, complex and fateful mission in these historic lands.
Our conflictual history continues on an island that its own turbulent history converges, and blue-prints a common path with its people, with whom we now walk together and face the challenges of tomorrow.
We are not just another community trying to make the next day away from our lands, as our island is littered with "forensic evidence" that is being challenged day-in day-out a century later.
On the eve of the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the historic 2nd pilgrimage to Sourp Magar Monastery on May 10, our community re-evaluates, prepares and declares.
- We are travelling to Sourp Magar Monastery not as tourists but as owners of our land. Owners, not only of the lands that belong to our Church within the property of the Monastery, but as owners of the occupied lands around it, as Cypriot citizens.
- The effects of the Genocide as well as the invasion of Cyprus are as current as the time they were perpetrated. Time will heal the wounds, only if Genocide and invasion are called with their name, evaluated and addressed as such.
- If the loots of Genocide and invasions are rewarded, we all run the risk of building societies that accept violence and build a future based on it.
- Turkish society is increasingly showing signs of coming to terms with its past. Turkish Cypriots, as witnesses of the influx of the first Genocide survivors of the Armenians in Cyprus and the first society that welcomed the Armenian refugees, have a unique role to serve as a catalyst in assisting Turks in the mainland for reconciling with their past.
The "forensic evidence" must be put on the table.
However, this is not enough.
In order to claim what rightfully belongs to us and to stay as a strong link in the history of the Armenians in Cyprus, we have to stay committed.
- Committed to taking the correct decisions when we run our community affairs, politically, culturally, and most important of all regarding our educational institutions.
- Committed to the process of a Cyprus solution that will recognise the fundamental human rights of all the people of Cyprus, free from military presence and military threats.
- Committed to showing the world that Cyprus can be a model of co-existence between the ethnic and religious minorities in which Armenian and Turkish Cypriots will serve as a model of peace.
- Committed to our history and our link to the past.
- Committed... to our land and in the name of the our lands from which we were forcefully driven away .... not just once.
On Sunday 10 May ...
when we all make our way to Sourp Magar Monastery when we face the path that brought us here and created our community when we face and sing "Cilicia" across the sea and the land that our forefathers called "home"
Let us renew our vows and stay committed in the name of our lands...
Richard Hovhannisyan Expects A Harsh Speech Without The Word Genocide Nvard Davtyan "Radiolur" 22.04.2009
UCLA Professor Richard Hovhannisyan told a press conference today that like the previous years, the pressure on the President of the United States has considerably grown in April. He hopes Barack Obama will fulfill his pre-election pledge and will come forth with a stronger speech on April 24.
Richard Hovhannisyan does not doubt that the pressures from the Pentagon, Turkey and Armenia have increased ahead of April 24. The Turkish Government now understands that the dialogue with Armenia may be endangered if the US recognizes the Armenian Genocide. On the other hand, Turkey applies an economic pressure: Turkey is a large consumer of American weapons. There is also the factor of Iraq. Turkey may refuse to provide its airspace to American planes.
"Turkey is very flexible. It can declare any moment that it's a member of the Islamic, Asian or African world, or it can declare it belongs to Europe. They have an easy way to escape, saying that they wanted to normalize the relations, but Armenians did not make any concessions. This is a primitive policy, but sometimes it works," Richard Hovhannisyan said.
The Professor does not understand or is not aware of Armenia's policy in its relations with Turkey. According to him, the Armenian President's initiative of inviti ng the Turkish President to Armenia was a daring and amazing step, but he would like to see a program behind it. "I don't know about the secret programs, but I hope they exist. We often start on a journey without programs. For example, let's say Turkey recognizes the genocide. What are we going to demand afterwards? Some Armenians say let Turkey simply accept the history, others speak about the return of the lands of their ancestors. We have no common national plan."
Professor Hovhannisyan hopes that on April 24 the US President will fulfill the promise to Armenians. "If Obama uttered the word genocide, it would be a great moral victory for Armenia. It would pave the way for many countries to recognize the genocide, thus increasing the pressure on Turkey," Mr. Hovhannisyan said.
The historian disagrees with the opinion that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Obama will mean the end of the Armenian Diaspora. On the contrary, the human and financial potential will be directed towards the development of the Armenian culture. "We cannot live only morning the crimes of the past," the historian says.
"Even if Obama fails to recognize the genocide on April 24, it won't be a tragedy. We have struggled for years and we will continue the struggle.
At last, the historical fact has already been proven. The problem is only a political one," Richard Hovhannisyan concluded.
Turkey Calls Back Ambassador To Canada Suzan Fraser AP foreign April 22 2009
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkey recalled its ambassador to Canada, an official said Wednesday, after government ministers there reportedly took part in an event that labeled the Ottoman-era killings of Armenians as genocide.
Ambassador Rafet Akgunay returned to Ankara for consultations, the government official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with journalists on the subject. He did not say why Akgunay was recalled or for how long.
Turkey is upset, however, that Canadian officials reportedly attended an event Monday commemorating the deaths Armenians at the end of World War I as genocide. Hurriyet newspaper said the event in Ottawa was reportedly organized to mark the fifth anniversary of a vote in Canada's parliament to recognize the killings as genocide.
It is the second time that Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Canada over the genocide dispute. In 2006, Turkey criticized Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for remarks he made in support of recognizing the mass killings as genocide and briefly withdrew its ambassador. It also pulled out of a military exercise in Canada in protest.
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks- an event widely viewed by genocide scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the d eaths constituted genocide, contending the toll has been inflated and the casualties were victims of civil war and unrest.
Lawmakers in the United States have also introduced a resolution that would call the death genocide. If passed, the resolution could undermine efforts by President Barack Obama's administration to win NATO ally Turkey's help on key foreign policy goals.
U.S. legislators almost passed a similar resolution two years ago, but congressional leaders did not bring it up for a vote after intense pressure from the Bush administration.
Obama avoided the term "genocide" when he addressed Turkish lawmakers during his visit a month ago. But he said, in response to a question, that he had not changed his views. As a presidential candidate, Obama said the killings amounted to genocide.
Normalization Of Relations With Armenia Is Stemming From The Interests Of Turkey, Armenian Turkologist Thinks ArmInfo 2009-04-22
Normalization of relations with Armenia is stemming from the interests of Turkey, Armenian turkologist, Hakop Chakryan, said at the roundtable-seminar dedicated to the Armenian-Turkish relations. He also added as Turkey is pretending to the role of the regional superpower (initiating of the Caucasus Platform is evidence of it), but our country is playing the restraining part in the region, naturally it is beneficial for Turkey to have kind neighbouring relations with Armenia.
'It is no secret that since the end of 90-s, beside Azerbaijan, Turkey has enhanced its influence in Georgia as well. This gave wide opportunities to Turkey to further strengthening its role in the South Caucasus. But in this context our country is a serious counterbalance to Turkey. For this reason, it is extremely favorable for Turkey to have a kind neighbour in the person of Armenia', - Chakryan said and added that normalization of relations with our country, which is strategical partner of Russia, will weaken confrontation between Russia and Turkey and also cancel the necessity of reequipping and rearming of the Russian military bases in Armenia.
Armenia's Security Strategy Should Not Suffer Because Of Normalization Of Relations With Turkey Marianna Gyurjyan, "Radiolur" 22.04.2009
"The normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations should be realized so that our national security strategy is not endangered because of some incautious step," Representative of the ARF Supreme Body Armen Rustamyan said during the conference on the current state and perspectives of the Armenian-Turkish relations.
"Turkey will never make a step that does not proceed from its national interests or may hamper the realization of their objectives. This characterizes the bounds of strategic concessions of the neighbor country.
With this strategy it has managed to create an impression that the process of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations exists and is constructively proceeding," he said.
According to Armen Rustamyan, "Turkey claims to become an important factor of stability and peace in the South Caucasus and an immediate role-player in the process of settlement of the Karabakh issue. All the above mentioned factors are dangerous for us."
“the Karabakh Issue More Important For Armenia’s Future Than Genocide Recognition” By Liana Sayadyan, Hetq , 22 April 2009
Professor Claude Mutafian of the Sorbonne, visiting Armenia to participate in the conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Adana massacres, stated that in terms of the on-going negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, “The talks are one thing but the issue of the 1915 Genocide will not be resolved in that manner since the fact cannot be overlooked that the bulk of diaspora Armenians are the inheritors of that tragedy.”
Professor Mutafian, originally a mathematician who has specialized in Armenian history for the past thirty years, noted that Turkey’s position in linking a settlement of the Karabakh issue to the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations raises concerns that the Karabakh issue will be solved “by making concessions regarding the Genocide”.
“It is difficult to oppose the opening of the border, but the important question to be asked is at what price? For me, as a by-product of 1915, the recognition of the Genocide is important but, to put it somewhat crudely, it terms of the future of Armenia the Karabakh issue is more important,” Professor Mutafian stated to Hetq.
When referring to the attitude in the diaspora regarding the negotiations now taking place between Armenia and Turkey, Professor Mutafian said, “The diaspora is in a difficult situation. Many say that they don’t want to upset the talks but the reality is of course different. I can’t say whether the talks are good or bad. On principle, negotiations are a good thing. One must always be able to sit down with the enemy and talk. The same holds true here; but many are opposed to them. I, however, am opposed to those diaspora Armenians that claim that this is treachery. I, on the other hand, don’t say that the talks are a wonderful thing rather, like it or not, this is the situation. Our interests are different. There are more Armenians living in the diaspora than in Armenia and still today what you have at the basis of the diaspora are the descendants of the Genocide victims. The memories of the Genocide belong more to the diaspora than to the Armenia of today.”
Regarding France’s position on the Genocide, Professor Mutafian stated that even though it has been recognized by law, legislation to punish genocide deniers hasn’t been included into the agenda of the French Senate since, “The French government states that Armenia and Turkey are now negotiating and that we shouldn’t upset these talks.”
Professor Mutafian also sounded a note of caution when it came to the issue of the campaign, organized by Turkish intellectuals, to collect signatures apologizing for the events of 1915. “Twenty thousand Turkish intellectuals signed the statement and that’s good. But we must not forget that statement refers to the ‘Great Calamity’ and doesn’t use the word ‘Genocide’. The Turkish authorities understand their role very well. On the one hand it was a good thing but, on the other hand, we cannot forget that it lead to other measures. We should never say thanks for these other actions.”
When asked if he thought that demands made by Armenia would produce results Professor Mutafian responded, “It’s hard to say, but one must always demand a great deal in expectation of the day when the other side might be ready to make concessions. You must always go with your hands full. I find that the possibility of financial reparations is more realistic. The issue of the supervision of cultural monuments still exists even though some initial steps have been taken in this direction. Turkey must, at the minimum, permit Armenian specialists to oversee the repair and restoration of our monuments in Turkey.”
Selcan Hacaoglu April 22nd, 2009 Turkey Says Accord Reached With Armenia On Roadmap
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey and Armenia have agreed on a roadmap for normalizing relations and reaching reconciliation, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, but it wasn’t immediately clear how they would tackle their bitter dispute over Ottoman-era killings of ethnic Armenians.
Turkish officials would not discuss that issue and the ministry statement said only that the two countries had worked out a framework for reaching a solution that would satisfy both sides. There was no immediate comment from Armenia’s government.
Armenia says 1.5 million Armenians were slain by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I in what Armenians and several other nations recognize as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey vehemently rejects the allegation, saying that the death toll was inflated and that Armenians died in civil unrest as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
The announcement came just weeks after President Barack Obama, during a visit to Turkey, called on his hosts to come to terms with the past, resolve its dispute with Armenia and reopen the border. The European Union has also put pressure on Turkey, which is seeking to join the bloc.
Obama avoided the term “genocide” when he addressed Turkish lawmakers. But he said, in response to a question, that he had not changed his views on the question. As a presidential candidate, Obama said the killings amounted to genocide.
His call on this U.S. ally and predominantly Muslim country heated up debate over what course Turkey should take in relations with Armenia. The government had already been working to improve ties with Armenia while facing deep-seated domestic antagonism toward its neighbor over the genocide charge.
Turkey has long proposed to Armenia to establish a joint group of historians to study the bloodsheds, saying it has opened its archives for research.
The accord was announced hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised what she described as bold reconciliation efforts between Turkey and Armenia.
In its statement, the Foreign Ministration said the two nations “have recorded solid progress and reached mutual understanding to normalize ties in a way to satisfy both sides, agreeing on a comprehensive framework. Within this framework, a roadmap has been determined.”
Turkey wants its talks with Armenia to advance in parallel with negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over disputed territory controlled by Armenia.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia during that nation’s conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Turkey backs Azerbaijan’s claim to the disputed region, which has a high number of ethnic Armenian residents but lies within Azerbaijan’s borders.
Clinton said the United States had assured Azerbaijan it would intensify efforts to resolve the dispute.
Turkey And Armenia: Normalization Of Relations Robert Wood, Acting Department Spokesman, Office of the Spokesman, Washington, DC
April 22, 2009
The United States welcomes the statement made by Armenia and Turkey on normalization of their bilateral relations. It has long been and remains the position of the United States that normalization should take place without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe. We urge Armenia and Turkey to proceed according to the agreed framework and roadmap. We look forward to working with both governments in support of normalization, and thus promote peace, security and stability in the whole region.
Turkey, Armenia Agree 'Roadmap' On Normalising Ties
ANKARA (AFP) — Turkey and Armenia, troubled neighbours with no diplomatic ties, have agreed a "roadmap" on normalising relations in ongoing reconciliation talks, the Turkish foreign ministry said Wednesday.
The announcement came just ahead of April 24, the day on which Armenians remember the mass killings of their kin by Ottoman Turks -- and two weeks after US President Barack Obama urged both countries to move ahead with fence-meding efforts during a visit to Turkey.
The talks, mediated by Switzerland and held away from public eye, have produced "concrete progress and mutual understanding," said the statement.
"The two countries... have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalisation of bilateral ties in a way that will satisfy both sides. A roadmap has been determined in this context," it said.
The progress achieved so far "provides a positive perspective for the ongoing process," it added, without elaborating on details of the agreement.
Rare talks between the two neighbours, whose ties have been marred by a bloody history, gathered steam in September when President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan to watch a football match. It was the first such visit by a Turkish leader.
A major issue on the agenda of the ongoing talks is a bitter dispute over whether the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I constituted a genocide.
Turkey has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Armenia because of Yerevan's international campaign to have the killings recognized as genocide.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, Turkey's predecessor, was falling apart.
Turkey categorically rejects the genocide label and says between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms in eastern Anatolia and sided with invading Russian troops.
In 1993, Turkey shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with close ally Azerbaijan over the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished Caucasian nation.
Earlier this month, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a deal with Armenia unless Yerevan resolved its conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh.
His comments came in response to Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian who expressed hope the border with Turkey would reopen before October.
During a visit to Ankara on April 6, US President Obama encouraged the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia and said the talks "could bear fruit very quickly."
Wary of angering NATO ally Turkey, Obama signalled that Washington would not interfere in the genocide dispute, even though he promised Armenian-American supporters during his election campaign to recognise the killings as genocide.
Many countries have endorsed the genocide label, thus embroiling themselves in frequent disputes with Turkey.
In the latest incident, Ankara said Wednesday it had recalled its ambassador to Canada after Ottawa reaffirmed its position that Armenians were victims of a genocide under the Ottoman Empire.
"A country hundreds of kilometres away is doing that, threatening to undermine the (dialogue) process that we have launched with Armenia," a Turkish government official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
Ankara argues that third countries will only harm the reconciliation efforts by taking sides in the genocide dispute.
Copyright © 2009 AFP
History Overshadows Hope On Turkey’s Armenian Border
A monument near Ağrı consisting of five 40-meter-high swords commemorates the killings of Turks by Armenians during and after World War I.
Far below Mount Ağrı’s snow-covered peak, history weighs heavy on the shoulders of Turks and Armenians seeking to overcome animosity generated by genocide claims and territorial disputes.
A recent diplomatic initiative to restore ties between the arch foes has fueled hopes of economic and strategic benefits. It has also stirred up century-old distrust and fears among locals as they watch developments from the militarized frontier.
The atmosphere of distrust in Turkey’s Iğdır province is illustrated by a monument near Ağrı consisting of five 40-meter-tall swords thrust towards the sky. It commemorates the killing of Turks by Armenians during and after World War I. The memorial is a riposte to Armenian claims.
“In Iğdır, there are still living witnesses who tell their descendants about the killings by the Armenians here,” said Göksel Gülbeyi, chairman of an association set up to refute Armenian genocide claims. Turkey fiercely rejects the genocide charge, saying many were killed on both sides during the conflict. “There are people here who still feel resentment. The border shouldn’t be reopened until they are reassured,” he said.
At the Alican border gate 15 kilometers (10 miles) away, soldiers send journalists away while farmers dig in the surrounding land.
A monument near Ağrı consisting of five 40-meter-high swords commemorates the killings of Turks by Armenians during and after World War I.
Gülbeyi’s group has launched a campaign to block the reopening of the border, closed by Turkey in 1993 in support of its traditional Muslim ally Azerbaijan, which was fighting Armenian-backed separatists in the breakaway mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said this month the deadlock over Nagorno-Karabakh, where a fragile cease-fire holds but a peace accord has never been signed, should be resolved before any deal is struck between Turkey and Armenia.
There are also fears in Iğdır, which has a large Azerbaijani population, that Armenia covets Turkish territory. Mount Ağrı, which provides a backdrop to the capital Yerevan, is a national symbol of Armenia and is pictured on its currency.
A breakthrough in relations between Turkey and Armenia could help shore up stability in the Caucasus, which is crisscrossed by oil and gas pipelines, making it of strategic importance to Russia, Europe and the United States.
Western diplomats are concerned that in retaliation for the border reopening, Azerbaijan might be unwilling to sell its gas in the future via Turkey to Europe, and instead send most of it to Russia for re-export.
Despite the concerns, tentative cross-border contacts have generated fragile optimism among many in eastern Turkey, where livelihoods are largely made from farming and where per capita income is around a 10 of the levels present in affluent western Turkey. “We want peace. I went to Armenia and I was received very well. We show them hospitality when they come here. I think it would be good for our economy and trade if the border opens,” said Ali Güvensoy, chairman of the Kars Chamber of Commerce.
That optimism is shared in landlocked Armenia. A reopening of the border would provide a huge boost to the economy, having already lost out on lucrative energy transit deals and trade with eastern Turkey. Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan has said he expects the border to reopen by the time he attends a soccer match between the two countries in October.
Last year, President Abdullah Gül became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia when he attended the first of the two World Cup qualifying matches between the two countries.
US President Barack Obama, who visited NATO ally Turkey this month, urged Turkey to normalize ties with Armenia. The EU has said such ties would help Turkey’s bid to join the bloc.
Obama, who as a presidential candidate labeled the killings “genocide,” said during his visit that he stood by his views, but said he did not want to obstruct the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.
“I think Mr. Obama and the United States must intervene and solve the problems between the two countries so the border can be opened,” Güvensoy said in his gloomy office in Kars, where the architecture reveals town’s Russian history.
Above his desk hangs a portrait of Ottoman Gen. Kazım Karabekir, who captured Kars from Armenian forces in 1920. South of Kars, the Turkish village of Halıkışla illustrates how closely the two countries are bound together, despite the deep historical wounds that divide them.
Set in a tree-filled valley below a rocky hillside, it is a stone’s throw away from an Armenian village across the Arpaçayı River. It recalls a time when Turks and Armenians lived side by side. Military installations now frame the picturesque scene.
“The only contact we have is when sheep stray from one side of the border to the other,” said 55-year-old Kiyas Karadağ, a village official, while drinking tea with locals on a hill overlooking the Armenian side of the frontier.
“If the problems are solved we want the border open. It will be good for trade, good for our province, good for our country.”
23 April 2009, REUTERS IĞDIR http://medya.todayszaman.com/todayszaman/2009/04/23/monument-01.jpg
Ambassador To Canada Recalled Over Armenian Issue
Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Canada after a number of Canadian government ministers attended a ceremony organized by Armenians living in the country to commemorate the killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottomans, events which Armenians claim constituted genocide.
Turkish Ambassador Rafet Akgünay has reportedly returned to Ankara. This news was confirmed by Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Özüergin. "It is true that we recalled the Turkish ambassador in Ottawa to Ankara for extensive evaluations and discussions," said Özüergin.
The Canadian House of Commons recognized Armenian claims of genocide in a 2004 decision. Armenians residing in Canada organized a gathering to commemorate the fifth anniversary of this decision and the incidents of 1915 that Armenians describe as genocide ordered by the Ottoman government and carried out by the local people living in the region. The ceremony was attended by Canadian government officials, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a statement regarding the event that was posted on the Web site of a Canadian-Armenian group. It is estimated that there are 70,000 Armenians living in Canada.
Uneasy over this development, the Turkish Foreign Ministry responded by recalling Ambassador Akgünay to Ankara. The Canadian press reported on Canadian Prime Ministry spokesperson Kory Teneycke's comments on the diplomatic crisis with Turkey. "It's not new that the Turkish government has a difference of opinion around the issue of the Armenian genocide," said Teneycke. Noting that Turkey is an ally, he added, "We stand by our position and it's not done with any intent to offend."
Such attitudes are considered unlikely to have a positive effect on the ongoing rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. The process began with Turkish President Abdullah Gül's visit to Armenia to watch a World Cup qualifying match between the soccer teams of the two countries, which was then followed by the launch of diplomatic talks to normalize bilateral relations. US President Barack Obama has stressed the significance of these efforts, asserting that the process would continue more effectively without the intervention of other countries. Obama is not expected to use the word "genocide" during his memorial address on April 24 to avoid adversely affecting normalization efforts.
23 April 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN
How Much Will The Us Change Under Obama?
U.S. President Barack Obama’s pre-election promise for change has galvanized public opinion around the world, including in Turkey. To what extent will he transform the United States domestically and revolutionize American foreign policy? And, what does Obama’s promise of change hold for Turkey?
A study of Obama’s Cabinet members and close White House advisers casts light on how much America will change and where such change is likely to be most dramatic. Obama, in fact, has crafted two Cabinets: a "national security Cabinet" representing continuity and a "domestic issues Cabinet" composed of new faces and ideas in politics.
The domestic issues Cabinet, with fresh-faced 40somethings, is likely to introduce major change in American politics. This cabinet includes Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan. Members of the domestic issues Cabinet hail from outside the Washington beltway. Bringing expertise from outside of Washington’s circles, Obama has signaled that this portfolio of secretaries, namely housing, health, environment, education and labor, will witness dramatic change in the Obama administration.
Already Obama has supported these staffing decisions with policy changes. A first sign is his proposal for universal socialized health coverage for all Americans, a revolutionary proposal in the free enterprise and every-man-for-himself world of American politics. Other items at the top of this Cabinet’s agenda include Green America, bridging the gap between high-quality and low-quality education in American schools, and fighting poverty. Obama faces counter-veiling forces deeply rooted in America’s founding ethos of frontier mentality and individualism. Still, if he succeeds, America would be transformed significantly.
While the domestic issues Cabinet will be ushering in dramatic change, on the foreign policy side the trend seems to be evolution, not revolution. The national security Cabinet includes, among others, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Jim Jones, chief adviser on the National Security Council. This is an establishment crowd is in their 60s and boasts extensive experience in foreign affairs and Washington politics.
The policy tools and methods of the Obama national security Cabinet will differ from that of the Bush administration. However, long-standing U.S. goals, such as preventing Iran’s nuclearization, watching Russia, disarming North Korea, establishing Arab-Israeli peace, achieving stability in Iraq, and gaining the upper hand against al-Qaeda as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan will remain Washington’s cardinal foreign policy objectives. In other words, expect many new openings and gestures, but no revolutions in American foreign policy in the Obama age.
The openings will be rooted in multilateralism and dialogue. The United States has already started to extend olive branches to many countries, including Cuba, and will engage others, such as Iran. If not the goals, the tenor of American foreign policy will change in the Obama age.
Even bigger change will come in gestures: A challenge for the United States is winning hearts and minds, not just in Turkey, but also in leftist Europe and neo-leftist Latin America, as well as in Muslim Middle East and Africa. In this regard, Obama’s personal history is promising.
The new United States president has multiple identities that he carries with ease; he is black and white in the American context. This helps him bridge the racial divide in the United States but also around the world, including in Latin America Ğ no wonder Obama was received with open arms at the Summit of the Americas that was held in multi-racial Trinidad and Tobago on April 19.
Obama bridges global gaps as well. His parents are Swedish and Kenyan, making him a Southerner and a Northerner in the global context. What is more, Obama can bridge the Atlantic, charming Europeans and Americans alike with his left-leaning, yet pragmatic politics.
Last but not least, Obama has many faiths in his family, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as he highlighted it in his inauguration speech on Jan. 20, providing proof that religions co-exist.
At home in Washington, Nairobi, Port of Spain, Stockholm and Istanbul alike, Obama is America’s messenger to the world. This is good news for Turkey; like Obama, Turkey is a country with multiple identities. Since Sept. 11, Turkey has a hard time simultaneously being a European, Western and Muslim nation. It was almost as if Washington picked one of these identities to the detriment of the others.
Turkey can now flourish as a European country in the West that happens to be Muslim. Obama has already emphasized this vision in his speech to the Turkish parliament on April 6. This is indeed the biggest change the Obama administration has ushered for Turkey.
Soner Çagaptay is a senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Will The Genocide Guillotine Fall Tomorrow?
The opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey is progressively taking on a more complex form. I fear we might face a big fiasco in the end. I don’t know the contents of negotiations or the background. Nobody knows about the details except the formal authority anyway.
All evaluation is done based on formal announcements, statements and information leaked to the press. I would like to reflect the situation based on these data and information given by people participating in negotiations. Was Washington assured?
Let’s start with why the opening of the border is so important: Turkey becomes progressively trapped in the Armenian genocide allegation with each passing year. The genocide allegations are now at a point where they are internationally accepted. The last castle the Armenian lobby cannot destroy is Washington. But they are trying. In case Washington adopts the "genocide" thesis one needs not to be clairvoyant to tell that Turkey’s international business and respect will be hurt.
The only way to slow this process down is to pay attention to relations with Armenia and start a new period of mutual benefits. If the border opens Yerevan will stop turning genocide pressure into a diplomatic imposition, at least for some time. Under these circumstances the key country is the United States and the person its new president Barack Obama. Before elections he said he would accept the Armenian genocide. Now the only way to postpone his promise for a while is to stress the avoidance of undermining the new period between Turkey and Armenia, and to declare not to pronounce the genocide thesis. Meaning, he needs to strengthen his hand.
President Gül’s historic visit to Yerevan and statements thereafter created an atmosphere for a very clear message to the Obama administration. As a matter of fact, before Obama’s visit to Ankara, Ahmet Davutoğlu is said to "have sent positive signals to the U.S. administration" during his contact with Washington. American authorities say that Obama went with such high hopes on his Ankara visit and had the impression in Ankara that "this matter has been finalized." I wonder? I wonder if Turkey really gave a different hope to the Obama administration. Has Azerbaijan not been paid enough attention? We are facing a weird situation at the moment.
Washington believes that the border will be opened and is expectant. Yerevan persists on the border issue, even points to a date. Whereas in Ankara minds are confused. One day we encounter an extremely soft atmosphere, the other day abstaining.
Within this chaos it seems the Baku factor has been forgotten. Behind closed doors Ankara might consider the opening of the border under the condition that Armenians withdraw from at least part of Azerbaijani territory, but this has not been reflected to the public. It seems that it has also not been reflected sufficiently to Baku as well because Azerbaijanis’ reactions are still strong. They have still not eased off. The prime minister for the first time has spoken clearly in a group meeting connecting the opening of the border with the ending of the occupation of the Armenians. He gave the message that as long as the Armenians do not withdraw the border will not be opened.
Baku puts embargo on Turkey’s Armenia politics
The situation at the moment seems very chaotic. The Azerbaijanis showed reactions they never showed before and lobbied as they have never before. The Azerbaijani have taken Turkey’s Armenian politics completely under their control. Ankara used to pay attention to Azerbaijani sensitivity but Baku never imprisoned Ankara like this before. Turkey’s Armenian politics will from now on progress fine tuned with Baku and no important step will be taken without the approval of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani leader Aliyev has successfully obtained what he wanted and interlocked Ankara. Let’s wait for a genocide decision from congress
The situation at the White House is very chaotic at the moment. One wonders what President Obama will do when he sees that the opening of the border and Turkey fails for one or another reason. Tomorrow is April 24. Announcements will be made from the White House regarding the anniversary of the 1915 events. With great possibility there will be no mention of genocide in his messages. We will probably survive tomorrow but if the border is not opened within this year we should expect the possibility of a decision regarding genocide to pass the U.S. Congress and President Obama not to spend much effort to prevent it.
Mehmet Ali Birand © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Does Azerbaijan Follow ’one Nation-Two States’ Concept?
Political party leaders hold parliamentary group meetings on Tuesdays. Owing to the Political Parties Law, as one of the by-products of the Constitution prepared during the Sept. 12 military coup in Turkey, the parliamentarian system is being shaped by polemics among "little Führer" party leaders, so to speak. Tuesdays are usually considered "special days of tension" in "Turkish political life."
This Tuesday was not an exception. The Azerbaijan-Armenia issue was another topic of polemics. Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Deniz Baykal said ongoing Turkey-Armenian talks are the biggest diplomacy mistake of the Republic’s history. He made a call to President Abdullah Gül: "He should go to Baku immediately and meet İlham Aliyev. He should clear-up misunderstandings, if any. Turkey cannot hold back the attention shown to Somali and Bahrain from Azerbaijan."
It is debatable if "Turkey-Armenia talks are the biggest diplomacy mistake of the Republic’s history," but it is surely beyond dispute that Baykal’s remarks were "just a plain example of demagogy." Prime Minister and the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made some remarks on the subject. Since he has not criticized Azerbaijan to date, Erdoğan’s "new" remarks the other day were quite interesting.
"A very sensitive issue for Turkey is being turned into a matter of exploitation. Some people are trying to benefit out of it. Here, the Azeris’ attitude is also wrong. In every meeting we have attended so far, we have backed Azerbaijan. We have considered them more than they can consider themselves. We have never left them alone. People talking here and there are making a mistake. But this will not help anyone," said Erdoğan.
He was right.
The latest developments proved that I was right. Azeri President İlham Aliyev, turning his back to Turkey and not participating in the "Alliance of Civilization" forum in Istanbul on April 6, paid a visit to Moscow on April 16-17. The "natural gas" card is one of the most important strategic cards Azerbaijan has in hand.
And Azeris have shown that they could play it against Turkey and the West. Aliyev said in the joint news conference held April 17 with his Russian counterpart Demitry Medvedev that he didn’t see anything wrong with selling Azeri gas to Russia. Experts signal what Aliyev meant by that is the Shahdeniz-2 project with annual 14-16 billion cubic meter gas production capacity may be shifted to Russia. Aliyev also said Azerbaijan may increase the amount of crude oil being sent to the Baku-Novorossisk.
In advance of Aliyev’s Moscow trip, some Azeri commentators and strategy experts said if Turkey doesn’t consider Baku’s interest in Turkey-Armenia normalization talks, Aliyev can take steps to offset the "current geopolitical and economic balances" in the South Caucasus.
Azerbaijan is concerned about the possibility of Turkey lifting economic sanctions over Armenia; in other words opening the land border between Turkey and Armenia, which has been closed since 1993. In fact, Aliyev in his address at the Azeri National Security Council said that they were following possible geopolitical changes in the region and would take necessary measures. He also said Azeris are entitled to exercise their right to determine their own policy in the face of an emerging new condition in the region and that they wouldn’t hesitate to use this right.
A political analyst Rasim Musabekov in Baku stressed that Aliyev was not bluffing and Baku can make a radical turn. Musabekov was also quoted by the Turan News Agency on April 7 as saying Aliyev’s phone call to Medvedev was not a coincidence while U.S. President Barack Obama was in a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gül. In the meantime, following the Aliyev-Medvedev meeting, the Turan news agency again quoted Nevruz Mammedov of the Azerbaijani presidential foreign policy department as saying selling Azeri natural gas to Russia and Iran may set an alternative to the Nabucco Project backed by the West. And if the countries partnered in Nabucco make no move, Azerbaijan would have left no chance but to consider its own interests.
No one can object any of these. Azerbaijan will surely protect its national interest. Then what is the point behind the "one nation, two states" slogan? If in the eyes of Azerbaijani administrators, the national interests of Azerbaijan do not overlap with those of Turkey, can we defend that Turkey has its own interests but they most certainly should be in line with Azeris’?
Turkey has always watched out Azerbaijan’s interests and adjusted its own interests accordingly, even if contradictions existed at times. Gül visited Baku immediately after visiting the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Sept. 6. You cannot count how many times Erdoğan made a trip to Baku and Aliyev to Turkey. That is to say there is nothing for the Azeri administration should necessarily know about Turkey-Armenian rapprochement that is surprising to them.
What happened then?
What happened was that Russia became involved in the equation. Azerbaijan has decided to flirt with Russia in order to make progress in its relations with Armenia.
That is possible. But this doesn’t mean Turkey has made a mistake against Azerbaijan. However, we can surely say the opposite.
It’s been claimed that Aliyev asked Russia to pressure Armenians to evacuate the Armenian-occupied Azeri territory in exchange of transferring Azeri gas to Russia, and this is the reason behind the close-up between Azerbaijan and Russia. If Azerbaijan succeeded at this, however, is doubtful. Russian columnist Rauf Mirkalov of the Zerkalo (Mirror), a Russian daily, wrote, in Karabakh Russia wants a solution completely under its control. Or in other words, Russia asks to have a Russian peace force in the region in dispute. But neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia is ready to accept this. According to Vefa Gülizade, who has been an adviser for many Azeri state heads, unless there is an agreement over the final status of Karabakh, any progress in this issue is unlikely.
Matt Bryza, U.S. representative in the Minsk group, announced that Aliyev and Armenian President Serge Sarkisian are examining this mutually painful agreement in order to make a progress in the Karabakh issue and that the "real" progress would be made a few weeks later, according to Voice of America on April 17.
On May 7, the Aliyev-Sarkisian summit will be held in the Czech capital Prague. Azeri and Armenian state heads will be getting together for the third time in a year. We’ll see the developments afterward.
To follow them without panicking is beneficial. And pressuring Turkey unfairly on the Azeri issue is useless.
Cengiz Çandar © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Call For Ban On A Return Match In Kayseri 22 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
Truly, Armenia and Armenians dispersed throughout the world since the 1920s have to like it black Turkey a Holocaust denier and racist with the complicity of States permissive or at least under the influence of a tolerance in troubled waters of laissez-faire that would not otherwise.
Last outrageous example to date, the call for banning the return match Armenia-Turkey in Kayseri, scheduled October 14 and the opening of non-Armenian-Turkish border.
Thus, at the instigation of Ishan Ali Öztürk, President of Teachers' Egitim-Sen, a signature campaign of extreme racism, probably by remote Baku with the support of an association of Erzerum was launched in Kayseri in order to be delivered to the Turkish Parliament.
Sunday April 19 of the demonstrators were thus gathered in the Republic Square in front of a banner stands in the middle of the flags of Azerbaijan and Turkey Photographic arguments forcefully highlighting the issue of Artsakh (Karabakh), which assassinates a sentence saying: "For the murder of my brother, I do not see them in my city."
As the edge "Haber 7", the methods of Hitler are always on here. Just offer sweets like to seduce children, and the petition is signed.
A note in the article of "Radikal" the intervention of Dr. Yuval Abdulkadir who wants an agreement with Azerbaijan and that the Ottoman Turks have done a genocide on Armenians.
In the comments of readers, the nickname "Akçakaya" expressed his shame to such an action he described as "racist." Ignorance is also cited, and we request the arrest of so-called educators. Another wrote that the Armenians have contributed to the development of the Turkish economy. That what they have given to Turkey is now lost. We murdered Hrant Dink and priest Santorini.
These people are racists Facist and they say, noting that both "the Azerbaijanis are our brothers from abroad, but that we Armenians have lived together for 700 years.".
Indeed, the comments are in total opposition to this campaign of shame, since most of them denounce the fanaticism of Ishan Ali Öztürk which would not be the first attempt.
The most serious is that children are educated in hatred by such sulfur characters.
Letter From The Armenian People To Barack Obama 5 April 2009, by Stéphane / armenews www.facebook.com/group.php? gid = 69177105745
Friend and compatriot,
On 24 April 2009 will be in all respects one of the most important dates in the history of the Armenian people. Indeed a great hope was born from the promise of President Barak Obama to recognize the Armenian genocide. Nevertheless, the President may choose caution to the strategy implemented by Turkey to prevent the position for, ostensibly, does not hinder the opening engaged with Armenia.
That is why it is vitally important to encourage the White House to express its opinion on the Armenian issue on 24 April 2009.
Below is a text to copy and paste it in the form of contact with the White House> www.whitehouse.gov/Contact/
Warning: If you do not live in the USA, you must still include the code of your place of residence [Zip Code] and the name of the country so that the consignment is validated. Ex: 13001 / France (code of your city / country)
Given the importance of the term ahead, I urge you to immediately communicate this letter to all your contacts and groups face book devoted to Armenia.
DO NOT POST ON THE PUBLIC INTERNET SITES
Armenia Is In 91st Position Among 133 Countries 23 April 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
"In the field of tourism, the rating of Armenia is low," writes AZG, referring to a report by the World Economic Forum has ranked Armenia in 91st position among 133 countries (89th last year). The factor is the least satisfactory ecological situation of Armenia. Is also unsatisfactory quality of air and ground transportation, accessibility of tourists to the Internet. Tourists do not trust the judiciary and police to Armenia.
Embassy of France in Armenia Press Service
History Inoperative 8 April 2009, Ara / armenews
We had experienced genocide Canada Dry with a series of accurately describing the act, but failing to appoint him by name (this has long been one of the faithful allies of Turkey as the United States, before Obama or Germany).
It was now with the last article on the Armenian question by the magazine "History", a situation totally reversed. If the concept of genocide is displayed - there is the logo on the label - its content is sanitized, however, revised downward. So from reading this new forgery, genocide is no longer one in the sense of three or four major crimes against humanity of the twentieth century, but ethnic cleansing becomes more ordinary. There was no one and a half million dead, but "six hundred thousand." There was no massacre by two to three million Ottoman Armenians, but "one million five hundred miles." There was no intention to liquidate the population, but an unfortunate combination of circumstances which led to a catastrophic outcome. All this is horrible, certainly. Wrong, of course. But reduced in small steps, in impressionist style. And the whole landscape to see changed.
This new process is emerging as even more insidious is that it develops under the banner of the word genocide, which is in this case act as moral support to the presentation of this adulterated version of the event. It does not deny the more significant, but it dilutes the meaning. And hence, we regard the same opinion ...
This is the second time in thirty years of existence the journal History, now in its 378th issue, devoted his "one" in 1915. The first time, there are more than ten years was to make very beautiful to negationist theories, particularly that of Gilles Veinstein. And this on the grounds of objectivity is performed on the "5 minutes for the Jews, 5 minutes for the Nazis, such as brocade Jean-Luc Godard.
Today is the United States that month went for a "leading expert" to answer this interview river 13 pages. A Fuat Dundar what capacity should the honor of being selected? According to history, writing 3 books published in Turkey on the Young Turks. But none is specifically dedicated to the extermination of Armenians. We could have such appeal in France Yves Ternon specialist problem or Kévorkian Raymond, who has published on the subject last year an exceptional editions Odile Jacob. But it was too simple. Our unknown is indeed our two French on the great advantage of being Turkish, which is now clearly a warranty claim to speak impartially of the matter ... The evidence: not once does the gentleman, he The concept of genocide to define the crime ... Only the titles of the journal makes mention.
And we learned which questions? Another "scientific", although to us this one: François Gorgeon who is a biography rather complacent about the Sultan Abdul Hamid, which tends to restore the reality that Europe called the "great Saigneur. A book that minimizes the importance of the anti-Armenian massacres of 1894-96. Too.
And we said Fuat Dündar to "help us understand what was decided and organized the deportation in 1915? Well in two words, it is the fault not of chance. That "until the eve of World War (...) Young Turks had not developed hostility against them (ie Armenians), the author forgot to switch the massacre in Adana ( approximately 30 000 deaths) of which we celebrate the hundredth anniversary this year. Only "the same period the Young Turkish power has shifted and dispersed to other non-Turkish (Kurds, Albanians, Bosnians, Circassians) (...), but for these people the decision did not have the same consequences loopholes for the Armenians. " Our historian failing to specify that this "movement" of refugees from the Balkan war (mostly) designed to install in homes left warm by Armenians "parties", for the death. Fuat even says that in February 1915 Djemal Pasha's decision to deport the Armenians of Zeytoun Dörtyol and after "some armed clashes", taking the view that Turkish official at the time. Which implies that the Armenians were "rebels" to quote the term used by the author. But never the population of these cities has "rebelled" at that time. This is neither more nor less than a false pretext at the time by the Turkish authorities. They intended to play on the reputation of resistance Zeitoun under the Sultans for these first steps of deportations, with, like the others that followed, unspeakable atrocities on women, children and the elderly (torture, rape , etc.)..
We do not eventually go through all aspects of this biased interview with the obvious purpose is to provide an under-valued version of the facts. But the conclusion of the article, in the form of final bouquet, is enough in itself to clarify the intention of the author: "I believe that the massacre was the product of circumstances, the consequence of a gradual evolution of events (...). If there had been no deportation in February 1915 to Zeytoun there have been no reactions from the Armenians of Van and Istanbul (sic) (...) if Van was not fell to the Russians because of this rebellion, the mass killings would not have occurred ".
This reading of history as seen by the small end of the telescope, with "if" in fact aiming to lower its threshold responsibility of the Turkish authorities, the clear determination of any criminal. Then comes the absolute enormity: "I do not think the government ordered the killings, but he helped the executioners: somehow, he was tasked to provide logistical support." Does it mean that Talaat, Djemal, Enver, respectively interior ministers of the navy and defense, three key members of government, that would assist the police, the organization and to the special army, which would have acted on their own? Fit for genocide Guignols de l'info, which would be conducted without the knowledge of free will of the Turkish government ...
And finally, pearl beads, always in the mouth of Fuat: "To the Young Turks was the danger but not arménité demographic imbalances. That is why I advocate that policy Turkification was - above all - a statistical and mathematical. The developed arménophobie not before but after the massacre. " Well! What would it have been if arménophobie had put the party! Thus the elimination of the Armenians would have simply responded to the need to restore a balanced population? Well, there was really no mortmain Turkish family planning at the time! And the annihilation of an entire people has been a "statistical and mathematical operation? But then, how the author says it a surprising side effect of this calculation, management mathematical killings and the fact that according to him a few lines above, the crime was not planned but caused by an unfortunate chain of circumstances (if there had been no Zeitoun "ect.)
It is a very, very far from what is shown and proven long all true experts in the field, such as Yves Ternon, the Vahakan Dadrian, through Taner Akçam and Raymond Kékorkian: that the genocide of Armenians has resulted from a political decision, that its establishment, according to a scenario identical in all places where the Armenians lived actually obey central planning, and this is undoubtedly one of the most "great crimes of the twentieth century." Qualifications used by the major allies of Turkey that the United States (before Obama) and Germany that they, unlike Mr. Dündar, at least have the intellectual honesty not to falsify the facts and figures even if for reasons of realpolitik with the Turkish state, they hypocritically circumventing the word genocide.
But when will deign History magazine does offer its readers a thesis consistent with the truth? Will it take 2015, the hundredth anniversary of the genocide, to be eligible?
Finally, always obedient to the will of misinformation that characterizes this interview, our specialist after a demonstration at the least far-fetched - believes, based on particular books secrets Talaat Pasha made public recently, that the number of deaths caused by the genocide would not be a million and a half, but six hundred miles. A figure which, as just like the rest of these pages, minimize the facts. Most studies evaluating effect of at least 1 300 000 the number of Armenians killed in 1915-16, an estimate that does not include the 1994-96 massacres hamidiens (two to three hundred miles dead), massacres Adana, genocidal atrocities committed in Iranian Azerbaijan in 1915 and the spring-summer 1918, the massacres at the same time by the Ottoman army in the regions of Kars and Alexandropol and Baku, the "military operations "Kemalists of the Caucasus. This figure of 600 000 deaths given by Mr. Dundar reviews even to lower the source to which it refers, the black book of Talaat, including the very moderate historian Ara Sarafian deducted for his part that the number of deaths in 1915 was 800 to 900 000. A document that more does not take into account the whole process. But we will understand the purpose is not to enlighten the reader as exonerate Turkey, dramatize things, and explain why from the first genocide of the twentieth century has been so obscured. These little arrangements with the truth involved in a magazine for the general public to some months of the Turkish season in France after all agree to a lot of interest, except of course those of victims. But those are for others. So why deprive ourselves?
To end on a lighter note, the box of the magazine story about the number of Armenians in the world has no shortage of salt either. This magazine has definitely a big problem with numbers and assesses the number of Armenians in the diaspora. "They are 2.7 million in diaspora. They are present in Russia (1.5 million), the United States and Canada (1.2 million), Syria and Lebanon (900 000), Africa (900 000) in the European Union (700 000 , especially in France), Iran (500 000) and Latin America (200 000). "Or, if you make the addition, 5 900 000. Find the error. So if the monthly tangle so brushes in current data and easily verifiable, what credibility can claim it when he bites to make revelations about the numbers more difficult to demonstrate. If the past is definitely not Turkish his thing, this Armenian either. Clearly, this magazine calculates wrong. Whether dead or alive.
12,000 Documents On The Genocide Of Armenians 22 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
Armenian national archives hold 12 000 documents on the Armenian Genocide. In reality the number is much larger, since their registration is still ongoing.
According Amatuni Virabyan, Director of the Armenian national archives, there are four types of documents:
The first group includes the newspaper articles of Tbilisi "Mshak" in 1916. The other group includes the documents that the church owned.
Without independence, the Church had replaced the state for centuries. Catholicos of All Armenians received letters from different parts of the world.
The letters provide information about the massacre of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, on the number of victims and migrants. There are also documents where the intelligence services of the Russian army reported the occupied territories, the destruction of Armenian citizens, the destruction of Armenian villages and other details.
Finally, the National Archives have the documents of both Armenian delegation who participated in the Paris Conference after the First World War. Highlight information on the material and human losses Turks.
"Many documents are from European archives. Their existence can be explained by the fact that during these years the diplomatic representatives were in Turkey, "said Amatuni Virabyan.
Some of the documents kept in the Armenian national archives have been copied and provided to the Armenian Genocide Museum of the newly established USA.En addition, many are exposed to the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.
Taner Akçam: Alone Against All 22 April 2009, Ara / armenews
A few days before the commemoration of the genocide, Taner Akçam takes many words to New York. Thus, on April 17, historian who teaches at Clark University in Massachusetts and author of "A shameful act. The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, ed Denoel) participated in a discussion of the Armenian-Turkish relations, especially on the Kurdish-Armenian dialogue. Harout Sassounian, publisher of the California Courier and Vice-President of the Lincy Foundation Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA and Khatchig Mouradian, editor of The Armenian Weekly participated in this debate of high held in City Hall.
A few days earlier, on April 9, Taner Akçam speaking at Colombia University in New York to discuss the Armenian genocide and its importance today. Beside him, there were the famous lawyer Mark Geragos and Dr. David Hamburg, author of an essay on the prevention of genocide. This evening, at the initiative of the Armenian Club, was moderated by a renowned journalist of the New York Times, Andrea Kannapell. If the debate has proceeded without any incident, however the result was more unexpected. When asking questions, people of Turkish origin, who came en masse, have monopolized the floor to deny the historical truth and genocide. Now remains to be seen what the attitude of the Turkish militants at the commemoration in Times Square, to be held April 26 in New York. Armenian officials have decided on Sunday to ensure that the community would be there.
Armenian Genocide: Shocked, Turkey Recalled Its Ambassador To Canada 23-04-2009
MONTREAL - The government of Stephen Harper has been careful in its statements on Wednesday after the decision of Turkey in Ankara recalled its ambassador to Canada.
Tuesday evening, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, as well as other parliamentarians participated in a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the recognition of Armenian genocide by Ottawa, which greatly displeased the Turkish government.
The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, has seemed to want to be reassuring to Ankara on Wednesday. "Canada's position vis-à-vis the Armenian genocide is not a challenge to modern Turkey," he said in an email that his office sent to The Canadian Press.
And the temporary recall of Ambassador Ankara "does not constitute a breach of diplomatic relations," he also said, recalling that "Turkey is also one of our NATO allies and an important trading partner for a long time. "
The Congress of Canadian Armenians, who organized the ceremony Tuesday, said that on the eve of a formal recognition by Washington of genocide, the Turkish authorities to launch a warning.
The Vice-President of Congress, Pierre Akkelian, recalled in an interview that the U.S. administration should recognize the genocide turn Friday. He stressed that before being elected president, Barack Obama had already talked about a genocide, a position shared by the biggest players of his team, including Vice-President, Joe Biden, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
"Perhaps the Turks want to give an example by saying that this is something they do not," argued Mr. Akkelian.
Mr. Obama wants to get any support from Turkey for some of its foreign policies, raising concerns within the Armenian diaspora. Barack Obama has avoided using the term genocide during his visit to Turkey a month ago. But he said, in response to a question, he had not changed his opinion.
Pierre Akkelian calling it "childish" behavior of Turkey, whom he invited to learn more about its history.
"For the welfare of Turkey, he said. This is not just for Armenians, but also for Turks to be able to see their history as it is, instead of the nonsense the last 80 years. They do not know their history. It is a tissue of lies. "
Rafet Akgünay The ambassador was recalled for "evaluation and consultation," said Wednesday the spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Burak Özügergin. It did not clear the exact reason of the recall of the ambassador nor its duration.
Another spokesman for the Turkish government, who requested anonymity, said that Mr. Akgünay was temporarily recalled in protest against the signing ceremony Tuesday.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not participate in the event but had prepared a message for the guests, which would have aroused the wrath of Turkey. Mr. Harper was also honored because it was the first head of the Canadian government to recognize the genocide.
Paul Martin was prime minister when Parliament had voted on this issue on 21 April 2004, but as it was a private bill, he had abstained from voting. A motion recognizing the Armenian genocide and as a crime against humanity had been adopted by 153 votes against 68.
Turkey therefore recalls its ambassador in Canada for a second time in connection with a dispute about the genocide. In 2006, the country had sharply criticized Mr. Harper for supporting the recognition of the massacre of Armenians as genocide. Ankara recalled its ambassador and withdrew to a military exercise in Canada in protest.
About 1.2 million Armenians were killed between April 1915 and July 1916, when they lived mostly on the present territory of Turkey. Several historians say that these people died as part of a massacre that was the first genocide of the twentieth century, which Turkey has always vehemently denied.
The Turkish authorities claim that there would have been approximately 300 000 deaths among the Armenians and at least as much among Turks.
Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press.
Armenian Genocide: Canada's Position Does Not Modern Turkey 23-04-2009
OTTAWA - Canada has tried Wednesday to minimize the recall of the Turkish ambassador in Ottawa, pointing out that its position on the Armenian genocide does "not affect the modern Turkey".
The Turkish ambassador to Canada, Rafet Akgünay, was recalled to Ankara for "consultations and assessments" because of Canada's position on recognizing the Armenian genocide, Ankara said.
"Canada's position vis-à-vis the Armenian genocide is not a challenge to modern Turkey, and the temporary return of the Turkish ambassador (...) does not constitute a breach of diplomatic relations "commented a spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"Turkey is a democracy. We have good relations with it," said the spokesman, stressing that "it is also an ally of NATO and an important trading partner for a long time" .
Anger in Turkey due to the presence of Canadian government officials at a recent commemoration of the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman empire, described as a genocide, and a message of support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The Canadian parliament has officially recognized the Armenian genocide in 2004. "The motion from a member who was adopted by the House of Commons on 21 April 2004 had the support of all parties," said the spokesman.
Turkey had already temporarily recalled its ambassador to Canada in 2006, also on the question of "genocide" of Armenia.
Canada "salutes the efforts of reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia," she added.
Ankara has no diplomatic relations with Yerevan since Armenia's independence in 1991 because of differences over the issue of massacres of Armenians. But both countries are engaged for some time in talks to normalize their relations.
From 1915 to 1917, the massacres and deportations of Armenians were 1.5 million deaths, according to Armenians. Ankara before it the figure of 300,000 and estimated that at least as many Turks were killed in unrest provoked by uprisings of the Armenians and their alignment with the Russian army in war against the Ottoman Empire and during the deportations that followed . ps / jl / chl
(© AFP / 22 April 2009
100 Signatories To The Resolution On The Armenian Genocide 23-04-2009
WASHINGTON - A few days of much-anticipated speech of President Obama this Friday 24 April, the sponsors of the resolution on the Armenian Genocide have announced that the number of cosponsors the initiative of human rights has increased beyond the hundred signatories, said the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The bill, headed by Adam Schiff (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) calls on States U.S. and its President to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.
The text introduced on 17 March has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The resolution is identical to that presented to the House and Senate in the 110th Congress, which was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was subsequently publicly endorsed by Barack Obama as presidential candidate, his Vice President Joe Biden, and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"We are pleased that the President of Congress to the committee members qualified and class clearly that America must always genocide at the level of American values," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "L ' America is ready to speak out against genocide with a basic moral challenge of the 21st century, not, like Turkey, a political issue that can take pressure, threats and intimidation. "
The President Obama, as a senator and presidential candidate, spoke forcefully and repeatedly in support of the United States for recognizing the Armenian genocide, as President Bush has often been criticized for not commemorate this crime to the White House.
Some statements by President Obama:
- "The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or point of view, but rather a widely supported by overwhelming historical evidence. The facts are undeniable."
- "America deserves a leader who speaks truth on the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be the president. "
- "As a senator, I strongly support the adoption of the Armenian Genocide (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian genocide"
Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Joe Baca (D-CA), Michele Marie Bachmann (R-MN), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Howard Berman (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Eric Cantor (R-VA) Lois Capps (D-CA) Michael Capuano (D-MA), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver ( D-MO), John Conyers (D-MI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Danny Davis (D-IL), Rosa DeLauro (D - CT), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), David Dreier (R-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Bob filni (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA) , Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jim Himes (D-CT), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Michael Honda (D-CA), Jesse Jackson (D-IL), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Leonard Lance ( R-NJ), James Langevin (D-RI), John Larson (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sander Levin (D-MI), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Frank LoBiondo (R - NJ), Dan Lungren (R-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN) , Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), James McGovern (D-MA), Buck McKeon (R-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Candice Miller (R-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Richard Neal (D-MA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), John Olver (D-MA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Donald Payne ( D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Jared Polis (D-CO), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Steven Rothman (D-NJ) Lucille Roybal-Allard ( D-CA) Edward Royce (R-CA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Allyson Schwartz (D - PA), F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Mark Souder (R-IN), Zachary Space (D-OH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Betty Sue Sutton (D-OH), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), John Tierney (D-MA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Paul Tonko ( D-NY), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Christopher Van Hollen (D-MD), Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Timothy Walz (D-MN), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Diane Watson (D -CA) Henry Waxman (D-CA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Frank Wolf (R-VA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and David Wu (D-OR).
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Why The Armenian Holocaust Must Not Be Airbrushed From History
Only a handful of elderly Armenians now exist as witnesses to the modern era's first act of genocide
By Robert Fisk INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER 27 November 2000
Last week, the British Government said it would refuse to acknowledge the Holocaust. Only a few days earlier, President Clinton pleaded with the US Congress to ignore calls to commemorate the Holocaust because, if they did so, "American lives" would be at risk. Whether the victims of the Holocaust were really killed "because of a deliberate policy of extermination", The Wall Street Journal told us last week, "is a matter of contentious scholarly debate". How David Irving and the Holocaust deniers must be rubbing their hands with delight.
But no need to fear. The Holocaust in question was not the Jewish Holocaust but the Armenian Holocaust. The dead amount not to six million but to a mere one and a half million. It's not a resurgent, militarised Germany we are frightened of but a resurgent militarised Turkey. While thousands of survivors of the Jewish Holocaust remain to tell us of their suffering, only a handful of very elderly Armenians now exist as witnesses to the modern era's first act of genocide. The Jewish organisations that rightly remind the world of their people's slaughter, are powerful. The Armenian groups that wish to commemorate their own bloodbath are weak and scattered. Their Holocaust is now to be airbrushed from history.
Is there any limit to our gutlessness? Take that letter from the Home Office's "Race Equality Unit" - first revealed in The Independent last week - refusing to acknowledge the Armenian Holocaust at Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. Its author, Neil Frater, told the Armenian Assembly of America that "the massacres [sic] in Armenia, like many other atrocities before the Holocaust and the Nazi era, were brought to our attention in response to last year's consultation exercise", on the memorial day. The dishonesty of this sentence is almost breathtaking. At no point does Mr Frater even say that the Armenians suffered a genocide - let alone a holocaust - and he then lumps this appalling crime against humanity with "many other atrocities before the Nazi era". But no other atrocity before the "Nazi era" comes anywhere close to the extermination of the Armenians.
And note that happy-clappy phrase "consultation exercise". How typical of the Blair government to have a "consultation exercise" to decide which ethnic group would have the privilege of having its suffering memorialised and which would be ruthlessly excised from the history books. "The massacres
of 1915-16 were an appalling tragedy condemned by the British government of the day," Mr Frater tells the Armenians. But he fails to add that the "British government of the day" produced a 677-page book - the Bryce Report for the Foreign Office - whose meticulous testimony and eye-witness accounts of Turkish mass-slaughter, organised rape and ethnic cleansing persuaded that same government to demand war-crime trials for the Turks.
Now let's turn to those meretricious - nay, outrageous - statements in the 20 November edition of The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper whose voice has never been silent on the truths of the Jewish Holocaust. In an editorial which might have been written by the Turkish foreign ministry, it sneers at the French Senate for daring to recognise the Armenian genocide, asking whether the British and French should not also apologise for the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres which betrayed Armenia's remaining claims to statehood in mainland Turkey.
"These suggestions," it says cloyingly, "are not put forward to diminish, much less relativize [sic] the historical fact that during the First World War, an estimated 600,000 Armenians, possibly more, lost their lives, many in forced deportations to Syria and Palestine orchestrated by Ottoman armies.." The editorial, of course, neatly changes the casualty figures. And note how we are told that they "lost their lives". No mention of the fact that the majority of Armenia's manhood were killed either by Turkish firing squads or in mass knifings, or by being burned alive or asphyxiated in caves in 1915 (the world's first gas chambers).
Even more insulting to the cities of dead, the Journal refers to doubts about the genocide caused by "serious scholarly debate". Now it happens that this "serious" debate is led by an American academic called Heath Lowry, whose Chair of Ottoman Studies in the US is funded by Turkey and who also works in an advisory capacity to the Turkish ambassador in Washington on ways to deny the Armenian Holocaust. A draft letter Lowry wrote for the ambassador was accidentally enclosed in a note from the Turkish diplomat in which he denied the genocide.
But the paper goes on to outline all the reasons why President Clinton - and our own government - now seek to deny the truth of history. Acknowledging the Armenian genocide would "needlessly jeopardise US-Turkish relations". Turkey is a strategic Western ally, "the only secular democracy in the Middle East", the second largest army in Nato. Turkey wants to join the EU. "Europe could take full advantage of Turkey's low cost of labour, just as the US has in Mexico." Europe "sorely needs the vast labour pool Turkey has to offer, as many European employers will attest".
It is difficult to stop the gorge rising at such revolting remarks. Because of Turkey's military power, its so-called "democracy", its bulwark against "Islamic radicals", its desire to join the EU and its cheap, exploited labour market, we must censor out of history one of the most terrible atrocities to have been committed. This is what lies behind President Clinton's cowardly remarks to the US Senate. This is what lies behind President Chirac's refusal to comment publicly on the French Senate resolution. And this is what lies behind the weasel words of Mr Frater's letter.
What next? In 50 or 80 years' time, will a new, more right-wing, resurgent Germany expect the same exemption from the Jewish Holocaust? Will we have to indulge the likes of Mr Irving suggesting that "contentious scholarly debate" renders the Shoah historically questionable? Will we be told by Mr Frater's successor that more recent genocides mean that the Jewish Holocaust cannot be acknowledged?
For that is the terrible implication of the grotesque response we are now making to Turkey's Ottoman brutalities. The Armenians have long commemorated their Holocaust on 24 April each year - the date in 1915 when the first Armenian intellectuals were rounded up and liquidated by Turks in Constantinople. The Armenians wished to be included in the 27 January commemoration. They have been turned away. Which is why 27 January will represent a truth - the facts of the Jewish genocide. But why it will also represent a lie - because, for cheap economic, political and military reasons, it will fail to address the genesis of Jewish suffering: the deliberate destruction of one and a half million Armenian men, women and children.
Calling White House, Parev All, Lets Flood The Entire White House Telephone Lines 202-456-1111 or Fax 202-456-2461 Please start Thursday evening and pass this information to all your friends This is what I am faxing to White House
Very Short Message
Mr. President Obama,
Please keep your word and reaffirm America's recognition of the Armenian Genocide
YES YOU CAN
Justice delayed, Justice denied.
Architects Of Diaspora In The Parliament National Assembly of RA April 22 2009
On April 21, Mr. Hrayr Karapetyan, Vice President of the National Assembly, in the sitting hall of the Parliament received the architects of the Diaspora from 17 countries, who were in Armenia to participate in the pan-Armenian conference of architects. Ms. Hranush Hakobyan, Minister of Diaspora also participated in the meeting. The three-day conference of "The Armenian Architecture and 21st century," begun on April 21, was launched on the initiative of the Ministry of Diaspora. Welcoming the guests, the Vice-President of the Parliament Mr. Hrayr Karapetyan said that the first Pan-Armenian event of the Ministry of Diaspora was dedicated to architecture, considering it as one of the most expressive and characteristic features of national identity. The Vice President welcomed all the initiatives and events that were joining all the Armenians, stressing that the challenges facing the homeland and the Armenian people were possible to overcome only then when all Armenians were united. According to the speaker, the adopted politics of the authorities aimed to unite all the Armenians all over the world, to open the doors of Armenia for all our compatriots.
On behalf of the National Assembly and, in particular on behalf of Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, the President of the National Assembly, who is on an official visit to Poland, Mr. Hrayr Karapetyan wished the participants of the conference success and productive activities.
Canada's Stance For 'Genocide' No Indictment For Turkey-Official
ISTANBUL - Canada said Wednesday its recognition of Armenians claims regarding the 1915 incidents is not an indictment of modern Turkey, after Ankara recalled its ambassador in protest.
"Canada's position on the Armenian genocide is not an indictment of modern Turkey, nor is Turkish Ambassador Rafet Akgunay's temporary return to Ankara for consultations, a break in our diplomatic relations," AFP quoted Natalie Sarafian, citing an e-mailed statement.
Turkey on Wednesday recalled its envoy its ambassador in Canada's capital Ottowa after Canadian ministers attended a commemoration night organized to mark the so-called "Armenian genocide". Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also issued a letter of support to the organization.
This was the second time Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Canada over the so called genocide. In 2006, Turkey criticized Harper for remarks he made in support of recognizing the 1915 incidents as "genocide" and recalled its ambassador. It also pulled out of a military exercise in Canada in protest.
Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.
Turkey rejects the claims saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.
Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate what happened in 1915 and has opened all official archives; Armenia however has continued to drag its feet on accepting the offer.
Turkey-Armenia Dialogue Process And The Existing Disputes
Turkey and Armenia started the dialogue process to pave a way toward normalizing relations in late 2008.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September to watch a game between the two countries' national teams, a move that was called “soccer diplomacy.”
One of the triggers of the process was the conflict that erupted between Russia and Georgia in August. That dispute raised concerns regarding peace and stability in the region and inspired Turkey's offer to form a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform. Armenia welcomed the move along with other countries in the region.
This is seen as the third important step between the two neighboring countries for normalizing diplomatic relations after they were cut in 1993.
The first attempt came under the first Armenian president, Levon Ter Petrosian, and was later followed by retired Turkish diplomats and representatives of the Armenian diaspora forming a reconciliation commission.
In late March, the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review reported that the sides had agreed on a protocol that sets 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 devise a road map for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. The details of the new border regime will be determined by the border committee while, as part of a show of good will, immediate measures would be taken for a gradual opening, the report said.
Diplomatic recognition will be supported by social and economic projects with coordination of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council, or TABDC, according to the diplomats.
Although the border crossing is closed between the two countries, official figures show 50,000 to 60,000 Armenian tourists visit Turkey each year and trade between the two neighbors continues via Georgia and Iran.
1) 1915 INCIDENTS: Armenia, with the backing of its diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of its kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. Turkey rejects the claims saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia. Turkey’s proposal to form a joint commission to investigate the allegations have so far been rejected by Armenia.
2) NAGORNO-KARABAKH: The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, the Armenian military has occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Some 10 percent of the Azerbaijani population was displaced due to a series of bloody clashes both between and within the two neighboring countries. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are currently holding peaceful negotiations. Turkey says it will not take any step to open borders before the conflict is resolved, while Azerbaijan makes similar warnings.
3) TERRITORIAL DISAGREEMENTS: Turkey is uncomfortable with the articles in the Armenia's declaration of independence and constitution, claiming some parts of Turkey should belong to Armenia. The border between Turkey and Armenia was drawn by the Kars-Gumru Treaty signed in 1912. There are also claims on the Armenian side that this treaty is not valid anymore.
Obama Not Expected To Recognize Armenian Claims After Joint Statement
WASHINGTON – A joint announcement that Turkey and Armenia had agreed on a road map to normalize relations was released just two days before U.S. President Barack Obama's expected statement on April 24, the day to commemorate the 1915 incidents.
Armenians in the United States urge both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government to recognize their claims regarding the 1915 incidents.
Turkey warns that any formal U.S. genocide recognition will kill the reconciliation process with Armenia and hurt ties with the United States in a major and lasting way.
During last year's election campaign, Obama pledged to recognize the so-called "Armenian genocide," but during a visit to Turkey earlier this month, he said the key priority for the United States was not to derail the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation though his views on the issue had not changed.
As a result, many analysts here do not expect Obama to recognize the Armenian killings as genocide in his statement Friday.
The United States primarily wants Turkey to open its land border with Armenia, closed since 1993.
Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.
Turkey rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.
Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate what happened in 1915 and has opened all official archives, but Armenia has not yet accepted the offer.
Armenian Efforts Under Way
Meanwhile, more than a dozen U.S. lawmakers extended their support to the U.S. Armenian position at a meeting held in Congress "to commemorate the Armenian genocide" late Wednesday.
The event was hosted by lawmakers Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, co-chairs of the Armenian Caucus in the House of Representatives.
The grand prize for the Armenians was the presence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, who reiterated her support for the Armenian cause.
U.S. Armenian leaders said they were continuing to urge Obama to qualify the 1915 incidents as "genocide."
Brian Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, said opening the border and normalizing ties between Turkey and Armenia "should not be held hostage to U.S. affirmation of the Armenian genocide."
Ken Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Armenia, said U.S. genocide recognition "is within our grasp. Justice won't be far behind."
Debates On Turkish-Armenian Border Opening To Be Held In Izmir On 23-25 April Azerbaijan Business Center April 22 2009
Baku, Fineko/abc.az. Public discussion "Common problems of Turkey and Azerbaijan: Armenia (Why should borders with Armenia be opened?)" will take place in Turkish city Izmir from 23 to 25 April.
Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani parliament) informs that the debates will involve country's MPs Akram Abdullayev and Aydin Abbasov and Turkish foreign policy experts and scientists. The polemics is aimed at keeping brotherly relationships between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Turkey's plan on opening of the border with Armenia accusing it in genocide of Armenians almost 100 years ago and occupying 20% of Azerbaijan territory caused vehement protests in Baku.
Official Ankara's pretext that only technical preparation for the border opening is being conducted did not mislead anybody. Tough reaction touched all layers of the society in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani President cancelled his visit to Turkey for an international conference, while Milli Majlis held a special session on the occasion and local TV channels started broadcasting speeches in Turkish language with subtitles in Azerbaijani language. As a result, the Turkish Embassy in Baku was forced to state that principle "2 countries (Turkey and Azerbaijan)" was not removed from the agenda.
Turkey's Dark Intentions Christopher Hitchens The Australian April 22 2009
THE most underreported story of the month must surely be the announcement by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that he no longer supports the accession of Turkey as a full member of the European Union.
His reasoning was very simple and intelligible, and it has significant implications for the Barack Obama "make nice" school of diplomacy.
At a NATO summit in Strasbourg, France, in the first week of April, it had been considered a formality that the alliance would vote to confirm Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark, as its new secretary-general. But very suddenly, the Turkish delegation threatened to veto the appointment. The grounds of Turkey's opposition were highly significant.
Most important, they had to do with the publication of some cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2005 lampooning the Prophet Mohammed. In spite of an organised campaign of violence and boycott against his country, and in spite of a demand by a delegation of ambassadors from supposedly "Islamic" states, Rasmussen consistently maintained that Danish law did not allow him to interfere with the Danish press.
Years later, resentment at this position led Turkey - which is under its own constitution not an "Islamic" country - to use the occasion of a NATO meeting to try again to interfere with the internal affairs of a member state.
The second ground of Turkey's objection is also worth noting: a television station on Danish soil broadcasts, in the Kurdish language, to Kurds in Turkey and elsewhere. The government in Ankara, which evidently believes that all European governments are as untrammelled as itself, brusquely insists that Denmark do what Turkey would do and simply shut the transmitter down.
Once again unclear on the concepts of the open society and the rule of law - if the station is sympathetic to terrorism, as Ankara alleges, there are procedures to be followed - the Turkish authorities attempt a fiat that simply demands that others do as they say.
The implications of all this, as Kouchner stated in an interview, are extremely serious. "I was very shocked by the pressure that was brought on us," he said.
"Turkey's evolution in, let's say, a more religious direction, towards a less robust secularism, worries me."
This is to put it in the mildest possible way. It's not just a matter of a Turkish political party undermining Turkey's own historic secularism. It is a question of Turkey trying to impose its Islamist and chauvinist policies on another European state, and indeed on the whole NATO alliance.
And if this is how it behaves before it has been admitted to the EU, has it not invited us all to guess how it would behave when it had a veto power in those councils?
For contrast, one might mention the example of re-united federal Germany, easily the strongest economic power in the EU, which painstakingly adjusted itself to its neighbours - to the extent of giving up even the deutsche mark for the euro - and adopted the slogan "not a Germanised Europe but a Europeanised Germany".
With Turkey, it seems the reverse is the case. Its troops already occupy one-third of the territory of an EU member (Cyprus), and now it exploits its NATO membership to try to bully one of the smaller nations with which it is supposed to be conjoined in a common defence.
For good measure, it continues to be ambiguous about its recognition of the existence of another non-Turkish people - the Kurds - within its frontiers.
President Obama's emollient gifts were on display at the NATO summit, where he eventually persuaded the Turks to withhold their veto on the appointment of Rasmussen. Accounts differ as to the price of this deal, but a number of plum jobs and positions now appear to have been awarded to Turkish nominees.
Much more important, however, the foreign minister of France has reversed his previous position and has now said: "It's not for the Americans to decide who comes into Europe or not. We are in charge in our own house."
Put it like this: Obama's "quiet diplomacy" has temporarily conciliated the Turks while perhaps permanently alienating the French and has made it more, rather than less, likely that the American goal of Turkish EU membership will now never be reached. And this is the administration that staked so much on the idea of renewing our credit on the other side of the Atlantic.
This evidently can't be done with sweetness alone.
On the question of Turkey's accession, I used to be able to make either case. Admitting the Turks could lead to the modernisation of the country, whereas exclusion could breed resentment and instability and even a renewal of pseudo-Ataturkist military rule. On the other hand, admission would put the frontiers of Europe up against Iran and Iraq and the volatile Caucasus, so that instead of being a "bridge" between East and West (to use the unvarying cliche), Turkey would become a tunnel.
The Strasbourg crisis clarifies the entire picture and should make us grateful to have been warned in such a timely fashion. Turkey wants all the privileges of NATO and EU membership but also wishes to continue occupying Cyprus, denying Kurdish rights and lying about the Armenian genocide.
On top of this, it now desires to act as a proxy for Islamisation and dares to waste the time of a defensive alliance in trying to censor the press of another member state.
Kouchner was quite right to speak out as he did, and the Turkish authorities will now be able to blame the failure of their membership scheme not on the unsleeping plots of their enemies, but on the belated awakening of their former friends.
European Police Detain 50 Armenian Mafia 22 Apr
A gang of Armenian immigrants that committed murders, robberies, extortion and thefts in Austria and the Czech Republic has been detained by Austrian police.
According to an Austrian radio station quoted by RIA Novosti, the police detained 50 members of the gang, including the 40-year-old head of the group.
The criminals, ethnic Armenians, mostly acted in the Czech Republic, where they intimidated fellow Armenians and extorted money from them, those who refused to pay were murdered. The gang now stands accused of at least two murders in Prague and one attempted murder in Austria.
The group is also accused of breaking into over 100 shops in Austria. The damage is estimated at around €40,000.
Investigation of the case is in progress.
Member of US Armenian Power gang
Dashnak Leader Blasts Armenia's 'Failed' Policy On Turkey Emil Danielyan, Ruben Meloyan 22.04.2009
The top leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) harshly criticized on Wednesday President Serzh Sarkisian's policy toward Turkey, saying that it has only harmed Armenia and earned Ankara a role in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. (UPDATED)
The extraordinary statement by Hrant Markarian, the de facto head of Dashnaktsutyun's worldwide governing Bureau, could further strain relations between Sarkisian and the influential nationalist party represented in his coalition government. It already threatened last week to quit the government if the upcoming municipal elections in Yerevan are marred by serious fraud.
"The Armenian side must acknowledge that it has been defeated in this stage of Turkish-Armenian fence-mending negotiations," Markarian said, dismissing Sarkisian's recent assurances that Armenia will "emerge stronger" from the year-long dialogue even if Turkey refuses to unconditionally normalize relations with it.
"One year ago we were saying that Armenia stands for normalizing relations with Turkey without preconditions while Turkey sets preconditions.
We presented ourselves to the world as a peace-loving nation, whereas Turkey was seen as a crude and inexplicable=2 0state," Markarian said. The situation has since changed dramatically, he added in a speech during a public seminar on Turkish-Armenian relations.
The event underscored Dashnaktsutyun's growing unease over the unprecedented Turkish-Armenian rapprochement that began shortly after Sarkisian took office in April last year. The Bureau urged Yerevan in December to exercise caution in this process, saying that the Turks are exploiting it to scuttle greater international recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Dashnaktsutyun, which also has branches in all major Armenian communities abroad, has traditionally favored a harder line on Turkey. Its leader's open criticism of Sarkisian followed growing indications that Ankara is again linking the establishment of diplomatic relations with Yerevan and reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border with a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Markarian claimed that the Armenian side itself allowed the Turkish government to renew that linkage. "One year ago, Turkey did not have a moral right to even express views on the Karabakh issue as it wasn't considered a party [to the conflict,]" he said. "Today it is being presented as a party. It is already becoming clear why the Karabakh issue should be solved also for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations."
Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian insisted earlier this month t hat Karabakh has not been on the agenda of the Turkish-Armenian dialogue.
They also ruled out any Turkish mediation of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.
Markarian also expressed concern at reports that a tentative agreement reached by the two governments earlier this year envisages the creation of a joint commission to study the 1915-1918 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as well as Armenia's explicit recognition of its current border with Turkey. "If there were some agreements on forming some commission of historians ... and if there was any intention on Karabakh and the recognition of Turkey's territorial integrity and the existing border, we must abandon all of that," he said.
Dashnaktsutyun repeatedly warned Sarkisian last year against agreeing to the creation of such a commission which was proposed by the Turkish side in 2005 and rejected by then President Robert Kocharian. The warnings came after Sarkisian indicated that he does not object to the proposal in principle.
Many in Armenia and especially its Diaspora view it as a Turkish ploy designed to deter more countries, notably the United States, from recognizing the Armenian massacres as genocide.
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official insisted on Wednesday that Turkey's leadership remains committed to normalizing ties with Armenia and that the two sides are still "working very hard" to achieve t hat objective. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza held what he described as "very fruitful" talks in Ankara over the weekend.
"I had some very fruitful discussions in Turkey where it became clear to me how serious Turkey is about normalizing relations with Armenia," Bryza told RFE/RL in Yerevan. "It's a very complex mix of issues in Turkey. There are strong opinions in Turkey as in Armenia about whether or not to go forward, whether or not other issues need to be involved."
"What I can say is that I sense that the top leaders in Turkey really are committed to opening a completely new historical and positive phase in relations with Armenia in pursuit of a common Anatolian home," he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly stated this month that the 16-year Turkish economic blockade of Armenia will not be lifted without a Karabakh settlement that would satisfy Azerbaijan.
Raffi Hovhannisian: Armenian-Turkish "Football Diplomacy" Is Not A Continuation Of Chinese-American "Ping-Pong Precedent"
Noyan Tapan April 22, 2009 Yerevan
The leader of the "Heritage" party Raffi Hovhannissian presented his evaluation of so called Armenian-Turkish football diplomacy during the press-conference on April 17 in Hayastsk club.
Mr.Hovhannissian also made some parallels with the Chinese-American "Ping-Pong" diplomacy. According to him, every historical phase has its own logic and there is no need to cherish an illusion state that this is a continuation of the Chinese-American precedent. At least it was symmetry there, and two super-powers used sports to gradually solve their problems.
Meanwhile we have asymmetry, the leader of the "Heritage" party said. One side, a dominion, deprived of its compatriots, and the other side officially continuing the policy of denial. "We ought to restore the symmetry. Either we move forward without any precondition, as three presidencies of Armenia suggested with circumspection. Either it is time for everybody to reveal their preconditions and their national questions in the matter of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations", told Raffi Hovhannissian, the leader of the opposition "Heritage" party, deputy of the parliament.
April 22, 2009 ACNIS Holds Seminar on "Armenian-Turkish Diplomacy: An Update"
Yerevan, April 22, 2009--Just two days before the annual April 24 commemoration of the Armenian genocide, the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) convened a special roundtable seminar discussion today entitled "Armenian-Turkish Diplomacy: An Update," providing the latest information regarding the outlook for the current effort to reach a new "normalization" of Armenian-Turkish relations.
Welcoming the participants and attendees, ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian introduced the speakers and guests, and noted the presence of noted prominent Armenian-American historian and scholar Richard G. Hovannisian, Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Giragosian also noted that this month's seminar, devoted to Armenian-Turkish diplomacy and the outlook for the normalization of relations, reflected one of the most pressing issues in Armenian foreign policy.
For his part, ACNIS Founder Raffi K. Hovannisian also welcomed the participants and presented an overview of the issue in broader terms of regional development, citing the fact that Armenia has always pursued a policy toward Turkey with no preconditions, but not failing to acknowledge the burden and legacy of genocide. He further dismissed the recent attempts by Turkey to artificially link the Karabagh issue to its position toward Armenia and hailed the irresponsibility of recent Turkish threats to label Armenia as guilty of occupation of Azerbaijani lands within the United Nations Security Council.
The discussion featured four main presentations, with ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian offering an update from his recent visit to Turkey and an assessment of the current stage of Armenian-Turkish negotiations, Professor David Hovannisyan, the Director of the Center for Civilization and Cultural Studies at Yerevan State University, presenting "An Overview of Armenian-Turkish Relations," Ms. Vercihan Ziflioglu, a reporter with the Istanbul-based "Hurriyet Daily News," offering her unique perspective on "Armenian-Turkish Relations: The View from Istanbul," and Ashot Soghomonyan of Yerevan State University, who offered a concluding "Overview of the Challenge of Armenian-Turkish Relations."
ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian explained that there was a "prevailing sense of skepticism" after repeated announcements by Turkish officials trying to link the Karabagh issue to the Turkish-Armenian normalization process. He defined this as rooted in the "asymmetry of power" between Turkey and Armenia and also explained that it seems likely that Turkey had "changed the course of its policy" toward Armenia, away from its earlier engagement and has possibly "surrendered to Azerbaijani pressure."
Giragosian went on to say that while "there is still a chance for normalization, the window of opportunity was narrower than before, with a possible breakthrough agreement only likely between September and November of this year." After which, he said, "if the process remains unresolved into next year, any real chance for normalization would be more vulnerable to new complications and renewed pressure." He stressed that there were "three important lessons from the process: the fact that an opening of the closed border should not be misinterpreted as any kind of reward or gift to Armenia, as it represents merely the basic minimum of what is expected of Turkey. Second, there is "no linkage between the normalization process and the Karabagh issue, and, in fact, Turkey can not and should not have any direct role in the Karabagh issue or in the OSCE Minsk Group's mediation effort." Third, Giragosian noted that Armenia has already gained in terms of a weakening of the earlier Turkish-Azerbaijani policy of "one nation, two states," and from the deterioration in relations between Ankara and Baku.
Professor David Hovannisyan, a retired senior Armenian diplomat and former Armenian Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic, reflected on his experience as a member of the former Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC), adding that although he remains optimistic over the long term, he was also pessimistic in the short term. He also stressed three main factors explaining the timing of the normalization process: the war in Georgia in August, which speeded up the process; a shift in Turkish policy away from the Balkans to the Caucasus as a priority, as well as a new impetus in Turkish-Russian relations; and the election of US President Obama, as a new catalyst for US policy in support of normalized relations between Armenia and Turkey.
As an Armenian from Istanbul, Ms. Ziflioglu noted that as a journalist she expected the borders to be opened, arguing that the world now expected Turkey to fulfill expectations of progress with Armenia. She also spoke of her experience as an Armenian growing up in Istanbul, noting the differences she felt compared to her Turkish classmates and friends. She also called for a "change in mentality beyond simply opening borders."
Finally, Yerevan State University Professor Ashot Soghomonyan then closed the seminar by comparing the competing stereotypes held by each side. He stated that the Armenian perception of the Turk is as "murderer and as a nation guilty of genocide," while most Turks perceived Armenia in three different ways: in terms of the terrorism of ASALA in the 1980s, second, within the context of the ARF, as nationalists, and third, reflecting their perception of the "dangerous diaspora" that Turkey sees as threatening Turkey with territorial demands and compensation for the genocide.
Closing the session, parliamentarian and Heritage Party member Stepan Safarian and ACNIS Senior Analyst Manvel Sargsian then provided concluding comments, which were then followed by a series of questions and answers, as well as a lively exchange among many leading Armenian analysts, experts and journalists.
The Armenian Center for National and International Studies
Turkey, Armenia In Broad Accord Bitter Rivals Agree To Framework For Normalizing TiesBy Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer April 23, 2009
Turkey and Armenia announced yesterday that they had agreed in principle to normalize relations, a possible breakthrough in a bitter dispute over century-old massacres that has swelled into a politically charged issue for the Obama administration and European governments.
The countries said they had agreed on a "comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations," after talks mediated by Switzerland. Their statement gave few details.
U.S. officials said the Obama administration had been quietly working to push the agreement forward, with the American president meeting privately with leaders of the two countries during his trip to Istanbul this month.
"This is a major step forward," said a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The announcement came just two days before what Armenians will mark as the 94th anniversary of the start of the massacres of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians in Turkey during the demise of the Ottoman Empire. President Obama is expected to give an annual White House statement on the killings on Friday, and had promised during his campaign to describe them as "genocide." In recent years, U.S. presidents have resisted using such language, which Turkey rejects.
The American official said Turkish and Armenian leaders were well aware of Obama's planned statement.
"Maybe the timing had something to do with it," the official said, speaking of the agreement. "But this is a bigger deal." The talks had been going on for about a year, he said, and the tentative accord wasn't a "last-minute panicky thing."
The White House did not respond to queries on whether Obama would still describe the killings as "genocide."
Few people deny that the massacres occurred. But Turkish officials and some historians say that the deaths resulted from forced relocations and widespread fighting when the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire crumbled, not from a campaign of genocide -- and that hundreds of thousands of Turks also died in the same region during that time.
The Turkish-Armenian agreement still must be signed by both countries and ratified by their legislatures. It is likely to stir strong opposition from nationalists on both sides.
The accord would open the border between the neighbors and establish a "road map" for normalized relations, with subcommittees handling matters ranging from economic ties to the environment, the U.S. official said. One of the subcommittees would examine historical issues -- namely the massacres.
In reaching the agreement, Turkey also won a commitment from Washington to accelerate its efforts to settle the dispute over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inside Azerbaijan, a Turkish ally, but is under ethnic Armenian control.
When they served in the Senate, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed letters demanding that President George W. Bush recognize "the mass slaughter of Armenians as genocide." But Obama did not use that word during his visit to Turkey this month.
Turkey is a key NATO ally, and Obama has said the country, governed by a moderate Islamist administration, could be a bridge between West and East.
Staff writers Glenn Kessler and Michael D. Shear contributed to this report.
Turkey-Armenia Border Deal Done, Details To Follow
ANKARA - In the eleventh hour before the US president decides what vocabulary to employ in recognizing history, Turkey has agreed with Armenia on which route to take toward reconciliation in the hope of staving off the word ’genocide.’ But the road before them presents its own set of obstacles, not least of which is how Turkey finds a way to keep Azerbaijan onside
Turkey-Armenia border deal done, details to follow
In a historic move, neighbors Turkey and Armenia have announced an agreement on a framework to normalize ties, which could see the establishment of diplomatic relations and a reopening of the border.
"The two parties have achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding and they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations in a mutually satisfactory manner," read the statement released late Wednesday. It also said both parties had determined a road map to reach this end.
Coming just before April 24 - the day that commemorates the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 - the statement is an attempt to prevent U.S. President Barack Obama from declaring the word "genocide" today in a presidential statement about the World War I-era events. Ankara has so far denied that an accord will be signed with Armenia amid growing uneasiness in Azerbaijan.
Squeezed between Azerbaijani reactions and U.S pressure for some announcement of concrete steps to free the hand of President Obama, Ankara found a "middle-way formula" after a three- hour meeting between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and several phone conversations with officials from related countries. Instead of signing and announcing a draft protocol with Armenia, which has been on the table since March, Ankara only preferred to announce its willingness to sign after the accomplishment of the so-called "road map."
What is now expected in Ankara is that Obama will refer to this breakthrough in ongoing reconciliation talks in his statement and will refrain from declaring the events of 1915 as "genocide", despite his personal convictions to the contrary. Some aspects have drawn notable attention:
First, for the first time, Switzerland is mentioned as the official mediator between Turkey and Armenia. Actually Turkey and Switzerland have had bitter moments in the past due to the decision by Bern, and several other Swiss cantons, to formally recognize the 1915 events as genocide.
In the past, Turkish diplomats have tried to downplay the Swiss role in the process, saying: "Bern was just providing logistics to the parties to conduct their meetings away from the public eye." But what it seems now is that Switzerland has played an important role in the reconciliation talks.
Secondly, the statement once again sets the purpose of the talks: the normalization of ties, good neighborly relations, mutual respect and the promotion of peace, security and stability in the entire region. This target completely overlaps with Turkey’s efforts to establish regional initiatives, such as the Caucasus Cooperation and Stability Platform, in which all regional countries would be involved, including Azerbaijan and Georgia. This could also be seen as Turkey’s intention to refer to expectations for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue as a parallel and binding process to the bilateral Turkish-Armenian efforts.
Third, the statement informs the public on the current situation of secret talks. It says that the talks produced "concrete progress and mutual understanding." Furthermore, it also explains that the parties have agreed "on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of bilateral ties in a way that will satisfy both sides." Which means that "the satisfaction of both sides" will be the main pre-condition in future talks.
The fourth is the introduction of a new concept with regard the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process: the road map.
Fifth, the joint statement suggests that both parties are optimistic about the ongoing talks, saying: "The progress achieved so far provides a positive perspective for the ongoing process."
Number of commissions
Finally, the statement, which was posted on the Web site of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, does not reveal it was a joint statement of Turkey, Armenia and Switzerland. While it looked like a unilateral Turkish statement, the same statement posted on the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s web site clearly said it was made jointly.
Of these six aspects, the agreed framework and road map are considered key parts of the process that will determine future ties between Turkey and Armenia. With regard to the framework, it was already reported that the two countries had agreed to establish a number of commissions. Each commission will be tasked with a different aspect of building ties, for example a joint history commission will look into the events of 1915; a joint trade and economy commission will draft a plan to boost economic ties; a joint border commission will talk about the details and technicalities of opening the border; and another commission will outline the procedures of establishing relations between the two countries.
However, emphasizing that the implementation process of this framework will be decided according to the road map - the details of which are not yet known - proves that "there is still a road to travel." Apparently, one of the most important points on the road map is the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been the scene of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the early 1990s. Without a direct reference to the dispute, mention of a road map touches perfectly on it in a way to ease the concerns of Baku, Turkey’s traditional ally.
Eyes on Nagorno-Karabakh
As stated many times by top Turkish officials, the normalization of relations and reopening of the border with Armenia are expected to happen as soon as a breakthrough on the Nagorno-Karabakh front is made.
As such, a meeting between Azerbaijan and Armenia next month in Switzerland is seen as vital. İlham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan and his Armenian counterpart, Serge Sarkisian will come together in Switzerland on May 7 to continue efforts to settle the dispute.
According to sources familiar with the talks, the parties are very close to a solution and if they can clear the few remaining obstacles in the way of Armenian troop withdrawal from the region then it is very possible there will be a settlement by June.
This will also free the hands of Turkey to proceed with the road map and enable them to announce the establishment of diplomatic ties this year. As Sarkisian put it earlier, it may be possible for both countries to proceed before Oct. 7, the day the Turkish and Armenian national football teams will play their second 2010 World Cup qualifier.
As stated many times by top Turkish officials, the normalization of relations and reopening of the border with Armenia
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Turkey Declares Armenia Deal At Eleventh Hour, Baku Uneasy
Just a day before eyes turn to Washington to see if President Barack Obama will use the word “genocide” in a traditional presidential statement released every April 24, Turkey announced that it had reached an agreement with Armenia on a roadmap for normalizing relations, drawing praise from the United States and deepening concerns in Azerbaijan.
Turkey and Armenia have been holding closed-door talks for more than a year on ways to restore diplomatic relations and open their mutual border, closed by Turkey in 1993 in protest of the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territory during a war over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The dispute is further complicated by Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire at the time of World War I, a charge denied by Turkey. US President Obama, who pledged to recognize the genocide claims during his election campaign, is now under pressure to use the g-word in his April 24 statement but earlier signaled he won’t because he did not want to harm the reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia.
“The two parties have achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding in this process, and they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said late on Wednesday. The statement also confirmed that Switzerland, which has been hosting the closed-door talks, was acting as mediator in the process.
Armenians across the world hold commemorative services to remember what they say was the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign. US presidents traditionally release commemorative statements, but they have avoided using the word genocide. Obama avoided the word when he addressed Turkish lawmakers during a visit to Turkey earlier this month. But he said, in response to a question, that he had not changed his views on the question.
The accord was announced hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised what she described as bold reconciliation efforts between Turkey and Armenia. Following the statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said the United States welcomed the agreement. "It has long been and remains the position of the United States that normalization should take place without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe," he said. Wood added that the US would work "with both governments in support of normalization, and thus promote peace, security and stability in the whole region."
"We urge Armenia and Turkey to proceed according to the agreed framework and roadmap," Wood said in a statement.
But Azerbaijan, which fears normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia would mean loss of key leverage against Yerevan in its dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, reacted to the announcement of progress in the Turkey-Armenia talks with concern. "The opening of the Armenian-Turkish border cannot take place without a process to resolve the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh," Azeri Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov said on Thursday. "Opening the border could lead to tensions in the region and would be contradictory to the interests of Azerbaijan."
He also said it was "too early" to discuss what steps Azerbaijan might take in retaliation.
Azerbaijan, a major natural gas and oil supplier for the West, is Europe's key hope for supplying gas for the proposed Nabucco pipeline that would run through Turkey and reduce Europe's energy dependence on Russia. Diplomats fear Baku could reject European overtures and instead sell the gas from phase two of its Shah Deniz field -- due to come online by 2014 -- to Russia for re-export.
Polukhov earlier told Azeri news Web site Day.az that Armenian troops should be withdrawn from Nagorno-Karabakh "in parallel" with the normalization of relations between Ankara and Yerevan.
Since Armenia is landlocked and its border with Azerbaijan is also closed, the Turkish frontier is of key importance for trade routes to the West.
Clinton said in her address to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives that the United States had assured Azerbaijan it would intensify efforts to resolve the dispute. A group of international mediators have been working for resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, but no progress has been reported so far in what diplomats describe as a frozen conflict in the Caucasus.
A senior Western diplomat, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said he did not expect Azerbaijan to renege on its existing energy contracts but added: "But in terms of ongoing negotiations on Shaz Deniz II for example, then there I think the Azeris will have a very different perspective and keep doors open that were not very likely or not very attractive to the Azeris previously."
Last month, Azeri state energy firm Socar signed a memorandum with Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom to start talks on Russia buying Azeri gas from 2010 for export to Europe.
Reconciliation with Armenia is a difficult step for the Turkish government, which faces criticism from nationalists over the way it handled Turkey's relations with Azerbaijan. Ankara has long said normalization in relations with Armenia depends on Armenia's withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh, a change in Yerevan's policy regarding international recognition of genocide claims and its formal recognition of the border. Analysts say Wednesday night's announcement is a sign that Turkey is revising this policy, although Turkish officials have said Turkey wants its talks with Armenia to advance in parallel with negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory controlled by Armenia.
Armenia says 1.5 million Armenians were slain by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I in what Armenians and several other nations recognize as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey vehemently rejects the allegation.
24 April 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES İSTANBUL
Ara Baliozian Reads The Armenians, Yo’ by Christopher Atamian April 18, 2009
"Lying is done with words and also silence."
The poetic genre known as the aphorism goes back at least to Hippocrates, in 5th-century B.C.E. Greece. The word aphorism derives from the Greek aphorismos and denotes an original and easily remembered thought, expression, or witticism. Popular aphorists of the past include Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, and Erasmus. Armenians have a practitioner of this rarefied art as well, and he goes by the name of Ara Baliozian.
The author of some 20 books of prose, poetry, and plays, as well as translations of Armenian writers such as Zabel Yessayan and Kostan Zarian, Baliozian was born in Athens, attended the now-defunct College Moorat-Raphael in Venice, and currently resides in Kitchener, Ontario. His newest work, a slim volume (56 pages) titled Pertinentes Impertinences, is a series of reflections and aphorisms in French translated from English by Denis Donikian, Mireille Besnilian, and Dalita Roger, and published last year by Arvesd Aysor in Yerevan.
Baliozian writes about a wide range of topics and people, though he seems particularly at home when perhaps justifiably lambasting Armenian politicians and leaders. Baliozian takes no prisoners - intellectual or otherwise. This hasn't necessarily made him the most popular writer in the Armenian diaspora, though an increasing number of people now read his work with passion and a deep-seated sense of appreciation for his daring to say what so many others think. Whether Baliozian's views represent those of an enlightened minority or of a silent majority, his work should be read by every Armenian, especially when they are young and in their formative stages, as a means of opening their minds to different ideas and ways of thinking about their culture.
In a sense, Baliozian is heir to the Armenian writers before him who dared to analyze and constructively criticize Armenian society. The Armenian mind that Baliozian deconstructs so ably is a direct descendant of the mentality that Hagop Oshagan describes in novels such as Mnatsortats and Haji Murad and that Constantinopolitan writers such as Krikor Zohrab wrote about before the Catastrophe of 1915. "If you want to understand Armenians," Baliozian writes, "don't read their nationalist historians; read instead a history of Armenian literature. The only reason we don't burn writers the way Indians burn widows is that we prefer to ignore them, which amounts to burying them alive." Baliozian on the sacred cows of Armenian culture: "Because I refuse to share their obsession with massacres and money, they call me negative. One way to be positive in their eyes is to adopt ‘Yes, sir!' as a mantra.'" (Both quoted from baliozian.blogspot.com. All quotes that follow are from Pertinentes Impertinences.)
Baliozian's oeuvre is in point of fact rather subversive. He uses repetition to his advantage and hammers away at his iconoclastic thoughts and ideas in the same way that the Armenian press and powers that be have drilled their own propaganda into Armenian minds and hearts for centuries now. It's a welcome counterbalance. While no one would deny, for example, the terrible suffering that successive Ottoman and Turkish governments have inflicted on Armenians and on the Armenian psyche, Baliozian is quick to confront the type of knee-jerk anti-Turkism that portrays Turks as somehow more cruel or barbaric by nature than others: "Our magazines regularly publish so many anti-Turkish commentaries that if our editors were to define what it means to be Armenian, I would imagine they would define it as hating Turks. And to think that these are the exact same people who criticize me under the pretext that I am a repetitive pessimist." (p. 18)
Baliozian's writing is also an intelligent and sometimes humorous call to introspection and societal self-criticism: "An Armenian-American composer admitted to me one day: ‘I hope that Armenians won't support me. I'd be grateful if they spared me their hostility.'" (p. 49) When analyzing the current Armenian craze for all things Gorky, Baliozian recalls the following: "Speaking of Arshile Gorky, one of our elder statesmen once told me: ‘Not a single Armenian bought a painting from Gorky while he was alive.'?" (p. 49)
The author is at his most incisive when taking on taboos in Armenian intellectual history and commenting on the behavior of certain contemporary leaders: "Our charlatans tell us that our patrons, bishops, and do-gooders know better than we do because they speak in the name of God and Capital. And when God and Capital speak, the scribblers are meant to shut their mouths and listen. Otherwise their mouths must be shut for them, that is to say, cut their tongues cut out, in good old Ottoman fashion." (p. 27)
There is isn't much to criticize about Pertinentes Impertinences apart from the fact that Baliozian, perhaps weary of repeating the same mantras that go unheeded, may indeed at times begin to sound repetitive. Baliozian's observations, however, are about as close as any contemporary Armenian writer comes to getting at the truth of things. And as the commonplace aphorism states, the truth will set you free. A fitting coda to this piece and to Baliozian's work comes from Kingsley Amis, whom the author quotes as saying: "If you don't disturb anybody with what you write, then I think there's no point in writing." (p. 47)
All (re)-translations of Baliozian's writing from French to English were made by Christopher Atamian.
Biden, Obama: "The Prevention Of Genocide Is A National Priority" 24 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
These are the words of Vice President Bush in a speech he held at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, yesterday 23 April.
Joe Biden said that he and President Obama said that "preventing genocide is not only a representation of who we are as people, but also a high national priority.
The response to genocide is not required in a moral context, it is strategically necessary, "he said.
"When genocide is unchecked, the credibility and leadership of America is tarnished."
The U.S. Vice President also stated that the United States had been slow to act in the past against genocide because the problem was presented to the choice between doing nothing and a major military engagement.
"We need to reclaim the words" never again, "he said. Adding "Too often these words have been used as a" real lament "or" expression of shame to which answers were insufficient. ". But "never again" must be "conclusive," concluded he.
President Obama also took the floor to mark the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust in these terms: "The testimony is not the end of our obligation. It's just the beginning. We know that evil will still take its course on earth. We have seen during this century, the graves and the ashes of burned villages, the children used as soldiers and rape used as weapon of war. "
Barack Obama has also said that the lesson of history requires a stronger response from the international community, stressing the continuing conflict in Darfur in Sudan, widely considered a genocide. "
"Today and every day we have the opportunity and the obligation to deal with these scourges, fight the impulse to detract from the images that disturb or envelop us in a false comfort to the suffering that are not ours, "he said.
He also pointed to the trivialization and denial of Holaucoste and intolerance in all its forms by "hatred degrades the victim and diminishes us all."
Upon reading this statement, it is highly inconceivable that Barack Obama does not pronounce the word genocide to describe the massacre of a million and half Armenians ordered by the government "Young Turks" of the Ottoman Empire.
Road Map: Avoiding Pronouncing The Word Genocide 24 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
The Main Objective Is Reached, Obama Will Not Use The Word 'Genocide'.
Creating result of the commission of historians on the 'events of 1915'
'Eleven hours before U.S. President has to decide which language to use to recognize the history, Turkey has agreed with Armenia on the way forward towards réconciliationdans hope to eliminate the word 'genocide'. But the road ahead presents obstacles, not least of which is for Turkey to find a way to keep Azerbaijan at his side.
(Hurriyet 24 April)
According to the Turkish daily, Turkey and neighboring Armenia have announced their agreement to normalize their relations, which could result in the establishment of diplomatic relations and the reopening of the border:
'We read in the press release issued Wednesday: "the two parties have reached a tangible progress and mutual understanding and have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of the bilateral mutually satisfactory''.
Occurring just before the April 24, the day of the commemoration of the massacres of Armenians in 1915, the declaration is an attempt to prevent President Obama using the word 'genocide' in his statement today about the events of the First War World. Ankara has so far denied that an agreement will be signed with Armenia in the context of unease with Azerbaijan.
Caught in the reactions of Azerbaijan and the U.S. pressure to announce a major step to give Barack Obama his freedom of speech, rather than to announce the signing of the draft protocol with Armenia, yet on the negotiating table since March, Ankara preferred to announce his signature after the completion of the 'roadmap'.
Ankara hopes will result qu'Obama reference to progress in his statement, rather than give free rein to his convictions. It should be noted that Switzerland is mentioned as a mediator for the first time, while Switzerland and Turkey have gone through periods of frustration due to the recognition of genocide by Berne and several other cantons. Turkey had earlier sought to minimize the role of Switzerland as opposed to his actual role. The statement contains the purpose of the talks, resumed in all the initiatives of Turkey to the region, particularly the platform of security and cooperation in the Caucasus, including Georgia and Azerbaijan. One can also see the intention of Turkey to include in discussions with Armenia the conflict in Karabakh. Holding secret discussions are therefore made public and a new concept appears, the road map.
It should be noted that the statement by the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs online does not have to be common in Turkey, Armenia and Switzerland, while it was clearly announced as such on the Armenian side.
It appears the establishment of the framework and the roadmap that both countries have agreed to the creation of several committees, each responsible for a particular aspect of relationship building, such as the events of 1915, relations économisues, etc ...
However, since the introduction of elements of this framework will be made according to a road map whose details are not known at this time, 'there is still some way to go. One of the most important points of the roadmap concerning the Karabagh, scene of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia since 1990. Without making direct reference to the conflict, it is mentioned in the roadmap is timely to calm the concerns of Baku, traditional ally of Turkey ... '
translation: Gilbert Beguian
Day G 24 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
We are told, he has the heart on the hand. This is a man of his word. It has a high sense of morality and is a fervent defender of human rights.
Since 1920, when the Treaty of Sevres, never an American president has generated so much hope in the heart of both Armenians and apprehension in Turkey.
Will this be the one who will give the word on the issue for some, or that of repentance for the other?
Tell it? Do not say he not?
Two possibilities: Either the President Barack Obama, in keeping one's word to the Armenian people, "says his position by saying the word Genocide April 24. Where it s'enferre in verbal circumvolutions to say the same thing without uttering a word.
By saying he would prepare the ground and contribute to help Turkey to face its past, despite the reluctance displayed by a perverse denial and anger announced that last a few moons.
But above all it would do itself, just as it would do justice to an entire people by the assertion of the word.
In contrast, the unspoken pretext not to hinder the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation is not. For it is only a pretext, as the tree hiding the forest of the F-16 or F-35 and other drones fight against terrorism.
Announcing be openly supported the integration of Turkey into the European Union, has he not put a message there? Of course yes.
The man is intelligent. The result was not long in coming. Wednesday 21 April, the Turkish special forces have arrested thirty-seven alleged members of Al Qaeda on U.S. information.
That is where we are at this Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
Tell it? Do not say he not?
However as ever, the diaspora and had mobilized. Wish to pursue this path, awakening in our brothers and sisters around the world about the silent majority that arménité is not an empty word.
To dramatize, about the "Word", it reminds me of the famous inénarrable sketch comedians Pierre Dac et Francis Blanche that less than twenty years may not know.
Francis Blanche in this sketch of "Sar-Dranath Rabin Duval," a descendant "authentic" of the great visionaries of Sars India (Pierre Dac).
Towards the end of the exchange, Francis Blanche raises the fateful question:
Your Serenity, can you tell me it is very important, focus your attention. Can you tell me what is the number of bank account sir?
You can tell?
CAN YOU SAY?!
HE CAN SAY! BRAVO! It is extraordinary, IT REALLY IS SENSATIONAL. Jean Eckian
Opening Of The Turkish Border: Skepticism In Armenia According To The Turkish Observers. 21 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
In Yerevan, the correspondent of the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Cansu Camlibel, reports that the high hopes of reaching an agreement to establish diplomatic relations and reopen the border have given way to fears that bilateral relations have been compromised (eclipsed) a Again the issue of Karabakh.
In Yerevan, nobody believes in a rapid progress before April 24, but there is guarded optimism about the opening of the border in 2009. Mr. Bryza, the assistant to the Secretary of State of USA, deployed in the region, announced a breakthrough in the Karabakh problem for the month of June. The Turks for their part expect the results of the visit of President Aliev Medvedev scheduled for May 6
In a statement to the newspaper, Saturday 18 April, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Vardan Oskanian, recalled his meeting with Abdullah Gül, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs. According to him, at the time, when the AKP came to power, it was not in the interest of Turkey to link the problems between Armenia and Turkey to the issue of Karabakh. Only after having realized that the Azeri pressure could not be overlooked that he changed position and began to see in this conflict the main obstacle between the two countries. "
"Turkey is seeking third countries to grow to the solution of the Karabakh conflict. For the U.S. and their interest in gas resources and oil in the Caucasus, it has other implications. The words of Turkish Foreign Minister during his meeting with his Russian counterpart to Yerevan last week, caused the frown USA; negotiations gas between Russia Azerbaijan had already caused their discontent. These same countries are concerned that the procrastination of Turkey, giving too much importance to the conflict in Karabakh, disappoint the relative optimism of the Armenians and lead to their withdrawal from the negotiating table. According to diplomatic observers knowledgeable, compelling public statements like those of Erdogan on the Karabagh, to please Azerbaijan, should be avoided. "
The correspondent in Yerevan quote Hovhannes Igittian, one of the leaders of the party of Levon Ter Petrossian, "It is normal that Karabakh be included in the Turkish-Armenian relations, but if Turkey is ready to establish relations, it should not wait for the declaration of Azerbaijan. " He continued by mentioning Tevan Poghossian, director of International Center for Human Development, which he also thinks that the issue of Karabakh is not a precondition for Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, "I think that Karabakh is a loophole , an artificial reason for not advancing, and internal problems in Turkey prevent governments from making a big step, "he said. While the skepticism about the sincerity of Turkey is still an important element public opinion in Armenia, businessmen stand out, ready to transform this suspicion interaction.
Arsene Ghazarian, president of the Union of Producers and Businessmen of Armenia noted that because of the closure of the border, the two nations who lived together for 600 years lose a chance of being culturally
Translation Beguian Gilbert
"The Armenians", Mauritius Fanon "In Armenia, Even The Footprints Were Not Executed, Exterminated"
24 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
Few people, least of all young people have the memory of the author-composer-unpopular-that was Maurice Fanon.
As Serge Dillaz mentioned in his preliminary article on this artist in the magazine Chorus in 1996: "The song in that time, camped on the left bank of the Seine." It was in the sixties, just in 1963, that from his first recording, Maurice Fanon, who wanted above all to write for others, is propelled to the front of the stage with his hit single "The Coat": "If I door to my neck in remembrance of you, this memory of silk, not make it cold, the bottom of the air is sweet, is that once again I tried like crazy to me thought of you, your fingers on my neck; remember us when we told you. "
I experienced a brief moment this singular character "lived" while I was at CBS records, the same year he joined Eddie Barclay after the failure of his song "The Little Jewish.
His wonderful text on "The Armenians" (1986), unveiled here for the first time publicly and topical poignant. Thanks to Ayk Potukyan for kindly entrusted me. Ayk Potukyan, former technician at Radio Montmartre, Maurice Fanon had received in 1991, just months before his disappearance.
"I speak of a time when France felt good paper of Armenia. Some wreaths fragrant and Armenia was at your side, smiling and serene to support life.
I was five and did not know. With my little blue smoke that smelled so good, I went on a trip as if it were close at hand. An Armenian.
I was five and did not know of Armenia that what I said the little rectangle of perfume that is consumed between my fingers with all his heart as a brother watching his brother, sister, his sister.
Thus, small french plea qu'assis on the steps of Beauce my garden, my little odor to the hand, I am now - five years-Armenian. I'm stuck.
Five years already and wrinkles on my forehead. Eyes wide and a smile comes from within. It told me that I looked unhappy. They already and they were wrong. I was an Armenian happy.
Happy, I'm not stuck.
Of course, I am Beauceron. I love the purple and anger that come from no other than my grandfather, but I was so wrong ... To me, the rose, the lone survivor of a people that I invented myself before the meet, which I loved until you have kissed.
And for good reason, my people were already dead. Murdered. But it does not tell him. Perhaps that I had exactly hidden, for fear of being accused by a child against genocide, complicity, failure to assist a person in danger.
I was invented not deceive me, because five years ago I was not a beginner trapeze without a safety net I was dreaming. Already, around me, people were not reassured. They do not always. How many times has there not trying to cut me a nice closet. It does not matter. My only regret is that some and some came after me, let me fall. Arménités There are all races, all countries, of all kinds, we may cease to support. By fatigue, by distraction or fear.
Fear of being coperniquer?
Eye is a concern that these people have been pushing the trompe-the-death that I became a provocation to the mediocrity that haunts and never will be a virtue, even if it becomes a common quality.
Optimistic or pessimistic sad gay? is being asked sometimes about me ... Neither one nor the other ... I'm off topic. As my country, Armenia.
In the footsteps of Nerses Glaïetsi, born three centuries before François Villon, I can not ask mine. In Armenia, even the footprints were not executed, exterminated.
When I discovered they had killed my country, many things have changed in me. Laughter has brought tears of sadness goodness, with a pulse of anger that I have to relearn every day to tame.
Thus, FANON I felt becoming FANIAN. No present participle of the verb which means fanir fade. No. FANIAN, as one might say Aznavourian.
In the thick silence of my sleep, I hear the cries of children, women, men, already old and not children. In Armenia, it has killed up to the bellies. The dawn and dusk look at me with eyes of despair. Spend the days and nights, above the noise and silence comes back to me always the same cry. It is a cry that sounds like the injury of a knife. A cry from thousands of lips, tearing flesh, a scream that sings the blood veins of black and blood red arteries of my country.
I now know that five years ago the little blue smoke that smelled good was in tears made of Armenia. Five years later, ten years ago, I was an Armenian beauceron perfectly ready for Jew also under a sky or shiny forever six million stars in the color of mimosas that tighten when the button. "
Maurice Fanon, August 1986
"It's beautiful Fanon"
About Maurice Fanon, Charles Aznavour, granting an interview to Marc and Daniel Legras Pantchenko * (specialists in French music for the magazine Chorus), will this sentence speaks volumes about the esteem he has Maurice Fanon: "An author writing for other runs the risk of a compromise being urged to correct his text ... This is not the kind of home, which was made with people who could write: Mireille and Jean Nohain, Trenet ... Varel and Bailly, which still exist, Maurice Fanon. It's beautiful, Fanon! I forget ... Bécaud Aznavour and are not bad either! [Laughs] "
Born on 31 December 1929, former English teacher, one who dreamed of a better world died at age 62 in 1991. Loving justice and condemning all attacks on human rights, he wrote in 1965 "The Early Jewish," a manifesto against anti-Semitism. The song "disturbing" will be boycotted by radio and television.
Also author of a novel entitled "The Turkish Small" (1980), Maurice Fanon did not find a publisher for his second novel "The Clear", or for his collection of short stories in which figured prominently "The Armenian" .
* Daniel Pantchenko is the author of "Charles Aznavour or destiny tamed" (Fayard / Chorus, 2006)
Switzerland: Hesitation Waltz Around The Word "Genocide"
24 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews Press release of the Switzerland-Armenia Association Berne, 23 April 2009
The Switzerland-Armenia Association (SAA) calls on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide. It asks the Federal Council to do the same, as have other areas of constitutional power of our country, and not to use this crime as a bargaining chip as part of the ongoing mediation between the Armenia and Turkey. The ASA said that this subject has been inappropriately included in these negotiations and the issue directly concerned, the Armenian diaspora, has not been consulted on the argument.
The 1915 genocide is the subject of a broad consensus among experts with regard to its definition. The whole world is fully aware that in 1915 the Young Turk Government was planned and executed the extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. This act, which was described as "crime against humanity" in a joint statement of 24 May of that year, issued by the chancery of France, England and Russia, is exactly the definition of genocide as was fixed in the UN Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Moreover, according to the author of the definition of "genocide", law professor Raphael Lemkin, the fountainhead of this agreement, approved by Turkey on 23 March 1950, is the genocide of Armenians.
Perincek trial in 2007 and the recent distribution of the DVD negationist "Sari Gelin" in Turkish schools demonstrate the involvement of the Turkish state in an aggressive propaganda against Armenians from its citizens, Switzerland and Turkey, as to the public as a whole. The ASA believes that the citizens and Turkish citizens of Armenian origin are able to interact and arguments based on hatred and racism broadcast by the Turkish state is an obstacle to dialogue. Negationist practices of the Turkish State are detrimental to public peace.
By arguments within the diplomatic and economic blackmail, the Turkish government pushes the Swiss Government not to use the word genocide. Switzerland will follow, with weak arguments. Assert, as it does, that using the word "genocide" would be an obstacle to reconciliation between the two peoples, is an affront to human dignity of the Armenians. It is, moreover, a disavowal of the efforts currently Turkish intellectuals risked their freedom for the recognition of the genocide of 1915 by their own country. This posture of the Swiss Government is even more damaging to a peaceful solution to this problem that the ambition of Switzerland is getting re-elected in the Council of Human Rights, an organization dedicated to the prevention of crime against humanity.
Switzerland and the genocide of Armenians
23 April 2009 at Club Suisse de la Presse in Geneva Résume from Mr. Ueli Leuenberger, National Council (Geneva), co-chairman of the Parliamentary Group Switzerland-Armenia, President of the Greens Swiss
On 16 December 2003, the National Council has recognized the Armenian genocide. He clearly recognized that the mass deportations and massacres perpetrated against more than one million Armenians are a proven historical fact.
Turkey and the official part of the Turkish public opinion react every time we recall the historical fact of genocide of Armenians.
At the international level the question of the Armenian genocide is clearly recognized by historians. The United Nations Convention of 9 December 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is based on the work of the jurist Raphael Lemkin on the deportations and mass killings of Armenians.
The UN Convention against Genocide is guided by the idea that the lack of reactions to a crime of this magnitude would destroy the credibility of a democratic constitutional state and would be a dangerous sign for the future.
For that reason, the Parliamentary Group Switzerland-Armenia negationism struggle and opposed the attitude that is not to utter the word genocide to not upset the Turkish authorities.
Things and events have a name. The tragic events between 1915 and 1918 are called genocide! To recall, to emphasize, to stress is important, especially as the denial on the Armenian genocide has unfortunately recently found new fans - as in our country.
Is it by the blindness of the potential for trade with Turkey that refuses to appoint a genocide as such? Switzerland has a special relationship with Turkey. Trade or economic potential of trade are important. A large community from Turkey living in Switzerland.
More and more citizens in Turkey and Turkish nationals living in Switzerland, want to end the tensions on the genocide for which their generation has no responsibility. They want a turning point, as the pardon petition launched by Turkish intellectuals, the shows.
Name things by their name clearly also here in Switzerland, will help citizens and Turkish citizens in their country of origin and here in Switzerland, to deal better with their history. Recognize what happened there is almost a century, the act is essential for reconciliation between the descendants of those who committed genocide and descendants of victims. Without this acknowledgment, forgiveness and reconciliation seemed unlikely. A clear attitude of the Swiss authorities, including the government, would give a clear message and initiate a call for dialogue between Armenians and Turks living in Switzerland, what is essential to maintaining the peace in our country.
Switzerland and Armenia
The massacres of the years 1894-1896 in Ottoman Armenia is the trigger of a very strong in Switzerland. It takes several aspects. First, events in Lausanne in September 1896 led to the drafting of a petition in favor of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. This petition requires the intervention of the Federal Council to the Great Powers, so that they enforce the reforms promised to the Armenians. 454'291 signatures are collected, which is a record in history.
This unprecedented mobilization is part of a broader movement philarménien in Switzerland who is also in the humanitarian field. Several committees to help create Armenians from 1896 in various regions of Switzerland. These include the work of Professor E. Godet Neuchâtel, which publishes a pamphlet on the situation of the Ottoman Armenia. The churches are mobilizing, too, so that nine committees for assistance are identified in Switzerland at the end of 1896.
The committees are grouped under the banner of the Konferenz der schweizerischen Hülfs für Armenien-Committees, based in Neuchâtel. An aid to orphanages in Armenia and Ottoman Brousse (near Constantinople) is organized.
Households Begnins Swiss and Geneva for the Armenians were closed respectively in 1936 and 1951.
On the political front, in addition to the petition of 1896 mentioned above, a philarménienne League International was founded in Geneva in September 1920. Its purpose is to "defend the rights of Armenia and Armenians in humanitarian, political and diplomatic as well as to public opinion."
In addition, it is interesting to note that the League of Nations was considering the Swiss power as an agent of independent Armenia, although the Confederation had not recognized the Armenian Republic of 1918-1920.
The Armenian Diaspora in Switzerland
The Armenian diaspora in Switzerland prior to the genocide itself is still mainly focused on Geneva. This city is in effect as a center of opposition to the Sultan Abdul Hamid in the 1890s. In addition, the university attracts many Armenian students and many publications on Armenia are published in the city of the end of the lake, some of which seek to raise public awareness on the situation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
The genocide of 1915 brings the arrival of refugees and orphans in Switzerland who swelled the ranks of the diaspora. In 1969, Armenians Helvetian inaugurate a church in Troinex near Geneva, thanks to a generous gift of Hagop Topalian, an Armenian of Italy. The Armenians of Switzerland
about 6000 today - have also founded a number of organizations on the territory of Switzerland.
The steps of recognition of the genocide of Armenians by Switzerland
The Swiss National Council has recognized the genocide of Armenians in 2003. In March 2002, a group of deputies around Jean-Claude Vaudroz (PDC / GE) is launching a premise to recognize this genocide. Among them were the national consultants Nils de Dardel (PS / GE), Patrice Mugny (Greens / GE), then substituted by Ueli Leuenberger (Greens / GE), Jean-Philippe Maitre (PDC / GE), Claude Ruey (Liberal / VD) and Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold (PS / BE), the assumption has been taken by Mr. Dominique de Buman (PDC / FR) and finally adopted by the National Council on 16 December 2003 by 107 votes against 67 . This assumption was supported by all the churches and the Swiss Parliamentary Group for Human Rights.
Tuesday 5 July 2005, in the same room where was signed in 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne, who wanted to end the Armenian question, and following a debate that was remarkable for the dignity of his remarks, the Grand Council of Vaud (legislative Vaud) has formally recognized the Armenian genocide. This has dismissed a report prepared in collaboration with the Federal Council, in which the Council of State refused to characterize as genocide crimes committed in 1915 against the Armenians. This report was in response Postulate Sandri adopted in 2003.
Tuesday 23 September 2003, the Grand Council of Vaud accepted by an overwhelming majority the assumption by Mr Massimo Sandri proposing steps to officially recognize the genocide committed in 1915 by the Ottoman government against the people Armenian and which has a million and half people.
The Armenian genocide has been officially recognized by the Grand Council of Geneva on 25 June 1998 and by the State Council of the same township on 10 December 2001. The Armenian genocide has been officially recognized by the Grand Council of Geneva on 25 June 1998 and by the State Council of the Township in 2001. The Council of the City of Geneva has also passed a resolution on the same topic at the 90th anniversary of the genocide, in January 2005.
The road to recognition is long and difficult. Since the new anti-racist in 1995, approaches for the recognition of the genocide have been numerous. There was an inquiry of the National Council Ms. Angeline Fankhauser (PS / BL) in 1995, launching a petition in 1996 and the motion of the National Mr. Jean Ziegler (PS / GE) in 1998. In June 2000, the National Zisyadis Josef (PDT / VD) filed an assumption to that effect, not just in 2001.
Roadmap Berne: Vive Concern Of The Diaspora 24 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
Although we have more information on the terms of the Agreement of Bern, Argentina, Switzerland, France, the United States, Canada, journalists and leaders of organizations denounced Armenian "one of most serious strategic mistakes of the Armenian government "two days before the 94th commemoration of the Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman government on the Armenian people in 1915.
Armenians express their deep concern that the declaration of Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Turkey on 22 April 2009 in Berne, Switzerland.
They reject any agreement which may include concessions on the human rights of Armenians around the world and oppose it.
This statement is misplaced for the following reasons:
1 ° It is made on the eve of April 24, the day commemorating the genocide perpetrated by the Young Turks in 1915, for all Armenians around the world.
2 ° It forces the Armenian authorities to make concessions on issues related to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and self-determination of people of Karabakh.
3 ° It is under pressure from major powers seeking to satisfy their own interests over those leaders of Armenia seeking to strengthen their legitimacy in a context of political crises, economic and financial.
Armenian officials involved in such dubious and dangerous arrangements should know that the Armenians of France, those of other communities in the diaspora, the Armenians of Armenia and Karabakh, oppose making any concessions on the human rights of their nation and reject!
Like millions of Armenians in the diaspora and Armenia, Appo Jabarian, publisher and chief editor of Armenian Life Magazine in Los Angeles, expresses its deep concern, given the latest developments relating to the roadmap Tripartite-Armenia -Switzerland-Turkey. "I hope and sincerely hopes that Armenia will not yield to the stratagems of Turkey. We can never trust a Turkey denial. Armenians in Armenia and around the world will not accept any capitulation to Ankara. No Armenian leader is allowed to undermine our national interests. "He said.
The concern generated by the joint declaration of "normalization" leak force an idea which is on all these lips: Creating an intra-national organization of the Armenian people whose opinion will count as much as that of Armenia.
Stay tuned ... Jean Eckian
The Road Map "Of Smoke And Mirrors" 24 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
According Artak Shakaryan, an expert in Ottoman studies, the announcement that an agreement was reached between Ankara and Yerevan just before April 24, while the Armenians around the world commemorate the memory of victims of Genocide, is a message to U.S. President Obama not to meddle in the Armenian-Turkish relations. "One way to tell Barack Obama and other nations to stop the recognition of the Armenian Genocide."
The Armenian Turcologue is certain that no significant progress will be observed in bilateral relations.
"It is possible that during the football match on 14 October, Turkey-Armenia border is open one week. But it will be only a political gesture," he concluded.
According to some sources, it is stated that initially, the border could be opened once a month.
More Obstacles On The Road To Reconciliation Between Turkey And Armenia 24 April 2009, Ara / armenews By Mariam Haroutunian
YEREVAN, April 23, 2009 (AFP) - Turkey and Armenia took an important step towards a normalization of their relations by signing a "roadmap" but several obstacles remain, the recognition of the Armenian genocide to the fate of Nagorno Karabakh. The Republican Party in power in Yerevan welcomed the conclusion of Thursday on the eve of the road map towards normalization, arguing that this would help Armenia to end its isolation. "This is a not positive. Our partners, the European Union, the U.S. State Department and Russia also welcomed any step towards the establishment of relations "diplomatic, noted the spokesman of the party, Edik Charmazanov.
Turkey has refused to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia when it became independent from the USSR in 1991 because of the efforts of Yerevan for international recognition of Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire. Ankara also closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Baku, a bloody conflict as opposed to Yerevan for the control of Nagorny Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian enclave located in Azerbaijan. Baku has called Thursday's close ally, Turkey, to link its reconciliation efforts with Armenia to Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno Karabakh. "Every country has the right to establish bilateral relations with another country," told AFP the door Critic diplomacy Azerbaijani Elkhan Polukhov. "However, we believe that normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations should take place in the context of withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories," he added.
Armenian separatists took control of Nagorno Karabakh, a mountainous territory of 150,000 inhabitants at the end of confrontations that made nearly 30,000 deaths in the early 1990s. Taking the initiative, leaders of Azerbaijan, a country rich in oil along the Caspian Sea, recently threatened to cut gas to Turkey if Ankara ignores the Nagorny Karabakh conflict in talks with Yerevan. In this context, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled on 10 April normalizing relations with Armenia without resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
For the independent Azerbaijani political Rassim Moussabekov, "the normalization of relations will take two years, during which the borders will remain closed". "According to my information, the roadmap provides a synchronized contentious issues, particularly the so-called Armenian genocide + + and the start of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories in Azerbaijan, "he notes.
The roadmap is nonetheless a step forward after years of discussion, reconciliation efforts are realized, are analysts. "The process is moving forward and it is already positive. The border will not be open soon but it is very important for Armenia, "says Alexander Iskandarian analyst in Yerevan." The opening of borders will create a direct route for Armenia to Europe and open a very important market in Eastern from Turkey for the economy
Taner Akçam In Le Nouvel Observateur: It Was A Genocide Atatürk About The Armenian Genocide: "A Shameful Act"
24 April 2009, Krikor Amirzayan / armenews
The Weekly Le Nouvel Observateur (No. 2320 of 23 to 29 April) publishes an interview with the Turkish historian Taner Akçam. The two-page article which title "Facing the truth" is signed by Ursula Gauthier. T. Akçam, author of "A shameful act" (published by Denoel) is the desire to exterminate the Armenians planned and executed by the Young Turkish government. Taner Akçam and said with regard to his studies of Ottoman archives that it was a genocide. "A shameful act: thus qu'Atatürk described the atrocities against the Armenians" subtitle "Le Nouvel Observateur that recalls that "April 24 is the anniversary of the beginning of the 1915 Armenian genocide." Krikor Amirzayan
Turkey Steps In To Soothe Azerbaijani Concerns On Armenia Thaw
ISTANBUL - Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan have stepped in to soothe Azerbaijan's concerns regarding the protocol agreed on by Turkey and Armenia.
Gul called Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev late on Thursday and said there was no misunderstanding between the two historic allies, while Erdogan signaled he might visit Baku.
Turkey and Armenia under Switzerland's mediation have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of ties between two neighboring countries that have not had diplomatic relations for more than a decade.
Azerbaijan has expressed its concerns that any agreement between Turkey and Armenia should include withdrawing troops from a disputed region under the Armenian occupation.
Gul said Turkey and Azerbaijan have been in constant contact over the issue. "There is no misunderstanding in our relations. Everything that takes place is for Turkey and Azerbaijan. If the initiatives succeed, they will benefit Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the whole Caucasus region," he told reporters late Thursday, news agencies reported.
In a statement from Gul’s office, the two leaders stressed the importance of "solidarity and cooperation" between their nations for regional stability.
‘two States, One Nation’
Turkey closed the border in a show of support to Azerbaijan after 20 percent of its territory was invaded by Armenia in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Azerbaijan Defense Minister Col. Gen. Safar Abiyev will pay a visit to Turkey on Friday. He will meet Turkish army chief Gen. Ilker Basbug and Erdogan.
Zakir Hasimov, Azerbaijan's ambassador in Ankara, said Thursday that Turkey and Azerbaijan share relations based on the idea of "two states and one nation."
"As an independent state, Turkey has the right to establish bilateral relations with any country it wishes. However, Turkey-Armenia relations should be parallel to the developments taking place in Upper Karabakh. … President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan made assurances to us in this direction," Hasimov was quoted as saying by the Anatolian Agency.
Turkey also said the protocol was not signed but initialed. According to Turkish law, the protocol must be ratified by Parliament.
"We will not take any steps that will hurt our (Azeri) brothers. There is nothing that is signed but an initialed protocol," Erdogan told reporters late Thursday.
Armenian National Committee of Canada ANC Cambridge and the Armenian Community Centre host Three MPs
CAMBRIDGE, Friday, April 17, 2009 - The Armenian National Committee of Cambridge and the Armenian Community Centre hosted a reception today for the three local Members of Parliament--Dr. Harold Albrecht, Peter Braid and Stephen Woodworth. Hon. Gary Goodyear was travelling on government business and could not attend the reception. The gathering was held to celebrate Dr. Albrecht's election as Chairman of Canada Armenian Parliamentary Friendship Group, his commitment to enhance Canada-Armenia bilateral relations, and for his assistance to the Golden Triangle Canadian-Armenian community.
During the three-hour event participants were impressed by Dr. Albrecht's knowledge of the issues critical to the Armenian community in Canada. The new chairman of the friendship group pledged to continue to work closely with Cambridge Armenian community members and the ANCC office in Ottawa.
He extended his gratitude to the community and for its assistance in obtaining an unprecedented number of parliamentarians to join the Canada-Armenia (Parliamentary) Friendship Group. This year nearly one in six members of parliament have joined the Canada-Armenia Friendship Group. A total of 46 MPs have pledged to be part of the group. This number is expected to increase in the coming months.
Dr. Albrecht, (Kitchener-Conestoga, Conservative) was elected as chair of the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group on March 25, 2009. He is a dental surgeon with several decades of community activism in the Kitchener area. Recently Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed the three-term politician as deputy government whip.
MP Peter Braid represents Kitchener-Waterloo, while MP Stephen Woodworth represents Kitchener Centre. Mr. Braid is a businessman; Mr. Woodworth is a 30-year veteran lawyer. Both representatives also praised the work of the Cambridge Armenian community.
The three members expressed their admiration with ANC Cambridge and the community centre's 100-year service to the Southern Ontario Canadian-Armenian community.
The Armenian community was represented at the meeting by a large contingent of Armenians from Cambridge, Waterloo, Kitchener, and Guelph, including Armenians from the three ridings represented by the above members of parliament. ANCC board members Greg Chitilian, Zoharb Tatikian, and Raffi Bekemzian also attended the reception.
Armenian National Committee of Canada Media Advisory www.anccanada.org April 22, 2009 Roupn Kouyoumjian
Canada is Not a Banana Republic
Ottawa- Canadians are dismayed by the Turkish Government decision to temporarily withdraw its ambassador from Canada because of the Canadian Government's and politicians' decision to uphold their principles and honour the victims of the Armenian Genocide this week. This blatant interference of the Turkish Government in the internal affairs of Canada has been already condemned by a large number of Canadians.
`What the Turkish government did is to simply blackmail a sovereign state like Canada. We are not a banana republic where foreign countries can dictate to us how to conduct our affairs,' said Dr. Jirair Basmadjian, president of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC).
Dr. Basmadjian considered the Turkish Government's reckless stunt as an annual exercise in futility. The Prime Minister, the House of Commons, the Senate and the provincial governments have recognized the Armenian Genocide for many years. The ANCC is not surprised that Turkey is trying to reopen a settled issue and this shows the lengths to which they will go in denying the genocide. This shows how important it is that Canadians always remain vigilant against genocide denial.
The ANCC is sure that the Prime Minister, the Government of Canada, and Canadian politicians will stand steadfast and not give in to the Turkish government's crass political move. "After all, in recognizing the Armenian Genocide and respecting the memory of the victims we are also paying tribute to hundreds of Canadian pioneers in international humanitarian relief efforts who helped the Armenian orphans in the aftermath of the Genocide," said Dr. Basmadjian. These Canadian pioneeers generously contributed to relief efforts to save the Armenian survivors. Furthermore, the heroic dedication of humanitarians such as Nova Scotia's Sara Corning, who saved 5,000 Armenian and Greek children from death should not be subject to political intrigue and blackmail, said ANCC.
`The Canadian Government should protest, in the strongest terms, the Turkish government's undiplomatic move. The manner in which the Turkish Government is behaving is an insult to Canada and to Canadians. Our Prime Minister's moral fortitude and record in condemning human right abuses--no matter where they happened and when they happened--gives us the confidence that our government will have the correct response to this attempted infringement on our sovereignty. We are also confident that our politicians will not capitulate to the Turkish Government's most-recent bullying," concluded Dr. Basmadjian.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.
Regional Chapters: Montréal - Laval - Ottawa - Toronto - Hamilton - Cambridge - St. Catharines - Windsor - Vancouver
Feds Downplay Rift With Turkey April 22nd, 2009 Stephen Thorne, THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA - The federal government says Turkey's decision to recall its ambassador does not represent a diplomatic breakdown between the countries.
Turkey pulled Ambassador Rafet Akgunay from Ottawa after it learned that a cabinet minister attended an event this week commemorating the genocide of Armenians by Turks during the First World War.
But a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon insisted Canada's position on the issue is "not an indictment of modern Turkey." "Turkey is a democracy, we have good relations with Turkey - they are allies," said Catherine Loubier. "We welcome the reconciliation efforts between Turkey and Armenia."
Akgunay was called home for "thorough evaluations and consultations," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin said in Ankara. However, another Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ambassador was being withdrawn temporarily to protest the Canadian government's presence at the event on Parliament Hill.
Aris Babikian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff attended the group's event Tuesday.
The ceremony marked the fifth anniversary of Canada's recognition of the genocide.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend, but he sent a letter of support saying Canada hopes "tolerance and openness ... will guide Armenia and Turkey in developing their relations."
"We remember the terrible loss of life during the demise of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, and in particular the horrific suffering endured by the Armenian people," Harper wrote in an annual message officials said was virtually unchanged from his original comment in 2006.
Ignatieff said the memory of the "Great Calamity" is "a reminder of the destructive power of animosity between nations."
"The memory of the victims of genocide must never be an incitement to hatred," he added.
"On this day, we commemorate that condemnation of the Armenian genocide of 1915 as a crime against humanity. In our own time, we commit ourselves to the intolerance of hatred and the defence of our shared humanity." Babikian contends the recall is not so much aimed at Canada as it is at the United States, where legislators have introduced a resolution recognizing the genocide.
U.S. President Barack Obama was expected to make a statement this week marking the event's 94th anniversary.
"I think the Turkish government is sending a message to Obama through Canada that 'if you recognize it, look what we will do,"' Babikian said.
"This whole stunt, this blackmail by the Turkish government, has a much wider target than Canada itself."
More than 70 parliamentarians from all parties have confirmed their attendance at a similar Armenian National Committee event on Parliament Hill next Tuesday, Babikian added.
The group's president, Jirair Basmadjian called the Turkish government's behaviour "an insult to Canada and to Canadians."
It's the second time Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Canada over the genocide dispute.
In 2006, Turkey criticized Harper and briefly withdrew its ambassador over remarks the prime minister made in support of recognizing the mass killings as genocide. It also withdrew from a military exercise in Canada in protest.
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks - an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.
Turkey denies the deaths constituted genocide and contends the toll has been inflated and the casualties were victims of civil war and unrest.
Loubier noted that all federal parties supported the 2004 motion acknowledging by a vote of 153-68 "the Armenian genocide of 1915" and condemning it as a crime against humanity.
If passed, the U.S. resolution could undermine efforts by Obama's administration to win the help of Turkey, a NATO ally, on key foreign-policy goals.
U.S. legislators almost passed a similar resolution two years ago, but congressional leaders did not bring it up for a vote after intense pressure from the Bush administration.
Obama avoided the term "genocide" when he addressed Turkish legislators during his visit a month ago. But he said, in response to a question, that he had not changed his views. As a presidential candidate, Obama said the killings amounted to genocide.
Statement By Anca Executive Director Aram Hamparian Regarding Upcoming April 24th U.S. Presidential Statement Marking Armenian Genocide
America's stand against genocide represents a clear moral imperative.
Political considerations - whether Turkish threats, prospects for Turkey-Armenia dialogue, or in any other form - should never stand in the way of America's willingness to condemn the Armenian Genocide, or any genocide, and to stand up for the truth.
As President Obama so appropriately stated at the Holocaust Commemoration in the Capitol Rotunda earlier today, "We have the opportunity... to commit ourselves to resisting injustice, intolerance and indifference in whatever forms they may take, whether confronting those who tells lies about history or doing everything we can to prevent and end atrocities like those that took place in Rwanda, those taking place in Darfur."
We look forward to President Obama's lifting America's response to the Armenian Genocide - and all genocides - to the level of American values by honoring his pledge to fully and properly condemn and commemorate this crime against all humanity.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Statement Yerevan, Armenia ,www.arf.am
The pivotal issue on Armenia's political and state agenda in recent months has been the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.
The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun has declared time and again, that good-neighborly relations between the two countries can only be established after the recognition by Turkey of the Armenian Genocide and the restoration of the rights of the Armenian people. The lifting of the blockade and the establishment of diplomatic relations, without preconditions, can only serve as first steps on this path. It is absolutely unacceptable for us that relations with Turkey be normalized at the expense of Armenia's sovereignty, the viability of its existence, or the national and state rights of future Armenian generations.
Deeply committed to these principles, we find unacceptable and condemn the signing, by Armenia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the April 22 joint statement with Turkey.
The statement comes on the eve of the commemoration, on April 24, of the greatest tragedy of the Armenian people. The leaders of Turkey have recently made anti-Armenian announcements in general and on the Artsakh issue in particular, and have restated preconditions for the normalization of relations. The release of the statement at this time and in these circumstances is a blow to the interests of Armenia and the Armenian people.
Noting that this process implies a negative change in the direction of Armenia's foreign policy, the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun will, in the coming days, discuss the expediency of its continued participation in the governing coalition.
Acnis Director Richard Giragosian Comments On The Recent Trilateral Armenian-Turkish-Swiss Joint Statement
(23 April 2009, Yerevan)--Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) Director Richard Giragosian issued a statement today commenting on the recent joint declaration issued on 22 April by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Turkey and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Only two days before the April 24th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, a trilateral statement was issued by the Armenian, Turkish and Swiss governments declaring that "Turkey and Armenia, together with Switzerland as mediator, have been working intensively with a view to normalizing their bilateral relations and developing them in a spirit of good-neighborliness, and mutual respect, and thus to promoting peace, security and stability in the whole region."
The statement went on to note that "the two parties have achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding in this process and they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations in a mutually satisfactory manner. In this context, a road-map has been identified."
Concluding by stating that "this agreed basis provides a positive prospect for the on-going process," the joint statement represents one of the most serious strategic blunders by the Armenian government to date. Although this brief 95-word statement may accurately reflect an opportunity for a genuinely historic breakthrough in relations between Armenia and Turkey, the message of its text and the timing of its release raise important concerns.
Most clearly, by issuing such a joint statement just prior to the annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide, the Republic of Armenia has only bolstered, and seemingly endorsed, Turkish attempts to pressure US President Barack Obama from fulfilling his campaign promises to recognize the Armenian genocide in his traditional April 24th statement.
Moreover, by agreeing to not only issue a joint statement that clearly conforms to Turkish attempts to distort and deny the historical veracity of the Armenian genocide, but to also release such a statement just two days prior to the traditional April 24th anniversary, the Armenian government has demonstrated an appalling degree of short-sightedness and irresponsibility. Such a strategic error raises further questions over the sophistication, sincerity and seriousness of Armenian leadership, particularly at such a vulnerable point in Armenian history when the security and status of Nagorno-Karabagh remain unresolved and the future course of democratic and economic reform in Armenia remains in doubt.
Within a broader context, this strategic error by the Armenian authorities is considerably more than simply a deficiency in foreign policy, but suggests a truly tragic, and possibly irrevocable step, whereby the Armenian government has not only sacrificed the integrity of the state, but has abdicated its responsibility to both the passing generation of genocide survivors and the present generation of their ancestors. Such a disdainful disregard for the historical legacy of the Armenian genocide has been an all too common characteristic of the Republic of Turkey, but for the Republic of Armenia, such irresponsible collaboration deserves only intense condemnation. It is truly a tragic start to the annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide.
The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS)
[Analysis] Will Obama Use The Word Today?
Armenian-Americans on Wednesday evening filled office no. 345 of the US House of Representatives' Cannon House Office Building. There were people of all ages. In the front seats were religious leaders in black cloaks. Following opening prayers, at least a dozen members of congress took to the stage one by one and delivered speeches defending why Armenian claims of genocide should be recognized.
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house, was also among those who spoke. The meeting proceeded as if it were a closed-door one, with words criticizing Turkey being enthusiastically applauded by the audience. The Democratic incumbent from California's 29th district, Adam Schiff, one of the most fervent supporters of Armenian claims of genocide, expressed that US President Barack Obama's view of recognition of the claims has been put on the record more than that of any other US president.
In order to fully understand how Obama is stuck between the will to improve relations with a key ally -- Turkey -- and his pledge to a group of voters, it is enough to observe this meeting. As the Armenian gathering continued in Congress, a development occurred that placated Obama's team, which begged: "We don't want to offend Turkey. But please do something to assuage our president." A joint statement released by the foreign ministries of Switzerland, Turkey and Armenia stressed that Turkey and Armenia have come to terms on a roadmap as part of efforts to normalize ties between Ankara and Yerevan.
In a speech he delivered in Turkey, Obama stated that his ideas regarding Armenian genocide claims have not changed but that he would not like to take a step that could stall the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia. The joint statement by Switzerland, Turkey and Armenia could have been issued during Obama's landmark visit to Turkey. However, pressure from Azerbaijan and a sensitive atmosphere following last month's local elections in Turkey spurred political mechanisms to ponder the issue again. Obama was involved in the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia upon a request from Ankara. He held talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian during his visit to Turkey. He also spoke with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev over the phone.
However, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent statements in which he said relations between Turkey and Armenia would not normalize unless the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is solved caused concern on the American side. Armenians started to signal that they would not guarantee omission of the word "genocide" during Obama's statement on April 24 unless they were convinced about a "momentum" in the normalization process. Ankara, on the other hand, asked Washington to "do something," saying the ties between Turkey and Armenia were no longer an issue between the two countries, adding that Azerbaijan, Russia and energy security were already involved in the matter. US Vice President Joe Biden phoned Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan earlier this week. And Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew J. Bryza was sent twice in three weeks to Azerbaijan. The main aim was to search for ways to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
In the meantime, the Turkish side reached US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton through an intermediary and tried to learn the content of Obama's April 24 statement. Clinton and other US officials told Turkey that the US president was in a difficult position and asked for Turkey's help.
This week, sources close to the US administration started to voice concern that Obama was 50 percent likely to utter the word "genocide" during his expected statement. It was clear that Americans were willing to keep the atmosphere tense to guarantee a step by Turkey toward the Armenian side. They were reluctant to give any clues about the content of Obama's speech. However, following Obama's successful visit to Turkey, it would be almost impossible for him to insert the word "genocide" to his statement today.
It is also very unlikely that Obama will indirectly mention the word "genocide." The Turkish side was spurred into action upon hearing that Obama may say something to the effect of "Historians have reached a consensus that the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I constitute genocide." They conveyed a strong message to the Americans that any such remark would go against the idea of "establishing a joint committee of historians to shed light on the incidents," which is included in the normalization package. Americans seem largely to have been convinced over this point, but the idea that "historians are of the opinion that there is genocide" is still not completely unlikely.
On the other hand, in the event that Obama refuses to insert the word "genocide" directly or indirectly in his statement, the White House may prefer to use a discourse harsher than in the past so as to not completely offend Armenians in America.
For example, a discourse similar to remarks made by Sen. Robert Menendez about the appointment of Marie Yovanovitch as the US ambassador to Armenia may upset the Turkish side. In his letter, dated July 29, 2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Matthew Reynolds called the 1915 incidents a "mass massacre" and "ethnic cleansing," saying, "Our aim is not to open a debate over whether the Ottomans really committed those crimes, but to help protect documents which prove that those incidents really happened."
The Armenian genocide is a thesis largely accepted by intellectuals in the US. Politicians also favor the idea of recognizing these claims. However, the desire to not offend Turkey due to US strategic interests is likely to weigh more heavily than the intellectual and political views of the US administration. Similarly, it seems unlikely for the US Congress to pass the Armenian genocide resolution -- at least this year -- as it is unwilling to put US foreign policy in a difficult position. The fate of the resolution, numbered 252 and supported by 200 members of the US House of Representatives, seems to depend on concrete steps such as the opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia as part of the normalization process.
24 April 2009, Ali H. Aslan Today's Zaman
Last Warning From Us Think-Tank To Obama Over April 24 Message
Stephen Flanagan, the senior vice president of Washington based think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has said if US President Obama defines the killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottomans in 1915 as genocide, it will harm the bilateral relations between the US and Turkey.
One of the two authors of the report titled "Turkey's Evolving Dynamics," Flanagan, accompanied by Bülent Alirıza, director of the CSIS's Turkey Project, summarized the report and answered questions on Wednesday at the Turkish-American Association. He said that if Obama uses the word "genocide" in his message, it will jeopardize many sincere attempts aimed at reconciliation.
Favoring a bilateral resolution between Armenia and Turkey, Flanagan stressed that neither the American government nor the Congress should take decisions on such historical disputes. Alirıza, however, argued that even if Obama does not identify the incidents of 1915 as genocide, this issue will not be taken off the table unless it is settled between Armenia and Turkey. Alirıza also touched upon the ongoing normalization efforts between the two and their repercussions on Turkey's relations with Azerbaijan. He said Turkey is trying to normalize relations with Armenia but also maintain its strong ties with Azerbaijan, creating a dilemma for the country. "That dilemma is only good for Russia," he concluded.
24 April 2009, Sedat Özhan Çam Ankara