- Interview: Writer-activist David Boyajian On Obama & Denial, Mickey Z
- Istanbul Armenian Archbishop Aram Atesyan "There Is Hope Again"
- Khatchatrian, Karabakh Education Minister: Prepare Soldier From School
- Gordon to Sen Menendez On Cyprus, Patriarchate, Armenia
- British Amb to Turkey Nick Baird: UK’s Support To Turkey On Range Of Issues
Interview with the Writer-activist David Boyajian on Obama And The Denial Of Genocide By Mickey Z. 14 May, 2009, Countercurrents.org
Writer-activist David Boyajian’s investigative articles and commentaries have appeared in Armenian media outlets in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Armenia and the Newton Tab and USA Armenian Life newspapers named him among their "Top 10 Newsmakers of 2007." So, when Barack Obama paid a visit to Turkey last month, it seemed like a good time to ask Boyajian for his take on the new president's approach to the issue of the Armenian genocide.
Mickey Z: This April, President Barack Obama broke campaign promise #511, namely to explicitly acknowledge the Armenian genocide as U.S. President. What happened on his recent visit to Turkey? What are the ramifications of his breaking this promise?
David Boyajian: President Obama visited Turkey from April 6 to 7, where he did not use the word “genocide” when referring to the 1.5 million murders committed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire against its Armenian citizens from 1915-1923. As a candidate, Obama had promised several times to do so. His statement in Turkey that he had “not changed his views”—implying he still believes it was genocide—was still a clear breach of his promise to use the “G word.” It was a case study in verbal gymnastics and political duplicity and should be studied in political science courses. Obama’s broken promise obviously eroded his credibility. The same holds true for Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, as senators, supported the Armenian genocide resolution. They’ve since fallen disgracefully silent. Dr. Samantha Power should also be embarrassed. She’s the National Security Council’s genocide expert and a Pulitzer Prize winning author. As a campaign advisor to Obama, she made a video telling Armenian Americans that as president, Obama would definitely acknowledge their genocide. “Take my word for it,” she said.
Appeasement of a genocide-denying country such as Turkey is bad policy because its message is that genocides can be committed without consequence. Appeasement also erodes U.S. credibility on human rights and its stated desire to be a leader in genocide prevention. Unlike what lobbyists for Turkey would have U.S. believe, Armenian genocide affirmation by America would not harm U.S. national interests. Turkey depends on the U.S. for weapons systems, support for billions in loans from the International Monetary Fund, security guarantees through NATO, advocacy for Turkish membership in the European Union, and more. Some 20 countries, including Canada, France, and Switzerland, as well as the parliaments of the EU and the Council of Europe, have acknowledged the Armenian genocide. None has ever experienced much more a Turkish temper tantrum in retaliation.
MZ: Two days prior to Armenian Genocide Remembrance day— which annually falls on April 24—Turkey and Armenia announced that they had agreed to a “roadmap” to normalize relations. What was the significance of this timing? What does the “roadmap” contain?
DB: Behind the scenes, the U.S. State Department had long been twisting Armenia’s arm to agree to a so-called “roadmap” with Turkey before President Obama issued what has become a customary “April 24 statement” by U.S. presidents marking Armenian genocide memorial day. The “roadmap,” announced on April 22, provided political cover for Obama to not use the “G word” on April 24. That is, since there was now supposedly a roadmap for normalization of relations—no matter how vague and hurriedly slapped together— Obama could say that he did not want to upset Turkey and the touted-as-highly-delicate Turkish-Armenian negotiations by using the “G word.” Notice that Obama did not consult with Armenian-Americans or Armenia about this. So much for promises and moral principles. It’s disgraceful that Obama, simply to help Turkey save face, not only broke his promise, but showed blatant disregard for the activists—not just Armenians—who labored so hard for many years for the cause of recognizing all genocides.
Armenia has always said that it was ready to normalize relations with Turkey—which would include Turkey’s re-opening its border with Armenia—without pre-conditions. Suddenly, however, Armenia has had pre-conditions imposed on it in this “roadmap.” According to the Turkish press, the “roadmap” allegedly contains pre-conditions such as: Armenia’s agreeing to a joint commission to examine the veracity of the Armenian genocide—yes, you heard right, Armenia’s formal recognition of current Turkish boundaries—which contain the Armenian homeland, and, possibly, Armenia’s accepting Turkish mediation in the conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijan over the disputed Armenian region of Karabagh—which is absurd since Azerbaijan and Turkey are allies. It appears that Armenia’s president, whose electoral legitimacy is in question, has been worn down in these negotiations by Turkey, the West, and possibly even Russia. And because the Armenian president is grappling with his legitimacy, he is not heeding the cautions being voiced by the people of his own nation about the “roadmap.”
MZ: The U.S. administration and mainstream media would have us believe that Turkey is seeking to “reconcile” with Armenia. Is “reconciliation” really a possibility, or have we misunderstood what’s going on?
DB: The word “reconciliation” in relation to Armenian-Turkish relations is largely an invention of U.S. policymakers, their emissaries, and the mainstream media who take their cues from them. What the U.S. and Europe would like to see is a more stable Caucasus—that is, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—with open borders. Open borders, you see, would facilitate laying more oil and gas pipelines that would originate in the Caspian Sea region and proceed west to Turkey and then to energy-hungry Europe and Israel. The U.S. and Europe don’t want to put it quite that crudely—no pun intended—so they try to depict Armenia and Turkey as possibly “reconciling” and thus resolving all their differences. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 out of sympathy with its ally Azerbaijan, which was in a war with the Armenians of Karabagh, a historically Armenian-populated autonomous area within Azerbaijan that Stalin handed to Azerbaijan. Turkey has also been infuriated that Armenia and Armenians worldwide have been demanding that Turkey acknowledge the genocide it committed against Armenians.
Turkey has to acknowledge the genocide or there will never be peace between it and Armenia. And although the Armenian government has not put forth any claims for reparations arising out of the genocide, or for territory, many Armenians do have these goals. They cite the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920, which provided for Armenian sovereignty over Armenian lands upon which Turkey committed the genocide, and which have since been incorporated into what is now eastern Turkey.
MZ: The countries of the Caucasus are Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Most Americans, including the mainstream media, could not find these small countries on a map. Why are Russia and the U.S.—the latter being thousands of miles from the region—so interested in these three small countries?
DB: The Caucasus is truly Ground Zero in Cold War II, the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and Russia. The U.S.—along with Europe and the NATO military alliance—regard Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan as middlemen between the West and the gas and oil-rich regions around the Caspian Sea. The West has already laid gas and oil pipelines from Azerbaijan through Georgia and then on to Turkey and the west. The U.S. wanted those and future pipelines to bypass Russia and Iran because those two countries could shut such pipelines to pressure the U.S. and others. The only possible pipelines routes, therefore, are through Georgia or Armenia. But Turkey shut its border with Armenia in 1993, and Azerbaijan closed its border with Armenia even earlier due to the conflict between it and the de-facto Armenian region of Karabagh. That left Georgia as the only place for these Western pipelines. After the Russian-Georgian was last year, however, opening an alternative route has become more urgent. That largely explains the West’s renewed interest in Armenia. Conversely, Russia sees the Caucasus as within its traditional sphere of influence, and regards U.S. and European interest in the region as hostile acts.
Simultaneously, NATO has been pushing into the region. Georgia, Azerbaijan, and to some extent even the ex-Soviet republics on the other side of the Caspian Sea, are on the path to joining NATO. Russia was already upset that, following the Cold War, NATO had absorbed the former Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe. NATO is now attempting, in effect, to do the same thing on Russia’s southern border. Russia fears that it will eventually be virtually surrounded by NATO. As a result, we have Cold War II: The U.S. and NATO are trying to push into the Caucasus and Central Asia, while Russia is trying to keep them out.
MZ: Why is Israel interested in the Caucasus, and what role is that country playing? Why are Israel and the pro-Israel lobby dead set against recognition of the Armenian genocide by the U.S. Congress?
DB: Israel is interested in getting some of the oil and gas that flow out of the Caspian Sea region. That is, from countries such as Azerbaijan, oil and gas flow west through Georgia, and then on to Turkey and other countries, possibly including Israel. After all, the U.S. and Turkey, which are important players in these pipelines, are obviously also very friendly with Israel. Israel also welcomes all non-Arab supplies of energy since they would make its Western allies less dependent on Arab oil and gas. And Israel has long had what it calls its Periphery Policy. Historically, Israel has not had good relations with its Arab neighbors. Therefore, to serve as counterweights, Israel befriends those countries further away, especially Muslim countries that aren’t necessarily sympathetic to Israel’s Arab neighbors or Palestinians. Azerbaijan, the only Muslim nation in the Caucasus, and some Muslim nations to the east, such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, are such countries. Fortuitously for Israel, they also possess significant deposits of gas and oil.
For decades, Israel and Turkey have had very good relations, mainly because they have a common ally, the U.S., and common adversaries, namely Arab nations. In the 1990’s, Israel and Turkey signed a number of military, economic, and political agreements that solidified their relationship. Even before that, but particularly after that, Turkey felt that it did not have sufficient lobbying muscle in Washington. So the Turks asked Israel to convince some of the pro-Israel lobby—the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and others—to serve as advocates for Turkey. The Jewish lobby groups agreed. So these groups, as part of their deal with Turkey, deny or call into question the Armenian genocide and work to prevent U.S. acknowledgement of that genocide. These groups won’t tolerate anyone questioning of the Holocaust, and yet hypocritically work against acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide. Interestingly, for the last 2 years, Armenian Americans have exposed the ADL’s hypocrisy. In Massachusetts, for example, fourteen cities severed ties with an anti-bias program sponsored by the ADL because of the latter’s hypocritical and anti-Armenian stance (see NoPlaceForDenial.com). Armenians are determined to challenge genocide denial whenever it occurs.
MZ: Is there a problem with the way the mainstream media has been covering Armenian issues?
DB: Yes. The mainstream media have several problems. First, they know very little about the Caucasus or Armenians. Reporters tend, therefore, to copy each other and repeat clichés and falsehoods—such as that Armenia and Turkey are on the verge of a historic “reconciliation.” Media also tend to accept at face value the propaganda issued by Western governments whose interest in the Caucasus is—let’s be frank—not “reconciliation,” democracy, or human rights, but rather self-interested economic, political, and military political penetration of the Caucasus.
Turkey has about 30 times more people and territory, and 50 times more Gross Domestic Product, than Armenia. The power differential is enormous. Turkey has infinitely more allies in Western media, governments, think tanks, and multi-national corporations—and knows how to use them. Commentators who have a vested interest in touting Turkey for their own political and even financial reasons have particularly come out of the woodwork to deride legitimate Armenian demands. But we rarely hear commentators speak of how a small country that has been the victim of genocide, that has had most of its territory stripped from it, and that has been blockaded by the denier of that genocide—Turkey—is being threatened by that very same unrepentant denier. Mainstream media largely fail to appreciate the foregoing facts. Hopefully, Mickey, this interview will help the media and your readers understand the issues and the region a bit better.
David Boyajian can be reached at David_Boyajian at Yahoo.com
Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.
Istanbul Armenian Archbishop Aram Atesyan "There Is Hope Again" 14 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Atesyan Aram, 55, Armenian Archbishop in Istanbul, was born in Diyarbakir. He studied in Jerusalem. He was appointed Archbishop since 2006 (so that it formally becomes the number two in the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul. He met April 7 U.S. President Barack Obama during his trip to Turkey.
In an interview with the daily Spiegel Archbishop Aram Armenian Atesyan said he is confident, but warns against excessive expectations that relations could be normalized rapidly.
SPIEGEL: Your Eminence, Turkey and Armenia have agreed on a roadmap to a normalization of relations - 94 years after the Armenian genocide. Before the end of the year there could be a full diplomatic recognition, an exchange of ambassadors and the opening of borders shared. Is this the beginning of the end of the animosity between the two countries?
Aram Atesyan: I am very confident. When the Turkish President, Abdullah Gül, visited Yerevan last year to see the football match between the two countries, it has not already made a remarkable. We Armenians vivont on Anatolian soil for 2000 years and during the last millennium we shared this land with the Turks. Our people were like brothers - until the tragic events of 1915. Now there is new hope, but we must not enter a game so far is following the diplomatic rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, followed by the opening of borders. A closer examination of our history should not be attempted at this time.
SPIEGEL: The border with Armenia is the last frontier that Turkey closed a.
Atesyan: Each country should maintain good relations with its neighbors. Turkey had problems with Iran, Syria and Russia for a long period of time. Now it has good, sometimes even friendly, relations with other countries. During his visit to Ankara and Istanbul, U.S. President Barack Obama has encouraged Turkey to continue to move along this route.
SPIEGEL: Until recently, Obama was popular in Turkey, but now least, although he consciously avoided using "the G word (genocide) in his speech on 24 April, Armenian Remembrance Day.
Atesyan: The Turkish government is unfortunate that the president of the United States has used the term "Yeghern Meds," "the great catastrophe." It is the common name for the Armenian events of 1915, which essentially means the same thing. But there is also some disappointment among the Armenians. Many auraien wished it specifically uses the word G. But of course he did not. The United States needs Turkey is one of its most important strategic.
SPIEGEL: It is striking that in the Armenian diaspora in Europe and the United States, insisting on unconditional recognition of the genocide. They do not take seriously the concerns of Armenians in Turkey who are concerned that recognition of the genocide does not help, but only inflame nationalist sentiments in Turkey?
Atesyan: You must remember that many of the fathers and grandfathers of those Armenians who live in the world are in fact born on Turkish soil. Thousands of Armenians in Anatolia come each year to seek their roots. They believe strongly that it is their home. I do not judge them. I do not want to judge anyone. I am a member of the clergy, this is not my responsibility to conduct historical research or questions of guilt. The only thing I want to say to my Turkish and Armenian is: We know that something very terrible happened to my people in 1915. We also know that Turks and Muslims have suffered. And we know that there is a chance for our people to engage with one another.
SPIEGEL: How is the intellectual climate in Turkey? People today are more open to history, more curious, more courageous?
Atesyan: Yes, there is certainly a change of mentality in Turkey. Ten years ago nobody would have had the courage to ask questions about the events of 1915. This fear has fallen and now you can write about or discuss the issue on television. Compared with the 1990s, human rights in this country have made a great leap forward. This also affects our ability to practice our religion. We are now in a position to freely renovate our churches. Until recently, we had to ask government permission for each new stud.
SPIEGEL: Since the 1920s, the Armenians are one of the three officially recognized minorities in Turkey, with the Greeks and Jews. Are you satisfied with that status, what are the limits?
Atesyan: the Treaty of Lausanne which was signed after the Turkish War of Independence in 1923, recognizes important rights for the Armenians. We can make our own churches, schools and newspapers. I am very happy about that. But there are also disadvantages. It is an unwritten law in this country that a Christian can never become a government minister or a military officer. But I think this might change in the future.
SPIEGEL: Do you also mentioned that to Barack Obama when you have met during his trip to Turkey in early April?
Atesyan: I told President Barack Obama to begin the history of our people in this country. I told him about emperors Armenians in Anatolia, but also the role of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. When Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, he brought a priest Armenian Bursa with him. In 1461 he gave a patriarchy to a priest in the new capital, because this time the Greeks had only this. Under each Ottoman sultan, there were Armenian serving as ministers, advisers and builders. I also talked with President Obama events of 1915 and told him that both peoples have suffered. I also said that we, the Armenians in Turkey, are like the children of divorce. In Turkish, we call our motherland "Anavatan" - which means "homeland" - and Armenian we call "Hayrenik" which means "homeland". We lived with our mother during the last 80 years. Now we want our parents eventually reconciled.
Interview conducted by Daniel Steinvorth Translation NAM
Vladik Khatchatrian, Karabakh Minister of Education: Prepare Soldier From School, 14 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Below is reproduced an interview given by the Minister of Education of the Republic of Artsakh, Vladik Khatchatrian. The important fact is to note the importance of the military in the local daily, the status of the military, including in teacher training and strict control of their skills and the high level of coordinating efforts between the various departments to ensure the quality of the defense of the country. The other is how the colonies, for example, are arranged directly under the personal direction of the President, through the Minister of Education. Note in this respect the absence of the Prime Minister, local authorities and generally associations and non-state. If so, we understand that their involvement would only be possible through close cooperation with the Presidency.
If the defense of the country seems not only well established and rooted in morality, we see that the Republic of Artsakh is highly centralized and that only a small place is left to free enterprise. The whole country is organized like an army ready for combat. Military exercises with the recruitment of hundreds of civilians during a week in April confirms this reality. This interview shows how the relationship between the president and the population is of the nature of paternalism or personal development and networking opportunities and initiatives are reduced to a minimum. Everything is perfectly framed, codified, without taking into account special needs. As to the army.
Mr. Minister, what are the objectives of military colonies?
I must first clarify that the military colony was first organized last year, it was all boys classes end. On a voluntary basis, he also accepted the boys from the lower class. The objective of such settlements is to train future contingent called the most important attributes of the soldier: the will, concentration, determination and physical preparation. In the formation of patriotic spirit and military handling of weapons is central, ie the training to fire. It is in this context that students take courses in military integrated curriculum but is a fact that the settlements can effectively complement the training. The theoretical courses are put into practice in these colonies.
What is the colonies?
The program is organized according to a daily schedule based on that of the soldiers. But unlike the time soldiers, the rest of the children is just as privileged. On the program, I would like to focus attention on fire exercises and military education component. During the colony, each student in grade has the opportunity to draw twice with a shotgun. The shooting at a target (in place of the enemy) allows the child to gain confidence. A cycle of preparation in the image of the soldiers takes a week. It lasted long enough to reinforce the knowledge acquired during schooling.
Where does the colony?
Last year it was organized in four places but this year we've held on a single site in the region of Askeran in the territory of the municipality of Aygestan. It is a good choice for several reasons. First, the natural setting is very pleasant and guarantees the necessary conditions for the rest. Second, a military barracks nearby and meets all the needs for the review of troops, equipment available on site. For fire drills, children will be transported in dedicated website "Aspar" we have not far from the barracks in question and that is adapted to the firing distance and with any type of weapon, used as a site for the training tanks, grenade launchers and snipers. The review of troops, transportation charges, the race will be organized so as not to disturb the life of the barracks and the lives of soldiers. Restricted areas of the barracks will also be presented to the colonies.
The president, Bako Sahakian, was again heavily involved to select the reception site after having consultations with the Prime Minister and Minister of Construction who were in charge of organizing the work of placing compliance of sites so that the colony could be inaugurated on 1st July.
Specifically, this will be a colony and a military holiday
I have already mentioned that, unlike the lives of soldiers, the program of the settlement also provides for hours of rest. We have planned to create conditions conducive to rest like to organize swimming and other leisure ... The Deputy Defense Minister, Samvel Karapetyan, has promised to help us on these issues. We also want to involve the sports committee of Artsakh to organize sports competitions. In all cases, we keep the focus of our attention the fact that students should benefit from periods of recreation and relaxation.
Who are the people who will supervise the children of the colony?
Each group of 200 persons will be organized as a battalion and will have among its members persons to be appointed officers and NCOs. In a word, the entire battalion was surrounded by the best soldiers in the making.
Khatchatrian sir, you have been general in the army and as such have been called in support. Can you describe the preparation of these known when integrating the army? S'accomodent it easy to conditions of military life?
Indeed, the need for a better link between the school and the army is due to this issue. Youth were recruited who had no concept of barracks life, which does not overload the physical enrolement, in a word, was used to carry a very heavy duty and, naturally, some were discouraged. their period of adaptation was longer. Now this is no longer the case. In recent years, serious work has been done in the schools program. This was found just after integration in the Department of Defense Department military and patriotic, so far within the Ministry of Education. The ministers have signed agreements for cooperation in organizing closely l 'patriotic and military education in the curriculum.
In addition, it was started to be a focus on preparing students in preparation for their future enrollment. The army has also begun to help students and provide technical resources in preparing sports halls then made available to schools. Today this partnership is still very broad and effective. The sole objective remains: to prepare future soldiers from the same school.
Probably it is focused much attention on any matter concerning that dealing with military and patriotic education. The teachers of this subject are the only faculty to have to pass an examination every year.
You made an interesting comment. Each year, these teachers undergo training for three days at the end of which they pass an examination that can be considered as the issuance of a certificate. If the teacher does not get 11 points, he is given the opportunity to follow a course of training. If, again, it does not get the 11 points needed, it is returned. It must be very strict on this issue. Finally, the quality of our Army depends heavily on the quality of our teachers and military patriotism. We are a country at war, that is why we pay attention to these issues. Today, each of the boys sitting on the benches of the school must have a real awareness that tomorrow he will join the ranks of the army and he needs to acquire knowledge of the military school. I am not saying that the military and patriotic education in schools depends entirely on the shoulders of teachers of the subject. It is the work of all teachers, and this issue should be central to the interests of our civil society under the responsibility of our army. And that is why we pay great attention to this matter in schooling.
But the qualification of our teachers will increase further when, in Armenia, in which is integrated educational system and our school will be passed a specific law on this issue. Such a law is being prepared. Develop a framework is not sufficient, it must also have the manuals work for, standards set, in a word, we need to empower teachers to work and what is expected of them .
Mr. Minister, what do you think of the other colonies? Do not you agree that very few children are integrated into the colonies of spring?
With the President of the Republic, we have not only discussed military matters but also the issue of summer camps in general. Indeed, very few children are integrated into the settlements, not more than 10%. This is one of the points that holds our attention. The President of the Republic of Artsakh requested that studies be conducted on the camps "Karkar" in order to improve them. Of course, in the regions we also pay great attention to these issues. It is a fact that this area is the center of attention, ie not only the Ministry of Education and Science but to all political leaders of our republic, and one of which reinforces our confidence is that the coming years, the solution to this problem will find solutions.
Translated by Armen of Shoushi
Interview: Philip Gordon’s reply to 28 questions by Senator Robert Menendez On Cyprus, Patriarchate, Armenia
By Apostolos Zoupaniotis, May 11 Exclusive, Washington.
Assistant Secretary of State Designate Philip Gordon’s confirmation is expected to move into the Senate floor for a vote very soon, a very well informed Congress source told the Greek News. Gordon’s confirmation although passed through the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee in early April, it was held up by Senator John Ensign, a Republican from Nevada who has co-sponsored a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide in the past.
Ensign represents the State of Nevada in the U.S. Senate along with Majority Leader Harry Reed, who is expected to have a tough reelection in 2010. Although political pundits and some Armenian Americans were predicting Ensign’s position to force Reed to withhold Gordon’s nomination for some more time, it seems now that the junior senator from Nevada will step back, for unknown reasons, opening the way for a full Senate vote, as soon as the end of the week. According to political sources, Ensign’s hold happened just before Obama’s Armenian Day proclamation and was just a warning to the Obama Administration and the President himself to put pressure on Ankara during its negotiations with Armenia to settle their disputes.
The fact that the Armenian government agreed to the process didn’t leave much alternatives to anyone in the Senate”, the same sources told the Greek News.
Gordon’s position on Cyprus and the Armenian Genocide during his confirmation hearing, on March 26, 2009, left many unanswered questions about his objectivity.
Although he is the translator of the English edition of French President’s Nicola Sarkozy book “Testimony”, he criticized France for criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide. “Genocide Denial” is a crime in many countries, including the United States in the case of the Jewish Holocaust.
Gordon, a former director of the Brookings Institution was author of many pro Turkish books and article. He was very critical of the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan Plan and suggest the reward of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
According to figures released by Brookings Institution and provided to the Senate by Philip Gordon, since 2006 Brookings has received $200,000 from the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, $200,000 from Sabanci University, $150,000 from the Eksiogullari Group (a construction company in Turkey), and $100,000 from the Dogan Yayin Holding Company, a media-entertainment conglomerate.
Brookings, in a note attached to the spreadsheet listing the donations, said that the "primary funding for the work of Philip H. Gordon in 2006-2007 was provided by the Smith Richardson Foundation. From 2007-2009 primary funding was provided to Mr. Gordon by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, the Carnegie Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Brookings Endowment."
The question about Gordon’s funding was asked by Senator Robert Menendez (D, NJ) along with 27 other questions, seeking clarification on his positions regarding Cyprus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Turkey’s compliance with the Copenhagen Criteria, the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish-Armenia dispute and Ukraine.
According to sources close to the Greek Lobby in Washington, although during his confirmation hearing he denied to say if he agreed with Obama’s statement about “the Turkish occupation of north Cyprus”, Gordon’s written answers (to Menendez questions) regarding Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate were satisfactory, reflecting the change of tone in Washington in these issues. But, some of his answers about Armenia left a bitter taste in many Armenian-Americans.
“Greek News” is publishing exclusively all his answers to the questions regarding Cyprus and the Patriarchate and some of his replies to the questions regarding Armenia.
Question: In the case that negotiations between the parties in Cyprus break down in the next four years, what are your views on how one achieves a settlement on Cyprus? Specifically, what role would the United States play in Cyprus negotiations and what would you advocate as a U.S. policy towards Cyprus?
Answer: If confirmed, I will vigorously support the direct negotiations between the parties that began in September 2008 under the United Nations Good Offices Mission, and do everything possible to prevent the breakdown of those talks. The only way to achieve a just and lasting settlement is for the Cypriot parties themselves to negotiate their own solution, with strong support from the international community whenever the parties seek such support. If confirmed, I will continue to support the reunification of Cyprus under a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, which has been the longstanding policy of the United States, supported by United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
Question: Would you promote the equivalent of the Annan Plan in the current context if negotiations were not moving forward?
Answer: If confirmed, I will continue to support a resolution of the Cyprus Problem through the reunification of the island into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. While it is important to build on those areas of convergence reached during four decades of negotiations under UN auspices, the Annan Plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum; I respect that democratic decision. The current leaders, Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat are to be commended for taking the initiative in starting negotiations on September 3, 2008 under the auspices of the United Nations Good Offices Mission, and for conducting those negotiations in good-faith. If confirmed, I will support this Cypriot-led process and assist as needed, in consultation with the parties.
Question: If confirmed, would you urge that the Government of Turkey respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Christian Church?
Answer: Yes, if confirmed, I will continue to urge Turkish officials to recognize the ecumenical status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to continue allowing the Holy Synod to select its members regardless of whether they are Turkish citizens, restore confiscated religious property and prevent spurious legal challenges to Patriarchate property, and to reopen the Halki Seminary. The United States considers Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew a religious leader of global standing, a position with which I agree. Like the administration, I share deep respect for His All Holiness, and concern for the continued existence of the Patriarchate, which for centuries has been a part of the rich tradition of religious diversity exemplified in Istanbul.
Question: If confirmed, would you advocate that the European Union focus on the elimination of all forms of discrimination in Turkey, particularly with regard to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, while continuing accession negotiations?
Answer: Yes. It is the policy of this Administration to promote religious freedom and human rights worldwide, including in Turkey. If confirmed I would strongly support this policy with our friends and Allies in the European Union. Turkey has taken many steps toward improving its overall record on human rights and religious freedom, and has committed to implement further reforms, as desired by Turkish voters and in line with the European Union accession requirements. The United States fully supports Turkey’s accession to the European Union. If confirmed, I will continue to encourage progress on these reforms and will keep the issue of expanding religious freedom in Turkey high on our bilateral agenda, which, in turn, will advance Turkey’s efforts to meet the criteria for EU candidacy.
Question: If confirmed, would you advocate that the Government of Turkey remove an obstacle in its relations with the United States Government by taking positive steps to provide full religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate?
Answer: If confirmed, I will continue to urge Turkish officials to respect the ecumenical and legal status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, continue allowing the Holy Synod to select members who are not Turkish citizens, and to restore confiscated religious property and prevent spurious legal challenges to Patriarchate property. If confirmed, I will call on the Government of Turkey to reopen the Halki Seminary.
The United States Mission in Turkey regularly promotes religious freedom for all faiths and advocates for legal reforms to lift restrictions on religious minorities as part of our efforts to advance human rights. If confirmed, I will continue to support our Mission’s engagement with the Government of Turkey on religious freedom issues, advocate for continued outreach and engagement with Turkish religious leaders, and further our policy of active engagement and consultation with religious minority groups, including those in the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac Orthodox, Protestant, and Jewish communities.
Question: If confirmed, would you advocate that the Government of Turkey recognize the right to the title of `Ecumenical Patriarch,' grant the Ecumenical Patriarch appropriate international recognition and ecclesiastic succession, grant the Ecumenical Patriarch the right to train clergy of all nationalities, not just Turkish nationals; and respect property rights and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate?
Answer: If confirmed, I will continue to urge Turkish officials to recognize the ecumenicity of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, reflecting our view of the Ecumenical Patriarch as a religious leader of global significance. If confirmed, I will also urge Turkish officials to reopen the school at Halki to ensure ecclesiastic succession. Just as we encourage the Turkish Government to continue allowing the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Holy Synod to select members who are not Turkish citizens, so do we hope the Patriarchate will have the right to train clergy of any nationality. On Patriarchate property, the recent amendments to the Foundations Law should help advance intensive U.S. efforts to elicit the return of the Buyukada Orphanage and other properties to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Though the new Foundations Law is a step in the right direction, it does not include a provision for compensating original owners of property seized by the Government of Turkey and then sold to third parties. The law also did not rescind the authority of the government to expropriate property. The 2008 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom underscores the status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the legal challenges for property ownership and, if confirmed, I will continue to strongly urge the Turkish Government to restore confiscated religious property and prevent spurious legal challenges to Patriarchate property.
Question: Is it your view that the Government of Turkey should move expeditiously to meet the criteria set forth by the European Council in Copenhagen?
Answer: Any country seeking membership in the European Union must conform to the conditions established by the European Council in Copenhagen. Turkey has taken many steps towards improving its overall human rights and religious freedom record, and has made a commitment to implement further reforms desired by the people of Turkey and in line with the European Union accession process. The United States supports Turkey’s accession to the European Union. As it fulfills the EU’s accession criteria, Turkey will become an even stronger and more valuable partner of the United States and the entire Euro-Atlantic community. If confirmed, I will continue to encourage progress on these reforms and will keep the issue of expanding religious freedom in Turkey high on our bilateral agenda.
Question: Does your record also include speaking out to have Turkey come to terms with its legacy of genocide and its denial of genocide? Have you spoken out to ensure that Turkey open the border with Armenia, which it has illegally kept closed for the last 15 years and is required under treaty obligations? If so, please provide documentation of such writings.
Answer: I have repeatedly encouraged Turkey to come to terms with its past and allow for an open and honest internal dialogue by expanding freedom of expression, especially on this particular issue. I have also advocated that the United States and Europe actively encourage Turkey to normalize its relations with Armenia, re-open the border, and allow open dialogue about the mass killings and forced exile of 1915. Turkey and Armenia have sought U.S. support for their reconciliation efforts, and following the lead of the President, if confirmed, I will give mine fully. Resurrecting Turkey-Armenia relations and reconciling with both peoples’ shared past is critical to fostering peace and stability in the Caucasus region and beyond.
In my monograph Winning Turkey, I wrote that:
The West should “press Turkey to repair its relations with the Republic of Armenia and to allow open debate within Turkey.”
“Although such a sensitive matter must obviously be handled by the Turks and Armenians themselves, their American and European friends should actively encourage a solution, which should begin with Turkey’s allowing more open research and debate about the subject. Turkey’s contention that ‘history should be left to the historians’ is fine as far as it goes, but it would be more convincing if Turkey actually did that, rather than prosecute historians and others who reach the conclusion that genocide took place. This is another reason why Article 301 should be repealed.”
“…the Erdogan government needs to be more vocal in its support for freedom of speech on the Armenian question. […] It is also time for the Turkish government to take more constructive and creative steps toward political and psychological reconciliation with Armenia. […] Ankara and the Turkish public need to understand better the trauma of 1915 for the Armenian people and the Armenian diaspora.”
In that study and in public interventions in Turkey, I have suggested that Turkey offer “an olive branch to Armenia in the form of a presidential letter of sympathy to commemorate the tragedy” which would “bring a human dimension to relations between Ankara and Yerevan.”
I also called in Winning Turkey for an acceleration of diplomatic efforts “to resolve the bilateral conflict between Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, which has for too long blocked peaceful developments in the Caucasus and complicates Turkey’s accession to the EU.”
I wrote that “The United States should encourage Turkey to pledge now that if Armenia shows a real commitment to a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Turkey would reestablish diplomatic relations with Armenia, end its blockade, and open the land border between the two countries. Such steps not only would be in the interest of both countries but also could create the climate for a long-term solution in Nagorno-Karabakh as well as much better relations and open trade between Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.”
Question: Given some of your public statements, how can you assure me that you will be sensitive to preventing future genocides and combating denial of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey?
Answer: I have strongly encouraged Turkey to come to terms with its history and believe that an honest dialogue within Turkey on historical events would help facilitate Turkish democracy and reconciliation both within Turkey’s borders and in the region. Such a dialogue would help promote prosperity, peace, and stability in the region and would contribute to a full understanding of these terrible events. If confirmed, I will continue to strongly support this effort, and in particular will emphasize its importance to bilateral relations.
The Obama Administration is fully committed to preventing genocides. If confirmed, I will work diligently with my interagency colleagues, this committee, our European allies, and our partners to prevent genocide anywhere in the world.
Questions for the Record Submitted to Assistant Secretary - Designate Philip Gordon by Senator Robert Menendez (#4C)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
March 26, 2009
Question: A 1951 U.S. Government filing with the United Nations stated that “The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.” Do you agree with this U.S. Government filing?
Answer: The United States has long acknowledged the horrific tragedy that 1.5 million Armenians suffered mass killings and forced exile by the Ottoman Empire. I, too, recognize and mourn the loss of so many innocent lives. This tragedy should be the focus of an open and honest dialogue among civic leaders, scholars, and the societies at large. If confirmed, I would strongly support Turkey and Armenia’s reconciliation efforts, including confronting their shared history. I believe the United States must do all it can to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.
Question: In October 2006, you published “Why France Shouldn't Legislate Turkey's Past,” in regard to the French push to pass a law that punishes the denial of the Armenian Genocide. You wrote that this vote in Parliament “is a dangerous step down a slippery slope,” adding that “the new French legislation is just the latest illiberal policy in Europe masquerading as liberalism.” How do you seek to reconcile your criticism of France with the blind eye you turn towards Turkey?
Answer: I have stated with regard to the proposed French legislation in question that it is dangerous to criminalize the free expression of views. I also strongly believe in, and have publicly called for, a more open debate about the past in Turkey. I have encouraged Turkey to repeal article 301 of its penal code, which can be used to constrain free expression, and I have supported an open dialogue between Turkey and Armenia. If confirmed, I would continue, along with the Administration, to strongly encourage Turkey to come to terms with the dark periods in its history.
Question: Do you agree with the characterization by President Bush on April 24, 2004, when he stated “On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1.5 million Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.”?
Answer: Yes. I acknowledge and mourn as historical fact what President Bush described as one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, the mass killings and forced exile of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.
Question: Do you agree that the use of the words “ethnic cleansing” would include the deliberate inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part?
Answer: I do not believe that there is a universally accepted definition of “ethnic cleansing” under international law. In the Bosnia v. Serbia case, the International Court of Justice described the phrase “ethnic cleansing” as being in practice used “by reference to a specific region or area, to mean rendering an area ethnically homogenous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.”
Question: Do you acknowledge and agree with the following facts of the events that occurred between 1915-1923 as reported by American officials at the time?
1. Where U.S. Ambassador Morgenthau wrote on July 16, 1915, “it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.”
2. Where U.S. Consul in Aleppo, Jesse Jackson, reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on June 5, 1915, "It is without doubt a carefully planned scheme to thoroughly extinguish the Armenian race."
3. Where U.S. Consul in Harput, Leslie Davis reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on July 24, 1915, “It has been no secret that the plan was to destroy the Armenian race as a race, but the methods used have been more cold-blooded and barbarous, if not more effective, than I had at first supposed."
4. Where U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1916-1917, Abram I. Elkus, telegrammed the Secretary of State on October 17, 1916, "In order to avoid opprobrium of the civilized world, which the continuation of massacres would arouse, Turkish officials have now adopted and are executing the unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history."
Answer: I acknowledge the fact of the mass killings and forced exile of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. I do not dispute that Ambassador Morgenthau, Ambassador Elkus, and other diplomats during that time period reported on what they described as an attempt to destroy the Armenian population.
Question: Would you agree that Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of which the United States has both signed and ratified, where it states:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Answer: Yes, that is what Article II says
Question: Do the events that occurred during the period of 1915-1923 meet the definition under Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide?
Answer: I acknowledge and mourn the mass killings and forced exile of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. I feel very strongly about the great suffering experienced by the Armenian people both at that time and today as they remember this dark chapter in their history, mourn the loss of so many innocent lives, and rightfully expect their pain and loss to be acknowledged and the victims to be honored. It is the prerogative of the President to determine the policy on how the Administration characterizes these tragic events. If confirmed, my focus will be on promoting Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and as part of this an open and honest dialogue about the tragic events of 1915.
Question: How does the non-use of the genocide term, as you have advocated, advance U.S. efforts to promote Armenian-Turkish reconciliation?
Answer: I believe the United States should strongly support Armenian-Turkish reconciliation and avoid steps that could derail that process or discourage either party from participating in the ongoing dialogue. Ultimately, Turkey and Armenia are the owners of their historical reconciliation process, and I have been encouraged by the bold steps taken recently in this direction by Turkish and Armenian leaders to reconcile their countries with each other and with their shared and painful past. I also believe the steps Turkey and Armenia are taking towards normalizing relations and opening their border will foster a better environment for confronting their shared tragic history. Turkey and Armenia have sought U.S. support and encouragement of their reconciliation efforts, and following the lead of the President, if confirmed, I will give mine fully.
Question: Do you believe there can be reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia without an acknowledgment of the genocide by Turkey?
Answer: The Turkish and Armenian governments have already started taking courageous steps toward reconciliation, including by Armenian President Sargsian and Turkish President Gul, who met in Yerevan at President Sargsian’s invitation to attend a World Cup qualifier soccer match on September 6, 2008. I welcome the efforts by individuals in Armenia and Turkey to foster reconciliation and peace, and to come to terms with their shared past. I look forward to full normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations, after which genuine reconciliation – including through an open and honest dialogue of the tragic events of 1915 – can occur. If confirmed, I will strongly support ongoing efforts between Turkey and Armenia to open their border and re-establish diplomatic relations.
Question: Would you visit with government officials from Nagorno-Karabakh, if they requested such a meeting?
Answer: As Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States has played an active and important role in efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The U.S. Co-Chair, in addition to trips to Yerevan and Baku, often travels to Stepanakert to meet with de facto N-K authorities. The Obama Administration has stated that it is committed to achieving a breakthrough on Nagorno - Karabakh, and I look forward to assisting in this important effort if I am confirmed.
QUESTION: Would you permit USAID personnel, who are not Armenian nationals, to visit Nagorno-Karabakh?
ANSWER: As the United States continues to work toward a settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the United States Government is striving to use their assistance to address the genuine humanitarian needs of the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh in a spirit of cooperation and friendship. What matters most is that we design and implement these programs properly, to have the greatest possible positive impact in addressing urgent needs. At this sensitive point in negotiations on a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the OSCE’s Minsk Group, the Administration believes it is prudent to avoid significant changes in the modus operandi of our assistance efforts, especially in ways that might incorrectly imply that the United States has formally recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as a government, which neither the United States, Armenia, or any other country has done. That said, U.S. assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh, focused on improving the conditions of those living in the area, is essential to building trust and confidence in our negotiating efforts. U.S. assistance is doing critical work in demining and providing potable water to the residents there. United States-based NGOs have traveled to Nagorno Karabakh to provide humanitarian assistance. Additionally, as you noted, USAID personnel visit Nagorno-Karabakh to oversee and evaluate projects, conduct needs assessments, and consult with both “officials” and ordinary residents.
Question: Would you advise President Obama to in any way weaken or retreat from his clear pledge to the American people to recognize the Armenian Genocide? Why or why not?
Answer: If confirmed, I would advise President Obama to do everything possible to encourage Turkey to come to terms with its history and honor the victims of these horrendous events, and to help Armenia and Turkey come to terms with their shared and painful past. I will faithfully support whatever policy is decided by President Obama. If confirmed, I will strongly encourage Turkey and Armenia to deepen their efforts in this regard, and to normalize their relations and reopen their border.
Question: Then Senator Obama urged U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide on numerous occasions:
• On July 28, 2006, in a letter to Secretary Rice concerning the firing of US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, he wrote, “The occurrence of the Armenian genocide in 1915 is not an ‘allegation,’ a ‘personal opinion,’ or a ‘point of view’ . . . . [I]t is a widely documented fact.”
• On April 28, 2008, in a Senate floor statement in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, he stated, “It is imperative that we recognize the horrific acts carried out against the Armenian people as genocide and I will continue to stand with the Armenian American community in calling for the Government of Turkey to acknowledge it as such.”
• On January 19, 2008, Obama stated that “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides.”
Do you disagree with any of the above statements? If so, please explain?
Answer: Policy on this issue is determined by the President, and, if confirmed, I have a duty to faithfully represent the policy of the President. I recognize the mass killings, ethnic cleansing, and forced exile of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. I feel very strongly about the great suffering experienced by the Armenian people both at that time and today as they remember this tragic chapter in their history. I fully respect that the Armenian-American community and the Armenian people want their pain and loss to be acknowledged. If confirmed, I will do everything I can to encourage Turkey to come to terms with this dark chapter in history, including through an open and honest dialogue with Armenia and within Turkey on these events. These efforts would help facilitate reconciliation, economic prosperity, peace, and stability in the region and would help encourage a full understanding of these terrible events. If confirmed, I am committed to do everything possible to ensure such horrors never recur.
Question: Do you dispute that U.S. diplomats serving in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide documented a systematic, government-sponsored campaign "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part" the Armenian population?
Answer: No. I have read many of the historical records from 1915-1916 related to U.S. diplomatic reporting on these events, and I do not dispute that Ambassador Morgenthau, Ambassador Elkus, and other diplomats during that time period reported on what they described as an attempt to destroy the Armenian population.
You have written articles opposing resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide. If the Republic of Turkey ended its denial of the Armenian Genocide, would you no longer counsel against using the term “Armenian Genocide?” Why or why not?
Answer: I recognize and mourn the mass killings, ethnic cleansing, and forced deportations that devastated over one and a half million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. The United States considers these events to be one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th Century, the “Great Calamity” as many Armenians refer to it. It is the prerogative of the President to determine the policy on how the Administration characterizes these tragic events.
I have encouraged Turkey to come to terms with its past and if confirmed will continue to do so. That will not be easy, just as it has not been easy for the United States to come to terms with dark periods of our own past. I firmly commit to supporting Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, if I am confirmed. I believe a successful reconciliation will not only need to include normalization of relations and reopening the border, but also an open and honest dialogue about the tragic events of 1915. Turkey and Armenia have asked for U.S. support and encouragement of their efforts, and following the lead of the President, if confirmed, I will give mine fully.
Question: Who was responsible for the death of over 1.5 million Armenians during WWI?
Answer: This administration, like those before it, does not deny the facts –1.5 million Armenians were murdered, starved, or deported by civilian officials and soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, some of whom were sentenced to death for committing these crimes. The United States mourns this terrible chapter of history and recognizes that it remains a source of pain for the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent, and all those who believe in the dignity and value of every human life.
Question: Despite the painful and ongoing legacy of the Armenian Genocide, and the continued illegal, Turkish blockade, Armenia has, repeatedly, offered to open diplomatic and economic relations with Turkey without preconditions. Do you believe Turkey should accept Armenia’s offer to establish full diplomatic and economic relations without preconditions?
Answer: Turkey and Armenia have sought and received strong U.S. support for their reconciliation efforts, and, if confirmed, I will give mine fully. I welcome these efforts by individuals in Armenia and Turkey and look forward to the realization of a fully normalized Armenia-Turkey relationship. If confirmed, I will strongly support ongoing efforts between Turkey and Armenia to open their border and re-establish diplomatic relations. I am encouraged by the positive developments toward normalization, including commercial flights, considerable trade, and rapid visa issuance, as well as the courageous steps by Armenian President Sargsian and Turkish President Gul to improve bilateral relations, including through their historic meeting in Yerevan last September. The Administration welcomes the plans of both presidents to meet again in Ankara this October, and hope that by then, the Turkey-Armenia border will be reopened.
GORDN’S/BROOKINGS FINANCIAL COMPENSATION
Philip Gordon Payments Received from EUR Countries 2006-2009
Payee Country Date Amount Purpose
Encompass Publications Belgium 11/08 $400 article
Encompass Publications Belgium 9/08 $400 article
Encompass Publications Belgium 7/08 $400 article
Financial Times UK 7/09/08 $500 oped
US-Spain Chamb Commerce Spain 6/05/08 $2,500 speech
Foreign Policy France France 5/15/08 $10,000 speech
Encompass Publications Belgium 5/08 $400 article
Encompass Publications Belgium 3/08 $400 article
Encompass Publications Belgium 1/08 $400 article
Financial Times UK 1/04/08 $500 oped
Financial Times UK 12/05/07 $500 oped
Encompass Publications Belgium 11/07 $400 article
Encompass Publications Belgium 09/07 $400 article
Norwegian Foreign Ministry Norway 08/07 $2,500 report
Encompass Publications Belgium 07/07 $400 article
Financial Times UK 7/25/07 $500 oped
Encompass Publications Belgium 05/07 $400 article
Encompass Publications Belgium 03/07 $400 article
Encompass Publications Belgium 01/07 $400 article
French Foreign Ministry France 2006 $7,000 translation
Corporate Donors with Foreign Addresses
Constituent Name Country Date Fund Description Cash Received Reference
Eksiogullari Group Turkey 3/5/2008 Turkey 2007 $75,000.00 Supported research activities and conferences of Brookings Turkey project
Eksiogullari Group Turkey 9/29/2008 Turkey 2007 $75,000.00 Supported research activities and conferences of Brookings Turkey project
Hedef-Alliance Holding Turkey 1/17/2007 Turkey 2007 $30,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Nurol Turkey 2/6/2008 Turkey 2007 $30,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association Turkey 3/8/2007 Turkey 2007 $25,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association Turkey 6/8/2007 Turkey 2007 $25,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association Turkey 10/5/2007 Turkey 2007 $25,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association Turkey 4/22/2008 Turkey 2007 $25,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association Turkey 7/8/2008 Turkey 2007 $25,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association Turkey 2/27/2009 Turkey 2007 $25,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association Turkey 2/6/2009 Turkey 2007 $50,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Dogan Yayin Holdings/Hanzade Dogan Turkey 2/16/2007 CUSE $30,000.00 Support for Turkey 2007 initiative (project run by former Ambassador Mark Parris)
Dogan Yayin Holdings/Hanzade Dogan Turkey 2/16/2007 $70,000.00 Membership on Brookings' international advisory committee
Sabanci University Turkey 6/27/2006 CUSE $2,500.00 honorarium to Strobe Talbott for participation as judge in research award
Sabanci University Turkey 9/12/2008 Turkey Sabanci Lect T2 $9,673.21 travel costs for Sabanci delegation
Sabanci University Turkey 6/27/2006 Turkey Project $45,530.81 travel, conference, and administrative costs for annual Sabanci lecture
Sabanci University Turkey 7/5/2007 CUSE - France Activities $49,588.75 travel, conference, and administrative costs for annual Sabanci lecture
Sabanci University Turkey 11/25/2008 Turkey Project $85,000.00 travel, conference, and administrative costs for annual Sabanci lecture
*** NOTE: Primary funding for the work of Philip H. Gordon in 2006-2007 was provided by the Smith Richardson Foundation. From 2007-2009 primary funding was provided to Mr. Gordon by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, the Carnegie Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Brookings Endowment.
Copyright © 2003 - 2009 by Greek News
British Ambassador to Turkey Nick Baird: UK’s Support To Turkey On A Range Of Issues
“I think it should be absolutely applauded that Turkey has undertaken these bold steps,” said the top British diplomat in Turkey, referring to the diplomatic process of normalization between Turkey and Armenia.
In an interview with Today’s Zaman, British Ambassador Nick Baird described a visit made by Turkish President Abdullah Gül to Armenia last September as “very courageous.” The trip set off a series of diplomatic initiatives to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia, beginning with the possibility of opening their border, which was closed in 1993.
Baird acknowledged that the issues in the Caucasus are complex but offered his government’s help to facilitate a thaw between neighboring countries. “We are hugely keen to help solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, and we are very supportive of the Minsk process,” he said. The Minsk Group was created in 1992 under the umbrella of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with the intention of finding a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. The Minsk Group is co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France.
Recalling that the United Kingdom had offered to open British archives to help settle a dispute over tragic events that happened in 1915, Ambassador Baird said Turkey’s suggestion of establishing a joint history commission to investigate genocide allegations is “a good one and we absolutely support it.” He revealed, however, that the UK was never asked to participate in such a commission or provide a historian. “If we are asked to do so, we would be happy to consider it,” he said.
British Ambassador to Turkey Nick Baird, whose diplomatic career began in 1983, reiterated his country’s support for Turkey’s full membership in the European Union, but cautioned that the Cyprus issue posed a major challenge along the way. Baird, while hinting that his government was trying to cooperate in developing an action plan against the PKK’s terrorist activities throughout Europe, highlited that investors in the UK hope to capitalize on the 1.5 million young Turkish people applying to university every year
Asked if he is concerned about Russia being a disruptive influence on regional peace, Baird said, “I very much hope that Russia will play a constructive role in the Caucasus.” “They [Russians] have a great interest in political stability in the region,” he emphasized, indicating that some positive signs have already emerged on the Russian side in solving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
Baird believes the current economic crisis has resulted in one positive development, albeit unintentionally. “It reminded us how we are so interconnected with each other,” he said. “The energy-rich countries like Russia all want stability in client states so that they can pay their bills without a delay,” the British ambassador noted. On the Nabucco project, a pipeline that will carry Caspian oil to Europe through Turkey, Baird said, “We are making progress and having successful negotiations despite some political difficulties with Moscow.”
Close cooperation on terrorism
The UK’s top representative in Ankara described the level of cooperation with Turkey on terrorism as “very strong.” After a visit from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith on Jan. 5-7, cross-agency involvement in combating terrorism has picked up speed, according to Baird. The UK considers the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) -- an armed Kurdish group waging a separatist battle in the Southeast -- a terrorist organization. “This classification gives us certain powers in terms of the seizure of its financial assets and the cutting of its activities,” Baird explained.
He further remarked, “There is a noticeable increase in the number of terrorist arrests in the UK, and the Turkish government recognizes the increased commitment by British authorities.” On the European front, Baird hinted that his government was trying to cooperate in developing an action plan against the PKK’s terrorist activities throughout Europe.
Baird says Turkey is the country of the future
Baird, 47, was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Turkey in 2006. “I am hugely enjoying my posting to Turkey,” he said, when asked what he thinks of his job in Ankara. "Turkey is well placed to succeed China as the new country-of-the-future, and by 2050 would have a bigger economy than Spain, Korea and Canada," he told a British audience from 120 Scottish companies that are keen to learn more about business opportunities in Turkey.
In a seminar titled "Doing Business with Turkey" on Jan. 26 in Glasgow, Baird invited British companies to invest in Turkey. “The business world [in Turkey] is well used to economic turbulence, and they themselves are good at finding techniques to get past the crisis. There has been no letup in businesses coming to our door, and we see the current turbulence as offering a good reason to look at investing in Turkey," he said.
His diplomatic career began when he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1983. He was posted to Kuwait in 1986 and later assigned to the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels in 1989 as first secretary. He served in London from 1993-1997, first as private secretary to the parliamentary under-secretary of state and then as head of the unit covering the EU Intergovernmental Conference.
He was posted to Muscat as deputy head of mission in 1997. He returned to the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, this time as counselor in the justice and home affairs section. Returning to London as head of the European Union department (internal issues) in 2002, he was seconded to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate at the Home Office first as director of international delivery and then as senior policy director in 2003.
Commenting on the Kurdish problem, the ambassador urged a broader and more comprehensive action plan, saying, “Complex problems need complex responses.” He said Turkey needs to address security measures, economic development, assistance programs, protecting cultural rights and having good relations with the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq as a single package. Acknowledging the progress the Turkish government has made so far, Baird said, “We see genuine improvements in Turkey.”
Discussing Iraq, the ambassador praised Turkey’s foreign policy and its focus on fostering political stability in the war-torn country. He acknowledged the importance of Turkey’s encouragement for the Sunni minority to remain engaged in the political system. “The surprise visit of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr to Turkey earlier this month did not go unnoticed,” he added. The visit showed Turkey’s leverage on the Shiite population in Iraq as well.
Relations with Iraq also carry huge economic importance for Turkey as the trade volume between the two countries has grown to $5 billon annually. “Turkey is indisputably the most important neighbor of Iraq,” Baird stressed, adding that the UK supports the transit of significant amounts of Iraqi gas through Turkey.
Turkey is very much involved in the economic development of Iraq, especially in the northern part where most Kurds live. “We are trying to enhance economic cooperation, especially in the Basra area in the south that was controlled by British forces,” Ambassador Baird said. Turkey already maintains a consulate in Basra to keep an eye on economic opportunities.
The British ambassador explained how crucial it is for NATO to have Turkey’s involvement in Afghanistan. “The terrain in Afghanistan is very similar to one you have in Turkey and your gendarmerie is very experienced in handling security in tough geography,” he said, “so the training of Afghanis by the Turkish military is very important for stability in Afghanistan.”
Turkey is also providing aid and development assistance to Kabul and has contributed substantially in the reconstruction of the country by building schools and hospitals in and around Kabul. “I’m trying to get more involvement from the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency [TİKA],” Baird said. TİKA is a Turkish government agency charged with delivering aid and development assistance throughout the world.
With news coming out of Pakistan of violent clashes between the military and the Taliban, Ambassador Baird seemed very concerned about the stability of the country, describing the situation as “very troublesome.” “What we ought to do is to provide economic help, support the army and restore political stability,” he said.
Turkey’s role in assisting Pakistani government
Stressing that Turkey plays an important role in assisting the Pakistani government, he said the Pakistani army must control the situation on the ground. “We have a substantial number of British citizens with Pakistani origin, and they are worried about their families and relatives back in Pakistan,” he underlined.
The ambassador reiterated his country’s support for Turkey’s full membership in the European Union, but cautioned that the Cyprus issue posed a major challenge along the way. He conceded that resolution of the Cyprus issue is a very painstaking process but sounded hopeful as the process is again under way after a period of no talks. He urged leaving the past where it is supposed to be and moving on.
Baird said that if the Cyprus issue were resolved, there would be huge infusion of EU aid to Turkish Cypriots, amounting 250 million euros. “Considering the northern Turkish part is very small, the aid would be one of the largest per capita assistances within the EU,” he claimed.
Ambassador Baird also provided an update on the previously announced British University that is to be launched in Turkey shortly. Though he conceded that the process is slow and has been hindered at times, Baird said, “We find the Turkish side to be flexible, and the work is in progress.” The bulk of the problem seems to have been caused by differences between the university systems in the two countries.
UK seeking Turkish students
Baird does not hide the fact that investors in the UK hope to capitalize on the 1.5 million young Turkish people applying to university every year. “You can only locate half a million of them in higher education institutions,” he said. “There are still 1 million people who want higher education of some kind.” Stressing that the government simply can’t meet the huge demand on its own, Baird suggested that British investors may help fill the gap in providing university education and vocational training.
What the British embassy is hoping to accomplish in Turkey is to establish a flagship university that really advertises the excellence of UK educational provision. That may lead to other partnerships in a variety of fields ranging from distance learning to private-sector training. In fact, there are already signs of increasing interest among Turks in getting some sort of education in the UK.
There are some 6,000 Turkish students currently enrolled in UK educational institutions, according to 2007 data. “The rate of increase was 70 percent when compared to 2006,” Baird said. The British ambassador attributes the spike in interest to changes in preference, cheaper tuition, particularly in ESL (English as a second language) courses, and better public relations campaigns by the British Council. “The rise in the prosperity of Turkish families may have also helped,” he added.
Baird also drew attention to the increasing number of British travelers picking Turkey as a vacation destination. “The numbers are increasing because of the global economic crisis as well as in spite of it,” he said, pointing out that the strength of the pound against the Turkish lira is a stimulus for British vacationers. He put the number of British visitors at 2 million annually. Baird further noted that an increasing number of British citizens were moving to Turkey to settle here permanently, taking advantage of relatively cheap properties along the sunny southern coastal areas.
13 May 2009, Abdullah Bozkurt Zaman