22 May 2009

2841) Interviews: Gursel, Geraghty Vs Hannity, Cohn-Bendit, Ruben Safrastyan

  1. Nedim Gürsel, "Turkey Must Make A Real Work Of Memory"
  2. Left-Wing Radical Influencing Obama? Geraghty Vs Hannity,
  3. Cohn-Bendit: "I Want To Accomplish The Dream Of The Bosphorus"
  4. Turkey Tries To Open The Border With Armenia To Have Influence In Region, Prof. Ruben Safrastyan


Nedim Gürsel, "Turkey Must Make A Real Work Of Memory" 24 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews

Nedim Gürsel was not the first writer living away from their country of origin.

He lives in France, and is one of the greatest Turkish story writer and novelist. But he likes to say that he is a bridge not only between countries but between East and West.

Nedim Gürsel fled his country after the coup of 1980. Since he took French nationality. He lives in Paris where he is director of research at CNRS. It also holds conferences on Europe as that which took place a few days ago at Sciences-Po.

In Turkey, it is currently prosecuted for blasphemy because of his novel "Girls of Allah" in his home country last year. The second session of the trial will take place May 26 He faces one to two years in prison. The prosecutor has already asked his acquittal, but there remain outstanding issues.

Nedim Gürsel has agreed to an interview with Euronews.

EuroNews: Europeans wonder if Turkey is truly a secular country and it deserves to be integrated within the European Union. What do you say?

Nedim Gürsel: Look, I am a strong supporter of the integration of my country in the European Union. Now, with this trial, I have a question mark. Is it that there would be no drift in Turkey towards a more authoritarian regime? This would obviously not be compatible with this desire in Europe that Turkey manifest. But I hope that my trial is an accident of course. I believe that Europe is right to ask questions, because Turkey is not ready today to enter Europe.

EN: Would there not also a responsibility of the European Union, or rather Europeans? In the sense that when one talks with the Turks, one often has the impression that they feel scorned by Europeans. They also speak of a "Christian club".

NG: Yes, I believe that this release is not lived on the side of the Turks, because it still affects somewhere their national pride. I am against nationalism. But it's been a long time that Turkey is knocking at the door of the European Union and there are always excuses to justify a speech - say - of rejection. As is the case at, for example, with Ms. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy.

Turkey is a Muslim country. But if Turkey shared European values, it would be an enrichment for Europe to have within it. And it is difficult to accept for the Europeans. They do not say it, but Turkey's application refers to Europes's image. Europe asserts its identity by rejecting the other, ie Turkey. And there must be reconciliation.

EN: In recent years there has been progress in Turkey regarding freedom of expression. The poet Nazim Hikmet has been rehabilitated. And last year, the famous article 301, which penalizes the denigration of the Turkish nation has been reshaped. Yet there are organizations, individuals, who, in simple cosmetic changes. Do you agree with this interpretation?

NG: You do well to mention also the case of Nazim Hikmet, one of the greatest Turkish poets. Turkey had committed a great injustice to this great poet by putting in jail for 16 years, forcing him into exile. He died in 1963 in Moscow. Our Prime Minister has recently stated that Nazim Hikmet had been rehabilitated, said that Turkey was a country that most felt its writers.

I have obviously been one of the first to rejoice. But this trial that I hear is a clear denial to his speech ...

So, you talked about cosmetic changes. They may be small buttons but it is good, even if we still go even further democratization of Turkey. And without the European perspective, I must say that it will be impossible.

IN: You are among the signatories of the letter of apology to Armenians who had been drafted by a group of Turkish intellectuals. However, there are people who criticize this letter, because there is not the word "genocide".

NG: I think that Turkey should make a real work of memory. As regards this petition which I signed, I think it's a good thing, because it will make a taboo. Here, the taboo. Like religion, the Armenian issue remains taboo in the collective memory of Turks.

Same for the Kurdish question. There are still a dozen years, could not talk about that. We could not even pronounce the name of "Kurdish". Now the president Abdullah Gül said that the Kurdish question is the most important issue of our country, so there is, if you want an undeniable trend.

EN: Do you feel in exile?

NG: It is a voluntary exile. I am not in exile, I'm very often in Turkey. I fed my imagination is nourished by Turkey of the Ottoman history. I have written historical novels, I am very committed to the city of Istanbul. But there was a time, precisely after the military coup of 12 September 1980, where I could not return to my country for three years. So there I was really in exile. That's why I wrote a book called "The Last Tram" in which I expressed the sentiment of the Turkish writer in exile: his wandering, his attachment to the homeland, to his city etc.. Now I am not in exile, I am a little horse between Istanbul and Paris, I always say metaphorically that I am like a bridge over the Bosporus, which not only connects the two banks, the Asian side and European shores but also men and cultures. And I think that this is the role of the writer, because literature is universal, it brings people among them ...


Left-Wing Radical Influencing Obama? Geraghty Vs Hannity, Fox News May 20 2009
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 19, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: During the campaign we learned that candidate Obama had internalized some of the lessons of the late great radical, Saul Alinsky, but in a new column, the National Review's Jim Geraghty argues that Mr. Obama is ruling the country according to Mr. Alinsky's radical rules.

He writes, quote, that "moderates thought they were electing a moderate. Liberals thought they were electing a liberal. Both camps were wrong. Ideology does not have the final say in Obama's decision-making. An Alinskyite's core principle is to take any action that expands his power and to avoid any action that risks his power."

The author of that column, Jim Geraghty, joins me now.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

JIM GERAGHTY, COLUMNIST, NATIONAL REVIEW: Sean, very glad to be here.

â~@¢ Video: Watch Sean's interview

HANNITY: Ridicule, the -- one of the biggest weapons in the Alinsky model. To ridicule your opponent. You see that aspect of it, because I think that's actually a key component in the tactics that are being used by Obama?

GERAGHTY: I would. I would point out that he often lets surrogates do it. We saw a little bit of his -- Obama's attempted ridicule at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

But I think really, actually, he's got everything from "The Daily Show" to "The Colbert Report" to, you know, liberal bloggers, entertainers, Bill Maher. He kind of outsources that aspect of the Alinsky operation. So he can often seem above the fray. It's all very important, because seeming too snide or too hostile might actually minimize his power.

The object is to look, you know, like he's respectful and fine while the other side are doing what they can to beat his opponents over the head.

HANNITY: So pick the target, freeze the target, personalize it, polarize it, all of that stuff that he talks about. You know, but we did see it when Santelli and Robert Gibbs went after Santelli, they went after Jim Cramer. They went after Rush Limbaugh. At different times, they've gone after me by name, trying to demonize people. That is a big part of the model and maybe even silencing talk radio could be a part of that. No?

GERAGHTY: Oh, absolutely. Just one thing that's interesting is I think Jim Cramer was perhaps one of the most interesting examples, because Jim Cramer, generally I like him, but even, you know, just as a financial mind, not as a political guy. He only became an issue to the Jon Stewarts of the world once he started criticizing Obama.

Cramer has been doing his, you know, fired-up and easily mockable schtick for a long time.

HANNITY: And by the way, do that again.

GERAGHTY: Criticizing...

HANNITY: Show me how -- show me how you do that...

GERAGHTY: I know it's another network, but it's an often entertaining show. It's for those who find Glenn Beck too laid back and calm.

And so it's one of those things where I would say once you become a critic of Obama, it doesn't matter if you've praised him in the past, it doesn't matter if you were previously a friendly voice, you need to be tamped down. And even Obama doesn't do it. Other folks in his administration or other allies will do that.

HANNITY: All right. There is a photo of Obama in a classroom teaching students about Alinsky's methods. So who is Alinsky? Why don't you --because you've taken the time to investigate. Who is he?

GERAGHTY: I think he's best thought of as Obama's ideological grandfather. Alinsky died in 1972. It's not like he ever met Obama, but he had a great deal of influence on the Chicago community organizers who were kind of the mentors for Barack Obama during his key formative years as a young man. And it's a very interesting approach.

It is -- the book I picked up, "Rules for Radicals." And I would just kind of point out that, for about 11 bucks, it was kind of the Rosetta Stone for Obama's decision making.

It kind of lays out that -- that to a certain extent, it's almost Machiavellian. It basically says, yes, accumulate power. If you win, you one remembers how you've one, and then you can enact the changes you want.

HANNITY: All right. So -- but no, go ahead. Finish your thought.

GERAGHTY: I was going to say that he almost kind of sneers at people who say they wouldn't compromise their principles and their pursuit of power and their pursuit of their goals. And he says, "Oh, you know, it must be really tough to tuck your angel wings under your covers when you go to bed at night."

So the message coming up from Alinsky when it comes to accumulating power is very clear.

HANNITY: So really for Obama, your analysis is that all of this for him, following the Alinsky model, is about power. So, in other words, if they want to dictate CEO pay, if they want to control or nationalize the banks, we know now they're going to -- they're going to own GM as a result of this bankruptcy deal that we're talking about. They want to take over health care. They want to tell us what kind of cars to drive.

You're saying that they want to nationalize health care. They want to do all of this because it's government power?

GERAGHTY: It is, but I would note that it's not merely spending government power, it's about spending Obama's power. And that Obama will sacrifice his liberal allies if it will put him into a position less than his power.

The three basic examples that just come to find are gays who wanted to see an end to "don't ask, don't tell," and nothing has happened on that front. Armenian-Americans who wanted him to denounce Turkey for genocide back in the early part of the last century.

And I think another one probably would be those who kind of figured there would be sweeping changes in counterterrorism policy, rendition is sticking around and we're seeing continuing tribunals at Gitmo, now they're talk Gitmo may not be closed within a year, all of these things are being changed because Obama's not going to risk his popularity and his power just to placate people who are supposed to be his allies.

HANNITY: It almost seems like triangulation on speed, I mean when you think about it...

GERAGHTY: It's a good way of putting it, and I think to a certain extent Obama's goal -- it makes him tougher to beat, but I would note this means it's not unbeatable. And to a certain extent, this is not a liberal ideologue. This is a very careful and strategic...

HANNITY: All right.

GERAGHTY: ... liberal ideologue. He's not going to make the easy mistakes with the military, the way Bill Clinton did.

HANNITY: But he does dramatically want to alter the American economy. He does have hard-core leftist views. And it's all about --while he's getting his power in the process, it's all about advancing those radical views, too. Correct or wrong?

GERAGHTY: No, you're right on this. I think one of the things that's most infuriating for those of us who don't often agree with President Obama, is to note how often he will do the exact opposite of what he's saying.

He talked about how much he doesn't want the government to run the auto industry. And for those of us there's a very simple way to avoid that, which is to not do it. But instead, he has the ever greater government role in running these American auto companies.

He keeps saying how he doesn't want to bail out Wall Street, and yet, you look at what Tim Geithner is doing in the extension of the TARP funds and how they don't want banks to give back the TARP money. He keeps doing the exact same thing. Acting one way and doing the precise opposite -- saying on thing and doing the opposite.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us tonight. Appreciate it.

GERAGHTY: Any time, Sean.

Watch "Hannity" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!


Cohn-Bendit: "I Want To Accomplish The Dream Of The Bosphorus" 19 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Dany Green sees red. In an interview with the Journal du Dimanche, Daniel Cohn-Bendit is unhappy with the way the campaign for the European elections of June 7 was conducted in France. François Bayrou is particularly targeted. The top of Europe-Ecologie en Ile-de-France is accusing the president of Modem divert "(...) the campaign for his run at the Elysée."

Interview by Cécile AMAR

Le Journal du Dimanche

Why this campaign does not she?

Nobody understands how Europe works! In Ireland, it was said during the Constitutional Treaty: "If you dont know, you say no." Here, it is the same, people say: "If I do anything, Europe can do nothing for me, I stay at home."

This is new?

It's even worse this time in France, because the parties are not even pretending to talk about Europe! Only the national policy that counts. Le Pen, Besancenot, Mélenchon, Bayrou, Aubry, all want to punish Sarkozy June 7! Whoever grieves me most is Bayrou. It was discovered when he was MEP, we were friends, we campaigned together for the "yes" in 2005. We had a challenge in common: interest people in Europe. Well, it's over, it was derailed. It distracts the campaign for his run at the Elysee.

He has the right to be ambitious?

I'm not jealous, but it's sad. In addition, he falls into the trap of Sarkozy, who needs the campaign revolves around him. PS The same thing; Europe the embarrassment. You see, they all lose. Sarko come ahead and leave on for 2012! It is already polling on the next presidential election, it makes no sense, is like asking the weather forecast the weather in 2012!

"If it does not deal with Europe, it can be a nightmare!"

This is the English disease?

It continues to sell to the French idea that Europe is France better! The lie of the UMP on the theme "Europe, the French presidency" is absurd. So we will stop thirteen years since the French Presidency is in thirteen years? One has the impression that at the Elysee, someone count how many times UMP leaders pronounce the name of Nicolas Sarkozy when they go on TV! This is particularly dramatic for Barnier is a good guy, he does things, but he was ridiculed by saying without ceasing "as did Nicolas Sarkozy." The other French disease, the accumulation. In Germany, it is forbidden. Those MEPs who are candidates for legislative, to regional, municipal, is unacceptable. We should all get involved and say: "For five years, I will not be a candidate for anything, I am an MEP."

What to say to someone who does not vote on 7 June? "If you do not take care of Europe, Europe will take care of you." Abstentions, it reminds me of my son when he was 2 years old, he put his hands before his eyes and told me: "I am not there." Those who do not vote are like him, they say: "Europe is not here." But if one does not deal with Europe, it can be a nightmare!

How love Europe?

I tell my story. I was born in April 1945, nine months after landing. By meeting, I guess I have just been born and I spoke to my parents who fled Nazi Germany, I tell them: "In fifty years there will be no borders between France and Germany more troops on the Rhine, you pass from one country to another like that. " They respond: "This baby is mad, he speaks too soon and said anything!" Yet this dream is on the Rhine, and the dream of the Oder, the river that separated East and West, was accomplished. And I want to accomplish the dream of integrating Bosphorus Turkey, if it continues its democratic transformation: it determines the respect for women, Kurds, history of the Armenian genocide and secularism.

"My new delirium is to bring Israel and Palestine in Europe

Europe is a dream?

Europe is an ideal that has shaped the realities. My new delirium is to bring Israel and Palestine in Europe. I do not know if they will join the European Union or if they will benefit from privileged partnership. We'll see. But if Europe can be used to understand that the Zionist dream of Israel as the Palestinian dream should be limited and will continue next to each other, if Europe is responsible for a real Palestinian state and Israel's security will be extraordinary. We must no longer hide behind the Americans.

You tap Barroso is to take its place?

Surely not, I do not want to govern! I do not want to be surrounded by ten police permanently. You have more privacy, you'll do more film, you can read more. M'anime which is the freedom to imagine. Put me to the European Commission or in a government, I die.

You have defended your friend Joschka Fischer (*) a leftism of government and the responsibilities you flee?

This is my inconsistency. I fought for years that we, the Greens were going to the government, so that Commissioners green. But it's not for me. Others like Fischer, Rasmussen Voynet or should be ministers or president of the European Commission. I am able to make a parliament, I have shown two weeks ago with the amendment to the Law on the Internet that invalidates the law Hadopi. The only official position that could make me hesitate is that of High Representative of Europe in the Middle East as Blair. But I am real investment. But as in any case no one offers me or offer me, it eats no bread!
(*) Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Green German.


Turkey Tries To Open The Border With Armenia To Have Some Influence In The Region 2009-05-20 Interview by David Stepanyan
Interview of Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, a well-known turcologist, Professor Ruben Safrastyan with ArmInfo

Mr. Safrastyan, do the preconditions by the Turkish party with regard to Armenia play any part in the "Roadmap"?. If yes, then what?

Today we have a situation when there are official statements by our Foreign Ministry and by representatives of the US Department of State, according to which the preconditions earlier set by Turkey, in particular, the Karabakh issue, do not work in with the Armenian-Turkish negotiations. That is to say, having signed the , Ankara abandons these preconditions. It is difficult to judge about the content of this document unless it is fully published. However, I am inclined to believe in the statements by Armenia's FM and US Department of State. As for the issue of the Armenian Genocide and the Kars Treaty, I do not believe in publications of "Sabah" Turkish newspaper saying they have been included in the Map as preconditions.

Moreover, I am inclined to suppose that this was a special media leak organized by Turkey's Foreign Ministry for internal use, first of all, for relief of the flared up passions in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

In that case,=2 0what is Turkey's benefit if it abandons preconditions?

This is just the major issue. Even so, I am inclined to connect this desire of Ankara with the geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus, taking into account the fact that after the August war Russia has scored great advantage in the region: it violated the previous status quo and created a new one in its own benefit. Thus, Turkey has lost its positions in the region. In particular, Ankara invested great amounts in the economy and military infrastructure of Georgia, and after the August war all this was actually lost. Based on this Georgia, as a real geopolitical factor, is presently in a quite deplorable state. On the other hand, there is Azerbaijan which was on Georgia's side on the first day of the war, and then it flopped over Russia. Now, Azerbaijan is closer to Russia than to the West. At the same time, Turkey offered to create a small alliance to comprise Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, which would be headed by Turkey. Actually, this was just the plan which went to smash after the Russian-Georgian war. Therefore, Turkey tried to respond to this advantage of Russia and advanced the concept of the Caucasus Platform which was an attempt to balance the geopolitical success of Russia at the political level. However, we see that the Platform has actually no chances to succeed. That's why, Turkey is trying to open the border with Armenia and provi de itself with an opportunity to have some influence in the region. I think just these geopolitical considerations played their part here.

Does it turn out that Turkey makes concessions in its sole discretion based on its regional ambitions only?

First of all, I am not sure that the negotiation process will have any more or less real result. It is still early to say about it. However, it was clear up to this day that Turkey prefers its interests to those of Azerbaijan. I used to always say that Turkey is not a country to sacrifice its interests for those of its "younger brother".

How will Azerbaijan respond if the Roadmap is nevertheless published and the Karabakh conflict is not mentioned in it as a precondition?

I think Baku has already accepted this. I do not think the relations between the Azerbaijanis and Turks are actually brotherly, Azerbaijan needs Turkey more or less, and it should swallow this pill.

What is your vision of the chronology of events in the Armenian-Turkish relations? Many analysts claim that the border will be opened at first, but it is impossible without establishment of diplomatic relations.

I also think so. Diplomatic relations should be established, some representations should be opened, certain representatives and then ambassadors must be appointed. I would still abstain from any predictions, I am not sure that this will happen - the time will show. Perhaps, no diplomatic relations will be establishment at all.

Why do you think so?

First, because the "Roadmap" signed is a framework agreement, i.e. this document has no real force. Second, it does not contain many important and principle issues. There is just a list of steps to be taken, and specific negotiations with Turkey will be held just on these steps. It is typical for the case when a framework agreement is signed, and I am not sure these negotiations will have some result. The negotiations may have success or a zero result.

Turkey's interest in the Roadmap is clear, like its signing just on April 23 is clear, as Barack Obama spoke Armenian on the next day. What is Armenia's interest?

I do not think we were interested in signing of the Roadmap just on April 23. I think some diplomatic laws and regularities of the negotiation process played their part here. Personally for me, it would be more comfortable if it happened not on the eve of April 24.

Are we ready for opening of the borders?

I think our government should treat this issue very seriously. First, it should prepare a concept - a document marking possible benefits from the border opening, as well as possible risks related to this, and, above all, some specific measures due to which Armenia would receive more advantages than risks. I think this is just what we have to do first of all.

Does Armen ia play independently in its game with Turkey or everything is reduced to the collisions between the USA and Russia?

I had an article even in 2005 - a speech at the international conference on the Genocide. The article was dedicated to the problem of the Genocide recognition as a geopolitical factor. Even then I came to the conclusion that the problem of the Genocide recognition is one of the small opportunities of Armenia to conduct its policy more or less independently.

This is the issue where we have the right to take a decision based solely on our and not on others' interests, unlike the Karabakh problem which partially depends on other countries. Unlike the Genocide issue, considerable pressure is put on us in the Karabakh problem. I think we play independently also in the issue of the Armenian-Turkish relations. It proceeds from the common concept of Armenia's foreign policy, i.e. normalization of the relations with Turkey without preconditions. Second, the Russian-Georgian war has shown how we depend on Georgia. Third, the entry in the external world is of geopolitical importance for us. So, we have to solve this problem.

What about the Kars Treaty?

The Kars Treaty was signed under pressure on October 13, 1921, by the government of the Soviet Armenia. But the point is that the section concerning Armenia and Turkey and the borders between them was almost completely withdrawn from the Sov iet-Turkish treaty signed in March. Under this treaty, we accepted the Turkish border in the form it exists now. And we perceive this treaty as unfair and compulsive, and I do not think that Levon Ter-Petrosyan or Robert Kocharyan or Serzh Sargsyan would accept the Kars Treaty. However, if proceed from the pure realities, all the treaties are just a piece of paper.

The force bears the right. That's it. The meaning of our refusal is to accept that the Kars Treaty concerns not only the border to Turkey but also the status of Nakhichevan. Moreover, it is an unfair and compulsive treaty.

We did not sign it in fact. So, I think another treaty will be prepared if the real process of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations starts.

What is the present internal political situation in Turkey, especially in the light of the Cabinet shake-up by Erdogan?

As for the relations with Armenia, conventionally we can say about existence of two groupings in Turkey which have somewhat different assessment of the relations with Armenia. One of them has been represented by Premier Erdogan, a populist who very seriously uses different kinds of slogans saying, in particular, that Turkey will not betray Azerbaijan, it is discontent with the United States and Barack Obama's speeches on April 24. There is also a conventional grouping of President Gul, which advocates the real policy.

However, there is a consent between the m, i.e. the decisions are made jointly, as both of them are the leaders of the Justice and Development party. As for the Cabinet shake-up, I positively treat appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu the foreign minister. I am acquainted with his book "Strategic Depth" and the approaches it presents. Davutoglu advocates more considerable role of Turkey in the region and movement of the foreign political vector of Ankara from the West to the East. Davutoglu is an architect of the new and closer relations with the Arab world, he also played a part of a mediator during the negotiations between Syria and Israel. Davutoglu's approach is as follows: zero problems with the neighbours. If he implements his approaches, we should consider his appointment in a favourable context for normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. Davutoglu is homely with Gul and Erdogan, however, he has his own views.

Recently, the president of France claimed once again that Turkey has no place in EU. Did the latter accept it?

I think it did not, as France does not represent EU singly. In case the social-democrats in Germany, for example, come to power, the position of Germany with regard to the prospects of Turkey's membership in EU will apparently change. Moreover, Turkey has chances to join EU against the background of USA's aspiration to push it in it, although the majority of the Europeans are against this. I think the highlight of the European policy with respect to Turkey is just to keep it at the doors of EU on petitioner's bench, opening the door but not letting Turkey in.

Thank you.

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