- Armand Sammelian "The Chart By The Wayside"
- 100-Year Armenian Lies! Rahmi Turan
- Fascism, Anti-Semitism And All Sorts Of Turks, Mustafa Akyol
- Polls Analysis, Aris Ghazinyan
- AGMA: Musa Dagh Photo Collection For Armenian Genocide Museum In Washington, Arpi Harutyunyan
- Reality Check: How Real Are The "Roadmap" And "Basic Ideas" Agreements?, Jirair Haratunian
- PM Erdogan Finally Admits Turkey Practiced Ethnic Cleansing, Harut Sassounian
- Our Minorities, Yusuf Kanlı
- Turkey, Armenia, & Azerbaijan Delay, David L. Phillips
- How To Lose Friends And Produce Terrorists, LaEscapee
- Bruce Fein: Attacking Genocide Education For Schoolchildren, www.asbarez.com
- PM Erdoğan Has To Be Consistent To Be Credible, Semih İdiz
- Me As Just Another Traitor & More Greek Than A Greek, Burak Bekdil
- Apparently Google Did Not Make Exceptions For ANCA.., Sukru Aya
- Another letter, Competing greater, Send cash today And feel (fill) up better !, Sukru Aya
- Visible Future, Shahan Kandaharian
Armand Sammelian "The Chart By The Wayside" , 22 May 2009, Ara / armenews
(GoogleTranslated From French. Please contribute a better translation)
The announcement of an Armenian-Turkish agreement, called "roadmap" excluding the issue of recognition of the genocide of Armenians in 1915, before any negotiation, unfortunately written before the eve of 24 April 2009, opened a gap gaping in the great family of the Arménité.
After 94 years of waiting, the news is not good. It could spell the end of a golden age utopia based on an unalterable unity among all the Armenians of the planet and will soon taste the bitter aftermath of that déchantent.
The Armenians maintained hitherto assumed relationships go beyond charitable, educational or cultural descendants as many centuries of a people speaking the same language, having the same culture, one faith, one story, a even cause the same heart beat of the same people in mourning.
A cord filial unfailingly seemed to bind the "YERKIR" and its Diaspora, in which consanguineous composed a modern Armenian national identity.
By the deadlock for the views of some five million Armenians descendants of victims of the genocide of 1915 - "The tChart" - force to see that this myth has collapsed.
This lack of participation agreements against nature, written in the quiet, alone explains an unacceptable concessions, which did not endorse the indisputable economic difficulties, a neighborhood policy of isolation and other undeniable international interference of all kinds.
Before that aside, the Diaspora is the bounden duty of sounding the alarm while avoiding a frontal opposition with the Armenian power. More than ever, it appears necessary to strengthen bones Armenian Armenian failing, beyond the various chapels.
It is difficult how the "YERKIR" could stifle long diaspora, "SPUYRK", which denies that prior recognition of the genocide through profit and loss, which does not allow to be short-circuited on the fights more critical of his History: "The tChart" obviously belongs to both Armenia and the Diaspora, because it affects all children without exception, without discrimination and without sharing.
Of course, lifting the embargo, recognize the borders, restore diplomatic relations, boost trade and fight against poverty ... are all questions that can not be underestimated.
The guiding principles which govern our thinking is dramatically simple:
1. We do not meet pseudo-Turkish historians to orders scheduled to revisit "The tChart.
2. The metaphor "road map" reminds us uncomfortably deportation suffered by our elders - the "Aksor" - it is an unworthy additional injury.
3. The absence of the diaspora to these agreements leaves us helpless: it sounds like "a denial of brotherhood" deplorable and symbolic sense. It proves that the authority look at the Armenian diaspora as foreign to the cause except to consider it as a purveyor of exclusive gifts, bequests and other humanitarian or financial ...
4. It is because we are all Armenians totally that we are all fully involved. Each Armenian wherever located, is not only his part but the whole of that terrible legacy. Together, united and united we will win a common cause and just because together we are stronger.
5. In total, this "account" East inique makes calculations of haggling back and thoughts sounds like a Machiavellian trap because, at the same time:
a) It removes the question of prior recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey.
b) It is double the exclusion in the negotiations of the diaspora, now deprived of its rights and duties to its historical ancestors.
c) It is equivalent to a Turkish invasion in the internal politics Armenian diaspora in the form of "Trojan horse" and a recurrence of the Ottoman grip on the fate of the Armenians.
d) It allows the continuation of the Turkish Omerta impossible that turns our mourning into permanent fighting.
e) It will, sooner or later, one against the other Armenia and its diaspora, and within each entity Armenians among them.
In conclusion, the Turkish diplomacy far to contrition, and wins on all fronts. She will be able to show a face of the Madonna in the face of Europe and the World.
The time is thus the general mobilization and the invention of a partnership model between healthy Armenians.
Our People of the shadows, all our anguished ADA BAZAR-to BROUSSE, ZARA in Van, Bitlis, Sivas, flies, ADANA, through ZEITOUN, SIS, MARACH, Erzerum, Trabzon and other embedded in their shrines made of stone and sand could not accept that we sell their soul to the devil for a mess of pottage ...
But nothing is done, far from it!
What the government has done, another défera!
The true light as the darkness always come from within.
Armand SAMMELIAN Antibes is a 64 years, very involved and highly valued within the community of the Cote d'Azur. He is vice-president of SOS Armenia Côte d'Azur and was president of CDCA Côte d'Azur
100-Year Armenian Lies!
This is a single-sided favor! They always want, but they never give! Moreover, they burn our flag and curse us.
Armenia, which is full with hatred and obstinacy, express that they will never give up their genocide claim and recognize Turkey’s current borders. They claim that Ağrı Mountain belongs to them. They call Eastern Anatolia as “Western Armenia” and refuse to evacuate the Azerbaijani lands that they have invaded.
Doing the things Obama wanted us to do by sitting at the table with Armenia, leaving our relations with brother Azerbaijan aside, and getting prepared to open our borders even though they are not ready to give anything, is noting but a submission policy.
The closeness between Ankara and Yerevan at the cost of offending Azerbaijan, reminded us 100-year Armenian lies once again.
“No country in the world was exposed to such an organized and extensive propaganda!”
This was stated by Lawyer Gülseren Aytaş, the author of the book called “Armenian Demands”.
The ones who accuse Turkey with genocide do not desire to remember that Turkey is the country which gave shelter to the Jews, who escaped from the inquisition courts in Spain, Germans, who escaped from the cruelty of Hitler, Kurds, who escaped from Saddam’s cruelty, 100 thousand Armenians, who came since they were jobless and suffered hunger. Is this what you call ethics and conscience?
Armenian Propaganda activities are not based on laws; they are based on politics!
She explains it in her book called “Armenian Demands”. In 2006, news spread out that Turkey would resort to the international judgment against the so-called Armenian claims. According to this, Turkey and Armenia would choose three separate judges and an independent judge would be appointed as a chairman. This delegation would decide if 1915 incidents are genocide or not according to the United Nations convention. In another words, Turkey would be judged as a country which committed genocide.
If the votes are equal, then the sole vote of the chairman would determine the result.
What kind of nonsense is that? How can the Westerns who sides Armenians be trusted?
Not only the Armenian issue, many questions were solved with international agreements during the period of Atatürk; currently they are evaded.
The desire to judge the Ottoman Empire existed during 1918 Serves Treaty. Mustafa Kemal threw the disgraceful treaty that was made by the Ottoman government into trash.
The Armenian issue was solved with 1920 Gümrü and 1921 Kars Agreement. Despite these agreements, the Armenians do not pay their debts and consider these agreements as non existent.
There are no humanity crimes like Atom bomb or usage of chemical weapons at the Turkish history. Those inhumane crimes belong to America and Europe, which put pressure on us.
The Armenian questions were solved during Atatürk’s period with the international agreements. Europe and America shamelessly considers the rights of Turkey as nonexistent!
The massacres that were committed during 1878 and 1920 by the Armenian gangs were not considered as an uprising but political struggle. Uprising and betray concepts are changed. Isn’t committing slaughters against the innocent Anatolian people by collaborating with the invader armies, a betray and an uprising activity?
The Armenian Diaspora will eventually demand land and compensation. This is their and their sly collaborators plan in Turkey!
Rahmi Turan-Hürriyet Daily Newspaper-27.04.2009, GenocideReality.Com
Fascism, Anti-Semitism And All Sorts Of Turks
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a man full of surprises. He surprised the world four months ago in Davos by bashing Israeli President Shimon Peres for "killing children" in Gaza. The way he stormed the international forum came as a relief to most Middle Easterners, but raised eyebrows among many Westerners.
Last week Erdoğan made another surprise move, defending the right of an Israeli company to invest in Turkey, and criticizing the history of his own country, and his own political tradition, for having a "fascist mindset." While this comment came as a relief to Turkey’s liberals, it not only raised eyebrows, but also prompted heated protests among the country’s more numerous nationalists.
Border as ’honor’
The issue at hand was the minefield on the Turkish-Syrian border. This 500-meter wide and 510-kilometer long "security zone" is full of thousands of landmines, a relic from Turkey’s "enemies, enemies everywhere" era. The mines have not only been lethal to nearby villagers, they have also rendered this fertile strip of land useless. Moreover, the Ottawa Treaty that Turkey recently signed obliges the country to clear all its mines by 2014.
Something had to be done. The government asked the military, and learned that clearing the mines would necessitate the purchase of very expensive technical equipment that would be used only once. So outsourcing the job to an expert company made more sense. That would cost a lot of money too. But the government had a smart idea: Turkey could make back the expenses of de-mining by leasing the land to the same company for some 49 years, or perhaps less, for organic agriculture. We would get rid of the mines, people in the region would find new jobs and the foreign company would make money. Everybody would be happy.
But, well, it is hard to make Turks happy. Sharp criticisms arose that accused the government of "selling Turkish land to foreigners" Ğ particularly, to the not-much-loved Israelis. That is what brought about Erdoğan’s comments on "fascism." He rightly tied these reactions to the phobia against minorities and foreigners, and said:
"Something has been done in this country for years. People with different ethnic identities were expelled. Have we gained anything by this? No. This, in fact, was the result of a fascist mindset."
Erdoğan also explained the logic of free-market capitalism:
"Money has no religion, nation or ethnicityÉ Global finance wants to come and invest in our country. But some people say, ’No, we don’t want that, that is Jewish finance.’É Look brother, let him come and invest in the country, whoever that person is. They will create jobs for our own citizens."
Needless to say, I fully agreed with the prime minister on both approaches, political and economic liberalism. Yet for many people in Turkey, both are treacherous ideas. No wonder speakers from both opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, made furious comments about how unpatriotic the prime minister is. CHP member Canan Arıtman, who recently "accused" President Abdullah Gül of being of Armenian descent, summarized the opposition’s position by saying, "Our borders are our honor; we can’t sell them to foreigners!"
What was more interesting was the reaction Erdoğan received from some pundits in the Islamic/conservative camp. Four different columnists in Yeni Şafak, an Islamic-leaning daily that is often pro-AKP, raised strong objections to the possibility of an Israeli company getting the job. Daily Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan argued that this rift might bring some extra votes to the Saadet (Felicity) Party, which holds to the old-school Islamist line. He is probably right.
After all these criticisms, and also some apparently valid objections involving the nature of the complicated job, Erdoğan backed off. The draft law about the mines will be written again in the Parliament. And I am really no expert on most of the technicalities that people are speaking about.
What I know a bit better is the underlying mindsets in these debates. And this recent one highlights what I have been arguing for a long time: The most crucial gap in this country is the one between nationalists and globalists. You can find both Islamic and secular figures on both sides. And the AKP, to its credit, is still the least nationalist political party on the scene.
Mustafa Akyol Hürriyet 30 may 2009
Polls Analysis, Aris Ghazinyan ArmeniaNow reporter
Some political analysts in Armenia tend to think that the municipal elections due in Yerevan this Sunday (May 31) may undermine the country's fragile stability. However, that is not quite true.
Undoubtedly, certain complications of the situation are always possible, and especially after the elections, however one cannot overlook the fact that the most fatal changes in countries like Armenia are determined by foreign interest and foreign influence.
The main foreign interest is the perspective of building relations with Turkey, and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem as soon as possible. That's where the actual threat of destabilization for Armenia's current authorities comes from.
During the past two months the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have made more statements on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue than they had during the whole year. In their statements the mediators did not exclude the prospect of settling the issue within the coming few months.
Armenia's leadership have faced the need to settle the Karabakh issue as soon as possible. And that, in a sense, is a deadlock.
The American co-chair of the Minsk Group, Matthew Bryza, has repeatedly stated that five `Azerbaijani districts' have to `come out' of Armenian control (Getabek, Fizuli, Aghdam, Zangelan, Kutabli). He was pointing out to the need to think up some interesting status for Nagorno-Karabakh (within the limits of the former Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh). However, the issue is that the moment Armenia's leadership agree to such a unilateral concession, they'll sign their resignation.
No one in the country will agree to give away to Azerbaijan Karabakh's historic regions won back at the cost of blood. Hence, the first step on the way of the putative solution of the issue would lead to destabilization of the situation in Armenia. Moreover, former president Robert Kocharyan might return to major-league politics and form a coalition with Dashnaktsutyun.
The possible readiness of the Armenian authorities to make unilateral concessions may become the subject of speculations in domestic politics, this time on the part of the opposition Armenian National Congress.
The current administration is in a deadlock also on `the western border'. With Turkey.
On the one hand, it has to maintain communication with the Turkish side and declare about its eagerness to establish diplomatic relations without any preconditions. At the same time, the Armenian side doesn't mind the opening of the border. As for Ankara, at the initial stage it won't raise the Karabakh issue, as the most important thing for it now is the ratification of the Armenian-Turkish border.
The moment the current administration takes that step (nothing different is expected to happen in the case with Turkey), there will be a shift of power in the country. In modern Armenia there cannot be a government which could afford to sign a paper that includes a point on inviolability of the border (with Turkey) and retain the reins of power.
The Armenian Diaspora scattered all over the world realizes that the Armenian-Turkish border (or rather, the Soviet-Turkish border) is temporary, regardless of today's realities or a certain feebleness of the Armenian state and the political elite representing that state.
Any representative of the country who would agree to sign an agreement on inviolability of the frontier is doomed. They will simply be forced to step down by a protest movement. Consequently, the authorities are in a deadlock and have no choice but keep repeating something quite obvious: `the Karabakh issue is not a precondition in the negotiations with Turkey'.
Armenia's neighbors are as concerned about the prospect of opening the border as Armenia. The transport ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia met on May 24 to discuss the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project.
An intergovernmental agreement on creating a railway corridor Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars was drawn in February 2007 by Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. The project includes the construction of a 98-kilometer Kars-Akhalkhalaki railway section, of which a 68-kilometer stretch will run through Turkey, and 30 km through Georgia.
The project also envisages the reconstruction of the Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi section, for which Azerbaijan has given a long-term preferential loan of $200 million. Construction works as part of that project will require an estimated $422 million ($202 million for the Georgian section, and $220 million for the Turkish one.) The project budget including the provision of adjacent infrastructure is more than $600 million. The railway is expected to become operational by mid-2011.
Why, however, did all of a sudden the transport ministers of the three states urgently meet in Turkey?
The thing is that in the highlight of a possible opening of the Armenian-Turkish border and the quite real prospect of the re-operation of the Gyumri-Kars railway road, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project becomes almost completely pointless.
And it is not only about all the assets invested in that project. Apart from other things the project had been designed to isolate Armenia. Washington raises objections to this project by not financing the construction and views the South Caucasus as one indivisible whole.
Armenia's leadership knows perfectly well that possible complications in domestic affairs connected with the municipal elections can be used against them as a mechanism of external pressure. It is in this and only this regard that the `international community' is interested in the municipal elections.
Today the authorities understand that `flirting' with Turkey over the border issue has turned into a real trap for them. The same can be said about the promises of readiness to settle the Karabakh issue. The only thing President Serzh Sargsyan can do now is to `freeze' the launched process of active relations in two parallel areas and govern the country `in Robert Kocharyan's mode'.
However, Sargsyan's predecessor Kocharyan was a more independent president and rejected all proposals to build relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan right from the outset. It is, of course, beyond Sargsyan's strength. Or is it?
The answer to that question will become clear in the months to come
AGMA: Musa Dagh Photo Collection For Armenian Genocide Museum In Washington, Arpi Harutyunyan
Rare and historically significant photographs of the Armenians of Musa Dagh will be among the Genocide-era images featured in the Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA) thanks to the generosity of a private collector who is providing the museum with exclusive access to the photos.
This unique collection of black-and-white photographs, dating from 1915 to 1939, is the life's work of Dr. Vahram Shemmassian, a Los Angeles-based historian who is the world's leading expert on the Armenians of Musa Dagh.
`We are profoundly grateful to Dr. Shemmassian for allowing the museum to use his priceless photo collection to help tell the heroic story of the Musa Dagh Armenians against the backdrop of the larger and much more tragic story of the Armenian Genocide,' said Van Z. Krikorian, AGMA Board Trustee and Building and Operations Committee Chairman. `In addition, as the foremost authority on the subject of Musa Dagh, Dr. Shemmassian is able to provide authentication of the evidence documented in these photographs.'
Musa Dagh (Musa Ler in Armenian) or the Mountain of Moses, stood on the Mediterranean Sea south of the coastal town of Alexandretta (modern-day Iskenderun) and west of ancient Antioch, was the site of the famed resistance during the Armenian Genocide. Of the hundreds of villages, towns, and cities across the Ottoman Empire whose Armenian population was ordered to be removed to the Syrian desert, Musa Dagh was one of only four sites where Armenians organized a defense of their community against the deportation edicts issued by the Young Turk regime beginning in April, 1915.
Krikorian said the Musa Dagh photo collection is the fourth significant collection of Genocide-era visual materials which, in the past year, have been made available for use by AGMA. AGMA has been granted access to the archives of the Near East Foundation and the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan, Armenia, and has received a donation of a privately-held research library containing books, maps, photographs and other materials focused on the Armenian Genocide and its documentation.
Dr. Shemmassian has also undertaken pioneering research on the fate of Armenian women and children during and in the aftermath of the Genocide, another focus area of the museum. Shemmassian, who is currently Director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Northridge, said the Armenian Genocide Museum in Washington, DC is a "perfect match" for his collection.
`The thousands of people who will visit the museum will be able to look into the faces of those brave Armenians of Musa Dagh and learn of their unique story,' Dr. Shemmassian said. `They resisted and most of them survived, but they were forced to leave their homes. These photographs document the trying conditions and difficult challenges that the displaced Musa Dagh Armenians faced as survivors and refugees.'
According to Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of the museum's research arm, the Armenian National Institute, `The story of Musa Dagh is one of the rare instances during the Armenian Genocide era where Armenian villagers, who were targeted for annihilation by the Ottoman Turkish Army, put up an organized resistance for 49 days and were eventually rescued by Allied warships patrolling the Turkish coast.'
Adalian said, `There are no known photographs of the actual defense of Musa Dagh, however, the rescue and delivery to safety in Egypt of over 4,000 survivors made headline news.' The Austrian author Franz Werfel also immortalized the gripping events in his `Forty Days of Musa Dagh,' which became a best-seller upon its release in 1933 and was subsequently translated into numerous languages.
The AGMA recently received a copy of the Dutch edition of `Forty Days of Musa Dagh' from a Canadian donor whose family had lived through World War II. Adalian added, `The book is important supplemental material to the Musa Dagh photo collection, and points to the world-wide impact of the story of the resistance of the Armenians of Musa Dagh.'
Of the three other sites where Armenians defied the deportation orders, Shabin Karahissar, Urfa, and Van, only the Armenians of Van were rescued when the siege of their city was lifted by an advancing Russian army. The Armenians of Urfa and Shabin Karahissar were either massacred or deported. Musa Dagh stood as the sole instance where the Western Allies at war with the Ottomans averted the death of a community during the Armenian Genocide.
That story inspired the Prague-born Austrian writer, Franz Werfel, to write a novelized version of the events as The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Published in 1933, the book became an instant bestseller, but with the rise of Hitler, Werfel, himself a Jew, fled Vienna that same year. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh was eventually translated into eighteen languages, while Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the Hollywood film company, announced plans for the production of a movie version of the novel. The Turkish ambassador's protestations to the Department of State resulted in the intervention of the United States government in the matter. In response to a veiled threat to ban American-made films from Turkey, MGM studios permanently shelved plans to produce the movie.
`Our analysis of the book indicated that if the world did not come to the rescue of the Armenians, who were Christians after all, how could we, Jews, expect help? No doubt Hitler knew all about those massacres and the criminal neglect by the free world, and was convinced that he could proceed with impunity against the helpless Jews,' Adalian said.
In Eastern Europe many Jews read Werfel's The Forty Days of Musa Dagh as a warning about their fate. During the Holocaust years, copies of the novel are reported to have been circulated as a source of inspiration and a call to arms in some of the ghettos to which the Nazis confined the Jews.
Reality Check: How Real Are The "Roadmap" And "Basic Ideas" Agreements? Commentary by Jirair Haratunian
April and May have been months of intense diplomatic activity concerning Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, involving summitry among the presidents of the three nations and a large measure of United States involvement at the highest levels. As part of his first trip to Europe, President Barack Obama spoke in Ankara with unusual candor about relations between Turkey and Armenia, urging reconciliation and the opening of the border between the two nations. Obama encouraged Turkey to face the dark pages of its history, but he disappointed many Armenians by avoiding the Genocide label when referencing the events of 1915.
In what appeared to be a choreographed series of announcements, Armenia and Turkey agreed to a "roadmap" that established the parameters within which they will negotiate the many issues that have kept the nations isolated from one another.
The timing of the announcement, just two days before the April 24th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, caused widespread suspicion.
Was this a coincidence? Very unlikely, but it provided an excuse for President Obama to once again refrain from using the word Genocide, this time in his April 24th statement commemorating the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The choreography continued during the meetings that quickly followed the roadmap announcement. The first of the subsequent meetings was in Washington, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during separate audiences with the respective Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, urged progress in the negotiations on Nagorno Karabakh.
This was followed by a summit in Prague, under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), wherein negotiators made a startling declaration that President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, had agreed to "Basic Ideas," which are said to constitute the parameters within which the Nagorno Karabakh negotiation process will proceed.
Predictably both the "Roadmap" and "Basic Ideas" announcements caused fierce debate as well as resistance in both Yerevan and Baku. In Yerevan, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) party, objected to the Roadmap agreement, demanded that its terms be made public and ultimately resigned from the government coalition.
In turn, the opposition movement, led by former President Levon Ter-Petrossian and the Heritage Party, also rejected the agreement announcement. Ter-Petrossian challenged the legitimacy of the Sargsyan Government to conduct reconciliation negotiations with Turkey and condemned what he said was acceptance of Turkish demands that a commission of historians be established to determine the validity of the Armenian Genocide. He also claimed that a link between the Karabakh and Turkish negotiations were now established in fact and that the core interests of Armenia and Karabakh had been undermined.
The Sargsyan Government quickly denied that any preconditions exist in the negotiations with Turkey and specifically asserted that there is no link between the "roadmap" arrangements with Turkey and the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh problem.
In Baku, there was strong opposition to both agreements. Azerbaijani officials and political observers denied the existence of a "Basic Ideas" accord and opposed any end to the Turkish blockade of Armenia before the Nagorno Karabakh problem is resolved.
Turkish reaction to Azerbaijan's objections were immediate. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hurried to Baku and repeated over and over that Turkey would not agree to open its border with Armenia until the Nagorno Karabakh problem was resolved. He also promised that Baku's demands that all captured territories be returned to Azerbaijan was fully supported by Ankara.
So where does that leave the status of "Road Map" and "Basic Ideas"? Clearly their future is in serious jeopardy.
Erdogan insists that a Karabakh settlement is a precondition for the end of Turkey's blockade of Armenia, while Aliyev insists that Azerbaijan's sovereignty over Karabakh and all regions occupied by Armenian forces is not negotiable.
In contrast to Azeri doubts, Yerevan sees signs of progress under the format of the OSCE negotiations process. On May 16, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian told a regional conference in Yerevan, "Our foreign policy focuses on developing relations with neighboring countries in a way that highlights common concerns and interests rather than differences and disparities." He said that the two main security challenges facing Armenia are "the peaceful and just resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations."
Both of these objectives are commendable, however, resolving the complex historic issues with Azerbaijan and Turkey requires more than the eloquent expression of ideals. There will always be absolutists in each of the three nations who will challenge any hint of compromise. To overcome internal and external opposition the Armenian government needs to remain consistent in pursuing its stated priorities, be flexible in confronting emerging geopolitical circumstances and exercise a high level of diplomatic skill. Success will require the support of the citizens of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. They must have confidence in the fairness of any agreement. In the end, it is their security and the future of their children that are at stake.
PM Erdogan Finally Admits Turkey Practiced Ethnic Cleansing By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
In a daring statement, Prime Minister Rejeb Erdogan admitted for the first time, that the expulsion from Turkey of tens of thousands of ethnic Greeks in the last century was a "fascist" act, Reuters reported. Some commentators viewed Erdogan's remarks as a reference to the expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Greeks from Turkey to Greece in 1923. The large-scale population exchange between the two countries also included the transfer of more than 500,000 ethnic Turks from Greece to Turkey.
Other observers thought that Erdogan was referring to the pillaging of thousands of Greek shops and houses by Turkish mobs in Istanbul on Sept. 6-7, 1955, following the spread of false reports that AtatÃ¼rk's house in Thessaloniki, Greece had been burned down.
Beyond the expulsion of Greeks, Erdogan made an indirect reference to the tragic fate of other ethnic groups, such as Armenians, in Turkey. "For years, those of different identities have been kicked out of our country.=80¦ This was not done with common sense. This was done with a fascist approach," Erdogan said on May 23, during the annual congress of the Justice and Development Party, held in the western province of DÃ¼zce.
"For many years," Erdogan continued, "various facts took place in this country to the detriment of ethnic minorities who lived here. They were ethnically cleansed because they had a different ethnic cultural identity. The time has arrived for us to question ourselves about why this happened and what we have learned from all of this. There has been no analysis of this right up until now. In reality, this behavior is the result of a fascist conception. We have also fallen into this grave error."
The Turkish Prime Minister's candid remarks were harshly criticized by opposition parties. Onur Oymen, vice president of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said that associating Turkey's history with terms like fascism based on hearsay was not right. He also said that no Turkish citizen had ever been expelled because of his or her ethnic background. Oktay Vural of the opposition MHP party added: "Erdogan's words are an insult to the Turkish nation."
In sharp contrast, liberal Turkish commentators praised Erdogan for his conciliatory remarks: "For the first time you have a prime minister who wants to admit that mistakes were made in the treatment of religious minorities. This is historic," wrote journalist Sami Kohen in Milliyet. "But whether this rhetoric will be followed with deeds, remains to be seen." HÃ¼rriyet Daily News added: Erdogan's speech was historic; it was the first time that a high official accepted there have been unlawful and undemocratic practices against minorities in the past. This sentiment was echoed by Prof. Halil Berktay in Vatan newspaper: "That statement was the most courageous thing ever said by Erdogan." Baskin Oran, another academic well-known for his liberal views, told Star newspaper that he was "proud of a prime minister who denounces ethnic and religious cleansing."
CNN-Turk News Director Ridvan Akar was more skeptical about Erdogan's true intentions. He wrote in Vatan : "Minority rights as well as those of religious foundations are a structural problem within the Turkish state. Of course, Erdogan has taken a step forward with this declaration. But the sincerity of his words will depend on facts to back them up, such as the restitution of rights to those who have been expelled, the return of confiscated properties, or compensation."
The Prime Minister's statement is encouraging, if it is an indication that Turkey's leaders have finally decided to face the ugly chapters of their country's past.
However, it would be wrong to draw overly optimistic conclusions from this single statement. Erdogan has made similar comments about the Kurds in Turkey, only to have their hopes dashed by taking unexpected repressive measures against them.
The fact is that Erdogan is not the master of his political domain. The "fascists" he attacks are not buried in an Ottoman historical grave, but are alive and well in Turkish society and occupy the highest echelons of the military and judiciary.
Yet, Erdogan is politically shrewd enough to realize that his condemnation of fascism would resonate at home and in the West, and win him accolades and support against his powerful domestic opponents.
Erdogan's battle against the ghosts of the Turkish past is in fact a fight for his political survival against those in today's Turkey who view him and his Islamic party with deep suspicion, and are determined to counter his every move, ultimately seeking his downfall from power.
It is a sad reality, but the dwindling size of the non-Muslim Greek, Armenian, Catholic Levantine or Syriac minorities testify to the reality that this land has lost some of its precious jewels over the past several decades.
Irrespective of whether one describes as "fascist pressure" or "peer pressure," it is a fact as well that members of those minorities who left Turkey and settled somewhere else did not decide to do so voluntarily, but felt compelled because of the not so favorable conditions created by the advance of some radical and exclusive political tendencies in this land.
Irrespective whether it was a "genocide" as Armenians wish to describe it or a hostile atmosphere produced by a civil war, Russian aggression as well as imperial designs of some Western powers in which Turks, Kurds and Arabs confronted with the local Armenian population and consequently immense human suffering was lived, it is a fact that compared to the closing years of the 19th century, we almost have no sizeable Armenian presence in today’s Turkey.
Besides the population exchange application in line with the Lausanne Treaty in the founding period of the Turkish Republic, the sad and shameful September 6-7, 1955 events in Istanbul forced the majority of the remaining Greek community of Istanbul flee to Greece. Were not they "owners" of this land, as much as we ethnic Turks are? Yet, those sons of this land were compelled to abandon their homeland and settle in Greece because the Istanbul of 1955 was no longer a safe place for them to stay on.
The Syriacs suffered as well a similar but perhaps a less traumatic but long enduring process that eventually resulted with many members of the community abandoning their homeland and settling somewhere else because of increased threats to their security. Don’t we have Syriac villages with no or very few Syriacs today in Mardin and elsewhere in that geography of our country? Did they leave their homeland voluntarily? Did not the political climate and the insensitivity of the state to their plight produced this end result? Even today, if the remaining dwindled Syriac community of Turkey can get almost no support from the Turkish authorities but receive an across the parliament support from all groups in the Bundestag against the alleged occupation by some villagers the forested land of the Deyrelumur, or the Mor Gabriel Monastery in Mardin?
Recently, together with my wife, Aydan, we were on a tour of the Scandinavian countries. We started our trip from Copenhagen and after a nine day tour was to end it in Copenhagen as well. However, rather than Copenhagen, we preferred to conclude our tour in Malmo, a beautiful city in Sweden very close to the Copenhagen airport. One reason we ended up there was many friends we have there, another was the beautiful city itself with its many parks, pedestrian areas and the shopping paradise it offers.
Syriac girl at a Malmo shop
At one of the Malmo shops while discussing in Turkish hopelessly to convince my wife that she did not need to buy a new bag, hearing us talking in Turkish a young sales assistant lady, with shining eyes approached us and in an accented Turkish asked "Are you from Turkey?" Knowing that a large Turkish-Kurdish group was living in the city, I was not surprised. After some discussion, I learned that she was daughter of a Turkish Syriac family who migrated there long ago. Soon her father joined us together with his many questions about Turkey, present socio-political conditions and hopes for a return one day. He was homesick and the pain of being compelled to live away from homeland was so apparent in his face. He was not there because he wanted a "better life" but rather because he was scared for the security of his family.
While enjoying a cup of coffee and fuming our cigarettes on the bench across his shop he explained with bitter examples the incredible pressures from the Turkish, Kurdish, Arab "neighbors" as well as the local Turkish officials, the prejudices, misconceptions, the dark and ugly peer pressure on them. How much was real, how much was product of the scared perceptions of the Syriac community he belonged to was of course irrelevant as the end product was there: They were uprooted from their homeland and made refugees in a foreign land which they have been trying to make their second homeland.
I remembered similar feelings in discussions in Athens with Greeks who were compelled to settle there in the aftermath of the 1955 events and with second or third generation Anatolian Armenians in Yerevan.
Why did we lose so many precious gems?
One important factor behind the suffering of minorities of this land, and perhaps of this entire region, is the perception that considers minorities as a potential threat to "national security" or as a "natural collaborator" with outside forces determined to hurt the "nation".
While in most parts of the world the term minority implies a group of people who might have ethnical, cultural or religious differences from the majority of the people of that land and while they enjoy "equal rights" with the rest of the community, they are provided with some "additional rights" so that they can protect and promote the "differences" they have from the rest. So while all citizens of a country enjoy full and equal rights, minorities have some "added rights" that aims to enable them to preserve their "peculiarities" or "differences".
There are no laws or de facto restrictions in those democracies barring minority community members, let’s say, from becoming teachers, civil servants, top bureaucrats or even officers. Even, in some democracies, with the aim and intention of giving minorities an opportunity to have a voice in the running of the country, there is the application of "quota" for them in legislatures, though the "quota" application appears odd under the principle of universal suffrage.
Yet, while perhaps because of the bitter recent history and established prejudices it is not valid in Turkey or in our wider geography, in most democracies minorities are in principle an "added value" to society, not a "security threat."
If he was not the frustrated prime minister and political party leader, who just before the March local elections declared adamantly during a tour of the southeast that those who did not love this country were free to go wherever they liked, perhaps we would applaud Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for delivering a historical apology to "the other half" of this nation who were told "Love it or leave it" or simply forced by nationalist or Islamist mobs to abandon their homeland and settle somewhere else.
Still, conceding as a grave and fascist mistake that was done to our many minorities both in the founding period of the republic and at various occasions since then must be saluted as a late but welcome awareness of what we indeed have lost by losing those elements of our society. If the person who uttered those words might have been someone of his word, perhaps we would even feel happy that perhaps from now on our minorities would perhaps be provided a better opportunity of manifesting themselves without feeling compelled to hide their cultural, linguistic, ethnic and other peculiarities in a new atmosphere of respect to differences.
But, remembering that the same "great Turkish leader" was using recently a rather xenophobic, tone-bordering hate speech, when he referred to some 40,000 "illegal Armenians" living and working in Turkey and reminded the Yerevan government that if they did not behave well, the Turkish government might pack and send back all those illegal Armenians but so far Turkey is approaching the matter with a humanitarian perspective and not taking any action, it becomes difficult for me to feel happy over the acknowledgment that it was a fascist practice to force emigration of the non-Muslim minorities of this land. Now, even though we have serious questions about Erdoğan’s sincerity in making that confession, I do have difficulty as well in understanding why everyone is attacking the premier because he qualified the oppression of minorities as "fascist practices".
Why don’t we better ask ourselves why even today our Jewish population or other minorities continue to emigrate from Turkey? Why is Turkey still losing its gems?
Why this resistance to facing our own history? Is there any probability to advance before conceding the mistakes, irrespective how serious or how few they might be, we made in the past, draw lessons from them and avoid such shameful attitudes in the future?
The radical, nationalist, Islamist advances in this country, the xenophobic "love it or leave it" attitudes of some of our political elite and the very fact that we only have a handful of minorities in this land today all demonstrate the need for replacing the exclusive understanding with an inclusive one, the confrontation culture with a compromise one, the rejectionist one with an engagement one.
Without its gems this land will be a barren one.
Yusuf Kanlı © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Turkey, Armenia, And The Azerbaijan Delay By David L. Phillips May 24, 2009, Boston Globe
THE RECENT announcement normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations is a potentially historic breakthrough. However, the lack of progress in implementing the "framework agreement" raises questions about Turkey's intentions and resolve. Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, is buckling to domestic opposition and objections from Azerbaijan. Moreover, the announcement of the normalization "road map" on the eve of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day looks like a cynical effort to dissuade President Obama from characterizing the events of 1915-1923 as genocide.
The central dispute between Turkey and Armenia involves the occupation of territories in Azerbaijan, as well as divergent historical narratives. While some Turks refer to suffering at the end of the Ottoman Empire as a "shared tragedy," Armenians and others call it "genocide." After the Soviet Union's demise and Armenia's independence, Armenian forces sought to safeguard the ethnic-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. In so doing, they displaced about 800,000 Azerbaijanis and occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan.
The Obama administration is committed to good relations with Turkey and Armenia. Both are US allies and help counter global extremism. Turkey's cooperation is critical to US efforts in Afghanistan, redeploying troops from Iraq, and constraining Iran's nuclear development. The Armenian-American community ensures that US-Armenia ties are permanent and strong.
US mediation was indispensable to the agreement on normalization and recognition, which Turkish and Armenian officials initialed April 2. The accord establishes a binational commission, a series of subcommissions, and specifies a timetable for implementation. The agreement does not, however, take effect until both countries sign it. Getting from initials to implementation is far from guaranteed.
After meeting with Turkish officials on April 7 in Istanbul, Obama concluded that resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh was not a formal precondition for normalization and recognition. But as a practical matter it is a deal-breaker. Armenian and Azerbaijani negotiators agree on "basic ideas" for resolving Nagorno-Karabakh's status, but work is still needed before the parties approve the proposal.
Turkey's interests cannot be held hostage by Azerbaijan. The United States should reaffirm Obama's understanding: there is no link between normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations and negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Just as there should be no linkage between normalization and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, there must be no linkage between normalization and genocide recognition.
From 2001-2004, I chaired the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, which sought a legal analysis on "The applicability of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide to events that occurred in the early 20th century."
The analysis determined that international law prohibits the retroactive application of treaties.
The analysis also defined the crime of genocide: (i) the perpetrator killed one or more persons; (ii) such person or persons belonged to a particular national, racial, or religious group; (iii) the perpetrator intended to destroy in whole or in part that group, as such; and, (iv) the conduct took place in the context of a manifest pattern of similar conduct directed against the group. Of the criteria, "intent" is the only one in dispute. The analysis determined that Ottoman figures who ordered the deportation knew the consequence of their actions and therefore possessed the requisite genocidal intent.
The finding is not legally binding, but it did give something to both peoples that can aid the goal of reconciliation.
The commission emphasized open discussion between Turks and Armenians. So-called track two activities - contact, communication, and cooperation - help foster mutual understanding, co-mingle interests, and build trust. To this end, Western governments should establish a fund for collaborative activities. Civil society cooperation can consolidate an official agreement; it can also serve as a safety net if talks founder.
Track two is not, however, a substitute for official diplomacy. The Obama administration must stay engaged to help Turkey and Armenia formalize the agreement. Standing with the proponents of reconciliation puts the United States on the right side of history.
David L. Phillips is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
How To Lose Friends And Produce Terrorists by LaEscapee May 24, 2009
As we all have learned recently there is no way that the court ordered release of certain documents or pictures can be allowed because the release "further inflame anti-American opinion".
LaEscapee's diary :: ::
Intelligent people can disagree on this matter, though it is a hard argument to make for many that stated at the time that the Abu Ghraib photos enhanced recruitment. Yet another argument can be made that this is in direct contrast with earlier statements by this president.
"Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,"
Of course "Rule of Law" and transparency,as we all know, are in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it doesn't apply to court orders, who knew?
"Trust in government has been on the decline for some time in the United States. The previous administration's disclosure policies certainly contributed to public skepticism," said Jerry Miller, director of the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University. "People now appear more optimistic, but still guarded, about President Obama and the current administration's disclosure practices under the Freedom of Information Act."
Now that is settled how about other factors that may help in the recruitment of "terrorists".
Some have claimed there is
..."no evidence" that Guantánamo "has served as a recruiting tool for terrorists." In fact, military and FBI interrogators have stated that terrorists have successfully used the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay as a recruiting device.
I guess that would be true unless you actually pay attention to those who know the facts.
"I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq."
I could go on with other examples of the points previously made but obviously these are known facts to those who choose to face reality. What also to be apparent to these same people is a fact that all to often isn't addressed but if truth be known probably provides more motivation than pictures, 'Extraordinary Rendition' or even torture ever could.
Civilian deaths are providing more motivation and anti-American sentiment today in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The old saw about "winning hearts and minds" seems a little far fetched when we argue over the correct number of civilians we kill. Somehow I find it hard to believe that killing family members and friends helps "the cause". Of course there are some that admit the myth that others try and propulgate.
Reality’s delete key
Officers looked to operations in Malaya, Vietnam, Northern Ireland and, occasionally, Algeria for positive and negative examples. Yet not one of those political struggles is relevant to the situation in Iraq (or Afghanistan). As for the pertinent examples of insurgencies rooted in religious or ethnic fanaticism, such as the Moro Insurrection, Bloody Kansas, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Mahdist Wars, the various European Anabaptist risings, the Thirty Years’ War, the Armenian Genocide, Nagorno-Karabagh, the destruction of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Kashmir, the Pueblo Revolt, the Ghost-Dance Rebellion, 1,300 years of uninterrupted warfare between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations, and several thousand other examples dating back to the savagery chronicled in the Old Testament; well, the lessons they suggest are, to say the least, politically incorrect. So we hit the delete key on reality.
Our civilian and uniformed leaders have engaged in comforting fantasies about the multilayered conflicts we’re in, while speaking in numbing platitudes. Now we’re back to "winning hearts and minds."
As Sibel Edmonds writes.
Does it really matter - the difference between 147 and 117 or just 100 when it comes to children, grandmothers...innocent lives lost in a war with no well-defined objectives or plans? If for some it indeed does matter, then here is a more specific and detailed :
"A copy of the government's list of the names, ages and father's names of each of the 140 dead was obtained by Reuters earlier this week. It shows that 93 of those killed were children -- the youngest eight days old -- and only 22 were adult males."
Maybe releasing the photographs of the nameless unrepresented victims of these airstrikes should be as important as those of torture. Because, from what I see, they and their loss of lives have been reduced to some petty number to fight about.
We can always "hope" our use of drones will provide a better outcome than this, of course better once again in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately the truth is more along these lines, "Aerial Bombing Makes Terrorists", is the dirty truth that our all knowing politicians don't want to discuss.
And American bombings in Afghanistan are so ineffective and counterproductive that even the puppet president Karzai is consistently and publicly campaigning against the air strikes. He told CNN recently that "We believe strongly that air strikes are not an effective way of fighting terrorism," adding that "air strikes rather cause civilian casualties and do not do good for the US, do not do good for Afghanistan."
It is unfortunate that while the US has refused to listen to President Karzai, it has now successfully persuaded President Zardari of Pakistan to do the same. The Pakistani air force is using bombers and helicopters to bomb the "Taliban positions" and declare that they have already killed 200 of them. Zardari is asking for drones so they can do exactly what the US is doing. Yet, even the US air strikes have failed to accomplish their stated goals. There have been 65 to 85 US drone attacks on Pakistan, killing about 780 civilians and about 50 alleged terrorists.
Maybe this is the reason Afghans life expectancy is 44 years of age. Maybe our new objective is to bring Pakistan in line with these numbers? Maybe I am naive and don't understand how the human mind functions but I can't understand how killing friends and family of those we profess to protect exactly brings them over to our side.
One more point I would like to make since you made it this far. The argument over "preventive detention" seems to be back. Another way to make friends? Just a few points on this as provided by Glenn Greenwald who I know many here have disowned for having the audacity of providing criticism of this administarion. Still he provides very valid points on this issue. First, the ...Heritage Foundation were alone in urging a preventive detention law in 2004.... A few others I will provide in blockquote.
In June of last year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought an expansion of this preventive detention authority to 42 days -- a mere two weeks more. Reacting to that extremely modest increase, a major political rebellion erupted, with large numbers of Brown's own Labour Party joining with Tories to vehemently oppose it as a major threat to liberty. Ultimately, Brown's 42-day scheme barely passed the House of Commons. As former Prime Minister John Major put it in opposing the expansion to 42 days:
It is hard to justify: pre-charge detention in Canada is 24 hours; South Africa, Germany, New Zealand and America 48 hours; Russia 5 days; and Turkey 7½ days.
By rather stark and extreme contrast, Obama is seeking preventive detention powers that are indefinite -- meaning without any end, potentially permanent. There's no time limit on the "preventive detention."
Also this jewel.
As for duration, the U.S. government has repeatedly said that this "war" is so different from standard wars because it will last for decades, if not generations. Obama himself yesterday said that "unlike the Civil War or World War II, we can't count on a surrender ceremony to bring this journey to an end" and that we'll still be fighting this "war" "a year from now, five years from now, and -- in all probability -- 10 years from now." No rational person can compare POW detentions of a finite and usually short (2-5 years) duration to decades or life in a cage. That's why, yesterday, Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, in The New York Times, said this:
[Obama] signaled a plan by which [Guantanamo detainees] — and perhaps other detainees yet to be arrested? — could remain in custody forever without charge. There is no precedent in the American legal tradition for this kind of preventive detention. That is not quite right: precedents do exist, among them the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and the Japanese internment of the 1940s, but they are widely seen as low points in America’s history under the Constitution.
So a quick list seems in order: I am
For Looking Beyond the Shiny Object
For "The Rule of Law"
Against the Killing and Maiming of Innocent Civilians
Against "Preventive Detention"
I often wonder what people could be thinking, if they could actually believe some of the things they espouse to the greater public. Then I consider the audience that these types of arguments to which these are directed. I remember that the object of some of these people are to state things as fact enough times until they become conventional wisdom. It is what kept the right in power for so long and unfortunately it seems the tack our (supposed) side has decided to continue.
I find it unfortunate that more people don't adhere to the fact dissent is the ultimate form of patriotism.
"In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill...we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one." -- Plato
© Kos Media, LLC
Bruce Fein: Attacking Genocide Education For Schoolchildren www.asbarez.com May 26th, 2009
Watch Bruce Fein, who has emerged in recent months as the nation's most vocal and energetic genocide-denier, attacking the state of California's recent efforts to foster a commitment among its millions of public school students to ending the cycle of genocide.
In testimony before the Senate Education Committee, Fein, speaking as counsel for the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, sought to defeat legislation, SB 234, that recommends that oral histories about genocide be offered to California schoolchildren. State Senator Joe Simitian, who serves on this panel, effectively challenged Fein's flawed and immoral assertions.
Fein's hateful and twisted comments stand as a powerful testament to the need for a stronger Armenian American voice in the United States, and an urgent call to action by individuals across the country to support the ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon on Sunday, May 31st.
Fein regularly travels across the United States to oppose state-level, municipal, academic, faith-based, and civil society condemnations and commemorations of the Armenian Genocide.
Don't let this "poster child for genocide denial" have the last word on Armenian history. Fight back by getting involved in civic activism by volunteering, voting, and voicing your views to your public officials and the media. And, of course, by making a secure on-line contribution . .
PM Erdoğan Has To Be Consistent To Be Credible
Prime Minister Erdoğan has a peculiar habit. He sets high targets with his various initiatives, outbursts or statements and then fails to meet those targets himself. We have seen this in Ankara’s efforts at rapprochement with Armenia, as well as his angry remarks against Israeli President Shimon Peres at Davos.
In the first of these examples it only took a display of Azeri ire and for Baku to activate nationalist forces in Turkey for Erdoğan to step down on efforts to normalize ties with Yerevan. So much so that one wondered why his government put so much effort into this process over a period of time it was so fragile.
As for the second example cited above, it took even less time for him to step down when he said, within hours of his reaction at Davos, that his anger was not aimed at Mr. Peres but at the moderator conducting the debate.
But it was to Mr. Peres that he had leveled his strong accusation when he said, "You know very well how to kill," with reference to the Israeli operation in Gaza.
Not being able to stand behind his government’s initiatives, or his own words (even if these are unnecessarily harsh, as they were at Davos), one is left wondering what to make of his latest remarks about the expulsion of non-Muslim minorities from Turkey, and his reference to these events as the product of a "fascist mentality."
The same applies to his castigation - in the same speech - of those who criticize business dealings with Israel, indicating these people to be narrow minded and out of touch with the realities that govern the world.
He was in this instance referring to the strong criticism of his government for planning to give a mine clearance contract on Turkey’s border with Syria to an Israeli company, and of leasing these lands for agricultural purposes to Israeli companies.
No one can doubt that these are positive statements that require courage in the present political atmosphere that prevails in Turkey. Therefore, one should, under normal circumstances, compliment Prime Minister Erdoğan for saying these things. But what is confusing people is the fact that it was the same Erdoğan, only a few days before, who in an indirect way, brought to the fore the notion of expelling 40,000 Armenians who are working illegally in Turkey.
More than this though, if the expulsion or the driving away by various means of the members of Turkey’s Greek, Armenian and Jewish minorities in the past was bad, as indeed it was, then he is the one at the helm of government, and therefore the one to work out some restitution in this regard, for example by returning seized property that belongs to the Orthodox church in Turkey.
This is also what many commentators have been saying after his remarks uttered at a regional congress of his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in the town of Düzce a few days ago.
And no doubt these questions will continue to be asked in the coming days.
But there is another matter that has not been highlighted sufficiently in Turkey, and which also provides a test of consistency as far as Erdoğan is concerned. During the recently held Eurasian Islamic Council meeting in Istanbul, Erdogan, in what were also brave remarks, questioned for the first time why it was that Muslims today are associated with violence, and suggested that the Islamic world should engage in self-criticism with regard to this issue.We also felt at the time that Erdoğan’s anger at Israel over the Gaza operation was justified, and reflected a general sentiment around the world. But we felt nevertheless that he had gone overboard in Davos with his remarks aimed at President Peres (who admittedly was not that diplomatic himself), given that such situations call for those at the head of governments in serious countries to be a little more delicate.
But his outrage over the images of dead Palestinian children, which any civilized person must share, also requires, for the sake of consistency, that he show similar outrage when Hamas or groups like it carry out acts of terrorism, which provide us with similar inhuman images.
We do not, however, recall such an expression of outrage from Prime Minister Erdoğan on those occasions. But is there no connection between the fact that the world thinks of violence, when it thinks of Muslims - as Erdoğan himself put it - and the lack of, or low-key response, in the face of acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam or by Islamic groups?
If Prime Minister Erdoğan, is serious in questioning these things, and in opening the doors to self-criticism, something that Turks are not very good at, then he has to keep asking these questions in a consistent manner and try to find answers. If he does this, then it is clear that he will increase his credibility in Turkey and abroad.
Otherwise he merely ends up confusing people by first saying these things and then going on to either step down or say something that contradicts his initial remarks.
All that he achieves in the end is to have more questions asked about his seriousness and credibility. This is why we don’t know what to make of these recent remarks of his, which, as we indicated, are positive and are expressions of the truth.
Semih İdiz, © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Me As Just Another Traitor And More Greek Than A Greek
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was telling the truth when he bravely said that systematic efforts to force non-Muslim minorities (during and after WWII) out of Turkey constituted an act of fascism. Turkey would have been a better place if today its Greek, Armenian and Jewish populations amounted to hundreds - instead of tens - of thousands. Ironically, one could probably not find in these lands more than a few men who are pure Turks by DNA.
This is - to put it mildly - an introvert culture, whether the dominant self-identification motive is religion or ethnicity. It is the same culture that produced and carried generation by generation idioms like, "selling snails in the Muslim neighborhood (to express poor chances of business success)," or "even a gavur won’t do that (to complain of bad behavior; gavur meaning non-Muslim, although it literally means an atheist)," or "am I Greek? (to express unfair treatment by someone else)." Interestingly, in both cases of Islamic or nationalist xenophobia the "otherness" is gauged by display criteria. For example, a Muslim who drinks alcohol or does not wear the Islamic turban can easily be tagged as an "infidel." Similarly, a Turk who condemns the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink can be catalogued as a "traitor." So just as many devout Muslim Turks are "display" Muslims, many Turkish nationalists are "display" nationalists, too.
A few years earlier a friend had come with a private request. The man was the provincial head of what everyone knows as Turkey’s "most nationalist" political party. His son was to be drafted, and he was wondering if I could "talk to a couple of generals and make sure the young man does his military service in Izmir." If that was not possible, could I make sure his son not to be sent to the Southeast? I told him I had done my service in the Southeast and remembered the same man proudly telling a gathering of "nationalist" youth only a few weeks earlier how proud he would be sending his son to "fight the enemies of the Turks (the PKK)."
My mind then went back to the otherwise pretty Aegean town where the local government has the habit of putting the national anthem on play through awfully bad speakers on every corner every Friday and where, as a self-forced tradition, everyone has to stand in respect or risk a fight with the locals. My brother told me he once had to freeze on top of a ladder trying to fix a roof when the anthem began. It was tragic-comic when two years ago the locals had beaten up a man for not respecting the national anthem because he kept on walking. Poor man appeared to be a Bulgarian tourist. I recalled all those sacrosanct display motives of a corrupted version of patriotism when I came across my name in a blog that specializes in the "Turkish defense industry" with the very nationalistic slogan "local defense industry for a fully independent Turkey." A blogger had introduced me as this paper’s defense editor, which is not correct. Thus he commented: "As I have read his articles I cannot decide whether he is Turkish or Greek. The man (myself) takes every pain to bash the Turkish (defense) industry no matter what the industry does (accomplishes). He can instantly get the job of the editor at Greekdefence (presumably a Greek publication)."
That blogger gave a link to a June 2008 article I wrote for the U.K.-based Royal United Services Institute, a think tank engaged in defense and security since it was founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington. The article, titled "Why Turkish efforts for ’indigenous development’ are too ambitious," was a critique of "national" weapons programs that are usually neither national nor realistic. Presumably having read that article, two more bloggers commented. According to the first one I was "just another traitor." The second one wrote that I was not only "a stronger royalist than the king, but also more Greek than a Greek."
None of all that is surprising for I have lived long enough in this country to know how manifest behavior can be important in politics. But is it not amazing that in 2009 a "good Muslim" is still the one who abstains alcohol and pork and never lets female hair be seen by others and not the one who abstains cheating, lies, unfairness; and a "nationalist Turk" is the one who freezes in respect for the national anthem, shoots in the air each time the national football team beats a rival squad and who thinks calling someone a "Greek" is an insult and not the one whose son does his military services like everyone else? It is amazing that this country can still amaze.
Burak Bekdil © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Apparently Google Did Not Make Exceptions For ANCA.. Sukru Aya
ANCA Update anca.org
Google: "Don't be Evil"
Send a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt TODAY!
Google - the world's leading search engine and on-line advertising venue - continues to host genocide denial ads placed by the Turkish Coalition of America, despite protests from the genocide-prevention community.
Ask Google to live up to its guiding principle of "Don't be Evil" by refusing to profit from an organization seeking a platform for their historically inaccurate, morally reprehensible, and deeply offensive genocide denial campaign.
It only takes a minute.
Simply share your thoughts on this Google response form, or just cut and paste from the message provided below. Please note that personalized letters are always more effective.
The search terms: "Armenian Genocide," "Armenia," and "Armenian" typically trigger a Google AdWords link that reads either: "History, Propoganda," or "Learn Armenian Atrocities." Both direct users to the Turkish Coalition of America's website, which features extensive content denying the Armenian Genocide.
Google, with annual revenue of more than $20 billion and total assets of more than $1 billion, is guided by the unofficial slogan, "Don't be Evil." It has also come under criticism by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for cooperating with the Chinese government's censorship of the Internet. Google disputes these charges.
Sample Letter to Google:
Eric E. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Mountain View, CA 94043
Dear Dr. Schmidt:
I am writing to ask you to officially review the Turkish Coalition of America's compliance with your advertising policy and, more broadly, to consider whether this organization's use of Google's broad international platform to advance its campaign of genocide denial reflects the mission and values of your corporation and its shareholders.
My concerns relate specifically to the Coalition's purchase of the phrase "Armenian Genocide" and other related terms to drive traffic to their genocide denial website: www.turkishcoalition.org. These ads are misleading to Google patrons, profoundly offensive to victims and survivors of all genocides, and contribute to an environment of outright denial and impunity in the face of mass atrocities that continues to fuel the cycle of genocide to this very day.
Any form of complicity in genocide denial clearly falls far outside of your unofficial mandate of "Don't be Evil." In this spirit, we ask you to formally review your organization's legal, corporate, and moral obligations in this matter.
As a frequent user of your services, I value your products and would very much appreciate your immediate attention to my concerns.
Send cash today
And feel (fill) up better ! Sukru Aya
ANCA Endowment Telethon 2009telethon.org
I Gave $400,000 to the ANCA Endowment Fund
By Manas Boujikian
A friend asked me why a few days ago.
I'll tell you what I told him: The ANCA Endowment Fund represents the single best investment we can make in the future of the Armenian nation.
We are, of course, blessed as a community with many worthwhile groups - among them our churches and schools. They deserve our support and generosity.
But when it comes right down to the bottom line, the ANCA Endowment delivers the greatest return on my investment. . .
Visible Future, Shahan Kandaharian Aztag Daily, May 22 2009 Lebanon
In the aftermath of April 22, almost not a day goes by without news, an interpretation or an analysis being published in the Armenian media about the declaration signed between official Yerevan and Ankara. In the same scale and even larger this phenomenon is apparent in the Turkish and Azerbeidjani media though they are also saturated by topics targeting internal consumption and by different publications having the purpose of misleading the public opinion. Unlike the other two, the Armenian official newsflow or information is scarce and very often absent. So much so that the dumb diplomacy of today is making way for various interpretations.
Silence is not always beneficial. Specially in the case of sensitive issues like those of today when the opposing side is actively involved in making a display of distinct versions of information and when the propaganda policy formed and implemented on governmental levels manifests itself on every occasion.
Informing the public is basically important all the time and specially in matters of this kind. Only a well-informed public can make objective analyses in such matters. Even if multi-directional approaches cross each other or collide with each other, nevertheless, the publication of the precise facts plays a constructive role in making way for healthy discussions. That in itself will forestall the aggravation of the atmosphere of suspicion.
The president of Armenia announced that in the visible future he will explain the points agreed upon in the road map, ensuring that the stances taken by the Armenian side with respect to this process will be applauded by the public opinion.
These days the media is full of assumptions, publications of the points agreed upon, interpretations etc... Following all that and of course what the Turkish media is offering, perhaps it's possible to sketch the contents of the road map as follows:
A- A reciprocal recognition of the borders
B- Opening of borders by Turkey
C- Establishment of diplomatic relations
D- Formation of inter-governmental committees
E- The mutual ratification of the agreed points
Let us once and for all state that we're not talking about the exact contents of the road map. We'll know of the exact contents when the agreed points are officially publicized. Our aim here is to shed light on the assumed points circulating in the media and making our own remarks on them.
The mutual recognition of the borders by the participation of the international community, could be transformed into the recognition of the territorial integrity of Turkey by a specially agreement. It takes a conclusion based on legal analysis to consider this step as a resignation from the territorial demand from Turkey.
The suggestion of the joint discussions on the inter-governmental level is the answer of the previous president to the suggestion of the Turkish prime minister concerning the formation of a joint historical committee. Today there's probably a real concern that the issue of the historians is considered in the subject of the inter-governmental committee as a sub-committee level work, and that naturally undermines the international efforts for the recognition of the Genocide.
The sequence of the mentioned points could differ as could the points in themselves. However, there's one important point that shouldn't be missed. A point that was not mentioned in either of the news publications or interpretations. It's the overlooking of the Azerbeidjani factor or the overlooking of the Turkish demand for the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from Gharapagh territories. And this despite the statements made by the Turkish prime minister both in his country and in Azerbeidjan.
It seems that the main issue is an obvious victory in one of the important stages of the Turkish tactical games. First of all, of course, the chosen time interval, just before April 24, was not so much to hurt the feelings of the Armenian people but to provide an excuse for the representative of one of the greatest powers of the world-order to avoid using the word Â§GenocideÂ¦. And of course to create a pretense for a negotiation process as well as to cloud the facts. That's why the Armenian side seems to have lost a point at the time.
It's obvious that the issue of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide will continue to be a priority in the foreign policy of the Armenian state and at least in the visible future Armenia will not recognize the territorial integrity of Turkey by a special agreement. There are signs to confirm that the Armenian troops will continue controlling the Gharapagh territories.
The publicizing of such sensitive topics is an imperative. The issues are state issues but they equally concern the public as well and in this case the pan-Armenian public. The informing of the public plays a basic role in the objective discussions of such topics. It is also important for assessing the true value of signing such a document in the Turkish-Armenian relations section of the national security agenda.
The term "visible future" is an indistinct concept with respect to assigning a time. One month has already passed from the date of signing of the document. Given the promise of the document gaining public consent, the exposition shouldn't be delayed.