- Armenians Of Sweden: Swedish FM's Genocide Assertion Groundless & Damage Armenian-Turkish Dialogue
- Turkey-Armenia Relations Workshop, Nasuhi Gungor
- Asala: US & EU With Consent Of Russia Hired Turkey To Commit Another Crime Against Peoples Of Middle East, Balkans & South Caucasus
- Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Cultural Identity through Collective Melancholy,
- Levon Ter-Petrossian's Speech At May 29 Rally
- Canadian CBC Again: Balakian
- Book Review: Children Of Armenia: Forgotten Genocide & Century-Long Struggle
- Carl Bildt: Sweden Doesn't Recognize Armenian Genocide
- Turkey, Armenia On Tight Rope Over Border Opening
- Witness In Killing Fields Of Turkey
- Australia: Speech Of MP Michael Atkinson, On Genocide
- Armenian Official Calls For Ties With Turkish Parliament
- Book Review: Myth Of Armenian Claims Against Turks
- Margaret Ahnert Discusses New Genocide Book In Washington, Dc
- Musa Dagh Photo Collection Be Part Of US Genocide Museum
- Turkey `May Yet Mend Ties With Armenia'
- Armenians All Over World To Elaborate Joint Genocide Recognition Plan
- Kınıklıoğlu: We Pass Turkish Concerns To Armenians
- Gürsel : Novel Does Not Commit Crimes, Trial For "Allah's Daughter"
- Workshop Tackles Road Map In Armenian Issue
- Banking On Armenia's Diaspora
- Actress Pelin Batu Uses The Word "G" on TV
- Nedim Gursel: Moods
- Modem: Jean-François Kahn Is Absurd To Try To Recognize The Genocide
- Diaspora Has Last Word In Normalization Of Armenian-Turkish Relations
- Turkish Journalists' Visit To Armenia Arranged
- Cannon Identifies 1915 As Genocide Date
- Arf Calls For End To Turkey-Armenia Talks
- And This Is How We Shall Kill You
- Genocide & Repentancenuri Kino Assyrian International
- Mr. Obama: Resign Now,
- Ryerson University Apologizes For Ataov Event
- Genetic Profile Of Turks Shows Mixed Heritage, Research Claims
- Russian General: If Armenian-Turkish Border Is Deblocked, Russians To Fulfill Tasks In New Conditions
- Present-Day Armenian-Turkish Border Illegal In International Law
- Ashot Melkonyan: Ratification Of Kars Agreement Be Gross Error
- Turkish Foreign Minister - Frozen Conflicts Are Like Bombs
- The Golden Key Of The City Of Paris To Ara Güler
- ‘Baku’s Inclusion Helps Turkish-Armenian Normalization’
- Conrad Hotel Istanbul Conference On Armenian-Turkish Relations, May 26-27
- "What Turks Started, Bill Will Finish"
- Will Border Open, Or Will Trap Close
- Livingston: "907" Amendment Needs To Be Abolished
- Handshake Shakes Region CSM
- Support For Genocide Resolution Grows
- Turkey Slams Brakes On Opening Border
- New Warning On Karabakh Negotiations
- Armenian & Turkish Historian Akcam (just Kidding, right! ) Working At Joint Book About Genocide
- Will Turks Buy Armenian Homes?
- Turkish-Armenian Ties: Gul & Erdogan Hold Conflicting Views
- Disagreements Over Beirut Armenian Candidates Could Cost
- Pamuk, Genocide & Turkish Nationalism
- US-Based Armenian Lobby Steps Up ‘Genocide’ Recognition
- Armenia's Karabakh Propaganda On Eurovision
- Today’s Zaman And Turkish-Azerbaijani Brotherhood
- Turkey-Armenia And Karabakh Talks On Parallel Lines
- Genocide Book In Turkish
- Erdogan Not Only Puts Conditions Forward But Is Also To Threaten Armenia
- Turkey Going To Render Economic Assistance To Armenia?
- Armenian Monuments In Turkey Being Transformed Into 'Ottoman Heritage'
- Armenia Should Decide What It Wants From Turkey
- Armenia's Software Piracy Rates Second Highest In World
- Minister Of Diaspora Receives Vahagn Dadrian
- Moscow Opposed To "Outside Interference" With Garabagh
- Erdogan's Statement Unsettles Yerevan
- Turkey Irate With Canada
- Armenia’s Former FM:Relations With Turkey May Get Worse
- Armenian Activist: Women Can Contribute To Peace
- Small Knights Of Big Politics
- East-West Crossroads, Turkey Presses Ambitious Agenda,
- Caucasian Triangles, Arabs Could Learn Much From Watching Iran, Turkey And Russia
- Turkish Border, Armenians Are Wary of Thaw,
- Balakian Discusses New Work On Genocide
- Turkish Side Has Reached What It Wants
- Armenian Opposition Mp Downbeat On Improving Ties With Turkey Soon
- We Would Loose At That Commission
- Ankara Sees Momentum In International Efforts On Karabakh
- Bas,bug( Questions Media Perception
- Armenian President: One Must Not Connect Armenian-Azerbaijani Relations With Armenian-Turkish Ones
- Worlwide Armenian Lobby Affects Situation In Armenia Negatively
- Turks Had Learned How To Become A Nation From Azerbaijan?
- Pontian Genocide Recognition Sours Turkey Australian Relations By Anastasios Papapostolou
- Deadlines Should Be Set For Turks, Former Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan Is Convinced
- Deputy Inquires About Fate Of Ottoman Troops During Wwi
- Expert Says Turkey’s Influence Will Increase In Caucasus
- Hadise Ranks Fourth In Norway Dominated Eurovision Song Contest & Lyrics Of "Crazy For You" (Düm Tek Tek) by Hadise
- Erdogan: We Send Back 40,000 Armenians Working Illegally In Turkey, If Necessary
- Cornered Between Yerevan And Baku, Turkey Tries To Comfort Azerbaijan
- Writer Pamuk May Face New Trial For Armenia Remarks
- Eurovision Organizational Committee Led By Baku And Removed Armenian Monument From Armenia's Video Reel
- Armenian Occupied Karabakh Used For Drug Transportation From Iran To Russia
- Armenians' False Karabakh Propaganda
- Turkey's Anti-Genocide Claim Hard To Stomach By Pat Flanagan
- ARF’s Giro Manoyan - Armenia Must Break Off Talks With Turkey
- Ohio Elections Spat Involves Turkish History
- Bryza's Statements - Information Sabotage,
- Turkish PM's Speech Gives Grounds Not To Be Concerned: Azerbaijani Official
- Mp: Turkish PM Has Dispelled All My Doubts
- What Changes In Kars Province When Border Is Opened
- Azerbaijan: Diaspora Organization Tries To Counter Armenian-American Influence In Washington
- Armenian Translators' Betrayal In Korean War
- Overlooking Diaspora's Voice Would Be Major Blunder
- Conference: 'Genocide: International Recognition & Current Challenges'House Of Lords, UK
- Erdog(an Puts Baku’s Armenia Concerns To Rest
- New Road Block On ’Road Map’
- US Ambassador To Armenia: Since 1988 U.S. Provided Two Billion $ Humanitarian Aid & Development Assistance For Armenia
- “Hot Line” To Counter Anti-Armenian Media Bias Launched By President’s Office
- CCAF France: Armenia Turkey Declaration Is Unacceptable
- Minister Inflames 'Genocide' Row Between Turkey And Canberra
- AAA: Congressional Committee Holds Hearing on U.S.-Turkey Relations
- Orhan Pamuk’s Novel In Armenia
- Armenia Slams Turkish PM Over Karabakh Link To Border Opening
- Talks With Turkey Have Collapsed
- Genocide: Sen Ferguson Made Apology
- Halacoglu: Obama Faces His Own History
- New Law To Allow 51 % Foreign Ownership In Media, Turkey
- Yerevan To Erdog(an: Don’t Interfere In Karabakh Row
- ’Gül And Erdog(an Differ On Armenia’
- Dashnaktsutyun Is Not Ready For A Revolution
- Obama: Squaring The Circle On The Armenian Genocide
- Armenian Workers May Boost Turkey’s Hand In Foreign Policy
- Orhan Pamuk's "Snow" Translated Into Armenian
- Australian Government Does Not Confirm Recognition
- Obama Seeks 38% Cut Armenia Aid: Parity in Favor of Azeri
- Call For Peace By Armenian Artist
- Washington Pushes For Breakthrough Between Azerbaijan, Armenia
- Gulen: Neo-Ottoman Dream Of Turkish Islam
- Money, Money, Sweet Money
- Question: Will There Be Any Anca Function, Where "Cash" Not Demanded?
- Why France Promotes Genocide?
- Turkish Embassy Australia Press Release: Passed South Australia Motion: 30 Apr
- Armenians Attempt To Take "Historical Revenge" From Turks & Azeris
- Deportations Not Noticed By The World-I
- Freedom House: Turkey's Press Status ‘Partly Free'
- Glendale Teacher Confronted on Xenophobic Attitude Toward Armenian-American Youth
- OIA Takes Part In Anatolian Festival
- Arameans Send Letter To President, PM Demanding Rights
- Armenians Returning To Gaziantep
- SA 'Yes' To Genocide Motion Greek Reporter
- U.N. Should Act Against Armenia
- Dadrian To Give Lectures In Yerevan
- Going After Scholar's Critic
- Oskanian:We Have Entered Process Over Which We've Lost All Influence
- ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Promises To Justify All Hopes
- Kars Treaty Appeared Crucial To Armenians' History
- Israeli Government: Knisset Not Place To Discuss Armenian Genocide
- President, 435 Members Of Congress Get Genocide Documentary "River Ran Red"
- Kars Treaty Acceptance Means Renunciation Of Historic Territories
- Turkish-Armenian Border Should First Be Determined, Then Opened
- Important To Understand Who Pushed Yerevan Into Turkey's Arms
- Recognition Of Treaty Of Kars To Be Violation Of Armenian Constitution
- Border Turks Want Door Shut
Armenians Of Sweden: Swedish FM's Genocide Assertion Groundless Damage Armenian-Turkish Dialogue, Noyan Tapan, May 28, 2009
The Swedish press touched upon the recent statement of Swedish Foreign Minister in connection with denial of the Armenian Genocide and the strict counteraction of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden. Marmara reported this referring to the Asbarez newspaper of Los Angeles.
It is known that Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt answering questions had stated that examining political issues is not the duty of political figures.
Condemning that passive position, the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden stressed that political figures do not need to discuss this issue, as the International Association of Genocide Scholars has already confirmed the fact of Armenian Genocide and added that besides being a historic issue the Armenian Genocide is rather an international crime that should be punished in accordance with the UN agreements, under which, by the way, the government of Sweden has also signed.
The Union also considered groundless Minister's assertion that recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Sweden can damage the Armenian-Turkish efforts of launching negotiations.
Turkey - Armenia Relations Workshop, Nasuhi Gungor Turkish Press, May 28 2009
STAR - We aren't used to follow the important steps taken in Turkey, but leave them to their destinies easily. Important developments occurred recently in Turkish-Armenian relations. The public followed the course of incidents from its tabloid side due to the stance of media in relevant countries to a certain extent. The discussions which emerged in Turkey and Armenia, as well as Azerbaijan, were like this. But there is a process which has already started and the healthy progress of this process is vitally important for our geography. Turkey is facing one more great difficulty, along with all these negative sides.
We attended a meeting in Istanbul yesterday which contributed to this process. The Turkey-Armenia Relations Workshop, organized by the Foundation for Political, Economy and Social Research (SETA) on May 26-27, hosted a great many figures from the two sides on the discussion table. Of course, there are serious disagreements between the parties. What's more, Turkish and Armenian participants reflected different opinions in their own countries. The usual theses were sometimes reiterated in the meeting. But the details aren't important here. This meeting greatly contributed to the process of normalization, because the discussions which are made on such issues only by the state or through diplomatic possibilities aren't enough. The bases which are established by the civilian society ensure that theses are put forth more boldly and the parties talk to each other without official covers.
We saw it once more in the meeting that Turkey's responsibilities in this field are considerably heavy. Actually, a definition which became prominent in our small talks there reflects this fact. Turkey has to manage 'parallel processes' correctly. Of course, relating the opening of Armenian border to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue makes the process more difficult. But the difficulties suffered by Ankara have started just at this point, because Turkey can't ignore the disadvantages to be caused by excluding Azerbaijan from this process. What's more, in such a case, Armenia might become the part of a more important problem, which would make no contribution to efforts for peace in the region.
Of course, nobody should expect a rapid progress to occur in a problem which hasn't been discussed thoroughly and which remained on the curtain of mist in history. Furthermore, it's not easy to progress in a field in which intellectuals from both parties have a great many prejudices and wrong information about the issue. This initiative, made by SETA, is important in a few respects. Firstly, discussing the issue on the basis of civilian society provides everybody with the opportunity of expressing themselves comfortably. Such bases should be quickly increased. Secondly, the people who were brought together should have necessary qualifications to discuss the issue in a versatile way. The participation of the academic world, as well as the media, was planned in a way to feed this situation. Of course, this work will encourage and pave the way for similar initiatives in the future. The contributions made for the continuation of this process are important as well. Each effort exerted for sustaining the normalization process is valuable.
Asala: US And EU With Consent Of Russia Hired Turkey To Commit Another Crime Against Peoples Of Middle East, Balkans And South Caucasus 2009-05-29
ArmInfo. The USA and the European Union with consent of Russia have hired Turkey to commit another crime against the peoples of the Middle East, the Balkans and the South Caucasus, says the statement by the "Ukht Ararati"' Union of Former Political Prisoners and Freedom-Fighters, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).
To prove the abovementioned, the organization quotes the new Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmed Davudoghlu who declared that Turkey should assume the role of a country that would influence all the political processes in the Middle East, the Balkans and the South Caucasus. 'Turkey lays further responsibility for this on the leadership of Armenia. The behavior of Turkish leaders is not surprising. They have already got cash and security guarantees, but are not fully confident', the statement says.
The authors of the statement condemn also the so-called road-map identified by Armenia and Turkey in mediation of Switzerland. The organization is sure it is aimed at new crimes of Turkey against humanity. 'Armenia is able to block the program that aims to turn Turkey into an instrument for making new crimes. Armenia must make a choice. Either it agrees with Euro-American requirements and becomes partner in the crimes or it applies to the UN International Court to condemn and bring Turkey to responsibility hereby preventing the threat to other peoples that have become Europe's target', the statement says. It denies any relations between Armenia and Turkey. 'No negotiations can soften the crimes against humanity committed in 1915-1923.
The only way is the legal and the only structure of legal settlement of the problem is the UN International Court of Justice', the statement says.
Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Cultural Identity through Collective Melancholy, Kquenzer, May 29, 2009
To Pamuk, Istanbul is a city of hüzün, or melancholy, and while its inhabitants can fight this mood, they will eventually succumb to it. What is most striking about Pamuk’s memoir Istanbul is his ability to define himself through his city. He poignantly writes with allegiance to his notion of hüzün, understanding it as an almost compulsory element of living in an ancient, fallen city. Not only is hüzün inevitable, to Pamuk it the force behind his own work as well as the work of all other Istanbullu (the people of Istanbul). He explains, “If hüzün has been central to Istanbul culture, poetry, and everyday life over the past two centuries, if it dominates our music, it must be a least partly because we see it as an honor” (91). Pamuk understands hüzün to be a definitive characteristic of Istanbullu because of the ancient city’s triumphant past and somewhat dismal present, which began after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. As Pamuk explains, first used in the Quran in reference to the year Muhammad lost his wife Hatice and his uncle Ebu Talip, hüzün denotes a melancholy that is collective rather than solitary. Pamuk reveals to his readers how the hüzün he shares with other Istanbullu has become crucial for his career path.
As a means of explaining and documenting the presence of hüzün in his city and in its inhabitants, Pamuk incorporates photographs of a crumbling Istanbul and his complicated family as well as anecdotes of artists and writers who have influenced him. One of the most interesting writers that Pamuk discusses is the Turkish writer Resat Ekram Koçu, who devoted a large portion of his life to documenting the everyday in Istanbul in his Istanbul Encyclopedia. While many have forgotten this author, others continue to praise his inexhaustible work. Pamuk explains, “Without falling into the strange habit of praising Istanbul’s strangeness, we acknowledge that we love Koçu because he ‘failed’… Koçu’s most beautiful and profound pages are the ones that remain between worlds, and (again, like the others) the price he paid for his originality was loneliness” (167). From documenting “a skilled child acrobat between the ages of 14 and 15 encountered between 1955 and 1956” to homes along the Bosphorus River to the junk dealers who stood outside of the men’s section of the hammams, Koçu’s attempt at writing a complete encyclopedia of life in Istanbul failed, yet those who remember him do so because of his dedication to the dismal and banal of Istanbul (160). To Pamuk, it was Koçu’s sensitivity to the hüzün of Istanbul and its innate presence in each Istanbullu that makes him notable and praiseworthy. Pamuk thus understands success in terms different from most of his western readers. Rather than associating success with happiness, he perceives melancholy as a means by which one can obtain a greater understanding of oneself, one’s home, and one’s peers. Pamuk notes that in realizing and embracing this notion of hüzün, “The melancholy I itched for–and would later claim¬–that mood that spoke to me of defeat, obliteration, and degradation, also allowed me a respite from all the rules that needed to be learned, all the mathematics problems that needed to be solved…” (300). It is in unraveling the character of Istanbullu that readers find themselves questioning their understanding and opinion of melancholy.
While it is not technically correct to say that Istanbul is a part of the Arab World, Pamuk writes of themes that have relevance among countries of the Arab World. First, the majority of people from both regions have a common faith, Islam. Additionally, the Ottoman Empire ruled over Turkey as well as parts of the Arab World, including areas of Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, present-day Israel, present-day Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq. During the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, both Turkey and the Arab World witnessed defeat and economic disparity. Currently, the economic, political, and social struggles that take place in these countries due to conflict within and outside of each country’s or territory’s borders or disputed borders also yield to collective melancholies. Perhaps hüzün alludes to a common ground in these cultures, dating back to the first use of the word hüzün in the Quran. The use of this word in a text that has defined law and language in countries that are part of the Arab World illustrates the very way it permeates Arab and Islamic culture, that is, through art, literature, and daily life. In both Turkey and the Arab World, it seems that hüzün is perhaps a necessary and constructive presence in people’s lives. As Pamuk points out in light of the Sufi interpretation of hüzün, “it is the absence, not the presence, of hüzün that causes him [the Sufi follower] distress. It is the failure to experience hüzün that leads him to feel it; he suffers because he has not suffered enough, and it is by following this logic to its conclusion that Islamic culture has come to hold hüzün in high esteem” (91).
Istanbul. Pamuk, Orhan. Vintage, New York: 2004
Levon Ter-Petrossian's Speech At May 29, 2009 Rally, a1plus.am
"Amazingly, as far as Turkey and Nagorno Karabagh issues are concerned, the agenda of national institutions in Diaspora coincides with that of the Western governments."
Today I will try to refrain from going into a systematized analysis of domestic and foreign policy issues as I will limit myself to some observations only, which are deduced from the current situation. It is accounted for by the fact that we are, in fact, wrapping up our election campaign, and there only remains to emphasize a few additional points. In my opinion, it is necessary, first and foremost, because there are as yet some gaps to be filled and questions to be clarified for our citizens; and it will also provide a proper guidance for the Election Day. These questions might seem selective, but let me assure you, they are interconnected by a logical link between the election and the general tendencies for the development of the country.
No matter how hard we try, it is nevertheless impossible to refrain from addressing foreign policy issues, because the upcoming election of the Mayor of Yerevan will be of vital importance from the point of view of international relations. The main development expected in Armenia's foreign policy is the pending meeting between Serge Sarkissian and Ilham Aliyev scheduled to take place on June 7 in St. Petersburg, which according to information leaked from diplomatic circles could be of crucial significance for the settlement of the Karabagh conflict. In this sense, Vladimir Kazimirov's May 13 statement is particularly noteworthy, as it says that since the parties to the Karabagh conflict are not ready for peace, the time has come for peace coercion. Thus, this means that a Dayton-type settlement, which was coerced during the Bosnian conflict, is on the table. Kazimirov, though a retired diplomat, is no stranger to the Russian policy in the Caucasus. He continues to be a most sought-after expert on Karabagh in that country. Therefore, it is no accident, that he made the above-mentioned statement before the upcoming meeting in St. Petersburg. It is beyond doubt, that should Russia and America come to an agreement on Karabagh, a coerced settlement or a possibility of a Dayton-type solution can become a reality. In that case Armenia will have to pay the price for the reckless rejection of quite advantageous proposals made to us in the past and for the ousting of Karabagh from the negotiation process. As for the possibility of a principal agreement on the Karabagh issue settlement between Russia and the US, it could take place during President Obama's visit to Moscow in July. The super-powers like the US and Russia, with their list of issues of common interest, would not single out the Karabagh problem as one in which they will fail to find common ground. This means that the pressure on Armenia, as far as the Karabagh issue settlement is concerned, will soon increase exponentially, and thus the vital need for a national unity to withstand it will become more tangible. The key to this unity, this consolidation, as I already mentioned during our last public rally is in the hands of Serge Sarkissian, while the means to achieve it is to set free all the political prisoners and to hold legitimate and fair election of the Mayor of Yerevan.
Recently during private conversations our Western colleagues would reproach us, saying that we halt Serge Sarkissian from settling vital national issues, -the Armenian-Turkish relations and the Karabagh conflict. They would also remind us that we always voiced our support in favor of the quick solution of these issues, while now, it seems, that we are going against our own principles. True, we have always supported the idea of a quick Armenian-Turkish rapprochement and the settlement of the Karabagh conflict, because we know it for a fact that without doing it Armenia has but a slim chance for economic development, for overcoming international isolation and for becoming a normal, safe and prosperous state. But we have never intended to do that at any cost, namely by betraying the Genocide cause and by ignoring Karabagh's right to self-determination. Therefore, no matter how much pressure is put on us, we will never allow the establishment of the joint commission of Armenian and Turkish historians, nor shall we give our agreement to any solution, in which Karabagh's right to self-determination is trampled on. We have repeatedly stated and we are doing that again today, that despite serious domestic contradictions, despite brutal violence used against us, we are ready to help the Armenian authorities both as far as Armenian-Turkish relations and the Karabagh conflict resolution are concerned. We are ready to help with whatever steps they take, if they are not in discord with our national interests. The reproaches made by Western diplomats could have been to an extent justified, have they not, alongside with their strong interest in the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement and the Karabagh settlement, failed to remember the most vital issue Armenia is facing today,-the restoration of constitutional order and establishment of democracy, and have they not tolerated violence spread in our country, the fact of political prisoners and the dire situation with human rights violations. Failing to do that, these diplomats become oblivious of their own history,-dozens of revolutions in Europe and sacrifices made by its peoples for the sake of democracy and freedom. They also forget the long years of the bloody civil war in the United States of America, fought to put an end to slavery, which for me is the brightest page in American history.
No national issue is more vital than people's right to a normal, safe and dignified life in their own country. Therefore, to prove that there is an unselfish and genuine interest behind its desire to better the Armenian-Turkish relations and to settle the Karabagh conflict, the West, first and foremost, needs to prove that it is sincerely interested in establishment of all-around democracy in Armenia without turning a blind eye to the rigged elections, trampled human rights, existence of political prisoners, total corruption and various other vicious phenomena of the kind. Or else, there could be an impression, that by putting such an incessant effort into the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement and the Karabagh conflict settlement, it is not helping the Armenian people that the West is after, as it wishes to present, but it rather pursues its own interest, or just tries to get rid of the headaches these unresolved issues are currently causing.
Amazingly, as far as Turkey and Nagorno Karabagh issues are concerned, the agenda of national institutions in Diaspora coincides with that of the Western governments. The only difference is that while these governments demand concessions from Armenia, Diaspora's demand is just the opposite,-no compromises at all. It is also amazing, that the West and Diaspora have the same attitude, or, rather, the same absence of attitude, when it comes to the situation with democracy in Armenia. Just like the West, Diaspora seems not to care about the violent force the Armenian authorities used against their own people, the rigged elections and the existence of political prisoners, country-wide corruption and robbery. Their sole concern is that the Armenian regime meets their two above-mentioned expectations. The West is an outsider, and it can afford not to care. But it is deplorable, when Diaspora does the same.
In this regard, the joint statement made after March 1 tragic events by several Diaspora organizations,-the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Armenian National Committee-Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ANC-ARF), the Armenian Diocese and Prelacy is noteworthy, as it blindly believed in the official version and interpretation of the events, as it condemned the opposition and as it voiced an unconditional support to the illegitimate, "newly-elected" authorities. This infamous document reminds me of another, no less disgraceful statement made in the fall of 1988 by Armenian political parties in Diaspora in condemnation of the activities of the Karabagh Committee and in support of the Communist authorities of Armenia in their fight against the Nation-Wide Movement.
Diaspora judges a leader of Armenia by one criterion only. Should he pursue the recognition of the Genocide, curse the Turks up and downhill, and fly at them,-he would be a national hero, and were he not to do that, -it would be high treason. And nobody cares what consequences this cursing and this flying at will have for the destiny of the country and its people. The same national elders of Diaspora who unconditionally supported Serge Sarkissian a year ago are imprecating him today unable to see their own fault. They absolutely fail to realize that by having assisted the illegitimate authorities to settle in, and, therefore, by weakening our statehood, they paved way for Serge Sarkissian to make concessions in the field of foreign policy. Thus, they are as much responsible for the abortion of the Genocide recognition process and the imminent threat of dangerous developments for Karabagh as Serge Sarkissian himself. Not until have the Diaspora organizations realized that the nourishing source for the identity of the Armenian people is Armenian statehood, not until have they made it a priority to bring to life the ideas of democracy and fundamental liberties, they will continue to jeopardize both the future of Armenia and the realization of our nation-wide endeavors. There are, of course, healthy forces whose mind-set is completely different from that of the so-called national institutions. But they, with a few courageous exceptions, being pressured by the uniformity of the public opinion are afraid to voice their objections. This means that the reform of traditional national institutions in Diaspora is as much a topic of the day as the change in the state structures of Armenia proper. Therefore, the crisis of the mind-set and of the mode of action is nation-wide as it does not limit itself to the borders of Armenia.
And now let's turn to Armenia's domestic issues, the upcoming election of the mayor, in particular. There is a word around that Prosperous Armenia (Bargavach Hayastan) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (the Dashnak party) play a game of pretending to be an opposition, while in reality, being disillusioned with Serge Sarkissian and convinced that he will lose his post soon, they are preparing the return of Robert Kocharian. I have no doubt, of course, that Kocharian has not come to terms with the status of a young retiree, and, both within Armenian political circles, and in Russia, Europe, and as rumor has it, in Iran and Syria also, he is looking for support to come back to power. Yet I am also sure that the Prosperous Armenia and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation realize that Robert Kocharian is a back-number no more reckoned with, and that he will never be able to return to politics after the Oct. 27 outrage and especially after the March 1 mass murder. They would hardly wish to associate themselves with someone who opened fire against his own people and someone, who is totally discredited, jeopardizing their reputation and authority, as well as their political future.
In the long run, it is common knowledge that Kocharian is the root-source of the man-made disasters besetting Armenia. He is the founder of the Cleptocracy responsible for the country-wide robbery; he is the one who uprooted fundamental liberties, the god-father behind the criminalization of the state. He is the one responsible for the failure of the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement, and the architect of the jeopardized future for Nagorno Karabagh. Serge Sarkissian has simply been one of Kocharian's accomplices and associates, although the most influential one, only to become a helpless successor of his predecessor's evil-doing. After settling into the president's office Sarkissian has missed the chance of disassociating himself from Kocharian's criminal regime, thus recklessly sharing all the faults and wrong-doings of his predecessor. As a result, since the first day in office he has been subject to public censure. Having mentioned all that, I do not rule out that it is Serge Sarkissian himself who puts the rumor of Kocharian's return into circulation to scare people with a horrible prospect of Kocharian's coming back to power, should he be removed from it.
The Prosperous Armenia party if it sincerely wants to serve the people and to change something in this country should follow the ARF's example and immediately leave the ruling coalition. Otherwise, nobody will believe in the sincerity of its motives and everybody will realize that in reality this organization is assisting the Republican party in monopolizing its power and perpetuating the cleptocratic regime. Moreover, should the Prosperous Armenia not take this step of leaving the ruling coalition, it will share full responsibility with Serge Sarkissian for his anti-national policy, and will soon cease to exist as a political party. The ARF, being an experienced party and history-conscious as far its reputation is concerned, though late, but eventually abandoned the sinking ship. Had they done that during the presidential election, the present regime would not have disgracefully betrayed the Genocide recognition cause, nor would the Karabagh conflict resolution process have been in such a miserable state. As you see, I do not speak about the third member of the ruling coalition, - the Rule of Law party (Orinatz Yerkir), because this party, as people say, is a hopeless case. The Rule of Law will never leave the fertile pastures of the regime and, if need be, it will even choose to become a member of Turkish or Azerbaijani coalition only to prolong its pitiful existence in the corridors of power.
No matter how hard we try to avoid speaking about Robert Kocharian, even after leaving the office he continues to live up to his infamous reputation and reminds us about his personal existence by taking mean actions. The most blatant example of these actions was the trial against Haykakan Zhamanak daily. How miserable, pitiful and primitive can one be to do such a disgraceful thing? In civilized countries no former or acting president, prime-minister or even a minister would bring a reporter or a newspaper to trial. There is a possibility to refute or deny any information, insult or slander used against him, as he has much more access to TV air and to newspapers with a much broader circulation. Since Kocharian does not do that, it means that he is not sure that the public at large will believe him, and for this reason he tries to silence the reporter by bringing him to trial. Until today no former or acting president, except for Lukashenko, would bring a reporter to trial. There were thousands of insults and slander against me both in the past and present, but it would have never crossed my mind to bring a reporter or a newspaper to trial. By this dishonest act Robert Kocharian not only exposed himself as a pitiful character, but he also discredited the whole institute of presidency. If it seems to him that he has honor and dignity that need to be saved in the court, the very fact that he took this step completely destroyed that honor and that dignity.
Many think that the upcoming mayoral election is a do-or-die struggle, while others consider it to be the last chance of the opposition or the Armenian National Congress. I do not share these views. This election is neither do-or-die struggle nor the last chance for us. It is just a means to at least partially better our country's dire situation, and our society must take advantage of that. This election is not between parties or personalities, this is the election between political/ state systems, -the forces constituting the Cleptocracy and the Armenian National Congress. Should the former be elected the people will prolong the gloomy days of slavery. Should the Congress win the election there will be an opportunity to improve the situation in the country and to radically change the moral atmosphere, to obtain freedom, legal justice and protection.
Paraphrasing a proverb well-known from history, one can come up with the following: the people need a small victorious election to restore self-confidence and to take their destiny in their own hands. One can also say that this election is, first and foremost, a question of dignity for our people. For how long can one tolerate the rule of the ignorant, the criminal and the irresponsible, being mocked and ignored by the rest of the world?
Irrespective of the election results, the opposition represented by the Armenian National Congress has nothing to lose. It will keep its leading role, become stronger and expand. It will be our people who will lose. And if the election of the Mayor is really the last chance, then it is last not for the opposition but for Serge Sarkissian, because his political future is determined by it. Should he show statesmanship, he will have a chance both to raise his rating and to improve the situation in the country. Should he make a wrong choice, it will be another blow to the Armenian statehood and he will lose the last remnants of his almost non-existent reputation. During my speech at the May 15 public rally I noted that Sarkissian has two ways to come out of this predicament. Should he rig the election again, there will only remain one path to take, - to resign immediately and leave Armenia. The people and the opposition will have no choice but to make Sarkissian's resignation the only watchword of our political struggle.
Thus nothing is finished with this election; on the contrary, everything is just beginning. In any case, if not today, then tomorrow under the pressure of the problems solving which is beyond his ability, Serge Sarkissian will have to go. And, by the way, the West is not going to save him, because after giving away Karabagh and giving up the Genocide, it will not need him anymore.
So if the election is rigged get ready to see Serge Sarkissian off immediately. Enough is enough. Stop suppressing the will of the people. Stop treating people as wordless animals or slaves. And, lastly, stop abusing the patience of the people. Everything has its limits. And let nobody doubt that the people will win.
Canadian CBC Again: BalakianThe Current Program Hosts Balakian
Book Review: Children Of Armenia: Forgotten Genocide & Century-Long Struggle For Justice Michael Bobelian. Simon & Schuster, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4165-5725-8, Publishers Weekly May 26 2009
The 1915 genocide perpetrated by the Turkish government against its Armenian subjects drags on in the form of Turkish denial and global indifference, according to this rancorous history. Journalist Bobelian gives a sketchy rundown of the massacres ("what difference did it make if several hundred thousand Armenians died rather than 1.5 million?"), but his main story is the ensuing refusal of Turkey and the international community--especially the United States--to properly acknowledge the crime. He chronicles a generations-long contest between moral claims and realpolitik; after initial Western outrage, the genocide was shoved off the agenda of Turkish-American relations by commercial interests and the anti-Soviet alliance. The book provides an exhaustive account of the perennial battles between Armenian-American activists and Turkey's lobbyists over congressional genocide resolutions. The victimization of the Armenians' excuses much for Bobelian, who blames Armenian terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s--he sympathetically profiles an aging survivor who assassinated two Turkish diplomats--on "frustration and rage" over Ankara's denials. One leaves this j'accuse wondering if the quest for justice can be taken to an unhealthy extreme. (Sept. 1)
Carl Bildt: Sweden Doesn't Recognize Armenian Genocide 25.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Sweden does not recognize that Turkey committed genocide in 1915. It is the message which Foreign Minister Carl Bildt gave in an answer to MP Cecilia Wikstrom (fp), Secretary of the Union of Armenian Associations Vahagn Avedian told PanARMENIAN.Net.
"It is not the duty of politicians to decide the course of historic events, regardless of their fact based grounds". So does Carl Bildt write in an answer to the question written by Cecilia Wikstrom regarding a recognition of the 1915 genocide.
Vahagn Avedian is upset about the reasoning of the Foreign Minister. He means that politicians should be able to pass resolutions based in research results and refers to the International Association of Genocide Scholars, a league of renown genocide scholars, which in several resolutions has acknowledged that a genocide took place in 1915. "Bildt should be reminded that genocide is not an academic issue, but an international crime, punishable by the UN Convention which Sweden has signed," he says.
In her question, Cecilia Wikstrom points out that the European Parliament recognized the genocide in 1987 and enumerates a long list of countries which have officially marked that they too recognize the Armenian genocide. However, according to Bildt, a recognition could lead to several problems than it solves, among others it would make things difficult for groups who "want an open debate in the issue regarding the 1915 events."
"That answer is entirely incomprehensible," says Vahagn Avedian. "I do not know where he gets this from. We, the affected groups, are totally unaware of the problems he talks about. I would in no way feel threaten if Carl Bildt would recognize the truth, I would applaud him. And how would the truth hurt a reconciliation process?"
According to Vahagn Avedian, Carld Bildt reasons exactly as Turkey and acts as if a covering up of the reality will promote the democratisation and the research in Turkey, which Avedian means is entirely unreasonable. "It is not the duty of the Swedish Foreign Minister to defend Turkey," he points out.
Carld Bildt writes also that the present-day Turkey can not be held responsible to what happened then. But Vahagn Avedian points out that it is not the genocide itself which is the current problem, but its denial. As Varlden idag reported on Wednesday, the author and the Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk risks yet another trial because of his statement that there was a genocide committed in 1915
Turkey, Armenia On Tight Rope Over Border Opening
The rails are rusting in Armenia's Akhurian train station, situated on the border with Turkey, as there have been no train trips between the two countries since 1993.
Gyumri's Akhurian train station bordering Turkey's Kars province remains ghostly as the railway cars are lined back to back with no signs of life around them, and the rails are rusty since there have been no train trips between Turkey and Armenia since 1993.
“How could I not want the opening of the border?” Hagop, the station's guard, told a group of Turkish journalists. “I haven't worked as a conductor for the last 16 years,” he said, adding that he idly watches Turkish television stations as there is not much to do when he is on duty.
Refraining from giving his last name, he also said living standards were much better prior to 1993 in the village next to one of the two stations the trains passed through before crossing into Turkish territory just two kilometers away.
“Initially, we did not know why the border was closed. Then we heard that it was because of the Karabakh problem. We did not expect that the border would remain closed for such a long time,” he said in reference to severed diplomatic ties between Armenia and Turkey, which closed its border in protest over the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The closure of the border has devastated the Armenian economy because the country is dependent on other countries for energy supplies and most raw materials. Turkey and Armenia have been making positive signs that relations will improve, but Azerbaijan recently expressed displeasure about the situation, prompting Turkey's prime minister to repeat the traditional line “One nation, two states” in Baku in solidarity with Azerbaijan.
Longing for his friends on the other side of the border, guard Hagop said he sends his greetings to Şükrü Bey, who he has not been in contact with for years. He then returned to his office where the ink for stamps dried long ago, shelves were dusty and the antiquated control machinery showed signs of rot.
Back in the capital Yerevan, the optimism that followed both countries' gestures in September of last year when Turkish President Abdullah Gül accepted Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan's invitation to watch a game between the national soccer teams of both countries has been replaced with caution since no concrete steps have been, despite diplomatic contact between Turkish and Armenian officials as well as the between Azerbaijani and Armenian representatives. Officials often referred to these contacts as being on separate but parallel tracks.
“Turkey's relations with Armenia are linked to the relations of Armenia and Azerbaijan. As we all know that a solution to the Karabakh problem will take a long time, then that means that a solution to the problems of Turkey and Armenia will take a long time, too,” said Boris Navasardian, president of the Yerevan Press Club.
The situation is complex for Armenia as well.
After Turkey and Armenia announced their agreement on a roadmap for the restoration of ties just before US President Barack Obama's April 24 statement, the nationalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party (Dashnak Party) walked out of the country's coalition government. Even though its withdrawal is not expected to affect the functioning of the government, it has been interpreted as a warning sign.
In addition, critics in Armenia blamed the government for the lack of reference to "genocide" in Obama's address, saying it was obvious that he would not use the word after the announcement of a breakthrough in relations with Turkey.
Armenians say 1.5 million Armenians were killed during a systematic campaign in eastern Anatolia, while Turkey rejects the claims of genocide, saying the killings came as the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell civil strife and that Muslim Turks were also killed in the conflict.
On the other side, Turkish hard-liners have been critical of the rapprochement with Armenia because Turkey has long said the normalization in ties was conditional on Armenia's withdrawal from Azerbaijani territory, a change in Yerevan's policy to stop backing worldwide efforts to win recognition for Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and the formal recognition by Armenia of the current borders.
On Friday, Armenian President Sarksyan said Nagorno-Karabakh is a difficult problem in Turkish-Armenian relations and a solution to the problem requires much effort.
“There are optimists and pessimists from both Turkey and Armenia and from other countries in this process. I am neither thrilled with the statements of the optimists nor disappointed with the statements of the pessimists. Most of that is due to lack of enough information on the issue,” he said, as quoted by the Yerevan-based Azg daily, during his joint press conference with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, who said, “It is better to discuss issues for 10 years instead of going to war for 10 days.”
As both countries try to maintain a difficult balance, time will tell whether optimists or pessimists will prevail in the process.
25 May 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Gyumri Zaman
Witness In Killing Fields Of Turkey
A descendant of Grigoris Balakian translates the author's seminal and wrenching account of the Armenian genocide
Reviewed by Keith Garebian May. 25, 2009
More than one million Armenians were exterminated by the Ottoman Turks in the first genocide of the 20th century, in what Raphael Lemkin (a Polish Jew and legal scholar who invented the term after the Second World War to describe race-murder) regarded as the template for genocide in the modern era, and what we can now see as the paradigm for the Jewish Holocaust and for genocides in Ukraine, Cambodia, Rwanda, the Balkans and Darfur.
My father was Armenian, and one of a multitude of orphaned victims of the Ottoman scourge. He was not yet five-and-a-half when pan-Turkic ideology flamed into race-murder on April 24, 1915. He barely remembered his own father's face. He certainly did not remember any of his grandparents or their names. What he remembered of his mother was a woman dying as much of a broken heart as from starvation and thirst in the desert leading to Der Zor (widely known as “the Auschwitz of the Armenian genocide”).
* Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918, by Grigoris Balakian, Translated by Peter Balakian with Aris Sevag, Knopf, 505 pages, $42
My father had an older sister who survived with him, but their youngest sister was given to a Kurdish farmer and his barren wife, and their other sister, a girl also younger than my father, was abandoned to her fate during the nightmarish trek. He could not remember her name when he recounted the tale to me near the end of his life. Children themselves, he and his eldest sister had had no alternative but to abandon this little girl whom they could not feed or care for while they were forced to eat grass or animal excrement. His final image was of a little starving girl, with curly hair, crying by herself beside an inhospitable tree, where she was probably soon taken as prey by scavenging dogs or wolves.
There is irony in the fact that my father was named Adam, though I believe he had his own views on Original Sin. For him, the fall of man was dated April 24, 1915, when hundreds of thousands of Armenians were forced from their homes to be tortured and slaughtered by Turks. My father survived, but his survival, like those of other Armenians who after the First World War dispersed to other countries – defeating the Ottoman plan to exterminate their race – carried burdens of traumatized hearts.
The Ottoman plan for ethnic cleansing was brilliantly evil. The Turks eliminated the intelligentsia so that Armenians would have no active leaders. They eliminated able-bodied men so that Armenians would have no militia. They eliminated the old so that Armenians would have no memory. They eliminated the young so Armenians would have no future.
They were wrong in the final calculation. Memory and hope for the future live in seminal texts such as Grigoris Balakian's Armenian Golgotha, a massive memoir first published in Armenian in 1922 and now making its debut in English via the graces of Balakian's distinguished great-nephew, author Peter Balakian.
“ By the end of 1915, three-quarters of the Ottoman Armenians were wiped out, and in many villages and towns, entire Armenian populations were massacred”
The long narrative starts in August, 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War. Born in 1876 in Tokat (a small, multicultural Turkish city), Balakian, whose father was a merchant and whose mother was a writer, is in Constantinople after having studied engineering in Saxony and theology in Berlin, making him fluent in German. Russia has declared war on the Ottoman Empire, and the Muslims have proclaimed jihad against Christians to incite religious war against the Allies, but also inflaming anger toward Armenians, who are resented for their skills and crafts and regarded the way Jews would be in Nazi Germany: as despicable vermin contaminating the nation.
Draconian laws go into effect, radically curtailing Armenian civil liberties and rights. In February, 1915, interior minister Mehmet Talat informs German ambassador Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim that he is going to resolve the Armenian Question by eliminating the Armenians. As the Germans observe developments, Balakian, along with about 250 other cultural leaders, is arrested and deported to a prison in central Turkey.
Deportation was, of course, a code word, just as the phrase “take care of the Armenians” was a euphemism. By the end of 1915, three-quarters of the Ottoman Armenians were wiped out, and in many villages and towns, entire Armenian populations were massacred. Balakian does not censor the horrors: children forcibly Islamized; political leaders hanged; death squads, armed with axes, cleavers, knives and rocks, cutting and hacking away at arms, legs and necks, then throwing the bodies into ditches and covering them with lime; young girls beheaded like sheep when they do not submit to sexual advances; suckling infants dismembered; faint screams of children being eaten alive by wild animals after having been abandoned. The sequence of atrocities is the Armenian Passion in the religious sense of suffering, and Der Zor (where the killings exceeded 400,000) is the ultimate place of skulls, or Golgotha.
Balakian's prose is hot, unlike Primo Levi's (in Survival in Auschwitz), which is as cool as a scientist observing laboratory test tubes and chemicals. It recreates wrenching moments: a scene of schoolboys pleading with him to be rescued from Turkish mobs; a train ride generating tormented anxiety and melancholy; a German nurse who embraces the decapitated body of a six-month-old infant; Armenians kissing skulls of the dead; four elderly Armenian women uttering a vehement curse worthy of a tragic Greek chorus. The prose is not overheated, however, except when Balakian is pious (quoting from the Scriptures) or sentimental (indulging in purple prose or paeans to nature).
Weighted with eyewitness accounts and distinguished by Balakian's prodigiously sharp memory, this book is not a scholar's history, of course, but an educated prelate's, with an enviable grasp of Ottoman and European history. It explains German and European imperialist designs on Turkey and Turkish resentment, and how Turkey exploited the chaos of war (as Peter Balakian shows in his introduction).
But the author points his finger as well at his own people, condemning a minority of Armenian traitors, but also revealing how the Armenians' openness of mind and heart victimized them. Many Armenians found it hard to believe that they could be so viciously hated. There were a few brave uprisings – in Zeytoun, Musa Dagh, Van and Sardarabad, for instance – but the Ottomans used these isolated cases as a pretext for their atrocities.
Despite times of utter despair and pessimism, Balakian survives after living like a wild animal for almost four years in mud, rain and snow. Three things help him: his patriotism, of course; his role as unofficial leader of the deportees; and his knowledge of German. In the course of his adventure, he poses as a German worker on the Berlin-Baghdad railway, a German Jew, a German engineer, a German soldier and a Greek vineyard worker.
But there are also good-hearted, sympathetic Turks who come to his rescue and to that of some other fortunate Armenians. So his book is not a wholesale condemnation of Turks, though it probably won't be read by most Turks, who still can't accept responsibility for one of history's greatest crimes against humanity. It should be, of course, for how could a people be expected to understand and atone for a story they have never been officially permitted to know?
Keith Garebian is completing Children of Ararat, a poetry manuscript on his father and the Armenian genocide.
I registered to join the conversation solely to congratulate Hov on his wry sense of humour. You made my day. As for barbarossa, or Kaan Oran, I suggest you drop your Ergenekon crap and do something useful with your life.
"One of the reviewers apparently believes an Armenian should not review a book on the Armenian Genocide."
Hov, very good and argument. However it can be turned around. Would you read Hitler's account of WWII? Or furthermore would you read Goebbel's review of Hitler's book? From a literary standpoint would you classify either the book or the review anything more than a rant?
I think having a personal connection with the story definitely taints the objectivity of the article. It starts the reviewer at a disadvantage compared to an independent observer. It is then the responsibility of the author to refrain himself from injecting his personal beliefs into the review. In this case the reviewer does not even attempt objectivity.
The net result of this is that a Canadian newspaper is used as a propaganda outlet directly aimed at fooling the Canadian public. The author of the book and the reviewer have no interest in presenting a balanced view of history, or even making a half decent attempt at objectivity.
I have seldom come across such a poor, unprofessional, bigoted, review of a book masquerading as a literary work.
One of the reviewers apparently believes an Armenian should not review a book on the Armenian Genocide. Would this reviewer condemn a black reviewer reviewing a book on slavery or human rights, or a Jewish reviewer reviewing a book on the Holocaust? How about an American reviewing a book on American history?
I think some are missing the entire point which was about editorial ethics, and unbiased review. I stand corrected that this book was written with a decidedly pro Armenian view, reviewed by an Armenian Canadian with a pro-Armenian view. The review itself lacks the basic book review principals, and goes off topic many many times.
This is not a book review, it is merely a personal rant about how evil the Turks are. It would help for the reviewer and the author to understand the basic differences between Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey. Differences between genocide, forced-march, civilian displacement. Without mentioning the civilians casualties on both sides, you could not even claim any remote connection to historical accuracy.
And yes, the murdered Turkish Republic Diplomats are important and relevant as are the hundreds of thousands of Turkish and Kurdish civilian casualties that preceded the "forced march". Of course, since we already established that this was not a book review and a mere self-pity exercise why bother to show any empathy or even make the slightest attempt at objective portrayal of history.
Hmm, you murder their diplomats and the Turks refuse to deal with you? I wonder if there was some sort of connection here?
A little empathy could go a long way in understanding one another, as well as seeing history as a long continuation of actions and reactions. Try empathy for a change, it will make you feel a lot better, more mature and a lot less angry.
As the Nazis learnt from the Ottomans how to attempt exterminating a whole people, if we are to follow barbarossa's logic, Germany now should learn from the Turkish Republlic how to justify the murderous actions of its predecessor by complaining that nobody writes about the German's killed in the Second World War or during the Warsaw uprising.
Australia: Speech Of MP Michael Atkinson, On Genocide
These words were penned by Dr. Filon Ktenithis in his work The Bell of Pontos, «? ??µ???? ??? ??????», so that future generations could start understanding, the pain and trauma of the survivors of the annihilation. An annihilation that was planned and executed in macabre detail by the Ottoman Turks, an annihilation of peoples who had farmed the soil of Anatolia for thousands of years, but whom the Government of Turkey still try to marginalise by the pejorative, sea people or Black Sea people.
I stand before you here today, in Ayia Sofia Square in Thessaloniki, the centre of Hellenes abroad, the city that embraced the refugee Pontians, in homage to, and remembrance of, those hundreds of thousands, fellow human beings, whom the Ottomans and then the followers of Mustafa Kemal annihilated and more thoroughly purged from Anatolia than the German invaders purged the local Jewish people of Warsaw, Krakow, Sarajevo or, indeed, Thessaloniki.
I join you here today to honour the memory of those victims, first the men, then the women and children; to pray with you, to shed a tear with you, to remember.I wish to convey to you the good wishes of the Premier of South Australia, the Honourable Mike Rann, the "hereteesmoos (greetings)" of the people of South Australia, the "ieeun ke evloeeun" of my friend Haralambos Tavlaridis, the President of the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia, as well as the greetings of the Parliament of South Australia,
On 30th April, 2009, in the spirit of respect for the those slaughtered in Anatolia in the first quarter of the previous century, I moved a motion in Parliament to recognise that the annihilation, first by the Ottoman state, and then the followers of Mustafa Kemal, between 1915-1923 of Armenians, Hellenes, Assyrians and other Christian minorities in Asia Minor was one of the greatest crimes against humanity.
I believe our Parliament is the first outside the Hellenic Republic to do so. I am pleased to have done this, despite being criticised by the envoys of the Republic of Turkey in Australia, I will not stand by silently, as some want me to do, I will not take a step back while others speak for me. My resolution was passed unanimously. If there were individual Members of Parliament persuaded by the denials of envoys of the Republic of Turkey, they did not have the courage of their convictions to speak against or vote against the resolution.
In the words of Rigas Fergios, who wrote the war song Thourios, which served as a rallying cry for Greeks against Ottoman rule:
For how long shall we live like this.
Better one hour of free life
Than forty years of slavery and prison
I am here today at the invitation of the Pan Pontian Federation of Hellas, to address this gathering and pay my respects, on behalf of the people of South Australia, to the 353,000 Pontian Hellenes, annihilated principally because they were Christian.
I am here today also, to pay my respects to the survivors and the descendants of this annihilation and exile, many of whom live in my State of South Australia, and who carry with them the legacy of that very dark chapter in history.
Although today we mourn, Pontians have made a success of their new life on the other side of the world, in Australia. The names Pontus and Pontian live in Australia where the Pontian-Australians have their Brotherhood, their clubrooms, their Churches, their cafenions, their groceries, their football clubs and where men play the lira (Lee-rah) and all dance
as their ancestors did. There is much scholarship that demonstrates that these exterminations were centrally planned and administered by the Ottoman regime against the entire Christian minority of Anatolia.
Most Hellene, Armenian and Assyrian political, religious and cultural leaders, were arrested and murdered, beginning in Istanbul on 23 April 1915. More than one and a half million Pontian Hellenes fled to Greece. Three thousand years of Hellenic civilisation and history in Asia Minor, once a crucible of Hellenism, were extinguished in the catastrophe.
Many people were killed in their towns and villages, or on death marches across Anatolia towards camps in the Syrian desert, sometimes called the White Killing. Just such a march is described in Thea Halos Not Even My Name and anyone who reads it would know that it rings with authenticity, with absolute trustworthiness. Those Hellene, Armenian and Assyrian males not killed were conscripted into the Ottoman army, disarmed and put in special labour battalions.
Most were either worked to death or killed when they had outlived their usefulness. The remaining populations of the elderly, women and children were rounded up, some forcibly converted to Islam, some adopted to be raised as Turks, some pressed into domestic service, some raped, some killed.
This annihilation, at the end of hundreds of years of Ottoman rule on the Anatolian peninsula, started on the eve of the landing of Australian troops at Gallipoli. Oh how this part of this world could have been different had the Australian soldiers made it across the Gallipoli Peninsula after they landed from the Aegean Sea on 25 April, 1915.
Our soldiers attained the heights of Chanuk Bair against the forces commanded by Mustafa Kemal, they could see their target, the Dardenelles, which, had they taken it, would have allowed Britain to supply Russia and keep it in the war (and in eastern Anatolia in particular) and would have knocked Ottoman Turkey out of the Great War in 1915 instead of 1918.
But the Australian and New Zealand soldiers, despite the covert help of Greek villagers in the battle zone, and the assistance of the Greek Government on Lemnos, were not to reach the Dardanelles and were withdrawn by the end of 1915. By a logic that perhaps those who are not Australian will not understand, our military defeat on the Gallipoli Peninsula marked the birth of Australian nationhood and the landing of our soldiers at Gallipoli.
Australian soldiers taken as prisoners of war by the Turks wrote about the atrocities they saw committed against the Christian minorities of Anatolia. Academic researchers in Australia today are going through our war archives, and are constantly finding out more and more about these atrocities because Australian prisoners of war of the Turks witnessed them.
Today, in multicultural Australia, we have about 100,000 Pontian Hellenes living in harmony. They have become Australians. Our Pontian Brotherhood of South Australia was established in 1958, making it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Pontian organisations in the diaspora.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to many Pontians in my home, the city of Adelaide. This includes 1st generation Pontians, who came to Greece as refugees from their homeland, as well as subsequent generations. What I find fascinating and exciting is that Pontians of the fourth generation, have continued on what they call their hreos (?????) or tumu (??µ?) to their ancestors, in maintaining and promoting their very vibrant culture, language and ethos. They, like us all here today, have no animosity to present day Turks. They, like us all here at the Square of Ayeea Sofeea, and Pontians from across the globe, would like acknowledgement of those tragic events, some 90 years ago. Acknowledgement that will lead to reconciliation. I commend the organisers of this event and thank them wholeheartedly for inviting me. and for their hospitality
I wish to close this address, making reference to another great Pontian, a Parliamentary colleague who I did not have the pleasure of meeting, but whose ethos in politics and communal life, has left behind a profound legacy.
Leonithas Yusonithis said:
Xirunthito imin o lurinx,
un epiluthometha soo
o patrios Ponteea yee.
Let us now, all together, look forward knowing that the Pontian spirit could not be extinguished it burns and burns brightly in the hearts and homes of many across the world, from Thessaloniki to Australia.
And to those who are no longer with us, we say: Rest eternal, grant unto them, Oh Lord,
and may light perpetual shine upon them. "
Posted by Gul Arslan
Armenian Official Calls For Ties With Turkish Parliament
Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Samvel Nikoyan gave a message last week that he wants to establish communication with the Turkish Parliament, as he greeted Turkish journalists visiting Yerevan.
“It is nice that you are here to establish ties between the journalists of the two countries. There are ties between the peoples. And I wish there were ties between the two Parliaments,” he said, speaking last Friday to the journalists, who are in Armenia for the Turkey-Armenia Journalist Dialogue Project of the International Hrant Dink Foundation funded by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Association.
He also said that he went to İstanbul 11 years ago when the Kurdish issue was a hot topic and that there were police searches and checkpoints at several locations in the city.
“Our bus would be stopped and searched several times. The police would say, ‘Let them pass, Turks and Armenians are friends',” he said.
As the journalists were accompanied by Aris Nalcı, who also translated conversations from Armenian to Turkish and vice versa, communications director Marov Asatyan said this is the first time she has heard Turkish translation in the Parliament.
“You are the first Turkish journalists to enter here. There was no such request before. But the Parliament is open to everyone,” she said.
Turkey took a drastic step toward peace with Armenia when President Abdullah Gül visited Yerevan last September to watch a World Cup qualifying match between the two countries' national soccer teams. But Asatyan said Gül did not have enough time to visit the Parliament.
Asatyan took the journalists to the big receiving room where foreign delegations are hosted, and then to the foyer where reporters can see the deputies and ask questions. The journalists then entered the general assembly where hearings and general assembly meetings take place. As they sat on the old-fashioned seats, which are beige-colored plastic and fabric, Asatyan said there has recently been a significant amount of information exchange between Turkey and Armenia and that it is discussed in the general assembly.
Asked if there were heated debates about the so-called “roadmap” in the hall, she said there was support and opposition to such a plan, in reference to the document Gül and his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarksyan, agreed upon at the end of April in their delicate negotiations in a bid to end a conflict in the volatile region for the resumption of diplomatic relations and the reopening of the border.
Another issue the journalists were curious about was the 1999 Armenian Parliament shooting. On Oct. 27 of that year, a group of armed men killed the prime minister and seven other high-ranking officials. After the killings, the attackers announced they were staging a coup d'état and claimed they wanted to punish "corrupt officials.” They freed about 40 hostages after they were allowed to speak on national television and were promised a fair trial and safe passage by negotiations with then-President Robert Kocharyan. Thousands of Armenians gathered in the capital for funeral services.
“I was here during the attack. It is very painful for us. We don't even want to remember it. We cannot understand it, and the act is not human,” she said.
There are 131 seats in the Armenian Parliament, which currently has deputies from five political parties. There are also 12 commissions.
26 May 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Yerevan Zaman
Book Review: Myth Of Armenian Claims Against Turks Pakistan Observer , May 24 2009, Lies,Lies And More Lies by Col Masud Akhtar Shaikh, Encore, Islamabad, 250 pages, Review by Col Ghulam Sarwar
A reputed Pakistani scholar of the Turkish language and literature, Col Masud Akhtar Shaikh is the proud author of sixteen books and some of these are translations from Turkish literature. A few more books, I understand, are in the pipeline. Besides, writing books on Turkish literature, he has carried out an indepth analysis of the Armenian issue and in the process has exploded the myth of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks. He has convincingly brought out that the issue of genocide is a total hoax and has nothing to do with facts on ground. He holds that this `hoax' was woven by some Christian powers during World War I, as a part of their vicious propaganda against the Turks. Col Shaikh, on the other hand, makes us believe that the myth of Armenian genocide by the ottoman Turks, was designed to cover up the genocide of the Turks at the hands of the Armenians.
It is extremely deplorable that the propaganda against the Turks has so successfully been launched that the world has seriously started believing that the Armenians were the most oppressed nation in the world and that the Ottoman Turks had mercilessly subjected them to genocide and for this, the Turkish Republic should accept responsibility. The learned author feels that it is high time that this myth is exposed threadbare.
From the narrative, we learn that knowing that the Ottoman government would not easily agree to further disintegration of the Empire, the Americans had adopted the policy of terrorism on an extensive scale. Gradually, the terrorist operations engineered by the Armenians had become so frequent and so widespread, that it had become almost impossible to keep a count of the number of Turks killed by the Armenians. It was also difficult to assess the value of Turkish assets that were destroyed by the latter. To put facts in their proper perspective, the author makes us believe that during the Ottoman Empire, there was no bar or prejudice against the employment of Armenians in any government or ministry. Also, there was no objection to their elevation to the higher echelons of the bureaucratic hierarchy. This situation continued right upto the end of World War I. This fact was borne out by the Report of the Commission led by General Horbord, and presented to the American Senate. This Commission had carried out a study on the status of Armenians in Antolia and Russia at the end of the Great War.
The report had stated that the Turkish people and the Armenians had been living side by side on friendly and peaceful terms. In fact, the Armenians had lived in peace and prosperity for many centuries as the loyal citizens of the Ottoman Empire, enjoying full confidence of the Ottoman Rulers. However, starting from the last quarter of the 19th century, this situation had started undergoing a drastic change in relation between the Turks and the Armenians. Thus, through cunning mechanism of the Big Powers, the age-old brotherly feelings between the two communities were gradually replaced by feelings of mutual hatred and acrimony. With regard to geo-political importance of Turks, the author brings out that all along history, Turkey had remained the centre of attraction for various powers, because of its extremely important strategic and geo-political location. Obviously, it had served as a bridge between Europe and Asia.
To add to its importance, we see that it controlled two highly important straits, the Dardanelles and the Istanbul straits (Bosophorus), which provided passage between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It was located at a nodal point where the natural energy resources of Asia, Caucasus and Middle East intersect each other. In view of this enviable position, Turkey has always been the centre piece of plots and conspiracies hatched against it by big powers. Further, we learn from the narrative that Armenia is in dire need of economic developments, both in the industrial and the agricultural sectors. For this, it has to rely on outside help in terms of technical know-how, heavy equipment and machinery and external investment. With the present strained relations with Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia and to some extent, Iran, it would be futile on the part of Armenia to expect desired goodwill from any of these countries.
In view of above constraints, what Armenia needs in the immediate future is a friendly Turkey, a friendly Azerbaijan and a friendly Georgia. All these neighbouring countries can be of a great assistance to Armenia in its economic and social development as well as its security as an independent nation. It is in Armenia's own interest to realise that no attempt at reconciliation can be successful unless the outside powers, namely Russia, America and France realise that their respective national interests can be served better if durable peace prevails in the region. By contributing towards accelerated economic and industrial development of the region, these powers can also reap rich dividends in terms of greater opportunities for secure investment in the whole region. International development and financial agencies would also be encouraged to invest substantial funds for speedy regional development. This done, hopefully, within a short period, Armenia would no longer remain a permanent liability for Russia and America, as well as for rest of the Christian world, as it has been for the last many decades. So, in the interest of Armenian people, it is imperative that Russia, America and France, voluntarily lend their support in paving the way for inter-state reconciliation in the region.
Margaret Ahnert Discusses New Genocide Book In Washington, Dc AZG Armenian Daily 23/05/2009
Margaret Ajemian Ahnert, author of The Knock at the Door: A Journey Through the Darkness of the Armenian Genocide spoke about her book on Wednesday evening, April 15, 2009 at the Armenian embassy in Washington, DC.
Hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States and the Fund for Armenian Relief, the author - winner of the 2008 New York Book Fair Award for Best Historical Memoir - discussed her book to a sizeable crowd that included members of the Armenian community of Washington DC, representatives of the Armenian organizations, friends of FAR, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans and his wife, Donna.
In The Knock at the Door, Ahnert tells her mother Ester's story about surviving the brutality of the Armenian Genocide and her eventual escape to the United States. As she writes about her mother's plight and survival, she conveys the intimate relationship she shares with her 98 year old mother.
Ahnert - who is on her third book tour - said that The Knock at the Door started out as her master's thesis when she was a graduate student. Building on her thesis, she wrote The Knock at the Door as a mother-daughter story expressing conversations between her and her mom.
Growing up, Ahnert's mother told her stories about her life and escaping the Genocide. These stories affected Ahnert's life and as she got older she realized she wanted to find out more about her family's story of survival and write a memoir for her children and grandchildren. "I had no idea it would be as big as it is," said Ahnert, who was honored recently as the recipient of the Distinguished Humanitarian Award.
Ahnert has not only received acclaim for her book but is also educating non-Armenians about the Armenian Genocide. "My goal and mission in life is to tell the story to the non-Armenians who ask me what the Armenian Genocide is," said Ahnert, emphasizing the importance of fostering dialogue about the Genocide and teaching people who will in turn educate others.
Since her book was published in 2007, Ahnert has made appearances around the world for book presentations. "It's been just tremendous," said Ahnert about the positive reception her book has received. "People have embraced me, my mother and my book. It's been a beautiful experience." Ahnert is currently booked through December 2009 and has been invited a second time from Yale University to present her book.
Regarding her book presentation in Washington, D.C. at the Armenian embassy, Ahnert was pleased with the attendance and graciousness of both FAR and the Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tatoul Markarian.
"FAR does wonderful things in Armenia and it is a commendable organization," said Ahnert.# # #Since its founding in response to the 1988 earthquake, FAR has served hundreds of thousands of people through more than 220 relief and development programs in Armenia and Karabagh. It has channeled more than $265 million in humanitarian assistance by implementing a wide range of projects including emergency relief, construction, education, medical aid, and economic development.
Musa Dagh Photo Collection To Be Part Of Armenian Genocide Museum Of America 23.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ 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.
As PanARMENIAN.Net came to know from AGMA, 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.
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 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," Dr. Shemmassian said.
According to Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of the museum's research arm, the Armenian National Institute, "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."
"Franz Werfel's book was widely read in Europe and made the Jewish author unpopular with the Nazi regime, prompting Werfel to flee Austria in 1938," Adalian said. He noted that according to Professor Yair Auron of the Open University of Israel, Werfel's novel was a source of inspiration and reflection for Jews who were trapped by the Nazi occupation of Europe. In one historical account, a Holocaust survivor from the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania stated: "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."
Turkey `May Yet Mend Ties With Armenia' 22.05.2009 Hovannes Shoghikian
President Serzh Sarkisian insisted on Friday that Turkey may still agree to unconditionally normalize relations with Armenia soon despite its leaders' renewed linkage between Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Sarkisian dismissed as too `pessimistic' his critics' belief that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent public pronouncements on the issue preclude the success of the year-long dialogue between the two neighboring nations.
`Solutions to difficult problems require one to make great efforts and follow a difficult path,' he said. `And as we follow that difficult path, it is obvious that both in Armenia and Turkey and other countries, there will be optimists and pessimists, who, lacking full information, may emotionally express their joy or discontent, optimism or pessimism. So just as I wasn't very buoyed by optimists' statements at the beginning [of the dialogue,] I am now not that disaffected or disappointed with pessimists' statements.'
`I believe that Turkey still retains its great chance to show the international community and citizens of Armenia that it is a modern country, that it is guided by modern standards, principles of international law. And so in my view, it is still too early to draw conclusions,' added Sarkisian.
Erdogan has stated on numerous occasions in recent weeks that Turkey will not establish diplomatic relations and reopen the border with Armenia as long as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved. His statements have been endorsed by Turkey's powerful military.
`[Armenian] occupation of Karabakh is the cause here and closing of the border is the effect. It is impossible for us to open the border unless that occupation ends,' the Turkish premier said during an official visit to Azerbaijan last week.
Neither Sarkisian, nor other Armenian leaders have so far commented on the implications of Erdogan's stance for the implementation of a U.S.-brokered `roadmap' to the normalization to Turkish-Armenian relations. The document has still not been publicized by Ankara and Yerevan.
The Armenian president is facing growing domestic criticism over his conciliatory policy toward Turkey. Opposition leaders say he has helped the Turks scuttle an official U.S. recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide while failing to secure the lifting of Turkey's 16-year economic blockade of Armenia.
Armenia -- Presidents Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia (L) and Stjepan Mesic of Croatia meet in Yerevan on May 22, 2009. Sarkisian was speaking on Friday at a joint news conference with Croatia's visiting President Stjepan Mesic. His office said the two leaders agreed on the need for the establishment of `normal relations between states without preconditions.'
Mesic, whose country went through a bloody war following the break-up of Yugoslavia, expressed hope that Armenia will eventually make peace with both Turkey and Azerbaijan. `It's better to negotiate for ten years than to fight for ten days,' he told journalists.
Copyright (c) 2009 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
Armenians All Over The World To Elaborate Joint Genocide Recognition Plan 25.05.2009
Armenian Genocide issue should be viewed from scientific viewpoint, and Armenians all over the world should elaborate a joint plan with regard to the matter, UAR Chairman and Head of World Armenian Congress (WAC) Ara Abrahmyan told journalists. "Unfortunately, Diaspora's possible approaches with regard to Armenian Genocide issue are not clearly presented now," he noted, adding that a group of lawyers and international law experts recently proposed that Armenian Genocide be considered by International Court of Human Rights. "We addressed such request to RA President. But he answered that we haven't chosen proper moment for that."
According to Mr. Abrahamyan, UAR and WAC welcome Yerevan-Ankara dialogue. "We find that the process should continue. Of course, we disapprove of any attempt aimed at linking Armenian Genocide with Karabakh settlement process. We do realize that Armenian Genocide issue cannot become subject of bargaining," UAR Chairman said.
Kınıklıoğlu: We Pass Turkish Concerns To Armenians
Suat Kınıklıoğlu, member of Parliament and deputy chairman of external affairs for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), has said a workshop like this week's Turkey-Armenia relations gives an opportunity to Turkey to talk about concerns of the both sides as the process of rapprochement with Armenia continues.
“We want to share the concerns in Turkey here. Even from the language used at the workshop we see that we don't know each other well. We talk about Turkey-Armenia relations as well as Azerbaijan's role in it in the context of regional dynamics,” said Kınıklıoğlu yesterday at Turkey-Armenia Relations Workshop organized by the Foundation for Political Economic and Social Research (SETA).
Asked about the influence of the Karabakh issue in that regard, Kınıklıoğlu said there is parallel process to the Turkey-Armenia negotiations on the issue taken by the Minsk group. “The process is parallel and they support each other. But these are difficult topics. They would have been solved in 16 or 17 if they were easy,” he said. “Turkey has good relations with both Azerbaijan and Georgia, and wants to add Armenia into this. News of the normalization process with Armenia affects Karabakh but the film is continuing and there will be developments, hopefully positive.” He also indicated that normalization of relations with Armenia and resolution to the Karabakh conflict are both “mutually reinforcing each other and interacting.”
Attending the workshop Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Caucasus Institute based in Yerevan, said that they don't expect that the border between Armenia and Turkey will be open soon, closed by Turkey in 1993 protesting the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. “We don't expect that the border will be open in a short period of time but once the border opens historical dimension of Turkey-Armenia relations will not be so much important,” he said.
Most of the participants at the workshop indicated that a closed border with Armenia, “an anomaly of the Cold War years,” should be corrected, and this is the last legacy of the Soviet Union as NATO member Turkey faces a closed border.
Bülent Aras from SETA said the Cold War has been continuing in the Caucasus although it ended in the rest of the world.
27 May 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Zaman
Gürsel : Novel Does Not Commit Crimes, Trial For The Novel "Allah's Daughter" Bawer ÇAKIR BİA News Center 26 May 2009
Nedim Gürsel, author of the novel "Daughters of Allah", faces a trial for allegedly "inciting hatred and hostility" and "denigrating religion".
The third hearing of the case took place at the Şişli 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul on Tuesday, 26 May.
Speaking in court, Gürsel said, "This is a novel, and it is not possible for novels to commit crimes. I reject the accusation of having made fun of religion."
The court rejected the demand of Ali Emre Bukağlı to join the case as a third party. His complaints about the book's first and second edition led to the opening of two trials, which were merged at the hearing.
The court also rejected Bukağlı's demand for a change in judge. The next hearing of the case is on 26 June.
Lawyers Şehnaz Yüzer and Kemal Evren Alpar are representing the writer.
Plaintiff Bukağlı and his lawyer Ceyhun Gökdoğan also attended the hearing.
Religious institution overstepping mark
Writer Gürsel criticised the fact that the Directorate of Religious Affairs had prepared a report on the book, saying, "The fact that this institution overstepped the boundaries of its duties and accused me is worrying in terms of a laicist Turkish Republic."
Reading out an article by Abdurrahman Dilipak, Gürsel said that his book did not denigrate religious values.
Later, despite objections by lawyer Yüzer, the lawyer let Bukağlı speak. Bukağlı said that the book insulted the Prophet Muhammed, his wives and the Holy Qur'an. He claimed that the book harmed "social peace", citing readers' comments to news about the book as evidence.
At the end of the hearing, Gürsel told bianet, "It is saddening that a writer can be tried with such a mentality." He added that the book should be criticised by literature critics and not the Directorate of Religious Affairs.
The hearing was also attended by painter Bedri Baykam, PEN Turkey president and Birgün newspaper journalist Tarık Günersel, Alain Dubuy, the deputy consul of Istanbul's French Consulate, and Seyfettin Gürsel, older brother of the writer. (BÇ/AG)
Workshop Tackles Road Map In Armenian Issue
ISTANBUL - The Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research gathers opinion makers from Turkey and Armenia in a two-day workshop in Istanbul. Participants discuss the road ahead on bilateral relations as well as the resolution stalemate over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue
With the prime minister’s statement that a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh must be found before opening the border with Armenia casting doubt on reconciliation, nongovernmental organizations have rolled up their sleeves to keep up momentum for reconciliation.
The Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research was one such think tank, as it initiated a two-day workshop between opinion makers from Turkey and Armenia in Istanbul, which started yesterday. Changes in international relations are not happening with traditional diplomacy, but different actors, such as businessmen and opinion makers, are also contributing to international developments, said one of the participants from Turkey. In this respect, participants discussed the road ahead both in bilateral relations and on the future of the Caucasus.
Even more complicated
At the end of the first day of discussions the two sides seemed to agree that progress on the reconciliation process between Armenia and Turkey looked even more difficult than two months ago, especially after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Azerbaijan.
Turkey and Armenia made a historic joint statement in April announcing to the world that they agreed on a road map to normalize relations. Following the reaction of Azerbaijan, which is in dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Erdoğan said resolution to the conflict was linked to the normalization, which was perceived as a setback to the reconciliation talks between Yerevan and Baku.
The Armenian participants repeated their frustration of sharing the last closed border in Europe, as well as what they describe as Turkish policy being taken hostage by Azerbaijan. The Turkish participants on the other hand took pains to soften Prime Minister Erdoğan’s statement, avoiding the use of the term "precondition."
One participant from Turkey said that Turkey’s initiatives toward Armenia were not motivated by increasing resolutions recognizing Armenians’ claims of genocide, but by the policy of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, based on the motto "Zero problems with neighbors." "Turkey wants to correct an anomaly and reintegrate its neighborhood," he said. Recalling the Russia-Georgia war of last summer, the same participant said the status quo in the Caucasus was not sustainable, adding that the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia and the resolution to the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh should be mutually reinforcing each other.
While participants from Armenia seemed unanimous on the government’s position that there should be no precondition to normalization of relations with the exception of one participant, who said Turkey should recognize Armenians claims of genocide before there was normalization, the participants from the Turkish side differed on their views on the linkage between normalization and the resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Some of the Turkish participants agreed with their Armenian counterparts that if the normalization process were taken hostage by the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, there would not be any progress on the bilateral relations.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Banking On Armenia's Diaspora businessneweurope.eu May 26 2009
Armenia's best export is its people and the government is hoping to tap its wealthy diaspora by setting up a global retail bank that can funnel some of their money into projects back at home.
There are three times more Armenians living outside the country than in it and remittances make up the single biggest hard currency earner for the country; it seems no matter how far Armenians travel, their hearts remain at home. The government wants to capitalise on this loyalty and instead of waiting for the money to be sent home, it will go out and get it by setting up a bank with branches all over the world. "It is a global retail bank that will target Armenians living overseas," Armenia's minister of economy, Nerses Yeritsyan, tells bne during May's annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London. "Imagine: if only 1% of all Armenians take a credit card from the new bank, then that will generate enough money for us to say goodbye to [international financial institution] funding forever."
The inflow of remittances is already worth billions of dollars a year, but this is only the tip of the asset iceberg and a fraction of the personal wealth of successful Armenia's who live overseas, most of which is deposited in local banks. With large populations concentrated in places like Moscow, London and Los Angeles - pop music diva Cher is an ethnic Armenian - the locations for the first branches are pretty obvious.
The government contributed $20m to the capital of the bank, which has already been set up, but isn't operational yet. The plan was to raise another $80m from Armenians around the world. "The other half of the equation is the resources the bank mobilises and will invest into targeted projects back in Armenia. It is a way for our diaspora to take a more active role in the development of the country and at the same time earn a good return on that growth," says the minister.
However, the crisis threw a wrench into the plans, as most of the commitments - which came from both large Armenian-owned businesses and private individuals - have been put on hold after markets crashed around the world at the end of last year. "We took the bank on a road show last year and found there was a lot of support amongst the diaspora," says Yeritsyan. "However, these commitments have been withdrawn for the moment while everyone is assessing their position. But we are confident that they will return and we can push ahead as planned with the bank."
In the meantime, the government has hired head hunters to find a top quality international CEO, as the tricky bit of making a global retail bank work is that it will have to compete with high street banks in the US and UK in terms of the quality of its service. It won't be easy, but Yeritsyan is literally banking on the loyalty that Armenians feel towards their homeland to give the bank a competitive edge.
Actress Pelin Batu Uses The Word "G" on TV 27 May 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
On 10 May, during the show "Scenes of History," by Murat Bardakci on Habertürk TV, and one flap was devoted to the development of Armenian-Turkish relations today, the famous and beautiful Turkish actress, Pelin Batu, has not taken any detours to declare that "the events of 1915, it was a Genocide."
The young woman spoke to the French, who hate the hypocrisy, has surprised the world by this statement repeated several times live, and especially İnal Pelin, his own father, former ambassador to Italy. A man now retired, having worked nearly 40 years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticizing France in its statements and fiercely opposed to the Armenian claims.
Unexpected words of the young woman has caused waves of protest among the participants of the show and viewers accusing him, among other things, to wear around his neck a chain with the pendant is a representation of a grenade ... the symbolic Armenian fruit.
Thus, in the light of the events of 1915, and according to the journalist and writer Murat Bardakci himself editor of "Black Book" of Talaat Pasha, the latter to indicate the actress, in Turkey using the phrase "alleged genocide" to refer to the events of 1915. What Pelin Batu reply to the caller that she had been in Armenia, where she met with priests and scholars. She was expressing her own point of view with regard to the great tragedy that occurred in 1915. But Murat Bardakci returning to the attack, implicitly lead actress in the field of terrorism by recalling the episode of the actions of the "Asala" at which Turkish diplomats were murdered. "At that time my father was diplomat, I was very young and I lived in fear of losing. His best friend was killed and I went to school in armored car, but this does not mean that I must be filled with animosity towards the Armenians, "she said. Adding in an interview later with his trip to Armenia: "They are like us, they look to the future. We will do great things together. "
They will not let you live
Mr. Bardakci concluded by saying "In Turkey we have the opportunity to defend the Armenian thesis. As against you can not defend the thesis in Turkish Armenia. They will not let you live. We must be realistic "
As for the protests on the pendant with a grenade, the young artist, shocked, said to have bought in Armenia because it was his favorite fruit. It was beautiful and we were doing the "Tam Tam for a grenade when you spoke of a process of normalization, fraternity and friendship between the two peoples." "Shame on you!" Was she exclaimed.
Commenting later, the performance of singer Hadise representing Turkey in Eurovision, Pelin has not been around the bush: "I'm tired of seeing these girls with big breasts formatted shake their ass on the same music. Hadise is a good professional, but Eurovision is a very serious issue in relation to our national pride. "She said.
Pelin Batu was born premature (7 months) on 27 December 1978 in Ankara. A graduate of History, is preparing a doctorate in literature.
It was pointed out in France with the film by Ferzan Ozpetek "Le Dernier Harem (1999) with Marie Gillain. Fervent advocate of gender equality, it is not against the wearing of the veil at university, but claims the freedom for every woman to dress as she wishes. She also published a collection of poems in 2008 and presented the program "Short Circuit" on Kanalturk.
Nedim Gursel: Moods 24 May 2009, Ara / armenews
By the way, I read: Turkey, other Europe, by Nedim Gürsel. I did not know that there may be another Europe than ours. But Turkey is not the land of fakes? I read it. Article written by a novelist and director of research at CNRS. The theme is to raise again the issue of the encounter between East and West. Interesting.
If indeed this problem is often addressed through the battles and massacres, but the meeting never took place and will be forever impossible. Nedim Gürsel us that this criticism by which we Europeans look at the things, I see it. But I hasten to say immediately that Turkey does the same, with Azerbaijan, adding even massacres and genocides that have never existed. That is no shortage of curiosity.
If France, as argued by Nedim Gürsel preaches across most of its political class and its public rejection and self, what about Turkey or Azerbaijan, two nations that take one for the other? I ask you?
It is in this case something wrong. First, France, like other countries in Europe, open to other European countries. I see no exclusion in this process. On the contrary, I guess still a desire for Europe to grow naturally from east and south as would a current alien to Europe. If I visit Moscow Kiefer and I still have all of Europe, seeing it finally eastern boundary.
To read this article, I feel that as Nedim Gürsel plans on France representations and accuses the Turkish mirror reflection that perceives. Everything he describes applies perfectly to Turkey. Chance or necessity?
Then the multicultural Europe. Nedim Gürsel dream of a multicultural Europe, as if it was already long overdue. After all, southern Iberian peninsula, west, islands expressions Celtic, in the center of the Latins, the Celts and Slavs to the north of the Germanic countries, as well as other crops in smaller numbers, but essential to European identity as Hungarians, Finns, Lapps, but also the limits of the south-eastern Greece. We forget, for now at least. What about the Normans, a people once conquered, the people of producers, managers, traders, organizers in all, creator of empire, which united from north to south, from east to west, Europe? It was the same with the Ottomans? What is there after their passage? Just faults, divisions, breaks that for Europe after a long time to want to repair, if it happens one day. Proof of this is Cyprus. Nedim Gürsel and arguments that Nicosia is the capital of a European country now, and it is on the same longitude Ankara and twenty minutes as the crow flies from Beirut? What I would say that Yerevan is located at the latitude of Madrid and it does not make as much Spanish. Nedim Gürsel it ignores the history of Cyprus, its commitment to the Greek world, the Christian kingdoms, the Lusignan and that the introduction of Turkish as a loophole that will close before long, if ever? His demonstration that he or n'illusionne mast drive naive.
It comes to us finally waved under the nose in 2010 that Istanbul is the cultural capital of Europe. Do we agree to make it so? No! Istanbul may be the cultural capital of Europe. But I can not say the same of Constantinople and Byzantium. The cultural history of the place and can not claim that arises without the identity theft that is not yours. Byzantium is not yours, nor Constantinople or the ancient Greek world and modern that Turkey skirts palavers soon to come to the heart of Marseille.
Nedim Gürsel and finished the article into a dramatic aporia that to claim that his country is knocking at the door of Europe and continues to remind every opportunity its commitment to democratic values and freedom of expression, even though he is continued to denigrate the religious values in this country claiming to be secular.
Nedim Gürsel gives me the impression to make a big difference to the tear.
Modem: Jean-François Kahn Is Absurd To Try To Recognize The Genocide Of Armenians By Turkey 27 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Excerpt of a debate on the newspaper "Les Echos" in which Jean-François Kahn candidate in the forthcoming European Modem under the label expresses his opinion. No comment ....
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, you are one of the few politicians to be supportive of Turkey's accession and to assume ...
Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Speaking of Turkey today in the European elections is nonsense. Today, the only decision ever taken in Europe is a negotiation process that will last another ten years. The lie of the President of the Republic is to say that we will stop the negotiations. When he was president of the EU, what is decided? Nothing. Why? Because it is a process and that the decision whether Turkey will be part of Europe, the end of this process. It depends on the changes in Turkey, know if Europe manages to overcome the Treaty of Lisbon Europe can it work in integrating Turkey is a real debate.
Jean-François Kahn: Ah!
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, you have a little change on that ...
Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Not. Over a decade ago I said I am for the entry of Turkey and this will require a European Constitution.
Jean-François Kahn: In fact, Philippe de Villiers said something very true, even if it's Philippe de Villiers said: "you pay what is planned to prepare for the entry of Turkey into the Union European. France contributes.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit: All European countries. It is a process of ten years. If you want to talk of privileged partnership, we will see in ten years.
Jean-François Kahn: I respect very much those who are against Turkey's entry into Europe. I have some doubt on their arguments, but I respect their views. What is unacceptable is that people pretend to want to bring Turkey in Europe and that, because we feared in fact, it continues to add conditions. It is humiliating for the Turkish people.
They are asked to recognize the Armenian genocide. We were not asked to acknowledge the crimes and torture in Algeria. This is absurd. My view is that we either Europe, or are brought into Turkey. This is contradictory.
We can not make the United States of Europe if we enter Turkey. If you want to create a federal Europe of nations, we must create a European patriotism. Europe spoke Latin, had the same story, the same civilization, the same religion.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Not me. I have never been Christian. I have the right to be European without being a Christian!
Jean-François Kahn: Moi non plus I am not Christian. Your response is ridiculous. I say that in history, Europe has been through things that _si it makes you plaisir_ to 98% were common. Despite this, we can not. If a country of 65 million people who wears a great civilization but another great story but another, a great culture, but another fall in the European Union, then there will be no chance there is a day a European patriotism.
That is why the British or the United States, who do not want a political Europe is made, are Turkey. If there is little or no European, I understand that it is for Turkey. If one is for an integrated Europe, I do not understand.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit: The patriotism that can develop in Europe, it is a constitutional patriotism. That's why I talked about the European Constitution and I say that the problem is not easy to settle for Turkey.
Developed in European history some idea of constitutionalization of democracy. But the Turks have a complex politico-constitutional because it is the army which monitors the Constitution, which is for us impossible and unthinkable. This is where is played the possibility of entry of Turkey. This is the only debate that I reconnais.Mais as a process, initiated 40 years ago by the Christian Democrat government of Adenauer, interrupt today would create a schism.
The debates will be fascinating, the question divides all groups in the European Parliament. Stop saying: "privileged partnership". We will see in ten years. I do not know if François Bayrou will be president, but it will not be Sarkozy, to sell nuclear power to Areva, among others to Turkey.
Jean-François Kahn: Or he will be emperor.
Diaspora Has The Last Word In Normalization Of Armenian-Turkish Relations 27.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "On May 28, 1918 Armenia was proclaimed an independent and united country. In a year a more important council took place where the unity of Armenian nation was discussed.
Unfortunately, not much attention has been given to the fact. Both in politics and in literature, we keep forgetting about the unity of the Armenian people, by separating Eastern and Western Armenia," RA NAS History Institute Director Ashot Melkonyan told a news conference. According to him, despite warm relations between Armenia and Diaspora, Yerevan can't manage to establish multilateral relations with Diaspora.
"I don't think normalization of Armenian-Turkish ties is only Armenia's problem. It's a problem of the whole Armenian nation," RA NAS History Institute Director stated, noting that Western Armenians also have a voting authority. "Diaspora has the last word in normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. I believe that Diaspora has to appoint legal authorities to represent the interests of Western Armenia," Melkonyan sated.
"Turkey is more interested in territorial integrity issue, rather than Armenian Genocide and NKR," RA NAS Institute Director stated. The issue of Armenian Genocide recognition will lose its meaning if Armenia recognizes territorial integrity of Turkey. It will become just a matter of "culture". Turkey will offer "apologies" and the "matter will be forgotten". Germans these days take every opportunity to apologize to Jews. Despite $3 billion of contributions paid to Jews, Israel is assured that Holocaust will never be forgotten, and same goes for us."
Turkish Journalists' Visit To Armenia Arranged AzerNews Weekly May 27 2009
A group of Turkish journalists have visited Yerevan in a bid to advance the solution of problems between Turkey and Armenia through public diplomacy, the influential Turkish Huriyyet newspaper reported.
Armenia and Turkey have been at odds and the border between the two countries has been closed since 1993 on Ankara`s insistence due to Armenia`s policy of occupation of Azerbaijani territory and Armenian claims about an alleged World War I-era genocide.
The journalists, who headed to the Armenian capital as part of the Turkey-Armenia Journalist Dialogue Project, have held a number of meetings with government officials and political leaders.
Emma Mirzabekian, head of the Women`s Resource Center who first hosted the visitors, revealed sensational facts. According to her, such disasters as war, earthquakes and unemployment have turned Armenia into "an Amazon country."
Mirzabekian said that, according to the 2001 census, 2.1 million, out of Armenia`s overall population of 3.15 million, are women. Economic pressures that emerged following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and a powerful earthquake that killed 30,000 people, have caused many men to flee the country. Also, men who died during the Garabagh war in the early 1990s have completely turned the South Caucasus republic into "a country of women."
"60 percent of men are outside the country and the majority of them have abandoned their families, while women are having to work to support themselves and their children. Also, due to the lack of men, instances of one man living with several women are becoming more frequent."
The visit was organized by the German Heinrich Boll Foundation, a non-profit organization striving to promote democracy, equality and a healthy environment internationally, and the International Hrant Dink Foundation.
The Turkish media representatives witnessed a strong desire of the part of the Armenians to achieve recognition of the alleged Ottoman Empire-era genocide. For instance, Ruben Melkonian, an instructor with the Turkish studies section of Yerevan State University`s Western science department, claimed in discussions with them that "they could demand the homes they left behind and compensations after the genocide is recognized."
The government in Yerevan has accused Turkey of genocide against Armenians in the latter years of the Ottoman Empire, which preceded modern Turkey. The Turkish government says the developments took place as part of clashes with Armenian groups supporting Russia against Turkey during World War I. Ankara insists the killings were not orchestrated by the Ottoman government and has proposed opening Ottoman archives to international scholars to try to resolve the dispute.
Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian has said the alleged genocide issue would never be removed from the agenda, and Yerevan`s position on the issue cannot change. From this standpoint, Turkey`s citing any pre-conditions on resolving the Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh conflict within Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity or the genocide issue is unacceptable, he claimed.
As for a possible re-opening of the Turkey-Armenia border, the Armenian premier said the issue would be clarified by the time the soccer match is held between the two countries` national teams this fall.
The Turkish and Armenian leaders attended a 2010 World Cup qualifying soccer match together in Yerevan in September 2008 when Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish president to visit Armenia. Further, Gul invited his Armenian counterpart to Istanbul for a return game due this September.
Meanwhile, Vardan Oskanian, who served as Armenia`s foreign minister from 1998 until April 2008 said, speaking to the Turkish journalists, that his country`s relations with Turkey may actually deteriorate. He noted that Turkey and Armenia will not be able to make progress in their efforts to normalize relations if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan brings the Garabagh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia to the table, noting that relations may even get worse if Turkish officials start to politicize issues such as Armenian workers in Turkey.
"The moment we leave Garabagh out, we can improve Turkish-Armenian relations. If we bring Garabagh in, I really don`t see this happening. Garabagh is a separate issue. My conviction is that if Turkey normalizes its relations with Armenia first, then the Garabagh solution will be much easier."
Oskanian said he first heard Erdogan bringing the Garabagh problem to the forefront three months ago.
"Until that time, I was really hoping that there was a change of policy on the part of Turkey and we would get results," he said in response to questions from the journalists.
Following recent talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku, Erdogan said that Azerbaijan`s sensitivity about Upper Garabagh increased Turkey`s sensitivity, too. Erdogan said Turkey had closed its border gates with Armenia because Upper Garabagh was occupied and that it would be impossible to reopen the gates as long as the occupation continues. He also said the mediating OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by the U.S., Russia and France, should speed up peace talks, which have been continuing for 15 years.
On the other hand, Armenian leaders have been criticizing Erdogan for making the normalization of ties with Armenia conditional on the Garabagh settlement.
Cannon Identifies 1915 As Genocide Date by Mark Iype Embassy Magazine May 27 2009, Canada
In an apparent about-face from comments made in April by a parliamentary secretary in the House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, in committee on Monday, referred only to the year 1915 to describe the "suffering that the Ottomans inflicted upon the Armenians."
On April 24, Rick Dykstra, parliamentary secretary to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, referred to the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1923, the first public use by a Canadian official of those dates. According to Turkey, extending the period to 1923 implicates modern-day Turkey, rather than placing sole blame on the Ottoman Empire.
In response to a question from Conservative committee member Lois Brown, Mr. Cannon called Turkey a "cherished ally" and a country Canada "admires." He said the basis of the government's position is the Armenian genocide recognition resolution which was passed in the House in 2004. The Paul Martin government refused to adopt the position as government policy at the time, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper reversed that decision when he came to power. Turkey temporarily recalled its ambassador to Canada in response to Mr. Harper's move, and did so again last month in response to a series of statements and high-profile receptions on the Hill commemorating the Armenian genocide.
In response to Mr. Cannon's statement on Monday, an official from the Turkish Embassy said Mr. Cannon's comments have been noted and passed along to Ankara, but the "substantive disagreement over what is a legitimate scholarly debate still remains." He said that while statements from DFAIT are always "constructive and measured," he added that Turkey would like to interpret Mr. Cannon's statement as a "correction" of what Mr. Dykstra said, despite earlier assurances.
Mr. Cannon also said on Monday that Canada "strongly" supports Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts, the boldest statement made in regards to the month-old rapprochement. In an earlier interview with Embassy, Turkish officials said they were baffled by Canada's silence after the April 23 announcement that the historic rivals would attempt to normalize relations.
The foreign minister's comments on Monday came as a welcome announcement to the Turkish official, who said he was happy that Canada could "finally express support" for the talks.
Arf Calls For End To Turkey-Armenia Talks Yerkir May 27th, 2009
YEREVAN (Yerkir)--The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia issued an announcement Wednesday urging the Serzh Sarkisian administration to immediately end its negotiations with Turkey.
At a press conference, ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamian read the statement, which called the diplomatic efforts of the past year to normalize relations with Turkey a failure.
Below is a translated text of the announcement:
In assessing the year-long process to normalize Armenia-Turkey relations and the current situation created in that arena, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia finds that the so-called "soccer diplomacy" effort has failed. Thus we affirm that:
* Until now the settlement process has served and is serving only Turkey's interests. On the one hand, Turkey is deflecting the international community's attention from its internal problems and hypocritically acting as an advocate of establishing normal relations with neighbors. On the other hand, the Armenian agenda is being driven out of the international arena step by step.
* By gravely violating agreements, Turkey effectively has not dropped its preconditions. Furthermore it is attempting to dictate conditions on the Karabakh conflict resolution process, visibly taking Azerbaijan's side and obscuring the Armenian-Azeri conflict.
* The preconditions presented by Turkey are not only unacceptable but are also illegal. They insult our national dignity and endanger the future of our dual Armenian states and our the Armenian people.
* In reality, Turkey is continuing its anti-Armenian policies, while, at the same time, attempting to play the international community. It is evident that the opening of the border which it closed is its international responsibility and cannot serve as leverage or an opportunity to force preconditions on Armenia.
* At this juncture, Armenia and the Armenian people must prove that despite the blockade by Turkey, they can put forward bold political and economic policies and realize them, becoming a vital force in the region and a developed country, without compromising our national interests.
Based on these, we call on the president of the Republic of Armenia to reassess these policies and end the negotiations.
We believe that Armenian should be guided by the following approaches: the only way to normalize relations between the two countries and address any pending issues is for Turkey immediately to end the land blockade to adhere to international norms as the relate to establishment of diplomatic relations.
And This Is How We Shall Kill You By Donna-Lee Frieze, Forward May 27 2009
Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918, By Grigoris Balakian
Translated by Peter Balakian with Aris Sevag Knopf, 509 pages, $35.00.
Before we learned to say "never again" came our silence. The unheralded attempt to obliterate the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire ushered in the 20th century: a century of genocide.
The belated appearance in English of Bishop Grigoris Balakian's groundbreaking testimony "Armenian Golgotha" (first published privately in Armenian in 1922) means that the reader is confronted with scenes that are today grotesquely familiar: death marches, macabre killings, rape and torture, all directed at a specific ethno-national group. As Peter Balakian (the bishop's great-nephew) writes in his introduction, the book is not a scholarly history of the genocide but documents the "social and political process" in a way that may be unprecedented for survivor memoires of this genocide.
In 1918, Grigoris Balakian, a survivor of the atrocities, did not have the word "genocide" at his disposal to describe the actions he'd witnessed. He wrote the two-volume memoir (covering the period of 1915 through 1918) decades before the word appeared in our lexicon. A year before Balakian died in 1934, RaphaÃ"l Lemkin, the brilliant Polish-Jewish jurist, attempted to outlaw what he termed "acts of barbarity" and "acts of vandalism." By the time the word came into print, through Lemkin's seminal 1944 work, "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress," the two terms had coalesced (around the idea of intentionality) into one term -- "genocide."
Balakian and Lemkin's paths never crossed; however, the historic trial of Soghomon Tehlirian affected both men deeply. Tehlirian assassinated Talaat Pasha -- an instigator of the Armenian Genocide --and his trial, along with Balakian's presence at the trial "to prove the fact of the Armenian massacres," sparked Lemkin's questioning of a legal system that tries one person for murder but leaves mass atrocity unpunished.
Both writers spent at least the second half of their lives driven by the deep conviction that genocide against religious, ethnic or national groups must be made visible. Both believed in the power of witness and testimony of genocide. Lemkin, a Holocaust survivor, had also written a memoir, but did not complete it before his death. In it, Lemkin shows how deeply his studies of the Armenian Genocide colored his description of the atrocities of occupied Europe. He writes that the Armenian Genocide is an event that demonstrates "definite intent of total destruction." It is "intent," not destruction alone, that differentiates genocide from other human rights crimes.
For Peter Balakian (poet, memoirist and professor of English at Colgate University), here translating with the help of Aris Sevag (a writer, translator and editor), the singularity of "Armenian Golgotha" resides in the work's comprehensive historical information regarding the Ittihad government's intent to destroy the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. The bishop was able to survive and record the intimate details of an empire bent on a genocide, which, by 1920, had killed 1.5 million Armenians. Not unlike the Holocaust, this was a genocide committed by a government as a pretext to war, with its fair share of deniers, including the present-day Turkish state.
Grigoris Balakian had a privileged position as a vartebed (celibate priest) in the Armenian community before the genocide, and the respect and leadership continued after 1915, as Armenian deportees relied on him for information, prayer, physical and spiritual survival, and even bribes from Turkish officials in exchange for shelter, food and life. Although Balakian was condemned to death, his position as a mediator between the Turks and Armenians meant that he had to strike a balance between responsibility for his compatriots and accommodation with the Turks, a responsibility that the bishop often reports as overwhelming. After the genocide, and notwithstanding the evident pain of reliving past horrors by retelling them, Balakian honors his pledge to document all he has heard, seen and experienced.
Balakian's memoir, of course, is harrowing. Page after page, Balakian describes the intimacy of the genocide, conducted with axes, cleavers and knives, indeed any implement the killers could find. Despite the explicit nature of Balakian's testimony, he still feels that the graphic scenes he witnessed cannot be fully represented in writing: "It is impossible to imagine, let alone write about, such a crime or drama in full detail; to have an imagination that powerful requires the special inner capacities of criminals." As an intellectual influenced by the enlightenment ideas of his era, Balakian has a writing style that is often florid, but it is also strained by the trauma he attempts to convey.
Balakian has no interest in understanding the minds of the perpetrators -- not the government, not the police, not the criminals who were released from jail in order to execute the genocide. One of the most extraordinary passages in the book describes Balakian's death march to the desert, accompanied by Captain Shukri of the Yozgat police, who bluntly confides the strategies of the genocide to Balakian. During this march, Balakian's only interest in eliciting information about the genocide from the outspoken criminal is so that he can, if he should survive, report the captain's crimes and testimony.
As if deliberately foreshadowing later atrocities, Shukri, who had "overseen the deaths of 42,000 Armenians," often used the word paklayalum (cleanse) to describe the massacres. Long before the Nazis used the rhetoric of pest extermination, or Slobodan MiloÅ¡eviÅ¤ first popularized the term "ethnic cleansing" for alleged actions against Serbs in Kosovo, Balakian's perpetrators used the euphemism "cleanse" to explain the torture and intended destruction of an ethnic minority.
Many eyewitness accounts of genocide are understandably concerned with individual suffering. In a self-abnegating act of imagination, Balakian's memoir, at least for the first of the two volumes, concentrates on the suffering of the group. Genocide is a crime targeted toward intended group destruction, and "Armenian Golgotha" is replete with narratives that focus on collective suffering, marking this memoir as one of the few to explicate the true nature of the crime.
Testimony is strong armor against denial. Memory is always selective -- as, indeed, is rigorous historical research -- but to question the minute details of the eyewitness and victim is to slip dangerously down the precipice of denial. Balakian's memory is extraordinary, but so, too, are his intellect, his compassion and his ethical obligation to immortalize his beloved co-nationals, who, as Balakian outlines, suffered incomprehensible tortures. History lives through being told and retold.
At the beginning of the 21st century, with Darfur still in the news, it is sobering to read a memoir about the first modern genocide of the 20th century that details the components of intended group destruction in all its complexity. The intended annihilation of a group that motivated Lemkin to name genocide and ensure the crime would be outlawed on the international stage forces us to remember, and act on, our cry of "never again."
Donna-Lee Frieze is a research fellow and genocide studies scholar at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.
Genocide And Repentancenuri Kino Assyrian International www.aina.org May 27 2009
Stockholm (AINA) -- His father was one of the perpetrators; he is the first to ask for forgiveness through action
Four Kurdish men gathered a group of Christian female survivors in the cathedral's yard. They pointed their weapons at the women while forcing them to carry out all the books they could find in the cathedral's library and pile them up in the yard. Quickly, the yard was full with books lying on top of each other. When the library was emptied, one of the men took out a match and set the books on fire. One of the other men closed the gate to the yard as the other men gripped and pulled the women's frightened children from their arms and threw them into the fire. The mothers instinctively rushed to save their children, as the men opened fire and shot the women who fell into the flames. The men didn't stop throwing women into the fire until all were dead. In the yard, there were now only ashes left. A ten-year-old girl survived the massacre and related the story.
This is one of the many stories of the genocide that has now, about 90 years later, brought me to an apartment in Jakobsberg, a densely populated suburb in northern Stockholm. We are sitting in a small living room with the blinds down in order to keep out the strong rays of the sun. We talk about our background. Three of the men in the room have been in jail; imprisoned from 11 to 15 years. A forth man says that he was too smart for the Turkish state. I, myself, was too young to be one of the politically active students in the beginning of the 70s and the 80s in Turkey. Compared to the others, I am Assyrian, but we are all born in Turkey. We are all interested in our motherland and its development, and we are all writers. They write for a web paper called Nasname. A website for intellectual Kurds in the diaspora. The sun is gushing through the blinds making the room stuffy, but the room is filled with activity. The men are going to publish several articles about a seminar that was held in the Swedish parliament a few hours ago. One of the men, Behzat Bilek, was one of the main participants at the seminar and up until noon today was known as Berzan Boti. His real identity had been kept disclosed because of his fear of reprisals for his action; an action he has dreamt of doing.
He is the grandson of one of the Kurdish perpetrators from Siirt. And he wants to be the first to apologize for the genocide committed on Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks in Turkey during the First World War. He doesn't only want to apologize with words; he wants to apologize with an action. Behzad has given the title deed to the property he inherited from his grandfather who had confiscated it from Assyrians after they were murdered in the genocide. Behzad has given back his share of the family's land. In 1991, after he had spent 12 years in prison due to, as he himself puts it, fighting for human rights and justice he decided to redeem his grandfather's deeds. 'I couldn't live with myself as fighter for freedom knowing that my inherited property was stolen; knowing that blood had been shed in order for me to inherit this land."
Behzad says that he didn't know about the genocide until he, as an adult, started researching it. It was never taught in school, and at home it was also taboo to mention. Today, Behzat is living in the city of Mersin. Most of his nine siblings have also left Siirt, but their mother still lives there. 'It wasn't until I had spoken to my mother that I finally made up my mind. She gave me her support and she said that what I was about to do was honorable".
I don't quite understand how things will be settled in practice. Behzad has nine siblings which all are heir to the property he now has given away.
Seyfo Center is a lobby-organization in Holland with members and offices all over the western world. Seyfo is the Assyrian word for sword and the name Assyrians use in reference to the genocide during the First World War.
Sabri Atman is a Swedish citizen; this is why the official hand over of the title deeds of the property was held in the Swedish parliament. Another reason for Seyfo Center to choose the Swedish parliament as the place where the title deed would be handled over was due to the fact that many Swedish members of the parliament have been involved in getting Turkey to recognize the genocide. It was a very emotional ceremony. Many of the people present couldn't hold back the tears, including Behzad himself.
Back in the living room in Jakobsberg, one of the men is pouring up tea for us while Behzat looks in to my eyes and continues: "Finally, I can relax and let go. From the time I made my decision till the time it was done, it has been very difficult for me. My wife, who is an attorney, has supported me the most. Our biggest concern is our ten-year-old daughter, who tells me that she doesn't want to live without a father. Up until now, I have only received positive reactions, but I also know that my actions have made me some enemies as well."
Now he is less tense and says that I may ask any questions I would like to ask. He has nothing to hide, he says. I question what he has done. I don't understand how it is going to happen in practice and what will happen if Sabri Atman decides to sell the land. I even question the property's worth." We are talking about 5,000 hectare that will be divided among ten people, my nine siblings and Sabri Atman who will get my share. How and when, I don't know. The future will tell. All I know is that I feel happy. I feel that I have created history, and I hope that my action will contribute to recognition. This is now more than just a symbolic action."
I begin to irritate the other men with my constant questioning. Behzat has done something great. After all, it is the symbolic value that counts. Most Kurds, and Turks for that matter, don't even know about the genocide. Now it has been confirmed by the grandson of one of the perpetrators. I give up. None of the four Kurds in Jakobsberg knows any details about the genocide; they don't even know about the massacre in the city of Siirt where Behzad was born.
The day after, I call the research assistant, Jan Beth Sawoce. He is the one who told me the story about the ten-year-old girl who survived the massacre in Siirt. 'One of the most well known intellectual orientalists lived in Siirt at that time. So did the Chaldean-catholic archbishop, Mon Signor Aday Sher, who was in charge of the Mor Jakup cathedral. Throughout his years in Siirt, he was mostly known for his book collection and for the cathedral's library with its 30,000 books. Mon Signor Aday Sher was an author himself of books with theological, philosophical and linguistic themes."
It was exactly those books that were used in the fire when the four Kurdish men murdered the widows and their children. The cathedral was a culture center and its books were invaluable to Assyrians (who also go under the denominations of 'Chaldeans" and 'Syriacs'). This is the reason why Beth Sawoce has decided to focus on this city. Beth Sawoce works at the University of Sodertorn in southern Stockholm. Together with Professor David Gaunt, he writes on his second book about the genocide of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
When I meet Sabri Atman he looks relieved, just like Behzat. It has been trying times. He has feared that the hand over of the title deeds would be sabotaged. 'Of course it is not about the land itself; it is the action. You were there and saw how many cried when we shook hands yesterday. It is historical; it is a beginning to recognition, but it is also a beginning to reconciliation. Until the last minute before going public about his real identity, Behzat had to keep it a secret because we feared that he would be hurt or that someone would somehow sabotage everything. Now we will see what will happen next. None of us knows how things will develop or what this can lead to. One thing is sure though, Assyrians worldwide have gotten a very eagerly awaited recognition. Behzat's action is heroic and honorable. It is just a shame that the little girl who survived the massacre in Siirt isn't alive to experience this historical moment."
Nuri Kino is a journalist in Sweden specializing in investigative journalism, and is one of the most highly awarded journalists in Europe (CV). He is an Assyrian from Turkey. His documentary, Assyriska: a National team without a Nation, was awarded The Golden Palm at the 2006 Beverly Hills Film festival.
Mr. Obama: Resign Now, Maui Time Weekly 05/27/2009 by Ted Rall
We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama's inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.
From healthcare to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. So timid and so owned is he that he trembles in fear of offending, of all things, the government of Turkey. Obama has officially reneged on his campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. When a president doesn't have the 'nads to annoy the Turks, why does he bother to show up for work in the morning?
Obama is useless. Worse than that, he's dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now—before he drags us further into the abyss.
I refer here to Obama's plan for "preventive detentions." If a cop or other government official thinks you might want to commit a crime someday, you could be held in "prolonged detention." Reports in U.S. state-controlled media imply that Obama's shocking new policy would only apply to Islamic terrorists (or, in this case, wannabe Islamic terrorists, and also kinda-sorta-maybe-thinking-about-terrorism dudes). As if that made it OK.
In practice, Obama wants to let government goons snatch you, me and anyone else they deem annoying off the street.
Preventive detention is the classic defining characteristic of a military dictatorship. Because dictatorial regimes rely on fear rather than consensus, their priority is self-preservation rather than improving their people's lives. They worry obsessively over the one thing they can't control, what Orwell called "thoughtcrime"—contempt for rulers that might someday translate to direct action.
Locking up people who haven't done anything wrong is worse than un-American and a violent attack on the most basic principles of Western jurisprudence. It is contrary to the most essential notion of human decency. That anyone has ever been subjected to "preventive detention" is an outrage. That the President of the United States, a man who won an election because he promised to elevate our moral and political discourse, would even entertain such a revolting idea offends the idea of civilization itself.
Obama is cute. He is charming. But there is something rotten inside him. Unlike the Republicans who backed Bush, I won't follow a terrible leader just because I voted for him. Obama has revealed himself. He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power.
"Prolonged detention," reported The New York Times, would be inflicted upon "terrorism suspects who cannot be tried."
"Cannot be tried." Interesting choice of words.
Any "terrorism suspect" (can you be a suspect if you haven't been charged with a crime?) can be tried. Anyone can be tried for anything. At this writing, a Somali child is sitting in a prison in New York, charged with piracy in the Indian Ocean, where the U.S. has no jurisdiction. Anyone can be tried.
What they mean, of course, is that the hundreds of men and boys languishing at Guantanamo and the thousands of "detainees" the Obama Administration anticipates kidnapping in the future cannot be convicted. As in the old Soviet Union, putting enemies of the state on trial isn't enough. The game has to be fixed. Conviction has to be a foregone conclusion.
Why is it, exactly, that some prisoners "cannot be tried"?
The Old Grey Lady explains why Obama wants this "entirely new chapter in American law" in a boring little sentence buried a couple past the jump and a couple of hundred words down page A16: "Yet another question is what to do with the most problematic group of Guantanamo detainees: those who pose a national security threat but cannot be prosecuted, either for lack of evidence or because evidence is tainted."
In democracies with functioning legal systems, it is assumed that people against whom there is a "lack of evidence" are innocent. They walk free. In countries where the rule of law prevails, in places blessedly free of fearful leaders whose only concern is staying in power, "tainted evidence" is no evidence at all. If you can't prove that a defendant committed a crime—an actual crime, not a thoughtcrime—in a fair trial, you release him and apologize to the judge and jury for wasting their time.
It is amazing and incredible, after eight years of Bush's lawless behavior, to have to still have to explain these things. For that reason alone, Obama should resign.
(Ted Rall, President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, is author of the books To Afghanistan and Back and Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?)
Ryerson University (Armenian Students' Association) Apologizes For Ataov Event And Reaffirms Its Commitment To Uphold The Truth, Contact: Sally Sahaagian Raffi Sarkissian May 27, 2009
Toronto, Ontario; On February 18, 2009, The Department of Sociology at Ryerson University, and the Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations organized an evening lecture on campus titled "Elaborations on Turkish strategies to dealing with issues around Armenian Allegations and beyond". The lecture was delivered by Professor Turkkaya Ataov, a leading denier of the Armenian Genocide. The lecture was equivalent to Neo-Nazi propaganda presented to deny the Jewish Holocaust. Prof. Ataov trivialized the reality of the Armenian Genocide and presented the usual Turkish Government's views.
Ryerson University's student body was outraged by the fact that such an event had been cosponsored by a department of their university and raised concerns through letters and by signing petitions which included names of approximately 300 Ryerson students.
After several meetings with department heads and administration, Dr. Sheldon Levy, the president of Ryerson University, in a letter to Sally Sahagian, the president of the Armenian Students' Association at Ryerson University, apologized to the Ryerson community by stating, `On behalf of Ryerson University, I would like to apologize for the pain and suffering experienced in particular by the members of the Armenian Community as a result of this event' He then assured the student body that the university's views were in line with that of the Canadian Government, the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the hundreds of historians and experts researching the topic internationally. Dr. Levy stated, `Ryerson University supports Prime Minster Harper's statement on behalf of all Canadians that the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact, unquestionably part of the historical record with tremendous suffering.'
Ryerson University's response indicated that although the university is a space where students can practice their freedom of speech, the university will not become an accomplice to racism and genocide denial. This form of hate propaganda has no place in our academic and scholarly circles.
The administration of Ryerson University, through its principled stand, has proven to remain true to the role of the university as an institution committed to upholding the truth. The Armenian Students' Association at Ryerson University together with all its members and the Armenian Community at large would like to thank the Ryerson University administration for identifying genocide denial as a threat to academia and society at large, consequently taking a principled stand against the crime of genocide.
The official letter issued by Ryerson University president Dr. Sheldon Levy is available upon request.
Genetic Profile Of Turks Shows Mixed Heritage, Research Claims
The genetic profile of Turkish people consists of nine different groups, research conducted by Switzerland-based genetics institute iGenea claims.
According to the research, the Turkish genetic profile has nine elements, which include Turkish (28 percent), Phoenician (21 percent), Berber (11 percent), Hellenic (10 percent), Teutonic (10 percent), Slav (9 percent), Arab (5 percent), Illyrian (4 percent) and Jewish (2 percent). While Turkey is the most mixed country among the European countries genetically profiled, the least diverse people were found to be Russians, whose genetic profile suggests they are overwhelmingly Slavs.
The gene map of Germans consists of four elements, which are Celtic (45 percent), Teutonic (25 percent), Slav (20 percent) and Jewish (10 percent).
The research of iGenea does not provide the genetic code of people; rather it tries to provide genetic profiles. iGenea's Web site states that “iGenea has specialized in the genetic origins of Europeans and can now genetically define numerous historical indigenous peoples.” It is further noted that by indigenous people, they are referring to groups from antiquity who are also defined by their own DNA profile, as well as their own language, culture and history.
28 May 2009,Today's Zaman
Russian General: In Case Armenian-Turkish Border Is Deblocked, Russian Frontiers To Fulfill Their Tasks In New Conditions ArmInfo 2009-05-27
In case the Armenian-Turkish border is deblocked, Russian frontiers are ready to fulfill their tasks also in new conditions, Sergey Bondarev, Lt. General, Head of the Russian Federal Security Service Frontier Department in Armenia told media Wednesday.
'Opening the Armenian-Turkish border is the internal affair of Armenia and Turkey. We should obey to the Command and we will act in accordance with the orders and the Armenian-Russian treaty dated 1992 regulating the sphere,' he said.
As regards the reports by Turkish media, Lt. General Bondarev said Russian frontiers do not prepare check- points and frontier posts for possible deblocking of the Armenian-Turkish border.
'As regards the railroad groundwork from Gyumri to the Armenian-Turkish border, it was carried out yet last year by the South Caucasian Railway and our department bears no relation to that', Bondarev said. Russian frontiers serve in Armenia on the basis of a bilateral inter-state treaty between Russia and Armenia concluded in 1992.
Present-Day Armenian-Turkish Border Illegal In The Context Of The International Law: Armenia Historian ArmInfo
The present-day Armenian-Turkish border is illegal in the context of the International Law, Ashot Melkonyan, Director of History Institute at the National Academy of Armenia, told media, Wednesday.
He is sure that there is a precondition to normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations though our leadership persuades the people of the opposite. 'The issue of recognition of Turkey's territorial integrity is in shadow, but still on agenda. The Moscow and Kars treaties of 1921 signed by the Soviet Russia and Kemalist Turkey have no force. These are illegal documents since none of those states was a subject of the international law then. Now, we should not give force to these documents. I hope our leadership will be wise enough not to go on such step', the historian said. Melkonyan is sure that if Armenia does not recognize the conditions of the above treaties, Turkey may resort to diplomatic tricks to force Armenia recognize its borders under relevant resolutions of the UN recognizing the territorial integrity of Turkey. 'The USA has always had the map of Armenia and Turkey drawn in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson. No one has cancelled that map yet, so it has no lost force', the historian said.
Ashot Melkonyan: Ratification Of Kars Agreement Be Gross ErrorAlisa Georgyan, "Radiolur" 27.05.2009
Centuries after losing statehood in 1045 in Motherland and in 1375 in Cilicia, we finally restored our independent statehood on May 28, 1918 and Armenia was declared an independent republic.
Director of the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences Ashot Melkonyan told a press conference today that this important fact raised the discontent of Western Armenians, who were constantly stating that it would be logical to call the state the Republic of Eastern Armenia, Republic of Ararat or Republic of Yerevan, since Western Armenia was excluded from that area. After the second conference of Western Armenians expressed its discontent in 1919, it called on the Armenian authorities to take care of Western Armenia.
As a result, on May 28, 1919, on the first anniversary of independence Alexander Khatisyan declared Armenia a free, independent and united state.
Although many assessed it as adventurism and the wording remained on paper, the historian attaches great importance to adopting this approach.
According to Ashot Melkonyan, the interests of Western Armenians should be directly touched upon in the current processes of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. In this context the historian spoke about the known and unknown "road map" and the possible preconditions it may contain, particularly the ratification of the Kars Agreement. Ashot Melkonyan considers that giving new breath to an illegal agreement signed between Soviet Russia and Kemalist Turkey, neither of which was considered a subject of international law, would be a gross error.
Ashot Melkonyan is assured that it's high time to establish plenipotentiary bodies in the Diaspora, which will represent the interests of Western Armenians in international structures.
Turkish Foreign Minister - Frozen Conflicts Are Like Bombs hetq.am 2009/05/26
"Frozen conflicts in the region are like bombs that can explode any time," Turkish foreign minister Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a joint press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart in Baku. "So, the talk on resolution of the conflicts must continue," he said, according to Trend News.
The Turkish FM placed special emphasis on the meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents to take place in St. Petersburg in early June. "This historical moment must not be missed," Davutoglu said.
Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders plan to meet as a part of the economic forum in St. Petersburg and discuss ways to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Golden Key Of The City Of Paris To Ara Güler 28 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Under the "Season of Turkey in France," Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë will present the golden key of the city of Paris in the Turks Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Director), Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006) and Ara Guler (photographer).
The "Season of Turkey in France starts on July 1st and will last nine months. Various activities will be organized during the season.
‘Baku’s Inclusion Helps Turkish-Armenian Normalization’
The normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey is back on track after a slowdown following the recent appointment of Ahmet Davutoğlu as the Turkish foreign minister and thanks to Azerbaijan's inclusion in the process, a Yerevan-based expert has said.
Richard Giragosian, director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS), said Davutoğlu's appointment is an indication that Turkey is going to devote more political capital to the process.
“And the fact that Azerbaijan is consulted and informed every step of the way -- it feels it has a more direct role in the process rather than being excluded. Although more problematic and complicated, it is better to have them on board,” he told Today's Zaman recently when he participated in a conference on Turkish-Armenian relations in İstanbul.
Despite Azerbaijan's protest about a framework agreement announced last month by Turkey and Armenia, Giragosian said there is more understanding in Baku that this is in Turkey's and Azerbaijan's strategic interest in the long term.
“In other words, to proceed now will only enhance Turkish leverage in the region which is something Azerbaijan can use,” he said, explaining that a breakthrough with Armenia and Turkey will only help the Azerbaijani and Armenian representatives to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, often referred to as being on a parallel track to the Turkish-Armenian normalization process.
Giragosian said he was optimistic about the process as he had been to Prague for the European Union's Eastern Partnership Summit and saw that a meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents lasted two-and-a-half hours, followed by a meeting between Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan.
Based on that meeting, he added that Turkey and Azerbaijan are able to say that there is some degree of progress over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory under occupation by Armenia. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan.
“The Armenians and Azerbaijanis are working on an agreement on the principles of the negotiations that is rather limited. But it is a sign of progress that Turkey can use,” he said.
According to Giragosian, there can be a breakthrough in October when the Armenian president visits Turkey to reciprocate Gül's visit in September of last year to watch a game between the national soccer teams of both countries.
“This is not to say it will be easy, but there is more of a real chance in terms of border opening, diplomatic relations or the roadmap,” he added. “All the practical agreements have been completed. All that is required is political will.”
He said the roadmap provides alternative routes to get to the same destination in border recognition, border security, border opening, diplomatic recognition, a bilateral intergovernmental commission and everything else in terms of step-by-step practical requirements of normalization.
“What is missing is the second step, which is reconciliation. That's where the genocide issue comes in. That is going to be a generation away. It is better for Turkey to make it a long-term project rather than a short-term obstacle,” he said.
29 May 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Zaman
Istanbul Conference On Armenian-Turkish Relations, May 26-27 Conrad Hotel
Upon the initiative of SETA research centre, a conference on Armenian Turkish relations will be held in Conrad Hotel Istanbul on May 26-27, political scientist and Caucasus Institute Director Alexander Iskandaryan told. According to Mr. Iskandaryan, the conference will focus on Armenian-Turkish ties and problems impeding the normalization process. Participants ( Dr. Alexander Iskandaryan, Fatih Özbay, Prof. Richard Giragosian, Suat Kınıklıoğlu, Economist Harutyun Khachatryan, Dr. Mehmet Dikkaya, Dr. Sergey Minasyan, Dr. Sedat Laçiner, Prof. İhsan Dağı, Dr. Ruben Melkonyan, Dr. Ferhat Kentel, Dr. Şule Toktaş, Karen Bekaryan Dr. Levent Korkut) will also touch upon Armenia and Turkey's role in ensuring security and stability in Caucasus.
"What The Turks Started, Bill Will Finish"
KFI AM 640 Talk Radio's Bill Handel had commented that the US should be "clearing out the Armenians". In reply to an emailer who thought he was out of line and should apologize, his female on-air producer/co-host said "What The Turks Started, Bill Will Finish". They all had a good laugh.
Then they laughed some more when he pronounced the last name name of the Armenian listener who complained.
Will The Border Open, Or Will The Trap Close? Haykakan Zhamanak, Armenia May 11 2009
The issue of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations is in fact connected not only with the regional and geopolitical life, but also with the political life and the situation in Armenia. At present it is vital for the power of [Armenian President] Serzh Sargsyan. No matter how hard representatives of the current authorities try, they simply cannot report any concrete result of Sargsyan's one year of term in office. Armenia has faced only regression, decline and depression in the past year in all spheres of the public life without exclusion. If anyone sees progress in any sphere, it is his own problem. However, the reality is dull.
[Passage omitted: Pashinyan writes that no grounds for positive change have been created in the past year in Armenia.]
At present, under these conditions, the opening of Armenian-Turkish border would be the only concrete event which will allow Sargsyan's government to fill in the empty list of positive actions. This is the reason why Sargsyan's administration has held its breath and waits whether the opening of the border will finally occur. Incidentally, the word "to wait" describes the whole essence of the situation of the Armenian authorities, because Sargsyan's administration has been de-facto deprived of an opportunity to influence the process of opening Armenian-Turkish border after the well-known invitation to [Turkish President Abdullah] Gul, and at present has the status of an observer. To put it more correctly - in the status of someone who is entrapped. Sargsyan has already entered the process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and did this self-forgetfully, without taking niceties into account, in order to run away from domestic political problems.
[Passage omitted: Pashinyan says that Sargsyan now cannot reverse the process and Turkey understands this and may delay the process, getting benefits and creating a hard situation for Armenia.]
US President Barack Obama's phone call (during his visit to Turkey) to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev witnessed about this. It seemed that before making this call, the US president did not connect the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations with Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. However, we learnt from official reports that the US president "stated" that the long-lasting discord between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey would be solved quickly and peacefully.
The first question to ask is the following: why the US president discusses the issue of Armenian-Turkish relations with the leader of a third country and, how is Azerbaijan linked to the discord between Armenia and Turkey. The link, is of course, clear, however the sense of the current stage of Armenian-Turkish relations was that these relations will be settled without conditions and preconditions being linked to Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. This issue is already being bypassed by the US president as well, and now Armenia turns out to be in a double diplomatic trap. Not only that Turkey meddled in the Karabakh negotiation process, now Azerbaijan is dealing with the redetermining Armenian-Turkish relations. The impression is that during this whole period Turkey and Azerbaijan have been passing the ball to each other, showing some contradictions and discords; discords which may not exist in fact, or are a show only. It is possible that there is only a preliminary developed scenario. The lack of such a scenario might be proved only by opening of Armenian-Turkish border. One cannot totally exclude the probability of this, however it is hard to believe that such a thing will take place in the near future. However the tragedy is that if the border does not open it will be almost impossible to force Turkey out of the cause of the Karabakh settlement - and to deprive Azerbaijan of levers to influence Armenian-Turkish relations. Thus, Armenia will find itself in a laughable and helpless condition yet another time. This prospect is simply up in the air, and one only has to hope that the Armenian-Turkish border will open - independently from the negotiations on Karabakh settlement. Otherwise, Armenia will become a subject of diplomats' laugh. On the other hand, a sober political analysis shows that the probability of opening the border is decreasing with time, and one can pin hopes on fortune only. If Turkey uses the closure of the border for intervening in the Karabakh settlement and as a new support in its relations with the USA, why it should open the border?
Joost Lagendijk Still Do Not Know If 1915 Is Genocide 20 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
In an interview on private TV channel S Haber Turkish Dutch parliamentarian Joost Lagendijk criticized his colleagues in national parliaments concerning the resolutions on the Armenian issue arguing that they acted without sufficient historical information.
Joost Lagendijk, who is not a candidate in the forthcoming European elections added: "I am a historian and I dare say I read a lot of data from the Turkish side, the Armenian side, or independent from d 'British and American historians. I have said in many occasions and I repeat here: I do not know what has happened in 1915. MEPs added, "I'm sure it was a disaster. Was that intentional? Was this planned? These are questions that I have not yet been resolved. "
The Dutch Parliament announced that he would move to Istanbul after his departure from politics, has also said that his colleagues in the European Parliament acted to include references to genocide in the documents on Turkey without sufficient information. "I can assure you, in the European Parliament, none of my colleagues, or perhaps 5 of 785 know what has happened," he said. "The rest does not. They are under pressure, they say, "Oh, we read, it was a very bad thing that will put in a resolution." It is a wrong way to act for the European Parliament and a wrong way to act for national parliaments. Politicians should leave history to historians. '
Robert L. Livingston: "907" Amendment Needs To Be Abolished - Exclusive ,APA May 19 2009 Azerbaijan
Washington. Zaur Hasanov - APA. Former Speaker-designate of the U.S. House of Representatives Robert L. Livingston gives an interview to APA US bureau
Profile. Robert Livingston was the member of the House of Representatives in 1977-1999. In 1998 in capacity of chairman of the Appropriations Committee Livingston initiated to eliminate Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and managed its abolition on the level of the committee. Full abolition of the section was impossible in the voting held in the House of Representatives due to the pressure of the Armenian lobby.
- Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have stated that they will foster the process of final settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. How can it help the final settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
- We have to hope that this is going to be true. In the next few weeks, the President Mubarak of Egypt is coming to the United States and President Obama is going to Egypt to address the entire Muslim world. It appears to me that President Obama has a very clear understanding of issues which affect the whole region, all the way through to the Caspian. If that is true, then he has to know that the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a key ingredient to resolving the problems of the area. Turkey has been talking to Armenia these days and Prime Minister Ardogan just last week showed Azerbaijan that he is not going to resolve the border issue with Armenia without resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue as well. It is important for Europe because of the pipelines. It is important for the entire world because of troubled areas such as Iran and elsewhere.
With President Obama going to Egypt to address the Muslim world, his address is going to be a comprehensive one and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is going to be a very key component.
- In 1998, your initiated to abolish "907" amendment to "The Freedom Support Act" almost succeeded in the House. Do you think will it be possible to repeal it with the Democrats controlling the Congress?
- It is an unfair provision. That provision was placed on the books back in 1992 by John Kerry in the middle of the night when nobody was looking and nobody thought anything about it. There is no provision of this kind like that aimed at any other friend of the United States or any enemy of the United States. It is the only provision of its sort in our foreign policy and it needs to be abolished. Almost everybody in our Defense Department says it should be abolished, some people in our State Department say that it should be abolished. But getting the political will of the majority of Congress in both Houses takes work. With the Armenian Diaspora constantly working against it, it is an uphill battle. But it is possible.
- Don't you think that with John Kerry, a chairman of the powerful foreign affairs committee, it will be difficult to do?
- Senator John Kerry has a different hat to wear these days. He is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has to be more responsible. His responsibility is to do what is in the best interest of the United States. Eliminating 907 is not only in the best interest of Azerbaijan but it is in the best interest of the United States.
- Some experts in Washington believe that if Turkey opens its borders with Armenia without significant progress on Nagorno-Karabakh issue, it still will bring an improved environment to the region. Do you agree with this approach?
- Not really. Once you open the border then people who are occupying the territory will not likely give it up. It needs to be a comprehensive resolution. Otherwise the people who have gained the ground will refuse to move and you will continue to have a struggle. Then it will be up to the individuals to fight for their property back and once the conflicts starts you can not get rid of it. So I think we need a comprehensive settlement.
Turkish State Minister: If Europe Wants To Open The Border With Armenia, They Should Put Pressure On It To Withdraw Its Troopsfrom The Occupied Territories Of Azerbaijan, Today.Az May 19 2009, Azerbaijan
"Turkey's patience is not unlimited, and Turkey is not going to make more concessions, if it does not see the counter-steps from the EU", said Turkish state minister Bagysh Egemen.
"We have done everything that the EU demanded from us. We even made such concessions, which are, frankly speaking, not entirely consistent with our national interests. We were at a point of quarreling with our Azerbaijani brothers, and in a response we have seen statements by Sarkozy and Merkel that they do not want to see Turkey in the EU", he said.
As for the Armenian-Turkish dialogue, the state minister stated that "the border with Armenia will be opened only after the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. "Only in this way can we open the borders", he stressed.
But, he said, however, Turkey will do its utmost to attract the attention of Europe and the international community to this problem. "If Europe wants to open the border with Armenia, they could put pressure on it to withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan", said Boris Egemen.
A Handshake Shakes A Region Christian Science Monitor, May 19 2009
Turkey's warming with Armenia stirs up ethnic and energy issues in the strategic Caucasus.
Make one move in the unstable Caucasus region, and a host of difficult and far-reaching issues get tripped over - ethnic tensions, Russian dominance, and competition over oil and gas.
So the world discovered when Russia's military clashed with tiny Georgia's last August. And so it's discovering again under far more welcome circumstances: a long-awaited warming between Turkey and its Caucasus neighbor, Armenia.
Yes, even such rapprochement can stir up this region, sandwiched between the Black and Caspian seas and bordered by Russia to the north and Turkey and Iran to the south.
Over the past few weeks, energy-rich Azerbaijan has turned up the flame under this geographic cauldron. It was furious with Turkey for agreeing in April to a "road map" to normal relations with Armenia, which backs a separatist Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabakh. The area was the site of a bloody war in the early 1990s after the Soviet empire broke up, and has since become the oldest "frozen conflict" in the south Caucasus. Armenia-supported separatists hold additional Azeri territory outside the enclave.
So Azerbaijan has used the only leverage it has - oil and gas - to influence Turkey. It's an influence that extends even to European energy goals.
Situated on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan serves as a gateway to the sea region's fossil fuels. It funnels oil to Western countries via a pipeline that avoids Russia and winds through Georgia to the Turkish Mediterranean coast. It also exports gas via a pipeline that ends in Turkey.
Azerbaijan expects to significantly increase gas exports in another five to seven years and has been counting on extending gas pipeline delivery to Western European markets. Similarly, Europe has been looking forward to an extended pipeline - particularly a planned one from Turkey to Austria - to give it more energy independence from Russia. But that east-west line - called Nabucco - has a history of delays.
Unless the Turks make resolving Nagorno-Karabakh part of normalizing ties with Armenia (and Armenia objects to this), the longer gas pipeline will end as a pipe dream - or so the Azeris hinted. They threatened to withdraw Turkey's status as "most favored customer" and as the main Azeri export route for oil and gas. There's Russia as an alternative, the Azeris warned.
Azerbaijan has a self-interest in a diversified export energy market, but its overture to Russia is more than bluff. The Azeris and Russians recently signed a memo of understanding about gas sales. The concern is that this could go further and that Azerbaijan, fed up with delays over a gas pipeline to Europe, would make Russia its gas patron. Because supplies are not enough to support two gas pipelines, European governments are now pushing to realize their dream of a gas line that reaches them.
If Russia eventually gets the gas deal, it not only locks in energy supplies, it also solidifies its leverage over the Caucasus - already enhanced by its occupation of Georgia's two breakaway republics.
Multiple fears are at work in the Caucasus: at the local level about the preservation of ethnic culture, at the national level about territorial integrity, and at the international level about regional influence and access to energy markets.
This calls for a sophisticated approach that seeks to build trust in all these areas. Earlier this month, international mediators for Nagorno-Karabakh quietly brought the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan together to talk on the sidelines of a conference in Prague. In June, the two presidents are expected to meet again in Russia. These are positive steps.
Last week, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Azerbaijan and Russia to try to reduce the simmering ethnic and energy tensions in the region. He made progress with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on a new north-south Russian-Turkish gas pipeline that would supply Israel and other countries. That, plus renewing a contract for Russian gas supplies to Turkey, should help reassure Moscow of its continued energy influence.
But when Mr. Erdogan, on his visit to Azerbaijan, gave in to the demand that Turkey not reopen its borders with Armenia until Nagorno-Karabakh is resolved, he reignited flames in Armenia. Some speculate that the normalization process is now at risk.
This region is too small, the stakes too high, to separate politics from energy. Both will have to be handled at the same time, if perhaps on different tracks.
Armenian Assembly of America, www.aaainc.org, Press Release May 19, 2009
Support For Armenian Genocide Resolution Grows, Cosponsors Reach 125
Washington, DC - H. Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, reached another milestone today with the bi-partisan support of 125 cosponsors, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). Congressmen Bruce Braley (D-IA), Peter Defazio (D-OR), Bobby Rush (D-IL) and John Yarmouth (D-KY) are the latest Members to lend their support to this human rights initiative.
"Reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide will not be sidelined in the 111th Congress," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "The Assembly will continue to educate Members of Congress on the importance of H. Res. 252 and, through its activists across the nation, energize the community on the local level to contact their Representatives directly," adding that "by passing the Armenian Genocide Resolution, we can further the cause of genocide prevention."
H. Res. 252, a congressional resolution which reaffirms the historical record of the United States on the Armenian Genocide, was introduced by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA) and Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and is modeled after H. Res. 106, which passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs during the 110th Congress.
In January, the Assembly launched a website, ArmenianGenocideAffirmation.com, dedicated to U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. The website affords visitors the opportunity to send a letter to their respective Member of Congress, view the current list of all H. Res. 252 co-sponsors, join the Assembly's facebook group or become an Ambassador of Affirmation.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
For Armenian Students, Studying Turkey Poses A Dilemma
Professor Ruben Melkonyan teaches a class in the department of Turkology at Yerevan State University.
It is a small class of 12 master's students in the department of Turkology at Yerevan State University. For almost all of the Armenian students, Turkey is as close as a stone's throw even though the border remains closed, but Turks are as far away as one can ever imagine.
“What does the word ‘Turk' tell you?” was the question asked on Monday by a group of Turkish journalists who are in Yerevan for the International Hrant Dink Foundation's Turkey-Armenia Journalist Dialogue Project, funded by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Association.
In response, only one student said “just human,” in contrast with the others who said they remember “genocide” when they hear the word “Turk.”
Ashkhen Babayan said she had been to the Turkish city of Antalya and had interacted with Turks and found them quite personable.
Another student, Anahit Veziryan, said she would go to Turkey one day to find the house where her father lived in the eastern Turkish city of Van.
“My father described the house that he once lived in but was forced to leave by the Turks,” she said, adding that she couldn't do it right now. When asked why, she had difficulty describing her feelings of fear toward Turks, but her professor helped.
“Is it safe for an Armenian to go to Turkey?” asked Ruben Melkonyan, professor of Turkology at the university.
“Our hope is with the Turkish people who are democrats and who can face the truth. I agree with Hrant Dink, who said Turkey can consolidate its democracy from within. I can't say that all Turks are bad,” he added. And the truth, according to him, is that the Turkish belief that there was no “genocide” against the Armenians in 1915 is not right. “Your official thesis is based on lies, and ours is the truth,” he emphasized. “The recognition of genocide also has a legal aspect, as well as political. An apology is not enough; Armenians should be compensated financially,” he said.
The young students have been carrying the heavy baggage of another official thesis, the thesis of Armenia. Even though they study Turkology, they face a dilemma: They want to know everything about Turkey, but from a distance, because in their minds, the “Turk” is a horrible creature.
‘Telling stories, interaction will help'
Melkonyan said the “trauma of genocide” has been handed down to generations of people in Armenia, as assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink put it, and the only way to overcome it is by “storytelling.” He said there were examples of it in Turkish literature, as seen in the books of Fethiye Çetin, Yusuf Bağcı and İrfan Pala.
Professor Melkonyan said he was from the eastern Turkish city of Muş and had visited his village in the province, but he was not welcomed.
Aris Nalcı from the International Hrant Dink Foundation based in İstanbul invited the students to Turkey for an internship at the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos. He also said there were currently two interns from Yerevan State University at Agos.
Addressing the students, Nalcı said: “You know how to deal with this trauma. You cannot learn about Turkey just by reading the books given to you in Armenia. You should read books from Turkey, too.”
‘Turkey should stay out of Karabakh dispute’
Melkonyan said Armenia and Azerbaijan were independent countries, so they could settle their disagreements over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh without Turkey's interference.
“Turkey should not interfere in the Karabakh row,” he told a group of Turkish journalists this week as he answered questions regarding Turkish-Armenian relations. “Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey are independent states.”
Armenian leaders have criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for making the normalization of ties with Armenia conditional on a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh during a visit to Baku last week.
He said he, his students and the department of Turkology follow the developments in Turkey closely. “We read Turkish newspapers every day,” he said.
20 May 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Yerevan, http://medya.todayszaman.com/todayszaman/2009/05/20/armenia.jpg
Turkey Slams Brakes On Opening Border To Armenia 19/05/2009
Turkish ally Azerbaijan wants Yerevan to withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh before Ankara opens its border with Armenia.
By Ayhan Simsek for Southeast European Times in Ankara -- 19/05/09
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan disappointed Armenian leaders last week, saying during a trip to Baku that Turkey will not re-open its border with Armenia unless Yerevan withdraws its troops from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region within Azerbaijan.
Erdogan's message was a clear victory for Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who has long urged Turkey to demand the removal of Armenian forces from the contested area. Those forces have controlled Nagorno-Karabakh since the early 1990s, prompting both Azerbaijan and Turkey to blockade their borders with their landlocked neighbour.
Officials in Yerevan responded immediately to Erdogan's remarks. "Any Turkish attempt to interfere in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem could only harm that process," Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan said.
With that, optimism that had been building for more than a year dissipated. Just weeks ago, Turkey and Armenia had announced their agreement on a "road map" to normalise relations. Erdogan's statements surprised not only Yerevan and Western capitals, but also Turkish foreign policy pundits.
"What awful diplomacy," Referans columnist Cengiz Candar wrote.
"Can Turkey return from this mistake?" he asked."I believe [diplomatic recovery] is possible only if there is an agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the near future."
Erdogan, though, may have thought he had no choice, after experiencing pressure from opposition parties that accused him of betraying an ally and from an infuriated Baku.
After Turkey and Armenia announced their plan to normalise relations, Azerbaijani leaders hinted at the need to renew their gas agreement with Turkey and maybe to revisit the favourable rate that they currently charge -- less than half the price other gas exporters demand of Turkey.
Ankara also needs Azerbaijani support to realise the strategic Nabucco pipeline project, which would reduce European dependence on Russian energy.
It was thus not a surprise that Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz accompanied Erdogan to Baku.
Experts differ on Turkey's chances of escaping its current impasse. Some predict Azerbaijani concerns -- and the need for cheap natural gas -- will continue to influence policy in Ankara. Others, though, stress the long-term benefits of rapprochement with Armenia, for both Turkey and Azerbaijan.
With Georgia shadowed by domestic instability and the threat from Russia, Armenia increasingly looks like a better conduit for Caspian energy supplies. Furthermore, enabling long-blockaded Armenia to prosper might wean it from its economic dependence on its diaspora, which favours a hardline stance on Turkey and Azerbaijan.
The United States has recently increased its efforts to speed a solution in Karabakh and facilitate Turkish-Armenian normalisation.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the US - are overseeing negotiations. Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders will meet in St. Petersburg on June 4th in an effort to narrow their differences.
This content was commissioned for SETimes.com
New Warning On Karabakh Negotiations
ANKARA - The Turkey-Armenia track has no link to the Nagorno-Karabakh talks, according to the French co-chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Minsk Group. He implied that Ankara’s request from Yerevan to withdraw from Azerbaijani territory in return for opening the border would spoil the regional parameters.
"We consider [the Turkey-Armenia talks and Nagorno-Karabakh process] as parallel lines, and according to Euclidian geometry, parallel lines never cross. But, there are interactions. The historic reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia could affect the environment positively but not Nagorno-Karabakh talks," Bernard Fassier said Monday at a luncheon with a limited group of journalists.
Fassier, on the eve of a crucial meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders early next month in St. Petersburg, visited Ankara as a last stop of a regional tour that included Yerevan and Baku. He held meetings at the Foreign Ministry just a week after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would not open its border with Armenia unless Yerevan ends its occupation on Azerbaijani territory.
In contradiction to Fassier’s description of "parallel lines," Ankara considers only one track is able to achieve a comprehensive settlement in the region. "If by mistake an unfortunate mix of these talks might only make things more difficult," Fassier said. According to Turkish sources, Fassier asked Turkey not to link these two issues, especially at a time when the international community has increased its pressure on the parties to compromise for a solution.
Turkey and Armenia announced a road map on April 22 that would bring about the unconditional normalization of ties. But as a result of Azerbaijan’s overreaction to the process, Ankara had to declare that it is ready to open the border with Armenia in return for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh. There were unconfirmed reports that Armenia could withdraw from five regions out of seven surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
But for Fassier, the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the regions should not be expected in the short-term as "there has to be a full settlement allowing the changing of all parameters comprehensively."
"We are not trying to reach for the moon, but to solve what is possible to solve today," he said, adding that the Minsk Group has so far proposed to establish an interim situation that would not constitute casus belli (justification for acts of war) for any of the countries. The further stages and the final status of the Nagorno-Karabakh would be reasonably settled afterward.
When asked whether the deployment of an international force was part of discussion, he said it was not today’s issue but would be discussed when considering the need for security for those who return to their own regions.
The next meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in St. Petersburg is important to see to what extent they are ready to come up with an agreement over an interim situation. "We have a road map. It has been there since 2007. I am optimistic because there is a sort astral conjuncture that brought all relevant factors on the same line," Fassier said. "I am hopeful. The tunnel is long but there is light at the end of the tunnel."
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Armenian And Turkish Historians Working At Joint Book About Armenian Genocide
Arminfo. Armenian historian, professor Vahagn Dadryan together with Turkish writer Taner Akcham, one of Turkish historians which recognize Armenian genocide, are working at the book dedicated to the Armenian genocide, Dadryan himself said at today's meeting with students.
He also added one of his historical books about the genocide has been recently translated in Turkish. This made Akcham to write continuation of the book. The historian thinks it is very much important to study the archive documents of the 20-s of the passed century directly connected with Armenian genocide. He thinks that one of the reasons why Turkey denies the fact of the genocide is that in case of its recognition Turkey will be forced to rewrite its history and confess that their forefathers were criminals, which committed terrible crime.
Will Turks Buy Armenian Homes? A1+ May 18, 2009
Renowned Diaspora benefactor, entrepreneur Vahagn Hovnanian voices concern that after the opening of the Armenian-Turkish frontier Armenians will begin selling their homes and lands to Turks.
"I don't know how the equilibrium or the control can be kept. If they give a few pennies more, Armenians are sure to sell their houses. We were hardly able to take back our territories from Azerbaijan. I am concerned they will cede them to others. This is a serious concern for me," said Mr. Hovnanian.
"Armenia is hardly seen on the map. Though they have many lands near our border Turks are attracted by our territories as Kurds will live on their lands."
Hovnanian's concern can only be healed after making serious legislative amendments otherwise Turks can buy houses in Armenia in the same way as American, Chinese and other nationalities do. Why not?
A1+ observed that some 40 thousand Armenians are working in Turkey now. This allows Erdogan to threaten them by exiling from the country.
"One should work honestly wherever one is. Bravo to all people who earn their living by the sweat of their brow and send money to their families. We must kiss their foreheads. No matter where one is -in Turkey, Moscow, USA or somewhere else, he must earn his living by his sweat," noted the noted entrepreneur.
Vahagn Hovnanian agrees to the frontier opening without any preconditions. At the same time, he reminds that recently Turkey has started setting prerequisites. He fears that Armenia's economy cannot resist the pressure of the Turkish market.
"The law must be the same for everyone. Everyone must be given equal footing," announced Mr. Hovnanian meaning oligarchs enjoying monopoly and different privileges.
With regard to the global economic crisis Mr. Hovnanian said "things will continue to worsen for a little while, and then the situation will begin to better."
50 years ago Hovnanian set up his own business-construction and has been engaged in it ever since. The businessman has come across an economic crisis for 12 times but this one is the toughest, he says.
After the rapid depreciation of the Armenian dram, Hovnanian's business sustained a loss of 23-24 percent.
Turkish-Armenian Ties: Gul And Erdogan Hold Conflicting Views 18.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan differ on their opinions on Armenian-Turkish border opening. The politicians defend their views, with Gul saying normalizations would continue 'without preconditions' and PM asking Armenia to first end its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On Friday last week, President Abdullah Gul said that normalization would proceed 'without preconditions," said David Phillips, a senior fellow with the Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Atlantic Council of the United States. "During a television interview the next day, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey could open its border if Armenia lifts its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh." Phillips also said he welcomed Turkey and Armenia's joint April 23 move to announce a framework agreement for normalizing relations, but warned, "Progress will be measured by actions, not words."
Turkey closed its land border with Armenia in 1993 and has refused to establish diplomatic ties because of Karabakh conflict. "Turkey's national interests cannot be held hostage by Azerbaijan," Philips said.
"The United States, which strongly backs the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process, says the road map should be implemented without preconditions." "If the Turkish-Armenian deal fails, it would have serious repercussions on U.S.-Turkish relations," Philips added.
Disagreements Over Beirut I Armenian Candidates Could Cost March 14 A Seat Matt Nash, NowLebanon May 15 2009 Lebanon
In a neighborhood peppered with posters of generations of Gemayels and Christians keen on entering parliament, the shot of Saad and Rafik Hariri smiling seems misplaced. The picture adorns the window of the Armenian Ramgavar party's building in Gemmayzeh and reflects the political alliance now more than a decade old between Hariri's Future Movement and both Ramgavar and Henshag, another Armenian political party.
Those three parties have been locked in a struggle for weeks with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea over who will be the Armenian Catholic candidate on March 14's Beirut I list. The Future Movement and the March 14-allied Armenian parties want Serge Torsarkissian as the candidate while Geagea is insisting on LF member Richard Kouyoumjian.
Neither side seems willing to budge, and, in a district where neither coalition is expected to sweep all five seats, two March 14 candidates for the seat on election day all but guarantees March 8 will win it, several sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told NOW.
The Armenians argue they deserve to nominate their potential representative and resent what Henshag described as outside interference in Armenian affairs. Geagea, meanwhile, maintains he brings March 14 more votes than the Armenians do in Beirut I and should be given a seat.
Armenians comprise around 20 percent of registered voters in Beirut I, and it is widely accepted that 70 to 80 percent of Armenians in Lebanon vote for the Tashnaq party, which is allied with the Free Patriotic Movement this year. The rest generally support Henshag, Ramgavar or smaller parties, though some Armenians bucked the communal trend of neutrality and joined the LF and other militias during the civil war.
Henshag and Ramgavar first allied with the Future Movement back in 1996 - an electoral arrangement that also included Tashnaq. Relations between the late Rafik Hariri and Tashnaq quickly soured but Henshag and Ramgavar have coordinated with the Future Movement ever since.
In both 2000 and 2005, Henshag and Ramgavar agreed to support an Armenian Future Movement member -Torsarkissian - for one of the four seats in Beirut officially reserved for the community. The three parties want Torsarkissian to be the March 14 candidate for Beirut I's Armenian Catholic seat again in 2009.
Geagea, however, has not backed down, and this disagreement is postponing the announcement of the March 14 Beirut I list. March 8, on the other hand, released their list for the district on April 1, after Tashnaq announced their alliance with the FPM. The opposition's intra-alliance bickering is taking place in Jezzine and, as of now, that district has two opposition lists.
Repeated attempts to untie the knot have failed. Lebanese press reports have said Geagea offered to step back if Hariri sacrifices a candidate so that LF candidate Wehbe Katicha can be added to the Future Movement list in Akkar or if Hariri agrees to let Torsarkissian side with a parliamentary bloc of LF MPs and independents instead of the Future bloc. Hariri reportedly rejected the offers.
Charles Chartouni, a political science professor at the Lebanese University, told NOW that there was also word of Hariri persuading Ghattas Khoury to withdraw his independent candidacy for the Maronite seat in the Chouf in return for Kouyoumjian withdrawing in Beirut. Khoury is viewed as a potential challenge to the LF's Chouf candidate Georges Adwan, who is on the March 14 list in that district.
However, Chartouni said, "Apparently that didn't work."
The Lebanese press and the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat also reported March 14 Armenians threatened to boycott the election if Kouyoumjian does not withdraw. In such a close district, any votes lost would be sorely missed.
Sarkis Seferian, manager of Ramgavar's party newspaper Zartonk, told NOW his party will not boycott. A Henshag party spokesman referred NOW to a press release that did not address the issue directly but noted, "We believe that this matter will be solved, so it's too early to make any judgment at this moment."
A representative of the Free Lebanese Armenian Movement, a small group formed around two years ago specifically dedicated to supporting March 14, refused to even entertain the possibility that a deal would not be reached.
"There will be a deal," she said, cutting off her interviewer before the question ended. "For sure. For sure. For sure. Ok?"
Orhan Pamuk, The Armenian Genocide And Turkish Nationalism by Geries Othman, Asia News May 18 2009 Italy
The trail against the Turkish writer, guilty of having spoken about the Armenian genocide and the massacre of Kurds, could be reopened. Turkey is sliding towards Islamic fundamentalism and nationalism. Tell-tale signs; its friendship with Syria and Iran.
Ankara (AsiaNews) - The infamous article 301 of Turkey's Penal Code which severely punishes anyone who dares to "sully Turkey's national identity" is once again in the news. Over the past few years it has silenced many intellectuals who dared to contest "Turkey's democratic government". Once again the writer Orhan Pamuk is being targeted, in a case that has been on the shelf for over three years.
Just as the writer, the first Turk to receive the Noble Prize for Literature (2006), was in Florence to receive a degree honoris causa, rumours began to circulate that he will probably have to appear before Turkey's courts once more for having "offended the Turkish identity".
In reality the charge is an old one, even if ever present in public memory.
Born in Istanbul in 1952, in 2005 Pamuk was charged with having declared to the Swiss weekly Das Magazin that "we Turks are responsible for the death of 30 thousand Kurds and a million Armenians and no-one in Turkey dares speak about it, except me". However he was absolved by an Istanbul court, above all tank to the intervention of the International Community which also urged the partial modification of art. 301. Approved in 2008, the change led to the cancellation of the generic "offense against Turkish identity" and its' substitution with a more detailed "offense against the State or organs of the Turkish State".
However on May 4th last, Ankara's Supreme Court rejected the primary courts ruling and decided to proceed against Pamuk because he holds his country responsible for the Armenian "genocide" - a taboo word for the Turkish nation - during the Ottoman Empire, thus committing a grave crime according to the Turkish Penal Code.
World famous Pamuk is held as one of the most translated contemporary writers, not only into European languages. Since his debut in 1982, he has published nine novels and other writings, which have received awards in Europe and the United States. He elaborated an original form of narrative, at times complex and not always easy to read, through which he explores, from a historic point of view, the problematic issues of art, expression, identity and the relationship between the East and the West. In his homeland and abroad Pamuk has had great literary success. But despite this, he is still opposed by a large part of public opinion in Turkey. An official in Isparta even went to the point of ordering the destruction of his books in libraries and bookshops throughout the province.
Pamuk, invited to the International Book Fair in Turin, decided not to mention any of this. In the past he ad even refused to participate in debates and discussion on the murder of the Armenian journalist and long-time friend Hrant Dink. In Turin, when asked about the case currently going to the courts, he commented: "I don't think it is a serious matter, even if I don't really know the details of the latest developments, nothing is official yet, but from what I have understood I could be on trial again. Unfortunately, in my country the justice system is politicised - said Pamuk - and you know that if there is no freedom in a nation then there is no justice. This is why I feel obliged to speak freely".
For now Turkey's press prefers to hold its tongue on the issue and only Hurriyet has dared to nod its head at the probable opening of a new trial. No-one is sure of anything and they prefer to keep quiet, given the scandal generated by the first case involving Pamuk and article 301. Many hope that this is not the latest sign of the current government's increasingly authoritarian and nationalist stance. Many see confirmation of this suspicion in recently improved relations between Syria, Iran, and the Turkish government which has forgotten the principals of secular kemalism and is moving towards an Islamic extremism, in which nationalism and fundamentalism are dangerously united.
US-Based Armenian Lobby Steps Up ‘Genocide’ Recognition Efforts
ISTANBUL - Four more U.S. congressmen have lent their support to a resolution accepting the 1915 incidents as "genocide," an American-Armenian group said Wednesday, as the Armenian diaspora steps up its efforts for the recognition of the bill.
Congressmen Bruce Braley, Peter Defazio, Bobby Rush and John Yarmouth extended their support to the "genocide resolution," bringing the total number of the co-sponsors from both parties in the House of Representatives to 125, the Armenian Assembly of America, or AAA, said in a statement.
Armenian lobby organizations, disappointed by U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to refrain from recognizing the 1915 incidents as “genocide” in his annual April 24 statement, have increased efforts to have their claims regarding the 1915 incidents recognized by the U.S. Congress.
"Reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide will not be sidelined in the 111th Congress," AAA Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said in the statement.
"The Assembly will continue to educate Members of Congress on the importance of H. Res. 252 and, through its activists across the nation, energize the community on the local level to contact their Representatives directly," he added.
The bill, titled, "The Affirmation of the U.S. Record on the Armenian Genocide," was introduced by four congressmen in March.
Turkey has warned that the introduction of the resolution could harm both efforts to improve ties with Armenia and bilateral relations with the United States.
U.S. lawmakers almost passed a similar resolution two years ago, but congressional leaders did not bring it up for a vote after intense pressure from then-President George W. Bush and top members of his administration.
The issue is highly sensitive for Turkey as well as Armenia. In the 1915 incidents, around 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.
However Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.
New warning on Karabakh negotiations
ANKARA - The Turkey-Armenia track has no link to the Nagorno-Karabakh talks, according to the French co-chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Minsk Group. He implied that Ankara’s request from Yerevan to withdraw from Azerbaijani territory in return for opening the border would spoil the regional parameters.
New warning on Karabakh negotiations
"We consider [the Turkey-Armenia talks and Nagorno-Karabakh process] as parallel lines, and according to Euclidian geometry, parallel lines never cross. But, there are interactions. The historic reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia could affect the environment positively but not Nagorno-Karabakh talks," Bernard Fassier said Monday at a luncheon with a limited group of journalists.
Fassier, on the eve of a crucial meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders early next month in St. Petersburg, visited Ankara as a last stop of a regional tour that included Yerevan and Baku. He held meetings at the Foreign Ministry just a week after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would not open its border with Armenia unless Yerevan ends its occupation on Azerbaijani territory.
In contradiction to Fassier’s description of "parallel lines," Ankara considers only one track is able to achieve a comprehensive settlement in the region. "If by mistake an unfortunate mix of these talks might only make things more difficult," Fassier said. According to Turkish sources, Fassier asked Turkey not to link these two issues, especially at a time when the international community has increased its pressure on the parties to compromise for a solution.
Turkey and Armenia announced a road map on April 22 that would bring about the unconditional normalization of ties. But as a result of Azerbaijan’s overreaction to the process, Ankara had to declare that it is ready to open the border with Armenia in return for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh. There were unconfirmed reports that Armenia could withdraw from five regions out of seven surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
But for Fassier, the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the regions should not be expected in the short-term as "there has to be a full settlement allowing the changing of all parameters comprehensively."
"We are not trying to reach for the moon, but to solve what is possible to solve today," he said, adding that the Minsk Group has so far proposed to establish an interim situation that would not constitute casus belli (justification for acts of war) for any of the countries. The further stages and the final status of the Nagorno-Karabakh would be reasonably settled afterward.
When asked whether the deployment of an international force was part of discussion, he said it was not today’s issue but would be discussed when considering the need for security for those who return to their own regions.
The next meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in St. Petersburg is important to see to what extent they are ready to come up with an agreement over an interim situation. "We have a road map. It has been there since 2007. I am optimistic because there is a sort astral conjuncture that brought all relevant factors on the same line," Fassier said. "I am hopeful. The tunnel is long but there is light at the end of the tunnel."
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Armenia's Karabakh Propaganda On Eurovision
ISTANBUL - Armenian politics intervened with Eurovision this weekend. When the live feed shifted to Yerevan, a gigantic statue that is the symbol of Nagorno-Karabakh appeared onscreen.
The 54th Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow on Saturday turned out to be an arena of politics. When the host from Moscow turned the live feed to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, striking pictures were reflected to television screens worldwide.
Sirusho, the Armenian pop star who represented the country last year with the song “Qele Qele,” was onscreen to report the Armenian votes when she lifted the card she was holding to cover her face. There was a photograph of "Menk Yenk Mer Sarerı" (We Are Our Own Mountains), in another name, "Dad u Bab" (Grandmother and Grandfather), the gigantic statue that is the symbol of the Armenian administration of Nagorno-Karabakh, on the card. The same picture was also on barcovision.
Azerbaijan complained, Russia censored video
Sisters İnka and Anuysh Arsagian, Armenian representatives with the song “Jan Jan,” who landed in 10th place, had images of Nagorno-Karabakh, alongside the cultural beings of Armenia, in their video that was shown in the semifinals. The mentioned images were cut from the video with Russia’s intervention after Azerbaijan complained. The Armenian press put the matter on the agenda after the contest. The press had two different approaches: Some said Eurovision, as usual, was overshadowed by politics, and others argued that Armenia presented its stance on Karabakh clearly once more.
Criticizing Armenia’s stance
Levon Barseghian, president of a journalists’ club called Asparez from Gyumri, the second biggest city in Armenia, said: “The Eurovision is not a contest; it is baloney in the strictest sense of the word. It is lacking seriousness and integrity; that is why I do not even take it seriously.”
Barseghian also criticized the images on television screens: “I am aware of Karabakh’s importance to Armenia, but you cannot get results to political problems with such simple solutions.”
‘Armenia presented its determined stance on Karabakh’
Aram Abrahamyan, editor-in-chief of Aravot, Armenia’s best-selling newspaper, said he thinks Armenia’s stance is right. He believes Armenia presented its stance on Karabakh clearly once more to the world. “Russia had the Karabakh images cut from the video due to the acts of Azerbaijanis. I do not believe they have a right to this kind of intervention. The mentioned statue is the symbol of Karabakh; therefore it is ours, too.”
Antranik Tevanyan, editor-in-chief for “7or” (Seven Days) newspaper, also found Armenia’s stance appropriate: “The act of Armenia was right and in its place.”
© Copyright 2009 Hürriyet
Today’s Zaman And Turkish-Azerbaijani Brotherhood by Bülent Keneş
Twenty-eight months have passed since Today's Zaman started publication. Time is passing very quickly. This rapid passage of time may cause one to do right as well as wrong things. Those who work in this profession know best the risks of preparing the new edition of a newspaper day after day.
Twenty-eight months represent a sufficiently long period of time to enable one to objectively assess whether a newspaper is successful, what purpose it serves, whether it is reliable and what its position is on specific issues.
Nevertheless, reading this paper regularly for only as short a period of time as two weeks, instead of the 28 months of its publication, will give one a good idea as to what efforts Today's Zaman has been making to reinforce friendship and brotherhood in Turkey as well as among different peoples, cultures, religions and ideas around the world. These efforts of Today's Zaman, of course, do not consist merely of passively voiced wishes for good faith and goodness. These efforts also require the open and frank expression of the ideas one believes to be correct in emergent debates, and to articulate one's criticism of whatever one thinks of as wrong, and if necessary, to criticize harshly.
Those who closely follow Today's Zaman know that from time to time it harshly criticizes the shortcomings of Turkish democracy -- which can be considered as one of the most qualified democracies in the region -- the points ignored by the Turkish government -- which is one of the most hardworking governments in the region -- the unfavorable acts of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) -- which is the most powerful and modern army in the region -- and the nongovernmental organizations, political parties and media organizations -- which are the most active organizations in the region. For instance, it can chide the Turkish government with its headlines as it thinks it fails to have the boldness to take timely and correct steps in the Kurdish issue. It can openly write about whatever should be done about this issue, but it does not do this out of hatred of Turks. It also slams the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and can voice severe criticism of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). It does not do this out of hatred of Kurds. It is Today's Zaman that is the first to hail the correct moves or steps taken in this issue. Neither the government nor the army nor the Kurds would think that with its sincere publications, Today's Zaman is trying to destroy the Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood. Similar examples can be given with respect to many two-party relations, such as those between Alevis and Sunnis, or Turks and Arabs, or Turks and the EU. The editorial policy of Today's Zaman is well known by many to serve friendship and peace in the region and around the world. To this end, it does not refrain from criticizing the things it considers wrong -- be it against its own government -- and voicing these criticisms openly. It does these things with perfect peace of mind because it is sincere and well intentioned in its acts.
You may be wondering why I am writing these lines out of the blue. Let me explain: As you might know, for some time, there have been insidious plots in place to disrupt the Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood. Attempts are being made to undermine and weaken the sentiments of brotherhoods by our Azerbaijani sisters and brothers and the Azerbaijani administration toward Turks. It is known that not only some pro-Russian circles, but also the neo-nationalist groups in Turkey who have close ties with the Ergenekon terrorist organization are actively involved in this project. I must confess that I somewhat feel these groups are gradually becoming successful in their objectives. You may also know that these destructive efforts are not new and go back a long time, before debates on the reopening of the Armenian border crossing started. The Azerbaijani administration's relative aloofness in its policies toward Turkey compared to the past is obviously the result of these efforts and is not an issue of recent months.
Despite everything, Turkish-Azerbaijani relations have a special meaning for us, which can only be defined as "fraternity." The ties of affection the Zaman family has with Azerbaijanis are most special and sincere. The Zaman group lent its support to its Azerbaijani sisters and brothers during the early days of their independence and tried to be their voice by publishing a paper there, and no one can doubt the reliability of the Zaman family and also Today's Zaman, which became a member of this family two-and-a-half years ago, concerning the Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood.
But unfortunately, some people are attempting to disseminate suspicions about the position of the Zaman group with ill-intentioned approaches. It would be unfair to highlight some criticisms of the Azerbaijani administration by an author who made her first contribution to the Op-Ed section -- where contributors are allowed to freely express their opinion -- criticisms we do not share and which declare Today's Zaman the enemy of the Azerbaijanis and accuse it of trying to undermine the Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood and of lobbying for Armenian interests. The publication of an over-generalizing and defamatory article written by İxtiyar Hüseynli in the official media of the Azerbaijani state should not be the sort of thing that can be expected from those who really seek brotherhood between two countries.
Of course, one cannot expect us to agree with the ideas expressed concerning Azerbaijan in the article titled "The Eastern Partnership: more for more or more for less?" by Yeliz Hacıosmanoğlu, published in the commentary section of the May 8, 2009 edition of Today's Zaman, which focused completely on the relations of the EU with six countries including Azerbaijan, and did not make any mention of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations or Turkish-Armenian relations. I should note that this article is not in line with Today's Zaman's official editorial policy. As a paper that attaches the highest importance to the ties of fraternity with Azerbaijan, we are deeply concerned and upset by the hostility shown against Today's Zaman and against the education efforts by the Turkish volunteers who always take sides with the Azerbaijani people even in their hardest times, departing from some claims in the said article with which we do not agree.
It should not be forgotten that Today's Zaman voices its harshest criticism against even the deficiencies of Turkish democracy. Today's Zaman is a paper that occasionally gives space in its Op-Ed section to articles that criticize even its own policies and its line of thought. It can do this with the belief that those articles only bind their respective authors. We are inclined to see the attempt by the official Azerbaijani media to crucify Today's Zaman because of some unfounded claims by an author who is not a member of its staff, and of some suggestions which are not related in any way to its official editorial policy, as a reaction that goes beyond its intentions.
It is well known that Today's Zaman frequently publishes articles on issues concerning Azerbaijan and Armenia. If anyone wonders about our editorial policy regarding these issues, he can resort to the editorial I wrote as the editor-in-chief on April 13, 2009. This article I wrote at a time when everyone seemed to be mystified with the discourse on normalizing relations with Armenia or opening the border gate with it is a clear expression of Today's Zaman's position with respect to these issues.
Please take a look at what I wrote in my article, titled "Main responsibility for normalization lies with Yerevan," on April 13:
“… While Armenians maintain their occupation of Azerbaijani territory, still pursue their claims on Turkish territory and still insist on not admitting to and facing massacres they committed in Karabakh and other Azerbaijani territories they occupied, it would not be realistic to expect normalization of relations or the opening of border crossings. In addition to steps Turkey will take, Armenians, too, should take concrete steps with respect to their problems with Azerbaijan in order to make this happen.
“… In the final analysis, normalization would bring greater benefits to Armenians than to Turks. In the same vein, the international community must exert more of the pressure it has been exerting on Turkey on Armenia to make sure that they solve their problems with Azerbaijan if they really want to see normalization happen. The power to change the conditions that led to the severing of relations in 1993 is not wielded by either the Turks or the Azerbaijanis, but by the Armenians. Normalization between Turkey and Armenia cannot be achieved without effort by the Armenians -- and it would be impossible if it is blocked by the Armenians.
“We must not forget that Turkey decided to close the border crossing between Turkey and Armenia as a reaction to Armenia's occupation of six Azerbaijani regions between 1992 and 1994 which were about four times the size of the Karabakh Autonomous Region. I am sure many people will be surprised to learn that Armenian claims of genocide and Armenia's reluctance to recognize Turkey's territorial integrity are not the real reason for Turkey's severing relations with Armenia. The main reason why Turkey closed the border is the Armenian massacre and occupation in which 17,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and 800,000 Azerbaijanis were displaced. As you may remember, with these attacks, Armenia connected its main territory to Karabakh through occupation. Armenian massacres continued even after the cease-fire in 1994 and about 3,000 Azerbaijanis were killed by enemy fire. In the final analysis, Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani territories 15 years ago continues to this day. Over 800,000 of the Azerbaijanis who were displaced from their homeland are living as refugees, some in railway cars. In other words, there is no change in Turkey's justification for its act to close the border.
“It would be an illusion to expect Turkey to take unilateral steps while this justification is still there. Moreover, Turkey is not the only country imposing an embargo on another. More than 50 countries are being embargoed by the US. For instance, the US embargo on Cuba has lasted for over 40 years. The US also imposed an embargo on Iraq for 12 years, during which over 500,000 women, children and the ill died. Closing the border with Armenia, however, does not mean Turkey has placed an embargo on this country. Armenia's border gates with Iran and Georgia are open and they can obtain whatever they need. Even Turkish goods can easily be bought in Armenian markets, though they are more expensive. Turkish airspace is already open to Armenian airplanes. For this reason, opening the border with Turkey is not a vital problem for Armenians that must be solved as soon as possible. There is no need to exert pressure on Turkey to take steps toward the opening of the border gate. Rather, if any normalization is sought between Armenia and Turkey, pressure and demands must focus on solving the dispute between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The most realistic approach would be to expect Armenians to take steps in compliance with UN decisions.
“… Armenians have a greater responsibility toward normalization. If Yerevan really seeks normalization of relations with Ankara, it must show in concrete steps that it will take well-intentioned steps with respect to its problems with Baku.”
This article represents Today's Zaman's stance with respect to Armenian and Azerbaijani relations, nothing else.
20 May 2009, Zaman
Bernard Fassier: Turkey-Armenia And Karabakh Talks On Parallel Lines 2009/05/20 HETQ
On Monday, while in Turkey, Minsk Group Co-chair Bernard Fassier stated that the Turkey-Armenia track has no link to the Nagorno-Karabakh talks.
“We consider the Turkey-Armenia talks and Nagorno-Karabakh process as parallel lines, and according to Euclidian geometry, parallel lines never cross. But, there are interactions. The historic reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia could affect the environment positively but not Nagorno-Karabakh talks,” Bernard Fassier said at a luncheon with a limited group of journalists in Turkey, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Fassier, on the eve of a crucial meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders early next month in St. Petersburg, visited Ankara as a last stop of a regional tour that included Yerevan and Baku. He held meetings at the Foreign Ministry just a week after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would not open its border with Armenia unless Yerevan ends its occupation on Azerbaijani territory.
“We are not trying to reach for the moon, but to solve what is possible to solve today,” he said, adding that the Minsk Group has so far proposed to establish an interim situation that would not constitute casus belli (justification for acts of war) for any of the countries. The further stages and the final status of the Nagorno-Karabakh would be reasonably settled afterward.
When asked whether the deployment of an international force was part of discussion, he said it was not today’s issue but would be discussed when considering the need for security for those who return to their own regions.
Armenian Genocide Book In Turkish Panorama.am 19/05/2009
"Armenian Genocide and Turkish war trials" by famous Armenia historian and genocide professor Vahagn Dadryan has been translated into Turkish by the efforts of the printing-house director of Turkish University of America, the writer told the students of the Yerevan State University.
"This is an important and great event. The book is published in Turkish and is being spread in different Turkish cities. This is unbelievable for me that the Turkish governments trying to refuse the Armenian Genocide suddenly publish the book by the initiative of the Turkish University," the writer said.
The book will be translated into English as well. Note that Vahagn Dadryan has been honored President's Prize for his investment in making the Armenian Genocide recognized and condemned in the world.
Erdogan Not Only Puts Conditions Forward But Is Also Trying To Threaten Armenia 2009-05-16
ArmInfo. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan not only puts conditions forward but is also trying to threaten Armenia.
'40,000 Armenians were living and working illegally in Turkey. Why have they come to our country? Because there is great poverty in Armenia. They are trying to earn their living in our country. We will send them back, if necessary, but we do not do it because of humaneness', - Erdogan said in Warsaw during his meeting with students.
He also added the main demand of Turkey from Armenia was the withdrawal of troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, including Nagorno Karabakh. 'We have not passed this decision, the UN passed the decision. Turkey closed the borders with Armenia because of the occupation. There is cause and consequence. The borders will be opened, when the consequence is eliminated', he said.
Turkey Going To Render Economic Assistance To Armenia? 21.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey does not oppose opening of the border with Armenia, according to chairman of youth union of Mush (Turkey).
"Turkey can't but support Azerbaijan in Karabakh issue. This is the state position numerously expressed by Prime Minister and President. If Armenia renounces Karabakh it will be good for the entire region. Borders will open and Turkey will render economic assistance to Armenia," Salih Yuce told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.
Asked whether Turkey behaves correctly by interfering into the Karabakh process, Yuce said "Turks and Azerbaijan are unanimous on the issue."
Meanwhile, flows of Azeris in the regions bordering on Armenia (Kars, Erzrum and Igdir) have increased recently. So, provocations in the regions are not ruled out in case of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.
Armenian Monuments In Turkey Being Transformed Into 'Ottoman Heritage' 21.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The ruins of ancient Armenian capital Ani will probably have the fate Holy Cross Church on Ahtamar Island.
As a PanARMENIAN.Net corresponded reported from the scene, restoration works are being carried out by Turkish specialists on the ruins of Ani.
According to RA Ministry of Culture spokesperson Gayane Durgaryan, Armenia offered Turkey to send specialists but received no response so far.
Presently, the foundations of temples and support pillars of the Cathedral and city wall are being fortified.
Armenia Should Decide What It Wants From Turkey 20.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey knows what it wants to get from Armenia, a politician said.
"If there are problems, we must look for solution by ourselves. Turkey knows exactly what it wants to get from Armenia," Movses Shahverdyan, leader of Labor Socialist Party, told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.
"An Armenian leader must never take a decision conflicting with national interests. Our party will refrain from making comments unless the road map is published," he said.
Touching upon the Karabakh issue, Shahverdyan said that the lands liberated in 1991-1994 are Armenian. "I do not understand what concessions are spoken about. These lands were liberated at the cost of our compatriots' life," he said.
Armenia's Software Piracy Rates Second Highest In The World 20.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ According to research conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) International Company in 110 countries, this year's leaders for use of pirate software are Georgia (95%), Armenia (92%), Bangladesh (92%), Zimbabwe (92%), Moldavia (90%), Azerbaijan (90%) and Sri Lanka (90%).
According to Softline International Armenia General Manager, Armen Karapetyan software piracy rate in Armenia is 85-90%. He also added that within the last 2 years use of unlicensed software decreased 2-5% in Armenia through the efforts of Microsoft Armenia and RA Government.
According to 2008 results, average level of software piracy in the world comprised 41%, exceeding 2007 results by 3%. The lowest piracy rate is registered in US -20%, Japan and Luxemburg - 21%. Losses from the use of unlicensed production are estimated at USD 35 billion, IDC reported.
Minister Of Diaspora Receives Vahagn Dadrian Noyan Tapan May 20, 2009
YEREVAN, MAY 20, NOYAN TAPAN - ARMENIANS TODAY. RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobian received Istanbul Armenian scientist Vahagn Dadrian, who has much contribution to international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide.
The Minister thanked Vahagn Dadrian for receiving RA President's 2008 Prize, wished him long life and good health. Further tasks of Armenia-Diaspora contacts, as well as development of Armenian-Turkish relations were discussed during the conversation. V. Dadrian expressed readiness to give a lecture for Ministry of Diaspora employees during the current visit.
Vahagn Dadrian was born and lives in Istanbul, he is a mathematician-sociologist and a lawyer. Famous scientist's works mainly relate to struggle against negation of Armenian Genocide.
Moscow Opposed To "Outside Interference" With Garabagh Settlement AzerNews Weekly May 20 2009
A top Russian security official has said Moscow was opposed to any "outside interference" with the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh.
Speaking on Friday in Yerevan, Yuri Zubakov, Deputy Secretary of Russia`s Security Council, told a conference on security and cooperation in the volatile Caucasus region that his country was against attempts to force any "recipe" of the conflict settlement upon the parties.
"The main responsibility should rest with the conflicting sides themselves. And only a decision that would promote peace and strengthen stability in the Caucasus and prevent it from turning into a ground for military and political rivalry will be able to stay on," Zubakov said.
According to the deputy secretary, though the sides have not achieved any progress in the peace process so far, tendencies inspiring optimism have been observed.
"Despite the fact that some important issues regarding the main principles of the Garabagh settlement have yet to find their solution, the tendency that has emerged is a basis for logical, but cautious optimism."
Erdogan's Statement Unsettles Yerevan AzerNews Weekly May 20 2009
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan`s statement made during a visit to Baku last week has been met with considerable concern in Yerevan, prompting reactions at the highest level of the Armenian government. Following Erdogan`s assurances to Azerbaijan that Turkey will not open its border with Armenia before the occupation of Azerbaijani territories ends, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian claimed in a meeting with Brian Fall, the UK Government Special Representative for the South Caucasus, that if Turkey is indeed trying to facilitate a settlement to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh conflict, it should not meddle in the peace process.
"Any interference with the conflict resolution by Ankara could only jeopardize the process," the Armenian leader warned.
Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian has also commented on Erdogan`s statement, claiming that this position of the Turkish premier was impeding the process of rapprochement between Yerevan and Ankara.
Erdogan`s comments came during a joint news conference after talks with President Ilham Aliyev in Baku last Wednesday in reply to a question on the possibility of re-opening the border, which has been shut since 1993 due to Yerevan`s policy of occupation and its claims on alleged World War I-era genocide occurring within the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish premier made it clear that Ankara`s position on the Garabagh conflict remains unchanged, adding that any speculations on the border opening issue were unacceptable.
"I am telling you this as Turkey`s prime minister. To my mind, no one can make more assuring expressions here. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 due to the occupation of Azerbaijan`s territories. And, so long as occupation persists, that door will remain closed. Any speculation on this topic is unacceptable, neither will this be accepted afterwards."
President Aliyev welcomed the statement as "the best answer to a simple question that Azerbaijan had asked of Turkish authorities." He stressed that speculating on the issue was currently inappropriate.
"I appreciate both this question and the answer. There couldn`t have been a more open and clear-cut answer than this.
"It is known that concerns have emerged to a certain extent among the Azerbaijani public in past months about the border opening. Standing here before the Azerbaijani people today, I say that there is no room for any doubts any more. The Turkish leadership has repeatedly clarified this issue, and today, Prime Minister Erdogan once again articulated this in the best way possible," Aliyev said.
There have been recent signs of normalization in Ankara-Yerevan ties. Earlier reports alleged that the Turkish-Armenian border is expected to re-open soon, and the governments of Turkey and Armenia agreed to a "road map" in April, which caused a cool-down in Baku-Ankara relations. However, Ankara immediately assured Azerbaijan that its ally`s interests are among its priorities. The Turkish premier had said, prior to leaving for his first visit to Baku since the roadmap agreement, that it aimed to "eliminate misunderstandings and false impressions."
Turkey Irate With Canada by Michelle Collins, Embassy Magazine May 20 2009 Canada
Recent commemorations of the killings have exacerbated plummeting relations between Canada and Turkey.
Embassy File Photos Fuelling Anger: Members of the Armenian diaspora commemorate the 1915 mass killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during one of several events on Parliament Hill last month. The Harper government's recognition of the killings as a genocide has incited Turkey and Ambassador Rafet Akgunay. The question of whether to define the killings in 1915 of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a genocide is seen as an incredibly heated and explosive issue. Relations between Armenia and Turkey remain tempestuous and, worldwide, the diasporas of both heritages have become fixated on defining its historical context.
Five years ago, Canada's Parliament recognized the killings as a genocide, to the relief of a great many Armenians and grave disappointment to the Turks. However, the Paul Martin government refused to adopt the contentious position as government policy.
So when the Conservatives came to power in 2006, it surprised many--in particular Turkey--that Prime Minister Stephen Harper chose to reverse Mr. Martin's decision. In protest, Turkey temporarily recalled its ambassador to Canada, and the Turkish Embassy has since been seeking to sway the pendulum back.
But a series of events and statements over the past month have brought Canada's relations with Turkey to a new low and prompted charges Canada is alone in its unbending recognition of the genocide, and making a grave mistake.
In recent years, Turkish officials have made direct appeals to the Canadian government, meeting with ministers and the prime minister to express concerns over the government's statements on the issue. Quietly, assurances were given that Turkey's position would be respected and the annual "principled" recognition of the Armenian genocide would be a more subtle affair.
But last month saw two grand receptions on Parliament Hill commemorating the genocide. The events were attended by the likes of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Science Minister Gary Goodyear, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and his predecessor Stephane Dion.
In addition, and particularly shocking to the Turks, was an uncharacteristic, strongly-worded statement made by Rick Dykstra, parliamentary secretary to Immigration Minister Kenney, in the House of Commons on April 24 in which he referred to the Armenian genocide from 1915 to 1923.
"Canadians of all backgrounds will join in commemorating the lives of those lost between 1915 and 1923," Mr. Dykstra said in the House. "This day, 94 years ago, marks the beginning of the brutal and systematic destruction of the Armenian people by the authorities of the Ottoman Empire. In this first modern genocide, approximately one and a half million Armenians perished."
Until Mr. Dykstra's statement, the only dates recognized by Canada were 1915 and 1916. The Turks say that extending the claim of genocide another eight years into history implicates the modern-day state of Turkey, founded in 1923, and its founders, and they have taken direct offense.
Speaking with Embassy last week, Mr. Dykstra stood by his statement, saying that the dates were agreed to by Armenia, but that it was not his intention to implicate Turkey.
"I, in fact, didn't refer to Turkey, I referred to the Ottoman Empire," he said.
A message from the prime minister to the Armenian community on April 21 referred to the "loss of life during the demise of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, and in particular the horrific suffering endured by the Armenian people."
He said the acknowledgement is not to "cast blame into the distant past, but to guide us towards a better future."
But the many high-level commemorations this year, including Mr. Dykstra's statement, have ignited already frayed nerves. Canada's position has been noted in Ankara, and the Turkish government is expected to make a statement directly aimed at Canada in the next week or so.
Turkish Ambassador Rafet Akgunay, who was briefly recalled for consultation after the two commemorative receptions, told Embassy on Friday that it is "only Canada" who remains so uncompromising on the matter.
"We do not agree with Canada's position on the Turkish-Armenian controversy, which at the end of the day is a subject for legitimate scholarly debate, and the Canadian government knows our concerns on that," said Yonet Tezel, first counsellor at the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa. "We would hope Canada would show the example of what it's traditionally known for; arbiter, honest broker, etcetera."
A BBC survey last year showed Canada's image in Turkey had plummeted as negative views of the country more than doubled since the year before, which many attributed to Mr. Harper's endorsement of the Armenians' claim of genocide.
The Turkish-Canadian community has also reacted, and Lale Eskicioglu, president of the Canadian Turkish Council, said many have taken to writing letters to the prime minister, Mr. Dykstra and others.
"Should we then expect foreign countries to pass judgments about Canadian history?" Ms. Eskicioglu asked. "This is ethnic politics at its worst."
In both official and social circles, the Harper government's policy has fuelled speculation they are trying to appeal to Armenian voters, which number about 50,000. Mr. Kenney is known to be a regular and popular guest at Armenian events, and many point to the Conservative Party's multicultural outreach to various ethnic groups over the past two years, trying to lure immigrant voters away from the Liberal Party.
Turkish officials say they are further baffled by the Canadian government's near-silence in response to the launch of normalization talks between Turkey and Armenia on April 23. The diplomatic effort, mediated by Switzerland, has been commended by Western governments, including the U.S. and the EU. However, it has been rejected and fiercely criticized by most Armenian diasporas.
Many in the Armenian community say that the sudden "over reaction" from Turkish officials this year is little more than a stunt--in particular recalling the ambassador--and that while important, the furor over the dates is inconsequential.
"We just believe they clearly over-reacted and it was our impression that the message was intended for another country," said Arman Akopian, charge d'affaires at the Armenian Embassy in Ottawa. "Usually we say 1915 because 90 per cent of the victims were killed in that year; 1923 is something that scholars prefer to use, but we don't pay that much attention to the dates because that's not the important part of it."
Mr. Akopian noted that Parliament has recognized the genocide every year since 2004, and said two events were held on the Hill this year to mark the fifth anniversary of the Canadian commemoration.
"Usually there is something at the Parliament," Mr. Akopian said. "I don't know why the Turks [have] over-reacted."
Aris Babikian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, said the concerns about the dates are a "political trap," and he said it is not uncommon for Armenia to refer to the same dates, 1915 to 1923, during which the deportation of tens of thousands of Armenians by Turkey continued.
He said the uproar from Turkish officials and the community is "a political ploy" and that the historical and diplomatic issues should not be mixed.
"If modern Turkey is upset being labelled with a genocide label or the genocide perpetrator, why do they not come and disassociate themselves with the Ottoman Empire, and why do they try to justify the genocide and are giving excuses and defending the Ottoman Empire," Mr. Babikian said. "I don't know why suddenly...five years after the House of Commons recognized the genocide, three years after the government makes it a policy, suddenly they recall the ambassador back. I mean, every year the prime minister made the same statement, and nothing happened."
Mr. Babikian points to the fact the Turkish Embassy has recently hired a public relations firm, Fleishman-Hillard. He said he suspects the PR firm is advising the Turkish Embassy to make waves around the issue to better advance their interests.
"It looks like this is their strategy; suddenly they are picking on Rick Dykstra. It's stupid and it's strange to pick up after all these years," Mr. Babikian said.
The Turkish Embassy, however, disputes the accusation and said the firm is to help network with governments and businesses in other Canadian provinces.
Armenia’s Former Foreign Minister Says Relations With Turkey May Get Worse
Vartan Oskanian, Armenia's minister of foreign affairs from 1998 until April 2008, has said Turkey and Armenia will not be able to make progress in their efforts to normalize relations if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan brings the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia to the table, noting that relations may even get worse if Turkish officials start to politicize issues such as Armenian workers in Turkey.
“The moment we leave Karabakh out, we can improve Turkish-Armenian relations. If we bring Karabakh in, I really don't see this happening. Karabakh is a separate issue. My conviction is that if Turkey normalizes its relations with Armenia first, then the Karabakh solution will be much easier,” he said, speaking to a group of Turkish journalists this week.
Oskanian said he first heard Erdoğan bringing the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute to the forefront three months ago.
“Until that time, I was really hoping that there was a change of policy on the part of Turkey and we would get results,” he said in response to questions from a group of journalists who are in Yerevan for the International Hrant Dink Foundation's Turkey-Armenia Journalist Dialogue Project, funded by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Association.
Following talks with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev in Baku, Erdoğan said last week that the Azerbaijan's sensitivity about Nagorno-Karabakh was Turkey's sensitivity, too. Erdoğan said Turkey had closed its border gates with Armenia because Nagorno-Karabakh was occupied and that it would be impossible to reopen the gates as long as the occupation continues. He also said the Minsk Group (co-chaired by the US, Russia and France) should speed up the negotiations on the issue, which have been continuing for 18 years.
On the other hand, Armenian leaders have been criticizing Erdoğan for making the normalization of ties with Armenia conditional on a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Oskanian also said Erdoğan's remark about Armenians working in Turkey was not helpful.
The prime minister had said recently that Turkey could send the Armenians who work in Turkey without the necessary permits back to their home country. Some Armenians who are feeling the pressure of the economic crisis have come to Turkey in the hope of landing a job after obtaining non-immigrant tourist visas at the border and simply overstay their visas after being hired for jobs such as babysitting, cleaning and seasonal work.
“I am beginning to be concerned that not only will Turkish-Armenian relations not improve, but they may even get worse,” said Oskanian, who had served during the administration of former Armenian President Robert Kocharian. He is the founder of the Yerevan-based Civilitas Foundation, which advocates peace and stability in the Caucasus through multifaceted dialogue and promotes democratization.
Oskanian argued that the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations would make the Caucasus coalesce into a functional region.
21 May 2009,Yonca Poyraz Doğan Yerevan Zaman
Armenian Activist Says Women Can Contribute To Peace
As the Turkish and Armenian leaders work to normalize relations between their countries, there are other contacts taking place at the civil society level, and one of them relates to the problems of women.
“If the borders open, we can have solidarity with Turkish women,” said Emma Mirzabekyan from the Women's Resource Center, the only center in Yerevan dealing with the problems of women.
“We have the same problems, after all,” she said, referring to such issues as violence and low levels of political representation.
Despite her young age, the 23-year-old Mirzabekyan said she has already seen too many problems, which include violence against women.
“I have seen women being beaten by their husbands and I have seen women who died because of domestic violence,” she said, adding, “That's why I've chosen this area of work.”
There are no reliable crime statistics in Armenia regarding domestic violence, although women play a big role in this society, in which two out of three people are women, according to the 2001 census. Mirzabekyan said the former Soviet Union provided a social system with such assurances as universal health coverage and housing, but there were no women in the government. After the 2008 elections, five women deputies were elected to the 165-seat parliament. There is also a female minister heading the Ministry of Diaspora.
“Since the time of Armenian independence, women have started to take more places in the economic life of the country,” she said, pointing out that the economic problems of the country have grown since Armenia's independence from the Soviet Union and the devastating earthquake in 1988, which forced men to leave the country to seek work outside. Some of them returned, some did not, and women increasingly entered the working world, first in the unregistered economy, then more in the professional sectors. The employment rate of women currently stands at 35 percent in Armenia, compared to 25 percent in Turkey.
Mirzabekyan said the Armenian government has signed international agreements regarding women's rights and has adapted its civil code to international norms, but the practice does not yet translate into reality, also a problem in Turkey.
Representatives from about 20 nongovernmental organizations from Turkey were in Yerevan last month to discuss various issues with their Armenian counterparts.
“There were also women's organizations' representatives, and we discussed our problems,” she said, adding that they have discovered similar problems although these were initial contacts. She also said Armenian and Azerbaijani women had peace-building workshops in İstanbul and Tbilisi regarding the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory under Armenian occupation.
22 May 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan Yerevan Zaman
Small Knights Of Big Politics, Hayots Ashkharh April 29 2009
Yesterday, political expert Igor Muradyan was the guest of the De Facto club. He interpreted the latest events linked to the processes of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and genocide [killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1918] recognition from the broad-spectrum geopolitical developments aspect.
The analyst was convinced that the genocide recognition by any state in the world should not be separated from geopolitical processes. He cited the example of France which recognized the genocide in order, first of all, to close the European Union doors in front of Turkey. As to the US policy, Muradyan noted that in the years of the George Bush administration it was more predictable and that the focus was mainly on the issues the calculations of which were evidently proceeding from that state's interests.
He thought that the situation was a little bit different now. "Those who are governing today, who have come to power with humanitarian slogans and strive to regulate different regional issues actually repeat Bill Clinton's "The USA has intentions to actively interfere in international relations and also in the regional policies. Today whatever is happening is the reflection of that new policies. But in the years of Bill Clinton's presidency the USA had more opportunities to consistently ensure its presence everywhere than today in condition of the economic crisis."
The political expert was of the opinion that in addition, other changes also took place in the world in the last years which could hamper the US policies. New nuclear powers and "regional macro powers" emerged who tend to control their regions. "So the new US policies, as I observe, will be inconsistent and hence incomprehensive for the majority."
Turkey is one of the regional macro powers that try to independently pursue their policies. "Turkey is leading with its foreign policy. And the USA cannot let this happen. And yet in the 1990's the USA developed means to stop Turkey's political ambition. In this the Armenian factor is the most delicate and effective one."
As to the genocide recognition policy, "it is one of the important constituents of the geopolitical matrix. So we should look at it from that angle. Whatever is happening today is the result of a systemic approach of the world policies."
Muradyan noted that though "mets yeghern" (massacre) expression had been pronounced by the American administration, on other occasions such approach would not record any results, from the legal point of view, in the genocide recognition process. In regard to [US President Barack] Obama's 24 April [day of commemoration of the killings in the Ottoman Empire] address he added: "Turkey found itself in an unpleasant situation. Here the important point is not that expression but the text of the speech. It opens the opportunity for the American public to go to the end in their genocide recognition efforts. Obama's speech is just the president's announcement but a law is adopted by the Congress."
As to the prospects of normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations and opening the border he said: "It will be possible only if Turkey understands that exploitation of the Armenian factor by the others damages them immensely.
There is a chance that the USA-EU alliance, acting within the framework of transatlantic interests, will lead Turkey to that situation.
"And there won't be any alliance between Russia and Turkey since Turkey cannot exist without its Western partners' financial support. So there are obstacles for the Turkish desire to expand towards the east."
Muradyan had a careful attitude towards the Armenian-Turkish foreign ministers' joint statement signed in Switzerland because he had concerns that the processes would not take the desirable turn. A process was built in the course of which nothing was changed within the short period but in the long term unexpected results could be recorded.
At East-West Crossroads, Turkey Presses Ambitious Agenda, Analysis by Helena Cobban*
ISTANBUL, May 21 (IPS) - Two soaring bridges link Asia and Europe in this historic city, which straddles the two continents.
For the past few years Turkey has likewise acted as a crucial bridge between the western and Muslim worlds. Turkey is a member of both the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The current secretary-general of the OIC is a Turkish historian.
In early April, U.S. President Barak Obama issued a crucial appeal for understanding between the west and Islam during a visit to the Turkish capital, Ankara.
The Turkish government has been led since 2002 by the moderate-Islamist Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish initials, AKP). Now Turkey, a democratic country of 71.5 million people that has long embraced the separation of church (mosque) and state, looks set to play an increasingly important role in both the Middle East and the broader Muslim world.
In the Arab-Israeli arena, for eight months until last December, Turkey sponsored and hosted a series of breakthrough proximity talks between Israel and Syria. It brought the two nations closer than ever to concluding a final peace agreement. The talks were abruptly ended after Israel invaded Gaza Dec. 28.
In February 2006, Ankara hosted Khaled Meshaal, the national leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas. One month earlier, Hamas had won the elections to the Palestinian legislature.
Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, and prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have both repeatedly called on the international community to respect the results of the Palestinian elections and urged western countries to find a way to deal with Hamas.
In an achievement that indicates Turkey’s weight in world affairs, Turkey has been able to retain its good relations with Israel even while adopting this stance.
On U.S.-Iranian relations, Gul and Erdogan have consistently called for a negotiated resolution of the two countries’ problems. At a conference held by Sabanci University’s Istanbul Policy Centre here Thursday, former diplomat Can Buharli noted that Turkey’s relations with Iran have grown stronger over the past decade.
Turkey is a majority-Sunni country. IPS found no Turkish nationals who agreed with the claim made by some western officials that an Iranian-backed "Shiite wave" is about to take over the Middle East or that Iran’s nuclear programme poses a threat to the region.
Back in 2003, Turkey firmly opposed the George W. Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq, and refused to allow the U.S. military to use Turkey as a transit corridor for the invasion.
The distinctive position that Turkey now occupies in world affairs is, most Turkish commentators agree, largely a result of the in-depth strategic thought of Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu, who was appointed foreign minister on May 1. Before that, Davutoglu worked as a special adviser to Erdogan, running Turkey’s shuttle diplomacy between Israel and Syria and other initiatives on Erdogan’s behalf.
Some years ago Davutoglu developed the concept that Turkey should have "zero problems with its neighbours." More recently, he has advocated building on that to strive for "maximum cooperation" with all neighbours.
With some neighbours, like Armenia and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, that approach has proven difficult. But even with those two, Erdogan has considerably improved relations that were previously very tense.
In late April, Turkey concluded a five-point "road map" agreement with Armenia. One of the points stipulated that the two countries will establish a joint historical commission to investigate what happened to the Armenians in Turkey in 1915.
Regarding northern Iraq, Turks now seem confident that they have solid commitments from the ethnic-Kurdish provincial leaders there that they will no longer give sanctuary to fighters from the PKK, a movement of ethnic-Kurdish Turkish citizens that has waged a lengthy armed struggle in eastern Turkey in support of its secessionist goals.
Israel is not an immediate neighbour to Turkey. But even there, Erdogan has worked for maximum cooperation, despite deep differences over Tel Aviv’s policy toward the Palestinians. In January, those differences spilled into the elite halls of the annual Davos conference when Israeli president Shimon Peres raised his voice to Erdogan in a panel discussion - and Erdogan stormed out of the hall.
Peres later called Erdogan to apologise.
For all its attention to the Middle East, Turkish foreign policy is still strongly oriented toward the country’s longstanding goal of joining the European Union.
"We see ourselves as part of the west, without a doubt," Buharli said. "And our neighbours in the region see us that way, too. Indeed, that is part of what makes us attractive to them."
The two successive AKP governments in Ankara have brought seven years of unprecedented political stability to a country that throughout the Cold War was plagued by numerous military coups. Many people around the world also view the AKP as an intriguing example of how an Islamist party that commits to democratic principles can become well-integrated into the political life of a democracy.
When Turkey became a nation-state in 1923 ,it was founded on the explicitly secular and Turkish-nationalist principles of its first president, Kemal Ataturk. From then until today, Turkish women have been forbidden to wear Muslim-style headscarves in public universities or government offices.
Ataturk ran the republic as a one-party state, clamping down on political opponents. Under him and until very recently, successive Turkish governments also used the military to ruthlessly suppress any signs of cultural autonomy or political separatism from members of the country’s sizeable Kurdish minority.
Since the AKP came to power in 2002 it has moved ahead carefully on all these once explosive issues. It has not pushed forward its longstanding request that scarf-wearing women be allowed their full economic and social rights.
The wives of both Gul and Erdogan are scarf-wearers, as are around one-quarter of the women one sees on the streets of Istanbul. (The proportion is reportedly higher in the country’s interior.) But here, as in many majority-Muslim countries, young women with and without headscarves mix easily together.
On Kurdish issues the AKP has moved ahead more determinedly - in a constructive, pro-peace way. Earlier this year the public television station started airing programming in Kurdish for the first time.
In general, the AKP has built a strong political base by pursuing a policy of "live and let live" at the ideological level - while also paying attention to the efficient and non-corrupt delivery of good public services to all citizens.
One liberal secularist told IPS that though she was not an ideological supporter of the AKP, "If you are a liberal in Turkey, then the AKP is probably the party that will best support your needs and interests."
Not all Turkish secularists agree. On Sunday, around 20,000 militant supporters of Ataturk-style secularism demonstrated in Ankara against the AKP and against a wide-ranging investigation the country’s judiciary has launched into a reported anti-government plot hatched in 2007 in what is called the Ergenekon case.
Istanbul residents expressed different opinions to IPS on whether there is any substance to the Ergenekon allegations, or whether the whole affair is an AKP exaggeration or witch-hunt. But they seemed to agree that the judiciary could be trusted to sort out the truth from the many lurid allegations now swirling around the case.
In a country where the rule of law was trampled on so thoroughly until recent years, that trust in the judiciary seems like a significant achievement.
*Helena Cobban is a veteran Middle East analyst and author
Caucasian Triangles, The Arabs Could Learn Much From Watching Iran, Turkey And Russia Play Their Cards In The Struggle For Influence And Power In The Caucasus, Mustafa El-Labbad*
Iran and Turkey are locked in a neck-to-neck contest over regional roles not only in the Middle East but in the Caucasus as well. An analysis of the dynamics of their rivalry in that region is important from the Arab perspective, as it sheds light on the means and tactics, and skills and resources that they bring to bear on their contest in this region. This applies all the more so in view of the resemblance between the ways the two powers conduct their rivalries in the two regions. In both areas, they steer well clear of direct military involvement and, instead, build networks of alliances through which they can extend and consolidate their regional presence. A second common denominator is the involvement of a third and senior party in the business of policy design and role assignation: the US in the Middle East and Russia in the Caucasus.
The Caucasus -- the crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East -- consists of two major political regions. The southern Caucasus consists of the three fully independent republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The northern Caucasus, by contrast, is located entirely within the borders of the Russian Federation and is made up of the autonomous republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Adyghea, Kabardino- Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai. As Russia has long since established its dominant influence in North Caucasus, Iran and Turkey remain uninvolved in whatever tensions that erupt there. It is, therefore, to the South Caucasus that we must turn to examine the Russian- Turkish-Iranian regional rivalry since the emergence of the three independent republics there following the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Geographical and historical factors combine to establish the influence of the three powers in the Caucasus. Not only do Iran, Turkey and Russia form the region's natural boundaries, but the Persian, Ottoman and Russian empires have had long histories of control over it. One could say that for three centuries, at least, the Caucasus has been the thermometer for gauging power balances in the Iranian-Turkish- Russian triangle. Caught in the middle, the small, relatively sparsely populated and weaker republics are ultimately dependent for their survival upon their alliances with one of the three powers. We find, therefore, that since its independence from the former Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has allied with linguistically, ethnically and culturally similar Turkey, while Armenia allied first with Russia and more recently with Iran. Although Georgia has attempted to cast its sights further afield, forging ties with the West in general, and the US in particular, it failed to escape the Russian grip, to which testify the events of summer 2008.
The alliances between the three regional powers and the Caucasian countries are as intricate as the Caucasian terrain and linguistic/ethnic make-up. The conflict in the early 1990s between Armenia and Azerbaijan, leading to Armenia's occupation of the Azerbaijani province of Nagorno-Karabakh, exemplifies the ironies. Although Iran and Azerbaijan share a common Shia Muslim bond, Tehran sided with Christian Armenia because of Azerbaijan's alliance with its regional adversary Turkey. Similarly, predominantly Christian Georgia has maintained warm relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey, and relatively cool relations with Armenia. As these examples indicate, political-strategic considerations override religious and sectarian allegiances in the patterns of alliances. And these same patterns repeated themselves since the mid-1990s whenever the three southern Caucasian republics quarrelled.
Most recently, Obama's visit to Turkey marked the official opening of a more proactive phase in Turkey's policies towards its neighbouring areas, even if it began around a year ago. Turkey is currently involved in intensive negotiations with neighbouring Armenia over normalising relations between them. Reopening the common border between the two countries, closed since the mid-1990s, will facilitate Turkey's land access to Azerbaijan and Central Asia, while Armenia will have greater land access to Europe. Also, the planned Nabucco pipeline for transporting natural gas from the Caspian Sea through Turkey to the EU would be able to pass through Armenia, which would give the latter a much needed boost to its strategic value and chronically suffering economy. In terms of pure interests, therefore, there is nothing to stand in the way of normalisation. However, several impediments continue to hamper the prospect of Armenia changing its pattern of alliances. Prime among them is the history of the hundreds of thousands of Armenian civilians who were killed or died in forced marches in 1915. Whereas Yerevan insists that Ankara officially recognise the Armenian "genocide" at the hands of Turkish forces, Ankara refuses to go so far. While expressing its deep regret over these events, Ankara maintains that this was wartime and that it was not a one-sided affair. Another major sticking point in Turkish-Armenian negotiations is Armenia's occupation of the Azerbaijani area of Nagorno-Karabakh. As long as this problem remains unresolved, the common linguistic, cultural and ethnic bonds between Turkey and Azerbaijan will impede normalisation between Ankara and Yerevan.
Moscow has been keeping a close eye on the Turkish-Armenian negotiations. Their success would usher in the Nabucco pipeline, which would break Moscow's monopoly with regards to the overland flow of energy supplies to Europe. In addition, with the Armenian barrier removed, Turkish influence in the Caucasus would outstrip that of its Russian and Iranian rivals, as Ankara would be on good terms with all three South Caucasus republics, in contrast to Russia's and Iran's good relations with only one of them, Armenia.
Iran, for its part, has little to offer to dissuade Yerevan from moving ahead in its negotiations with Ankara. It certainly cannot vie with either Moscow or Ankara in offers of military or economic aid. The most it has been able to do, so far, is to supply Armenia with cheap energy in exchange for Armenia's support against Azerbaijan, which has voiced territorial claims to northwest Iran, which Baku refers to as "South Azerbaijan".
Azerbaijan fears that Ankara is preparing to sell it out on the question of the return of Armenian occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, which has not been made a point in the Turkish-Armenian negotiations. Capitalising on Baku's dismay, Russia invited Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Moscow for talks. That Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan subsequently asked to attend that meeting as well may mean that Moscow could regain control over the pace and direction of developments in that region. It is hardly surprising therefore that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan should choose precisely this time for a visit to Iran in order to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and National Security Adviser Said Jalili. If the Armenian move was motivated by shifting balances in the Caucasus, Tehran needs to maintain a broader perspective. Above all, it would refrain from doing anything that might jeopardise its strategic relations with Moscow merely in order to placate Armenia, as important as the latter is to Tehran in the Caucasus region. Given this plus the abovementioned fact that Tehran has little more to offer Yerevan beyond cheap energy supplies, the current round of Armenian-Iranian talks will lead to nothing.
The Iranian-Turkish-Russian interplay in the Caucasus is instructive on the dynamics of international power politics. It teaches us, above all, that national interests prevail over ideology and sectarian or ethnic allegiances in the forging or dissolution of bilateral alliances. We learn, secondly, that the primary tools that the three regional powers bring to bear in their rivalries are diversification and consolidation of alliances through the creation of new and concrete areas of economic and strategic common interest, as opposed to the bluster and bravado that blares across the airwaves in our part of the world. As the balances of power currently stand in the Caucasus, Russia leads, with Turkey edging closer in second and Iran in third place. However, against that shifting background we learn, thirdly, that the hierarchy of regional power status does not change from one day to the next and that what it takes to change them is a long and complex process in which economic, political and strategic assets are deployed realistically, rationally and resolutely.
* The writer is director of Al-Sharq Centre for Regional and Strategic Studies. © Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly
At Turkish Border, Armenians Are Wary of a Thaw, By Clifford J. Levy May 21, 2009 Lusarat Journal
LUSARAT, Armenia — Vazgen Shmavonyan keeps a flock of doves at an Armenian Orthodox pilgrimage site here, and they readily venture across the border into Turkey, less than a mile away. But Mr. Shmavonyan cannot follow, as if he is the caged one. Off they go, symbols of something that this region has not had a whole lot of.
Clifford J. Levy/The New York Times Matt Robinson/Reuters
People gathered in Yerevan in April to commemorate the Armenian genocide under Ottoman rule. The Turkish-Armenian border is closed, and in Lusarat people still want Turkey to acknowledge the extent of the killings.
The border between Armenia and Turkey has been closed since 1993, a mini Iron Curtain that is in part a legacy of one of the world’s more rancorous conflicts, nearly a century old. Recent weeks have brought news of a possible thaw, with the two countries outlining a plan for establishing diplomatic ties and lifting barriers.
Yet as much as Mr. Shmavonyan and others at the pilgrimage site would like to roam, they reacted warily to the official contacts with Turkey. Of course, open the border, they said, it will help the economy and improve prospects for the future.
But first, most insisted, Turkey must address the past.
They said that before negotiations proceeded, the Turkish government must acknowledge that 1.5 million ethnic Armenians were systematically killed under Ottoman rule in Turkey during World War I.
“We want Turkey to admit that there was a genocide,” said Mr. Shmavonyan, 38. “Certainly, it’s bad that the border is blocked. If it were open, it would be good for everyone. For the people who trade, everything would be cheaper. However, let them admit it, and then we can talk.”
Mr. Shmavonyan makes his living charging visitors a few dollars to pet and release his doves off the hilltop pilgrimage site, which is an ancient monastery that is considered a birthplace of Armenian Christianity and a redoubt against encroaching Islam.
The tension at the border here is reflected in the troops that guard the Armenian side: they are Russian, deployed at Armenia’s request to help protect it from its far larger neighbor. (Armenia has three million people, while Turkey has 72 million.)
Armenia, a former Soviet republic, maintains close ties with Russia. In fact, this is perhaps one of the last places on earth where, in an echo of the cold war, NATO soldiers — in this case, from Turkey — face Russian ones across a sealed border.
From the Orthodox pilgrimage site, called Khor Virap, it is easy to see Turkish land that was once settled by ethnic Armenians, including the area around Mount Ararat, where the Bible suggests Noah landed his ark after the flood.
Among those Armenians were Mr. Shmavonyan’s paternal grandparents, who were killed by Turkish troops, he said. His father survived and fled here.
Many workers and visitors at the site recounted similar tales. And some expressed anxiety about new clashes if negotiations succeeded.
“Turkey immediately will come over here; who knows what will happen?” said Hayk Avetisyan, 38, a taxi driver who had ferried some tourists here from Yerevan, the Armenian capital. “If you know the history between us — immediately Turkey will try to take over half of Armenia.”
Not everyone was as pessimistic. The Rev. Narek Avakyan, 29, the chief Armenian Orthodox priest at Khor Virap, said Armenia should not impose conditions on the talks.
“Whether or not they want to admit the genocide, today or tomorrow or sometime soon, they will do it,” he said of the Turkish government. “It is a fact, and they know it. It has been so many years. And it was not they who did it; it was their grandfathers and fathers.”
The Turkish government has long disputed that a genocide occurred, asserting that Armenia peddles false history.
Turkish officials say World War I was a dark time when many ethnic Armenians tragically died in the upheaval caused by the fighting. But they say there was no methodical campaign to kill them, and they emphasize that many ethnic Turks died during that period as well.
Historians have generally said that Turkey’s claims are not credible.
Armenia has sought to persuade other countries to recognize the genocide, and the United States has often been drawn into the fray.
As a candidate, President Obama said he would acknowledge it. However, last month, apparently concerned about offending Turkey, an important American ally, the White House released a statement on Armenian Remembrance Day that paid tribute to those who died but did not explicitly use the word genocide.
The intense feelings of people at Khor Virap show how difficult it will be to heal divisions in this strategically important yet volatile region.
Besides its troubled relationship with Turkey, Armenia has a closed border with another Muslim neighbor, Azerbaijan, also a former Soviet republic. Soon after the two countries became independent after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, they went to war over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey, which has strong ethnic and political ties to Azerbaijan, shut its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan.
The discord between Turkey and Armenia then grew far worse, as Armenia and influential Armenian immigrant groups around the world pressed the issue of the World War I killings.
Armenia’s only open borders are with Georgia, to the north, and Iran to the south.
The hostility here toward the Turkish government does not necessarily extend to its people. In fact, Mr. Shmavonyan, who keeps the flock of doves at the monastery, said he worked for a decade in Istanbul as a textile trader.
“They treated us very well,” he said. “They know that Armenians are very good and hard-working people.”
Still, he and others were not hopeful that the rift would end soon. And they conceded that their insistence that Turkey acknowledge the genocide before the border was opened carried bittersweet overtones.
“Our land is there,” said David Arakelyan, 50, who runs a picnic area for visitors to the monastery. “We want to go over there and walk around and see how our grandparents lived. I want to go over there and see their graves.”
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A version of this article appeared in print on May 22, 2009, on page A8 of the New York edition.
Author Peter Balakian Discusses New Work On Armenian Genocide With Oceana Sophomores Jean Bartlett, Pacifica Tribune May 21 2009 CA
Oceana High School is very much about teaching students social responsibility.
Through course work which involves studies of genocide and human rights issues and the consequences of indifference, through participation in community activism projects and by experiencing living history lessons through the words of "eyewitness" speakers -- each teenager is given the tools to understand the significance of their voice in their community, in their nation and in their world.
Tuesday afternoon Oceana Frosh/Soph Humanities teachers Karen Lichtenberg and Jennifer McEnany along with Jack Weinstein, San Francisco Bay Area Region Director of Facing History and Ourselves, welcomed celebrated American-Armenian poet, writer and academic Peter Balakian, an expert on the Armenian Genocide, to Oceana High School's Little Theatre. He spoke to the sophomores.
Balakian is a professor of humanities at Colgate University; Lichtenberg's alma mater. He has authored eight books including his memoir, "Black Dog of Fate," winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for memoir and a New York Times Notable Book.
"Black Dog of Fate" chronicles Balakian's gradual awareness that he is a descendent of Armenian genocide survivors.
The recipient of many prestigious awards including the Movses Khorenatsi Medal, one of Armenia's highest civilian honors for contributions in the field of culture, arts, literature, education, and humanities, Balakian told students he did not come to lecture on an event but rather to introduce a newly published memoir of the Armenian Genocide that is a dramatic eyewitness account of the first modern genocide.
The book was originally published in Armenian in 1922. Prior to its very recent translation and subsequent publication in English, the book only existed in small editions, read by Armenian scholars and clergy. Balakian only came to know about this book in 1991, when a friend sent him a commemorative article from a French magazine which honored his great, great uncle Grigoris Balakian.
Born in 1876, Grigoris died in Marseilles in 1934. He was bishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church in southern France . All this, his great, great nephew knew. However, Peter did not know and learned through the article, that Grigoris Balakian had written a 71-chapter memoir called "Armenian Gogatha" and that Grigoris was a first-hand witness to the Armenian genocide.
Why didn't Balakian know this about his uncle, one student asked. Balakian, who grew up in a suburban, affluent all-American kind of family, explained: "People don't like to talk about painful things. Traumatic stuff is often swept under the rug and sometimes families are really defined by secrets."
In 1992, Balakian asked a friend to translate the table of contents of his uncle's book into English and when she did so, Peter said he was blown away and knew the entire memoir had to be translated.
"I felt the responsibility of bringing a big piece of news to a wider audience," said Balakian.
Published by Knopf on April 2, the 560-page "Armenian Golgotha" -A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918, by Grigoris Balakian (author), Peter Balakian (translator) and Aris Sevag (translator), is already garnering high critical acclaim.
"My uncle was one of the famous 250 Constantinople Armenian intellectual and cultural leaders arrested on the night of April 24, 1915," said Balakian. This was the start of the Ottoman Turkish government's systematic attempt to eliminate the Armenian people from Turkey.
"On that night in April, the Turkish government began the genocide process by gathering up the writers, journalists, clergy, cultural leaders (wealthy individuals who supported the arts) and teachers --so that these individuals would be stopped from using their resources to get the message out, to resist." These early victims were taken to a prison 200 miles into the interior of Turkey and then onto a 100-mile death march into the very dense mountains of central and southern Turkey.
Balakian's uncle, also a published author, was a high ranking celibate priest. Over the next four years, Grigoris Balakian would bear witness to horrendous slaughter, to mass atrocities. Because he was a clergyman, survivors would seek him out to tell him what they had witnessed. Perpetrators of the genocide crimes would also talk to Balakian because he was a priest and because they presumed he would be dead before he could tell others what they told him. In addition "neutral" bystanders, often German, Swiss and Austrian railway engineers -- would tell Grigoris Balakian about atrocities they had witnessed.
"My uncle had a special role in Armenian society as a leader and as an intellectual, and he was a very impressive individual who tried to save the lives of 100 bedraggled famine-ravished deportees that he lead from northern Turkey down to southern Turkey," said Balakian. "You are going to find him as a very tortured, anguished priest because he is witnessing the destruction of the flock of his race and his own role as a clergyman plays a part in how the story is told."
When asked, an Oceana student explained that Golgotha means "place of the skull" and it is the biblical name for where Jesus was crucified. It is also known as Calgary.
"My uncle saw the Armenian story, as a story of crucifixion and martyrdom," said Balakian.
Balakian said this book is an, "Incredible panorama of a destruction of the Armenian civilization, a 2500 year-old civilization on its own historic homeland -- that is being destroyed by the Ottoman Turkish government as my great uncle walks on a death march through city after city, town after town."
The book examines cultural destruction. Armenian churches, books, libraries, paintings, schools -- anything that was an achievement to their civilization was destroyed. The cultural destruction included the loss of their religious identity. Held at knifepoint, many Armenians were told to convert to Islam or die.
Impossibly, Grigoris would escape, disguised as a railroad worker and then later as a German soldier.
Professor Balakian and Oceana Sophomores discussed their knowledge of Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and author of 36 works dealing with Judaism, the Holocaust and the "moral responsibility of all people to fight hatred, racism and genocide."
It was pointed out that Hitler used the Armenian Genocide as a "template" for the Holocaust for in it he saw that there was a way a nation could exterminate a targeted group of people. In August of 1939 Hitler said, "Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Oceana sophomores asked many questions. Did the government of Turkey today fully acknowledge the Armenian Genocide? (No.) Will the book be published in Turkey ? (Yes, eventually by human rights activist and brave Turkish publisher Ragip Zarakolu.) Who is Rafal Lemkin? (The Holocaust survivor who coined the term "genocide.")
Several Oceana students pointed out that by questioning the past and critiquing the past and dealing with the past, an educated and caring society will resist repeating the mistakes of the past.
Balakian was given a boom of applause, and as the clock signified the end of the school day, many sophomores formed a line to question the visiting professor.
The Turkish Side Has Reached What It Wants 168 Zham April 30 2009 Armenia
Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan briefed the chairmen of standing parliamentary commissions and factions on the current situation in the negotiations on the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and the latest developments late on Tuesday [28 April].
In particular, the 22 April joint statement of the Armenian, Turkish and Swiss ministries of foreign affairs was discussed, which mentioned a document called "road map". The meeting between Nalbandyan and MPs lasted for over two hours and was held behind closed doors. Moreover, Nalbandyan had consented to meet MPs and to speak with them "frankly" only provided that they keep details of the discussions secret. The MPs had given the promise, and they did not disclose any details about their conversation with the foreign minister, except from assessments. Thus, even after this meeting, the public does not know what concrete issues the Armenian authorities are discussing with Turkey and with leaders of other states and entities, interested in Armenian-Turkish relations. Although the Armenian foreign minister promised to speak "frankly", the concrete details of the talks were not disclosed to the MPs. For instance, no details were provided on what provisions or actions the "road map" contains. Especially a few MPs representing the [opposition] Heritage party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutyun were not satisfied with Nalbandyan's "frankness". Moreover, both Heritage and Dashnaktsutyun continue to disagree with the authorities over the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. Without disclosing details of the meeting and the disagreements, representatives of these two parties commented on over what issues they disagree with the authorities -with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this case.
"Our and the government's assessments regarding this process continues to be different. We do not see the project as trustworthy, but our authorities do. The authorities provide explanations to the conduct of the Turkish side which are different from what we have. The authorities see one motive behind the conduct of the Turkish side, and we see a different one. And these impact very seriously the further process," Heritage MP Stepan Safaryan said.
Anyway, the MP believes that such type of discussions is more useful than mutual accusations voiced in the media. The Heritage representative believes it is also correct to organize such discussions with various layers of the population in order to understand their attitude towards the process. "Because it is impossible to understand contemporary Turkey, Azerbaijan and their intentions from just one window. Therefore, the likelihood of being mistaken is rather big," the MP said.
Nalbandyan's explanations did not satisfy Dashnaktsutyun either. The latter went into opposition three days ago. Representatives of this faction stress that they got convinced after the meeting that their assessments are correct and that Dashnaktsutyun's being in opposition is a matured necessity for Armenia at present. Dashnaktsutyun was more angry at the tripartite statement, made public on 23 April. Although Dashnaktsutyun does not see anti-Armenian approaches in the content of the talks, it has different approaches anyway.
"The strategic, key issues are different, and the threats, which we see, are very tangible for us. I understood from the explanations that the word should be not that much about a 'road map' but rather about a memorandum of intentions. But the major issue for us was that why that day [the eve of 24 April - the day of commemoration of killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1918] was selected for making the statement, why it happened in this context, when the Turkish side made statements not favourable for us. In general, was this statement necessary or not?" [Dashnaktsutyun MP] Armen Rustamyan said.
Last week Turkish newspaper Sabah reported that the "road map" consists of five provisions - recognition of the  Kars Treaty [that sets the current borders between Turkey and South Caucasus states] by Armenia, opening of the [Armenian-Turkish] border and diplomatic representations, setting up a commission of historians [to study the 1918 killings] and ratification of the "road map" in Turkish parliament. Stepan Safaryan has noticed resemblance between the content of this report of the Turkish newspaper and the statement of the International Crisis Group [ICG] issued two weeks ago. "These are two edited versions of proposals of the same crisis group. It is definite that the content of Sabah's and the ICG's provisions is identical. I know that the ICG is not making its own proposals but introduces to the societies what is on the negotiating table, and I am not going to change my mind. I believe that Sabah's report is quite close to reality. I am saying this based on information from many other sources," the MP said.
Both MPs [Safaryan and Rustamyan] believe that the gravity force in Armenian-Turkish relations and the process of establishment of relations is so far on Turkey's side. "I strongly believe that the statement could be used much more in Turkey's interests and not in other interests," Rustamyan said. "The Turkish side has achieved what it wanted - neutralizing the Armenian issue in the US policy. The defeat in football by a score of two-nil in September [2008, when Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Armenia to watch football game between the Armenian and Turkish national teams, at the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan] was followed by Armenia's diplomatic defeat by a score of three-nil. We want the authorities to understand the importance of the current moment, their responsibility and obligation to inform their own society about these processes and not make especially optimistic statements," Safaryan said.
Armenian Opposition Mp Downbeat On Improving Ties With Turkey Soon Aravot May 17 2009 Armenia
An Armenian opposition MP has said that Turkey's efforts to normalize relations with Armenia are directly linked to the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict.
In an interview with Aravot daily on 17 April, Heritage Party MP Stepan Safaryan said that his initial optimism over the possible opening of the Armenian-Turkish border "has turned into grounded pessimism" because Armenian-Azerbaijani relations rather than Armenian-Turkish relations were on the agenda of the Armenian-Turkish talks. Safaryan believes that Turkey is willing to normalize relations with Armenia in the context of opening the Armenian-Turkish border and settling the Nagornyy Karabakh issue, Aravot reported.
The MP said that Turkey could not drop its pro-Azerbaijani policy abruptly and added that "on the other hand, the Armenian president himself shifted the issue of Armenian-Turkish relations or allowed it to shift into the field of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, bypassing the issue of the genocide and other issues", the paper reported. Safaryan said that as a result, Armenian-Turkish relations had become more complicated and to some extent, disadvantageous for Armenia.
Safaryan said that judging from statements made at present, "nowadays the major dispute takes place in the following context - should the Armenian-Turkish border be opened before Azerbaijan and Armenia sign a framework document [on the Karabakh settlement] called 'Madrid principles', or after that?", the paper reported. Safaryan does not believe that the Armenian public will "support these talks" because it is obvious that the word is about "bargaining at the cost of the [Armenian] genocide and Armenia's national interests", Aravot said.
Diaspora Organizes Raids Against The Houses Of Armenians Whodonot Agree To Give Money; Just Like PKK
Uğur Terzioğlu, the Chairman of the Turkish-American Business Association (TABA/AmCham) stated that Armenians are fed up with giving money for supporting the so-called Armenian genocide claim; however, the radical Diaspora organizes raids against the ones who do not give money, just like the terrorist organization PKK.
Terzioğlu, the Chairman of TABA, which is consisted of 900 members and which was established at the leadership of President Turgut Özal in 1987, has first time stated that they have entered EU as a member of American Commercial Chamber (AmCham).
Terzioğlu, indicated that they were declared as the most active AmCham in the whole of Europe. Terzioğlu, who knows a lot about the American business world, stated the following about the Armenian issue: “There is a group of lawyers, who keep the Armenian cause warm in America. They have been collecting millions of dollars for years. And Armenians are fed up with this situation. Each Armenian gives at least 10 thousand dollars every year. And nothing happens. There are many Armenians who went from Turkey. I have spoken with them. They say ‘I won’t give them even 1 Turkish Liras.’ Then they organize raids against those people. They are doing the same things that are done by PKK in South-eastern Anatolia.”
Presenting an instance for this, Terzioğlu, stated that one of his Armenian friends at Los Angeles was attacked when he was playing basketball by the members of radical Diaspora and he asked his helped. The Chairman of TABA reminded that there is an article at the constitution of the USA that a resolution that is contrary to the high interests of the country cannot be passed buy the Senate.
Zaman, 22.04.2009 http://www.genocidereality.com/newsdetail.asp?id=503 22.05.2009
We Would Loose At That Commission
The famous Armenian historian has objected to the mutual commission.
While the relations between Turkey and Armenia has entered into a new phase after the road map agreement that has been declared on April the 22nd, one of the most interesting comments has come from Richard Hovannisyan, the famous Armenian origin American historian. Richard Hovannisyan, who is Raffi Hovannisyan’s father, the first Foreign Minister of Armenia and who lectures at the California University, indicated that no result can be obtained in Armenia’s favor at the mutual history commission, which is suggested to be established among Turkey and Armenia with a road map. The Armenian historian stated the following at the interview with the Armenian Reporter magazine:
He would not say genocide anymore: It would be much better if the Armenian side could find a way to make a declaration on the road map agreement on April 16th. The only reason for making this declaration on the 22nd of April is, Obama’s statement. This brings to my mind that the parties, especially the Armenian side has been under heavy pressure for giving approval to the document. I do not know how the Armenian side was taken under pressure for signing this document although they know that this would have negative effect on Obama’s statement. I do not think that Obama will use “genocide” word again. Obama just came close to this word.
Pressure was applied: We can assume that the USA and Russia have both applied heavy pressure on both sides and state that they would recognize genocide if Turkey would not reach an agreement. Otherwise, I will not be able to understand how Foreign Minister Nalbantyan and President Sarkisyan approved this agreement.
Turks are Clever People: We do not know what Armenians got in return. Turkish diplomacy has always been clever and flexible. They may make an agreement and then say: “The Armenians do not desire and agreement. We are guilty; they are. While their Prime Minister sing a document, their parliament may not approve it. Signing a document does not necessarily mean that progress has been made and the borders will be opened tomorrow. Opening the borders, in fact, may be in favor of Turkey more than Armenia.
First Genocide: Turkey’s mutual commission offer may only be accepted under certain conditions. First, genocide should be accepted as a fact. Later, we may work on the reasons and the factors about it. Turks take UN Genocide Convention in 1948 as a basis. Genocide should be planned and done intentionally according to the UN Genocide Convention. Turks would say the following: “Yes, there are Armenian victims. They are around 200-300 thousand. However, you cannot say that it is done intentionally…”
Secondly, there are telegrams that had been sent from the provinces at that period about the Armenian uprisings. There are also documents that reveal the Armenian escapes from the Ottoman army. The Turkish historians will come with those documents and accuse Armenians. They would defend that the actions that were taken were not intentional but rather a reaction against the Armenian uprisings. Turks would never accept genocide. Establishing such a commission would be very dangerous.
A Back Step: “I would not take part in such commission. What do the Turks say? “Let’s establish a commission and see if there has been a genocide or not?” We know that the things that had occurred were genocide. The world recognizes this fact. If we accept the offer, this would be a step back.”
Vatan 05.05.2009, http://www.genocidereality.com/htmpage.asp?id=490
Ankara Sees Momentum In International Efforts On Karabakh
Turkey has been observing a “stirring” along with intensified efforts within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group of countries mediating the talks between Yerevan and Baku for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
On Monday, Bernard Fassier of France, one of the three co-chairpersons of the OSCE Minsk Group, held several meetings in Ankara, including one with Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was Fassier's first visit to the Turkish capital in his capacity as a co-chairperson of the OSCE Minsk Group -- a post he assumed in 2004. The other two co-chairpersons are Ambassador Yuri Merzlyakov of the Russian Federation and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza of the United States.
“In the Caucasus, there are two ongoing processes: the Minsk process and Armenia and Turkey's negotiations for normalization of their bilateral relationship. There is a stirring within the Minsk process, and all three co-chairpersons from France, Russia and the United States have been exerting intense efforts in reaching a resolution regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. These efforts are definitely noteworthy, and we strongly support these efforts,” a senior Turkish diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday.
The Turkish diplomat's remarks, as well as Fassier's talks in Ankara following his meetings in Baku and Yerevan, came days after the ongoing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process appeared to encounter problems last week; Armenian leaders criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during a visit to Baku, for making the normalization of ties with Armenia conditional on a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh, and urged him not to interfere in the settlement process.
“The Caucasus should not be considered solely from the aspect of being a rich resource of energy. We are talking about a geography between Europe and Asia -- the two continents which are constantly expanding -- and a geography next to the Black Sea. Issues are multilateral issues in this geography, thus stability of this region matters globally,” the same diplomat said, while noting that it would be optimistic to expect full regional stability and peace in the Caucasus before the next three to five years.
“Regarding the recognition of the alleged Armenian genocide; these allegations will continue keeping us busy for a while, and Turkey's approach in the Caucasus is the best possible approach for dealing with this issue,” the diplomat said.
‘Upcoming UN stirring within Cyprus negotiations’
On Monday in Ankara, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, met with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Officials at the Foreign Ministry said the meeting was part of regular consultations between Ankara and the UN on the Cyprus issue.
Recalling Downer's visit to Ankara, the senior diplomat first of all noted that the UN has been involved in the “persuading process,” within the ongoing negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.
“The Greek Cypriot side is not warm towards the implementation of the well-established UN parameters, which are bi-zonality and the political equality of the two parties and a new partnership that will be established by two equal, constituent states, although [Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris] Christofias has been assumed as a reconciling leader. The Greek Cypriot leader is trying to impose new interpretations on the negotiation process. They even tend to undermine parameters of the Annan plan, which is already a part of the well-established UN parameters,” the diplomat said, referring to a reunification plan prepared under the aegis of previous UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
“The Greek Cypriot side has a tendency to deviate from UN plans. In the upcoming three or four months, I expect a stirring at and from the UN front. Mr. Talat has already proven his loyalty to the UN parameters and process. If this stirring takes place, then no EU review may be necessary,” the diplomat added, referring to the fact that the EU had decided in 2006 to review progress regarding the opening of Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot vessels in 2009.
22 May 2009, EMINE KART Zaman
Başbuğ Questions Media Perception Hürriyet Daily News, 21.05.2009
ANKARA - Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ poses questions to well-known foreign scholars of history on the perception of Turkey in the West. ’Today, we see very strong prejudice against Turks is still there,’ replies historian Justin McCarthy.
Well-known scholars of Turkish history received a flurry of questions at a two-session panel held by the General Staff to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Turkish War of Independence on May 19.
During his presentation, historian Justin McCarthy said the Western media largely labeled the Turks before the War of Independence as barbarians and tyrants, but that the situation began changing after the victory by the forces of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
In the question-and-answer part of the session, Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, who was in the audience, asked McCarthy about the reason for these differing perceptions. Gen. Başbuğ also posed a second question, which he warned could be provocative, about how the Western press covers Turkey today. "Is it like before the war, or after the war?" he asked.
In response, McCarthy said the negative coverage of Turks mostly stemmed from ignorance and strong prejudices in the West that developed as a result of the World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
’Prejudice against Turks is still there’
"Today, we see very strong prejudice [against Turks] is still there," he said, adding that the New York Times was one of the most anti-Turkish newspapers in the United States, both during the war years and today. As an example, he cited the paper’s language referring to the Armenian killings as "genocide."
McCarthy also said the newspaper once printed an article about Turkish lobbying groups in the United States fighting against genocide claims, while mentioning nothing about the Armenian side.
Another panelist, Prof. Salahi Sonyel, said he had advised the Turkish government to give up on the Armenian diaspora and instead concentrate on the Armenians of Armenia. In his opinion, the Armenian diaspora will never come to good terms with Turkey, but it is important for Turkey to normalize ties with neighboring governments, including the one in Yerevan.
Following the panel, Gen. Başbuğ inaugurated a statue of Atatürk that had been crafted by Sait Rüstem. The statue, decorated with quotes from the Turkish leader, stands 4 meters tall and weighs 2.3 tons.
Armenian President: One Must Not Connect Armenian-Azerbaijani Relations With The Armenian-Turkish Ones As They Are Absolutely Different
Arminfo. One must not connect Armenian-Azerbaijani relations with the Armenian-Turkish ones as they are absolutely different, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said at today's joint press-conference with President of Croatia Stepan Mesic in Yerevan.
He also added resolving of difficult problems requires great efforts.
'Naturally, in the course of overcoming this hard way optimists as well asa pessimists may be found in Armenia and Turkey, which not knowing the whole information will be able to express their emotions in the form of happiness or displeasure', - Sargsyan said and added : 'First, I was inspired with statements of optimists regarding normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, but now I am disappointed with statements of pessimists'.
Armenian president thinks that Turkey still preserves its great potential to assure the world community and the Armenian people that it is a modern country guided by the standards and principles of international law. 'I think it is still very early to draw conclusions', - Sargsyan said.
Turkey Must Prove That It's A Civilized State 22.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "Conflict settlement requires big efforts. I have never been optimistic about Armenian-Turkish ties normalization process, but I am not a great pessimist either," RA President Serzh Sargsyan told today a news conference. Turkey must prove that it's a civilized state, and its government is guided by norms of international law, the President stressed.
Worlwide Armenian Lobby Affects The Situation In Armenia Negatively, 22 May 2009
Experts say the confrontation between the powerful Armenian lobby worldwide and the authorities of the country most adversely affect the economic and political situation in Armenia.
Experts say the confrontation between the powerful Armenian lobby worldwide and the authorities of the country most adversely affect the economic and political situation in Armenia.
"The Armenian diaspora do wield an enormous amount of power, and are well organized, both in France and the USA,‘ British expert on the Caucasus Ziba Norman said. ’Unfortunately this is not necessarily supported by a clear understanding of the region, and their lobbying efforts have failed to take account of the economic struggles faced by the Armenian people and the realities of the complex and volatile geopolitics of the Caucasus."
The current policy of the country’s leadership causes understandable frustration by Armenian lobby. Representatives of the Armenian diaspora are obliged to live with problems of Armenia, ARKA quoted said former Prime Minister and former Speaker of the Armenian parliament, chairman of the Christian Democratic Union Khosrov Aroutyunyan as saying.
Aroutyunyan said diaspora is both wealth and problem for Armenia.
Many processes ongoing inside the county point to growing confrontation of the Armenian lobby worldwide, which is the backbone of the Armenian diaspora in the United States and the authorities. The main objective of the diaspora is an international recognition of the so-called genocide of Armenians in 1915, self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh and the rights of the Armenian community in Georgia."Representatives of Armenia ranked the 10th in the finals of the Eurovision-2009 song contest. If one reviews all previous performance by Armenian singers, it becomes apparent that this is nothing but a result of the policies of the authorities of"genocide"and the Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia Today reported Haykakan Zhamank newspaper as saying. At this time the countries with large Armenian diaspora did not give high points to Armenia.
According to well-informed sources, a special lobbying was held this year so that Armenians will not vote for Armenia. Explanation of lobbying was one thing: they give lands, give up the so-called genocide, Haykakan Zhamank reported.
Observers argue that now Sargsyan is in a very difficult situation in his country and in his relations with the Armenian diaspora. Because of the disagreement with the policy of establishing diplomatic relations with Turkey, Dashnaktsutyun withdrew from the ruling coalition and moved to opposition.
Given the national focus of the party and its close relationship with the international Armenian lobby, "Dashnaktsutyun" is potentially a serious opponent for the current government.
It is clear that the priorities of the government in Yeravan and not always in line with the position of the Armenian diaspora, European expert on the South Caucasus Amanda Akcakoca said.
She said this is the case in relation to normalization of relations with Turkey and regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Over the past year, the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met regularly. The last meeting took place during the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on May 7. Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met at the U. S. Embassy to discuss the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Armenian-Turkish ties have been severed since 1993 due to Armenia’s claims of an alleged genocide, and the country’s occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Yerevan on Sept. 6, 2008 upon the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisyan to watch an Armenia-Turkey football match.
Efforts have been made to normalize ties between the two countries ever since
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The reason for a split between Sargsyan and Diaspora was vivid difference on so called basic problems, Azerbaijani political scientist Tofik Abbasov told Trend News.
"Leaders of Diaspora are saying the ‘No step back’ principle must be the main lever of the foreign policy,‘ Abbasov, an expert of the Lider-TV analytical group, told Trend News.
Any hint of constructive action in Yerevan contradicts interest of the Diaspora. Therefore, foreign centers accuse Sargsyan of recreancy, he said. ’This deal exacerbates differences between the parties, and hardening positions is more likely than a rapprochement between the parties of internal Armenian conflict", said Abbasov
Ex-President Levon Ter Petrosian, as leader of the opposition, is utilizing precisely the issues raised by the Armenian lobby abroad in an effort to stir up fear at a moment when confidence and a belief in the possibility of peace are desperately needed. It is a highly irresponsible tone to adopt, and one wonders why Ter Petrosian would choose such an approach, Norman told Trend News
According to observers, the power and influence of the Armenian diaspora is due to the fragile economy of Armenia.
Commercial background to these problems but not only political is important for foreign lobbying circles.
"Leaders of diaspora are considering where the interests of donors, who have sponsored the nationalist course of Yerevan and the Armenian terror policy against Turkey and Azerbaijan to be taken into account‘, he said.
The Armenian diaspora is able to have considerable leverage over government becasue Armenia is an economically poor country with a population of less than 3 million while the population of the Armenian Diaspora is almost double that, much wealthier and more intellectually powerful with seats in high places around world, Akcakoca said.
’Indeed the Armenian diaspora invest heavily into the Armenian economy and are responsible for more than half the budget of the country,‘ Akcakoca wrote to Trend News in an e-mail.
A close relationship with the Armenian Diaspora impedes the country’s political course many of the processes of establishing relations in the Caucasus region, according to experts.
’If the dependence between Armenia and Diaspora could be broken then problems in the region could be resolved quicker but this does not seem very likely to happen any time soon," Akcakoca said.
Turks Had Learned How To Become A Nation From Azerbaijan? 22.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "Can Turkey's policy concerning Armenia, which stands like a knife between Turkey and Azerbaijan, change? Can Turkey come closer to Armenia by turning a blind eye to Azerbaijan's interests? Let us focus on some specific issues. Can the border crossing between Turkey and Armenia, which was closed down in response to Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, be reopened?
All of these questions can be answered as follows: Turkey's Armenian policy may change, but Turkey's policy regarding Azerbaijan will not change in the least. Turkey shapes its Armenian policy based on the Karabakh issue in the first place, as well as on Azerbaijan's interests. If it introduces any change to its policy, then it is also intended to produce benefits for Azerbaijan," Today's Zaman cited Mumtazer Turkone, the author of "What is Azerbaijan to Turkey?" article.
"Recent debates should be assessed from this perspective. Turkey has launched new initiatives in order to normalize relations with Armenia. These initiatives are conducted with a very important assumption in mind: Turkey assumes that the existing status quo in the Caucasus is detrimental to all three countries --Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. To maintain this status quo does not serve the interests of any of these countries. It is not reasonable to maintain this situation that brings losses to all three sides.
Today there is not a single issue that can be resolved by fighting between Turkey and Armenia or between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Nuri Pasha, was applying what he had learned from Huseyinzade Ali and Mehmet Emin Resulzade. Not only Huseyinzade Ali and Mehmet Emin Resulzade, but also Anatolian Turks had largely learned how to become a nation from Azerbaijani intellectuals. The national awakening of Azerbaijani Turks, who were under Russian rule at that time, removed the hesitation in Turkey resulting from its imperial heritage. In their quest to ensure the survival of an empire, Istanbul's intellectuals were trying to conceal their national peculiarities due to concerns about disintegration, but Azerbaijani intellectuals provided them with the sort of inspiration they needed to create a nation out of an empire in decline," Turkone emphasized in his article.
Pontian Genocide Recognition Sours Turkey Australian Relations By Anastasios Papapostolou
Greek Reporter http://au.greekreporter.com/ May 22 2009 Australia
The Turkish ambassador to Australia said that relations between the two countries will be affected following the decision by the South Australia State Parliament to recognize the Genocide of the Pontians, Armenians and Assyrians. He also expressed regret at the decision by South Australian Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Multicultural Affairs, Michael Atkinson to visit Greece next week and address an event organized by the Pontians in Thessaloniki. Turkey launched a formal demarche in Australia after Mr. Atkinson tabled a motion for the official recognition of the Pontian genocide by the South Australia State Parliament.
Greeks in Melbourne are staging a protest outside the Turkish consulate on Sunday to demand the recognition of the genocide of Pontian Greeks between 1914 and 1922. The protest is part of Pontian Hellenism memorial events that begin in Melbourne this weekend.
Deadlines Should Be Set For Turks, Former Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan Is Convinced Aravot April 18 2009 Armenia
Yesterday the founder of the Civilitas and former foreign minister, Vardan Oskanyan, frankly confessed that he had been missing journalists much and that the launch of his book "Unfinished Decade" was simply an alleged reason to get in touch with journalists. The book contains Vardan Oskanyan's speeches between 1998 and 2008.
While replying to the questions related to Armenian-Turkish relations, he noted: "For me the recent situation has been a little bit unclear. Before that both the Armenian and Turkish statements were more or less consistent and seemed to sound optimistic. And I concluded that something was moving forward despite my doubts coming from my 10 years' experience. Actually, I have believed and still want to believe and wish that there will be a positive result and the borders will be opened. But the latest state of affairs has a little bit confused me. On the one hand, there are [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's and [Turkish President Abdullah] Gul's, but mainly Erdogan's, brusque statements clearly stating that Armenian-Turkish relations will not return to normal and the borders will not be opened unless the Nagornyy Karabakh issue is settled and unless there are certain steps forward in that regard. This has been said very clearly and at the highest level. On the other hand, there is a statement by the Armenian side that we continue to record progress in the issue.
"If we put those two side by side we get quite a worrying picture. Is Nagornyy Karabakh dependent on the Armenian-Turkish negotiations?" Vardan Oskanyan said that he personally wanted to see the borders open though it would have positive and negative consequences. But the opening of the borders would have more positive outcome and that the negative outcome could be regulated by law: "We should really achieve the opening of the borders, but we should do this so that the Armenian side does not lose. The difference between the Armenian-Turkish negotiations during my service period and the current ones is in the approaches. During my tenure, the negotiations were not public but the content was almost the same. Today the contents are kept secret, but the negotiations have become public. When one publicizes the Armenian-Turkish dialogue, the Turks always take advantage of this. So, in this very case publicizing is not in our favour. If a day passes and the border is still closed or Armenian-Turkish relations are not settled yet, Turkish diplomats get in a more favourable situation compared to that of Armenia. At the moment if the border opens, we will get dividends as well. The question is when this will happen. Do the authorities have responsibility to give a precise answer to this question? The time is not working in favour of Armenia in this dialogue."
Vardan Oskanyan is of the opinion that the country's president has demonstrated a political will by beginning a dialogue with Turkey in public. But when it starts not to yield results and even to have a negative impact on Armenia, Vardan Oskanyan commences to think that there should be alterations in the approaches. This is what the former foreign minister suggests: "The Armenian side should set a concrete deadline, i.e. on this date and at this time, if we are going to sign [as given] and open the border. Otherwise, let's stop the negotiations." Mr Oskanyan is convinced that something of the kind should be done, otherwise there could also be pressure related to the Karabakh issue.
Deputy Inquires About Fate Of Ottoman Troops During Wwi
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Oktay Vural submitted an inquiry to Parliament on Thursday asking whether 15,000 Ottoman troops captured by the British Army in Egypt during World War I were deliberately blinded at the hands of military doctors.
Vural asked about the fate of the troops, who were taken as prisoners by the British Army and imprisoned in the Seydibeşir Useray-i Harbiye camp near Alexandria. It was alleged in the early years of the Turkish Republic that those troops were blinded by being forced into a pool of chemicals, ostensibly for disinfection. This incident was discussed in Parliament on May 25, 1921. Two deputies from Edirne argued that the troops were blinded intentionally and wanted Parliament to attempt to bring the responsible British physicians, commanders and soldiers to justice. Vural's inquiry will be answered by Minister of Defense Vecdi Gönül.
23 May 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN
Expert Says Turkey’s Influence Will Increase In Caucasus
Turkey's influence in the Caucasus will increase if Turkish-Armenian relations improve, but during the process of rapprochement, opposition forces increasingly come to the forefront, Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute, has said.
“There is a zero-sum game logic. It is based on the idea that Armenia would lose if Azerbaijan wins or Azerbaijan would lose if Armenia wins. This is not a true logic. There is a need to leave such a mentality out,” he said, speaking to a group of Turkish journalists this week. He added that even though Azerbaijani-Armenian relations should be independent from Turkish-Armenian relations, this is not the case in reality.
“In Turkish-Armenian relations, Azerbaijan is a third country. This should be the basic principle. But we see that Azerbaijan has an influence when it comes to Turkish-Armenian relations,” Iskandaryan said, in reference to recent concerns voiced by Azerbaijan and Turkey's response to them. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicated in Baku last week that there would be no normalization in ties with Armenia unless Armenia withdraws from the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The statement pleased Azerbaijan but drew ire from Armenia, which said Turkey should not interfere in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and warned that such moves by Ankara would harm efforts to resolve the deep-seated dispute. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan after Armenia invaded Nagorno-Karabakh and seven regions adjacent to it. Armenian withdrawal from Azerbaijani territory was a condition posed by Turkey for the normalization of ties with Yerevan, but the condition was apparently softened when Turkish and Armenian diplomats started closed-door talks to normalize ties a year and a half ago. Last month, they announced that they had reached an agreement on the framework for restoring their ties, sparking protest from Azerbaijan.
Asked who opposed an increase in Turkey's influence in the Caucasus, Iskandaryan said there are ultra-nationalists in both Armenia and Turkey that opposed rapprochement. “There is also an Azerbaijani lobby in Turkey. In Armenia, the elite and realistic people support rapprochement,” he said. “And the reason is simple: Turkey is 20 kilometers away, and there is no way to go there to drink a cup of tea.”
He also said the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh would take a long time to change but this was not going to be the case for the border between Turkey and Armenia. “There is a unique situation. The United States and Europe support the process. And Russia is against it. This was not the case three, four years ago,” he told the group of journalists, who were in Armenia for the International Hrant Dink Foundation's Turkey-Armenia Journalist Dialogue Project, funded by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Association.
23 May 2009, Yonca Poyraz Doğan, Zaman
Hadise: Video Clip, "Crazy For You" (Düm Tek Tek)
Eurovision Final, 16 May 2009
Hadise Ranks Fourth In Norway Dominated Eurovision Song Contest
Lyrics Of "Crazy For You (Düm Tek Tek)
Baby you’re perfect for me
you are my gift from heaven
this is the greatest story of all times
we met in like in a movie
so meant to last forever
and what you’re doing to me
feels so fine
angel I wake up
and live my dreams
crazy for you
can you feel the rhythm in my heart
the beats going Düm Tek Tek
always out it like there no minute
feels like there’s no way back
can you feel the rhythm in my heart
the beats going Düm Tek Tek
always out it like there’s no minute
feels like there’s no way back
baby i read all answers
in your exotic movements
you are the greatest dancer of all times
you make me feel so special
no one can kiss like you do
as it is your profession
feel so fine
angel i wake up and live my dreams
crazy for you
can you feel the rhythm in my heart
the beats going Düm Tek Tek
always out it like there no minute
feels like there’s no way back
can you feel the rhythm in my heart
the beats going Düm Tek Tek
always out it like there’s no minute
feels like there’s no way back
can you feel the rhythm in my heart
can you feel the rhythm in my heart
the beats going Düm Tek Tek
always out it like there no minute
feels like there’s no way back
can you feel the rhythm in my heart
the beats going Düm Tek Tek
always out it like there’s no minute
feels like there’s no way back
always out it like it no minute
feels like there’s no way back
always out it like there’s no minute
feels like Düm Tek Tek
Turkish singer Hadise placed 4th for her song "Dum Tek Tek" in the Eurovision Song Contest, won by a fiddle-wielding Norwegian singer in Moscow on Saturday night.
Turkey ranks fourth in Norway dominated Eurovision song contest
Turkey's representative, Hadise, performed at her best to take fourth place receiving 177 points in the voting. "I represented my country very well," she said after the competition.
Twenty-five performers from across Europe competed in Moscow in a musical bonanza that is one of the most watched annual television events in the world, despite being written off by some as European kitsch.
"Fairytale," penned and performed by 23-year-old fiddler Alexander Rybak, blew away competition from Iceland’s Yohanna, who finished second, and Azerbaijan’s AySel & Arash, who was third, with a folksy melody to the accompaniment of an acrobatic dance routine and two blonde female support singers.
The elfin-faced Rybak, the winning graduate of a Norwegian television talent show in 2006, accrued the most points in Eurovisions 53-year history, outstripping Finland’s Lordi in 2006.
Moscow was reported to have spent $42 million on the five-day event, making it the most expensive competition in Eurovision's history, Reuters reported.
As usual glitz and kitsch dominated the show, including dancing Roman gladiators and one performer clad in a blue sequined mask, writhing on the floor. But there was also a smattering of well-established stars. Andrew Lloyd Webber, famed for his successful musicals, composed the
British entry and U.S. burlesque dancer Dita von Teese played a supporting role in the German song.
TAINTED BY CONTROVERSY
Politics also bubbled to the surface of this year's competition. Organizer’s banned Georgia's entry earlier this year because its song was considered a political jab at Russia, with which it fought a brief war last August.
Russia was trying to capitalize on the prestigious event to showcase the nation’s hospitality and growing role in modern society, but those efforts were undermined several hours earlier when riot police attacked gay pride rallies in the capital.
Police hauled away around 40 demonstrators, including British-based activist Peter Tatchell and American activist Andy Thayer of Chicago, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, who had defied the Moscow authorities and tried to stage a banned demonstration.
Rybak appeared to throw his support behind the gay rights protesters when he said at the news conference: "Why did they (the Moscow police) spend all their energy stopping gays in Moscow when the biggest gay parade was here tonight?"
As winner, Norway will host the next Eurovision Song Contest.
Erdogan: We Will Send Back 40,000 Armenians Working Illegally In Turkey, If Necessary, APA, Azerbaijan, May 16 2009
Warsaw - APA. `Turkey-Armenia relations are not the relations not connected with any factor. There are issues connected with the region. It is impossible to ignore them.
The problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia has an impact on us, too,' Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during his meeting with students in Warsaw, APA reports quoting Turkish media. He said the main demand of Turkey from Armenia was the withdrawal of troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, including Nagorno Karabakh.
`We have not passed this decision, the UN passed the decision. Turkey closed the borders with Armenia because of the occupation. There is cause and consequence. The borders will be opened, when the consequence is eliminated,' he said.
Erdogan mentioned that 40,000 Armenians were living and working illegally in Turkey.
`Why have they come to our country? Because there is great poverty in Armenia. They are trying to earn their living in our country. We will send them back, if necessary, but we do not do it because of humaneness,' he said.
Cornered Between Yerevan And Baku, Turkey Tries To Comfort Azerbaijan
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a visit to Baku to put strained relations with Azerbaijan back on track after the country's increasing uneasiness over the prospect of Turkey-Armenia rapprochement without Armenia ending its occupation of Azerbaijani territory.
During his visit, Erdoğan gave firm and clear assurances to the regional ally that Turkey would not open its closed border with Armenia unless the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territory ended. “There is a relation of cause and effect here. The occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh is a cause, and the closure of the border is an effect. Without the occupation ending, the gate will not be opened,” Erdoğan said at a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev during a visit to Baku. Aliyev, who refused to attend an Alliance of Civilizations meeting in İstanbul in April in protest of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts, said he was grateful for Erdoğan's statement. “There could be no clearer answer than this. There is no longer any doubt,” Aliyev said. Aliyev said that concerns grew in his country when there was no response from Turkey to reports in the Armenian media that the border would be reopened. In an address to the Azerbaijani parliament later in the day, Erdoğan appealed to the Azerbaijani people to trust his words rather than media speculation.
17 May 2009, Zaman
Writer Pamuk May Face New Trial For Armenia Remarks
Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning author, said he may face new compensation claims for remarks he made about the World War One-era killing of Armenians, despite an earlier acquittal in a criminal trial, the Anatolian news agency said on Saturday.
Turkey's Court of Appeals this week overturned a lower court decision that had dismissed the claims of personal damages against Pamuk, 56, paving the way for a new case.
"I understand that I could be tried again, but nothing is certain," said Pamuk, who was speaking at a book fair in the Italian city of Torino, according to state-run Anatolian.
"In any case, I'm not apprehensive."
The compensation suit stemmed from an interview with a Swiss magazine in 2005 when Pamuk said "30,000 Kurds and a million Armenians were killed" in Turkey.
Turkey denies Armenians were systematically killed between 1915 and 1923, saying that both sides suffered losses in internecine fighting during the break-up of the Ottoman Empire.
The interview sparked a criminal case, but Pamuk was cleared of all charges and avoided a jail sentence on a technicality in 2006 amid an international outcry over the trial, which the European Union called a violation of free expression.
The author of "Snow" and "My Name Is Red" went on to win the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature.
The civil suit's six plaintiffs, who seek 36,000 liras ($23 million) in damages, include members of a support group for families of soldiers killed fighting Kurdish separatists and a nationalist lawyer who brought the criminal case against Pamuk, Radikal newspaper said.
"Unfortunately, the judiciary in my country toils with political (issues)," Pamuk said, according to Anatolian.
"This is not a good thing when legal institutions are supposed to be the foundation for democracy. Without freedom, there is no justice, so I think speaking freely is my duty."
17 May 2009, REUTERS Zaman
Eurovision Organizational Committee Led By Baku And Removed Armenian Monument From Armenia's Video Reel, 16.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Ministry of Foreign Affaires of Armenia called on to return the monument, which is a pattern of the Armenian cultural heritage.
Azerbaijan, yielding no opportunity of anti-Armenian propaganda and sometimes carrying to the point of absurdity, distinguished during the Eurovision-2009 pop music contest. This time the Azeri part did not like the image of the monument We and our Mountains pictured in the video reel, beforehand the performance of Inga and Anush Arshakyan, who represented Armenia in the contest.
Baku officially required from the Eurovision committee, Russia's foreign ministry and the First Channel to remove the image of Armenian monument `We and our Mountains' from the video reel, stating that `the monument is located in Nagorno Karabakh, and Nagorno Karabakh is Azerbaijan's territory'. Organizers of the contest fulfilled that requirement and removed the image of the monument from the video reel.
As Diana Mnatsakanyan, advisor to chief executive of Armenian Public Television, told to a PanARMENIAN.Net, in this connection the ministry of foreign affairs of Armenia addressed to Russia's foreign ministry a letter, calling on the organizational committee of Eurovision-2009 to return the monument. The work of the Armenian sculptor Sargis Baghdasaryan, who was a national artist of the Armenian SSR, is a vivid pattern of the Armenian cultural heritage
Armenian Occupied Karabakh Used For Drug Transportation From Iran To Russia 15 May 2009
Deputy chairman of the State Customs Committee Asger Abdullayev says most of the narcotic substances were transported from Iran.
Deputy chairman of the State Customs Committee Asger Abdullayev says most of the narcotic substances were transported from Iran.
“In 2008, 356kg drugs were confiscated in the territory of Azerbaijan,” the deputy chairman of the State Customs Office Asger Abdullayev said during the CIS meeting on drug smuggling and illegal turnover of narcotic substances. According to him, majority of the confiscated drugs were transported from Iran and that the territory of Azerbaijan was used as a route to transport drugs to Russia. "However, all the attempts were prevented. The aim of today’s meeting is to fight against such cases." The committee official further noted that the meeting participants were working on developing joint mechanisms to prevent drug transportation and smuggling.
Armenians' False Karabakh Propaganda 15 May 2009
Armenian television broadcasted documentaries that tells the massacres that are committed by Armenians against Azerbaijani people like it was committed by Azerbaijanis against Armenians.
Armenian television broadcasted documentaries that tells the massacres that are committed by Armenians against Azerbaijani people like it was committed by Azerbaijanis against Armenians.
The main reason of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, occupation of Nagorno Karabakh and seven surrounding regions and mass killing of thousands of Azerbaijanis and which also caused about 1 million Azerbaijani Turk to become refugees and flee from their homeland, the tragic story of Nagorno Karabakh war is told in Armenian television in a sided way. Armenian television's documentary contradicted with the view of international community.
Claiming that Turks committed a genocide against Armenians, Armenians included false images to support their false claims about Karabakh war and claimed that Azerbaijanis massacred Armenians.
Turkey's Anti-Genocide Claim Hard To Stomach By Pat Flanagan, The Mirror May 15, 2009 Friday UK
APPARENTLY there was no holocaust and all this nonsense about millions being murdered is rubbish.
It was all made up by racists determined to blacken the good name of, er, Turkey.
Holocaust deniers can get themselves into bother, depending on which holocaust they deny.
Claim the Nazis and a sizable section of the German population did not murder between five and seven million Jews and you end up in the slammer.
Deny that Turkey slaughtered between one and three million Armenians and you are likely to get a Nobel peace award.
Let me explain. You see Turkey is very keen to join the EU and many member states are up for it. This one included.
Although an estimated 70 per cent of the European public do not want Turkey, there is little we can do about it.
They used to say "don't mention the war" when we were talking to the Germans but when it comes to Turkey it's a case of don't mention the genocide.
You see during the First World
War the Turks didn't quite succeed in exterminating the Armenians, but they had a fair bash at it.
They shot, stabbed and starved anything from one to three million although the agreed figure is around 1.5 million.
Don't take my word for it, during his election campaign President Barack Obama said he stood by the Armenian American community in calling for the Turks to admit the "Armenian Genocide".
And the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi went further and recently said: "It is long past time for the US government to formally recognise the Armenian genocide." But the Turks are having none of it and not only will they not say sorry, they are denying it ever happened.
In short, they are a nation of holocaust deniers and there's plenty like them in the EU.
You might well say, 'So what? That happened a long time ago and it has nothing to do with us.
Well actually it has everything to do with us because if Turkey is allowed to join the EU it will be the end of Europe as we know it.
Apart from the fact that only a tiny fraction of Turkey is on the European continent, Turkey appears to want to join the EU for all the wrong reasons.
Most countries, including our own, joined the Union in pursuit of material benefits but they were all prepared to give up a little bit of themselves and their sovereignty.
It would appear ultra-nationalistic
Turkey believes that they can be part of the EU without any cultural attachment.
But that is to be expected, because they do not have any cultural attachment.
Turkey's relationship with Europe has not been a happy one and its accession to the EU would be a disaster for all.
Lets face facts, the Greeks hate the Turks and the Turks hate the Greeks. Saying they have a history is a bit of an understatement. .
The reason Cyprus is divided is because these two communities just can't stand each other.
Making the Turks EU citizens will not wipe out a millennium of bitterness and bloodletting.
Indeed there's every chance we could end up with a Yugoslav situation.
The question ordinary people should ask themselves is does the EU need an Islamic state with 80 million Muslims into the heart of the European Union? They might also ponder what effect millions of Turkish workers would have on the European labour market, especially after our experience with Gama Construction and their EUR3-anhour workers.
The experience of France, Germany and the UK in relation to large immigration should act as a warning of what the future holds if Turkey is allowed in.
It is no co-incidence France and Germany are totally against Turkey joining. The recent massacre of 44 men, women and chil- dren at an engagement in the eastern Turkish village of Bilge should also act as a warning.
The reality is that outside the capital, Istanbul and a few other urban centres Turkey is a traditional Muslim country like its neighbours Syria and Iraq.
Yes, Iraq. Imagine the EU having a border with that powder keg? What will happen when the US pulls out? Will EU troops, and Irish soldiers, be needed to defend the border? There is also the little matter of the persecution of Christians.
Like the Armenian genocide, this never happens, if the Turkish government is to believed.
But most worrying of all is Turkey's war with the Kurds.
Does the EU want to inherit a bloody war that could spread to Europe? The EU was set up to ensure Europe would never again be ravaged by war.
It would be a tragic irony if we imported a readymade conflict along with a state that has no place in Europe..What effect will millions of Turkish workers have on the labour markets
ARF’s Giro Manoyan - Armenia Must Break Off Talks With Turkey 2009/05/15 Astghik Khachatryan
Giro Manoyan, who heads the ARF Hay Tad and Political Affairs Office, today stated that Armenia must break off talks with Turkey. He based his statement on Turkish PM Erdogan’s recent statement that the issue of Karabakh must be settled before the border with Armenia is opened.
Mr. Manoyan doesn’t agree with the interpretation given by the Armenian government that the Turkish prime minister’s remarks were for domestic consumption
The ARF official said that the Armenian government isn’t ready to pull out of the talks because President Serzh Sargsyan has stated that if the talks prove fruitless we will have shown the world that we were ready to negotiate with Turkey without preconditions and that Armenia wasn’t at fault. If the government pulls out now it will give the impression that we have sabotaged the talks.
“We should have understood from the start that we are dealing with a country like Turkey and that Turkish diplomacy is capable of creating such a state of affairs. Thus, it is neither possible, acceptable nor understandable why we are playing such games with the Turkish diplomatic machine,” Mr. Manoyan said.
He went on to say that Armenia has culled nothing from the talks except for the fact that the Armenian foreign minister was invited to the United States as a result of the April 22 “road map” declaration.
“We can clearly see that day in and day out theses talks are only leading to further losses of political dividends and time,” Mr. Manoyan said.
Mr. Manoyan also isn’t satisfied with the answers coming from official Yerevan in response to Turkish statements. “Neither our president or foreign minister has said whether we will continue the talks with Turkey or break them off. Azerbaijan would surely be pleased to see the talks collapse as a result of Turkey’s intervention in the Karabakh issue because we really can’t be sure that Azerbaijan wants the issue to be resolved.”
Ohio Elections Spat Involves Turkish History May 14, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state Elections Commission agreed Thursday to hear a case far outside the typical realm of Ohio politics, one involving claims of genocide, Turkish history, U.S. foreign policy and a growing and personal political rivalry.
At issue are comments made by an Armenian-American congressional candidate during the 2008 campaign. A Republican congresswoman from Cincinnati, Jean Schmidt, claims her opponent violated election law when he accused her of being a puppet of Turkish efforts to deny that the mass killings of Armenians during World War I constituted genocide.
The commission on Thursday found probable cause that David Krikorian's statements violated election law, voting unanimously to bring the case to a full hearing.
The 94-year-old killings in Turkey are an unlikely topic for a congressional campaign in America's heartland, where Schmidt's staunchly conservative values find favor among a large portion of her constituents. But for Krikorian, Schmidt's comments that she doesn't have enough evidence to call the killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians "genocide" make her morally unfit to serve in Congress. Krikorian refused to shake the hand of Schmidt's attorney following the hearing Thursday.
"It is my right under political free speech to point out these facts that she denies the Armenian genocide," Krikorian told the commission Thursday. He alleged that Schmidt had taken campaign donations from Turkish interests in return for "denying" the genocide.
"And, yes, I refer to it as blood money because where I come from, when you take money to deny the killing of innocent women and children, that is blood money. That's exactly what it is. It's reprehensible."
But the dispute isn't just about the past — Krikorian is challenging Schmidt again in 2010, but as a Democrat. He won 18 percent of the vote as an independent in 2008, a performance Krikorian claims has Schmidt worried enough about 2010 to file a "frivolous" elections complaint to discredit him.
Schmidt's attorney, Donald Brey, refuted all of Krikorian's claims Thursday, taking particular issue with his equating Schmidt's unwillingness to call the killings genocide with denial.
"She wasn't a genocide denier ... She didn't do anything as a quid pro quo," Brey said.
Federal Elections Commission records show Schmidt received $3,300 from the Turkish American Heritage Political Action Committee between January and October 2008. The committee was formed to defend Turkish heritage against "slanderous campaigns" carried out by ethnic groups in the United States to influence public opinion.
Schmidt's unwillingness to proclaim what many history scholars regard as fact is also shared by the U.S. government. The U.S. foreign policy establishment's careful positioning on the issue is driven by the importance of maintaining productive relations with a moderate ally in the Middle East.
In April, President Barack Obama refrained from branding the WWI-era massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey a "genocide," and instead referred to the killings that began in 1915 as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century." The careful words were a backtrack from Obama's campaign promise to refer to the killing as genocide, which the Bush administration also declined to do.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland recognized the killings as genocide in 2007, and former President Ronald Reagan did so in 1981.
Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, contending the toll has been inflated and that the casualties were victims of civil war. It says Turks also suffered losses in the hands of Armenian gangs.
Turkey and Armenia have had no diplomatic ties since closing their border in 1993 because of a Turkish protest of Armenia's occupation of land claimed by Azerbaijan. May 14, 2009
Bryza's Statements - Information Sabotage, By Nairi Muradian, AZG Armenian Daily, 14/05/2009
According to politician Suren Zolyan, the Armenian side is concerned about the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs' recent statements, as the superpowers incline to stand up for the Azerbaijani territorial integrity, in which they see Karabakh as well. Besides, according to the politician, the Minsk Group aims at combining territorial integrity and self-determination of nations, which means autonomy.
"Matthew Bryza said that the Azerbaijani president made a progress in negotiations promising autonomy to Karabakh", Mr. Zolyan mentioned. He reminded that Azerbaijani former president Heydar Aliyev made similar promises as well, and it means that those promises does not mean any progress in the Azerbaijani position.
Today the most important thing, according to Zolyan, is that we should remind of the supremacy of the right to self-determination, legal principles that were formed at the time when the Armenian and Azerbaijani independences were recognized, and Karabakh should be recognized based on the same legal rules.
"Taking into account the changes in the world we should review our approaches", the politician added.
Suren Zolyan touched upon "Echo Moskvi" radio-station interview with Matthew Bryza, where the latter had announced that the liberated territories should be returned to Azerbaijan stage by stage. The politician mentioned that by making similar statements the US Co-chair is acting out of Minsk Group bounds and that it is an information sabotage.
What about the "Road map", Zuren Zolyan mentioned that if before it was spoken of preconditions, today more euphonious variant is chosen - "Road map". According to the politician, we should remember that Turkish constitutional structure is different and the leader of its leading party Erdogan has very clearly stated that Armenian-Turkish relations should not be improved in prejudice of Azerbaijan.
Turkish Prime Minister's Speech Gives Grounds Not To Be Concerned: Azerbaijani Ruling Party Official Trend
Azerbaijan ruling party Deputy Chairman says Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speech at the Azerbaijani parliament gives grounds not to get concerned.
"I believe in what Erdogan said about not opening of the Turkey-Armenia border in Baku. Turkey has always defended and stood by Azerbaijan. From the viewpoint of one nation and two states, I believe that Turkey will continue to do so in future," ruling New Azerbaijan Party Deputy Chairman and member of parliament Ali Ahmadov told reporters.
Erdogan said in a speech at the Azerbaijani parliament that Turkey-Armenia border is closed due to the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh.
"We can not think in a different way than Azerbaijan. The principle of "one nation, two states" is important for us. The Caucasus is a very strategic region and problems in this region are very dangerous. Russia-Georgia conflict can serve as example. Truce in the Caucasus is crucial," Turkish prime minister added.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Ahmadov said Turkey could not make a stronger statement than this.
"This statement was made by the top official," he said.
"Azerbaijan should believe in words of Turkey's top official."
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met face to face in Baku on May 13
The meeting focused on the current situation of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey in political, economic and other fields. The sides discussed the regional and international issues.
The Turkish prime minister arrived in Baku in the evening on May 12. Erdogan arrived in Baku in the accompany of his wife Amina Erdogan, State Minister Zefer Chaglayan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertogrul Gunay, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz and Transport Minister Binali Yildirim.
Turkish PM visited the grave of Azerbaijani National Leader Heydar Aliyev in the Cemetery of Honors.
Later Erdogan visited Martyrs' Lane to commemorate memory of the victims who died for independence of Azerbaijan, and the memorial complex of the Turkish soldiers in Baku.
Mp: The Turkish Premier Has Dispelled All My Doubts Today Az
Member of parliament highly assessed the speech of Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
MM deputy Azay Guliyev told Day.Az that for him now all the questions are completely exhausted. "If before this day there had been any doubts that one day Turkey will be able to open the border with Armenia without taking into account the interests of Azerbaijan, now, I think this topic is closed".
According to him, first of all, the Premier has repeatedly stated that Turkey will not take this step, unless Armenia releases the occupied lands of Azerbaijan.
"Secondly, Erdogan once again noted that at this moment negotiations with Armenia are held, during which they are trying to persuade it to accept the demands and norms of international law. And third, the head of the Turkish government again said that their position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not changed. That is, they will continue the previous policy in this regard".
According to the deputy, Erdogan's visit was very fruitful, and as our President stated at a press conference - there is no place for any doubts in the relations between our countries. "Erdogan was able to convince the parliamentarians and all the people of Azerbaijan" noted the parliamentarian.
What Changes In Kars Province When Armenian Border Is Opened , 10 May 2009
Ongoing negotiations between Armenia and Turkey aiming at normalizing relations and opening the border have brought Kars, an eastern Anatolian province of Turkey, into the spotlight since the city is located on the Armenian border.
Between 1991 and 1993, when the Turkish-Armenian border gate was open, direct trade relations between Kars and Gyumri, an Armenian city on the Turkish border of Armenia, was one of the main factors that kept the city's economy going while it was fighting poverty and high rates of unemployment.
"People are watching the developments on the Armenian border issue with great excitement; if the border is not opened, it will certainly lead more people to migrate out of desperation to big cities like Istanbul and Izmir to work in construction,'' said Kaan Soyak, co-chairman of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC).
Migration caused by lack of employment is one of the biggest problems in Kars.
According to figures from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), the northeastern part of Turkey, including Kars, IgdÄ±r, Artvin and Bayburt, is where the highest migration has been observed since 1995.
Soyak talked about the trade there had been between Kars and Armenia; people from Kars brought cattle by train to sell in Armenia and Armenians sold paper, commercial timber and coal in Kars when the border gate was open.
He also drew attention to the tourism potential of Kars, stating:
"There are many places in Kars that have historical meaning for Armenians. Therefore, I would expect an immediate rise in the number of tourists visiting the city after the border is reopened.''
Kafkas University, which was established in 1992 and currently has 41,000 students, is an important institution in the city.
However, Ali Guvensoy, the chairman of Kars Chamber of Commerce and Industry, does not agree on the opening of the border unless the concerns over Azerbaijan are satisfied.
"We are one nation and two states; the Azerbaijanis are our brothers. If Armenia does not end the occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh we should not open the border.''
Drawing attention to the trade routes passing through Georgia to Armenia, causing a rise in transportation costs, Guvensoy said, "If the border is opened, Armenia benefits more than Turkey, so Armenia should make more concessions than Turkey.''
He does not think Kars would experience a drastic change in commerce when the border is opened.
"Kars would not get much more trade than other border cities trading with neighboring countries; of course we do not object to the new border-opening initiative but I do not predict a remarkable change in the city's economy,'' said Guvensoy.
10 May 2009, Journal of Turkish Weekly
Azerbaijan: Diaspora Organization Tries To Counter Armenian-American Influence In Washington Jessica Powley Hayden 5/08/09
A new front has opened in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict and it is centered in Washington, DC. Frustrated by the effectiveness of Armenian-American advocacy groups to shape debates in the United States, Baku is now looking to its diaspora for a little public-relations support.
Last year, a group of Azeri-Americans founded the US-Azeri Network (USAN), which advertises itself as a grassroots advocacy organization. The new, Washington, DC-based group hopes to connect Azeri-American voters to promote a pro-Azerbaijan agenda in the United States.
That agenda is a point-by-point refutation of policies sought by the Armenian-American advocacy groups: increased aid to Azerbaijan; decreased aid to Armenia; the elimination of humanitarian aid to the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh; the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from Karabakh; and recognition of massacres perpetrated against Azerbaijanis by ethnic Armenians in 1918, marked in Azerbaijan as the "Day of the Azerbaijani Genocide."
USAN casts itself in the role of the underdog. "[Azeri-Americans] see that political activism can go a long way... [W]e can achieve a lot and ’compete’ with the big boys like the Armenian diaspora and its lobby," commented USAN Executive Director Adil Baguirov.
It will be an uphill challenge. If garnering aid from the United States were a competition, Armenia would clearly be winning. From 1992 to 2007, Armenia received almost $2 billion worth of assistance from the United States ($1,745,930), while Azerbaijan came away with about a billion less: $743,400,000.
In addition to lobbying for limits on aid to Azerbaijan, Armenia has invested substantial resources into lobbying US legislators and the president to recognize as genocide the Ottoman Turks’ slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in 1915.
Armenian advocacy and lobby groups also have a long history of promoting Armenian policies among American lawmakers. Armenian political action committees (PACs) contributed nearly $200,000 to various races across the US in the 2008 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission documents.
Rough estimates put the size of the Armenian-American population at nearly 1 million.
Azeri-Americans are less organized, young, far fewer in estimated number (some 400,000, according to USAN), and have not had as much success in getting their agenda before US policymakers.
In meetings on Capitol Hill last summer, Azerbaijani parliamentarians were told: "Look, Armenians are my constituents and I am accountable to them," recounted Petro Morgos who runs the parliamentary program at DAI (Development Alternatives, Inc.), an international civil-society development organization, and attended the meetings.
USAN believes that American politicians are not getting the whole story. In addressing the American public, USAN’s Baguirov states that his organization covers what it terms "crimes against humanity and genocidal acts perpetrated by Armenians against Azerbaijani, Turkish, Kurdish, Jewish, and other civilians in the Caucasus and East Anatolia since the 19th century, culminating more recently with the Khojaly Massacre in 1992."
Hundreds of Azerbaijani civilians were killed - according to Baku, by Armenian forces - trying to escape from the village of Khojaly in Karabakh during the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory. The Armenian government blames Azerbaijani forces for their deaths.
Azerbaijan’s emphasis on informing foreigners about alleged acts of Armenian aggression can also be seen in Baku. In April, Fazil Mustafa, a member of the Milli Majlis, proposed creating a genocide museum in Baku, emphasizing its value in educating foreign guests. A museum already exists in Yerevan that chronicles the events of 1915.
The recent push to energize Azeri-Americans to promote Azerbaijan’s interests appears to be the result of frustration within Azerbaijan itself. In 2006, President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenian-American groups in the United States for distorting Azerbaijani history. Aliyev, at the time, suggested that Azerbaijan would cultivate its own diaspora.
Since Aliyev’s speech, an Azerbaijani consulate has been opened in Los Angeles. Consul General Elin Suleymanov explained that Los Angeles was chosen in part because of the large Armenian Diaspora located in California. "We wanted Azerbaijan’s voice to be heard on the West Coast and for public opinion not to be shaped by the Armenian side alone," he told EurasiaNet.
Another diaspora-based organization, the Azerbaijan-American Council, was opened in California in 2006 with the "primary purpose of facilitating active integration of Azerbaijani-Americans into U.S. public life and strengthening Azerbaijani-American identity."
Suleymanov, however, cautions that focusing too heavily on "narrow ethnicity-based ideology" is counterproductive to achieving peace in the region. "Unfortunately, some in the Armenian community still focus on the past and see our region in simplified, confrontational terms," he said.
"I think focusing on the future, not that past - without, of course, either forgetting or ignoring the latter - is the best way forward for our part of the world," Suleymanov said.
USAN’s public relations campaign to bring attention to the past, though, is beginning to pay dividends. Several members of the US House of Representatives have made official remarks in the Congressional Record commemorating the Khojaly massacre. Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons released a proclamation recognizing March 31 as "Azerbaijani Remembrance Day."
The Nevada proclamation sparked a firestorm in the Armenian-American community, which objected to the proclamation’s definition of Azerbaijan as including Nagorno-Karabakh. "The Armenian-American community throughout the state of Nevada is shocked that Governor Gibbons was so easily misled and manipulated by foreign interest groups representing the governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey and their high-priced lobbyists," stated Razmik Ablo, spokesman for the Armenian National Committee.
The "high-priced lobbyist" tag is one that is commonly used against USAN. But Baguirov claims his organization has a "very modest operating budget which is fully raised from our grassroots." He declined to give an exact figure. Combined with its sister organization, the US Turkic Network, USAN claims it has 15,000 members.
While Baguirov is optimistic that USAN’s influence over American policy will increase with time, it concedes that, as a numbers game, diaspora Armenians will continue to exert greater influence in American politics. "Obviously, we are the David in this story, but we are very content with what we were able to achieve in such a short time-span," Baguirov said.
Editor's Note: Jessica Powley Hayden is a freelance reporter based in Baku.
May 8, 2009 © Eurasianet
Armenian Translators' Betrayal In Korean War 11 May 2009
It is unveiled that Armenian translators assigned by Americans during Korean War left Turkish division defenceless at the frontline by hiding critical information from them and they caused many Turkish soldier to perish.
It is unveiled that Armenian translators assigned by Americans during Korean War left Turkish division defenceless at the frontline by hiding critical information from them and they caused many Turkish soldier to perish.
A meeting in Los Angeles, US unveiled the story that why Turkish division endangered so much in Korean war.
VETERAN COMMANDER CONFIRMS
Stating that Americans assigned Armenian translators since there wasn’t any Turkish soldier who speak English or Korean Language, veteran Squadron Leader Vedat Aslay said that Turkish division lost many soldiers because of misinformation given by Armenian translators.
Korean Colone Kwang J. Yang also confirms the event. Yang says, “Assuming the war was over, American forces started to withdraw to catch Christmas in their homeland. But during withdrawal Chinese forces attacked with 500,000 soldiers. While Americans withdraw, Armenian translators did not inform Turks and 5000 Turkish soldier were all alone against 500,000 Chinese soldier. Even they were trapped 2400 of them could succeed making thgrough out of the circle and 256 of them was captured by Chinese soldiers. They were released by international agreements afterwards.”
Speaking in the meeting, one of the Korean Officer Myong C. Seo, “I fought for my country but Turks sacrificed theirselves just to help us. My eyes fills with tears each time i remember. People from some other country gave their lives away for us”.
Overlooking Diaspora's Voice Would Be A Major Blunder 11.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ When addressing the Armenian Genocide, the Government of Armenia would be wise to not take any drastic steps without consulting this with the Diaspora organizations, Vahagn Avedyan, Head of the Armenian community in Sweden, said. "The Armenians living outside Armenia are the heirs of Genocide victims. They have a very justified and legitimate right to affect any agreement or road map which would directly affect their interests and claims."
Mr. Avedyan also added that "Overlooking the voice and the rights of the Diaspora would be a major blunder on behalf of the current Armenian Administration and would be nothing else than realizing the long standing policy of Turkey to divide and conquer by separating Armenia from the Diaspora," "Nor Horizon" newspaper reports.
A Conference Entitled 'The Armenian Genocide: International Recognition And Current Challenges' Held In House Of Lords In Great Britain
ArmInfo. On May 8, a conference entitled "The Armenian Genocide: International Recognition and Current Challenges" was held in the House of Lords in Great Britain. The conference was organized by the British-Armenian All Party Parliamentary Group and Armenian Embassy.
To take part in the conference, Israel Charny, a well-known historian specializing on the study of genocide, and well-known publicist Harut Sasunyan were invited to the conference, however, I.Charny failed to come and his speech was read off.
The participants presented documentary materials about the genocide, stressed the inadmissibility of its denial and significance of its international recognition. In particular, Sasunyan touched upon the issue of recognizing the Armenian Genocide by the USA, which was actually done as early as 1975 and 1984 by the H.Rep. Resolutions, as well as by ex-president Ronald Reagan.
Armenian Ambassador to Great Britain Vahe Gabrielyan thanked the participants and members of the British Parliament for the activity aimed at recognizing the Armenian Genocide and stressed the necessity of its recognition by Great Britain. The ambassador also touched upon the current process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.
Prime Minister Erdoğan Puts Baku’s Armenia Concerns To Rest
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday appeared to have put strained relations with Azerbaijan back on track after giving firm and clear assurances to the regional ally that Turkey would not open its closed border with Armenia unless the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territory ended.
“There is a relation of cause and effect here. The occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh is a cause, and the closure of the border is an effect. Without the occupation ending, the gates will not be opened,” Erdoğan said at a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev during a visit to Baku.
Aliyev, who refused to attend an Alliance of Civilizations meeting in İstanbul in April in protest of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts, said he was grateful for Erdoğan's statement. “There could be no clearer answer than this. There is no doubt anymore,” Aliyev said.
Turkish and Armenian diplomats have been holding secret talks for the last year and a half to normalize their relations, and last month the two countries announced a "roadmap" to restore ties, which would include reopening the border. Turkey closed its border and severed diplomatic ties with Armenia in 1993 in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan after Armenian forces invaded the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding territory during a war between the two countries. Azerbaijan, an ethnic and regional ally and a key supplier of natural gas for Turkey, has expressed concern over the Turkish-Armenian talks, fearing it would lose major leverage if Turkey opened its border with Armenian without progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Azerbaijani leaders also signaled that they would increase the price of natural gas for Turkey as political tension increased.
Aliyev said yesterday that concerns grew in his country when there was no response from Turkey to reports in the Armenian media that the border would be reopened. In an address to the Azerbaijani parliament later in the day, Erdoğan appealed to the Azerbaijani people to trust his words rather than media speculation.
The Armenian border will not be opened until the occupation of Azerbaijani territory ends, the prime minister said yesterday in Azerbaijan, soothing Aliyev’s concerns about Nagorno-Karabakh
“Some reports said Turkey gave up on Nagorno-Karabakh in order to normalize relations with Armenia. This is an outright lie. I dismiss it once again here,” Erdoğan told Azerbaijani lawmakers. His speech, adorned with citations from Turkish and Azerbaijani poets, was frequently applauded. Erdoğan said Turkey and Azerbaijan were “one nation with two states” and that their ties were based on unshakable premises.
Erdoğan's government also faced criticism from the nationalist opposition at home over the Armenia drive. Opposition parties have accused the government of sacrificing ties with Azerbaijan without any solid concession from Yerevan. Turkish-Armenian ties are also problematic because of Armenian claims that a genocide took place at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, a charge categorically rejected by Turkey.
“Our stance on Nagorno-Karabakh is clear, and there has never been any deviation from this stance,” Erdoğan told the Azerbaijani parliament. “We want the problem to be resolved on the basis of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”
“We have never taken any steps that could harm the national interests of Azerbaijan and will never take such steps,” Erdoğan said. “There will be no normalization unless the occupation of Azerbaijani territory ends.” The prime minister insisted that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue had never been ignored in the course of efforts to normalize ties with Armenia, adding that the two processes should go hand in hand. “Otherwise we are not in this business,” he said.
Prime Minister Erdoğan lays flowers at the Turkish cemetery in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku.
But he also defended his government's policy of reconciliation with Armenia, saying that a lack of solution in the disputes in the southern Caucasus was in the interest of no one. Erdoğan also said Turkey's efforts were aimed not only at normalization in ties with Armenia but also contributing to the welfare and stability of the entire region.
Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has promised “zero problems with neighbors” since it came to power in 2002. Efforts to normalize relations with Armenia gained momentum after a Russian-Georgian war in August over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Erdoğan said in his parliamentary address that his government had worked hard to push the Nagorno-Karabakh problem to the forefront of the international political agenda. When US President Barack Obama visited Turkey in early April, the Nagorno-Karabakh problem was the most important issue highlighted by the Turkish side during the talks, he said.
But he once again urged the United States, as well as Russia and France, to speed up efforts to find a resolution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute, saying pleasant words and wishes were not enough to bring about a breakthrough. The three countries have been leading international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, but their nearly two-decade work has so far produced little progress. Aliyev and his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarksyan, met in Prague earlier this month to discuss their territorial dispute, and they are expected to meet again in Russia next month to continue the talks. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have said there was no progress in the Prague meeting.
The United States and the European Union back Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, but they are also wary of losing Azerbaijan, whose participation in Western plans to curb European dependence on Russia for energy is key to success of any project to that effect. Amid tension with Turkey, Aliyev visited Russia, causing concerns that Baku is inching towards Russia at the expense of its ties with the West.
Asked to comment on his country's ties with Russia, Aliyev said yesterday that Azerbaijan's relations with Russia were important and had a long history, without elaborating.
Gas price increase on the way
Erdoğan, who traveled to Baku accompanied by Energy Minister Taner Yıldız and other ministers, said officials from the two countries would discuss changing the price at which Ankara purchases Azerbaijani natural gas.
Turkey currently purchases 6.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, about one-sixth of its total annual need, from Azerbaijan at a discount price of $120 per 1,000 cubic meters. It pays an average of about $250 per 1,000 cubic meters for natural gas it purchases from other suppliers. Some of that gas is shipped on to Greece. Turkey is seeking an additional 8 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan.
“I cannot say that the price is fair,” Erdoğan said at the press conference with Aliyev. “We will have talks and make sure the price will be a fair one.”
Partners in the 7.9 billion euro Nabucco project, aimed at cutting Europe's dependency on Russian gas, want Azerbaijani gas to fill the pipeline when it opens in 2013. Nabucco will eventually carry about 30 billion cubic meters of gas from the Caspian and Middle East to meet about 5 percent of European demand. 14 May 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN
New Road Block On The ’Road Map’
ANKARA - The road to reconciliation between Ankara and Yerevan takes a detour as Prime Minister Erdoğan stops off in Baku to meet with Azerbaijani President Aliyev. In a joint press conference, Erdoğan once again states that a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh problem, namely the retreat of Armenian troops, is the key to opening the border between Turkey and Armenia
Squeezed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Turkey yesterday reaffirmed that "the border with Armenia will remain closed until Armenian occupation of Azeri territories ends," potentially bringing reconciliatory talks with Yerevan back to the beginning and the road map to a dead end.
"There is a cause and effect relation here. Occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh is the cause here and closing of the border is the effect. It is impossible for us to open the border unless that occupation ends," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev during his two-day visit to Baku.
Erdoğan’s visit was aimed at calming down Azerbaijan, which has been disappointed by Ankara’s negotiations with Yerevan about a road map to normalize ties last month.
Following a meeting with Aliyev, Erdoğan also addressed the Azerbaijani parliament to inform them about the recent developments.
"Who is saying this? The prime minister of the Republic of Turkey. Could there be any better guarantee?" Erdoğan told Azerbaijani deputies.
Erdoğan’s statement verifies Turkey’s new position toward the reconciliation process with Armenia, which introduces the Nagorno-Karabakh problem as the new condition for moving forward with Yerevan.
Turkey says the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia has also mobilized the international community for the solution of the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh and deserves some praise by Baku as well.
"There is no reason left to be suspicious. The words of the prime minister constitute the best response for that," Aliyev said, adding that the reasons for their concerns were some media reports that were not denied by Turkey. "But in April, the statements by President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Erdoğan clarified the situation and made us feel relieved," he said.According to Erdoğan, the reasons for Baku’s concerns stemmed from false news in the press, especially from a Web site in Armenia that said, "Turkey decides to give up its support for the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and is unconditionally ready to open the border with Armenia."
"I stated our position many times in our Parliament and at press conferences. Which one do you think is more credible: Statements from Turkey’s prime minister and president or what a Web site says?" Erdoğan said in his address to parliament. "We fully share Azerbaijan’s sensitivities over the Nagorno-Karabakh. It’s not possible for us to accept speculations made against Turkey over this issue."
Though he has put the blame for Baku’s discomfort on the press, Erdoğan also acknowledged "there was a sort of communication failure between Turkish and Azeri officials." He said: "It seems we should meet more often and talk directly. We should not use the press as our messengers. You see what the press is doing."
Between the lines, Erdoğan also confessed that the Turkish government did not update Baku on its talks with Armenia. "There is a rule in diplomacy. The meetings are kept secret until they are finalized. That’s why we could not share information," he said. Baku was complaining about the lack of information about Turkey-Armenia talks last month.
Describing the two countries’ bilateral relations as perfect and brotherly, Erdoğan asked Azerbaijani lawmakers to deny those who wish to conspire against Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship.
Erdoğan urges the Minsk group
Placing the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement as a condition, Erdoğan also called on the Minsk Group, set up in 1992 and co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France, to speed up efforts to find a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents met last week in Prague to discuss the solution of the two-decade-old dispute. They will meet again in St. Petersburg, Russia next month. "We are ready to do our best if a mission falls to us [with regard to the Nagorno-Karabkh talks]," he said.
Reaffirming that Turkey’s position on the issue remains same, Erdoğan said: "But on the other hand, leaving the dispute unsolved is in no one’s interest. Solutions to these sorts of disputes require stamina. That was our point when we were meeting [with Armenians] to solve the problems."
Another top issue discussed between the two leaders and energy ministers was adjusting the gas prices. Turkey buys about 6 billion cubic meters of Caspian natural gas annually since a pipeline from the Azerbaijani Shakh-Deniz field opened in 2007. Seeking an additional 8 billion cubic meters, Turkey was only paying $120 per 1,000 cubic meters, well below the global natural gas prices."I know it’s not a fair price. I believe we are going to agree on a fairer price," Erdoğan said.
İlham Aliyev, on the other hand, denied any link between a thaw on the political front and negotiations over gas prices. "The gas prices depend on the ups and downs of the oil prices. And it is also written in our earlier made agreements," he said.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
US Ambassador To Armenia: Since 1988 The U.S. Government Has Provided Almost Two Billion Dollars Of Humanitarian Aid And Development Assistance For Armenia 2009-05-12
ArmInfo. Since international assistance to Armenia began over twenty years ago with the relief effort following the 1988 earthquake, the U.S. government has provided almost two billion dollars of humanitarian aid and development assistance for Armenia's economic, social and governance sectors, US Ambassador to Armenia Marie L. Yovanovitch says in her statement.
"The Obama Administration's request for Armenia for FY 2010 ($30 million) is 25 percent above the last Bush Administration budget request ($24 million was requested for FY 2009; Congress doubled this request to $48 million). The actual level of assistance for Armenia for FY 2010 has not yet been determined by the U.S. Congress",-Yovanovitch says.
With respect to funding for Nagorno-Karabakh, there has never been a budget request sent to Congress because there is no mechanism for doing so in the budget process. Rather, the humanitarian assistance provided to Nagorno-Karabakh is worked out afterwards, during the budget negotiation between Congress and the Administration.
Regarding military assistance, the Administration's FMF request for Armenia in FY 2010 is the same level as Armenia received in FY 2009. There has been no decrease. The specific increase for Azerbaijan is linked to U.S. priorities in peacekeeping and maritime security, particularly regarding proliferation and drug trafficking on the Caspian Sea.
"The respective levels requested for Armenia and Azerbaijan are carefully considered and calibrated to ensure that they do not adversely affect the military balance in the region or undermine efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; they do, however, provide appropriate assistance to each country that will enhance their interoperability and military professionalism",-she says.
To note, the US ambassador made this statement in response to news reports carried recently by several media outlets regarding assistance from the United States for Armenia.
The news reports said that the US Administration intends to provide Armenia with 30 mln USD in FY 2010 as against 48 mln USD in 2009. It was also reported that the US budget will include no item of provision of humanitarian aid for Nagorno-Karabakh while in FY 2009 Karabakh was provided with 8 mln USD humanitarian aid.
“Hot Line” To Counter Anti-Armenian Media Bias Launched By President’s Office 2009/05/13
The Office of Public Relations and Mass Media attached to the RoA President’s Office has announced the launch of a “hot line” designed to collect reports of disinformation and inaccuracies regarding Armenia and Armenians appearing on the internet and in other mass media outlets.
The Office of Public Relations says that all such reports will be researched and that corresponding steps will be taken to correct any such cases of biased and inaccurate commentary and news.
The announcement urges individuals who come across such cases to report them to the “hot line” at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCAF France: Armenia Turkey Declaration Is Unacceptable 13.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The member associations of the CCAF (Co-ordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France) express their deep concern about the joint statement of the foreign affairs ministers of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland, as a matter of form, rather belatedly, in the evening of April 22.
"With deep reservation and skepticism, we notice the extreme eagerness, which governed the drafting of this statement, and its lack of transparency. The vague nature of the so-called 'base agreement' and the constant pressure put on the Armenian government leave no other choice but to reject any agreement which would disregard the fundamental rights of the Armenian people throughout the world" says the statement.
Authors of the document state, that it is not possible to accept the joint statement of Turkey, Armenia, and Switzerland of April 22, 2009 for the following reasons:
"The date of the statement, two days before the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, is inappropriate, to say the least : on April 24, every year, Armenians commemorate all over the world the genocide which the Young Turks perpetrated on the helpless civilian Armenian populations of the Ottoman Empire.
The eagerness of the declaration casts doubt on the dangerous and unacceptable concessions that Armenia will be forced to make at the debit of the national security of the Republic of Armenia, particularly concerning the Karabagh self-determination recognition process. The government of Armenia has been put under the strong pressure of superpowers seeking their own interest's satisfaction.
By the present, we formally declare our stance to the politicians and remind them, that together with other Armenian communities of the Diaspora, the citizens of Armenia and Karabagh, we will reject unequivocally any agreement, which might jeopardize the fundamental rights of the Armenian nation" says the document.
Minister Inflames 'Genocide' Row Between Turkey And Canberra Michael Owen | May 13, 2009, The Australian
A STATE Labor minister has inflamed tensions between Turkey and Canberra about a "genocide" by accepting an invitation to address a 20,000-strong rally in Greece on the sensitive issue.
South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson sparked outrage from the Turkish Government this year after he described the "genocide" of Pontian Greeks by Turkish nationalists between 1916 and 1923.
Mr Atkinson, who also is the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, inflamed the row by declaring that anyone who disputed this version of history was practising a form of "Holocaust denial".
As reported by The Australian last month, the Turkish ambassador to Australia, Murat Ersavci, protested to Foreign Minister Stephen Smith about the "defamation" of his country, and warned that thousands of Turkish Australians feared discrimination because of the situation in South Australia.
But last night, a defiant Mr Atkinson said he was "honoured" to have accepted an invitation to speak at an annual assembly in Greece, commemorating the Pontian Greeks, and would leave on Friday as a guest of the Pan-Pontian Federation of Greece. Mr Ersavci said Mr Atkinson's decision to address next Tuesday's rally was "deeply regrettable".
Mr Atkinson and the state parliament, which passed a motion of support on April 30, "could very easily bring the friendship between Turkey and Australia to a halt", Mr Ersavci warned.
"Australian citizens of Turkish origin naturally fear that a deliberate climate of hostility is being created towards them and that there is a strong racist undercurrent to it," he said.
Australia's ambassador to Turkey, Peter Doyle, said South Australia's position "does not reflect the approach of the Australian Government".
Mr Atkinson said he had been "overwhelmed" by the response from the Greek, Armenian and Cypriot communities to his stance. "There are many Greek-Australians who have been deeply affected by the genocide," he said.
Mr Ersavci accused Mr Atkinson of rewriting history to lever votes for the ALP, a charge Mr Atkinson denied.
But Mr Atkinson has written to thousands of voters from Greek, Assyrian, Syrian Orthodox and Armenian backgrounds in eight state seats in Adelaide on the matter.
AAA: Congressional Committee Holds Hearing on U.S.-Turkey Relations May 14, 2009
Expert Urges No Linkage between Armenia-Turkey relations and Genocide Recognition or NKR
Washington, DC - Turkish Caucus Co-Chair and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), held a hearing today on U.S.-Turkey relations reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The panel included Dr. Ian O. Lesser with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Dr. Stephen J. Flanagan, Ph.D. with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and David L. Phillips with the Atlantic Council of the United States.
Testifying specifically about Armenia-Turkey relations, Phillips stated that there should be no linkage with respect to normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Phillips also indicated that there should be no linkage between Turkish-Armenian relations and the Nagorno Karabakh peace process.
"The Armenian government has consistently and repeatedly offered to normalize relations with Turkey without preconditions only to see such offers rejected by Turkey," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "Affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and combating its denial is a fundamental human rights issue and in no uncertain terms should be linked to normalization of relations. In addition, there should be no linkage to Armenia-Turkey relations and the Nagorno Karabakh peace process," added Ardouny.
Phillips noted that progress in relations will be measured by "actions and not words" and raised concerns about contradictory statements made by Turkish leaders. Phillips pointed to the inconsistent statements of Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which Gul said that normalization would proceed "without preconditions," while Erdogan linked it to Nagorno Karabakh.
As reported in Todays Zaman, Erdogan reassured Azerbaijan's President stating that "some reports said Turkey gave up on Nagorno-Karabakh in order to normalize relations with Armenia. This is an outright lie. I dismiss it...." Erdogan also said Turkey and Azerbaijan were "one nation with two states" and added that their stance on Nagorno Karabakh has never changed.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan criticized Erdogan for linking Turkey's lifting of its blockade and establishing diplomatic relations to the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. "Any Turkish attempt to interfere in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh problem can only harm that process," the President's office said in a statement today.
Phillips, who also served as Chairman of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission from 2001 to 2004, recalled the tragic assassination of Hrant Dink, who was prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking about the Armenian Genocide. Phillips indicated that one way to honor the memory and legacy of Hrant Dink would be to expand track two activities. Phillips recounted the track two recommendations of TARC, and noted that a legal opinion by the International Transitional Center for Justice (ICTJ) concluded that the Armenian Genocide met the United Nations definition of genocide.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
Editor's Note: Witness Testimony Attached
David L. Phillips Testimony
Dr. Stephen J. Flanagan, Ph.D
Dr. Ian O. Lesser
Orhan Pamuk’s Novel In Armenia
ISTANBUL - Nobel laureate Turkish author Orhan Pamuk is introduced to his readers in Armenia. Pamuk’s first novel ’Kar’ (Snow) has become the first novel to be translated into Armenian in the history of Armenian Republic
The first and only Nobel laureate author of Turkish literature, Orhan Pamuk, has been introduced to the people of Armenia via his novel "Kar" (Snow), which was translated into Armenian by the Hamazgayin (National) Education and Culture Association in Yerevan. It is the first time in Armenian history that Turkish literature has been translated into Armenian.
Daily Agos editor-in-chief Hrant Dink, who was fatally shot Jan. 19, 2007, came up with the idea of translating Pamuk’s novels, notably "Kar," into Armenian a short time before his death.
"We are very pleased to bring together Armenian readers and the work of a Nobel laureate author," said Hamazgayin Education and Culture Association Chairwoman Lilit Kalstyan. She said intercommunal dialog would develop with cultural exchange.
"Pamuk honestly for the first time gave a voice to the pains experienced by Armenian society," she said and invited Pamuk to Armenia through the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. "We will get in touch with the publishing house within a short time. It will be our pleasure to host such a great Turkish author in Armenia." Interpreter Hagop Soğomanyan, whose book has been translated into Armenian from Russian, said: "Nobody has depicted Turkey in such a nice and epic language. The novel points out the dark sides of a snow white country."
First in the history of Armenian literature
According to data provided by the Yerevan State University’s Turkish Studies Department, the last time literature was translated from Turkish to Armenian was during the Soviet Union. The works of masters of Turkish literature Yaşar Kemal, Aziz Nesin and Sabahattin Ali were translated into Armenian during that time. Pamuk is the first author whose work has been translated into Armenian since Armenia’s independence. The special interest in Pamuk comes from his statement, "One million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds have been killed in Turkey," before receiving the Nobel Prize.
Yerevan State University Turkish Studies Department Chairman Professor Alexander Safaryan said mutual translations in Turkish and Armenian literature carried great importance for establishing dialog between the publics. Safaryan said three years ago academic Murat Belge and Osman Kavala, the founding partner of one of Turkey’s leading publishing houses, İletişim Publishing House, decided to establish a joint commission. "The commission was expected to translate works in Turkish and Armenian literature but the idea could not be realized because of financial problems."
Yerevan State University Philology expert Dr. Rupen Hovhannesi Melkonyan, who is working on his first doctoral thesis about Turkish literature, said: "The story of the novel takes place in the southeastern city of Kars. Its theme is around Armenia and its culture. That is why the book appeals to us. Also, it will be a pleasure for us to read a Nobel laureate author in Armenian."
Ara Galoyan, a journalist at weekly Armenian 168 Jam (168 Hours) newspaper, said he was very excited about the translation of the book. "Pamuk bravely tells about the bitter experiences of Armenians. It is very important to share our pain," he said.
About the novel
"Kar" (Snow) was published in Turkish in 2002 and in English in 2004. The story encapsulates many of modern Turkey’s political and cultural tensions and successfully combines humor, social commentary, mysticism and a deep sympathy with its characters. In the novel, a poet named Ka returns to Turkey after a 12-year political exile in Germany. A friend in Istanbul who works for a newspaper suggests that he to go to Kars for an interview. Under heavy snowfall, Ka tries to get to know Kars.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Armenia Slams Turkish Pm Over Karabakh Link To Border Opening
ISTANBUL - Armenian leaders on Thursday criticized Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan for making the opening of the border with Armenia conditional on its withdrawal from the occupied Azeri territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Any Turkish attempt to interfere in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can only harm the ongoing negotiations between Baku and Yerevan, Armenian media quoted President Sezrh Sargsyan as saying after meeting Brian Fall, Britain’s special representative for the South Caucasus.
"If Turkey wishes to help resolve the conflict, it had better refrain from interfering in the process," Sargsyan said.
Turkey will not open its border with Armenia before the neighboring country ends its occupation of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Erdogan reiterated after meeting Azerbaijani president in Baku whre he visited to reassure Azeri leaders that Ankara's efforts to reconcile with Yerevan would not undermine the country's interests.
Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian also said Turkey's support to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be in not interfering with the process, according to reports on Friday.
Nalbandian was quoted by Armenian media as saying during a separate meeting with Fall that the negotiations aimed at settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute are carried out within the OSCE Minsk Group based on the Madrid principles, and the two sides are trying to approximate their positions.
Ankara cut diplomatic links with Yerevan and closed the border in a show of support to Azerbaijan in 1993 after 20 percent of its territory was invaded by Armenia in the disputed region -- a frozen conflict legacy of the Soviet Union known as Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey and Armenia, however, agreed last month on a "road map" deal for U.S.-backed talks that could lead to the normalizing of ties and the opening of their border.
The Ankara-Yerevan thaw has reportedly disturbed Azerbaijan, which says opening the border before the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the country’s occupied territories would run counter to its national interests. Hurriyet
Political Analyst Yervant Bozoyan - Talks With Turkey Have Collapsed 2009/05/15 Natasha Harutyunyan
Political scientists Alexander Margaryan and Yervand Bozoyan expressed their concerns regarding the ongoing normalization process between Turkey and Armenia at a press conference held today. Mr. Bozoyan went so far as to say that the neogtiating process has essentially collapsed.
Mr. Bozoyan stated that Turkey had de-facto set a number of preconditions for any normalization and that as of May 31 pressure brought to bear on Armenia by international organizations will increase.
Mr. Bozoyan stated that the recent pronouncements of Turkish PM Erdogan in Baku show that Ankara and Baku are of one mind when it comes to putting the settlement of the Karabakh issue as a precondition for improving Armenian-Turkish relations.
The political scientist believes that Armenia made a huge mistake when it went public with the normalization process, labeling it a strategic blunder. Turkey, feeling that it had registered all the dividends on paper, has now directly raised the issue of positive development of the Karabakh issue.
“We see the statements being made by Turkey and understand that even if they aren’t written down on paper, preconditions do exist. We will feel their impact come June. Turkey is sending signals to international organizations to speed up the Karabakh settlement talks. It is difficult to stop the negotiations process once it has started. Turkey raises the issue of Armenian troop withdrawals from five of the territories so that it becomes a topic of current debate. Pressure on Armenia in this regard will mount. Thus, this policy of ‘football diplomacy’ was a mistake and we have yet to feel its consequences,” stated Mr. Bozoyan.
Mr. Margaryan noted three possible scenarios of the negotiating process leading to a normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. The most pessimistic is when the Karabakh settlement becomes a precondition directly linked to the opening of the border.
If this is the case, Mr. Margaryan believes that the talks should continue until the logical point is arrived at when it becomes clear that we actually expect the border to be opened according to certain conditions. “We are not talking about preconditions but a set of normal, civilized conditions,” he said.
Mr. Bozoyan concluded by saying, “Armenia must slowly come around to the conclusion that the process of normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations has collapsed. Armenia must take a firmer position regarding all talks about Karabakh and display its opposition to any non-formal new formats in which Turkey might possibly be included.”
Negationism Advertising In Bodrum Turkey 15 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Photos taken by Tania in the streets of Bodrum on 15 April 2009.
They are bus shelter size posters in English and Turkish.
Manipulation and denial continue ...
Editor's Note: Or the last sentence should read "Manipulation by Armenians continue and Armenian Fabrication Not To Be Mention". Armenews must have forgotten that the images were manipulated by the Armenians in the first place and exposing the manipulation is NOT called manipulation. Oh well, maybe the "google Translate" is to blame. Surely, Armenews cannot make such errors, we wonder.
Armenian Genocide: Yehuda Bauer Speaks At Clark University 15 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Professor Yehuda Bauer, great authority at the global level of Holocaust, spoke April 23 to over 300 students, researchers and guests at Tilton Hall, Clark University at a conference.
Yehuda Bauer began his speech by asking his wife Ilana to play two songs - melody and Armenian Yiddish melody called "Shtiller, Shtiller" ( "Quiet, Quiet"), song of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Yehuda Bauer launched his speech about the significance of the Holocaust and genocide. "This is an important date. This is two days after Yom Hashoah, the Jewish days of remembrance, a day before the Armenian Remembrance Day and six days after the day of the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto. "
"And again, I must begin my remarks with a complaint. The words we use today are wrong ... we have the United Nations are made up of nations, but are hardly 'united.' We have a Union ' European 'which may be' European ', but is hardly a' union. 'And we have an' international 'and it is' international' is barely a community. 'The language hides the meaning .
"The Holocaust must be seen as a global phenomenon, not just a European phenomenon and must be seen through the history vertically and horizontally across and in comparison to other nations. "
"The Convention on Genocide was problematic because it was essentially a compromise between America and its Western allies and the USSR, it was a compromise document. Its origins, as you know, returning to a Jewish lawyer and jurist from Poland named Raphael Lemkin who first started to write all this in the 1930s, before the Holocaust of the Jews; model Lemkin was not a Jew but Armenian, referring to the Armenian genocide of 1915 and previous genocide against the Herero tribe in the south-west Africa in the years 1903-04. His goal was truly a comparative genocide. "
"The Holocaust was not and is not unique! It was however the most extreme form of genocide to date, unprecedented in scope and action. But it was not unique there have been other genocides before and after that. It is, however, the paradigmatic genocide. "
Armenian Genocide: Senator Ferguson Made An Apology 15 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Australian Senator Alain Ferguson made an apology for having described the genocide of Armenians and Greeks Bridge "questionable." In a speech to Parliament two weeks ago, Senator Ferguson said that the historical truth of both genocide "can not be accurately depicted" today.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia (Australia ANC) and the heads of the Greek and Assyrian communities immediately presented academic papers about the Armenian Genocide and demanded that Senator Ferguson apology for throwing doubt on the accuracy of these crimes against humanity, which was condemned by the International Association of Genocide Scholars on.
Senator Ferguson in his letter of apology, said he was "deeply sorry" and that his speech was not intended to cause "distress".
He continued: "I accept the findings of the International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples compared to the atrocities that were committed against Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks Bridge ....
The ANC President Australia, Mr. Varant Meguerditchian said that the community accepted the apology of Senator Ferguson and wanted to establish a strong working relationship with him.
"We accept Senator remorse as sincere and believe that the Senator now has the great impact of this crime against humanity that has played in the lives of so many Greek and Armenian descent who now considers Australia as their home." Meguerditchian said.
Editor's Note: Senator Ferguson has the same breed as Jack Lang , we reckon
Halacoglu: Obama Faces His Own History 15 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Negationism Yusuf Halacoglu made a response to the statement by U.S. President Barack Obama about the "clash in history," claiming that "Obama faces his own history."
The former President of the Turkish History Institute Yusuf Halacoglu has responded to the call for Obama that Turkey opens its border with Armenia and has questioned why the United States did not remove its embargo on Cuba.
Yusuf Halacoglu added that Armenians fought alongside France, England and Russia during the First World War he added "Every creature is sacred in our religion. The most worthy among all humans. Sultan Mehmed II Hagia Sofia was converted into a mosque after he conquered Istanbul. He founded a foundation and said, "the essence of the universe is the human and the foundation is for people."
Stressing that some circles claimed that Ottoman Armenians were deported for no reason, Yusuf Halacoglu said "if the Ottoman Armenians in France say they are fighting alongside him, this is treason. Under international law the rule is a betrayal for deportation. Everyone must be considered. The Liberals put their signature under the text of the apology to the Armenians must be considered. Scientists claim that the Turks committed genocide must be considered. While the Ottoman state was fighting against Russia, against England in Musul, against France in Syria and against France and England in Canakkale, Armenians stabbed the Ottoman State from behind. "
New Law To Allow 51 Percent Foreign Ownership In Media Agencies, Turkey
RTÜK reserves the right to block broadcasts when national security openly requires it and to stop a program from being broadcast when a particular program might cause panic among the public.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has completed work on a bill that will allow foreign legal persons to own as much as 51 percent of a Turkish media organization, as opposed to the current 25 percent, officials say.
The new regulation will be enacted at the end of this year, a necessary arrangement under a promise made by the government to the European Union. The bill, which is currently at the prime minister's office for review, is expected to facilitate foreign media ownership in Turkey . Until now most foreigners have shunned investment in this sector as, with only 25 percent ownership, they would not have any say in administration. The new bill prepared by RTÜK was based on the foreign capital shareholders' percentages in EU member states.
The new bill also removes the ban on foreign owners becoming partners in a second media organization. Now foreigners can buy shares in more than one media organization, but ownership cannot exceed 25 percent in the second or third company.
However, the new bill still includes certain restrictions: Foreign interests will not be able to invest in regional and local television and radio stations. Under the new bill, RTÜK still holds the right to block broadcasts when national security openly necessitates; however, such blockages can only be enforced only by judicial order. The prime minister or an authorized minister also holds the power to apply to court to stop a certain broadcast in cases of national security breaches or a serious threat to public order and safety. Such applications are to be reviewed by the courts immediately. RTÜK also has the right to stop a program from being broadcast in cases where a particular program might cause panic among the public.
No television stations for political parties
The new bill also bans political parties, associations, workers' unions, professional organizations and corporate bodies from engaging in investment, exports, imports, marketing and finance with companies that have radio and broadcasting rights. They are also banned from holding partnership in these companies. These new limitations are expected to cause some controversy. Currently, the Republican People's Party (CHP) has shares in Halk TV, while the Independent Turkey Party's (BTP) Haydar Baş is the owner of Mesaj TV. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) purportedly owns shares in the ATA and SES television stations. Chairman of the Turkish Metal Workers' Union Mustafa Özbek, who is currently in jail as a suspect in the Ergenekon investigations, is the owner of the ART TV. Radio and television broadcasting rights will only be given to legal persons whose entities are founded with the sole purpose of providing services in communications, education, culture or arts. Only one radio or television station can be registered to a company at a time.
The new bill also introduces a limitation of 50 percent share ownership in television and radio stations whose average ratings are higher than 20 percent of the population, based on annual rating measurements to be conducted by RTÜK.
If a radio or television station's average ratings exceed 20 percent, any company with more than 50 percent ownership in the station has 90 days to sell some of its shares to a partner or announce a public offering to reduce their ownership to less than 50 percent. Companies who fail to comply with this regulation will lose their broadcasting licenses.
No more golden shares
Under the new bill RTÜK's approval will be necessary to initiate a public offering of privately owned radio and television stations. The golden share principle will be removed in accordance with the Free Circulation of Capital chapter in the EU negotiations, preventing investors from obtaining controlling shares in a public offering.
Also in order to meet the demands of the EU in the above chapter, any legal or administrative regulations that introduce special conditions for local or foreign investors will be removed, along with any potentially discriminatory expressions in the law in the fields of telecommunications, energy, mining, sea transportation, civilian aviation and the media. The new law also doesn't allow for the allocation of frequencies and cable capacity to radio and television organizations that run broadcasts directed at Turkey but are based abroad. The bill will also ban broadcasts that are “amoral” or that include obscenity.
Programs promoting criminal organizations and terrorism will not be allowed. Twenty percent of cartoons shown on any channel will have to be Turkish productions.
16 May 2009, ERCAN YAVUZ
Yerevan To Erdoğan: Don’t Interfere In Karabakh Row
The ongoing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process appeared to hit a snag on Friday when Armenian leaders criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for making the normalization of ties with Armenia conditional on a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh during a visit to Baku and urged him not to interfere in the settlement process.
“The president said that, as he repeatedly pointed out during Armenian-Turkish contacts, any Turkish attempt to interfere in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem can only harm that process,” a statement said.
The statement was released by Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan's office after a meeting between Sarksyan and Brian Fall, Britain's special representative for the South Caucasus. Sarksyan said at the meeting that if Turkey wants to contribute to a peaceful settlement to the conflict, then “it had better not meddle in the process of conflict resolution at all.”
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan, who also met with the British envoy, was quoted as making similar comments by the Armenian Foreign Ministry.
During his visit to Baku on Wednesday, Prime Minister Erdoğan assured the Azerbaijani leadership and parliament that Turkey would not open its border with Armenia, which has been closed since 1993, unless Armenia withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh. “There is a relation of cause and effect here. The occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh is a cause, and the closure of the border is an effect. Without the occupation ending, the gates will not be opened,” Erdoğan told a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev.
The statement was welcomed by Aliyev, who said there could be no clearer assurances for his country than what Erdoğan had said and that Azerbaijan's concerns were completely eased. But it raised questions in Turkey as to whether Erdoğan had signaled a change in the Turkish policy of rapprochement with Armenia.
Prime Minister Erdoğan met Azerbaijani President Aliyev during a visit to Baku on Wednesday. Aliyev (R) said his country’s concerns over Turkey’s talks with Armenia were completely removed.
Turkey and Armenia announced a roadmap for normalizing their relations in April. Details of the deal are not clear, but the Armenian side was hopeful that the border could be opened by end of the year. Although the officials have been tightlipped on the content of secret talks that have been under way between the two countries for one-and-a-half years, the widespread understanding is that the normalization of relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement are two separate processes that will nevertheless go hand in hand.
What surprised the analysts most was Erdoğan's clear statements linking normal relations with Armenia to a settlement in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, because the assumption was that the border would be opened when Armenia withdraws, or commits to withdrawal, not from Nagorno-Karabakh, but from six regions adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh. The occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, was completed in 1992. Turkey closed its border in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan in 1993, when Armenian occupation extended to Azerbaijani land next to Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey has long said there will be no normalization with Armenia unless, among other things, Armenia withdraws from Nagorno-Karabakh, but the launch of the reconciliation process one-and-a-half years ago had been taken as a sign that this conditionality was being revised.
“I knew that normalization of relations with Armenia was somehow linked to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, but I thought that link was with the withdrawal of Armenia from the six regions adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh, not Nagorno-Karabakh itself,” İlter Türkmen, a former foreign minister, told Today's Zaman. “But what the prime minister says now is different. He says normalization is not possible unless Armenia withdraws from Nagorno-Karabakh, which basically means there will be no normalization before a settlement to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Armenia wants a referendum to determine the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, but Azerbaijan rejects this proposal, saying the dispute should be resolved on the basis of the principle of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity as it was prior to 1992. “This is a very complicated problem, as complicated as Cyprus, and perhaps even worse,” Türkmen said. Neither Sarksyan nor Nalbandyan said whether Erdoğan's statement would block normalization efforts with Turkey, but prospects for a quick reconciliation have disappeared after Erdoğan's remarks, according to experts. “It seems that in the foreseeable future we will not be able to normalize relations with Armenia and we will lose the momentum that was opened up by the president's visit to Armenia,” Türkmen said.
“Erdoğan may have eased Aliyev's concerns, but he dragged Turkish foreign policy in the Caucasus into a quagmire,” wrote Cengiz Çandar, a foreign policy analyst, in the Radikal daily yesterday. “Turkey conducted terrible diplomacy and made its Caucasus diplomacy a hostage to Aliyev.”
Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan is a key ally of Turkey in the region and a major supplier of natural gas. It is also a key partner in the Nabucco project, which is set to transfer gas from the Caspian, Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe in an effort to curb Europe's energy dependency on Russia.
Azerbaijan's criticism of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement had brought Erdoğan's government under pressure from the nationalist opposition, as well. The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) accused the government of losing Azerbaijan without winning any concrete concessions from Armenia in either the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute or regarding Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
The MHP on Thursday welcomed Erdoğan's Baku visit. “The visit has been extremely positive because it reversed an erroneous policy,” Oktay Vural, a MHP deputy parliamentary group chairman, said at a press conference in Parliament.
16 May 2009, FATMA DEMIRELLI Zaman
’Gül And Erdoğan Differ On Armenia’ Hurriyet
WASHINGTON - Gül and Erdoğan differ on their opinions on the opening of the Turkey-Armenia border, says a US expert. The politicians defend their views, with Gül saying normalizations would continue ’without preconditions’ and PM asking Armenia to first end its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh
Turkey’s top leaders have used conflicting rhetoric in discussing the future of last month’s general agreement with Armenia for normalization of the troubled relations between the neighboring countries, a U.S. expert on the matter said Thursday.
President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have publicly defended their opposing views on the agreement.
"On Friday last week, President Abdullah Gül said that normalization would proceed ’without preconditions,’" said David Phillips, a senior fellow with the Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Atlantic Council of the United States. "During a television interview the next day, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey ’could open its border if Armenia lifts its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh.’"
The American analyst made his comments at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Europe Subcommittee on U.S.-Turkish ties. He had previously chaired a Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission designed to discuss the two countries’ relations. The commission dissolved three years ago as Turkish and Armenian representatives failed to agree on key matters.
Phillips said he welcomed Turkey and Armenia’s joint April 22 move to announce a framework agreement for normalizing relations, but warned, "Progress will be measured by actions, not words."
The framework agreement and a related road map, whose details have not been made public, are believed to include measures such as the establishment of full diplomatic relations and the opening of the Turkish-Armenian land border.
Turks and Armenians disagree over the nature of the killings of many Ottoman Armenians at the end of World War I. Armenians say the killings amount to genocide, but Turks reject the label and say many Muslims also died in an ethnic conflict amid a disintegrating empire.
Turkey recognized Armenia's independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. But it closed its land border with Armenia in 1993 and has refused to establish diplomatic ties because of Armenia’s invasion and occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and part of Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s. A fragile truce has been in place since then, but a peace agreement has never been signed.
Azerbaijan is concerned about the possibility of the border re-opening before a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is established. But, said Phillips, "Turkey’s national interests cannot be held hostage by Azerbaijan."
The United States, which strongly backs the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process, says the road map should be implemented without preconditions. If the Turkish-Armenian deal fails, Phillips said, it would have serious repercussions on U.S.-Turkish relations.
Reminder: Some Posts Under The Media Scanner Have Been Moved To "Opinions" And "Interviews"
Dashnaktsutyun Is Not Ready For A Revolution 07/05/2009 Lragir.Am
Clarifying the present status of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun, Artsvik Minasyan noted that the ARF is opposition not only in the sphere of the foreign but also in the sphere of home politics. According to him, the ARF Dashnaktsutyun has always have disagreements inside the government on social justice, quality of the elections and on other questions, but they did not were as much to separate from the government because the Dashnaktsutyun was sure that the coalition was leading right policy in connection with the important national questions. The latest developments relating to the `roadmap', according to Artsvik Minasyan, eliminated the ties of the party with the government. The first number of the Dashnaktsutyun ticket for the Yerevan Mayor election stated that they do not have the question of the change of government on their agenda and their mission is to help the government to avoid mistakes in national questions.
Obama: Squaring The Circle On The Armenian Genocide Huffpost May 8, 2009
April 24th, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a statement commemorating Armenian Remembrance Day--the day when Armenians worldwide recall the genocidal assault on their community that ultimately took the lives of 1.5 million in the post-WWI era.
In the weeks leading up to the 24th, both Turks and Armenians held their breath in anticipation, or dread, of the language the President would use in describing the Armenian tragedy.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama had been forceful, not only in declaring that the events of 1915 were genocide, but in criticizing those who would not do so. In a statement issued on January 19, 2008, Obama said:
"As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide...the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact...An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy...as President I will recognize Armenian Genocide."
During his April 2009 visit to Turkey, President Obama carefully raised this sensitive issue during his address to the Turkish Parliament. By beginning with a lesson learned from US history, he sought to prod his hosts into dealing with their past:
"The Untied States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our own history...our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans...History is often tragic, but unresolved, it can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future. I know there's strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. And while there's been a good deal of commentary about my views, it's really about how the Turkish and Armenian people deal with the past. And the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive."
The stage was set for the 24th, with a great deal of speculation, but without anyone knowing for certain exactly how the new President would reconcile: his personal beliefs and his commitment to Armenian Americans; the importance he places on the US-Turkish relationship; and his desire to see a stable Turkish and Armenian future.
Then, two days before Remembrance Day, the Turkish and Armenian governments announced that they had agreed to a "road map" for normalizing relations.
Concerned that he not disrupt this process, Obama's statement on the 24th reflected this development. In part, his statement read:
"Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people...I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts...The best way to advance that goal right now is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward... To that end, there has been courageous and important dialogue among Armenians and Turks, and within Turkey itself. I also strongly support the efforts by Turkey and Armenia to normalize their bilateral relations... the two governments have agreed on a framework and road map for normalization. I commend this progress, and urge them to fulfill its promise."
Some Armenian American organizations were outraged, others disappointed.
Said one, "President Obama's refusal to push Turkey to recognize its genocide against Armenians--or even to use the 'g word'--fell far short of the clear promise he made as a candidate that he would, as President, fully and unequivocally recognize this crime against humanity."
One Armenian American publication, however, did note with satisfaction, that while Obama did not repeat the word genocide, he made clear that his position had not changed and he did use the Armenian term Meds Yeghern to describe the horrors of 1915.
For their part Turks were also displeased, with commentators from left to right agreeing with this editorial in Milliyet, "Obama made the harshest statement that has ever been uttered by a US President since Ronald Reagan.
Yes, he did not use the word genocide, but his statement was harsh, unilateral, and accusing."
Faced with difficult choices, what Obama did was "square the circle." As another Turkish writer noted, "Obama made a statement...which annoyed both Ankara and the Armenians...it can be claimed that Obama, who annoyed everybody in an equal way, successfully attained his purpose."
As the White House now turns its attention, in May, to address the equally sensitive and complex challenges of the Middle East, there are lessons in the President's handling of this Turkish-Armenian conundrum for all to learn.
Armenian Workers May Boost Turkey’s Hand In Foreign Policy
Analysts suggest an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 Armenian expatriates live in Turkey.
“Un-hate a Turk Today” said the banner raised on April 24, 1969, a day Armenians commemorate mass suffering endured during World War I, in front of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood.
The unconventional performance by Armenian-American artist Kardash Onnig symbolizes his long journey in promoting dialogue and understanding between Turks and Armenians. Onnig, whose parents were born and raised here in Turkey, told Sunday’s Zaman that he has been struggling to make the case for the reopening of the border between Turkey and Armenia. On a recent trip that took him all over the country, he said, “I came back very proud of my heritage that had given so much to Turkish culture.”
Ironically though, he became the target of hate from his own. His visa has been revoked by the Armenian Embassy in Washington because of the book “Savage Chic: A Fool's Chronicle of the Caucasus,” which he published after returning from a six-month artist-in-residency stay in Karabakh.
Like Onnig, there is a sizable number of Armenians coming to Turkey, and their number is growing along with a positive perception of Turks and Turkey. Armenians, who feel the economic crisis taking its toll back home, are moving to Turkey in the hope of landing on a job. They obtain non-immigrant tourist visas on the border and simply overstay their visas after being hired as babysitters, cleaners, factory workers or seasonal farm workers, albeit illegally.
Up to 100,000 workers from Armenia
Nobody knows the exact number of Armenian expatriates who live in Turkey and send money home. But various figures estimate the numbers to be between 40,000 on conservative side, all the way up to 100,000. With the possible opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia, their numbers are expected to increase.
Armenian expats recently became a subject of controversy in Turkey after some politicians seized the opportunity to capitalize on the growing discontent about illegal workers numbering more than a million. Against the backdrop of possible normalization of relations with Armenia, some have raised the possibility of sending Armenian expats back to their home country in an attempt to derail the dialogue process.
“I’m not opposed to Armenian workers flocking to Turkey to look for a job,” says Güven Sak, professor of economics at the Ankara-based Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges University of Economics and Technology (TOBB ETÜ). “It indicates Turkey has become a center of attraction for neighboring countries, and this creates a lot of opportunities for us,” he told Sunday’s Zaman. He stressed, however, that guest workers should be employed legally. “The government needs to overhaul the immigration system and review border security along the guidelines of European Union norms,” he added.
Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, professor of international relations at Gazi University, agrees with Sak in that a possible backlash against Armenian workers might backfire on Turkey and harm the interests of the country. Speaking to Sunday’s Zaman, Erol underlined the importance of Armenian workers living and earning their livelihood in Turkey and said, “This is soft power for Turkey.” He also urged more cooperation between civic organizations and youth and health institutions in the two countries. “Treating them as ‘others’ does not serve any purpose and it will, in all likelihood, push Armenians away from Turkey,” he noted.
Workers’ remittances important for Armenia
Keeping Armenian workers well fed and well paid here in Turkey will surely strengthen Turkey’s role at a time when more Armenian migrant laborers are returning from abroad in big numbers. The Ministry of Economy in Yerevan estimates the country receives more than $2.5 billion a year in remittances, which make up about a fifth of Armenia's gross domestic product (GDP). With less money available to send home because of the distressed job market abroad, the revenue of the government fell 25 percent this year. Returning expats are also adding to the huge army of the unemployed in a nation of 3 million.
The local currency has lost a third of its value against the dollar, and the government has turned to International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for a loan amounting to over $1 billion. It is also soliciting a helping hand from Russia, the biggest trading partner and investor in the country. Russian companies control much of Armenia's infrastructure, including railways, gas pipelines, a nuclear power plant and mobile telecoms.
Although the border has remained closed since 1993, as a sign of solidarity with Azerbaijan after Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey lifted restrictions on the admission of Armenians into the country in January 2002. Armenian visitors can either use airlines that operate regularly between Yerevan-İstanbul and Yerevan-Trabzon, or they can use bus services routed through Georgia ending in cities across the Black Sea coast in eastern Turkey.
The current visa regime allows Armenian citizens to enter the country on 30-day non-resident visas. If any alien is found to be working illegally, they are reported to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. The alien is later deported to their home country and fined TL 844 ($540). He or she is also barred from re-entry to Turkey for five years. The employer also gets hit with a TL 4,227 ($2700).
Şükrü Elekdağ, an opposition party deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), was very critical of the government at the time and suggested the deportation of 70,000 Armenian workers in stages. Asked by Sunday’s Zaman whether he still holds the same view today, Elekdağ dodged the question and declined to comment on the issue, saying the question is based on ill-faith.
PM: Turkey will not deport Armenians
Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, dismissed flatly, however, any suggestion that Armenian workers should be deported in order to pressure the Yerevan government. Putting the figure at around 40,000 in a speech he delivered in January, Erdoğan said: “They [Armenian workers] fled the country, they could not sustain themselves in their homeland, and we opened our doors. We could deport them, but we are not doing so.” Stressing that Turkey had welcomed people many times in the past, the prime minister underlined that Turkey is continuing to present the same exemplary attitude.
In fact, government agencies have rarely used their power to deport Armenians so far. In response to a parliamentary question brought by ultranationalist party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), deputy Hakan Coşkun, who reiterated claims raised by Elekdağ earlier, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay said eight Armenians were deported in 2007 and only one as of March 2008. In comparison, more than 50,000 Armenians passed through the Turkish border checkpoint in 2007, making the number of deportees seem almost insignificant.
Even though there is an undeclared official policy to keep Armenian workers relatively comfortable here in Turkey, there is not much the government can do if and when it decides to crack down on illegal immigration. “The fines and penalties are high, but the numbers of official inspectors who are tasked with finding illegal employees in workplaces are very few,” says Kadir Dikbaş, a columnist and expert on economic policy in İstanbul. He said he understands the reasoning behind the government policy but says the situation creates unfair competition in employment policies. “There is also the risk of not protecting these workers’ rights as they simply do not exist in official records,” he added.
10 May 2009, ABDULLAH BOZKURT TZ
Orhan Pamuk's "Snow" Translated Into Armenian 9 May 2009, Krikor Amirzayan / armenews
The works of Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize in literature are translated into nearly a hundred languages. Readers of Armenia, came to be offered the masterpiece of O. Pamuk, the novel "Snow" which has just been translated and published in Armenian by the cultural association Hamaskaïne in Yerevan.
He was pursued by the Turkish court for writing about the genocide "of more than one million Armenians" and sees his work that takes place in the region of Kars, within range of the reader of Armenia.
The Armenian translation of "Snow" was filmed from the Russian by Hagop Soghomonian. The book presentation took place at the office Erévannais of Hamaskaïne by its President Lilit Kalstian.
The latter gave the project dates back almost two years and that its release was timely with the news of the Armenian-Turkish relations.
His association would like to invite Orhan Pamuk Yerevan. Krikor Amirzayan
Australian Government Does Not Confirm Recognition 08 May 2009
Ambassador of Australia to Turkey, Peter Doyle said that Australian government is not inclined to intervene such issues and the decision of parliament of South Australia does not reflect the approach of Australian government
Ambassador of Australia to Turkey, Peter Doyle said that Australian government is not inclined to intervene such issues and the decision of parliament of South Australia does not reflect the approach of Australian government.
Following the statement made by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey condemning recognition of so called Armenian genocide by South Australian Parliament, ambassador of Australia to Turkey, Peter Doyle said, “Australian government is not inclined to intervene such issues. Decision of South Australian state does not reflect approach of Australian government.”
Ambassador Peter Doyle issued a statement following the statement of Turkish Foreign Ministry condemning recognition of 1915 events as genocide of Armenian, Greek and Assyrians by Parliament of South Australia. Doyle stressed that decision of South Australian Parliament does not reflect the view of Australian government and said that the policy of Australia over this issue is clear. Australian government is not a party in this issue and it believes that the best way for resolving the dispute is dialogue between governments and people related the issue.
Obama Seeks 38% Cut In Aid To Armenia & Proposes Breaking Military Aid Parity Agreement in Favor of Azerbaijan
WASHINGTON, DC ? Despite a 9% increase in overall foreign aid spending, President Barack Obama today called for a 38% cut in aid to Armenia, a 20% increase in aid to Azerbaijan, and the abandonment of the longstanding Armenia-Azerbaijan military aid parity agreement in favor of Baku, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
These figures, released today as part of the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget, represent a sharp departure from the President's campaign commitments to maintain U.S. assistance to Armenia and to foster its growth and development through aid and trade. In January of 2008 and again only days before the November election, the President said he would "help foster Armenia's growth and development through expanded trade and targeted aid," adding that he will also, "strengthen the commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governments."
"President Obama, despite his promise to maintain U.S. assistance to Armenia and his campaign commitment to help foster Armenia's growth and development, has called for a thirty-eight percent cut in aid to Armenia," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "His proposal to sharply reduce vitally needed assistance to Armenia, even as he is increasing overall foreign aid spending, is all the more disappointing in light of the urgent economic challenges facing Armenia."
President Obama's budget calls for $30 million in U.S. aid to Armenia, down 38% from the FY09 allocation of $48 million. Under his proposal, funding for Azerbaijan would increase 20% from $18.5 million to $22.12 million. The complete international affairs budget proposed by the White House is $53,872,901.
In Foreign Military Finance spending, President Obama has requested $4 million for Azerbaijan and only $3 million for Armenia, while funds for International Military Education and Training (IMET) represent an even starker break in the parity agreement struck between Congress and the White House in 2001, with $900,000 being proposed for Azerbaijan and $450,000 for Armenia.
The Foreign Operations Subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriation Committees will now review the President's budget and each draft their own versions of the FY 2010 foreign assistance bill. www.anca.org
Call For Peace By Armenian Artist
YEREVAN - Djivan Gasparyan, a world-renown duduk virtuoso, has a peace message for the Turkish and Armenian people: 'No matter that you are Muslims and we are Christians. The holy thing we worship, and all the paths to him, are the same'
World-renowned Armenian duduk virtuoso Djivan Gasparyan has said it is "the right time" for all Turkish and Armenian people to raise their glasses "arm-in-arm for peace and brotherhood."
"Come, let’s share our pains," said the musician, 81, known for his skill on the duduk, an ancient, nine-holed wind instrument with a double reed that is traditionally made of apricot wood. "No matter that you are Muslims and we are Christians. The holy thing we worship, and all the paths to him, are the same."
Gasparyan’s family owes its life to a Turkish family, he said, explaining: "The roots of my family date back to the Anatolian city of Muş. My grandfather had six children. In 1915, our Turkish neighbor saved the life of these children by hiding them under the fodder in the barn."
His grandfather spoke about this Turkish family with love and respect until the end of his life, Gasparyan said, adding, "The biggest wish of my grandfather was to see this family before his death and give them his blessings, but his wish did not come true."
Performing for President Gül in Yerevan
"My biggest wish is for the border gates between Turkey and Armenia to open as soon as possible," Gasparyan told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review at his home in the Armenian capital of Yerevan before he embarked on a world tour. This would accelerate the dialogue process between both countries, he said, adding, "I want to see our peoples make peace before I die."
Gasparyan performed a special concert in the Armenian Presidency Palace for President Abdullah Gül when the Turkish leader went to Armenia to view a football match between the two countries on Sept. 6. "I performed many songs," he said. "Gül thanked and a presented a plaque to me. It was a historic moment."
If anyone is a citizen of the world, Gasparyan is. He is a citizen of both the United States and Armenia, and has houses in many countries. Despite his advanced age, he still goes on world tours too. "I have finally come to Armenia, which is my homeland," he said. "I feel at peace in this country. But my heart is in Muş, where my grandfathers were born. I want to come to Turkey and visit Muş as soon as possible."
Taking the stage with many world-renown names, Gasparyan said it was a significant step to perform with Turkish artists. "Maybe we cannot speak a common language, but we can create a global one with notes and music," he said.
From time to time, Gasparyan said, the ownership of songs is debated in Armenia, just as it is in Turkey. "There are big similarities between some Turkish, Armenian and Iranian songs," he said. "For example, ’Sarı Gelin’ (Yellow Bride) is always the focus of discussions. But it doesn’t make sense to politicize songs. It is nonsense to debate the ownership of anonymous music."
Public artist of Armenia
Djivan Gasparyan became Armenia’s first and only "Public Artist" in 1973 and has been awarded four gold medals by UNESCO for his contributions to world culture. He has produced music for 39 films all over the globe, including in Hollywood, and has become well known for his collaborations with Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Lionel Ritchie, Michael Brook and Hans Zimmer, among others. For his contributions to international music, Gasparyan was presented in 2002 with the WOMEX, one of the most prestigious awards in the world of music.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Washington Pushes For Breakthrough Between Azerbaijan, Armenia
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has held separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, encouraging them to solve their territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region ahead of a key meeting of the two countries’ leaders in Prague today.
The long-running dispute is a key obstacle in Turkish-Armenian efforts to normalize their relations. Turkey severed diplomatic ties and closed the border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan after Armenia invaded a chunk of Azerbaijani territory in a war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Until now, the Armenian withdrawal from Azerbaijani territory was one of the conditions for Turkey to normalize its relations with Armenia.
Azerbaijan, which fears Turkey’s opening of the border with Armenia will deprive it of key leverage in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, expressed concern after Turkey and Armenia announced a framework for reconciliation last month.
Clinton met with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in efforts to move the two countries toward a solution on Tuesday.
The US administration backs the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement and has moved to ease Azerbaijan’s concerns in recent talks with Azerbaijani leaders. US diplomats are looking for progress on a list of principles for governing the territory when the countries' presidents meet on Thursday at a European Union meeting in Prague.
Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave inside Azerbaijan, has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since a truce was reached in 1994 after a six-year conflict that killed about 30,000 and displaced 1 million people.
“The secretary of state univocally stated that the new administration gives significant importance to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Mammadyarov told journalists after the meeting with Clinton at the State Department.
“The secretary of state said that they would work on the problem more seriously to reach progress soon. The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia will meet on May 7 in Prague, and the ministers are also expected to hold several meetings after that and the co-chairs will visit the region. The Secretary of State univocally stated that the Obama administration is very interested in serious progress in this field,” Mammadyarov was quoted as saying by Azerbaijani news agency APA.
Mammadyarov and Clinton also discussed energy. Azerbaijan is a key supplier of natural gas and oil and thus has a major role in diversifying energy sources for Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russia.
“Azerbaijan has a very strategic location, one that is important not only to their country, but really, regionally and globally," Clinton said as she greeted Mammadyarov at the State Department. “And so they're in a position to take increasing responsibility and leadership on these important matters.”
07 May 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN
Armenian Genocide: The Dangerous Liaison Between Daniel Ayalon And Turkey 8 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
In an article published Tuesday 7 April 2009 the Israeli newspaper Haaretz analysis "peace economy" proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the newspaper "the Prime Minister has already decided to establish a special unit in his office for economic development in the territories. Foreign diplomats who met with Netanyahu on the eve of the elections saying that he agreed with them that the economy can not develop with control points. He promised to reduce barriers and let in only those who really contribute to security. "
The newspaper adds "in its commitment to a peace economy, Netanyahu has promised in writing to approve the construction of a medical center for Palestinian children, a Turkish entrepreneur wants to build in the Gilboa at a cost of 3.5 million dollars. Although qu'Olmert promised the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to accelerate the construction of the center, the dust collection file in the office of Barak.
The newspaper states "had he not been elected to the Knesset on the list of Yisrael Beiteinu and appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, we could have asked Daniel Ayalon to promote the issue. Until recently he completed his salary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with professional fees it received from the Turkish government in exchange for using connections he acquired when he was Israeli ambassador to Washington. "
According to Haaretz "Ayalon has used these connections in an attempt to take initiatives in the United States and Canada to recognize the Armenian genocide. But the Turkish government has not tried to hide his opinion continued to strengthen the right wing in Israel. When Ayalon joined the party of Avigdor Lieberman, Ankara announced it was abandoning its services. "
New Diplomatic In The South Caucasus, by Marie Jégo 8 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
The year 2009 will it change in the South Caucasus? Once forced to move all the invasions, the region (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia) became the laboratory of the foreign policy of surrounding powers: Russia, Turkey and Iran. Proof that things are moving, Turkey and Armenia, deprived of diplomatic relations since 1993, agreed on 22 April on a "road map" for normalization.
On both sides of the Armenian-Turkish border, impassable since 1993, people are beginning to expect. For villagers Turkish border closed is an aberration, especially since the opening of charter flights from Istanbul and Trabzon to Yerevan. Optimistic, the Armenian President Serge Sarkissian said that it would take place this year. On both sides, the opening is seen as the promise of economic well-being. If Armenia has never linked the issue of the border to the recognition by Ankara of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the subject is one of those angry. The little Asian wants to create a joint commission of historians to investigate the massacres of 1915, but not to speak of "genocide", probably for fear of a demand for land compensation.
In Turkey, the great national causes - issues Kurdish, Armenian, Cypriot, the army and its role within the state - form the bedrock of Kemalist dogma that nothing seems to shake. But the ties between the two historic enemies have recently warmed up yet.
In the autumn of 2008, Turkish President Abdullah Gül was invited to a match in Yerevan, the never-seen! Since then, the "football diplomacy" a fruit, contacts have multiplied. Some football fans think that the reopening of the border will take place at the return match on 14 October 2009.
On a visit to Ankara in early April, U.S. President Barack Obama has encouraged the resumption of dialogue. And Moscow is not against. But the Turkish-Armenian thaw is not the case of the Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan, the Republic of oil along the Caspian Sea. In a sign of support for Ankara Baku had cut ties with Armenia in 1993. The recent rapprochement has raised the ire of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, who canceled at the last minute a visit to Ankara.
Caught unawares, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that standardization would not occur until the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory disputed between Azerbaijan and Armenia would not be resolved. At war with Armenia from 1988 to 1994, Baku has lost control of the enclave, now administered by the Armenians, as well as seven regions of Azerbaijan.
Neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan are unaware. The status of the enclave is not a knot to unravel. Azerbaijanis defended the principle of territorial integrity, the Armenians of Karabakh, the right to self-determination. A cease-fire was signed in 1994, but the skirmishes are regular. The resolution of this latent conflict, a major source of instability in the area, changed the situation.
Russia has every interest. Since the war in August 2008 against Georgia, Moscow is cut off from its strategic partner of Armenia. The Russian military bases in Armenia, formerly supplied with equipment by rail from Batumi (Georgia), are no longer since Moscow and Tbilisi are turning their backs. The passage of convoys can no longer be held by the Georgian territory. And impossible to cross Azerbaijan, at loggerheads with Armenia.
If a hope for peace emerge in the Turkish-Armenian border, things are going rather badly for the Russian-Georgian border. Conquered militarily after the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Georgian regions nominally "independent" but occupied by the Russian army, are still pockets of instability. Since the ceasefire, incidents have increased, making twelve deaths in the ranks of Georgia.
The cease-fire negotiated by President Nicolas Sarkozy envisaged the withdrawal of troops to positions prior to the conflict. This was not observed. The mission of European observers deployed in the lines is uncertain. The talks in Geneva are poussifs. For the Kremlin, the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is the embodiment of evil. "The temptation is great to do as the Americans in Iraq, overthrowing the dictator," says the Russian military analyst Pavel Felguengauer, which does not mean a new war.
Interrupted by the August 2008 cease-fire, the march of the Russian army on Tbilisi haunts the staff, whose secret desire, says the expert, is "to see Georgia transformed into Confederation, dismantled several small pieces. " Thus, the Georgian accession to NATO would fall into the water. The only obstacle, but Moscow does not see it, is that opponents of Mr Saakashvili, who demonstrate to demand his resignation, were not better disposed towards the Russian elite in epaulets, obsessed with regaining his lost power .
Marie Jégo (Correspondent in Moscow) THE WORLD 29.04.09.
Fethullah Gulen: The Neo-Ottoman Dream Of Turkish Islam Geries Othman Asia News www.axisglobe.com May 6 2009 Italy
In just a few decades Gulen, the son of an imam, has generated an Islam-based cultural, religious and economic revival. Backed by PM Erdogan he is disliked by secularist. He preaches dialogue with Christians against atheism and dreams that Turkey can be a key player from the Balkans till Central Asia.
Ankara (AsiaNews) - Ataturk's secularism and the social order guaranteed by the military appear to be teetering in Turkey today. This is due to the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, backed by a moderate Islamist party, but especially to the fact that despite the secular constitution, religion appears to be taking root in society. This trend in turn is supported by one of the best known and more controversial figures in today's Turkey, Fethullah Gulen, who is seen a the most important modern Muslim theologian and political scientist today.
Son of an imam, Gulen was born in Erzurum in south-eastern Turkey, in 1938. A great disciple of Said NursÃ®, a mystic of Kurdish origin who died in 1960, he is in favour of a conservative and orthodox vision of Islam without rejecting modernity which he believes must be addressed.
In the 1970s he organised summer camps in Izmir to teach Islamic principles, setting up the first student or 'light' hostels. Still tolerated by the state he began building his first schools, then a university, mass media, groups and associations to breathe life into "modern Turkish Islam" whereby religion and nationalism could be one.
Because of some statements, Turkey's National Security Council condemned in 1998 for "trying to undermine the country's secular institutions, concealing his methods behind a democratic and moderate image." For this reason he has been living in voluntary exile in the United States since he was sentenced in absentia.
>From his headquarters in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), he continues to build his empire, which includes a network of more than 300 private (Islamic) schools in Turkey and 200 abroad (from Tanzania to China, Morocco to the Philippines and former Soviet Republics with large Turkic minorities), a bank, various TV stations and newspapers, a 12-language website and many charities, a virtual business empire worth billions of dollars.
The key to his success lies in the work of thousands of members of his movement, who are willing to volunteer their time and energy promote education, especially where there are few institutions and limited economic means. Indeed Gulen's ideas have attracted intellectuals and diplomats who have become his promoters because they see him as a promoter of peace and inter-faith dialogue.
In the 1950s Gulen's mentor Said NursÃ® preached that Muslims should join Christians against atheism, trying to contact Pope Pius XII and Patriarch Athenagoras. Following in NursÃ®'s footsteps, Fethullah Gulen began promoting inter-faith dialogue in Turkey. Stating that his only goal was to "honestly serve humanity," he developed ties with all Christian Churches in Turkey, including relations with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I and Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan. He sought an audience with Pope John Paul II which was held in Rome in 1998, and met the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron.
Officially his movement has about a million followers, including tens of thousands of public sector employees in Turkey who are protected by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (one of Gulen's best known sympathisers).
In 2006 a Court in Ankara acquitted him from charges of creating an illegal organisation for the purpose of overthrowing Turkey's secular state and replacing it with one based on the Sharia. But despite that and his large following, he has been criticised by a large number of secularists who believe that underneath a veneer of humanist philosophy, Gulen plans to turn Turkey's secular state into a theocracy.
Secular Kemalists have compared him to Khomeini and fear that his return to Turkey might turn Ankara into another Tehran. The governments of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are also weary and suspicious of his "Turkish schools promoted by Islamic missionaries."
At the basis of Gulen's teachings is the notion that state and religion should be reconnected as they were in Ottoman times and that Turkey should play the role of beacon for the Balkans and the republics in the Caucasus. Through him a "neo-Nur" philosophy is integrated into Turkish, if not pan-Turkic nationalism, which explains his success among ethnically related Turkic peoples in post-Soviet Central Asia.
Through hundreds of private schools operating in the Central Asian republics the Gulen movement is giving Turkey a new strategically significant cultural and economic role and leading communities who lost their own identity with the fall of Communism back to their cultural and religious roots in Turkish culture and Islam.
Following this approach Turksoy, an "International Organisation for Development of Turkic Culture and Art", was set up in Ankara in 1993. Created by the Turkish Ministry of Culture its goal is to sponsor and coordinate initiatives within the "Turkic world." It came into existence after the culture ministers of Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkish Republic of Cyprus as well as the autonomous Russian republics of Tatarstan and BaÅ¡qortostan signed an agreement of cultural cooperation.
According to the agreement, the new organisation was established as a function of new emerging international relations in order to back cultural restructuring in the Trans-Caucasus region and around the world. More specifically, Turksoy's goals are: to establish friendly relations among Turkish-speaking peoples and nations; explore, disclose, develop, and protect the common Turkic culture, language, history, art, customs, and traditions as well as pass them down to future generations and let them live forever; and develop an environment that allows Turkic peoples to use a shared alphabet and language.
Given Turkey's predicament today, the country appears even more divided between secularism and political Islam, torn between a desire to turn towards Europe and the dream of becoming a pan-Turkic regional power.
Money, Money, Sweet Money
Industry Of The Armenian Cause Sixty-Five By Aram Hamparian May 6, 2009
I want to share with you an interesting number:
One that represents both proof of our progress and the promise of a better future.
That number is 65.
That's where we "the Armenian American community" stand in the Fortune 500.
Just ahead of Prudential and Fedex, and just behind Walt Disney and Pepsi.
My math shows that, with roughly 500,000 Armenian American households in the United States, each with approximately 1.5 income earners, that translates, given a conservative estimate of average income per person at $45,000, into total annual revenue of $33.4 billion, or 65th place on the listing of America's biggest corporations.
That's a lot of money.
And potentially a lot of power. A lot of respect. A lot of influence.
That's the kind of money that not only gets our community courted, but makes darn sure that we won't be crossed.
But only if we, as a community, commit ourselves financially --with only a small fraction of our wealth and income --to advocating for our views and advancing the Armenian Cause.
If you're reading this, you're very likely among those who already give generously of your time, your money, and your spirit. For this I say thank you. And I urge you to do your part to broaden the circle of givers to the Armenian Cause. To help friends and family understand that politics is not a spectator sport, especially not for Armenians, and not with the life and death challenges that Armenia is facing today.
With the ANCA Telethon coming up on May 31st, please keep the number 65 in mind, and remember that the difference between what Armenian Americans donate financially and what we are capable of donating would suffice to achieve nearly all our community's goals.
Editor's Note: Aram Hamparian is the executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. The ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon will take place on Sunday, May 31. www.asbarez.com
Question: Will There Be Any Anca Function, Where "Cash" Is Not Demanded?
"ANCA" update 06/05/2009 Enthusiasm Builds for ANCA Endowment Telethon
Enthusiastic Response from Armenian American Schools and Organizations to Help Increase Nationwide Civic Participation
WASHINGTON, DC - Armenian American community groups and schools are expanding outreach to supporters and activists to ensure a successful ANCA Endowment Fund telethon. The six-hour live broadcast will be held on Sunday May 31, 2009, from 3:00pm to 9:00pm PDT (6:00pm to 12midnight EDT) and will include a spotlight on Armenian American civic participation throughout the United States.
In recent weeks, ANCA Endowment Fund volunteers have done presentations at Armenian schools and churches, talking about the growing efforts of the group to increase Armenian American participation in civic life through internship programs, support of the ANCA Capital Gateway program and local media and government outreach. Students have taken up the challenge, organizing classroom events and fundraising competitions to help ensure a bright future for their community.
"It is heartwarming to see Amenian American youth - from grade school to high school - bringing their energy and enthusiasm to support the growth of the Armenian American community in media and civic life," said ANCA Endowment Fund President Ken Hachikian. "It is these grassroots efforts that are the foundation for our expanding community programs."
ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon watch parties and fundraising events are being coordinated by volunteers in states across the U.S. in anticipation of the live telecast.
The 2009 Telethon will help the ANCA further strengthen itself as an invaluable Armenian American civic institution - building on its proven track record by developing a powerful financial foundation for the future. The Telethon will benefit the ANCA Endowment which supports Armenian American grassroots civic participation by ensuring that our community has the tools to effectively educate the American public and governments on the federal, state and local levels about the challenges and opportunities facing Armenia, Nagorno Karabagh, and the Diaspora.
Why France Does The Promotion Of A Genocide? 5 May 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
In an article in the April 10 titled 'The ice of relations between France and Turkey should merge with the' Turkey Season '' Ali Pektas of Today's Zaman wrote: "the relations of Turkey with France, which opposed to his accession to the European Union, have suffered serious damage in recent years - but for both countries, an opportunity presents itself, a chance to repair and develop their bilateral relationship. This opportunity is the 'Season of Turkey in France' for nine months, first in July 2009 until March 31, 2010.
According to various sources, Turkey will be the focus of no fewer than 400 events that take place in France during a period of nine months and cost 30 million Euros.
Through this' invasion 'of France Turkey, representatives of Turkey such Gorguner Taner, the Turkish commission of the event, hope to eliminate many obstacles on the path of the accession of Turkey to the EU .
Political observers are acord for considering that the relationship of Turkey with France have deteriorated in recent years following the decision of French Parliament to recognize the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire and its project to criminalize the denial of the Genocide. Ties have also strained because of opposition to the accession of Turkey to the EU President's french. Nicolas Sarkozy proposing to place the accession of Turkey to the Union of the Mediterranean nations which have close relations with the EU.
'The Turkey Season, "organized to try to calm the tension between the two nations, will be marked by a ceremony in October in which Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkish President Abdullah Gul will attend.
Taner said: 'What is important is that we represent ourselves well, by breaking down the prejudices. "
In his heart, Taner knows that these 'prejudices' European and french are really concern about the unrest criminal past of Turkey and its current lack of repentance. Europeans and French, with Italians, Greeks, Serbs, Austrians and Armenians remember very well that their common fears of genocidal Turkey have their roots in the bloody fields of Armenia (during the Turkish invasion in 1071, campaigns of genocide, ethnic cleansing hamidiens 1890s Adana massacres of 1909 and the culmination of a major genocide 1915-1923), Serbia (1386), Greece (in the early 1400s ) and Austria (in 1683).
It is understandable that in France, in particular, doubts remain about the contribution Turkey could make to the EU.
In order to prevent any negative reaction of the French population, the organizers have launched a massive disinformation campaign claiming that "the Armenian community has no opposition to the project and on the contrary, it supports it."
Today's Zaman Turkish Daily, official spokesman of the Turkish leaders responsible for 'Turkey Season' falsely wrote that 'in the cities of Marseille and Lyon, where many people of Armenian origin live, the municipalities have provided much support in and helps the organization.
Turkey has also tried to pull the wool over the eyes of French Armenian saying 'Taner appreciates this support positively, and in his view, the journey of Turkish President in Armenia last year played a role in influencing public opinion support to make this possible '
Armenians in France and around the world are quite aware of the fact that Turkey continues to use any opportunity to deceive Armenia and Armenians in lures with false 'dialogues'.
According to another source, some French companies that had pledged their participation in this major event in France sought to strengthen their ties with Turkey withdrew its contribution as a result of financial problems related to the current global economic crisis.
Turkey has committed 13 million euros in the event plus a contribution from France about five million, of which 2 million provided by the participation of French companies with assets in Turkey.
Nevertheless, the 'organizers have expressed disappointment, saying they could not find as many sponsors as they hoped, apparently because of the economic crisis.' 'The auto maker Peugeot Citroën and the Belgian bank Dexia bailed on withdrew their promise of attending the event.
Meanwhile, companies such as French oil giant Total, the transportation company and distribution Areva, the hotel group Accor and the largest bank BNP Paribas, with Axa, EADS, the insurance group Groupama are among the largest donor, while Renault, the second car manufacturer that has made large investments in Turkey, has a relatively small contribution.
It is repugnant to the French companies to assist the genocidal government of Turkey and enable it to discharge into France a lot of lies and distortion of facts.
The French and the neo-conservatives of the french ministry of culture should remember that the so-called 'Festival of Culture and Cooking Anatolian' in Southern California in early April, which preceded the U.S. the 'Turkish season in France, was boycotted throughout California and internationally condemned. Turkish Festival misleading failed in its stated goals.
It may be that the French companies get some business by hosting the genocidal Turkey in the French population, but they could face criticism from around the world and even a boycott, which could undo the gains made by sharing layer of a state criminal.
By the way, have they forgotten that we are still waiting for Turkey to apologize to victims of many drugs, and their families, for export to Europe and the United States of social diseases, sponsored by state?
Finally, how can they become complicit in the lies that Turkey Turkey has a 'rich' culture, cusisine 'succulent' land 'Turkish history, and more than 70 million' Turks'? Turkey continues to be a perpetrator of human rights. Ankara continues to suppress the real identity of millions of Arabs, Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians, Kurds and Alevis.
Turkish Embassy, Australia Press Release Regarding The Motion Passed On April 30th, 2009 By The South Australian Parliament, 6 May 2009
1. The motion passed on April 30th, 2009 by the South Australian Parliament with the support of ministers and the offensive remarks made against Turks and the Republic of Turkey during its discussion are deeply regrettable.
2. Turkey and Australia are close international allies and partners, even though they are geographically very far apart. Much of the friendship between them is based on a determination to overcome former hostility and conflicts which cost the lives of many sons of both our nations and to build a better world of cooperation and peace. Now some ministers and politicians appear to back a policy of creating division and resentment between our two peoples where none previously existed. The consequences of this could be far-reaching.
3. The South Australian Parliament’s resolution is clearly the work of an ethnic lobby determined to stir up and distort ancient antagonisms. As such it could very easily bring the friendship between Turkey and Australia to a halt. Ethnic lobbies should not be allowed to damage the excellent relations between our countries originating from the Gallipoli spirit and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s words of reconciliation to Anzac mothers.
4. Australian citizens of Turkish origin naturally fear that a deliberate climate of hostility is being created towards them and that there is a strong racist undercurrent to it. They resent attempts to suggest that they share any of the views or the version of history contained in the resolution. To impose an unfriendly and distorted view of another country’s history on Turkey, ignoring the ideas and views of its people as well as all scholarship, family history, and much evidence, surely comes very close to racism.
5. Politicians can not and should not try to write history, particularly the history of countries and nations on the other side of the world and events nearly a century ago. For local politicians to do this in a country espousing multiculturalism is especially unfortunate. The result of their doing so can only be increasing political and ethnic animosity and problems.
6. The resolution would not have gone through if South Australian legislators had permitted an impartial discussion of the history concerned. Many of the claims made by the campaigners are untrue – and can be shown to be exaggerated, distorted or false. But the work of mainstream academics working on Ottoman history was simply ignored, as were all moderate voices. One of the aims of the campaigners is clearly to suppress the freedom to express any views but their own.
7. Turkey has proposed many times to the Republic of Armenia and to the Armenians of the Diaspora that an impartial review of the history concerned should be jointly undertaken by Turkish and Armenian and international scholars together. To date these proposals, including the formation of Joint Historical Commission, which are still on offer, have always been rejected. Unlike those of Armenia and of the Diaspora, Turkish archives are fully open to researchers.
8. There is no prejudice against Armenians in Turkey and no desire for continuing animosities with them. The fact that around 70,000 citizens of the Republic of Armenia have migrated into Turkey as guest-workers in the last few years is clear proof of this.
9. Despite campaigns such as this one coming from countries far outside our region, work to build up relations is going ahead between Turkey and Armenia. Nevertheless Turkey can hardly be expected to ignore resolutions unanimously adopted by ministers and politicians in a manifest spirit of confrontation and disregard for the views of the entire people of a country they clearly know little or nothing about.
- - -
07 May 2009, Press Release Regarding the Resolutions Adopted by the Parliament of South Australia
The Parliament of South Australia, one of the six states in Australia, has passed resolutions in March and April, in both its Upper and Lower Houses, recognizing the events which took place between 1915-1923, concerning minorities such as Armenians, Pontian Greeks, Assyrians and other minorities in Asia-minor, as “genocide”. Turkey regrets and strongly condemns these resolutions.
Along centuries, Turkish people cohabited with Armenians, Pontian Greeks, Assyrians and other minorities in Asia-minor, in peace and harmony and have never undertaken any inhuman act against these people.
Distorting the events which happened under World War I circumstances that caused both Turkish and Armenian people to suffer heavily, and identifying these events as “genocide” with a one-sided approach, is an extremely irresponsible attitude. It is regretfully observed that local Australian politicians have surrendered to the pressures of Armenian and Greek lobbying groups, which, with a racist approach and by distorting historical facts, have mastered skills of propaganda and deception with feelings of hatred and vengeance.
Given the fact that assessments regarding historical events can be best rendered by historians, Turkey has proposed to the Government of Armenia the establishment of a “joint commission of history”, to be composed of historians from Turkey, Armenia and other countries, which would carry out objective and scientific studies.
Turkish people are disappointed that the State Parliament of South Australia has preferred to pass a resolution based on distorted information regarding 1915 events, instead of supporting our proposal of joint commission of historians. Said attitude of the mentioned State Parliament also contradicts with the strong and cordial bonds of amity between Turkish and Australian people, developed in the aftermath of the Çanakkale battles.
Such an attitude against the spirit of bilateral relations between Turkey and Australia has caused considerable disappointment in Turkey.
Armenians Attempt To Take "Historical Revenge" From Turks And Azerbaijanis www.today.az April 29 2009
Armenians attempt to take "historical revenge" from Turks and Azerbaijanis, said Kamil Salimov, doctor of law and head of criminalistics chair of the Baku State University.
According to him, we should think about it. He said the thing is that we do not have serious scientific studies to expose the falsifications about "Armenian genocide.
"We have adopted the law on Azerbaijani genocide in a response to similar steps of Armenians. In order to oppose and really present the Azerbaijani genocide, our scientists must study the issue of the "Armenian genocide" and this falsification. And who among our scientists is studying this problem?", asks Salimov.
"Unfortunately, our people do not realize the importance of this. When we start studying the issue of "Armenian genocide" and referring to Armenian authors, we are accused of betrayal. How ridiculous! How can we expose the Armenian "genocide" without studying this issue?".
According to him, the problem also lies in the approach of international organizations.
"Today, the problem of "genocide", put foward by Armenian nationalists, is aimed at the development of the conflict situation in the relations between the peoples. The tragic history of the past should not be used as a basis of policy of today's governments. But the interesting fact is that today this history is taken as a basis by the politicians of the leading states.
And the fact that today Armenians set the issue of recognition of 1915 "genocide" before Obama, is not merely of historical trend, it also has definite political goals. These goals are to take the "historical revenge" from Turks and Azerbaijanis and give a psychological justification for the occupation of lands in Nagorno Karabakh. This is their definite goal.
I would like to note once again that Azerbaijani and Turkish scientists work in this direction too weakly. Can you present me several basic works on this topic by Azerbaijani scientists to expose the falsifications of the "Armenian genocide" on the international level. Personally I have never seen such works. There are just several articles on this issue. And this is against the fact that Armenians raise this issue in April of this year", noted Salimov.
The Deportations That Were Not Noticed By The World-1
“Immigration has happened; hazel eyes feel sleepy”… The folk song over the immigration of the people of Erzurum, who escaped from the Russian invasion and Armenian cruelty to save their lives and their children, begins like that.
Desperations, immigrations, deaths, invasions escaping from the homeland and relocations had started for the Turkish and Muslim population, who in habited at the Caucasus and Balkans that was invaded when Ottoman Empire started to get weaker. Although immigration stories and folk songs on immigration were sang and told in different languages, the feelings and grieves were pointing the same point. The suffering of these people, who were sent in exile, torn away from their homeland, defeated by illnesses, who died on the roads and faced hunger and misery, unfortunately, have never been noticed in one way or another by the developed countries of the World.
Many developed countries, which left Turkey face to face with Armenian claims for years, which has become the shelter of the relocated people, unfortunately, did not want to see the suffering of millions of people in one way or another.
According to the information that was gathered from the Caucasus Association and Balkans Civilization Association and the General Management of State Archives; when the Ottoman Empire started to get weak, immigrations had started from the Caucasus and Balkans to Anatolia starting from the 19th century.
When the military units connected to the Russian Tsarist entered Caucasus in 1859, immigrations started at this geography. A great tragedy was waiting for the Caucasus nations, who were defeated at the war against the Russian units. The immigration at the region started when Grand Duke Mişel, the Caucasus representative of Tsar, commanded in the August of 1864: “If Caucasus is not left in a month, whole population will be sent in exile to various zones of Russia as prisoners.”
With the order of the Russian Tsar, 1 million and 500 thousand Caucasian had to leave their homeland in 1864. Most of the Caucasian people, who were exposed to relocation, died due to hunger and bad immigration circumstances, thousands of them were drowned at the ships, which could not overcome the furious waves of Black Sea, and hundreds died due to severe illnesses. The emigrants, who were boarded from the harbours like Taman, Tuapse, Anapa, Soçi, Sohum, Poti and Batum at the Black Sea to the Russian, ottoman and English ships, were brought to Trabzon, Ordu, Samsun, Sinop, Varna, Köstence and İstanbul. According to the archival records; approximately 30% of the people, who were sent from the Caucasus, died before their trip was over.
The deportations at the Caucasus were not limited with the year 1864. Unable to find a chance for gathering at their homeland, the Caucasians, who were spread with 1864 deportation, were exposed to a broader deportation in 1943 and 1944 with the orders of USSR leader Josef Stalin. The Caucasians were baselessly accused with collaborating with Germans during World War II at these deportations.
Karaçay autonomous region of the USSR was evacuated by the Soviet troops in a short time on November 2, 1943. Its Turkish origin inhabitants, who had not obeyed the orders, were immediately executed. 63 thousand of the inhabitants, whose 32 thousand 929 were children, were sent to interior sections of Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan and Uzbekistan with the railway cars for the animals, just like it was done for the other Caucasus people. On March 8, 1944, Balkars were exposed to same tragic deportation as the people of Karaçay.
On February 23, 1944, Chechens, who were invited to the 26th anniversary ceremonies of the Red Army and Ingush, who are from the same ethnical origin, were expelled hastily to Siberia for the sake of death of thousands of people.
Only 20 kilograms were permitted to be carried for each family, who were sent in exile. All of their goods and livestock were confiscated. The greatest tragedy had occurred during the trip. Approximately %20 of the people died because of bad weather conditions and hunger during the trip. Death had kept badgering Chechen and Ingush at the new places they settled. Many refugees died because of climate and working conditions as well as contagious diseases. The loss of Chechen and Ingush population is noted to be around %38.
The High Commission of the Soviets Union allowed Chechen and Ingush, who were deported in 1944 to return back to their homeland with the decree that was passed on 9 January 1957. Soviet Socialist Autonomous Chechen and Ingush Republic that was abolished on 7 March 1944 and whose territories were shared to various countries, was re-established in 1957. According to the official records of the year 1939 the population of Chechen and Ingush nation, was 488 thousand. Following the deportation the population dropped to 200 thousand. In 1959, the total number of Chechen and Ingush in the Chechen and Ingush Republic was composed of 311 thousand.
A war began in Chechnya, which declared its independence following the dissolution of the Soviets Union, between the Russian Units and local people. During 1994-96, Chechnya, which was consisted of approximately 1 million populations, had 120 thousand of victims at this war. At the second war during 1999-2001, 100 thousand Chechens died and 30 thousand Chechens have become disabled.
The deportation was not only limited with Northern Caucasus during the Stalin period. One another nation that was affected from the deportation decision was the Crimea Tatars. The deportation that had started in the eve of 18 May 1944 resulted with sending 220 thousand Crimea Tatars by using force from their homelands in three days.
%42 of the Crimea Tatars, who were put into train of wagons that headed to remote corners of the Middle Asia, lost their lives due to hard circumstances and pressures. The Crimea Tatars, who struggled in order to return back to their homeland, had to wait until 1980’s to reach their goals.
A different sad picture was waiting for the people, who returned back to the lands years later. The Crimea Tatars witnessed that their houses, working places and lands were given to Russians and Ukranians.
The Ahıska Turks, who inhabit in Ahıska/ Georgia are also known as “Ottoman Turks”, had experienced the most tragic incidents of its history on 14 November 1944. The Ahıska Turks were not able to return back to their homeland although 65 years has passed over the incident. The grandsons and granddaughters of the Ahıska Turks, who were deported from their homelands and survived at the places they went, currently live in the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine, Germany, France, Italia and the USA.
The Ahıska Turks, who had to leave the lands they were born and grew up within all of a sudden with the order of Stalin, were stowed in a livestock wagons, which were also known as “death wagons” and sent to the point of “unknown”.
Most of the 250 thousand Ahıska Turks, who were sent to Siberia and the inner parts of Soviets, lost their lives because of hunger and diseases. The Ahıska Turks, who were sent to different regions, lived for years without having any information from each other.
The Ahıska Turks, who have been refugees in Uzbekistan, were exposed to a second deportation in 1989. Approximately 100 Ahıska Turks had to emigrate from Uzbekistan, which has become their second homeland to the neighboring countries, Krasnodar region of Russia and Ukraine after the incidents that had erupted at Fergana. Becoming a Turkish citizen has been facilitated for Ahıska Turks with a law that was lately adopted in Turkey.
The Ahıska Turks were the only nation that was not able to return back to their country among the nations that were deported in 1944. While being admitted to the European Committee, Georgia undertook helping Ahıska Turks for returning their lands back, nevertheless, the promises are not kept until today.
It was the civilian population who suffered the most during the process that started with the invasion of the mountainous Karabagh region of Azerbaijan by Armenia during 1992-94. Roughly 1 million Ahıska Turks, who escaped from the lands that were invaded, are still living under difficult circumstances at various provinces of Azerbaijan.
Anadolu Agency- 21.04.2009 www.genocidereality.com/htmpage.asp?id=488
Freedom House: Turkey's Press Status ‘Partly Free'
Turkey's press status has remained "partly free," according to a report released on Friday by the non-profit organization Freedom House, ahead of World Press Freedom Day on Sunday. Turkey ranked 101st internationally.
Turkey's press status in Freedom House's 2008 report was also "partly free."
Karin Deutch Karlekar, a senior researcher at the Freedom House, speaking to Voice of America radio, said Freedom House has some concerns about the freedom of the press in Turkey and is still worried about the pressure on the press and writers as well as about Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which makes it a crime to insult Turkishness. She said in general the outlook of press freedom in Turkey was better when compared to last year; however, the continuation of problems pertaining to press freedom is worrisome.
The report indicated that there were twice as many losses as gains in 2008 and that, for the first time, every area of press freedom has seen deterioration.
Of the 195 countries and territories assessed in the study, 70 counties (36 percent) were rated "free," 61 countries (31 percent) were rated "partly free" and 64 countries (33 percent) were rated "not free." In terms of population, just 17 percent of the world's population lives in countries that enjoy a "free" press, while 41 percent have a "partly free" press and 42 percent have a press classified as "not free."
04 May 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN
Glendale Teacher Confronted on Xenophobic Attitude Toward Armenian-American Youth
ANC-WR Challenges Teacher for Questioning Armenian-American Patriotism
LOS ANGELES--Dan Kimber, a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District, recently authored a commentary piece in the Glendale News Press criticizing the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) for being un-American, implying that the organization, with deep roots in the United States, was out of step with the professed ideals of this country.
There are several prejudicial, offensive and disturbing points in Dan Kimber's column, which require clarification, said AYF Chairman Vache Thomassian, speaking to Asbarez on the matter. The Armenian Youth Federation, for the past seven-plus decades, has served our local communities and provided a positive outlet for Armenian youth to make a difference in the United States.
Kimber, however, disagreed in his column. Describing the organization as ethnocentric, Kimber matter-of-factly characterized a good American as one who assimilates into a homogenous citizenry, rather than celebrating cultural diversity and individual identity.
The whole attitude seems to me to be, in a word, un-American, Kimber said in his commentary, referring to the AYF's mission. I know that there will be many in this community who will disagree with me, but my gut feeling--no, make that an absolute conviction--is that the Armenian Youth Federation, or any organization for that matter that dedicates itself to a stick to your own kind philosophy, is out of step with the professed ideals of this country.
Rather than advocate for a homogenous and assimilated citizenry, Mr. Kimber should examine American history and understand that a multi-culturalist view which respects the right for all peoples to celebrate and maintain their identities, is the true American way, added Thomassian.
The Armenian National Committee-Western Region (ANC-WR) challenged the teacher's April 16 article, "Greet Melting Pot With Open Arms," which questioned Armenian-American patriotism. On April 22, Vicken Sonentz-Papazian, the Chairman of the ANC-WR and an AYF alumnus, rebuked Kimber's piece, saying it "completely mischaracterizes the origins and purpose of the organization."
In his commentary, titled Teacher Fails to do Homework, Sonentz-Papazian outlined the long history of the AYF in the United States and the roles that its alumni played at important moments in American history.
As an alumnus of the Armenian Youth Federation, I read with a sense of great consternation Dan Kimber's woefully misplaced commentary piece, which completely mischaracterizes the origins and purpose of the organization, Sonentz-Papazian said.
Kimber described the AYF's dedication to community service as a type of ethnocentric behavior that encourages the very kind of separateness that many in our community and in our schools are fighting against. Under the guise of cultural integrity, national pride or whatever high-sounding phrases one might summon.
Any organization that would write such a sentence displays not only an ignorance of what this country is all about but promotes a thinly veiled prejudice as well, Kimber said, taking issue with the AYF's founding mission to nurture Armenian heritage among the children of Genocide survivors living in the United States.
The same organization that Mr. Kimber insidiously describes as ethnocentric, sent over 1000 servicemen and women to battle during World War II, is the same organization that sets out annual projects to clean and beautify the streets of Los Angeles and is the same organization which has an annual scholarship program for graduating high school students to financial assist their education, Thomassian noted.
The teacher's commentary came two weeks after more than 300 volunteers from the Armenian Youth Federation spent an entire day combing the streets of Hollywood, picking up trash, planting new trees, and removing graffiti as part of the organization's 6th Annual Little Armenia Beautification Project.
Earlier that month the organization teamed with the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center to mobilize its members throughout Southern California to donate their blood during a Red Cross blood drive, overwhelming the hospital with donors and support.
The AYF was established in 1933 in Boston, on the heels of the Armenian Genocide. In those years, its founder, General Garegin Njdeh turned his attention from fighting successive campaigns against the Turkish and then communist invaders to saving a desperate and scattered nation, half of which was held captive under Soviet rule, the other half attempting to deal with the trauma of annihilation, the assimilation of Armenian youth truly represented a step closer to extinction, Sonentz-Papazian explained in his response to Kimber..
Sonentz-Papazian noted that it was Njdeh, who in that same year, nurtured and advised one founding member, Col. Harry Sachaklian, who served with distinction as a military aide to then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe.
In fact, 40 members of the organization died during World War II, having served our nation with distinction in Okinawa, Normandy and at the Battle of the Bulge, Sonentz-Papazian said, noting that another alumnus, Sue Sarafian, was assigned to the highly sensitive post of personal secretary to Eisenhower.
Since its inception, Papazian continued, the AYF's members have successfully balanced their devotion to the preservation of their heritage with their service and sacrifice to the growth of America. The organization's membership, he continued, has always been ready, willing and more than able to both serve America while preserving their proud Armenian heritage.
Perhaps if Kimber did his homework he would not have found the simple yet profound words about the federation and assimilation so threatening and 'un-American,' Sonentz-Papazian's commentary concluded. Kimber owes the Armenian Youth Federation, and specifically his young student who reached out to him, an apology and perhaps he should hit the books before broaching such a sensitive topic next time around.
This type of xenophobic attitude should be done away with, especially among those who purport to educate our youth, Thomassian said, echoing Sonentz-Papazian's concerns.
On April 23, 2009, Kimber apologized to the AYF for his previous remarks and elaborated on his position after "receiving more than 50 responses" from what he described as the "good people in our community." His response appeared in a piece titled, "Revising a Couple of Columns."
And now about last week's column. I received more than 50 responses from the good people in our community, more than any column I have written in the past six years. The subject was assimilation, and the object was a sentence that I came across in writing a student recommendation that read like a mission statement from the Armenian Youth Federation. I have since learned, and probably should have researched before I wrote the article, that the federation has done a world of good for more than 70 years and did not deserve this slap for one (however misguided) sentence. My apologies to the Armenian Youth Federation, he said.
The Armenian National Committee - Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR promotes awareness of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) was founded in 1933. Since then, it has grown to become the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization with chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world. The group actively strives to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of all Armenian-American youth. For more information on the AYF, visit www.ayfwest.org
[Oia] Oia Takes Part In Anatolian Festival, Follows In Hrant Dinks Footsteps Asbarez.Com May 04, 2009
The Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA) recently participated in the Anatolian Cultures and Foods Festival in Costa Mesa California, a four day event (April 2-5) at the Orange County Fairgrounds intended to celebrate Anatolias history and people. Pacifica Institute which organized the festival estimated that twenty thousand or so visitors came to see the fifteen acre concourse with replicas of cities and landmarks from various Anatolian civilizations. Featured alongside the Sumerian, Hittite, Lydian, Assyrian, Persian, Seljuk, Ottoman, Roman (Byzantine), Greek, and Celtic was the Urartu (Armenian) civilization. Five Anatolian cities were highlighted in special detail: Istanbul, Konya, Mardin, Antalya, and Van. OIA had a booth and a member of the OIA Board of Directors spoke at the opening ceremony that was attended by, among others, the Turkish Consul General of Los Angeles.
Some people may wonder why the OIA board decided to take part in this festival. After all, it was organized by a Turkish group and seems to have had the support of authorities in Turkey. It appeared to be an attempt to improve Turkeys image abroad. Many Armenians are understandably reluctant to participate in such events for fear that they will indirectly help Turkeys denial of the Armenian Genocide. Such concerns are particularly apt in the month of April, a time when Armenians all over the world are especially mindful of their history. Why did the OIA risk becoming an instrument of Turkish propaganda and undermine the effort to pressure Turkey to recognize the Genocide?
The answer is that the Anatolian Festival was neither Turkish propaganda nor likely to delay Genocide recognition. On the contrary, it was an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate and promote Armenian history and culture. It was the first time that Armenians and Turks in Los Angeles came together on a stage this big to speak honestly and publicly about the multicultural history of Anatolia and about the prominent place of Armenians on that land. The festival provided us Armenians a chance to present ourselves at our best and, just as important, to show that we welcome honest conversation. No one who attended the festival was misled about our history or our present grievances with Turkey. At the same time no one, no Armenian or Turk, walked away feeling less hopeful about the future of Turkish-Armenian relations. The OIA accomplished much by participating in the festival. It realized a piece of Hrant Dinks dream.
Here are some details about why the OIA decided to take part in the festival:
Chief among the factors that the Board took into consideration was the source of the invitation to participate. The Pacifica Institute is not a political organization but a cultural onejust like the OIA. Members of the OIA board had met the organizers of the festival on other, unrelated occasions and regarded their commitment to cultural exchanges as genuine. The board saw them as worthy partners in real dialogue. Also, important in the decision to participate was the nature of the festival. The very name Anatolian signaled that it would be about all the peoples and cultures of that land and not just about Turks and Turkey. It was to be a celebration of multi-culturalism and indirectly a rejection of nationalism and intolerance. One proof of that intention was the organizers choice of Van as one of the five cities selected for special status. Van was the center of Armenian cultural life in Anatolia and its Akhtamar church was the Holy See of an independent Armenian Catholicosate from 1113 to the end of the 19th century. The OIA board was also mindful of the assurances it received that it would have the last say on how the festival would represent Van in particular and historic Armenia in general.
As a result, visitors to the Anatolian festival witnessed some remarkable sights. Here are some of the highlights:
· First, a booth staffed by OIA members stood near the entrance of the festival and handed out literature about Van and Armenian history in Anatolia. The organizers did not in any way interfere with the content of this literature. In fact, this literature referred openly to the events of 1915.
· Second, the festival included a very large and realistic replica of the Akhtamar Church, complete with a cross on its steeple. The cross was an exact copy of the original, and bore Etchmiadzins mark of E on it. Visitors to the church heard in the background Gomidas Divine Liturgy. All identifying signs and literature at the exhibit used the proper Armenian name Akhtamar instead of the recent Turkified Akdamar.
· The Istanbul exhibit identified the Balians as the great Armenian imperial architects of 19th century Ottoman Empire, reproducing two of their masterworks: the Dolmabahce Palace and the Kucuksu Imperial Mansion.
· The Van exhibit featured a folk ensemble from Van who after performing the song Sari Gelin in Turkish invited members of the audience who knew the songs Armenian lyrics to join them as they gave a rendition in Armenian.
· On the main stage of the festival, Udi Yervant, a local Armenian oud master, performed with a large group of musicians from Mardin who traveled to Los Angeles with the Parish Priest of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Mardin. They performed several songs in Armenian as well as Assyrian and Kurdish.
· Finally, those present at the opening ceremony heard a member of the OIA Board invoke the memory of Hrant Dink and called for the free flow of ideas and opinions, including those relating to past wars and injustices.
OIAs involvement in the Anatolian Festival was guided by the road-map handed to it by its son and hero, Hrant Dink. He taught us that one can accomplish more by talking and listening than by hiding and insulting; that civility doesnt mean compromise or weakness; that the best way to get respect and empathy is to be ready to give the same. The OIA believes in Dinks dream of a democratic Turkey. It longs for the day Turkeys government recognizes the Armenian Genocide because of pressure placed on it by its own citizens. It believes in change from bottom-up rather than top-to-bottom. All those who share that aim, whether Armenian or Turk, should regard OIAs participation in the Anatolian Cultural Festival as a step in the right direction.
Organization of Istanbul Armenians, Board Of Directors
Arameans Send Letter To President, PM Demanding Rights
The Turabdin Solidarity Committee (Solidaritattsgruppe), an umbrella organization for the diaspora Arameans from Turkey, sent a letter to President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the situation of Arameans in Turkey and asked to be treated in accordance with the Lausanne Treaty and auspices of the state.
In the letter, the Arameans also noted that the Prophet Jesus spoke in Aramaic and the state should give the permission and financial support for Aramaic language courses. The letter also underlined the concerns of the Arameans regarding the ongoing trial over the Mor Gabriel Monastery, which was constructed in A.D. 397.
The row began when the Turkish government land officials redrew the boundaries around Mor Gabriel and the surrounding villages in 2008 in order to update the national land registry as part of a cadastre modernization project in compliance with EU instructions. The monks say the new boundaries have turned over large plots of land that the monastery has owned for centuries to the villages, and it designates the monastery's land as a public forest. Christian groups believe the officials want to ultimately stamp out the Aramean Orthodox monastery. Their allegations come as the EU has demanded that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government do more to promote religious freedom along with its liberal economic and political reforms.
Meanwhile, three neighboring villages -- Çandarlı, Yayvantepe and Eğlence -- have complained that the monks have engaged in "anti-Turkish activities" and alleged that they are illegally converting children to Christianity, that the Mor Gabriel Community Foundation settles wherever it chooses --without having the requisite permits -- and that it violates the Unity of Education Law. The villagers also have accused the monastery of taking the land the villagers need for cattle. The hearings in the dispute will be held this month.
The letter reiterated the importance of the Mor Gabriel Monastery for Christian history and claimed that the cases against the monastery were directly linked with the basic rights and problems of the Christians in Turkey.
"Accordingly, these problems were raised because most of the Aramean villages in Turabdin [Aramaic name for a part of the Mardin and Şırnak] are facing similar problems and struggling against them. In short, the status and the minority rights of Arameans is the issue," the letter said.
The Turabdin Solidarity Committee also claimed that the number of Arameans still living in the area is around 2,000, but "their existence is in danger due to the growing hostility against them."
The letter suggested that since the establishment of the republic, the Arameans were not recognized as a religious nor ethnic minority and were not able to enjoy the rights granted by the Lausanne Treaty, which was signed in 1923 and served as the founding agreement for the Turkish Republic. The treaty organizes the rights of the non-Muslim citizens of Turkey -- without indicating specific group names -- but, practically, these rights are applied only to the Jewish, Greek and Armenian minorities of Turkey, according to a recent report of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV).
The letter underlined that within this framework, the Arameans demand the recognition of their culturally rich existence and want the special auspices of the state. The letter also demands: "the monasteries and churches that belong to the Arameans should be preserved by the state without taking them away from their owners, religious freedom, not only the permission to open religious schools, but financial support for them and permission to teach language courses."
The letter claimed that if these demands were met, then the Arameans of Turkey will be able to plan their future freely and contribute to the development of Turkey. 05 May 2009, AYŞE KARABAT
Armenians Returning To Gaziantep 04 May 2009
Armenians want to buy the house in Gaziantep where Ataturk’s registered province. The price they are proposing is also astonishing.
Armenians are more and more interested in Gaziantep in recent years. Especially they buy old Gaziantep houses with paying extreme prices. Cooperating with French army during the invasion in World War One and leaving Gaziantep with invaders, today Armenians are returning to Gaziantep silently.
Recently, Armenians proposed to the old house which is known as the Ataturk’s registered place an extreme price. Armenians proposed to the house 800,000 TL which would not worth more than 100,000 TL. Owner of the house wants to sell the house to the Armenians on this price.
On the other hand, it is learnt that Armenians from Turkey and abroad started to buy houses in Gaziantep. There are gossips among the citizens of the city that Armenians wants to turn Gaziantep into an Armenian city within 10 years.
SA 'Yes' To Genocide Motion Anastasios Papapostolou, Greek Reporter au.greekreporter.com May 4 2009 Australia
The South Australian Parliament recognised unanimously on Thursday the Genocide of Armenians, Pontian Greeks, Syrian Orthodox, Assyrian and other Christian minorities.
It is the first such recognition by any State or Federal Parliament in Australia. The resolution was proposed by South Australia's Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Multicultural Affairs and Veterans' Affairs, Michael Atkinson.
The resolution states: "That, whereas the genocide by the Ottoman state between 1915-1923 of Armenians, Hellenes, Syrian and other minorities in Asia Minor is one of the greatest crimes against humanity, the people of South Australia and this House - join the members of the Armenian-Australian, Pontian Greek-Australian and Syrian-Australian communities in honouring the memory of the innocent men, women and children who fell victim to the first modern genocide; condemns the genocide of the Armenians, Pontian Greeks, Syrian Orthodox and other Christian minorities, and all other acts of Genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance; recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated; condemns and prevents all attempts to use the passage of time to deny or distort the historical truth of the Genocide of the Armenians and other acts of Genocide committed during this century; acknowledges the significant humanitarian contribution made by the people of South Australia to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the Pontian Genocide; and calls on the commonwealth parliament officially to condemn the Genocide."
The issue of the Pontian Genocide had recently stirred a contentious political debate in South Australia with the Liberal Senator Alan Ferguson accusing Mr Atkinson of playing politics on the issue.
In a speech he delivered at the Senate on March 18 Mr Ferguson went so far as to dispute the validity of historical evidence regerarding the Armenian and Pontian Genocides.
The South Australian State Opposition Leader did not hesitate to proclaim his allegiance by stressing, "As a man married to a Greek, with a son who is half Greek, who is Orthodox, this has very much touched me and my family. Let there be no doubt in the mind of any South Australian about my view and the view of the state Liberals of these terrible and tragic events." He continued by chastising Mr Atkinson for politically taking advantage of that situation by sending to his Greek constituents the speech made by Senator Ferguson.
U.N. Should Act Against Armenia
On behalf of 400,000 Azerbaijani Americans, I urge the United Nations to start taking serious steps to implement the United Nations resolutions calling for immediate withdrawal of Armenian military forces from Azerbaijan's territories.
Sixteen years ago, Armenia conducted a war against Azerbaijan. The ethnic Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabagh and surrounding districts of Azerbaijan were ethnically cleansed from the occupied territories, and have been unable to return to their ancestral homes.
May 8 is the 17th anniversary of the destruction of the historic and venerated town of Shusha, which was once the centerpiece of a vibrant Azerbaijani classical music scene and home to the first opera in the Middle East. Now it lays in waste, a victim of Armenian destruction, occupation and systematic ethnic cleansing.
On behalf of Azerbaijani Americans and Azerbaijanis worldwide, I implore the United Nations to do whatever is necessary and possible to move this situation along to its rightful resolution, from implementing the United Nations resolutions to stopping the Armenian occupation, removing Armenian military forces, allowing the return of displaced Azerbaijanis and returning all POWs and MIAs.
2 - Turkish American Group Files Defamation Suit On Behalf of Genocide-Denying US Academic The perennial dispute over the Armenian genocide recognition is now taking place in multiple arenas. In U.S. District Court recently, the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund is battling it out with the Southern Poverty Law Center. Led by attorneys Bruce Fein and David Saltzman, the Turkish American group has filed a defamation suit on behalf of author Guenter Lewy. An 85-year-old emeritus professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Lewy says the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report libeled him when it wrote, in part: "Lewy is one of the most active members of a network of American scholars, influence peddlers and website operators, financed by hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the government of Turkey, who promote the denial of the Armenian genocide.." The wrangling before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, is procedural. Some of the questions, in part, appear to deal with what kind of media the Intelligence Report is and whether the District of Columbia is the right place for this legal action. Stated the Southern Poverty Law Center: Beyond the Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit, Fein said the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund is preparing for a potential defamation lawsuit against one-time Ohio congressional candidate David Krikorian. Krikorian evidently declared that his GOP opponent, Rep. Jean Schmdt "has taken $30,000 in blood money to deny the genocide." Stated Krikorian: "Both sets of my grandparents are survivors of this first Holocaust of the 20th century...most of their family members at the time were murdered...The only deniers of this great tragedy which led to the Holocaust of the Jews by Nazi Germany are the Turkish government and certain members of the United States Congress like Jean Schmidt." In preparation for the upcoming defamation suit, Fein has already filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission; in an interview, he said this complaint was designed to flesh out the facts that will be the underpinning of the defamation suit. "We want to try to send a signal to Armenian-Americans that the time for bullying has come to an end," Fein said.
California Courier Online
Vahagn Dadrian To Give Lectures In Yerevan 04.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Professor Vahagn Dadrian, internationally-renowned expert on the Armenian Genocide will give lectures in Armenian Genocide Museum Institute, Yerevan, from May 5 to 7.
The particularity of Dadrian's research is that by mastering many languages, including German, English, French, Turkish, Ottoman Turkish and Armenian; he has researched archives of different countries, and extensively studied materials in various languages in a way that very few, if anyone has done before him. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree for his research in the field of Armenian Genocide Studies by the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, and later, in 1998, he was made a member of the Academy and honored by the President of Armenia, the republic's highest cultural award, the Khorenatzi medal. The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation sponsored him as director of a large Genocide study project, which culminated with the publication of articles, mainly in the Holocaust and Genocide studies magazines.
While Dadrian's specialization is genocide in general, most of his study concerns the Armenian Genocide, even though he has publications regarding such cases as the Holocaust and the destruction of the American Indians.
Dadrian's latest project is the translation of the Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919-20 from Ottoman Turkish to English.
He is the author of the books "German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide", "History of the Armenian Genocide: ethnic conflicts from Balkans to Caucasus" and others.
Going After a Scholar's Critic May 4, 2009, Inside Higher Ed
Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is a scholar whose work has been praised by Turkey's government. When the embassy of Turkey in Washington was upset over a PBS documentary on the Armenian genocide during World War I, the ambassador's statement on the program noted the work of "respected scholar Guenter Lewy, whose latest book The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide documents the incomplete historic record and excessive politicization associated with the issue."
Lewy does not believe that the slaughter of Armenians during World War I was a genocide - a position that puts him outside the consensus of scholars of genocide. Lewy's 2005 book on the subject argues that while there were indeed many tragic deaths, there was no attempt by those in power to commit genocide, and that war was the primary cause of the deaths. In an interview two years ago, Lewy said that the book -- which was criticized by some scholars of genocide -- had been rejected by 11 publishers, including 4 university presses, before the University of Utah Press published it.
Among those who joined the attacks on the book and Lewy was the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group known for its studies of hate groups -- a focus that has led the center to criticize Holocaust deniers and those who deny the attacks or bias experienced by members of various groups. Lewy featured prominently in an article published by the center last year, "State of Denial."
Now Lewy -- with backing from the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund --is seeking millions in damages from the center in a lawsuit for defamation.
The lawsuit asserts a set of facts about what happened to the Armenians that differ from what many historians say. Generally, the suit characterizes the question of an Armenian genocide as open to question and debate.
"Since the conclusion of World War I and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, an historical and legal controversy has raged over whether, in the context of war and an undeniable Armenian rebellion against the Ottoman government in favor of its enemies, the deaths of a large number of Ottoman Armenians as a result of combat, disease, starvation, exposure, and massacre constituted the crime of genocide," the suit says.
"At present, those who dispute that the genocide label is apt are characteristically maligned by those who favor the genocide thesis as indistinguishable from 'Holocaust deniers' who are either bigoted against Armenians or Christians or are on the Turkish government payroll. Little solace can be derived from the fact such current intimidations mark an improvement from earlier decades. Then, those who defended the contra-genocide thesis could expect physical assaults or even assassination attempts."
Some scholars fear that the suit is part of a campaign to silence those who criticize scholarship that Turkey favors. In recent months, the Turkish American group has sent letters to the presidents of Hampshire College and McGill University on campus disputes involving the Armenian genocide, suggested a willingness to become involved with disputes large and small concerning the way the Armenian genocide is discussed.
Simon Payaslian, who holds an endowed chair in Armenian history and literature at Boston University, said he was not familiar with the lawsuit or its specific claims. But he sees it as part of a pattern. "I think the pro-Turkish scholars have launched a new wave of denialist argument."
Related issues of academic freedom and academic integrity are at play, Payaslian said. Part of academic freedom should be the right of those who disagree with scholars to question their work. Payaslian said he strongly disagrees with Lewy's book and sees its theories about the genocide as being wrong, and deserving of strong scholarly scrutiny. He said that he fears that pro-Turkish groups "are trying to suffocate any kind of criticisms that these nationalists think is objectionable."
The lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center says of Lewy that he "bravely acted pursuant to the highest standards of scholarly integrity in his research, writing, and speaking about the fate of the Ottoman Armenians in the midst of a climate hostile to open inquiry and debate."
Two quotes in the Southern Poverty Law Center article are cited as defamatory. One states: "Lewy is one of the most active members of a network of American scholars, influence peddlers and website operators, financed by hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the government of Turkey, who promote the denial of the Armenian genocide...."
The other states: "Lewy makes similar revisionist claims in his 2005 book The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide and in frequent lectures at university campuses across the country. ... Revisionist historians who conjure doubt about the Armenian genocide and
are paid by the Turkish government provided politicians with the intellectual cover they needed to claim they were refusing to dictate history rather than caving in to a foreign government's present-day interests." (The article goes on to mention specific support by Turkey for research or research centers involving American scholars, but does not cite an example of Turkey providing funds to Lewy.)
According to the suit, the statements "assert or imply" acts "of moral turpitude" in that they imply that Lewy "has and continues to compromise his scholarship on the fate of the Ottoman Armenians and disputes the genocide characterization of the events of 1915-1916 in exchange for money from the Government of Turkey" and that Lewy "deceives his readers and audiences when he addresses the controversy surrounding the Armenian allegation of genocide by concealing his receipt of money from the Government of Turkey."
Further the suit says that the statements "individually and taken as a whole in context of the article ... are defamatory because they falsely impute to Plaintiff academic corruption, fraud and deceit. ..." As a result of the accusations, the suit says that Lewy has had his "scholarly credibility" hurt and has lost book sales and speaking engagements.
"The acute stigma attached to failures to disclose the receipt of money or its equivalent that could distort academic or professional judgments finds expression in a welter of government conflict-of-interest regulations and financial disclosure standards embraced by highly respected professional publications, including the Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association."
The Southern Poverty Law Center declined to comment on the suit, saying that it was its policy not to discuss litigation.
The issue of whether Turkish support for research in the United States comes with strings attached has been contentious in the past. Last year,
a scholar who teaches at the State University of New York at Binghamton went public with his complaint that he was given a choice by Turkish officials -- after using the word "genocide" to describe what happened to the Armenians -- of either quitting his position as chair of the Institute of Turkish Studies, based at Georgetown university, with support from Turkey's government, or of seeing support for the center evaporate. (The Turkish embassy in Washington strongly denies these allegations.)
Lewy's number is unlisted and his lawyer, Bruce Fein, said he is traveling. Fein said he could not answer the question of whether Lewy has ever received support from Turkey or from research entities supported by Turkey. Fein said that was "not a key fact at all" because the suit is based on the accusation that support from Turkey compromised Lewy's scholarship, which isn't the same as receiving support from Turkey.
"He could have gotten $10 in tax reimbursements in Istanbul," Fein said. Asked if it wasn't odd for a lawyer to file a defamation suit focused on the alleged implications of a scholar receiving support from Turkey, without knowing if the scholar had received support from Turkey, Fein said "you can draw whatever inferences you want."
- Scott Jaschik
Vardan Oskanian - “We Have Entered A Process Over Which We Have Lost All Influence” [ 2009/05/04 ] Anahit Danielyan
At a reception for the launch of his new book, “Speaking to be Heard” (Armenian version - “An Unfinished Decade), former RoA Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian stated, “We started out solving the Karabakh issue in the fixed parameters of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and ended up with Mountainous Karabakh’s right to self-determination.”
This is how the former foreign minister described the achievement resulting from ten years of negotiations during his posting at the reception for his book, a collection of his speeches during the period.
“However many issues are contained in the Madrid document that may appear unacceptable to us and which must be discussed there is one principle contained in it which allows me to rest easy. For the first time there appears in document form that which we have always sought - in black and white it clearly states that Karabakh itself must decide its own fate on the basis of the right to self-determination,” stated Mr. Oskanian.
At the request of those present, the former minister also touched on the issue of the territories. Mr. Oskanian stated that the issue was a constant subject of the talks.”Without including the territories as a part of the overall; settlement process negotiations just aren’t possible. Either you are not going to negotiate as a rule or if you do engage in talks, naturally these issues must be broached,” he noted.
When asked to comment on regional developments, of which the process to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations is of the utmost concern of many, Mr. Oskanian pointed out that, “While it is correct that our government will not go so far as to discuss the Karabakh issue with the Turks, we have entered into such a process over which we have already lost any influence and oversight.”
Mr. Oskanian added that after the statement issued on April 22 Turkey “wishes to pry something out of the Karabakh issue so that they can open the border and not anger the Azeris”.
He concluded by noting that the major diplomatic shortcoming of Armenian diplomacy lies in the fact that this ongoing process has been transformed from secret negotiations to a public discourse. “When the talks were secret the Turks didn’t have the possibility of speculating with the content or the process. Today, when everything is public, all are expressing an interest and that isn’t in our best interests.”
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Promises To Justify All Hopes A1+ May 04, 2009
"This is Yerevan, you are home here." The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun has chosen the slogan for its election campaign. The Party pledges to make Yerevan the capital of all Armenians.
To justify the principle, the ARF has involved in its candidate list architect Albert Achemyan who has been living in Armenia for ten years. The latter says Yerevan needs strategic programmes.
Representative of the ARF Supreme Body Armen Rustamyan noted in his speech that the Party has always stood for changing the status of the capital city. "The City Council should form the municipal authority within the bounds of its liabilities and in line with legislation. The upcoming election undoubtedly has a political significance. Yet, we should avoid politicizing the election. On the other hand, we needn't underestimate the mayoral election. We must evaluate the situation. The election is not aimed at solving minor neighbouring problems like street-cleaning. At the same time, we don't agree that the election decides Armenia's authorities."
There are some women on the Party's list. Mrs. Anahit Yesayan, who worked in the City Hall for many years, says she is well aware of the Yerevan's problems.
ARF's pe-election platform was detailed by MP Artsvik Minasyan who heads the Party's candidate list. The Party promises its electorate to involve Yerevan civilians in the system of city administration. ARF plans to establish a standing oversight Commission leaving its leadership to the opposition, create the institute of the city council, work out once-year, four-year and long-term programmes of Yerevan's development, review and optimize the system of the City Hall staff and pay proper salaries.
The Party will focus on the spheres of human rights excluding all kinds of infringements and calls the youth to come up with fresh ideas.
At the end of today's meeting all the 50 candidates of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation were invited to the stage.
In reply to A1+'s remark that the Party still needs to be perceived as an opposition, representative of the ARF Supreme Body Hrant Margaryan said: "We have always encountered problems. We rely on our people. "
Armen Rustamyan says the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun needs time to be perceived as an opposition. "The campaign gives us a chance to show the seriousness of our decision."
Mr. Rustamyan also added that the Party will not support any other candidate during the election.
"If Yerevan citizens vote for the ARF on May 31 they will bind us with their votes and will become convinced that Dashnaktsutyun is a real opposition. We shall justify all their hopes," added Artsvik Minasyan.
Kars Treaty Appeared Crucial To Armenians' History 05.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Kars treaty played crucial role in Armenian people's history. If the document becomes agenda issue for parliament discussions and is ratified by RA National Assembly, Armenia can no longer set territorial claims towards Turkey, Edward Minasyan, Dean of YSU History Department, told a news conference today. "The Kars Treaty mainly reiterated the clauses of the 1921 Moscow Treaty. Under the Treaty of Kars, Armenia lost major part of its territory, including the Kars province and Surmalu. The latter never belonged to Turkey," the historian stressed.
According to Edward Minasyan, Kars treaty contains several clauses pertaining to Armenian-Turkish interests. "Under the treaty, Armenia lost 24 thousand sq. m. of its territory. Nakhichevan became an autonomous republic under Azerbaijan's protectorate. Besides, the document stipulates for Armenia's denunciation of Sevre Treaty. The border established under the Kars Treaty passed across Akhouryan-Arpa-Chai, i.e. borderline separating Armenia and Turkey at present," Mr. Minasyan noted, adding that if the document had an international ratification, Turkish side wouldn't be so concerned now. "Turkey fears lest it should face problems caused by absence of international ratification. When Turkey recognized Armenia's independence, it advanced three preconditions for normalizing relations, with the demand to recognize Kars Treaty being of them," the historian noted.
The Kars Treaty, dated October 13, 1921, was signed between Turkey on the one hand, and Soviet Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on the other.
Israeli Government: Knisset Not The Place To Discusss Armenian Genocide 2009/05/06
A motion put forth in the Israeli Knisset that Israel officially recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide was shot down by the government, this according to a report in the May 6 issue of Israel News,
“I agree that it is our moral obligation. We have a moral duty to remember the killings of Armenians, but this is not the place,” stated Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who delievered the government’s response to the motion.
Erdan then read aloud the government’s response, which objects to commemorating the massacre in the Knesset.
The Knesset plenum discussed the motion put forward by Meretz Chairman, MK Haim Oron, proposing that Israel officially recognize the Turkish massacre of Armenians during World War I.
Oron files the motion every year, as close as possible to the memorial day marked on the Armenian calendar, April 24th. The Meretz chairman discussed the matter with a delegation of Armenian representatives, clergy and civilians who were watching the Knesset’s debate from the visitor’s gallery.
“I say - let’s create the parliamentary framework for the Knesset to discuss an issue I believe the Knesset must discuss,” said Oron. “It is our duty to the Armenian people and to ourselves. There are those who say we should leave it to historians to determine whether it was genocide. There are Holocaust deniers who say exactly the same thing. They rely on alleged historical sources and say there are doubts regarding the numbers and figures of the Holocaust.”
Minister Erdan’s words were brimming with empathy for the Armenian people, but he also noted the inescapable political ramifications in regards to Israel’s relationship with Turkey.
“Israel has never denied the terrible acts carried out against the Armenians, and I am well aware of the intensity of the emotions given the number of victims and the suffering of the Armenian people.”
However, he said, Israel’s position is that “the study of the events must be done through open discussion, and backed by the historical data, not a political debate in the Knesset. Because of our understanding of the pain and suffering, and so that Israel does not become a side that deals with this from a purely political place, I ask that we take this issue off the Knesset’s agenda.”
President, 435 Members Of Congress Get Genocide Documentary "River Ran Red" With Letter From Jewish World Watch
Film is Screened to Large Audiences Nationwide
(April 24, 2009) - Jewish World Watch founder Rabbi Harold Schulweis urged members of Congress to support House Resolution 252 on the Armenian Genocide in a letter accompanied by a DVD copy of The River Ran Red, the epic documentary film on the Genocide by Dr. J. Michael Hagopian.
The film has become an important tool in recounting the events of 1915, when the Ottoman Turks carried out the planned extermination of 1.5 million Armenians in what is the first Genocide of the 20th century. More than 300 people attended the East Coast Premiere of The River Ran Red in Watertown, MA, on March 22, and screenings during the past week at Genocide commemorative activities at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, drew hundreds of students.
Culminating more than 40 years of interviews with 400 eyewitnesses to the Armenian Genocide of 1915, The River Ran Red is the final film in Hagopian's The Witnesses trilogy produced by the Armenian Film Foundation. The 60-minute documentary film depicts the epic search for survivors of the Armenian Genocide along the Euphrates, which snakes from the Armenian Plateau in Turkey to Syria. Hagopian weaves a compelling story of terrifying intensity and resounding warmth. The search concludes with the discovery and testimony of the last three survivors, among several thousand, who had been stuffed into a burning cave in the forbidden desert of Deir Zor.
The Jewish World Watch has been a strong supporter of the Armenian Film Foundation's efforts to bring the events of the Armenian Genocide to the fore. In his letter to the members of Congress, Rabbi Schulweis wrote, "We are men and women of conscience, and together we ask our government to recognize what we know as true: that 1.5 million Armenians were systematically slaughtered in a government-sponsored campaign of genocide against them. ... I urge you to watch this film, and put your vote to work recognizing the Armenian Genocide by endorsing H.Res. 252." DVD copies of The River Ran Red along with the same letter also were sent to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The River Ran Red has had several screenings in the past several weeks. The National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) organized a showing in Watertown, at the Mosesian Theater at the Watertown Arsenal Center for the Arts. Dr. Hagopian and Armenian Film Foundation board member Gerald Papazian attended the Boston-area event from Los Angeles. Afterwards, there was a panel discussion with Dr. Hagopian, Prof. Taner Akçam, who holds the chair in Armenian Genocide studies at Clark University, and Dr. Bedross Der Matossian from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In another screening on the East Coast, the film was shown at New Jersey's Englewood Public Library on April 23.
In Southern California, Armenian students joined in the call for passage of H.Res. 252. The screening at USC on Monday, April 20, was sponsored by the USC Armenian Student Association and the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. The showing at UCLA on Sunday, April 26, was sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program and the UCLA Armenian Graduate Student Association. Immediately following the screening there was a lively question and answer session with director J. Michael Hagopian.
"Armenian students at these two great universities will be critical for generations to come," stated Dr. Hagopian. "They should be well versed in all aspects of the Genocide and accept the responsibility history places upon them as future leaders of our people." He added, "At both institutions I was amazed at the intellectual attributes of the students and their fervent devotion for Armenian causes. The future will be in good hands with these students."
The River Ran Red may be purchased by calling the Armenian Film Foundation at 805-495-0717 or visiting www.armenianfilm.org.
For Armenia, Acceptance Of Treaty Of Kars Means Renunciation Of Certain Historic Territories, Historian Says Noyan Tapan May 5, 2009
"History shows that the Turkish diplomacy is always the winner at decisive moments," Edik Minasian, the Dean of Yerevan State University History Department, said at the May 5 press conference. He reminded that after World War I Turkey was on the verge of division into parts, but it found a possibility to solve the issue in favor of itself.
According to the historian, now the Turks are again trying to extort dividends beneficial for themselves in their relations with the Armenians having a goal to achieve Armenia's and Diaspora's renouncing the demand of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and solution of the Nagorno Karabakh problem in favor of Azerbaijan.
E. Minasian added that he has doubts concerning some analysts' conviction that Turkey can establish relations with Armenia without preconditions. "The Turks will not sign a memorandum for no particular reason," he said touching upon the April 22 statement signed by the Armenian and Turkish Foreign Ministers.
Commenting upon the information spread by Turkish media that by that document Armenia has agreed to accept the Treaty of Kars, E. Minasian said that he does not know whether that news corresponds to reality. However, if it is right, according to E. Minasian's formulation, for Armenia, acceptance of the Treaty of the Kars means renunciation of certain historic territories and the Treaty of Sevres. The historian reminded that by the Treaty of Kars the Armenians ceded a territory of 24 thousand sq.km to Turkey, Kars and Surmalu were given to Turkey and Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan.
Turkish-Armenian Border Should First Be Determined, Then Opened 05.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ It's essential to determine the state border between the Republic of Armenia and Turkey and only then to speak about opening it, an Armenian expert said.
"There is not state border between the two countries but a dividing line set by the treaty of Kars which was not ratified by the Republic of Armenia. It means that official Yerevan doesn't recognize the status quo," David Davtyan told PanARMENIAN.Net.
Turkey is well aware of the situation. "If Armenia doesn't recognize the Treaty of Kars, it alone is to blame," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened in 2005.
"Turkish media tell tall tales about road map and it's quite strange that Armenian political forces, which call on the population not to believe Turks, do swallow the bait," Davtyan said, adding that under complete secrecy, we can nothing but trust in diplomatic competence of our authorities and hope that our national interests will be maximally protected.
It Is Important To Understand Who Pushed Yerevan Into Turkey's Arms 05.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenian expert David Davtyan doesn't think that any outside force is interested in compelling Armenian authorities to sign some wittingly losing documents.
"Unfortunately, today the essence of Armenian-Turkish talks is vague, since Armenia does not impose concrete conditions on Turkey. Thus, a comparison inevitably comes to mind: official Yerevan merely establishes diplomatic relations with Ankara, without solving national priority tasks, which is wittingly disadvantageous for the Armenian Cause, but can be profitable for country's economy," he told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.
According to him, it is important to realize who pushed Yerevan into Turkey's arms and who is the ideologist of normalizing relations. "Russia realized clearly, that Armenian-Turkish reconciliation would make variance between Ankara and Baku. That made Azerbaijan address Moscow to bargain support in the Karabakh issue," he said, adding that dynamics of recent Russian-Turkish relations are characterized by the growth in turnover, political approximation and common geopolitical interest.
"In this situation Armenia with its legitimate claims to Ankara, becomes a buffer in fulfillment of certain plans. The U.S., yielding to Moscow in influence over Yerevan, quickly patterned its behavior and started to play own geopolitical solitaire, trying to extract some profit from the situation. Actually, Armenian-Turkish negotiations conceal a geopolitical game which can change world's power balance," stressed Davtyan.
Recognition Of Treaty Of Kars To Be Violation Of Armenian Constitution 04.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish media are circulating rumors about soonest recognition of Treaty of Kars by Armenia.
"Presently, the dividing line through the rivers of Araks and Akhryan does not have the status of state border. The Armenian-Turkish border determined by Woodrow Wilson arbitration award which served as legal decision for a number of countries, including Armenia and Turkey," Ara Papian, head of Modus Vivendi research center, told PanARMENIAN.Net.
"It means that President Wilson's arbitration award doesn't only recognize the right of the Republic of Armenia to certain territories but also obliged Armenia to observe international norms," he said.
"Recognition of Treaty of Kars will be violation of article 49 of the RA Constitution. President of Armenia is the guarantor of independence, territorial integrity and security of the republic. Recognition of an illegal bargain between Kemalist Turkey and Bolshevik Russia will be a violation of Armenia's territorial integrity," Mr. Papian resumed.
6 May 2009 Border Turks Want Door Shut
The gates to the Black Sea in Turkey.
Plan to reopen frontier between Armenia and Turkey wins few friends in towns and villages on Turkish side, Shabui Mammadli reports for IWPR.
By Sabuhi Mammadli in Igdir, Turkey for IWPR
Talk of the possible reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border has left residents in nearby Turkish towns divided on whether such a development is what they need.
Many say that even if it means certain economic benefits for them, they are not ready to make friends with their Armenian neighbours.
Igdir is a small town in Turkey. For all its provinciality, it lies in an area of great strategic importance for Turkey, located at an intersection of the country’s borders with Azerbaijan, Armenia and Iran.
Most of the local people in Igdir are Azeris who moved here from territories in or adjacent to Nagorny Karabakh.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in sympathy with Azerbaijan, following a series of defeats that the latter had suffered in its war over Nagorny Karabakh.
There are still no diplomatic relations between the two countries due to the still unresolved Karabakh conflict and Armenia’s demands that Turkey recognise the following: the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide; and the territorial claims of some Armenian political parties to six provinces in Turkey’s north-east.
But the fact that the opening of the frontier is one of the 35 requirements Turkey needs to meet to be admitted to the European Union has put pressure on Ankara to find a solution.
Armenia and Turkey, with Switzerland as mediator, have been negotiating behind closed doors on the issue since 2002.
The unblocking of the border was the top item on the agenda in talks between Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United States president Barack Obama during the latter’s recent visit to Ankara.
The issue was also discussed during the Turkish president Abdullah Gul’s short visit to Armenia last September.
It also featured in the Turkish-Armenian talks being conducted in Switzerland, which resulted in the recent joint declaration of a so-called road map, leading towards hoped-for normalisation of relations.
Signs that Turkey and Armenia might be moving toward a rapprochement have displeased the Azerbaijan president, Ilham Aliev, however.
He showed his annoyance by refusing to attend a recent international conference in Ankara, thus sacrificing an opportunity to meet Obama, who attended the event among other high-ranking guests.
Despite Azerbaijan’s demarches, the Turkish-Armenian road map already envisions reopening two checkpoints on the frontier between the two countries.
One is located near the village of Alijan in Igdir; the other is in the Kars village of Akyaka.
Cahid Erol, head of the Igdir department of the National Movement Party, known in Turkey as the MHP, is worried by the momentum leading towards reopening of the border.
He fears the recent election of a Kurdish mayor in Igdir may have advanced an undesirable, process.
Erol recently lost the local elections to the candidate of the Kurdish Democratic Society Party, Mehmet Gunesh, whom Erol insists is a sympathiser with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, PKK, deemed a terrorist organisation in Turkey.
“Now, unfortunately, they’ve appointed a member of the PKK to lead the municipality,” Erol complained.
He worries that the new Kurdish municipal chief will act on his pledges to open the frontier with Armenia.
Soon after being elected, Gunesh told a local newspaper he would “open the gates of Alijan”, the village near one of the proposed checkpoints.
“This will boost the region’s economic development,” he told the same newspaper.
The idea of trading away Turkey’s alliance with Azerbaijan in exchange for “development” does not appeal to Erol.
“Our respected [party] chairman, Devlet Bahceli, says, ‘We won’t back off on Karabakh, even if Azerbaijan does,’” he retorted.
“We would be glad if Azerbaijan took a tough stance on the Turkey-Armenia border reopening issue, and if [President] Aliev upset the plans of Obama and Erdogan.
“Our party has made its position clear. The border will never be opened, or they will have to step over our dead bodies first.”
Opinions vary among ordinary residents of Igdir, though many seem as hostile to the reopening of the frontier as Erol.
Nuri, an employee in the Hotel Barbarossa, in the heart of Igdir, said such a development would stain Turkey’s reputation.
“I just can’t imagine Armenians traveling freely to Turkey,” he said. “How can it be possible?”
A local businessman, Ekrem Yesil, struck a similar line. He said the sociology department of the University of Arzrum had recently conducted a survey of 10,000 people, showing the overwhelming majority against reconciliation.
“Ninety-seven percent of the respondents said they did not want the border reopened,” Yesil said.
“Most of the remaining three per cent were members of the pro-government Justice and Development Party.”
Murat Karademir, of the opposition Popular Republican Party, also adamantly opposes a rapprochement, describing Igdir as “the door to the Caucasus” – a door, he says, that needed to remain firmly shut in Armenia’s face.
“For Armenians, the town represents a path to Europe via Turkey; in a word, it’s a strategic territory,” he said.
“Opening this door to Armenians now would mean a catastrophe for Turkey, a threat to its security.
“Besides, the PKK is very active in this region; it’s not a secret for anyone that many PKK members are trained in Armenia and the occupied Karabakh.
“It is there that terrorists get their wounds treated. Already it’s very difficult to [prevent them going] crossing into Armenia. Unsealing the border would make it still easier for them to move.”
Mehmet Aydin, who comes from Alijan and now lives in Igdir, said Ankara had recently made a point of sending envoys to the village to argue for reopening the frontier.
“They have been saying, ‘You see how Igdir has evolved from a small village into a town after the border with Azerbaijan was opened. That’s what will happen to Alijan, [if the border with Armenia is unsealed]’.
“Some believe in this propaganda and want [it] to be reopened, but most don’t.”
But not everyone in Igdir wants the frontier with Armenia to remain shut forever.
Ahmet Sahin, a local activist of the Democratic Society Party, believes many businesses in Igdir now idling because of economic difficulties could get back on track if the border was opened.
“I’m an entrepreneur myself,“ he said. “The chemical goods produced at my factory have been collecting dust in storage facilities.
“What would be wrong if I took my produce to the Armenian market?”
“The border should be opened, because there are no jobs in Turkey,” agreed Mehmet Broi, a local teacher. “Trade has shrunk too. Armenia is a profitable territory for us.”
The governor of the area, Mehmet Karahisarli, also sounded a note of optimism about the possible reopening of the border. “[This] would stimulate business activity in both Igdir and the entire district,” he told IWPR.
But Turkish nationalists continue to reiterate that they will only tolerate seeing the frontier unsealed if Armenia meets a series of conditions.
These start with Nagorny Karabakh.
“First of all, Armenia has to un-occupy the territories of Karabakh,” Erol said.
“Secondly, they should get the genocide demand out of their heads. Thirdly, they should stop asking Turkey for compensation. Fourthly, they should give up their territorial claims regarding Turkey. Fifthly, they should admit to the [February 1992] massacre [of Azeris] in Khojali.
“Once the Armenians have met all these conditions, Erdogan and Gul can even become related to [Armenian president Serzh] Sargsian for all we care.
“Until they do, we have nothing to talk about.”