- Parallel Universes And Elites, Ayse Karabat
- Controversy, Dogu Ergil Todayszaman.Com
- International Politics Of Greek Turkish Antagonism EuropeNews
- Turkey, Armenia Not What One Would Call Us Allies Of A Feather BostonGlobe
- Kevin Costner's Advertisement & Turkey's Involvement In Genocide, Dr Hoshiar Molod
- Would Turkey Be In The ‘Winners' Club’ Or ‘Losers' Pit’ By 2023? “Devil’s Advocate” Perspective, Mehmet Öğütçü
- One Step: California State Senate Approves Genocide Awareness Act, Arpi Harutyunyan
- Letter From Dr. Tcheknavorian Asenbauer
- Putting Principle Over Power: Why Samantha Power Must Resign, David Boyajian
- Open Letter To Mrs Valérie Hannin, Dr. Claude Atamian
- German Scholar Exposes Turkish Propaganda about Jews, Harut Sassounian
- New Ottoman Empire? Asli Aydintasbas
- Let’s Accept It: Our Mentality Is Different Than EU’s, Cüneyt Ülsever
- Facing Our History .., Cengiz Çandar
- On The Road: Kars: Ruins In Ani, Ben Kuebrich
- Freedom Of Expression Is Hostage To Armenian Question, Orhan Kemal Cengiz
- Logbook of Turkish Foreign Policy (1-2): EU & Cyprus, (3) The Caucasus, Bülent Keneş
- Social Fabric Of Turkey, Gary Lachman
- Lies, Damn Lies, and Armenian Deaths, Bruce Fein
- What Kind Of Society Are We?, Cüneyt Ülsever
- Momentary Snapshot Of Shallow Opinion
- Dialogue With Islamic World, Fethullah Gülen Movement, Pillar Of Society Or Threat To Democracy?, Daniel Steinvorth
- Reconciliation Is A Process, David L. Phillips
- Secretary Clinton Remains Upbeat On Armenia-Turkey Talks Says It’s Up To Parties To Resolve Differences, By Emil Sanamyan
Parallel Universes And Elites, Ayse Karabat Todayszaman.Com
I am sometimes unable to prevent myself from thinking that this beautiful country and its sovereign political cultures (yes, cultures) are like a science fiction movie: There are parallel universes in it which never cross one another but exist simultaneously. Each one of these parallel universes has its own values, perceptions and “others.” Each of them is secretly or openly at war with another -- or at least fearing, humiliating, extraditing or ignoring the “other.” There are a few humanists who are able to travel between these universes, but they are not sincerely welcomed.
In the parallel universes of the republicans, the democrats, the Islamists, the Kurds and the Turkish nationalists, the borders are almost very clear; they don't like each other, they don't try to understand each other and they are hostile to one another.
An interesting, but not surprising, survey done by Professor Füsün Üstel and Associate Professor Birol Caymaz strengthen these pessimistic views of mine. The survey, supported by the Open Society Foundation, underlines that the “elites” of this country have their own universe, which is not very open at all toward “others” -- namely, minorities, Kurds and conservatives.
The “Elites and Social Distance” survey was completed by conducting in-depth interviews with members of the upper middle class who have graduated from Turkey's “prestigious” schools, such as Galatasaray High School, St. Joseph's, Ankara College and the like. All the interviewees have good professional positions and perceive themselves as devoted to republican secular values. For me, this is exactly the point at which the tragedy begins; on the one hand, these prestigious schools claim that they are teaching “Western” values and established for the “modernization” of the country, but at the end are under heavy influence of Turkey's nationalistic education system. The sovereign culture of these schools (and I mean sovereign) teaches the students that just being a student there is extremely important; although acting according to “universal” values, the survey openly shows that even graduates of the country's French-built schools are unable to absorb Voltaire's idea “I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” into their subconscious.
The survey points out that it is a matter of prestige for elites to have friends from among members of Turkey's non-Muslim minorities. Most of them are very proud of having them as classmates and as “best friends,” but their sympathies end there. Most of them say they did not talk to “their best friends” about groups' rights nor about the state's unfair acts toward them. According to the survey, most of the interviewees suggested that “minorities can have their own school, but these schools should be run by Turks” or “maybe in the past they were subject to discrimination, but they aren't paying any taxes now.” Some of the elites were also very critical and unable to understand the slogan “We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant” which began to be used after the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
When it comes to the subject of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the elites' attitudes are again not surprising. According to them, the closure of the AK Party is acceptable. The survey points out that the elites think the AK Party and its supporters are making the elites a “minority” and threatening their position; in short, they are not willingly to share their “privileges” with any newcomers. Well, since the basic idea of the elites is this, they have a tendency to think that Ergenekon is a sort of settling of accounts between the new AK Party elites and the former republican elites.
When it comes to Kurds, the position of the elites is also not hopeful. Most of them think the Democratic Society Party (DTP) should be closed down. They say the Kurds are lazy and are not subject to discrimination because they can be seen on İstanbul's upscale Bağdat Avenue. Some of the elites think that if there is a Kurdish problem in Turkey, it is simply because of “foreign powers.”
In any case, thinking that people who hold diplomas from this country's prestigious schools can be diplomats between Turkey's parallel universes is wrong because at the end of the day they are concurrently the products and producers of these parallel universes. 07.06.2009
Controversy, Dogu Ergil Todayszaman.Com
Once again a spurious agenda item occupied the public debate when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “For years those who had different ethnic identities have been expelled from our country. This was the result of a fascist policy. Even we have committed this mistake from time to time. When one thinks rationally one tends to admit we have really committed grave mistakes.” This statement was made following the debate over the probable demining of a vast area of arable land lying along the Turkish-Syrian border by foreign firms who would receive the right of cultivating the land for more than 40 years in return for their services. The nationalist and xenophobic reflex surged again, becoming agitated by the putative sale of the motherland to ill-willed “enemies” who would eventually snatch it away from us. The prime minister complained about this shortsightedness that has cost the country so much in the past. Needless to say, the opposition parties who think their role is to oppose anything and everything the ruling party and its leader does and says retorted by claiming that no minority has been expelled from Turkey.
The problem of our beloved nation is that it is subjected to the teaching of a fabricated history in which we Turks are always right and often the victim of foreign and domestic “enemies.” The end result of this ideology-laden history teaching is ignorance of the historical facts and the truth about what we have done. That is why an average Turk believes that the 1915 deportation of over a million Armenians is only a just measure for punishing them for committing treason. The 1923 population exchange with Greece that forced two-and-a-half million people of Greek origin to migrate was a successful ethnic purification that was necessary to build a nation-state. The 1934 intimidation that forced the Jewish citizens out of Thrace (European Turkey) was a measure to secure the western lands from minorities in preparation for the world war that was approaching. In 1941 and 1942, non-Muslim males were drafted on short notice to work as laborers in what were called “labor battalions.” They were also subjected to exorbitant taxes in order to force them to sell their property and abandon businesses. This was a measure to Turkify the entrepreneurial class, which was thought to be the right thing to do under the shadow of Fascism and Nazism, then the fashion of the day. The (officially organized and provoked) events of Sept. 6-7, 1955 saw the destruction and looting of non-Muslim businesses and shrines in İstanbul and İzmir with a number of casualties. This formidable threat drove the point home that they were not welcome in this country. Greek citizens mainly left for Greece and Jewish citizens, by and large, went to Israel. These things were all done against the principles of the constitutive Treaty of Lausanne (1923) that gave birth to the Turkish Republic.
Then came the forced evacuation of thousands of Kurdish villages in the '80s and '90s; a part of their population saw no future in the country and left for a better life elsewhere where they would not be oppressed and persecuted. Additionally, 15,000 leftists had either been expatriated or forced to leave during the military regime following the 1980 coup. In the last decade many young women wearing headscarves were deprived of the right to higher education and had to leave the country to receive professional education abroad. These are all minorities of some kind whose rights have been denied for the sake of “state security.” One is tempted to ask “What kind of security is this that works against the basic rights, freedom and welfare of its citizens?” We have not really produced a plausible answer to this fundamental question yet. Failure to do so has left our democracy immature and force of law has not been replaced by rule of law. Laws continue to protect the state rather than its citizens.
In short, the prime minister was telling the truth. However, telling the truth and being consistent with it indeed are two different things. In the formation of the new Cabinet Mr. Erdoğan has left in place the minister of defense, who is on record as declaring publicly how wonderful it has been to eliminate all the ethnic and religious minorities to create our nation-state. Obviously, the military establishment was not unhappy with this unfortunate public statement, either; otherwise, the minister would not have been reappointed. Additionally, all the institutions of the state have taken part in the discrimination against minorities, limiting their property rights through systematic confiscation to force a change of proprietorship. The judiciary (e.g., Council of State) deems non-Muslim minorities as “domestic aliens” and treats their endowments as foreign institutions in order to limit their rights to property. Both the bureaucracy and the judiciary have been instrumental in implementing the two principles that have been in effect since the last decade of the Ottoman Empire: 1) to get rid of the minorities, and 2) to transfer their properties to Muslim citizens.
However, the usurpation of property has not made this nation any richer. Entrepreneurship is not the same as proprietorship, and ethnic or religious purity does not create problem-free and cohesive nations. These truths have been realized after so much human suffering and loss. What a pity. 31.05.2009
The International Politics Of The Greek Turkish Antagonism EuropeNews May 28 2009
I met the author of Themata Politica, Christos Evangeliou, in the late 1990s. I read something he had written on the Black Athena slander of those who hate the Greeks. I called him up at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland where he is a professor of Hellenic philosophy.
Christos C. Evangeliou: Themata Politica: Hellenic and Euro-Atlantic. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008. 265 pages. ISBN 1 - 84718 - 617 - 3. ISBN (13): 9781847186171. $ 52.99.
We discussed the obsession of some American academics, why otherwise well-educated people resurrect the Christian hatred against the Greeks? What is the political purpose of such a smear campaign? Perhaps to boost the low self esteem of black Americans? Or to replace Greek culture with Judeo-Christian values in the core of the Western tradition? After all, Israel, not Greece, is at the center of American foreign policy.
Evangeliou sent me his 1997 book, The Hellenic Philosophy: Between Europe, Asia and Africa. This is a marvelous history of philosophy, which I read with great profit and pleasure. Here is a book, finally, that captured the wisdom and beauty of Greek philosophy: the struggle of the Greeks to understand themselves, what makes people human, and how reason, not faith, is the guide to studying the universe and nature as well as problem solving and happiness.
Evangeliou`s book also fired me to work on my own history on what happened to the ancient Greeks. Why, suddenly, after the fourth century even the name Hellene became rare in Western literature? Why the Roman Empire and the Christian Church smashed Hellenic culture and, in fact, they outsourced the destruction of the Greek temples to barbarians? An army of monks led those barbarians to the sacred sites of the Greeks. I answered these questions in The Passion of the Greeks: Christianity and the Rape of the Hellenes, which was published in the United States in 2006. Evangeliou reviewed my book in the Mediterranean Quarterly and he reprinted that review in his Themata Politica (chapter 9).
Evangeliou is a Hellene born in Christian Greece and educated in Greece and the United States. His affection and understanding of Hellas and her philosophy, which he teaches at his university, shine through in his scholarly work and essays he wrote for the readers of two Greek American weeklies, The National Herald and the Hellenic News of America. That`s why his Themata Politica, which includes these lucid essays, is so useful and timely. The book was published in England in 2008.
Themata Politica is divided into two parts. The first part covers the essays dealing with the explosive politics governing the relationships between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. The second part examines the aspirations of Muslim Turkey to join the Christian club of the European Union, a project pushed vigorously by the United States. The entire discussion of this book is also shaped by the tragic Muslim attack against the United States in September 11, 2001. Islam, rightly, plays a significant role in the pregnant analysis of this book.
Evangeliou sheds light especially on Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, the European Union and the United States, the hegemonic power that replaced Western Europe as the arbiter of war and peace in the world. Themata Politica ought to be on the reading list of educated persons everywhere, in particular those practicing diplomacy. This book is a series of succinct and well-written essays full of wisdom. It explains the history of the crises dominating Greek-Turkish relations since World War II.
Certainly the occupation of Christian Greece by the Moslem Turks from 1453 to 1821 has left a residue of mistrust and hatred that contributes to the ceaseless antagonism between Greeks and Turks. But there are external forces that have been stocking the fires between Greeks and Turks for several decades - especially in the Greek island of Cyprus. Britain holds the first place in this tragedy, sowing the seeds of discord, which America keeps fertilizing.
The revolt in the 1950s of the Greek Cypriots against the British colonial rule of their land forced Britain out of Cyprus. Britain took revenge against the Greeks, however. Britain holds to this day Cypriot territory for "sovereign" military bases on the island of Aphrodite. In addition, Britain urged the Turks to keep their eyes on the Greek prize; riot against the Greek community in Istanbul, for example. The Turks did exactly that quite thoroughly in their vicious state pogrom of September 6-7, 1955. Turkish violence ended Greek society in Istanbul, which has been Turkish for 556 years. Before the Turks, Istanbul was Constantinople for 1,300 years. And before the Christian Byzantine era, Constantinople was the Hellenic polis Byzantion for 1,100 years. All in all, this was a city founded and inhabited by Greeks for some 2.5 millennia.
The prosecution, cleansing and final destruction of the Greeks in Istanbul in 1955 added another layer of hatred between Greeks and Turks. Britain and possibly America instigated the war policy of Turkey in Cyprus, ending with the Turkish capture of about 40 percent of Cyprus in 1974.
The result of British and American support for Turkey, a Moslem country with a legacy of centuries of violence and genocide against the Greeks, Armenians and several other people in Europe and Asia, is a resurgent Turkish colonialism in Cyprus and perpetual threats against Greece, especially in the eastern Aegean and Thrace. This danger is also a paradox because imperial America has both Turkey and Greece in her military camp, NATO.
But these "allies," Greece and Turkey, are in a state of low-level warfare that, apparently, suits American interests fueling profitable arms sales to Turkey and Greece. As for the European Union that includes Greece, and NATO members other than Britain and the US, remain silent or apathetic about the tragic position of Greece in their midst. Could it be that the powerful states of Europe also benefit from the dangerous strategy of Turkey against Greece and Cyprus?
The other possibility is to explain the paralysis of the European Union as the outcome of successful American foreign policy. After all, if the European Union were ever to become a real union, it will be a real antagonist of imperial America. And should a reawakened European Union invite Russia to join in its ranks, the result would be a superpower much larger and stronger than the United States. This is the likely reason why America is demanding that the European Union embrace Turkey in its ranks. Turkey would be a potential missile directed against the flimsy union of the Europeans.
Evangeliou explains the foreign imperialism behind the Greek-Turkish volcano. His vision, however, is not for more war but for cooperation and peace between Greeks and Turks. For example, in chapter 18, he says the Greeks and the Turks are the "heirs of Byzantium." The Turkish Empire was "worthy heir of Byzantine Empire ... the Greeks are too closely connected to the Turks culturally." If Greece were not a member of the European Union, Evangeliou speculates that such condition might have been "a blessing in disguise," forcing "these two closely related countries," Greece and Turkey, "to find ways to work together to solve their problems peacefully and to undertake common cultural projects."
Furthermore, according to Evangeliou, Greece and Turkey "could rediscover the common roots of their identities in the Ottoman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Roman Empire, the Hellenistic Empires, and ultimately in the Classical Hellenic civilization. More importantly, they could conceivably become the nucleus for the creation of a new model of Federation of States (including Cyprus and the Balkan States) that share in this common cultural heritage."
All this is well meaning by a thoughtful philosopher. Modern Greeks can reasonably say they are the heirs of Byzantium and, to some degree, of ancient Greece. Though Christians, they live where the ancient Greeks lived and speak Greek. But how could Moslem Turks "rediscover" any connections with the Greeks` Byzantine, much less classical heritage? The Turks, tracing their origins in Mongolia, are relatively newcomers to Anatolia and Europe. They had their first major victory against the Byzantine Greeks in 1071. However, Evangeliou is right that there are plenty of Greeks hiding under the skin of the Turks. After all, the Turks, like the Christians before them, used violence to convert those they conquered. The alternative to conversion to Islam was slavery or death.
Second, a federation of Turkey and states in southeastern Europe might be an option to avoiding war. But as long as the Turks remain Moslem and double their population every 20 years or so, the chances for peaceful relations with Greece are slim for the additional reason that a federation with Turkey would turn into another Ottoman Empire. In fact, the rumor among those studying America`s strategic interests is that America is about to "promote" Turkey to a "regional" power, which would have some oversight over Greece. There`s another rumor that says that NATO, the US, and Greece have agreed to eventually expand Turkey`s control in the eastern Aegean and Thrace.
In the spring of 2009, President Barak Obama went to Turkey and made a fool of himself. According to the remarks he made to the Turkish parliament published by the Associated Press on April 6, Obama compared George Washington to Mustafa Kemal. This was the Turkish general who supervised the genocide of the Greeks, Armenians and several other nations in Anatolia and Europe in early twentieth century. Obama also spoke about "Turkey`s greatness," the "beauty" and "richness" of Turkish history and culture. He also did not miss the opportunity to urge the Europeans to open their Union to the Turks. However, he conveniently forgot to remind the Turks they ought to, at least, come to grips with their murderous past.
Unfortunately, narrow imperial interests trump Western civilization. Obama thought it appropriate to visit Ankara and Istanbul but not Athens. America remains on the side of the Turks.
Under these geopolitical realities and the genocidal legacy of Turkey, Evangeliou`s dream about Greece and Turkey remains a dream. However, should Turkey and Greece discard their Islam and Christianity, Greeks and Turks could think of peaceful relations. Without the fanaticism and economic interests of those alien monotheistic religions, Greeks and Turks would be free to treat each other with respect. At that moment, which may never materialize, the Greeks under the skin of the Turks would reveal themselves. The ancient Greek heritage would then become a living model for another Renaissance and politics in both Turkey and Greece - an even larger dream than that of Evangeliou.
Political dreams are often necessary. Still, Evangeliou is also practical. His Themata Politica, an insightful, path-breaking and well-written book, is best suited for political leaders and students and scholars of Greece, Turkey and America. Every page teases the mind and has something to teach.
Evangeliou even warned president Bill Clinton about "a sleeping Cyclops, the Giant of Islam." He said this is a religion "driven by a fanatical faith," which after 2 centuries of lethargic existence is ready "to strike again with force, and shake up the Western world fundamentally." Evangeliou was right. Islam is fully awakened, fighting and shaking up America and the West. Yet, President Obama told the Turks that the United States "is not, and will never be, at war with Islam."
Evangeliou, a student of Platon, is using and spreading the reason and enlightenment of the Hellenic master for an understanding of the world. He is convinced the world needs the wisdom of the Hellenes, especially the paradigm of the Platonic paideia (advanced education and science). "Socratic sanity and humanism," he says, "can ... serve humanity as an antidote to its natural bigotry and fanaticism, especially the fanaticism of exclusively apocalyptic and intolerant religions, like missionary Christianity and militant Islam, which... they seem determined to collide again as forcefully as before with tragic consequences for mankind and the education of younger generations in Hellenic and humane excellence."
Chapter 38 is revealing of the "devious faiths of Abraham," how credulous billions of humans take seriously the hazardous nonsense of Christianity and Islam. Evangeliou compares the killing utterances of the Bible and Koran, how both religions, especially Islam, teach hatred and war against each other. Evangeliou is right that such "monotheistic mania and religious intolerance" diminish "the light of Hellenic philosophy" and make "the voice of reason inaudible."
Evangeliou also warns the European Union that is entangled in America?s unthinking "war on terror." Unless the EU wakes up it is preparing its own downfall to militant Islam. The expanding war on terror is pushing Muslims to the shores of prosperous Europe. Add to these migrants the millions of Muslims already living in Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain and Greece and the ground is set for internal conquest. The prospect of EU admitting Turkey`s 70 million Muslims will provide the turning point in the dream of Islam in conquering Europe without a war.
So Themata Politica is more than Greek-Turkish relations. It`s a global political assessment of the West as it is facing an identity crisis and the prospect for another dark age. Islam, "a monistic and fanatical faith," is, in fact, the giant Cyclops threatening both America and the European Union.
In addition, Evangeliou loves Greece. His chief purpose in life and the thesis of his books, including Themata Politica, is to help Greece, his motherland, come close to Hellas. He tells the Greeks they are descendants of people who valued paideia. These ancients Greeks took paideia and fashioned democracy and philosophy. Modern Greeks, Evangeliou says, can, once again, become pioneers in matters of culture and enlightenment throughout the world. And, clearly, they ought to stop being second-class citizens in Europe.
Read Themata Politica. It is an original book. It is also appetizing food for Hellenic thought. Moreover, it is good for the soul. After all, Evangeliou is not merely a Hellenic philosopher in the path of Platon but a poet with 3 poetic collections in Greek. He ends his book with a "Hymn to Human Folly," which makes fun of the tragedy of militant Islam. "As in dark ages old," he says, "Christian and Muslim foes clash again. Will we ever find the way to soothe the human soul`s pain?"
Evaggelos Vallianatos is the author of This Land is Their Land and The Passion of the Greeks.
Turkey, Armenia Not What One Would Call Us Allies Of A Feather May 31, 2009
YOUR OP-ED "Turkey, Armenia, and the Azerbaijan delay" is an interesting read, except for David Phillips's misleading assertion that both Turkey and Armenia are US allies.
Certainly Turkey is an ally, having been a NATO member since 1952 and having fought alongside the United States from the Korean War to International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan.
But it is difficult to view Armenia as a US ally on par with Turkey. Armenia still hosts a Russian Army base, the 102d military base located at Gyumri (formerly Leninakan). This part of the Russian Transcaucasus Group of Forces, which sits only 75 miles from the Armenian capital, poses a constant threat to US allies Georgia and Turkey as well as to the US-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
For more than 50 years, Turkey has defended the free West while our "ally" Armenia has only become cozier with our other "ally," Russia.
With allies like these, who needs enemies?
Turkey, Armenia not what one would call US allies of a feather
May 31, 2009
YOUR OP-ED "Turkey, Armenia, and the Azerbaijan delay" is an interesting read, except for David Phillips's misleading assertion that both Turkey and Armenia are US allies.
© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.
I'd like to congratulate Yoruk Isik on his totally uninspired use of cliche in declaring about Armenia "With allies like these, who needs enemies?"
I find it interesting he uses the plural "allies" even though he only meant Armenia. Perhaps this subconscious reference to the other country involved- Turkey- implies the deeper truth that his sugar coated view of Turkey as a perfect US ally is far from the truth. What then Turkey's blocking of US troops to use Turkish land to enter Iraq, the rampant anti-Americanism which pervades Turkey, or the constant blackmailing of the US government by Turkey via threats if it doesn't toe proper lines Turkey likes.
The very thing which Isik takes issue with is a complete fabrication. Mr. Phillips never said Turkey and Armenia were allies on par with each other. It is obvious Turkey has much more capacity than Armenia which is just trying to pick itself up out of post-Soviet ruin. He merely called both countries allies of the US, no sort of degree or gradation mentioned so this whole complaint seems ridiculously petty.
It is funny that he goes to complain about Armenia's close relation which Russia. First of all, Armenia employs a complimentary foreign policy in which it maintains relations with both the US and Russia. Ironically, a good deal of this reliance is because of Turkey itself, which blockades Armenia in an attempt to cripple its economy. It is none other than Turkey which has pushed Armenia into the arms of Russia, and it is no secret that the west has long been pressure Turkey to remedy this problem which hampers the western progress in the region about which Isik is so concerned.
Turkey being an ally of the US is a farce.
- In 2003, Turkey did not allow the US to invade Iraq in from the north. This caused much hardship on the US military, in blood and in resourses. (Turkish Parliament rejected the U.S. plan to open a northern front against Iraq. A $6 billion sweetener plus more billions in credit didn't change any minds. The U.S. 4th Infantry Division that was to spearhead the northern offensive was confined to the troopships offshore. Eventually, they sailed around the Arabian Peninsula and entered Iraq from Kuwait.)
- Turks are vehemently anti-American, so much so that they consistently rank in polls as the most anti-American country in the world. According to the Pew Center 2006 poll, only 12 percent of the Turks like the United States—fewer, even, than the percentage of Pakistanis (just google 'Turkey Anti American' and you'll be flooded with articles showing Turkeys hatred of the US).
- Anytime a the Armenian Genocide Issue comes up in congress, Turkey throws temper tantrums and blackmails the US into preventing a simple acknowledgment of historical fact. They have even gone so far as to delay the transportation of wounded US servicemen on their way to Germany from the Incerlik, Turkey ( a leased air base) if an Armenian Genocide issue went to the US Congress for a vote...I guess it's because they know it would pass.
- Disregarding US requests, Turkey, in 2006, invaded the only calm place in Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan) causing death and destruction Kurdish population in that area and causing major problems for the US military that had made great strides with the US-friendly Kurds.
I could go on, but the point is Turkey, although a NATO member, is not an ally of the US. They have stabbed the US in the back on many occasions and will continue to do so because the US lets them get away with it.
I realize as Armenians it must really hurt you to see Turkey as an US ally, but what Yoruk Isik says here is the truth. As marine who served in Iraq twice I must admit without Turkey's help in the region our death toll would have been 4 times the current numbers. Amount of intelligence and data provided during and after the war is unmatched. Never knew Turks had people everywhere for intelligence, you name it they are there. As far as the issues you two are discussing above, Turkey did NOT block the US entering to Iraq, Turkey blocked George Bush entering Iraq. Turkish PM was disappointed with the way Bush was asking for things and the attitude he had. Turkish PM warned him in more than a few occasion about the possible scenarios in Iraq but of course George Bush did NOT want to hear it. You have to understand our plan was to get in and out and leave democracy behind, but you also have to understand Turks live there and will border Iraq forever. How can they later explain to the Iraqis about allowing the US forces entering Iraq from Turkey.
As far as the US approval of the Turks go, it was about at 67% during the Clinton era, after Bush took over it sharply declined as we all know why, not just in Turkey but everywhere else, including the US, last taken polls showed his approval at 23% here in the US. If a president gets only 23% approval here in the US how can we expect a better approval internationally.
Turkey did NOT invade Norther Iraq, after the increased activities with PKK Turkey had no choice but retaliate, believe it or not it was all done with our approval and help from our satellites and intelligence. Astonishing results were achieved in few days when no one expected it with a minimal loss.
Yorik Isik is just spewing more nonsensical Turkish propaganda. What he fails to tell you is that modern day Turkey was founded upon the Armenian Genocide, the Assyrian Genocide and the Pontiff Greek Genocide.
Turkey is a purely opportunistic pariha debter state owing some 160 to 200 billion dollars. THE ONLY REASON IT DOES ANYTHING FOR ANYONE IS FOR PURE PROFIT. Had it not been for the multi billions of US TAX PAYER DOLLARS that get funneled to it annually it would not be the so-called 'ally' that it is. Let's shut the funds and see what kind of an 'ally' it turns out to be.
Yoruk, you should be careful not to generalize the author's words in this objectively written piece. He does not argue that Armenia is on par with Turkey as an ally or vice versa, rather that both countries are allies of the US.
Moreover, to argue that Armenia’s longstanding relationship with Russia somehow precludes it from achieving ally status with the United States is a bit too reminiscent of the us-or-them politics of the Cold War era, it is simply not that simple anymore. This decision, as mentioned by user “Mewmillion”, was largely precipitated by Turkey itself. It was expected that without the aid of the Soviets that the Armenian losses would have been significantly worse during the Genocide.
Most importantly, to suggest that Turkey is a defender of the free West, while it cannot espouse the same values that make the West free, is careless. Before it can truly be considered a defender of Western values, Turkey needs to address its many human rights issues back at home.
Turkey, Armenia, And The Azerbaijan Delay, By David L. Phillips, May 24, 2009
THE RECENT announcement normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations is a potentially historic breakthrough. However, the lack of progress in implementing the "framework agreement" raises questions about Turkey's intentions and resolve. Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, is buckling to domestic opposition and objections from Azerbaijan. Moreover, the announcement of the normalization "road map" on the eve of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day looks like a cynical effort to dissuade President Obama from characterizing the events of 1915-1923 as genocide.
The central dispute between Turkey and Armenia involves the occupation of territories in Azerbaijan, as well as divergent historical narratives. While some Turks refer to suffering at the end of the Ottoman Empire as a "shared tragedy," Armenians and others call it "genocide." After the Soviet Union's demise and Armenia's independence, Armenian forces sought to safeguard the ethnic-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. In so doing, they displaced about 800,000 Azerbaijanis and occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan.
The Obama administration is committed to good relations with Turkey and Armenia. Both are US allies and help counter global extremism. Turkey's cooperation is critical to US efforts in Afghanistan, redeploying troops from Iraq, and constraining Iran's nuclear development. The Armenian-American community ensures that US-Armenia ties are permanent and strong.
US mediation was indispensable to the agreement on normalization and recognition, which Turkish and Armenian officials initialed April 2. The accord establishes a binational commission, a series of subcommissions, and specifies a timetable for implementation. The agreement does not, however, take effect until both countries sign it. Getting from initials to implementation is far from guaranteed.
After meeting with Turkish officials on April 7 in Istanbul, Obama concluded that resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh was not a formal precondition for normalization and recognition. But as a practical matter it is a deal-breaker. Armenian and Azerbaijani negotiators agree on "basic ideas" for resolving Nagorno-Karabakh's status, but work is still needed before the parties approve the proposal.
Turkey's interests cannot be held hostage by Azerbaijan. The United States should reaffirm Obama's understanding: there is no link between normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations and negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Just as there should be no linkage between normalization and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, there must be no linkage between normalization and genocide recognition.
From 2001-2004, I chaired the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, which sought a legal analysis on "The applicability of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide to events that occurred in the early 20th century."
The analysis determined that international law prohibits the retroactive application of treaties.
The analysis also defined the crime of genocide: (i) the perpetrator killed one or more persons; (ii) such person or persons belonged to a particular national, racial, or religious group; (iii) the perpetrator intended to destroy in whole or in part that group, as such; and, (iv) the conduct took place in the context of a manifest pattern of similar conduct directed against the group. Of the criteria, "intent" is the only one in dispute. The analysis determined that Ottoman figures who ordered the deportation knew the consequence of their actions and therefore possessed the requisite genocidal intent.
The finding is not legally binding, but it did give something to both peoples that can aid the goal of reconciliation.
The commission emphasized open discussion between Turks and Armenians. So-called track two activities - contact, communication, and cooperation - help foster mutual understanding, co-mingle interests, and build trust. To this end, Western governments should establish a fund for collaborative activities. Civil society cooperation can consolidate an official agreement; it can also serve as a safety net if talks founder.
Track two is not, however, a substitute for official diplomacy. The Obama administration must stay engaged to help Turkey and Armenia formalize the agreement. Standing with the proponents of reconciliation puts the United States on the right side of history.
David L. Phillips is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.
Armenians displaced about 800,000 Azerbaijanis and "occupies 20 percent" of Azerbaijan..as you wrote...and they massacred 3,000 Azeris in the process I might add since you conveniently forgot to mention it! How can you even say it should not be part of the negotiations? Your prejudice is showing loud and clear.
Armenians really needs to get a life. Get over it! It is understandable that they wanted to establish their own nation (like the Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians, Egypt, Yemen etc ) as the Ottoman Empire collapsed in WWI. But Turkey was also trying to establish a nation as well. Since all the borders had to be redrawn, obviously disputes were inevitable. Armenians joined with Russians and fought against the Ottoman State and got the land that they have now. It's called Armenia.
But to call their war dead "genocide victims" is absurd! If that was genocide then every war should be considered an act of genocide! Wars are not pleasant. Everyone who has been through it will see terrible things happen. But at some point most people put it behind them and move on. Stop crying like a baby. Turks has lost many many millions in the WWI. In fact no one has lost more people than Turkey in WWI. If you want to hear war stories, Turks have plenty of it. But, people just don't sit around and dwell on it everyday. Armenians needs to learn to accept the past and move on: unless off course they are only interested in raising millions and millions of dollars every year by keeping the hate alive. Please find some other cause to maintain your unity.
When considering the events of 1915, we need to recall what happened as recently as the late ’80s and early ’90s. Modern Armenia succeeded in occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories forcing almost 1 million of ethnic Azerbaijanis out of their homes. The darkest part of Garabagh war took place on Feb. 25, 1992, when the entire population of a small town of Khojaly was massacred. While this tragedy received minimal media attention and only 4 UN resolutions, we must not forget that even greater tragedies took place in 1918-1919 when Armenian nationalists were attacking the Azerbaijani town and villages. It was encouraging to note that the Governor of Nevada, Mr. Jim Gibbons, has issued an official proclamation commemorating the “deaths of tens of thousands of Azerbaijani civilians”, victims of the genocidal policy pursued by Armenian forces during the “March Massacres” of 1918 in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan. It is to be noted that thousands of ethnic jews, who refused to join the Armenian nationalists, were also killed.
The above facts raise an important question — is it ethically acceptable to put a pressure on Turkey and consider the issue of so-called Armenian genocide without considering the crimes against humanity that are still being committed by modern Armenia?
It is time to recognize the Armenian Genocide, for both the United States and Turkey. It is an abomination that so many years have passed, and the innocents have not been able to rest in peace- and neither have their families. I know some of these families, and have heard of their terrible suffering at the hands of the Turks following WWI.
Hitler used the Armenian Genocide as an excuse to murder 6 million Jews and 6 million others whom he did not like. He said that the world would not condemn him for his killing, since they did not condemn Turkey for butchering millions of Armenians.
Some things are true, whether you deny it or not. Obama has an opportunity to move Turkey closer to accepting responsibility for the suffering they have caused. Let's hope he doesn't cave, the way so many presidents have already done.
I might add that the Armenian victims of this genocide were Christians.
"Armenian Genocide - 1915-1918 - 1,500,000 Deaths"
"The Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th Century, occurred when two million Armenians living in Turkey were eliminated from their historic homeland through forced deportations and massacres.
For three thousand years, a thriving Armenian community had existed inside the vast region of the Middle East bordered by the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The area, known as Asia Minor, stands at the crossroads of three continents; Europe, Asia and Africa. Great powers rose and fell over the many centuries and the Armenian homeland was at various times ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Mongols.
Despite the repeated invasions and occupations, Armenian pride and cultural identity never wavered. The snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat became its focal point and by 600 BC Armenia as a nation sprang into being. Following the advent of Christianity, Armenia became the very first nation to accept it as the state religion. A golden era of peace and prosperity followed which saw the invention of a distinct alphabet, a flourishing of literature, art, commerce, and a unique style of architecture. By the 10th century, Armenians had established a new capital at Ani, affectionately called the 'city of a thousand and one churches."
" Stop crying like a baby. Turks has lost many many millions in the WWI"
Please! The Ottoman Empire was a Muslim empire, which lasted for several hundred years. Even in it's decline, it was more powerful than most countries. The Armenian Christians did not have the power to defend themselves.
"War dead"?????? What uniform were these "war dead" wearing? Maybe the Turks should think about the link between the past and the present. Had admission of the truth been done long ago (funny, in the '20s there were many books written and available in Turkey about what happened to the Armenians, and now you can't make a peep about it!), the Armenians wouldn't have been thinking "not again" when things started up in the early '90s. What about innocent Armenians being thrown from rooftops and balconies in Baku? What do you think would go through the minds of Armenians who had already that century been through this? What would YOU think of it? Of course, they would defend themselves. How many Armenians were thrown out of Baku and Azerbaijan even before war broke out between those two countries? There would have been none or at least very little of this had Turkey fessed up to the truth.
And don't talk to me about being a baby...if it's such a small deal, admit it and maybe YOU can move on, Turkey, instead of living off the money a fearful USA keeps giving you and playing footsies with Israel. And now Israel is "rethinking" what happened in 1915.
Can someone explain to me why normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia must hinge on the resolution between Armenia and Azerbaijan? Seems that this is nothing more than an excuse for Turkey. What really ties Azerbaijan to Turkey? Just Islam, no? Does Turky see itself as the protector of all Muslim nations? Whenever a muslim nation wants to avoid doing something, it piggybacks on another muslim nation's cause. Pathetic.
Great, another article written by a so-called expert who sloppily presents information and propagates a distorted picture of reality. Armenia is not "occupying" Nagorno-Karabakh. Over 75% of its population was Armenian when the Soviet Union broke apart and if they didn't fight back, then their presence in that little enclave would have been reduced to zero. The territories Armenians are controlling is actually far less, closer to 14% than that exaggerated 20%.
As for Turkoman's comments, yes Armenians lost their fathers and brothers, saw their mothers and sisters being raped but who cares right? After all, it's just history and there's no point in getting so worked up about the past.
Man up to your crimes already. It's been 90 years and you people still cannot bring to yourselves to admit that your ancestors were nothing but racists, murderers, rapists who stole and killed wherever the opportunity presented itself.
Eternal shame to the Turks.
There is NO proof that Hitler ever made a statement saying that he used the Armenian Genocide as an excuse to murder 6 million Jews and 6 million others whom he did not like.
This so-called Hitler statement is accepted as a "historical fact" and has been quoted by numerous politicians who support the Armenian couse, in parliamentary debates in North America. It also appears routinely in Armenian propaganda publications. Armenian activists refer to the fabricated Hitler statement about Armenians and quote it as "exhibit US-28 of the Nuremberg Tribunal" to mislead the unsuspecting public as if it were authentic and credible. They obviously fail to indicate that exhibit US-28 was not introduced as evidence by the prosecution because of lock of proof of its authenticity and was not preserved in the records of the trials.
Armenians need to stop believing in their own lies and understand that the reason the hate is kept alive is because there are millions of dollars raised by their religious and political leaders. All the promises of compensation is just a pipe dream. You will not collect a dime from the Turkish people. Get over it and move on, have a happy life and do not be hateful. Hate will only hurt yourself.
GregInBoston, Azerbaijan is the tribal name...they are Turks by race and speak the same language...insistently the other Turks are Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Uygurs...all totaling between 275 to 300 million....do you now understand why U.S. need to have Turks on their side? Because of all the fuss about the Armenians we don't see the forest from a tree! Armenians belonging to various denominations (orthodox, catholic and protestant) need to find some other way to keep their unity...if it wasn't for the Turks, they would probably fight amongst each other!
"...In so doing, they displaced about 800,000 Azerbaijan's and occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan...." So many outright lies in just one sentence. First, the territory currently under control of ethnic Armenian forces is 13.7% of the ex-Soviet Azerbaijan SSR - far less than claimed 20%. No way how much you spit the propaganda machine, it takes a pencil and less-than-average skill to calculate this. Second, the verbiage makes as much sens as saying "Kosovo occupies x% of Yugoslavia". Yugoslavia - just as Azeri SSR, doesn't exist anymore, and the central government in Baku - just like the one in Belgrad, has lost its moral and legal right to claim the territory which and minority they sought to destroy. Third, 800.000 refugees is usually the number given about refugees FROM BOTH SIDES that is, 200.000+ Armenians from Baku, plus tens of thousands from Shaumian, Gjanja and many other regions of today's Azerbaijan. The real number of refugees is around 500K Azeris and 400K Armenians. Not mentioning it is either extreme amateurism or deliberate distortion of the facts in favor of Azeris.
And the last thing - to all those posting Armenophobic remarks here - you are obviously confused by the goebbels propaganda machine of alievs and erdogans. Use your brain, language skills and access to Internet to make some independent research. Keep your mind open, and you'll get to the Truth. Otherwise you'll stay mired in your own hatred and confusion...
Turkey has the good sense to support Iran's domestic nuclear power program and to oppose any idiotic US or Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. The imbecile George W. Bush should have heeded Ankara's warning not to invade Iraq. Armenia is going to have to get out of occupied Azerbaijan.
Yikes - As much as Turkey (and evidently Turkoman) would love to re-write the history books, the fact is that the Armenian people suffered greatly at the hands of Turkey. Would any of us easily forget our loved one's being killed and our families being ripped apart and forced from our homelands - how very ignorant to tell someone to "get over it and move on." If you want real information concerning Armenian history just visit Watertown's Armenian Education/Cultural Center. I suggest Turkoman makes a visit, does some reading and gets his facts straight.
We removed Kirlikovali's comment.
Kirlikovali, thank you so much for your concern about Armenia - you and your ancestors took a good care of it that's why most of it's historic territories are lost and 2/3 of its population scattered around the World. Thank you, but NO thank you - I have to say we can survive on our own (just as we have been doing for the last 15 years) - with no Turkish yatagan over our heads. God willing, we'll continue to do so.
dear Mr.David Phillips you must be under influence of Turkic world......
there is impossible 3 million Christian Armenians fight against 300 million Muslim Turks... and also you have forgotten about the root cause of karabakh war...It was pogroms started with Azerbaijani Government against their Armenian countrymen (see Google) in Azerbaijan...I have no idea how did you change your subject from the truth of "Armenian Genocide" toward Azeris false statements...did you ask yourself where those 500.000 Armenians were living in Soviet Azerbaijan disappeared? I think you need some legal advise before you transfer your ideology to reality and comments about things that you are not aware of it in fully!!!
Turkoman you need to grow up intellectually before you get into debates. All your "arguments" are baseless and you lost all the credibility when asserted that all the Azeris,Uzbeks,Kazakhs...are tribal Turks.
...if it wasn't for the Turks, they would probably fight amongst each other!
And Turkoman further invalidates himself as a worthy voice in this discussion. The only thing Armenians 'fought' amongst each other over at the hands of the Turk, were the roles of artisans, merchants, bankers, doctors, architects, and virtually all other vital occupations which fortified and fueled Ottoman commerce and life. And by displacing and murdering these 2 million cogs in the economy, the Turks suffered as they no longer could rely on the innovation and importance of these Armenian/Christian (Assyrian, Greek) industrious leaders. Pillaged homeowner wealth was merely an immediate addition to a Turk’s wallet at that time, as the absence of its Christian subjects’ talents continue to be visible to the world today.
Nobody is talking or caring about Turks and Kurds mass massacred by the Armenian gangs.
Nobody is talking or caring about Turks and Muslim of various ethnic backgrounds (like Bosnian and Albanians) mass massacred by Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian gangs.
Nobody is talking or caring about Crimean Turks (Tatars) mass massacred by Russians.
You know or wonder why?
1. Cuz the victimized muslim population have no christian big brother like Armenians, Greeks, Serbians, Bulgarians have to back them.
2. Cuz the Christian Community all over the world hates the Muslims and Turks because of the fall of Jerusalem and Istanbul.
3. Cuz the mindset of the Crusades is still alive and unites the Christians.
4. Cuz the muslim and Turkish population should die in war zones for hundered of years so that the privileged non-muslim citizens (greeks, armenians, jews) could make profit in their businesses, cuz they were not supposed to join the military service because of their protector christian big brother countries (like Russia, England, France, US etc.)
5. Cuz muslim needed to protect the country, they could not even get enough education to read and right, and therefore could right or made their voiced heard about what they have suffered. And even if they lacked the financial needs for that, contrary to the christian citizens of the empire who had always all means of support.
6. Cuz Turks prefer to forget all about the sufferings of the past not to pump the new generation with hatred which cpuld cause further suffering in future.
How could you expect Turkey open a border that is not even rcognized by Armenia?
How could you expect Turkey open a border before it live the Azerbajdchani soil?
Do u think Turks are fools?
We removed grish's comment.
How did you twist this around to reparations to African americans? Let's keep on topic please...craziness!! And eztel..if you expect to be taken seriously and raise discussion points - please write like an intelligent human being.
What do u think is stupid in my comment? So everything against your views is stupid, and everything u think is intelligent right?
All the Armenians or people backing Armenians put a precondition to before to have a say about this topic, and that is "Armenian (so called) Genocide". And they think this is undiscussible. Is that what u understand of intelligence and scientific approach?
Now accept that there is a christian cooperation and that you don't care about the facts and purely concerned about which side is close to you in faith, race or culture.
But if it is my English you r criticizing i have to admit that i am not perfect in english. But that does not make me non-intelligent. At least I speak four foreign languages in addition to my mother tongue including english, german, italian and persian. If u still think i am not intelligent enough, I invite u to discuss this and other serious things in Turkish. But i am sure you dont know any single word in another languages except english.
Kevin Costner's Advertisement And Turkey's Involvement In Genocide Dr Hoshiar Molod (Saudi Arabia) June 1 2009
"In the morning, in the evening, whenever you need me I got time...... I don't mind, I am Pisces, you are a Cancer, better believe that is a sign..." These are the lyrics of the new Turkish airline advertisement featuring the American movie star Kevin Costner.
Kevin Costner, in the morning or in the evening, whenever you have time, you should read about the Turkish involvement in the Armenian genocide, and about the suffering of the Kurds. Just feel like a star and read about the everyday slaughtering of the Kurds by the brutal Turkish government. You are a star and don't need an advertisement to tell you that. But don't undermine our intelligence, and insult both history and the present, by advertising Turkish products.
In the morning or in the evening, whenever you have time, check out the news about the bombardment being carried out by the Turkish fighting machine in Kurdistan. You will realize that the Kurds are people like any other, who deserve to live a dignified life.
You may be Pisces, but the Turkish government is worse than a cancer that is eating the Kurdish lives. Many superstars like you are concerned about human rights, the rights of minorities and the sufferings of people. Superstars support human rights not only in their own country, but all over the world. It is a given that movie stars are like any other person, wanting freedom, safety and security all over the world. You do realize that in this life you are either Bud or you're a participant . Who are you in this democracy?
It is obvious that Kevin Costner, like any other American, has a view on the Iraq war. But if you look more closely in to the Middle East, you will see that Turkey is not much different from Iran in the way that it treats the minorities. Barack Obama marked "the Armenian tragedy" in his speech in April . And the Turkish government didn't even like Obama's sugarcoated phrase, the Armenian tragedy --even though the European parliament has recognized it as genocide.
The Armenian genocide was a crime against humanity and the world is no longer ignoring that illegal and immoral act by the Turkish government. It is frustrating that in the beginning of the American election, Barack Obama's opinion on the issue of the Turkish government recognizing the Armenian genocide was clear . The fact of the matter is that Turkey has never recognized the Armenian genocide it committed and it is not very far from committing another massacre in Kurdistan.
My plea to Mr. Costner is to boycott Turkish products and to demand that the American government recognize the Armenian genocide and the suffering of the Kurdish nation. The positive effect of the boycott will be to start to move Turkish public opinion towards putting pressure on their government to treat their minorities according to human rights law.
Turkey is the country that does not allow over 25 million Kurds in Turkey to speak their native language, Kurdish. The Turkish parliament member, Layla Zana, of Kurdish origin, was sentenced to prison for speaking in Kurdish in parliament. Is this the country that Mr. Costner wants to be associated with?
What I don't understand is the way that an actor would ignore all the problems that Turkey is causing in the region. Can you imagine someone ignoring the holocaust and acting in an advertisement insulting the Jewish nation? I don't think that is imaginable, especially in the USA.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds are not only rejected by Turkey as a nation, but are also suffering missiles and bullets. Let it rain, let it snow and let Turkey stop the bombardment of the villagers in the Qandil Mountain in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Every intellectual Kurd in the world was under a misconception that the USA was on the Kurds' side and they would not let the Kurds down. The Kurd intellectuals were correct for a while; however things have changed. The situation changed when the USA took Turkey's side over Kurdistan when kept silent over the Turkish daily bombardments; even though Kurdistan has been America's only ally inside Iraq in this last war.
Kurds feel like that they have been let down not only by the American government, but also by a part of the American nation, represented by Kevin Costner, even though record shows that the Kurds are one of the only true allies of the USA in Iraq. It is also worth mentioning that not a single American life has been lost in the Kurdistan region despite the troubles facing them in the rest of Iraq.
It is clear that the Kurds have been laboring under a serious misapprehension!
1. Huffington Post, Adam Rose, 31st July 2008, interview about the movie
"Swing Vote" played by Kevin Costner.
2. The Miami Herald, 24/04/2009, "Obama marks Armenian tragedy but doesn't say genocide".
3. www.turkishdailynews.com.tr , 17th January 2008, Hillary wins
White House (In dreams of Turkish officials).
Dr Hoshiar Molod is Kurdish freelance writer and university lecturer in Saudi Arabia, with hands on experience on the Middle East issues.
Would Turkey Be In The ‘Winners' Club’ Or ‘Losers' Pit’ By 2023? A “Devil’s Advocate” Perspective
If I could look into my crystal ball to predict who the winners and losers of the global system would be by 2023 (the centenary year marking the founding of the Turkish Republic), do not expect me to give a rosy picture of the future for today’s 27-state European Union (EU). The current recession will no doubt ease by the end of this year, though the deep-seated systemic problems will remain, and companies will begin taking on workers again, signalling the end of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
This setback may herald a new era in the global system fundamentally altering the political and economic balance of power. The post-crisis era also looks certain to shake the established institutions, rules and players redefining a gradually emerging ‘new world order’ that is likely to reduce the influence and power of super-majors such as the US, Japan and the EU to the benefit of BRIC (Brazil, India and China) nations..
Will tomorrow’s EU turn into ‘Euro-Disneyland’?
To maintain its current position let alone compete with others, the EU needs to reconnect its priorities and interests with the current and anticipated challenges faced by its people; demonstrate visibly the 21st century relevance of the concept of Europe to prevent a descent into a ’Euro-Disneyland’ and give the policy answers to these challenges first and then let institutional change help deliver them, rather than the other way round.
This is to say that, unless Europe takes surgical action soon its further economic and political decline is almost inevitable. Without comprehensive reform Continental Europe's overprotected, overregulated economies will continue to slow down and deteriorate. This does not mean that Italy, Germany, France, the UK, and other now-prosperous countries will become poor; on the contrary, their standard of living will remain comfortable. It is the division between “old and new Europe” which will deepen. Europe’s political and economic clout could become less relevant on the world scene.
The prospects could be even worse if internal and external pressures on the EU continue, such as; the strain on the public health and social security system from an ageing population, the ongoing erosion of its international competitiveness in relation to China and India (and other emerging “tigers”), the potential stasis of trans-Atlantic dialogue with the United States, the threat of Russia and Ukraine not being properly accommodated within the EU, and if the EU cannot pull its various acts together to become a single voice on foreign, security and energy policies.
Why did I become a Euro-sceptic?
I do not want to sound like a doomsday alarmist because there are also positive developments to inspire optimism and the future can of course take a better course if the right actions and approach are taken in a timely manner. However, against the background highlighted above and because of the poor treatment of Turkey by the EU over the past half a century, I cannot help but be more euro-sceptic than euro-phile.
The longer one lives on this island, less than an hour’s ferry ride from Calais to Dover the closer one veers to the viewpoint of the ’euro-sceptics club’ We know that the British have never been terribly willing members of the EU from the outset. There are no surprises why British membership of the EU was vetoed several times during the tenure of France’s President Charles de Gaulle. Long before the British joined many Continental Europeans thought they were too different to be constructive members of what was then the European Economic Community. London has always preferred its American cousins across the Atlantic and valued Commonwealth relations.
However, the Brits are honest. They do not hide their dislike of the Continental Europeans’ approach to economy and life and generally despise the federalist vision of Europe. But when it comes to implementing the acquis communautaire, they are more effective than the most fervent advocates of the ‘federal Europe’ dream. There is of course no unanimity of opinion on Europe and New Labour, the Tories and Liberal Democrats often take divergent paths. Yet, a doubting stance lingers on and I have happily acquired this virus from my British friends and colleagues..
Over the years I have come to empathise with the euro-sceptical approach, particularly whilst working professionally as a Turkish diplomat, OECD staffer and now multinational corporate executive with EU institutions and politicians. My views have become stronger after having closely observed the bureaucracy and inefficacy of the European Commission squandering its annual €133 billion budget, whilst the European Parliament makes unfocused and inconsistent decisions backed by uncapped salaries and fringe benefits. Good long-term strategic decisions are rarely made and low performance levels plague many policy initiatives. There is a general insensitivity and arrogance towards other cultures and interests.
Playing Devil’s Advocate
My discussion with those opposed to Turkey’ accession to the EU on whatever grounds, be it economic, religious, cultural, geographic or political, usually begins with the statement that "actually, like you we also do not look warmly on accession prospects, but for different reasons". This serves as a cold shower and strong reminder that Turks should not be taken for granted and are not clinging to the coat tails of Europe. Then, I list the good reasons, without empty rhetoric, why Turkey should not be interested in membership, so long as the Turkish accession dossier is handled in the way it is currently is.
What has often been forgotten in Europe is that the level of support as indicated by opinion polls and re-wording of the political party manifestos regarding the EU is declining in Turkey. There is a large and growing opposition inside Turkey to entry into the EU emanating not only from ultra-nationalists, religious fanatics or hard-line soldiers keen on sovereignty and suspicious of the ‘real’ intentions of the EU. The unfairness and hypocrisy displayed on the Cyprus settlement issue has further fuelled anti-accession sentiment in the country.
At any rate, the feeling is that we do not have to prove that Turkey is an essential part of this historical-geographical territory called Europe. We have been living in this space for much longer than most new EU members. We are proud to be Europeans, but at the same time Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan, none of other Europeans have such a rich diversity and wide outreach.
There is no question that the EU is suffering from enlargement fatigue. There is widespread concern, rightly or wrongly, that Romania and Bulgaria may have been admitted prematurely. Even before the current crisis commentators in Brussels were betting on Croatian accession in 2011 (although that is looking increasingly problematic), with accession for Turkey and the Western Balkans effectively kicked into the long grass behind a fig-leaf of extended membership talks with no momentum.
The EU has regrettably lost much of its reputational capital in the eyes of most Turks on the street. To my great surprise, Turkish youth, both well educated and self-confident, as well as strong nationalists are more sceptical of the EU than the ‘old guard’. Sarkozy and Merkel have not helped much by insisting on the so-called ‘privileged partnership’ at the expense of undermining the basic tenets of the “pacta sunt servanda” (Latin for "agreements must be kept"). This is not to say that Turks have done their bit of homework and met their obligations, and that all the blame should be laid at the EU’s door.
EU’s pre-accession strategy has somewhat eroded motivations for membership and triggered nationalistic reactions in Turkey. The widening gap between unfulfilled expectations and the EU's functioning feeds public euro-scepticism. The EU's unceasing demands for reform and the evident reluctance to Turkish accession have further fuelled mistrust, focusing the 'EU debate' on the cost of accession without much in the way of economic benefits,whilst putting a ‘strait jacket’ on many areas of vital importance – a perfect example of asymmetrical relationship.
Communicating on the same wavelength
Frankly speaking, I take particular pleasure at airing contrarian views on this issue and being part of the debate as to why Turkey might be better off without full membership.
The real cost to the EU of Turkey’s non-accession needs to be visibly highlighted. After all, there are already more than enough unconditional pro-EU supporters in Turkey. Hence, what we need are people who can act as qualified ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and show those ‘Turkey-bashing’ souls that there is the other side to the coin and Turkey cannot be pushed around at their pleasure.
Our objective in doing so of course is not to disparage the EU to the point of leading people to think that there is “no real future for Turkey in the EU; we should turn our face towards the east or the north”, as some of my compatriots propose. Instead, our aim is to inject a healthy dose of realism and scepticism into the generally rosy vistas presented to us, as well as to encourage the development of a balanced and acceptable ‘give and take’ approach for the accession process.
As Turkey’s opponents argue, it is true that the eventual accession will considerably change the future outlook of both Turkey and the EU. Surely, the EU with Turkey as a member will look quite different from anything its founding fathers ever envisaged. The Union will face the challenge of fundamentally re-defining itself, progressively changing from an entity largely concerned with economic and social redistribution via its agricultural, cohesion and structural funds into a global actor that invests more on competitiveness, infrastructure, research and development, poverty reduction, military capability, and border protection. Admittedly, this process will not be easy politically since there will be strong opposition from domestic sectors, adversely affected, in nearly every country including in Turkey.
Hence, whether Turkish accession will be for better or worse in the final analysis depends very much on how both sides will agree to interact from the outset towards a commonly perceived vision.
Let’s not devalue the EU’s achievements
To be fair, we should be thankful for the idealism and faith shown by the European Union’s founders. No doubt, the EU is the biggest political union and largest economic market in the world, whose citizens live in democracy, peace, freedom and prosperity. The EU has achieved many stunning successes in its history.
It has engineered the Single Market and moved the Lisbon 2010 competitiveness agenda forward a little. The Schengen agreement is working, and Brussels is currently leading the way with the global climate change agenda. The EU of course is committed to creating a single area of freedom, justice, and security. It is also trying to achieve energy supply security, though at a snail’s pace, without antagonising Russia.
Yet, today these are not enough to justify the existence of the EU to a different generation living in different times. The track record leaves us with mixed feelings.
Germany and France are no longer the powerful locomotives of the EU. They are also disillusioned with the Eurozone, the weakness of the EU institutions, the referendum failures of both the European constitution and the Lisbon treaty. They tend to become more nationalist and selfish than European after realising that the EU flying on autopilot, run by its bureaucrats and inefficient processes has become less relevant to their goals and people.
The fact is there are serious blockages in the EU system right now and if these are not cleared and, if radical new structures are not put in place instead of the current cosmetic changes, then it is inevitable that inner EU bickering will only become more aggravated and ultimately irreparable. If this happens then no one would expect the EU to have any real impact anymore on the global system. It will be relegated to a regional bloc status.
What is in it for us?
Over the past few years the EU entrance aspiration has lost ground and speed in Turkey. This cannot be explained away by simply saying that Brussels has not satisfied the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s expectations causing Ankara to draw back. In my opinion, it is not that simple. We have a better understanding now of the strengths, weaknesses and hypocrisies of the EU, which has had the positive effect of ending our once frantic obsession for EU accession and adopt more of a foot-down approach, based around ’what is in it for us?’ The public opinion polls also point to such a cooling of emotions vis-à-vis the EU.
Under the current conditions, even if the Cyprus problem were to be solved… the European Commission's annual reports were to present evidence of a perfectly clean record on Turkey’s progress… all 35 of the accession chapters were to open at the same time and achieve endorsement…furthermore, even if the Armenian ‘genocide’ allegations were adopted in the way Brussels has pushed for…we should not mislead ourselves into believing that Turkish EU membership is anywhere on the visible horizon. The prospects could only be different if there is a dramatic change of heart and combined effort to push forward the accession under the stewardship of France, Germany and the UK.
Those who present this accession phenomenon in a starkly black-and-white fashion as "what, are you also opposed to EU accession? Isn't the EU the natural destination for our country's historical vocation? If we don't enter the EU we will become nothing but lunch for the wolves, stuck in the vicious cycle of nationalism, religious fanaticism in the Middle East!" should not be given a sympathetic ear either.
The current strategy of the EU machinery appears to be based on the no-longer-functioning and no-longer-credible ‘carrot and stick’ approach, trying to hold Turkey at bay and evade as long as possible a firm decision through drawn-out accession talks. This is completely in line with how the country has always been treated – this needs to fundamentally change.
If Turkey were to correctly analyze the global power shift, which is putting Asia-Pacific at the forefront of economics and geopolitic and could position itself accordingly, it would assure itself a rightful place on the ’winners' train’ even before the EU could. If the EU fails to shake itself into action to play a central role on the world stage and, if it doesn't quell the flames of its own internal fires and make the long overdue political and institutional transformations for this, then whether or not Turkey becomes a full EU member won't matter in the larger unified picture..
To become a global power on a par with the US and China, the EU has to embrace Turkey. If this will does not exist there is no point in wasting our energy on EU accession games.
Turkey to become a precious asset and the EU a ‘strait-jacket’?
So why is it that Turkey should want to join an ageing EU, whose competitiveness and world standing are fast eroding, and which is so heavily dependent on outside energy resources and in a constant state of internal battles between the ’old’ and ‘new’ Europe?
We need to carefully weigh what accession to the EU means for us. Will it soak up our dynamism and burden us with social security responsibilities for its ageing and less-than-entrepreneurial populations?
Will we be able to benefit from common agricultural policy subsidies as Spain, France, Ireland, Italy and Greece did for decades to reach their current level of development? How long will we wait for full participation in decision-making processes and for free movement of people?
What about its empty coffers – will there be any money left in the EU’s lucrative cohesion and infrastructure funds? What are the geo-political implications - will the EU accession restrict our freedom in foreign policy and tie us down when it comes to moves towards Russia, Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, China, and the Middle East?
We have to seriously debate these issues and ask tough questions. Before consuming more of our national energies we need to get definite and satisfactory answers!
One overarching argument in favour of Turkey’s accession is to embed Western values and standards in our lives – this is a great aspiration, but can we really say that the only worthwhile values reside in 27 countries in the world? Are our own values and institutions, which await re-discovery, and which have been developed over thousands of years of social and political experience really less valuable or less worthy of consideration?
How should negotiations be conducted?
This is the first time that accession negotiations have been so controversial amongst EU member state. Negotiations regarding Turkey’s accession have so many uncertainties and serious political and economic impediments, making it absolutely essential that both sides should agree on an imaginative, constructive problem-solving approach to produce a successful conclusion of this process.
The discussions in Brussels clearly indicated that accession negotiations would not be on the basis of a “business-as-usual” mandate with an emphasis on the acquis communautaire and Turkey’s ability to effectively apply it at the moment of entry into the EU. The attainment of European standards with respect to democratization and liberalization, as well as changing not only certain practices and legislation, but also the public and official mindsets on both sides would need to be the primary goal.
It goes without saying that the process begun by Europe's leaders in Brussels will have to be completed by the politicians of the future – probably during the lifetime of at least two new governments in each country. Given the high degree of domestic controversy that the Turkish dossier causes, governments may not have any interest in keeping the Turkish accession issue visible on the public agenda until such a time that a positive public perception of Turkey is generated. Most EU leaders would prefer to put the issue on the backburner by leaving the concrete task of preparing and conducting the negotiations mainly to the European Commission.
Redefining the Turco-EU roadmap
Yes, it is really time to shake ourselves. Time to identify clearly who we are and what our national interests are and to place these on the scale and re-assess their relative weights. Time has come to clarify what our relations with the EU should be from our viewpoint and not as dictated by Brussels.
Pay no attention to the calls for ‘privileged partnership’, put out there by the likes of Sarkozy and Merkel. They do not even merit a response. These are, after all, nothing but political stances, displayed by those who have perfected the art of playing to the tribunes – opinions which can go as quickly as they come.
Turkey's case for serious consideration by the EU has often rested on broader strategic and political issues, rather than civilization-based factors. The real post-Cold War strategic significance of Turkey to Europe lies in the problems that a less stable or more activist Turkey could create. Europe requires a stable, modernizing and democratic Turkey to help keep radical Islam from Europe's borders. It needs a Turkey that is cautious in its regional policies toward the Caucasus, the Balkans and the Middle East and, which seeks to avoid confrontation with Moscow and Tehran. The point is not so much what Turkey offers to Europe as what its ‘loss to Europe’ could entail. In a certain sense, what Europe needs from Turkey is that it is contained, controlled and prudent.
Well, EU states will certainly act in self-interest. There is nothing wrong with this, but the important thing is what we, Turkey, want. A nation with a 750 billion dollar economic powerbase, with one of the largest and most influential military forces in the world and a cultural hinterland which we have become more aware of in recent years, never mind its role as the crossroads of energy flows and civilisations cannot be ignored. We are unique cornerstone in our ability to synthesize the western values and Islam’s traditions between the north and the south.
Perhaps it needs to be said out loud that such a nation with an imperial history cannot meekly consent to the capricious behaviour of the authorities in Brussels and in some EU capitals, nor that Turkey can be judged by the same ’take it or leave it’ criteria applied to countries like Malta, South Cyprus, or Bulgaria.
Otherwise, no one can say just where this ‘open-ended’ process is going to drag us to and in fact this whole process will continue forever soaking up our national energy like a sponge. For now though, let us leave these accession talks to continue at technical levels. Let's embrace the same approach they are taking. Let's not destroy what we have so far achieved on this front, but let's demand to see the cards in their hand and to protect our own national interests as jealously as they guard theirs.
In the meantime, we should focus firmly on being not a ‘paper tiger’, but a real ‘regional power’ to be reckoned with economically, militarily and democratically - one which is strong and ‘problem-free’ in relation to its neighbours, robust against dealing with the fallout of the global depression, and a power, which can offer its neighbours and its own people prosperity, peace, and security. Do not worry – the rest will simply follow.
Judge Turkey for its potential and not on an historically biased or current clouded view
More importantly, EU leaders would be better to judge Turkey on the basis of its potential economic and geostrategic importance from today to 2023 and what the future holds for Europe by then - not on the narrow and short-term interests of today or yesterday. With Turkey the EU will not only achieve an immensely richer cultural diversity, but also considerable manufacturing capacity, entrepreneurship, and better foreign/security policy outreach to the key regions of the world, i.e. Russia, the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Central Asia. It is a ‘take it or leave it’ deal for the EU, too.
The two terms of government may suffice to fundamentally change the face (and the substance) of Turkey for the better, while the EU will also be going through changes and making difficult choices. One should recall that the founding father of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk accomplished the bulk of his revolutionary modernising vision for the country in a period of around 15 years (1923-1938), between the two destructive world wars and in a radically greater state of economic deprivation. Consider what more can be achieved over the next two decades in the era of rapid globalisation. Then, it is not a science-fiction to predict that both Turkey and the EU will be starkly different from what they are today and it is in their hands to shape the common future starting now, rather than speculating on the fears to come.
Let’s maximise the benefits of our strong association with the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia, the United States and Asia-Pacific as much as possible without being too much obsessed or blinded about belonging to one club. When we arrive at 2023, will we look back at ourselves and the EU asking "did we make the right decisions and take the right steps at the right time?"
Hopefully, the debate I am presenting can influence this direction positively from where we are now.
About the author
Mehmet Öğütçü is Mulkiye, London School of Economics and College d’Europe graduate, a former Turkish diplomat, senior Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) staffer, and currently major multinational corporation executive, based in London. He is also the author of “Turkey’s 2023 Roadmap” (Etkilesim, 2008) and “Does our future lay with Rising Asia?” (Milliyet, 1998).
Mehmet Öğütçü London ogutcudunya at yahoo.co.uk
One Step: California State Senate approves Genocide Awareness Act, Arpi Harutyunyan
The California State Senate June 3 passed Senate Bill 234, the `Genocide Awareness Act'. On April 29, the Senate Education Committee voted unanimously in favor of SB 234, the `Genocide Awareness Act'. The Armenian Assembly of America (www.aainc.org), an early proponent of the measure introduced by State Senator Mark Wyland (R), activated its ARAMAC grassroots network in California to encourage support and passage of the bill.
`The AAA works closely with elected officials and others to address issues concerning genocide recognition, genocide prevention and education. These are all related. Without education, genocide recognition and prevention are in jeopardy. SB 234, the `Genocide Awareness Act', is about education. Once passed, it will provide California high school students a unique opportunity to hear firsthand the witness accounts during some of the darkest times in human history. Hearing these oral stories will be one of the most compelling and gripping educational tools for anyone studying genocide,' said Assembly Country Director Arpi Vartanian.
The Armenian National Committee of America (www.anca.org) also led efforts of the Armenian American community in the support of the legislation, sending activists to the California capital, Sacramento, and launching a web fax campaign to senators.
`Truth and our commitment to education won today. Having worked with students in the classroom on this subject I know that oral histories are fundamental in helping convey the lessons we need to learn in order to prevent genocide and punish its perpetrators,' remarked Shant Hagopian, an ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship alumnus and recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley where he also volunteered with the Genocide Education Project
During the public witness hearing, Armenian Genocide denier Bruce Fein and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) testified against treating the Armenian example and parallel cases in Cambodia and Darfur as genocide. In response to the opposition's testimony, State Senator Joe Simitian (D), a member of the Education Committee, expressed his disappointment, especially given the incontestable historical fact of the Armenian Genocide and asked, `Why is it that genocide happens over and over and over again?...It happens because we are unwilling to step back and confront man's inhumanity to man.' The truth of the Armenian Genocide, Simitian stated, `has long been settled.'
State Senator Christine Kehoe (D), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, moved the bill directly to the Senate floor for a vote, stating, `The continuing events in Darfur remind me of the words of philosopher George Santayana who wrote: `Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.' Those horrific events only serve to raise the importance of acknowledging and learning from past events like the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. Making sure that Senate Bill 234 becomes law will help make sure that the Armenian Genocide is not forgotten for this and future generations.'
AAA commends the efforts of State Senator Mark Wyland (R), State Senator Christine Kehoe (D), State Senator Joe Simitian (D), as well as all those who supported this bill, for believing that education is key to Genocide Awareness.
`The Armenian Assembly applauds Senator Kehoe for promptly bringing this
legislation to the floor for a vote,' stated Yeghig Keshishian, the Assembly's Western Region Director. `The Assembly would also like to commend Senator Wyland for introducing this legislation and thereby once again placing California in the forefront of national politics as it pertains to human rights education and genocide prevention.'
Upon successful passage in the California State Assembly, State Senator Wyland's `Genocide Awareness Act' would then be signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill requires the California Curriculum Commission to vote on the inclusion of an oral history component related to genocides as part of its high school curriculum, including the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. California pioneered new education standards by adopting the Model Curriculum for Human Rights and Genocide, which includes the Armenian Genocide.
`The efforts of California's Armenian community were instrumental, and I am confident the community will continue to make its voice heard on this issue so that the truth and lessons of the genocide are not forgotten. The Assembly continues to lead efforts in working with the community and the State Senate to get this bill signed into law,' Vartanian stated.
Letter From Dr. A. Tcheknavorian Asenbauer
I have outlined below to the best of my understanding. In my view these points should be used in future discussions and become part of a basic understanding and an addendum to future statements serving to justify the cause of the Armenian issue.
a) European-Armenians have the right to lead the request for justice of all Armenians in the Diaspora as we participated in the war against Fascism in Europe as prescribed by the Human Rights and Justice Council. In fact many young Armenian soldiers served in European armies and lost their lives fighting against fascism and for the rights of many others.
b) The Armenian Government has no right to unilaterally hold negotiations or discussions involving the settlement of issues of the Armenian Genocide and the possible reparation from Turkey. Neither should the opening of borders with Turkey be used as a condition in combination with Genocide settlements. Border opening issues are for economic and political reasons.
Europeans demonstrated a double standard by staying silent and were unfair to their Human Rights Charter by sacrificing people for political gain in the First World War. Their ambassadors saw and communicated the barbaric acts against the Armenians in 1915. The Europeans by their silence allowed the Turks to continue their genocide. And for the second time Europeans are again doing the same staying silent allowing a blockade to continue while yet again Armenians suffer this is PLANNED HUMAN GENOCIDE. Armenia should take this matter to International Court they should not have to sacrifice Armenian Wealth and Rights for the sake of opening borders with Turkey.
c) The blood spilled by our parents and forefathers cannot be used to compromise a solution of the Armenian issue; this is not a political issue. It is solely a human rights principle issue, as established by the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION of Human Rights and signed by many countries including Turkey.
d) In accordance with the UN convention on Genocide punishment introduced by Lemkin in 1945 which Turkey ironically was one of the first to ratify in 1951 (even before Israel June 1951) which obliges Turkey and Europe to respect international judgments, principles and conventions of universally accepted resolutions and not use them as political or economic fodder when and if it becomes expedient for them.
Europeans and Americans cannot deny that Armenian soldiers went to war against fascism during the Second World War, and at the very least and in their honour, Europeans and Americans have an obligation to stand against the FASCIST acts of Turkey which took place during the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Unfortunately, as in Germany, Turkey was never punished for those atrocities, and they have not stopped their fascist policies against other religions and nations, they have not educated their people against Fascism, as illustrated by the killing of Mr. HRAND DINK and the dangling Kurdish issue which will once again lead to further suffering due to the inaction of these nations.
Europeans HAVE TO FACE THEIR DEMOCRACY HONESTLY; HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN DIGNITY. By using the declaration only at country level, and not internationally, it disrespects the very act of signing a declaration and cheats its own people to say nothing of other nations.
e) The Armenian Genocide recognition issue is not for historians or for political parties to discuss with Turkey. It is an international issue, and has to be dealt at international levels. For ninety-four (94) years Turkey has denied to recognize it - now after 94 years, only internationally knowledgeable lawyers can take the lead to advance our Armenian rights recognition with all its consequences historians and politicians can only provide important and relevant information. Benefit to our cause can be only acquired in these higher courts of international law for human justice. And as a people we have to UNITE and end our differences - at least for dealing with this, our Nations sad chapter.
f) This message has to be effectively delivered to the Armenian Government and its people. Similar mistakes cannot be allowed to happen in the future.
g) The following must also be considered. The Karabagh conflict and its solution cannot be conditional with any border opening issue, Karabagh Was And Is Armenian Teritory, And No Nation Has The Right To Gift The Land To Any Other Nation.
Armenians Have Never Been Asked About The Establishment Of Azerbeyjan As A Country, No Such Country Existed Before The Soviet Union Created It. This Country Is Without Basis, History, And The World Have Not Officially Accepted Anything That The Soviet Union Did In The Past, And It Is Without Precedent Under International Law. One Has To Wonder Why? Can It Be The Oil Of The Azeris? And Once Again Armenian Lands Are Being Sacrificed;
Turkey Must Not Get Involved In This Issue With Karabagh; Turkey Must First Solve Settlement Issues Of Armenian Teritorial Demands And Genocide Recognition.
Dear Mr. Mirzakhanian, I am applauding the content of your article, and I tried to summarize the important points. I hope many Armenians like me will join your recommendations, and will understand your message.
Thank you again
Sincerely Dr. Tcheknavorian - Asenbauer (Mrs) - Austria
Putting Principle over Power: Why Samantha Power Must Resign [ 2009/05/30 | By David Boyajian
Samantha Power, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs in President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), has failed the American people and her own principles regarding genocide recognition. She must resign.
Let’s look at how Power got into this sad state of affairs. Power is, of course, the well-known, highly regarded genocide studies specialist. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, harshly criticized policymakers in the U.S. who “avoid use of the word genocide” and are slow to “reckon with” genocide. Chapter One, “Race Murder,” focused on the Armenian genocide.
Following the book’s publication, many Armenians saw Power as a sort of heroine. Indeed, two years ago, her Time magazine article (The U.S. and Turkey: Honesty Is the Best Policy) argued for passage of the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress. She condemned President Bush for “avoiding honesty” in opposing it and for not correctly characterizing the Armenian “genocide” as such. And yet President Obama himself - Power’s boss - just avoided the “G word” in his April 24 statement about 1915.
A President without Principle
Obama imitated his three predecessors (but not Reagan, who acknowledged the Armenian genocide in 1981) by using words such as “massacre,” not “genocide,” in his statement. Obama tried to score points with Armenians by tossing in the term “Meds Yeghern” - great catastrophe. In reality, Armenians themselves rarely use that term to refer to the genocide. The Armenian word for genocide is actually “Tseghasbanoutyoun” - race killing.
Now compare President Obama’s evasive language with candidate Obama’s promise: “As President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide” because “the Armenian Genocide is … a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.”
If Power advised Obama to acknowledge the genocide, he obviously rejected that advice, and broke his own pledges. If, on the other hand, she advised the president to not use the “G word” because Armenia and Turkey will allegedly establish a “joint historical commission” on 1915, she was woefully misguided. Turkey would ensure that such a body could never come to a timely and definitive decision. It also makes no sense for Power or Obama to support such a “commission” since they themselves previously affirmed the factuality of the genocide.
And let’s put to rest the myth that reaffirmation of the genocide could harm the United States. Turkey depends on America for sophisticated military weapons, support for billions in loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, advocacy for Turkey’s membership in a reluctant European Union, and much more. No country that has acknowledged the Armenian genocide has ever experienced much more than rhetorical Turkish reprisal.
Notice that since Obama’s dishonest April 24 declaration, Power has said nothing to Armenian Americans. No explanation. No apology. Nothing.
And let’s understand that Power was directly complicit in having voters believe Obama’s genocide promises. Last year, Power made a 4-minute video in which she passionately appealed to Armenian Americans to support Obama. He had, she said, read A Problem from Hell and understands “genocide prevention and the costs of denial.” He’s a man of “unshakeable conscientiousness” who “can actually be trusted.” She urged the Armenian community to “take my word for it.” Naively, many did. “Armenians,” she also said, “have always taken me seriously.” Yes, but at this point in time, only if she resigns.
Frankly, I’ve had reservations about Power’s commitment to justice for Armenians ever since her April 24 genocide presentation at Tufts University several years ago. She seemed to disparage Armenian demands for reparations. “Do you really want,” she asked the largely Armenian American audience, “a check from Turkey?” I stood up and pointed out that Armenians were seeking material restitution for the Armenian nation as a whole, not “checks” for students to squander on clothes and cars. She has since received documentation about the exact nature of Armenian demands.
Whatever her excuse, Power appears to be precisely the kind of official whom she excoriated in her book and article, one who “avoids use of the word genocide.”
The only way she can distance herself from the unprincipled political calculations of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom she once labeled “a monster,” is to resign.
Understandably, no one wishes to give up the power and prestige of being an NSC director. Power’s association with Obama even brought her romance. Last year she married top Obama advisor and Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein. The president and Sunstein were friends and colleagues for 12 years when they taught at the University of Chicago Law School. Sunstein is reportedly in line for a White House appointment. Sunstein could be embarrassed if his wife resigned from the administration. But no more than Power would be if she does not resign.
Power really has only two choices. She can resign. Or she can lose the trust and respect of the American people.
The author is an Armenian American freelance writer. Several of his articles are archived at Armeniapedia.org.
The author asks readers to send a short note to the following organizations and leaders asking them to urge Samantha Power to resign because of her and President Obama’s failure to fulfill their promise to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2009:
· Armenian National Committee of America: Anca@anca.org
· Armenian Assembly of America: Info@aaainc.org
· President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden: www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ or Comment Line: 202-456-1111
· Congressman Frank Pallone (Armenian Caucus co-chair): 202-225-4671
· Congressman Mark Kirk (Armenian Caucus co-chair): 202-225-4835 firstname.lastname@example.org
· Congressman Adam Schiff (represents Glendale): schiff.house.gov/HoR/CA29/Contact+Information/Contact+Form.htm or 202-225-4176
· House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:AmericanVoices@mail.house.gov, http://speaker.house.gov/contact/, or 202-225-4965
· Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (Armenian American): https://forms.house.gov/eshoo/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm
· Congresswoman Jackie Speier (Armenian American): 202-225-3531
· Your or any U.S. Representative: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
· Your or any U.S. Senator: www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Open Letter To Mrs Valérie Hannin By Dr. Claude Atamian 31 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Dr. Claude Atamian
On 24 April 2009
Open letter to Mrs Valérie HANNIN, Executive Editor of the monthly HISTORY
At the end of the nineteenth century, a murderer sentenced to death at the foot of the guillotine, suddenly turned to the crowd attending the ordeal and said: "n'avouez ever." He acquired a posthumous fame that lasted for several decades, until I take my knowledge of his last words, in a monthly history of the sixties.
Similarly, the Turkish state, through its successive regimes for nearly a century, has maintained this tooth and nail line, with the objective negation of the "Great Crime" government of Young Turks in 1915 " N'avouons never have planned and organized the assassination of a people who had managed to keep on his ancestral land, the price of the difficulties and tragedies, and for at least 25 centuries.
Having made this introduction, let me turn to the subject of this letter: your monthly Story of the month of April, whose main topic is: the Armenian genocide, as it announced on the front page, similar to the homepage of a website. Your editorial entitled "The truth on" could give us hope that this theme would be developed according to the rules of historical research.
But one can readily see by reading that the worm is already in the fruit you mention the book "A shameful act: the Armenian genocide" that has made much noise you say, and whose author Taner Akçam has become the great Turkish 1915. But it is to reject it, as is the other recognized as genocide Ternon and Yves Raymond Kévorkian and choose Mr Fuad Dundar, demographer historian, specialist in the Young Turks, but who himself said he did have not particularly invested in the historiographic research of the genocide. As we will see, Mr Fuad Dundar is however particularly gifted in the handling of historical facts, in insisting on the "deportation" to avoid talking about extermination and therefore to trace the criminal responsibility of the Ottoman government of 1915. In my opinion such an accumulation against truths, subtly or crudely stated, mixing true and false and invention of events "abracadabrantesques", whose aim is clearly to disrupt the clarity of the reader, in line with this the long tradition of pro-Turkish disinformation concerning the Armenian tragedy, in my opinion has never reached such a level of falsification. This is what might be termed, in the figurative sense, a kind of subliminal negationism, similar to the advertising of the same name, designed to reach the subconscious of the consumer and influence his choice without him noticing . You know that the law prohibits this kind of process. In your journal, you left use this method betraying the historical truth, while expressing compassion for the descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
This negationism "subliminal" is also accompanied by small and large ropes that I will detail later in the analysis of the interview by Mr. Fuad Dundar Georgeon. And strength to handle, it ends with "entangled brushes, and it ends in the ridiculous (which it seems does not kill), particularly in the" detailed "in the number of Armenians diaspora, as we will show just now, as would have said Jean de La Fontaine.
Moreover, we can see that the history of the magazine story about the extermination of the Armenians is being repeated in "aggravating his case in April 1995, your monthly had developed this theme. The cover was titled differently: "File: Survey on the tragedy of April 1915, THE MASSACRE OF ARMENIANS. Indeed the French law of recognition of the Genocide did not exist at the time. It was finally adopted in January 2001. In this issue, the topic was addressed by objective historians Ternon Yves and Jean-Jacques Becker, as well as a director of the Express, Makarian Christian, in his article: "Happy as an Armenian in France. Daniel Bermond outlined the facts of the case Lewis, the specialist historian of the Ottoman Empire, which had been the lawyer of Turkish negationist theories in the interview given to Le Monde of 16 November 1993. The case was concluded by his civil conviction (1).
Boxes of a half page or more written by Yves Ternon, enrich the record: "The crimes of the Ittihad", "Stories: Narratives of Massacres," "The Odyssey of the survivors' and so on.
The only false note: an article entitled "Three questions for a massacre" signed by a certain Gilles Veinstein, then director of studies at EHESS and historian of the Ottoman Empire, which, as Fuad Dundar, said he too not be a specialist of the Armenian genocide. Whatever, as many turcologues and Mr. Fuad Dundar is part and without prejudice to the period in which they specialize, they are always directly or indirectly, the defenders of the policy of denial ' Turkish State, or trying to minimize the extent and importance of the crime committed. The aim is clearly to exempt the state from responsibility for a crime imprescriptible. In contrast, and to respond in advance to Fuad Dundar, another researcher of Kurdish origin, Mr Hamid Bozarslan, published in the special issue in November-December 2008 du Nouvel Observateur, an article of a very different tone: "Holocaust Denial: the assassins of memory Armenian" (remember the book by Pierre Vidal-Naquet: "The assassins of memory"), and can play a significant excerpt below on the official version of the contemporary Turkish history in opposition to the truth: "As for the" triptych victim "of the historical narrative, he could only urge the accession of all: Innocence (Ottoman generosity towards the people issues), suffering (Christian treason stabbing the motherland in the back) and issue (restoration of justice and order, at great cost, the Turkish state). Recognize genocide meant to substitute another triptych violence-lie-disgrace .
This article by Gilles Veinstein under film "Three questions for a massacre" Just at the time to ignite. (Curiously, you also use in this issue, and from the menu, the same analogy: "Armenian Genocide: the scenario," under repeated out of the interview of Fuad Dundar. If I understand you correctly, genocide is the film?). Many articles appeared in the national press and the case nearly cost Gilles Veinstein his appointment at the College de France (2).
A key element of misinformation on the topic "Armenian Genocide" is the translation deliberately biased and totally wrong meaning of the word in Armenian tragedy of 1915: "Medzi Yeghern" ie the "Big Crime "not the" Great Catastrophe ", a term routinely used by all the petitioners Turkish at this time expressing their" sincere sympathy "to their Armenian friends. Fuad Dundar himself, at the end of his interview, quote, '... the massacres of Medzi Yeghern ( "Great Catastrophe" in the Armenian language). But a disaster is an event that is not necessarily a human decision. Le Petit Robert defines it as follows: accident, accident causing the death of many people. Being a major disaster, we can think of a tsunami or earthquake etc. Moreover, the term given to the affected area of the earthquake of 1988 in the Republic of Armenia "aghèti Goti," verbatim "the area of the disaster." We believe in fate, to God, but not the responsibility of governments as the criminals were undoubtedly those of the Young Turks or the Nazis. This designation allows Great Catastrophe balance not to designate the State Kills, unlike the correct translation of "Medzi Yeghern. It is not surprising that the "campaign for forgiveness of some Turkish intellectuals (indeed ridicule Fuad Dundar itself at the very end of his interview, claiming it was signed by 30,000 people), stresses heavily on the name "Great Catastrophe", adopted by most Turks, negationist or not, in order to disguise the extent of crime committed by their government in 1915 (3).
Thus, the "Why we ask for forgiveness ..." Ahmet Insel, whose maintenance occupies the whole page 19 of your file, repeat several times the term "Great Catastrophe". Moreover, he adds "the dirty business with pleasure" by stating: "and forgiveness, not exactly what happened, but because the pain is denied, because these facts are minimized" and so on. This teacher at the University, I have already seen on television in the years 2004-2005 handle the truth and falsehood during the debate in order to contribute to "forcing" the entry of Turkey in the European Union is aware of what he states? or, by dint of handling the "casuistic Eastern" does show he not just a shining example of pardon insincere.
At the conclusion of your editorial, already so rich in good intentions and against truths, you write: "The history of the Armenian genocide is still under construction. Archives remain open or to be discovered. But the search intensified, the scenario is accurate, views closer, "the truth is in motion."
No Madam, the tragic truth, it was denounced at the beginning of the execution of the crime, only a month after 24 April 1915, by a declaration addressed to Turkey by the Allied Powers (France, Great Britain, Russia) , using for the first time the term "crime against humanity" and warning that "the members of the Ottoman government involved in these killings will be personally judged for their responsibility in the crime. The truth, it was affirmed in 1919 at the Peace Conference, and has been scientifically established in recent decades by historians such as Yves Ternon and Raymond Kévorkian France, Vahakn Dadrian in the USA, Israel Charny in Jerusalem and Taner Akçam who had access to some Turkish sources and in particular to a quantity of Talaat Pasha telegrams. To suggest otherwise is to be the spokesperson for the denial of the Turkish state that has lasted nearly a century and with what constancy in denial!
So, for your interpretation of the facts to say the least and your choice of speakers, you have offered a forum in which this denial does not say a word. And as I will demonstrate later in this letter, you have seriously undermined the objectivity required in a magazine usually much appreciated by lovers of history and to which I belong.
Now to the interview, which forms the bulk of your file:
Mr François Georgeon, historian of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, and director of research at CNRS, which questioned Mr. Fuad Dundar, is curiously himself author of a recent biography of Sultan Abdulhamid II, notorious among Armenians for having ordered between 1894 and 1896 massacres in almost all cities of Asia Minor where they were in number, from Constantinople to the city of Van. The estimated number of victims at around 300,000 persons, without counting the wounded and maimed, and not forgetting the economic ruin that results. Just read the memoirs of Vice-Consul in french Gustave Meyrier Diarbekir to realize that Saint Bartholomew was generally practiced, to bleed to white and terrorize the Armenians, whose leaders had dared asked for basic rights regarding their lives and safety, and whose application was also provided by Article 61 of the Berlin Congress of 1878, signed by the major powers of Europe and the Ottoman Empire.
Faced with these atrocities, Mr. Georgeon by giving an interview on the website of the Center of Turkish politics "about his book, says in particular:" my point is not to rehabilitate but Abdulhamid, with hindsight, to give a more objective, leaving the image conveyed previously caricatured by the Europeans who, through their press (especially satirical newspaper as "pork"), were repeatedly to portray in the guise of a real wild beast. " (Editor's note: and how to characterize such an otherwise bloodthirsty despot, rightly dubbed "the Great Saigneur with one ordering cold, and for at least three years, the murder of hundreds of thousands of his subjects?)
And later, another excerpt from his interview: "Very significant, during his reign, including the development of public clocks like Izmir. One study found that nearly 3 / 4 of those have been identified in Anatolia, dating to his reign. "(Sic) That makes me think of those who dare say:" We must not forget that Hitler was building the first highways in Europe and that he gave jobs to workers. " After these revelations of Professor Georgeon you can guess how optics will focus the interview with Fuad Dundar ...
Let us now deal with each page of this interview with some of his "revelations", but that I spend so much in silence, so rich is the imagination of our demographer-historians!
Page 8: We learn first that Mr. Fuad Dundar will soon publish in the United States a book entitled: "Crime figures. The role of statistics in the Armenian question, 1878-1918. " Given the tenor of this interview, it promises!
Page 9: (concerning the Armenians) "Until that date, the Young Turks had not developed hostility against them." Anything! And the massacres of Adana in April 1909, directly organized by the Young Turks of Cilicia, which we will commemorate these days the 100th anniversary? (it is true that they have been the cause of 30,000 victims ...)
. Page 10: "The Young Turks, a small group decided (I quote their words) to" settle "the Armenian question and to" flush out "one by one all the Armenians." My question: all this is a "simple" deportation, or indeed a project of extermination?
Page 11: Regarding the coded telegrams Talaat Pasha organizing genocide, Fuad Dundar said, as his colleagues "historians" Turkish: "I believe with many others that some of these documents are false." And again "the old antiphon" negationism Turkish reappears in the mouth of your demographer interviewed! No doubt do you not know that this whole manufactured controversy concerning the so-called non-authenticity of the telegrams Talaat was swept by Yves Ternon in his book published in 1989: "Survey on the denial of genocide" and by Vahakn Dadrian. In transposing the meaning of the proverb "the tree that hides the forest," Mr. Dundar, like all Holocaust deniers, believes that knocking down the tree, it no longer sees the forest. In the Shoah, "the tree" is the gas chambers that Faurisson has unsuccessfully tried to deny its existence, and in the case of the Armenian genocide, the telegrams Talaat, objects all manipulations on the part of these forgers. Even if we could demonstrate that this is inventions, it would not eliminate the "forest" that is the reality of the two genocides. But in practice and in any case, the forgers never to break down the "tree", because the cable and the gas chambers of the system are genocidal. Therefore, in affirming this conviction, and like any self-respecting denial, Mr. Fuad Dundar knows that he is lying.
Page 12: Question "twisted" by Professor Georgeon: "How was it proposed deportation of the massacre" (re-sic)
It is as if, in the case of the Holocaust, we asked the following question: "how is it that the transport of Jews by train to Poland during the years 41-44, has resulted in high mortality passengers. "
Page 13: Fuad Dundar says: "In the words of Enver Pasha in the U.S. consul:" We can not afford an attack in the back. " (Editor's note: so-called from the Armenians)
But what U.S. consul is it? There were about a dozen in the Ottoman Empire. Is that Leslie Davis, consul at Kharpout, who discovered the mass graves of thousands of killed shortly after leaving the city and photographed.
On his return to the United States, he recounted his testimony in his book as typing: "slaughterhouse province". Moreover, in several regions, especially in the Turkish Armenia vilayets of the six named in the Treaty of Berlin of 1878, and which should be a priority "liquidate" the population of origin, the extermination was perpetrated squarely in the towns and villages, as in the vilayet Bitlis, particularly in the city of flies, where the annihilation of the Armenians was carried off with gun on their homes.
In fact, I think the "consul" to which Enver is actually Henry Morgenthau, the United States Ambassador to Constantinople, and whose memory will be entirely devoted to the extermination of the Armenians, and his unsuccessful attempts to Talaat and Enver arm to stop the murderers, or at least alleviate the plight of victims and for permission to rescue them. In particular, Morgenthau reported the admission, by Talaat proudly stated: "I have done more in three months to resolve the Armenian Question qu'Abdul-Hamid in 30 years!"
Page 14: "The strength of Van turns into rebellion."
What distortion of reality, in relation to an act of self decided to save the massacre, already begun, the entire Armenian population of the province, planned by the vali Djevdet Bey, brother-in-law of Enver, known as "Marshal -Ferries, for the pleasure he took to nail a horseshoe on the foot of the Armenians of his choice!
Further: "Then the deportation and massacre have crossed."
The term "scenario" mentioned above is suitable, but the writer of the film is Fuad Dundar himself who must remember the "Mechanic of the General" by Buster Keaton ...
Page 16: "The issue is not the intent, but that of Talat Pasha had been aware of the lethal nature of the deportation." (Again, sic)
What a pity that Mr. Dundar is not Christian, it would have been a perfect Jesuit! (in Turkish we say a "dalaveradji", ie a raconteur of nonsense ...)
Page 17: "We know that Talaat ordered the governors of Diyarbakir (July 12), Ankara (July 27) and of all provinces (29 August) to stop the massacres."
Abhorrent manipulation of the truth: Talaat, having heard that also killed other Christians, Assyrians, gave the order to stop their killing. And therefore to that of the Armenians! Taner Akçam has also relied on these cables to meet a Turkish daily that procrastinate about the reality of extermination "and that is not proof of genocide."
Other less "scientific" Mr. Dundar, and I quote: "I think we can estimate the number of victims at around 650,000. The eminent demographer post-Ottoman "Mr. Dundar that has the knack of handling figures in his own way and accurately manufactured. From the 1,500,000 Armenians living in 1914 in the Ottoman Empire, according to the estimate of Talaat (figure certainly undervalued, but in any case necessarily approximate), Fuad Dundar invents imaginary flight of 850,000 Armenians to Russia (ie: through the front line of two countries at war, or swim in the Black Sea), and therefore: 1,500,000 - 850,000 = 650,000. It is demography Historiographic! And to make true, nearly 50,000 people, an accurate to 6 or 7%!
Page 18: "There have been spared ... Armenians Protestants or Catholics. "
Grossier lie. Pope John Paul II has proclaimed "Blessed" Bishop Maloyan, the Armenian Catholic Bishop of the city of Mardin, who was martyred for refusing to recant her faith. As for the fate of the Armenian Protestant, indirect evidence is provided by the act perpetrated by Soghomon (Salomon) Tehlirian, cutting in Berlin in 1921 Talaat Pasha, because his entire family in this religious community was destroyed. This "justice of the Armenian genocide" was tried by the German court and acquitted! And following the Turkish-Nazi pact of 1941, Hitler made "repatriate" the remains of Talaat in Istanbul, where Turkish Himmler may from rest in a mausoleum on the hill of Freedom "... A major boulevard in Ankara also bears his name. An organizer of genocide, it deserves to be honored in his own country!
Later, about concentration camps in the desert of Mesopotamia, valued at 500,000 people the number of deportees arrived "to" Fuad Dundar says: "I estimated at about 300,000 survivors at the end of 1918." A rate of 60% of survivors! After three years of existence in a region no more inhospitable, and especially after the 2nd phase of the extermination in the year 1916 organized specifically to these deported! In his masterful attempt to manipulate the truth, Mr Fuad Dundar reached a peak of ignominy ...
Page 20: The row numbers (box): the Turkish state usually minimizes the number of Armenian victims at 300,000, instead of the expected figure of about 1,500,000 disparus (continually adding more than a million Turks were killed by Armenians, one wonders how ...). Here we reach 200,000 deaths, and the opportunity to poke fun about the Armenians who "have sometimes claimed ten times more victims." Obviously, reducing so the number of deaths, it is easy after the fact to believe that these Armenians grossly inflate the figures by multiplying by 10! Even so, it would reach the number of missing two million, the same order of magnitude as the most accepted estimate of 1,500,000 dead. Moreover, and in general, under the mask of false compassion, it is this irony more or less perceptible to the descendants of survivors, which is reflected throughout the record and reflects the intent genuinely pursued.
In the next issue of your magazine on the same theme, it probably will approach the "zero death" ... Moreover, Yusuf Halacoglu, the former director of the Institute of History of Turkey in Ankara, has recently spoken at all and for any of 50,000 Armenians killed. You see that little by little, we will arrive at absolute zero! (my turn, if you allow, practice irony, but this time their faces ...)
To the right of the same page, Fuad Dundar continues to undermine his work: "I have some differences with Taner Akçam" and further: "I think I told you that the massacre was the product of circumstances .... Just read the contents of the book by Taner Akçam, especially the second chapter and the text of the two sub-chapters, easy to understand why Mr. Dundar is reluctant because it does not every case!
Here this title, our emphasis, on which there is nothing to add:
"II. THE DECISION OF GENOCIDE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
4. The reasons for this decision
5. The decision and its implications "
Then he s'enferre in the interpretation abracadabrantesques "of the following events:" If there had been no deportation in February 1915 to Zeytoun there have been no reaction to the Armenian Van and Istanbul. "and so on. What relationship can there be between Van and remote Zeytoun over 5oo km, knowing that the Armenians could not even know what was happening in the neighboring province? And the cake: "That's why I advocate that policy Turkification CRF (ie: the Union and Progress Committee) was - above all - a statistical and mathematical.. Reduce the genocide to exact science, it had to be done, and Mr. Fuad Dundar, as brilliant demographer preaching to his parish, has done!
Finally, on page 17: Box "Who are the Armenians?"
I announced earlier that we would reach the ridiculous. Here we go. We are told twice that the Armenian Diaspora has 2.7 million people (no Armenian estimate has never claimed all communities in the world at nearly 100,000 people), and when doing detail advanced fanciful figures for each country or continent we come to a total of 5.9 million people, including 900,000 in Africa and 900,000 in Syria and Lebanon! But did you not in your office a simple calculator, which you would have at least allowed to "properly" the total figures of your inventions? This is a shining example that demonstrates, if proof were needed, the thoroughness of your work! _________
Earlier this month, if decidedly disastrous to mankind, (as it was during that month that began the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, and in April 1943 that the revolt was led Warsaw Ghetto ) France Culture commemorated during a week the 15th anniversary of the genocide of Tutsis during the daily "the mill of history." On 9 April, I do not know what he recalled the famous words of Albert Camus' Mal naming things is added to the misery of the world. "This is precisely the mental functioning of those who" work "to deny Armenian Genocide, benefiting from ongoing support of the Turkish state and its subsidies, with the unconditional support of his "turcologues-turcophiles" of all stripes, in the tradition of a Pierre Loti who use its lies against the Armenians, with arguments similar to those of anti-Semitic, through three successive Turkish regimes from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
And thus, your current folder, constantly blurring the tracks, a misnomer if the things that most of my friends of Armenian origin, yet know little or no history of their origins, have seen that fire. (However, Ara Toranian, Director of News from Armenia Magazine, published April 8 online an article entitled "L'Histoire en panne", which essentially stated.-see-text attached) And so, by providing a belt to the Turkish denial machine, you held there, Madam, you and your writing, a very bad role.
At the end of the 14-18 war, an Italian member of Jewish origin, called Luzzatti, after reading the tragic fate of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, declared that "the Armenians and the Jews are the proto-martyrs of civilization. "What right formulation and moving! And when you think that the horror of Nazism was to come ... A certain Adolf Hitler fired him the "lesson" of the Armenian genocide remained unpunished, despite all the solemn promises of the Allies, such as those arising from the statement of 24 May 1915 quoted above. On 22 August 1939, in his eagle's nest at the Obersalzberg Berstesgaden, announcing to his staff's decision to attack Poland, he warned his generals that the war would have no mercy for the entire Polish population (it did not specifically Jews). And as to justify, he added: "After all, who still speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" (This statement was later quoted at the Nuremberg Tribunal).
Historian Annette Becker, in his article extract from the Revue d'Histoire de la Shoah (4), concludes: "The prolonged neglect of abuses against civilians, as the extermination of Armenians, offered by Following impunity to those who wanted to repeat (5).
Madam, as you can see, I send you this letter are 24 April, ie on the anniversary of the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Believe it or not, it is pure coincidence. After reading your review, I also phoned your secretary to April 6, to attract his attention (and yours indirectly) on what I discovered, more and more appalled by the content of the file, and warned that you will receive my letter in the following days. I could not imagine that at each reading of the interview with Fuad Dundar, I discover new aberrations and consequently obliged to unmask, requiring more than fifteen days to reach post this letter on the same day of that date, much symbolic.
In your editorial, you also you mentioned the same date of 24 April. I believe on balance this coincidence as a sign of Providence, even if it is the day commemorating the Armenian national mourning. It concerns me, especially since that day, on Easter Saturday 1915, my maternal great-uncle, the poet Siamanto (also known among Armenians that Victor Hugo, for having brilliantly evoked in his poems horror hamidiens massacres and those already committed in 1909 by the Young Turks in Cilicia, but also to have magnified the heroism of the resistance fighting the Turkish oppression) was arrested by the police with all the intellectual and political elite of Armenian the Ottoman capital, locked in prison near Ankara Ayache, and murdered in August, with almost all his companions in misfortune. Here's an excerpt from my article: "about Siamanto and the genocide of Armenians" prepared for the CD booklet of selected works of the poet, that I produced in Armenia in 2000, where its records are kept: "I am one of those people who sleeps unburied" wrote Charles Aznavour in the beautiful text his song, "they fell", composed in 1975 on the occasion of 60th anniversary of the genocide.
Because it is the Apocalypse, which would swallow up to 37 years life of the poet, with all his people, his own destiny and ultimately embody his poetic world, to be bloody as a high point. Siamanto told the orphan Armenian revolt: "I WANT TO DIE IN CHANTANT," and "Vengeance Centuries" he proclaims: "MY NAME AND YOUR COMBAT S'APPELLE Trep VICTORY." But the government of Young Turks, nationalist and fanatical, had decided otherwise and to all Armenians in the country, Ottoman subjects defenseless.
"The right to live for the Armenians of Turkey is abolished" coldly stated the Minister of the Interior Talaat Pasha, in a coded telegram sent to his provincial governors ". And I regret: "His body will be martyred threw it up to dogs of Anatolia .... And further: "In the historical novel" The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, which describes the resistance of the inhabitants of the region of Antioch refused the order of deportation (but that would have happened without the passage on saving coast, ships of war french ?...), Frantz Werfel concludes his reflection by writing: "The Armenians could not do anything because they had against them their own state."
And I set out: "For the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are Conquest, War, Pestilence and Death, the twentieth century has added a fifth companion even more relentless: Genocide."
My long speech about the true content of your long history on the Armenian genocide is the result, as I believe I have ample evidence of the specious manner with which you handled this very sensitive subject, distorting the historical reality, particularly through your "interview" of a denial by a Turkish turcophile while proclaiming that the Truth was running! Thus, Madam, that you, as I mentioned earlier, your deposit made to the policy anti-denial of the Armenian Turkish state, and in doing so, you have violated the respect due to the descendants of survivors of this crime against humanity, you know, is imprescriptible.
Here you can see how it is absolutely necessary to be confirmed by the Senate bill penalizing the negation of the Armenian genocide, already approved by the National Assembly in October 2006. Because if this law was already in place, either you never dared to publish your file in this way, or you would have incurred the wrath of Justice, just like a book or an article in denial vis - -vis the Holocaust is punishable.
Madam, as Executive Editor of your journal, you now it is to make the point about your moral responsibility in this matter, and the offense to the memory of the victims first genocide of the twentieth century, and vis-à-vis the French of Armenian origin who we are.
Please accept, Madam, Yours sincerely saddened.
1) On 2 January 2006, I heard in the daily France Culture "The Making of History," Pierre Nora, which currently moves heaven and earth with his Collectif "Freedom for history", in oeuvrant that Gayssot law is not applied to the Armenian case and who, after having mocked the vote on the law concerning the recognition of the Armenian genocide by speaking about in these terms: "What you want the member of a particular region can understand something in this story, "lamented the fate of his poor friend Bernard Lewis:" You realize, after this conviction, he no longer dares to deliver feet in France. " But who would not, one wonders?
2) In Armenia News Magazine Online Thursday April 9, we read: "In a debate organized by the Licra Sunday at the Mairie of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, Elie Barnavi, former Ambassador of Israel France, said Gilles Veinstein, the professor at the Collège de France, which had hit the headlines in 90 years by denying the genocidal extermination of the Armenians "was wrong" and that "it was a genocide" . These remarks were made as part of a debate on "memory laws" chaired by Laurent Joffrin, director of Liberation, which was also attended Jean-Noël Jeannenay, historian, and Marek Halter, writer. Before an audience of about two hundred and fifty people, Jean-Noël Jeannenay, member of the Collective "Freedom for history" and hostile to such legislation, had in his address referred to the case for Veinstein brocarde the overspill community.
In particular, he stated the "bad process" is at the time the professor and the fact that he was denied the right to apply to the College de France for the sole reason that he considered that "all criteria were not filled genocide to describe the massacre of 1915. " Elie Barnavi, who is also a member of this group, after criticizing Veinstein, for its part also mentioned the difficulties he had not used the term genocide in relation to events of 1915, while was arrested as an ambassador for the Armenian community. But "I was obliged by reasons of state," he said. Since the room, Ara Toronian, Director of News from Armenia Magazine, for its part is made to recall that the denial was not an opinion but an affront to human dignity and recalled the commitment of France to the Armenians before, during and after the genocide, as well as the involvement of the entire international community for crimes against humanity. A response to Jean-Noël Jeannenay, which was that France did not have to legislate in the history of others. "
3) I discovered in yesterday's release dated 23 April 2009, a whole page on the same topic entitled but not by chance, in large print and on two lines, "Beyond the Armenian genocide-the Great Catastrophe." The article was written by Cengiz Aktar, professor at the University Bahçesehir Istanbul, which I heard recently during a debate aired this month on France Culture, use the same phraseology. Excerpts of "pearls" of this article the term "Great Catastrophe" that was forged and used by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire at that time to describe what was happening to them and that we used in the campaign to pardon, seems more evocative of past events. (...) In this sense, the Armenian genocide is a common tragedy of Anatolia, which says even in the villages as an unprecedented disaster. Also I am not sure the general concept of "genocide" is sufficient or suitable for covering all the consequences of that decision which was imposed demented to Anatolia as a whole. It is simply inappropriate to explain what happened, beyond the Armenian genocide. (Editor's note: how can it be "beyond" of a genocide? Hell? or is it to find another Do not use the word genocide?)
Later, Cengiz Aktar continues: "This year is the centenary of the takeover of the Young Turk government, (not true: it was in 1908 and not 1909) the one who took the decision to exterminate the Armenians, by the military wing of the Union and Progress , which has been raging since the mentality in Turkey. "(Ed.: therefore, it is a genocide", as Yves Ternon wrote in "History" of April 1995, as an article outcome, following that of Gilles Veinstein). In France the issue of culture mentioned above, said Cengiz Aktar roughly: "You must understand that the whole bourgeoisie in Anatolia which has disappeared". Funny way of seeing things: it is a social class which has been decimated, or rather, a whole nation was uprooted from its ancestral land and exterminated? As for the other section of this page Release, entitled "The history and the law" and written by Peter Weill, founder and former chairman of the group Sofres, it adopts a general thesis and openly negationist Turkey, especially by daring to write: "it is undeniable that a very large number of Turkish civilians were massacred by Armenians. " If the law Gayssot was already in force with regard to the Armenian genocide, this gentleman will surely return to court.
4) Journal of the History of the Holocaust the Jewish world "Elsewhere yesterday, other: knowledge and recognition of the genocide of Armenians" No. 177-178 January-August 2003, Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation pages 295-312.
5) Moreover, in the book recently published by Editions du Rocher, "Raphael Lemkin: What is genocide?", The historian Jean-Louis Panne, in his long preface, traces the biography of lawyer Polish Jew invented the word genocide. (at least in English-or French, as this noun had already been created and used in Armenian in 1918, by a certain Mardiros Sarian, a term that developed in a writing published in 1933 in Paris and heading such what french: "Fait accompli", a title referring to precisely the tragedy of his people. "TSEGHASBANOUTIOUN" in Armenian, the word composed of "tsegh" which means race, and "sbanoutioun" ie murder, has the same etymology as genocide).
Lemkin managed to flee Poland in 1940 and win the United States, with the obsession to change international law concerning the suppression of mass murders perpetrated by states criminals. On page 16 of his preface, Jean-Louis Panné writes: "In 1921 occurred an event which decided his life on 14 March, the Armenian Soghomon Tehlirian Berlin to assassinate former Interior Minister of Turkey, Talaat Pasha, which had naturally sought refuge in the capital of the former ally of Turkey to escape the Allies demanding his extradition. (...) In the reflection of Rafael Lemkin, the reference to the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Turks is constant and central. He repeatedly in its publications or incomplete. And that Lemkin who says: "In Turkey, more than 1.2 million Armenians were killed for the simple reason that they were Christians (. ..)
After the end of the war, about 150 Turkish war criminals were arrested and interned by the British government on the island of Malta. The Armenians sent a delegation to the Peace Conference at Versailles and demanded justice. Then one day I read in the paper that all Turkish criminals had been released. I was shocked. A nation was killed and the perpetrators released. A man is punished when he kills another man. Why the killing of a million people in there unless the assassination of an individual? "And on page 18, Jean-Louis Panné continues:" The act of Tehlirian and his trial - which read the accounts - Lemkin determine to abandon his studies in philology to the right. "I felt that a law against this kind of racial or religious killings were to be adopted by the world." Further: "There is a close link between the massacres of Armenians and the 1948 Convention on Genocide which Lemkin was the instigator. He was struck by the tragic history of the Armenians in Turkey since the late nineteenth century.
The fate of the Christian minority status suffering imposed on non-Muslims, status that denies them equal rights with other subjects of the Ottoman Empire and who periodically comes to the bands of looters, at the instigation of a power practicing "culture of massacre" ... In Appendix II, "Miron Dolot, Rafael Lemkin, cross reads," Jean-Louis Panne, after analyzing the work of Milon Dolot: "The Hungry", which describes the "Great Famine" of Ukraine for years 1932-1933, thus his book: "His study is, to me it seems essential for understanding the links between the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and Holocaust perpetrated from 1941.Qui is doubtful. "
PS: I attach to this letter the eight following documents:
Commented a photocopy of the first issue of the journal PRO ARMENIA dated 25 November 1900, aimed to denounce the crimes of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, whose first members of the drafting committee are sorry little, Georges Clemenceau, ANATOLE and JEAN JAURES FRANCE!
The text of Albert Londres, sent from Beirut in January 1920 in his newspaper "Excelsior". There is no better, for this single article, to convey the horror of genocide, the cruelty of the assassins, the resistance of the Armenians Ourfa until the last cartridge, and the demand for justice by survivors claimed at this time .
The article in the latest issue of the quarterly journal of the Armenians in Grenoble, AZAD MAGAZINE, entitled "Lang fork: a chronicle of betrayal senseless." This article is illustrated by a caricature of an issue of your magazine in 1987, concerning "the dangers of denial." What a coincidence with our topic of the day! In addition, it describes the words spoken at the meeting of the "Freedom for history" that I mentioned above, and to which Jack Lang has "turned his coat" on its position always on the Armenian genocide .
The article by Hamit Bozarslan: "The murderers of Armenian memory.
Editorial Ara Toranian: "L'Histoire down" on your current file, written on April 8 this month.
Photocopy of the front page of the Journal of the History of the Holocaust, which this issue focuses on the genocide of Armenians.
An excerpt from the book in Turkish, published recently, concerning the Turkish-Nazi pact of 1941, and the analysis of Hitler's famous statement of 22 August 1939: "Who today still speaks of the extermination of the Armenians? ". It can be seen on the cover of the brochure printed in Istanbul at that time, side by side Adolf Hitler and İsmet İnönü, the successor of Kemal Ataturk. In this regard, the latest chapter in the recent book by Antoine Vitkine: "Mein Kampf: History of a book, entitled" a best-selling Turkish ", describes the tremendous success of the new edition of Mein Kampf in Turkey in 2005, and the reputation of Hitler, "author of a major genocide" ...
The bilingual leaflet on the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the massacres of Adana, which I was entrusted with the organization and which will take place tomorrow Saturday 25 April, in the meeting room of the Armenian Church Cathedral of Paris..
German Scholar Exposes Turkish Propaganda about Jews, Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
For many years, the Turkish government and its hired propagandists have claimed that Jews have been well treated in Turkey throughout history. In recent years, as Turkey came under intense international pressure to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, Turkish officials decided to present a more positive image of their country by forcing local Jewish leaders to issue public statements claiming that their community has lived in peace and prosperity for hundreds of years.
Turkey's Jewish leaders obediently carried out the dictates of the Turkish government in order to assure the safety of their community and to safeguard their own business interests.
Very little research has been done, however, on the true conditions of the Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. German scholar Corry Guttstadt recently filled that gap by publishing a comprehensive study of 520 pages on Turkey's reprehensible actions during the Holocaust. The book's title in German is: "Die Turkei, die Juden und der Holocaust" (Turkey, the Jews and the Holocaust). Based on archival materials located in several European countries, she was able to document the tragic fate of Turkish Jewry during the Holocaust.
In an interview conducted by Sonja Galler and posted on www.Qantara.de , Guttstadt explains why the Jewish community in Turkey dwindled from 150,000 strong during World War I to only 20,000 at the present time.
"To portray the Ottoman Empire as a 'multicultural paradise' is absurd and ahistorical," Guttstadt says. "As non-Muslims, the Jews were subject to countless constraints. Like the Christians, they had to pay a poll tax and were obliged to behave in a submissive manner towards Muslims."
Having witnessed the genocide of the Armenian people, Jews were terrified that they might suffer the same fate. To ensure their safety and survival, Jews did everything possible, including conversion to Islam, to prove that they were loyal Turkish subjects.
"Most Jews initially regarded themselves as allies of the Kemalist movement and looked to the new Republic with largely positive expectations," Guttstadt explains. "These hopes were quickly dashed because despite their attempt to adapt and their declarations of loyalty, the Jews quickly became a target for the rigid nationalism of the young Republic. One of the defining policies of the young Republic was the 'Turkification' of state, economy, and society," Guttstadt says. As a result, Jews were "successively driven out of a number of professions and economic sectors. This prompted many Jews to emigrate" from Turkey.
In the period between the two world wars, there was increasing intolerance in Turkey against Jews and other minorities. According to Guttstadt, "Anti-Semitic tracts like the 'Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion' reached Turkey and were translated into Turkish in the 1930's. Following a visit to Germany, Cevat Rifat Atilhan, who could be described as the father of Islamic anti-Semitism in Turkey, started publishing the anti-Semitic newspaper 'Milli Inkilap' (National Revolution) in Istanbul, which contained anti-Semitic caricatures that had been lifted directly out of the Nazi newspaper, 'Der Sturmer.' Both the 'Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion' and 'Mein Kampf' have gone through umpteen new editions to this day. Nationalist measures that affected not only Jews, but also Kurds, Armenians, and Greeks, included forced settlement, the so-called 'wealth tax' -- which led to the confiscation of assets of those who were not in a position to pay the arbitrarily fixed and frequently astronomical sums they were required to pay -- and forced labor in camps in eastern Anatolia."
Prior to World War II, close to 30,000 Turkish Jews fled to Europe to escape unfair and sometimes brutal treatment at home. Little did they know that an even more tragic fate awaited them. In 1942, Nazi Germany asked Ankara to remove its Jewish citizens from territories occupied by the German Reich, so they would not be rounded up along with the rest of European Jewry. Ankara, however, refused to allow their return by revoking their Turkish citizenship. As a result, several thousand Turkish Jews perished after being dispatched to German concentration camps.
Guttstadt also exposes the oft-repeated lie that Turkey provided a safe haven to many European Jews during the Holocaust. She states that some Turkish consuls in European countries, who intervened to obtain the release of incarcerated Turkish Jews, did not always do so "for purely humanitarian reasons," but "to line their pockets."
Corry Guttstadt's revealing book should be translated and published in several major languages in order to expose the Turkish government's racist and criminally negligent policies vis-à-vis its Jewish citizens during the Holocaust.
A New Ottoman Empire? Asli Aydintasbas, 06.02.09
ISTANBUL -- This week, Turkey assumed the presidency of the United Nation's Security Council, and while that may just be a passing story in most countries, here it is a big deal.
"This is very important and a big responsibility for our country," said Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu--and he should know. Davutoglu has been the chief architect of Turkey's neo-imperial foreign policy that envisions a far greater role for this pro-western Islamic country than as an aspiring second-tier member of the European club.
No one was surprised last month when Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan appointed his longtime political adviser Davutoglu as the Foreign Minister. The soft-talking professor--who was also an adviser to President Abdullah Gul--has largely been responsible for reshaping Turkey's foreign policy over the past six years, moving it away from its isolationist roots and toward a role as a self-declared regional power broker in the Middle East.
Turks love the spotlight that has come from efforts to mediate between Israelis and Syrians, act as peacekeepers in Lebanon and host high-profile world dignitaries. They got a kick out of seeing their globetrotting leader Erdogan in a face-off with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos.
The official television station TRT has recently started to refer to Turkey as a "global power." These days, the book du jour in Turkish power circles is Stratfor founder George Friedman's The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century. It predicts the rise of a hegemonic Turkish empire in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire.
All that talk may be premature, but not for Davutoglu.
Meeting the Turkish foreign minister, you would never guess that you are talking to one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East. Davutoglu is a short, even-tempered man in his fifties who talks, in fact nearly mumbles, with a relaxing half-smile that gives you the momentary hope that the world's most vicious problems are actually not that difficult to solve. He is more avuncular than imposing, more monotonous than charismatic.
From Damascus to Tel Aviv, regional leaders have been talking to him as the best private channel to the decision-makers in Ankara--making him the most influential consigliore in the history of the modern republic. His book Strategic Depth is a must-read for diplomats coming to Turkey. He has been at the heart of every critical diplomatic initiative over the last few years--from lobbying to attain U.N. Security Council membership for Turkey to conducting secret Israeli-Syrian mediation efforts.
It's not power for power's sake. There is a whole political theory behind the Davutoglu Doctrine. In a nutshell, instead of defining Turkey as the eastern flank of the Transatlantic Alliance, Davutoglu sees it as a pivotal country ("merkez ülke"), the centerpoint of concentric power circles. The governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, does not see the European Union as an end goal, and does not regard Turkey's western orientation as its sole strategic axis. Instead, they talk of multiple axes of alliances to solidify Turkey's leadership in the Muslim world.
But not everyone is happy about the New Turkey. To his critics, Davutoglu is responsible for the neo-Ottomanist revisionism in foreign policy that values Muslim solidarity over the secular nation's long-standing alliance with the West. He was partly blamed in media for Turkey's refusal to open a northern front for U.S. troops in the Iraq war, as well as Ankara's controversial invitation to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in 2006.
Davutoglu defended both decisions by pointing out that Turkey, in each case, made more gains than losses. Ankara currently differs from the European and American positions on numerous issues, including relations with Russia, the role of Hamas in Israeli-Palestinian issues and Darfur, where the AKP government openly supports the regime of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court.
But even his critics agree, AKP reign has somehow elevated Turkey's stature as a democratic Muslim country and an independent actor in the Middle East. Among his fans, including leading members of the Islamist-oriented governing party, he has somewhat of a cult following, "Before AKP, no one in the mainstream media had heard of his name, but in our circles he was a legend. We used to think of him as the next Ozal," says a conservative journalist with close ties to the government.
Born in Konya, Turkey's conservative heartland, Davutoglu is a pious man who has spent a good chunk of his academic career teaching in Malaysia--somewhat unusual among Turkish academics, who gravitate toward European and American colleges for academic research. South Asia's brand of Islamic politics, marked with the growth of religion within a democratic framework, impacted his thinking on state and society. He has been very active in the Balkans with efforts to help Muslims in the Bosnian war. His particular view of Turkey as seen from the outside has led to the development of an unconventional understanding of its place in the world stage.
Davutoglu's vision somewhat differs from traditional Turkish foreign policy. Weary of troubling imperial baggage and decades of wars, the modern Turkish republic, founded in 1923, has predominantly been isolationist--aimed at anchoring Turkey to the "civilized" West and untangling it from the "backward" lands to the East. The AKP challenges this view and sees an active role in the Middle East as an asset for Turkey's relations with the West.
Under AKP, Turkey has been delving into areas that its traditional westward-looking foreign policy establishment considered off-limits, acting as a power-broker in far off disputes from Afghanistan to Palestine. In doing so, it certainly has become more enmeshed in the Muslim world, sometimes even positioning itself as the spokesman for the Islamic world, as reflected in Erdogan's outburst in Davos against Peres, or Turkey's reluctance to accept Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the head of NATO, due to his stance during the Danish cartoon crisis.
When Davutoglu coined the term "Neighborhood Rapprochement Policy" back in 2003, the idea of Turkey becoming friends with its arch enemies--like Syria, a rogue state that hosted Kurdish guerilla leader Abdullah Ocalan for many years, Iran, whose efforts to export Islamic revolution threatened Turkey's secular foundations, or Armenia, with its unyielding diaspora lobbying against Turkey--seemed pointless, at best.
Today, Turkey is best of friends with historical enemies Greece, Syria and Iran, on course to normalize its relations with Armenia and even talking to the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq. Journalists who used to scoff at Davutoglu's theories nowadays generously throw around his terminology, like "zero conflict with neighbors," "flexible focal point" and, of course, Turkey as a "global power."
Conservatives who tend to credit Davutoglu with raising Turkey's influence through a non-aligned foreign policy were encouraged by President Barack Obama's visit here in April. Speaking to lawmakers in Ankara, Obama said, "Turkey's greatness lies in your ability to be at the center of things. This is not where East and West divide--this is where they come together." He sounded almost like Davutoglu himself.
One major problem with Davutoglu's policies has always been the question of what would happen domestically if Turkey traded its place in the West in return for a greater regional role. While Turks enjoy their high-profile role in the Middle East, there are pitfalls. Typically the farther a nation moves from the West and its mechanisms, the more likely it is to see a rise in illiberal tendencies.
Russia, for example, is a very important country, but its independent status is precisely what makes it impossible for the U.S. to pressure Vladimir Putin or Dmitry Medvedev for accountability when it comes to corruption, a free press or democratic norms.
What if Turkey were no longer a candidate for E.U. membership. Would human rights be as closely monitored? Media freedoms and minority rights still protected? Women's rights guaranteed?
No one knows the answer. But Turks seem to like the ride.
Asli Aydintasbas is an Istanbul-based journalist and former Ankara bureau chief of the newspaper Sabah.
Let’s Accept It: Our Mentality Is Different Than EU’s
Yesterday, I wrote about a field study titled "Radicalism and Extremism Research" by Professor Yılmaz Esmer and shared my opinion on the results. According to the findings, Turkish people do not want neighbors who do not believe in God (75 percent), who drink (72 percent), who live out of wedlock (67 percent), who are Jews (64 percent), who are Christians (52 percent) and who are an American family (43 percent).
Eighty-six percent of participants believe the United States, and 76 percent believe the European Union want to divide us.
Columnists analyzing the results point out lack of tolerance in society and distrust toward others. I, on the other side, made the following comment for the study:
People who cannot stand others and think others will harm them cannot trust others. They believe others will divide the country. The reason is these people have no self-confidence and lack proper personality development.
And it’s natural for people with low self-esteem to answer a question "Which is a priority for you?" as "religion" (Islam-CU) (62 percent). It is also normal if only 16 percent of participants have "laicism" as an answer and 13 percent as "democracy."
Be it a congregation or a community or a group or a nation, people who cannot stand others and are afraid of others cannot be "individuals." Or what’s more, you cannot say they have strong personality.
This is where we break up with the European Union!
Perhaps some Europeans stay away from others or cannot stand others or are afraid of others or hostile against others, but I am sure that a similar field study in the EU would not give figures as high as those in this study.
The reason is that most Europeans have more self-confidence than us. Therefore they have a different pattern of personality development. The European society consists of people who know how to make personal choices.
Don’t ever think that they don’t care about their own religion. Europeans only have less share of religion in worldly matters.
They are more sensitive in research, questioning and obedience to authority than our society. They have sensitivity towards individual rights, therefore democracy and secularism.
Europeans are even more hawkish than Turks who give importance to "sufficient income" (4 percent) about priorities.
Esmer’s research is thought-provoking. Turkey’s geopolitical and even economic integration with the EU is possible, but how Turks and EU citizens become "one" and melt in the same pot as we have such a different mindset. That, I don’t get it.
It is really difficult for me to see that we will be an EU member as 76 percent of our people believe the EU would divide us and that we are allies with the United States as 86 percent of Turks believe Americans want to divide us.
According to Esmer’s study, the government should pay a great deal of attention to the EU membership bid and should not even show the trace of populism in relations with the EU. Then, the question is this:
Does the AKP do politics despite its grassroots?
Facing Our History ... Cengiz Çandar
Nations and countries being able to confront with their past can take steps forward. Unless this is done, pain and identity issues hold nations and countries back from making leaps forward.
This is the state of Turkey today. But, of course, it is a progress even to discuss our history. However, we cannot say that this is confrontation.
The state of Turkey built an image and identity through a concept of modern history reflected in textbooks. We all are proud of our 1,000-year-old state experience and of our glorious Seljuks and Ottoman past. It’s good for our self-esteem to be proud of a glorious history. But the history also has "bloody pages"; therefore, "burdens," too.
And this is not just for us, Turks. This is the case for every nation and country, especially if they are coming from an imperial past. The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Russia had to deal with boring pages of their history. Still, no one can say that they came up all clean. And we haven’t made as much progress as they have. We haven’t beaten yet the narrow understanding of taking confrontations as insults.
If we cannot face our history, we cannot let go of the past and stumble. This is why the subject is crucial.
The 85-year-old social historian Professor Kemal Karpat helped us hash out the issue again. Two days ago, Milliyet daily’s Devrim Sevimay and Taraf daily’s Neşe Düzel interviewed him. The Milliyet’s Taha Akyol wrote an article complimenting the approach in Karpat’s latest book, "The Third Way."
I read the Karpat interviews very carefully. Aside from his extraordinary efforts and knowledge, I see that Karpat’s analyses are quite "problematic." We see now a subtle and distilled version of a "nationalist understanding of history" rather than the "Third Way." Since I have known him for a long time, I very well know that Karpat’s background of Romanian Babadağ and Turkish Tatar have an influence over his analyses.
The professor’s intuitions are as strong as his knowledge. While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was mayor of Istanbul, Karpat knew that Erdoğan would be a prime minister.
During our long walks by the oceanside, Karpat insisted that Erdoğan, who was in prison then, would be the prime minister of Turkey someday. Karpat was right. In short, I know what he thinks and how he thinks. I never am disrespectful to him. But the professor gives totally "defensive reactions" when the issue is our "historic burden."
His anger and his "Third Way" are revealed in the interview by Düzel: "My objection is É telling one-sided stories of the incidents and sentencing Turks all the time. I am from Rumelia. Since I am a Turk, I was subjected to insults. My properties were ripped away. And I came to Turkey to save myself. Why aren’t theirs [wrongdoings] being told?"
This is Karpat’s state of spirit leaving its mark in his analyses. The professor, as a Muslim Turk, deeply feels the agony of Turkish Muslims coming from Rumelia and the Caucasus through big immigration waves and the massacre committed against them.
But even Kamuran Gürün rejecting the Armenian thesis that "1.5 million Armenians were killed by Turks in the genocide" and says, "No, the number of Armenians who died during the deportation is 300,000," Karpat comes up with a brand new figure in the interview to Düzel: "about 100,000-200,000." He also claims that about a million Armenians ran away to Armenia with the Russian army.
These new theses are "problematic" because in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Armenian Democratic Republic was established by Tashnaks in 1918-1920. And the population of Armenia in 1918 was 500,000. To this, 300,000 "Ottoman Armenians" who escaped with the Russian army were added. After the Bolsheviks transferred the Eastern provinces of Kars and Ardahan to Turkey, the Armenian population rose to 1.3 million in 1919.
In addition to this figure, 300,000-350,000 "Ottoman Armenians" settled in Armenia. This inflation in population within a year was caused by Armenians living in Kars and Ardahan after they crossed the River Aras and settled in Armenia. (See: "Armenia, A Historical Atlas" by Robert Hewsen, Chicago University Publication, 2001 edition; the U.S. Senate, Foreign Relations Committee Report dated 1919.)
In the interview, Karpat says, "These are not the Armenians exposed to deportation. The political figure behind the deportation decision was Talat Pasha. The difference between the Armenian population before and after the deportation in Talat’s notes is 972,246 É about a million.
They have nothing to do with the Russian army withdrawing, or escape to Armenia or the battlefront. These are Armenians from Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Malatya, Antep, Maraş, Çukurova, Kayseri, Sivas, Tokat, Konya, Ankara, Kütahya, Bursa and even Tekirdağ, etc. Children, women, the elderly É That is to say, they are not included in the category of Armenian rebels or gangs."
All right, but what should we say about what happened to Muslims and Turks in Rumelia and Caucasus?
Big disasters prove the history is not "innocent" and "one dimensional." They are mostly examples of "ethnic cleansing."
The events in Rumelia caused "ethnic cleansing" in the end, but it was a big wave of immigration after the Russian-Bulgarian attacks in the 1877-78 war. I, as a Rumelian immigrant whose family was sent to Turkey through exchange, know very well the agony of ethnic cleansings.
But the "deportation" is something else. Even if no one is killed, it is a form of huge "ethnic cleansing." Besides, more than one was lost! If we use history as a tool for daily political debates, we cannot go anywhere.
But if we see everything as they are, we can have a key to the solution to many issues we face today.
If history is politicized, we have the wrong results. But it is "functional" in building a "modern state and society."
If we cannot get mature, we cannot face our history. And if we cannot face our history we cannot move forward.
The "Only Way" about history is being able to see it "as it is" without needing a "Third Way."
On The Road: Kars : Ruins In Ani
The second paragraph in Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk's novel “Snow” reads: “He'd boarded the bus from Erzurum to Kars with only seconds to spare.”
In contrast, we waited in the otogar for an hour before boarding our bus, late due to heavy snow on the mountain pass into Erzurum. Ka, Pamuk's main character, thought of God as he watched the snow fall along his journey, but as the snow piled up on the military bases just outside of Erzurum I was reminded that our trip to Kars, a city in northeast Turkey bordering Armenia, would not be enough to escape the fifth month of Erzurum's winter.
With me were two fellow teachers who I had traveled with in Van only two weeks earlier. Added to our group was an art historian doing research in İstanbul. We headed to Kars in early April because we couldn't wait any longer to explore Ani, the uninhabited city in the province of Kars which was once the capital of the medieval Armenian kingdom.
Ani -- tensions new and old
From A.D. 500 to today, Ani has been invaded, constructed and deconstructed, respiritualized and subject to both natural and political disasters. Like many sites in Turkey, Ani wears a complex historical record.
The most recent political tensions are witnessed in the “restorations” of the city and the Armenian quarry just across the gorge which marks the border between Turkey and Armenia at the eastern edge of this once thriving city.
A professor in my department told me with a laugh that “the Armenians are mining and undermining [Ani] at the same time.” Other sources corroborate that the Armenian quarry jeopardizes the historical city -- the quarry was established out of a mixture of spite for Turkey's border and remembrance of Armenia's religious heritage. (The stone from just outside the former capital of Armenia was used to build a cathedral in Yerevan commemorating the anniversary of Armenia's conversion to Christianity.)
The restorations in Ani also tell a political story. The restorations have been condemned by every art historian to write about Ani and are recognized at best to be a way of creating construction projects in the region, at worst as a way to hide Ani's historical significance as the former capital of Armenia -- the sign at the entrance also contributes to the latter point, never mentioning Armenia in its extensive list of empires to control the city.
Whatever political tensions exist between Armenia and Turkey, I hope both sides can agree on the significance of the site and do the right thing in its preservation. The site has been listed consistently on the World Monuments Fund's list of top 100 endangered historical sites.
While I could spend the entire article talking about botched restorations and political battles, I would be denying the fun of exploring Ani at this stage in history. After being dropped off in the middle of Kars, we met an eager taxi driver who took us to our hotel and waited while we settled in and ate breakfast. At the hotel we met an Australian man touring eastern Turkey, and he joined us on the way to Ani, the six of us packing into a small taxi for the 45-minute ride.
At Ani we paid our entrance fee and walked through the Lion's Gate at the center of the enormous city walls, the ruins stretching across the landscape. The rubble of old homes led to impressive churches and mosques, some only half intact but majestic for their courage against gravity.
I walked the streets trying to imagine myself as a peasant centuries ago when the city rivaled Constantinople, Cairo and Baghdad in size and influence. On the second floor of the cathedral I am a priest. On top of the minaret at Menucehr Mosque I am a müezzin calling out for morning prayer.
While the taxi driver drank tea with the guard just outside the front gate, we had Ani to ourselves for most of the afternoon. An overcast sky helped me sink into the feel of the city, touching the walls worn from wind, rain and arrowheads.
As the rain drizzled and then poured, we made our way along to our final sites, quickly visiting the fire temple before retreating underneath the Lion's Gate and packing into the taxi once more, a wet Australian man on my lap in the front seat.
Ani's condition may not be respectable considering its historical significance, but the cranking machinery across the gorge and the poorly done restorations mark Ani with the tensions of the current period. Like no other site I've visited in Turkey, Ani wears its century and a half of abandonment and conflict, proof that these histories cannot be removed or forgotten.
05 June 2009, Ben Kuebrich Kars
Orhan Kemal Cengiz todayszaman.com, Freedom Of Expression Is Hostage To The Armenian Question
Ironically, the day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rebuked Israeli President Shimon Peres at the last Davos summit, saying, “You know how to kill very well,” employees of the Taraf daily, a liberal Turkish newspaper, were on trial in 16 criminal cases.
Erdoğan exercised his freedom of expression to the limit; however, in his country one single newspaper -- Taraf again -- has been on trial in 69 different criminal cases. In all these cases, charges were pressed against the staff of this newspaper for their peaceful exercise of freedom of expression.
If Erdoğan or someone else said “You know how to kill very well,” to the members of an institution in Turkey, let us say against the military commanders, he would be charged with the crime of “insulting an institution” under the infamous Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
The other component that is also punishable under Article 301 is “insulting Turkishness.” Article 301 is a symbol of the lack of freedom of expression in Turkey. Many believe that this article was responsible for the murder of Hrant Dink. Dink became a target of ultranationalist groups in Turkey after being tried under this article. Some suspects in the Ergenekon case used to follow 301 cases and incited militants against the accused in those trials. Luckily, after the beginning of the Ergenekon investigation, we have not witnessed such hate-mongering campaigns.
This 301 issue had always been on the agenda of the EU, and every single delegation from the EU has raised their concerns and their wish for the annulment of this article. However, the government has made merely cosmetic changes and introduced a permission clause which stipulates that for anyone to be tried under this article the minister of justice should allow it first.
But why can we not get rid of this article all together? It is obvious that the article has been seen as the last bastion against undesired remarks about the Armenian question. For example, if someone says “Turks know how to kill very well,” he would be punished under this article. Temel Demirer, a journalist, has been on trial under Article 301 just because he said “The Armenian genocide did take place in this country.” Then-Justice Minister M. Ali Şahin gave permission for the trial, noting, “I will not let anyone call my state a murderer.”
Very recently, the Human Rights Agenda Association (HRAA), which I chair, made an application to the Ministry of Justice to get statistical information to find out what is going on under this article in relation to the permission process. The ministry gave an official answer to the request of the HRAA and stated: “As of 27.04.2009, 766 files had reached the ministry, for 73 files, permission for trial has been granted and 74 have been under review to be granted trial permission for the time being.” We cannot understand “for which statements” these permissions are granted. However, it is obvious from these numbers that that Turkey's freedom of expression problem just continues. If a significant portion of these permissions turn out to be related to remarks about the Armenian question, I will not be surprised.
In my opinion, the biggest insult to Turkishness is the lack of freedom of expression in this country. Having this article and saying, “The debate about Armenian question should be left to historians” is not an honest approach. How can we discuss the Armenian question when there is a legally sanctioned ban?
The prime minister recently said: "For years those of different identities have been kicked out of our country. ... This was not done with common sense. This was done under a fascist approach." These remarks have a historical importance. But is it also a step to get rid of Article 301? Will the prime minister grant the Turkish nation the same degree of freedom of expression as he has been exercising? We will see. One thing is certain: We need a much broader freedom of expression to make sure that this “fascist approach” goes to the dustbin of history.
05 June 2009
Bülent Keneş todayszaman.com Logbook of Turkish foreign policy (1-2): EU and Cyprus
The proactive foreign policy Turkey has pursued since 2002 has received another boost with Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu's appointment as foreign minister.
In his capacity as the chief foreign policy adviser to the prime minister, Mr. Davutoğlu has already been the main driving force behind the country's foreign policy for the last seven years. Now, he has the first-hand opportunity to implement the strategies he has developed with his years of experience. It may be hard to predict the medium- and long-term outcome of the current position of Mr. Davutoğlu, but I can safely assert that the first signals coming from the activities and policies of the foreign minister are not negative.
I knew him long before he was appointed as the adviser, back in his years as a university lecturer. He is known for having an integrated view of events and developments and also maintains this approach with regard to all foreign policy issues. Perhaps Davutoğlu is one of the few in Turkey who knows best how Turkey's experience and power can be translated through well-calculated political will into a very powerful foreign policy influence that serves the interests of the country both in the region and in the international arena. However, it is not possible to say that having unilateral willpower will always be productive.
Turkey's willpower may be sufficient for the effective policy it has been pursuing with respect to the Middle East and the Caucasus with an awareness of the realities of the region. It can also shape its own policies regarding Africa and Latin America with its own parameters and willpower. Today, Turkey can take an active part in all the process that are related to Turkey in some way or another in the Middle East and the Caucasus, and it can exert its influence on these developments. Its influence will prove to be productive sooner or later. Yet, there are spheres where Ankara cannot be productive with its unilateral willpower. Relations with the European Union represent one such sphere.
As a matter of fact, things are completely different for Ankara with respect to the EU membership process and relations with the EU. Ankara's single-sided determination and the policies it has developed after years of contemplation may not be enough with respect to the relations with the EU. The resistance by the general public in the EU, the need to convince them about Turkey's membership, positive or negative attitudes of the leaders of the EU countries, their ideas about Turkey and their problematic visions about the future of the EU and many other factors stand out as obstacles before any progress in Turkey's relations with the EU. Thus, the foreign policy moves Turkey successfully implemented in the Caucasus and the Middle East cannot be kept going with respect to the EU process. Therefore, for Turkey, the most troublesome foreign policy developments are seen as regarding EU-centered policies.
Since his appointment as foreign minister, Mr. Davutoğlu has been primarily focusing on the EU negotiation process. However, it is fanciful to expect his efforts alone to be sufficient. This is because for his efforts to be fruitful, the domestic political scene and attitudes of all the players concerned toward Turkey should become positive. But this is currently not the case.
Since it represents a major obstacle before the opening of a number of chapters in Turkey's EU negotiations, Davutoğlu felt the need for pay his first international visit to northern Cyprus within the first 24 hours of his appointment. With this visit, Davutoğlu gave both the message that Turkey is supporting Turkish Cypriots and encouraged Turkish Cypriot leaders to continue their comprehensive talks with Greek Cypriots. As you may remember, the general mood on the island ahead of April 1, 2004, when the Annan plan was to be voted on, was in support of Mehmet Ali Talat, then opposition leader and current president, and his Republican Turks Party (CTP), which promised change with the hope of entering the EU.
However, on April 1, 2004, the Turkish side voted "yes" and the Greek side said "no" to the Annan plan. Despite the fact that it was the Turkish side that displayed the positive attitude toward peace and settlement, the Greek side was rewarded by being accepted as an EU member. Moreover, during the last five years, the EU and the international community failed to keep their promises to the Turkish Cypriots, who were shocked and started to think that they were being deceived. As a result, there is a completely different political atmosphere in northern Cyprus today. The EU's wrong stance and failure to keep its word can perfectly be held liable for this more nationalistic and more self-protectionist mood.
The EU still insists on maintaining its defective position with respect to Cyprus. While Turkey mainly emphasizes a fair, comprehensive and permanent solution in Cyprus, the EU still opts to suggest mini settlement packages or fragmented initiatives that serve nothing but to exert pressure on the Turkish side, and it occasionally develops attitudes and decisions that undermine bilateral talks.
The property issue is undoubtedly one of the most important issues on the agenda of the repeated talks between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias. The decision made by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerning the Orams family, British citizens who currently own land that in the past belonged to Greeks but is currently located within the KKTC, is a good example of such an undermining of efforts. In a sense, this decision on one of the most critical issues in the Turkish-Greek talks implies that the comprehensive talks currently being conducted in Cyprus are in vain. If a European court can make such a ruthless decision on the most sensitive and controversial issue of the Turkish-Greek negotiations, then it is really meaningless to conduct these talks.
Picking up from where we left off in my previous article, I must note that despite bold steps taken by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, none of the promises given to the Turkish side have been kept despite the fact that every initiative launched and every step taken toward settlement in Cyprus prior to 2004 came from Turkey.
However, developments show that Turkey's unilateral efforts are never sufficient for an ultimate solution. At this point, there is nothing left for Turkey to do unilaterally. What is left is only the process of comprehensive negotiations, and Turkey continues to support and encourage them despite the negative stance of EU countries.
While it is a major obstacle that must be overcome with respect to the country's full membership negotiations with the EU, the Cyprus issue is particularly important for Turkey. It is for this reason that Turkey will not give a green light to any alternative that does not offer a comprehensive, fair and permanent solution in Cyprus. For Turkey, the importance of Cyprus is attributable to the fact that since the establishment of the republic, Turkey has focused on the eastern Mediterranean with respect to all of its economic and strategic initiatives in energy, transportation and tourism. The eastern Mediterranean, where Cyprus holds the key position in terms of a transfer of energy resources, is the terminal point for the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık oil pipeline as well as for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. From the perspective of transportation, the port in İskenderun represents a major transportation hub between Asia and Europe. Moreover, the tourism sector, a major source of income for the Turkish economy, attracting more than 20 million tourists every year, is concentrated on the Mediterranean shores. Thus, located at a vantage point for all this mobility, Cyprus is more to Turkey than a mere island in the Mediterranean. It is also for this reason that Turkey will not give a green light to any solution other than one that offers a comprehensive, fair and permanent settlement in Cyprus.
Obviously, Cyprus is not the only thorn causing Turkey trouble in its EU membership negotiations. It is true that Turkey slowed down considerably between 2004 and 2007 in the area of reforms needed for greater harmonization with the EU. However, it would be wrong to put the entire blame for this slowdown on Turkey. As summed up above, developments in Cyprus were considerably disappointing for Turks. Also, the political balances within the EU have radically changed in this process. Turkey has started to experience greater difficulties in its relations with Europe and the EU with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Discriminatory statements uttered by these leaders against Turkey's membership have largely served to destroy the eagerness of the Turkish public to join the EU: Support for the country's EU membership was around 78 percent in the past, but this figure currently stands at 57 percent, while some polls place the percentage at much lower than this. Of course, the whirlwind in internal Turkish dynamics effective between 2007 and 2008 should also be taken into consideration. The presidential election crisis, the party closure case, rejuvenated Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism and other factors that created immense trouble for the country have their share in the relative slowdown of the reform process.
Nevertheless, Turkey's full membership goal is still viable. Indeed, Turkey's relations with Europe and the EU neither rely on conjuncture nor are pursued for tactical purposes. There is a historical perspective to Turkey's ties with Europe, dating back to the 11th century. Since the 16th century, the Turks have been a factor that has had an influence on every development in Europe, and in the 19th century, they started to affect developments in Europe directly.
As Turks do not have conjuncture-based relations with Europe, reforms Turkey should implement are not related only to its EU bid. These reforms can be seen as Turkey's own efforts at “self-renewal,” done for the sake and good of its own people. Also, it is impossible to assert that these reforms will be sufficient when they reach a particular level or that they will be completed before a set date. In the final analysis, as the world changes, reforms will inevitably keep up with those changes.
We are currently going through a very critical turning point with respect to our relations with the EU. The common agreement among those who closely monitor the EU membership process is that the remaining part of 2009 is vitally important for maintaining the process. If we fail to engage in an industrious activity of reforms and lawmaking in the coming months, we will have halted and buried the EU process with our own hands. But if we revert to the reform timetable and ensure that Parliament engages in an accelerated legislative process, it will be possible for us to continue the negotiation process until 2014.
Before its summer recess, Parliament should do its best to implement some legislative and reform items that Turkey can put in its EU reform saddlebag. Reform mechanisms must be quickly set in motion so that barriers to the opening of new chapters can be removed. What Turkey should do is very clear and was listed in detail in the Third National Program, announced several months ago.
Something must be done urgently to disperse the ongoing negative perception that Turkey is doing nothing with respect to EU reforms. For this reason, bills of a more technical character and those lacking serious political dimensions should be preferred over legislation that might lead to never-ending unproductive debates and political rows. We hear rumors that there are already some plans to this effect. Securing support from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) to pass a bill on the protection of personal data, a bill on the commercial code and a bill on obligations as well as other reform bills of a largely technical character will be a very positive message to the EU. In the second phase, bills concerning judicial reform and fundamental rights should be enacted by October.
03 June 2009
Logbook of Turkish foreign policy (3): the Caucasus
Turkey has had close relations with countries in the South Caucasus, excluding Armenia, since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Its ties with Georgia and Azerbaijan go well beyond ordinary neighborhood ties.
When last year's Ossetia crisis developed into first a Georgian-Abkhaz and then a Georgian-Russian war, ensuring increased tensions between Russia and the US in the Black Sea, Turkey realized that it had to be on the alert. Turkey had conducted a proactive diplomacy since the very beginning of the crisis, and it engaged in shuttle diplomacy to contain the damage caused by the conflict. It also proposed a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform with a view to developing a vision of regional peace and cooperation amidst the crisis. As a matter of fact, it managed to create a remarkable vision out of this crisis.
While the Ossetia crisis prompted Georgia, Russia, the US and the EU to revise the extent of their power and influence in the region, it taught Turkey how issues that are kept in the deep freeze in its immediate region may unexpectedly spin out of control and develop into crises or conflicts. Having learned its lesson well from this crisis, Turkey concluded that the frozen crises in its immediate region may be reignited at any moment like the Ossetia crisis and, therefore, that it had to act urgently to find peaceful solutions to these crises. This conclusion further suggested that talks should be conducted to ensure that frozen crises would be transformed into issues that no longer carried the potential of developing into crises.
After launching the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, Turkey, which had already been successfully implementing its “zero problems with neighbors” policy for some time, felt it necessary to normalize its relations with Armenia, which was the last link in this chain. It is for this reason that those who think the process of normalization with Armenia was kicked off just to ward off the passage of an Armenian genocide resolution by the US Congress are mistaken. The process of normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations is the inevitable consequence of the new Caucasus vision Turkey has adopted. In order to implement this vision, Turkey started a process for normalizing its relations with Yerevan, on the one hand, and another process for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue through talks between Yerevan and Baku, on the other.
Of course, no one expected easy and smooth progress for these parallel processes. It is obvious that we are not making hassle-free progress. Nevertheless, attempting realign the stones on a previously disordered path, Turkey has managed to ensure that frozen crises can be brought onto the agenda once again in a peaceful manner. Until very recently, the Karabakh issue had not been on the agenda of the international community, but the whole world is now aware of the fact that there is an issue that must be settled in Karabakh. Following Turkey's involvement in the process, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group, which had long been lying dormant, was reactivated, and busy diplomatic activity to find a negotiated resolution to the Karabakh conflict was started. If Ankara had not launched talks with Yerevan for normalization, no one would have been talking about the Karabakh issue. Baku should be the first to realize this reality and assess Ankara's efforts correctly.
There is no doubt that from the start Turkish diplomacy has been aware of the fact that this process will be troublesome and that even the idea of opening Turkey's border with Armenia would seriously upset Azerbaijan. Consequently, during this process, Ankara has not lost its calm and has always kept channels of communication with the Azerbaijanis open without panicking in the face of harsh criticism from Baku. Turkey has been pursuing a delicately balanced policy and has never considered the possibility of normalizing relations with Armenia at the expense of losing Azerbaijan. The fact that -- supposing the border crossing had been opened -- any armed conflict on the border of Karabakh or Azerbaijan would automatically lead to the closure of this crossing is perhaps best known by Turkish diplomats and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the mastermind of Turkish diplomacy. In addition to being "one nation with two states," Turkey and Azerbaijan have deeply entrenched relations with respect to energy security and relations with the EU. Thus, Turkey can never be expected to turn its back on Baku. Turkey has never had such an agenda.
Turkey is simply pursuing an integrated approach to the region, where it seeks to change a status quo that does not serve Armenian, Turkish or Azerbaijani interests. In this quest, it is getting significant support from the EU and the US. Given that no one desires to see a change in the status quo via armed conflict and that it is now obvious that the never-ending negotiations of the OSCE Minsk Group will not create a solution, nothing is left but for Turkey to move some stones. The roadmap for the possible normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations announced in Sweden on April 23 had a triggering effect. Naturally, the trouble-laden process initially led to a crisis of confidence with Baku. However, Turkish diplomatic resources underline that visits to Baku, first by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and then by Davutoğlu have helped to overcome this crisis and that the Azerbaijani administration is now convinced that this process of normalization will also be beneficial for Azerbaijan.
Although Erdoğan announced that the border crossing would not be opened before the occupation of Karabakh ends both ahead of and during his visit to Baku, there are concrete expectations that the process of normalization will gain momentum in the coming days, after the St. Petersburg conference. It can be argued that Erdoğan's remarks concerning Karabakh might have shocked Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan, who was more hesitant about conciliation than Azerbaijani leader İlham Aliyev during the meeting in Prague. We hope these remarks will keep Sarksyan from falling victim to the misconception that Armenia can achieve normalization with Turkey without paying any price.
For now, we can conclude that despite recent seemingly contradictory moves, Turkey has not abandoned its vision for peace and stability in the South Caucasus. It has maintained its determination to do what this vision entails. In this scope, it is trying to keep Armenians and Azerbaijanis motivated for acting toward a resolution to their conflict and lasting peace.
05 June 2009
The Social Fabric Of Turkey
Turkey, Istanbul in particular, has long been known as a crossroads of religions and cultures. However, this article will not be a historical essay. Rather, I will focus on today’s climate of tolerance and the threats to its continuance that may or may not exist.
Over the past two weeks I’ve had the pleasure of attending three joyous events; a Muslim wedding, a Christian wedding, and last weekend I attended the Bar Mitzvah of the son of one of my best friends in the entire world. I have known the boy since he was 3 years old, and watched him grow into an intelligent and handsome young man. But what impressed me most was not his outstanding recitation of the ancient prayers and his poise giving the traditional speech thanking his parents, friends and family. It was the extraordinary heterogeneity of the guests - Muslims, Christians, and of course, Jews. Some rich, some not. All ages and levels of education. All well-integrated members of the social mosaic that has existed for over five centuries in Istanbul.
In a political climate that has become hyper-sensitized to religious fundamentalism, concerns about an erosion of the Laic state, and claims and counterclaims of those alleging an anti-Kemalist agenda of the current administration, last weekend’s event restored my faith that Turkey remains a unique place in the world. A land where believers in three major religions can come together to appreciate the milestone reached by a young man.
Laicism and religious freedom - hand in glove
For those expats who aren’t familiar with the term, Laicism is generally defined as the separation or mutual exclusivity of religion and politics. In other words, a "mind your own business" when it comes to mosque and government.
It has been said that the Kemalist model of Laicism has unintentionally resulted in the politicization of Islam by political and social groups. Some say the aim of such groups is not for the primary purpose of transforming Turkey back into a fundamentalist Islamic state, but to dilute the Kemalist monopoly on the official interpretation of religion as it pertains to everyday business and administrative affairs. Others claim that tangential purposes are to exploit anti-Western sentiments, capture votes from the Kurdish electorate, or to end all vestiges of restriction on religious freedom.
I love my adopted country, and I truly appreciate the way the people of Istanbul have adopted me. God forbid that I offend anybody with the thoughts I offer in this column. Being from a democracy that was founded upon the concept of the division of church and state, I have observed the political controversies of the past two years with fascination. It is my strong belief that a Laic state must be maintained if Turkey wishes to be assimilated into the EU, if that is what its people want. As with everything in politics and religion, there are degrees of reason for both the concepts of religious freedom and Laicism. To preserve Turkey as the special place that it is, all citizens must be vigilant to keep the balance between these two important concepts and always remember that religious freedom and Laicism are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they fit together like hand and glove.
Please pardon my typically American naiveté, but at least here along the shores of the Bosphorus on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t find any restrictions on religious freedom. Secular as well as religious Muslims and Jews enjoyed the ceremony and the party with Syriac and Armenian Orthodox Christians. Music and good food were common denominators enjoyed among family members and good friends. Earlier in the day, these same Muslims, Christians, and Jews shared the coming of age of the Bar Mitzvah boy, and neither the unique Jewish traditions, nor the chanted prayers in a language completely foreign to the great majority of the audience made one tiny bit of difference to anyone. This was the day a boy became a man, and everyone shared equally in the sanctity, joy, and significance of this momentous and symbolic occasion. © 2009 Gary S. Lachman
Gary Lachman is an international lawyer formerly with the U.S. Department of State, real estate developer, and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University with a consulting practice in Istanbul. He can be contacted at glachman at lachmanyeniaras.com.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Armenian Deaths, Bruce Fein, June 4, 2009
On April 24, 2009--Armenian Remembrance Day-- President Barack Obama issued a statement "remember[ing] the 1.5 million Armenian [deaths] in the final days of the Ottoman Empire." The President stumbled.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and the number of Armenians who are claimed by Armenians and their echo chambers to have died in an alleged World War I genocide. Almost a century later, the number of deaths they assert oscillates between 1.5-2 million. But the best contemporary estimates by Armenians or their sympathizers were 300,000-750,000 (compared with 2.4 million Ottoman Muslim deaths in Anatolia). Further, not a single one of those deaths necessarily falls within the definition of genocide in the authoritative Genocide Convention of 1948. It requires proof that the accused was responsible for the physical destruction of a group in whole or in substantial part specifically because of their race, nationality, religion, or ethnicity. A political or military motivation for a death falls outside the definition.
Immediately after the war, when events and memories were fresh, Armenians had no incentive to concoct high casualty figures or genocidal motivations for their deaths. Their objective was statehood. Armenians were encouraged by the self-determination concept in President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, (while conveniently forgetting that they were a minority in Eastern Anatolia where they hoped to found a new nation). Armenian leaders pointed to their military contribution to defeating the Ottomans and population figures that would sustain an Armenian nation.
Boghus Nubar, then Head of the Armenian Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference (1919), wrote to the French Foreign Minister Stephen Pichon: "The Armenians have been, since the beginning of the war, de facto belligerents, as you yourself have acknowledged, since they have fought alongside the Allies on all fronts, enduring heavy sacrifices and great suffering for the sake of their unshakable attachment to the cause of the Entente...." Nubar had earlier written to the Foreign Minister on October 29, 1918, that Armenians had earned their independence: "We have fought for it. We have poured out our blood for it without stint. Our people played a gallant part in the armies that won the victory."
When their quest for statehood shipwrecked on the Treaty of Lausanne and annexation by the Soviet Union in 1921, Armenians revised their soundtrack to endorse a contrived genocide thesis. It seeks a "pound of flesh" from the Republic of Turkey in the form of recognition, reparations, and boundary changes. To make their case more convincing, Armenians hiked the number of deaths. They also altered their story line from having died as belligerents against the Turks to having perished like unarmed helpless lambs.
Vahan Vardapet, an Armenian cleric, estimated a prewar Ottoman Armenian population of 1.26 million. At the Peace Conference, Armenian leader Nubar stated that 280,000 remained in the Empire and 700,000 had emigrated elsewhere. Accepting those Armenian figures, the number of dead would be 280,000. George Montgomery of the Armenia-American Society estimated a prewar Armenian population of 1.4-1.6 million, and a casualty figure of 500,000 or less. Armenian Van Cardashian, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1919, placed the number of Armenian dead at 750,000, i.e., a prewar population of 1.5 million and a post-war figure of 750,000.
After statehood was lost, Armenians turned to their genocide playbook which exploited Christian bigotries and contempt for Ottoman Muslims. They remembered earlier successful anti-Ottoman propaganda. United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the war, Henry Morganthau, was openly racist and devoted to propaganda. On November 26, 1917, Morgenthau confessed in a letter to President Wilson that he intended to write a book vilifying Turks and Germans to, "win a victory for the war policy of the government." In his biography, "Ambassador Morgenthau's Story," Morgenthau betrays his racist hatred toward Turks ("humanity and civilization never for a moment enters their mind") and unconditional admiration for Armenians ("They are so superior to the Turks intellectually and morally.").
British Prime Minister Gladstone's histrionic figure of 60,000 Bulgarian Christians slaughtered in 1876 captured the imagination of the west. The true figure later provided by a British Ambassador was 3,500--including Turks who were first slain by the Christians.
From 280,000-750,000, Armenians initially raised their death count to 800,000 to test the credibility waters. It passed muster with uninformed politicians easily influenced by campaign contributions and voting clout. Armenians then jumped the number to 1.5 million, and then 1.8 million by Armenian historian Kevork Aslan. For the last decades, an Armenian majority seems to have settled on the 1.5 million death plateau--which still exceeds their contemporary estimates by 200 to 500 percent. They are now testing the waters at 2.5-3 million killed as their chances for a congressional genocide resolution recede. It speaks volumes that champions of the inflated death figures have no explanation for why Armenians on the scene would have erred. Think of the absurdity of discarding the current death count of Afghan civilians in the United States-Afghan war in favor of a number deduced in the year 2109!
Armenians have a genuine tale of woe. It largely overlaps with the tale of tragedy and suffering that can be told by Ottoman Muslims during the war years: 2.4 million deaths in Anatolia, ethnic cleansing, starvation, malnutrition, untreated epidemics, and traumatic privations of war under a decrepit and collapsing Empire.
Unskewed historical truth is the antechamber of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. That is why the Government of Turkey has proposed an international commission of impartial and independent experts with access to all relevant archives to determine the number and characterization of World War I deaths. Armenians are balking because they are skeptical of their own figures and accusations.
*Bruce Fein is a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America.
Bernard Lewis' statement continued:
"There was guerilla warfare all over Anatolia. And it is what we nowadays call the National Movement of Armenians Against Turkey. The Turks certainly resorted to very ferocious methods in repelling it. There is clear evidence of a decision by the Turkish Government, to deport the Armenian population from the sensitive areas. Which meant naturally the whole of Anatolia. Not including the Arab provinces which were then still part of the Ottoman Empire. There is no evidence of a decision to massacre. On the contrary, there is considerable evidence of attempt to prevent it, which were not very successful. Yes there were tremendous massacres, the numbers are very uncertain but a million nay may well be likely. The massacres were carried out by irregulars, by local villagers responding to what had been done to them and in number of other ways. But to make this, a parallel with the holocaust in Germany, you would have to assume the Jews of Germany had been engaged in an armed rebellion against the German state, collaborating with the allies against Germany. That in the deportation order the cities of Hamburg and Berlin were exempted, persons in the employment of state were exempted, and the deportation only applied to the Jews of Germany proper, so that when they got to Poland they were welcomed and sheltered by the Polish Jews. This seems to me a rather absurd parallel."
- + Sara66
Professor Bernard Lewis' of Princeton University's summary rebuttal below is the shortest summary by a historian about why the Armenian pushed "genocide narrative" is far from uncontroversial.
(His video statement is also available on You Tube)
"What happened to the Armenians was the result of a massive Armenian armed rebellion against the Turks, which began even before war broke out, and continued on a larger scale. Great numbers of Armenians, including members of the armed forces, deserted, crossed the frontier and joined the Russian forces invading Turkey. Armenian rebels actually seized the city of Van and held it for a while intending to hand it over to the invaders (to be cont. in next post)
- + GenocideNoBiggie
Wow hard to believe that a Country Plagued by honor killings, is notorious for torturing prisoners, desecrates churches and had a suicide bombing of a synagogue would commit genocide, I mean what a modern country!!!
Funny how Anatolia what is now known as Turkey had a substantial Christian Assyrian, Armenian and Greek presence, Is now 99 percent Muslim, I guess it just magically happened just like it's magically happening in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories and Sudan, Oh No! how politically incorrect of me to point that out, to also mention Darfur (muslims who think they're arabs killing black muslims would be complete bigotry.
- + GenocideNoBiggie
Yeah sure I mean in a country that is plagued with honor killings, killing of converts to other religions, bombing of synagogues (in Istanbul in 2003), desecrating historic churches and is notorious for torture, would never commit genocide.
Funny how Anatolia what is now known as Turkey had a substantial Christian Assyrian, Greek, and Armenian population and today has a population that's 99 percent Muslim, I guess it just magically happened just like it's magically happening in Iraq's, Lebanon's Palestinian, and Sudan's populations, Oh yeah forgot Muslims never do anything wrong, To mention also Darfur (in that case muslims who think they're Arab killing Muslims who are black) in Sudan would be just complete bigotry.
WOW! The religion of peace suffers so much injustice from people actually judging their actions
- + MocksNix
The problem with the figures cited by both sides is that they do not account for population inflation. The only way to give an honest, quantitative measurement to this (or any) genocide is to adjust the numbers to today's geographical populations. By this reasoning, the Armenian Genocide is in reality 10.6 to 14.8 millions of victims. This methodology results in vastly more significant- and realistic- proportions than outdated measurements of 1.5 to 1.8 million people slain.
- + denica
Mr. Fein didn't have to rely on any Turkish sources (which are always dismissed, by Armenians, as lies) to refute once again the claims of genocide of millions of Armenians. WWI was deadly for all parties. Moslem Turks did kill Armenians but a large number of Moslem Turks have also died in the hands of Russians supported by over 200,000 Armenians fighters (this is also from Armenian sources), Armenians and famine, disease and non-existent healthcare. Of course, how are going to move forward in Armenian-Turkish relations is the main issue. That movement can't happen if the both groups are not willing to take something less than 100%. The hate has to stop, blaming has to stop, cool minds and warm hearts need to come forward to put a bandage on this wound. Bruce Fein is facing the issue head-on. One Californian Assemblymember recently called him genocide-denier. A usual tactic of those who only want to hear one side of the story. I applaud him for standing up his ground.
- + balexj
This Turkish historian whose bread and butter come from Turkish lobbying groups has an opinion wherein lies a greater truth. Countless Armenians died and WWI is being used as a smoke screen. Hitler's regime was not effective in using WWII as a smoke screen. This was not an act of war. It was genocide. This is a poor attempt to conceal the truth or to simply negate it. Mr. Stein's use of numbers to discredit the claim of genocide is irrelevant because the definition of genocide does not give any regard to a target number of deaths before an event is considered a genocide. This was a genocide because it was carried out against a specific race of people. He may go on and on arguing numbers, but ultimately the "why" is not being answeredhere. Why were these Armenians being killed? For all the math he puts forward, he forgets the other side of the equal sign. Balance the equation please.
- + LMPE
Woodrow Wilson talked about self-determination but didn't mean it. He intervened in Latin America more times than any other US president and undermined civil rights in the US. He waged war on Soviet Russia and ignored Ho Chi Minh when the latter appealed to him at the Versailles peace negotiations.
I can't understand why Ataturk never did anything to make up for the Armenian Genocide.
What Kind Of Society Are We?
It is boring to live in a society where people love to talk through their hats around the table. Thank God serious people focusing on field studies have appeared lately. Researchers such as Taha Erdem, Binnaz Toprak, Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, Ali Çarkoğlu, Yılmaz Esmer, etc. teach a lot through the field studies they conduct.
In the meantime, they help us to enjoy the comments of some ignorant columnists who rock the boat when they don’t like the results.
Professor Esmer led the latest field study titled "Research on Radicalism and Extremism" for Bahçeşehir University with the support of the British Foreign Ministry. It was conducted with 1,715 participants in 34 cities.
I was not able to attend the publicity meeting but I followed the results through newspapers.
Results are objective data obtained by scientific methods. And for objectivity it is not necessary to reach the same results in every single study. The methodology applied, however, should be unique and generally accepted.
Interpretation of results, on the other hand, is totally subjective.
And everyone can interpret the results of research any way they like, but without talking nonsense or insisting on erroneous reading.
So as far as I see the results of this particular study indicate that we, as a society, lack tolerance and trust.
To the questions about tolerance, 75 percent of the participants said that they don’t want non-believer neighbors, 72 percent dislike neighbors drinking.
Sixty-seven percent of the respondents don’t want unmarried couples as their neighbors. Sixty-six percent don’t want atheist, 64 percent don’t want Jewish, and 52 percent don’t want Christian neighbors.
Forty-eight percent don’t like extreme rightist/leftist neighbors and 43 percent don’t want American families as neighbors. Thirty-six percent of participants don’t want neighbors if girls in the family wear shorts and 26 percent do not want neighbors of a different race.
As for not trusting others, it is generally measured by the "division phobia."
In this study, 39 percent of respondents believe the Unites States "definitely" wants to divide Turkey, 47 percent say "Yes, the U.S. wants to divide Turkey".
Twenty-eight percent believe the European Union "definitely" wants to divide Turkey as 48 percent believe the EU wants to divide Turkey.
After these findings, participants were asked to prioritize a given list of choices. One shouldn’t be surprised by the result: 62 percent of participants place "religion" at the top of the list.
It is natural to see a lack of tolerance among followers of a religion if the method of declaration is applied in teachings of that particular religion.
Besides, questioning and research are the two concepts that are not allowed. For there is only one truth in religions and the only "authority" knows this fact. Besides, Islamic identity excludes Jews, Christians, atheist, drinkers, and women wearing shorts and swimsuits because Jews and Christians divide us; drinkers, and women in shorts and swimsuits degenerate us.
My interpretation on this specific research is rather introverted:
People who are afraid of others (division) and who believe to be negatively affected by others (degeneration) do not have self-confidence and lack proper personality development.
Cüneyt Ülsever www.hurriyet.com.tr
A Momentary Snapshot Of Shallow Opinion
"Kulak’tan kulağa," literally "from ear to ear," is a popular game among Turkish children, one with equivalents in many cultures. It involves 20 or so youngsters sitting in a row. The first one utters a phrase to his neighbor, and ear to ear the sentence passes down the line. Invariably, "Ahmet wears red shorts" becomes something like, "Ahmet is short and red" by the time the message reaches the end of the line.
Which is something akin to what we see happening in the storm of analysis that has ensued following the weekend release of a study by Bahçeşehir University on levels of tolerance in the country toward different groups and lifestyles.
The conservative newspaper Zaman, for example, seized on the study as proof that much-cited peer pressure against women who eschew the Islamic headscarf is a myth. Cumhuriyet, a staunch defender of secularism, concluded the opposite: "A Society Closed to Differences," ran its headline. The same study prompted the studiously pro-government newspaper Star to announce, "Turkey has not become more religious." And meanwhile, the centrist Milliyet led its front page with the study to declare: "So Far From Tolerance." Is the study by Professor Yılmaz Esmer of 1,714 people in 34 cities interesting? Of course it is. We ran the story yesterday prominently on the front page, too, along with a graphic noting that 72 percent of respondents don’t want neighbors who consume alcohol, 64 percent don’t want to live next to Jews, 52 percent don’t want to live near Christians, and 36 percent don’t want neighbors who wear shorts. Never mind that an informal survey of Daily News staffers revealed the sentiment that these are precisely the characteristics of a neighborhood we would like to call home.
But interesting doesn’t mean important. Such surveys may reveal an insightful slice of momentary opinion, but they hardly reveal deep and enduring values. Half of Europeans don’t know what the European Parliament does. A majority of Americans think the sun spins around the earth 500 years after Galileo proved the opposite.
Polls and surveys are valuable resources, but only if regarded as the single-frame snapshots that they are. Making broad conclusions from a survey is like heading into an exam without reading the required textbooks, making do instead with a quickly perused set of book reviews.
There is ignorance in Turkey. Deep-seated suspicion, prejudice and paranoia, too. Emotions run high over issues of religious observance and symbolism. But it is a land where tolerance has been the norm for centuries, where differences abound and are reconciled in daily life, and where the long-term trends all argue that these traditions are growing stronger, not weaker. Others may see many things in this survey. We just see a interesting questionnaire put to 1,714 people out of more than 72 million.
Qantara.de - Dialogue With The Islamic World, The Fethullah Gülen Movement, Pillar Of Society Or Threat To Democracy?
Fethullah Gülen is Turkey's most famous preacher and its most controversial. His followers run schools, hospitals and a media empire - a boon for his supporters, but a horror scenario for his critics. Daniel Steinvorth sheds some light on a cleric who polarises opinion both at home and abroad
What does an Islamic school actually look like? One might expect prayer rooms, single-sex tuition, and walls lined with suras from the Koran. The Güventas School in Konya, a city in Central Anatolia's industrial heartland, has nothing of the kind.
It is a clean, new building with a chemistry lab on the fourth floor, a lawn with a Chinese-style pavilion in front of the school, and a silver bust of Atatürk at its entrance. As is the case all around Turkey, girls wearing headscarves are turned away by the doorman.
There is nothing exaggeratedly or overtly pious about this freshly painted provincial school. "We consider Islam to be a personal matter," says the cheery headmaster, Adil Halid Alici. "There is one hour of religious tuition a week, no more than that." The syllabus is the one stipulated by the state, as is the daily oath of allegiance to the founder of the Republic, Atatürk, which is sworn every morning.
But there must be something shady about the "best school in Konya with the best school-leavers" as it is described by an enthusiastic father of a future female pupil.
However conventional it might appear, the Güventas School is no ordinary Turkish school. It is a private establishment, one of hundreds that belong to the world's largest Islamic movement, the Fethullah Gülen Movement - the very mention of which sets alarm bells ringing in secular Ankara.
A nuisance for the country's secular elite
Gülen's mysterious network is a nuisance for the country's secular elite. Some even consider the followers of the Muslim preacher, who are also known as "Fethullahcilar", to be the greatest threat to the Turkish Republic since its establishment. Websites such as irtica.org ("Regression") or vatanhainleri.wordpress.com ("Traitor to the fatherland") warn against a return to the Middle Ages, millions of veiled women, and courts meting out Sharia justice.
Commentators like Yusuf Kanli are asking whether the Fethullahcilar even intend to revive the caliphate, slowly, step by step, using methods of secret indoctrination via schools, universities and the media.
But it is not only in Turkey that people are raising the alarm; there have also been warnings from overseas. Michael Rubin, formerly of the Pentagon and now working for the Neo-Con American Enterprise Institute, has compared Gülen, who is currently living in exile in the United States, with another famous Muslim preacher, the deceased Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran.
"Istanbul in 2008 could end up like Teheran in 1979," says Rubin ominously. In view of the fact that, in his opinion, "never before has the secular order in Turkey been in such a precarious position," Rubin also cautions against allowing the Turkish cleric to return home.
Is Fethullah Gülen really a fundamentalist in disguise? If outward appearances are to be believed, it would appear not: he wears neither a turban nor a bushy beard and looks rather like a wistful grandfather. But could it be that he is a master of the Taqiyya, the Islamic concept that allows believers to conceal their true faith under certain circumstances? Or is he really a voice of reason, one of the most progressive Muslims of our time, as his followers claim?
Up until recently, the founder of the largest Islamic movement in Turkey was only known to his compatriots and a handful of Islamic experts abroad. Then the American magazine Foreign Policy and the British magazine Prospect published the results of a poll in which readers were asked to name the 100 most important intellectuals in the world. Fethullah Gülen topped the poll.
It was an unexpected result: a Muslim scholar, an Oriental, was able to overtake the West's intellectual giants, leading thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Al Gore, Umberto Eco and (an also-ran in this poll) Jürgen Habermas!
An "avalanche of voters"
This surprise result is easy to explain. Most of the votes cast (over 500,000) were submitted shortly after the daily newspaper Zaman, which is associated with Gülen, called on its readers to vote for him. Foreign Policy wrote that while it had not expected such an "avalanche of voters", the result revealed something "quite unique" about the "influence of the men and women we selected for the survey".
For its part, Prospect quickly published an article about the winner entitled "A modern Ottoman" in which it wrote that the winner of the poll was "the modern face of the Sufi Ottoman tradition."
The phenomenon that is Fethullah Gülen began in Korucuk, a remote village in eastern Anatolia. The village is home to just under 600 people; the houses are made of clay and straw. Life is simple; prospects are bleak. In 1941 (according to some sources, in 1938), a son was born to the village imam, Ramiz Gülen.
The young Fethullah was eager to learn. Legend has it that he began to learn the Koran by heart at the age of five. By the age of ten he had completed his task, learned to speak fluent Arabic, and had familiarised himself with the teachings of the most important Muslim scholars. Just under four years later, he preached for the first time.
He began to learn "the correct reading of the Koran" from senior clerics and to study "Rislae-i Nur", the writings of the Muslim mystic Said Nursi.
Inspired by Nursi's writings, which would provide him with the logical and scientific foundation for his views on how to face the challenges of the modern era, Gülen began to take a critical look at orthodox Muslim law. He soon began adopting his own stance.
Although he considers the Islamic principles as revealed in the Koran to be unalterable, he is convinced that these principles must be adapted and reinterpreted in the light of the times we live in. The state order should be accepted as the framework for the individual's actions; modern science provides the means of rationally understanding God through the study of his creation.
Itinerant preacher on the path to spirituality
Gülen soon began moving around the country as a state-approved itinerant preacher. In an era rocked by political unrest and military coups, he called for peace and dialogue and condemned violence and terrorism, quoting the great masters of Islamic mysticism, Muhyiddin-i Ibn Arabi and Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who showed the "path to true enlightenment through spirituality and love".
While preaching, Gülen often burst into tears, weeping for minutes at a time, a feature that would become a future trademark of the "Hocaefendi" (venerable teacher), as he is now called by his followers.
The charismatic preacher, whose following grew steadily, called for involvement instead of retreat. Society, says Gülen, can only be changed by the individuals in it, and the key to change is education. Gülen's motto: build new schools instead of new mosques!
For Gülen, whose advice by this time had taken on distinctly protestant overtones, work is also a key virtue. "For endurance and patience, we are rewarded with success; the punishment for lethargy is penury," wrote Gülen in his book Essentials of the Islamic Faith.
In the years that followed, the number of Gülen supporters from Anatolia's emerging middle class rocketed: the link between serving God and earning money appealed to what the European Scientific Institute, ESI, referred to as Turkey's "Islamic Calvinists".
But the man from Korucuk also preaches about the reprehensible nature of atheism and Darwin's theory of evolution, which he roundly rejects. Moreover, his texts do not deny the existence of angels and demons.
According to Bekim Agai, an expert in Islamic studies, these attitudes alone mean that Gülen could never don the mantle of the "Muslim reformer" so eagerly awaited by the West. Nor, says Agai, does Gülen stand for his own or any revolutionary new theology. On the contrary, his interpretation of Islam is closer to the conservative mainstream.
Cemal Usak, one of Gülen's close advisors and the vice president of the Istanbul-based Journalists and Writers Foundation, acknowledges that Gülen is not a theological reformer. "But he is a democrat and a great humanist, and that is what matters."
Gülen's educational mission
Countless private, state-recognised educational establishments, schools, universities, residences, and institutes of tuition were set up in the 1980s and 1990s after Gülen finished working as a state preacher.
He then focussed his efforts on the movement that bears his name. His standing with the people grew as the social activities of his sponsors filled a gap that the Turkish state either could not or would not fill: the standard of education in provincial Turkey and in the suburbs of the country's major cities is catastrophic.
The fact that the movement also established political and economic associations gave rise to mistrust. Not only that, but a media empire comprising publishing houses, magazines, a television channel and the second largest daily newspaper in Turkey, Zaman (Time) also emerged.
By the end of the 1980s at the very latest, Gülen had become a public figure. When he preached in Istanbul's famous Sultanahmet Mosque - "at the request of the people", as he himself says - people like the former prime minister Süleyman Demirel and his foreign minister, Ihsan Sabri Çaglayangil, came to hear him speak. Even Turgut Özal, one time prime minister and later president, maintains contact with the preacher.
Nevertheless, having clashed with the law on a number of occasions, Gülen soon found out that having friends in high places in the world of politics does not always guarantee immunity. In most cases, he was arrested on charges of "antisecular activities" and released a short time later.
In 1994 he founded the Journalists and Writers Foundation, of which he would later become honorary president. At this stage, he began giving regular interviews to all important newspapers and meeting members of the country's political elite, including the politician Tansu Çiller, with whom he opened Bank Asya in 1996.
While travelling abroad he was granted an audience with Pope John Paul II and met John O'Connor, archbishop of New York. His network continued to grow: schools and universities were founded in the countries of the former Soviet Union, the Turkic states of Central Asia, Europe and the USA. No-one, even the Fethullahcilar themselves, are able to say exactly how many have been opened.
"How could they?" asks an exasperated Zaman journalist Selçuk Gütasli, who cannot understand the fuss surrounding the movement to which he belongs. "We are not an organisation that you can join as a member. We are a community of people who are all pursuing roughly the same objective!"
This, he continues, is why Necla Kelek, a German critic of Gülen, is so wrong when she describes the movement as a "non-transparent Islamist sect with a corporation structure". "Anybody who accuses us of having a hidden agenda, is welcome to come and quiz us. We have nothing to hide," says Gütasli.
The main sponsors of the network's charitable projects, including Gülen himself, are listed on a website of the aid organisation "Kimse Yok Mu" (Is no-one there?). Moreover, the fact that the majority of the 16 shareholders in Bank Asya, which gives interest-free credit to the country's most important entrepreneurs in line with Islamic principles, are closely associated with the Gülen network, is available for all to read on Gülen's own website.
The followers of the "Hocaefendi" invoke an organisational structure that dates back to the Ottoman Middle Ages, namely that of the religious Sufi brotherhoods.
Without ever gaining the status of a legal body, the orders continued to exist under the Kemalist system. Fethullah Gülen entered the Nurcu, the order of the mystic Said Nursi that distanced itself from radical Islam at an early stage. Gülen welcomed the toppling of the former Prime Minister and fundamentalist Necmettin Erbakan in 1997. He recommended that Turkey should look to Europe and not to Iran or Saudi Arabia.
In March 1999, the preacher paid a surprise visit to the USA. A short time later, a Turkish television channel broadcast a speech by Gülen that had obviously been secretly filmed. In the recording, Gülen is heard calling on his supporters to "work patiently and to creep silently into the institutions in order to seize power in the state".
The public prosecutor in Istanbul promptly demanded a ten-year sentence for Gülen for having "founded an organisation that sought to destroy the secular apparatus of state and establish a theocratic state".
Gülen claimed that the recording had been "manipulated"; his supporters claimed that a smear campaign was being waged against him. Nine years later, in June 2008, he was acquitted on all counts. However, he remains in exile in Pennsylvania - "for health reasons" by his own account.
His friends claim that they do not know when the hodja will return, but they hope it will be soon. "If I cannot see him, I will weep like a child; it would be as if I was prevented from seeing my beloved," says Ihsan Kalkavan of Bank Asya.
A renowned media entrepreneur, on the other hand, hopes that Gülen will stay away for a long time to come. "He won’t come back like Khomeini, but he will continue the Islamicization of Turkey," says the entrepreneur, who intends to fight to ensure that his daughter and her boyfriend "will be able to go on holding hands on the street in the future."
Irrational fears or a reliable instinct? Overcoming the mistrust of his opponents is likely to be the most important task Gülen will face for the rest of his life.
Daniel Steinvorth ,© New York Times Syndicate / Qantara.de 2009
The author is Turkey correspondent for the German news magazine DER SPIEGEL.
The International Herald Tribune, France, June 1, 2009
Letters to the Editor, Reconciliation Is A Process
Regarding the article ''Armenians demand Turkey face the past'' (May 23): All Armenians demand a historical reckoning over the events of 1915, but most do not want the future to be held hostage by the past. There is a big difference between normalization and reconciliation. Normalization is an event, whereas reconciliation is a process.
On April 22, Turkish and Armenian officials initialed a detailed agreement establishing diplomatic relations and committing to open their common border to normal travel and trade. The agreement comes into force when it is actually signed and then ratified by the Parliaments of both countries.
Thus, a date will mark normalization. However, reconciliation will take far longer. Turks and Armenians need to interact on a personal level in order to develop mutual appreciation. Exchanging stories will humanize the other and help develop a common vision of the future. Human interaction will also encourage an honest exchange of views about the past and a more factually based understanding of what happened.
Waiting for Turkey to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide before normalizing relations is the wrong approach. If official recognition is a pre-condition for normalization, Turkey and Armenia will never get beyond the current impasse. Governments can normalize relations and create conditions conducive to reconciliation, but reconciliation itself demands engagement at a personal level by civil society.
- David L. Phillips, New York
Secretary Clinton Remains Upbeat On Armenia-Turkey Talks Says It’s Up To Parties To Resolve Differences, By Emil Sanamyan June 05, 2009
There has been "no flagging of commitment" to the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on June 5. She was speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Asked whether she remained hopeful about a resolution of Armenian-Turkish relations on a bilateral track or in the Karabakh conflict since the statement by Armenia, Switzerland, and Turkey was issued on April 22, Mrs. Clinton said she remained "very encouraged by progress that has been made and commitment by governments involved."
Mrs. Clinton emphasized that Armenia and Turkey "have committed themselves to a process of normalization"; although she also counseled there was a need for "patience and perseverance" to achieve results in what she said was a "difficult undertaking" addressing longstanding issues.
She also pointed to this week's Armenia-Azerbaijan presidential summit in Saint Petersburg as evidence of progress in the Karabakh peace process.
Although immediately after the April 22 statement, the United States emphasized the need for the normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations to take place "without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe," U.S. officials have since linked progress in these talks to the Karabakh negotiations, describing the two processes as parallel.
Armenian officials insist there should be "no parallelism" or any other linkages between the two processes.
The United States also has not defined what it would consider to be "a reasonable timeframe," with Mrs. Clinton again saying that it was up to Armenia and Turkey to continue "on the path they themselves have set," and that the United States was only acting in a supporting role.
For his part, Mr. Davutoglu reiterated that Turkey "is fully committed to normalization with Armenia and resolution of Armenian-Azeri issues."