- Hamparian: Turkey's Bait And Switch By Aram Hamparian
- Denial And Civil Society In Turkey By Baskin Oran
- Turkey Begins To Question The Past by Shane Hensinger
- Turkish Hackers Facilitate Assyrian Book Sales By Rosie Malek-Yonan
- Liars, Damn Liars, And Bruce Fein, By Seto Boyajian
- Talking Turkey: My Own Speech in a Muslim Country, Joel J. Sprayregen
- Levon Ter-Petrosyan's Speech At June 12 Rally
- From Ankara To Dresden: Truth Vs. Point Of View When Diplomacy Is The Real Issue, By John Hughes
- How Do We Affect The Image Of Armenians In Our Communities By Kay Mouradian, Edd
Hamparian: Turkey's Bait And Switch By Aram Hamparian hairenik.com June 7, 2009
This April, Turkey's leaders succeeded in preventing President Barack Obama from honoring his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide on the false premise that Ankara would normalize its relations with Armenia, but only if the U.S. president broke this high-profile human rights pledge.
A classic example of bait and switch.
First the bait: In the weeks leading up to April 24, Turkey lured the Obama Administration with the prospect of a win-win Armenia-Turkey "road map" that would, without preconditions, lead quickly to the opening of the last closed border in Europe. Ankara's price tag for ending its illegal blockade: the president's refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Once the hook was set, Turkey kept the U.S. government on the line long enough to accomplish its main aim of securing the complicity of yet another U.S. administration in their longstanding campaign of genocide denial.
The State Department publicly welcomed Turkey's stated willingness to normalize its bilateral relations with Armenia without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe.Â"
On April 24, as has been widely reported, the president broke his pledge.
Then came the switch: Within hours after April 24, Turkey, having dodged the most serious threat it had faced of U.S. recognition in years, moved the goalposts down the field, claiming that the normalization of ties with Armenia, which it once held out as being only days away, now required Azerbaijan's approval and the resolution of the longstanding Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.
Today, more than a month and a half after April 24, it's painfully clear that Turkey's preconditions are just a pretext for maintaining the status quo, and equally obvious that Ankara has no intention of honoring its commitments, now or in the near future.
The facts bear this out, at the cost, sadly, of U.S. credibility:
Despite the repeatedly stated U.S. position of no preconditions, Ankara has, very publicly, set preconditions--namely a third country's approval and the settlement of a longstanding regional conflict between Azerbaijan and Karabagh.
Despite the U.S. position that Turkey should move within a reasonable timeframe to normalize relations and lifts its blockade of Armenia, Ankara has yet to take even a single meaningful step in this direction.
Let's look at the balance sheet.
Turkey's leaders, through clever manipulations of U.S. expectations, accomplished their primary goal of blocking American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and, in the process, fostered the artificial appearance of flexibility without, in reality, having made any concessions at all.
It's a win as well for Turkey's Washington, D.C.-based lobbyists, who make millions by delaying, derailing, and defeating U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
For the United States
President Obama, at the expense of his reputation and America's moral standing, broke his crystal-clear public pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The State Department, at the cost of American diplomatic credibility, supported Armenia-Turkey normalization without preconditions and within a reasonable time frame, only to have Turkey set preconditions and entirely ignore the urgent need for timely action.
Armenia's leaders banked on Turkey's sincerity in seeking normalized ties and the lifting of Ankara's blockade, only to have the diplomatic tables turned by Ankara against Armenian Genocide recognition efforts and the prospect of a durable resolution of the Karabagh conflict.
For Armenian Americans
Armenian Americans worked hard as citizens to help elect Barack Obama based, in large part, on his clearly stated and oft-repeated pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, only to have him, under pressure from a foreign government, break this solemn pledge as president.
*** This April, Turkey clearly succeeded in manipulating U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide. Its leaders have made no secret of the success of their bait and switch diplomacy, even boasting to their electorate about having used this clever tactic to once again block American recognition.
Turkey has made its choice; now as Americans we must make ours.
Get America back on the right side of this human rights issue. Join with the ANCA in urging President Obama to restore American credibility as the leader of the genocide-prevention movement by:
1) Immediately honoring his solemn pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and 2) Actively supporting legislation before Congress to properly condemn and commemorate this crime against humanity.
Denial And Civil Society In Turkey By Baskin Oran 9 June 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Keynote address at the Conference "Althen meets Armenia" to Althen the Paluds on 9 May 2009
As the title of the debate suggests, I will talk about two things:
Civil Society in Turkey and its performance on the denial, and the reasons for this denial.
I) CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE FACE denial STATE AND THE PEOPLE
The issue of minorities in general and the Armenian issue in particular, have always been taboo subjects in Turkey Republican.
Definition: Tabou is any topic you can discuss things that might be valuable to you, but sometimes your reputation, sometimes your freedom, your life sometimes.
Civil society was born in Turkey during the last twenty years.
Regarding the Armenian issue and strive on 2 fronts:
negationism of the State;
incomparably more difficult, the fight against beliefs deeply rooted in Turkish society. Beliefs that sustain this denial.
Due to time constraints, I limit myself to you list some examples:
Publications abundant Despite the watchful eye and uncompromising of the judiciary, civil society has published extensively on the Armenians of the Empire (the author and publisher Akçam Zarakolu especially);
Report on Minorities in 2004: The Advisory Council on Human Rights attached to the Prime Minister's Office released in 2004 "Report on Minorities." Which has cost its chairman and the author of the report four and a half years of legal proceedings;
Armenian Conference in 2005: Despite the intervention of the Minister of Justice, despite a decision by the Administrative Court, the civil society held the first Conference on the Armenians of the Empire in 2005;
Supports the Armenians: Despite threats from the deep state has carried out militant activities especially during the open trial against the weekly Agos;
The funeral of Hrant: A procession was attended by 100,000 people behind his coffin in January 2007;
Sari Guélin: As a result of pressure on the Ministry of Education has, in February 2009, stopped the distribution in schools of the CD-ROM Sari Gelin, including 56,388 copies were purchased by the General Staff.
Reactions against serious cases of racism. The latest is a national union of workers who distributes Halva for the soul of Hitler launched a signature campaign to protest the rumors that the match Turkey - Armenia would be played in Kayseri.
Commemoration April 24 2009 in Istanbul. The memory of Armenian intellectuals was commemorated under the project entitled "They were arrested, deported, they have not even had a tombstone." But, as I am not the only one to speak today, I will you specify a single event: The Campaign for forgiveness (December 2008).
* * *
The Declaration of Forgiveness (15 December 2008) Four Turks, including three university professors and a journalist, backed by some 350 intellectuals, have prepared the following and opened for signature on a website the night of 14 December 2008:
My conscience can not accept that it remains indifferent to the great catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians suffered in 1915, and it denies. I reject this injustice, and for my part, I share the feelings and sorrows of my Armenian brothers and sisters and I ask forgiveness.
Why this statement?
To achieve three goals:
1) Fill a moral duty.
It had to be done for the Armenians finally able to mourn their dead, these loved ones with whom they live for a century. Those who apologized were not responsible. But they have proved:
because those who should seek forgiveness did not seem to want to do;
because, contrary to the notion of "collective crime" there is a concept called "collective consciousness".
2) For the debate on last, ways, to the Armenian question in Turkey.
At least this has been perfectly achieved through the immediate and vociferous protests from the Turkish public opinion.
3) Opened in Turkey in an era of recognition for other historic wrongs: other non-Muslims, Kurds, Alevis. The initiators felt that once the biggest taboo would "challenge", the other would eventually also succumb.
From the morning of December 15, it was hell. Opponents were particularly upset by two words:
1) "Great Catastrophe".
2) "... I ask forgiveness."
Why these two?
The Turks have read the term Great Catastrophe as "genocide", which means only one thing for the Turkish public: the extermination of Jews by the Nazis. Once they hear the word they see red, and blocked ears.
Yet, this translation of "Metz Yeghern" was carefully chosen:
1) It would avoid alienating the Turks in avoiding the word "genocide";
2) Since this is the name of the monument of martyrs to Yerevan (Mets Yegherni Hushardzan) (and also the Armenian term in use before the invention of the term genocide in 1944) it would be a cure modest Armenian suffering;
( "The Monument to the Great Catastrophe" is the name of the monument of martyrs to Yerevan. Tzidzernagabert is not the name of the monument but that of the hill. The name is derived from the ancient citadel on the hill, which means say "The fortress of swallows).
3) The word exposed openly revolting nature of what happened.
Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that, besides the Turkish nationalists, some radical Armenians have also protested for a symmetrically opposite reason: They wanted to absolutely see the term "genocide".
For some, this campaign was organized to dilute the term "genocide" and to sow mischief among the Armenians.
For others, it was a term invented they have never heard. It is mainly the U.S. Armenians who do not speak Armenian.
Note that when the April 24 Obama has used "Metz Yeghern" radical Turkish and Armenian diaspora, for the same reasons symmetrical, have made the same protest.
Also note that when the Pope had used the same term in Yerevan in 2001, no protest was coming from Armenia because it was familiar. Catholicos Karekin II himself had used the same term in his speech in Armenian (which was translated as "genocide" in the English version of the speech).
Regarding the word "forgiveness": the campaign could easily tripled the number of 30,000 signatures collected, if the word was not used and the text to stop: "I share the sentiments and sentences .. .. " But he was forced to use it to achieve the 3 goals of the Declaration.
"Theses" and themes of the protests
- Apart from:
death threats (which enabled originators to extend the mandates of their bodyguards Official)
4100 forged signatures sent cafes-concerts to sabotage the petition;
Cybers countless attacks that led to the collapse site on nine occasions.
Two major theses:
1) "You are probably of Armenian descent"
2) If so, how were you paid? "
"How dare you ask for forgiveness on our behalf!" This shows that these people can write but not read
"Nobody can handle my grandfather Nazi."
"Why I ask forgiveness for something I did not do?"
o you he asks?
o consciousness then?
"Asking forgiveness means that we have accepted the Genocide. Then this will be the turn of claims for damages and land. "
o The word genocide is carrying no legal implications for Turkey.
No. And why not not to pay symbolic compensation if people produce title deeds? The Turkish State pays millions of dollars to companies to lobby EU.
"You have weakened the national cause"
o Where did we get with the policy so far?
o Now the whole world saw that Turkey was not as populated Samast, killer of Hrant
"This is not Turkey, which has done and is the Empire"
No. But it has hidden
"They, too, we were silent, they ask forgiveness, too"
o Situation III!
"Who will ask forgiveness for the millions of Muslims who fled the Balkans in the same conditions?"
o The intellectuals of the Balkan countries, of course.
o Also, why would they Armenians responsible for the Balkan disaster?
"You've been making all the concessions. Now the Armenians will not want to discuss anything "
o On the contrary. It is now they do. They had started after the procession of the 100,000 who attended in January 2007 Hrant. Because they are human before being Armenians.
* January 08: Commemoration of Hrant association with Armenian and Turkish (Hos and Şimdi)
* May 08: Serge Avedikian dedicated to Hrant's documentary film "We drink the same water."
* July 08: My interview with Armenian Weekly, etc..
* Oct. 08: Appel de Blois
* Dec. 08: Secretary of State Alain Marleix: End of laws memorial.
* 05 January 09: Jean Kehayan to Liberation: "Letter to my Turkish brothers'
* January 19 09: Declaration of Armenians french: "Thank you"
* January 26 09: Khatchiq Muradian: "campaign for forgiveness more important than football diplomacy '
* January 28 09: Patrick Azadian Glendale / California: "We are all Hrant Dink"
* February 09: The initiative of Armen Gakavian Sydney.
* 24 April 09: President Sarkissian in his message commemorating the Armenian genocide, referred to the Campaign for forgiveness: "We support the Turkish intellectuals who struggle for historical justice and share our pain"
The prosecutor did not initiate prosecution! But people and institutions of a major protest, ranging from:
o Prime Minister,
o the two major opposition parties (CHP and MHP)
o the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
o The Turkish Society of History,
o 205 academicians ( "Son of Soros") and several with University Senate, University of Istanbul,
No. 147 Pensions diplomats ( "treason") have protested against the Declaration of forgiveness.
o Not less than 11 websites ( "I is not asking for forgiveness") open to collect signatures against -
II) THE CAUSES negationism IN STATE AND AMONG THE PEOPLE
o The siege mentality o historical and complementary negationism
A siege mentality: The socio psychological
o The Armenians have only one desire: to accept the term genocide.
o The Turks have several concerns: Issues Cypriot, Armenian, Kurdish, Islamic.
? Because since 1915 they have never sought to find solutions to these problems and were stuffed in closets:
• Now they are all together: 1965-75 Cyprus + 1975-85 PKK ASALA + 1985 + 2002 AKP
• This time is designed as the headquarters of the Kemalist Turkey by the imperialist forces and those of Islam.
? Result: Fear of Zombies coming out of the closet together => Paranoia de Sèvres:
• "The Christian West and wants to dismember imperialist"
• "The Islamists will compel our daughters to wear headscarves"
• "All this because of democracy that the Army take power! "
o Ultimately: The Turks are afraid. I have always been afraid of people who are afraid.
? The Kemalist elites are in a panic:
• Fear this: lose their privileges
• Fear of the future: their prescriptions dating from 30 years only serve to aggravate the situation.
* The masses are in panic:
• The historical legacy of the "Millet System" is in danger: (humiliation and resentment against non-Muslims - 2nd class).
• In the East, fear of losing the Armenian properties.
* Regarding both:
• Ignorance total west of Ankara, the bloody tales of grandparents to the east of Ankara,
• The worst: "ignorance taught" everywhere. / Celal the Bearded: "So much ignorance can not be due only education."
The historical and complementary elements of Holocaust denial among the elite / state and in society (note that the items I will quote operated with the cooperation of both sides: the radicals on both sides mutually s'allaitent):
o Crimes of ASALA, and current refusal to criticize such crimes,
o The term "Western Armenia" in the "Declaration on the Independence of Armenia" (1990) to designate the department in eastern Turkey
o Occupation of Upper Karabakh and surrounding areas
o Web Threats three Rs: Recognition, Repair, Recovery.
o The "G-word": a large psychological effect on both sides:
? For the Turks:
• For the people: Identification with the Nazis is irritating
• The elite are afraid it could eventually lead to the three Rs at the end.
? For the Armenians:
• The value of the term Public Relations,
• Expectation that this will eventually lead to the three R.
• Satisfaction with the psychological denial because this term hurt the Turks (in Turkish, we say: beat the winegrower if eating grapes is difficult / impossible)
• Genocide has become the backbone of the Armenian identity.
o In these circumstances, the term "genocide" is used to soothe the pain of Armenians and feed the efforts of Holocaust deniers Turks.
o On the other hand, this term has no legal or criminal point of view of repair and restoration.
o We need to trust a Civil Society in Turkey, which alone can teach the people the historical reality. All other "solutions" only serve to reinforce the denial of the State and to strengthen the support of the masses in this denial.
We must say frankly, civil society was a reality through the efforts of the Armenian diaspora. I've learned after the age of 45. But now, "surfaire (overdoing) is becoming firmly" against-productive. "
? By surfaire "I mean the following definition that some people are doing the" denial ":" Any person or institution not used the word genocide to describe the events of 1915 "(and not:" ... who deny that the Armenians of Anatolia had been eradicated in 1915)
o To better explain this "surfaire" maybe I should make mention two important cases:
• crimes of ASALA in 70 years,
• and the Kemalist revolution itself.
* It is undeniable that it is due to crimes of ASALA that the world has recognized the Armenian tragedy. But if they continued until 2009? Would they served or the Armenian cause damage?
* The "Jacobin revolution from above", ie the Kemalist revolution in Turkey was in 1923 and has effectively triggered the internal dynamics for the emergence of a French Republican. Over time, the Turkish armed forces have held that the revolution was not going fast enough and that the Islamists took advantage also of fundamental freedoms. They have made 3 coups, plus, 2 military to accelerate the revolution.
Each time, they have strengthened the protest of the masses. Just look at the election results after these interventions.
Like any "revolution from above", the "Armenian Revolutionary outside" can be done only once: The Armenian diaspora in teaching us, we, civil society, the historical reality, has triggered the dynamics internal.
But now, by defining the denial of such a case, the Diaspora destroys what it has itself created, ie the internal dynamics (this is what we have learned to school under the heading "dialectic"):
* The G-word makes it very difficult to read by the Turks of the historical reality
* In addition, - are you aware - so much emphasis on this term humiliates two people each:
• One listen more if the word is not pronounced, the other is listening more if the word is pronounced.
• Each year they will suspend all the lips of President Bush.
• The two proud peoples have become slaves of the sacred word. I find it humiliating.
Finally, I repeat that this attitude is fed by the outright denial of the Turks,
and ... it serves to feed this negationism detestable.
THE WORD GENOCIDE AND ITS LEGAL IMPLICATIONS AND CRIMINAL
(Responsibility for Turkey for 1915 under international law)
Responsibility may be 2 ways: Criminal and civil (compensation and others)
Acceptance of the term genocide by a state or an international organization or an international court has nothing to do with the responsibility of Turkey in 1915. This concerns the issue of "succession of States". For in the 1948 Convention:
o The criminal responsibility is individual and all these people died.
o The liability can succumb to the State if it has not taken the necessary measures mentioned in the Convention. (The trial Bosnia-Herzegovina was opened by art. 9. Yugoslavia has not been accused of genocide, but no impediment to the genocide).
But for there to be liability requires:
o What is to be established after 1948. Ca-the 1948 Convention is not retroactive. (arts. 13 and 14, and general provisions, by implication).
o In the case of "continuing violation" (eg. in the case of no compensation for Armenian goods, non pénalisations officials):
? It is necessary that the "reasonable period" is not passed. (The Committee on Human Rights UN said that this period may not go beyond the 2nd World War.
? In 1915 the international law punished States is prejudicial to the citizens of another State, and not to its own citizens. C'es why Britain and the U.S. have found no legal platform to try those responsible.
The position of documents in criminal law and international courts (courts of Yugoslavia and Rwanda were established by the decision of the UN Security Council):
o Again, the individual criminal responsibility is (with the sole exception of Nuremberg, which did not constitute a precedent).
o Again, they are not retroactive.
o Again, these are subject to the concept of "reasonable duration". Car:
* The Committee on Human Rights UN said that this period may not go beyond the 2nd World War.
* Art. 13 of the "Draft articles on State responsibility for internationally wrongful acts, prepared by the Committee on Human Rights UN:" The fact of the State does not constitute a breach of an international obligation has unless the State is bound by the obligation at the time the act occurs. "
o Lausanne protocol and statement: general amnesty for all political and military action before 20 November 1922.
o The law can not judge the States.
The Report on Minorities (October 2004)
In October 2004 was published an official document produced by the Consultative Council of Human Rights, attached to the office of Prime Minister: "The cultural and minority rights." He vehemently criticized the policy pursued so far and requested that the State recognizes the rights of minorities.
The author of this report and the chairman of the Consultative Council, both professors at the University, have been prosecuted under two charges: that the cause of hatred and animosity among the people (art. 216 ), and insulting state bodies (Article 301).
Without going into details, they were acquitted by the trial court. The 8th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation quashed the acquittal. The prosecutor of the Court took the case to the General Assembly of the criminal who has confirmed the acquittal. It lasted four and a half years.
The two professors have received death threats and have been extensively abused. A member said from the rostrum of the Assembly: "Let them go to their request to die who are their fathers." The two professors have sued for damages, he was acquitted, as all others elsewhere.
Conference on the Armenians of the Empire (24-25 September 2005)
It was the first conference on Armenians, planned for May 2005 concert by the three universities, those of the Bosphorus, Sabanci and Istanbul Bilgi. It was a loud crash. The Minister of Justice said: "They are stabbing us in the back." The conference has been postponed to September. In September, a day before the date stated, the Istanbul Administrative Court ordered a postponement of the Conference. Reason: "We do not know what they speak." But the Court has notified its decision to the first two universities forgetting the third Bilgi. The next day, the conference was held at Bilgi University. Turkey has not collapsed. Later, the Regional Administrative Court quashed the decision to report to the Administrative Court. The chairman of the commission was appointed to another court as a single judge.
High-Ranking Obama Official Refuses to Acknowledge the Genocide By Harut Sassounian, June 11, 2009
Publisher, The California Courier
Pres. Obama continues to disappoint the Armenian-American community. After breaking two promises in a row on key Armenian issues -- not acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and proposing reduced U.S. aid levels to Armenia -- he appoints Philip Gordon Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Dr. Gordon, a former Director of the Brookings Institution -- a think thank partially funded by Turkish sources -- has written several pro-Turkish books and articles. He has been an opponent of congressional acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and a critic of Greek Cypriot leaders rather than the occupying Turkish forces. Gordon served in the Clinton administration as Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. During the last presidential campaign, he served as head of the Europe team in Obama’s group of foreign policy advisers.
During his confirmation hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the end of March, Gordon was grilled by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on his views on Armenian and Cypriot issues. Several Senators pointed out that Gordon’s answers contradicted Pres. Obama’s campaign promises. Little did the Senators know that a few weeks later the President himself would not keep his word on these issues! Sen. Menendez submitted over two dozen questions which were to be answered by the nominee in writing after the hearing.
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) wrote a scathing letter to Gordon on April 7, expressing his dismay that the nominee, during his confirmation hearing, had used the word “tragedy” to refer to the Armenian Genocide. Sen. Ensign demanded to know if Gordon’s position on the Armenian Genocide was consistent with those of Pres. Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton all of whom, as Senators and presidential candidates, had strongly acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, referring to the early termination of the career of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans for saying Armenian Genocide, Sen. Ensign asked if Gordon would “discourage Ambassadors or other Foreign Service personnel from using the term ‘Armenian Genocide.’”
Sen. Ensign, not satisfied with Gordon’s answers, surprised everyone by placing a hold on his nomination, temporarily blocking his approval by the full Senate. However, just as surprisingly, Sen. Ensign lifted his hold, paving the way for Gordon’s Senate confirmation.
In the meantime, Gordon answered in writing all 28 questions sent to him by Sen. Menendez, even though his responses were evasive and non-responsive. Regardless of the nature of the question, he mindlessly repeated the same answer over and over again, using just about every word in the dictionary, except “Armenian Genocide,” to describe the mass killings of Armenians.
Only one of Gordon’s answers was particularly revealing, as he put the blame for the Armenian Genocide on the “officials and soldiers of the Ottoman Empire,” thus inadvertently acknowledging that it was a state sponsored genocide. Here is the verbatim text of that particular exchange:
Sen. Menendez: “Who was responsible for the death of over 1.5 million Armenians during WWI?”
Philip Gordon: “This administration, like those before it, does not deny the facts -- 1.5 million Armenians were murdered, starved, or deported by civilian officials and soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, some of whom were sentenced to death for committing these crimes. The United States mourns this terrible chapter of history and recognizes that it remains a source of pain for the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent, and all those who believe in the dignity and value of every human life.”
Gordon also disclosed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Brookings had received a total of $700,000 from the following Turkish sources 2006-2008:
-- $200,000 from the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association;
-- $190,000 from Sabanci University;
-- $150,000 from the Eksiogullari Group (construction company);
-- $100,000 from the Dogan Yayin Holding Company (media-entertainment conglomerate);
-- $30,000 from Nurol Construction and Trading Company;
-- $30,000 from Hedef-Alliance Holding (Pharmaceutical Company).
A large number of pro-Turkish officials, such as Philip Gordon, can be found throughout the American government. Some of these Turkophiles are leftovers from the cold war era. Others, motivated by personal gain, serve in the government for a while, and then go to work at Washington Think Tanks, some partially funded from Turkish sources, or end up as lobbyists for Turkey.
Armenian-Americans will continue to face great resistance in their lobbying efforts from pro-Turkish elements in Washington -- regardless of which party is in power and who is president -- unless they can expand their political influence beyond Congress into the Executive Branch, Think Tanks and the media.
Obama Should Continue Stumping For Turkey 6/8/2009 BY OMER TASPINAR
SABAH- The basic message of US President Barack Obama 's speech in Cairo last week was very clear: the US is opening a new page with the Islamic world. Obama put forth a vision cutting off scenarios of a 'clash of civilizations' between Islam and the West and instead promoting cooperation for peace and justice both in the Middle East and the world at large. So what's the role of Turkey's prospective European Union membership in this vision? If you're curious about this, you should have seen the tension during the meeting between Obama and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy only two days after the speech in Cairo.
Obama knew very well about Sarkozy's views about Turkey, but he didn't mince words. Obama said that a cooperation similar to the concept of 'model partnership' that he put forth between Turkey and the US in Ankara should be established between the EU and Turkey as well. Let's remember the vision that was defined by Obama as 'model partnership.' He defined this cooperation as 'partnership with people across the Muslim world, to advance our common hopes, and our common dreams.' Similarly, this time Obama supported Turkey's EU membership by stressing the concept of civilizations like so: ' In all of this, I think Europe and France have a critical role to play, just as the United States does, in sending a message to Muslims around the world that we welcome and want their participation in a world community that is peaceful, that is prosperous, that is economically integrated, that is developing on behalf of all people and not just some people.'
So the resulting picture is clear: Turkish-EU relations concern Washington very closely. US presidents change, but the importance placed on Turkey's EU membership and the support for this remain the same. Remember the Bush administration's strong support for Turkey's EU bid during the 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul? In response, then French President Jacques Chirac angrily told reporters that France wasn't interfering in US' relations with Mexico.
Clearly, Sarkozy also doesn't like Obama's lobbying for Turkey. So we should ask if the US support for Turkey will cause a backlash in the EU. When I spoke with European diplomats and politicians in Paris about this, they signaled that everything depends on Turkey's performance and that Washington's lobbying shouldn't' have much of an impact. But I disagree. The EU sometimes neglects foreign policy in the face of its bureaucratic, economic and constitutional problems and foreign policy coordination issues, often leaving such decisions hanging in the air. And when a decision is urgently needed, a deadlock between Britain and France often emerges.
As a result, an economic giant such as the EU fails to act in unison in its foreign policy, thus making it a dwarf politically and militarily. Remember the disintegration of Yugoslavia? The EU's ineffectual foreign policy and non-existent military policy was a bystander to the killing of tens of thousands of innocents. At that time, the US, constantly accused of pursuing its military interests and oil, went to the aid of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. In light of this poor European foreign policy and strategy performance, the US fears the EU will fall flat when dealing with Turkey as well. So, in a friendly way, Obama warned the EU, as it has a tendency to turn inwards instead of thinking strategically. In short, he told Europe that it gives the best response to terrorism and the 'clash of civilizations' idea by accepting Turkey and that this could also help it become more active in the Middle East. We hope that both Sarkozy and the European public will come to grasp this message in time.
Turkey Begins To Question The Past by Shane Hensinger, www.dailykos.com June 10 2009
In a little-noticed (outside Turkey anyway) speech the Prime Minister of Turkey said something shocking (by Turkish standards) when he questioned the way Turkey has treated its ethnic and religious minorities in the past.
Shane Hensinger's diary :: :: "For years, those of different identities have been kicked out of our country.... This was not done with common sense. This was done with a fascist approach," Erdogan said on May 23, during the annual congress of the Justice and Development Party, held in the western province of Duzce.
"For many years," Erdogan continued, "various facts took place in this country to the detriment of ethnic minorities who lived here. They were ethnically cleansed because they had a different ethnic cultural identity. The time has arrived for us to question ourselves about why this happened and what we have learned from all of this. There has been no analysis of this right up until now. In reality, this behavior is the result of a fascist conception. We have also fallen into this grave error."
I can't begin to tell you how shocking these words are to those who have studied and/or lived in Turkey. If there is one topic which is considered off limits in Turkey, even in private conversations, it is Turkey's treatment of Turkish citizens who happened to be Greek or Armenian or Kurdish. Even amongst friends this subject is incendiary and generally considered off-limits.
The statement is just vague enough to allow each person to come up with exactly which event Erdogan was speaking of.
Hurriyet (A Turkish daily) feels he was speaking of this:
Erdogan's speech is seen as a reference to the Sept. 6 and 7 events in Istanbul in 1955 when many Greek shops and houses were pillaged by crowds after false news reported that founder of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's house in the Thessaloniki neighborhood of Greece was burnt down. After the events, many ethnic Greeks, who were born and lived in Istanbul, left the city.
While Asparez (an Armenian daily) felt he was speaking about an earlier event, one which presaged the anti-Greek riots in 1955:
Some commentators viewed Erdogan's remarks as a reference to the expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Greeks from Turkey to Greece in 1923. The large-scale population exchange between the two countries also included the transfer of more than 500,000 ethnic Turks from Greece to Turkey.
Regardless of which particular event the Prime Minister was speaking about his words had the effect of a bombshell in Turkish public life -where criticism of the state is usually considered off limits.
From Asbarez again:
Onur Oymen, vice president of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said that associating Turkey's history with terms like fascism based on hearsay was not right. He also said that no Turkish citizen had ever been expelled because of his or her ethnic background. Oktay Vural of the opposition MHP party added: "Erdogan's words are an insult to the Turkish nation."
But others felt differently, including members of Turkey's tiny (less than 2,000 people) Greek minority:
"This is a historical speech. The prime minister criticized history on behalf of the state," RÄ±dvan Akar, editor-in-chief of news program "32. Gun," told daily Vatan yesterday.
Words alone do not solve the current problems the communities face in Turkey, according to Mihail Vasiliadis, editor-in-chief of the Apoyevmatini, a Greek-language Istanbul newspaper. Self criticism is good, but not enough, Vasiliadis told the daily Vatan. "I have heard things like that before and have gotten excited, but now the continuation of those speeches should come," said Vasiliadis.
And finally, from Zaman, which is a more pro-Islamist newspaper than most, comes this, which I find very poignant and moving:
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...
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 Ä°stanbul and Ä°zmir 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...
In short, the prime minister was telling the truth... 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.
It is indeed an amazing thing we're seeing in Turkey - a nation where the ice is slowly cracking and through these cracks we can see the beginnings of a national effort to seek to understand the past and perhaps more importantly to look at how the continual degradation of Turkey's minorities has harmed the Turkish state itself.
Turkish Hackers Facilitate Assyrian Book Sales By Rosie Malek-Yonan – Assyrian International News Agency
Los Angeles (AINA) -- In the early part of the 20th century, the Ottoman government carried out a deliberate and systematic mass ethnic cleansing of its Christian inhabitants, namely the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks. The proclamation of a fatwa for jihad against the Christians in Turkey quickly spread to northwestern Persia, in the densely Assyrian populated region of Urmia (Urmi). From 1914 to 1918, two-thirds of the Assyrian population perished in a genocide that has remained cloaked under a shroud of secrecy. However, the anonymous Assyrian Genocide's staggering losses of 750,000 souls remains ever present in the remembrances of a nation that has vowed to never forget.
My maternal grandmother and paternal grandparents were survivors of the Assyrian Genocide. As I was growing up, the oral history describing the events of 1914 through 1918 by my grandparents were constant to me, just as they were to most Assyrian families. There seemed to be a need for a steadfast vigilance by these family elders who spoke of the mass murders of our nation in great detail.
Touched by a single event that unified the Assyrian nation, for survivors such as my grandparents, the constant retelling of these events was indicative of the personal conflict the elders were sorting through and a reflection of the frame of mind of much of the nation.
In time I began collecting corroborating letters, photos, family journals, family war diaries, newspaper articles and clippings and the quest for documenting and preserving this unwritten chapter of Assyrian history. The extraordinary events my grandparents described formed images that hung in my mind haunting me my entire life. To this day, I am astounded at the valor of all the survivors and how they faced their demons and lived to tell their tales as eyewitness to their own tragedy. Their bravery and dauntless spirit and ability to endure in times of adversity were nothing short of remarkable.
I am in awe of the fallen Assyrians who called on their own courage to face the heinous crimes committed upon them. They are the silent heroes of my nation.
Those who know no compassion and mercy astonish me. Those who live daily lives weighted down by hatred resulting from ignorance. The very ones who continue to condemn Assyrians for their nationality and religion. But mostly, I am still lost in admiration of my grandparents' sense of dignity, honor and grace that was the code by which they lived. They were among the more than 70,000 Assyrians forced to flee Urmia in the final mass exodus of the winter of 1918 that split off in two opposing directions. My 18 year-old maternal grandmother, Maghdleta, whose husband had just been murdered, fled north towards the Russian frontier, while my paternal grandparents bundled their newborn infant and followed other Assyrians south towards Mesopotamia. Not everyone was as lucky as they were to reach safety.
Though the perpetrators of these crimes against the Assyrians were Ottoman Turks, Kurds and local Turks in Persia, I was never taught to hate an entire race of people. Everyone must be judged on his or her own deeds. "Don't condemn one man for the sins of another even if they share the same blood or name," my grandmother would say.
In 2005, I published my book, The Crimson Field, chronicling the life of Maghdleta, my grandmother's hellish reality of the Assyrian Genocide. At the time, I wasn't aware of the extraordinary journey I was about to embark upon. I was simply making a record of one Assyrian family's life.
Against everyone's advise, I sent a copy of The Crimson Field to a Turkish journalist from Istanbul. She wrote back saying: "It will be a privilege for me to read your book and to have a deeper insight about one of the oldest cultures of the world and their great tragedy. How I wished my heartfelt apology could alleviate the sufferings the Assyrian people have gone through! Your considering me as an elder sister would be a great consolation for my feeling of shame for being a member of a nation which is responsible for those sufferings."
The book I had written to document my family's history was rapidly leading to bonds across the seas with strangers whom I have come to know as friends.
The withholding of historical facts and the manipulation of evidential findings and lack of global public education on the subject of the Assyrian Genocide has not only lead to the persistence of denial by governments around the globe including the United States, but it has also perpetuated the continuation of a century-old racedbased hatred and hostility.
However, the Turkish journalist's statement to me reinforced my belief that there are courageous people who will stand with the Assyrians in their quest for the recognition of the past atrocities committed against my nation. Truth shines its own light and will emerge through darkness.
While Assyrian sympathizers are bountiful, Turkish laws prohibit journalist or anyone for that matter from publicly acknowledging and supporting the Assyrian Genocide. For this reason, I will not reveal the identity of this journalist who will surely be condemned for her perspective on a subject still taboo in her country.
The pledge of friendship with this remarkable Turkish journalist as well as scores of other Turkish readers of my book, are the bonds of humanity and understanding that I had hoped my book would bring about. Atrocities committed by a nation cannot reflect every member of that nation. Every person shall stand alone on judgment day regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion and color of skin.
In her final review of The Crimson Field she writes: "It's a deeply moving, impressive, inspiring book, full of emotions and vivid depictions of life. I admire it."
But it is naive to presume that one journalist's viewpoint is representative of all Turks. Clearly there still exists a deep racial hatred and intolerance that is passed on from generation to generation. Since 2005, my book's website has been hacked into by Turks several times (AINA 1-21-2008, 11-20-2007). The latest and sixth such incident occurred just last week. The Turk behind this malicious act was most probably a young hacker who knows nothing of the circumstances of the Assyrians who seek justice and not revenge.
This Turkish hacker has no idea who my grandmother, Maghdleta, was and what sacrifices she made to ensure the safety of future generations of her family and nation. All he sees is a book that represents a nation that he must hate not because of anything done to him or even his family but because he blindly follows in the footsteps of his father.
Ironically, as savvy as they are, the only thing these Turkish hackers have managed to accomplish thus far is to drive the sales of my book through the roof! Perhaps a nod of gratitude is in order for this economic boost. The Turkish government's shroud of secrecy to suffocate the Assyrian Genocide is slowly slipping as more and more hackers continue to bring focus on this issue through Internet vandalism. Though I cannot condone such dreadful behavior, I can't help but chuckle at the end result.
The acceptance of the Assyrian, Armenian and Greek Genocides will ultimately result in the downgrading of many Turkish notables who have been revered as historical heroes of the Ottoman Empire.
I am an optimist and will hold out to the idea that perhaps one day, civilization will advance to a level when we can begin to have open dialogue about all genocides and holocausts without contributing to more hatred even if we have to downgrade a few heroes.
Rosie Malek-Yonan is an Assyrian actor, director and author of The Crimson Field. She is an outspoken advocate of issues concerning Assyrians, in particular bringing attention to the Assyrian Genocide and the plight of today's Assyrians in Iraq since the U.S. lead invasion of Iraq in 2003. On June 30, 2006, she was invited to testify on Capitol Hill regarding the genocide and persecution of Assyrians in Iraq by Kurds and Islamists. She is on the Board of Advisors at Seyfo Center in Europe that exclusively deals with the Assyrian Genocide issue. She has acted opposite many of Hollywood's leading actors and has received rave reviews both as an actor and director. Most recently, she played the role of Nuru Il-Ebrahimi, opposite Reese Whitherspoon in New Line Cinema's "Rendition," directed by Oscar winning director Gavin Hood.
Israeli State-Sponsored Harassment of Armenians, And Other Christians Must Stop! By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher / Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine, June 5, 2009
The Armenian presence in the Holy Land dates back 95 to 55 BC, when Armenia and Palestine were part of the Armenian empire under King Tigran II. Many Armenians of the empire settled in Jerusalem and established a permanent community.
In an article, "The Armenian Community in the Holy Land," posted on www.thisweekinpalestine.com, Tania Manougian wrote: "In the seventh century, the Armenians gained the trust and favour of Caliph Omar Ibn el-Khattab. He gave Abraham, the first recorded Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, a charter that guaranteed the rights, safety, and security of the properties, holy places, and lives of the Armenians in Jerusalem. ... A further charter by Salaheddin, during the Muslim rule, endowed Armenians with the freedom to worship and the right to keep their holy places. Mamluk Sultan Al-Zahir Chaqmaq bestowed his favour on the Armenians in a written edict carved in Arabic on a marble plaque that is installed at the entrance of the St. James Convent."
She continued: "During the Crusader era, the Armenian Queen, Melisend, ruled over the Holy Land... renovated the Jerusalem markets and the Holy Sepulchre, and rebuilt St. James Cathedral, around which the Armenian Quarter of the Old City had already begun to form. ... The Armenians established the city´s first printing press in 1833 and inaugurated their first photography studio and newspaper in Jerusalem."
During the British Mandate (1917-1948), the Armenians continued to be successful. They were well established and many were entrepreneurs, administrative officers, and civil servants. Harmonious relations with local Palestinians were developed. Armenians worked with many relief agencies, including UNRWA and the Red Cross, she added.
The Armenian Convent is in possession of the second largest collection of Armenian manuscripts in the world. The Armenian Patriarchate owns properties throughout Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Armenian Church is one of only three of the custodians of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, and the Church of the Holy Ascension.
During a May ´09 pastoral visit to the Holy Land´s Armenian Patriarchate, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed: "From the first Christian centuries, the Armenian community in Jerusalem has had an illustrious history, marked not least by an extraordinary flourishing of monastic life and culture linked to the holy places and the liturgical traditions which developed around them. This venerable Cathedral Church, together with the Patriarchate and the various educational and cultural institutions attached to it, testifies to that long and distinguished history. I pray that your community will constantly draw new life from its rich traditions, and be confirmed in its witness to Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3:10) in this Holy City."
Sadly, the Armenians of Jerusalem and the Holy Land are being "confirmed" in their witness to Jesus Christ by being systematically exposed to all kinds of harassments at the hands of Israeli Jews. They are being target of spitting by extremist Jews; their homes being demolished; and being exposed to outright denial or lack of municipal services by the Israeli authorities for the ultimate objective of further compelling them to forced emigration.
Armenians are not the only citizens that are being harassed. Greek Orthodox Christians, Arab Catholics, Assyrians; and Muslims too are harassed.
According to various reliable sources, including the Israeli daily Haaretz Newspaper´s Amiram Barkat, the phenomenon is probably underreported by the victims.
Khalil Tafakji, an expert on Israeli settlements and the director of the maps center for Arab studies, said recently that Israel was strenuously working on creating greater Jerusalem that would eat up 10% of the entire West Bank area. And that Israel is trying to introduce a new demographic balance by which Israelis would constitute a big majority in Jerusalem, reported www.aljazeerah.info.
He added that Israel also plans to separate northern West Bank from its southern areas and works against the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Tafakji also said that the Israeli settlement drive never stopped in any of the West Bank settlements, noting that Israel plans to construct 73,000 new housing units within five years to accommodate one million Jews in Jerusalem and West Bank.
In order to achieve this goal the Israeli municipality finishes preparations to demolish 50 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem.
In a another development, Hatim Abdul-Qader, Affairs advisor to the Palestinian Prime Minister, stated on Wednesday that the "Israeli-occupied Jerusalem" Municipality issued orders to demolish constructions that are located in historical churches and monasteries in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The International Middle East Media Center quoted Abdul-Qader as saying that "some Christian leaders in Jerusalem asked him to intervene and stop an Israeli order to demolish two floors built on top of the Armenian Church in the Old City. The Church is one of the main Christian sites and was built more than 150 years ago; it is built on Church land and registered under the name of the Belgium king. Abdul-Qader added that the building was constructed as a residence for priests and clergymen who come from the Vatican to visit Jerusalem."
www.imemc.org further wrote: "Israeli decision is a violation to Christian Holy sites. `Such a decision reveals the Israeli intentions to wipe Arab, Muslim and Christian history in Jerusalem´ stressed Abdul-Qader The attack on the church is seen as yet another attempt to wipe Palestinian religious presence from the Old City in an effort to judaize the area."
In another act of harassment of the Christians in the Holy Land, in April of this year, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem's Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.
The clergyman preferred not to lodge a complaint with the police. During the past decades and in recent years, many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot.
On a Sunday in the same month, a fracas developed when a yeshiva student spat at the cross being carried by the Armenian Archbishop during a procession near the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. The archbishop's 17th-century cross was broken during the brawl and he slapped the yeshiva student. He will be brought to trial. The Jerusalem District Court has meanwhile banned the student from approaching the Old City for 75 days.
But the Armenians are far from being satisfied by the police action and say this sort of thing has been going on for years. Archbishop Nourhan Manougian says he expects the education minister to say something. "When there is an attack against Jews anywhere in the world, the Israeli government is incensed, so why when our religion and pride are hurt, don't they take harsher measures?" he was quoted as saying by Haaretz.
According to Daniel Rossing, former adviser to the Religious Affairs Ministry on Christian affairs and director of a Jerusalem center for Christian-Jewish dialogue, there has been an increase in the number of such incidents recently, "as part of a general atmosphere of lack of tolerance in the country."
Former adviser to the mayor on Christian affairs, Shmuel Evyatar, describes the situation as "a huge disgrace," underlining that most of the instigators are yeshiva students studying in the Old City who view the Christian religion with disdain.
"I'm sure the phenomenon would end as soon as rabbis and well-known educators denounce it. In practice, rabbis of yeshivas ignore or even encourage it," he said to the Forward (www.forward.com).
According to Holocaust survivor Dr. Israel Shahak, in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion this practice has ancient roots and has become increasingly commonplace. He wrote: "Dishonoring Christian religious symbols is an old religious duty in Judaism. Spitting on the cross, and especially on the Crucifix, and spitting when a Jew passes a church, have been obligatory from around AD 200 for pious Jews. ... The increasing strength of the Jewish state has caused these customs to become more open again but there should be no mistake. The spitting on the cross for converts from Christianity to Judaism, organized in Kibbutz Sa'ad and financed by the Israeli government, is a an act of traditional Jewish piety. It does not cease to be barbaric, horrifying and wicked because of this! On the contrary, it is worse because it is so traditional and much more dangerous as well, just as the renewed anti-Semitism of the Nazis was dangerous, because in part, it played on the traditional anti-Semitic past."
In Sept. 2005, a skullcap-wearing assailant, Amitai Shashar, 20, a young religious Jew, spat at a procession of Greek Orthodox priests in the Old City of Jerusalem on Monday, police said, in the third such incident in the mixed city in the last year.
A Greek Orthodox Church spokesman said that the Jewish extremist had spat in the face of the head of ceremonies, after getting into a heated verbal altercation with the priests at the procession.
Etgar Lefkovits of Jerusalem Post reported that "the incident was the third such assault in the Old City in the last year. Earlier this year, an Armenian priest was attacked by four yeshiva students in the Old City of Jerusalem, an altercation that began when one of the yeshiva students spat on the black-robed priest in front of the Armenian Monastery where he lives. In a separate incident last year, a yeshiva student spat at a Sunday morning procession of Armenian clergymen in Jerusalem's Old City and then scuffled with a priest. He later apologized."
At a time when Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world, and even in the Jewish-friendly West Europe and the United States, the Israeli state-sponsored harassment of Armenians and other Christians serves to antagonize additional segments of the Western society. Israel is already reeling from bad public relations in the Muslim world. Now with the multi-pronged Israeli-funded desecration of the Christian and Muslim holy symbols, their exposure to demolition makes the bad PR situation even worse.
Israel´s worst enemies may be from within. It is hopeful that cooler heads in the Israeli corridors of power prevail and control any kind of - religious or political - extremism.
Liars, Damn Liars, And Bruce Fein, By Seto Boyajian on Jun 12th, 2009
He has done it again. Couple of days earlier he has appeared on Huffington Post with yet another bag of lies, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Armenian Deaths.”
He, of course, is Bruce Fein – occupation: Resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America. The title tells it all. He is gainfully employed to support and propagate Turkish denial policy of the Armenian Genocide. For a lawyer and a former U.S. associate deputy attorney general serving under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1982, one expects him to confine within certain restrictions of ethical conduct and integrity.
Unfortunately, we may be asking too much of Mr. Fein. His acts and conduct seem to be determined only by his employment, irrespective of logic, rational, principles and truthfulness. Two years ago, he was campaigning for the terrorist Tamil movement against the government of Sri Lanka in return for lucrative pecuniary handouts from the Sri Lankans of Tamil origin residing in the United States and Canada. In 2008, within the span of six months, one after the other he consecutively served at least three Tamil associations carrying on fundraisers in the U.S. and Canada. With the third association, he engaged in a massive fundraiser in Canada. After collecting the “loot”, he disappeared for three months.
While in the service of Tamil, Mr. Fein’s mission was twofold. First, to convince the U.S. that Tamils of Sri Lanka are the victims of genocide. Second, to convince the U.S. that Tamils of Sri Lanka deserve justice by partitioning Sri Lanka and granting the Tamils independent statehood. To justify his claim for genocide of Tamils, he made up stories and twisted the law on genocide. To substantiate his claim for Tamil independence, he resorted to our Declaration of Independence. To pursue his dual mission, he made speeches and got paid; he made appearances and got paid; he published articles and got paid.
At the same time, Mr. Fein was (and still is) in the service of Turkish “associations” operating in the U.S. With the Turks, as with the Tamils, his mission is again twofold, but this time in the opposite direction. First, to convince the United States that Armenians were not the victims of genocide. Second, to convince the United States that Armenians do not deserve justice. To justify his denial of Armenian Genocide, he makes up stories and twists the law on genocide. To substantiate his refusal of justice to the Armenians, he accuses them of perjury and falsehood. In the pursuit of his dual mission for the Turks, he makes speeches, makes appearances, publishes articles, and so on. For his services, he gets paid, of course.
Mr. Fein’s article squarely falls within this paradigm. To justify the purpose of his posted article, he paraphrases Mark Twain by noting that “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.” However, upon perusal of this article, it becomes revealing that the remarks of our great humorist were tailor made for Mr. Fein. If Mark Twain were alive today, he would have looked upon Mr. Fein’s egregious conduct and said, “There are three kinds of liars: liars, damn liars, and Mr. Fein.”
The opening paragraph of the article is very symptomatic of Mr. Fein’s habitual contempt for accuracy and truth. He deliberately distorts President Barack Obama’s annual April 24 Presidential Statement commemorating the Armenian victims of the Ottoman Turkish massacres. Twisting the President’s words, Mr. Fein acts disrespectfully and in bad faith, because the President stated, “Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.”
Mr. Fein seems to be haunted by the number of 1.5 Armenian victims of Turkish atrocities. Any human being would be and should be. But the motivation of this servant of Turkish denial does not stem from human concerns. He resorts to a numbers game by quoting and misquoting any convenient source to demonstrate that the figure of 1.5 million victims of genocide is the pigment of Armenian imagination that it tends to increase the numbers according to political convenience.
This numbers game is merely an exercise in futility, because Mr. Fein is well aware of the Mehmet Talaat Pasha’s handwritten black book published in facsimile form in December 2008. Talaat Pasha was the Ottoman minister of interior in 1915 and the architect in planning and executing the deportations and massacres of the Armenians living in their ancestral Western Armenia. The black book contains detailed notes on the numbers of Armenians and the fate they encountered from 1915 to 1917. Based on the figures kept by Talaat Pasha, in 1915, before massacres and deportations, the total of the main Apostolic Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire was 1,500,000; the total of Catholic Armenian community was 63,967 (which could also be revised upward to 83,157); no figures are given to Protestant Armenians. These figures bring the number of Ottoman Armenians, based on official figures, close to 1,700,000 people. According to Talaat Pasha’s figures, the total number of Armenians who were missing in 1917 was around 1,000,000 people.
The executioner Talaat Pasha has kept the figures up to 1917. His numbers for the missing are horrendous – ONE MILLION. Mind you, the deportations and massacres did not cease in 1917. They continued until 1923. Mr. Fein and his employers are in pursuit of a policy of denial in order to protect, among others, the Ottoman executioners such as Talaat and other Ottoman Pashas. If they are so dedicated to protect these executioners, why won’t Mr. Fein and his employers take these Pashas’ word for the number of Armenian victims of Genocide?
The answer is very simple. Mr. Fein (and his employers) are scared stiff of the verdict of genocide that will come down sooner or later. But to convince oneself that reducing the number of the victims of the Armenian Genocide will preclude the application of the Genocide Convention is merely self-deceit. Mr. Fein should know, because he claims to be an international lawyer. The Genocide Convention is not about the number of victims. It is about retribution and prevention.
Furthermore, despite Mr. Fein’s claims, the Genocide Convention does apply to the Armenian case. The design, planning, execution and intent of the Turkish massacres of 1.5 million Armenians meet all the elements of the crime of genocide as defined under the Convention. In fact, Raphael Lemkin, who was the earliest proponent of the Genocide Convention, coined the term ‘genocide’ in 1944. based on the case of the Armenian massacres. He described genocide as the “systematic destruction of a whole national, racial or religious groups. The sort of thing that Hitler did to the Jews and the Turks did to the Armenians.”
When the United Nations adopted the Genocide Convention in 1948, the Ottoman massacres of the Armenians and the Nazi massacres of the Jews were considered as precedents. The same year, the U.N. War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian massacres as being “precisely . . . one of the types of acts which the modern term ‘crimes against humanity’ is intended to cover as a precedent for the Nuremberg tribunals.” In 1985, the UN Commission on Human Rights report, ‘Study of the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,’ referred to the Armenian massacres as an example of genocide and noted, “the Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the twentieth century. Among other examples, which can be cited as qualifying, are . . . the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916.” Moreover, the Genocide Convention is enforceable retroactively.
Mr. Fein is free to resume his distortions and falsehoods, but he should know that they are of no avail. On April 29 of this year, he tried that tactic while testifying before the California Senate Committee on Education against the Genocide Awareness Bill SB234. But the committee passed the bill unanimously. Last week, the entire California Senate debated and adopted the bill without opposition.
Mr. Fein is also free to resume his attempts at Armenian Genocide denial in United States. But he should know better. His former employer, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, that had joined some plaintiffs in filing a “public interest complaint” in the U.S. District Court in Boston in 2006, seeking to engage in denial of the Armenian Genocide in Massachusetts public schools, learned it the hard way. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf, in a Memorandum and Order, dated June 10, 2009, dismissed the frivolous case.
Finally, Mr. Fein should heed Mark Twain’s advice: “Never tell a lie… Except to keep in practice.” He needs the practice, because that’s where the money is. As for a second advice from Mark Twain, “make it the rule of” life “to lie for revenue only,” Mr. Fein does not need it.
Editor’s Note: Seto Boyadjian is an attorney and member of the national board of the Armenian National Committee of America.
Talking Turkey: My Own Speech in a Muslim Country, Joel J. Sprayregen
Last week, I gave my own provocative speech in a Muslim country. The occasion was a conference of the Turkish think tank ARI (Movement for Civil Society) in Istanbul, that fabulous city straddling two continents plus countless centuries. The topic was: "The Security and Diplomacy Role of NATO in the 21st Century." Readers understand that I am long on security and short on diplomacy. I was blunt in what I told the assembled diplomats, officials, academics and journalists from many countries, joined in the auditorium by members of the Turkish public.
Lobbying for a Key U.S. Ally
I made it clear that I spoke as a friend of Turkey, one of few Muslim countries practicing a form of democracy. I paid tribute to Turkish defense of democracy dating back to the Korean and Cold Wars, as well as its NATO roles in in the Balkans and (non-combatant) in Afghanistan. I reminded that I lobbied for Turkey in such matters as procurement of Apache helicopters to fight PKK terrorists (more than 36,000 people have been killed in southeast Turkey, a region I have visited, though most of my well-traveled Turkish friends have not), as well as in resisting Armenian Genocide Resolutions in our Congress (not because Armenians had not been brutalized but because passage would gravely damage U.S. relations with an important. ally which is essential, e.g., to supplying our troops in Iraq). Recalling that NATO is based on shared democratic values proclaimed by Roosevelt and Churchill in the Atlantic Charter, I cited three areas where Turkey's adherence to democracy is currently menaced:
Omnipresent Surveillance and Official Witch-Hunt
Recently, I noted that Turkish friends no longer respond candidly to me in e-mails or phone conversations. I asserted that the shadow of surveillance is inconsistent with the values of a free society. I acknowledged that this is related to a widening investigation called Ergenekon, which originally targeted a suspected coup, but threatens to become a witch-hunt to silence secularists, e.g., arrests in April of 12 middle-aged women working for an NGO providing scholarships for poor girls.
Do not Choose Your Friends from the Rogues' Gallery
Acknowledging Turkey's traditional hospitableness, I asked why its Government "repeatedly treats as honored guests an international rogues' gallery consisting of Hamas Chieftain Khalid Meshaal, Sudanese President al-Bashir--for whom the International Court of Criminal Justice has issued an arrest warrant for crimes against humanity in Darfur--and (3) Iraqi Warlord al-Sadr." I recalled that when Syria and other countries hosted PKK Chief Abdullah Ocalan, friends of Turkey demanded his rendition. He now sits for life in a Turkish prison because the European Union pressured Turkey not to implement the well-merited death sentence.
A Shameful Surge of Anti-Semitism
I recalled tense days last January when I was in daily contact with leaders of Turkey's Jewish community of 22,000 members--living among 71 million Muslims--concerning fears resulting from threats against Jews (see my article of Feb. 8, 2008, Turkey's Prime Minister Leads His Country Down a Destructive Path). My decibels rising for emphasis, I reminded that "Turkish Jews were targeted by officials, political parties and media, including billboards, depicting the strife in Gaza as a struggle between religions. Turkish Jews were made to fear for their safety, e.g, a sign in a store proclaimed "Dogs are welcome, but not Jews and Armenians.'" Jewish doctors took down signs showing their names. A placard in a demonstration of the ruling AK Party said: "Now I understand the value of Hitler." A school in a large Anatolian city distributed sweets on Hitler's birthday. Turkish Jews were vilified as barely tolerated guests in a country they have lived in as loyal citizens for 500 years. While Turkey's top officials at times cautioned against anti-Semitism and the storm has subsided, I wondered aloud: "Have the germs of anti-Semitism been cleansed, or are they incubating until the next storm?" Polls published while I was in Turkey revealed widespread anti-Semitism, e.g., a majority of Turks do not want to live next to a Jewish family. Anti-Semitism is spewed in the government-allied Islamist press, as well as by extreme nationalists and political extremists on the left and right. A subsidized version of Mein Kampf is a best-seller. I saw it widely displayed in the Booksellers' Bazaar, a place I nerdily frequent in obstinate idiosyncratic preference to the better known Grand Bazaar.
Concurrence from Turks
I harbored residual concern for reactions of my Turkish friends, who are justifiably proud of their republic. Ex-Ambassador Onur Oymen immediately took the floor. A member of Parliament from the CHP Opposition (Ataturk's party) and former permanent Turkish Representative to NATO, he emphatically said he agreed with my remarks, and it was important for Turks to hear this. When Vahit Erdem, member of Parliament from the AK Party and head of Turkey's delegation to the NATO Assembly, asked for the microphone, I was apprehensive. He advised leaving Ergenekon to the Turkish judiciary. He said he personally had opposed contact with Hamas, which he frankly called a "terrorist" organization, but Turkey had to consider that Hamas had won an election. He said the Hamas leader had been hosted not by the Government but by the deputy head of his party. Erdem allowed that the Gaza war had drawn hostile sentiments against Turkish Jews but cautioned about generalizing from single cases. His remarks confirmed for me that the Government is presently embarrassed, at least for foreign consumption, by the anti-Semitism it instigated and abetted. But the bigotry continues in Government-aligned newspapers, including what Fouad Ajami, the great scholar of Islam, calls "the most malignant fantasies of anti-Americanism."
Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador, said I had spoken "courageously" and that Turkey should use its prestige to test Iran and Hamas. The last word belonged to the moderator, my friend Kemal Koprulu, founder of ARI and scion of an eminent Turkish family. He said ARI had criticized Turkey for inviting Meshaal before Hamas showed how it would govern and concluded: "Turkey should be holding Hamas accountable."
Whither Turkey: East or West?
I don't presume these discussions momentously settled anything. They comprised part of hours of concerned debate about daunting challenges of trans-Atlantic security and diplomacy. Noteworthy were concerns of participants from ex-Soviet dominated states about Russian bullying in the light of Turkey's lessened concerns about Russian hegemonism. The Islamist policies of Turkey's government are a continuing cause for alarm, as is the perception that Turkey's increasing coziness with neighbors like Iran and Syria weakens solidarity against state sponsors of terror. I came away with more questions than answers, particularly after young Turkish intellectuals expressed frustration that they felt excluded from meaningful political activity.
Watching Turkey's young people (65% of the population is under age 35) enjoy late spring nights in cafes along the Bosporus, it is difficult to picture this country going fundamentalist. But a visit to the new Panorama 1453 Museum, located near the point at which the Ottomans breached the old city walls, left me less confident. The Museum colorfully recounts the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in Islamic terms, citing a hadith of Mohamed as calling for the conquest. The Museum is strongly endorsed by Prime Minister Erodogan and was commissioned while he was Istanbul's Mayor. The explanations are only in Turkish, though English headphones are available. The Sunday visitors were mostly Muslim fundamentalists, with almost no foreigners. There are no new museums to honor Kemal Ataturk, the visionary but tough founder of the Turkish secular republic.
The call of religious tradition
The is increasingly powerful, and AKP shrewdly uses control of the economy and patronage to further Islamist power. "Reforms" demanded by the European Union have weakened the power of the Turkish armed forces to enforce secularism, but Europe's citizens are ambivalent if not hostile to Turkish accession to the E..U., risking a bitter backlash in Turkey if after years of haggling it is rejected for full membership. No one can tell exactly where Turkey is going, nor to what extent its domestic Islamist politics will alter its foreign policy.
Joel J. Sprayregen, a Chicago lawyer, is associated with JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) and other think tanks dealing with international security issues.
Annie Ladysmith Jun 12,
Yeah! Did any Armenians come to your Turkey Think Tank tete-a-tete? So glad your working on our behalf to ally ourselves with, once again, ANOTHER ISLAMIC COUNTRY!
Personally, i would have rather had you rotate on your thumbs for the entire time.
But then again, where would we be without Think Tanks, whatever they do.
Levon Ter-Petrosyan's Speech At June 12 Rally, Lragir.Am 12/06/2009
The Yerevan Mayor Election on May 31 again proved the anti-democratic, dictatorial essence of the Armenian government. If there were people, who hoped that the current government may reform and be led by state thinking, all the hopes disappeared. Serge Sargsyan showed with this election that he does not have any aim to unite the nation through democratic methods and he intends to continue governing with dictatorial methods.
If Robert Kocharyan, during his office, set hopes on the law enforcement bodies, corrupt officials or oligarchs, so Serge Sargsyan weakens the role of the above-mentioned elements and sets hopes only on criminal elements.
In order to give you a complete idea of Serge Sargsyan's thinking, I would like to bring into your attention a part of his speech made on the occasion of Sardarapat battle published on May 27. "As a nation, we are able to pose serious questions for the solution of which joint efforts, inner concord, generosity and forgiveness are needed.
...the March 1 events are enough for us to affirm that we have much to learn from our past. The events, which are sorrowful for every one of us, proved that a situation when everyone loses, when the unity and kindness fails, when the intolerance reigns is possible in our present days".
A person, who seized the post of the president by violating people's votes dwells on inner concord, mutual respect, generosity, tolerance and kindness. And four days after the above-cited speech, Serge Sargsyan held the most outrageous elections in the Armenian history.
Let us pass to the Serge Sargsyan's powerful sponsor, the West. Once, in a private conversation, one of the European diplomats told me that his country really wishes to help Armenia. When I wondered whether he meant the Armenian government or the Armenian people, he answered very diplomatically, reiterating that his country wants to help Armenia.
The problem is that the West takes into consideration not the interests of the peoples of the countries of the third world, but the West is led by the behavior of the regimes established in those countries. In spite of the empty statements, the notions such as nation, people, and justice do not exist for the West. Everything is based on geopolitical and economic interests; the governments get the assistance of the West, despite the fact what crimes they commit in their countries. And when the regimes break this logic, the West punishes them roughly.
All this goes for Armenia too. The West is not a friend of the Armenian nation, but of the Armenian criminal regime, in other words of assassins, bandits and electoral frauds and it has its direct participation in the cases of violation of democratic values and human rights in our country. The best proof of which is the complete indifference of the West towards the illegal elections in Armenia of the latest years.
This was proved at the Yerevan Mayor Election as well. The mission of 15 people to observe the Yerevan election was partying on the day of the election, after which they assessed the election as corresponding to European measurements. Unlike them, the representatives of the Western embassies to Armenia observed the election more attentively, but they have not expressed their opinion yet.
Sometimes, some Western diplomats and political figures criticize us stating that we never say a bad word to Russia. There is only one simple reason. We never criticize Russia become the latter does not try to get involved in the Armenian internal affairs, it never states that Armenia is worth such a president like Serge Sargsyan, because there is no difference between the words and the actions of Russia.
I would propose not to have any expectations from the West and not to be offended of it, but to accept the way it is and even to treat it with humor.
After the Yerevan Mayor election, conversations that the Armenian National Congress has to broaden the circle of its allies became very modern. The idea is true and cannot not be disputed. However, it needs some clarifications.
First of all, the HAK has never had any intention to establish monopoly within the oppositional field or to involve all the other political forces in it. The HAK has never refuted cooperating with any oppositional political force. Moreover, as a rule, it has always been the Congress to initiate such cooperation. Let us remember our dialogues with the ARF Dashnaktsutyun, OYP, National Unity, Heritage, Nor Zhamanakner, and with other political forces before the presidential elections in 2008.
Two of the above-mentioned forces joined the Armenian National Congress and the others decided to leave the oppositional field.
What can be said about the Yerevan Mayor Election? First of all, there was no election. The election is not an event but the free expression of people's will. The Armenia National congress does not have may need to change its methods or the way of action because of failed election.
I would like to reiterate the importance of a cooperation with the political forces and I propose the opposition to join around the following points:
1. To destroy the realization of the idea of creating the committee of Armenian and Turkish historians that puts under suspicion the fact of the Armenian genocide.
2. Not to let the government make concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue settlement
3. To restore the previous format of the negotiations, where in accordance with the status set by the OSCE Budapest summit Nagorno-Karabakh was a full side of the negotiations.
4. To set free all the political prisoners and the enterprisers, which are victims of tax terror.
5. To set an independent international commission to study the March 1 issue, to restore the activities of the fact-finding group including in it international experts.
6. To reveal and to punish the March 1 wrongdoers
7. To reform the electoral system radically, in particular, to eliminate the electoral commission composed of numerous parties and to put the responsibility of holding the election on the Police and Minister of Justice. To use the practice of fingerprints, in order to exclude any possibility of double voting.
8. To eliminate the economic monopolies and to bring into the tax field the major enterprises.
9. To implement the demands of the European Court and the PACE resolutions and to reopen the A1+ TV channel.
10. To stop the criminal practice of hindering the rallies, marches and protests.
11. To hold extraordinary parliamentary end presidential elections
12. To demand Serge Sargsyan's resignation.
This is the platform, around which, the Armenian National Congress is ready to cooperate with any political force. In other to prevent any misunderstanding, I would like to stress that the point is about unity around the political platform and not the Congress. It is superfluous to mention that this platform is a preliminary and working one, and in result of discussions with forced in interested in it, it may be changed. I think that the whole summer is enough for fulfilling the necessary work.
See you soon
From Ankara To Dresden: Truth Vs. Point Of View When Diplomacy Is The Real Issue, By John Hughes ArmeniaNow editor
Baseless. Ignorant. Hateful.
Where are those three words when you need them?
Not in Washington, D.C.
Surely, not in Ankara, Turkey this April.
They were in Dresden Friday, rolling off the lips of my hero and president, Barack Obama, and the words were truthful and surgery sharp and divided sensible people from fools who think accepting history is one of life's options.
`To this day, there are those who insist that the Holocaust never happened -a denial of fact and truth that is baseless and ignorant and hateful,' Obama said. `This place is the ultimate rebuke to such thoughts, a reminder of our duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history.'
Substitute `Holocaust' with `Armenian Genocide', and the language would belong to the man I still believe him to be, rather than the one who has replaced a ! with a ? in the estimation of many Armenian Americans and some of us who are convincingly more the latter than the former.
I'm struck at his use of the words `our history'.
Who owns the franchise on the bit of history that was shaped in the 1915-18 Ottoman Empire? To this day, the Turks, that's who. They are the ones who get to manipulate it into revisionist history that eliminates ownership. `We didn't do it, the war did.'
Is anybody's family less dead depending on the language that is used to describe why hate killed them? Does the Jewish burden weigh heavier than the Armenian? No, the Holocaust burden enjoys shared suffering because it is `our history'.
And whether from Hrazdan or Harvard, who doesn't seen the hypocrisy of the world leader laying flowers in Dresden, but wilting from the obligation of truth in Ankara?
Why could my president bow his head in Dresden for the Holocaust, but not straighten his back in Ankara and use the word `genocide' to answer a reporter's question about the `atrocities' of early-20th century Turkey?
For those of you tuning in late: On April 6, Obama visited Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara and during a press conference was asked whether he would use the `g-word' in his April 24 address on Remembrance Day.
"I want to focus not on my views right now, but on the views of the Turkish and Armenian people. If they can move forward... the entire world should encourage them," the president said.
It was brilliant diplomacy. He at least implied that he knew the truth, even though he wasn't going to say it. Perhaps that's a start, considering that this president - who has supported Armenian Genocide recognition - still has more than three years on his tenure.
Still, thinking of the president's word in Dresden, `ignorant': Is it worse to deny that evil happened, or to know that it did and not say so, for sake of diplomatic expediency?
I really wish my president would have stopped short of saying this in Dresden: `This place is the ultimate rebuke to such thoughts, a reminder of our duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history.'
What's the difference between telling a lie, and not shouting the truth when empowered to do so?
Apparently it is the difference between `our history' and `my views right now'.
How Do We Affect The Image Of Armenians In Our Communities By Kay Mouradian, Edd
Humor and suffering are often two sides of the same coin and successful comedians understand that nugget of truth and utilize humor to lighten suffering. Shock jock Bill Handel of KFI and his cohorts in their unattractive attempt to be humorous about reducing the U.S. population to save the government money proposed to clean out Glendale and its Armenian population with a racist comment, "What the Turks started, Bill will finish." what Hitler started!" We all know that would never happen, because Jews all over the world would react furiously, call Handel anti-semetic and become successful in having him fired immediately. Then the question becomes why would Bill Handel never think about such an antipathetic statement about the Jews? More than likely it's because he's been educated to understand the magnitude of suffering from the Jewish Holocaust. And why does he have such a lack of awareness about the Armenian Genocide and the depth of cruelty and suffering imposed upon the Ottoman Armenians? How many books about the Armenian Genocide are in print in comparison to the more than 50,000 books written about the Jewish Holocaust? What does this say about our community, our writers, and the images we would like to portray? And how do you personally affect the image of Armenians in our community? How many of you reacted with potency to the outrageous rant of Bill Handel? How many of you reacted to KCET on April 24 when our most popular public television station did not show any Armenian genocide documentaries?
What I see is apathy from our community and I feel that education is the key to promoting understanding. If we expect non-Armenians to care about us they need to understand where we came from, the effects of the Armenian genocide on the Diaspora, how difficult it was for our people to leave their homeland, in some cases two homelands, and give up their livelihoods to start all over again in a foreign country. I applaud those who survived, I applaud those who came to America with nothing, worked hard and educated their children, and I applaud those who tell our story to those who do not know and through those stories project the dignity of truth. It is our responsibility to history.
Kay Mouradian, EdD is author of A GIFT IN THE SUNLIGHT: An Armenian Story
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