- Quality Of Life And Will, Hakob Badalyan Lragir.Am
- Acnis Director Richard Giragosian Comments On US President Obama’s Moscow Summit
- Stop Jerking Us Around, AGOS
- Jews Plotted Armenian Holocaust! Brother Nathanael Kapner - Real Jew News (SM)
- History Of Establishment Of Armenian And Turkish Theaters In Ottoman Empire, Anna Aleksanyan - Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute, Researcher
- Call For Courage: Urge His Congress To Do The Right Thing, Peter Balakian
- Letter Home: Diaspora Discovers Armenia & Armenianness, Elizabeth Gemdjian
- Armenia Revisited: Second Look At Country’s Heritage, Tom Vartabedian
- Making Bit Of History At www.hurriyetdailynews.com , David Judson
- What Do Gulenists Want To Accomplish ? İlhan Tanır
- Iranian Lobbying Failed, Jonathan Spyer
- Discrediting Denial In Ankara, ArmenianReporter
- Customer Is King, Armand Sammelian
- What Is Going On With Our Neighbor? , Özlem Türköne
- The G8: Make It 13, Oliver Stünkel
- What Keeps ‘Sèvres Syndrome’ Alive And Kicking?, Şahin Alpay
- Role Of Diaspora On Ankara-Yerevan Rapprochement, Hürriyet
- Example For Reediting Of Memory In Memoir Genre: Fethiye Cetin And “My Grandmother”, GenocideReality
- Armenia Country Of Contradictions, GenocideReality
- Armenian Threat and Relocation, Turkkaya Ataov
- Russian General and Armenians!, Rahmi Turan
- Engagement, Marriage, Or PACS?, Burak Bekdil
- ’Most Beautiful Justice Ever Occurred In This Country’ For Hrant... , Cengiz Çandar
- Mexico’s Ambassador To Us Acknowledges "1915 Genocide", Appo Jabarian
- Turkish Tale, Robert Manne, Gallipoli and Armenian Genocide
- Armenian Genocide: How To Sell It, Avedis Kevorkian
- The Reality And The Illusion, Yavuz Baydar
Quality Of Life And Will By Hakob Badalyan - Lragir.Am
Serge Sargsyan states that the axis question of the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations is the one on its status. Ilham Aliyev states that there is no question on the Karabakhi status in the negotiations and it there were such one, the process would not continue. Whom to believe- Serge Sargsyan or Ilham Aliyev? None of them presents a clear argument or a proof, which may prove that any of them is right. Maybe we have to imagine the question the way Ilham Aliyev and Serge Sargsyan represent it. Any of them states what they want in order not to have any problem with their societies. Nevertheless, something is being discussed in the negotiation process. Consequently, regardless everything, either Serge Sargsyan or Ilham Aliyev is close to the truth. It is hard to imagine that the two presidents, the two foreign ministers, the three Co-Chairs, Anjey Kasprshik gather in the negotiating room and do not discuss anything but gossip about everything in general.
But, on the other hand, there is nothing to imagine. The monotone statements relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue settlement managed to become boring. It would be better for them not to say anything at all. If all this is done to assure the societies that they are working to settle the question, so the settlers may stay calm as the societies believe them, let them go on doing their job. In the opposite case, the society instead of being informed becomes overweighed from this situation.
If nothing concrete is going to be said, if no negotiation document is going to be presented, if the topic of the negotiations is not going to be revealed officially, the rest is just superfluous. The past 5-6 years prove this, when the situations relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue settlement is like a deja-vu. No one blames the sides of the conflict that they do not manage to settle the question. It is of course a hard one. And it is even harder to settle the question, which was solved 15 years ago. Just, they have to be asked to settle the question a little quietly. In other words, let them keep not solving the issue, but let them do it without additional noise and fuss. But the reason for all this fuss is also understandable. The presidents of the conflict sides will have the opportunity to find excuses stating that they are engaged in important issues and cannot pay attention to the home small issues, when the societies will voice their complaints.
This is probably, the process of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The so-called process, as the real one is happening despite the will of anyone. This is the life, the quality of which expresses the will of anyone who wants to settle the issue.
Acnis Director Richard Giragosian Comments On Us President Obama’s Moscow Summit
(7 July 2009, Yerevan) — Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) Director Richard Giragosian issued a statement today commenting on US President Barack Obama’s two-day summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow:
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev concluded an important new arms control agreement that will reduce the two countries’ nuclear arsenals by as much as one-third, as part of an update to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction treaty (START). In addition, the two leaders also signed agreements on resuming military-to-military cooperation, restoring efforts to combat nuclear proliferation and regarding Russian permission for US military forces to transit Russian territory and airspace to conduct operations in Afghanistan.
Although the Moscow summit resulted in an important new improvement in US-Russian relations, the two leaders need to be reminded of several further imperatives. More specifically, the US and Russian leaders need to devote greater attention to the need for cooperation in forging security and stability in the South Caucasus. Within this context, there are five essential points for their consideration:
1. Arms Control for the South Caucasus: There has been a dangerous “arms race” underway in the South Caucasus for the past several years, as Azerbaijan has steadily increased defense spending. Most notably, Azerbaijan has increased its defense budget from $175 million in 2004 to almost $2.5 billion for 2009. Even more troubling is the aggressive and militant rhetoric by Azerbaijani officials, threatening to launch a new war against Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh. In order to counter this Azerbaijani threat to regional security and stability, there is a need for a new “arms control” agreement for the South Caucasus, with the US and Russia cooperating to prevent and persuade Azerbaijan from acting on its threats of war;
2. Russia Needs to Recognize Armenia’s Strategic Value: Russia needs to recognize the fact that Armenia is the only reliable ally for Moscow in the region and needs to treat Armenia with respect. Moreover, Russian policy toward Armenia should no longer treat Armenia as a “vassal” state, rather than as a strategic ally, and it must not prevent Armenia from exercising its own sovereignty and independence, including deepening ties with the European Union (EU) and NATO, if it so desires;
3. There Are No Shortcuts to Democracy: Both the United States and Russia seek stability in the South Caucasus. But neither country has demanded enough from the Armenian authorities. Both Moscow and Washington need to send a strong message to Yerevan calling on the Armenian government to sincerely and seriously resolve the country’s ongoing political crisis by inviting a new international inquiry into the tragic events of March 2008, which left at least ten people dead and wounded many more, and take steps to overcome the polarization of Armenian society. The Armenian authorities must also be reminded that they must now learn to govern – and not just rule -- the country and must be called upon to satisfy mounting demands for change and expectations of reform;
4. The Need for a New Approach Toward Nagorno Karabagh: If the US and Russia sincerely seek to resolve the Nagorno Karabagh conflict, they must adopt a new approach that includes recognizing Nagorno Karabagh as an equal party to the conflict and engaging the democratically-elected leaders of Karabagh as full participants in the peace talks. Only with the participation of Nagorno Karabagh can the US and Russia hope to achieve any meaningful progress in mediating the last “frozen” conflict in the region;
5. Time to Pressure Turkey: Although there is a real opportunity for a significant improvement in Turkish-Armenian relations, both Washington and Moscow should recognize that the burden for such a breakthrough now rests solely with Turkey and reaffirm the reality that the issue has no direct link to the Karabagh conflict. It is also clear that Turkey needs to take the next step by opening its closed border with Armenia and establishing diplomatic relations and must, like Armenia, impose no preconditions for such a move. Lastly, the US and Russia must not mistakenly praise Turkey for opening the border and extending diplomatic relations with Armenia; such a move is not a concession to Armenia but is merely the basic behavior of civilized countries and the minimum expectation of normal relations between neighbors.
The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia. As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs. Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.
Stop Jerking Us Around, AGOS
It has been two and a half years since the murder of Hrant Dink, the founder of our newspaper. The 10th hearing of the trial will be held on 6 July, Monday. We have reached a point where the ‘deep’ will preventing the exposure of the powers behind the murder has managed to block the legal process of the trial. It has proven impossible to bring the officials who were responsible for the murder or who acted negligently in the process leading up to it to stand before the court. If, as claimed, the culprits were only Samast, Hayal, Tuncel and their friends, then the case should have ended long ago. However, it is clear that, fearing the reaction of the public, the court prefers to extend the case and stretch out the process. This blockage can only be overcome if the court and the state fulfill their duty and make the necessary effort to find those responsible.
Charges have not been brought against any of the public officials who were shown, in the reports of the Prime Ministry Inspection Board or civil inspectors, to be responsible and negligent. Ramazan Akyürek, the Trabzon Chief Constable at the time of the murder, was promoted to the Head of the Intelligence Department, making it impossible to illuminate the dark areas of the case. Police officer Muhittin Zenit, who was aware of all the details of the murder during the telephone call he made with Erhan Tuncel half an hour after the assassination, was promoted to a position under Akyürek. The questioning of Colonel Ali Öz was delayed until 18 months after the murder, by which point the Colonel said he couldn’t remember many details. Celalettin Cerrah, Istanbul Chief of Police and head of all the officials of the Istanbul Police who, according to the report of the civil inspectors, “shared responsibility in the murder from the lowest to the highest level,” was appointed Mayor of Osmaniye.
Ahmet Wlhan Güler, Istanbul Police Intelligence Department Head, escaped examination on appeal even though civil inspectors had originally issued permission for him to be examined. He, too, was appointed to a different post. Ali Fuat YXlmazer, Trabzon Police C Branch Director, against whom the Prime Ministry Inspection Board report demanded a prior review, was appointed Istanbul Police Intelligence Branch Head. MIT (National Intelligence Organization) officer Ö.Y., allegedly among those who threatened Dink at a meeting at the Istanbul Governorship, was appointed to Wzmir and promoted. At every turn, the requests of lawyers regarding these individuals were refused by the court or rendered inconclusive because of the officials efforts to cover up the event.
The case drags on and on, but in fact, until necessary action is taken to expose the powers behind those currently accused (currently accused are Ogün Samast, Yasin Hayal, Erhan Tuncel, Ahmet Wskender, Ersin Yolcu and their friends), the case effectively has not started. This will only extend the psychological torture that we and especially the Dink family—who were subjected to racist attacks by the accused and their lawyers throughout the hearings—have already suffered.
To have our consciences held captive like this, to be kept waiting this way, is unbearable for us. Our hearts cannot take it. We have had enough. We can wait no longer.
AGOS Weekly Turkish Armenian Newspaper
www.agos.com.tr email: email@example.com
Jews Plotted The Armenian Holocaust! By Brother Nathanael Kapner - Real Jew News (SM)
BUSINESS AS USUAL is a powerful motivating force especially when Jews like the Rothschilds are running an oil business. Banking is the forte of the Jewish House of Rothschild. But raw materials–especially oil–are money in the bank.
The Young Turk movement, AKA Committee of Union and Progress, arose out of the Rothschilds’ oil interests in the Black Sea area of the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s. ‘Creating stability’ in an incendiary realm was necessary for the Rothschilds’ new oil enterprise Baku Oil. The instability of the Armenian Christians’ financial and intellectual prominence in the area was not “good for business.”
Thus hand-picked Jews of Salonika, (Jews made up the majority of the city’s population), and foreign agitators such as the Russian Zionist, Vladimir Jabotinksy, the editor of The Young Turk newspaper, were just what the Rothschilds needed for ridding the source of that instability, the Armenian Christians.
Now, the Zionist Young Turks who sought for the break up of the Ottoman Empire in order to obtain Palestine– and the House of Rothschild, who needed a Jewish-controlled Turkey and hegemony over the entire Middle East, could work together. This meant funding for the Jewish Young Turks and revolutionary subversives for the Rothschilds.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE JEWISH YOUNG TURKS
1680: Sabbatai Zvi, a Turkish Jew, proclaims himself to be the Jewish Messiah in Salonica. After amassing a following of thousands of Jews - he led them on a Zionist exodus to Palestine. On the way he decided to become a Muslim. Many of his followers saw this as God’s plan and also became Muslims.
1716: A group called the “Donmeh” forms in Salonica of Sabbatai Zvi’s followers headed by Sabbatai Zvi’s successor, Baruchya Russo. By the early 1900’s, the Donmeh numbers in the hundreds of thousands. They were known as “Crypto Jews” because though outwardly appearing to be Muslims, they were still Jews following the customs of the Jewish occult Kabbala which Sabbatai Zvi taught. They continue in their fervent, (yet secret), Zionist vision.
1860: Jewish Hungarian Zionist named Arminius Vambery becomes an advisor to the Sultan Abdül Mecit while secretly working as an agent for Lord Palmerston of the British Foreign Office. Vambery tries to broker a deal between the Zionist leader Theodore Herzl and Sultan Abdul Mecit over the creation of Israel but fails.
1891: Out of the Donmeh a Zionist political group forms called The Committee of Union and Progress, later called The Young Turks. The group is headed by a Freemason Jew by the name of Emmanuel Carraso who organizes the secret Committee of Union and Progress in Geneva with the help of the Rothschilds.
1895-1896: Sephardic Jews of Salonika together with the Turks massacre Armenian Christians in Istanbul.
1902 & 1907: Two Congresses of The Young Turks meet in Paris to plan, prepare, and effect the penetration the Sultan’s army leading to the military coup of 1908.
1908: The Jewish Young Turks revolt and force the Sultan Abdul Hamid II into submission.
1909: The Jewish Young Turks rape, torture, and slaughter over 100,000 Armenians in the city of Adana, also known as Cilicia.
1914: The Jews of The Young Turks create unrest, turmoil, and bolster the paid Serbian assassin, Gavrilo Princip, which leads to World War I.
1915: The Armenian Holocaust engineered by the ruling Jews of The Young Turks, leaves 1.5 million Armenian Christians starved, tortured, and murdered.
1918: Jew Mustafa Kemal ‘Attaturk’ ascends into leadership.
1920: Russian Jewish Bolsheviks supply Attaturk iwth 10 million gold roubles, 45,000 rifles, and 300 machine guns with ammunition.
1921: Attaturk occupies the Port of Batu in conjunction with the Russian Jewish Bolsheviks ceding it to the Bolsheviks five days later. The Rothschilds are delighted.
1922: Jewish Khemalists orchestrate the burning of Smyrna resulting in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of over 100,000 Armenian and Greek Christians left tortured, starved, raped, and dead.
The British Ambassador To The Ottoman Empire Sir Gerald Lowther’s Letter To Sir Charles Harding, May 29, 1910
— “Shortly after the revolution in July 1908, it soon became known that many of the Young Turks’ leading
members were Freemasons. It was noticed that Jews of all colours, native and foreign, were enthusiastic supporters
of the new dispensation, till, as many Turks expressed it, every Hebrew became a potential spy of the
Young Turks. Turks began to remark that the movement was rather a Jewish than a Turkish Revolution.” —
JEWISH MURDERERS KNOWN AS THE YOUNG TURKS
1. Emmanuel Carraso: B’nai B’rith Official of Italian origin. Grand Master of the Macedonia Ressurected Masonic Lodge in Salonika; Established the ’secret’ Committee of Union & Progress in Salonika in 1890.
2. Tallaat Pasha (1874-1921):
Thought to be a Turk but in reality a “Donmeh Jew.” Interior Minister of Turkey during World War I; Member of Carasso’s Masonic lodge and Grand Master of the Scottish Rite Masons in Turkey; Chief architect of the Armenian Holocaust and Director of Deportations. He wrote, “By continuing the deportation of the Armenians to their destinations during the intense cold we are ensuring their eternal rest.”
3. Djavid Bey: “Donmeh Jew.”
Talaat’s Finance Minister; Arranged the finances of revolution in Turkey with the Rothschilds; Later assasinated by Attaturk as a perceived rival.
4. Messim Russo: Assistant to Djavid Bey.
5. Refik Bey, AKA Refik Saydam Bey: Editor of Young Turk newpaper Revolutionary Press; Became Prime Minister of Turkey in 1939.
6. Emanuel Qrasow: Jewish propagandist for The Young Turks. Headed the delegation to inform Sultan Abdul Hamid II that “the nation has removed you from your office.”
7. Vladimir Jabotinsky: Russian Zionist who moved to Turkey in 1908. Supported by B’nai Brith of London and Dutch Zionist millionaire, Jacob Kann; Editor of Young Turk newpaper. Later started the terrorist Irgun political party in Israel.
8. Alexander Helphand, AKA Parvus: Financier/liaison of the Rothschilds of the Young Turk revolution; Editor of The Turkish Homeland.
9. Mustafa Kemal ‘Attaturk’ (1881-1938): A Jew of Sephardic (Spanish) origin. Attaturk attended the Jewish elementary school known as Semsi Effendi School run by the Jew Simon Zvi. Over 12,000 Jews welcomed to Turkey by Attaturk in 1933 when Hitler came to power.
JEW ABE FOXMAN OF THE ADL DENIES THE ARMENIAN HOLOCAUST
For many years, the Anti Defamation League and now its director, Abraham Foxman, refuse to acknowledge that the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 constituted genocide. Jews simply can’t stand to share their so-called “martyred-race” status with anyone else. And besides, Jews don’t like to have their crimes pointed out to them. If one does, he is instantly labelled an “Anti Semite!”
Foxman has reiterated the ADL’s opposition to formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian Holocaust calling a proposed Congressional resolution “a counterproductive diversion.” This position is inconsistent with the ADL’s mission statement “to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.”
But the Jew Abe Foxman and his racist ADL organization do not care about any other ethnic group but their own. And they will lie and suppress the historical facts (and all historical facts that incriminate the Jews) of the Armenian Holocaust and the role that the Jews played in it. Foxman and all Jews do this in order to perpetuate their image as “innocent victims.”
WE CANNOT ALLOW THE JEWS to get away with their suppression of historical facts that incriminate the Jews any longer. Abe Foxman and his racist Jewish friends love to see Revisionist Historians thrown in jail for questioning particulars of the Jewish Holocaust in Germany.
But it is Foxman and the rest of the Jewish censors who should be thrown in jail for denying the Armenian Holocaust! Why do Jews abide by a double standard constantly? Aren’t we all sick of it and all these Jews for that matter by now?
I, for one, Brother Nathanael Kapner, a former Jew and now an Orthodox Christian, will do all in my power to expose the Jews. For the Jews are *not* innocent victims of persecution against them but have *prompted* backlashes against them throughout their “wandering-among-the-nations” history.
The Jews in fact are the most fierce perpetrators of racist crimes the world has ever known. And the Armenian
Holocaust of which the Jews are responsible is a clear example of their Jewish racist crimes.
Jack Manuelian, The Founding Fathers of Modern Turkey
Times of London, The Armenian Massacres
Joseph Brewda, Young Turks To Control Middle East
Christopher Jon Bjerknes, Jewish Racism Documents, Photos, History of Armenian Massacre By The Young Turks
Jacob M Landau, The Zionist Jews who founded the idea of Turkish Nationalism; National Geographic Magazine, September 1916 issue, Saloniki; Yair Auron, The Banality Of Indifference: Zionism & the Armenian Genocide
Richard Davey, The Sultan and his Subjects; Arnold S. Leese, The Real Jew-A Lesson From Turkey; Grant Richards, The Cause of The World’s Unrest; Dr. H. Stuermer, Two War Years in Constantinople; Andrew Mango, Attaturk; Clifford Shack, The Armenian & Jewish Genocide Project that Eliminated the Ethnic Conflict; Joseph Hantman,The Turkish-Israeli Connection and Its Jewish Roots; Hillel Halkin, Attaturk’s Turkey Overturned; Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope
The History Of The Establishment Of Armenian And Turkish Theaters In The Ottoman Empire
On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Theater By Anna Aleksanyan - Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute, Researcher
Historic evidence shows the establishment and the first 50 years of the development of the Turkish theater are strongly connected with the activity of Ottoman Armenians. The proof is that Armenians and Greeks were the first to bring any innovations from Europe to the Ottoman Empire. The 1850s are considered for Ottoman Armenians as the period of cultural revival. Armenian schools, publishing and media, sciences and literatures all experienced an awakening following the innovation and modernization in the important centers of the Armenian culture, such as Constantinople and Smyrna.
At the same time, numerous young Armenians graduated from the famous European universities. They imported many new ideas and innovations from Europe. Among these innovations, was theater; Armenian welcomed it with great enthusiasm, especially by Armenians from Constantinople.
In 1859, in Bera, a district of Constantinople, Mr. Srapion Hekimian performed plays in the Armenian colleges and within a short time; he transferred the theater department from the collage halls to professional scene, establishing the first Western Armenian professional theater, known as the “Eastern Theater.” Although the “Eastern Theater” did not survive long, it managed to earn great achievements. The best Ottoman Armenian actors, such as Ekshian, Fasouliajian, Mnakian, Penklian, Triants, Ajemian, Arousyak, etc. appeared as professional actors in this theater.
Hakob Vardovian was also among those, who appeared in a few performances of Hekimian’s “Eastern Theater” as an amateur actor. Although he was not very talented, he later became the founder and promoter for Ottoman Turkish Theater. After the “Eastern Theater” closed down, Vardovian, along with a few young Armenian actors, organized a group who rented out Kedik Pasha’s circus and turned it into a theater in 1867. In a short span, Vardovian’s theater gained a great fame. And organizing mobile performances in the suburbs of Constantinople such as Skyutar (Uskudar), Gatygyukh (Kadikoy), Bera he managed to attract the attention and appreciation of people of Constantinople.
No one had tried to present plays in Turkish before the establishment of Vardovian’s “Ottoman Theater.” In 1869 he brought to stage the play “Caesar Borcia” in Turkish for the first time, at the Kedik Pasha Theater
There were two important reasons why he did so: first, the acting troupe would appear with the financial support of Turkish authorities; second, it would make a connection between the Turkish audience and theater, which in turn could guarantee an additional source for quick income. His two expectations came true and only Vardovian’s theater received a permission in Constantinople to be named as the “Ottoman Theater”. This achievement lasted for about 10 years during the theater’s existence. Vardovian’s theater performances always enjoyed a sold out hall which enabled him to grant high honorariums to his actors.
“Ottoman Theater” experienced such great success in the 1870s that it was able to compete with the best European theaters of that time. In 1876 when the late British Prime Minister Salisbury visited Constantinople on a special diplomatic mission, Vardovian’s acting troupe were presenting three plays at the Kedik Pasha’s Theater. Imperial nobilities and the British diplomat, along with his companions were present at all these three performances, indicating the important role this theater played in the capital city of the Ottoman Empire.
However, the “Vardovian Acting Troupe” of the newly renamed “Ottoman Theater” was dissolved after Sultan Abdul Hamid ordered the theater razed within a day. The reason for the destruction was based in Ahmet Midhadi’s “Cherkez Eozdens” play, which had caused great unrest among Sultan’s Cherkez bodyguards. To reestablish order and peace in the palace, Abdul Hamid simply ordered the theater demolished and promptly dissolved the acting troupe.
The improvements of the Turkish classic dramaturgy coincided with the activities of the “Ottoman Theater” established by the efforts of Vardovian. In other words, in the primary establishment stages, the translations of plays were presented. Later, Vardovian demanded and encouraged new plays from Turkish writers who began to write plays for this theater. In a short time, the number of plays increased to 100. Among these were all the works of the Turkish classic writers of the time such as Namek Kemal’s “Vatan or Silistra”, “The Poor Child”, Akef Bey’s “Gyulnihar”, Ahmet Midhad’s “Cherkez Eozdens”, Shemseddin Sami’s “Besa”, Abdul Hak Hamid’s “The Indian Woman”, Abu Zia Tefik’s “The Accidental Death”, Rijaizadeh Ekrami’s “Vusluat”, Manastrel Mehmet Rifati’s works, more than 20 transformations and a series of unique works by Hassan Bedreddin, a few of Ahmet Vefik Pasha’s translations of Moliere, Ali Heydar Bey’s “Arsas” and other works.
Rudolf Talaso, who was a contemporary to Vardovian and wrote the history of Turkish theater, considers the 10-year activities of the “Ottoman Theater” as its heyday. Ahmet Fehim (1856-1930) was the first Turkish actor and has been considered one of the most outstanding faces of Turkish drama for 50 years, both as an actor and as a director and also as the head of the actors group. He took his first stage efforts in 1876 in Hakob Vardovian’s “Ottoman Theater.” His first teacher was Tovmas Fasoulajian. After the Vardovian’s theater was dissolved, Fehim went to Bursa along with Fasoulajian and continued his career as an actor among Armenian art lovers. In his diaries, he later evaluates the role and mission of Vardovian’s theater as very high, considering it the first Turkish professional theater.
Metin And, another historian of Turkish theater, referring to Vardovian’s theater, notes that Vardovian had established such quality professional theater, that nothing comparable in terms of professionalism was made even after the reestablishment of the Ottoman Constitution.
Therefore, Armenians played a tremendous role in the establishment and improvement of the Turkish theater and drama. This fact has been evaluated by Foreign, Armenian and Turkish theatre critics alike as well as historians.
Loussapatz - The Dawn, Canada
Call For Courage: Noted Son Of Armenia And America Urges His Congress To Do The Right Thing, Peter Balakian , ArmeniaNow
The Armenian Genocide continues to hover over international politics 94 years later. Its ethical force in memory haunts not only the legacy of the perpetrator, Turkey, but the legacy of the victims, the Armenian people and the Diaspora.
The political intensity surrounding U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide surfaced this past April in President Obama's engagement with the issue. Having promised as a presidential candidate to acknowledge as genocide the events that befell the Armenians of Ottoman Turkey in 1915, on visiting Turkey he stopped short of using the word "genocide" but spoke powerfully to the Turkish Parliament about the importance of acknowledging dark chapters of one's past.
"History is often tragic but, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future. I know there are strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. While there has been a good deal of commentary about my views the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open, and constructive."
THE 'G' WORD
To get a sense of how seriously the president acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, albeit by syllogism, one need only note what he said on the campaign trail in September 2008: "As a U.S. senator, I have stood with the Armenian-American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide." In April, 2008, he said: "It is imperative that we recognize the horrific acts carried out against the Armenian people as genocide, and I will continue to stand with the Armenian-American community in calling for the government of Turkey to acknowledge it as such."
However, what ensued between the April 6 visit to Turkey and the April 24 address was some secret diplomacy, brokered--some believe coercively--by Turkey with Armenia to create a "road map" to normalizing relations between the two countries. This new diplomacy involves Armenia agreeing to Turkey's persistent request that there be a historical commission to "decide" what happened to the Armenians in 1915. To many, and especially those in the human-rights community, this is an obvious gimmick, by which Turkey hopes to cast doubt on the scholarly consensus about the events of 1915 for the purpose of continuing to deny its responsibility for the genocide.
OWNING UP TO THE PAST
The irony spills into absurdity. The Turkish government spends millions of dollars a year on PR firms and lobbyists in a campaign to rewrite the history of the Armenian extermination. Turkey's courts have prosecuted writers and intellectuals who acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, most notably Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, who not only stood trial for it but has been a target of death threats. Most tragically, the assassination of Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 made it clear that dealing openly with the Armenian Genocide in Turkey was dangerous business.
Turkey has shown no inclination to own up to the truth of its past. In 2004, it agreed to be part of a Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission, but after the arbitrator, the International Center for Transitional Justice, rendered an assessment that the events of 1915 were genocide, the Turkish government angrily pulled out of the commission.
Would we allow Iranian President Ahmadinejad's (anti-Semitic) government to be part of a commission on the Holocaust? When countries such as France, Canada, Poland, Greece, Russia, and 15 others (as well as 41 U.S. states) passed resolutions affirming the Armenian Genocide over the past decades, they were not attempting to determine history, but rather to affirm an existing historical record and, in large part, to redress Turkey's continued aggressive denial campaign.
While Congress once again entertains an Armenian Genocide resolution, many genocide scholars and the human-rights community hope it will have the courage to stand up to Turkish pressure. Turkish historian Taner Akcam has said U.S. acknowledgment of the genocide would give the United States "self-respect" in this arena, and "It would liberate Turks, Armenians, and itself in the process."
It is important that we not confuse the exigencies of diplomacy with the need to stand firm about the moral reality of genocide and reject any nation's attempts to cover up a genocidal crime. The history of genocide is not a poker chip. While Armenia and Turkey must of course look to the future and normalize relations so that the status of Nagorno Karabagh and other political and economic issues can be resolved, Armenia's President Sarksyan has stated that the road to the future of Turkish-Armenian relations should not be brokered with preconditions.
If Turkey believes in its future leadership in the region, then it must, in President Obama's words, reckon with its past. Speaking as he did on Turkish soil, Obama has already done some important work in helping Turkey understand why acknowledging its past will only aid its future.
The acknowledgement of the genocide that became a template for Hitler is not just a Turkish-Armenian affair, but a universal moral issue: The world's most powerful country can summon the courage to help resolve it with a congressional resolution in the coming year.
Peter Balakian holds the Rebar Chair in the Humanities at Colgate University and is the co-translator of the recently published "American Golgotha; A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918" by Grigoris Balakian (Knopf), as well as the New York Times best selling `The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response' winner of the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize. He is also author of best selling memoir `Black Dog of Fate'. This commentary originally appeared in the Free-Lance Star, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Letter Home: Diaspora discovers Armenia and Armenianness, Elizabeth Gemdjian, Armenian Assembly of America intern, ArmeniaNow
My time in Armenia has reached three weeks, and my initiation into Yerevan life seems to be on track. Sure, I have gotten lost, taken the wrong marshutka or bus a couple of times, paid too much at a market, and almost been hit by cars while crossing the street more times than I can count. But I have also given and followed directions correctly, eaten some of the best shaurma and freshest fruit I've ever had, experienced some great cultural events, and learned about the history of the city and Armenia as a whole.
And while I am still self-conscious and hesitant to expose myself to criticism when speaking Armenian or interacting with locals, I have been pleasantly surprised by the encouragement and patience I have received from some.
There's a reason why first impressions are often challenged later, and while mine have been useful in destabilizing my expectations of Armenia and forcing me to look more realistically at what my time here is about, I have since been pleasantly surprised to find many more doors open to me than I had initially thought. If not wide open, then at least not barred and locked. It just means I have to push a little to get through the doorway.
Recently, I saw a musical comedy, The Aunt from Paris by T. Brandon, at the Hovhannes Toumanian Puppet Theatre. I expected to laugh, of course, but I was caught off guard by the types and tone of jokes that I encountered there.
Although I missed some of the more subtle humor and innuendo because of my Armenia language ability, I definitely understood one of the main comedic themes of the play: parodying the pretensions of Diaspora Armenians and the condescending manner of `Hayastanzis' toward diasporan visitors. These jokes received some of the loudest applause and heartiest laughs, but they also demonstrated an awareness of the often-tense relationship between local and visiting Armenians.
By having a local Armenian portray the diasporan `Aunt from Paris' character, the play offered a glimpse of popular conceptions of the mentality, behavior, and social status of diasporans in the eyes of Armenian locals, and in order to make it believable, the aunt had to speak Western Armenian, be wealthy and stylish, and feel compelled to diagnose the problems facing Armenia's growth and development. I do not mean to take a caricature too seriously, but the play helped me to better understand the reasons for my less-than-warm reception in Yerevan. And it also made me want to look past my first impressions.
Just as I did not want locals to see me as an `Aunt from Paris,' who has barged into this country to take without giving, diagnose without knowing, and disparage instead of being open and understanding, locals probably do not want to be characterized as cold, unwelcoming, and resentful.
While the opportunities available to many diasporan Armenians may seem appealing to locals, diasporans long to see `the homeland' and experience life in Armenia first hand. Stereotypes and caricatures often have a basis in reality, but it's time to stop basing our relationships on such factors and start looking deeper in order to find ways to overcome barriers and work with instead of against each other. A play like The Aunt from Paris uses laughter to raise these issues, but after the curtain falls, it is up to the audience to examine the role that their conduct and assumptions have in perpetuating such stereotypes.
Armenia Revisited: Second Look At Country’s Heritage, Tom Vartabedian, Asbarez
As with any country that dates back to antiquity, one good visit deserves another, especially when it comes to retracing my roots and exploring the land of my ancestors.
That’s how I felt in April with my second visit to Armenia–a pilgrimage that took me to remote villages where people lived off the sweat of the earth and historic sites that were far removed from the ordinary tourist.
In essence, I saw the real Armenia, a country still struggling with liberation 18 years after segregating from the Soviet Union and an economic structure that is far from being substantial. Jobs continue to remain at a premium in the major cities, compounded by the absence of technology.
Twenty miles outside the capital city of Yerevan, people were herding sheep and harvesting an abundant crop to survive. Bad as it was in some villages, children were well maintained and educated, the population remained buoyant, and generations kept the spirit of their ancestry locked inside their hearts.
In 2006, with a tour group from my church, we joined a celebration marking the 15th anniversary of Armenian Independence in Republic Square that pulled no stops when it came to showcasing the nation’s military and memorializing those who fought and died for freedom. A crowd estimated at 100,000 took part in that observance.
We saw the traditional sites, made the customary stops, and the cohesion with a group certainly proved memorable. We still rekindle the joy.
On this occasion, the trip was made with one other (Joe Dagdigian) who made Armenia his second home when he and his wife Lisa purchased an apartment in the capital city. Dagdigian was partially raised in Haverhill and now makes Harvard (MA) his residence.
The itinerary took us across the land to Nagorno-Karabagh some 225 miles from the mainland, crossing one village after another and exploring churches and monasteries along the route with a help of a hired driver.
With a roadmap, compass and GPS at our disposal, we spent three weeks exploring the sites — in most cases letting fate become our guide.
Among the highlights and observations:
Joining a crowd estimated a 1 million for the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24th at the memorial in Yerevan.
Touring the music institute at Gyumri and seeing young talent unfold in an area that was rocked by an earthquake in 1988 that claimed thousands of lives.
Visiting an orphanage called Zatig where children were well nurtured. Upon seeing a camera, they wanted to be photographed — perhaps for adoption.
The hospitality offered by strangers in desolate places, including an abandoned church which lay in ruins that dates back a thousand years.
Some of the best and healthiest food on the planet. Obesity is not a factor in Armenia like it is here. Only one fast-food restaurant has gained entry into Yerevan– a Kentucky Fried Chicken. But a good cup of American coffee was nowhere to be found.
Of course, the rate of exchange with the American dollar being worth nearly four times its amount. Because it was so inexpensive, you wound up spending more for gifts and restaurant fares, not to mention charitable handouts.
The number of repatriates we encountered– those who left their native lands to settle in Armenia for reasons of heritage and culture.
The ability to exercise a foreign language with people of your own kind — a language that dates back to the fifth century and still active today, despite its dialects.
As with any visit to a Third World country, we returned all the better for the experience, anxious to share our pictures and stories, inheriting a deep respect for the fatherland but at the same time, showing our gratitude for America.
It was good to return home.
Making A Bit Of History At www.hurriyetdailynews.com , David ,Judson Editor-In-Chief
Today, let me beg a little nostalgia for the tools that once defined our trade: manual typewriters, pneumatic tubes to send "copy" to linotype operators, and a device called a "scanograph" that would etch photographs onto press-ready plates.
When I talk of "hot metal," most at the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review think I’m referring to music played by the band of Taylan Bilgiç, our business editor. True, when I go over an evolving front page by phone with Nejat Başar, our news editor, or his deputy Suraj Sharma, we resort to the jargon of my youth. How many "decks" in the headline? But mostly this is a pale and improvised grammar compared with the argot of the departed "legman" and his "rewrite" colleague: "Open quote," "close quote," "slug it" and the final command, "-30-."
In a world where "bytes" have replaced "takes" as units of measurement, "UV" has replaced "circulation" and "ads" are now "banners." The language of our trade is that of İrem Köker, the managing editor/interactive who has been so busy in recent weeks. "Wait for Americans to wake up," or "Don't wait until the statement ends, publish it sentence by sentence." We must worry about "tagging our stories" and debate to find the best headline for "Google optimization," as well as "news judgment for the Web." This is all a way of introducing readers of the Daily News to the fact that as of Monday, the Internet will be a very different Web site. In addition to more news, the site will bring readers more of the tools now standard in the cyber version of our craft. That is to say blogs, and comment fora and aggregated links to like-minded media partners. And more features will be added as we move forward with the aim of serving our readers, every time they visit, a brand new publication as it evolves in its own cyber life.
What readers will not see, however, is a great deal of innovative technology backstage, technology that will make the minute-by-minute production of our Web site unique. Readers have also been spared the wrenching internal debate of recent months, the endless nights of design and redesign, the ongoing changes in job descriptions and the pain for young staffers with the slow education of an editor-in-chief. But from this crucible has emerged a new set of principles that govern the way we go about our business. The Internet transformation of the news business has produced great debate and agony in our industry internationally. This is particularly so in the United States where the collapse of the old business model, before the emergence of the new, has wrought havoc. Having sighted this technological tsunami while it remains at a distance we act in anticipation, not reaction. So it is worth a few lines here on how we are approaching this confluence of change in the way news is collected and disseminated, how our culture of journalism is adapting and how our implied contract with readers is expanding. For one, we have concluded that this is not an "either/or" proposition. We believe that given access to the two alternatives, most readers want both. Starting the day or finishing it, or setting aside a few hours on the weekend, the printed page is the preferred tool for thoughtful reading and understanding. Checking breaking news or market developments throughout the day, a computer screen, or increasingly a mobile phone, is the sensible tool. Most readers report they tend to blend the two. When you read an interesting movie review in the newspaper, you are likely to turn to a searchable database on the Internet to find a cinema. You might check online updates hourly on growing street violence in Tehran. But for the history and context of the overthrow of Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, words printed on paper remain the first choice.
So we will be trying to enable this compliment between the two media more effectively. Once we catch our breath from the ordeal of Web page redesign, for example, we are mulling wholesale changes in the Weekend newspaper Ğ the sector that readers tend to give the most of their time. New supplement projects are in the works. And we also believe we can improve the value proposition to advertisers with a more nuanced management of this newsprint-electronic duality.
But the most important principle I need to share here is the one that supports all I have described above: We have sought to reorganize our own thinking about the news business, our "mental map" if you will about our organization. Like most newspapers, we also fell prey to an industry conceptualization that was, "we are a newspaper, and yes, we have a subsidiary Web site." This is nostalgia. Now, we must be a "news organization that disseminates its work through a printed version and an electronic version." This strikes the outsider as a marginal nuance; it is not. For it is the former construct which has led to the practice of two separate teams, usually divided by age and temperament, as well as by technology and training, for the Web and newspaper.
This is now gone at the Daily News. Yes, there is specialization aplenty and there will be more as we move into planned exercises in multimedia reporting or the arcanery soof mething called "Twitter" that I still fail to understand. Henceforth, the editor who decides which artist profile will grace the top of the newspaper’s culture section will be the same person who establishes the priorities and placement within the culture pages on the Web. The inevitable news meeting debate we have with each development on the proposed "Nabucco" pipeline Ğ is this a business story or a diplomacy story? Ğ will decide where the story winds up in both print and electronic form. Inspiration has come from many directions. By day we have borrowed ideas from the likes of technologist Erhan Acar of our parent starship hurriyet.com.tr. In the dark of night, we have stolen ideas from the likes of Reha Erdoğan, the art director of our more conventional parent, the newspaper Hürriyet. The hero in much of the drama has been physicist-turned-Web guru Murat Bıyıklı, whose patience I have exhausted more than once.
But mostly it is a burden that has been borne, and will be borne, by the 50-odd reporters, page designers and editors who staff the Daily News. I marvel at the fact that on any given day I am likely to receive at least one solicitation from a university someplace or an industry association offering enrollment in a seminar on the process I have been describing. Usually it has a title like "Integrating the 21st Century Newsroom" or "Rubbing Your Hands in Digital Ink." The expensive promise is a roadmap to do what we have done. Despite this attention, I have yet to identify a newspaper anywhere in the world that has fully made this transition to a unitary team.
We didn’t attend a seminar. We didn’t hire an outside consultant. This is not to say there has not been plenty of bitching and moaning; we are journalists after all and complaint is in our DNA. In the face of this explosion of new tasks and redistribution of old ones, our young staff just did it. On most days, we report history in the making. On Monday, we will make a little history of our own. I hope you will take a look at what we have done. You’ll find nothing exuding nostalgia at the new www.hurriyetdailynews.com.
What Do The Gulenists Want To Accomplish ? İlhan Tanır(I)
The title question is being asked in about every circle in recent days: What really do the Gülenists want to accomplish? What is the ultimate goal? In Washington, D.C., recently a representative from the Gülen Institute, Alp Aslandogan, maybe for the first time tried to answer some of the questions from first hand, or from the best hand that can resonate with the American audience, as well as the suspicious minds towards the Gülenist movement. "The Gülen Movement" titled discussion was organized by an important American think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS. Bülent Alirıza, director of the CSIS's Turkey Project, ran the meeting.
Although I received an invitation for the discussion, I chose not to participate in the meeting. It was not because I did not care or that I am biased. On the contrary, it was because I did not expect to benefit from the presentation. Last time around, a year ago or so, I went to listen to the Gülen Movement's conference at Georgetown University, here in Washington, D.C. However, that experience was painfully boring. First of all, since I was part of the movement for a long time in the 90s while the movement was still very young, unknown and relatively in the making, I felt that listening to remarks on the movement that I was involved in on many levels, in another language, by the "outsiders" in Georgetown felt pretty wasteful. So in brief, I opted for reading that afternoon instead of listening and making sense of the politically correct, thoroughly vetted words that were going to be articulated about the movement.
But, I listened to Mr. Aslandogan's presentation attentively from the link that is provided by the CSIS website. The talk sounded relatively brave and forthright. Forthright does not necessarily mean open and honest all the way, but still Mr. Aslandogan's meticulous remarks gave some insights about the Gülen movement of today.
Let's not kid ourselves: Aslandogan and any other representative from the movement, in essence, cannot respond to some of the tough questions that come from outsiders. And this first of a kind conversation proved me right when it embodied many controversial premises, rather than answers. For example, the remarks that were given about the Gülen movement's relation with Turkish politics and the political parties exemplify some disturbing and problematic ideas about the notion of democracy that the movement values or appreciates. If this is a first signal that the movement wants to open up and talk more about the activities they do and their history or goals, and if we should take this meeting as a start of this kind, in the future, the movement will have to find not only methodically vetted and politically correct answers, but some tangible and satisfactory ones as well.
The Gülen movement attracted a lot of attention in recent years, both in and out of Turkey, and it is because the movement is just too big to ignore now. In the 80s and 90s, while vigorously working under the radar and in very humbled circumstances, seeing an article on Mr. Gülen, or anything related to the movement, was a notable event in the 'light houses' where the students of the movement stayed or the dormitories of the movement. Now, it seems, everybody feels compelled to talk about the movement and the commentaries are published in every kind of periodical, as predicted decades ago by its leader. Therefore, today, taking a picture of any significant episode or occurrence in Turkey without the possible effect of this movement seems incomplete to the majority of observers.
Actually, the CSIS meeting's realization is also a result of this "too big to ignore" status. This impressive presence must have pressured the movement to go out and explain themselves and dodge or be pre-emptive about the questions before they came their way. Even amid this simple pre-emptive act, one can see how orderly and strategically the movement thinks, progresses and takes guard if needed, and with that, the movement also displays why it is way ahead of the others. Though, the movement must recognize, if they are ready to go on this path, they have to be more sincere and responsive to the some real concerns and questions. Answering Bülent Aliriza's "ultimate goal" question for example, Aslandogan said, the movement enjoys a successful journey and there isn't necessarily a final destination. This journey analogy would be adequate for him, but certainly not for people out there that want to hear more specific answers on this end goal issue. The presentation still was stimulating in many ways. First off, Aslandogan showed that the movement is more at ease in terms of talking about many structural terms of the movement that while in the making were closed to the outsiders before. Aslandogan explained terms such as "hizmet," which is what you call the movement while you are within; "sohbet," which is the circle of people gathering for weekly conversations that are being organized among the neighborhoods or different vocational sectors, which were strictly underground gatherings for a long time; and "himmets," which are the fundraising gatherings among the students, businessmen and various sectors, such as teachers, doctors or engineers.
All those terms have been, for years, for only insiders to know and use. Only a few years ago, none of these terms could have been explicit parts of a conversation while talking to the outcast. Thus the movement, it shows, has decided to open up and talk about these history-making sacred terms now. There was even reference to "kestanepazari," which is also very revered to the members of the movement as the starting point for Mr. Gülen to shape the first pupils and today's most respected "abiler," or elders. However, there are other terms as well that have been used within the movement since the beginning and I am very curious to see how and when those terms will be explained to outsiders. For example, the term "tedbir," or being cautious, comes to my mind at first. There are many gaps that the movement is navigating through carefully and questions they are opting not to answer. However, it is not possible to go on this path and not answer some of the legitimate questions and concerns. I am certain that the movement has already planned the next move now. And it should not come by surprise if we see more of these vetted presentations in the future. I will go on with my questions on problematic premises of the presentation, the movement's relation with politics and some other aspects of the movement in my next columns.
* İlhan Tanır lives and works in Washington D.C. ilhantanir.blogspot.com
How do the Gulenists change the rules? (II)
In my last column I started to analyze the remarks that Alp Aslandogan, a board member of the Gülen Institute in the United States, made to a leading American think tank in Washington, D.C., about, and I believe on behalf of, the Gülen movement.
Although especially nowadays, one does not need to have a specific reason to talk and analyze the movement, because it is truly a phenomenon in Turkey and is becoming one in the world as well. The presentation was still an important opening up of the movement, which needs to be pondered upon carefully, diligently and if necessary, harshly. I will do so by trying to follow a path of constructive criticism, rather than a destructive one.
Today, in its glorious days, the movement is becoming increasingly unbounded against any criticism in a sense that it either appears not to care about the outsiders’ observations or, maybe most of the time, it takes any criticism that is being played out as a crusade by some grand coalition and conspiracy. Confusing the real world with the cosmic one, the movement sees itself many times as self-righteous and blessed in every occasion, and surrounded with miracles. Consequently, when hearing any criticism against its wishes and work, it equates suspicious inquirers either with iniquity or having ulterior motives. "Itaat," or obedience, therefore becomes the first and the most important characteristic of a "good" and "trusted" member. It can be safely said that any member who cannot prove his fealty to the elders, also cannot be trusted with handling sensible issues. Thus, it doesn’t matter whether one is an editor-in-chief of the movement’s newspaper or manages a few students in a humble "lighthouse," one has to have a deep understanding of obedience. This sense of commitment to the elders and taking their orders in a cultural setting without objection along the years leads to ill-fated personalities and docile followers. Living in such an environment for so long, many of these people simply become afraid to face the outside or are too weak to live in a real world.
Most of the time, the state of self-righteousness in the movement is so apparent that one can witness it in any discussion one engages with its members. Apart from the details, it is almost impossible to convince or make sense to the members on many issues, especially those that relate to the movement. Though this shouldn’t come as a surprise, because as we all know that as long as one believes that one is following the quasi-sacred decrees, the work one does must be also sacred and cannot be understood by outsiders. And amid this detachment, the movement justifies any conduct to achieve its ends at any cost. For instance, if passing school entry test questions to the movement’s pupils is a justifiable way to ride into any kind of school that is important to attend even it can be done for years, even if it means usurping the rights of other pupils. But again, others are just others.
Like many organizations, the Gülenist institutions too are very vulnerable to incompetence of their staff. The incompetence becomes especially evident among the people who run various organizations of the movement. Many of the relatively older generation elders within the movement, unless they are standing up and criticizing the superiors, would keep their jobs for a lifetime. And this kind of cronyism has been choking the efficiency of many of its institutions. The worst part is that we might be already or will be witnessing this incompetence in the ranks of different institutions of the Turkish State. Therefore, one of the worst scenarios is for the movement to weaken not only their own institutions, but amid this disease of cronyism and incompetence, some significant state institutions as well, at some point.
It is true that the schools of the movement are very successful. Whether in Turkey or abroad, these schools are very attractive and giving a better education than its peers, most of the time. Thus the question is: How is it possible to have this incompetence and mediocrity of the movement’s members on the one hand and this apparent success on the other? The answer is: This incompetence displays itself mostly in social sciences, not the hard sciences. In the field of the hard sciences Ğ chemistry, mathematics, etc. Ğ the pupils and alumni of the movement fare much better. However, when it comes to the sciences that require free thinking, debating and opposing, the movement’s institutions fare very poorly. One of the best examples of this naked truth is apparent in the media and TV arms of the movement. These arms have great cutting-edge technologies in form, but in substance they do not have even the courage to ask pertinent questions. They mostly look like a broken megaphone that keeps singing the same song. That does not mean that the song is bad, but singing the same song over again, makes it painful to listen.
Let me return to Aslandogan's remarks: I would argue that one of the most crucial U-turns his presentation showed was when he talked about the movement's relation in respect to Turkish politics. From now on, Aslandogan announced, the movement will side with a political party that is submissive to its demands. This U-turn erodes greatly the credibility of the movement, because the movement claimed its innocence and immunity from the political parties, thus the stormy conditions of the political life for decades, with this very premise of staying away from politics. For years, the movement vehemently opposed, protested or accused anyone who wanted to prove a link between the movement and politics. The movement claimed again during these years of growing that its members are free to vote for any political party they deem fit. But now, suddenly we hear that the rules of the game have changed. Now we are being told that the movement is becoming more involved with politics and it will not shy away to back up one party or another according to their behavior. I will come back to argue why the movement's change of attitude and visible support for any political party is not exactly the same as those religious groups of America. But for now, I would like to say that I am not sure how it is possible for the movement to assure the outsiders which stance of it is never-changing and which one is temporary.
So far it seems that the movement makes up rules as it goes along. The movement wants more tolerance and understanding from the outsiders, but it shies away from telling the whole story. Or maybe the movement, itself also doesn’t know the whole story. Instead, the movement is twisting and changing the rules once it has enough power to make and impose arguments on any issue. This is not good news for anybody. More to follow in the next columns.
Iranian Lobbying Failed, Jonathan Spyer, The Moderate Voice Jul 9th, 2009
President Shimon Peres's landmark visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan this week represents a significant advance for Israeli ambitions in Central Asia. In the wake of the recent decision to permit Israel to open an embassy in the Turkmen capital of Ashghabad, the visit reflects the importance Jerusalem attaches to this strategically significant part of what is sometimes known as the "greater Middle East." Israel's stance reflects a series of hopes, interests and concerns. The most important of these are: the desire to contain Iranian influence, and joint opposition to radical Islam. Israeli technological expertise is of particular interest to energy-rich, rapidly developing Central Asian economies, forming the basis for growing economic relations. In turn, Azerbaijan has emerged as a major energy supplier.
The country supplies just under 20 percent of Israel's oil. Israel's desire to build strong connections with non-Arab Muslim countries in the region is of long standing and reflects an obvious strategic interest. Yet in the past, Central Asian states have preferred to keep their friendship with the Jewish state far from the spotlight. Israel has maintained diplomatic relations with both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan since 1992. With regard to containing Teheran, relations with Shi'ite Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran, are of particular significance. Azerbaijan has close ethnic links with Iran. Far more Azeris live in Iran than in Azerbaijan itself. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is an ethnic Azeri. Yet relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have grown tense over the last decade for a number of reasons. The Islamic republic, for strategic reasons of its own, tacitly supported Armenia in the Azeri-Armenian war over the province of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Teheran dislikes the secular nature of Azerbaijani politics, and has offered support and training to Azeri mullahs and organizations preaching a pro-Iranian Islamist message. Iran and Azerbaijan also have competing interests related to energy issues in the Caspian Sea.
As a result, Baku has drawn close to Jerusalem on the basis of a shared threat. Israeli defense industries have made very significant inroads. Israel played the central role in rebuilding and modernizing the Azeri military after its losses in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has also become one of the key arenas in the ongoing silent war between Israel and Iran. Both countries are thought to possess major espionage networks on Azeri soil. Israel is reported to maintain listening and surveillance posts on the Azerbaijan-Iran border. The recent foiling of a joint Hizbullah/Iranian plot to bomb the Israeli Embassy by the authorities in Baku shows the depth of activity. Kazakhstan, which has no border with Iran, has sought to develop strong trade and strategic relations with the Islamic republic. Part of Peres's mission was to seek a firm Kazakh commitment that it would cease the sale of uranium ore to Iran. Astana's stance appears to reflect a desire to play a part in diplomatic mediation in the region and beyond it, on the basis of its image as a moderate Muslim state.
The more diffuse threat of radical Islam offers a further natural basis for friendship. In the Shi'ite but secular-governed Azerbaijan, this threat takes the form of Iran-supported local Shi'ite Islamist parties, and the presence of Hizbullah. In largely-Sunni Kazakhstan, meanwhile, Saudi-supported Islamic extremists and the pan-Islamic Hizb al-Tahrir party constitute a significant irritant to the authorities, making them more inclined to greater friendliness toward Israel. The response to domestic Islamic extremism has been determined and uncompromising. Kazakhstan's commitment to purchase satellite and surveillance technology from Israel reflects the growing role of Israeli defense industries in the country - a role which was shaken in April by claims that Israel had sold faulty military hardware to Kazakhstan. Despite the extensive cooperation and common interest, Jerusalem has been frustrated by the unwillingness of both Kazakhs and Azeris to move toward a more open and overt relationship.
There has long been a sense that both countries preferred to benefit from close links with Israel in a variety of areas, while keeping the public profile of the relationship as low as possible. Such a stance reflected the desire of both countries to maintain good relations with the Arab and wider Muslim world. Israeli officials hoped that Peres's visit would be of importance in laying the basis for changing this stance. The Iranian response to the visit suggests that Teheran shared the sense of this possibility. The Iranians lobbied hard to have the visit to Azerbaijan called off. Iran's chief of staff visited Baku two weeks ago in an attempt to persuade the Azeris to cancel the trip. He was unsuccessful. In response to the Peres visit, Iran has recalled its ambassador for consultations. In Kazakhstan, the Iranian decision to walk out of an interfaith conference while Peres was speaking represents an additional indication of Iranian displeasure, and hence a further diplomatic point for Israel. The bottom line:
Iranian lobbying failed. Inducing Muslim countries with which Israel has shared interests and firm connections to overcome the desire to "camouflage" or downplay their relations with Israel represents a perennial challenge for Israeli diplomacy. The latest developments in Central Asia suggest that, in this region at least, real progress has begun to be made. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel. This is cross-posted on that site.
Editorial: Discrediting Denial In Ankara, ArmenianReporter
Advocate acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, and you risk prosecution and imprisonment for the crime - yes, it's still a crime - of insulting Turkey. If you're Armenian and you do it, you also risk getting killed, as we learned in January 2007 when Hrant Dink was shot dead.
That said, it's also true that open discussion of the Armenian Genocide is more common in Turkey today than it has been for decades. Mainstream newspapers like "Radikal" write about it, and respected public figures acknowledge it - like the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, who has had repeatedly to answer charges of insulting Turkishness.
Last week, a British peer, Lord Avebury, and historian Ara Sarafian set out for Ankara, a Turkish translation of the British parliamentary Blue Book on the Armenian Genocide in hand. (See story: www.reporter.am/go/article/2009-07-01-in-ankara--blue-book--launch-genocide-denial-is-challenged ) The stated purpose was to engage the Turkish parliament on a debate it had originated.
Four years ago, the Turkish Grand National Assembly sent a petition to the British Parliament, asking it to repudiate the Blue Book, which it had commissioned in 1916. The Foreign Office wrote back to say it saw no reason to do so. A group of British members of Parliament and peers wrote back to say the Blue Book is solid, but let's talk about it and hear your concerns.
The Turkish parliament dropped the matter. No response was forthcoming to the British legislators who had agreed to engage the Turkish legislators.
Instead of dropping the issue, Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian took the matter to Turkey.
Addressing the Turkish Grand National Assembly in April, President Barack Obama had urged the parliament to come to terms with Turkey's past as it relates to Armenians. He had reminded his audience of how America is better for having come to terms with some of the shameful parts of its history.
But the Grand National Assembly has yet to heed Mr. Obama's advice. And, indeed, no member of the Turkish parliament joined the foreign diplomats and other distinguished guests who attended the presentation made by Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian in Ankara last week. The absence even of members of the pro-Kurdish party MEP is an indication of the prevalence and extent of anti-Armenian pressure brought to bear against politicians in Turkey.
Present or absent, the members of parliament got to read about the presentation in the Turkish press, which covered it. It is perhaps an indication of the damage to the denial effort inflicted by this presentation that a retired ambassador held a news conference to denounce it.
In going to Turkey and engaging the establishment, we offer messages that are broadcast, if at all, through the filter of the Turkish media. It is not by any means an even playing field, or a safe one. And it's counterproductive to appear to engage in a debate over whether the events of 1915-17 constituted genocide. That is a contrived debate, and to their credit, Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian were able to avoid the appearance of engaging in such a debate.
What their modest presentation did was not simply to offer in Turkish an important resource for people who want to learn the truth about the Armenian Genocide. More importantly, it showed the bankruptcy of the Turkish denial machine.
The leaders of the denial effort had put the Turkish legislature into an embarrassing position, and that was clear: they had persuaded the legislature to denounce a book - the Blue Book - on grounds that were patently and demonstrably false. In demonstrating that the case made by deniers was dishonest and disingenuous, Lord Avebury and Mr. Sarafian helped discredit the denial effort itself. We commend them for that.
Meanwhile, this initiative may serve as a good opportunity for Armenian individuals as well as organizations to ask themselves whether they have anything to do in Turkey. The answer may not always be affirmative, but the question is certainly worth exploring.
(c) 2009 Armenian Reporter
The Customer Is King, Armand Sammelian 3 July 2009, Ara / armenews
The season of Turkey in France, which began on 1st July 2009, a shock of what Armenians ... Like it or that welcomes to horn and cry, no one will deny that the Turks were so cataclysmic impact of their destiny. Seljuks, Ottomans and Young Turks raped their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, tortured men were dismembered, hung, shot, butchered, drowned, burned alive, rail.
They stole, looted, despoiled their lands, houses, villages, livestock, handmade bass on their values, bank accounts, their insurance contracts. They have beheaded their political elite, intellectual, artistic, economic, removed many of their children, have converted ...
They were hungry, impaled, soiled, debasement, humiliation.
They burned churches and killed priests.
They planned the extermination of the Armenian people to erase from the surface of the Earth because he was an inferior race to them.
Even today, the descendants of survivors hope the impossible admission of Turkey vehemently denies that, the mouth twisted by hypocrisy.
This ignores ignorance feigned remorse. She pulls the strings behind the scenes, disguises the horror of a despicable and contemptuous, kicked bribery.
In the ambiguity of polyphony ambient truqueuse Turkey denies the reality, and manipulated its archives, trampling on the moral vacuum and dishonours universal human values.
She gags and condemns its intellectuals who denounce the unjustifiable truth behind the lie of State nauseating.
It discredits historically, conventions and treaties. It ridicules the international criminal.
This concealment becomes uncontrolled and repugnant in the subject of worship, parade, stelae stands, built mausoleums, avenues named in honor of the perpetrators of the carnage.
She bathes in the magma because of vanity, cynicism, brutality and cowardice trademarks of this infamous historical deception.
To slander, it points déciller without an accusing finger in the direction of his own victims to try to keep them outside their own history.
Evidence suggests that in relation to a crime against humanity as appalling, the truth is so unspeakable that the Turkish state can not solve the recognition and repentance.
Because the admission would blur the overvaluation fabulous behind the splendor of the Turkish Republic Atatürk whose smugness could not admit it is based on the commission of an act of barbarism.
Thus this barnum falsifier perpetuates impunity guaranteed by the casually complacent and bonded to an international community that knows nothing soft language, and head once again with the season of Turkey in France.
Indeed, it is as though the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire could justify the breaking of the Armenian people.
However, the qualification of "Great Crime" uttered by Barack Obama we met, in a imprescriptible and unpardonable act while appointing a CLINTON to U.S. Secretary of State has made us fear the worst. That of Pierre Lellouche European Affairs, along with the evil genius of Charity-Business, Bernard Kouchner, does not bode well. It is feared that the Swedish presidency of Europe has the cure sarcophagus Armenian. As for promises of Nicolas SARKOZY, they are those who want to believe ...
Encouraged by a pantheon of deniers and their agencies, the wonderful Turkey of a thousand and one nights can calmly continue to display his morgue and the satisfaction of the perfect crime, done without shame, without punishment and without compensation.
This land of terror will be able to sign new chapters in accession to the European Union proudly displaying the road map to Armenian-Turkish thirstier. With this pensum perjury, backwards or slowly, the irreversible integration of Turkey undoubtedly penalize the Armenian Cause.
Dedicated, protected label, dubbed by the untouchable status in the form of sponsorship greedy, already subsidized by Europe, the Islamic-military-police ultranationalist Turkish, some say that modern, secular, democratic and Republican, a beautiful game to highlight its privileged geo-strategic position and to hold the major projects in construction, heavy equipment and infrastructure, armaments contracts and lucrative market of 70 million consumers in order to sharpen the appetite of large predators, the powerful who govern us and fill in words ...
But the words qu'importent! Business is business.
During the period, the sale continues ...
What Is Going On With Our Neighbor? By Özlem Türköne*
Generally, ethnic references such as Turkish or Macedonian, intended to be used in names of minority associations, cause a disturbance in Greece. Minority organizations have suffered heavily from this intervention.
Generally, ethnic references such as Turkish or Macedonian, intended to be used in names of minority associations, cause a disturbance in Greece. Minority organizations have suffered heavily from this intervention.
Western Thrace and the Turkish minority living there have unfortunately always been the symbol of “diplomatic tension” instead of a “bridge for peace” between two neighboring countries, Turkey and Greece. A couple of weeks ago, the issue came to the fore again by means of an NTV interview with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In addition to stating that the Halki Seminary issue, which dates back to the 1970s, can be discussed, the prime minister asked Greek officials why they continue to appoint muftis in Western Thrace instead of recognizing those officially elected by the Turkish minority there, who are also Greek citizens. This was a very legitimate question when we consider that the Holy Synod members, who are not Turkish citizens though they have to be according to the Treaty of Lausanne, choose their patriarch on their own.
In reply to the prime minister's words, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis defended our neighbor Greece as a country that implements the policy of equality before the law in Thrace within the framework of the Treaty of Lausanne and with full respect for international and European laws. Furthermore, she added that Greece is proud of the policy it has assumed.
These words look in good shape, but how closely do they mirror reality?
For years, the Greek authorities have been violating their obligations laid out by the Lausanne Peace Treaty and other international treaties to which Greece is a party.
It is not me who is speaking of these realities but a report prepared by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg following his visit to Greece on Dec. 8-10, 2008. I find it extremely important to bring up some significant conclusions of this report in this article because I am a member of the Turkish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and because Mr. Hammarberg presented this document in accordance with his mandate as an independent and impartial head of an institution of the Council of Europe in order to promote the effective implementation of Council of Europe standards relating to minority and human rights protection.
It is known that the Greek government has been appointing the muftis of Muslim Turks living in Western Thrace according to its own will instead of recognizing the muftis elected by the Muslims in the region themselves. The commissioner stated in his report that he “has observed that the continuing practice of appointment of the muftis by the Greek state, excluding their direct election by members of the Muslim minority, has caused in the past and continues to cause deep disappointment and reactions by members of the Muslim minority.”
Even without the Lausanne Treaty, Turkey has accepted the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate's residing in İstanbul, as has been the case for centuries, continuing a long tradition of religious tolerance in Turkey. Furthermore, as the prime minister stated in the interview, since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, there has never been an intervention in the election process, meaning the patriarchs have always been elected freely by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate. Also, there is no restriction on foreign clergy to work in Turkey. As of December 2006, 122 foreign clergymen have been registered with working permits to serve in places of worship.
The Halki Seminary issue is also not a disputed issue at all. The Heybeliada seminary's department of theology had to cease functioning in 1971 as a consequence of an introduction of a general piece of legislation in Turkey. The law amending the Law on Private Educational Institutions underlines that no private educational institution identical or similar to public institutions conducting religious education instruction can be set up (Article 3). Article 24 of the Constitution on the freedom of religion and conscience stipulates, inter alia, that education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under state supervision and control. Nevertheless, our government has been searching for a formula to integrate the Orthodox theological school into Turkey's university system and this obviously demonstrates that there is nothing wrong with Turkey carrying out its commitments to Greek minorities.
The denial of ethnic identity is also another disputed issue at hand and it is also handled in the report clearly.
The commissioner's report titles the subject “Human Rights of Minorities” and explains the matter as follows: “The Commissioner remains deeply concerned about the persistent denial by Greek authorities of the existence on Greece's territory of minorities other than the tripartite Muslim one in Western Thrace, despite the recommendations made so far notably by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance [ECRI], the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee.”
The Greek authorities very directly mean that “there are no Turks in Greece, only Muslims.” Right? Unfortunately, this very distorted perspective is the official Greek view and has always been a great obstacle to the development of the cultural identity of the minority. Generally, ethnic references such as Turkish or Macedonian, intended to be used in names of minority associations, cause a disturbance in Greece. Minority organizations have suffered heavily from this intervention by facing domestic courts' refusal to allow their registration. It is also not rare to be rendered judgments of dissolution of associations grounded on concerns related to being against the public order or promoting some cultural, social or religious ideas, taking as its source ethnic propaganda. Hammarberg's report is full of case patterns that were decreed in the national courts of Greece against minority associations. But the commissioner should be thanked for mentioning/underlining the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in which Greece was found in a violation of the right to freedom of association of minorities, which are free to enjoy this right as much as all other citizens. Because, as was stressed by the commissioner, “seeking an ethnic identity or asserting a minority consciousness” is the main functioning of associations and only by allowing this function to express itself can the freedom of establishment, which contributes great importance to democratic pluralism, be saved.
Contradictive implementations violating minority rights in Greece do not seem to end. Here is another example:
Greece denaturalized thousands of minority members called “alloyenis” -- citizens of non-Greek descent -- through the former Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Code. According to the article, a Greek citizen of non-Greek ethnic origin legally leaving Greece may be declared as having lost Greek citizenship by decision of the minister of interior. This provision was applied from 1955 to 1998, and the majority of the 60,000 Greek citizens who lost their citizenship have been of Turkish ethnic origin. I would like to open here a final parenthesis for Hammarberg's opinion on this issue: “The ECRI has noted that Greece has not taken measures that would lead to the reparation of the serious consequences that arose from the deprivation of citizenship on the basis of Article 19.”
Hammarberg's report maybe does not tell us what we would like to hear, but it does state realities. We now know how far Foreign Minister Bakoyannis's words stand from the realities.
And what about the realities of Turkey? As a country whose land has traditionally been home to those in need, fleeing religious persecution throughout history, and where interfaith dialogue and harmony have deep roots, Turkey truly stands at a point different from Greece.
In addition to regulations with regard to Turkish citizens belonging to non-Muslim minorities as stipulated in the Treaty of Lausanne, legislative and administrative revision has also been carried out as to the freedom of religion of all citizens and foreigners residing in Turkey. In this regard, non-Muslim places of worship are administered by their own associations and foundations. The property rights of places of worship rest with the real or legal persons that founded them.
The new Law on Foundations, which came into effect as of February 2008, significantly improves the property rights of all foundations in Turkey, including those of non-Muslim community foundations.
As regards the criminal legislative framework, obstructing the exercise of the freedom of religion, belief and conviction constitutes an offense according to Article 115 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Furthermore, incitement to religious hatred, public denigration of any group on the basis of their religion or sect as well as the defamation of religious values is penalized under Article 216 of the TCK.
Proselytizing religious beliefs or convictions is not prohibited under Turkish law. To the contrary, preventing a person from disseminating or expressing their religious beliefs through the use of force or threat constitutes an offense under the TCK.
The European Court of Human Rights, evaluating complaints lodged against Turkey, has found no violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which regulates non-discrimination, on the basis of religious discrimination.
In spite of this very open attitude of Turkey on this issue, we cannot observe a parallel stance taken by Greece relating to the protection of minorities and freedom of religion. Greece's minority policy has been violating major Council of Europe treaties, such as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Convention on Nationality and the Fourth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, this in addition to contradicting statements of UN bodies such as the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Both the institutions and the documents can be called by many titles, but all aim to reach an international standard, inter alia, of religious freedom on a universal basis to be followed by all states of the international community.
The Lausanne Treaty is still considered one of those international documents providing explicit protection of the Greek minority in İstanbul and reciprocally for the Turkish minority in Western Thrace. The principle of reciprocity presented in the treaty is there to provide a minimum standard of guarantee for both the two countries' religious minorities, not to establish a ground for a perception of “if a right is not recognized by our neighbor, will too will not recognize it.” One country's violation of a law cannot justify another country's violation of the same law. Hence, Greece has to be aware of its obligations while Turkey too has to be aware of its obligations separately, without counting one another's violations.
Human rights protection is a very delicate issue that needs to be monitored by every state, wherever their geographic or strategic location may be. Nevertheless, we have to accept that some regions' distinctive roles have been assumed to lead the rest of the world. The West plays this role, as has always been the case.
Greece is a part of that West, the European concern which has itself always been eager about building that principal core of human rights and freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, which have been memorized by us so as to be applied within our politics, to be adopted in our domestic laws and to enhance our living standards.
That is why we all have to ask Greeks, as the prime minister has: What is going on with our neighbor?
*Özlem TÜRKÖNE is a deputy for İstanbul and a member of the Turkish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) as well as a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) foreign affairs department deputy chairperson.
05 July 2009
The G8: Make It 13 By Oliver Stünkel*
When the G8 summit takes place in Italy this week, it will, like previous summits, be tinged by the host's culture and personal taste.
George W. Bush invited the world's leaders to an island off Georgia in 2004, Britain's Tony Blair hosted the summit in a Scottish luxury hotel in 2005 and Germany's Angela Merkel played host in an austere coastal village by the Baltic Sea in 2007.
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's idiosyncratic leader, decided to shift the summit from a resort in Sardinia to l'Aquila, a town devastated by an earthquake earlier this year. This makes sense, because the G8 itself is a disaster.
The G8 is increasingly unrepresentative of the world, and it lacks both legitimacy and power. As meaningful inclusiveness, the essence of a global summit, is no longer given, the G8 cannot tackle the world's most urgent problems, such as climate change and nuclear proliferation. By seating giants such as Brazil, China and India at the side table, the G8 is accelerating its own demise. It is time for the G8's leaders to reinvent the summit.
The only solution out of this mess is to cast petty politics aside and to democratize the G8 and to expand it into the G13 by inviting China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico (the so-called G5) and Turkey as full members and by excluding Italy, which adds little heft to the club. This move would give the new G13 unprecedented legitimacy and the ability to address global problems.
But why not simply replace the G8 with the increasingly prominent G20? The idea may sound appealing, but keeping the summit small and establishing an intimate setting is crucial to preserve its usefulness. After all, when Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and France's President Giscard d'Estaing conceived the summit in 1975, they envisioned a small frank and informal discussion around the fireplace. This can hardly be done with 20 participants, and 13 should be the upper limit. Excluding Italy, the weakest of four European members, would be a clear sign of the West's commitment to keeping the summit practical, and a powerful acknowledgement that global distribution of power is not set in stone.
Critics will point to the fact that Italy's economy is still larger than that of Turkey. But economic size is not all that matters. What are the criteria for membership? G8 membership used to be based on economic power, but it has long abandoned this rule by not taking in China, the second largest economy in the world. Democracy used to matter, too. That criteria was thrown overboard when inviting autocratic Russia and ignoring democratic India. The truth is that membership is entirely arbitrary and based on short-term interests and politicking. Russia, for example, was invited as European powers vastly overestimated their power to coax Russia into democratizing -- it did just the opposite after entering the G8. The summit today is a farce, where declining and self-important Western nations celebrate themselves and believe the West can still fix the world.
As a consequence, this year's G8 summit will not only fail to do any good, it will also prove divisive and damage the prospects for finding solutions. Rising non-Western powers are increasingly incentivized to create their own summits, such as the IBSA (with India, Brazil and South Africa) and the BRIC summit, where they are not treated as second-class participants -- a status that, at the G8, is euphemistically called the “Outreach Group.”
In order to remain effective, the G8 must regain three main attributes: the ability to address global problems, legitimacy and practicality. By including the increasingly powerful G5, the G8 would regain its ability to address global problems such as climate change and non-proliferation. For example, any agreement to reduce emissions that does not include China, India and Brazil cannot bring lasting change. But the new G13 must also be representative of as many regions as possible to assume global leadership. Turkey, 70 million strong, cannot represent the Muslim world, a largely fictitious term anyways. Yet, Turkey can act as a crucial bridge between East and West, thus boosting the club's legitimacy -- already enhanced by Brazil's and South Africa's entry as representatives of South America and Sub-Saharan Africa, respectively. Finally, the G8 must remain manageable and resist the temptation to please everybody by accepting too many members.
In its quest to tackle the world's problems, the UN Security Council has utterly failed, as it still represents the world of 1945. The G8 reflects the world in the 1980s, but it must use its key advantage, its flexibility, to become a forward-looking institution that represents the world in 2020. The shattered city of l'Aquila is a potent reminder for the G8's leaders that their summit, too, badly needs some fixing. Yet more than just the G8 is at stake. We need visionary solutions to our global problems, and a potent G13 to find them.
*Oliver Stünkel is a research fellow at the Center for Public Leadership in São Paulo. He holds a master's in public policy from Harvard University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at Mercator University in Germany.
06 July 2009
What Keeps The ‘Sèvres Syndrome’ Alive And Kicking?, Şahin Alpay Todayszaman.Com
A month ago I wrote a column titled “Why the great distrust in the US and the EU?” (June 8, 2009). It discussed the findings of a recent national survey on “Political and Religious Extremism” in Turkey.
The survey revealed, among other things, that while 57 percent of those interviewed supported Turkey's membership in the union, no less than 93 percent believed that the European Union was not treating Turkey equally with the other candidate countries, and 80 percent said that the EU will never accept Turkey even if it fulfills all conditions of membership.
The more striking findings indicated that large majorities of respondents (80-85 percent), irrespective of religiosity or education, declared that both the United States and the EU pursued policies that aim to “dismember Turkey.” My interpretation of these findings was that they in the main reflected the deep distrust of the West among the Turkish public at large and that tensions with the Bush administration in the US and that the Nicolas Sarkozy-Angela Merkel discourse against Turkish membership in the EU were chiefly responsible for it.
Some readers did not find my arguments convincing. One of the responses to my column was as follows: “I do not at all want to defend the current French or German discourse on EU-Turkey relations. But the fact that there is nearly universal agreement among Turks that both the US and the EU are out there to ‘dismember Turkey' leads me to believe that a huge part of the problem is still the Turkish psyche. This is just another confirmation that the paranoia fed by so many [be they secular or religious minded Turks] on the Turkish political scene is alive and well, and to change this appears to me to be above all a task for the Turks themselves.”
I do admit that this objection was quite justified, and that I owe an account of the other side of the coin, that is, the psychological reasons that explain the distrust of the West among the Turks. In this context, it is necessary first to refer to the “love-hate” relationship between the West and Turkey, which began modernizing at the end of the 18th century in emulation of the European model. This love-hate relationship is surely not peculiar to Turkey but is relevant also to other countries in the periphery of the West, notably Russia and Iran, which have modernized on the Western model while being subjected to Western aggression and intervention. The love-hate relationship with the West basically means that the Turkish elites are caught between a feeling of admiration for the Western world due to its achievements and resentment toward its superiority, arrogance and bullying. It may also be argued that whenever the West, be it the US or the EU, treats Turkey well, the “love” side of the relationship prevails. “Hate” escalates when Turkey is treated unfairly or discriminated against.
In analyzing the “hate” side of the relationship with the West, an indispensable concept is the “Sèvres Syndrome,” which refers to the conviction (widespread among the Turkish elites, and not the least among the military) that Turkey is surrounded by enemies intent on dividing up the country, as aimed in the Treaty of Sèvres, which was imposed on the Ottoman government by the victorious Western powers at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Sèvres, which provided for the founding of Armenian and Kurdish states in Anatolia, was signed in 1920, nearly a century ago, and was in fact never put into effect, being rejected by the national liberation movement, whose success led to its replacement by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
The best scholarly treatment of the Sèvres Syndrome is the (forthcoming) article by Fatma Müge Göçek, of the University of Michigan, titled “Why is there still a ‘Sèvres Syndrome'?: An analysis of Turkey's uneasy association with the West.” The article discusses in detail the causes “behind the selective survival of the memory of this particular treaty through time, its transformation into a syndrome and the reasons for its persistence until today.”
Göçek concludes that the “Turkish republican elite in general and the Turkish military in particular initially generated the elements of the Sèvres Syndrome for purposes of nation-state formation and then reproduced it as a [national security] paradigm in order to sustain its political power. … The syndrome started to falter, however, in the post-Cold War era … when an alternate model based not on national security and the preservation of the state, but on the rights, well-being and prosperity of citizens” emerged. “The Sèvres Syndrome [then] fully articulated itself not as an anxiety disorder but a pathology; hence, the symptoms worsened as an alternate vision gained strength within the Turkish state and society.”
Göçek is also right in stating that “as long as the West remains a source of frustration and threat … evokes internalized inferiority and is not properly contextualized in history, the Sèvres Syndrome will persist.” That is why I believe tensions with the US administration during the Bush years, and with the EU since 2005, greatly help the perpetuators of the Sèvres Syndrome in Turkey, as witnessed by the survey results referred to above.
06 July 2009
Opinion : The Role Of The Diaspora On Ankara-Yerevan Rapprochement, Hürriyet
It has been more than two months since Turkey and Armenia have announced their agreement on a road map, a key document that was not yet made public but is supposed to detail the modalities and timetable of the much-expected normalization process between the two countries.Serkan Demirtaş
Due to growing unease in Azerbaijan, Turkey had to declare that the road map would enter into force Ğ open the border and establish diplomatic ties Ğ only after Baku and Yerevan agree on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Recent statements from Baku and Yerevan indicate that the parties are getting closer to an interim agreement in months, if not weeks. The issue will also be on the agenda of U.S. President Barack Obama who will pay an important visit to Moscow this week. Such an agreement will not only constitute a major step for stabilizing the entire region but also a relief for Turkey to save itself from the pressure of Baku.
It is obvious that Turkey will even not lift a finger before an agreement is reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan. But is it a correct stance? Wouldn’t Turkey use this time to work to prepare a more suitable environment, inside and outside the country, for the normalization of ties?
There is a lot to do with his regard. At home, in fact, the government seems more ready as it is about to launch special television and radio channels that will broadcast in Armenian under the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, or TRT. Distributing free textbooks to the minority schools is another positive step taken in this regard.
Abroad, however, there are important challenges that Turkey has to deal, especially when considered that the Armenian diaspora Ğ especially in France and the United States, where the diaspora is most powerful Ğ has not yet been convinced for the historic deal.
Some French officials and experts I had the opportunity to talk to during a visit to France mid June said that the people of Armenia were in fact afraid that the diaspora could block the rapprochement process between Turkey and Armenia.
"To keep the diaspora out of the process is a demand we hear quite often in Yerevan," an expert stated. "Turkey and France could co-operate to eliminate this risk in France. Because there is a big interest for France to deal with this issue. They would be supporting the process."
It would be considered as a legitimate and realistic concern but do all members of the diaspora think the same way? "The most vocal Armenian diaspora is anti-Turkey, anti-rapprochement and super-extremist on the genocide. But we don’t know what the rest is thinking about the process. Therefore we can’t really say what French Armenians do think about it," said Dorothe? Schmid, head of the Turkish Studies Program at French Institute of the International Relations.
That indicates that instead of trying totally keeping the diaspora out of the process, through dialogue with the moderate groups, they could be taken within the rapprochement. Of course, Turkey cannot do it alone; in France it needs the support of French government and in the United States of both the administration and the influential top ranking figures, like former politicians, diplomats. In France, it won’t be an easy job. France recognized the alleged genocide in 2000 and tried hard to punish its denial, which still effects bilateral ties with Turkey. That’s why contributing to Ankara-Yerevan process in a concrete way could also be in the benefit of France. It’s not to our information whether there is a sort of initiative taken by Turkish Embassy in France, though I have heard that some international non-governmental organizations and think tanks applied to the embassy for offering joint projects to this end. Some of them already submitted projects papers detailing ways to help the reconciliation of the peoples of Turkey and Armenia.
My observation is that the embassy should be much more open and receptive to all different groups of the French society. I don’t say merely just because a request of mine for a meeting at the embassy was refused but a number of people who are closely watching Turkey have the similar complaints.
Our embassy would have not much difference than the North Korean Embassy in Paris if it does not change this behind-closed-doors course.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Example For The Reediting Of Memory In Memoir Genre: Fethiye Cetin And “My Grandmother”, GenocideReality
“Memoirs” have recently become a frequent genre in literature. People with tales to tell have tended to write down their memoirs. It is possible to say that the memoirs of these individuals, each one being certainly important and valuable in his/her own world, have reached a certain community of readers in society.
Nevertheless, we believe that we should more carefully analyze the ones who have chosen certain periods of history as backgrounds. The efforts to reshape historical facts without paying attention to being objective according to one’s own criteria can easily be transformed into an ethical problem.
“Particularly in the US and Europe, there is a serious information pollution in the context of forged biographies and documents. In such novels which certain individuals write/have it written by planting themselves or family origins within a historical perspective, these individuals undertake the role of mistreated or important persons. A conscious minority notices that the majority of these memoirs are fictitious and that they do not overlap with the truths. However, the subconscious of the majority that lacks sufficient knowledge and awareness is contaminated by such made-up memoirs.”
We believe that it is not a coincidence that we happen to come across more frequently with such examples that are prepared and published from a certain perspective. Given the context of the said media, it is highly distant from the facts and theses that lack objective viewpoints are dominant.
In this context, Fethiye Cetin’s book, narrating the memoirs of her grandmother who had been adopted by a Turkish family in 1915, is not based on intellectual buildup and constitutes an example that should be criticized since it has been amateurishly written.
In her book, Fethiye Cetin imitates Egoyan by using the portrayal of “tormented innocent people”, unaware of the incidents provoked by Armenian gangs in Eastern Anatolia and the World War I, “defenseless women and children who had no idea why they were forced to migrate.”
While narrating the day when the gendarmerie forces raided their village in 1915, she quotes her grandmother’s (Seher/Heranush) grandmother mentioning “their village had been raided 20 years before, they were forced to migrate and then were able to come back after the granted permission,” however she never mentions the reason of what had happened. The research carried out to clarify this doubt in our minds revealed that 20 years before that time coincided with the 1895 Zeytun (today’s Suleymanli in Kahramanmaras) uprising and the rebellions that had spread to Van in 1896.
“Nobody knows why the men were taken away,” underlines Cetin specifically. However, in a period when armed Armenian gangs and agents were swarming in the region, perpetrating attacks and sabotages, it is weird why nobody could/would not understand the attitude of the gendarmerie. The simplemindedness of the storyteller/narrator is another striking contradiction.
We observe the common pattern that is inherent in almost all books written in the memoir genre and advocating a certain thesis. In other words, this book is another example of the understanding aiming at creating a history based upon “rumors”. Savage scenarios involving “slaughtered men thrown into the river” are narrated through third persons. For some reason, all memoirs are published after the demise of eyewitnesses, eliminating the possibility of objections, amendments of corrections.
Such narratives, put into words after almost 90 years, based upon the statements of eyewitnesses in their old ages, could cause inevitable mistakes and open ends when the listener tries to write them down.
For example, it is stated that the grandmother (Seher/Heranush) had five uncles. In another chapter, it is stated that her father and two uncles were in the US and then the names of her three uncles are given (Bogos, Stepan, Hrant and her father Hovhannes). In other chapters, two uncles – Bogos and Stepan – are said to be in America. Hrant is pictured in the photos taken in America, given at the end of the book, therefore indicating that four brothers were in this country.
Likewise, in a chapter it is stated that the grandmother (Seher/Heranush) had no identity papers and passport to travel to the US. A few pages after, it is said that “her father was not admitted to the military school since it was written convert in his identity papers”. In another chapter, it is stated that “he was recorded as the son of a Muslim family.” Thus, the papers should not have the convert input. It is said that Seher “changed her birth certificate by the help of Kazim Efendi, her daughter’s father in law, also the Local Registrar in Maden. This renders everything previously said surreal.
As seen in all such works, Habab village has been elevated to a “platonic” plane. It is underlined that the family was highly educated, that “Heranush’s grandfather was teaching in colleges educating school children after primary school in Ergani-Maden and Kigi, that his brother Antreas Gadaryan was a more reputed and competent educator. However, given the regional colleges of that time, these statements do not clarify whether the grandfather and great uncle were teaching in the Harput American College or the Armenians living in Habab, like certain other villages in the region, were acting under the instigation and manipulation of the American missionaries.
It is possible to find several similar contradictions in Cetin’s highly emotional book based upon the “poor Armenians” mythos. We believe that a lawyer-writer should not contradict with herself since we know that she is “against the identification of violent images with Armenians, the intensification of discrimination, and the creation of mistreatment and moral violence caused by eerie and horrible narratives.”
Furthermore, when using a historical background, especially when dealing with a critical process that is a cause of discontent between countries, the writer is obliged to be choose a more respectful and cautious line against the readers. While narrating, creating the feeling that something is concealed indicates poor rational fiction. Jumping between dates, incidents and places, trying to make it up by arraying different chapters one after the other is at the least the extenuation of the reader and the subject matter.
Editor, Genocide Reality
Armenia Country Of Contradictions, GenocideReality
When it comes to the foreign policy issues, both in Armenia and at the Diaspora, it is possible to be exposed to similar unreasonable and inconsistent opinion declarations by the politicians and by the ordinary people. Especially when they declare their opinions regarding Turkey, we wonder whether we are facing a case of genetic personality disintegration.
Recently, in parallel to the steps taken to advance the bilateral relations, such incredibly unreasonable declarations do not end.
It seems that such inconsistency spread even to the Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisyan, due to the extensive pressures exerted by the Dashnak Party, known by its paranoia regarding Turkey. During a session held recently at the Armenian National Parliament, Prime Minister Sarkisyan, as a response to a question from Vahan Hovhannisyan, deputy of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Party, regarding the relations between Turkey and Armenia, mentioned:
- that the relations between Turkey and Armenia can only be established without any preconditions; that an agreement which would serve as a basis for the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the borders, has to be ratified by the Armenian Parliament;
- that Armenia can never forget the “Armenian genocide”; and that the process to make the “genocide” be recognized at the international level would continue.
Being affected from the delirium, Vartan Oskanyan, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, made a declaration when he received the Turkish journalists at the Civilitas Foundation he established in 2008 and said “we cannot achieve any progress, we cannot go ahead as long as Turkey pushes the Karabakh issue since it is already a precondition. We can achieve a progress in the relations between Turkey and Armenia when we take Karabakh out of the equation”.
With an incredible understanding, the Karabakh issue is considered as a precondition, whereas the pressures exerted to make Turkey accept the Armenian claims regarding genocide (which will of course be followed by requirements for territorial compensations) are not considered as a precondition.
Turkey is expected to take the Karabakh issue out of the equation but on the other hand, Armenia will take out of the equation neither its territorial claims for the eastern part of Turkey nor its genocide claims.
“Immediately open the borders….Do not put forth any preconditions….Accept our preconditions…”
Reconciliation will somehow be reached by Armenia, despite its unilaterally dictated concessions. We wonder “will Armenia have further claims?”. However, equity is sought at international relations and reciprocity is indispensable between the states. Would it be possible to sustain a dialogue with an understanding imposing “do not put forth any conditions but fully accept our conditions?
Such an inconsistency can be seen at an ordinary man. The New York Times published the article “The Armenians living at the Border Area with Turkey are Prudent Regarding the Rapprochement with Turkey” originating from Armenia. In the article it is mentioned: “Vazgen Shmavonyan and the others living at the border area with Turkey are both willing regarding the opening of the borders with Turkey but adopt a prudent attitude regarding the official contacts with Turkey.”
Shmavonyan says: “We want Turkey to accept that there is genocide. In case the border is opened, it would serve the interests of all. However, they should first accept the genocide, and then we can stand on.” The taxi driver Hayk Avetisyan is more pessimistic: “Turkey will immediately come to our country and who knows what will happen. You know our history; Turkey will immediately try to seize half of Armenia.”
On one hand, they pay enormous efforts for the opening of the borders and on the other hand they are expecting us to accept their genocide aspersions. Furthermore, they are talking about Turkey’s seizing half of Armenia as if it is Turkey claiming for territories and going towards the Armenian territories.
Shmavonyan mentions that he worked in Istanbul as a textile trader for ten years and adds “they treated us very well. They know that the Armenians are nice and hard working people.” For an understanding of “since the Armenians are so nice, the Turks treat them well” we can only say: fie upon you! Regarding the ones who cannot think or perceive that kindness and good will cannot work unilaterally, we are at a loss for words!
We understand that the Armenians are always right, more right especially when they are wrong (!).
The Editor, GenocideReality
Armenian Threat and Relocation by Turkkaya Ataov
The Truth Has Always Been Ignored
Aiming at Turk and Muslim people with gun and the transportation roads of three Ottoman armies’ coming under real threat of Armenian sovereignty required an administrative solution to a military problem.
The evidences of Armenian threat against the security of Turkish army exist not only in the Ottoman but also in the Russian, British, French, American and German archives, and even in the Armenian publications. However, there is a few researches that deal with the above-mentioned issue in details and that were published with foreign signatures.
First of all, I have to remark that I limit the Armenian-Turkish relationships to around 1915 in this article. Here, to an extent in details, I would like to refer to a very significant aspect of this broad issue, which is generally ignored. What I find wrong in the light of the available documents and information is that a major part of Western writers claim and reiterate that Armenian upheaval of 1915 did not constitute a real threat toward the Ottoman security; that a few Armenian people used guns; that Turks exaggerated this threat so much and therefore the decision regarding the “relocation”, i.e. displacement of most of the Armenian minority is nonessential; and that there has not been any example for this kind of practice.
The points that have to be pronounced against this missing emphasis are shortly as follows:
1. The Armenian minority massacred Turks and Muslims (in numbers expressed in six-digits) in the beginning and during the various courses of the World War the first.
2. The Armenians were certainly a minority not only in the broad territory of the Ottoman Empire at that time but also in every single city of the Eastern Anatolia, where some Armenians and their adherents prefers to call as “West Armenia” and they were in a bloody rush to obtain a land for themselves through ethnic cleansing carried out against non-Armenians.
3. They really posed a threat to the security of Third, Fourth and Sixth Army of the Ottoman Empire within the context of close relationships with the war foes of the Ottoman State of which they were of citizens; namely Tsardom Russia, Britain and France, regarding the arms, military training, funds and concordant attacks.
4. They destroyed and made the roads of the above-mentioned Armies unusable, which were necessary for the War.
5. The Armenian relocation policy was indispensible and implemented for this reason.
6. There were examples of such kind of relocation in the recent history of the world and the Ottoman Empire.
7. Aiming at Turk and Muslim people with gun and the transportation roads of three Ottoman armies’ coming under real threat of Armenian sovereignty required an administrative solution to a military problem.
8. In the dominant pro-Armenian publications, these realities are ignored and in some of the countries, even stating above-mentioned realities are resulted in penalty and imprisonment.
The Concerns of the Turks are Real
The aim of this article is especially to point out in details how the security concerns of the Turks are real. The threat perception of the Turks and the relocation of some of the Armenians should be clarified.
The evidences of Armenian threat against the security of Turkish army exist not only in the Ottoman but also in the Russian, British, French, American and German archives, and even in the Armenian publications. However, there is a few researches that deal with the above-mentioned issue in details and that were published with foreign signatures.
The issue is centered on the fact that there was a threat against the security of the Third Ottoman Army deployed in the Caucasian front; the Fourth Army responsible to guard Syria and Palestine and the Sixth Army combated at the territories called Iraq; that the transportation roads of the Army were blocked; that the bloody Armenian attacks were increased; and on the outcomes resulted from these facts.
The military and civil Turkish authorities in the WWI had a legal, ethical, occupational and humanistic security perception and logistic understanding. This is the basis of the problem. This is also the essential aspect of the conflict which has not been pointed out by the Armenian writers such as Balakian, Dadrian, Hovannisian and Kevorkian and their adherents as Chalian, Ternon, Walker, Lang and Melson. I do not think that the majority of people have enough knowledge about these connections. The fact that almost all of the people that signed the “apology” are ignorant about this matter does not surprise the experts of the issue.
The American Citizens of Japanese Origin
The Jewish minority subjected to genocide in the Nazi Germany and the American citizens of Japanese origin who were displaced by force and put into concentration camps during the Pearl Harbor attack did not arm against their own country. However, the Armenian minority in the Ottoman Empire did not act in the same way. Even before the war that had begun in 1914, the Hınchak and Dashnak organizations which are claimed to be “political parties” were terrorist organizations that ere established clandestinely.
The prominent Armenian writers such as K.S. Papazian and Prof. Louise Nalbantian explicitly state the terrorist identity of those organizations. About twenty-five years ago, I published a small book (in three foreign languages) that summarizes the book of Papazian and that gives the word to him most of the time. I referred to the PhD thesis of Nalbantian in the majority of my own publications. The countries that pursue imperialist enlargement policy such as Russia, Britain and France supported these terrorist organizations, directed them into violence and assisted them directly or indirectly in committing various crimes against the non-Armenian people.
It has to be questioned in multiple aspects that who made mistakes at which point. By the way, it could not be forgiven if the contribution of imperialism is not assessed sufficiently.
It is not realistic to underestimate the foreign intervention which is insidious, gradual, and has a wide-perspective and a long history, without examining the broad bibliography, institutional truths and the confessions of the operators.
Chain of Bloody Events
The fact that the French Catholic and American Protestant religion disseminators convinced the Christian (Gregorian) Armenians that they were superior to the Turks and other Muslims in terms of religion and race constituted the first step of these foreign intervention and bloody events.
These were followed by the provision of arms and military training, the attacks on the non-Armenian Ottoman targets, and the continuous reflection of these events on the European and American media in favor of the Christian Armenians with the financial and diplomatic support.
Such foreign intervention and the forcing of the Armenian minority to conduct attacks were an integral part of the expansionist policies of the foreign imperialist states. The mentioned states are chiefly responsible for the bloody incidents that followed. On the other hand, these Westerners did not like it when they were faced with similar interventions. For instance, didn’t the USA explain to the whole Western Hemisphere from Canada in the north to Patagonia in the south (not only within its state borders) as early as in 1823 with the Monroe Theory that it would not accept any intervention by any state (other than itself)?
Imperialist states, which banned foreign intervention even in their own colonies and semi-colonies, swarmed freely on the Ottoman territory. This approach constituted the substructure of the tendency of the Armenians towards violence. While Armenian brothers killed the Turks in Van, Sasun, Adana, Erzurum and Jerusalem; Vahan Kardesyan (whom they enabled to study at the Yale University), for example, at the Armenian Press Center which he run in New York, sent to the Paris Peace Meeting and Sevres the maps that had exits to the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Caspian Sea and that drew a line from Sinop to Mugla and annexed Anatolia in the east to the “Greater Armenia”.
During these years of darkness when these maps were drawn in foreign capitals, our three armies in the east and the south were in an effort to protect not only themselves but also the state. The armed Armenian attacks affected two of these armies directly and one army indirectly in a quite negative manner. All the Ottoman forces had come out from the two Balkan Wars, waged only a few years ago, with many losses. The food and the supplies available were less than the lowest level of requirement of the armies which they fought. A limited small stockpile of bread and rice was to suffice only for a few months. The guns and artillery shells were quite fewer than those of the armies which they had to fight. The military needs of the Turkish army had never been taken into consideration, since their benefits lied in the railways built by the foreigners. The remaining roads were not very suitable for easy transfer.
Logistic Support Necessary for Fighting
No army can fight without sufficient and easily available food, medicine, repair, spare parts, war equipment, care for humans and animals and the transport net that will take them to their places.
Such logistic infrastructure is a must of the military success. State leaders and army commanders have to provide their soldiers, who are assigned with the duty to fight, with food, feed for their animals, treatment for those injured, equipment for repair and train and roads for transportation as well as telegraph and telephone services. Actually, the intensive Armenian attacks with foreign support made this logistics very difficult, undermined some parts of it and sometimes completely eliminated it.
Before the war broke out, the Ottoman armies, which were formed in line with the German military organization, were taken within the network of transportation roads. Each of the three armies in the east and south had its own transport organization and also a control mechanism to arrange this. The area of responsibility of each army and their logistic centers covered a few hundred kilometers and was near to one thousand kilometers. The logistic center of the 3rd army which was formed only in the summer of 1914 was established first in Erzurum and then in Erzincan. There were ovens for baking bread, places for storing equipment, repair workshops, basic education places, worker battalions, movable hospitals, care units for animals (a number of animals consisting of horses, mules, oxen and camels), transport vehicles and railway cars.
Conflicts started on November 1, 1914
When hot conflicts started on November 1, 1914, difficulties arose related with carrying the rear support to the fronts and taking those injured immediately to the treatment places. Initially, there were 106,608 soldiers and 53,794 animals serving to the 3rd Army.
The first big conflict with the Russians at the Caucasian front resulted in 33,000 dead and 10,000 injured people as well as 7,000 prisoners of war on our side. It was such a big loss that attempts were made to take in new conscripts from among the elder or younger people. However, following this, our 58,000 soldiers, most of whom were dead and injured in Sarikamis, were out of the war. The Russian attacks in Malazgirt, Tortum and Van put the 3rd Army in a further difficult position. The road of Sivas-Erzincan-Erzurum in the north was bumpy and freezing.
As the Sarikamis attempt of the 3rd Army in the eastern border resulted in failure, also the 4th Army’s “plans to takeover Egypt from the British by passing through the Suez Canal turned out to be unsuccessful”. There was a logistic network to support this army from the rear, but the railway, which would undertake the transportation work from a much longer distance compared to the one in the north, had some drawbacks.
Actually, the train line reached up to Medina far from Pozanti, but there were two ruptures in between: 53 kilometers in Pozanti and 36 kilometers in Osmaniye. It was necessary to place onto the carriages those that would be carried, to take them out at the first stop and load them onto the animals, to carry them to the carriages again, to take them out again at the second stop, to place them again on the back of the animals and then to pile them on the carriages again.
The close links between the Armenians, who fight against the Turks, and the Russians, British and the French could not be denied. Armenians established an army of which they claim to constitute either of “200.000” or “more than 200.000” armed men and fought against the Turks in the Caucasus, Sinai and the Syrian fronts and their environs either as “independent units or in Russian, British and French armies”.
The foreigners provided them with weapons, military training, money, food and clothing. Readily equipped, they raided the Muslim neighborhoods, villages and towns, slaughtered people in masses, intensified their sabotage and arson assaults and killed civil servants one by one. They carried out these assaults in such a way that even the Russian and French soldiers resented these bloody acts.
It cannot be advocated that the Ottoman rule and its soldiers on the field regard these incidents as trivial acts which do not deserve much attention. Just the contrary weapon depots, code keys in several different languages and Russian gold have been seized in Armenian environs.
The uprising of a minority, assaults and mass slaughter were gradually intensifying and increasing. What is as important as these is that the transportation routes, of which the three armies depend on, were to a great extent threatened and jeopardized by and under the domination of the Armenians.
Raids began in the distant eastern and vulnerable Muslim villages in mid-March 1915. The fact that the Ottoman soldiers did not feel the need to take any preventive measures reveals that the extermination of the Armenians was not previously planned. Benefitting the unguarded field of activity, some Armenians escaping the army killed Turkish gendarmerie and thus the incidents began to escalate rapidly. Armed Armenians, who revolted in Van and raided Muslim vicinities and either killed or forced their residents to migration, seized a significant part of this city on April 14, 1915 and detaching it from the government established their own administration and strengthened cooperation with the occupying Russians.
Henry Morgenthau, who was residing in Istanbul at the time as the US Ambassador to Turkey, sent a written note to his Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 25, 1915, in which he informed that 25.000 armed Armenians had invaded some parts of Van. Bloody and occupying Armenian acts intensified from then on. They even went as far as to make the Sivas Governor send a message on April 22, 1915 stating that the lives of the vulnerable Muslim people living in the rural areas were in danger. The incidents spread to other centers such as Diyarbakır and Zeytun. Armenians contacted the British war ships patrolling the Alexandria Gulf and stated that as soon as the British soldiers stepped foot in Adana or its environs they would immediately run for help to the 40.000 armed Armenians (the number originally was 25.000 and later 15.000 more were added).
Such a support would not only leave especially the 4th Army in a difficult condition but also would pose as a new threat to rest of the 3rd Army.
This information is derived from the book of V. Ghazarian, an Armenian author who compiled the documents of Bogos Nubar, Head of the National Armenian Board who participated in the Versailles meetings after the war. Did the signatories of the “Apology” document read this Armenian publication before making up their mind?
The greatest point of concern for the Turkish commanders regarding these intensive developments was the bottleneck experienced in the logistics of the three armies which had to fight. The armed power of the Armenians was enough for them to take over all the transportation routes of the Ottomans. For instance the Sivas- Erzurum logistic route was no more accessible. Long roads and the extensive front were no more defendable against Armenian assaults. The greatest fear of the Turks was the rapid spreading of all these instances throughout the regions other than that of Anatolia: the mass slaughter in Van, the examples of the city takeover and the separation of this city from the Ottoman rule and the establishment of a temporary Armenian government with the support received from Russian soldiers.
The reality of all these instances lies in all the archives. However a book briefly called as “The Blue Book” was published against the Turks in the name of the British Government to influence as it pleases the international public and especially the USA, which still keeps up its impartiality in war. The book contained letters, texts, complaints and rumors belonging exclusively to the religion disseminators of the Armenians and Christians and their sympathizers. I published a book called “An Answer to the Blue Book” criticizing this British publication. The Turkish version is published in Istanbul and the English version in New York.
One had to wait a considerable amount of time for the Western world to write down that the Armenians too shed blood during World War I (apart from the exceptional instance that I am about to mention below). Stephen Pope and Elizabeth Anne Wheal, two British authors of an important work published in 2003 titled “The World War I Dictionary”, stated in this book that the Armenians slaughtered 120.000 non-Armenians in the east while the Turkish army was preparing for mobilization and that they took over Van in April 1915 and established an interim government there and added that they slaughtered another 50.000 after 1917. While talking about these 120.000 people this British source mentions the incident as “slaughter”, a more wild form of the word, whereas it could also use the term “killing”.
The exceptional publication I mentioned above is the book titled “Armenians” published in 1916 by C. F. Dixon-Johnson, one of the renowned authors of the time. He advocated that although the Turks were named as the enemies in the war, which broke out in 1914, they deserved to be treated impartially and honestly. I had published a book evaluating and introducing this work of Dixon- Johnson more than twenty years ago in several languages. Did the signatories of the “apology” text read either this source, which treats us more rightfully than them, or my book, which introduces this work?
Source: Turkkaya Ataov- Cumhuriyet Newspaper- April 25, 2009
Russian General and Armenians!, Rahmi Turan
Sarkisyan, the President of Armenia said: “We are straightening our relations with Turkey. The border gate of Turkey may soon be opened.” It is perceived from there statement that there is a serious closeness between the Foreign Ministry of Turkey and Armenia. However…This is a single-sided, strange closeness…because, Armenians always demand and never give!
The two main issues between Turkey and Armenia: The so-called Armenian genocide claim and the Armenian invasion of the one fifth of the Azerbaijani lands!”
The President of Armenia says with a definite altitude: “We will never give up Armenian genocide claim. We will never abandon mountainous Karabagh!”
So…why shall we open the borders? What kind of closeness is that? What kind of a straightening is that? Does it write “Foolish” on our foreheads?
(…) A report on the Armenian question of a famous Russian general was published. General Bolhovitinov (1871-1928), whose life had passed at the fronts, was the Chief of the Caucasus Army of the Tsarist Russia, which was fighting against the Ottoman army.
General Bolhovitinov is one of the closest eye-witnesses of 1915 Armenian incidents. The Russian General had presented his detailed report on the Armenian issue to the Caucasus Front Commander-in-Chief.
Mehmet Perinçek’s “Official Armenian Report” which was based on the Tsarist archives, was published by” Doğan Kitap”.
The findings at the report can be summarized such as following:
There was no Armenian issue even until the end of the 19th century. The Armenians, Kurds and Turks have coexisted in peace. The living conditions of Armenians are fine and they had lived in prosperity comparing to Turks and Kurds.
The Armenian issue has appeared at the end of the 19th century with the incitements of the England. England has created a disagreement between Turkey and Russia, by this way prevented Russia to dominate the Straits.
England had implanted the idea of founding an “independent Armenia” to Armenians with the help of Europeans. It organized Armenians for stirring up trouble and shedding blood and influencing European public opinion by this way.
Armenian leaders had sacrificed Armenian people for the sake of the European interests. The Armenian gangs had made every king of attack against the Muslim population.
The Armenian units, which supported Russian armies in the Eastern Anatolia, which was invaded during the World War I, had violently massacred Muslim population with the racist sentiments.
These bloody attacks had started before the “Armenian Relocation” (Compulsory immigration) decision that was taken by the Ottoman Empire.
The Armenians are continuously exaggerating their losses at 1915 relocation. The numbers that are given by them can never be trusted.
Indicating that the Ottoman Empire had many valid reasons to be strict against the Armenians at his report, the Russian General says: “Because, three quarters of our units, which invaded the Eastern Anatolia, were composed of the Ottoman Armenians.”
The documents at archives of the Tsarist Russia also confirm General Bolhovitinov.
“The Official Armenian Report” that is written by a Russian general, who had fought against Turkey, describes how Armenians were deceived by the West. Poor people, they are still inside the same game!
Source: Rahmi Turan-Hürriyet Daily Newspaper- 20/04/2009
Opinion : Engagement, Marriage, Or PACS?, Burak Bekdil
The French got possibly the worst news since June 18, 1815 from a Turkish minister and, ironically, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and, even more tragically, at a British venue! French efforts to shape European politics have failed throughout history, the Minister for the EU, Egemen Bağış, told an audience of dignitaries at the British Embassy in Ankara, while looking a senior French diplomat in the eye (hurriyet.com.tr, June 19, 2009). Nor will they succeed today. Mr. Bağış went on to remind the French of their great misfortunes.
Since that day, according to sources close to the Elys?e Palace, a repentant Nicolas Sarkozy has been having terrible nightmares and starting his mornings with a strong Turkish coffee to come round. There was a reason why Hurriyet’s related story covered the ’breaking news’ in the most ’a la Turca’ way: Last warning to France! Poor FrenchÉ They must have been devastatedÉ
Quite naturally, I could have suspected the ’Bağış effect’ on the French rush for ’Saison de la Turquie’ if it was not former presidents Jacques Chirac and Ahmet Necdet Sezer who had constructed the idea. Such was the political set-up when ’Turkey season’ proudly opened in France. In the months ahead there will be over 400 events in 77 French cities, featuring a Turkey that is not necessarily the EU-candidate Turkey but the one Turks think would have the best chances to appeal to a suspicious French audience.
The names of prominent Turks, from arts and music to architecture, who will take part in the ’let’s-impress-the-French-project’ reminded me of a recent exchange with a visiting Ph.D. student of political science from Voltaire’s lands, someone who surely has a bitter sense of humor.
After a lengthy conservation on an unusually chilly Ankara afternoon, she finished her ’French wine made by a Turkish company,’ thanked me and said: "I guess I’ve seen enough of Turkey. Now I must go and see Turkey." I smiled back and asked: "What will be your destination after Turkey?" "Well," she said, "I am intending to go to Turkey." Days after, in a message she wrote that she was traveling from Turkey to Turkey, and it would be impossible for her to visit all 1001 Turkeys in one shot. "Unfortunately, I haven’t got 1001 nights to travel from one Turkey to another."
Just like every other major PR project, ’Turkey season’ will selectively feature the ’modern face of Turkey’ hoping to win French hearts and minds. With a little bit of luck, a few French may be seen in awe, watching the Turkish wonders on display with words of pleasure: "Mais c’est fantastique!" or, "Oh, les Turcs sont plus Europ?ens que les Français!" But most others will smile at the Turkish goodies and wonder why the Turks did not exhibit cultural produce that are more Turkish, like, for example, Turkish musicians on the top of charts instead of a great talent with a few copies sold and simply no recognition by the average TurkÉ
How about social/demographic statistics? That, for example, a third of Turkish girls marry between the ages of 16 and 19? That most Turks would not like to have atheist, Jewish, Christian or American neighbors? That Turkey is being run by a rising elite of Islamists, and the Turks are becoming increasingly conservative by all scientific criteria? Facts and figuresÉ Yes, Turkey is a democracy, with a population of 72 millionÉ and run by a government that was found guilty by the country’s supreme court for systematic anti-secular activityÉ
Or, that the country’s most powerful political movement is in fact remotely controlled by a Muslim clericÉ And the Turkish prime minister happens to be a former imam with a political career spent in Islamic militancyÉ The same man who had brilliantly diagnosed the Paris riots four years earlier: "I told (the French) before," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. "The headscarf ban has triggered these riots." With the same ban still in effect, why do the (mostly Muslim) French not riot any longer?
There has been a lot of matrimonial reference to the Turkish bid to join the EU, like engagement and marriage. As one French friend reminded, however, a more proper matrimonial analogy could be PACS, or ’pacte civile de solidarit?,’ a form of civil union between two adults (same-sex or opposite-sex) for organizing their joint life. This civil bond brings rights and responsibilities, but less so than marriage.
a legal standpoint, a PACS is a ’contract’ drawn up between the two individuals, which is stamped and registered by the clerk of the court. In some areas, couples signing a PACS have the option of undergoing a formal ceremony at the City Hall identical to that of civil marriage. Individuals who have registered a PACS are still considered "single" with regard to family status for some purposes, while they are increasingly considered in the same way as married couples for other purposes.
Looks very suitable, does it not? You are married but you are not. You are a couple with legal obligations and responsibilities, but not under those of a marriage contract. Yes, PACS could be an option unless of course by the time it’s time for both Europe and Turkey to decide another ’good Muslim’ Turkish leader does not insist on an Islamic marriage with up to four wives: The EU for one, and then there is the Muslim world, the Middle East which will partly overlap with the previous one, and the former Ottoman lands tooÉ Oh, that will surely be a marriage made in heaven!
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
* Opinion : ’the Most Beautiful Justice Ever Occurred In This Country’ For Hrant... , Cengiz Çandar
The tenth hearing of the Hrant Dink murder case was Monday. It also happened to be the second anniversary of the murder case. His family foremost, but also millions of people inside and out are waiting for "justice to be done" for two years now, but there is an impression that, for the last two years, we are becoming distanced from justice while we should be approaching it.
Nedim Şener wrote a book titled, "The Dink Murder and Intelligence Lies." For writing this book he is on trial for a greater sentence than the ones who murdered Dink.
Just by looking at this example, the number of the people who believe that "justice" may be served for the Hrant Dink murder has diminished.
However, with this second anniversary of the court case, it seems like the route started to change. On Saturday, 2,000 people marched and formed a human chain from Galatasaray to Tünel, drawing attention to the Hrant Dink murder.
At the last hearing, a witness brought brand new findings. "Sensitivity for justice" is observed to be increasing at the Hrant Dink murder case on the days when "judicial reform" discussions are aroused in Turkey and the changes made for "civilians not to be judged by military courts, soldiers to be judged by civil courts."
Representatives from the Bar of Paris had attended the previous hearing and observed. Representatives from the Bar of Brussels also attended this last hearing.
I think the most striking sign of the idea that there is no escape from "justice" for the murder of Hrant Dink happened to be the presence of Adalet Ağaoğlu at the last hearing.
Adalet Ağaoğlu is exactly 80 years old.
She is one of the immortal literary greats of our country and has won countless awards. Can Yücel, who was famous for creating unforgettable descriptions, said, "You are the most beautiful justice ever occurred in this country" to her. Ğ "adalet" means "justice" in Turkish Ñ Lady Adalet is struggling with various health problems.
I see her now and then. She told me she does not leave home and she is expecting me at her house in Sarıyer. I have promised to drop by. It could not happen since I have not found my way to Istanbul for a while.
During times when I am away from Istanbul again, I am very moved to read that Adalet Ağaoğlu left her house in Sarıyer to go all the way to Beşiktaş to the courthouse that I know what it is and what it looks like; also about which I wrote "no justice will occur in this room" several times.
I am very moved and felt shame on both my account and everybody else’s.
Adalet Ağaoğlu going there to observe the Hrant Dink murder trial, at 80 years of age and while struggling with various physical health problems, is a very important event. It is a very meaningful rebellion against injustice. It is an event that arouses our hopes that justice will occur sooner or later at the murder case of Hrant Dink.
It is mostly the novels Adalet Ağaoğlu wrote in the 1970’s that place her among the immortals of Turkish literature and they are the ones that especially affected our generation.
First, there is "Laying Down to Die" (Ölmeye Yatmak) of 1973, and its second chapter "The Wedding Night" (Bir Düğün Gecesi) published in 1979. In between them, there is also "The Delicate Rose of My Mind" (Fikrimin İnce Gülü) of 1976.
"Laying Down to Die" and "The Wedding Night" are especially skillful tales of the affects of the military coups on our society and the inner worlds of the people.
They are unique messengers of Turkey with the "Ergenekon brand" through the dialect of novels and by the skill of a novelist from 30 years ago.
Minds trained by the novels of Adalet Ağaoğlu are insensitive for the political murders in Turkey and the injustices about them are unthinkable.
However, unfortunately we cannot say that there is a sufficient amount of "intellectual sensitivity" existing in our society regarding the murder of Hrant Dink.
Although there was a gathering and a speech by a well-known artist at the Beşiktaş Square before each of the hearings, the mentioned truth does not change.
Some of the well-known names of society attended every hearing but none of the chief editors from any of the newspapers or their major columnists came to observe the hearings. However, Hrant Dink was known by one title: Chief Editor of the daily Agos!
That is exactly why Adalet Ağaoğlu, at 80 years of age, going there to observe the Hrant Dink murder case during the baking-hot summer is a turning point on the way to "justice." Adalet Ağaoğlu, "The most beautiful justice that ever occurred in this country," demands justice for the murder of Hrant Dink.
None will be powerful enough to stand in the way of justice for the murder of Hrant Dink after July 2009.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet
Mexico’s Ambassador To Us Arturo Sarukhan Courageously Acknowledges "1915 Genocide By Turkey", By Appo Jabarian , Executive Publisher / Managing Editor, USA Armenian Life Magazine
Armenian-Mexican Task Force Announced By Consuls General of Mexico and Armenia, July 3, 2009
Besides loving Mexico’s culture, people, tacos and tequila, Armenians around the world have one more reason to enhance their appreciation of the Estados Unidos de Mexico: Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.
Among the many nations that have opened their doors and hearts to the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, Mexico stands out as being a pluralistic sovereign state that has appointed a principled and courageous Armenian-Mexican seasoned diplomat, a respected expert on international affairs and an astute political strategist to its most important?ambassadorial post, the one in the United States.
As Mexico’s top diplomatic representative in Washington, Ambassador Sarukhan leads his country’s efforts on such crucial issues as trade, proliferation of illegal firearms, immigration, curtailing of the traffic of illegal drugs, among others.
Amb. Sarukhan is also credited for fostering good relations between the Armenian-American and Mexican-American communities. His insightful remarks in late 2008 inspired Shahe Mazbanian, a vice-president of business development at Bank of America, to summon help from his long-time friend and mentor Alberto G. Alvarado, Los Angeles District Director of the US Small Business Administration, to jointly lobby with their respective communities for active co-operation. Their efforts paid off in an impressive way. Both the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce jointly organized a June 25 breakfast meeting in Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel in honor of Ambassador Sarukhan.
At the meeting, the Consuls General of Mexico and Armenia, Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez and Grigor Hovhannissian separately spoke about the necessity of establishing strategic partnership between the Mexican and Armenian communities. As a direct result of this timely initiative, they announced the formation of a task force that would promote cooperation in the sectors of health, economic development, education and culture (Please see related news article by clicking on the following link: http://www.armenianlife.com/Archive/ArchivePDF/English/07-07-2009.pdf).
The Consulates General of Armenia and Mexico spearheaded the co-operation efforts. In a pre-taped video message, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA.) expressed his appreciation for the initiative and congratulated the two consulates.
In a November 21, 2008 interview granted to The Armenian Reporter, Amb. Sarukhan emphasized that "communities like the Armenian and the Mexican communities are natural allies. They share agendas and challenges in this country. Many of them have come here driven by the same problems of lack of economic opportunities. Both are hard working societies. [In the past] the Armenian community faced the prejudice and racism and discrimination in this country that Mexican communities are facing today."
He stated that "It would make more sense if Armenian and Mexican communities work together especially in the West Coast and New England where we have the highest concentration of Armenian-Americans to bring down the bombastic nature of the debate, to look at the opportunities and the challenges in an objective and forward-looking way."
Mr. Sarukhan’s candid position regarding his Armenian roots is not only uplifting for the Armenian Youth, but also enriching for Mexico’s international image. His grandparents arrived in Mexico in the early 1930s. His grandfather was a Russian-Armenian also named Artur Sarukhanian, and grandmother, a survivor of the Genocide arrived in Mexico with the idea of coming to Canada. Having read a lot about Mexico, Sr. Sarukhan decided to stop in Mexico on their way to Canada. The elder Sarukhanians fell in love with Mexico and they stayed in Mexico. Amb. Sarukhan was born in Mexico.
The prestigious website of The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars named after Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States from 1913 to 1921, and a great friend of The Democratic Republic of Armenia (1918-1921), writes: "The grandson of refugees in Mexico, Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan is a career diplomat who joined the Mexican Foreign Service in 1993, and currently serves as Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. He was posted to the Mexican Embassy in the United States as a junior diplomat, served as Chief of Staff to the Ambassador, and was the head of the counternarcotics office at the Embassy. In 2000 he became Chief of Policy Planning at the Foreign Ministry and was appointed by the President as Mexican Consul General to New York City in 2003. He resigned from this post and took a leave of absence from the Foreign Service in 2006 to join Felipe Calderón’s presidential campaign as a foreign policy advisor and international spokesperson and became the Coordinator for Foreign Affairs in the Transition Team. In November of 2006 he received the rank of Ambassador and in February of 2007 was appointed Mexican Ambassador to the United States."
During the breakfast meeting’s question and answer period, Appo Jabarian of USA Armenian Life Magazine asked: "Amb. Sarukhan, at the beginning of your remarks you have used the term '1915 Genocide by Turkey.' Does it mean that the government of Mexico officially recognizes the Armenian Genocide, or have you simply stated the facts as they are?"
Amb. Sarukhan posed for a moment and then answered with a humorous flair. He said that "the newspapers are good at killing flies and diplomats," causing an eruption of laughter. He then stated courageously that his remarks reflected his personal belief. He went on to elaborate that by telling the truth we can build a better future. He added that the truth can overcome everything; and can liberate even those who want to hide it.
Through their pro-active co-operation, the Armenian- and the Mexican-American communities across the United States, can achieve substantial moral, political, and economic gains. Both communities come from similar backgrounds of family-values.
The success and the longevity of their inter-ethnic alliance should serve as a model that can be emulated by Armenian-Americans in establishing similarly fruitful alliances with other communities.
A Turkish Tale By Robert Manne, Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide 2007-02-07
'Who after all today is speaking about the destruction of the Armenians?' Adolf Hitler to his generals on the eve of the invasion of Poland, August 1939
There are two puzzles about the story at the centre of Australian folklore, Gallipoli. One is obvious: why did the story of the Australian troops' landing at the Dardanelles Straits on 25 April 1915, and their subsequent participation in one of the British Empire's most comprehensive military defeats, become the country's foundation myth? The other puzzle has never been discussed, but can be expressed as follows.
TM Body Text:
During the exact time Australian troops spent in hell on Gallipoli, another event of world-historical importance was taking place on contiguous ground: the Armenian Genocide. Some contemporary scholars think that during this catastrophe, one million people were murdered. The crime was committed by the leadership of the Ottoman Turkish Empire: the empire which Australian troops, as part of the Anglo-French force, invaded. The Gallipoli landings took place one day after the mass arrest of the Armenian intelligentsia in Istanbul, the date Armenians regard as the beginning of the genocide and thus have set aside as their day of national mourning. Australians remember 25 April as their most solemn national day; the Armenians remember 24 April. As it happened, the Dardanelles campaign failed. In the months between the landings at Gallipoli and the mid-December 1915 evacuation, the overwhelming majority of the million deaths took place a few hundred kilometres east of the Dardanelles Straits: in eastern Anatolia, Cilicia and, after the terrible death marches, in the deserts of Syria and Iraq.
And yet, despite the fact that the Armenian Genocide was one of the great crimes of history; despite the fact that it took place on Ottoman soil during the precise months of the Dardanelles campaign; despite the fact that that campaign is regarded as the moment when the Australian nation was born, so far as I can tell, in the vast Gallipoli canon, not one Australian historian has devoted more than a passing page or paragraph to the relationship, or even the mere coincidence, of the two events. Concerning the Armenian Genocide, in the space of two large volumes on Gallipoli, Charles Bean is silent; Les Carlyon gives the issue three or four lines; John Robertson allows half a page. Alan Moorehead, in his mid-'50s classic, is unusual by devoting a full three pages to the Armenian Question.
Among Australians, only the poet Les Murray has managed to hold the two events together in his mind. His strange creation, the German Australian Fredy Neptune, is accidentally attached to the Turkish Navy at the outbreak of the Great War. Fredy swears to himself that he will desert if forced to fight Australians at Gallipoli. Soon after, he witnesses, at the Black Sea port of Trebizond, Armenian women being doused in kerosene and set alight. He is numbed by this experience for the remainder of his life. Murray's epic begins with the words of an Armenian poet: "These eyes of mine - How shall I dig them out, how shall I, how?" For Murray, Armenia prefigures the horrors of the twentieth century. For him and him alone, Gallipoli is imaginatively proximate.
Concerning the coincidence on Ottoman soil of the Gallipoli campaign and the Armenian Genocide, there are many questions - though Australian historians have not seen them - that are worth discussing. Here is one. The Germans on the Western Front were not held by the Australian troops in high regard: their Belgian atrocities were exaggerated and neither forgiven nor forgotten. By contrast, for reasons that are not easy to fathom, ever since the time of the Anzac presence at Gallipoli, the Turkish enemy, responsible for crimes against Armenians far more terrible, seems to have been respected, not so much by the Australian troops but by those who recorded the experience of Gallipoli on their behalf.
In the enormously influential Anzac Book, compiled by Charles Bean from contributions of those who served, Bean included a poem of his own, ‘Abdul'. It ended with the following verse:
For though your name be black as ink
For murder and rapine
Carried out in happy concert
With your Christians from the Rhine,
We will judge you, Mr Abdul,
By the test by which we can -
That with all your breath, in life, in death,
You've played the gentleman.
In all his subsequent work, Bean continued to claim that the Anzac troops left Gallipoli with respect for the basic decency of the Turkish troops more or less intact. In 1934, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustapha Kemal Atatürk, reciprocated with fine conciliatory sentiments of his own. I use the translation of Adrian Jones:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well.
Bob Hawke completed the cycle in 1990, moving from respect for the foot soldier, "Johnny Turk", to highest praise for the commander and founder of the postwar regime:
It is remarkable to reflect that the tragedy of our first encounter has been the source of nationhood for both our countries. It was through his brilliant defence of the Gallipoli Peninsula ... that the great Mustapha Kemal Ataturk demonstrated the singular qualities of leadership which enabled him subsequently to create the Turkish Republic.
As it happens, from the time of Bean to the time of Hawke, the reality of the Armenian Genocide was completely well known. During World War I, it was widely reported in the Australian press - the Age, for example, published 30 reports in 1915 alone - that a crime unprecedented in the history of humanity had occurred, where as many one million Armenians had been massacred. These reports drew upon a very long tradition of Christian condemnation of Ottoman crimes and the more recent Liberal rhetoric, from the time of the great Gladstonean agitation over the "Bulgarian atrocities" of the "unspeakable Turk".
Yet not only did the knowledge of the Armenian Genocide have no impact on the respect which official Australians expressed from the first for the decency and the courage of Johnny Turk. For the past 90 years, the moral tension between what is fine about the tradition of respect for the former enemy and what is callous about regarding the genocide of the Armenians as so minor a matter that it cannot dent that admiration has never been discussed.
Or almost never. In her recent Quarterly Essay, ‘The History Question: Who Owns the Past?', Inga Clendinnen argues perceptively that the Turkish enemy at Gallipoli is respected "because they cared for our dead, but also because they were there. They had seen the Anzacs in hallowed action." Nonetheless, "remembering the Armenians", she adds, "we flinch". To her credit, Clendinnen has at least noticed there is an issue here, something which most Australians have not. Yet her brief discussion is hardly satisfactory. For my part, I do not think there is evidence of Australians flinching at the thought of the million Armenian deaths. And even if there is, can it be argued that in the face of one of the most terrible crimes of which history has record, with which we became indirectly entangled by our proximity at Gallipoli, it is enough to flinch?
I am all too aware that the myth of Johnny Turk is benign. It is a wonderful thing when, at the end of warfare, hatred dies. But I struggle to understand why Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide continue to exist for Australians in parallel moral universes.
There is another puzzle about the coincidence in time and place of Gallipoli and the Armenian tragedy. In the scores of books written about Australia and Gallipoli, why has no Australian historian ever asked the question that should have occurred most naturally to a member of the profession: namely, did the Anglo-French Dardanelles campaign play any role in the Ottoman regime's decision for genocide?
Until relatively recently, the historical argument over the Armenian Genocide has been dominated by the interpretative conflict between nationalist scholars representing the victims and the perpetrators. Armenian historians, such as Vahakn Dadrian and Richard Hovannisian, have argued that the determination to destroy the Armenians was rooted in pan-Islamic and pan-Turkish ideology, and that the decision to unleash the genocidal attack was long premeditated. For their part, Turkish nationalist historians have denied that any genocide took place, with an attitude that has been neatly summarised by Ronald Suny:
For deniers of genocide there is simply no need to explain an event that did not occur as stipulated by those who claim it did. What did occur, in their view, was a reasonable and understandable response of a government to a rebellious and seditious population in a time of war ... The denialist viewpoint might be summarized as: There was no Genocide, and the Armenians are to blame for it!
Given the attitude on both sides, it is not surprising that the highly political pitched battles between the Armenian and Turkish nationalist historians have been both astonishingly bitter and rather sterile.
The work of recent non-nationalist historians has been more fruitful. They have emphasised the role of war and imperial disintegration in the origin of the genocide. In addition to ideology and premeditation, they have suggested a more dynamic historical process, which one of these new scholars, Donald Bloxham, borrowing from a parallel debate about the origins of the Holocaust, has labelled "cumulative radicalisation". The ideas associated with these new scholars, that the decision to embark upon the total destruction of the Ottoman Armenians emerged gradually and as part of a wartime process of imperial crisis, helps us understand the kind of relation that exists between the Armenian Genocide and the Gallipoli campaign.
Stripped to its essentials, the new story goes like this. Throughout the nineteenth century, the once mighty Ottoman Empire was "the sick man of Europe", gradually losing more and more of its European territories. This process of decline culminated in the great losses of the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and the acceptance by the Ottomans in 1914 of a so-called Reform which allowed Russia the right to offer formal protection to the most important remaining Christian minority population in the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians of Anatolia. This kind of "humanitarian intervention" from Christian Europe represented an increasingly unbearable humiliation for the Ottomans, to which the Armenians were extremely vulnerable. Before the war of 1914, in part because of earlier similar interventions, they had already suffered grievous losses: at least 100,000 of their people were killed in the 1890s during the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. A further 20,000 died in 1909 at Adana.
Tsarist Russia was the most serious long-term enemy of the Ottoman Empire. When war broke out between the Germans and the Russians in August 1914, the Ottoman government, now dominated by the revolutionary Young Turks, seized the opportunity to repudiate the hated Reform and to form a military alliance with Germany. The tsarist government, in response, promised that if the Armenians of Turkey rose in support, a brighter independent future beckoned. In September, Russia suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Tannenberg. In November, the Turks attacked the Russian Black Sea fleet. Turkey was now at war with the Entente. At Sarikamis, in January 1915, the Ottoman Third Army was almost entirely destroyed by the Russians. To support the Russians and to bring about the surrender of the Ottomans, in March 1915 the British and the French mounted a naval action in the hope of breaking through at the Dardanelles and reaching Istanbul. When the naval action failed, they landed troops at Gallipoli on 25 April with the same strategic end in mind.
Although the best contemporary non-nationalist historians of the Armenian Genocide - the Turk Taner Akçam and the Briton Donald Bloxham - differ on the question of when the decision for genocide was arrived at, and even over whether there was one particular decision or many, both accept that it was this constellation of events - the advance of the Russian Army in the Caucasus; the Anglo-French attack at the Dardanelles; the growing fears concerning the loyalty of the Ottoman Empire's most important remaining Christian minority, the Armenians of Anatolia - that acted as the trigger for, if not the cause of, the Armenian Genocide.
Akçam, whose analysis of the mechanics of the genocide is the most convincing I have read, believes the fundamental decision to unleash the deportations and the massacres of the Armenians was taken during meetings of the central committee of the Young Turks' party, the Committee of Union and Progress, in March 1915, at the time of the beginning of the Dardanelles naval campaign. The main engineer of the genocide was Dr Bahaettin Shakir, who had convinced the CUP leadership that at this time of crisis for the Empire, the "internal" enemy, the Armenian, was as dangerous as the "external" - the Russian, the British and the French.
In his Empire to Republic (2004), Akçam expresses his views about the link between the external and the internal threats to the Ottoman Empire by the time of World War I in general, and between the Armenian Genocide and Gallipoli in particular, in the following way.
[As Norbert Elias argued]: "The stronger the downward tendency toward decline, the greater the coarseness of means used to stop this progression ... Having their backs against the wall turns the fierce defenders of civilization into its greatest destroyers. They quickly become barbarians." I believe this was the Ottoman mindset before and during the First World War. For that reason it seems to me no coincidence that the decision behind the Armenian Genocide was made during the fierce battles of the Gallipoli campaign, when the Ottoman Empire's very existence seemed to balance between life and death. The hopeless situation into which Ottomans had fallen produced a willingness to rely on extraordinary acts of cruelty.
Akçam's most recent work, A Shameful Act (2006), makes the link between Gallipoli and the initiation of the Armenian Genocide even more explicit:
Almost everyone believed that the capture of Istanbul was only a question of time ... It was not a coincidence that the Armenian genocide took place soon after the Sarikamis disaster and was contemporaneous with the empire's struggle at Gallipoli ... A nation that feels itself on the verge of destruction will not hesitate to destroy another group it holds responsible for its situation ... A prediction made by the German ambassador Wangenheim is worth mentioning. With the outbreak of the war in August 1914, Henry Morgenthau [the US ambassador] warned him that the Turks would massacre the Armenians in Anatolia, to which Wangenheim replied, "So long as England does not attack Canakkale [the Turkish fortress at the Dardanelles] ... there is nothing to fear. Otherwise, nothing can be guaranteed." However, this is precisely what happened.
Donald Bloxham, in The Great Game of Genocide (2005), thinks the final decision(s) for the genocide came later than March 1915, Akçam's view. Nonetheless, he too links the process with key moments in the Dardanelles campaign. Like Akçam, Bloxham thinks the critical meetings of the CUP central committee with Dr Behaettin Shakir, in mid-March 1915, were associated with the Anglo-French attacks of 5-17 March on the Dardanelles' outer forts. Bloxham believes that the arrests of the Armenian intelligentsia on 24 April were triggered by the news that the British and the French were about to land their troops at Gallipoli. One month into the Gallipoli land campaign, the leaders of Britain, France and Russia issued the following solemn warning:
In light of these crimes [against the Armenians], which Turkey has perpetrated against humanity and civilisation, the Entente powers openly inform the Sublime Porte that they will hold members of the Ottoman Empire and their subordinates who are involved in the massacre personally responsible for this crime.
This was the first time in international relations that the potent phrase "crimes against humanity" had been used. In Bloxham's narrative of cumulative radicalisation, these words play a crucial role. Following this threat, with nothing more to lose, the Turkish regime abandoned all restraint. "From the very next day", he argues, "eyewitnesses suggest that the atrocities intensified yet further."
In his essay ‘Explaining Genocide? The Fate of the Armenians in the Late Ottoman Empire', Ronald Suny provides even more direct evidence linking the Gallipoli campaign with the Armenian Genocide. For Suny, the most telling witness to the thinking of the Ottoman political leadership, at the time of the Armenian catastrophe, was the ambassador of the then neutral US, to whom two leading members of the ruling Young Turk triumvirate, Enver Pasha and Talaat Pasha, spoke with a quite extraordinary frankness.
Talaat explained the situation to Morgenthau, in a conversation of 1915, like this:
[The Armenians] have assisted the Russians in the Caucasus and our failure there is largely explained by their actions ... It is no use for you to argue ... We have already disposed of three-quarters of the Armenians ... The hatred between the Turks and the Armenians is now so intense that we have got to finish with them. If we don't, they will plan their revenge ... I have accomplished more toward solving the Armenian problem than Abdul Hamid did in thirty years.
As evidence of the extremity of the massacre accumulated, Morgenthau requested a meeting with the war minister, Enver Pasha. This is what he learned:
The Armenians had a fair warning ... of what would happen to them in case they joined our enemies ... You know what happened at Van. They obtained control of the city, used bombs against government buildings, and killed a large number of Moslems. We knew that they were planning uprisings in other places. You must understand that we are now fighting for our lives at the Dardanelles and that we are sacrificing large numbers of men. While we are engaged in such a struggle as this, we cannot permit people in our own country to attack us in the back. We have got to prevent this no matter what means we have to resort to ...
The meaning of this evidence seems clear. In the drive towards the Armenian Genocide, the crisis precipitated by the Entente bombardments of the Dardanelles fortresses in March 1915 and the troop landings at Gallipoli on 25 April - in association with the slow advance of the Russian Army in the Caucasus - played a highly significant part.
In pointing this out, I hope not to be misunderstood. To argue that the Dardanelles campaign was one of the crucial triggers for the Armenian Genocide is not to argue that the Entente leaders bear even a partial moral responsibility for the catastrophe that occurred. Once the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers and attacked the Russian Black Sea fleet, the bombing of the Straits fortresses and the troop landings at Gallipoli were entirely legitimate, if ill-judged, acts of war. Indeed, not only do the Entente powers bear no moral responsibility for the genocide: if the Dardanelles campaign had succeeded and the Ottomans had surrendered, hundreds of thousands of Armenian lives might have been saved. Nor, in outlining the wartime circumstances surrounding the decision for genocide, am I seeking to dilute in any way the gravity of the Turkish crime. No maxim is more important for the historian than the one that tells us that to explain is in no way to excuse.
Why have Australian historians - from Bean to Carlyon - shown no interest in the moral or historical relationship between Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide? The clue is to be found, I believe, in a passage from a work by the American historian Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life, where he distinguishes between the practice of "history" and what he calls, borrowing from the sociologist Maurice Halbwachs, "collective memory":
Collective memory ... is not just historical knowledge shared by a group. Indeed, collective memory is in crucial senses ahistorical, even anti-historical ... Collective memory simplifies; sees events from a single committed perspective; is impatient with ambiguities of any kind; reduces events to mythic archetypes ... Typically a collective memory, at least a significant collective memory, is understood to express some eternal or essential truth about the group - usually tragic. A memory, once established, comes to define that eternal truth, and, along with it, an eternal identity, for the members of the group. Serbs' central memory, the lost battle of Kosovo in 1389, symbolizes the permanent Muslim intention to dominate them. The partitions in Poland in the eighteenth century gave that country an "essential" identity as "the Christ among nations", crucified and re-crucified by foreign oppression ... Thinking about collective memory in this way helps us to separate ephemeral and relatively inconsequential memories from those that endure and shape consciousness.
Gallipoli has long been, and still is, Australia's overwhelmingly most important collective memory. Why? There have been two main explanations. The Left has emphasised the curious propensity of Australians to mythologise only audacious or noble exploits that end in tragedy: Burke and Wills, Ned Kelly, Phar Lap, Gallipoli. Conservatives see Gallipoli as the place where the national character was discovered and revealed to the world. Which view is more plausible?
To try to discover whether Gallipoli was remembered as a triumph or a defeat, I recently read through a book of sermons delivered in Queensland on Anzac Day in 1921. Although there was a great deal about the debt that was owed to those who had laid down their lives for their Country and their Empire - almost unanimously thought of as one - the emphasis was overwhelmingly on triumph. Here is a characteristic passage:
The first Anzac morning they conquered, they looked death in the face and never flinched, and their glorious feat imprinted with indelible fame the name of Australia upon the map of the world ... [It] proved that we were in resource, in courage, endurance and every manly and national quality, the equal of the older nations of the world ... Hitherto we had accepted ourselves, our country, and our world position at the valuation of the outsider, and, to say the least of it, that valuation was by no means a generous one. Henceforth and forever, we know our worth; we have proved it in the face of mankind ...
The glorious April Anzac landings were linked in the sermons not to the immediate defeat at the Dardanelles but instead to the eventual defeat of Germany. The fact that Gallipoli was a strategic disaster was almost entirely ignored. Even the brilliant success of the December evacuation was barely mentioned. For Australians, Gallipoli was neither Burke and Wills writ large nor a prefiguring of Dunkirk.
The myth of Gallipoli did not emerge gradually. It was imprinted on the national imagination following the publication throughout Australia, on 8 May 1915, of the first account of the landings by the British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett. Here are some of the sentences from that first report:
There has been no finer feat in this war than this sudden landing in the dark and the storming of the heights ... These raw colonial troops in these desperate hours proved worthy to fight side by side with the heroes of Mons, the Aisne, Ypres and Neuve Chapelle ... The Australians were determined to die to a man rather than surrender the ground so dearly won ... These Colonials are extraordinarily good under fire, often exposing themselves rather than take the trouble to keep under the shelter of the cliff ... General Birdwood told the writer that he couldn't sufficiently praise the courage, endurance, and soldierly qualities of the Colonials ... The courage displayed by these wounded Australians will never be forgotten ... Though many were shot almost to bits, without hope of recovery, their cheers resounded ... They were happy because they knew they had been tried for the first time and not found wanting.
By accident, Ashmead-Bartlett's electrifying account of the Gallipoli landings arrived several days before the more prosaic version by the Australian Charles Bean. It mattered that the mode of the first account was unashamedly heroic. Even more importantly, it mattered that this first account came from a British and not an Australian correspondent. The moment of birth proved crucial.
In his Sense and Nonsense in Australian History (2006), John Hirst best explains the significance of all this. The Gallipoli landing was the first time that an Australian unit not incorporated within an Imperial formation had been involved in a major military operation. "The history of the colonial psyche is the struggle to manage the disdain of the metropolis": before 25 April 1915, niggling questions about Australian manhood, character and the convict taint had not yet been resolved. On 25 April, they largely were. Under the British gaze, Australians "had been tried" and "not found wanting".
In the final pages of his first volume on Anzac and Gallipoli, in one of the seminal passages in Australian literature, Charles Bean takes us to the second reason why the story of the Gallipoli landings has lodged at the centre of Australian collective memory. Bean asks the simple question, "What motive sustained them?" It was not, he tells us "love of a fight". It was not "hatred of the Turk". It was not "purely patriotism, as it would have been had they fought on Australian soil", "nor was it the desire for fame". What, then?
We arrive at the passage which best explains how Gallipoli has shaped national consciousness and which takes us to the heart of national self-belief:
It lay in the mettle of the men themselves. To be the sort of man who would give way when his mates were trusting to his firmness ... to have made it necessary for another unit to do his own unit's work; to live the rest of his life haunted by the knowledge that he had set his hand to a soldier's task and lacked the grit to carry it through - that was the prospect that these men could not face. Life was very dear, but life was not worth living unless they could be true to their idea of Australian manhood.
The landings instantly convinced Australians that from the scattered British-settler colonies, a new nation had been born. Perhaps even more importantly, Australians believed that the landings demonstrated to the world in general and to the British metropolis in particular who they were. It was thought to reveal certain eternal truths about Australians. They were courageous; they were manly; they were practical; they were laconic; they were naturally egalitarian; they were stoical; they were young; they were innocent. Most importantly, in a time of trouble, they stood by each other, as mates.
The great political feat of Federation had barely touched the popular imagination. Only with the glorious Gallipoli landings did the Australian people feel, as an imaginative reality, that their nation had been born.
The story of Gallipoli has been told somewhat differently from one generation to the next. In the interwar years, it spoke of military valour and Empire loyalty; after Vietnam, in the Peter Weir and David Williamson version, about the betrayal of Australia by the British and of the futility of fighting other people's wars. Yet for 90 years, the central meaning has remained steady. From the moment of its birth as foundation myth, Gallipoli has been about Australian identity, a central pre-occupation, a gnawing problem. The story endured because it captured, in essence and outside historical time, what Australians have always believed to be the character and the core values of the nation. For this reason, the popular appetite for new versions of the Gallipoli story remains apparently insatiable. Hardly a year passes without a new Gallipoli book or a film. Gallipoli is Australia's only sacred soil. For Australians, the Gallipoli landing is still, as it was in 1915, the most significant event of their country's history.
In the mythic structure of the story, bitterness about the enemy has no part. Johnny Turk is remembered with respect, or even fondly, merely for being present when the Australian nation was born and when Australians discovered who they were. Of even less significance in the story of Gallipoli are the tribulations of the Ottoman Empire in its death throes, or the astonishing tragedy that was overtaking the Armenians at the same time and place, for which the bombardments and the landings provided critical triggers.
In world history there is an intimate connection between the Dardanelles campaign and the Armenian Genocide. In the Australian collective memory of Gallipoli, the Armenian Genocide simply has no role. I suspect it never will.
There is one further delicate question I wish to raise. In the comment quoted earlier in this essay, Bob Hawke pointed to the rather remarkable fact that for both Australia and Turkey, Gallipoli played a part in national birth. For Australia, I have already suggested why. For Turkey, the reason is even more straightforward. Gallipoli was the first of the military victories, under the leadership of Mustapha Kemal, from which eventually, after the Wars of Independence, the modern Turkish Republic would be born.
Yet, in the circumstances concerning their birth, Australia and Turkey share another legacy. In the birth of both nations there was, for another people, a dreadful price to pay. I do not believe that there is a moral equivalence between the Dispossession of the Aborigines and the Armenian Genocide. I do believe that the histories of both Australia and Turkey have been burdened by the shadows cast by these events.
Ernest Renan once argued that an act of forgetting can be discovered in the foundation of all nations. Sigmund Freud agreed: "It is universally admitted that in the origin of the traditions and folklore of a people care must be taken to remove from the memory such a motive as would be painful to the national feeling." According to Renan and Freud, all countries seem to feel the need for a noble myth of origin from which dark deeds and moral ambiguities have been erased.
For the entire course of its history, the Turkish Republic has managed this difficulty by a ferociously enforced state policy of denialism in regard to the genocidal crime that coincided with, and stained, its national birth. For almost 70 years following Federation, Australia coped with this problem in a somewhat different way, by what WE Stanner called "the Great Australian Silence" concerning the Dispossession and its aftermath, and by what he described as "the cult of forgetfulness on a national scale". For 30 years, it looked as if the era of forgetfulness was over. Since the enthusiastic embrace of Keith Windschuttle's denialist history, by the Howard Government and the conservative mainstream, that is no longer clear.
The very future of Turkey - whether, both literally and metaphorically, she will or will not enter Europe - will be partly determined by whether or not the denialist legacy regarding the Armenian Genocide can be transcended or will endure. In a less dramatic way, both the future of Australia and the character of the nation will be determined by whether or not we can learn, without flinching, to hold the memories of the triumph of Gallipoli and the tragedy of the Dispossession together in our minds.
Notes: Robert Manne first raised the issue of Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide at the History Council of Victoria's 2006 Annual Lecture.
© THE MONTHLY 2009. www.themonthly.com.au .
Armenian Genocide: How To Sell It, Avedis Kevorkian
Shortly after the April 24 "Go to Hell" message to the Armenians from the Liar in the White House, President Medz Yeghern, a contact at the National Space Agency sent me a photo taken from space showing a large number of people standing in a large circle and pointing to the person on the right and asked what I made of it.
I told him that it was a couple of million Armenians and they were pointing to the person to their right and blaming that person for the fact that President Medz Yeghern had not kept his promises to the Armenian about the Armenian Genocide.
He wanted to know what it was all about. I explained that when he was a candidate for office, Medz Yeghern promised all sorts of good things to the Armenians but after he won and was inaugurated, he received his instructions from Ankara and reneged on all his promises, and the Armenians were now trying to blame someone.
"So," he said, "there's nothing significant about it, right?"
"Yes," I said, "there is nothing significant about it. Armenians are always blaming others for whatever happens or doesn't happen."
"I should throw the photo away?" he asked. "Yes," I said, "it is worthless. I am throwing away my copy, as well."
Now that the blame-game has all but died off, however, I thought it was time for me to express an opinion or two. And, to do so, I must discuss the fine art of selling. Yes, I know that Armenians are expert businessmen. But, somehow, they don't translate their business acumen into matters political.
Two men want to buy suits. The first man goes into a men's shop, takes a suit off the rack, tries it on. The salesman says to him. "Please buy this suit, because I get a good commission." The second man goes into a men's shop, takes a suit off the rack, tries it on, and the salesman says to him, "Oh, Yes! This is you. You look ten years younger. In fact, perhaps you shouldn't buy this suit because all the women will chase you down the street."
Which salesman made the sale?
Now, let us reverse the direction, and talk about two other salesmen. The first salesman goes to President Medz Yeghern and says, "We were the first Christian nation and we were the victims of the first Genocide of the Twentieth Century, so you should say so because it is the right thing to do." The second salesman goes to President Medz Yeghern and says, "If you use the 'Genocide' word, we will kick you the Hell out of the Inçirlik airbase in our country."
Which salesman's message got across?
Whenever I have taught or lectured on public relations, and when speaking to potential clients (so they have no misgivings of my approach) I say, "It is not what you want, it is not what I want, but it is what the editor wants that gets used."
Just one of many possible examples. Many years ago, I represented both the local Foster Care organization as well as the Foster Care Agency of the Federal Government (they were not connected, though they knew each other).
When I reached my office one Monday morning, there were three messages from Washington, and one from the local director with the note, "Call me first." I called her and she explained that she had been in touch with Washington, knew that I had messages from the Washington director, and explained the background. It seemed that a comic on his program, on Sunday, had done a very nasty skit on what was the life of a child in foster care, and, it turned out that the comic had been a foster child and had an unpleasant experience. Washington, my local director said, was demanding that I do something.
I called Washington, got the background (again) and her firm views that I "demand" that the network apologize. I told her that networks don't apologize. But, I said I would try to do something.
I called CBS (the network) and spoke with a couple of people, both of whom were sympathetic. I will spare the details of the conversations. Eventually, I was referred to a producer asking what could be done. I said that during National Foster Care week, later that month, there would be a major conference in Atlanta, and that it might be a good idea if CBS would cover. There was a pause, and then the one word, dear to the hearts of public-relations people, "Exclusive?" I said, "Of course."
Again, I will spare the details. We agreed that the conference would be given fifteen minutes on the morning program, and that would include "eavesdropping" on a round-table discussion, and film of two foster-care homes--one a ghetto family and one an upper-middle-class family.
I called my Washington Director and told her what we agreed. She was elated. She said that she would re-arrange the seminars and talks and selected one of great public interest, and re-set its time. Meanwhile I worked with my local director, and she selected two homes. I called CBS and told the producer what was done, and she set a date for a camera crew to come to Philadelphia.
To sum up. The 15-minute segment was introduced with the announcement that a discussion was "in progress" and a brief filming of the discussion, then the scene changed to the ghetto home and the interview with the two foster parents and two of their foster children, then back to Atlanta, then to the upper-middle class home and the two foster parents and their two foster children, and then back to Atlanta, and a prepared sign-off.
Needless to say, both my clients felt that I could walk on water.
I narrate the above not to boast, but to indicate that begging would have achieved nothing, but I was able to give the producer something she could legitimately use.
Now back to the hapless Armenians.
The reason that no one truly gives a damn about the Armenians is because the Armenian message is "I want" and not "I give."
It's bad enough that Armenia has no natural resources America wants and needs (natural gas, oil, minerals, etc.), but it is common knowledge that the country is run by crooks and thieves and thugs. So, the only possible "offer" Armenia could make to America is to pretend it has clout and muscle with both Moscow and Tehran and that Armenia would be an ideal middleman between Washington and Moscow and Washington and Tehran. It could offer to conduct some quiet diplomacy and create greater understanding between Washington and the two countries.
Failing that, the Armenians in America must ask what they can give the Liar in the White House. That can be summed up in two words: "Votes" and "Money" Like all presidents, Medz Yeghern has his eyes on a second term, already. However, he needs to get over a vital hurdle--the elections of 2010. The message that the Armenians should send to the White House is that all Armenian votes in 2010 will go to Republican Party candidates--Governors, Senators, Representatives--with the aim of giving the Republicans the control of the State Capitols and of Congress. And, the suggestion should be made that there is always April 2010 for him to keep his pledges and promises, if he wants his party to get the Armenian vote, in November 2010.
As to money, it is a fact that, in politics, it talks very loudly. Armenians should start thinking very seriously of being major contributors to the two political parties--the American political parties, that is. This is especially important with candidates in areas where there are no meaningful number of Armenian voters. An example will serve.
There was once a very influential Senator, Henry Jackson of the State of Washington. He was so pro-Israel, he was known as the "Senator from Israel." He was not Jewish, and the number of Jewish votes in his state, when he was active, was 0.06 percent! But, Jackson was the darling of the Jews and he was supported financially almost beyond measure.
You can be sure that during and after campaigns, politicians carefully scrutinize the list of donors. If they see Armenian names, they will think Armenian. If they see no Armenian names, they will ask "Armenian who?" You can be sure that on November 5, when president-elect Medz Yeghern looked at the list of donors, he saw very few Armenian names. Thus, it wasn't a very difficult decision to say, "To Hell with the Armenians."
The time to think of punishing Medz Yeghern is now. While they are in the process of dealing with Medz Yeghern, the American Armenians should also contact their local Republican parties and ask who they can help and how they can help.
Before anyone says anything, let me say it first. Voting for the Republicans is not a reward for past support. The Republicans have had their share of liars. But, in the present circumstance, the Republicans are being used as messengers to the present Liar in the White House.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the first suit salesman was Armenian, and the second suit salesman was Turkish.
4 July 2009, Copyright © 2007-2009 keghart.com
The Reality And The Illusion, Yavuz Baydar @ Todayszaman.Com
The summer with all its beauty is inevitable. When I stepped onboard the boat on the north-eastern side of Bosporus, I felt it at every breath; as we passed the gorgeous piers of Rumelihisarı and Arnavutköy, the notion of rest was, to my sadness, chased away by the agenda we all had to cover.
I was one of the first to arrive at the court in Beşiktaş. Only a couple of lawyers who represent the Dink family were there, sipping tea and chatting. A colleague invited me over to a cafe nearby.
“Look at her,” he said. A tiny blonde was sitting in the corner. “She is the one who wants to marry Ogün Samast,” he told me. I knew of her. She had told the family of the man accused of murdering my Armenian colleague, Hrant Dink, this was all she wanted.
Again, only a few representatives from the media were present. A handful of columnists, reporters on their routine beat and close journalist friends of Hrant like me.
The publishers and editors of the big media groups -- such as Doğan, so “keen” on the “media freedom” in this country and others -- ignored, as they have consistently ever since his funeral and the trial, and failed to show up in solidarity of their murdered colleague, a publisher and editor himself. Yet, this absence is not a surprise; “media freedom” can mean so many things, depending on your interests.
There was an air of despair at the court. I have not met anyone who felt that the process was going anywhere at all. “It is all left to rot,” mumbled a lawyer. “Everything depends on whether the link between the gendarmerie and the murderers is truly focused on.”
The extended chat seemed to confirm my theory: If the prosecutors of the increasingly complex Ergenekon trial had concentrated on the murder cases in Malatya (against Christian missionaries), Catholic priest Santoro in Trabzon and the Dink assassination more than any others, and pressed the local security, in particular the gendarmerie over its involvement, the light would have been shed on how the vast network reasons and operates.
A key witness testified at the trial, to bring urgency to the matter I mentioned. Veysel Şahin, a teacher linked with a local association in Malatya, was detained there for a long time because some hand grenades found in his flat were identified as being from the same “family” as those found in Ergenekon-related raids. Şahin, charged in that case, had already given interesting information about murders and “organized” terror attempts in the Kurdish southeast.
Witness Şahin first tried to make it clear he “had not come all the way from Malatya to lie.” He said that he was “cooperating with the gendarmerie” and had met Yasin Hayal (a young man charged with “organizing the Dink murder by persuading Samast to kill Dink”) at gendarmerie headquarters in Trabzon, which he visited for some “intelligence gathering.”
“The mayor there told me that [Hayal] was a ‘patriotic guy' and that they were ‘in contact' with him,” he said. He mentioned the names of some officers in the ranks of colonel, mayor, etc.
This was explosive stuff; but the judge did not bother to ask any questions at all.
Is this trial going anywhere? The answer would be “yes” for those who see the bigger picture where the cold-blooded, hatred-filled calculation of it was made, and a “no” for those who believe that the murderer(s) and their aides are already caught and it is only those who did it, without outside interference.
The latter risks falling into an illusion.
When another witness was describing our heroic colleague's last moments before the murder, she said that Samast screamed, “Die hard, you Armenian!” before pulling the trigger. At that moment, two of the suspects were laughing. At another moment, Dink's brother, Orhan complains to the judge that Samast told him, “Wait another five years, before we meet!”
What makes the suspects so cynical and arrogant; the threats so open and real? The question is haunting.
Therefore, the aura of suspicion and the discouragement of any real sense of justice overwhelm, for the moment, everything else. 08 July 2009