- Turkey Recognizes Genocide, Avedis Kevorkian
- Malta Documents - Continuity Between Cup & Turkey, Sait Çetinoğlu
- Anger China Or Defend Uighurs? Turkey Walks Fine Line, Yigal Schleifer
- Nabucco’s Nemesis, Soner Çağaptay
- Preventing "Butterfly Effect", Vahram Ter-Matevosyan
- Nabucco Is Death Certificate Of Sèvres, Cengiz Çandar
- Neither ‘Almost Genocide’ Nor Turkey On The ‘Evil Axis’, Cengiz Çandar
- Uighurs, Turkey & China: Throwing Stones From Glass Houses, Luke Johnson
- Who Is Real Target? ArmeniaNow
- Diasporan Discovers Armenia And `Armenianness' - The Weddings, ArmeniaNow
- Sacred Word: Visa Hajrudin Somun*
- People & Places: Two Guys And A GirlAsbarez/
- Capital Perspectives: Tale Of Two Ambassadors, Tatev Oganyan /Asbarez/
- What They Give From Victory, Hakob Badalyan - Lragir.am
- Turkey Must Recognize Genocide, Peter van Ham, Clingendael Institute
- Turkey Should Recognize Genocide, Musa Kurdistani
- Welsh Shepherd Does More For Armenian Cause Than Most Armenians, Harut Sassounian
- ARPA Institute Hosts July 30 Lecture by Harut Sassounian
- Armenians Learning Their Disastrous History Should Offer New International Law Approaches, Aram Adamyan
- Armenia’s Choice: Inalienable Diaspora, Aram Adamyan
- Pierre Lellouche "Turkey With Europe, But Not In Europe", Amirzayan/L'Express
Turkey Recognizes The Genocide By Avedis Kevorkian, Philadelphia, PA USA, 10 July 2009
In order to be accepted into the European Union, Turkey finally realized that it had no choice but to stop denying the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide. In its statement, it said: "Yes, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire did commit the state-conceived, state-planned, and state-executed genocide of its Armenians. Therefore, although the Republic of Turkey had nothing to do with it, we will transfer a part of eastern Turkey to the Republic of Armenia."
The world was astounded.
Washington was caught flat-footed, but scraped together a statement in which it praised Turkey.
London issued a statement praising Turkey.
The State of Israel went further and said that it was about time that Turkey admitted the actions of the Ottomans had made the template for future genocides.
The Armenians were elated beyond description when they learned how much of
Turkey was involved. Of course, many of the Turks living in the land to be transferred, decided to leave, but about twenty-three million Turks stayed on, saying that as far as they were concerned it was their home.
The transfer took place, and suddenly Armenia was more than three times as large and had a population almost six times as great. About two-million Armenians from the Diaspora came, looked around, and about half decided that they didn't want to live in such a backward area, but about a million stayed on.
The Turkish flag came down; Mustapha Kemal's photos were removed; the schools began teaching Armenian, and the resident Turks were given Armenian citizenship.
Armenians from the Republic came across the now-disappeared border to "look at Ararat from the other side." Some stayed.
The government's crooks and thieves and thugs also came and, as expected, gobbled up the best land and properties. They made plans to divide the profits from the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
About three years later, it was time to vote for the Armenian National Assembly. The (Armenian) Armenians put up their hundreds of candidates affiliated with the usual score of parties. The Turkish (Armenians) formed one party and put up one slate of candidates. Even the crooked (Armenian) Armenian government could not alter the results which showed a huge number of Turkish (Armenian)--about five times as many as Armenian (Armenian)--members of the Assembly, and the Assembly elected a Turkish (Armenian) Speaker, and Turkish (Armenian) office holders were appointed.
The Republic of Armenia had a Turkish (Armenian)-run Assembly.
The following year, came the election of a president. The (Armenian) Armenians put up their usual dozen candidates from about a score of political parties, and the Turkish (Armenians) put up a single candidate. After the election, even the (Armenian) Armenians had to admit that the country had elected a Turkish (Armenian) president.
He was inaugurated, and installed a cabinet full of Turkish (Armenian) ministers.
Thus, the Republic of Armenia had a Turkish (Armenian) President, a (Turkish) Armenian Prime Minister, and a Turkish (Armenian) Assembly.
Shortly after, a Turkish (Armenian) member of the Assembly introduced a bill dissolving the Republic of Armenia in order to have it absorbed into the Republic of Turkey. It was quickly seconded, and the vote was about five to one in favor. The Turkish (Armenian) president signed the measure into law.
Ankara announced that the Armenians had finally come home. And Turkey's long-time objective had been realized; there was no Armenia any longer.
Washington was caught flat-footed but issued a statement that the Armenians had done a wise thing.
London issued a statement that the Armenians had done a wise thing.
The State of Israel said that the Armenians had turned the last page of the last chapter of their history and were back in the Turkish family.
The crooks and thieves and thugs who used to run Armenia were now listed as among the richest Turks.
At midnight of the following December 31, the Armenian Tri-color was brought down for the last time, and the Crescent and Star raised over the Assembly building. The Republic of Armenia was no more. Photos of Mustapha Kemal went up all over the former Armenia.
The Republic of Turkey had just expanded eastward to its "brother" Azerbaijan. Mount Ararat was back in Turkey.
The singing and dancing, which had begun days before, became almost universal. The singing and dancing went into the early days of January. The longer it lasted the louder it became.
Then, suddenly, it stopped. All was quiet.
As my eyes got used to the darkness, I realized that I was staring at the ceiling of my bedroom. I looked around. I was in my bedroom.
It had been a dream.
The Malta Documents - Continuity Between Cup And The Turkish Republic By Sait Çetinoğlu, Turkey, 15 July 2009
Sait Çetinoğlu is a Turkish scholar. His interests include The Young Turks, CUP and Kemalism. He has published many original articles based on research of the National Archives in Turkey. His book Economic and cultural genocide 1942-1944 will soon be published in İstanbul.
The following is the English version of the preface of the book Malta Documents published by Vartkes Yeghiayan in Turkish. It was forwarded to Keghart.com by the author along with a copy of the photo of the Malta Exiles. Sait Çetinoğlu's gesture is much appreciated and the material is being posted for the general public with minor editorial changes.
The Malta documents undoubtedly constitute one of the most revealing records about the Armenian Genocide, which is one of the most important episodes of our recent history; yet it is a reality, which we do not want to look into. To reveal the truth about 1915 is, in fact, tantamount to decode the secrets of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. It is for this reason that the period 1915 to 1923, the date of the foundation of the Turkish Republic, is the most difficult to research due to legal obstacles. Malta documents are the most significant ones that shed light on this period of transition.
These documents give us the accounts of what 150 Ottoman government authorities and civil servants did during WWI. It is also the story of the annihilation of a people under the isolated conditions of war and seizure of their property, the story of how a new commercial bourgeoisie and a bureaucratic bourgeoisie flourished on the usurped riches of this people. The accounts of the witnesses and the victims that can be found in these documents also serve a moral lesson for us. Here we can find the clues to the hidden truths of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, and this is the reason why so much effort is made to leave the events of 1915 to oblivion. Hence, these documents explain why Turkey would never recognize the Armenian Genocide. They also tell the story of a continuity from the Committee of Progress and Union Committee (CUP) to the Republic of Turkey, the historical roots of today’s secret operations and the corruption of the state apparatus in Turkey.
To be a Malta exile was almost a privilege, as they were never called ”prisoner” and they themselves preferred to be called ”exiles”. Reading their memoirs, one can clearly see that they did not lead a life of an inmate. The description of the daily life in Malta in the memoirs of Kuşçubaşı Eşref is one of a luxury. Many Malta inmates were able to escape very easily, because they were allowed to escape.
Many of the Malta exiles were appointed to key governmental positions after their sentence was over. When we track down the family trees of the Malta exiles in the documents we can see who the real owners of the state apparatus were. Four of the 50 key governors whose biographies are published by the Ministry of Interior were former Malta exiles, in addition to many others whose children and grandchildren later became high-level government officials.
The Malta documents provide us the story of the tragedy of a people, the story of how the fate of the Armenian people was sacrificed to the considerations of realpolitik. They are a manifestation of the immorality of the great powers, a lesson demonstrating how human rights were sacrificed for imperial interests and an unprecedented example of a crime going unpunished. They describe how the crime of genocide was rewarded by impunity and how the way to new genocides was paved. In fact, Hitler in 1939 expressed very clearly the encouraging nature of this tragedy. What happened in Algeria, Anfal, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo and the atrocities in Darfur or Iraq today are all the outcome of such impunity.
Among others, Great Britain’s policy of ”neutrality”, first adopted on the 16th of March 1921 - the date when GB recognized the Ankara government as a buffer against the Soviet Union and continued since then - was responsible for the genocide to be left to oblivion just for the sake of imperial interests. Armenian people were thus twice victimized, first by being subjected to genocide with the encouragement of an imperialist country, i.e. German, and then by the fact that the perpetrators of the genocide were rewarded instead of being punished, thanks to the interests of another imperialist country, this time Great Britain.
In order to track down the Malta exiles we studied the biographies of administrative and military authorities. We couldn’t make use of any documents published by the General Staff as the biographies of the Liberation War commanders lacked any record about their places of service during 1915-1917. It was observed that the life stories of the government officials positioned in deportation areas were very interesting as they indicated clearly that the personnel records of kaymakams and mutasarrıfs 1 determined the future career of these officials. Those who disapproved the practices lost their lives, as was the case with Ali Sabit Es-Süveydi, the deputy Kaymakam in Beşiri (a district annexed to the vilayet of Diarbekir), Nesim Bey, the Kaymakam of Lice and the Kaymakam of Derik. There are some others who were lucky enough to pay their behaviour with a change of duty place only, like Celal Bey, the Governor of Konya and Faik Bey, the Mutasarrıf of Kütahya. It was found in the official records of Ahmet Ferid, the Kaymakam of Foça, that he was removed from office as punishment for saving the lives of the Greeks of Foça by helping them to flee to the island of Lesbos. Some of the officials who were punished by removal only from office felt so insecure afterwards that they had to leave the country.
Our work on the personnel records of the government officials who served in the deportation areas revealed that some of these people fell victim to unsolved murders and no record could be found about the details of such murders.For example, the personnel records of Mustafa Hilmi, the Mutasarrıf of Mardin and Ali Fehmi Bey, a member of the Transportation Committee set up within the Directorate of Immigration and Resettlement in Akşehir, it was stated that neither the reason for these persons’ murder nor the murderers could be identified. There were annotations in some of the personnel records of those officials who were later murdered indicating that the murderers were the Armenian “komitaci”s 2. For instance Nabi Bey, who served in the police department of Konya and who was in hiding in Kars for two years as a Genocide suspect was killed by the Armenian activists in 1921.
However, most of the government officials who served during the deportations and whose names appeared in the Malta documents were rewarded afterwards by higher positions in the state apparatus. It’s also not surprising to find that those government officials who were implicated in the Genocide were the ones who first joined the “National Struggle” leading to the foundation of the Republic. Of these, the governors of Bitlis, Mazhar Müfit (Kansu), and Van, Haydar Hilmi (Vaner), as well as Halis Turgut, Deli Halit Pasha, General Pertev Demirhan, Sarı Edip Efe, Ardahan deputy Hilmi are the most common names that are known.
On the other hand, some of the government officials referred to in the Malta Documents could not be tracked down due to lack of any records. Genocide perpetrators such as Salih Zeki, the Kaymakam of Develi in 1915 who was appointed as the Mutasarrıf of Deyr-Zor in 1916 and Mustafa Asım, the Kaymakam of Harput in 1914, of Akçadağ in 1915 and of Of in 1918 were the ones who used the usurped Armenian property for escaping from prosecution successfully. The Family Name Law, requiring every Turkish citizen to adopt a family name in a western style, helped the criminals in covering up their identities and thus avoiding punishment. The reappearance of Veli Necdet in the 1930’s in Ankara as the Chairman of Ankara Chamber of Commerce with the family name of Sünkıtay, after serving as the Head of the Diyarbakır Post Office in 1915 and the death of Memduh Sermet, the Governor of Musul in 1915, in a road accident while he was travelling to Izmir to start a business, are only two of very meaningful cases in this respect. The Bolu deputy Habip became a reputable merchandiser in the Republican period, widely known as the “bulghur 3 tycoon”. The fact that many of these suspects later became businessmen with close business ties with each other can also be seen as a revealing detail of the recent history of Turkey, and the Family Name Law helped them a lot in succeeding to cover up their identities.
Mehmet the Pharmacist, who later became to be known as Mehmet Eczacıbaşı, the starter of the biggest holdings in today’s Turkey, is a striking example of Turkish businessmen who owe their wealth to usurped non-Muslim property. This is the origin of the common saying in Turkish, the “tehcir zenginleri”, or the “barons of deportation” and marks the truth about the Anatolia being a paradise of barons of deportation.
It is also not a coincidence that the heads of administrative bodies in places where deported Armenians were resettled, and government officials serving at local branches of General Directorate for Settlement of Immigrants and Tribes (Muhacirin ve Aşairin Umum Müdürlüğü) (GDSIT), political departments of public security directorates and food supply offices were the first to join the armed forces of the Turkish national liberation movement. They were appointed to these positions by the CUP on special mission. For example Ahmet Nazif Göker from the Ministry of Food Supplies, Mustafa Maruf and Ahmet Faik Üstün were among the first who joined the armed branches of the liberation movement. Here are some further examples to how the former CUP members were rewarded with reputable positions in the society: Ahmet Faik Günday, the Mutasarrıf of Malatya and elder brother of Ziya Hurşit was appointed as the deputy of Ordu. İbrahim Zağra, the Edirne Mayor and Head of Resettlement Department and also one of the founders of the Teceddüt Party founded by former CUP leaders, was to serve for long years as the Edirne Mayor and Chairman of the Edirne Chamber of Commerce. Mehmet Şükrü Yaşin who served as the Kaymakam of Midyat, Malatya and Trablusşam between the years 1914-17 was later appointed as the deputy of Çanakkale. Ahmet Esat Uras who was the head of the local Intelligence Service and the deputy head of Political Affairs was first appointed as the Director of Public Security, then as the Governor, then member of Turkish History Institution and member of the Parliament. Ali Haydar Yuluğ, the deputy head of the local branch of GDSIT, took over the position of Ankara Mayor and Ali Rıza Ceylan, the head of Post Office in Van and Bitlis and M. Kadri Necip Uçok, the head of the Post Office of Sivas and the Mutasarrıf of Palu and Mardin served as governors of various provinces. Mehmet Ata, who served in the years of deportation at the Sivas Post Office and Mutasarrıf of Yozgat was appointed as a member of the parliament and the Minister of Interior. There are many more examples, such as İsmail Sefa Özler, İsmail Müştak Mayokam, Mehmet Vehbi Bolak, Mehmet Fuat Carım, Ömer Adil Tiğrel and Mehmet Fehmi Alta.
Those who were being sought after for implication in the Genocide were also among the first to join the national movement. Among these the first to remember are, Mahzar Müfit, Haydar Vaner, Arslan Toğuzata (police chief from Trablusşam), Abdurrahman Şeref Uluğ from Diyarbakır, Hüseyin Tahir Güvendiren, Halil Rifat Şabanoğlu, Rüştü Bozkurt, Ali Şuuri, the deputy of Eskişehir and Şarkikarahisar, Mahzar Germen, Tevfik Rüştü Aras, Refik Saydam, Memduh Şevket Esendal, Yenibahçeli Nail, Şükrü Saracoğlu and Hüseyin Aziz (Akyürek), a member of CUP Central Commitee and who was known to be one of the planners of the Genocide.
It was not an irony at all when two of the Malta convicts Haci Adil Bey was accepted to the Istanbul Faculty of Law and M. Reşat Mimaroğlu, a police chief, was appointed as the President of the Council of State, as this is a routine in Turkey where a leader of the military coup in 1980 was later rewarded as an honourary professor in the same faculty and a police chief was appointed as the Minister of Justice.
Furthermore, there were Malta convicts who were put on the government payroll and were paid civil servant salaries for their "services to the fatherland”. We came accross their names in the ”Ç Chart” of the 1955 government budget records. Among them were Nusret, the Mutasarrıf of Urfa, who was executed for his crimes during the Genocide, Kemal, the Kaymakam of Boğazlayan who was referred to as being a ”National Martyr”, Yahya Kaptan who ”fell martyr” while serving as the Commander of the Gebze area, the former Minister of the Navy General Ahmet Cemal, the former Sadrazam Talat, the former Governor of Diyarbakır Reşit, Şeyhülislam 4 Hayri, Ziya Gökalp, the deceased artillary major Rıza, the deputy of Kırşehir Mehmet Rıza Silsüpür (Keskinli Rıza), the deputy of Edirne Faik Kaltakıran, the deputy of Gaziantep Ali Cenani, the deputy of Istanbul Numan Ustalar, the deputy of Muş İlyas Sami, governor of Bitlis Mazhar Müfit Kansu, the Governor and the deputy of Van Hayder Vaner, Fevzi Pirinççioğlu, Arslan Toğuzata, Rüştü Bozkurt, Hacı Bedir, Mazhar Germen, Süleyman Sırrı İçöz, Rauf Orbay, Eyüp Sabri Akgöl and Bekir Sami Kunduh.
Popular historian Murat Bardakçı wrote: ”As a matter of fact, Atatürk’s position on the Armenian question is clearly manifested in the way he gave away the [Armenian] property. He put the families of the persons murdered by Armenians on very high salaries and he personally signed the instructions for the transfer of seized Armenian property to these persons. Wife of Talat Pasha was receiving the salary for ’services to the fatherland’ which was the highest. The same applied to the wives of Central Commitee members and those of the key members of the Special Organisation (Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa). The highest level of salary was assigned to Mahpeyker Hanim, the daughter of Enver Pasha.”
The Malta exiles were rewarded with top level government positions. Some were appointed as Prime Minister, others as ministers or governors or members of parliament, and the like. Two of the Malta exiles, Ali Fethi Okyar and Rauf Orbay served as Prime Ministers. Others, Fevzi Pirinçioğlu, Şükrü Kaya, Abdülhalik Renda, M. Şeref Aykut, Ali Seyit, Ali Cenani, Ali Çetinkaya were appointed as cabinet members. Many of the Malta exiles later became governors or generals in the army. Also, on their return to Anatolia, there were a number of former Malta exiles who were placed in the parliament as deputies.
Not only Malta exiles played a direct role in the foundation of the Republic, but also their children and grandchildren continued to serve in important government positions up to this date. Sons of two Malta exiles sat in the Inönü’s ”restoration” cabinet set up after the military coup of 27th May 1960. Celalettin Uzer, the Minister of Development and Housing in the Inönü Cabinet, was the son of Hasan Tahsin Uzer, who was Enver’s nephew and Vefik Pirinççioğlu, the State Minister in the same cabinet, was the son of Fevzi Pirinççioğlu, who was Ziya Gökalp’s nephew. It’s interesting to see that the grandfather was one of the key figures of the 1895 massacres, the son was one of the founders of the Republic, and the grandson a member of the ”restoration” cabinet. Enver’s brother-in-law Kazım Orbay was the Chief of General Staff between the years 1944-46 and the Speaker at the Restoration Parliament set up after the 1960 military take-over. General Fahri Özdilek, a member of the Special Organisation and an assistant to the well-known Special Organisation commander Fuat Bulca, was one of the organisers of the 27th May 1960 coup and was appointed as a Senator at the Restoration Parliament. Suat Hayri Ürgüplü one of the Prime Ministers of the ’intermediary regime” and also a former minister, was the son of the Şeyhülislam Hayri Efendi and thus one of the symbols of the continuity between the CUP and the Republic.
We believe the reader will find many of those names referred to in the section about Diyarbakır very familiar. As a preamble, let us only point out that the Aksus and the Göksus are two families closely related to each other and Hacı Bedir Ağa’s grandchildren sit in today’s parliament as deputies.
Furthermore, many Malta exiles and the founders of the Republic had common ancestry. For Süleyman Nazif, Pirinççioğlu, Gökalp and Germens were relatives. So were Tahsin Uzer, Enver, Cevdet and Kazım Orbay. Ubeydullah Efendi was Mahmut Esat Bozkurt’s uncle, Hüseyin Tosun was Dr. Reşit’s brother and Abdulhalik Renda was Talat’s brother-in-law. Also many Malta exiles were classmates, revealing the fact that they were from common social backgrounds.
In short the Malta documents offer us the evidences of the continuity between the CUP and the Republic, where we can trace back the roots of the Genocide.
1 In the Ottoman Empire, a mutasarrıf was the governor of a district. This administrative unit was part of a vilayet (province), administered by a vali, and contained nahiye (communes), each administered by a kaymakam.
2 Komitacı - A derogatory Turkish word for a member of an armed Armenian organisation.
3 Bulghur: a form of wheat that has been parboiled, cracked, and dried
4 Şeyhülislam: the supreme religious authority in the Ottoman Empire
Anger China Or Defend Uighurs? Turkey Walks Fine Line
Beijing urged Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to retract his statement that China is committing "genocide" against its Muslim minority.
By Yigal Schleifer | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, July 14, 2009
Developments in China's restive Xinjiang Province and the attacks against the minority Muslim Uighurs there may not have led to vocal protests in most of the Muslim world. But in Turkey, the events in western China have led to large protests in the streets and strong words from Turkish officials.
The comment raising the loudest outcry has been Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's accusation last week that China is committing "genocide" against the Uighurs, a statement that Beijing is now pressuring him to retract.
Experts say that taking its criticism of China too far could backfire on Ankara, which has been working to improve both its diplomatic and trade relations with Beijing.
An estimated 184 people have died in the recent violent clashes between Uighurs and ethnic Han Chinese in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. Chinese officials have claimed that most of those killed have been Han.
Turkey's minister of industry and trade, Nihat Ergun, last week called for a boycott of Chinese goods, while Mr. Erdogan, speaking on television last Friday, said: "The incidents in China are, simply put, tantamount to genocide. There's no point in interpreting this otherwise."
Uighurs as 'brothers'
"There is a lot of sensitivity among the Turkish public about the Uighurs. They consider them as real brothers," says Sami Kohen, a political affairs columnist for Milliyet, a Turkish daily.
"Turks originally came from that part of Asia to Anatolia, and the language that Uighurs use is much closer to the language that Turkey speaks than others in Central Asia," he continues.
The Turkish president's official flag, for example, has 16 stars on it, representing "Turkish states" established throughout history. One of the stars commemorates the Uighur state that existed around the 8th century.
Adds Mr. Kohen: "There is quite a large Uighur community in Turkey, and they are quite strong. They have a lobby and they have been quite strong in defending their cause."
Turkey raises its global profile
Turkey has, in recent years, been working to raise its foreign policy profile and establish itself as a regional political and economic power. Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul, actually visited Urumqi as part of a recent state visit shortly before the violence broke out there. Turkey signed a reported $1.5 billion worth of trade deals during the visit.
But analysts say Ankara's criticism could lead to a rupture with Beijing.
"The Turks really have a tough decision to make, whether they keep this going or back off. This is a major test for Turkey's new foreign policy," says Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "This is a serious problem for the Turks from every angle."
Ankara now also needs to decide if it will grant a possible request to visit Turkey by Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur diaspora activist based in the United States whom China has accused of being behind the violence in Xinjiang.
"All hell is going to break loose if she shows up in Turkey, especially after the comment that Erdogan made," Mr. Aliriza says.
Take it back, China says
The Chinese government now appears to be pushing back against Turkey. A Tuesday editorial in the government-controlled English-language China Daily urged Erdogan to "take back his remarks ... which constitute interference in China's internal affairs."
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, in a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, blamed the violence in Xinjiang on "three evil forces," state news agency Xinhua said, referring to "extremism, separatism, and terrorism."
For Turkey, which has had its share of domestic violence and terrorism, both from Islamic extremists and Kurdish separatists, these are not meaningless words.
Nabucco’s Nemesis, July 15, 2009, Soner Çağaptay
On July 13, Turkey and four other European nations (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria) agreed to build the Nabucco pipeline to transit gas from the Caspian Sea to Austria. When complete, Nabucco will be 3,300 kilometer (2,000 mile) long and cost $11 billion. This major undertaking would link Europe and the Caspian Sea directly, allowing European countries to buy gas from the Caspian basin, without having to rely on Russia.
Nabucco is Russia’s nightmare, for if this pipeline were built, Moscow, specifically Russian gas giant Gazprom, would lose its monopoly over the Eurasian gas transit markets. If there was a bourse for gas companies, July 13 would be the day when Nabucco’s shares rose and Gazprom’s shared declined – incidentally, Gazprom’s shares did drop on the Moscow stock exchange when the five European countries agreed in Ankara to build Nabucco. Yet, this may not be a permanent trend. Russian foreign policy is intertwined with Gazprom’s fortunes. Similar to its namesake Verdian opera whose libretto follows a story of freedom from slavery, Nabucco promises to free Europe from Russia’s energy bondage. However, Nabucco is Gazprom’s antidote, and Russia will do everything to prevent Nabucco from breaking Gazprom’s monopoly over the Eurasian energy markets.
The relationship between Moscow and Gazprom is reminiscent of the ties between Britain and the East India Company, or EIC, in the nineteenth century when the EIC ran Britain’s prized possession, India. Similar to how EIC’s commercial interests shaped British foreign policy, especially British policies around the Indian Ocean; today Gazprom’s commercial interests shape Russian foreign policy, especially in Eurasia. In the nineteenth century, it was not clear where the British state ended and EIC started in South Asia; today, it is not certain where the Russian state ends and where Gazprom starts in Eurasia.
Gazprom has a near monopoly over the Eurasian energy markets - Russia buys almost all Caspian energy going west, with the exception of Azeri gas and oil exported through Turkey via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan/Erzurum pipelines. What is more, most East and Central European countries are hundred percent dependant on Russia for their gas needs. As the clearinghouse in Eurasian gas trade, Russia charges exorbitant prices, and Nabucco would challenge this.
Russia could follow three strategies to neuter Nabucco, so Gazprom can thrive. The first strategy is the most obvious: if you cannot defeat your enemy, buy it. Russia will try to sell gas to the Nabucco pipeline. This is an easy way forward for Moscow: with Russian gas in it, Nabucco would become yet another Gazprom project, ensuring Russia’s continued monopoly over the Eurasian energy markets.
The second Russian strategy would be to ensure that Nabucco is not built. To this end, Moscow might coo one or more of the five European Nabucco partners away from the consortium, or persuade potential gas-providing countries, such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan to stay away from Nabucco. Already feeling Russian pressure, the latter are half-heartedly committed to Nabucco, and Moscow’s ultimate goal would be to ensure that they entirely cool to the project.
The third Russian strategy would be breaking the Nabucco chain in the Caucasus where Georgia is the weakest link. Some see Russia’s 2008 war against Georgia as driven by territorial ambitions over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Viewed from the Nabucco perspective though, this war is born out of Moscow’s ambition to amputate and cast Georgia as a weak and unreliable state on the Nabucco corridor.
Georgia is a key country for Nabucco. While the Turkish-Armenian border is closed, Georgia is the only country linking Turkey with Azerbaijan and the Caspian. If Georgia were to withdraw from Nabucco, the pipeline could not be built, unless Turkey opened up its border with Armenia, linking Nabucco to Azerbaijan through that country. However then, Nabucco would face another hurdle: if Turkey established ties with Armenia short of a solution to the Armenian occupation of Azeri territory, Azerbaijan, offended by Turkey, would desist from partnering with Ankara in Nabucco: Russia would win.
This chess board provides clues about Moscow’s Caucasus policy: promote Turkish-Armenian rapprochement for the end goal of creating discord in Turkish-Azeri ties; win Azerbaijan over, if necessary by brokering a deal in the Azeri-Armenian conflict, for Armenia is not going to abandon Russia; and destabilize Georgia so it becomes even more unreliable along Nabucco’s path. Moscow’s strategy is to win over all three Caucasus countries. If successful, this strategy would make Nabucco a pipedream.
Gazprom is Nabucco’s nemesis. Nabucco can resist Gazprom only by aligning Turkey, all four of Ankara’s European partners, at least two Caucasus countries, at least one energy-providing Caspian nation, and last but not least, Iraq as back-up country for gas supplies. Nabucco deserves its name, for the line-up needed to make this pipeline a reality is at least as complicated and long as the cast of Verdi’s opera. Yet, if realized, the Nabucco pipeline could have as good an ending as its operatic namesake.
Preventing The "Butterfly Effect", July 10, 2009, Vahram Ter-Matevosyan
From the outset of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement I have been one of the outspoken proponents of that process. I used all possible means to convey to my fellow citizens the idea that the final normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations will have a positive impact on both countries. More so, I was very clear in saying that all the problems between Turkey and Armenia are possible to solve only AFTER establishing diplomatic relations and trust between the two countries. I had to defend my argument vehemently with a hope that Armenians would continue embracing the importance of trust and dialogue. I was hoping I would see reciprocation from Turkey as well.
Unfortunately, as of now, all this is on standby.
Prime Minister Erdoğan is a politician of dedication and cause. In a recent book dedicated to the “Milli Görüş” I cover his political ascent emphasizing the fact that he represents the very generation of politicians in Turkey that has values other than the “post-September-12th leaders”. Prime Minister Erdoğan is also known as an individual that occasionally generates tension rather than coming up with credible and lasting solutions. The latest public opinion survey carried out by the Armenian Centre for International Human Development indicates that Armenian public opinion became more skeptical concerning the settlement of the Karabagh conflict partly because of Mr. Erdoğan’s assertive and unconstructive remarks concerning the process of Turkish-Armenian rapprochement and linking it to the Karabagh negotiations.
The results of that interesting survey allow us to assume that Mr. Erdoğan has done his job; i. e. appeased both nationalist circles within Turkey and the Baku leadership. However, from the geo-strategic and sociological perspectives, his remarks and announcements have imposed as much damage to Armenia as to the national interests of Azerbaijan. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s policy contradicts the logic of commitment of President Gül, who along with Armenian President Sargisyan, last September took the responsibility to solve the problem of misconception and stereotypes; i.e. both acknowledged that in each society they are opponents of rapprochement, hence, a great deal of work needs to be done to overcome the persistent sense of distrust and pessimism.
Observers admit that compared to Turkish officials, the Armenian leaders have acted a little better in helping society understand the cost and benefits of establishing diplomatic relations. Armenian government and pro-government forces were active in bridging the public opinion with the leadership’s approach. Opposition forces as well, particularly, the former coalition partner “Dashnaktsutyun” organized multiple conventions and not all of them were to prove that establishing diplomatic relations and opening the border would harm the national interests of Armenia. Therefore, it could be claimed that Armenia has done its homework, while, Mr. Erdoğan is doing his best to prevent Turkey from following Armenia’s lead.
It is not difficult to discern, that in this case, Turkish leaders had to play a challenging and “multi-centered” game with different actors and different rules. After Erdoğan’s statements, Armenian society slowly began to rethink its attitude on the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement and question the sincerity of Turkey’s position. Armenians also doubt whether the ruling AKP alone is able to solve the problems with their nation. It needs broad political support to overcome this imbroglio. Prime Minister Erdoğan should realize that he is dealing with a sensitive society. Such a move would help him avoid remarks that could have a “butterfly effect”.
(Vahram Ter-Matevosyan is a Senior Research fellow at the Department of Turkish Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.)
Nabucco Is Death Certificate Of The Sèvres, July 15, 2009, Cengiz Çandar
The Nabucco natural gas pipeline project was signed in Ankara the other day between Turkey and four European Union countries,Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, in addition to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The importance of this project will be understood when natural gas flows through the pipeline to be built by 2015, or possibly even later.
Nabucco has strategic importance to the West, particularly as it seen as freeing Europe from Russia’s energy monopoly.
As soon as Nabucco kicks in, especially as gas is pumped into Germany via the Baltic region, Gazprom will still hold the title of the world’s number one gas supplier, but the Russian “gas transit monopoly” trump card will come to an end; a card that Russia holds to mould international politics according to its own needs. Nabucco is a giant project worth eight billion that envisages the transfer of Caspian and of Middle Eastern natural gas to Europe. We’re talking here about an approximately 3,300 kilometer long pipeline from the Azeri shores to Austria, with roughly 2,000 kilometers of it (two thirds) passing through Turkey.
With a break in the Russian monopoly:
1. Turkey’s geopolitical role will become more important. Turkey will become an alternative route to Russia between the West and the former Soviet Union
2. Since Russian hegemony over European energy security can be broken-up by Turkey, Turkey’s integration with Europe, and the West in general, becomes an “inevitable strategic option”.
One of the key features of Nabucco for Turkey is its potential to bury the “Sevres Syndrome”. Attempts by Westerners to divide a Turkey that will provide the longest energy transit route for Europe, and is the most important political-geographical armor for European energy security, will remain as nothing but a bad joke.
Yes, Nabucco happens to be a vital relief valve that Turkey has attained for its territorial integrity.
Of course, we still have a long way to go after the signing ceremony held in Ankara the other day. And of course various accidents are possible along the way. It is even doubtful if there will be enough gas to pump through the pipeline after construction is completed. Even more, its biggest rival still remains as Russia’s 10 billion euro “South Stream” project that is designed to negate Nabucco.
At any rate, the signatures placed on the Nabucco project signal that a very important treshold has been crossed. Even if the supply of Azeri gas for Nabucco is insufficient, it is predicted that gas from Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Turkmenistan can be transferred once its construction is complete. One of the leading figures of the Euroasia Group made a striking remark that Nabucco faces major obstacles - supply being just one of them. Without guaranteeing energy supply, there cannot be a pipeline. But you cannot guarantee supply without the pipeline.
At this time, while Americans do not entertain the notion of Iran being a potential energy supplier, so too are Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. A meeting of former Soviet republics Kazakhistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in May in the Czech capital Prague resisted lending their support to Nabucco. Azerbaijan, however, was seeking a deal to sell natural gas to Russia. And the point we are at today, Turkmenistan President Berdimohammedov has said his country has an abundance of natural gas to sell and that it is ready to sell to anyone, including Nabucco. He therefore signals Turkey’s increasingly strategic role in the future. And Kazakhstan is also a potential supplier.
When Russia limited gas flowing to Europe via Ukraine in the winter of 2006, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania were forced to close schools and factories due to freezing temperatures, while Austria, France, Germany, Hungary and Poland suffered cuts in gas supplies. European Union countries therefore, are without doubt, relieved about the Nabucco project.
All this means that Turkey is becoming a key strategic actor in international politics in an extremely vast region, stretching from Central and Eastern Europe, to Central Asia and the Middle East.
If you become an international energy cross-road you not only acquire international assurances on your territorial integrity, but you are also awarded the opportunity to have political influence in a wider geopolitical area.
As we look ahead the road that Nabucco has opened or will open, we will see that any perception of a threat needs to be radically changed. The threat of religious backwardness will unavoidably become a fantasy for the political-elite dinosaurs, so to speak. But indeed, what could be possible threats to Turkey in the short and middle term?
Professor Mustafa Aydın provides an intriguing answer to this question. “The biggest threat is not conventional. It needs to be explained in a non-conventional way. The biggest threat for Turkey in the future is it not being in the European Union. More precisely, Turkey remaining outside the family of European states. If Turkey doesn’t become part of Europe, or the West, it will become a country in limbo and will lose its direction, even if it doesn’t split completely from the West. In this instance, we will have to consider the alternatives and not make a sound decision. Internal politics will influence external politics. Such a Turkey will become xenophobic, ultra-nationalist and introvert. Everything will affect Turkey’s economic stability.”
This may really be a threat for Turkey in the short and middle term, but it will not like this.
Well, go back to the start and read this over again...
Neither ‘almost Genocide’ Nor Turkey On The ‘Evil Axis’, July 16, 2009, Cengiz Çandar
We know all about the general atmosphere in the Turkish public opinion and what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as other Turkish officials, said about the unrest took place in Xinjiang, China.
But what are the Chinese saying about the incidents?
Only if we lend them an ear and listen to the path they will follow or their prospective policy, can we will have any clues.
The Chinese media reflect “official views,” most important of which is published in the People’s Daily. The headline reads “People angered by at Turkish PM’s ‘genocide’ accusation”. In the China Daily, representing the official view, the article titled “Stop interfering in China's internal affairs” suggests Erdoğan to take back what he said about the unrest that took place in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Erdoğan made an irresponsible and baseless accusation when he termed the unrest as “genocide”. At some point the article reads, “Mr Erdogan's description of the riots in Xinjiang as "a kind of genocide" is an irresponsible and groundless accusation. The fact that 137 of the 184 persons killed in the riots are Han Chinese speaks volumes for the nature of the event.”
And the most striking article is written by Mo Lingjiao and published by the Global Times, in which the headline reads, “Turkey, another axis of evil!?” American Foreign Policy Editor-in-Chief Moises Naim also made a reference to the said article.
Lingjiao writes in his article, “After the riots in Xinjiang, many governments around the world are very cautious making comments, including the American government. But the Turkish government is an exception. As Urumqi is on its way to recovery, this arrogant country has never stopped lashing out at China. ”
His serious assessments on the subject read as follows:
“Five years ago, when terrorist bombings hit Turkey in November 2003, China took its firm stand on the side of the Turkish people and condemned the violent act. However, when the riots happened, inflicting causalities and property damage in Urumqi on July 5, Turkey stands by the side of the thugs, revealing its shame to the whole world and repaying China with evilness.
“Turkey's support for the Uighur separatists and terrorists can only cause public indignation in China. If it does not want to ruin the relationship between the two peoples, please stop standing behind those mobs and separatists, stop being an axis of evil!”
These reports are hard to digest. To place Turkey on an “axis of evil” is unacceptable.
But what if the death toll of the Han people in Urumqi is more than that of the Uyghurs? This is a possibility. If it is so, terming the riots as “a kind of genocide” cannot be accepted by the Chinese either. Further more, especially as the Turkish Prime Minister uttered these words.
If the approach of the Chinese media is the “official” view; what we will do and how we will act – these are the important questions.
The language of the Chinese use in speaking of the Uighurs is quite familiar to us. Turkey chooses similar terms and adopts a parallel attitude when speaking of the issue relating to Kurds. China now uses the same language with regard to the Uighur in China.
Although observers assert in TV programs that the two issues are not alike, the issues are in essence not much different.
In an article titled, “Behind the violence in Xinjiang,” published in the International Herald Tribune last Friday, senior Asia Researcher Nicholas Bequelin from the Human Rights Watch group made some intriguing assessments.
He thoroughly explains how pressures on social-economic developments, unemployment, cultural identity and discrimination gave birth to the recent unrest. In the article, “Any expression of dissent became synonymous with advocating ‘separatism’,” it is said “in 2002 that the Uighur language was “out of step with the 21st century,” the government started to shift the entire education system to Mandarin, replacing Uighur teachers with newly arrived Han Chinese.”
The very last sentence of the article is quite striking: “Unless the government addresses the root causes of ethnic tensions and ends its systemic human rights violations, the chances of more violence will remain high.”
Therefore, Turkey’s problem is what we should do in accordance with the date we have in hand, rather than who is right or wrong.
If there is one thing we should not do, it is to not leave foreign policy to the hands of “domestic political arguments” and to the winds of heroism. If we do this, Erdoğan’s foreign policy line, which gives the impression that he was inspired by mostly internal politics, will possibly create harmful effects.
Given the Chinese reactions that without doubt reflects the official view, the latest picture of Turkey-China relations emerging over the past week becomes rather difficult to fix, when compared to the Turkish-American “deployment note crisis” of the past.
As Naim underlines in his article, Islamic countries, Turkic republics and the Arab League did not show even the slightest level of reaction to the unrest in China compared to the one they showed in protest to the cartoon crisis in Denmark. He makes the following striking comments:
“In politics, blindness and deafness are often induced by an acute awareness of where one's main interests really lie. China will clearly make efforts to clarify to the governments that express too much concern for the Uighurs what their real interests are. And the continuous silence about the situation of the Uighurs that may ensue in coming months and years will offer an eloquent demonstration of Beijing's ability to persuade.”
Unfortunately, real politics has some rules for such immoral and vicious, yet successful foreign policy. No foreign policy can survive unless immorality is eliminated. But having a foreign policy dependent on pure morals, and having reservations on Turkey’s diplomatic records as they are being purely moral, cannot go anywhere.
This is exactly what the Turkish Foreign Policy Department tried to focus attention on, and yet what Erdoğan easily violated.
A friend of mine who is one of the most distinguished personalities in Turkish diplomacy wrote to me about the recent Turkish-Chinese crisis:
“De Gaulle says that big states do not exercise their foreign politics in the streets… You put your foreign politics in order if you have a vision. You make a game plan if you have a game. You choose your tools if you are fortunate. If you have a chance and the Zeitgeist allows you sell it to the street. Of course a form of politics without the consent of the streets cannot be effective. But if you do foreign politics by looking at the streets or following the guidance of the street, you begin to cut, or try to cut, even every single fly...
“In this last incident, we should be very calm. But everyone forgets about something: China is one of the five countries having veto power in the United Nations. Beginning with the Cyprus issue, Iraq, the Iranian nuclear crisis, Georgia and other issues to bother us in the Caucasus, including the Karabakh issue, China is one of the decision-makers. China has never exercised veto power. This is a Chinese principle. But they assert such a great influence that it is worse than a veto. It is one of the rare countries that manages to vote without actually vetoing…”
In Turkish foreign policy since the Urumqi unrest – if there is any to be followed – we don’t see any Turkic republics or a single Muslim country in the same frequency with Turkey or a single Western ally standing beside Turkey, and therefore, there are reservations about how effective this foreign policy is.
The question that naturally needs to be asked is how such a political attitude that isolates Turkey, could make any contributions to the well-being of the Uighurs today or tomorrow.
This state of isolation creates a suitable ground for fierce Chinese reactions. It also has defined the role of Turkey in the betterment of the Uighurs condition; actually has restricted that role.
We were so pleased to hear of Turkey receiving a temporary seat on the UN Security Council for two years. From the very the beginning of this mission Turkey has conflicted with one of the five countries holding veto power. Unfortunately, we happen to see now to what extent this temporary membership is valid, what it can overcome and what it can not.
It’s seen that the Organization of Islamic Conference, or OIC, which is considered as a guide to Turkey in this subject, cannot overcome the Great Wall of China.
Now it is the time to eliminate the tension that emerged between Turkey and China through calm, patient diplomatic efforts.
This is necessary for the sake of the Uighurs too.
The Uighurs, Turkey And China: Throwing Stones From Glass Houses, July 17, Luke Johnson - LA Foreign Policy Examiner
On Tuesday, Moises Naim at Foreign Policy posed a simple but powerful question about the recent violence in China involving the Uighurs and decades of repression against the muslim-minority group: why doesn’t the Islamic world speak up about the Uighurs?
Of course, countries with ethnic and religious ties tend to side with their ethnic and religious kin in other areas. Ethnic/religious countries generally sided with similar ethnic groups in the breakup of Yugoslavia and the civil war in Lebanon, Russia supports for Russian minorities in former Soviet Republics, Iran finances Hezbollah and of course, many Muslim countries support the Palestinian movement.
But the Uighurs have been the exception—they never had the same amount of international support, even though they have legitimate grievances against the Han Chinese majority, who have banned their language, moved into their territory en masse and generally discriminate against them in education, housing and employment.
Naim points out that much of the “Islamic World” is very silent on this issue--governments, the Arab League and imams have said little, if anything.
Iran, for example, has said very little, probably because China is its leading trading partner. Money talks, or has the ability to shut up governments. The Iranian government itself is struggling through unrest.
Turkey has been something close to the exception, however, because Turks have close ethnic, linguistic and cultural tires to Uighurs. Its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that Turkey “cannot remain silent in the face of what is happening.” On Tuesday, Erdogan said, “The incidents in China are simply put, a genocide. There’s no point in interpreting this otherwise.”
Before we think of this move as bold, it really smacks of throwing stones from glass houses. Objectively, its difficult to call the Han Chinese discrimination of the Uighurs genocide, even though the recent riots killed at least 184 people. But Turkey has, of course, put people in prison for calling the Armenian Genocide—which was actually genocide before the term even came into use—a genocide. The Turkish government recalled its ambassador to Istanbul after the US House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring it genocide and threatened to disallow American planes to fly over its airspace en route to Iraq.
But even if he didn’t call it genocide, many governments are reluctant to criticize China because China does not criticize other governments for human rights violations and expects other governments to reciprocate—to put it in UN-speak, the PRC respects the national sovereignty of other nations and regards the events/unrest/violence in your country as an internal matter. That’s really why these other governments are so silent. So the Chinese government sees it as odd when Turkey—with its own human rights problems with its Kurdish minority that it frequently calls an internal matter—criticizes China.
China has a stock response for this kind of thing, which is to personalize the dispute in English. Blogger Joel Martinsen created a map of countries that have “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” The map includes many countries, with the worst offender being Japan (not surprising) with 47 offenses against the Chinese people. (The U.S. is in second place with 23).
Predictably, a writer at the state-run English language newspaper of China, the Global Times, wrote an editorial called, “Turkey, another axis of evil?” Like all English-language state-run press in China, it is pretty poorly written propaganda (I corrected a few spelling errors). But the quote is worth reprinting here:
Five years ago, when terrorist bombings hit Turkey in November 2003, China took its firm stand on the side of Turkish people and condemned the violent act. However, when the riots happened, inflicting causalities and property damage in Urumqi on July 5, Turkey stands by the side of the thugs, revealing its shame to the whole world and repaying China with evilness.
Then Turkey is not on the side of the Chinese people! (But National Review contributor Andy McCarthy clearly is, writing a blog post that could be confused for being from the Chinese government).
Ultimately, I doubt significant outside criticism could compel China to change its policy against the Uighurs as it hasn’t worked for Tibet—it’s too popular among the 90% or so Han Chinese who make up the country. But it is revealing what leaders say and don’t say.
Copyright 2009 Examiner.com.
Author Luke Johnson is an Examiner from Los Angeles.
As a Chinese American, I don't appreciate this article, even though it also lunches criticisms at Turkey, because it is filled with jargons, clichés and perennial criticisms of China, which are totally wrong. But, I am not here to refute it item by item, because most of the Western authors are helpless. They have not changed their opinions about China, even though China has changed and the world has changed. Americans need new visions on the world affairs. July 17,
William; it is OK if you want to feel guilty about things that happened more than half a century ago. Personally, I feel the issues you mentioned ARE being addressed by many of us. I don't think you further your cause by ranting at the messenger. If we follow your philosophy we would all be too ashamed to rally against any injustice, because our ancestors were abusive to man and nature. The time to speak against injustice is ANYTIME we witness an injustice occur, in spite of history. July 17,
Does the glass house include the U.S.? It should. After all, what the Chinese Han are doing to Uyghurs, we have already done to the native Americans, and much worse to Nagasakai and Hiroshima residents. I am not even including slavery, discrimination and vioelnec againts blacks, jews, asians, latinos, and others. How righteous you must feel high upon your mighty horse preaching others while totally ignoring your own past. July 17,
You are right Luke.
People who live in a stone house should not throw glass. Even if it is transparent. July 17,
Who Is The Real Target?: Call For Fm Resignation Illustrates Need For Legitimacy At The Top And In The Opposition ArmeniaNow
A week after the President of Nagorno Karabakh Bako Sahakyan called for pan-Armenian unity, the political party that hosted the conference from which Sahakyan made his plea is showing unfortunate familiar contempt toward fulfilling Sahakyan's wish.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the `Dashnaks', on Thursday called for the resignation of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian.
The demand is more a referendum on the government of Serzh Sargsyan, with whom the Dashnaks have split, over Sargsyan's perceived nuzzling up to Turkey and in the process presumably jeopardizing the future of the self-declared republic Sahakyan leads and robbing Armenia - especially Diaspora - of its symbol of patriotic pride.
The Dashnaks - indeed all Armenians here, in Karabakh, and abroad - are right to worry over whether the blood-earned sovereignty of Karabakh is being encroached by recent negotiations that may (or may not) stipulate giving back land reclaimed by death and suffering through three years of war and ongoing contact-line skirmishes despite a 15-year `cease fire'.
`For the purpose of eliminating the negative consequences that have emerged in the foreign policy domain and restoring the national-state course, we demand the resignation of Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, who is immediately responsible for the sphere,' said ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamyan at a press conference Thursday.
`Immediately responsible'? What is Nalbandian but a mouthpiece? What good would sacking him achieve?
The unlikely dismissal would, of course, notify all parties that the Dashnaks remain a powerful influence, capable of shaping government policy even after resigning (in April), their ministerial positions in the Sargsyan administration.
Firing his foreign minister would also signify President Sargsyan's willingness for a `do-over' of re-thinking how far Armenia will de-normalize herself in an effort to normalize relations with Turkey. Now would be a late but better-than-never time to make such a move, with the anticipated flurry of attention focused on the Karabakh-Azerbaijan/Armenia-Turkey situation coming in October (when Football Diplomacy II takes place in Turkey).
And what message would it send to Turkey, to Azerbaijan, to the OSCE Minsk Group negotiators?
Maybe a good one, depending on perspective - a message that says President Sargsyan recognizes that consent should trump dictation in navigating a path to peace and prosperity for his country and its neighbors.
It would also, however, be an admission of fault on Sargsyan's part. He is not a man known for saying `oops, my bad'. And for that reason, we would be most surprised if the president conceded to the Dashnak wishes.
This president sits in power on a seat propped up by the fraud, the unknown deals, the support of Mother Russia, and the spineless acquiescence of the US and Europe who helped put him there (if only by their pathetic estimations of his `mostly democratic' election).
To admit weakness (by dismissing his link to countries with whom he has few other representations) would likely raise, again, questions of Sargsyan's legitimacy. With a diminished but yet active opposition licking its chops in the wings, the president can hardly afford to show a crack in his resolve as the chief of all Armenians.
For the latter reason, the call from the Dashnaks is not about Foreign Minister Nalbandyan. It is not about Serzh Sargsyan, directly. It is about Levon Ter-Petrosyan.
Were a more believable/reliable/trusted opposition leader in place, it is likely the Dashnak demand would have been for the resignation of Sargsyan, rather than for one of his lieutenants.
Such a call would have had less teeth than even this one, but the fact that the target of the Dashnak discontent is a government ambassador rather than the government leader says much about the ineffectiveness of Armenia's opposition to groom a figure to offer alternative leadership. Simply put: The Dashnaks (or any others) know that should they dethrone Sargsyan, their action would be a de facto validation of Ter-Petrosyan. And nobody =80` save radical oppositionists whose brains are in their adrenal glands - should want that.
That the Dashnaks would bother with such a grandstanding stunt, illustrates the frustration of a political society in which choices are limited and trustworthiness at a premium. Calling for Nalbandian's resignation is akin to Diaspora's demand that any US Ambassador admit the Genocide.
Like an ambassador, the Foreign Minister is a fallguy for the policy of his government. Demanding that he be sacked reduces a legitimate debate to pettiness.
And Armenia politics has seen too much of that.
Diasporan Discovers Armenia And `Armenianness' - The Weddings, ArmeniaNow, Danielle Hartounian
The cultural differences between Armenia and the Diaspora never cease to amaze me.
Break room discussions continue to nourish my curious appetite to further educate myself about the vast inequalities in socialization, of which the aspect of gender roles fascinates me most.
Being a nineteen year old female from Southern California, I am avidly curious to discover and learn as to how girls my own age are raised here, what expectations society has of them, and the expectations they have for themselves. Working in the same environment with locals from Yerevan aids my comprehension and contributes to my knowledge regarding the matter.
I had an idea of local girls here in Yerevan, but being an outsider in a foreign country, I preferred to digest the matter with my coworkers and hear what they had to say about the subject prior to my expression, for fear of voicing my own thoughts, which could very well be rather narrow assumptions.
Apparently though, the truth was indeed that the majority of girls my age are socialized to get married and start families. Coming from the =80=9Cland of opportunity', this was unfathomable; I refused to believe it until I asked or heard from someone who would know the truth. On that note, it was also true that there was definitely encouragement toward the advancement and pursuit of education; I was relieved to hear that it is very normal for young females to receive their college degrees because the way in which I have been socialized within my own culture has no other way. With these considerations, at this point it is just a matter of what these young women are doing with their degrees. Or aren't, for that matter.
The discussion was interesting and eye-opening. As I was recollecting, reflecting, and revising my thoughts, I was also visiting the churches of Hripsime and Gayane. During my time there, at least two weddings were taking place at both locations. The weddings themselves were immensely interesting to observe, but what fascinates me most are the aspects which stood out to me most in the occasions: first, that of age. None of the brides could have been more than twenty-one or twenty-two.
Depending on the cultural lens, this age could be either quite agreeable to social paradigms, or not. Second, there was more than one wedding being held simultaneously. My girl friends and I discussed the potential havoc that would erupt from such an occurrence that another bride had scheduled her wedding within the same time span. Furthermore, it was unexpectedly surprising to me that our casually dressed group of sweaty, tired, worn out college students could simply walk into the church to light a candle to say our own personal prayer as there was a wedding ceremony taking place.
These minor details elicit the essence of the diversity between the culture of Armenia and the culture of the Diaspora (in America, at least).
As I argued in another `Letter Home', I believe importance should be given to overcoming the shock for the unknown, and to the flexible adjustment of deciphering what to make of these differences. The gender roles is a specific branch with which I am particularly intrigued because my personal socialization has not prepared me-in any way, shape, or form, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or academically-to be engaged or married in two years. Consequently, I am trying to understand these circumstances in order to refine and sharpen my perspective by practicing different ways in which I perceive my new surroundings.
Danielle Hartounian, 19, is a student at Orange Coast College, in Southern California, where she majors in English and minors in studio arts. She is a participant of the Armenian General Benevolent Union's Yerevan Summer Internship Program, during which she is interning at ArmeniaNow.com
The Sacred Word: Visa By Hajrudin Somun*
Yes, the word visa is one of the most sacred words in the contemporary world.
From the very beginning of delimiting tribal or clan boundaries until the drawing of state borders, there has more or less been strict control of crossing from one side to the other. In its modern meaning, which originated from the Latin term charta visa (the document has been seen), a stamp or an endorsement in the passport that allows the bearer to enter the country issuing it has become a precious tool in international relations. It becomes more important and valuable when required to enter the so-called Western civilized world by citizens of other less “democratized” parts of the globe.
More precisely and importantly, the influence of the visa issue on the imbalance and injustice in international human movement is still clearly evident in Europe. Citizens of European Union member states can move freely from Stockholm to Madrid or Rome, from the north of Europe to the south, in most cases without even being asked to show identity cards. At the same time, in the European southeast, in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje and Tirana, foreign visitors are surprised to see long lines in front of EU member country embassies despite freezing winter cold or the summer heat. In front of embassies of some more “wanted” countries, such as Germany, people come at dawn to secure their place in line to get a visa.
All Western Balkan countries, together with EU-aspirant Turkey, are on the so-called Black Schengen List, meaning they need visas to enter EU member states. Only Croatia has succeeded to get visa-free access, as it is closer to EU membership than any other country in the region. However, even if it enters the EU before the rest -- probably in the next two to three years -- Croatia will wait on the so-called White Schengen List until it fulfills all criteria of the Schengen area, the 24 European countries that have fully abolished their internal borders and carefully guard external ones. Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, although EU member states for a few years now and with visa-free access, are on that “waiting list.” If they meet entry conditions, they could become full Schengen Zone members not earlier than 2011.
Thus, there are more criteria to becoming fully admitted to the Schengen Zone than to becoming an EU member state. For many of those applying for a visa to go to Europe, it is a confusing fact, but they know it is much better to have a visa from a “Schengen country” than, for example, from Great Britain or Ireland, both of which did not want to join the Schengen Zone, or from Romania and Cyprus, which allow entry into their territory, but not further travel to other EU member states. Besides Slovenia, Greece is the only Balkan country that is a member of both the EU and the Schengen area. Greeks, however, support the process of ending visa restriction for all other Balkan states, but they are also skeptical, worrying that it would increase economic migration and organized crime in their country.
Looking from the angle of the so-called Western Balkans, five countries are impatiently expecting to jump over hurdles along the way to traveling without a visa to EU member countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia (officially still the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Montenegro and Serbia. Observing from the broader Balkans or the southeastern European angle, there is also Kosovo, which is a “specific case,” and Turkey, which is an even more “specific” case.
Interestingly, all these Western Balkan countries, except for Albania, were part of the former Yugoslavia, whose citizens under the rule of Josip Broz Tito's type of socialist rule enjoyed unrestricted travel throughout Europe and the world. But after the wars of the 1990s, initiated by Slobodan Milosevic's nationalist regime, the countries were added to the black visa list. It is also indicative that Serbia, easing but still not abandoning its nationalist approach toward neighboring independent countries that were planned to be part of a Greater Serbia, will be relieved of visa restrictions together with Macedonia and Montenegro, but before Bosnia and Albania. The European Commission on July 15 recommended abolishing visa requirements for citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, effective January 2010. A decision is expected to be made in the fall on the EC recommendation. Bosnia and Albania will have to wait for this privilege for probably another year. ,
Only Macedonia succeeded in meeting all conditions to come under the EU visa-free regime, including internal stability and security, reinforcement of borders in regard to asylum and migration, issuing biometric passports and satisfactory achievements in the field of human rights. Except for some technical issues, Serbia and Montenegro met most conditions, but many non-Serbian observers, including myself, are under the impression that the European Union's approach toward Serbia in regard to many issues -- and not only lifting visa restrictions -- is more appeasing than toward other countries in the region. Due to old prejudices that it represents the main stability factor in the Balkans or suspicions that it could fall under Russian influence if does not become part of Euro-Atlantic integrations more rapidly, Serbia is too quickly being pardoned for conflicts and atrocities it caused over the last two decades in other Balkan nations, and to its own people as well. Serbia could already have gotten closer to the EU had the Netherlands not blocked its accession process. The Netherlands want Gen. Ratko Mladic, the man responsible for the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia, to be brought to The Hague War Crimes Tribunal.
That is why Serbia may join the EU before Bosnia and Herzegovina, continue the EU accession process without recognizing Kosovo's independence and see its citizens travel without a visa to Europe before the children of Srebrenica victims get the opportunity to do the same. The Bosnian case even becomes ironic when one considers what will happen once Serbia is rewarded with visa-free travel to Europe. Bosnian Croats already have the opportunity to enjoy visa-free travel to Europe with their Croatian passports, which they use more frequently than their Bosnian ones, even participating in Croatian elections. Now that Serbia is close to receiving the same treatment as Croatia, Bosnian Serbs will have the same privilege because they have the right to get Serbian passports. Only Bosniaks will be incapable of traveling without a visa to Europe in the foreseeable future. It will then be easy to recognize the people waiting from dawn in front of the German and Austrian embassies in Sarajevo to get a visa. They will only be Bosniaks -- Bosnian Muslims. This gives the image an even broader meaning.
Kosovo has still not been considered for any EU recommendation in regard to visa liberalization as it was not recognized by all EU countries nor accepted to the UN. Furthermore, its ethnic makeup differs from the Bosnian case. It is quite normal for the minority of Kosovo Serbs -- only 5 percent of the population -- to keep their Serbian passports because, at the end of the day, Kosovo is still formally considered by Belgrade as part of Serbia. It is, however, unusual that many Kosovo Albanians are taking out Serbian travel documents as well. There are around half a million Kosovars who live in Europe and come to visit relatives in Kosovo via Serbia, which does not recognize their Kosovo passports, forcing them to take out Serbian ones.
Despite agreeing with the latest European Commission recommendation, many European countries are not in favor of including Kosovo or the other five above-mentioned Western Balkan countries in the visa-free regime. Aside from other reasons, the current global economic crisis has increased their fears of a new influx of workers and immigrants. Germany and France, for example, prefer the “visa liberalization” model, which implies easing the criteria on visas for students, scholars, doctors and businessmen. Compared to the EU accession process, this term could be reminiscent of the “privileged partnership” instead of full membership being offered to Turkey by these two very important EU countries. Apart from the “permanent weakening of the movement of labor” and other issues, perhaps a special visa liberalization program could also be part of that generously offered “privileged partnership.”
To avoid the risk of being -- as a Bosniak, or a Bosnian Muslim -- accused of being subjective while considering the EU's general approach toward Serbia as appeasing and toward Bosnia as unjust, I will resort to the statement of a very prominent German politician. Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the former high representative of the international community to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the only European minister who resigned in protest of the policy of his government in the 1990s regarding the Balkans, commenting on the EC recommendation on abolishing visa requirements for Serbia to the magazine Bild, said: “Just now when the European Parliament commemorates the 14th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the European Commission announces that Serbs will be able to enter the EU without visa from 2010, and Bosnians and Kosovars will not. It makes a mockery and [is a] blow to all European values.”
*Hajrudin Somun is the former ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Turkey.
18 July 2009 http://www.todayszaman.com
People & Places: Two Guys And A Girl
“So you’ve given up on the i-a-n?” Rouben asks, referring to the unspoken pre-requisite of all Armenians wishing to find a mate.
“I’m surprised women stick to it for as long as they do,” Dickran interjects before Talar has a chance to respond. She’s surprised by Dickran’s candor and says, “Odars (non-Armenians) appreciate us more than Armenian men do.”
“You’re right, the odars would see that Armenian girls are much more exotic, … ,” he says, his voice trailing off with the implied hint of other advantages. “Armenian girls have a lot more to offer than Armenian men have to offer. There are more quality Armenian girls than there are quality single Armenian guys.”
“I’m surprised you, as a guy, just said that,” Talar says with a laugh.
“I go to these events and it’s the same quality girls looking for these guys, but there aren’t any quality guys,” Dickran explains.
The three friends are having lunch at the local Zankou Chicken restaurant. Somehow their conversations always veer towards the current state of Armenian singles in their closely knit community. Even though they live in the largest Armenian community in the Diaspora, their search for a life partner has been difficult.
“What makes a quality guy?” Talar asks.
“Education, the right values, maturity,” he begins listing the traits, “and a sense of self and introspection.” He believes that an educated, mature, well traveled woman of his generation will have a hard time finding an Armenian man for a mate. But he has hope that it would be different for the new generation of 20-something-year-olds who are more westernized than his generation.
“I had a conversation with a man the other day who has daughters working on her PhD’s. He said he was very proud of her but was worried because he didn’t think she was going to find an Armenian man since she was going to be too educated,” Talar recounts the story.
“What’s happened is that within three generations we went from a peasant society to urban, in the Middle East, and from urban to transnationally urban,” Rouben says offering his analysis of the current state of affairs.
“I don’t know. Most Armenian men I’ve met so far in L.A. I wouldn’t introduce them to my sister,” Dickran says. “Or maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong crowd,” he adds trying to make light of this heavy topic. Although he attends a many events and is involved in a variety of social circles, he’s amazed at the Armenian women who come to events with the hope of meeting Armenian men. “They know what’s out there, why are they still trying?” he asks, incredulous at their persistence.
“Why is it that we’re so cosmopolitan in our lives but we become so conventional when it comes to this very basic human need to connect with other people?” asks Talar.
“The problem is that Armenian men, as westernized as we’ve become, there’s still an attachment to the old relationship dynamic,” Dickran says, referring to the power dynamics in a relationship and the education level of a woman.
“Would you consider getting involved with a woman who is more educated, makes more money, is more successful and better known than you?” Talar asks.
“That part doesn’t bother me at all,” Dickran responds but Talar doesn’t look convinced.
“I’m not talking a power structure. I want a complementary relationship,” Rouben adds.
“So when it comes to forming a meaningful relationship or family unit, men want the conventional dynamic; the same one their fathers and grandfathers had, where the man is the head of the household and earns the income,” Talar says. In the past, men were more educated than women and provided for their families, giving them an automatic position of power within their family unit. “If you get into a relationship with a woman who makes more money and is better educated than you, then doesn’t that automatically give her some power within the family? Maybe more so than you? “ she asks Dickran.
“Therefore that means that you would not be comfortable with a woman who makes more money and is better educated than you,” Talar says trying to clarify Dickran’s earlier statement. “Is this why men are afraid of commitment?”
“In general there are two types of men: there’s the babies who have undergone arrested development and have never married. Then there’s guys who have gotten burned and want to be careful in their choices,” Rouben says, “and a choice after forty (years old) is a lot more difficult.” He believes that when someone is eighteen years old and less experienced they are more likely to take chances on people without knowing the others’ future level of success. “To me that’s as unconditional as love gets,” he says. “After forty you can’t make an emotional decision. You have to make something rational with it, and when you add too many boxes to check off (in the list of requirements in a mate) you become hesitant in your decision making.”
“We live in a post modern society where the roles have been completely convoluted, everything is transient and there’s no clarity in determining ‘this is the one,’ whereas I have seen that clarity in simplistic societies where life is a lot less complicated. Fear is a natural outcome of the complexity of the societies we live in,” Rouben says with finality.
“I think the search mechanism or the matching mechanism is broken,” adds Dickran. “I haven’t been to one social function that actually gives results. The informal mechanisms are not working as well as they should. Instead, you have the formal ones and they suck,” he says, offering an analysis of the current matchmaking process in the Armenian community. It is exactly for this reason that many are turning to the resources, such as dating services and social clubs, available outside of the insular world of our ethnically cohesive group of family and friends.
Capital Perspectives: A Tale Of Two Ambassadors, By Tatev Oganyan, University of California, Los Angeles Class of 2011
With the fourth week of our internship program coming to a close, we have grown accustomed to DC’s fast pace lifestyle, a city filled with thousands of interns and the inevitable possibilities of running into Members of Congress and government officials anywhere in the city.
Last week, for example, as we were headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the foreign aid bill, we ran into former Secretary of State and leader of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell. The true Washington DC fashion, we introduced ourselves as ANCA interns and chatted briefly. That encounter was captured on film by a photographer for Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, and promptly posted online (with appropriate ANCA caption.)
This week, we had the chance to visit the Armenian Embassy and meet with the Ambassador of Armenia, Tatoul Markarian as well as have lunch with the former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans.
The walk from the ANCA offices took about 15 minutes and as soon as we went into the Embassy, I felt like I was at an Armenian home – warm, nicely decorated and reminiscent of our rich history and culture. Frankly, it was much nicer than the White House, which we had toured just a week before – but I may be biased.
The Ambassador told us about the Embassy’s involvement in economic, political, cultural, and scientific issues related to the Republic of Armenia. He encouraged Armenian-American students to maintain their activism in pushing for Armenian issues within legislative affairs.
It is not a secret that, as we walked into the Embassy that day, our group was worried about the Armenian Government’s actions – the roadmap fiasco, the upcoming talks between presidents Sarkisian and Aliyev regarding Karabakh.
The open dialogue with the Ambassador allowed us to express our many concerns and questions concerning Armenia-Turkey relations, Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s independence. We pointed out that the “roadmap” appeared to be simply a Turkish double-cross and that we can’t fall into the same trap with Azerbaijan regarding Nagorno Karabagh.
Ambassador Markarian stressed the importance of working on Genocide recognition and opening borders between Armenia and Turkey. He noted that open dialogue between Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan is vital as communication avoids the many possibilities of war. On many occasions, Amb. Markarian reassured us that the right to self-determination of the people of Karabagh would always be protected
After our talk with the Ambassador, we discussed internship opportunities in Armenia and within the embassy and took a mini-tour of the embassy as we observed a museum-like room filled with old documents and gifts addressed to the Armenian embassy.
On our return to the office, we received news that President Obama, Russian President Medvedev, and French President Sarkozy released a Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in which they urged the “return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control.” I was shocked and ashamed of the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s unreasonable pressure on Armenia and it’s lack of concern to include NKR representatives in the peace process. Just hours prior to this news I was discussing the same issues with the Armenia Ambassador and more than ever I hoped that Armenia would stand firm in it’s position to protect Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence. I was motivated to take action as I began circulating news about the joint statement to my friends and family nationwide. Everyone I spoke to expressed concern. Everyone I spoke to asked how they can take action.
The next day, we began to distribute ANCA action alerts strongly recommending President Obama and the French and Russian Federation Ambassadors in the U.S. to urge the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to include Karabakh Reps. in the peace process and to cease unreasonable pressure on Armenia. The response was overwhelming – and great to see.
Later on in the week, we scheduled a paper bag lunch with former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans. We discussed the current economic issues in Armenia, the democratization process in Armenia, and the security issues of the region. Amb. Evans noted what our community has felt all along – that until Turkey, as well as other nations, recognize the Armenian Genocide, Armenia will not feel safe in the region. The fact that Turkey continues to deny the truth, presents an unstated threat to Armenia’s security. I agree with him on the notion that recognition and Turkish consciousness of the Armenian Genocide is key to lasting Armenian diplomatic relations with Turkey.
It was great to meet with the Armenian Ambassador and the former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia and get their perspectives on the region. These opportunities to share views with leaders from all braches of government – executive, legislative, Armenian, U.S. – gives you an opportunity to really look at the issues that we care about from all different vantage points – and hopefully make us better advocates for the Cause.
What They Give From A Victory, By Hakob Badalyan - Lragir.am
Publishing of the so-called principles of Madrid created grounds for discussions in the public and political spheres in Armenia. At least, some outlines for such discussions are noticed in Armenia the axis of which is the question whether a crucial point in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is expected in the nearest future or not. But the principles themselves do not seem to be in the centre of public attention. In other words, the main question is the reason why the principles have been published and what is expected after. And the point relating to the essence of the principles does not seem important at all.
While it had to be just he opposite. The aims of the revelation of the principles do not have to attract so mush attention but the essence of the principles. The Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan stated that the point that the principles dwell on the solution of the Karabakhi status in accordance with the will of the Karabakhi people is important. The Armenian foreign minister attaches importance to the fact that the principles dwell on the land connection between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and guarantees for the Karabakhi security too.
The Armenian people seem to have to applaud to the principles of Madrid and to declare the revelation of the principles a national or church festival. But the principles of Madrid suppose for other things too, for example, return of liberated areas to Azerbaijan, return of refugees and deported people, peace actions, in other words, deployment of peace forces there. Moreover, the point on the Karabakhi status is only about a mediate status and the point on the main status yet has to be discussed and decided. So, the revelation of the principles of Madrid is not a festival.
Moreover, the circumstance that the first point in those principles runs about the return of the released areas to Azerbaijan and only after the other points come. And all this enjoys the command of the Armenian government. Though, the reason is understandable. They command it for the U.S. to command Serge Sargsyan and Edward Nalbandyan. This is evident and is not worth speaking about. Everything suits the logic of “seeking” legitimacy.
But there is another circumstance, which the Armenian government seems to dwell on. The point is that the settlement of the Karabakhi conflict is not an aim for the superpowers, but a means, and perhaps, this is not a secret.
The Nagorno-Karabakh issue settlement for U.S., France and Russia is not a means to solve personal but more important geopolitical issues. And this means that each of the countries has its own interests and wish to establish its domination and sponsorship in the process of settlement. Moreover, these countries are also for being dominant not only in the settlement but also in the non-settlement of the issue. And this means that the principles of settlement now, and for a long time, do not have any possibility to become true, because the mediator superpowers do not like something. But the whole question is what Armenia is going to do in case of the present principles of settlement, if the mediator superpowers come to an agreement. The point is that Armenia, who won the 1994 war for Karabakhi liberation commands the fact that they give to Armenia a possibility for “expression of will” and a lad connection with Karabakh.
Turkey Must Recognize Armenian Genocide, By Peter van Ham, Clingendael Institute, NRC Handelsblad
Dr. Peter van Ham is a substitute chief investigator of the Institute Clingendael It is incredible how selective our notion of history is. While the persecution of the Jews has a prominent place in Western history books, the other massacres are entirely forgotten. And the older and further down in history the genocide was perpetrated, the weaker the emotional echo becomes. This also applies to the Turkish genocide of 1915 on the Armenian population that cost the lives of more than one million citizens and which will be commemorated worldwide next week.
Consecutive Turkish governments have refused to recognize this dark chapter in their history. However, now that Turkey will most likely begin with negotiations to access the European Union, it is high time Ankara recognized the malicious and systematic eradication of the Armenian population by the Turkish army. Whoever wants to become a member of the EU, must - analogous to the German mea maxima culpa after World War II - be honest about its history. After all, the EU is also a value community and countries that deny a genocide do not belong in it.
During the period between 1915-1918, the Turkish army evacuated almost all the Armenian villages in the Ottoman Empire and killed hundreds of thousands of citizens or deported them from Western Turkey to Syria through barbaric hunger marches. These events are very well documented and though there is a slight disagreement over the exact number of victims, one thing is certain: this was the first genocide of the 20th century that moreover served as a model for Hitler's holocaust. After all, the Nazis could conclude from the lukewarm reactions in the West that they too could get away with the destruction of the Jews as long as it was carefully kept out of the attention of the international media.
This is not about not letting bygones be bygones. But when Turkey becomes a full member of the EU in a few years, Armenia will be our direct neighbor. However, the Armenian-Turkish relations are still very bad, particularly because this historical angle was never taken out. The government in Yerevan demands of Turkey to recognize the genocide as a historical fact. Armenia is supported in this by various European parliaments.
As such, among others, the French, Belgian, Greek and Swiss parliaments have urged Ankara to admit the genocide; the European Parliament already declared in 1987 that Ankara's refusal to recognize the historical events forms an obstacle for Turkey's EU-membership. Pope John Paul II has also called on Turkey to take this step. The American Congress finally decided in 2000, after much debate, that the Armenian genocide should not be considered important for discussion, especially after Turkey threatened to close the American military bases in her country.
The Netherlands has a very small Armenian community, therefore the question has not yet been placed on the political agenda. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Bot refused to recognize the Armenian genocide as a relevant fact in a parliamentary debate last December. This is not only surprising, but moreover unwise. How would we react if comtemporary Germany would label the holocaust as historically incorrect and irrelevant?
There are examples which confirm that the mere recognition of a historical truth can lead to political approachment and even renewed trust between countries. One can think of the conflict over the massacres in Katyn for instance. Only in 1990 the Russian government recognized that the Soviet army killed 4400 Polish soldiers, and not - as was claimed for so long - by the Nazi's. Last month the Croatian government also made a start to judge its history in all honesty. The initiative of prime minister Ivo Sanader to investigate and recognize the crimes of the Croatian Ustase during World War II, fit in her aim to access the EU in the near future. This example should be followed by Turkey.
After all, the precarious point is that the process of the European unification is in its mutual political trust and solidarity. The EU is not a temporary cooperative union, but a design for a new political entity. Without solidarity and honesty the EU has no future. This is a great difference between Europe and other continents. Considering that Japan has never recognized that during World War II the greatest crimes were committed in Korea and China, every form of cooperation remains superficial. If Turkey wants to be a part of Europe it will have to learn a lesson from the examples of Germany and Japan. We can only speak of true "Europeanization" when Ankara recognizes the historical facts unambiguously. This means that the Armenian genocide must be included in Turkish history books, with which an end will finally come to the Ottoman view that Turkey is one way or the other superior to its neighboring countries.
This article was translated from Dutch by the Abovian Armenian Cultural Association (Armeense Culturele Vereniging Abovian) in The Hague. Info@abovian.nl.
Turkey Should Recognize The Genocide Of The Armenians, By Musa Kurdistani - KurdishMedia.com In the early 1900s carried out the Young Turk regime in the Ottoman Empire a systematic genocide against Armenians and other Christian groups such as the Assyrians / Syrians and Pontiac Greeks. 1.5 million people were killed in the genocide campaign.
Over one and a half million Armenians died as a result of this genocidal campaign, including the death marches and deportation occurred. Armenians and other Christian groups living in northern Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey) for thousands of years but lost their homeland. Today there are fewer than 60,000 Armenians left in the entire region.
The Turks believed that the Christian group in the First World War was an "unreliable" group when they was seeking an alliance with the Russians. The hate attitude towards the Christian groups already existed long before because they were second-class citizens in the Ottoman Empire which had to pay additional taxes, were subject to discriminatory laws and had limited civil and property rights.
"It has never happened!"
Historical evidence of the existence of genocide with the intent is infinite, as many historians found in his research. In Turkey, however, the genocide is denied despite the extensive evidence that exist in official archives which consist of photographic evidence, reports from diplomats and others.
In this context it is appropriate to recall that the term "genocide" was introduced in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, who had their study to be strongly influenced by the Armenian case and the Holocaust.
The basic argument for the genocide never took place has been that Turkey has not carried out any such documents and instead call the period of "civil war" in which it was the Turks who fell victim to Armenian violence.
Another tactic has been to find scapegoats. This has, inter alia, meant that Turkish history has blamed for the genocide of the Kurds. Although individual Kurds, as soldiers in the Ottoman Empire army attended the genocide, it is a moral and political undeniable fact that it was the Ottoman Empire who ordered and carried out the genocide. There is both hypocrisy of Turkey on the one hand to deny his responsibility for the genocide and on
the other hand, blame the Kurds. Important to also note in this context is that the Armenians would appoint Turkey responsible for genocide and demand that Turkey recognize the genocide.
The fact is that civilian Kurds also hid refugees or adopted Christian children which is why so many Kurds today have Armenian or Assyrian / Syrian ancestors.
The issue is hushed up
Today Turkey is trying, through diplomatic efforts and political pressure, silence on the genocide of the Armenians and other Christian communities. There have also been several attempts by the Turkish government to disrupt academic conferences and public discussions on the Armenian genocide. One of the more attention the trials was when Turkish officials forced Israel to cancel a conference in Tel Aviv in 1982 on the Armenian genocide, by threatening the safety of Jews in Turkey.
The most famous case took place during the 1930s when the Turkish government pressed the U.S. State Department to stop the film production of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, which described the genocide of the Armenians. It is also an offense to even talk about the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk landsfader acknowledged the reality of the Armenian genocide in 1926 when he openly accused the Young Turks for it.
In a country that claims to be democratic should be no subject to be "illegal" to discuss. A free society can not live with a taboo subject. It is Turkey itself that is responsible for the genocide in 1915 and should openly admit it. Germany made up with its past by recognizing the genocide of the Jews. Turkey has much to learn from Germany.
Like the Kurdish reality in Turkey beginning to be recognized by more and more, although there are also voices who claim that "there are no Kurds, they are mountain Turks", will also have the historical reality in 1915 will be accepted.
Welsh Shepherd Does More For Armenian Cause Than Most Armenians, By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
Incredible, but true! Eilian Williams, a shepherd in Wales, has done more in support of the Armenian Cause than most Armenians, despite the fact that he is not related to Armenians by heritage or marriage. For all his good work, he has received no recognition and no appreciation. Most Armenians, except for a small circle in London, are neither aware of his existence nor his selfless efforts.
His first involvement with Armenians began in 1998 when an Armenian acquaintance asked him to arrange for the Armenian Church Choir to perform in Eisteddfod, a Welsh Cultural Festival. This prompted him to form the "Wales Armenia Solidarity" group.
On April 24, 2001, Mr. Williams organized the first Armenian Genocide commemoration in the Temple of Peace, located in Cardiff, Wales. He then succeeded in getting the National Assembly for Wales in October 2002 to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide and organized a special commemorative event in the National Assembly building, which was attended by Armenia's Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Through his persistent efforts, the Gwynedd County Council in March 2004 became the first municipality in the UK to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In October 2004, Mr. Williams arranged for the Prime Minister of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh) to be received by the Presiding Officer (Speaker) of the National Assembly for Wales, thus boosting the legitimacy of Artsakh's statehood.
Two years later, Mr. Williams was able to persuade the majority of the members of the National Assembly for Wales to support the Assyrian/Armenian Genocide Early Day Motion (EDM).
In January 2007, he organized the Hrant Dink Commemoration in the British Parliament. He also lobbied for the Armenian Genocide Motion in the House of Commons which garnered the signatures of 182 Members of Parliament. On November 3, 2007, at the inauguration of the Armenian Genocide Monument in Cardiff, which Mr. Williams and John Torosyan helped organize, the Speaker of the National Assembly for Wales made scathing remarks about Turkey. Turkish hooligans tried to disrupt the solemn proceedings; several months later, they desecrated the Genocide Memorial.
Over the years, I had followed with great admiration the unpublicized activities of this "odar" shepherd of Wales. However, I had no direct contact with him until last month, when I received from him the text of a new Early Day Motion that he had submitted to the British House of Commons. The Motion demands that Turkey return the more than 2,000 Armenian, Assyrian and Syriac churches and religious monuments confiscated by the Turkish government after the 1915 Genocide to the jurisdiction of their respective Patriarchates as "a measure of restitution."
The Motion further asks that the British government recognize the fact that these minorities were ethnically cleansed in the years following 1915, as was recently acknowledged by Turkish Prime Minister Rejeb Erdogan. The Motion has so far gained the support of 23 Members of the British Parliament. This Motion attracted my attention because in recent months, I have been advocating such an initiative through my columns and lectures. I was pleasantly surprised when the Welsh shepherd sent me an e-mail last month informing that he had decided to take this action after reading my columns and particularly the remarks I had delivered at the House of Commons on May 7.
Armenian-Americans should follow the good example set by Mr. Williams and submit a similar resolution to the U.S. Congress. It would be practically impossible for any Member of Congress to oppose a motion that calls for the return of Armenian houses of worship to their rightful owner, the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul. Such a resolution would go beyond the mere acknowledgment of the Genocide, by seeking to restore some of the massive losses suffered by the Armenians.
European Armenians should go even further by filing a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights, seeking a judgment for the immediate return of the churches and religious monuments to the Armenian Patriarchate. It is unconscionable that these Armenian churches -- the ones not yet destroyed -- have been converted to mosques, warehouses and living quarters, and no one is contesting this shameful state of affairs! One can imagine the worldwide outcry if today's German government were still holding on to a single synagogue that was confiscated by the Nazis during the Holocaust!
My hat off to Eilian Williams! I only wish that Armenians would emulate the righteous activism of this good shepherd whose efforts deserve proper recognition by the Republic of Armenia, the Church, and Armenians worldwide!
ARPA Institute Hosts July 30 Lecture by Harut Sassounian
TARZANA, Calif. - The ARPA Institute will presents a Lecture/Seminar on July 30 by Harut Sassounian on "Armenia-Turkey Negotiations and Armenia-Diaspora Relations.
The presentation will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Merdinian Auditorium, 13330 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.
The lecture will address the twists and turns of the Armenia-Turkey negotiations and the influence of the U.S., Russia and Europe in that process. The false impressions created by the Turkish Government during the so-called border-opening talks will be analyzed.
The lecture will also cover whether President Obama was tricked by Turkey to preclude him from saying genocide, or did he trick Armenia and Turkey? The Turkish attempts to pit Armenia against the Diaspora will be highlighted and counter-moves proposed.
The most recent Turkish trick will be exposed in linking the border-opening talks to the Artsakh negotiations.
It will be pointed out that the Turkish preconditions in these talks are ironically having the positive effect of restraining Armenia from making further concessions.
After the lecture, there will be ample time for questions and answers.
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier newspaper. His editorials are reprinted in scores of publications worldwide and posted on countless websites.
He is the President of the United Armenian Fund, which has supplied over $550 million of humanitarian assistance to Armenia since the 1988 earthquake. As Senior Vice President of the Lincy Foundation, he has overseen the implementation of over $250 million of infrastructure-related projects in Armenia.
From 1978 to 1982, he worked for the Procter & Gamble Company in Geneva, Switzerland, as an international marketing executive.
He served for 10 years as a non-governmental delegate on human rights at the United Nations, lobbying for the eventual recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in 1985. He has a Master's Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, a Certificate from the Middle East Institute, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
He is the author of "The Armenian Genocide: The World Speaks Out, 1915-2005, Documents and Declarations" which has also been published in Arabic. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia. He has been decorated by the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
For more information please call Dr. Hagop Panossian at (818) 881-0010, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Courier Online
Armenians Learning From Their Disastrous History Should Offer New Approaches In International Law, By Aram Adamyan MSc MBA ACCA, Toronto, 17 July 2009
While petitions and rallies of protest are organized in the wake of the announcement of the updated Madrid Principles by Obama-Sarkozy-Medvedev trio, not much is proposed by Armenians to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Aram Adamyan's suggestion is timely and worthy of discussion at all levels, including that of the authorities in Armenia and Karabakh.- Keghart.com
During the past years, the International community witnessed the appearance of new independent states like Kosovo, Abkhazia and South-Ossetia. The latter two so far are recognized only by Russia and Nicaragua. In this process the conflict between the two principles of International law, namely between the principle of the right for self-determination and that of territorial integrity received exhaustive attention. While most of the currently existing countries came about through declaring their independence sometime in history partly based on the principle of self-determination, the very same countries exercise double standards in recognizing the independence of nations currently fighting for their freedom. In the specific case of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the dichotomy of the two international principles may be addressed through an analysis of the current geopolitical situation and providing a new approach suggested in the concluding remarks.
The developments surrounding Armenia were very tense during the last year since President Sargsyan initiated the Armenian-Turkish discussions through the so-called soccer diplomacy. Unlike in the past, Russia that has substantial leverage over Armenia, this time exhibited a strange tolerance towards these discussions. What did Armenia gain? How did it affect the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution? What did the major powers, such as Russia, Europe and the USA that are involved in this process gain? Finally, how did it affect Turkey?
Russia, by allowing negotiations between Armenia and Turkey proceeding, which on surface would mean Armenia gaining more balanced economy and foreign policy, triggered Azerbaijan’s reaction over the consequences of possible opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. Negotiations culminated in Russia successfully signing a natural gas deal with Azerbaijan, which will sell substantial amounts of its natural gas to Russia starting 2010. An objective to weaken the NABUCCO project that bypasses Russia was successfully met. It was achieved through a lesser commitment by Azerbaijan as one of the major suppliers. In its turn, Russia is expected to act in favor of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
While Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia in 2008, following the short war, it did not show any intention to do so with respect to Artsakh. On the contrary, it exercised pressure over Armenia to forego certain, including territorial concessions for the resolution of the conflict. Meanwhile Russia has heavily invested in the Armenian economy and maintains a military base in Armenia to which it has no direct access after the closure of the Russian-Georgian border. The Russians could get an alternative route through Turkey if the Turkish Armenian border were to open.
Europe is eager to have reliable supply of energy resources through oil and gas pipelines from energy-rich Central Asia and Azerbaijan via a route that goes south of the Russian border. To this end peace and stability in South Caucasus is of utmost importance for Europe. European politicians understand very well that peace will not be final and reliable unless Armenia is reconciled with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Thus, we witness intensified European efforts to find a solution for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict coupled with Turkey opening its border with Armenia and establishing Diplomatic Relationship with it.
The interests of the United States in finding a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey lies in geopolitical considerations. The USA expects less Russian influence both in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and with already pro-western Georgia gradually exert full control over the whole South Caucasus. It’s a vital region sandwiched between rival Russia and enemy Iran, a landmass connecting the Energy rich Central Asia bordering Afghanistan and establishing a route with Europe bypassing Russia and Iran.
Turkey, which formerly could only dream about being involved in the resolution of South Caucasus conflicts, got its prize through the invitation of President Sargsyan offering to open the Turkish Armenian border that was qualified as the last closed border in Europe. The necessity for such an opening arose after another border, the Russian-Georgian door closed.
The Armenian-Turkish negotiations led to announcing a roadmap by Turkish and Armenian leaders with the intermediary help of Switzerland on the eve of April 24 of 2009. This coincided with the period when Armenians throughout the world were expecting that Barak Obama would honour his promise to call the massacres of Armenians from 1915 to 1923 in the Ottoman Empire as Genocide. The roadmap and the Armenian-Turkish talks were exploited by the new President to breach his promise. The excuse of not harming the ongoing talks was enunciated. Turkey could not have expected any better result. The United States, heavily dependent on Turkish support for Iraq war and possible war with Iran, forced Armenia to declare the roadmap. It was an excellent solution for itself so that its relationships with Turkey would not be harmed.
What did Armenia gain in this process, and did it anyhow commit itself to a fair resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? While Armenian authorities claimed that they managed to break the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem existing since the Nagorno-Karabakh war started, and separate the talks to improve Armenian-Turkish relationship from the process aimed at resolving the conflict, Turkish leaders - including Prime Minister Erdogan - continued to announce that no border with Armenia would be opened until the conflict were to be resolved. Of course, that meant in a fashion acceptable to Azerbaijan.
The border is still closed, and since the announcement of the roadmap, no substantial development in Armenian-Turkish negotiations is observed. Meanwhile, developments on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are more than intense. They resulted in a mutual statement by the Presidents of the Minsk group co-chair countries during the recent G-8 Summit, and the updated Madrid principles were announced.
They include returning to Azerbaijan territories of NKR that were not part of Nagorno-Karabakh prior to the war, which was started by Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. After this return, a corridor linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia is to be established while there is no clarity about how wide it will be and who will control it. In addition, there is no clarity about the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh while a preliminary status is being discussed. Finally, the principles postulate international security guarantees to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. The latter would include the core Nagorno-Karabakh people and Azerbaijani refugees that would return from Azerbaijan.
It is worth remembering that President Aliyev continues to declare that Azerbaijan will never agree to independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. Furthermore, during the past years, the Azerbaijani public was consistently “cultivated” to oppose anything Armenian, and cultural genocide was brazenly committed as evidenced by destroying the Khatchkars in Nakhichevan. There is no chance that any status less than full independence will guarantee security and development for Artsakh.
What is understood by international security guarantees? Isn’t the catastrophic failure of the Sevres Treaty lesson enough for the Armenian nation not to rely once more on others for its own fate? Without outright recognition of independence of Artsakh in its current borders no such international guarantees can be trusted. Why should the Nagorno-Karabakh Army leave the strategic defense positions of Artsakh? Lessons of history dictate that Armenians should rely only on their real power, on their own hands rather than on promises by others.
Under the present circumstances, and given the tragic experience of the past with Turkey, Azerbaijan and the great powers, it is only and only the Armenian side that can provide safety guarantees. This can and should be articulated and offered to the international community with the provision that Azeris returning to Nagorno-Karabakh republic will be safe and treated equally. After all, unlike in Azerbaijan where Armenians were cruelly persecuted, no Azeri ever suffered in Armenia on any April 24 commemoration day even in Yerevan where millions of Armenians visit the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial to remember the victims of the Genocide committed by the ethnic and cultural brothers of Azeris.
In the likely scenario that above is not acceptable to the Azeris, and not to sound very unrealistic or unwilling to resort to any concessions, Armenians can offer an alternative by introducing a new principle in International law. After all International Jurisprudence is always in a state of flux and takes into account novel situations and precedents.
Temporarily grant Nagorno-Karabakh Conditional Independence for a specified period, say fifteen years. During that time, monitor the democratic developments in both Karabakh and Azerbaijan with specific terms agreed upon by all parties having a stake in the conflict. That of course should include the conditions of Azeris returning to Karabakh and more that 300,000 displaced Armenians returning to their homes in Azerbaijan. In the event that Karabakh fails in its obligations compared to Azerbaijan, then the International community may revoke that Conditional Independence. The competition should revolve around which party would create better democracy for its people rather than the militarily stronger power dictating the outcome – a phenomenon that we currently witness.
Armenia’s Choice: The Inalienable Diaspora, By Aram Adamyan MSc, MBA, ACCA, Toronto, 31 October 2008
Since the soccer match between the Armenian and Turkish teams in Yerevan on September 6, 2008, diplomatic talks are conducted with an unprecedented pace about a resolution over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Following his return to Ankara, President Gul announced that he was under the impression that President Sargsyan was ready to return territories around Nagorno-Karabakh - areas that are currently under the control of Armenian forces. Armenian authorities did not refute the Turkish claim.
Sergey Lavrov - the Minister of Foreign affairs of Russia - after returning from his recent visit to Yerevan, provided an interview to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. He stated that the Armenian economy greatly suffered from the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, because the borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan were closed. He went on saying that it was very important for Armenia to find a solution to the conflict. Lavrov, being the top diplomat of one of the three co-chair countries of Minsk Group, also told that the document for the resolution of the conflict is almost ready - only minor issues remain to reach an agreement.
It is worth mentioning Russia’s prior stance of always maintaining its acceptance of any resolution that was agreeable to all conflicting parties. However, after recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian authorities announced that they would acknowledge the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Another co-chair of the Minsk group, representative of USA Matthew Bryza also mentioned that the solution of the conflict is possible based on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. In addition to above announcements by various diplomats, Turkey actively participated in negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Furthermore, it was one of the players during the tripartite meeting in New York to discuss matters of common concern.
This was in contrast to previous tripartite talks in which Artsakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan were involved. Nagorno-Karabakh, then, was officially recognized as a party in its own right. Currently, however, instead of Nagorno-Karabakh Turkey appears to be holding “the third seat” in negotiations. This trend is supported by both the West and Russia; and within this context it makes sense why the Council of Europe is so slow in its assessments of democratic principles and their implementation by the Armenian Government - an issue that was initiated after the brutal March events following the presidential election in Armenia.
Russia had always harbored intransigence towards development of any kind of cooperation between Armenia and its neighbors in the past. Whereas, today, Russia is interested in opening the Armenian-Turkish border. There are two interrelated reasons. First, after the recent war the border with Georgia was closed. That effectively curtailed Russia’s access to its Army base in Gyumri, Armenia. The alternatives are through Iran, Azerbaijan or Turkey. The Iranian route is possible, but it is costly; furthermore it is not reliable because of the potential of USA striking Iran for its nuclear program. Thus, Russia is seriously interested in the other two options which may even materialize together. Incidentally, the Armenian railway network is run by the Russians and Armenia has railway access both to Turkey and Azerbaijan.
The second, and probably the overriding reason of Russia’s interest in opening Armenian-Turkish border is the possibility of developing pro-Russian stand in South Caucasus from Turkey and Azerbaijan. In return, Russia will agree to Azerbaijani-Turkish approach in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Prior to the Russo-Georgian war Armenia having a good neighbourly relations with Turkey was viewed as an impediment to Russia’s influence in South Caucasus; and stability in the region could lead to an alternative route for transiting resources to Europe. Following the war Russia found a window of opportunity of expanding its influence at the expense of Armenia.
What are Armenia’s options while dark clouds are gathering? If Armenians return the territories surrounding Karabakh then the security of Artsakh as well as its contacts with Armenia will be seriously damaged. It is rumored that international peacekeeping forces may be deployed instead of Armenian forces in the area; that does not preclude presence of Turkish Army units. What would Armenian’s reaction be?
Armenian lives were sacrificed to achieve a security zone sandwiched between Armenia and Artsakh. Expecting Armenia to return those lands, is asking almost the impossible. Is it illogical to counter such expectations by the demand of implementing the Sevres treaty when Azeris are expecting the return of territories through only diplomatic measures? Will the Armenian authorities muster the courage and resolve to oppose the grand players who are concocting a plan for capitulation?
Turkey has assumed the role of an “assistant” and has inserted itself into the fray. If the resolution supposes the return of Azerbaijani refugees to their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh, why the same right is not afforded to millions of Armenians to return to their ancestral lands in Turkey? Why Armenia doesn’t widen the scope of the diplomatic discourse, take advantage of a seemingly frustrating situation, and turn the tables against forces that are squeezing Armenia into a corner? After all, what is there to lose more than what already has been sacrificed? Why are the Armenian authorities reacting to a situation, instead of forging long-term policies of their own?
Why Armenians have to agree to the return of only several thousand Azeri refugees back to Nagorno-Karabakh when there is no mention of three hundred thousand Armenians driven out of Baku, Gandzak or Sumgait? Why Armenians have to return any land to Azerbaijan while the Shahumyan district of Nagorno-Karabakh, the villages Getashen and Martunashen just north of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the enclave village Artsvashen belonging to Armenia remain under Azerbaijani control? If Russia, Turkey and the West insist on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan even after the events of Kosovo, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, why Armenia does not recognize the independence of Artsakh?
Armenians all over the world are asking these questions and rightly so. The Diaspora is the only reliable partner that Armenia has. With its widespread contacts and untapped soft-power it will show its active unity with the Homeland and will be able to save Karabakh. Armenia has a unique opportunity today to bring in the Diaspora into play to counter the enormous pressure that it faces. All attempts to undermine that unity will fail.
Pierre Lellouche "Turkey With Europe, But Not In Europe", Krikor Amirzayan
Pierre Lellouche, one of the strongest supporters of Turkey's entry into the European Union has changed its mind.
In an interview with Jean-Michel Demetz Makarian and Christian in the last issue of the Express (No. 3028 of 16 July 2009), the new Secretary of State for European Affairs says the new position "Turkey with Europe but not in Europe. "
Anyone who says' be and remain a friend of Turkey "says" The Armenian File, despite numerous calls from me, the border between Turkey and Armenia remains closed. While the Turkish President, Abdullah Gül, went to attend for a few hours at a football match in Yerevan, and a tentative diplomatic process seems engaged. But the barriers are still there. As in the past, while the Armenian genocide has been committed there is almost a century, I see that does any significant change on the Turkish side. We can not build on the denial or ignorance of the past. This too, I've said from the rostrum of the Assembly. I hoped at least a start of recognition process would be initiated. Yet each time that Turkish intellectuals of good will in this direction, they are ostracized, or even condemned. "
P. Lellouche, disappointed with its "Turkish friends" and that seems to have made a big difference after his appointment as Secretary of State, seems to have gained the ranks of thought sarkozyste regarding Turkey. "My position is that of government. There is a line and I will apply. "An admission of" dropping "of a European Turkey very unpopular with french people, for a man who aspires to higher departmental functions.
Pierre Lellouche: Turkey with Europe, but not in Europe, 19 July 2009 by Stéphane / armenews By Jean-Michel Demetz, Christian Makarian, 17/07/2009 L'Express - France
For years, right, he assumed the role of provocateur. Liberal, iconoclastic, former columnist for Newsweek, the Gaullist pourfendeur catechism is regularly attacked from all sides. Today Secretary of State for European Affairs, Pierre Lellouche reveals for the first time, its action and carried out revisions surprising.
For a man renowned for his freedom of speech, becoming a minister at 58 years, is not a trap?
It is first a great honor but also an end. I am involved in politics twenty years ago, after a discussion, shortly before his death, with my old master Raymond Aron. I asked him if he regretted not to have remained a spectator of history, not an actor, although it could be the Kissinger of De Gaulle. He answered me that the policy was a difficult world, but his eyes expressed a huge regret.
Is this for you a new job?
I have already been "tested" in the field, negotiating for France to obtain Iter [the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor], the largest international scientific project. I leave a mission for four months in Pakistan and Afghanistan it was a ministerial job without the title.
The office of minister is not currently undervalued?
I'm not there to make notes or pretending. I'm here to identify problems, sounding the alarm, provide solutions. I warned the president on Afghanistan: military too, not enough aid to civil development. He listened. It is a pleasure to work with a boss operational, responsive and pragmatic. As for Bernard Kouchner, I respect him very much and I am delighted to team with him.
What are your priorities for the next six months?
I measure every day the extent of 60% turnout in European elections. The European system has not served the non-french and Dutch referendums in 2005. This is the starting point of my thinking. My job is to help the president to reconcile the French with Europe.
Between 1957 and 1989, more Europe, it was more than France. More Europe was the Franco-German, with one half of Germany that we were using our "manhood" nuclear and military superiority to offset the German economy. This balance then disappeared with the end of the Cold War, and the situation has worsened with the appointment missed Mitterrand with Germany reunified. The Germans have never forgotten. I witnessed a luncheon at the end of 1993, between Mitterrand and Kohl in which the second, extreme cold, first reminded the past during the war ... Twenty years after the fall of the Wall, I hope Nicolas Sarkozy to help rebuild that trust between Paris and Berlin. For we must give substance to the European construction and restore the French the envy of Europe. The evils are known sense of dilution, loss of control of national destiny, functioning institutions incomprehensible ... Let me quote the essayist Marcel Gauchet "Europe does not identity, it does nothing to locate and define themselves in time and space. It does not tell people what they are given a story and assumed a position in the world. " It is there in the heart of the problem. Divorce, with public opinion is there, even though, without Europe, there will be no climate, no financial regulation, not the fight against illegal immigration and not important compared with major powers emerging.
Bruno Le Maire has been Secretary of State for European Affairs for six months only. But he had warm relations with Berlin ...
There is much work, and I continue. I went to Berlin four days after my appointment. The truth about the Franco-German, it works because there is agreement at the summit between Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.
You stress the importance of Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy has not really started focusing its mandate the Franco-German axis ...
The Franco-German axis is the basis of everything. The president has always been on that line then.
Bye-bye, the dream of balance with the United Kingdom?
No. I remind you that without the Franco-British summit in Saint-Malo in 1998, there have been no progress in European defense matters. But Philippe de Villiers is a dangerous federalist alongside British Conservatives to govern more qu'eurosceptiques perhaps the United Kingdom in May! It will therefore be teaching, because we need London on defense as on the future use of European diplomacy.
Specifically, how to end the divorce between public opinion and Europe?
By a constant work of explanation, but also by increasing the relay influence. I want to spend one day a week in Brussels, in my office of the Permanent Representation of France to work with members, commissioners, government officials. French national parliamentarians and European will be involved at all times. I invite to join me in the European meetings whenever possible. An important part of our law comes from Europe. It must be cleared up over Bolkestein directive or rosé wine made from white and red!
He whispers that Nicolas Sarkozy will take a dramatic step if Angela Merkel won the German elections in September ...
Thank you for the confirmation ... Turning now to the heavy schedule ahead.
The autumn will be dominated by the institutional problems that we do not solve the last fifteen years and at the same time, we will capture the major political issues. First week of September: meeting of the German Parliament and vote on legislation that needs to complete the process of ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon. End of September elections in Germany. Early October: Irish referendum. Between the two, the European Parliament will be delivered or not on the appointment of the President of the Commission. In the wake of the Irish referendum, if the yes wins, the new institutional arrangements put in place: Parliament, Commission, Chairman of the Permanent Council and European diplomatic service. The choice of men is important, as it will shape the new Europe. At the end of the year, we want to set the institutional issue.
And then there are the predictable crises ...
On deliveries of Russian gas, influenza ... These are all major tests for Europe. Not to mention regional crises: The Caucasus, Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan ...
Enlargement will it continue?
France supports the candidature of Iceland, which should be taken into account by the end of the year. And we hope to move forward from Croatia, hampered by its territorial disputes with Slovenia. This is an important signal about the EU's commitment to stabilize the Balkans.
On Turkey, are you still in favor of joining the European Union in the medium term?
I was and I remain a friend of Turkey. This quality allows me to say things more freely than any other. When in 2004 I stated before the National Assembly should not "close the door to the Sublime Porte," I also recalled a number of conditions, in particular, that the necessary reforms should continue . Can we say in 2009 that Turkey had fulfilled its contract? Unfortunately, no. Or so too patchy. Domestic reforms were launched in 2004, but momentum quickly. In the Armenian case, despite numerous calls from me, the border between Turkey and Armenia remains closed. Although the Turkish President, Abdullah Gül, went to attend for a few hours at a football match in Yerevan, and a tentative diplomatic process seems engaged. But the barriers are still there. As in the past, while the Armenian genocide has been committed there is almost a century, I see that does any significant change on the Turkish side. We can not build on the denial or ignorance of the past. This too, I've said from the rostrum of the Assembly. I hoped at least a start of recognition process would be initiated. But each time that Turkish intellectuals of good will in this direction, they are ostracized, even punished. I also note that it does not over Cyprus, causing a blockage in the relationship between NATO and the European Union. Finally, there is the matter of the sail back on the legacy of Atatürk is a signal disappointing. Turkish political society is not yet stable.
What happened at the last NATO summit in Strasbourg in early April?
For me, it was an icy shower. Why? One of the main arguments of opponents to the entry of Turkey into the Union - which in most cases are sub-course - is none other than religion. However, in Strasbourg, the Turkish government has tried to exploit religion to break the consensus of the Alliance. How? In positioning themselves within NATO as the spokesman for Islam, an Islam allegedly offended by the prospective candidate for the post of secretary general of the Alliance, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Danish Prime Minister at the time the publication of caricatures of Muhammad. From the moment you enter this logic, where, instead of referring to the common defense of democracies, religion becomes a lever of pressure against other governments, there is something else. Let me add that Barack Obama had to spend some time on the phone to convince Prime Minister Erdogan, who was in Ankara to unblock the situation. Most of the Heads of State and Government have asked how they would do in the future with such a partner if it were one day included in Europe.
You've changed your mind about Turkey!
My position is that of government. There is a line and I apply it. On a personal note, I must say that what I saw last five years I was moving in a direction that is not one of integration of Turkey in Europe. Turkey is a great country, a friend of France and Europe, mainly in terms of our political, economic and strategic. We must therefore continue and strengthen our negotiating bilateral cooperation and our common action at the international level, as in Afghanistan and the Middle East. But we are not going to accession. We are moving towards something else. Let's build it: Turkey with Europe, but not in Europe.
Have you also changed your mind about the war in Iraq?
It was caricatured my position, like that of Bernard Kouchner, however. I was not for the war in Iraq, I was against the war with the United States about Iraq.
What does this mean? At a time when France has fully reinstated the NATO! I'd be a CIA agent? I am paid by the United States? I am not enough for the french government? I am not born in the right place? My name is not good consonance? This caricature is permanent and unbearable foul.
When the chair of Minister of Foreign Affairs?
At the moment I am totally focused on my mission, and believe me, it is not easy