- Eren Keskin, Human Rights In Turkey
- Serzh Sargsyan’s Statement Is Obstacle To Address Our Problems: Ruhi Acikgoz
- Blue Book: Ambassador Lutem
- Didier Parakian "We Recalled Genocide" Turkish Cultural Season in France
Interview With Eren Keskin, A Defender Of Human Rights In Turkey ,31 July 2009 by Stéphane / armenews
[Eren Keskin is one of the best known lawyers in Turkey. Its clients are men and women persecuted, oppressed minorities, Kurds, Armenians, gays, transsexuals. Ms. Keskin has been working alongside the Associations for the Defense of Human Rights.]
What does a job like yours in Turkey?
This means that I spend most of my time to defend myself. After each intervention, in public or at university, I am charged for the last time he spoke of the Armenian genocide. Nevertheless, the slow process of rapprochement to Europe has made some changes ... In the dominant system, nothing has changed and in any event, every milestone, the military continues to intervene. There have been improvements for women: rape has finally been criminalized and amnesty for the crimes of honor was abolished. On torture, however, the debate continues, the changes are purely formal. Debate on freedom of expression. We debate, but there is torture, and no human rights. Civilian judges have taken to the military, but their mentality is military. The prisoners left continue to die - there were 122 victims - in the cells of F-type prisons
Europe is there an issue?
It is the headquarters of the armed forces command and a hand held weapons and the other capital. The army owns 38 factories. The military did not want to lose power, they do not passionately for Europe and what they are asking the European Union is a special status for Turkey. The European Union seems willing. If things evolve in this direction, the changes are merely cosmetic. It is from us, the social dynamics that must begin a process of change. But part of the public has internalized the authoritarian state.
A week ago, more than a million people demonstrated in Istanbul against the risk that Islamists might take the highest of the state. There were not only supporters of the military, but also members of civil society. How do you see this protest?
It was an event inspired by an association which refers to the thoughts of Atatürk, which is chaired by a general who participated in the coup of 12 September 1980. Its objective is to strengthen the military, by propagating the fear of Islamism. Naturally I did not join. It is true that some members of civil society were present, but what prevailed was the Turcite the homeland and the national flag.
Have you participated in the demonstration on May 1st, we were present as observers, we have witnessed the terrible and denounced police violence.
You do not see that a single threat, that of the military?
We are torn between two threats: the authoritarianism of the laity and the Islamists. Our democracy is taken crushed under enormous pressure to prevent us even to speak.
Assists there to and a radicalization of Islamism in Turkey?
The danger exists, as throughout the Middle East, but I do not believe that Turkey is heading toward a state like Iran. What worries me more is the fear of Islam propagated by the military, which makes it a weapon to strengthen the oppression of society. After the coup of 1980, Islam has developed, the religious classes at school are mandatory and many Islamic schools have opened. The reaction to this process was a tool for law enforcement purposes.
Is it true that those who refuse to be confined to barracks and mosques have no political representation?
Obviously, with an electoral law which imposes a threshold of representativeness of 10% to have seats in Parliament. We need a civil constitution, which finally liberate us from that which was written after the coup of 1980. We must bring this application in society, but for the moment I see no progress.
(translation from the Italian by George Festa)
Serzh Sargsyan’s Statement Is Obstacle To Address Our Problems: Ruhi Acikgoz, Turkish MP Today Az, 30 July 2009
Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party MP Ruhi Achikgoz spoke in an exclusive interview with Day.Az.
Day.Az: Recently Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said he will visit Turkey to watch return match between the two countries’ football teams only after Ankara opens borders or makes an evident move to remove Armenia’s blockade. How can you comment on this statement?
Ruhi Achikgoz: I did not closely watch recent events, but I believe Armenia-Turkey talks and efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict are going on. We are trying to establish a political dialogue. Turkey surely notifies Azerbaijan of this dialogue.
I think Armenian president should try to help us in solving common problems, because he understands that the fact that the Karabakh conflict is not resolved hinders Armenia in the eyes of world community and makes situation of Armenians and complex Armenia-Turkey relations even worse. These problems must be resolved. I hope that Sargsyan will contribute to solving these problems. The visit by Mr. Abdullah Gul to Yerevan, of course, was associated not only with watching a soccer match. The visit marked the first step to solving all problems, first of all the Karabakh conflict.
I think it would be more appropriate for Sargsyan to support this step. Because strong politicians can take a risk on the settlement of problems.
Q: When Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Armenia, he did not make any terms. But Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan does make terms. Is it a right move?
A: It will not be beneficial for bilateral relations. Sargsyan's statement which makes terms is one of the biggest obstacles to solve problems.
Q: How do you assess current level of Armenia-Turkey relations?
A: I believe the policy pursued by Turkish president and prime minister is right. Naturally, we constantly keep Armenia-Azerbaijan relations on agenda. We get familiar with the state of affairs and discuss it at various meetings with parliamentarians of both countries. We participate in all initiatives aimed at resolving the problems. But we certainly do not support a unilateral approach to the case. Turkey does not want the region where it is located to have problems.
This is confirmed by numerous statements by new Foreign Minister Ahmed Davudoglu. These challenges also include the Karabakh conflict and the so-called “Armenian Genocide.” Solution of these problems must not be delayed because it does not benefit societies who are interested in addressing them.
Q: How do you assess the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? As you know, two co-chairs will soon have to leave the group.
A: The main thing is the process. Someone’s leaving the group will not change anything. The settlement process must not be interrupted. I think that process will continue regardless of the departure of any of co-chair. We need to patiently wait for the outcome of the activities of the Minsk Group. There are long-standing problems that can not be solved quickly and easily. You need to wait. I think that this process will continue and activities of the Minsk Group will lead to positive results.
Q: Once it was widely believed that Turkey could help resolve the Karabakh conflict within the OSCE Minsk Group. This news prompted discontent in Armenia…
A: Naturally, an increase in those who contribute to resolving the conflict always brings benefits. I think that it may be beneficial to both Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is wrong to believe that the participation of Turkey in this process will benefit only Azerbaijan.
The Blue Book: Interview With Ambassador Lutem, 13 July 2009
- Lately we have witnessed efforts to bring the Blue Book back onto the agenda. What do you believe is the reason for this?
The Blue Book was translated into Turkish four years ago, but received no attention. This time, an attempt was made to launch the Book via a press conference. However, the book still received minimal attention. The main reason accounting for this is the book itself. It can not be expected that a book on the events of 1915 advocating solely Armenian allegations would appeal to a wide audience in Turkey.
- Why was the Blue Book published?
During the First World War, the British issued several publications with the purpose of disseminating propaganda. The Blue Book is one such example. The essential aim of this book, issued to prove the massacre of the Armenians, was to influence the American public that had shown a great interest in the Christians of Anatolia and facilitate the entry of the U.S. in the War on the side of the Allied Powers. In the end, the U.S. participated in the War, but did not declare war on the Ottoman Empire. Viewed from this perspective the Book did not attain its goal.
It should be mentioned that there was another aim of the Blue Book which has received less attention. At the time, the Ottomans defeated the British on two fronts. The first, as is well known, was at Gallipoli, the other was at Kut al Amara (where many British soldiers-including generals-were taken prisoner). By vilifying the Ottomans, the Blue Book aimed to boost the morale of the British public who had been deeply affected by these two wartime defeats.
There is no doubt that the Blue Book is propaganda material. This is so as the Book was prepared by the British War Propaganda Bureau in London which later took on the name of the Department of Information. In the aftermath of the War, the editor of the book, Arnold Toynbee, conceded that the book was published with the aim of spreading propaganda.
- Has the authenticity of the documents in the book been proven?
No. In essence, those relaying the events in the book are not eye-witnesses. What was relayed by these individuals (the majority of whom are Armenians), was accepted as truths without being subjected to any scrutiny and compiled into reports.
Furthermore, one can see that the British also approached these documents with suspicion. The British searched for evidence to incriminate the Turkish ruling elites exiled to Malta, but did not resort to the Blue Book because it was not worthy of credence.
- Where does the Blue Book stand vis-à-vis Armenian genocide claims?
Taking into consideration the big impact of the Holocaust on public attitudes the world-over, the Diaspora Armenians began to invent a Holocaust of their own with the commencement of the human rights era as of the 1950’s. As such, the Armenians began to search for sources that would prove their claims whereby the Blue Book re-entered the agenda. However, the credibility of the Book was tainted from the start due to the authors of the documents therein being unknown. In the ensuing years the book was re-published upon a list of the authors of these documents being found in the British archives. However, this has fallen short of lending the Book credibility as the great majority of these authors are Protestant missionaries or Armenians- in other words, individuals whose objectivity is highly questionable. It should be emphasized that the authors being revealed does not change the fact that the book was published for propaganda purposes and that the documents therein do not constitute evidence of a legal nature.
- What has been Turkey’s reaction to the Blue Book?
For many years there has not been much reaction shown towards the Blue Book which was evidently propaganda material. However, with the Book becoming accepted as an important source by certain circles largely as an outcome of the efforts of Ara Sarafian, the members of the Turkish Parliament sent letters to the House of Commons and the House of Lords, upon the initiative of Istanbul deputy ?ükrü Elekda?, requesting that the Blue Book be retracted as a historical document. Although the Book was not proclaimed as being void or unsubstantiated, no attempt was made to defend the Book’s standing either. Silence on this matter can be interpreted as tacit acknowledgment that the Book is propaganda material.
- Recently Ara Sarafian invited you and the members of the Turkish Parliament who signed the aforementioned letters to participate in a public meeting in Istanbul to discuss the case against the Blue Book as wartime propaganda. What do you have to say about this invitation?
Unfortunately, I have to say I did not find this invitation to be sincere. The letter was signed by all 550 members of the Turkish Parliament. Can you imagine a meeting where all these individuals are present? A scholarly meeting is not a football or boxing match. Sadly, Armenian scholars have a tendency to resort to political theatrics instead of engaging in scholarly debates. This makes it very difficult for us to engage in any serious cooperation with them.
Still, I believe the Blue Book has to be debated with Ara Sarafian. However, this has to take place in a scholarly atmosphere and in accordance to scholarly norms. Next year some conferences dealing also with the Armenian Question will take place in Turkey. I will exert efforts so that the Blue Book is dealt with in a separate session of one of these conferences and that Ara Sarafian will be invited as a speaker.
Didier Parakian "We recalled the Armenian genocide to the Turks at the opening of the Turkish cultural season in France '
the commitment of the Deputy Mayor of Marseille to the memory of Armenia, 1 August 2009 by Krikor Amirzayan / armenews
Parakian Didier, Deputy Mayor of Marseilles in charge of economic development is also a delegate to the Armenian community. On the occasion of the arrival in Marseille from the Turkish vessel "Kybele" launching the Turkish cultural season, he talks to "Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine. Interview.
Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine: Didier Parakian, we know your involvement in the Armenian community. You are elected to Marseille. The City of Marseille, which officially welcomes Turkish causes a boat as you know the outrage and anger of the Armenians.
Didier Parakian: As you know, the Turkish Cultural desired by the french government is an inevitable event in France. Marseille, the second largest city in France, could not stay away from a decision of the State. But in view of our Armenian community of Marseilles estimated 100 000 members, and especially the suffering face of great injustice of the Armenian genocide and the position still denial of the Turkish state, I quickly alerted the municipal staff and first Mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin, who was, as you know one of the driving forces of the federal recognition of the Armenian Genocide by France in 2001.
Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine: What have you agreed with the Mayor of Marseille?
Didier Parakian: That Turkish cultural season was determined to be minimum in Marseille for the simple reason that Turkey has not recognized the genocide and the Armenian community is still scarred by the tragedy of 1915. Marseille has a very strong Armenian community after the genocide and mostly the city should take this into account. We also agreed that since we could not escape the arrival of the Turkish boat, the opportunity we were given mention in the official face of the Turks, the Armenian genocide.
Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine: We know that the ceremony was very simple. The City of Marseille did not visibly wishing to give a sparkle to any such receipt. Can I mention the "genocide" seems to have given a blow cold at the meeting?
Didier Parakian: Members of CFC-Marseille have understood our position very constructive and have come to thank for not having given the pomp in the ceremony of launch of the Turkish cultural season in France. The event will give a positive image of Turkey has turned against its organizers and the press, the AFP have talked advantage of the outrage of Armenians.
Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine: many members of the Armenian community in congratulating you for this "reversal of the situation." What is your opinion?
Didier Parakian: I think if you persevere and if it makes sense on our ideas, we can achieve great success and do something negative, a positive act. Today I have a great healing to the heart have helped to advance the ideas and especially to defend the colors of Marseilles from Armenia and the values of the Armenian community, the whole community, and this without any restriction or exclusion.
Interview by Krikor Amirzayan in Marseille