2931) Opinions: Ozinian, Zeynalov, Turkone, Ogur, Chaderjian, Sassounian, Giragosyan, Aktar, Özkök, Bianet, Aramyan, Shirkhanyan, Amirzayan. . .

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com
  1. Does Turkish-Armenian Like Armenia? By Alin Ozinian
  2. Putin's Visit Has Repercussions Beyond Turkey And Russia, ZEYNALOV
  3. Constantinople and Norşin, Mumtazer Turkone
  4. Decade Under Putin Makes Russia Strategic Partner For Turkey, ZEYNALOV
  5. Turkey-Armenia: From Pogroms To Empathy, That Way!Ogur
  6. Fbi Insider Links Turkish Lobby To Bribery And Blackmail By Paul Chaderjian
  7. "Armenian Lobbing Works Quickly", Today.Az
  8. Revealing Genocide Documents Found In Ottoman Archives, By Harut Sassounian
  9. Turkish Government Blackmailed Sitting Member Of House Of Representatives, Seminal Blog
  10. Land Of Sultans & Souks, South African
  11. Armenia And Turkey In State Of Theoretical War? Giragosyan
  12. Turkey’s Borders, August 8, 2009 Cengiz Aktar
  13. So-Called Social Reflex, August 8, 2009 Ertuğrul Özkök
  14. Armenian Deportation Bianet
  15. Strategic Depth At Work, Ibrahim Kalin
  16. Armenian And Russian "Hostile Friendship" Hayk Aramyan
  17. Armenian Football And Turks Chess: Own Goal In Three Moves, www.lragir
  18. If Armenia And Diaspora Unite, Would A Chance To Force Turkey Recognize Genocide Be Real? Shirkhanyan
  19. Polluted A Reservoir To Turkish Border Inquiète Armenia,
  20. 43 Interviews Azerbaijan Azeris Who Voted For Armenia At Eurovision 2009, Amirzayan
  21. Ankara Can Hardly Fool France And US, By Appo Jabarian
  22. Harut Sassounian's Arpa Lecture On Youtube
  23. So I Hear... And World Watches...By Catherine Yesayan
  24. Playing Genocide Numbers Game In Armenia Asbarez/
  25. Pan-Turkic After Pan-Islamic? Cengiz Aktar

Does A Turkish-Armenian Like Armenia? By Alin Ozinian*
There is no doubt that the identity-building process of Turkish-Armenians is complicated, multidimensional and volatile; it is also under the heavy influence of other dynamics.

The impact of the political change Turkey is going through on the shaping of the internal dynamics of the Armenian community cannot be ignored.

Bold, anxious, repressed or hypocritical, and most of the time cautious and balanced, the attitudes of the different segments of Turkish-Armenians provide important clues for understanding the process.

During his speech at a workshop on relations between Turkey and Armenia held by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), sociologist Ferhat Kentel gave a few examples of discrimination against Armenians in Turkey. At the meeting hall, an Armenian woman (I did not have the opportunity to ask how she defined herself, but most likely she would prefer Turk of Armenian origin as her identity) strongly opposed Kentel's arguments, saying: “You don't have the right to speak on behalf of us. We do not have any problem in this country. You are saying we cannot become civil servants or military officers, so what? We are happy with our current status.” I think this excerpt does not suffice to summarize the above statement, but it sure makes you think about how to define the process.

I felt the same way while reading the book, “Ermenistan'da bir Türkiyeli.” (A Turk in Armenia) by Bercuhi Berberyan. Even though I abandoned my intention of buying the book when I noticed its back cover, featuring an attitude of obsession over a homeland and the pursuit of help from others in the identification of a homeland, as reflected in the sentence that reads, “A Turkish-Armenian who is not considered a citizen in a place that she considers a homeland and does not see the place considered her homeland as her home,” I finally decided to read about the person from Turkey who got confused after her short stay in Armenia. While reading the travel notes from a 10-day trip in this country, it was possible for me to notice the strong and pathological state of mind of some of the members of the Armenian community in Turkey.

What am I doing here when I had the opportunity to lead a life in Europe?

Armenians in Turkey rely on religion and language to preserve their identity. The uneasiness of the Armenians after the promotion of the Turkish language and the strong emphasis on the use of Turkish symbols in 1950s and '60s and the fear caused by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) attacks took a whole different form after the 1990s. The Armenian community came to the conclusion that they should be supportive of Turkey's EU bid and its democratization in order to preserve their fundamental rights; with the spread of this conviction, Armenians agreed to fight like authentic citizens instead of acting like outsiders in this country. The nationalistic discourse that gained momentum almost concurrently was accompanied by violent actions, and this re-emerged in the chronic habit of calling minorities foreigners. Surely, the people were enjoying a process in which they were less scared when they call themselves Armenians. This process was shaped by diverse internal and external dynamics. The murder of Hrant Dink dramatically affected the process and caused the past fears of repression and defeat to resurface, but the process is still alive.

Armenia's independence during this period of fluctuations and its promising relations with Turkey have a special place in the lives of Turkish-Armenians even though they are not aware of it. While they become self-confident when the president of Turkey, where they live as citizens, pays a visit to Armenia to see a soccer game, the same fact makes others resistant and opposed to such moves.

The book I referred to above as the author who is unable to find her homeland and the woman who argued at the meeting that she was pretty happy living in Turkey are simple examples of this. While the concept of “homeland,” a concept that we love and adore so dearly, refers to the place where a person was born or lives, it has gained a political dimension since 1860 in parallel to a French word, patrie. In other words, there is no problem with calling a place where we are born, live or ethnically belong to as homeland. That said, you may have problems when it comes to citizens' rights. The book in which Berberyan publicizes her memoirs starts with her testing herself. The suspicion outlined in the sentence, “I could have headed to Europe with such a great amount of money; why did I choose Armenia?” emphasizes the core theme that Armenia is not a special place for her and the author is not attached to this country. Berberyan does not particularly like anything about Armenia, including the coffee and the olives. She often misses İstanbul; she misses everything about İstanbul. She argues that the spoken version of the Armenian language (eastern Armenian, pretty different from the western form) is vague and rude. She counts the days left until her return to İstanbul. In the meantime, she criticizes everything about Armenia. Actually, this style is supposed to provoke an idea of a proper Turkish citizen in the eyes of the readers; however, I feel pity and sorrow for her because I simply observe an effort to stress that she is a Turkish citizen who cannot have any ties with Armenia. It is just like what the woman said in the meeting where the sociologist wanted to talk about the problems of an ethnic minority in Turkey.

Anything unlike them is just wrong

Why do some Armenians hold such ideas? Do not get me wrong; they do not renounce their Armenian identity. They just choose not to send their kids to their community schools because they simply think that they should act pragmatically; the Armenian language will be of no help or use in their lives, so private school is a better option. Some of them are not willing to see that the Armenian language is fading away, but they are concerned about the disappearance of Native Americans; in other words, this is a sign of general sensitivity and all about being a world citizen. The Armenian community's relations with the diaspora are strained. Some of their unease is related to the diaspora's accusation that they have converted to Turks, but actually, this is an accurate accusation; everything about them says they have become just like Turks. Not holding positive sentiments about the country to which they should be attached because of their ethnic orientation, not speaking its language and reiterating their loyalty on every occasion to the country where they are legally citizens actually says they are concerned about expressing themselves accurately. Undoubtedly, everyone is free to identify their homeland, the schools where they will study and pursue their degrees, the languages they will speak and the newspapers they will read; however, unfortunately, as a result of the assimilation policy pursued by the Turkish state as well as improper modernization, the Armenian community has come to the conclusion that everything that is not like them is wrong and dangerous.

The twisted elitism that Berberyan is suffering from reinforces her idea of a unique and single model of Armenian-ness. This different Armenian just cannot stand another Armenian identity; she complains that their language and customs have been eroded, and she presents this as an absolute truth instead of the outcome of her subjective approach.

True, many things in Armenia are different from what is in Turkey's İstanbul. The eastern Armenian language is different from western Armenian. The smiles of girls that Berberyan dislikes are different from the smiles of girls in İstanbul, but this is not a problem at all. Quite the contrary, the idea suggesting that everyone should be the same is dangerous. Armenians in Armenia bury their dead fellows to the sound of the duduk -- a regional flute-like instrument -- instead of church ceremonies. But I am sure that they are as sorry as Turkish-Armenians when they lose a relative. This growing intolerance reminds me of opera lovers who hate hearing folk songs, the professors who do not admit covered students into their classes, the woman who refused to accept an Alevi girl as her daughter-in-law, the man who dislikes Bulgarian migrants because he feels they are not Turkish enough and the mindset that defines the ability of people from diverse religions and ethnic origins to live together peacefully as “tolerance.” This small society is excessively affected and influenced by the larger one.

*Alin Ozinian is the press representative of the Turkish-Armenian Business Council. 16 August 2009

Putin's Visit Has Repercussions Beyond Turkey And Russia, ZEYNALOV
Although officials in both countries have largely refrained from speaking, experts say Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Aug. 6 visit to Ankara will have definite impacts on Armenia and Cyprus.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Aug. 6 visit to Ankara to sign an energy deal has sparked fears both in Armenia and Cyprus.

Although officials in both countries have largely refrained from speaking on the issue, experts say closer ties between Turkey and Russia will have definite impacts on Armenia and Cyprus.

Turkey agreed to a deal with Russia on the South Stream gas project just 24 days after signing a Nabucco gas pipeline agreement in Ankara on July 13, which Western observers regard as a rival project to Nabucco. Several media outlets in neighboring Armenia and Cyprus have raised concerns over the deal, expressing their hopes and concerns over the consequences of stronger Turkish-Russian relations.

Speaking to Sunday's Zaman, Alexander Iskandarian, director of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute (CI), said improving relations between Turkey and Russia is useful and beneficial for Armenia. Expanding on this idea, Iskandarian said Armenian foreign policy is unique in that having a pro-Russian policy does not necessarily mean that they are anti-Western and vice versa. Recalling recovering relations between Turkey and Russia, he said Armenia needs normal and good relations between Russia and Turkey to further normalize relations with Turkey.

Currently, an oversupply of Armenian energy production creates a necessity of exporting the excess energy. Reminding of this fact, Iskandarian said, “Turkey is the best country for Armenia to export its energy to among its other neighbors, Iran and Georgia.” However, he also added that Armenia's nuclear energy company belongs to Russia and it is within Russian interest to export Armenian electricity to Turkey. Iskandarian said, “the increasingly growing business cooperation between the two countries will help Armenia prosper.”

Head of the Armenian Atlantic Association Tevan Poghosyan made a surprising remark on the same day Turkey and Russia inked an energy deal, noting that Armenia loses when Turkey and Russia's interests are at stake. Speaking to the Novosti-Armeni news agency, the senior analyst said Armenia should take several steps if strategic ally Russia excludes Armenia's national interest. “Armenia should formulate its own interests,” claimed Poghosyan, “and should correctly implement this. Do we really have such a policy?” Pointing to historical precedence, the Armenian expert asserted that whenever Turkey and Russia agreed on common terms, Armenia loses. “We need to be very careful,” he warned.

Similarly, Richard Giragosian, director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS), expressed Armenia's concerns in remarks to Sunday's Zaman, claiming that strengthening relations between Turkey and Russia in fact isolates Armenia. Stressing the importance of Putin's visit in terms of enhancing relations between Turkey and Russia in respect to energy, he also said: “Putin's visit was further significant as part of the broader regional context, beyond the context of bilateral Turkish-Russian relations, offering Turkish leaders a new chance to bid for Russian assistance in overcoming their stalled effort to normalize relations with Armenia. And the energy aspect of Turkish-Russian ties is not promising for Armenia, which only feels more isolated and marginalized by recent energy developments in the region.”

Turkey-initiated attempts to normalize relations with Armenia have failed in recent months due to Azerbaijan's considerable opposition of Turkey developing close relations with Armenia. Some observers believe that Turkey's increasing dependence on Russia may help further develop its relations with Russia. There is also a domestic faction in Armenia that would prefer to stop the nascent relations between Turkey and Armenia. In this vein, commenting on Russia's influence for Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, Giragosian said “for Turkey, which is now faced with the challenge of finding a balance between normalizing relations with Armenia and not sacrificing its strategic relationship with Azerbaijan, Russian cooperation may be key. As Ankara is beginning to realize, more than any other country Russia has the ability to exert new pressure on Armenia in order to sustain the tense and increasingly delicate development of Turkish-Armenian diplomacy.”

There were many concerns raised from Armenia warning that Armenia is losing its historic “elder brother” as Russia builds closer ties with Turkey, a country with a long history of disagreements with Armenia. “Armenia is vulnerable to Russian pressure, especially given Moscow's dominance over much of the Armenian economy and Armenia's lack of any real leverage to dissuade or counter Russia,” Giragosian added.

Iskandarian also said that Russia is the strongest influence on Ankara in normalizing relations with Armenia. Recalling that there is also a strong push by the US and the EU, along with influence inside Turkey to open borders, Russia will exert strong leverage on Ankara to maintain relations with Armenia.

Speaking about Turkish foreign policy on Aug. 9 in remarks made to Kanal 7, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said closer ties with Russia and Turkey will definitely have an impact on the solutions to conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Davutoğlu said, “We have to stop these local conflicts from becoming global conflicts.” Speculating on this, Giragosian said the Turkish side needs to be doing more to solve problems. “Thus, beyond the now obvious importance of Turkish-Russian relations, as seen in the roughly $40 billion in bilateral trade last year, the visit of the Russian prime minister may help to reinvigorate Turkish foreign policy,” Giragosian said. He also added that the chance of success in the South Caucasus depends on the skills and flexibility of Turkish leaders. “The real test now rests with Turkey, not Armenia, as Ankara may miss this opportunity for normalizing relations with Armenia. But no matter what happens in Turkish-Armenian diplomacy, it seems clear that Russia will emerge as the winner, enjoying both closer relations with Turkey and deepening ties to Azerbaijan,” he concluded.

Despite the absence of coverage in Turkish media, Russian news agency Interfax reported that Putin hinted that Russia will develop relations with the northern Cyprus government. Russia is perceived as the historical ally and friend of Greeks in both Greece and Greek Cyprus. In this respect, Putin's words may damage Russo-Greek relations. However, no Cyprus authority has raised reservations to Putin's remarks. In Greek Cyprus, a newspaper has criticized the authorities for not responding to Putin's statements in Ankara about the Blue Stream 2 gas pipeline, which passes through northern Cyprus. “Russia has every right to sign co-operation deals with Turkey, but why are Cypriot politicians turning a blind eye to the close relations being forged between Moscow and Ankara?” asked an opinion article in the Cyprus Mail. In this respect, it is clear that Turkish-Russian relations also affect neighboring countries, particularly Russia's historic allies, Armenia and Greek Cyprus.
16 August 2009, MAHİR ZEYNALOV

Constantinople and Norşin, Mumtazer Turkone @todayszaman.com
There is a contradiction in a question posed by Devlet Bahçeli to the president, who referred to Güroymak as Norşin. "Will you also change the signboard reading ‘İstanbul' that you encounter on the highway traveling from Gebze to İstanbul to ‘Constantinople'?" asked Bahçeli. Here are my questions: What will happen if we change it? What change will this make? The answer: Only our habits will change. Why? It is because there is nothing in the name “İstanbul” that belongs to Turks, Turkishness or the Turkish language other than our habits. İstanbul as a name is as alien to the Turkish language as Constantinople; it may even be more alien.

We may discuss all aspects of the Kurdish issue. We may tolerate Bahçeli's and Deniz Baykal's opposition stained with rage and political interests. In the end, diverse views will clash freely with each other, and everyone will be held responsible for the views they advocate. Eventually, democracy will create a common ground. Therefore, we can tolerate all sorts of ideas and discuss all the different opinions with maturity. But can we do so with ignorance? Who can say that s/he is entitled to inflict unhappiness on a great nation because of his/her ignorance?

Etymologically, İstanbul is derived from the Greek word Constantinople. It is written and pronounced in different forms. Stampoli is the closest one to the original. İstanbul is the Armenian pronunciation of the Greek word that means "civic," "of city" and "urban." Inspired by the Armenian word "Esdanbol," we started to call this beautiful city İstanbul.

Many of the settlements in Turkey do not have Turkish names. All the city names ending with "-bolu," including Gelibolu, Safranbolu, Tirebolu and even İstanbul, are derived from the Greek word "polis" meaning "city." Because of the same reason, we call our civilian security organization "polis" like many countries around the world. İskenderun is derived from Alexander and named after Alexander the Great, the great commander and ruler. As one can easily guess, Kayseri comes from "Kaiser" (Caesar), the title of Roman emperors. Diyarbakır is an Arabic word, while some Kurds prefer to call it Amed, a name also used by Armenians. In the eastern and southeastern provinces, many settlements still have names derived from Armenian. There is a simple reason for this. The Turkish language has only existed in these lands for 1,000 years, but Anatolia is the cradle of many ancient civilizations.

Changing the names that people have been using for centuries overnight has nothing to do with the nationalism of the dominant nation. Changing these names is purely an attack of vandalism on culture and history. Such an attack may come only from a mind that is primitive, uncivilized, parvenu, wild and ill, a mind that is full of hatred. Ignorance is another characteristic of such a person. This untamed ignorance even went further, changing the purely Turkish names of places after the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980. For example, the name of the village of Dodurga near Ankara was changed, but someone said: "What the hell are you doing? Dodurga is the name of a Turkmen clan." So the village regained its name.

Not only our language, but our civilization also has a great mixture of diverse wisdom. The Ottoman Empire was established in this diverse synthesis. This synthesis accommodated the Mogul customs, the Ottoman timar system, Sassanid (Persian) bureaucracy, Islamic law and Turkish traditions.

"Norşin" sounds familiar to me. As "Nor" is derived from "Nur" (light), I can assert that it is associated with proper names such as "Nurşen." I do not have to run an etymological analysis in order to understand what "İstanbul" means.

Law No. 2932, passed by the military junta as a last-minute piece of legislation in 1983, deprived Kurds of their language. To call Kurds our "sisters and brothers" while at the same time defending the names changed at that time is nothing other than a big contradiction. This is particularly so if those who did not object to this ban and the name changes at that time -- including myself -- are expected to engage in self-criticism.

Changing the name of İstanbul to Constantinople is perfectly acceptable from a linguistic point of view, but we have the right to be given a reasonable explanation for refusing to call Güroymak Norşin. 16.08.2009

A Decade Under Putin Makes Russia Strategic Partner For Turkey, ZEYNALOV
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's latest visit to Turkey on Thursday marked Turkey's pledge to support Russia's South Stream gas pipeline.

Vladimir Putin's leadership in Russia over the last decade has marked unprecedented improvement in Turkish-Russian relations. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted not in competition between the two countries, but instead ever-growing cooperation.

Russia and Turkey, possessing similar historical statehood experiences and striving to redefine their role in a broader region has not yet, surprisingly, resulted in competition. Turkey's considerable dependence on Russia has encouraged Turkey not to confront the country and made it consider Russia's national interests in the formulation of its foreign policy. Being a driving force of the Soviet Union, Russia had considered Turkey a threat throughout the Cold War. After the demise of the Soviet Union, Turkey and Russia did not enjoy very good relations until Putin. Both countries had fallen into deep economic recession and domestic obstacles hindered the development of constructive and cooperative foreign policy between two countries.

Turkey's attempt to create a sphere-of-influence in Turkic countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia contradicted Russia's national interests. Although Russia's relationship with NATO was not as confrontational at the time as it was after Putin took power, Russia and Turkey were still unable to build good relations. Geopolitical competition, however, did not halt their developing economic cooperation. Turkey's increasing trade with Russia marked one of the few cases in the world of cooperation between two regional leaders. Russia, in fact, considered the introduction of Western values a threat to its economic and political interests in its neighborhood. As a result, Russia took advantage of any available method to strengthen its economy. Turkey became a promising partner for Russia.

Before Putin's rise to power in 1999, succeeding pro-Western Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the man who put an end to the Soviet Union, Turkey and Russia did not exchange many significant top-level visits. A notable exception was then-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's visit to Turkey in 1997. Following this visit, a series of high-level visits created fertile ground for cooperation and partnership between Turkey and Russia. Another remarkable visit from the Turkish side was then-Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit's visit to Russia in 1999. This was a turning point for the Russian-Turkish partnership. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a historical visit to Moscow in 2002, right after his party's election in a landslide victory. A year later, Turkish-American relations worsened due to Turkey's rejection of a package that would have allowed the US military to use Turkish soil to launch an operation in northern Iraq. The shaken relations between Turkey and the US for the first time in five decades marked a turning point in Turkish-Russian relations. Hardliner Putin regarded Turkey as a trustworthy partner in securing itself against American expansion. One year later, Putin visited Turkey, the first visit of a Russian head of state in 32 years. Then-Soviet Union Chairman Nikolay Podgorny's visit in 1973 had been the last of its kind. Two months later, Prime Minister Erdoğan organized a one-day visit to Russia. Turkish-Russian relations achieved unprecedented growth in the first half of 2009 as five top level visits have occurred in the last six months.

Russia's massive trade surplus with Turkey was also unprecedented. The annual trade volume between Turkey and Russia has reached nearly $40 billion. Russia is Turkey's biggest trade partner, and Turkey is Russia's fifth-largest trade partner. Turkey imports 67 percent of its energy from Russia. Nearly 3 million Russian tourists visit Turkey annually out of a total of 17 million tourists that come to the country.

Russian-Turkish relations did not deteriorate during the Georgian-Russian war one year ago. Subsequent to the crisis last August between Georgia and Russia over the disputed territory of South Ossetia, a Georgian territory currently controlled by Russian military forces, Russia became the subject of harsh attacks from the international community and in particular from the US. Russia has been found guilty of ignoring international norms and standards and using disproportionate force against its neighbors. In an effort to respond to all of these concerns and to try to redefine its role in the world, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev delivered a speech outlining Russia's role in the world in late August 2008.

The so-called Medvedev Doctrine embodied the claims that Russia respects international law and principles; that the world is not unipolar but multipolar; that Russia will not isolate itself from the world and will instead build favorable relations with other countries, including the US; that Russia will support its citizens and business interests wherever they are; and that Russia has privileged relations with former Soviet republics. In this context, Russia's relations with Turkey are also noteworthy. Being a close ally of both Russia and Georgia, Turkey's stance during the August crisis satisfied Russia. Medvedev expressed this during Erdoğan's visit to Moscow. Russia thanked Turkey for maintaining balance during the conflict.

Trying to position itself and contribute to the balance of power in the South Caucasus, Turkey proposed the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, including Russia. Turkey believes that the project will be a platform for cooperation, which will eventually lead to stability in the region. Azerbaijan was opposed to the platform due to Armenia's inclusion, and Russia also did not want to be involved as Georgia was expected to be a member.

In an interview with Sunday's Zaman, Turgut Gür, honorary chair of the Russian-Turkish Business Council, said, “Putin visited Turkey in December 2004, and a protocol on bilateral relations was signed between the two countries.” Emphasizing the considerable increase in relations since then, Gür said, “Four-and-a-half years have passed, and Turkish-Russian relations have become a multi-dimensional partnership today.” Russian Prime Minister Putin's visit to Ankara was also a reshuffling in terms of Turkey's agreement to participate in the South Stream gas pipeline, which has been seen as a rival of the Nabucco pipeline, which Turkey is heavily involved in. Turkey's desire to help Russia guarantee its southern energy sphere is a new phase that will bolster increasing Turkish-Russian relations.
09 August 2009, MAHİR ZEYNALOV

Turkey-Armenia: From Pogroms To Empathy, That Way! 10 August 2009, by Stéphane / armenews Yildiray Ogur, Taraf
6 September 1955 6 September 2008, that change in Turkey! Therefore does not pay attention to these general of the staff who in their last briefing was waxing on postmodernism seen as absolute evil. Indeed, it is thanks to the dynamism of "a postmodern clique in which we find journalists, academics, investors and civil society organizations" [recent statement of the staff] that Turkey moving towards a more tolerant and more open.

On 6 September 1955, following the dissemination of lies that the birthplace of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Thessaloniki, Greece, was destroyed by a bomb and that looters, encouraged by the good society and Republican Turkish nationalist of the time, it was taken violently property of minorities [Armenian, Greek and Jewish] requiring them to leave the country. Many years later, General Yirmibesoglu Sabri, former head of the special units of the army, will explain that the riots of 6 and 7 September 1955 had been "an operation conducted skillfully by its services and had reached its objectives ".

Fifty-three years to the day after this sad day, now the Turkish President Abdullah Gül visited the Armenian capital Yerevan to attend a match of the Turkish national team. So that Turkey is now changing. Remember that there are just over a year, Abdullah Gül even managed to become president when he was threatened by warnings from the army and hysterical appeals to the lynching of the good society Republican and nationalist on the streets. Do not forget that at the same time the presidential palace was occupied by President Sezer, who had not seen fit to have to congratulate the writer Orhan Pamuk, though first Turkish Nobel Prize, because statements of that last on the massacre of Armenians.

Turkey is changing, I tell you. Thus, Erol Özkasnak, secretary of the General Staff of the Turkish army which has played a leading role in the process of 28 February 2007 "[increasing the weight of the army on political institutions] and claimed that while Armenia provided missiles to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), is now retired. Imagine yourself as part of the greatest dignitaries of the State which, at a time not so long ago, gathered emergency because we had just learned that a senior officer had a grandmother is Armenian September 6 found in Armenia. And believe me, Turkish society is changing more quickly than the high dignitaries of the State.

For the border post Dogukapi, closed in retaliation for the occupation in 1993 of part of the territory of Azerbaijan by Armenia, to be reopened, the mayor of Kars [close to the border Turkish-Armenian], Naif Alibeyoglu, launched a petition which received more than 50 000 signatures. People who live everyday ridicule of a situation requiring them to go to Georgia or to fly to reach the nearby Armenia. And when the 1st April 2005, the local newspaper Kars Haber has announced the opening of the border, thousands of people were massed on both sides.

The Association of Young civilians [founded in response to vague anti-AKP putschists some "young officers" peddled by the Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet], which belongs to this category postmodernist recently castigated by the staff of the army, launched an initiative called friendly "supporters without borders" requesting that the land border is open for at least one day, a proposal that has attracted wide coverage in the Armenian media.

You can see that Turkey is changing. You will see that not so long ago in the Turkish and Armenian Presidents will inaugurate the reopening of all this border post. They tend then a pair of scissors to the widow of Hrant Dink [Turkish-Armenian journalist murdered in Istanbul in January 2007], which will cut the ribbon announcing the panel Frontier post Hrant Dink. You think it is absurd? Certainly not. What is, that's all that happened between 6 September 1955 and September 6, 2008.

Fbi Insider Links Turkish Lobby To Bribery And Blackmail By Paul Chaderjian, www.hairenik.com August 10, 2009
Sibel Edmonds talks under oath about Turks buying votes against Genocide Resolution
WASHINGTON-Less than 72 hours ago, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds testified under oath about shocking details connecting the Turkish government to an intricate network of individuals and organization that bribed, persuaded, and-at least in one case-blackmailed U.S. lawmakers and corrupted American government officials. Corruption. Espionage. Bribery. All to ensure that the U.S. does not recognize the Armenian Genocide ever again.

For years, the Turkish government and its representatives here in the United States have stopped at nothing to fight the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. This far-reaching campaign of denial and cover-up stretches from well-funded efforts to block education about the Armenian Genocide to ensuring that American media does not address or acknowledge the genocide as a historic fact.

The Turkish government and Turkish lobby have for years pressured the local, state, and federal governments and American and global media to rewrite American, Ottoman, Turkish, and world histories so that they exclude the Armenian Genocide.

But only now are we beginning to understand exactly how far the government of Turkey, and its agents and proxies, are willing to go to undermine the Armenian case.

The FBI hired linguist Sibel Edmonds as a translator after 9-11. But she was fired less than a year later after reporting the illegal activities of Turkish citizens being covered up by her bosses. Edmonds has been bravely battling the legal system for years for the opportunity to tell her story. On Sat., Aug. 8, Edmonds was able to speak freely thanks to David Krikorian, an Armenian American who is running for a Congressional seat in Ohio.

"Ms. Edmonds is a very credible witness," said Krikorian, "and she has direct information pertaining to how when she was a member of the Department of Justice, of the FBI, where she uncovered relationships between the government of Turkey and U.S. officials, where the government of Turkey was pushing its agenda on U.S. officials and doing so, perhaps, and we'll find out today, in what people many people believe to be an illegal way."

David Krikorian is the Democratic candidate in the 2010 elections for Ohio's 2nd Congressional district. The seat is now held by Republican Jean Schmidt, who was the largest recipient of money from the Turkish lobby in the 2008 elections. Schmidt also fought the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

When her challenger, David Krikorian, pointed out that she was receiving blood money from Turks for helping deny the Armenian Genocide, Schmidt complained to the Ohio Elections Commission. Representing Schmidt and the Turkish American Defense Fund at the deposition on Aug. 8 was none other than the attorney and longtime voice of the Turkish lobby, Bruce Fein.

Bruce Fein
Krikorian says the Turkish lobby's interest in what Sibel Edmonds would say is because this FBI whistle blower is linking bribes accepted by lawmakers to the Turkish campaign of denial.

"I think they're concerned because this exposes their campaign of denial regarding the Armenian Genocide," said Krikorian, "and how they've been able to buy off certain members of the U.S. Congress in support of the Turkish government's position on this issue. So they have an interest."

Bruce Fein claims Edmond's testimony on Aug. 8 has no relevance in congresswoman Schmidt's case against David Krikorian.

We asked Bruce Fein about Krikorian's first amendment rights of freedom of speech and the right to talk openly about his opponent's opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

"We totally support his right to state anything he wants about the Armenian Genocide," said Fein. "What you're not entitled to do under the first amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, who we think is the authoritative interpreter, is knowing state lies, and what we have alleged, and what we have to prove, and we understand and accept it, is that Mr. Krikorian knowingly and intentionally told lies about Jean Schmidt including she received money from the Turkish government, and we fully expect we will discharge that burden and we agree that we ought to be able to. We must be shouldered with that burden in order to protect free speech. We don't want close anybody's mouth when it comes to arguing one way or another about the Armenian Genocide."

Fein and the Turkish Defense Fund are indeed trying to stop Krikorian from speaking the truth. Congresswoman Schmidt did receive huge sums of contributions from the Turkish lobby. Sibel Edmonds says that same lobby bribed public officials to enforce the Turkish agenda in the United States.

Gag Orders
The government has tried to gag Edmonds and has sent threatening letters to stop this type of talk about corruption inside the FBI, the State Department, the Department of Justice, and in the halls of Congress.

"I am able to talk about the kind of information they used to retaliate against whistle blowers, to gag people, to issue states secrets privilege, or to use the excuse of classification," said Edmonds. "Nothing that has to do with national security but to cover up criminal activities, embarrassing information, and today that is happening, and this is the biggest significance. It's very significant. I believe, Mr. Krikorian is very brave and courageous person, to push this and bring it to this point. He's actually serving the interest of the United States citizens and not only in Cincinnati, Ohio, but everyone here in this country. So, we should be all thankful to him for providing us with this opportunity."

During the deposition on Aug. 8, Edmonds talked in detail about scandalous bribes accepted by then-Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and former lawmakers Dick Gephardt and Stephen Solarz. She also spoke about the blackmailing of another un-named member of Congress-a married woman with children, who was lured into a homosexual affair by a female prostitute sent by the Turkish lobby. This Congresswoman was then blackmailed to abandon her support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

"It's the Turkish government," said Edmonds, "but also other entities and layers of these operations and some of these covert operations and the way they are done is completely illegal. I was able to discuss those in detail, and that information within the next couple of hours I hope will be available to the public, and the public will get a chance to decide for themselves and see what the government does to gag and quash necessary information like this and stamp it as classified. I think this may end up inflicting the best and the worst damage to arbitrarily, criminally done classifications and let's hope that it does."

Vanity Fair
Sibel Edmonds says the allegations she made in an August 2005 Vanity Fair article were confirmed by the several FBI agents and Department of Justice officials. The piece by Vanity Fair reporter David Rose said that then-Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was the recipient of various bribes. Edmonds says it is amazing Hastert nor his attorneys reacted to the article. Hastert did not issue a denial to the allegations, but he resigned a year later. Now he is part of the Turkish government orchestrated network that Vanity Fair says paid him the big bribes when he was the most powerful member of the House of Representatives. The most recent Federal filings show that Hastert, one of several registered foreign agents for Turkey, now receives $35,000 a month to push the Turkish government's agenda on Capitol Hill.

How deep do these corrupt Turkish operations go? Vanity Fair reported that the FBI began investigating Turkish citizens living in the U.S. in the late 90s, and they found evidence of attempts to bribe U.S. officials.

However, as Sibel Edmonds says, the government has used the phrase "state secrets" and security reasons to hold this information back from the public and media.

The Ohio Election Commission's Probable Cause hearing is scheduled for Aug. 13, and the final hearing in the case against David Krikorian where all the evidence will be heard is scheduled on Sept. 3.
Q&A with Bruce Fein

Q: Is this part of the series of cases you're opening up, whether it's in Massachusetts or suing the Southern Poverty Law Center, to try to quash speech with regard to the Armenian Genocide?

BF: No, what we are trying to do is promote freedom of speech because what's been done is that other organizations have accused various members who dispute their version of history of criminal activity of compromising scholarly integrity. It is they who are trying to suppress freedom of speech by intimidating, harassing, and calling criminal those individuals who happen to dispute their version of history.

Q: Would you then also support Holocaust denial entrance into the Massachusetts school system or pushing other publications like the Southern Poverty Center's publication to talk about denial, as well?

BF: What the Southern Poverty Law Center alleged is that various academics are receiving money from the government of Turkey to compromise their scholarship and we will not accept accusations that are knowingly false of that sort, period.

"The Armenian Lobbing Works Quickly", Today.Az 10.08.2009
Turkish daily "Zaman" informs that Doctor Savash Egilmez, the president of ASIMED (the union fighting against the proofs of Genocide) said the draft of N SB 234 law was presented to the affirmation of Californian parliament. It stipulates putting the events taken place in 1915 next the Holocaust, Cambodia and Rwanda genocides in the educational programs of historical and public studies.

By the words of Egilmez, the president of "ASIMED" and the professor of history department at the University after Ataturk "The Armenian lobbing is being realized too quickly",- writes "Zaman" and cites Egilmez's words, "Armenian Diaspora has adopted a new strategy the goal of which is depicting the image of Turks in the imagination of the young generation as an enemy and taking the Turks living in the neighborhood under pressure. The youngsters who belong to another race in the result of this will accept the Turks as barbarians and will have hatred against them. The affirmation of this draft can give birth to a chain process."

Revealing Genocide Documents Found In Ottoman Archives, By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
It is a known fact that numerous documents on the Armenian Genocide were either destroyed or hidden away by the Turkish government. Determined researchers, however, can still discover materials in the Ottoman archives that shed light on important events and personalities of that tragic period. In recent years, the Turkish government has selectively published some of the more innocuous Ottoman documents, in order to counter criticism that it was concealing incriminating evidence on the Armenian Genocide. Millions of other documents, however, still remain inaccessible to the general public because researchers have to go to Istanbul and request a particular document by its file number, and pay a processing fee. Even if the documents are obtained, few people within and outside Turkey can read and comprehend them, as they are written in Ottoman Turkish and difficult to decipher Arabic script.

The California Courier was recently able to obtain from the Ottoman archives important documents regarding the tragic fate of prominent ARF (Dashnak) activist E. Agnouni, who was born around 1865 in Meghri, Armenia. He studied at the University of Geneva and was active in Armenian political movements in Georgia, Russia and France. In 1904, while in Paris, Agnouni supported the efforts of the Young Turk Party to overthrow Sultan Abdul Hamid. After returning to Constantinople (Istanbul), he actively participated in the Young Turk revolution of 1908. He then toured the Armenian communities of Europe and the United States. Agnouni was arrested in Istanbul on April 24, 1915 --along with hundreds of prominent Armenians -- and subsequently murdered.

Prior to his arrest, Agnouni had written a heart-wrenching commentary, published in the April 16, 1915 issue of Asbarez, the Armenian language newspaper in Fresno. The article described disturbing scenes of Armenian soldiers fighting each other in the armies of their respective countries -- Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In his article, Agnouni urged Armenian-Americans to come to the aid of their suffering compatriots back home.

Not surprisingly, the Ottoman government had kept track of Agnouni's every move. This was evidenced by our recent discovery in the Istanbul archives of the Turkish translation of his 1915 article. The translator was an Armenian official named Artin who worked for the Turkish government as a "Censor of Armenian newspapers."

Censor Artin added the following revealing note: "This translated article belongs to E. Agnouni. He is a member of the Dashnak Party. His real name is Khachadour Maloumian. He is a citizen of Russia. He came to Istanbul during the war and until recently did not do any work other than carrying out propaganda for his party. During his residence here, he made one or two trips to Europe. He is part of the last group that was deported and exiled."

Bishop Krikoris Balakian, who was among those rounded up by the Turkish government on April 24, 1915, narrated the following bone-chilling episode about Agnouni's arrest in his monumental two-volume memoir titled, "Hay Koghkota," (Armenian Golgotha). When Turkish police officers came to his house to arrest him, Agnouni asked in a state of shock: "Does Talat know about this?" Agnouni was completely dumb-founded when the officers showed him Talat's signature on his arrest warrant. He asked: "I just had lunch with Talat -- how come he did not say anything to me?"

Agnouni was stunned by his arrest because he could not believe that Talat would betray him after he had saved his life during the Young Turk revolution of 1908, by hiding him in his own home at the risk of his own life.

According to Balakian, when Agnouni finally realized that he was being led to his death, he told his fellow prisoners: "I don't regret dying, since I knew that death was inevitable. My only regret is that we were deceived by these Turkish villains." Balakian expressed his deep regret that Armenians who put their trust in Turks realized their mistake too late - only when they were on their way to their deaths!

Several new documents just obtained from the Ottoman archives reveal for the first time that the King of Spain made repeated efforts to obtain the release of Agnouni, Daniel Varoujan, Siamanto, and other prominent Armenians. It is not known what prompted the Spanish King to involve himself in such a humanitarian endeavor.

In two letters dated April 24, 1916, and May 10, 1916, Spain's Amb. Julian del Arroyo wrote to Turkey's Foreign Minister Halil Bey, advising him that His Majesty King Alfonso XIII was asking Sultan Mehmed V to spare the lives of the above named Armenian prisoners. Regrettably, unbeknown to the Spanish King, these Armenians had been killed long before his praiseworthy intervention.

Several recently obtained confidential memos between various Turkish officials indicate that Interior Minister Talat finally made up a fake story about the fate of these prominent Armenians. Talat wrote to Foreign Minister Halil Bey on July 25, 1916, asking him to advise the Spanish Ambassador that the Armenians in question, while being led to the Diyarbekir Military Court, had overcome their guards and escaped to Russia! Talat concealed the fact that the Armenian prisoners had been killed months before the Spanish King's inquiry. This episode demonstrates that Talat was covering up his crimes as he was committing them!

Reading these newly discovered memos written by Turkish leaders leaves no doubt that the Armenian Genocide was centrally planned and executed. Minister of Interior Talat ordered the deportation and execution of Armenians and demanded detailed reports on their movements and conditions. In some instances, Talat personally wrote letters inquiring about the whereabouts of several prominent Armenians!

Despite all attempts to purge incriminating documents, ample evidence of Turkish complicity in the Armenian Genocide still remains in the Ottoman archives!

Turkish Government Blackmailed Sitting Member Of House Of Representatives, Seminal Blog August 8, 2009
Ohio Election Commission officials and lawyers representing Ohio Democratic House of Representatives candidate David Krikorian and incumbent Ohio Republican Representative Jean Schmidt heard testimony Saturday morning and afternoon from former FBI Turkish and Farsi translator Sibel Edmonds in a case brought against Krikorian by incumbent Republican Representative Jean Schmidt. Schmidt alleges in her complaint to the commission that Krikorian made "false statements" in his 2008 independent race against Schmidt. The commission subpoenaed Edmonds in the case, Schmidt v. Krikorian and the deposition was held at the offices of the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense and Education Fund in Georgetown, Washington, DC.

According to sources attending the deposition, Edmonds testified that while she was working as a translator for the FBI she was aware of bribes being made by the Turkish government to elected and former members of Congress, as well as senior officials of the executive branch, including the Department of State.

The Eric Holder Justice Department attempted to block Edmonds's testimony and said it considered the subpoenaed testimony by the Ohio Election Commission to be void since it was conducted in the District of Columbia and not Ohio. However, no Justice Department or FBI representatives attended the deposition by Edmonds as had been previously expected. Edmonds has been blocked from revealing the nature of the Turkish espionage and bribery ring by a State Secret gag order that was imposed by Attorney General John Ashcroft. There is uncertainty as to whether the Holder Justice Department will block release of Edmonds's testimony transcript and video.

After Edmonds was fired from her FBI job after she complained to her superiors about Turkish intelligence infiltration of the translation branch of the bureau, she was exonerated in a report by the FBI's Inspector General. Her allegations were also supported by senior members of the U.S. Senate.

Edmonds's testimony under oath revealed that the American Turkish Council (ATC), which has been cited by a number of informed observers as a sister organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), paid bribes to a number of members of the House of Representatives in return for opposing the Armenian genocide resolution as well as providing other legislative assistance to Turkish special interests. Other Turkish organization in the United States named in the bribery scandal is the Assembly of Turkish American Assoiactions (ATAA).

WMR has learned that attorneys for Schmidt objected to most of Edmonds's statements.

Named as recipients of Turkish government bribes are, in addition to Schmidt, former House Speakers Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Dick Gephardt (D-MO), and brief House Speaker Robert Livingston (R-LA), as well as Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) and former Representative Stephen Solarz (D-NY). Also named are Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Adviser under George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford and former George W. Bush State Department Political Undersecretary Marc Grossman.

Edmonds's testimony also dealt with the involvement of the Rand Corporation with the Turkish espionage and bribery operations in the United States.

Edmonds's testimony also dealt with Turkish and Israeli joint operations to engage in smuggling nuclear technology from the United States. In particular, the Turkish espionage and influence-peddling ring was heavily involved in the Bush White House "outing" the covert identities of CIA counterproliferation officer Valerie Plame Wilson and her Brewster Jennings & Associates non-official CIA cover firm. WMR has learned from another informed source that the nuclear smuggling operations also involved Israel PhD students at American universities and research firms.

The Turkish operations also involved the U.S. corporate media, which was pressured by the ations not to cover the Armenian genocide issue.

Krikorian, in a statement during a break in the deposition, said that based on what he heard, such criminality "should not be tolerated in the land of the free and home of the brave," adding that what he heard constitutes "high crimes against the U.S. government."

Perhaps the most explosive part of the deposition involved the Turkish government being engaged in a sexual blackmail operation against a sitting member of the House of Representative. In what the FBI termed a "hooking process," an ATC female operative enticed a female member of the House into a lesbian sexual encounter at a Washington, DC townhouse.. A Turkish intelligence surveillance team had placed surveillance bugs throughout the townhouse, including the bedroom and captured the lesbian tryst on tape, according to Edmonds's testimony. To ensure the surveillance team successfully completed its technical surveillance operation, another Turkish operational team was present outside the townhouse to make sure the surveillance team carried out its task.

After the surveillance recordings were made known to the House member, she changed her support for the Armenian genocide resolution and announced her opposition to it.

The identity of the House member in question was not revealed during the deposition by Edmonds. However, WMR has learned from another informed source that it is Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a strong supporter of AIPAC and Israel and a close political ally of President Obama and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

The first sexual encounter between Schakowsky and the Turkish lesbian prostitute reportedly occurred at a vulnerable time for Schakowsky, just after her mother's death. The first sexual encounter was followed by numerous others, according to U.S. law enforcement sources.

To her credit, Schakowsky has been a vocal opponent of private military contractors and the lack of government oversight of their activities, especially in Latin America and Iraq.

Informed Ohio police report that Schmidt's complaint against Krikorian has resulted in unforeseen "blow-back" with the Edmonds testimony and that Schmidt is under significant pressure to drop her complaint against Krikorian lest more damaging information is revealed about members of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Schakowsky is a Chief Democratic Deputy Whip in the House and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is married with grown children and was mentioned as a possible replacement to fill Obama's Illinois Senate seat. She has also been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate in 2010 to replace tainted Senator Roland Burris.

The revelations about Schakowsky will not come as good news to Democrats in Illinois, already buffeted by scandals involving indicted and impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich and ethics issues involving Burris, Obama's replacement in the Senate. However, the Turkish bribery scandal is bipartisan with Hastert also implicated in bribe taking.

The Land Of Sultans & Souks, South African 11 August 2009
The most mysterious part of the Near East, sometimes called the Levant, is the country whose capital claims to be the oldest inhabited city in the world.

The almost triangular land of Syria has Turkey as its northern neighbour, with Lebanon cutting into half the Mediterranean coastline that still leaves such seaside resorts as Latakia. Further southward lie Israel and Jordan, but Syria's easternmost border is marked by the Tigris, while the Euphrates actually divides the inhabited part from a large stretch of desert that, like both rivers, continues into Iraq.

Syria is a latecomer to tourism, but more than makes up for this with an exotic mixture of attractions. For a start, its history includes Jewish, Persian, Graeco-Roman and Byzantine rule that has left several ruins such as Palmyra. Syrians made an important contribution to Islamic civilization even before the Ottoman occupation that lasted from 1516 until the end of the First World War when the French replaced them for another quarter-century.

The capital, Damascus, not only remains one of the great cities of the Arab world but it is so ancient that all history seems to have passed through it. Clay tablets have been found that referred to Damashq as far back as 2500 BC, and it is mentioned 26 times in the Old Testament as early as the Book of Genesis.

The most famous mentions in the New Testament concern Saul of Tarsus who was on his way to persecute more Christians when he was converted himself. Once in Damascus, he had to escape his former Jewish accomplices by going over the battlements by night, and the site of this event is marked by St Paul's Chapel behind the Kisan Gate.

Turn right along the wall and you come to another gate at the end of the "straight street", also mentioned in the Bible, that marks the Christian quarter of Damascus. In addition to the likely grotto where St Paul was welcomed by St Ananias, it is dotted with churches of various rites, such as Armenian, Syriac and Maronite, as far as the Roman arch opposite the Greek Orthodox patriarchate. This district boasts some historic mansions, and it is also good for accommodation.

Adjoining is a decayed Jewish quarter that further emphasises how Syria is actually an amalgam of various races and religions: Copts, Kurds, Turks, Druze, Chaldeans, Circassians, Nestorians ... Even so, four Syrians out of five are Moslems and the vast majority of these are Sunni rather than Shiite.

Popular with the latter and with Persian pilgrims is the mosque named after Mohammed's grand-daughter, Sayyida Zeinab, who is buried there. Damascus also boasts what is not only the third holiest mosque in Islam, of which it was once the caliphate, but certainly the most historic. This is the Umayyad (meaning great) with a vast courtyard, built in 636 AD on the site of a pagan temple that had became a Christian church, and supposedly still preserving the head of John the Baptist.

Outside is the mausoleum of the first and perhaps greatest of Arabian warlords, Saladin, a Kurd who conquered Syria from Egypt and crushed the Crusaders by 1189 only to face Richard the Lionheart soon afterwards and settle for co-existence before dying in Damascus. The three minarets of the mosque are also a landmark for the covered bazaar (souk) on its south side.

From the capital, a couple of buses per day travel northwards along a fair highway, periodically marked by large portraits of Syria's latest presidents: Bashar al-Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Bypassing Homs before coming close to the hills of Lebanon, it terminates after 288 kilometres at Aleppo that has been a commercial metropolis since the days of the Silk Road between China and Europe. In the sixteenth century, it became the world's first town with an English consul.

Like the two cities mentioned so far, Aleppo has its Christian quarter, but its main feature is the enormous medieval citadel that held out against the crusaders. Those who returned to Europe often brought the famous damascened swords, inlaid with gold and silver.

At the foot of the citadel is the sprawling bazaar, each of whose covered alleyways specialises in different merchandise: gold, sweets, perfumes, scarves, carpets, spices, brocade, silver, daggers ... and soap. Aleppo has been renowned for fine soap, made from olive oil and bay laurel, since it was used by Cleopatra and Nefertiti.

The souk almost surrounds Aleppo's largest mosque, built only ten years after the Umayyad and named after Zachary, the father of John the Baptist whose own major relic is also claimed by the Mosque of Abraham among other locations.

One kilometre north of the Zachary and close to picturesque Hatab Square is Aleppo's most famous restaurant, Cantara, and some of the inexpensive lodgings are hereabouts, while others are clustered around the decayed Baron Hotel whose guests included Lawrence of Arabia and Agatha Christie. Lonely Planet's Syria is vital for everything from shopping to sleeping, although diplomatic and commercial readers can simply be referred to the Dedeman Hotel in Aleppo and the Sheraton in Damascus.

Syria is a destination in its own right, but Aleppo can be an excursion from southern Turkey, being linked by buses from Antioch (Antakya) and a slow train. Visas are needed, and as policy is uncertain at points of entry, it is best to get one from the Syrian Embassy in good time before departure. Note that passports betraying entry to Israel -even with a telltale stamp from the Jordanian side - are unacceptable, and that side-trips to Lebanon can complicate re-entry. All visas are expensive and there is an annoying exit-tax on top.

Armenia And Turkey In State Of Theoretical War? 13.08.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "Speaking about Armenian-Turkish relations, we should correct ourselves because there are no relations as such," Richard Giragosyan, Director of Armenian Centre for Strategic and National Research, told today a seminar devoted to "Armenian-Turkish relations: present and past". The term Armenian-Turkish relations implies re-establishment of diplomatic ties between two states.

"How can we speak about bilateral relations if Turkey itself closed the border, breaking off diplomatic ties with Armenia and provoking aggression against us? Such conduct is technically a military operation. To my mind, two countries are in a state of theoretical war," Giragosyan said.

Turkey’s Political Expectations From Russia August 13, 2009 Sami Kohen
We mostly dwelled upon the energy outcome of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s recent trip to Ankara. Although the parties focused on the economy in a five-hour meeting, political as well as regional issues were discussed too.

Ankara and Moscow have similar perspectives on the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Even if positions are different in some specific issues this has no impact over bilateral relations and cooperation.

However, two issues of importance to Turkish foreign policy were discussed as well during Putin’s visit to Ankara: The Cyprus and the Karabakh conflicts.

Since energy projects were being paid attention, the public has almost no information on the two. But some interesting developments took place in these two issues.

Cyprus: New elements
In fact, Putin in a press conference gave some clues about the Cyprus conflict. The Russian prime minister said Russia supports an urgent solution plan in the island as he mentioned about the Annan Plan as well as the United Nations resolutions. But more importantly, Putin talked about two zones or regions on the island. He said having economic relations between Moscow and Cypriot Turks in the north will make contributions to the solution.

Putin’s remarks caused a panic among the Greek Cypriot side known for having a chip on their shoulder. Newspapers in southern Cyprus published that Putin first uttered a two-state solution. It was actually a translation error, so he really meant two-sides or two-regions, they wrote. As Cypriot-Greek administrators made a fuss about it, Russian officials had to say that this was not correct and was just a translation error. Russian Ambassador to Lefkoşa (Nicosia) V. Shumskiy had an urge to stress that there was no change in Moscow’s Cyprus policy.

In fact, Russian policy toward Cyprus hasn’t changed. But the Russian leader understands Turkey’s sensitivity on the economic situation in the north of the island, or isolations over Cypriot-Turks.

One of the energy projects taken up in Ankara, the Blue Stream 2, envisages stretching the pipeline to Israel via Cyprus. That of course will have to pass through the Turkish zone.

In the light of the new facts, Putin’s remarks on having economic relations with Cypriot-Turks have some political implications. In other words, one can anticipate a new nuance in Russia’s Cyprus policy, or a different approach, though there is no change in essence.

The Caucasus: A double game
As for the Karabakh issue, Putin followed a diplomatic approach, defending that his country wants an end to conflict in the Caucasus and is trying to settle this issue but that there shouldn’t be any external interference, only encouragement for truce.

Following the upheaval in Georgia last year, Moscow now wants to maintain an upper hand in the Caucasus, trying to control Azerbaijan as much as Armenia. Azerbaijan’s stance against Turkey regarding the Armenian initiative helped Moscow. Now, Russia more easily controls Yerevan and Baku.

Turkey’s expectations from Russia are active involvement in the Karabakh conflict and pressure on Armenia. In the solution of problems among Ankara, Baku and Yerevan, Turkey believes Russia could be more influential than any party.

But Russia takes it slowly and makes no rush. What is important for Russia is to maintain its influence in the region.

In short, Russia plays a difficult chess game in foreign politics in its backyard, as it does in energy.

And Russians are known for their talent in this game!

* Mr. Sami Kohen is a columnist for the daily Milliyet in which this piece appeared Tuesday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

Turkey’s Borders, August 8, 2009 Cengiz Aktar
Turkey has foreign policy positions, all linked to national issues that remind of trenches dug for battle. These policies, as old as the Republic, were conceived as solutions to the de facto situation that occurred after the collapse of Ottoman Empire. Every ethnic group separating from the empire formed a nation-state. Turks, or rather Muslims, had no chance but to become a nation as well. Problems that emerged within this frame have always hunted us in the form of ghosts or violence or enmity. All have been reflected in our foreign and domestic policies. These are the Armenian, Kurdish, and Greek or Helen questions. However, aside from the Annan Plan, which became an open-and-shut case in 2004 for a solution in Cyprus, there has been no significant policy change in these three questions since 1923.

After some 80 years, we see that these policies are becoming obsolete, as the high walls surrounding them are becoming cracked, and the physical and mental barriers are being torn down. Artificial constructions of the republican period are being criticized as all sorts of boundaries are being forced. This is obviously a painful process, but it is equally fascinating. Official diplomacy is running after the achievements and activities of a pushy civilian diplomacy. But most of the time it fails.

The Armenian border

In late July, Armenian President Serge Sargysan said that in order for him to attend the soccer game between Turkey and Armenia to be played in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri in the fall and to accept Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s invitation, the sealed border between the two countries should be opened. Expectations about the re-opening of the border reached a peak before the April 24 Armenian Remembrance Day. As a result of this oriental artlessness, the issue of opening the Armenian border was closed again. The border with an unknown future even has a Web campaign of 25,000 signatures that opposes any overture: www.turkiye-ermenistan-kapilar-acilmasin.org

The Iraq-Kurdistan border
In Oct, 2007, I wrote the following: “Domestically, political reforms of the period 2002-2004 are not supported by any economic structuring in the region as the PKK violence, which has started to show itself again in July 2004, quickened a shift to the same old military measures in the solution of the Kurdish issue. In fact, an AKP failing to design a detailed Kurdish policy on its own, is always prone to accept classical positions of the state on the matter. So once again, the 'solution' was sub-contracted to the military. Now, the AKP has given up all its claims to be on a new and different policy course.”

The Kurdish Initiative released in late July proves that the government is prudently getting away from this policy line. Obviously, we are taking a new turn where various boundaries, borders and limits will have to be removed as part of the initiative while we are moving into a brand new era. Though we are right at the beginning, I hope it would be finally understood that the Kurdish question is not just a security and law enforcement issue.

The Cyprus border
Another well known question that we will face once again in the fall is the Cyprus problem. The border dividing the island and Lefkosia (Nicosia) is known as the “Green Line” in Turkish, but Necri Zoni (Dead Zone) in Greek. For the complete removal of this border, presidents Dimitri Christophias and Mehmet Ali Talat, have been involved in reunification talks since mid-2008. Against all the odds, the talks proceed. In the north, although the National Unity Party, or UBP, which considers “no solution is the solution,” won the recent parliamentary elections and formed government, they do obey Ankara who tells them not to impede the course of the reunification talks.

Solution in Cyprus is directly related to Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union. As we become an EU member in the future, the Cyprus border will be removed completely.

Turkey’s borders, set as red-lines, are now slowing turning pink or they are becoming green - I mean open borders.

So-Called Social Reflex, August 8, 2009 Ertuğrul Özkök
Can you take a text seriously if terming the Republic rallies a “so-called social reflex”? This is what I was appalled by most in the 3rd indictment of the Ergenekon crime gang case. Forget about everything else and about which side you are with in this case.

Let’s start with sociology, not law, if you wish. Remember the days: A total of three million people gathered in Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. They chanted and marched. Among them, are thsoe close to me, including my relatives. My wife hung an Atatürk poster from the balcony. My sisters marched in İzmir.

What are these? A “so-called social reflex”; sounds like “so-called Armenian genocide.” Let’s pose a question to sociologists, is this really something “so-called”? Don’t rush it, there is legal side of the story too.

Picture the results of the March 29 local elections. Look at the results in the regions where the Republic rallies were held. Are they “so-called” as well?

I mean, all the ralliests attended just a so-called move. Is that it? Now, let’s talk about the legal side of the story.

Can you take seriously an assessment if in which the biggest social movement of the history of the Republic of Turkey is termed “so-called” in an indictment?

Of course you should because this is penned by prosecutors. People cited by prosecutors in the indictment will stand trial. So I am curious what the prosecutors mean by that, because this is a very unfortunate statement.

If its meaning cannot be explained thoroughly in a convincing way, it could be read as the expression of a striking “prejudice.” Then, impartiality of the “Justice Lady,” measuring balances and wearing a blindfold becomes disputable.

You may say, “This is just an indictment as the name implies.” Meaning, some claims are being made. If it is that simple, what will we say today about the media’s lynching of people recently termed as the “sole suspects”?

Will we have to use the expression the “so-called suspects” for them?

I am trying to follow the developments in the Ergenekon case, as much as I possibly can, in a neutral way. I am not siding with anyone.

But my concern is that if such arbitrary terminology and prejudiced assessments continue to be used, the Ergenekon indictments will not be different from the indictments of the Refah Party closure case which included expressions like “blood sucking vampires.”

I examined the other day how newspapers covered the 3rd Ergenekon indictment. I didn’t observe as much excitement expressed in the first two.


Is that because we are becoming accustomed to this case? Or is that because more and more people have begun to question it? Do not indictments terming the rallies of millions as “so-called social reflex” have a share in this?

I clearly see that unless the mistakes, prejudices and the sense of settling the score are removed from the Ergenekon indictments, not only the accused, but also the involved judicial bodies will be dragged down along the way.

This case is sweeping some journalist seeking revenge, a part of the judiciary, and groups of police and politicians in a certain direction.

If you ask, is this the direction of democracy? Don’t ask me. Only time will tell.

And if we all live long enough, we will all see this for ourselves.

Ertuğrul Özkök is the editor-in-chief of the daily Hürriyet in which this piece appeared Friday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

Istanbul International Independent Media Forum: Armenian Deportation Bianet 14 August 2009,
The official decision for DEPORTATION (Exile) was taken in May 27th of 1915. The Ottoman government had decided to force a number of its subjects, depriving them of their possessions and property, to exile to hundreds of kilometers away to Deyr-uz Zor.

Tayfun MATER Istanbul - .17 Ocak 2002, Per?embe Armenians are a group of people who have historically lived in the East, Southeast and Central Anatolia and in the present Armenia. The Armenian Civilization, which rose out of the remains of the Errata Kingdom in the 500s (BC), reached the peek of its power in the 50s (BC). During the following centuries, the Armenians were caught in between the rivalries among the great empires.

Armenians, following their conveersion to Christianity in 300 BC, fell under the Byzantium rule. Later, in 653 they fell under the Arab rule. They were faced with the invasions of Turks in the 11th century, and of Mongols in the 13th century; in the 16th and 17th centuries Armenians were successively trapped between the Ottoman and Iranian rule.

The Armenian rebellions in the Ottoman land started at the end of the 18th century in the Kucukdaglik village Zeytun of Maras (a southern city of present Turkey). These rebellions, which interruptedly continued until 1915, comprised a vital element in the Armenian national movement. The Russian expansion into the Caucasus during 19th century, and the "Enlightenment" in Europe and the revival of the Armenian culture, may be listed among the factors that invigorated the Armenian National Movement.

The "ARMENIAN PROBLEM" was for the first time recognized in the international arena with the Ayastefanos Agreement that was signed after the 1877-78 Ottoman-Russian War. This agreement was handing the control of the Ottoman Armenia over to Russia, though it proved abortive.

Revolutionary organizations emerged in 1887 such as the Marxist-centralist Hinchaq (Bell), and in 1908 nationalist- socialist Tashnaq (Alliance) committees were founded. These committees, which in the future would grow into political parties, schemes of merger for broader political regrouping remained unsuccesful. Some major actions organized by these committees organized between 1890 and 1905 were: 1. Erzurum (a town in present eastern Turkey) Event (June 1890) 2. Kumkapi (a district in Istanbul) Demonstration (July 1890) 3. Merzifon, Kayseri, Yozgat (towns in present central Turkey) Events (1892-93) 4. First Sasun Rebellion (August 1894) 5. Bab-y Ali (a section of Istanbul with publishing houses) Demonstration (September 1895) 6. Zeytun Rebellion (November 1895) 7. Van (a town in present eastern Turkey) Rebellion (June 1896) 8. Attack at the Ottoman Bank (August 1896) 9. Second Sasun Rebellion (April 1904) 10.A bomb attack at Abdulhamit, at Yyldyz (a district of Istanbul) (July 1905) The committees acted together with the Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihad ve Terakki) for a while. Following the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy in Istanbul in 1908, they gained legal recognition. Even though these committees declared that they would only engage in political activities, the events in Adana (a town in present southern Turkey) in March 1909 dampened the spirit of peace and they parted ways with the Ittihad ve Terakki.

The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) freed itself from Abdulhamit with the March 31st Rebellion. The Committee condoned the murder of the Grand Vizier Mahmut Sevket Pasha, and used this murder as an excuse to attack the opposition. Now, reporters were being killed on the Galata Bridge (in Istanbul), oppositional intellectuals were being exiled to Sinop (a town in present northern Turkey), and the Ottoman Empire was starting to head towards its collapse under the dictatorship of one party. With almost no written documents and along with the deception of "shall head to TURAN", Teskilat-I Mahsusa (Special Organization) was being founded. This criminal organization has survived up till today as counter guerilla and as the Susurluk gang. The Susurluk incident is named after a car accident that occurred in November 1996, close to Susurluk (a town in western Turkey). In the car there was a famous ultra nationalist, a parliamentarian and a police officer. The close relations among the three brought to light the concept of "deep state", which up till today has constituted a serious issue of worry, debate and research in Turkey.

While the I. World War bells were ringing in Europe, Tasnak Party held a congress in August 2-14, 1914, in Erzurum. The CUP sent a delegation to the congress. The delegation made a proposition of alliance to the Armenians against Russia, in case of a possible warfare. The delegation further proposed an autonomous Armenian administration. Armenian leaders preferred to have a policy of neutrality.

The Russian Armenians, who received a similar proposal from Russia, accepted this offer and started to build their volunteer groups. Even though they were only some 4-5 thousand people, these groups would become the pretext of the Ottoman government's deportation policy. With the start of the war, Eastern Anatolia fell into a serious chaos. Armenians ran away from the army and put up a resistance. The Special Organization troupes along with the Hamidiye troupes composing of Kurds, busted and burned down villages, under the pretext of chasing the runaways. These were the first indicators of the deportation.

Following the rebellion of the Armenian people of Van (a town in present eastern Turkey) in April 1915, the Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul were arrested, on April 24th , and were sent off to Ankara. Nothing further was heard from these some 700 people. The MASSACRE had gone into effect. Interior Minister Talat Pasha was its executioner.

The official decision for the DEPORTATION (Exile) was made on May 27th 1915. The government was prevalently sending a part of its subjects, depriving them of their possessions and properties, to exile to hundreds of kilometers away to the Iraqi deserts, to Devr-uz Zor. These subjects were the civilians, children and old people, who were supposedly under the responsibility and protection of the government. The Special Organization troupes, which were composed of convicts released from the jails, were attacking and plundering the convoys and were killing people. As a result of dehydration and hunger and diseases, death was awaiting those who reached the deserts.

It is yet to be found out how many people died due to the deportation. The official historians of the Turkish Republic claim that the number of deaths was 300,000. There are foreign resources that increase this number to 1 million. Germany, who was the ally of the Ottoman government at the time, was silently supporting the deportation. On August 31st 1916, Talat Pasha, addressing the representative of the German Embassy, said, "There is no Armenian problem."

In 1919, the Istanbul Court of Martial Law, by default, tried those people who were responsible of the deportation. The half of the 10-12 people accountable for the deportation was in various European countries and in Russia. They ended up being killed by the Armenian Committee members. The rest faced capital punishment in 1926, issued by the Istiklal Court, following the attempt to assassinate Mustafa Kemal (the founder of present Turkish Republic) in Izmir (a town in present western Turkey).

Strategic Depth At Work, İbrahim Kalin @Todayszaman.Com
The recent energy agreements Turkey has signed with Nabucco and Russia make Turkey the largest energy corridor of the world. What will pass through the pipelines from East to West will be more than oil and gas.

The new energy map places Turkey at the center of the strategic future of the entire region. But can Turkey cope with the political challenges this involves?

When new Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu wrote his book “Strategic Depth” almost 10 years ago, he was an academic with a vision. He had laid out Turkey's place in the world as a country at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations. Turkey was important for its history as well as its geography. No country in the region has the historical depth and cultural affinity Turkey has with its neighbors. This is a bonus from the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, an asset not many Turks realized until recently.

But Turkey also has a unique geo-political position in the region, connecting several continents within the vicinity of the world's largest energy resources. But Turkey's geo-strategic significance goes beyond energy. Turkey is a vital part of the world's largest political fault lines extending from the Balkans to the Caucasus and the Middle East. What happens in this extended geography determines world politics from Europe to the United States.

For Davutoğlu, it is these two invariable assets, i.e., history and geography, which give a country its strategic depth. Turkey has both assets with a competitive advantage over others but has hardly used them in its foreign policy until recently.

But there are also other variables that extend Turkey's strategic depth: a history of democracy, a young and dynamic population, a fledgling soft power capacity, a strong civil society and middle class and a certain level of scientific and technologic infrastructure. Turkey's chances of becoming a truly regional power and an aspiring global player depend on putting these assets to smart use.

Minister Davutoğlu is making full use of these assets in an effort to extend Turkey strategic depth. His most recent trip to Iraq showed the extent of regional cooperation. The visit was not the most important diplomatic move; such visits to neighboring countries have become routine now for Turkish policy makers. This in itself shows the level of regional engagement.

What was significant was Minister Davutoğlu's declaration that with Iraq, Turkey has moved from a “zero-problem policy with [its] neighbors” to “maximum cooperation.” This means we should expect deeper and wider relations with Iraq and other neighbors in the near future. Turkey spent several years clearing the ground in the region. With the exception of Armenia, Turkey has good relations with all of its neighbors and no border disputes. With the new Kurdish initiative, there is a good chance that the political and diplomatic relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq will improve quickly. What Davutoğlu is saying is that it is not enough not to have problems; it is time to build something on that basis.

This is strategic depth at work. As Turkey establishes new credentials every day, from energy security to regional diplomacy, it becomes a stronger and more reliable partner for all regional powers and global players. Turkey is acting in a post-modern, fluid and interconnected world of global relations. It does not see itself as representing one bloc against the other.

Those who think Turkey will lose its strategic Western anchor by developing good relations with Russia or Middle Eastern countries are simply wrong because they are still operating under the spell of the Cold War era. The move from zero problems to maximum cooperation is the next stage of the policy of strategic depth. But it is also the reality of the 21st century.
13 August 2009

Armenian And Russian "Hostile Friendship" Hayk Aramyan, lragir.am - 15/08/2009
According to the politician, the head of the Armenian centre of national and international studies, Richard Giragosyan, the opening of the Armenian and Russian border is in Russia's interests. The Armenian economy is ruled by Russia. These are Russian and Turkish, and not Armenian and Turkish relations. The politician Manvel Sargsyan expressed the opinion that Turkey initiated the deepening of its relations with Turkey, where there is no Armenia. Turkey has never had any wish to negotiate with Armenia.

The Armenian and Turkish negotiations exist in the framework of the Russian and Turkish rapprochement. And this rapprochement is impossible without the Armenian factor because Armenia does not have to hinder it with its problems. And in order not to hinder, it has to be forced to make steps, which contradict the interests of Armenia and the Armenian people, which we witness in the last moths.

"The Armenian and Russian friendship of centuries" is a complicated and historically interesting phenomenon. Russia, in order to be established in the Caucasus and in the adjacent areas, has always used the Armenian factor. Russia has never hidden that Armenia is just a castle for it to control the whole region. There is an interesting historical fact: when Russia leaves the region, the territory of Armenia increases and becomes more powerful. And when Russia comes back into the region, it takes place on account of the Armenian territories. This proves the whole history of the Russian and Turkish relations, the agreements signed in result of the Russian and Turkish 6 wars.

The same happened in the beginning of the century. When Russia had to yield from the region, the republic of Armenia, despite its terrible state, managed to survive and even broaden its territories. When Russia came back, it happened by giving Karabakh and Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan, an agreement with Turkey was signed, which provided for yielding a part of the Eastern Armenia to Turkey. We may also recall the fact unknown for many, when in 1923 Turkey was almost destroyed, when Greek troops occupied Ankara, and Russia provided Turkey with weapons and troops and saved it. Not accidentally, Vladimir Lenin is mentioned as a saint in Turkish mosques.

And the most recent example is the Karabakhi conflict. Until Russia was in the region, its troops eliminated all the Armenians in Martakert, Shahumyan, Gardman and other Armenian areas. When the USSR collapsed and Russia did not have the previous power in the Caucasus, Armenia restored a part of its damages.

In the present moment, Russia and Turkey have serious problems with the West; they try to establish strategical cooperation, which will include the Caucasus and the Central Asia. Naturally, in this Russian and Turkish regular commerce, the Armenian topic cannot be avoided. The facts are evident. By the order of Russia, the Armenian government agreed on demands without informing the Armenian society on the Karabakhi issue and on the Armenian and Turkish relations. It is natural that Russia is to solve its issues with Turkey on account of Armenia, because there is no other object of trade.

Here is a "friendship of centuries". But no one has to blame Russia, but we have to think to put this friendship on mutually expedient basis. This will be a surprise for Russia, because such a thing in 300 years of "friendship" never happened and the concept of the Armenian interest may seem strange to Russia.

Hence, Armenia has to seek to become a partner from the object of trade and has to present political initiatives, which will enable to come out of this situation. Of course, the qualities of the Armenian current administration do not inspire hopes that it is possible in the nearest future. And by that time, we have to set hopes on disagreements between Russia and Turkey with the West. But this is not a long lasting guarantee.

Armenian Football And Turks Chess: Own Goal In Three Moves, www.lragir.am - 15/08/2009
The process of Karabagh conflict settlement is rapidly moving toward a new, unknown phase full of challenges. However, new developments in peace process do not mean necessarily that the resolution of the problem will get any closer. Throughout all this time the leadership of Armenian National Congress repeatedly has been articulating the developments around the Karabagh question and their possible negative consequences for the Armenian population.

From time to time I was asking myself why months before the presidential elections (February 19, 2008), the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen initiated several meetings with the prime minister Serge Sargsyan and conducted detailed discussions with him about Karabagh negotiations. It was unprecedented, since co-chairmen did not meet with prime ministers. It was probably for guaranteeing the agreements achieved during those meetings, that they initiated the formalization of the ongoing negotiations (Prague process) and the high level settlement document of a few pages, which was later called the Madrid Document and was archived by three Foreign Ministers at the OSCE depositary. This was followed by the presidential elections, during which the majority of serious violations took place and were registered by OSCE/ODIHR observers already in the pre-electoral phase (which was reflected in more than 20 pages in the final report published three months after the elections by OSCE/ODIHR), and in spite of that, the elections of February 20 were assessed positively.

During the highly lawful protests, which started as a result of the rigged and shameful elections, when the law enforcement bodies, as the blunt tools of the ruling power, threatened the protesters with the use of force, no international organization or country issued any call or statement for restraining the authorities' temptation to violently suppress the lawful protest of its own people. (In Georgia, for example, where the silk protests starting April this year were much smaller in scale, the international community issued a dozen of statements/calls and encouraged the two sides to stay away from violence.) In recent times, the pressures on Armenia for expediting the settlement of the Karabagh issue started to mount (I repeat that such thing did not happen throughout the 10 years of the rule of Kocharyan). Putting together all these facts, I come to the conclusion that there was a very important mission from the beginning - to settle the Karabagh conflict through Serge Sargsyan within the framework of the document, which was inherited by today's regime from the Robert Kocharyan-Vartan Oskanyan pair (Madrid Document). There was only one argument missing in order to be able to state all this, and that was the clear signs that S. Sargsyan has come to an agreement. Today, we have those signs and it is clear why during the time when R. Kocharyan and S. Sargsyan were suppressing the lawful protest of their own people against the rigged elections with tanks and guns, the international community should have closed its eyes on even such degree of unlawfulness of S. Sargsyan, who had committed itself to a mission important for the international community.

Obvious retreat from the Madrid Document

In early July, I. Aliev, during an interview with the "Vesti" TV station, announced about the "recapture" of seven territories -indicating a five year deadline for the return of Kelbajar and Lachin. It seemed that the Armenian side should have conditioned the Kelbajar issue with the conducting of a referendum, and the status of Lachin corridor should not be different from that of the Nagorno Karabagh. But the absence of announcements/reactions from Armenia in this regard, encouraged Bryza, OSCE Misnk Group American Co-chaiman to approve Aliev's revelations. Even after the announcement of Bryza, the persistent silence of the official Yerevan is a sign that S. Sargsyan has made unprecedented concessions. The volume of concessions is not limited only to the return of territories which are currently the guarantee for Artsakh's security; in the future, we will refer to all those points, where the regime of S. Sargsyan is recording unimaginable retreat and defeatism.

All this is proven also by the positive reaction of S. Sargsyan, E. Nalbandyan and officials of the Armenian Republican Party to the "Basic Principles", consisting of six points for settling the conflict, made public on 10 July by the heads of co-chairing states.

Here I have to note that these principles, to be more correct -conflict settlement points - are only very generally linked to the "Document on Basic Principles" presented in Madrid in November 2007. Moreover, they have already moved away from the very important provisions of the "Madrid Document", and it would be more proper to say that there is an obvious deviation from the basic principles of the Madrid Document, and this deviation undoubtedly weakens our positions. We should note that those principles have been filled out with many important details and in this regard contain much bigger challenges for Armenians. The most basic principle declared by the Aliev-Bryza pair refers to the issue of territories. Although the latter mentions that five territories will be returned after the signing of the Main Agreement on the settlement (which will be drafted by the parties after the signing of the "Document on Basic Principles"), it is clear that with the signing of the latter and with the documented commitment to return the territories, the Armenian side will no longer be able to prolong negotiations and consequently it will not be possible to prevent the return of the territories.

Speaking about the statement made public on July 10, we must underline that the issue of the status of Nagorno Karabagh, which is the most important one for us, is presented in a very vague and unclear formulation and has not ended up among the first few points. While in the Madrid Document, the point on the future status of Nagorno Karabagh was the first one and was the core and axis of the document. It is clear that I. Aliev could agree with the point on the future status of Nagorno Karabagh -the self determination of the people of Nagorno Karabagh, only with one condition. That is the return of at least a part of Azeri refugees to Nagorno Karabagh. This is the most complicated point dealing with the confidence of the population of Nagorno Karabagh, feeling of security on their own land. The Madrid Document envisaged the return of refugees in accordance with the ratio of population in late 1980s (about 78% to 22%). Another point of the Madrid Document specifically indicated that any result of the voting, even the vote for independence, will be recognized by the sides and internationally. The details of the return of refugees should have been developed by one of the four joint committees envisaged in the Madrid Document. Those committees should have been formed after the signing of the document.

The possibility for revising some points of the document presented by the mediators in Madrid is indicated by the announcement of co-chairmen stating that the parties "have moved beyond the Madrid Document" and are now working on the updated version. We would like to repeat that the updated version, with its main provisions relating to the interests of the Armenian states, its basic principles, and also its crucial details, has significantly deviated from the Madrid Document. The proof is this month's interesting, and in some sense strange, developments with the participation of mediators. Presidents of the three countries, by their announcement, instructed the co-chairmen to present the updated version of the Madrid Document to the parties.

It is clear that the sixth Sargsyan-Aliev meeting one week later could not proceed with the old version of the negotiation document. While the co-chairmen declared in Krakow at the end of July that they plan to prepare the updated document. Surprisingly slow compliance with the instruction of the three Presidents ... In reality, the "progress" in the previous meeting was being summarized and documented in Krakow (this positive evaluation was shared by all the parties, which is itself unprecedented) and the proposals on the two points yet to be agreed on were being elaborated.

Here we would like to present our interpretation of the other points in the published document. We have already mentioned that they are different from the Madrid Document and this is indicated by the announcement itself. Presidents of the three countries underline that only the preliminary version of the basic principles was presented in Madrid. And what is presented today is the updated, elaborated version reflecting the concessions made by the Armenian side. It must be noted that the Co-chair's six points, which initially seem to be innocent and understandable, are in effect very dangerous, considering the unacceptable omissions they contain. We must also underline that in such documents details are most important, and we will try to discuss some of them.

Comments on the six points

- Return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control. A reasonable Armenian negotiator would not agree to return the territories to Azeri control without mentioning their unconditional demilitarization. Here reference could have been made to the buffer zone, territories transferred to the control of peacekeepers, but not immediate control of Azerbaijan, without mentioning its basic attribute - the prohibition of the presence of any armed forces in those territories. We could have assumed that in this working paper under negotiation, Armenia has insisted on including points in its favor. But considering the positive reaction of the Foreign Minister of Armenia to the announcement of the co-chairing countries, our pessimistic suspicions become more credible. And really, if the negotiations envisage the return of territories to the effectively full and unconditional control of Azerbaijan, what is there to be welcomed? After this, what confidence can a regular resident of Karabagh think about?

Considering the complexity of the issue and the intertwining of security issues, this point, in accordance with the Madrid Document, should have been further elaborated by a joint Committee.

- An interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance. This point also raises numerous questions. The interim status of Nagorno Karabagh should be different from the current one. This means that, as mentioned by the representatives of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia, elements of sovereignty will be granted to Karabagh. In fairly recent times, in the framework of this point the possibility of recognizing the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh by OSCE and other international organizations; in one form or another, stationing of own armed forces in Karabagh, as well as a multilayered security zone, were being seriously discussed. In the negotiations around this point, which is not yet agreed, the Armenian side should ensure such functions (institutional establishments), which would not be less than the current status of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic.

- A corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno Karabagh. As mentioned in numerous publications, already in 2006, the Armenian side insisted that the Lachin corridor should have the same status as the Nagorno Karabagh. This was a clear threshold, beyond which the Armenian side was not ready to make any concession. According to the statement of Azerbaijan and the mediators, five years after the signing of the "Document on Basic Principles", the Lachin region (not to be confused with the corridor) will be transferred to Azeri control. Within this context, a clearly defined status of the corridor acquires a more than crucial significance. One should also remind the reader that the electoral platform of S. Sargsyan clearly indicated that "the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh should have a common border". Agreeing to any status of the corridor differing from that of the Nagorno Karabagh would contradict the mentioned point and would record the defeatist process of negotiations conducted by the regime. With regard to this point I would also like to mention that formerly the Armenian side insisted on the necessity of the widest possible corridor - heated negotiations were conducted for each and every village in Lachin region. I am convinced that the width of the corridor cannot be ignored by any Armenian negotiator and that it should not be narrower than the time S. Sargsyan came to power.

- Future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno Karabagh through a legally binding expression of will. In addition to what was said above, it must be noted that the absence of the word "people" in this point is a matter of extreme concern1. I think this is the result of persistence of the Azeri side, which prompted Shavarsh Kocharyan, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia to state that "the document smells oil". The agreement of I. Aliev to the expression of the will of people on the status of Nagorno Karabagh would mean that Azerbaijan questions its own territorial integrity, for which it has put in huge efforts, specially in recent times. The fact that this is also the most important issue for the Armenian side is beyond doubt, consequently I do not think that any Armenian official can agree to a method of self determination or expression of will, other than a legally binding vote of the people. Here also I would like to refer to the electoral platform of S. Sargsyan: "the right of Artsakh's people to self determination should be recognized internationally and conditions should be created for its realization", which clearly envisages not only the participation of people in "the realization of the right to self determination", but also how it should be done. This means that the document cannot bypass the point on "the conditions for realization of the right to self determination". I would like to repeat that the term "plebiscite/ population vote" was included in the first article of the Madrid Document, and replacing it with any legal act of the Parliament or President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh would mean a huge retreat from the interests of Armenia and Karabagh. I would like to draw the attention of the reader also to the word "future" in this point. This word is not used in other points, therefore it creates reasonable doubt about the disproportionate concessions made by the sides.

- The right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence. The conflict has resulted in more than one million refugees from the both sides. Such formulation of the principle allows us to demand that the issue of Armenian refugees be addressed at the same level with Azeri refugees. In this regard, the announcement made by the Foreign Minister in recent days in Stepanakert is quite interesting - "the return of refugees to Karabagh is not under any discussion. This issue can be referred to only after the final settlement of the Karabagh question, in a wider context considering also the issue of around 400,000 Armenian refugees". This announcement, although with positive aspects for Armenian citizens, unfortunately raises more questions. If the issue of refugees has really not been discussed, then how could Aliev agree with the principle on Artsakh's self determination. There is only one possibility - putting together the above-mentioned a statement of the Foreign Minister and the absence of the word "people" in the previous principle announced by the three Presidents, we come to the conclusion that the mediators could have recorded the following agreement of the sides: the Armenian side refrains from the process of the expression of the will of people (referendum or plebiscite) and Azerbaijan from the return of refugees to Nagorno Karabagh. Otherwise, without referring to the issue of refugees, one cannot talk about any document or agreement. It must also be noted that according to the Madrid Document, this principle of the return of refugees was also to be discussed in a joint committee.

- International security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. This issue is also one of the most important ones. Today, the security of Nagorno Karabagh is protected by our army, whose units are stationed in the most favorable positions from a defense point of view. Any movement of our army units will weaken our positions and make them more vulnerable. This is why the Madrid Document had envisaged multilayer international security guarantees. They included the stationing of peacekeeping forces, recognizing Armenia as the guarantee for security, political guarantees given by co-chairing states and a special resolution of the UN Security Council. The current formulation of the mentioned principle is unacceptable, since the term "peacekeeping operation" means not only the peacekeeping operation by armed peacekeepers, but also the dispatching of civilian observers. The term "demilitarization of territories" as the guarantee of international security is also missing. Thus, here also there is room for doubt that, in this case too, it is not the position of the Armenian side, with that of the Azeri side that has been reflected in the statement of the three Presidents.


Hence, what was compelling the authorities, even after numerous warnings, to take inadequately calculated steps toward the trap in the Armenia-Turkey relationships and make unprecedented concessions in the process of the settlement of Nagorno Karabagh issue? The amateurish conduct of the foreign policy, or the imbecile diplomacy lacking content, or ... The chain of the facts mentioned above disclose the following unfortunate reality:

- Already from the time when S. Sargsyan was the prime minister, the Karabagh settlement issue was used to ensure the succession of power in the form of the relevant promises, and maybe also undertaking certain commitments. Now, it is time to deliver its previous promises;

- S. Sargsyan, ending up as the President through rigged elections, massacre of people by the authorities and introducing an illegal state of emergency, has decided to acquire international legitimacy through concessions in the Nagorno Karabagh issue and accepting Turkey's preconditions (creation of the commission of historians).

- Turkey's linking of the opening of the borders with the Nagorno Karabagh issue and the limited time available for regulating the relationships with Turkey, have forced S. Sargsyan to activate the negotiations on Nagorno Karabagh. That can be done only through the unjustified and unfair concessions made by the Armenian side. And the "progress" made in the last meeting was ensured only thanks to the "flexibility" of S. Sargsyan. The complexity of the issue is that S. Sargsyan's not visiting Turkey in October has the potential of not only freezing the relationships with Turkey, but also creating a dangerous vacuum in the peaceful process of Nagorno Karabagh settlement. S. Sargsyan has fallen into that trap prepared by the Turks from where there is no advantageous exit.

Possible solutions

1. Understanding the complexity of the situation created, S. Sargsyan toughens the negotiating positions, also harming the improvement of Armenia-Turkey relationships. The result might be the total loss of the support of the international community and stronger pressure on both the regime and Armenia. A vacuum might be created in the negotiations, which increases the danger of unpredictable, dangerous and uncontrollable developments, including the resumption of military operations.

2. The proposed "Basic Principles" document is signed (it can remain confidential for a certain period of time - the end of this year) and S. Sargsyan visits Turkey in October. Here I would like to particularly mention that the authorities did not comment on the information published in the "Haykakan Jamanak" newspaper regarding the signing of the document during the last Sargsyan-Aliev meeting. This signed, or 90 percent agreed, document is full of one-sided concessions, which are more dangerous than the frequently criticized provisions of the Madrid Document. When the latter is made public, it will be revealed to what shamefully low threshold has the S. Sargsyan-E. Nalbandyan pair sunk the settlement process by making concessions and giving everything for maintaining their power. The price is the security of Nagorno Karabagh. The result is the loss of legitimacy in Nagorno Karabagh, as well as among the army and even own circle of acquaintances; rallying people to prevent such developments.

3. There is also a third option - letting Aliev cause the failure of the document as usual. The danger of this option is that pretending to be constructive and taking obvious risks, S. Sargsyan is forced to make ever larger concessions. All these have been recorded by mediators and included in newer documents, in this case the one drafted in Krakow. One day answers should to be given for all those concessions ...

The recent statement of Davutoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey indicate that the ball is in our court, and not the Turk's, as stated by the speakers of our authorities. The Turks are currently playing a brilliant middle game -increasing the pressure on the Armenian side. The Turks and Azeris do not even need to make any move -the Armenian side is in a zugzwang of time and content.


This period will probably enter the textbooks for politics and diplomacy as an example of how and why one should not conduct a foreign policy lacking content, preferring only the form and the external effect and falling into one's own trap.

As a representative of the opposition, it would seem that I would prefer the developments to go down the path of the second option. But this is not an issue where one should be an ill-wisher. I do not wish to present the created situation in dramatic and dark colors. Solutions are available, but everything comes at a cost. It remains to hope that the cost would not be too high ...

VLADIMIR KARAPETYAN Member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Armenian National Congress

1 In a recent meeting with the foreign minister of Sweden, the current presidency of the European Union, presenting the principle of the status of Nagorno Karabagh, S. Sargsyan also bypassed the word "people", thus making the suspicion that he is making some unacceptable and unjustified concessions even stronger.

If Armenia And Diaspora Unite, Would A Chance To Force Turkey Recognize The Genocide Be Real? 14.08.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "Diaspora should be the main ally of Armenia," Vahan Shirkhanyan , member of the Hnchak Social Democratic Party of Armenia told journalists today.

According to him, if Armenia and Diaspora unite, there would be more possibilities to force Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

According to him, the negotiations with Turkey on the Armenian Genocide will be successful only when the talks return to the starting point.

Vahan Shirkhanyan also noted that it is very important to restore full confidence between Armenia and Russia, as according to legal documents countries are strategic partners.

"Armenia acted wrongly in relation to Russia. I believe that Armenia should not award the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili with the Order of Honor "- he said stressing that Armenian position was incorrect position during the Russian-Georgian war.

Barbarian Turkish: Discover Thousands Of Human Bones In A Village Of Armenia The Victims Were Villagers Massacred Armenians By Turkish Troops In 1920 Kemalists 16 August 2009 By Krikor Amirzayan / Armenews

Macabre discovery in the village of Hartakiugh in Lori region (Armenia). During the cleaning of human bones were discovered in several wells.

In the sink "Garabedentz", teams have extracted bones and swords and light weapons by the testimonies of villagers who claim that the Armenians in 2002 during a previous cleaning, teams had updated also human bones and swords and guns dating from the early twentieth century.

According to the villagers to Hartakiugh, the bones of nearly one thousand people were taken from five to six wells on the dozens that make up the village. According to Samvel Hounanian, director of the school Hartakiugh these human remains date back to November 1920 when Turkish troops Kemalists have exterminated the Armenian population of the villages and Hartakiugh Armenian neighbors.

"Villagers Armenians were murdered or thrown alive into the many sink" said S. Hounanian.

Until scientists and historians took over, thousands of bones were found at the church of Nareg Sourp Hartakiugh. Haig Demoyan, director of the Museum of Armenian Genocide in Yerevan Dzidzernagapert said that specialists from the museum have photographed all the bones until their study.

"We keep in boxes. We do not bury until the recognition of Armenian genocide by the States of the planet, "said Simonian Volodia a local Hartakiugh. But for its part Démoyan Haig believes that these bones must be returned to earth and overcome by the construction of a memorial. Krikor Amirzayan

Polluted A Reservoir To The Turkish Border Inquiète Armenia, 16 August 2009, By Stéphane / Armenews
Armenian ecologists fear that a large reservoir between their country of Turkey is becoming more polluted, creating hazards to the health of people consuming the crops irrigated by its waters.

Akhurian the reservoir is crucial to both Armenia and Turkey. Including 525 million cubic meters of water, it irrigates almost 104,000 hectares of agricultural land in both countries.

The tank, which entered active service in 1980, runs along 20 km between the two states.

Armenian researchers have sounded the alarm after a search in the ecosystem of the reservoir a few years ago. They say that the ecosystem is polluted with heavy metals and toxic materials.

But without cooperation between the Armenian and Turkish environmentalists, they fear that nothing is done.

Environmentalists say that the reservoir contains no mechanism which can self or absorb or remove the traces of heavy metals.

"Our investigation found small concentrations of heavy metals in the reservoir that can not escape," said Levon Martirosian, head of the Research Institute Geophones who conducted the investigation.

"Heavy metals can poison plants cultivated by irrigation water, these pollutants also accumulate in tissues of different fish."

Heavy metals and their compounds can enter the body through the mouth, skin and mucous membranes. They exit through kidney, liver, stomach, salivary glands, while having an impact on these bodies.

Levon Martirosian says his team has become aware of the problem in the tank after a Swiss company has bought an apricot orchard consisting of 60 hectares near the tank a few years ago.

Wanting to export the fruit, the company wanted a biological product. To this end, they ordered a water analysis. And so, in 2002, environmental research on the ecosystem of the reservoir Akhurian began.

From the beginning, the Armenian specialists knew that their investigation is incomplete, because they had no means to discover the quantity or the dynamics of harmful substances entering the reservoir on the Turkish side.

Since the 1980s, the Armenian and Turkish officials met monthly from spring until autumn in the border village of Jrapi to discuss water issues and in particular Akhurian tank. The village was founded in 1974 with the construction of reservoir Akhurian when two villages were merged and moved to their new location.

But these meetings were only the quantity of water reserved for irrigation, while other issues were not mentioned. Thereafter due to a lack of official cooperation Levon Martirosian visited Turkey as private to keep a few contacts.

"I went to Kars three times as a tourist in 2004 and 2005 because it was impossible to hold an official meeting connected with our investigation" recalls Levon Martirosian.

"I tried to find an organization in charge of the environment, but it was useless," he said. "There was no public organization wishing to start any cooperation even informally."

In addition, during his visit to Kars, Levon Martirosian discovered alarming facts: a leather factory and a sugar refinery on the outskirts of the city. The expert expressed concern that releases of these two plants flowing into the reservoir by the Kars River.

An additional concern is the amount of garbage flowing into the lake on the Armenian side.

Gyumri The river drains into the reservoir. Armenian environmentalists want a more detailed investigation of the ecosystem of the reservoir, including investigations in the territory of neighboring Turkey.

They want an investigation in the annual dynamics of water, micro-flora and fauna, as well as the local vegetation and in particular the areas cultivated and irrigated by the reservoir. The tank is now almost 50 years old - the result of a cordial relationship between Turkey and the old Soviet Union.

A joint committee Soviet-Turkish signed an agreement to build the lake on 25 April 1963.

The agreement settled the flow of four rivers in the lake - the Akhurian, Kars, Karakhan and Chorli.

Seyran Minasian, the head of the Investigations Department of the Laboratory of Control Center of the Environmental Impact, attached to the Armenian Ministry of Environment, who was involved in the investigation of the ecosystem of the reservoir in 2002, is more optimistic than some of his colleagues.

He claims that the extent of heavy metal pollution is not as alarming as some say and that concentration levels are not dangerous.

Seyran Minasian but acknowledges that the Turkish government is not interested in such pollution far in the east.

"We know that the Turkish Government conducts a review of the water, but prefer not to spend money on the eastern parts of the country," he said.

"It is clear that the quantity, not quality, the Araxes and the Akhurian are what is most important for Turkey."

Armenian researchers say the question of a beginning of dialogue with Turkey on the reservoir, its maintenance and development, remains a primary goal.

Artush Mkrtchian, Head of Business Development of Gyumri, lie the fate of the tank to the issue of closed borders.

He worked in the field of Armenian-Turkish relations for nine years, organizing programs to create dialogue between people.

Artush Mkrtcian still believe that the borders will reopen one day, mainly due to pressure from the European Union on Turkey.

"Attempts long for Turkey to join the European Union as well as its own economic and national interests of Armenia means that sooner or later they will open the borders," said Mkrtchian Artush.

"Water resources are the property of the state, which means the problem must be discussed by the governments of Armenia and Turkey," he said.

"But these countries simply do not exist for one another [diplomatic]. From there, the problem will remain unresolved until the establishment of diplomatic relations. "

Levon Martirosian for its part says that international pressure on both sides remains the best hope of the tank.

Eurovision 2009: 43 Interviews Azerbaijan Azeris Who Voted For Armenia At Eurovision 2009
Eurovision Instrument Negationism Baku State 15 August 2009 By Krikor Amirzayan / Armenews

The nationalist hysteria against a backdrop of rampant negationism state in Azerbaijan. National Security in Baku would have a systematic search of all the people who voted for Armenia at the Eurovision contest of 2009.

In the final in Moscow, 43 citizens of Azerbaijan have voted for Armenia, while Azerbaijani television was against all rules of the Eurovision censuré phone numbers to vote in favor of representing the sisters Arshakian Armenia!

Roshvan Nasirli is one of those Azerbaijanis who voted for Armenia. He was summoned for questioning in August Azerbaijani Ministry of Interior. R. Nasirli said after his interrogation that the police had the Azeri names of 43 citizens of Azerbaijan who had given their vote to Armenia. "Leaders of Homeland Security asked me why I had voted in favor of Armenia at Eurovision 2009 "also stated R. Nasirli.

After a morale-pressure according to the witness, these officers would have said to R. Nasirli "You have no nationality? Why have you voted for Armenia. "R. Nasirli allegedly replied "if members are in Armenia Azeri, Azeri citizens why do not they have the right to give their vote to a song they like." According to R. Nasirli, he would have given her voice to Armenia against the Azerbaijani representative song of Arash and he did not like the song Armenian was closest to his heart than Arash.

"But I never imagined that my actions may happen to the national security," says R. Nasirli.

While in Yerevan song representatives of Azerbaijan to Eurovision 2009 is widely listened to, in Baku, however, the song of the representatives of Armenia is censored.

What the leaders of Eurovision to punish the denial of state of Azerbaijan? Especially after the scandals caused by Azerbaijan during the last competition in Moscow. The vote of censure of Armenia, live, by the Public Television of Azerbaijan at the Eurovision 2009, however, should suffice to punish Baku ... Unless Baku to benefit from broad protections that go naturally by Ankara.
Krikor Amirzayan

Ankara Can Hardly Fool France And US, By Appo Jabarian
Executive Publisher / Managing Editor Usa Armenian Life Magazine, August 8, 2009
Turkey's scandalous "Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival" in early April in the United States caused the eruption of worldwide condemnation. As if that embarrassment wasn't enough, now Turkey has set itself up to face a stronger opposition for its ill-guided public relations campaign in France.

Besides investing over $2.5 million in the United States, Turkey has underwritten the expense of nearly 30 million euros in France in order to hold the nine-month-long "Season of Turkey in France," set to run from July 1, 2009, until March 31, 2010. But the new Turkish PR frenzy in France has already stumbled on a sizable block.

On August 2, the Turkish daily milliyet.com.tr reported that several Armenian, Greek and Cypriot members of their respective diasporas carried out strong protest rallies in Marseilles, France. The Milliyet also reported on another scene that caused much embarrassment for Turkey: During an official reception at the City Hall of Marseilles, a deputy mayor clearly stated that the events in "1915 was genocide."

Why is Turkey fast at work to pour tens of millions of dollars and euros in order to "win" over the Europeans and especially France's predominantly anti-Turkey population? Why is it desperately trying to change the negative tone of the European and especially French public opinion? It wants to join the EU.

But the Europeans have in place several preconditions, such as the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the recognition of EU Member Cyprus' sovereignty, the implementation of massive democratic reforms at home, and the achievement of "zero problems with its neighbors," among many others.

Expressing exasperation with Turkey's lack of democratic maturity and apparent inability to break from its criminal past; and with its embarrassing failure in exercising genuine overture toward the Armenians, a pro-Turkey ally in France, Mr. Pierre Lellouche, a French official and the minister of European Affairs, has publicly expressed his disappointment. During a mid-July interview with l'Express magazine, Mr. Lellouche displayed his exasperation with Turkey noting that during the last five years, Ankara has lacked evolution, especially on the Armenian Cause. And that is the cause for his changing of position on Turkey's accession to the EU. Mr. Lellouche's anti-Turkey position is in stark contrast to all his previous positions, noted Mr. Ara Toranian the Editor of the Paris-based Nouvelles d'Arménie magazine.

Mr. Toranian further unmasked Turkey's arrogance-coated desperate measures: "The parallel that it attempts to establish between the lifting of the blockade against Armenia and the settlement of the Artsakh/Karabagh conflict is very indicative of the general fruitlessness of its approach. ... For a long time, Turkey believed that it would be sufficient to rely on its traditional diplomatic ability ... to misguide the world particularly on the fact of the genocide. ... Instead, it essentially sought to manage its affairs superficially with denialist propaganda and diversionary maneuvers, not to solve, not to change direction, not to move forward."

Turkey's failed approach in tying the lifting of the anti-Armenia blockade to the Armenian Genocide and the Artsakh/Karabagh issues has created yet a new problem. Much to Turkey's chagrin, the so-called Turkish-Armenian "reconciliation" process was caught flat-footed when several members of the US House of Representatives very recently stepped up their criticism of Ankara, slamming Turkey over a reversal on the proposed "road map."

In a July 29th letter to President Obama, initiated by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) as well as Armenian Genocide resolution lead sponsors Adam Schiff (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA), Members of Congress questioned Turkey's commitment to talks normalizing relations with Armenia, as stated in a "roadmap" agreement signed just two days prior to April 24th, the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey has since added preconditions to continued discussions, which have led most observers of the process to conclude the effort to be stalled indefinitely.

"While the government of Armenia remains committed to this road map and has long offered to establish ties with Turkey without preconditions, Turkey's public statements and actions since April 24 stand in sharp contrast to this agreement and undermine U.S. policy that normalization take place without preconditions," the lawmakers said in the letter.

"It would appear that Turkey, in an effort to block U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, agreed to a roadmap it did not intend to uphold," noted the letter to the President. "Therefore, we urge your Administration to separate the issues of normalization and genocide recognition. We hope that renewed efforts and focused resources from the Administration can be utilized to nurture the Armenia-Turkey normalization process without preconditions and within a reasonable time-frame, and continue to remain strongly supportive of your stated campaign policy to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide."

In a late July Agence France Press news article, Michel Sailhan reported: "Turkey on Friday bitterly marked 50 years since its first application to integrate formally with Europe, a date overshadowed by its troubled EU accession talks. 'We remember this anniversary but it's not a cause for celebration,' Turkey's chief negotiator with the EU, Egemen Bagis, said in a statement. 'Our country has no longer any tolerance for time wasting and delays," he said, stressing Ankara's determination to continue on the path of reform.

But even if membership talks are one day successfully completed, France may put Turkey's accession to a referendum. Now it is clear why Turkey is pouring good money after bad, throwing fruitless lavish festivals in various parts of the world.

With all the Season of Turkey Festival-style political make-up applied to Turkey's face marred with the traces of its ugly criminal past, Ankara can hardly fool France and the United States.

Harut Sassounian's Arpa Lecture Now Can Be Viewed On Youtube
Below are the three links/website addresses that will take you to the video clips of Harut Sassounian's ARPA Lecture on July 30, 09 in Merdinian. If you were not present at the lecture, you can watch it on Youtube by clicking on the links. Or, by copying and pasting the address into your explorer address window.


The links to Youtube Harut Sassounian's lecture are:

So I Hear... And The World Watches...By Catherine Yesayan
April 25, 2009 - I am checking my emails. The subject on one of the email reads: "Obama Betrays Armenians." Since yesterday, I've received a half a dozen emails on the same subject. Armenians have rallied to continue their efforts to make U.S. congress officially recognize the long awaited acknowledgement of the "Genocide" So, I hear...

BEFORE THAT - same day 9:00 AM - I pick up the weekend issue of our local newspaper, the Glendale News-Press, and the front-page article with big bold letters says: "Obama's words rebuked," I read the whole article. "Armenians are
disappointed... Obama danced around the language." The Armenian communities from "sea to shining sea" are outraged and a firestorm is soon to be ignited. Was the promise a feel-good campaign rhetoric? I am thinking...

BEFORE THAT Politifact.com, the Obameter website, questions Pres. Obama's integrity, having concluded that he had broken his promise on the Armenian Genocide - one of the 511 campaign promises that the website keeps track of. People are watching...

BEFORE THAT Mom calls and says, "It is April 24th, are you watching the TV? - President Obama is on." just barely, I get to hear the last few sentences.
He sympathizes with Armenian cause. "Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the "Meds Yeghern." He uses the Armenian phrase "Meds Yeghern" which translates into "The Great Calamity" avoiding using the term "genocide" to describe the atrocities of Ottoman Turks to eradicate Armenians from their homelands. His statement falls short from his pledge. So, I hear...

BEFORE THAT - April 6, 2009 - during a press conference in Ankara, a journalist asks Pres. Obama if he is going to stand firm on his campaign promise. Obama answers: "My views are on the record and I have not changed views." The reporter presses him about not using the term genocide." And he maneuvers around the topic without using the word "genocide." I am anxious to see, on April 24th, how he is going to recognize the "Genocide" a promise he had made to the Armenian community during his presidential campaign. I am thinking...

BEFORE THAT - November 4, 2008 - I am watching on TV, the sea of crowd at Chicago's Grant Park, welcoming the newly elected president Obama. I share tears of joy with Oprah, Jesse Jackson and the whole crowd. I am witnessing the unfolding of a new era in the American History - a ripple that will forge new relations and softens the socioeconomic conflicts at the International stage. And the world watches...

BEFORE THAT - January 19, 2008 - as a presidential candidate and as a senator, Obama, makes a promise to American-Armenian community and pledges that he would officially recognize the "Genocide." Armenians are hopeful and passionately support Obama... So, I hear...

BEFORE THAT - March 7, 2006 - the ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, is recalled by President Bush's Administration, back to Washington. He had referred to Armenian massacre of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey as "Genocide."
Armenians protest. They are asking John Evans to come back. So, I hear...

BEFORE THAT - April 24, 1995 - I am driving my kids, ages 21, 16, 10, to Montebello, California, where Armenians have erected a memorial monument for the Genocide. I want, us, to be part of the 80th anniversary ommemoration service. So, I drive...

BEFORE THAT - April 24, 1965, Tehran. We are gathered, a crowd to the capacity, in the playground of St. Mary's Armenian church and the connecting high school. I am 16, I hear the priest conducting a mass for the ravished Armenian souls, massacred 50 years ago. So, I hear...

BEFORE THAT - August 22, 1939 - on the eve of his murderous attack against Poland, Hitler makes an address to his chief military commanders. He finishes his remarks by saying "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" 10 million people are wiped out by Nazis. And the world watches.

BEFORE THAT - March 15, 1921 - Soghomon Tehlirian, in broad daylight and in the presence of many witnesses assassinates Talat Pasha, the architect of the Armenian Genocide. It takes the jury slightly an hour to acquit Tehlirian. The trial, taking place in Germany, influences Rafael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer to coin the term "Genocide"

BEFORE THAT my ancestors living in Ottoman, Turkey, are slaughtered by Turkish Militia or are evacuated community by community and marched to their
deaths in the deserts. And the world watches.

BEFORE THAT - on April 24, 1915, Talat Pasha orders the arrest and persecution of all the Armenian leaders, bankers, professors, doctors, lawyers and many business professionals, in Constantinople and masterminds the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians. And the world watches the first ethnic cleansing of the 20th century.

Catherine was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She took her BA degree in English Literature from Tehran's American Women's College - Damavand. She moved to the US in 1979 and has lived in Glendale ever since. Before joining her husband in his real estate business, she was a "stay at home" mom.

Catherine has always been active in the Glendale schools and community - the PTA, the homeowners association, and other civic organizations.

Volunteerism has provided her with rewarding opportunities to serve others and, in 1998, she was selected as one of the most influential citizens by the Glendale News Press.

In 2000 Catherine ran for the Glendale Unified School Board; while she was unsuccessful, she found the political arena a most stimulating experience.

She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and the cinema. Recently she initiated a new venture of Home Staging in which she redesigns homes to improve their marketability.
You may reach her by email cyesayan@gmail.com

Playing The Genocide Numbers Game In Armenia
When people tell me I look like a million, I don’t know who’s fooling whom. I don’t know whether they mean I feel like I just inherited a million bucks, or that I look like a million (years).

Either way, it turns into a numbers game that is far beyond my comprehension and yours. People with a $10 million lottery ticket are no better off than a $9 million winner. A million in this case doesn’t make a big difference either way.

While touring Armenia in April, I was “one in a million.” On April 24th, the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, I joined a crowd estimated at 1 million making its annual pilgrimage to the memorial on the outskirts of Yerevan, the capital city.

Had you been there, you would not have seen a bigger crowd anywhere, no matter what the activity. It was incredulous three years ago during my first trip to Armenia that I was immersed in a crowd of 100,000 which turned out to celebrate Armenian Independence Day.
My Memorial Day encounter topped that figure tenfold. The entire city shut down in favor of this commemoration so mourners could gather with their families and place flowers by the eternal flame.

A 2-3 hour wait was typical, by the time you made your way from the park’s entrance to Tsitzernagapert (monument’s name). Along the route, you spent time getting acquainted, chatting with others, listening to liturgical music over loudspeakers, and just rekindling history.

Many like myself thought about what it must felt like back in 1915 when the Ottoman Turkish hordes invaded one village after another and put to death 1.5 million innocent victims while sending another million from their homeland.

It does a population good to recall those events annually and teach younger generations so that history will not repeat itself. Although it is a national day of mourning in Armenia, it is also a day of commemoration and gratitude in some ways that a country torn with strife was able to display its resilience and rise from the ashes.

I purposely planned my trip to coincide with the event, having been a part of such observances back home which display a great sense of apathy. In Armenia, history is laid before them. Here, it serves well to bury the past and look to the future.

With 4,500 Armenians in Merrimack Valley, three local commemorations drew less than 500. The population in all of Yerevan is listed around 1 million. Perhaps 80 percent of the entire settlement turned out, joined by another 20 percent from the outskirts, though many of those villages conducted their own observances.

I was also impressed by the heavy representation of youth at this memorial. The night before, members of the younger generation marched five miles in the rain to the monument, singing patriotic songs.

Many of those also repeated the gesture next day, hoisting signs of every country, which recognizes the genocide. Sad to say, my own America was not among them, even though 44 states have formally endorsed such legislation.

Those who know me recognize the fact I’m not very good in crowded situations and avoid them at all costs. I did attend a Celtics play-off game and that was bad enough with 17,000 in attendance, only to see my favorite Boston team lose.

You would think that 1 million folks would resemble a mob scene, jostling its way to irritation. On the contrary, security guards along the way kept the massive throng moving in coordinated stages.

A face in the crowd. A pine needle on an evergreen. An acorn in a forest. For one moment in my life, I was a pebble at the seashore. People were everywhere —as far as the naked eye could see.

Whether it was a rose or a lilac, they came equipped with enough flowers to build a 20-foot floral wall. Vendors did a brisk business keeping up with the trade. Men in military uniforms stood next to youngsters sporting neckties.

No fanfare or ritual. They arrived to pay homage, place a flower and off they went. It was easy to understand why businesses and schools were closed for the day. It took that long to work through the crowd.

One or two were seen draped in red, blue and orange — colors of the Armenian flag — while one demonstrator, an elderly woman, held a sign in memory of Hrant Dink, the slain Turkish-Armenian journalist. She held her ground from morning ëtil night.

“He gave his life for his country and his people,” she said. “Hrant Dink was a modern-day martyr whose memory will never be forgotten.” Asbarez/

Pan-Turkic After Pan-Islamic? August 14, 2009 Cengz Aktar
Following the unrest that broke out in the east of Turkestan, officially known as Xingjiang, in People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks have raised Turkey's international pretentions to a new level. Official Turkish foreign policy led by the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has evolved along an Islamic line since the end of 2004, despite the academic rhetoric from the architect of this policy, current Foreign Minister Ahmet Davudoğlu.

Despite sumptuous expressions such as “a strong Turkey vision; zero problems with the region/periphery/basin; maximum mutual interests; global vision”, in the background diplomatic activities have been based on religious brotherhood. For the sake of real politics, overlooking what is happening in the Darfur region of Sudan and in Iran after presidential elections; becoming a Hamas supporter unconditionally while trying to broker peace in the Middle East; adopting a religious stance in the cartoon crisis in Denmark and rejecting Rasmussen’s candidacy as the new NATO secretary-general on the pretext of not moral nor political reasons but for religious justifications... the prime minister’s statement on China added a new, pan-Turkic dimension to the course of this line.

Since 1923 the Republic of Turkey has always avoided foreign policy based on ethnicity and religious brotherhood. The sole exception is the patronage or Turks living in Western Trace and in Cyprus, being shaped in the framework of an arch-old rivalry with the Hellenistic/Orthodox world and Greece. Despite grave issues in neighboring Bulgaria, Turkish policy regarding Turks living in this country has never been similar to that of Turks living in Greece. The feeling of brotherhood and kinship with Central Asian republics intensified in the aftermath of the Soviet disintegration but has never been channeled into policy. The sympathy some have for Chechens, though they are not Turks, has never gone beyond the activism of Caucasus associations. The same goes for the Uighurs.

We have heard ethnic motives in the foreground for the first time, as Turkey supported Azerbaijan against Armenia. It is no exaggeration to say that Erdoğan’s “almost genocide” remark regarding the Uighur unrest has led to a new platform.

Dangerous and unproductive policies

Adding a pan-ethnic dimension through excessive nationalism to the already supra-national ummah dimension of religions, will not serve any good to anyone. To tackle human rights violations committed in these countries on the basis of democracy not of race and religion, should be the moral stance of a Turkey that yearns for respect. It should be being able to talk about Tibet in addition to the Uighur situation in China. Because otherwise, while you are preoccupied with pan-Turkism and pan-Islamism others may push their pan-Kurdism, pan-Arabism, pan-Hellenism and pan-Orthodoxy to the fore. You name Uighurs as freedom warriors but others see them as terrorists. Others name Kurds as freedom warriors but you say they are terrorists. At the end as it is the case today, the arm race just accelerates together with wars.

Likewise, to have a final say in such matters you need to solve internal and external problems first; I mean building a firm basis of democracy. No one will listen to what a Turkey with a serious Kurdish issue has to say about human rights violations in other countries.

But in the end, all these international claims may simply be calculated heroism targeting national public opinion. In fact, regardless of their political choices the majority supports Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s scolding everyone abroad as the way he lashes out at others in the country. They feel proud as his remarks become a remedy for a lack of confidence since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. But let’s not make any excuses for our complexes. This is rather a social psychological treatment, not an active foreign policy. Just like a soccer game, it functions to keep society as a whole.

But the fiasco side of the issue in foreign politics is self-evident: it is to have no one with us, ridiculing ourselves and suddenly being like a spare prick at a wedding although our reaction is right in essence in events such as the Uighur unrest in China, the cartoon crisis, Rasmussen’s becoming NATO secretary-general and Israeli attacks in Gaza.

Turkey’s Political Expectations From Russia August 13, 2009 Sami Kohen
We mostly dwelled upon the energy outcome of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s recent trip to Ankara. Although the parties focused on the economy in a five-hour meeting, political as well as regional issues were discussed too.

Ankara and Moscow have similar perspectives on the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Even if positions are different in some specific issues this has no impact over bilateral relations and cooperation.

However, two issues of importance to Turkish foreign policy were discussed as well during Putin’s visit to Ankara: The Cyprus and the Karabakh conflicts.

Since energy projects were being paid attention, the public has almost no information on the two. But some interesting developments took place in these two issues.

Cyprus: New elements
In fact, Putin in a press conference gave some clues about the Cyprus conflict. The Russian prime minister said Russia supports an urgent solution plan in the island as he mentioned about the Annan Plan as well as the United Nations resolutions. But more importantly, Putin talked about two zones or regions on the island. He said having economic relations between Moscow and Cypriot Turks in the north will make contributions to the solution.

Putin’s remarks caused a panic among the Greek Cypriot side known for having a chip on their shoulder. Newspapers in southern Cyprus published that Putin first uttered a two-state solution. It was actually a translation error, so he really meant two-sides or two-regions, they wrote. As Cypriot-Greek administrators made a fuss about it, Russian officials had to say that this was not correct and was just a translation error. Russian Ambassador to Lefkoşa (Nicosia) V. Shumskiy had an urge to stress that there was no change in Moscow’s Cyprus policy.

In fact, Russian policy toward Cyprus hasn’t changed. But the Russian leader understands Turkey’s sensitivity on the economic situation in the north of the island, or isolations over Cypriot-Turks.

One of the energy projects taken up in Ankara, the Blue Stream 2, envisages stretching the pipeline to Israel via Cyprus. That of course will have to pass through the Turkish zone.

In the light of the new facts, Putin’s remarks on having economic relations with Cypriot-Turks have some political implications. In other words, one can anticipate a new nuance in Russia’s Cyprus policy, or a different approach, though there is no change in essence.

The Caucasus: A double game
As for the Karabakh issue, Putin followed a diplomatic approach, defending that his country wants an end to conflict in the Caucasus and is trying to settle this issue but that there shouldn’t be any external interference, only encouragement for truce.

Following the upheaval in Georgia last year, Moscow now wants to maintain an upper hand in the Caucasus, trying to control Azerbaijan as much as Armenia. Azerbaijan’s stance against Turkey regarding the Armenian initiative helped Moscow. Now, Russia more easily controls Yerevan and Baku.

Turkey’s expectations from Russia are active involvement in the Karabakh conflict and pressure on Armenia. In the solution of problems among Ankara, Baku and Yerevan, Turkey believes Russia could be more influential than any party.

But Russia takes it slowly and makes no rush. What is important for Russia is to maintain its influence in the region.

In short, Russia plays a difficult chess game in foreign politics in its backyard, as it does in energy.

And Russians are known for their talent in this game!

* Mr. Sami Kohen is a columnist for the daily Milliyet in which this piece appeared Tuesday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.


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