2823) Media Scanner May Part 1 2009 ( 122 Items )

  1. Interview: Adnan Oktar: There's No Territorial Issue - There's Friendship And Love Instead
  2. Serge Sargsyan Has Sold Genocide, His Next Step Is To Sell Karabakh In Order To Hold His Power
  3. Another Problem From Hell on Kurds & Armenians
  4. Any Attempt To Question Historical Fact Of Genocide Can Be Characterized As Atavism
  5. Freedom House: Press In Armenia Still Not Free
  6. Obama's First Trip to Europe: Five Serious Political Missteps Hellenic News of America
  7. Armenian Online Editor Severely Beaten, HospitalisedALERT- ARMENIA
  8. `Road Map' View:Karabakh settlement part of Armenia-Turkey accord?
  9. Threshold Of Changes: `Road Map' Imply New Political Route?
  10. First Cyprus, Now Armenia: Could EU Err Again?
  11. Turkish-Syrian Relations & Israel
  12. Problems & Opportunities
  13. Parris: ‘Genocide' Reference Would've Frozen Turkey Ties
  14. Speech:Gasparian, Chargé d'Affaires of Armenian Embassy
  15. Obama: Part Surrender
  16. History Inoperative
  17. News From Canada: The Worst Speech
  18. Reasons For Non Use Of The Word Genocide
  19. Speech:Ter-Petrosyan: 1 May 2009 Rally
  20. Turkish Military Against Armenia Border Opening
  21. Moving Tribute In U.S. Congress To Turkish-American
  22. Turkey & Its Neo-Con U.S. Accomplices Conspire To Force Armenia Into Capitulation
  23. Aliyev Needs Simple Answer To Simple Question
  24. Yerevan Youth On Road Map
  25. Aliyev Have To Play His Cards Carefully
  26. Obama Honeymoon Ends Abruptly
  27. Mountain Chess Economist
  28. Psychological Threshold Mahcupyan
  29. Who Is Only Victor In Armenian Situation?
  30. Turkey May Hit Wall In Dialogue
  31. Letter To ObamaMahir Kaynak
  32. Obama’s Different ImageSami Kohen
  33. Risk Or Opportunity?Fehmi Koru
  34. Obama’s Tattered Image F.Disli
  35. Turk-Armenian Reconciliation Key
  36. Turks & ’Meds Yeghern’ M Akyol
  37. Armenia: Yesterday, Today, & Maybe No Tomorrow
  38. Sth Australia's Lower House Recognizes Genocide
  39. What is between Turkey & Armenia?
  40. Et Tu Obama? Letter from Former Admirer, Sassounian
  41. Unanimous Pass: Resolution On Genocide In Ca
  42. Turkey-Armenia Joint Declaration & Obama's Message, Lütem
  43. Crossing Torrent Of Bitterness On Border
  44. Turkey Criticizes Obama
  45. Armenians Worldwide Express Deep Concern: “Road Map”
  46. “Road Map” Details
  47. Davutoğlu: We Didn't Promise Anything Excessive
  48. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité - Et Realité
  49. Turkgroup Tim Hacked Armenian Sites
  50. Turkish Flag Burned In Yerevan
  51. London Islamist: 'Genocide by Ottomans… Big Lie'
  52. Sargsyan - Recognition of Genocide Best Deterrences
  53. Sargsyan’s April 24th Message
  54. Gallipoli Diggers & 'Forgotten' Holocaust
  55. What If?
  56. TTK Not Against Opening Border
  57. Lifeline For Kars Across Border
  58. Armenians Eye Moves With Deep Skepticism
  59. Internationalization Problem Of Turkey-Armenia Talks
  60. Three Countries, One Regional Leader
  61. Transcript: Serzh Sargsyan
  62. Armenia & Turkey: Lobby Groups Opposing Confirmation
  63. Choosing Armenian
  64. U.S. Sen Boxers on Genocide
  65. Path To Rapprochement
  66. Interview: Serj Tankian
  67. "Could Be Crisis Between Two Brotherly Countries?"
  68. Turkish Remedy For Anti-Americanism
  69. Democracy In Turkey: Farce With Tragic Consequences,
  70. Obama Uses Armenian Equivalent Of Genocide Twice In Speech
  71. So-Called Morals
  72. Obama's Weapon Of Choice Is Charm
  73. Time To Calm Down Little
  74. History & Law
  75. Beyond Genocide Great Catastrophe
  76. Medzyeghen Is Racist Term
  77. Open Border With Turkey, What For?
  78. Moving Beyond Black & White On Genocide
  79. Obama’s Message Brings No Relief To Ankara
  80. South Caucasus: Tangled Web Of Shifting Allegiances
  81. Armenia-Turkey Student Exchange Programs
  82. Genocide' & Armenian Reaction
  83. Turkey contacts US Ambassador over Obama's Statement
  84. Athens: Armenians prohibited from approaching Turkish Embassy
  85. History Of How To Fill Blank Pages & Agree On How Events Divide
  86. Baskin Oran Ataturk Accuses Of Taking Advantage Of "Great Catastrophe"
  87. Manifestations of 24 April 2009 before Parliament in Ottawa
  88. Turkish Wedge In Reality
  89. Sydney's Armenian Community Commemorates Genocide
  90. Ny Governor & Mayor Issued Proclamations On Genocide
  91. Genocide Commemorated In Capitol Hill's Caucus Room
  92. New US / Armenia / Turkey Axis?
  93. What Happens Next?
  94. What Is Kars Agreement?
  95. Armenian Revolutionary Federation Statement
  96. Decent Compromise
  97. Caucasian Energy Circle
  98. Genocide & Its (Dis)contents
  99. Safrastyan: Obama Excelled His Predecessors
  100. Djigarkhanyan: In Truth, Obama Saying Genocide Word Is Not Of Importance
  101. Opposition Criticizes Erdoğan’s Reaction To Obama
  102. Implicit 'Genocide' Threat Lies Behind Turkey-Armenia Breakthrough
  103. ARF Quits Coalition Over Government's Approach To Normalizing Relations with Turkey
  104. Trouble With 'Genocide' Label
  105. Lesson from Turkey & Armenia
  106. Turkey may hit wall in Armenian dialogue
  107. Ankara Statements Can Split Armenian Society
  108. Question Is What Nalbandyan Wants & What Karabakhi People Need
  109. In Negotiating Room And Out Of It
  110. No Armenian And Turkish Document
  111. When Daily Life & Strategy Oppose Each Other ..
  112. Protesting Turkish Cultural Week- Demanding Recognition Of Genocide
  113. Turkish-Armenian Agreements: No precondition
  114. Nedim Gürsel for Freedom
  115. Armenia: Repères Sheet
  116. Chronology of Armenia
  117. Council Of Europe To Avoid Armenian Issue
  118. Opposition criticized Turkish reaction to Obama
  119. Negationist flop in New York
  120. Yavuz Baidar: What Is New & What Is Not" Turkish Politicians Know White House Knows"
  121. " Highly Symbolic Closure"
  122. Students Witnesses To Genocide

Interview: Adnan Oktar: There's No Territorial Issue - There's Friendship And Love Instead Aram Gareginyan ArmInfo 2009-04-30
Editorial: The opinions of our interlocutor expressed below might seem at least questionable and even provoking, because the Love propagated by the author, for the nation which survived the Genocide, is a mere verbiage, if there's no Repentance.

Adnan Oktar was born in 1956 in Istanbul. In 1979, while studying in the Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, started to support religious ideas, with a strict criticism of Darvinism and freemasonry. In the 1980s, started to publish books under the pen-name Harun Yahya. In 1990, founded the Scientific Research Foundation, in 1995 - Foundation for Protection of National Values. In 1998, initiated an Anti-Darvin campaign through the media and distribution of his books. In 2006, published the book "The Atlas of Creation", translated into several dozen languages.

How could the Nagorno-Karabakh issue influence the relations of Armenia and Turkey?

The Armenians are our brothers and friends. The Armenian nation is a very noble one. Armenians are artistic, kind and pleasant people. We lived together, side by side, for centuries. We called them the Loyal Nation and were very fond of our Armenian brothers. They artificially split us apart.

There is only one preconditio n for the resolution of all the problems between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, and that is love. There is nothing we cannot resolve, insha'Allah, if we love one another, treat one another with compassion and protect each other. We will embrace our Armenian brothers with love, eliminate the borders between us, and they will come and settle here as they wish and we will go to Armenia and open factories, hospitals and schools. We will make huge economic and cultural progress together. In a climate in which there are no borders, of joint investments, and in which a union and unity based on love is established, the question of Nagorno-Karabagh and all other disputes can be resolved, insha'Allah. In the same way that our Armenians can come and settle and do business here, so our Azeri brothers will be able to enter Nagorno-Karabagh as they wish, insha'Allah. We will be able to leave here and go as far as Yerevan and Baku without any border formalities. And our Armenian brothers will be able to jump in his car in Yerevan and drive right to Istanbul. Nobody will demand passports or visas. He will be able to stay as long as he likes and live as he wished. We will all eat together, and talk and enjoy ourselves, insha'Allah.

Turkey wishes to strengthen its role in the solution of the Nagorno Karabakh problem. What does Ankara wish to obtain from that? Is Turkey able to offer a com promise for both sides - at least for its own interests?

Turkey will lead the way in the region in terms of friendship, brotherhood and peace, insha'Allah. It will protect everyone, Armenians, Georgians and Russians, like an older brother. Turkey will have no self-interest in this. Its only gain will be the establishment of peace, all the peoples of the region living in security, and to see them living in happiness. And if anyone does come forward with a secret plan based on self-interest, Allah will make sure that it fails. Allah bestows success on sincere people.

Turkey genuinely wishes to establish peace and security in the region and possesses the historic experience and social and cultural means to do that.

It has its Ottoman experience, well-trained administrators and a strong economy. If Turkey fails to act as older brother to the countries in the region, despite possessing all these advantages, it will be assuming a grave moral responsibility. Look at what happened in Georgia recently. Rivers of blood were shed in a day or two. Elderly people were left homeless in the streets. What need was there for such suffering? Would such conflict have been possible if the Turkish-Islamic Union had been established, if there was a powerful Turkish-led alliance in the region? Any dispute will be resolved in a matter of hours once the Turkish-Islamic Union is founded. All the countries in the region are l iving with unnecessary fear and tension, and that tension must be dispelled at once. That is why the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union is essential.

Speaking in Ankara about the role of Turkey in the Karabakh conflict, Barack Obama said that Turkey is the only country that can facilitate peace and good relations between all the nations of the South Caucasus. What are the reasons for such a statement?

Obama spoke the truth on that subject. Turkey is a country that can assume leadership and establish peace in a wide area, in the Middle East and the Balkans, not just in the Caucasus alone. To be honest, there seems to be no other country apart from Turkey capable of assuming that role. And if you notice, nobody has come forward to volunteer. But by Allah's leave Turkey has the moral qualities and experience to discharge that duty. I am not talking of any racial superiority. Any such idea would be incompatible with the Qur'an. Allah bestows no good on anyone becoming involved with a scourge like racism. In the sight of Allah, superiority lies in taqwa (fear and awe of Allah). The important thing is moral beauty and superiority. And the Turkish nation possesses excellent moral values. Go to Anatolia and you will see real sincerity, loyalty, altruism, devotion and friendship. You will see real respect. The Turkish nation wants to serve, and it expects nothing in return. It is enough for th e Turkish nation that other people be happy and at peace. It will be easy to establish peace and security when such moral values lead the way.

The US and Turkey seek to enforce their role in solving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict - evidently, aiming to reduce the influence of Russia. Could this lead to a collision of interests among those three countries in the Caucasus?

Russia is a great and powerful state, a noble state. Any policy aimed at excluding Russia would be a mistake. It would be a violation of good conscience. There is no such conception in Turkey. There is no idea of "Let us be strong but others not" or "Let us be rich and others poor" in Turkey. The Russians need to be told "You, as Russians, must develop as you like in economic, scientific and political terms and here, let us also develop in these fields and enjoy all kinds of advantages together." They need to be told "We want to be wealthy, and we want you to be wealthy, too." What kind of Turkish-Islamic Union would it be if Russia were poor, for instance? Would that be a union of peace of mind?

Would that make us happy? It would clearly make us all uneasy, because we want them to be wealthy, as well. A happy Russia will make us happy, too.

What is your vision of the relations of Armenia and Turkey in the future? Do you expect opening of the border and establishing diplomatic relations? Will Ankara be willing to do all that?

ADNAN OKTAR: We want this, and insha'Allah it will happen. What matters is the friendship of their peoples and what they think. The Armenian people do not want enmity and are made uneasy by enmity. They want love, compassion and respect. The Turkish people also detest enmity. We want to live with the Armenians as brothers. We want no borders between us. We want to embrace our Armenian brothers. Why should there be borders between us and an innocent, excellent people? Why should we be divided? We lived together for centuries.

It was the stratagems of the masons and materialists that divided us. But those stratagems have now been thwarted, and we are in an age of love and brotherhood. Because it can happen at once if both sides desire it. Let us constantly demand it, and let our Armenian brothers constantly demand it, and let us finally do away with the borders. Armenia is squeezed into a tiny space and its economy is in a difficult position. Let us work hand in hand and build a brand new, wealthy, prosperous and enlightened Armenia.

Describe your concept of the Turkish-Islamic Union. Does it imply political or spiritual unity? What are the conditions for Turkey to conduct a leading role in this alliance, or will everyone be a leader? What consequences may it bring about? What is your opinion about the possibility of reconci liation between Turkey and Iran?

This is a union of love, a union of hearts. A laic, democratic, enlightened union. It is an idea based on love, with nothing to do with racism or arrogance, that loves all nations and wishes to protect them, that opens its arms to Christians and Jews and that is intensely keen to include them in the Turkish-Islamic Union. It harbors no such idea as "we are the greatest and most powerful race, so other races are nothing." Allah creates all races. We are all brothers. Russia will greatly benefit from the Turkish-Islamic Union. We already want to see Armenia in the Turkish-Islamic Union, and Georgia. We even want Israel to be a part of the Turkish-Islamic Union. Turkey is the natural leader of this union. The source of our admiration for the Turkish nation lies in its moral superiority, not in any racial, blood or biological superiority. The Turkish nation is a very noble, intelligent, heroic, courageous, altruistic, patient and immaculate one. And it displayed this leadership quality in Ottoman times. Allah rendered them as a leader. And now, no matter where you ask, in America or Europe or Islamic countries, who should lead the Islamic world, they will say Turkey.

Ask the peoples of the Caucasus which country's leadership they would prefer to unite under, which country they like. They will say they like Turkey very much and would prefer the Turkish state to act as their older brother and guide. They will say we should unite, that every state should remain independent and free internally, but that Turkey should be their older brother and spiritual leader. They will say that salvation lies in Turkey, not in America or Russia, insha'Allah. This is not racism, but a feature. I mean, in appointing a manager somewhere, one appoints the most talented, capable individual, doesn't one? One brings in a civil engineer when constructing a building. But not on a racist basis. It is nothing to do with any racial superiority. It stems from that person's abilities. I am also laying some stress on the moral values of the Turkish nation. That is why I think the Turkish nation should act as leader. I speak with many prominent Iranians, and they all genuinely want the Turkish-Islamic Union and believe it should be built under Turkish leadership. It appears from many recent developments that Iran has adopted a positive attitude toward the issue. For example, when President Ahmadinajad came to Istanbul he prayed in an Ottoman mosque behind a Sunni imam, saying "This is an important message." What is that message? "As a Shiite, I support the spiritual leadership of a Sunni." It was again Turkey that brought America and Iran together in Ankara in recent months.

That means that Iran trusts Turkey, and wants Turkey to be to the fore. That much is plain.

You also say that "the Turkish-Islamic Union will commence with the membership of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Syria, Iraq and Iran, eventually followed by the whole Arab-Turkic-Islamic world as separate states, but merging in respect of the spiritual leadership of Turkey". Do you think Armenia does have a place there, and why?

Armenia being left out on its own would make us uneasy; they are also our brothers. Because we have a shared history with the Armenians, with a totally artificial enmity forming only subsequently. The Nagorno-Karabagh problem, the Nahchivan affair, these are totally artificial issues produced by the masons to divide the two countries, because there is no territorial problem there, only a question of friendship and of love. The Turkish-Islamic Union will naturally include Armenia. The Armenians will also enter the union, because Armenians were the most heroic people in Ottoman times, rendering excellent services in art and science in the Ottoman Empire. Armenians gradually rose to the highest positions at court and are also a People of the Book. That means they are people who believe in Allah and the same prophets. The rules regarding the People of the Book are clear. That is why this artificial enmity must be strongly avoided, and we must hasten to establish the union by unilateral forgiveness, by adopting a policy of love and affection. That is why we merely have to say, "Yes, we20want this union," and everything will fall into place once we say it.

How do you imagine the co-existence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the world, in the Middle East, and in Turkey? What do you think about the opportunities for coexistence of Turks and ethnic minorities - Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians - in Turkey? Is there another way of peaceful coexistence rather than assimilating minorities?

ADNAN OKTAR: There is no assimilation in Islam. Under Islam, people of every faith and opinion can live, express their ideas and worship in complete freedom. According to the Qur'an, Christians and Jews are the People of the Book. And according to the Qur'an, one can marry them, eat their food or food they have prepared, and go and dine in their homes. One can be their guests and talk with them and stay in their houses, or they can stay in ours. What does that mean? It means a strong bond of friendship and brotherhood. And that is how it should be.

What are the main issues that Turkish society faces today - material, intellectual, spiritual or moral?

The worst corruption of our age is Darwinism and materialism. People being unhappy, living in pain and suffering, and all the wars, fighting, conflict and economic troubles are the product of the ruthlessness, selfishness and greed indoctrinated by Darwinism and materialism. The full realization of the invalidity of Darwi nism will mean an end to many of the scourges afflicting people. There will be no terror, conflict, poverty, hunger or oppression in a world without Darwinism. Thanks be to Allah, the Turkish nation is very aware on this subject, and Turkey is the country with the lowest level of belief in Darwinism in the world. In the 1970s, 70%-80% of people believed in Darwinism. That is now no greater than 5%. There has been a major rising of awareness on the subject across the world. Following the arrival in Europe of the book the Atlas of Creation in particular, a huge change of opinion has begun there. This is clear in opinion polls.

What is your opinion of Ergenekon, the PKK and ASALA?

Ergenekon was a scourge that caused disaster everywhere, not just in Turkey, but also in the Turkic states, the Caucasus, and the Balkans. Now, thanks be to Allah, the Turkish state has, in the real sense of the word, taken the matter in hand. Ergenekon was not born yesterday, but is a criminal enterprise going back at least a hundred years. It goes back to the time of Mustafa Suphi, founder of the Communist party of Turkey. It is an organization run by freemasonry. Freemasonry uses such organizations to shed blood, set brother against brother, incite wars and spread corruption. This is a well-known masonic tactic. Ergenekon, the PKK and ASALA are all masonic organizations. They are godless, scriptureless, faithless, fanatical a nd cruel organizations, violent and ruthless. They are organizations that delight in spilling blood and inflicting suffering, that even kill their own supporters and cause them to live in fear and violence, faced with the threat of death. It is a known fact they are all allied with one another.

But it is now the end of the days of the shedders of blood. Ergenekon has been caught red-handed, and the hearings are still going on. The state will produce the best outcome within the bounds of the law. The fight against the PKK also has to be supported with intellectual activities. Military actions alone would yield no results. Because these people engage in ideological propaganda and subject people to Marxist-Stalinist indoctrination. It seems impossible to resolve the problem unless intellectual barriers are also erected. Just like the PKK, ASALA is also a Marxist-Stalinist organization, and collaborated with the PKK. The only way to oppose such terrorist groups is by anti-Darwinist, anti-materialist and anti-communist cultural activities. No country in the region can say that the PKK is not its problem, and neither can anyone say that about ASALA. These organizations are a grave threat to every nation in the region. ASALA does not seem to be active at the moment, but give them the slightest opportunity and they will raise their heads again. The PKK is currently carrying out the greatest communist uprising in the region, and str ong precautions need to be taken. That is why its intellectual foundation has to be eradicated, as no organization lacking an intellectual basis can survive. In that event, we will have dried up the swamp breeding grounds rather than trying to swat mosquitoes one by one.

Do you think that Israel is opposed to recognizing the Armenian genocide, and why? Do you think that Turkey will ever recognize the genocide, and does present-day Armenia (and Armenians) need it?

Everybody needs to stop the body count. If we try and count all the bodies that will go on for centuries, we will be laying the groundwork for feelings of enmity. Those who suggest these things actually want enmity. If we start revealing what happened in 1915, who ASALA murdered or what happened in Hodjali, then we can never achieve friendship, love and brotherhood.

Insha'Allah we will leave the past behind. There is forgiveness in the Qur'an. Allah reveals that it is better even to forgive people who have killed. There is forgiveness and tolerance also in the New Testament. We prefer the path of forgiveness. We give up our rights to our brothers. If we exceeded our brothers' rights in the past, may them give up their rights to us. Let us start a brand new era by us. We have no wish to pick over the past. We have no interest in the past. Even if we do look back to the past, those who did those things are no lo nger with us, there is a whole new generation. Are we to hold our spotless Armenian brothers responsible for the cruelties perpetrated by ASALA? Is that at all acceptable? We are not acting with the mindset of the 1800s or the 1900s. We are acting with the mindset, love, forgiveness, tolerance and compassion of the 2000s. We are looking to the future and asking what we can do in the future. We want to build a bright future. We want our business, trade, artistic and scientific activities to be inter-related. We need one another in art, science, technology and all spheres. Why should we be divided? Let us fund universities, factories and scientific centers together. Let art and science flourish. The days of iron curtains and stone walls are over. We want them to be torn down. The future will be bright and delightful for our Armenian brothers and the Turkish nation. The Russians, Georgians, Abkhazians, Azeris and everyone will be able to live at ease. We all need to make our love and friendship, respect, interest, concern and protection felt to one another. There needs to be a complete spirit of brotherhood. It is essential to live by religious moral values if brotherhood is to be rebuilt. In the Qur'an, Allah commands Muslims always to respond to evil with good. He says that the other person will then become a close friend. Christians are told to love one another, love their neighbor and get on with one20another in the Bible. It says that love never wrongs its neighbor. It tells believers to love their neighbors and seek their well-being in order to improve their souls. If we approach one another with that love then, by Allah's leave, there is no problem that cannot be resolved.

Serge Sargsyan Has Sold The Genocide And His Next Step Is Going To Be To Sell Karabakh In Order To Hold His Power, : Levon Ter-Petrosyan

ArmInfo. The unprecedented shifts in the Armenian-Turkish relations that we see today deserve a special assessment since they concern one of the most vital issues of the development of the Armenian statehood, the first president of Armenia, the leader of the Armenian National Congress Levon Ter- Petrossyan said during an opposition rally today.

The press service of the Armenian National Congress quotes Ter-Petrosyan as saying: "I should stress immediately that with the exception of one of its member- organizations, the Armenian National Congress is in favor of a speedy normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, and is ready to support all the positive steps of the Armenian authorities with regard to this issue. We only object to the creation of a special commission of Armenian and Turkish historians to study the Genocide, which we think can only mean denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Now let us see how the aforementioned shifts are manifested. It is clear that as a result of the contacts between Armenian and Turkish diplomats a working document has been created, which contains the following items:

- The establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey;
- Mutual recognition of borders;
- Opening of the Armenian-Turkish border;
- Creation of a commission consisting of Armenian and Turkish historians.

Subsequently this document was branded a "roadmap," and some of its details were made public. Whatever its name, it seems that we are dealing with a serious intention to normalize the relations between the two states, especially when we take into account the impression that Turkey seems to have relinquished its unconstructive policy of making the resolution of the Karabakh conflict a precondition for the ormalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. But there are two issues that are casting a dark shadow over that impression. The idea of a commission of Armenian and Turkish historians was obviously going to create certain difficulties for the Armenian side, so in the end it has succeeded in renaming the commission as intergovernmental. But that is only a way of pulling a veil over the issue and using a euphemism that intends to placate the Armenian people, because the intergovernmental commission is also going to have a unit of historians, which leaves the essence of the problem unchanged. The Turkish side also cannot ignore the pressure from the Azerbaijani public and its own opposition, and therefore it is going to have to return to its prior position. In other words, despite the optimistic predictions, the relations between Armenia and Turkey are not going to get normalized and the Armenian-Turkish border is not going to be opened as long as tangible progress has been made in the efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict.

We have to wonder then what the purpose of all this noise was.

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is going to have a bitter taste for the Armenian people. The whole problem is that aside from the general disposition to normalize the relations, Turkey had another minimal and specific aim, which was to prevent the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the US President Barak Obama and the American Congress at any cost. Turkey has reached its goal, Armenia has been left empty-handed, and the Diaspora has been disillusioned. The first half of the football diplomacy has ended with a score of 1:0 in Turkey's favor.

Turkish leaders presented Barak Obama with the aforementioned document worked out by Armenian and Turkish diplomats, and as could be expected, easily convinced him that serious process has been launched to normalize the Armenian- Turkish relations. With praiseworthy candor Obama declared that he has not changed his view on the Armenian Genocide, but as is fitting to a statesman, explained that he is not going to impede that process, implying that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is being pulled out of the US agenda for now.

Is it appropriate to accuse Turkey and the US in hypocrisy? Not at all.

Turkey achieved its main goal at this stage, displaying enviable diplomatic dexterity. And the president of the USA acted as any responsible leader would have acted in the circumstances. If there is any need to look for targets for our accusations, the Armenian authorities of the last 11 years represented by Robert Kocharian, Vardan Oskanyan, Serge Sargsyan, and Edward Nalbandian should be those targets, since they are the ones who have desecrated the sacred memory of the Genocide turning it into an object of political auction and bargaining.

And they did that not in the name of some lofty national goal or in order to strengthen our state, but exclusively for the pitiful purpose of gaining Diaspora's favor and earning certain dividends in our internal politics.

In this regard it is quite interesting to trace the evolution of their utterly bankrupt and harmful policy:

- The first thing the Kocharian administration did was to declare as treasonous the previous administration's policy of establishing normal relations with Turkey without any preconditions.

- The international recognition of the Genocide was declared as the cornerstone of Armenia's foreign policy, which was also boastfully submitted to Turkey as a rational basis for normalizing the relations.

- When after resisting for a long time they realized that the road they chose led to a deadlock, they returned to the same policy of establishing normal relations with Turkey without preconditions, which they had declared treasonous, inadvertently exposing Armenia's weakness and giving Turkey an opportunity to harden its position.

- Both as a result of this objective reason, and in order to solve the problem of his legitimacy, Serge Sargsyan went to an even more dangerous extreme of agreeing to an almost forgotten proposal made by Recep Erdogan years ago about establishing a commission of Armenian and Turkish historians to study the Genocide.

It is this string of political wanderings, myopic steps, and irresponsible actions that produced the results of Obama's visit to Turkey. Of course, one cannot insist that had it not been for the aforementioned process launched to normalize the Armenian-Turkish relations, Obama already as president of the USA would have uttered the word "genocide" in his 24 April address, or that the American Congress would have passed a resolution recognizing the Genocide. Situations like this have existed in the past, but things never got to that point. But the situation is substantially different this time, because unlike in the past, this time the formal excuse is Serge Sargsyan's ill-fated initiative to have a rapprochement with Turkey at any cost, including the cost of renunciation of the Genocide. Thus without a shred of exaggeration we have to conclude: In order to keep his hold on power, Serge Sargsyan has literally sold the Genocide. Without a doubt his next step is going to be to sell Karabakh, after which naturally he will be the first Armenian to be awarded the Nobel Prize.

I am being kind. I am sure Sargsyan's behavior is going to attract much more ruthless assessments from the radical circles in Armenia, and especially in the Diaspora. Justice demands, however, that we apportion at least part of the blame to the chiefs of the Diaspora, who not only never warned the Armenian authorities about the dangers and harmfulness of putting the issue of the international recognition of Genocide on the state's official agenda, but encouraged the latter's efforts and praised their "heroics" in the end getting what they got. The enormous effort and financial resources invested by the Diaspora for the cause of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide thus were wasted in one day. It is difficult to imagine how the situation can be remedied and the loss recovered.

Even with all this, even with the sad result with which the current process of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations has ended, it is not at all devoid of positive elements. Turkey's natural interest in the normalization of the Armenian- Turkish relations on the one hand, and the linking of that normalization to expected shifts in the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, on the other, creates a certain impetus for pushing the process settling the Karabakh conflict forward. The fact that the circumstances have forced President Obama to assume moral responsibility is also a positive development, which obligates the country he governs to get more actively and impartially involved both in the process of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations and in the process of finding a resolution to the Karabakh conflict. Barak Obama is an idealist in the best sense of the word. It is well known that although the world is usually governed by pragmatic and cynical people, civilization moves forward thanks to the occasionally appearing idealists. And by idealist I do not mean ideologues, but rather the rare statesmen, who have firm principles of morality, honor, and justice."

"Dashnaktsutyun" - Timely Patriotic Impulse: Elmira Tariverdiyeva, Journal of Turkish Weekly April 29 2009 Turkey
On the backdrop of active foreign political processes in Armenia, the country's government faced an unexpected interior split which is inseparably connected with Yerevan's foreign policy. And it should be accepted that this is a timely patriotic impulse of the "Dashanktsutyun" party.

The "Dashanktsutyun" party's differences with the remained members of the Armenian ruling coalition around foreign policy were "irresistible" and "Dashanktsutyun" left the ruling coalition of Armenia on April 26.

Moreover, the party's officials announced that the "Dashanktsutyun" will act as a new opposition and intends to become a full alternative to the current authorities by offering their own programs and solutions on domestic and foreign political issues.

It is surprising that one of the four ruling parties, which of course, has political weight and influence on decision-making suddenly rejected the president's policy and, in addition, joined opposition.

Chairman of the "Rule of Law" Party Artur Bagdasarian, for example, argues that the party's representatives were aware of the government's political steps by which they were outraged. He said, "Dashnaktsutyun" was aware of all the processes on normalizing of the Armenian-Turkish relations.

But "Dashnaktsutyun's" key contradiction with the authorities occurred, as the Armenian and Turkish Foreign Ministries adopted a joint declaration about conditions when Ankara dictated preconditions for normalizing relations.

According to the "Dashnaktsutyun" officials, Turkey's recognizing "1915 Armenian genocide" is one of necessary conditions to ensure national security of Armenia.

So what is the reason for such a sharp step of the party? "Dashnaktsutyun" cannot but realize that establishing ties with Turkey and opening of borders would be a powerful infusion to the economy on the background of complete isolation from neighbors and the fragile financial system of Armenia. Even at the price of hackneyed recognition of "genocide."

However, the invisible, but omnipotent world Armenian lobby which is the backbone of the Armenian diaspora in the United States plays an important role in Armenia's political arena. And just this enclave's main goal is international recognition of "Armenian genocide" of 1915, self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh, protection of the rights of the Armenian community in Georgia.

The current policy of the country's leadership causes the Armenian lobby's understandable dissatisfaction. And first, they were disappointed on April 24, when all the efforts of the Armenian diaspora in the United States failed and precious word "genocide" was never heard from of President Obama's lips. Everybody understands that it is connected with the processes taking place between Turkey and Armenia, and the United States has its own interests - not to "frighten" the sides.

It would be logical to assume that the "Dashnaktsutyun" can be the last hope of the Armenian lobby on the desired course of the Armenian leadership after the next presidential election.

Quitting the coalition, "Dashnaktsutyun", obviously, focused on the domestic effects of this step, giving the party the revolutionary color of opposition forces, and rid it of responsibility for the consequences of the coalition's policy.

This political step is especially profitable, because only to rival ex-President Ter-Petrossian's opposition party which has a lot of supporters will not be difficult.

The time will show whether to wait for the change of political course in 2012, but intentions of the incompatible Dashnaktsutyun party that supports the course of the world Armenian lobby is obvious at the moment.
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Another Problem From Hell on Kurds & Armenians
The other night I took a taxi from Istanbul’s crowded Taksim Square. On the way home, I started to chat with the young driver, asking him about business in this time of economic crisis.

"It is very bad, bro," he said, explaining that customers are trying to spend less and less. Then I asked him the typical Turkish question: "Memleket nere," or, "which city are you from?" "I am from Van," he replied, but then anxiously added: "Yet make no mistake: I am no Kurd."

Apparently that was a statement with some baggage. And that was something he eagerly wanted to share, especially after learning about my job. "Hey, if you have a little time," he hence asked, "let me explain to you what the Kurds are."

Fears about ’the Kurd’
"Sure," I said, and sat down in the back seat for an extra 15 minutes to listen to the man’s story. He told me that as an ethnic Turk, he was deeply frustrated by his Kurdish neighbors who were allegedly very chauvinist, exclusivist and intimidating.

"In my hometown, a Kurd will never buy from a Turkish shop," he said, "whereas we don’t make any distinction." He then drew a totally negative stereotype: "Kurds are lazy, dirty, rude and nothing good comes out of them." The worst thing, for him, was their eagerness to reproduce: "You want to make two kids and send them to good schools, bro, right? Well, the Kurd makes 10 kids so that half of them will be terrorists and the other half will be thieves."

I was already stunned by all this, but he had more to say. "They are multiplying like rabbits," he argued, "and if the state doesn’t stop them, they will take over the whole east, killing and expelling us Turks."

"Stop them?" I asked. "What do you mean?"

He answered: "Their leaders should be taken down. We should start with those DTP [Democratic Society Party] members. They are all PKK, and they should killed one by one. Only then the Kurd will learn a lesson and start to behave."

Then the conversation moved on to another topic, which took us from current affairs to a dark past. "Perhaps we should do what my grandfathers did to the Armenians," he coldly said, and the rest went on like this:

- The Armenians? What do you mean? Are you talking about 1915?

- I think so.

- So, what happened then?

- Oh, one night my grandfathers took the knives out and raided all Armenian homes, killing them one by one.

- But why?

- Well, it is bad, I know. But the Armenians started it. Before the great killing, they raided nearby Turkish villages, and they tortured and slaughtered every Muslim they found. They had special knives to rip pregnant women’s bellies.

They would smash the unborn babies to rocks. If my grandfathers did not go out and kill them, they would do the same to us, too. That is the rule, bro: If you don’t kill them first, they will kill you all.

Before leaving the taxi, I tried to tell the hardnosed young man a few things that could help. "It is haram [religiously forbidden] to kill the innocent," I reminded him, which he tended to agree with. Then I said maybe the Armenian militants of 1915 and the Kurdish terrorists of today were driven by fears like his. Maybe every group suspects the others’ evil intentions and act accordingly. Maybe the problems could be solved if they learned to talk to each other.

Even this simple idea was a bit puzzling for my driver, so I just said good night and left. But there were many other good questions to ask. Was he ever provided with ample information so that he could appropriately contextualize the observations he was making in his hometown? Did anyone ever inform him about the possible causes of poverty in the Southeast, or about the worldwide correlation between poverty and higher birth rates? Did he ever learn about Kurdish communities' sentiments on Turks and why they felt the need to withdraw? Did he ever get such information from his government or his media?

Driven by fear
I bet the answers would be all negative. And this underlines the core problem: Ethnic tension, and ultimately conflict, arises from the lack of objective knowledge about the other, which leads to paranoia about the other. People hardly do evil for that they enjoy evil. They rather do evil for that they fear evil.

That is something we should keep in mind while dealing with not only the contemporary issues such as the Kurdish question, but also historical ones such as the Armenian "Meds Yeghern" (Great Catastrophe).

In her book, "A Problem from Hell," Samantha Power, whom President Obama appointed to a senior position, describes the latter well. Yet to get the full picture, one also needs to read other works such as, "Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922" by historian Justin McCarthy. That will show you that the massacres of Armenians were motivated by fear rather than anything else.

They were, in other words, driven by my driver’s maddening idea: If you don’t kill them first, they will kill you all.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Any Attempt To Question Historical Fact Of Armenian Genocide Can Be Characterized As Atavism 02.05.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ In connection with the information on the press-conference of Genocide Museum Director Hayk Demoyan (30 Apr. 2009), the speaker himself turned to PanARMENIAN.Net saying that the term `genocide' gives way to manipulations. Mr. Demoyan said that as a result of editing the text, some of his statements were cut from context, acquiring a new sense. As a matter of fact, the statement sounds as follows:

`I want all of us to avoid emotions. It's unclear why we get disappointed ahead of time and try to demonstrate complexes that have already fallen out of use.'

With regard to Barack Obama's April 24 address, I see both positive and negative consequences. As Director of Genocide Museum-Institute and researcher studying Genocide issues I find that exploiting the term `genocide' contains a serious danger. It establishes a precedent for further manipulations. `Genocide', as a legal term, means a gravest crime. Such manipulations, I mean, promise to use or not to use the term or the language trainings are extremely dangerous. I don't view the issue in the Armenian context; I view it in a broader, global context. Unfortunately, mankind will survive genocides in the XXI century as well. As to me, I'd rather Obama hadn't promised anything. In such case, I would have realized everything. But when everything is obvious¦ to avoid saying a broken promise, I would characterize it as an attempt to devalue to term. In the history of mankind, genocide means a gravest crime. Hence, any manipulation of the term is extremely dangerous. And I don't view the problem in the Armenian context. I view it in a broader, global context.

With regard to positive consequences, I would first of all mention that Obama is a quite charismatic personality. I think, the rumors about his statement, i.e. that Obama didn't use the word, swaying his electoral pledge, will attract more public attention to the Armenian Issue and Armenian Genocide Studies. In this respect, I find it a positive phenomenon, as it may help raise international community's awareness of Armenian Genocide. I don't only mean the American community; I speak about the international community on the whole.

Besides, if we look back to the past 20 years, and draw comparisons with the present-day reality, we'll see an unprecedentedly high level of awareness, a greater number of scientific studies and, of course, international recognition. Currently, any step and even dream or hope to question the historical fact of Armenian Genocide can be characterized as atavism, reversion to a more primitive state, which may but arouse irony and nothing more".

Freedom House: Press In Armenia Still Not Free 2009-05-02
ArmInfo. Press is still not free in Armenia, says annual report by Freedom House 'Freedom in the World 2009'.

Freedom in the World 2009 examines the state of freedom in all 193 countries and 16 strategic territories. The survey analyzes developments that occurred in 2008 and assigns each country a freedom status - either Free, Partly Free or Not Free based on a scoring of performance in key freedoms. In Armenia like in the whole region, Freedom House registered regress in press freedom. Last year Armenia occupied the 144th position this year it was down 7 positions to the 151st position neighboring with Singapore. The report highlights that as continuation of the emergency situation announced in Armenia in Parch 2008, the government had subjected Mass Media to strong censorship and created obstacles to the activity of local and foreign journalists. In addition, the authorities imposed a moratorium on new broadcast licenses, further reducing the prospects for greater media pluralism, the report says.

The overview includes an analysis of changes during the Bush Administration and suggests priorities for the incoming Obama Administration and the leaders of other established democracies. The survey firmly rejects the premise that engaging with authoritarian leaders means ignoring their policies of domestic repression.

"At a time when democracy's antagonists are increasingly assertive and its supporters are in disarray, the new administration must focus on the need to protect fundamental freedoms and support the frontline defenders and advocates," said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House executive director. The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy will host an event on the survey's findings in Taipei, Taiwan January 13 at 9 a.m. at the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel. Taiwan was chosen as the locale for the release because of its strategic position in Asia, not only geographically and economically, but also as one of its most vibrant democracies. Although setbacks in 2008 did not represent substantial declines for most countries, setbacks were numerous and affected most regions. Overall, 34 countries registered declines in freedom and 14 registered improvements.

Three countries saw declines in scores that resulted in status changes: Afghanistan, which moved from Partly Free to Not Free; Mauritania, Partly Free to Not Free; and Senegal, Free to Partly Free. Three countries, all from South Asia, moved from Not Free to Partly Free: Pakistan, Maldives and Bhutan. Two countries in Western Europe-Italy and Greece-experienced modest declines. Key global findings include:

Free: The number of countries judged by Freedom in the World as Free in 2008 stands at 89, representing 46 percent of the world's countries and 46 percent of the global population. The number of Free countries declined by one from 2007.

Partly Free: The number of Partly Free countries is 62, or 32 percent of all countries assessed by the survey and 20 percent of the world's total population. The number of Partly Free countries increased by two.

Not Free: The report designates 42 countries as Not Free, representing 22 percent of the total number of countries and 34 percent of the world population. Nearly 60 percent of this number lives in China. The number of Not Free countries declined by one.

Electoral Democracies: The number of electoral democracies dropped by two and stands at 119. Developments in Mauritania, Georgia, Venezuela and Central African Republic disqualified them from the electoral democracy list, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bangladesh became electoral democracies.

Key regional findings include:

Worst of the Worst: Of the 42 countries designated Not Free, eight received the survey's lowest possible ranking for both political rights and civil liberties: North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Sudan, Burma, Equatorial Guinea and Somalia. Two territories are in the same category: Tibet and Chechnya. Eleven other countries and territories received scores that were slightly better: Belarus, Chad, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Zimbabwe, South Ossetia and Western Sahara.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Twelve countries and one territory-about one-fourth of the regional total- experienced setbacks in 2008. In addition to Senegal and Mauritania, declines were also registered in Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Somaliland. The region's downturn comes after several years of modest improvement. Positive developments include gains in Zambia, Comoros, Angola and Cote d'Ivoire.

Asia: The most significant progress occurred in South Asia, where several countries saw improvements linked to elections. In addition to significant improvements in Pakistan, Maldives and Bhutan, some progress was also seen in Nepal, Kashmir, Malaysia and Thailand. Declines were registered in Afghanistan, Burma, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Tibet. China increased repression instead of delivering human rights reforms pledged in connection to hosting the Summer Olympics.

Former Soviet Union/Central and Eastern Europe: Non-Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union continued their decade-long decline, now ranking below Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East on several survey indicators. Russia and Georgia, which went to war over South Ossetia, were among the region's notable declines, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova. Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe remains strong, despite setbacks in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Middle East/North Africa: After several years of modest gains earlier in the decade, the Middle East/North Africa is now experiencing stagnation. Iraq is the only country to show improvement because of reductions in violence, political terror and government-sponsored Shia militias, although it retains its Not Free status. Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli-Occupied Territories also declined.

Americas: The region managed to maintain its democratic character despite economic concerns, an increase in violent crime in some countries and the rise of populist demagogues. Paraguay and Cuba saw improvements in 2008, although the Castro government continues to be one of the world's most repressive regimes. Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela were among the countries registering declines.

Western Europe and North America: The region continues to earn the highest scores in Freedom in the World. The election of Barack Obama as U.S. president could lead to reforms of problematic counterterrorism policies. Two European countries experienced declines in 2008: Italy and Greece. The survey also voices concern about potential threats to freedom of expression in Canada and Great Britain.

Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring olitical rights and civil liberties worldwide since 1972.

Hellenic News of America May 2 2009 Obama's First Trip to Europe: Five Serious Political Missteps
By defeating John McCain, the Republican Candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America, and more so by defeating the Clintons (we should not forget that he was running against Hillary and Bill) during the prolonged campaign for the Democratic Party's nomination, Barack Obama proved to his supporters and his opponents alike and beyond any doubt that he is a very smart and competent man. His conduct in Office during the first 100 days, especially the actions he has taken to solve the global economic crisis and to restore the US moral standing in the world, serve as indicators of the same fact.

After eight long years of the disastrous George W. Bush Administration, Americans are fortunate to have at the helm of their state-ship a man who can think comprehensively and speak clearly to them and to the world at large. But the world as a whole and American citizens in particular expect much from this President, whose actions at home and abroad they will watch carefully and judge judiciously. Even his political friends, who supported Obama from the beginning, would not hesitate to point out to the New President any missteps that he has taken or may take in the road ahead, as he attempts to create a peaceful, prosperous, democratic, dynamic, united, harmonious, and better world ecumenically.

As one of those who supported Barack Obama publically and in writing both for the Nomination of the Democratic Party and for the Presidency of the USA, I feel entitled and even obligated to give him publicly and frankly my advice and my sympathetic critique regarding his first trip to Europe and Turkey. The trip over all went very well, in my view, for the newly elected and popular President Obama and the competent and gracious First Lady Michelle Obama. As long as they were together, the President of the United States made no serious mistakes worth mentioning in dealing with the members of the G-20, the NATO members, and the British Royalty. But things changed towards the end of the trip and they took a turn to the worse, when Michelle returned to America and Barack decided to visit Turkey alone.

Even in Turkey for the most part the President of the United States kept his usual coolness in his address to the Turkish Parliament as well as in his dealings with the diplomatic Turkish President, Mr. Abdullah Gul, and the volatile Prime Minister, Mr. Tayyip Erdogan. However, during his official trip to Turkey, President Obama made five missteps, which he could and should have avoided, because they were unnecessary moves in the wrong direction. I would like to mention and discuss briefly each of these missteps, in hopes that my friendly comments may be of interest or help to the President and his advisers in planning his future trips abroad, especially to the European Union or to the Muslim world.

First Misstep: Mustafa Kemal compared to George Washington. In my opinion, President Obama went too far in his praise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. As a head of State in an official visit to a NATO member country, like Turkey, the President was obliged of course by the protocol of the day to lay a wreath at the Ataturk Memorial and to mention the man in his address to the Turkish Parliament. But for President Obama to compare uncritically this tough Turkish Dictator with the Founding Father and First President of the United States of America, the honorable George Washington, was beyond his call of duty. It was rather a-historical and un-necessary. For those who knew the man and his horrific acts, Mustafa Kemal has had nothing in common with George Washington, except the military title, General. Unlike Washington, and much like Hitler or Mussolini, Kemal kept the Turkish Presidency by force until his death. It is true that Kemal introduced certain educational reforms, especially the introduction of the Latin alphabet, in an effort to `secularize' and westernize this Asiatic and Muslim country, and to separate it from its Arab neighbors. But he also established Kemalism as a political force, which has controlled political developments in Turkey with the support of the military for almost a century now. Thus, President Obama's comparison of Kemal Ataturk to George Washington might have pleased Kemal or the Kemalists, but it would have made the latter turn is his honored grave. His hot rhetoric in this case seems to have run ahead of the President's usually cool head. Kemal was not Washington, for sure!

Second Misstep: Turkey considered as a Muslim country. While he was eager to over-praise Kemal Ataturk and his political achievement, President Obama by advertizing his visit to Turkey as his first visit to a `Muslim country' insulted the Turkish General, who wanted above all to make Turkey a `secular country.' In the 1920ies this was fashionable in Europe and the surrounding territories. Lenin and Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler, Kemal and Tito later on, all had similar aspirations. Of course, Kemal's secularism was nominal and superficial for it did not affect the Muslim masses of Anatolia. However, it provided the Kemalists and their military supporters with an ideology to be used over the years to justify their monopoly of political power and the militaristic interventions to keep the power in the right hands. But these days, somehow paradoxically, the Turkish Presidency and the Government of Turkey have been in the hands of the Islamists, who make up the ruling Party of Justice and Development (AKP). Mr. Obama had to please these folks too. So, he remembered that Turkey is a Muslim country and, given his Muslim roots, he felt proud for the privilege to visit Turkey too in his first trip to Christian Europe. The point here is this, if Turkey is still a Muslim country, in spite of Kemal Ataturk's strenuous efforts to m ake it a `secular country,' then the General must have failed in his political project and, therefore, did not deserve all that praise he received from President Barack Obama. Apparently, he thinks that Turkey belongs in the EU and wants the Europeans to take a note of his personal wishes and act accordingly.

Third Misstep: Turkey willed into the EU. President Obama repeatedly and publically, but rather un-diplomatically, declared that he wanted to see Turkey as a full member of the European Union. This declaration was meant to please the Muslim Turks, to be sure, and to make them willing to provide help to American troupes in their way out of Iraq, as they were not willing to help them get into that country. In 2003, the Government of Turkey was again in the hands of the Islamists Gul and Erdogan, but refused to allow the US to open a Northern frond into Iraq. Turkey as a NATO member at that critical moment failed the test of loyalty, and this cost the US dearly in treasure and blood of its brave solders. In spite of this infidelity, President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, wand to press the Europeans to accept Turkey as a full member of their yet young and fragile European Union. The Europeans, of course, have different views on this issue, especially the Germans and the French are adamant in their opposition to the Turkish membership. It is not surprising then that Mr. Sarkozy reminded the American President that the EU membership is a matter for the Europeans to decide carefully. The question, then, inevitably arises: Does President Obama believe that Turkey, an Asiatic and Muslim country in its overwhelming majority really belongs to the European Union culturally and politically? Even if it is perhaps strategically expedient for the US to have Turkey in the EU to be used as a potential second Trojan horse (the first is the UK) to control political development towards complete unification of the EU, the American President could have been more tactful and diplomatic on this thorny political issue at this time. He may hope that the Turks will remember this favor, but he should not bet much on their loyalty, in light of their earlier behavior regarding Iraq.

Fourth Misstep: Armenian genocide was conveniently forgotten. As the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, Mr. Obama pledged to the Armenians and other Democratic American citizens that as President of the USA, if elected, he would do the right thing regarding the Armenian genocide, that is, recognize it with its rightful name, `genocide.' The elected President Obama, while addressing the Turkish Parliament, had an excellent opportunity to advice the NATO allies and EU aspirant Turks to come clear regarding this earliest `ethnic cleansing' of the 20th century, but he missed it. Admittedly, it would have been a little awkward to mention the `Armenian genocide' in a political speech meant as a eulogy of Kemal Ataturk, who was a protagonist of that historic and horrific event as well as in the Greek expulsion from the Asia Minor. But the historical truth must be recognized and be accepted by all those who desire to build a better future for the Middle East and the world. Mr. Obama campaigned on the promise of change and honesty, and was elected with the expectation that he will keep his promises. Well, in this first trip to Turkey, his promise to the Armenians and other Americans was conveniently forgotten. We can only hope and pray that this would not become the pattern of behavior of our newly elected President. Otherwise, the New President would look much like the other one whom he replaced and the American people despised and rejected at the end. He deserves better than that, in my view.

Fifth Misstep: The Head of Ecumenical Orthodoxy Insulted. Perhaps the most serious misstep of the American President during his first trip to Europe, especially his visit to Turkey, was his failure to pay the proper respect and due honor to the Head of the Orthodox Church worldwide, His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and New Rome. President Obama apparently yielded to the pressure of the Islamist Government of Turkey to forego a visit to the Patriarchate to meet with his Holiness, Mr. Bartholomew, as was expected initially to console the Greeks and the Greek-Americans, who had supported Mr. Obama with their votes and their dollars during the campaign. Evidently they found it offensive that the newly elected Democratic President with their overwhelming support had chosen to pay a visit to Turkey, which is known for its Muslim Sultans, and conveniently bypassed Athens, Greece, the birthplace of Democracy. This mistake is equivalent to Obama's visiting Berlusconi in Rome, but neglecting to meet with the Pope at the Vatican. At the end and apparently to placate the furious Greeks, the American President agreed to meet reluctantly with His Holiness in a hotel room furtively and secretly for a few minutes away from the lights of publicity, as if they were fearful and persecuted Christian Armenians trying to avoid the menacing glances of the Turkish Sultans. What does this kind of behavior from the Head of the only remaining Superpower, the democratically elected President of the United States of America, really say about democracy and openness, and honesty? President Obama missed an excellent opportunity to tell the Turks the truth about their aspirations of becoming a part of the European Union, the prosperous `Christian Club' as they like to refer to it: That the only possible road to the EU for the Turks goes through the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Phanar. The sooner they realize this reality the better the prospect to overcome the European serious doubts.

Evidently, President Obama made all these missteps in his visit to Turkey, when the First Lady was not present to protect him and perhaps prevent him from taking the missteps. On the other hand, had she been present, would she have to wear the Turkish headscarf to meet with Madam Erdogan?

Dr. Christos Evangeliou is Professor of Philosophy at Towson University, USA, and author of numerous papers and scholarly books including the most recent, Themata Politica: Hellenic and Euro-Atlantic.

Armenian Online Editor Severely Beaten, Hospitalised ALERT - ARMENIA 1 May 2009
SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, April 30, 2009 - The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Armenian authorities to apprehend three assailants who attacked Argishti Kivirian, editor of the independent news Web site Armenia Today. The unidentified men beat Kivirian early this morning, leaving him hospitalized in serious condition, Zhanna Alexanian, president of the Yerevan-based organization Journalists for Human Rights, told CPJ.

"We condemn this brutal attack on Argishti Kivirian and call on Yerevan police to swiftly apprehend and punish his assailants," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "Independent journalists in Armenia, including those working online, have been subjected to increased physical violence in the past year. Armenian authorities should reverse this trend by investigating and prosecuting to the fullest all responsible for today's attempt on Kivirian's life."

Local press reports and CPJ sources said Kivirian was returning home from his newsroom at around 5 a.m., when three men attacked him in the entrance to his Yerevan apartment building. The men appeared to have been waiting for him, said Alexanian, who spoke to Kivirian's wife, the prominent lawyer Luciné Saakian, shortly after the attack. Wielding rubber clubs, the assailants hit Kivirian in the head and elsewhere on his body. Kivirian struggled with one attacker who brandished a gun, causing the firearm to discharge, Saakian told Alexanian. The shots roused Saakian and neighbors, causing the assailants to flee, local press reports said.

Kivirian was taken to a Yerevan hospital where he was being treated for a concussion and multiple bruises, the Armenian press reported.

Armenia Today is an independent Web site that publishes political, social, and economic news, along with analyses of current events. In a statement published after the attack, Kivirian's colleagues said they were convinced the attack was connected to his work and vowed that the site would continue operating as usual. Colleagues did not connect the attack to a specific piece. Kivirian has not yet spoken publicly.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org

For further information, contact Nina Ognianova (x106) or Muzaffar Suleymanov (x101) at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail: europe@cpj.org, nognianova@cpj.org , msuleymanov@cpj.org, Internet: http://www.cpj.org/

Opposition Journalist Attacked In Armenia 1 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
A journalist working for a website of information for opposition was assaulted and seriously injured by unknown Thursday in the capital Yerevan, said the police.

Arguichti Kivirian, publisher of Armenia Today website, was hospitalized with several injuries and was unable to give evidence at the moment because of the seriousness of his condition, "police said in a statement.

His sister Armenika indicated that during the attack, which occurred early Thursday morning, the assailants had used baseball bats and fired three shots from a revolver, without reaching the victim.

Armenia today issued a statement saying that the attack was "related to professional activities" of the journalist.

The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) expressed this in a "brutal aggression" and stressed that it was not an isolated case in Armenia. She said she was "deeply concerned" by the fact that "freedom of expression, one of the basic principles of democracy" or "threatened" in Armenia.

Journalist Ambushed: ArmeniaNow Coordinator Was Attacked By Armine Grigoryan, ArmeniaNow reporter
A brutal attack on a journalist only days before the World Press Freedom Day marked on May 3 raised more questions over how safe the profession of journalism is in Armenia.

Police launched a criminal investigation following an attack on Argishti Kiviryan, a coordinator of the ARMENIA Today news agency, who was severely beaten on his way home from work in the small hours of April 30.

Kiviryan, 36, is now at the resuscitation unit of the `Erebuni' medical center. Doctors say his condition is serious but stable.

The incident occurred near the entrance to his building at #9 Nalbandyan Street. Three unknown individuals reportedly assailed and severely beat Kiviryan causing him serious head and face injuries. Kiviryan's wife, Lusine Sahakyan said they heard also gunshots but fortunately Kiviryan did not sustain any gunshot wounds.

Sahakyan, who is a lawyer, believes that what happened to her husband has mostly to do with his activities as a professional journalist, and she promised to answer the question whether or not there had been prior pressures after verifying this with her husband. (ARMENIA Today online is known for its opposition stance, while Sahakyan was a defense lawyer for an oppositionist, former deputy prosecutor-general Gagik Jhangiryan in a case related to post-election developments.

A forensic examination has been appointed and criminal proceedings opened in the case, details are being clarified, according to a police report.

Journalist and media freedom expert Mesrop Harutyunyan said to ArmeniaNow that any manifestation of violence deserves condemnation, moreover, when it is violence against a lawyer or a reporter.

To double-check the information about violence against the journalist, the rapid reaction group of the Ombudsman's Office visited the `Erebuni' medical center as well, but they didn't manage to talk to Kiviryan, either.

`Kiviryan's wife informed us that the incident was most likely linked to his activities as a journalist. His wife refrained from giving any other details,' Grigori Grigoryants, a spokesman for the Ombudsman's Office, said.

Eleven NGOs and journalistic organizations issued a statement in connection with the incident, condemning another act of violence, demanding that the law-enforcement bodies identify and punish those responsible.

`Resolving issues by means of beating and violence is turning into a serious public threat, and the state bodies are not taking efficient steps to resist that. The fact that those who have attacked reporters are not standing trial today is an eloquent proof of that,' the statement says.

Ombudsman Armen Harutyunyan is also concerned over the fact that there are no tangible results on the part of the police in the process of resolving cases of violence against journalists.

His office issued a statement `condemning this very dangerous and vicious practice of expressing disagreement. Taking into account the fact that almost all cases of violence against journalists committed in the past have not been disclosed and the atmosphere of impunity leads to new violence, the ombudsman calls upon the Police to take all necessary measures in order to identify those responsible for this violence.'

Media organizations say the number of violent attacks against journalists has risen significantly in recent years making journalist a `dangerous profession' in Armenia.

The annual report on `Violations of Mass Media and Journalists' Rights in 2008' states that in comparison with the period of the 2003 elections, in the 2008 elections cases of violence and pressures increased about three times. In 2003, cases of physical violence against journalists were seven; in 2008, 18 cases were registered; and `pressures and hindrance of journalists' work' nearly doubled, from 25 in 2003 to 48 last year.

`Road Map' View from Stepanakert: Is Karabakh settlement part of Armenia-Turkey accord? By Naira Hairumyan
In Karabakh people think that while before Turkey was trying to solve the Karabakh issue by means of blocking Armenia, now it is putting pressure on Azerbaijan over the Karabakh issue to settle problems with its own borders.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said in a recent interview to Russian state television's news program Vesti that the position of Azerbaijan on Nagorno Karabakh `reflects the safety of those people who live there now and will live there in the future; it also reflects the issues of the local self-governance of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the issues of restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.'

`We understand the importance for Armenia to have a land link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. In this case we see no problems there. And the issues related to the Lachin corridor can be solved effectively,' the Azeri leader underscored.

What forced Aliyev to make such statements?

There is an opinion in Karabakh that Ankara forced Baku to give up on its claims on Karabakh to solve an important issue of the [Armenian] recognition of the Treaty of Kars.

In fact, today's borders of Turkey and Armenia have not been recognized, and Armenia may present territorial claims to Turkey at any time. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has stated several times that Armenia has no territorial claims to Turkey. But the worldwide Armenian Diaspora and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun (ARF), one of the oldest traditional Armenian political parties operating both in Armenia and Armenian communities abroad, disagree.

Unlike Armenia, in Karabakh the position of Dashnaktsutyun and the current authorities on the Karabakh settlement coincide. That is why the Dashnaks of Karabakh do not intend to become opposition yet.

`We have already stated that there is a necessity of creating an all-Karabakh diplomatic front. And against that background we need to work out a plan of joint work with the authorities,' stated David Ishkhanyan, who heads the ARF Central Committee in Artsakh.

For his part, head of the `Democracy' faction of the NKR National Assembly Vahram Atanesyan stated that `the political forces of the NKR must remind the world community and international mediators again that for us it is unacceptable to solve the Karabakh issue in accordance with the concept of dividing the South Caucasus into spheres of influence.'

On April 21, a day before the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministers in Switzerland announced a roadmap to normalizing bilateral ties, political parties in Karabakh issued a joint statement in which they appealed to Turkey to recognize the Genocide and Karabakh's independence. The chairman of the Free Homeland party Artur Tovmasyan pointed out that the settlement of Armenian-Turkish relations must be conditioned by the Karabakh settlement. Settlement means recognition of Karabakh's independence.

The document stresses the unacceptability of the attempts to question the Armenian genocide or making it a subject for discussion. It contains an appeal to the international community to `work consistently towards Turkey's admission of the fact of the crime against the Armenian nation and humanity in the Ottoman Empire.'

`It is notable that Baku is in tandem with Ankara in its nihilistic policy of genocide denial, which obviously proves the participation and responsibility of Azerbaijan for this crime part of which was the extermination and deportation of native Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh at the beginning of last century,' says Leonid Martirosyan, the editor-in-chief the Azat Artsakh newspaper.

He stresses that subjecting Nagorno-Karabakh to the power of genocidal Turkish-Azeri state must be completely excluded. `Azerbaijan rather sensitively and jealously reacts to the possible normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. The fears of the Azeri side are quite explicable, as in the event of opening the border and establishing diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia, the position of Baku in the process of the Karabakh settlement will become weaker - it will lose one of its important trump cards in the policy of isolating Yerevan and exerting diplomatic pressure on Yerevan. Moreover, the Azeris realize well that the opening of the border will allow involving Armenia into many energy and transport-communications projects that have hitherto bypassed Armenia's territory. This means, if events develop like that, it is not excluded that in the issue of the Karabakh settlement Baku may become more compliant and give up on its current maximalist position,' Martirosyan said.

Perhaps in the text of the `Road Map' there is no precondition on the settlement of the Karabakh issue, but at the same time the relation between the Karabakh settlement and Armenian-Turkish rapprochement is obvious. Will it be possible to settle the problem this time? If, as the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs assure, the presidents are still discussing `Madrid proposals', then they are not talking about defining the status of Karabakh, they are talking about moving the line of contact in a way benefiting Azerbaijan and thus turning Karabakh into a small enclave.

On The Threshold Of Changes: Does The `Road Map' Of Turkey And Armenia Imply A New Political Route? Analysis by Aris Ghazinyan
Will Robert Kocharyan return to big politics? Will a political tandem of the second president of Armenia and the Dashnaktsutyun Party that withdrew from the governing coalition earlier this week be formed? Will this new political force be able to become a third pole?

These are the main questions the Armenian public is asking today.

The political life of Armenia is on the threshold of big changes. The catalyst for the inevitable change in the alignment of forces was the officially supported intensification of Armenian-Turkish contacts and announcement late on April 22 of the so-called `Road Map' as a certain mechanism for a gradual rapprochement and reconciliation of the parties.

One may judge about Kocharyan's attitude to the foreign policy tack of the current administration by one of his statements: `Abdullah Gul would never come to Yerevan during my presidency.'

According to independent political analyst and Caucasus expert Viktor Solakhyan, `the soccer diplomacy of Serzh Sargsyan has turned into an own goal.'

Kocharyan once saved Armenia (in 1998) from capitulating in the Karabakh issue. That cost Levon Ter-Petrosyan, a consistent advocate of a peace accord with Azerbaijan based on respect for the latter's territorial integrity, his job as president. He was also the advocate of establishing diplomatic relations with Turkey by means of giving up on the territorial claims to Turkey. Today, in the opinion of many analysts, history may be repeated.

The incumbent Armenian president today is simply forced to answer the main query of the society: was the issue of the status of the border discussed during the negotiations on the border opening, or, in other words, did Yerevan express readiness to legally acknowledge the border and give up on possible territorial claims to Turkey? The thing is that the contours of the border itself were defined in Moscow during the initial period of Soviet Armenia (the so-called Russian-Turkish Agreement `on fraternity and cooperation' of March 16, 1921) and ratified by the government of Soviet Armenia in Kars on October 13 of the same year.

`After the establishment of independent Armenia, the Turkish government has consistently tried to reach an agreement with the Armenian authorities on a legal recognition of the border, which automatically would mean the withdrawal of Armenia's territorial claims,' Solakhyan says. `If this issue is resolved, the chances that Ankara might recognize the Genocide will increase significantly.'

Turkish newspaper Sabah published the plan of the `Road Map'. According to Sabah, the main point of the Armenian-Turkish-Swiss design is not even Nagorno-Karabakh, but the legal recognition of the modern-day borders of Turkey by official Yerevan, and, correspondingly, of the current Armenian-Turkish (blocked) segment of the border. This is the very question which, in the aspect of the Turkish interest certainly outweighs the Karabakh problem. That is why Serzh Sargsyan's words that the issue of Armenian-Azeri relations and Nagorno Karabakh in particular was not discussed when drafting the document at all, does not console, but on the contrary raises concerns.

If this issue is not clarified, Serzh Sargsyan's position will become very unstable and vulnerable. As political observer of the `Golos Armenii' newspaper Levon Mikaelyan stated, `not everyone in Armenia has become a shop-keeper and seller yet, and there is a considerable contingent of people who have preserved their uncompromising stand exactly in national issues.'

Samvel Karapetyan, a historian and expert on Armenian architecture, expressed his view on this: `The recognition of Turkey's integrity will be the greatest step towards high treason. The border is closed not between Turkey and Armenia, but between the Republic of Armenia and Armenia, and it is unacceptable to call Western Armenia `regions of Eastern Turkey'. We have a duty, and if we realize that, we must be able to impose obligations on Turkey.'

Head of the `Ararat' analytical center Armen Ayvazayn also stated that `if we are talking about a complete refusal of the Armenian question and final legitimization of consequences of the Armenian genocide, then this kind of intimacy with Turkey contradicts the declaration on Armenia's independence, contradicts the desires of the Armenian people and is nothing less than capitulating.'

In 2001, President Kocharyan, answering the question of a Turkish reporter concerning the possibility of Yerevan presenting territorial claims to Turkey if the latter after all recognized the genocide, stated: `The issue of recognizing the Genocide and the issue of territorial claims are two different problems and have no immediate relation to each other. The issue of territorial claims to Turkey should be considered not in terms of it recognizing the Genocide, but within the Peace Treaty of Sevre.' Thus, the second Armenian president did not give up on the possibility of presenting territorial claims to Turkey in the future.

`In principle, not a single leader of Armenia is authorized to make official statements about Armenia not having territorial claims to Turkey on behalf of national history and the nation spread all over the world. In this respect the answer of the second president of Armenia may be considered satisfactory,' Mikaelyan said.

On April 18, 2005 the then-Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan stated that `On the foreign policy agenda of Armenia there was and would be the issue of the international recognition of the Genocide. Will the next president of Armenia raise the territorial issue? - I do not know. Let the next leader of Armenia speak about further claims. The current authorities in Armenia only raise the issue of the international recognition of the Genocide.'

However, it seems that the `next president' is not willing to answer that question yet. Moreover, the Secretary of the National Security Council of the current administration is ex-speaker of Armenian Parliament Artur Baghdasaryan, whom Kocharyan publicly called `a traitor who has fallen too low' and who still in 2006 (when he was still number two official in the country) made arbitrary statements that `taking into account its difficult geopolitical situation, Armenia cannot have territorial claims to Turkey.' His personal viewpoint, as well as the approaches of his Orinats Yerkir party was based on the circumstance that `we already have one open front -that of Karabakh, and it is unacceptable to open another one with Turkey.'

Anyway, today the Armenian president is really doomed to clarify this situation. Otherwise, the political processes in Armenia will be activated to the extent that there will already be talk about shaping up a fundamentally new political environment balancing on the brink of civil confrontation.

First Cyprus, Now Armenia: Could The EU Err Again?, Klaus.Jurgens At Gmail.Com Zaman
Normalizing ties between Yerevan and Ankara is a welcome development. The potential for economic cooperation is immense. Add the human dimension and we should all agree about the fact that one day soon the border gates between Armenia and Turkey must and will be reopened. Observers of the debate, however, know that one has to take Azerbaijan into the equation.

Not only that, allow me to shed some light on a different aspect of resolving this dispute: What are Brussels and the European Union up to?

I do not agree with much of the content of the very pro-EU, multi-language TV station Euronews. It is basically nothing more than a press briefing by EU officials turned TV program. Watching it more often you realize that it never challenges EU policies. Fair enough, one could say -- but why then not be honest and call it EU Commission TV? I do continue to watch it, though, as it is a perfect tool to learn about European officials' real viewpoints as well as their attitude vis-à-vis Turkey in particular. It would be an understatement to say Euronews simply mirrors Mrs. Angela Merkel's and Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy's "near anti-Turkey" sentiments; it actually goes one step further: It shows anything which portrays the country in a rather gloomy, if not outright negative, light -- news about Turkey only surface when there is a crisis, a bomb attack or a mass demonstration against the government. If European citizens have to solely rely on this channel to understand Turkey, we have to start worrying indeed!

I have to add a line about President Sarkozy here. I do not disagree with all his policies, of course. Only today did I hear about his plans to modernize Paris and bring the suburbs, or the infamous "banlieu," closer to the city center to, first, avoid social conflict and, second, create a greener Paris. So we have to distinguish. What I am criticizing is his Turkey policy when it comes to refusing to help Ankara reach its goal of full EU membership.

It was this past Thursday when I came across a very disturbing piece of "news" on Euronews, packaged as an interview with a number of pan-European students linked to a European movement which runs an office in the Armenian capital, Yerevan (Reporter, Euronews, April 30). While I know a fair number of European movements from my active days in Brussels, there are some I would recommend, others perhaps criticize as some are more federalist and others less so. Very few are openly supported by the European Commission, though, and these are the ones to watch to learn about where the EU thinks it should go in the future.

Having watched this program and seen the blue and yellow EU flag proudly gracing this movement's Yerevan offices, something else occurred to me: Would it be possible that Brussels is preparing to enlarge the EU eastward, i.e., give Armenia potential candidate status before Turkey has become a full member? Could it be that policy makers in Brussels think that opening doors to Armenia could pressure Ankara into making undue concessions? I am not arguing that this process has already begun, nor do I know whether such a policy for accession is hidden in an EU's bureaucrat's drawer. What I am saying, however, is that Ankara must play all its cards to make certain it isn't.

That is why I linked Cyprus with today's topic. Last week I wrote about how the EU made a grave mistake by allowing a non-reunified island to enter the EU. Perhaps another error of historic proportions could be in the making. This error would be to sidestep Turkey and pursue an enlargement policy toward other countries to help them join the block faster than Ankara.

Some European integrationists always looked eastward -- using the EU as instrument to destabilize communist neighbors. Once "neutralized," EU membership was offered. We all witnessed this project in its near-completion five years ago when eight former communist countries joined the EU. For many years it looked like this: Ex-communist state? Fast-track. Turkey? No track!

One scenario that should be avoided is that after the border gates between Turkey and Armenia are reopened, Yerevan becomes just another country similar to former Soviet-era states and will be invited to join the EU regardless of whether Turkey has already become a full member or not.

Where does this leave us with regard to the official as well as unofficial road maps toward normalizing ties between Armenia and Turkey? Let us not overlook a key factor: The Armenian diaspora knows how to lobby and has the funds to do so. Many citizen of Armenian origin occupy leading posts in politics and society in many countries. Agreeing to open the border with Turkey will have been discussed with these groups for a long time and I would be surprised if there is no catch involved.

Turkey can afford to negotiate from a position of strength. Its geopolitical role has changed -- it has become a much stronger actor than in the past millennium. We may applaud Ankara for having begun talks in earnest and we hope that the road map will indeed lead to a complete normalization of links between both countries. We must make sure, however, that Turkey is neither forced into accepting the "g-word" via the backdoor nor to alienate Azerbaijan. 02 May 2009

Turkish-Syrian Relations And Israel, Beril Dedeoğlu Todayszaman.Com
The change of paradigm in Turkish foreign policy is visible in many fields. The evolution of the process that was previously called "normalization" into concrete steps, the attempt to end Azerbaijan's position as the main determinant of Turkey's relations with Armenia and the contributions made in the search for a solution on Cyprus are just some of these steps.

What is being talked about less is the development of relations with Syria. Relations between Syria and Turkey point, just as in the other cases, to a large pool of connected relationships. It is not possible to discuss the history of Turkish-Syrian relations without mentioning Lebanon and Israel. This is reminiscent of the Turkish-Armenian relationship, for which no significant sentence can be framed without citing Azerbaijan, Russia or Western countries.

Turkish-Syrian relations reached a breaking point after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was expelled from Syria, and both countries have quit their policies of pressing each other on issues such as terrorism and water. The second acceleration in this rapprochement took place when the US, under George W. Bush, lined Syria up in its sights. The US pressed for sanctions to be imposed on Syria by including it on its list of rogue states, while pointing out the dangers of Iran-Syria ties. Turkey, on the other hand, argued that putting pressure on Syria would push the country toward Iran and that this would constitute a more open threat for the security of Israel and bring Lebanon into the field of battle.

Turkey's approach was legitimized when it became the medium for introducing Syria into the system, again in the Bush era. The introduction of Syria into the system can be defined as moves on Damascus' part aimed at finding a solution for its problems with Israel, the development of peaceful projects for the future of Lebanon and, of course, the weakening of its ties with Iran.

It can't be said that this process will stop short of creating serious domestic repercussions within Syria but, for the time being, the leading power appears to have partial control over the situation. Nonetheless, we don't know how long this situation will continue and, as a result, there is pressure to solve these problems quickly. It should also be admitted that Israel, at the beginning of this process, had a constructive attitude. However, different dimensions of the Palestinian question have changed the political climate in Israel and, in some sense, no problem was seen in the continuation of policies that were compatible with Bush policies into the post-Bush era. There is no doubt that this situation will also result in new tensions in Israel's domestic politics. As a result, there is pressure on Israel, too.

The dialogue Turkey and Syria have developed, which is inclusive of Lebanon, has recently taken the form of a joint military maneuver on their shared border. This naturally resulted in a reaction from Israel. That is, the maneuver achieved its goal. The problem is to understand what that goal was. This minor military maneuver is a little warning to Israel and the warning does not come from Turkey. It seems that it was the US that wanted this warning and, because it can't make an official change in its Israel policy, it accomplishes this through other countries.

The warning made through other countries is about the isolation of Israel in the region. It can be said that having continuous, violent problems with countries in the region and with at least some of the Palestinians does not conform to US President Barack Obama's plans for the Middle East. Since Israel cannot help the US, as it is distancing itself from the discourse of rapprochement in the Middle East, the prospects of the US helping Israel will shrink. As a result, solution models for a set of problems, from Afghanistan to Iraq, have become nonfunctional.

It is not clear that these models will yield results even if Israel changes its attitude. The aim is to not leave room for similar indeterminacies to take place elsewhere. 02 May 2009

Problems And Opportunities Sabah Erdal Şafak /TZ
If Turkish-Armenian relations enter into a process of normalization before the problems surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh region are solved, we will witness a shift in regional alliance patterns.

It is quite possible that if Armenia opens up to the West via Turkey, then Azerbaijan, which is still strongly allied with the West, will become closer to Russia, perhaps even entering quite decisively into its influence. On the other hand though, if Ankara could take care of both of these problems at the same time -- in other words, solving the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and thus bringing about peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia, while also introducing normalcy to Turkish-Armenian relations -- the power enjoyed by Russia in the Caucasus could slip to the lowest point that we have seen in 300 years. Can Turkey carry off this double success? I have no doubts at all.
02 May 2009,

Parris: ‘Genocide' Reference Would Have Frozen Turkey Ties Ali H. Aslan Washington/TZ
President Barack Obama has figured out Turkey's importance for the United States much sooner than his predecessor, a former US ambassador to Turkey has said, asserting that the ties would have been put into deep freeze had Obama used the word "genocide" in a recent message to refer to killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Obama refrained from using the "g-word" in the traditional message for an Armenian remembrance day, but the fact that he said his views on the issue have not changed and used the Armenian phrase to describe the World War I events led to bitter complaints from Turkey.

"I have no doubt that had the statement contained the word 'genocide,' US-Turkish relations would have gone into a deep freeze that would have taken years to thaw," former US Ambassador to Turkey Mark Parris told a conference at the private Rumi Forum in Washington on Thursday.

Asked what would be the best time for the US to recognize Armenian genocide claims, the veteran diplomat was cautious, saying there may never be a good time for this.

Turkey rejects Armenian claims of genocide, saying both the death toll, said to be 1.5 million by Armenians, was inflated and that the killings occurred as the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell Armenian revolts for independence. Obama made firm promises during his election campaign that he would endorse the genocide claims. During a visit to Turkey earlier this month, he said his views had not changed but that he also did not want to harm the ongoing process between Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations.

Parris said both Turkey and Armenia complained about Obama's statement but emphasized that "it did no lasting harm," as neither the Turkish-US partnership nor the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process have been damaged.

Parris also underlined that the Obama administration rejected an argument that Turkey's government has been systematically reorienting Turkey's foreign policy onto an Islamist axis and that therefore it should not be rewarded by an early presidential visit. "Whatever the merits of this argument, the Obama administration, by scheduling the visit, have decisively rejected it," he said.

The US ambassador also asserted that the relationship with Turkey was now being "managed at the very top levels of our new government." He said the US administration has been "true to its public declarations of readiness to listen and be responsive to Turkish viewpoints and concerns" and added, "The approach seems genuinely to be: ‘we have a common problem; how can we best solve it?' rather than ‘we want what we want when we want it'." 02 May 2009,

Speech by Mr Hamlet Gasparian, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Armenia in France at the Paris City Hall on 24 April 2009 by Stéphane / armenews Paris,

First of all I would like to thank the Mayor of Paris, Mr Delanoë, for this visit very important that we become a tradition to honor the memory of the victims of Genocide, which makes us think together about our present and our future.

In Armenia, this day of 24 April is a day of national mourning. Thousands and thousands of people visit, at this very moment, at the genocide memorial to bow to the memory of one and a half million innocent victims. It is a day of mourning for all Armenians, wherever they are. This 24 day of April, all our friends on all continents - America, Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe - are with us to share our pain and seek justice.

Date of April 24, for each of us is a moment of truth and clarity, the day calls us to appoint the facts of their own names.

This day of 24 April 1915, hundreds of Armenian notables of Constantinople were arrested, to be moved and brutally murdered, poets, writers, musicians, politicians and public, religious, journalists, doctors, lawyers and others. Decapitation national elites was the signal for the Great Catastrophe, in a few months, under the guise of the First World War, the young Turkish government deported the Armenian population from their ancestral lands and exterminated without any distinction of age or sex: men, women and children. After endless sufferings and wanderings, the survivors have found refuge in Arab countries, the Caucasus, Europe or elsewhere.

The disaster was much greater than the loss of lives of millions. All property of the Armenians were expropriated, their homes, their institutions, their churches plundered and destroyed. Any Armenian presence was removed from the lands where they lived for thousands of years, traces of the existence of the Armenian civilization were erased forever. Today you will find a few ruins that attest to their presence and influence of the past of culture and civilization Armenian.

It was a monstrous and abominable crime, hitherto unprecedented in the history of mankind. This act of appalling cruelty and extremely dangerous in terms of its consequences, poisoning for nearly a century, the international political atmosphere and especially in our region, preventing our people to interact and grow. He left a deep imprint on our minds, our minds and our behavior, condemning generations to the anguish and despair.

From the point of view of its geopolitical, economic, demographic and moral crime of the Armenian Genocide is not the past. It is more than this. It holds in its claws the future of our people, its development, the flowering of his talent, the organization of its political and social life, his plans for the future.

These claws hung in Asia Minor and the Caucasus, did not allow us to establish natural relationships with all our neighbors, share and enrich each other. They oblige Armenians scattered all over the world, to make enormous efforts and resources to make the voice of truth and justice.

These claws nailed us to always keep this sad beginning of the 20th century. If the First World War, as deadly and destructive as it is turned a page in the history of mankind and peoples, is still wide open to this day for the Armenians and will remain so until justice is restored .

Between the two world wars and throughout the Cold War, established the taboo on the Armenian Genocide did not know the obscure, although it has stifled the voice of truth. Let us remember, a few years ago we spoke sotto voce. Even today in some publications and debates, this bloody page of history is quietly bypassed.

And it is important to reiterate the firm position of France on this issue has helped to break this taboo and to continue - at the international level-the recognition of historical facts.

The courageous stance of France and dozens of other countries have helped to broaden the debate on the Armenian Genocide and spread to Turkey. This courageous stance has contributed and contributes to the awakening of a Turkish civil society aware of its responsibility for past and its future, by strengthening democracy and respect for human rights in that country. In Turkey, as elsewhere in the world, it helps to combat the demons of today: racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

Otherwise it would be unimaginable a few years ago, that voice increasing in Turkey can reach by calling watching history in the eye and find the path of reconciliation between the two peoples.

This position contributes to courageous fight against the new evil, the denial, the denial digging even more the chasm that separates us and makes a wall of misunderstanding between us.

In evaluating the past in a fair and just and analyzing this, we all reached the same conclusion: it is time for new generations of Armenian and Turkish get rid of the weight of the past, to reach hand of reconciliation and live in peace. This requires that the interests of our children and our future generations is the sine qua non of stability and security of our region and Europe. The difficult task of reconciliation rests primarily on the leaders of Armenia and Turkey, but also on the Armenian and Turkish societies and the international community, because both the path to reconciliation is long, as the threat continues of hostilities and mistrust that hangs over us are serious.

Today, after the proposal for dialogue by the President of Armenia was accepted by his Turkish counterpart, a possible outcome out of this unacceptable situation emerging. Evidenced by the joint statement by the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs, in which the two countries expressed readiness to normalize their bilateral relations and to develop in the spirit of mutual respect and good neighborliness. But let's be clear again: normalize relations with Turkey does not mean to question the reality of the Genocide.

The political leaders of our region are often in favor of peace, cooperation and stability. Anything is possible, is it that the interests of countries and organizations that play a role in our region converge. The South Caucasus is the miniature of the multipolarity of the world. This is one of the areas where there are lines of separation sometimes seemingly insurmountable, where political maps of the States are different from the reality on the ground, where stability is extremely fragile, and the establishment of peace requires a common as colossal as tenacious.

This 24 day of April, I would like to be optimistic and believe that one day, hopefully not too long ago, the Presidents of Armenia and Turkey will all bow before the memory of the victims. I would like to believe that one day not too distant in the center of Istanbul is a monument erected in memory of Daniel Varoujan, Grigor Zohrap, Rouben Sevak, Siamantho, much symbolic names, and other victims of 1915, while as in the center of Paris, at the entrance of the Garden of Yerevan, is the monument erected Komitas.
Hamlet Gasparian

Obama: Part Surrender 25 April 2009, Ara / armenews
How Barack Obama, after his promises repeated several times to be the American president who will recognize the genocide of Armenians ", he would manage the traditional message of the White House published in April 24? Was it to give free rein to the ethical dimension of his character with floor? Was it to wait, deal with Turkey while losing as little as possible? It is ultimately the diplomatic option, which has prevailed. Making a fine tightrope, Barack Obama, as he did in Turkey, said he kept his beliefs (understood in the genocide), he paid tribute to the 1.5 million victims, called the event "one of the greatest atrocities of the twentieth century" and has finally used the term Armenian MedzYeghen, which has in recent times a second youth. Even if its real meaning of "great crime" has become, through the magic of mistranslation systematically repeated, a "major disaster", which is not equivalent.

What about this attitude? It is clear that it corresponds to a desire to leave Turkey. The United States recently reassessed upward to their alliance with Muslim countries traditionally included in their security system and which they wish to allocate an increasing role in the dialogue of civilizations. And the strong offensive by the Turkish diplomacy, which as usual was masterfully able to wield the carrot and the stick has the incentive to follow a line. On the one hand, the fact is that Ankara has again remarkably oversold its strategic advantages in the White House, by forgetting the unfortunate episode of the war in Iraq, where Turkey Mr. Erdogan (already) had makes desertion at a time when America actually had on her. But stronger still, she managed to give Barack Obama the political arguments for postponing the deadline for the promised recognition of genocide in the name of a possible future recognition by Turkey itself. As suggested this event could occur through the process of ongoing discussion with Armenia. Hence the usefulness of making public the famous "road map", whose existence was revealed by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the eve of April 24. Very timely. A document whose contents have not been disclosed, but which has a twofold goal: to erase the disastrous outflows of Gül and Erdogan on the preconditions for dialogue - along with the usual rhetorical denial - and suggest instead that the dialogue begun almost a year ago had taken a further step. So that the issue of recognition may be taken into account, somewhere along the way. So Barack Obama has he achieved the political means to reconcile opposites without losing face. This beautiful number password password would be left unfinished if the head of the superpower had not dangled possible radicalization of its position, stressing that it remained committed to "the completion of a full, frank and fair facts "and if the son of the black people reduced to slavery had not recalled in full knowledge that" history remains unresolved weighing difficult to bear. " What was said.

One can infer from this that if the U.S. did not want to risk breaking the deadlock, perhaps because the price seemed too uncertain date, they will continue to maintain the pressure for the long-awaited advent of justice in this case. This is an improvement over the Bush administration. In this perspective, the Armenian diplomacy should be more vigilant than ever not to provide guarantees to Turkey, whose strategy is to always win more time. Indeed, for this dialogue does not so much to lead to an agreement to serve as a barrier to the internationalization of the Armenian question and new recognition of the genocide. In the name of the principle of non interference. Yerevan should be careful not to lend itself to these maneuvers also aim to drive a wedge between a Diaspora and a known radical Armenia supposed conciliatory.

As for the diaspora, and especially the Armenian community of France, which by its position plays an increasingly central in this case, it will remain more engaged and active than ever to counteract the roll mill Turkish politico-economic . And remind the world, including the friendly Armenian government, the descendants of genocide, direct heirs of the victims now dispersed around the world can not be bound by any decision taken without their knowledge on this issue.
Ara Toranian

History Inoperative 8 April 2009, Ara / armenews
We had experienced genocide Canada Dry with a series of accurately describing the act, but failing to appoint him by name (this has long been one of the faithful allies of Turkey as the United States, before Obama or Germany).

It was now with the last article on the Armenian question by the magazine "History", a situation totally reversed. If the concept of genocide is displayed - there is the logo on the label - its content is sanitized, however, revised downward. So from reading this new forgery, genocide is no longer one in the sense of three or four major crimes against humanity of the twentieth century, but ethnic cleansing becomes more ordinary. There was no one and a half million dead, but "six hundred thousand." There was no massacre by two to three million Ottoman Armenians, but "one million five hundred miles." There was no intention to liquidate the population, but an unfortunate combination of circumstances which led to a catastrophic outcome. All this is horrible, certainly. Wrong, of course. But reduced in small steps, in impressionist style. And the whole landscape to see changed.

This new process is emerging as even more insidious is that it develops under the banner of the word genocide, which is in this case act as moral support to the presentation of this adulterated version of the event. It does not deny the more significant, but it dilutes the meaning. And hence, we regard the same opinion ...

This is the second time in thirty years of existence the journal History, now in its 378th issue, devoted his "one" in 1915. The first time, there are more than ten years was to make very beautiful to negationist theories, particularly that of Gilles Veinstein. And this on the grounds of objectivity is performed on the "5 minutes for the Jews, 5 minutes for the Nazis, such as brocade Jean-Luc Godard.

Today is the United States that month went for a "leading expert" to answer this interview river 13 pages. A Fuat Dundar what capacity should the honor of being selected? According to history, writing 3 books published in Turkey on the Young Turks. But none is specifically dedicated to the extermination of Armenians. We could have such appeal in France Yves Ternon specialist problem or Kévorkian Raymond, who has published on the subject last year an exceptional editions Odile Jacob. But it was too simple. Our unknown is indeed our two French on the great advantage of being Turkish, which is now clearly a warranty claim to speak impartially of the matter ... The evidence: not once does the gentleman, he The concept of genocide to define the crime ... Only the titles of the journal makes mention.

And we learned which questions? Another "scientific", although to us this one: François Gorgeon who is a biography rather complacent about the Sultan Abdul Hamid, which tends to restore the reality that Europe called the "great Saigneur. A book that minimizes the importance of the anti-Armenian massacres of 1894-96. Too.

And we said Fuat Dündar to "help us understand what was decided and organized the deportation in 1915? Well in two words, it is the fault not of chance. That "until the eve of World War (...) Young Turks had not developed hostility against them (ie Armenians), the author forgot to switch the massacre in Adana ( approximately 30 000 deaths) of which we celebrate the hundredth anniversary this year. Only "the same period the Young Turkish power has shifted and dispersed to other non-Turkish (Kurds, Albanians, Bosnians, Circassians) (...), but for these people the decision did not have the same consequences loopholes for the Armenians. " Our historian failing to specify that this "movement" of refugees from the Balkan war (mostly) designed to install in homes left warm by Armenians "parties", for the death. Fuat even says that in February 1915 Djemal Pasha's decision to deport the Armenians of Zeytoun Dörtyol and after "some armed clashes", taking the view that Turkish official at the time. Which implies that the Armenians were "rebels" to quote the term used by the author. But never the population of these cities has "rebelled" at that time. This is neither more nor less than a false pretext at the time by the Turkish authorities. They intended to play on the reputation of resistance Zeitoun under the Sultans for these first steps of deportations, with, like the others that followed, unspeakable atrocities on women, children and the elderly (torture, rape , etc.)..

We do not eventually go through all aspects of this biased interview with the obvious purpose is to provide an under-valued version of the facts. But the conclusion of the article, in the form of final bouquet, is enough in itself to clarify the intention of the author: "I believe that the massacre was the product of circumstances, the consequence of a gradual evolution of events (...). If there had been no deportation in February 1915 to Zeytoun there have been no reactions from the Armenians of Van and Istanbul (sic) (...) if Van was not fell to the Russians because of this rebellion, the mass killings would not have occurred ".

This reading of history as seen by the small end of the telescope, with "if" in fact aiming to lower its threshold responsibility of the Turkish authorities, the clear determination of any criminal. Then comes the absolute enormity: "I do not think the government ordered the killings, but he helped the executioners: somehow, he was tasked to provide logistical support." Does it mean that Talaat, Djemal, Enver, respectively interior ministers of the navy and defense, three key members of government, that would assist the police, the organization and to the special army, which would have acted on their own? Fit for genocide Guignols de l'info, which would be conducted without the knowledge of free will of the Turkish government ...

And finally, pearl beads, always in the mouth of Fuat: "To the Young Turks was the danger but not arménité demographic imbalances. That is why I advocate that policy Turkification was - above all - a statistical and mathematical. The developed arménophobie not before but after the massacre. " Well! What would it have been if arménophobie had put the party! Thus the elimination of the Armenians would have simply responded to the need to restore a balanced population? Well, there was really no mortmain Turkish family planning at the time! And the annihilation of an entire people has been a "statistical and mathematical operation? But then, how the author says it a surprising side effect of this calculation, management mathematical killings and the fact that according to him a few lines above, the crime was not planned but caused by an unfortunate chain of circumstances (if there had been no Zeitoun "ect.)

It is a very, very far from what is shown and proven long all true experts in the field, such as Yves Ternon, the Vahakan Dadrian, through Taner Akçam and Raymond Kékorkian: that the genocide of Armenians has resulted from a political decision, that its establishment, according to a scenario identical in all places where the Armenians lived actually obey central planning, and this is undoubtedly one of the most "great crimes of the twentieth century." Qualifications used by the major allies of Turkey that the United States (before Obama) and Germany that they, unlike Mr. Dündar, at least have the intellectual honesty not to falsify the facts and figures even if for reasons of realpolitik with the Turkish state, they hypocritically circumventing the word genocide.

But when will deign History magazine does offer its readers a thesis consistent with the truth? Will it take 2015, the hundredth anniversary of the genocide, to be eligible?

Finally, always obedient to the will of misinformation that characterizes this interview, our specialist after a demonstration at the least far-fetched - believes, based on particular books secrets Talaat Pasha made public recently, that the number of deaths caused by the genocide would not be a million and a half, but six hundred miles. A figure which, as just like the rest of these pages, minimize the facts. Most studies evaluating effect of at least 1 300 000 the number of Armenians killed in 1915-16, an estimate that does not include the 1994-96 massacres hamidiens (two to three hundred miles dead), massacres Adana, genocidal atrocities committed in Iranian Azerbaijan in 1915 and the spring-summer 1918, the massacres at the same time by the Ottoman army in the regions of Kars and Alexandropol and Baku, the "military operations "Kemalists of the Caucasus. This figure of 600 000 deaths given by Mr. Dundar reviews even to lower the source to which it refers, the black book of Talaat, including the very moderate historian Ara Sarafian deducted for his part that the number of deaths in 1915 was 800 to 900 000. A document that more does not take into account the whole process. But we will understand the purpose is not to enlighten the reader as exonerate Turkey, dramatize things, and explain why from the first genocide of the twentieth century has been so obscured. These little arrangements with the truth involved in a magazine for the general public to some months of the Turkish season in France after all agree to a lot of interest, except of course those of victims. But those are for others. So why deprive ourselves?

To end on a lighter note, the box of the magazine story about the number of Armenians in the world has no shortage of salt either. This magazine has definitely a big problem with numbers and assesses the number of Armenians in the diaspora. "They are 2.7 million in diaspora. They are present in Russia (1.5 million), the United States and Canada (1.2 million), Syria and Lebanon (900 000), Africa (900 000) in the European Union (700 000 , especially in France), Iran (500 000) and Latin America (200 000). "Or, if you make the addition, 5 900 000. Find the error. So if the monthly tangle so brushes in current data and easily verifiable, what credibility can claim it when he bites to make revelations about the numbers more difficult to demonstrate. If the past is definitely not Turkish his thing, this Armenian either. Clearly, this magazine calculates wrong. Whether dead or alive. Ara Toranian

News From Canada: The Worst Speech Came From Rick Dykstra On The 24of April In Ottawa, Parliment Hill.

The other speakers and speeches are below:
Mr. Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today, as hundreds of thousands of people in Yerevan, Armenia lay flowers around the Armenian Genocide Memorial, Canadians of all backgrounds will join in commemorating the lives of those lost between 1915 and 1923. This day, 94 years ago, marks the beginning of the brutal and systematic destruction of the Armenian people by the authorities of the Ottoman Empire. In this first modern genocide, approximately one and a half million Armenians perished. It is only in recognizing the atrocities of the past that we can learn the lessons of history and ensure that such callous disregard for humanity is never repeated. I call on all members of the House to honour the victims of this genocide and stand firm with the Armenian-Canadian community in recognizing the suffering of their forefathers.

Rick Dykstra - DykstR at parl.gc.ca
Harold Albrecht - AlbreH at parl.gc.ca
Nicole Demers - DemerN at parl.gc.ca

House of Commons Hansard - April 23, 2009

Members' Statements

Armenian Community

Ms. Nicole Demers (Laval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, five years ago, on April 21, 2004, the House of Commons passed Motion M-380, presented by Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral, the then Bloc Québécois member for Laval. That motion finally recognized the historical reality of the Armenian genocide of 1915. Tomorrow, a number of members of the Armenian community will gather on Parliament Hill to mark the 94th anniversary of that genocide, the first of the 20th century. We continue to support the Armenian community in its desire to see this reality acknowledged by the entire international community, and we hope that the Turkish government will shortly accept responsibility for this event, so that the victims' descendants can begin the process of healing. In the meantime, the Bloc Québécois members remember with them and, as always, extend their total support.

House of Commons Hansard Blues - April 24, 2009
Members' Statements

Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga, CPC): Mr. Speaker, beginning April 24, 1915, the Armenian people were subjected to suffering and death at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, a tragic event in history that our Parliament has since recognized as the Armenian Genocide. I rise today as Chair of the Canada-Armenia Friendship Group to remember such events, not only to honour the memory of those who died and not just to solemnly acknowledge what has passed, but as a starting point to move forward in greater friendship and understanding between the two present day countries of Turkey and Armenia. The Armenian-Canadian community, consisting of 80,000 Armenians, has contributed greatly to Canada's culture and economy. Their participation in Canadian society helps to build a better Canada. I especially applaud their efforts to acknowledge their past, while looking forward to the future to build bridges based on mutual respect. By recognizing and remembering the Armenian Genocide, we are all compelled as Canadians, to do everything in our power to ensure that such a terrible tragedy never happens again.

Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa-Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in 2004 the majority of this House voted to recognize the terrible suffering endured by the Armenian people in 1915 as genocide. The opposition of 68 hon. members to this motion underlined the still ongoing debate about the sequence of events that led to this terrible tragedy. Canadians have built a reputation as fair arbitrators in conflicts all over the world. Let us continue in this tradition and encourage the governments of Turkey and Armenia to move forward in their desire to normalize their relations. It is with great encouragement that we learned yesterday that a comprehensive framework has been agreed upon by the governments of Turkey and Armenia to improve their bilateral relations. We must make sure that this road-map succeeds. In the spirit of this agreement, let us support Canadians of Armenian and Turkish origin in their efforts to also come together in mutual understanding and respect.

Mr. Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today, as hundreds of thousands of people in Yerevan, Armenia lay flowers around the Armenian Genocide Memorial, Canadians of all backgrounds will join in commemorating the lives of those lost between 1915 and 1923. This day, 94 years ago, marks the beginning of the brutal and systematic destruction of the Armenian people by the authorities of the Ottoman Empire. In this first modern genocide, approximately one and a half million Armenians perished. It is only in recognizing the atrocities of the past that we can learn the lessons of history and ensure that such callous disregard for humanity is never repeated. I call on all members of the House to honour the victims of this genocide and stand firm with the Armenian-Canadian community in recognizing the suffering of their forefathers.

Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the 20th century has been witness to some of humanity's greatest tragedies. One of these tragedies took place in 1915 when the Ottoman Empire collapsed under the onslaught of World War I. After more than four centuries of peaceful relations, a wave of nationalism broke into a frenzy of violence between Turks and Armenians. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in countless revolts, pitched battles and massacres. Others fled abroad. Many have come to Canada and made it their new home. This terrible tragedy continues to haunt Turks and Armenians alike. Recently however, as mentioned before, the Turkish and Armenian governments have undertaken important steps toward normalizing their relations in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. Our government supports recent efforts by the Turkish and Armenian governments to jointly study the still unresolved questions of their shared past. Canadians have a reputation as fair arbiters in conflicts all over the world. We encourage the governments of Turkey and Armenia to move forward in their desire to normalize their relations. Let us also encourage Canadians of Armenian and Turkish origin to come together in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.

Interesting Message


Jason Kenney

Minister of Citizenship & Immigration

See His Chief Of Staff too

Reasons For Non Use Of The Word, Etc. 1 May 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
Two Complementary Turkish Articles Shed Light On Significant Tractations Turco-Us-Armenian Who Had Finally Given Birth To A Monster

After years of diplomatic wrangling between Turkey and Armenia, the threat of use of a word is behind the sudden progress of their relationship.

The insistence of Obama about the alleged genocide convinced Turkey to sign the roadmap declared just before the annual return of 24 April.

The argument behind this word was full of emotion other than a big stick diplomacy. Obama is the president who had raised the first at a meeting on 7 April with Tayyib Erdogan, attended by negotiators from the USA, according to some sources.

Both companies are divided on the word 'genocide'.

So far, the Turkish lobby has managed to prevent its use at the President's statement on 24 April. But the dynamic has changed since Obama statements during the election campaign. It is now clear that the promise of Obama and his final gesture to avoid in his statement at the center of the attempted reconciliation.

After his visit, 7 April, Obama had asked Erdogan to reach an agreement before April 24.

In the days that followed, a fallback option for Turkey has emerged as a result of the reaction of Azerbaijan.

But the case was reached after marathon negotiations between Ankara and Yerevan with the mediation of officials of the USA.

Ankara insisted to get the commitment that Armenia should withdraw from at least five of the seven regions occupied by Armenia over the enclave and the Armenians refused to bow to pressure from the USA. He asked the Turkish side, however, to accept the case without reference to Karabakh, which Turkey agreed to swallow if the word 'genocide' is not used by Obama.

This was followed up and brought the wrath of many Armenians, including a party who left the government coalition.

A new round of discussions is planned to resolve the Karabakh problem. The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Prague on May 7 after the delegates of the OSCE, according to Reuters. Discussions will focus on the final status of Karabakh and the interim phase, according to sources quoted by the Daily News. Armenia wants a referendum only in the enclave, while Azerbaïdajanais want separate referenda in both communities.

According to Reuters, there was an upsurge of activity dipmlomatique in the region after the war in neighboring Georgia. There are still uncertainties on how the thaw between Armenia and Turkey ally of Azerbaijan, could affect efforts to resolve the conflict. According to the U.S. envoy Bryza, the two processes should be developed in parallel, perhaps at different speeds.

Hurriyet Daily News, Barcina Yinanc, 30/04/09

Turkey pushes does the brake pedal in its rapprochement with Armenia? Depending on whom you ask in the Turkish capital, the answer may be yes or no. And most of the time, the answer is not direct, as might be expected because the problem dates back several decades has many dimensions.

According to the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Murat Mercan AKP party of Justice and development, parallel negotiations as is the case in the Karabakh issue and about the opening of the border, are considered doomed to failure. It is time to slow down and brake.

Tuesday, opposition parties have blamed the Prime Minister Tayyib Erdogan to bow to pressure the U.S. and the EU: for some, he left Azerbaijan, for others it is criticized for entering into an agreement with Armenia without any compromise on Karabakh. For columnist Hasan Kanbolat, specialist of the Caucasus, the opposite is true. Discussions with Armenia have reached a point of no return. The region is a problem and transatlantic both the USA and the EU want a solution. And diplomatic efforts will continue despite a view that is dragging its feet.

The West he has learned from the invasion of Georgia last year and will seek the consent of Georgia and Armenia for the protection of NATO and perhaps the EU.

According to the MP Yilmaz Ates, returning to Azerbaijan after an observer mission on the spot, Azerbaijan décolère does not abvoir been kept out of secret discussions between Turkey and Armenia since 2004 (!) . Azerbaijanis feel betrayed by a friend. Ankara says she kept the Azerbaijan aware since long with the exception of the latest developments. Abdullah Gul and Recep Tayyib Erdogan reiterated that they never signed any agreement with Armenia without the Karabakh conflict has been resolved, this does not seem enough to appease the anger of Ilham Aliyev, who said in a meeting with Juan Manuel Barroso Tuesday 'we have the right to re-establish our policy in line with regional realities, and we will use that right. "Ates reports that Moscow has Aliev with the contents of discussions between Turkey and Armenia about Karabakh.

Now that relations between Turkey and Armenia shows signs of tension, many politicians in Ankara lifted their wet index to see where the wind blows to readjust their position.

Today's Zaman, Abdullah Bozkurt, 30/04/09

Speech of Levon Ter-Petrosyan at the Rally of 1 May, 2009
First, I would like to congratulate you and our entire nation on the International Day of Worker’s Solidarity, the relevance of which has particularly increased with the sad reality Armenia currently finds itself in.
Exactly two months have passed since the rally on 1 March, which is not a long period, but it has been one filled with many significant processes and events, the following four of which I want to bring to your attention:
1. The deterioration of the socio-economic situation;
2. The wrecking of the “case of seven”;
3. The deepening of the Armenian-Turkish dialogue;
4. Preparations for the elections of the mayor of Erevan.
What I will do below is attempt to present the positions of the Armenian National Congress regarding each of them in as brief a space as possible.

The Socio-Economic Situation

As we had predicted during the 1 March rally, great trials awaited the country’s economy, especially as a result of the impending danger that the dram would be devaluated. In particular, I had mentioned in my speech:

“Very soon the government will have to abandon the policy of the artificial preservation of the fixed rate of the dram. Meanwhile, the dram will be depreciated not gradually, as it happened with the Russian ruble, but, simply, as a result of a galloping drop.”

The plunge happened two days after the rally, i.e. on 3 March, revealing the bankrupt, if not criminal, nature of the policy pursued by the government and the Central Bank. Up to that point the authorities were assuring the public that the dram had a floating, rather than a fixed exchange rate, which proved to be a complete lie, since a currency with a floating exchange rate does not lose 30% of its value in one day.

It became clear also that the $800 million from the reserves of the Central Bank had been spent not so much for shoring up the dram’s exchange rate, but for a completely different purpose. That sum, as well as the hard currency that has been collected as the public was exchanging it for the local currency, has wound up in the accounts of bankers, high officials and oligarchs, which cannot be characterized as anything but a plunder of our national wealth in broad daylight.

The authorities are now expressing their satisfaction that following the plunge on 3 March, the exchange rate of the dram has stabilized. But it is not clear why they are forgetting that as a result of the drop in the dram’s exchange rate and the subsequent hike in the prices caused by it, there has been an approximately 30% decrease in the population’s living standards.

Relying on the iron-tight logic of the government, we can even consider the stabilization perfect if we take into account the very significant facts that in the first quarter of this year there was a negative growth of 6.1%, while the tax revenue has constituted only 40% of the number envisioned by the budget.

One more stabilization like that and people will find themselves in the grip of total poverty. Although now the dram indeed has a floating exchange rate, it is also not clear why it is floating in one direction only - toward increasing and continuing loss of value.

That can only mean that no economic stabilization can be achieved in the near future. We should not forget that the banks have found themselves in an extremely difficult situation because of the losses they have incurred for loans in drams, and because of the difficulties that have arisen in the repayments of the loans in dollars.

Inevitably, these problems are going to bankrupt some of the banks, and as a result of that, the dram is going to lose much more of its value.

As a result of the devaluation of the dram and the increase in prices the Armenian economy is confronted with yet another alarming problem, which is the shrinking of the volume of trade and the resultant sharp decrease in the tax revenue.

The budget has become nothing more than a piece of paper, and the government is operating on the basis of the most elementary bookkeeping instead of that law, which means that on any given day it spends as much as it collects, barely being able to cover the operational expenses of the government and to pay the salaries of its employees.

The catastrophic decrease in the tax revenue has forced the authorities to tighten the administration of tax collection, to encourage arbitrariness on the part of the tax and duty collection agencies, using also the courts as an instrument for the same purpose.

As in the past, the tax burden thus continues to fall disproportionately on the shoulders of the small and medium size businesses, which are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy even without that problem. Serge Sargsyan himself confessed during his last press-conference that the big business continues to evade taxes.

If it was a sincere confession, it would have given hope that the situation would improve. But as long as Sargsyan occupies the post of the president, the big business will continue to evade taxes, because the latter is the most reliable base of his kleptocratic regime and the source of his personal enrichment.

Expressions of social discontent particularly in the ranks of taxi drivers, employees of open-air and retail markets have sharpened significantly in the period after the 1 March rally. Soon they may be joined by the unemployed and employees, whose salaries are paid from the state budget.

These expressions are so far spontaneous and unorganized, but if their problems are not solved satisfactorily, they threaten to cause serious turmoil.

The authorities are myopically trying to suppress these expressions of social discontent by intimidation and police operations, which is a very dangerous and counterproductive approach.

Meanwhile, it was their duty to do the exact opposite, i.e. instead of strangling that discontent in its embryonic stage, hoping that it will not spread; they should have made an effort to solve the problems that have afflicted the owners of small and medium size businesses and the salaried employees.

The state cannot wash its hands off the relations between the employers and the employees, between holders and renters of property. It is its duty to intervene actively and to monitor those relations.

One could object that the laws are sufficient for managing those relations. But the whole problem is that conflicts arise because of violations of those laws, because of the arbitrariness of the officials, and because of the all-consuming corruption.

If the state refrains from taking up that responsibility, tomorrow it will be done by unions, which, as a result of the state’s passivity will form, then gain in strength, because there is no other way of protecting the workers’ interests.

Taking into account the importance of this issue and the imperative of avoiding social turmoil, the Armenian National Congress is ready to extend consulting and legal support for the formation of independent trade unions. We have declared many times that the creation of civil society in Armenia is the main goal of the Congress, and trade unions are one of the most important components of it.

The Inglorious End of the Case of Seven

Even though the Armenian National Congress has issued a special statement regarding this problem on 2 April of this year, I do not think it is unnecessary to explicate the importance of that significant event once again in front of this large audience.

To understand the essence of the so-called “case of seven” (in reality in should be “case of eleven”), we should first try to understand why the case had been initiated. There can be no doubt that the goal was to prove to the world that the opposition was trying to take over with the use of violence, which then would justify the authorities’ response, which included opening fire on peaceful protesters, murdering ten people, and the declaration of the state of emergency.

Accordingly, the court had been instructed to wrap up the case quickly and to render the stipulated verdict, which would confirm the official version of the events of 1 March. However, because of the perseverance of the popular movement, the courageous stance of the political prisoners, the competent strategy of the defense lawyers, as well as the intervention of the international organizations, that goal was stillborn.

To save face, the authorities were forced to make serious changes in the criminal code, then to reformulate the charges on the bases of those changes and to dissolve the case into several cases.

With that, and particularly with the revoking of the charge under Article 300 of the Criminal Code, the authorities in effect confessed that the “case of seven” was fabricated from the start and that there has been no usurpation or even an attempt at usurpation of power by the opposition.

Separating the case of the murders, meanwhile, amounts to a confession that the opposition’s actions had nothing to do with them. Thus the official version of the events of 1 March has finally gone up in smoke, and what we are left with is the blood chilling crime committed by the authorities themselves, every detail of which is going to be revealed sooner or later.

A question then arises as to what motivated the inadequate, or actually barbaric, behavior of the authorities on 1 March. Perhaps the mass disturbances organized by the opposition, which is what the reformulated charge against the aforementioned seven individuals is?

Not only the fact of charging seven individuals as separate organizers of the same mass disturbance is a legal ignorance or downright absurd, there can be no doubt that these separated cases are going to have the same fate as the “mother case,” because no representative of the opposition has so far been charged with committing violent acts, burning cars or looting shops personally. Even if the court succeeds in issuing verdicts violating the law, these cases are going to go up in smoke in the European court.

As for who organized the mass disturbances, the burning of cars, and the looting of shops, I have spoken about it in front of a smaller audience during the first convention of the Armenian National Congress on 21 December 2008, stating in particular the following: “Based on information from reliable sources, we have determined that the burning of cars, the looting of shops, and other provocations on 1 March have been carried out by certain gangs, which have had 950 members between them.

These gangs were formed, equipped, and put under the command of a center that was coordinating their activities by five high-ranking officials and four oligarchs…. The central office of the Armenian National Congress has made all the evidence about that available to the Fact-finding Group, to the Commissioner on Human Rights of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg, and several foreign ambassadors stationed in Armenia.”

The credibility of this information is confirmed by the fact that the Armenian authorities have categorically forbidden the Fact-finding Group to conduct an inspection at a Defense Ministry warehouse, which has provided the clothing to the aforementioned gangs. Respecting the confidentiality of the work of the Fact-finding Group, we will refrain from making the names of the leaders of those gangs public for now.

These people are still holding high offices and influential economic positions. There should be no doubt that the day will come when we will make those names public, and everybody is going to see the sort of despicable criminals, who are holding the fate of Armenia and the Armenian nation in their hands.

Armenian-Turkish Relations

The unprecedented shifts in the Armenian-Turkish relations that we see today deserve a special assessment since they concern one of the most vital issues of the development of the Armenian statehood.

I should stress immediately that with the exception of one of its member-organizations, the Armenian National Congress is in favor of a speedy normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, and is ready to support all the positive steps of the Armenian authorities with regard to this issue. We only object to the creation of a special commission of Armenian and Turkish historians to study the Genocide, which we think can only mean denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Now let us see how the aforementioned shifts are manifested. It is clear that as a result of the contacts between Armenian and Turkish diplomats a working document has been created, which contains the following items:
- The establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey;
- Mutual recognition of borders;
- Opening of the Armenian-Turkish border;
- Creation of a commission consisting of Armenian and Turkish historians.

Subsequently this document was branded a “roadmap,” and some of its details were made public. Whatever its name, it seems that we are dealing with a serious intention to normalize the relations between the two states, especially when we take into account the impression that Turkey seems to have relinquished its unconstructive policy of making the resolution of the Karabakh conflict a precondition for the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.

But there are two issues that are casting a dark shadow over that impression. The idea of a commission of Armenian and Turkish historians was obviously going to create certain difficulties for the Armenian side, so in the end it has succeeded in renaming the commission as intergovernmental.

But that is only a way of pulling a veil over the issue and using a euphemism that intends to placate the Armenian people, because the intergovernmental commission is also going to have a unit of historians, which leaves the essence of the problem unchanged.

The Turkish side also cannot ignore the pressure from the Azerbaijani public and its own opposition, and therefore it is going to have to return to its prior position.

In other words, despite the optimistic predictions, the relations between Armenia and Turkey are not going to get normalized and the Armenian-Turkish border is not going to be opened as long as tangible progress has been made in the efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict.

We have to wonder then what the purpose of all this noise was. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is going to have a bitter taste for the Armenian people. The whole problem is that aside from the general disposition to normalize the relations, Turkey had another minimal and specific aim, which was to prevent the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the US President Barak Obama and the American Congress at any cost.

Turkey has reached its goal, Armenia has been left empty-handed, and the Diaspora has been disillusioned. The first half of the football diplomacy has ended with a score of 1:0 in Turkey’s favor.

Turkish leaders presented Barak Obama with the aforementioned document worked out by Armenian and Turkish diplomats, and as could be expected, easily convinced him that serious process has been launched to normalize the Armenian-Turkish relations.

With praiseworthy candor Obama declared that he has not changed his view on the Armenian Genocide, but as is fitting to a statesman, explained that he is not going to impede that process, implying that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is being pulled out of the US agenda for now.

Is it appropriate to accuse Turkey and the US in hypocrisy? Not at all. Turkey achieved its main goal at this stage, displaying enviable diplomatic dexterity. And the president of the USA acted as any responsible leader would have acted in the circumstances.

If there is any need to look for targets for our accusations, the Armenian authorities of the last 11 years represented by Robert Kocharian, Vardan Oskanyan, Serge Sargsyan, and Edward Nalbandian should be those targets, since they are the ones who have desecrated the sacred memory of the Genocide turning it into an object of political auction and bargaining.

And they did that not in the name of some lofty national goal or in order to strengthen our state, but exclusively for the pitiful purpose of gaining Diaspora’s favor and earning certain dividends in our internal politics.
In this regard it is quite interesting to trace the evolution of their utterly bankrupt and harmful policy:

- The first thing the Kocharian administration did was to declare as treasonous the previous administration’s policy of establishing normal relations with Turkey without any preconditions.

- The international recognition of the Genocide was declared as the cornerstone of Armenia’s foreign policy, which was also boastfully submitted to Turkey as a rational basis for normalizing the relations.

- When after resisting for a long time they realized that the road they chose led to a deadlock, they returned to the same policy of establishing normal relations with Turkey without preconditions, which they had declared treasonous, inadvertently exposing Armenia’s weakness and giving Turkey an opportunity to harden its position.

- Both as a result of this objective reason, and in order to solve the problem of his legitimacy, Serge Sargsyan went to an even more dangerous extreme of agreeing to an almost forgotten proposal made by Recep Erdogan years ago about establishing a commission of Armenian and Turkish historians to study the Genocide.

It is this string of political wanderings, myopic steps, and irresponsible actions that produced the results of Obama’s visit to Turkey. Of course, one cannot insist that had it not been for the aforementioned process launched to normalize the Armenian-Turkish relations, Obama already as president of the USA would have uttered the word “genocide” in his 24 April address, or that the American Congress would have passed a resolution recognizing the Genocide.

Situations like this have existed in the past, but things never got to that point. But the situation is substantially different this time, because unlike in the past, this time the formal excuse is Serge Sargsyan’s ill-fated initiative to have a rapprochement with Turkey at any cost, including the cost of renunciation of the Genocide.

Thus without a shred of exaggeration we have to conclude: In order to keep his hold on power, Serge Sargsyan has literally sold the Genocide. Without a doubt his next step is going to be to sell Karabakh, after which naturally he will be the first Armenian to be awarded the Nobel Prize.

I am being kind. I am sure Sargsyan’s behavior is going to attract much more ruthless assessments from the radical circles in Armenia, and especially in the Diaspora.

Justice demands, however, that we apportion at least part of the blame to the chiefs of the Diaspora, who not only never warned the Armenian authorities about the dangers and harmfulness of putting the issue of the international recognition of Genocide on the state’s official agenda, but encouraged the latter’s efforts and praised their “heroics” in the end getting what they got.

The enormous effort and financial resources invested by the Diaspora for the cause of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide thus were wasted in one day. It is difficult to imagine how the situation can be remedied and the loss recovered.

Even with all this, even with the sad result with which the current process of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations has ended, it is not at all devoid of positive elements.

Turkey’s natural interest in the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations on the one hand, and the linking of that normalization to expected shifts in the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, on the other, creates a certain impetus for pushing the process settling the Karabakh conflict forward.

The fact that the circumstances have forced President Obama to assume moral responsibility is also a positive development, which obligates the country he governs to get more actively and impartially involved both in the process of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations and in the process of finding a resolution to the Karabakh conflict.

Barak Obama is an idealist in the best sense of the word. It is well known that although the world is usually governed by pragmatic and cynical people, civilization moves forward thanks to the occasionally appearing idealists. And by idealist I do not mean ideologues, but rather the rare statesmen, who have firm principles of morality, honor, and justice.

The Elections of Erevan’s Mayor

When the Armenian National Congress announced that it is going to participate in the elections of Erevan’s mayor under my leadership, the first reaction from the governing camp was that the Congress is politicizing the elections, implying that a crime is being committed that has no parallels in world history.

The politicization of any question is equivalent to a plague for people who react in that manner and something people should escape in a mad rush. First, by doing this the forces that comprise the coalition are putting themselves in a ridiculous situation, because they themselves have politicized it to the extreme by adopting a 100% proportional system for the elections of the mayor of Erevan. Second, with such a reaction they are giving away their criminal nature, because the alternative to politicization is nothing other than criminalization.

It is high time to realize that they are no issues in a state that are apolitical, because the essence of a state is politics. If it was not so, what would the meaning of concepts like economic policy, social policy, agrarian policy, educational policy, cultural policy, health care policy, and other similar concepts be? Even the concepts “state” and “politics” have common origins, if we take into account the fact that the world “politics” has originated from the Greek word “polis” (city-state).

This was understood even in the middle ages, which is evidenced by the fact that the 13th century Armenian thinker Hovannes Yerznkatsi uses the word “city” to mean state.

In addition to accusing the Congress of politicizing the elections, the official propaganda is trying to put the Congress in an uncomfortable position with another ridiculous trick, namely by endowing the mayor only with the lowly authority of garbage collector as it understands the position.

First, who said that collecting garbage is not an important job? And secondly, if garbage collecting is the mayor’s only job, why is only a single line dedicated to it in the 60-page long law on Yerevan, whereas the rest is dedicated to politics? If after this explanation opinions are voiced again that the Congress is politicizing the elections, the Congress should only be thanked for it, because by doing so it is trying to prevent the criminalization of the elections.

Today I have no intention of engaging in election campaigning. That we will do during our upcoming rallies. But I cannot fail to draw your attention to one last very important question having to do with the elections.

What would have happened if the Armenian National Congress were to decide not to participate in the elections? Undoubtedly, the same thing would happen as did during the parliamentary elections of 2007.

The appearance would have been that of a free and fair election, the representative of the authorities would win convincingly, and the international observers would assess the elections as yet another significant step on the path of democratizing the country.

Serge Sargsyan would turn the result of that election into a banner, would be able to legitimize the rigged presidential elections of 2008 to some degree, and would earn enormous credit in the eyes of the international community.

If Sargsyan is really concerned about the reputation of his country, he has the opportu­nity to achieve that goal even today. He can conduct legitimate elections, which will earn both the international observers’ and our society’s praise.

He should realize finally that not just the authorities’, but even the opposition’s victory in legitimate elections strengthens the state and shields it from international pressures.

Otherwise, he will never earn the right to be called a statesman. But if acting narrow-mindedly, Sargsyan does the same thing as he did during the presidential elections, not refraining not only from blatant falsification, but also from using vio­lence, he will inflict another heavy blow on our state, which may be unable to recover from it this time.

Making sure that the mayor’s elections are conducted properly is Serge Sargsyan’s last chance to earn some credibility in the eyes of the Armenian society and the international community. He can fail to exploit that opportunity only at the expense of the Armenian state’s interests.

Thus beginning tomorrow we are entering a new phase in the campaign, which is significantly different from the presidential campaign in one essential feature - the unity of the opposition - and which is going to reduce greatly the authorities’ opportunity to falsify the results of these elections.

We regret that the effort to participate in the elections with a joint list of the Armenian National Congress and the Heritage Party did not succeed. We appreciate at the same time the decision of the Heritage Party not to participate with a separate list in order not to split the oppositional vote. We are also convinced that the Heritage Party will do everything to support the opposition in the upcoming elections.

Our next rally, which will already be a campaign rally, will take place on 15 May. We are planning to hold rallies and meetings with the voters in Erevan’s districts as well.

I want to inform you in addition that in all of the offices of the Armenian National Congress there will be special units accepting your written proposals about the problems of the city, which will be meticulously examined and taken into account in our future work. And now let us go on to the march, the path and the procedure for which will be introduced to you by the coordinator of the central office of the Armenian National Congress Levon Zourabian.

Turkish Military Against Armenia Border Opening ArmeniaLiberty.org 30.04.2009, Emil Danielyan
Turkey’s powerful military has spoken out against normalizing relations with Armenia before a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, raising more questions about a U.S.-brokered agreement announced by Ankara and Yerevan last week.
General Ilker Basbug, chief of the Turkish General Staff, was reported to endorse late Wednesday Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements linking the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border with the liberation of Armenian-occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

“The prime minister has clearly said the border opening will take place at the time when Armenian troops are withdrawn,” Basbug told a news conference, according to Turkish media. “We completely agree with this.”

Erdogan repeatedly made that linkage earlier this month, pouring cold water on hopes that the fence-mending negotiations between Turkey and Armenia will yield tangible results soon. Still, the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries announced in a joint statement on April 22 that the two governments have agreed on a “roadmap” on normalizing bilateral ties.

It remained unclear, however, when they plan to establish diplomatic relations and reopen the border. Neither government has officially disclosed the framework yet.

Reports in the Turkish press have said that the United States was closely involved in the drawing up of the Turkish-Armenian statement. According to “Hurriyet Daily News,” Erdogan agreed to sign it only after Washington threatened to recognize the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. U.S. President Barack Obama refrained from using the word in his April 24 statement that commemorated the 94th anniversary of the massacres.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources in Yerevan said on Thursday that Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian will fly to Washington this weekend for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Turkish-Armenian relations will be high on their agenda.

Clinton and Nalbandian already discussed the issue over the phone on Monday. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Clinton described the “roadmap” agreement as “historic.”

A Moving Tribute In The U.S. Congress To A Turkish-American: Ali Cayir
[ Ergun KIRLIKOVALI’s note: The following message was read into the Congressional records by Congressman Joe Baca, D, [CA-43] on April 22, 2009, honoring Mr. Ali Cayir. It is a huge honor and I, on behalf of tens of thousands of Turkish-Americans Southern California, congratulate my good friend Ali Cayir for this unique achievement. I believe such success helps break the bias against the Turkish-Americans and bigotry on issues related to Turkey. ]
Allen Cayir, Ellis Island Medal Of Honor — (Extensions Of Remarks - April 22, 2009) Speech Of Hon. Joe Baca Of California In The House Of Representatives
APRIL 22, 2009
• Mr. BACCA. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize Allen Cayir, President of Transech Engineers, Inc., who will receive the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
• Established in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor pays tribute to our nation’s immigrant heritage by recognizing those individuals whose achievements have helped to foster respect and understanding for America’s ethnic diversity. Since the award began, recipients have included United States Senators, Congressman, Nobel Laureates, military leaders, outstanding athletes, and clergy.
• A native of Turkey, Mr. Cayir, or “Ali” as he is known to his friends, arrived in the United States after earning an engineering degree from Istanbul Technical University. In 1989, he founded Transtech Engineers, Inc, which provides professional and technical expertise to governmental agencies, educational institutions and the private development sector.
• Through his dedication and hard work, he was able to grow the business to a multi-million dollar enterprise. Notable projects over the years have included the Alhambra Civic Center Public Library and the Renovation of the Historic Santa Fe Depot Train Station in San Bernardino, California.
• In addition to his professional accomplishments, Ali is also known for his philanthropic contributions. He has participated in fundraising activities for the Tools for Education organization at California State University San Bernardino, as well as helped with the restoration work at Mission San Juan Capistrano. In 2005, Ali started a matching fund drive for local businesses for Hurricane Katrina victims, and personally matched other funds collected.
• Ali is a volunteer teacher at California State University, where he sits on the board of the College of Education and the Tools for Education Project. He was instrumental in raising $3 million for a new education building at the University.
• He is also very active in the Southern California Hispanic community, engaging in many community organizations that provide support services to the Latino population. In 2006, the Embracing Latino Leadership Alliance honored Ali with the “Honorary Latino Citizen” award.
• Finally, Ali is a founding Board Member of American Friends of Israel and Turkey, an organization dedicated to improve cooperation and understanding between American, Turkish, and Israeli citizens by supporting cultural, ethnic, and community events.
• Throughout his extraordinary career as an engineer and community servant, Ali has always remained a dedicated family man. For the past 31 years, he has been married to his wife Sybil. Together, they have a daughter, who is currently following in her father’s footsteps, pursuing a degree in civil engineering.
• On behalf of myself, my wife, and my family, I congratulate Mr. Cayir for this tremendous honor. His contributions to his family and his community provide a wonderful example of service for all Americans to follow.

Turkey and Its Neo-Con U.S. Accomplices Conspire To Force Armenia Into Capitulation, By Appo Jabarian
Executive Publisher / Managing Editor, USA Armenian Life Magazine, May 1, 2009
The April 24 presidential statement by Pres. Obama caused a major controversy in the American media.

Even though he used the words "Meds Yeghern" twice in his presidential statement, a very large segment of the Armenian American community felt betrayed for his failure to fulfill his campaign promise of using the proper word, genocide.

According to a scorecard of more than 500 campaign pledges collated on the Pulitzer Prize-winning website, PolitiFact.com, Obama has kept 27 promises and broken six.

Topping the list of presidential campaign promises that are broken by Pres. Obama is "US recognition of the Ottoman Empire's genocide during World War I against Armenians." Obama avoided the word during his stay in Turkey and in a message on Armenian Remembrance Day.

Obama was criticized for following the Anti-Defamation League line on the Armenian Genocide. Ciaran Dubhuidhe of cleveland.indymedia.org wrote on Apr. 24, 2009: "One day after vowing to battle Holocaust Denial, Pres. Obama publicly denied the Armenian Holocaust . In an exhibit of hypocrisy matched only by the ‘Anti-Defamation’ League's Abraham Foxman's denial of the Armenian Holocaust, Pres. Obama has dishonored anniversary of the start of the genocide by releasing a statement describing the Armenian Holocaust as an ‘atrocity.’"

Harry Koundakjian reported on April 25: "Ambassador John Marshall Evans spoke at our commemoration last night. … Having read the actual text of Pres. Obama's statement, Evans indicated that although it was a compromise statement, it was still more hopeful than previous U.S. presidents have made. To him it was clear that this statement was made by a committee, and not the heartfelt words of Obama. Using a term that only Armenians know ("Medz Yeghern"), and twice at that, seemed a bit out of place, even condescending, when the purpose of the proclamation is to let those who don't know about the history become informed. He feels that Rahm Emanuel -- AIPAC's (America Israel Political Action Committee’s) ‘Man in the White House’ -- probably had a strong hand in altering the language of the statement to eliminate the word genocide."

Several members of the community questioned as to why Mr. Obama did not properly use the word genocide. It was the so-called Armenian-Turkish "rapproachement."

The Wall Street Journal featured an article on April 25 titled "In Armenian Enclave, Turkish Deal Arouses Suspicion -- Ethnic Leaders in Glendale, Calif., See Detente Announcement as a Ploy on Day Commemorating" the 1915 genocide."

The Wall Street’s NICHOLAS CASEY reported: "Andrew Kzirian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee's Western region sees the latest development not so much as a detente between the countries, but as another public-relations effort by the Turks to deflect attention" from the genocide.

Casey continued: "At the Armenian cafe Urartu off Broadway, Appo Jabarian, managing editor of USA Armenian Life, scans his email inbox for news of what he dubs the recent ‘secret agreement.’ … For Mr. Jabarian ‘Turkey is always trying to shortchange the Armenians.’"

In a strong rebuke of the the so-called "Roadmap," Aram I the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia stated on Saturday, April 25: "Roadmaps and reopening of borders cannot and will not compromise the Armenian people’s demand for the recognition of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, and the claim for restorative justice."

His Holiness continued: "Turkey wanted to eliminate us as a country and people. We are grateful to all those countries that recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915. However, we want to tell them that recognition is not enough, we want justice. We are not asking for mercy from the world; we are demanding justice. This is our right. The Armenian nation is a victim of injustice; its human rights are violated. We cannot remain silent in view of this prevailing injustice. Our collective memory will not heal unless justice is victorious. Neither roadmaps, nor reciprocal visits will restore justice."

In an open letter, Harut Sassounian, Publisher of The California Courier, criticized Pres. Obama: "You must have also known that Turkey would not open its border with Armenia in the foreseeable future, unless the Karabagh conflict was resolved to Azerbaijan’s satisfaction. Using various carrots and sticks, with the connivance of Russia, which pursues its own economic and political interests in Turkey and Azerbaijan, U.S. officials succeeded in pressuring Armenia into agreeing to issue a joint declaration with Turkey and Switzerland as mediator on the eve of April 24. This declaration was a convenient cover for you to duck the genocide issue in order to appease Turkey."

Mr. Sassounian stated: "Mr. President, by compelling Armenia to sign such a declaration, you have managed to pit the Armenian Diaspora, as well as the people in Armenia against the government in Yerevan. As a direct result of that action, the ARF, one of Armenia’s influential political parties, quit the ruling coalition this week. The ARF did not wish to associate itself with a government, still reeling from last year’s contentious presidential elections, which is negotiating an agreement with Turkey that could compromise the country’s national interests and historic rights. The ARF also vehemently opposes Armenia’s announced intention to participate in a bilateral historical commission that Turkey would use to question the facts of the Armenian Genocide."

Sassounian foresaw: "Mr. President, in the coming days, as your administration invites Armenia’s leaders to Washington in order to squeeze more concessions from them, please realize that they can only be pressured so much before they lose their authority. As was the case with Armenia’s first president, crossing the red lines on the Genocide and Karabagh issues could well jeopardize the tenuous hold on power of the remaining ruling coalition, regardless of how many promises are made and carrots extended to them by Washington."

Turkey’s continuous threats to Armenia’s existence as a viable state and its persistent ploys to strip Armenia of its historic rights for territorial claims from Turkey; to put the veracity of the Armenian genocide to debate through the so-called joint historic commission; to stop pursuing the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide; to return the liberated Armenian territories of Artsakh make the Armenian people in Armenia and the Diaspora further distrust Turkey.

By helping Turkey carry out its conniving machinations against Armenia, the United States and Russia have re-fueled the Armenian political will to resort to: 1) An international campaign to divest from Turkey; and 2) Counterbalancing and even neutralizing the U.S.-based Neo-cons' efforts to shove Turkey's EU membership at all cost down the throat of Europeans.

US Congresswoman: “1915 Events Are Not Genocide”
Washington – APA. Member of US House of Representative from Ohio Jean Schmidt will make an official complaint against the Armenian, who libeled her for non-recognition of false “Armenian genocide”. Schmidt decided to complain to the Ohio election committee against her former rival in November 4 2008 elections David Grigorian, APA reports quoting Milliyet newspaper. Grigorian accused Schmidt in receiving of blood money from Turks to deny the “genocide”. Schmidt said it was not correct to call the 1915 events as genocide. “I never voted for the “Armenian genocide” resolutions at the Congress. I always consider that it is not a problem of the Congress. I support the idea of establishing the independent international commission of the experts to resolve this issue once for all”.

Schmidt reminded that US influential scientists also confirmed that it wouldn’t be correct to use “genocide” word for the tragic events of 1915. Famous historian Bernard Lewis and Norman Itzkowitz of Princeton University, Stanford Shaw of the University of California, Justin McCarthy from Louisville University, Guenter Lewy and Brian Williams from the University of Massachusetts, David Fromkin, Boston University, Avigdor Levy, Brandeis University, Michael Gunter of Tennessee Tech University, Pierre Oberling, Hunter College, Roderick Davidson, George Washington University, Michael Radu, Foreign Policy Research Institute and military historian Edward J. Erickson are among them.

Schmidt said supporters of her election campaign had no relations with the government of Turkey and she had the documents confirming that. She said Grigorian violated election laws deliberately and she demanded the election committee to take penal sanctions against him.

President Of Azerbaijan Needs A Simple Answer To A Simple QuestionArmInfo 2009-04-29

It is the choice of Armenia and Turkey how to continue their relations, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at a joint press conference with President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, APA reported.

The Head of the Azerbaijani state also answered the questions regarding the discussions he had conducted with Jose Manuel Barroso about Turkey-Armenia rapprochement: "I have discussed a number of issues, including regional development and cooperation issues with the President of the European Commission. Of, course while talking about the regional cooperation, we could not leave aside of the latest developments in the region you have mentioned about. We have expressed our position on this issue many times. The position is that we never intervene in the affairs of other states and the relations between the two sovereign countries. This is the decision what Turkey and Armenia can make. It's their choice how to continue their relations. But while touching on some comments about the historical roots of this issue, I want to remind that the border between Turkey and Armenia was closed in 1993 as a result of occupation of Azerbaijan's territories by Armenia. This occupation is still continuing today. Today, Armenia still continues keeping the internationally-recognized territories of Azerbaijan under its occupation. I reiterate that we do not have such a position to create obstacle for further development of relations between these two countries or prevent it. I want to mention that we also have a right to form our policy according to the new realities in the region and we will use this right. We receive different information from different sources. According to him, one source says that "Road Map" was accepted in certain circumstances, but another source says no circumstances have been determined yet. This is a kind of word game. I think the world, region and Azerbaijani People have a right to know what happens. Is Nagorno Karabakh problem left aside of Turkey-Armenia rapprochement? This is a very simple question and we need a very simple answer", I. Aliyev said.

Yerevan Youth On Road Map
YEREVAN - Yerevan’s new "it" cafe, Square One, is a popular place for young Armenians to meet and these days the focus of all talk invariably turns to the road map signed between Turkey and Armenia to improve ties.

Most of the youth who congregate at Square One don’t believe Turkey will open its borders with Armenia anytime soon, blaming their government for agreeing to a road map on improving ties between the two countries.

While political plurality is the norm at the caf?, one thing most agree on is that Turkey should recognize that the deaths of Armenians in 1915 constituted genocide, dismissing the "road map" as a ruse.

Despite their obvious strong feelings toward Turkey, youth are open to interaction with their counterparts in Turkey. A 22-year-old youth branch member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Mıhitar Markaryan, while openly hostile to the new deal reached with Turkey, says he sees young Turks as having almost no knowledge about what happened in 1915, adding, "It would be meaningless to accuse them of anything."

Movses Xecho, who was born in Syria, said he had many Turkish friends. "My Turkish friends know what happened to us in the past and apologize for it," he said. "It is enough for them to be aware of what happened and share my sorrow." While most have a basic understanding of the Turkish language, none can speak it. They say Turkish was spoken at home from time to time.

Armen Mihirchiyan, a student in the department of Turkish Studies at Yerevan State University, noted his deep desire to visit Turkey and get to know Turks better. Still he has certain reservations about closer Turkish-Armenian relations. "While Turkey shows a desire to establish closer relations with Armenia, it also continues its anti-Armenian propaganda. While it is us who should set preconditions for improving ties, it is Turkey that does so," he said.

Syrian-born Harut Marashliyan voiced his reservations about the opening of the border between the two countries. "Kurds who live in eastern Turkey may migrate to Armenia if the border is opened. If that happens, Armenia may face a Kurdish problem even before it has addressed many of its own problems," he said.
by Vercihan Ziflioğlu © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Aliyev Will Have To Play His Cards Carefully
Only few of the elements of the road map to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia have been leaked to the press, with the two sides refraining from disclosing its contents. This is obviously due to the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. Either the two sides could not reach an understanding on the wording, or else they decided to keep it secret, fearing Azerbaijan’s reaction.

Since President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Azerbaijan had been informed at all stages of the Turkish-Armenian talks, some believe that the reaction of Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev is artificial. They would argue that the Azerbaijani leader approves of the agreement reached by Ankara and Yerevan, but that he is obliged to react differently to appease public opinion.

It would be rather hard to be convinced by that argument, especially after the statements Aliyev made a few days ago in Brussels. Clearly emphasizing that there is contradictory information as to the content of the talks between Turkey and Armenia, Aliyev asked: "Is the solution to Nagorno-Karabakh linked to the Turkish-Armenian talks or not? There is a simple answer to this very simple question."

It is clear that Aliyev has previously asked this question to the Turkish leadership, but received either a vague answer, or one that did not satisfy him.

According to the information I got prior to the days when it became clear that Azerbaijan was upset about the talks, Ankara and Yerevan had agreed on the wording about Nagorno-Karabakh, a linkage that was expressed as, "Sufficient progress on the solution of Nagorno Karabakh is required to open the borders."

But the term "sufficient" was not sufficient to satisfy Aliyev. "What does sufficient mean?" he was said to have asked his entourage in disappointment.

Process cannot continue at Azerbaijan’s expense
In fact, it is due to Aliyev’s reaction that Ankara and Yerevan fell short of signing the road map document as well as sharing its contents with the public.

Otherwise, it looks pretty certain that the two sides reached a consensus on the specific steps to take to normalize relations, as well as the timetable. But now it became clear that the two sides would not be able to implement this timetable unless there is progress on the negotiations for Nagorno-Karabakh. The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, seems to have realized that it cannot continue this process at the expense of Azerbaijan.

As one of Turkey’s prominent writers, Cengiz Çandar, promptly pointed out, Turkey closed its borders with Armenia in 1993 after the neighboring country occupied the seven regions surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. So withdrawal from these regions might be enough to open the borders.

But the problem is that the Armenians do not want to withdraw unless there is an overall agreement on the solution. They do not want to give away their most important bargaining chip unless they can be guaranteed a solution that will satisfy them.

U.S. and Russia to step in
At this point, we should expect an intensification of diplomatic efforts to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. As Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan hinted, we should expect the United States to put its weight behind the talks. But American efforts alone might not be sufficient to reach an agreement. It looks rather difficult to forge a solution without the involvement of the Russian government. But the way to attract a constructive contribution from the Russians passes through the regional natural-gas agreements.

In this respect, heavy responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Aliyev. He will use his country’s natural gas as a trump card against the Russians. But he also knows that he cannot trade all of Azerbaijan’s gas for a deal in Karabakh. That will make his country dependent on Russia. He will have to play his cards very carefully. Will he coordinate with the Turkish leadership during that process? That remains to be seen.
Barçın Yinanç © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Obama Honeymoon Ends Abruptly
President Barack Obama’s Armenian commemoration statement on April 24 appears to have brought an abrupt end to the honeymoon in Turkish-U.S. relations that started with his election and peaked with his recent high-level visit to Turkey.

This development also makes short shrift of the elated remarks by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign-policy advisor, Ahmet Davutoğlu (soon to be foreign minister, if one believes the Ankara gossip.) During his recent visit to Washington, Davutoğlu said that Turkish-American ties were entering their best period ever with the advent of the Obama administration, a remark that now appears to have been premature.

Since President Obama’s statement has encouraged the Armenian lobby in the U.S. to push even harder for passage of the Armenian genocide-recognition bill introduced in Congress, relations could even be heading in the opposite direction.

In trying to please two opposing sides while serving his own country’s interests, President Obama was already faced with a thankless task. As it turned out, he failed to please either the Armenian or the Turkish side, and it is uncertain that he served the United States’ best interests either, if indeed those require that Washington improve the ties with Ankara that were spoiled under President George W. Bush.

Judging by the harsh Ğ and, as far as Turks are concerned, extremely biased Ğ remarks in his Armenian statement, it is clear that Obama’s advisors had told him he could say just about anything as long as he did not use the "g"-word. He thus went ahead and described the concept of genocide without actually using the word, apparently feeling Ğ misguidedly, it now seems in retrospect Ğ that this would be fine as far as Turkey was concerned. But the angry reactions emanating from throughout Turkish society, including those from President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Erdoğan and the opposition, clearly point to a serious miscalculation.

And thus, we are seeing a return to the loveless marriage between Ankara and Washington, one that continues based only on pragmatic considerations.

It is also clear that the positive atmosphere created by President Obama’s visit to Turkey, and that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before him, which seemed to be dispelling the chronic anti-Americanism in this country, has also evaporated in one fell swoop. As one columnist suggested earlier in the week, Turkish-American ties are back to what they were under President Bush, albeit with a different color. All this is reminiscent of the Turkish saying, "Poking an eye out while trying to trim an eyebrow." This basically means ending up doing the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing. As noted, the ties between Ankara and Washington will, of course, remain. But it is clear that the Erdoğan government will have to keep a close eye on public opinion as specific issues of vital interest to Washington arise.

One can also expect that Ankara will be in no hurry to submit to pressure from Washington to establish diplomatic ties with Armenia and open its borders in the shortest possible time. The Turkish-Armenian rapprochement process will also continue, of course. But given the dissatisfaction it has created, both in Turkey and in Azerbaijan, the government will not have any sense of urgency on this issue either.

Meanwhile, the genocide bill in the U.S. Congress will continue to hang like the Sword of Damocles over the efforts at rapprochement. The negative approach taken to the rapprochement process by the Armenian diaspora and the ultra-nationalist Dashnak party in Armenia will also be used by Ankara to buy breathing space in its negotiations with Yerevan.

Put briefly, President Obama’s statement has, wittingly or unwittingly, put the Armenian issue at the center of Turkish-U.S. relations once again, and has ensured that this will remain a problematic topic for some time to come. Since it is expected that Obama cannot, under these circumstances, tone down his April 24 message next year, or take a determined stand against a genocide resolution in Congress when it comes up, either this year or next year, the problem will linger on as a serious hindrance to the two countries' ties.
Semih İdiz © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Mountain Chess Apr 30th 2009 | ANKARA AND YEREVAN Economist Recent moves towards a peace deal may come unstuck

A HIGH-STAKES chess game is being played out in the south Caucasus. It involves America, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey. Unlike chess-players, though, all the participants can win in this game, it is hoped, if they agree on a common aim: peace between Turkey and Armenia, which would help to thaw the frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the (mainly Armenian) territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

It almost seemed possible on April 23rd, when Turkey and Armenia declared that they had agreed on a “road map” to establish formal ties and reopen the border. This was sealed by Turkey in 1993 to show solidarity with Azerbaijan, which had just lost 20% of its territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh. If the border were open, Armenians could then climb their sacred Mount Ararat. Friendship with Armenia might give Turkey the muscle to push through a deal on Karabakh, as well as securing it a bigger role in the south Caucasus. And that would give Turkey’s friends a fresh reason to promote Turkish membership of the European Union.

The most immediate benefit, though, was meant to be dissuading Barack Obama from keeping his campaign promise to call the mass slaughter of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 “genocide”. In the statement he issued on April 24th, the day when the world’s Armenians commemorate the tragedy, the American president tried to please everybody. He plumped for “medz yeghern”, Armenian for “great catastrophe”. (Cynics noted that the Turkish- Armenian deal, though initialled a month ago, had been announced only a day earlier.) And he praised Turkey’s and Armenia’s peacemaking efforts. Hardliners in Armenia and the diaspora were furious, accusing Mr Obama of reneging on his promise. Yet in Turkey the opposition complained that he had simply swapped Armenian for English to say the same thing.

A bigger obstacle to a deal may be Azerbaijan. It is threatening to turn towards Russia and to increase the price of the natural gas it sells to Turkey. This may explain why the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has reverted to the traditional line that, unless Armenia makes peace with Azerbaijan, Turkey will not make peace with Armenia—even though the text they initialled reportedly does not mention Nagorno-Karabakh at all.

Some say he is posturing, to force Armenia to withdraw from some of the seven regions of Azerbaijan that it occupies outside Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliev, and his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, are due to meet in Prague next week, before an EU eastern-partnership summit. But Mr Sargsyan, whose image was marred by a disputed presidential election in April 2008, is unlikely to bend further. One admittedly puny coalition partner has already walked out over the deal with Turkey. The financial crisis is starting to bite, too. Armenian migrant labourers are returning from Russia in droves. Oil and gas prices have shot up. The Armenian dram has lost over a third of its value against the dollar.

The real spoiler may turn out to be Russia. Armenia is the only country bordering Turkey, a NATO member, in which the Russians have troops and a base. Peace with Turkey could lead to their withdrawal, as Armenia leans westward. The trade-off, say some, could be for Russian peacekeepers to defend the corridor linking Armenia proper to Nagorno-Karabakh. But Russia is also said to be bullying Azerbaijan for more gas. If it gets it, that may kill the planned Nabucco pipeline to carry Central Asian and Azerbaijani gas to Europe via Turkey, leaving Europe more dependent on Russia for its energy.

Readers' comments
The Economist welcomes your views.
Gianni wrote:
May 1, 2009

Some Armenian nationalists are Nazi thinkers, and like extreme Zionist fanatics in Israel, they claim that because they suffered persecution, they can persecute and kill others they see as their enemies at will, and the world had better NOT criticise it, because criticising in this way is criticising people who have ''suffered''.
The Armenian government supports some Nazi thinkers and actors.
And Nazism was of course, primarily a view and project of nationalism, coupled with the racism that is also evident in Armenian governance, shamelessly so in the statements of certain ministers.

The greatest spin achievement of all this is to get so convincingly, the weak-minded, self-appointed 'liberals' of elsewhere uncritically to spout that because you have suffered, you must be innocent, and therefore anything else that you do can be excused.

Gianni wrote:
May 1, 2009

Turks are ugly MURDERES

This is racist generalisation of the most childish and feeble-minded sort.

(Some Turks are male by the way).

keter wrote:
May 1, 2009

Turks are ugly MURDERES

va21 wrote:
April 30, 2009
"Kurt", you seem to be well-informed about regional politics - that's great. You must also be used to the "tricks" - however they sound "condescending" - of the regional propaganda. I don't know about you, but personally I am sick of it.

Now, it took me 30 seconds to google - and here it is: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-04-23-voa58.cfm quotes Turkish Minister for EU Enlargement Ergemen Bagis saying "There are up to 70,000 Armenians living in Turkey... we are talking about 15 percent of Armenia dependent on the monies coming from the workers in Turkey...". Well, not that I believe in 70.000 and 15% (!) numbers either, it just demonstrated once again that these numbers just fly around without any substantiation. As to "20%" - do you want me to go and "dissect" it for you, too? Or you rather take some time to research credible sources (and by credible I mean fitting the Western standards of journalism - however xenophobic that may sound).

Kurt Vader wrote:
April 30, 2009
The 200,000 illegal Armenian figure has been quoted by none other than the Chief Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul and corraborated by the Ministry of Interior...and of course they are estimates. But again the "Mediterranean bazaar" comments sound condescending and smell of xenophobic verbiage...

Gianni wrote:
April 30, 2009

"some people and countries had dreamed to destroy Turks"... yes, of course :)

Yes of course indeed.
Ozanian? Kanayan? Other 'great' Armenian 'heroes'?
Even when as senior as Defence Minister and Waffen SS General or other sorts of 'Legionaries'?
Defence is one thing.
Nazi racism is another.
The latter is for me, quite simply beyond the pale, though not beyond Kanayan's.
Or would you rather forget about him, despite his recent reburial in Armenia, complete with monument, as a 'great' national 'hero'?

va21 wrote:
April 30, 2009

20% is as true as 200.000 of illegal Armenian workers in Turkey. Some posters adopt a "Mediterranean bazaar" tactic in grossly inflating the numbers to get a good "bargain" in the end. Unfortunately, some Westerners - like Economist - but this horsesh*t (because they chose to buy, not because they are so naive). Not to mention that "Azerbaijani territory" they refer to is in fact as relevant as "Yugoslavian territory" today - it goes back to the Cold War era's Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic.

And BTW, you don't need to look beyond this thread to see proof of the paranoia in some Turks... "some people and countries had dreamed to destroy Turks"... yes, of course :)

Gianni wrote:
April 30, 2009
Strange article to omit any contextual reference to Russia's recent spat with Georgia and the consequential fall-out that this is having.
Isn't it fairly reasonable to presume that Georgia has NOT become MORE Russophile in the process?
Armenia, with its dangerous nationalism and constitutional claim for territory of the 'Greater Armenia', including significant swathes of Georgia, as well as of Azerbaijan and Turkey of course, could be seen as wishing to ape Russian policy in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with reference to Artsakh and Javakh - as it terms 'lost' regions.
Indeed, Armenia's only clearly unproblematic border is with Iran, whatever Californian or Parisian nationalists of 'Armenian' colouring may think of that.
More nationalism in this dangerously flammable area is NOT sensible for the 21st century in my view.
Less could mean more progress and more peace.
But strangely enough, discussion of Armenian nationalism as anything other than romantic heroism for a tiny country casting itself as a David amongst the Goliaths that surround it on three sides, is not apparently to be conceived of.
And to think that Armenia's northern neighbours are 'Christians' too, if not citizens of 'the world's first Christian state', to boot, replete with those messages of loving enemies as neighbours, seeking peace, not war, abhorring killing of any type as cardinal sin, never seeking revenge for any perception of wrong, and all the rest of the message so loudly touted by some of the 'Christians' of these arguments!

April 30, 2009
There is an obvious reality that Even US efforts,even existing Turkish goverment, noone cant accept to open Armenia border unless to solve Karabag issue..
Some intrested people should know this reality, for your information..
Of course some people and countries had dreamed to destroy Turks.. But one blue eyes general (M.Kemal) had destroyed these dreams.. For your information..

Ari Bhabha wrote:
April 30, 2009
Unless of course the anonymous authors of your articles do only the most basic of research, yet at the same time employ the most bombastic terms and analysis. That seems like the most likely scenario.

Ari Bhabha wrote:
April 30, 2009

It's not 20%, your paper should know that.

Baris Ates wrote:
April 30, 2009
How about Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and Turkey end up all the hostilities to sit and enjoy the energy dependance of Europe from this corridor?

Kurt Vader wrote:
April 30, 2009
Maybe if you become less paranoid and nationalistic as you claim Turks to be, the citizens of Armenia [around 200,000 of which already work in Turkey illegally] can open up to their western neighbour and increased contact between the peoples will reduce the mutual enmity and hostility. Keep this venom against anything Turkish and all it breeds is more hatred in response whereas at least there is an inkling of a peace plan...Yet, it seems to be making certain people really nervous...

va21 wrote:
April 30, 2009
The question is - does Armenian need "Turkish muscle" to "push through a deal on Karabakh" - it's obvious that such a "deal" would end with anything Turkish "muscle" was applied to in the modern history - annihilation and expulsion of Armenians from their historic lands followed by destruction of any Armenian trace and complete state-funded denial.

Unless Turkey changes from within and stops being a paranoid, nationalistic and identity-confused state it is now, I say - "no deal". Unless, of course, West persuades Armenians to commit a suicide (to successfully complete the story from 1915)...

Psychological Threshold
It was obvious that Obama would not use the word "genocide," but which word he would choose was not known and was not considered as important. Indeed, both the Turkish authorities and spokespersons of the Armenian diaspora had focused on the word "genocide."

The political room for maneuver offered by this concept has created an ideological monopoly for discourse unique to each of the sides for a long time. This prevents the visibility of the diversity of ideas and at the same time, leads to making sense of the social debates and conflicts only based on the word "genocide."

However, the reality is much more complicated than this. Many people with Turkish identity are calling this incident "genocide" and many more are ready to accept what had happened without using this word. Likewise, we see that what the Armenian diaspora and the wider Armenian world are actually after is the recognition of the experience. On the other hand, the word "genocide" makes the 1915 incidents ordinary, depriving them of personality within the confines of a general category. Obama's use of the phrase "Meds Yeghern" (Great Calamity) in harmony with this general psychological quest may serve as a hint for both sides. Perhaps, they may realize that the important thing is not to accuse, but to understand, which is possible only by way of being courageous enough to look back into one's singular past.

However, the initial reactions imply that this is not the case. This is and should be understandable as neither those who use "genocide" as political leverage nor those who camouflage the matter through the demonization of the term "genocide" will like this potential initiative. Even with an interpretation based on the nationalistic perspective, we can even argue that some groups in Turkey are more content with the phrase "Meds Yeghern" than the term "genocide." This is because they know how to react to the term "genocide," for example, by way of pigeonholing and making the history inaccessible for a certain time. On the other hand, Obama's choice takes us directly to 1915 and calls on us to look at the past not through the window of some concepts devised later, but with the perspective of those who experienced it.

At a time when the possibilities for opening the border crossing with Armenia are being discussed, this initiative may come to express a more permanent normalization. Indeed, abandoning the strategy of approaching that day as a sphere of conflict can be done only by dispensing with the perception of the past as a source of conflict.

However, Turkey is really having a hard time passing through this psychological bottleneck and this will be so for some time. For a society that has been intentionally left ignorant, that has to rebuild an entire history by looking at it through the window of the official prism of the state and that has newly started to realize that it knows nothing but does not know how to access to the correct information, it is possible to overcome this bottleneck in a single move. We should not forget that in this country, national identity is not the "property" of society but of the state and that society feels indebted to the state for that identity. For this reason, Turkish society cannot confront the truth with regard to the issues that concern its identity if its state is not ready for that confrontation.

In this context, Turkey's proposal to set up a "joint commission of historians," which was accepted by Armenia in a responsible manner, may serve as a means for Turkey to overcome this psychological barrier. As a matter of fact, while it can be used to bring the issue to stalemate, such a commission can also be employed to diversify and normalize the debates. In a society where real life experiences were left in such a profound obscurity, historical details, human stories and a case of solidarity will be extremely important. After so many accusations directed against it, Turkish society needs to be "appreciated" and history is ripe with evidence for such appreciation. As recompense for carrying the burden of the crime of a group of people who acted in the name of the state, perhaps a way can be found to take pride in this society that could have resisted even against the state.

Apparently, there will be many points of disagreement during the working period of the joint commission of historians. But, interestingly, there will be at least two issues on which both sides can readily agree. The first is the slippery politics of European countries, and the second is the protection afforded by thousands of Muslim families to their Armenian neighbors. Today, when you talk with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party (Dashnak Party), the most nationalist party in Armenia, you will realize that this fine distinction is made with an accompanying sense of gratitude. They say that the genocide was performed by the nationalists while Muslims acted as their saviors in many cases and provide examples of such solidarity.

In other words, this would-be joint commission of historians can be used to produce an approach that would bring these two societies together on a humanitarian and conscientious basis and that will bring about a joint longing for the past experiences. Yet, this platform should not be seen as a means for another conflict or as a tool for bringing the other side to its knees. A great majority of Armenians will justifiably assume a dubious stance toward such a commission and find it strange to discuss an issue as if nothing is known despite the presence of thousands of documents and proof. But, the primary purpose of this commission will be not to find out the "truth," but to serve as a vehicle for overcoming a psychological threshold.

In this process, Turkish society will learn anew not only the Armenian issue, but also its entire history. Fairness urges us to give this opportunity. It should not be forgotten that any demand for fairness concerning the past can be answered if you can manage to be fair today.
01 May 2009, ETYEN MAHÇUPYAN Zaman

Who Is The Only Victor In The Armenian Situation?
There is a strange situation at hand: The speech made by US President Barack Obama on April 24 is presented as having helped everyone and no one simultaneously.

The atmosphere surrounding the situation is marked by the perception that the American leader has carried forward a win-win strategy, without having made anyone angry. But, in fact, this is definitely not the case. There is actually only one actor that has been victorious in this whole equation. And that actor is Russia. From the very start, Russia has not wanted to see the Turkish-Armenian border opened. It is quite pleased with the animosities that exist between the Azerbaijanis and the Armenians. And under the current circumstances, Russia will be able to protect its power. Closed borders mean that Russia is the only exit door for countries in the Caucasus region. Closed borders also make these countries dependent on Russia. What Turkey's flirtations with Armenia mean is a lessening of Yerevan's dependence on Moscow -- which is why Russia is using all of its strength to try to prevent these borders from opening up.

Turkey May Hit Wall In Armenian Dialogue
Is Turkey slamming the brakes on Armenian rapprochement? Yes and no, depending on whom you ask in the Turkish capital, and most of the time, the response is understandably not straightforward as the decades-long issue has too many dimensions.

"If parallel diplomacy -- moving on negotiations on both border opening and resolving the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh territories at the same time -- is deemed to not be working, we should ease off the gas and start contemplating hitting the brakes," says Murat Mercan, chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission and a high-ranking member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Mercan told Today's Zaman that Turkey may be forced to revise its standing against the backdrop of mounting public pressure.

Opposition party leaders on Tuesday blamed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for giving in to pressure brought to bear by the US and the European Union. In a speech delivered to the Republican People's Party (CHP) parliamentary group, CHP leader Deniz Baykal apologized to Azerbaijanis on behalf of Erdoğan. "The AK Party is here today, but it may not be here tomorrow. However, Turkey will always be on the side of Azerbaijanis."

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli joined Baykal in criticizing the government for making an agreement with Armenia without first securing a deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Columnist Hasan Kanbolat, an expert on Caucasian politics, disagrees. He explained to Today's Zaman that the opening with Armenia has reached a point where backpedaling is no longer possible. "I think stability and security in the Caucasian region has become a transatlantic issue and both the US and the EU want the problems resolved," he said. Kanbolat believes the ongoing diplomatic process will stay on course despite the public backlash, which he thinks could have been handled much better.

After Russia's invasion of Georgia last year, the West has learned its lesson and will try to nudge both Armenia and Georgia to accept the protective custody of NATO and even of the EU, Kanbolat argued, noting that Turkey has little room to maneuver under the present circumstances. "Even that maneuverability will be limited to conjecture," he stressed.

Commenting on his recent fact-finding mission to Azerbaijan, Yılmaz Ateş, deputy chairman of the CHP, told Today's Zaman that he found Azerbaijan fuming over the prospect of Turkey opening its border with Armenia. "They are very frustrated with the Turkish government because they claim Ankara has kept Baku in the dark on the content of secret talks being held since 2004 through a Swiss intermediary," Ateş noted, saying Azerbaijani officials felt they had been betrayed by a friend.

Ankara has long claimed that Azerbaijani officials are well informed about the talks and have been kept abreast of the latest happenings. Both President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Erdoğan have repeatedly made assurances that Turkey would never agree to any settlement with Armenia without resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh problem; however, this does not seem to be working well to alleviate the concerns of Azerbaijani officials. At a meeting with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on Tuesday, Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev warned Turkey, "We have the right to re-establish our policy in accordance with the regional realities, and we shall exercise our right."

Explaining what went south in Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, Ateş pointed to the Russian factor. "Moscow handed the details of secret talks between Turkey and Armenia over to Azerbaijan. The details were turned over to the Russians by Armenia," he noted. "We constantly heard from Azerbaijani members of parliament who said, 'Turks should have let us in these secret talks and not gone behind our backs'," Ateş said, recalling his tour of Baku.

Now that relations between Turkey and Armenia are showing signs of stress, many politicians in Ankara seem to have put their wet fingers up in the air to feel the direction of the political winds as they scramble to readjust their positions according to changing perceptions.

Letter to Obama
If I were Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, I would quit repeating the refrain, “Turkey is not a nation that can be tricked or easily distracted.”

Instead, I would write a letter that went something like this: “Dear Mr. President, Turkey is not a sheep to be herded. While it used to be the Greek lobby waving a sword of Damocles over our heads, these days you don’t even recall who they are anymore. In their place, you’ve put the Armenian lobby. We are also aware that the real reason for shouldering the defense of the Armenians is not their votes, but rather that the powers running the US have the strength to declare that Muslims are terrorists or exclude black people from the society and then elect one as president. But it is also quite clear that keeping the exaggerated Armenian claims of genocide alive will not bring about any advantages for the Armenians. We do not think it is right that these policies are being used as trump cards against our nation, rather than focusing on trying to forget and move beyond the pain of people who have lived together for hundreds of years.”
29 April 2009, STAR MAHİR KAYNAK

Obama’s different image
The most negative aspect -- from the perspective of Turkish-American relations -- of the April 24 message delivered by US President Barack Obama is the damage it has done to the previous sympathy and trust he had built up for himself in Turkey.

Just recall the public image he enjoyed in Turkey right after he won the elections, and around the time of his visit here. And now compare that image with the one he has now, in the wake of the April 24 message that destroyed expectations and dreams. Actually, by not using the specific word “genocide” in his message, Obama had thought he would be satisfying Turkey. But while his attention to Turkey’s sensitivities and his care not to use the word “genocide” -- which in itself carries heavy legal weight -- was good, the expressions used in his message in general underscored his true views and emotions on this matter. The situation, after all, is not just based on the use of the Armenian term “Meds Yeghern” (Great Disaster) rather than “genocide.” 29 April 2009, MİLLİYET SAMİ KOHEN

A risk or an opportunity?
Various statements made by Prime Minister Erdoğan in the wake of Obama’s message on the Armenian issue indicate that Erdoğan feels betrayed.

In his anger, Erdoğan is partially correct, as Obama’s words do not reflect the tone of the statements he made during his visits to Ankara and İstanbul. I say “partially” because Obama did underscore clearly in statements made while in Ankara that he believed there was not much time left to solve the Armenian issue. So at this point we need to find an answer to the real question: Is the new administration in Washington taking this stance in order to force Turkey into a corner, or is it pushing Ankara toward finding an urgent solution to this chronic problem in order to clear Turkey’s path forward? Our response to all this must be based on the answer to this question. Are we talking about a risk or an opportunity here? If Obama is attempting to push Turkey into a corner, then this is a risk and no one can stand by and let this happen. So, really, the best answer to the above question is the second one.

f.disli at todayszaman.com Obama’s image tattered after April 24
It seems that US President Barack Obama, who fell short of meeting Turkey’s expectations in his April 24 Armenian Remembrance Day speech in which he described the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as a “great atrocity” and “Meds Yeghern,” will be the target of harsh criticism for a long time to come. Analysts are increasing the dose of their criticism, naming Obama a “political opportunist” and “an ordinary US president” who failed in his bid to become different even though he had previously enjoyed a good image in Turkey.

Bugün’s Ahmet Taşgetiren accuses Obama of engaging in opportunism during his April 24 speech -- particularly because he said: “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.” He says Obama accepts the investigation of facts as to what happened in 1915 (as demanded by Turkey) and reiterates his belief that the incidents were tantamount to genocide, as he claimed during his election campaign, noting that the name of what Obama is doing is mere political opportunism. In Taşgetiren’s view, such a policy casts a deep shadow over the image of the dignified US president Obama wants to become and turns him into an ordinary US president who takes care of his voters at home and pays attention to the sensitivities of various countries in a bid to shape the world, leading him to fail to please both his own voters and Turkey. The most dramatic effect of Obama’s speech, according to Taşgetiren, will be on Turkish-Armenian relations, which were on the way to normalization. Instead of making any contribution, he thinks Obama’s speech will further strain Turkish-Armenian relations.

Radikal’s Hasan Celal Güzel is very frustrated with Obama’s speech and the way he tried to avoid a confrontation with both Turks and Armenians by referring to the 1915 events as “Meds Yeghern” for Armenians and not using the term “genocide” for Turks. “You claim to be the superpower in the world but are hostage to a promise you made to a minority lobby out of concern for domestic politics. Without any shame, you will resort to word games and become the tool of the Armenian lobby’s lies. Look at this comedy, the great president of the US uses ‘Meds Yeghern’ so as not to say ‘genocide,’ which means the same thing in Armenian. He thinks he is making a big political maneuver by acting this way. Poor Obama,” says Güzel.

Akşam’s Hüsnü Mahalli thinks there is no difference between Obama referring to the 1915 killings as the “great atrocity” or as “genocide” but notes that the real perpetrators of the great atrocities of the 20th century are imperialist countries led by the United States. “We cannot count the numerous atrocities perpetrated by the imperialist countries, but Ankara, which requested that Obama not use the term ‘genocide,’ should have submitted the documents to the US administration showing how, ever since the 1890s, the United States has been provoking the Armenians in cooperation with France, England and Russia,” suggests Mahalli.
29 April 2009

Turk-Armenian Reconciliation Key
WASHINGTON -The recent initiation of a reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia is one of the Obama administration’s foreign-policy achievements, a spokesman for the United States National Security Council announced while appraising the president’s first 100 days in office

Turk-Armenian reconciliation key The U.S. sees the recent opening of a reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia as one of the foreign-policy achievements of President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office, a spokesman said Wednesday. "We've had, I think, important achievements in terms of Armenia and Turkey's reconciliation. And we'll be looking to encourage that as well," said Mike Hammer, spokesman for the president's National Security Council.

Hammer was speaking at the State Department's Foreign Press Center about the foreign-policy developments within the first 100 days of the Obama administration. The new president was inaugurated Jan. 20.

Turkey and Armenia jointly announced April 23 that they had agreed in principle to normalize their troubled relationship. The road map includes measures to move the two countries toward establishing full diplomatic relations, for Turkey to open their land border and for a joint probe of their shared history.

Hammer was asked to comment on achievements in terms of relations with Turkey during and after Obama's visit to Ankara and Istanbul in early April.

Obama’s visit key
"We think our visit to Turkey was important," the spokesman said. "Turkey is an important strategic partner and ally, both within NATO and in terms of how it engages with the greater Middle East. And we felt that the visit went extremely well."

He said the United States now was looking forward to expanding its partnership with Turkey and working with Ankara on issues of common interest. "We believe that we've laid the foundation for a very good opportunity to make significant progress," Hammer said. "So it was important to the president to go to Turkey on his first trip to Europe. And we hope again that we will have a very open dialogue and exchange of views as we move forward."

Turkey is preparing to make a larger contribution to the NATO effort in Afghanistan and to potentially offer assistance to the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq next year.

In the U.S. president’s annual April 24 statement to mark the "day of remembrance of the Armenian deaths," Obama avoided using the word "genocide," instead employing the Armenian term "Meds Yeghern," used to characterize the early 20th century killings of their kinsmen.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Turks and ’Meds Yeghern’ Mustafa Akyol 30.04.2009
Quite a few people in Turkey are upset with President Barack Obama these days for using the term "Meds Yeghern" to describe the tragedy that befell on Ottoman Armenians in 1915.

The term means "Great Catastrophe" in the Armenian language and it refers to the "genocide" of 1915. Some Turkish commentators unhappily argue that although Obama did not directly use the "G" word, he said what amounts to that.I, on the other hand, saw a reasonable nuance in Obama’s rhetoric. If he had used the "G" word, that would have amounted to a legal definition. Yet his choice of words shows that he didn’t want to take that step. It rather indicates that he sees the tragedy of 1915 in a way totally different than the common Turkish view, but does not wish to enforce that by bringing up a legal definition that would make Turkey politically uncomfortable.

And I think that this stance by Obama should be welcomed. His rhetoric is true to itself (because we know that Obama sees 1915 as genocide), but is also considerate to the Turkish position. What more should we expect from the American President? To deny or overlook something which he sees as a bitter historical fact? This question brings me to the other side of the issue. Most Turks, too, see a different historical fact when they look at 1915. Or, perhaps, 1917.

The latter was the year when Armenian militants committed mass atrocities in Eastern Turkey on the Muslim population to take "revenge" for what happened two years earlier. Every Turk is told about those horrific episodes, in which men, women and children were brutally tortured and slaughtered. When you mention a "great catastrophe" that took place during World War I, Turks remember this Muslim tragedy, not the Armenian one.

The reason is obvious: Every society remembers the evils done to them, rather than the evils they do. Turkish society is especially prone to thinking this way, because it hardly has a taste for self-criticism.Therefore it would be wrong to blame Turkish society for "denying" the Armenians’ Meds Yeghern. You deny something when you know it is true, but you don’t want to openly accept it for other, mostly selfish, reasons. Most Turks don’t do that, because they genuinely believe there was no Armenian genocide, and whatever happened was some form of collective vendetta during the years of war and conflict.

What needs to be done in this whole debate is to help Turks understand the pain of the Armenians, and help the rest of the world understand the pain of Turks. There are two opposite narratives on both sides, and both sides need to take steps in order to discover the narrative that it does not know.

The Turkish narrative starts not in 1915, but 1878, when the Ottoman Empire lost a great deal of its Balkan territories to newly created nation-states such as Serbia and Bulgaria. These Russian-supported Slavic nations continued to push forward, and the empire continued to shrink gradually. The big loss came during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, when the empire lots all of its Balkan territories except Eastern Thrace, which continues to be the western edge of modern Turkey.

In all these lost lands the Muslim population was subject to horrific campaigns of ethnic cleansing. Many were killed. Others fled to Turkey proper telling the horrible stories of the "Christian onslaught against the Muslims."

When Armenian nationalists started their agitations in order to terrorize the Empire and to force the intervention of Western powers, many Muslims perceived this as yet another repetition of a nightmare that they had seen before: The terror would continue until an independent Armenia could be formed and all Muslim populations ethnically cleansed. Fear was the main motivating factor in the "pre-emptive" expulsion and the massacres.

War and death
In his book on "The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922," historian Justin McCarthy says the following:

"In 1895 in Anatolia and in 1905 in the Caucasus, inter-communal warfare broke out. Prior to that time, Muslims and Armenians had supported either the Russian or the Ottoman Empires. Now the Muslims and Armenians had set about killing each other in their villages and cities. This war was not a thing of armies, but of peoples.

It had been building for almost a century, brought about by Russian invasion, Armenian nationalism, and Ottoman weakness. By 1910, the polarization that was soon to result in mutual disaster was probably inevitable. Blood had been shed and revenge was expected and desired.

Whatever their individual intentions, Muslims knew they were at risk from the Armenians, and Armenians knew they were at risk from the Muslims. Once World War I began, each side naturally assumed the worst of the other, and acted accordingly."

Let me note: This does not justify the Meds Yeghern. It just tells us that there is a Turkish side of the story, too. And the best way to make Turks more empathetic to the Armenian side of the story is to take theirs seriously as well.

Armenia: Yesterday, Today, and Maybe No Tomorrow [ 2009/05/01 | By Lucine Kasbarian
Yesterday, Armenia was a battlefield and prize for competing empires. Today, Armenia is a battlefield and prize for competing empires.

Yesterday, the Young Turk regime released criminals from prison to terrorize Armenians. Today, Turkish and Armenian regimes contain criminals who terrorize Armenians.

Yesterday, the Turkish government solved its “Armenian problem” with repression, violence and murder, including the execution of 250 intellectuals in 1915. Today, the Turkish government solves its “Armenian problem” with repression, violence and murder, including the execution of Hrant Dink in 2007.

Yesterday, in the Ottoman Empire, Armenian women threw themselves into rivers and over cliffs to avoid Turkish rape, forced marriages and slavery. Today, in Turkey, migrant women from Armenia prostitute themselves, while Armenian women Turkify themselves through intermarriage.

Yesterday, Armenians struggled on their own lands to retain their faith, language and traditions. Today, Armenians live in foreign lands, and while free to practice their faith, language and traditions, let them fade away.

Yesterday, international media reported truthfully about the Armenian Genocide. Today, international media willingly publish Turkish propaganda and genocide denials.

Yesterday, Turkish authorities removed Armenians from their lands to convince the world that Armenians never lived there. Today, Turkish authorities dismantle churches, monuments, and cemeteries to convince the world that Armenians never lived there.

Yesterday, Turkish leaders demonized Armenians through word of mouth to turn the Turks against them. Today, Turkish leaders demonize Armenians through books and films to turn the Turks against them.

Yesterday, ordinary Armenians, their backs to the wall, secured an independent nation on the battlefield. Today, Armenia’s ruling cabal may willfully surrender their nation behind closed doors.

Yesterday, President Wilson promised a mandate for Armenia, only to have the U.S. Senate reject it. Today, President Obama promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide, only to go back on his word.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Vratzian was forced to hand Armenia to the Soviets to save it from Turkish destruction. Today, President Sargsian and his clique voluntarily sacrifice Armenia’s interests for their own benefit.

Yesterday, Armenians mistakenly trusted the Western powers and Russia. The Armenian nation paid the price. Today, Armenians mistakenly trust the Western powers and Russia. The Armenian nation pays the price.

Yesterday, Armenians of Arstakh defended their native lands against Azeri hostility. Today, Armenians of Arstakh defend their native lands against Azeri and NATO hostility.

Yesterday, Armenian leaders sacrificed their lives to secure liberty for their people. Today, Armenians leaders sacrifice their dignity for their own personal ambitions.

Yesterday, a closed border prevented Turkey from penetrating Armenia. Today, an open border could enable Turkey to penetrate Armenia.

Yesterday, Armenia would have been eliminated if its people did not resist. Today, Armenia will be eliminated if its people do not resist.

Lucine Kasbarian is an Armenian American writer. hetq.am

South Australia's Lower House Recognizes Armenian Genocide 30.04.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ South Australia's Lower House has followed the Upper House by passing a motion officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) from Parliament House in Adelaide.

South Australia's Legislative Assembly passed the motion officially joining "members of the Armenian-Australian, Pontian Greek-Australian and Assyrian-Australian communities in honoring the memory of the innocent men, women and children who fell victim to the first modern genocide".

The motion was introduced by Attorney General, the Hon. Michael Atkinson MP (ALP), and seconded by Opposition Leader, Mr. Martin Hamilton-Smith MP (LIB). Eight other members of parliament spoke in support and it passed unanimously.

This action comes one month after South Australia's Legislative Council passed a similar motion.

ANC Australia President, Mr. Varant Meguerditchian praised the "historic" motion, which recognized the genocides committed by Ottoman Turkey in Anatolia against its Christian population and called upon "the Commonwealth Parliament to officially condemn the genocide".

"The one million Australians of Armenian, Greek and Assyrian heritage are proud that both houses of South Australia's Parliament have recognized the events of 1915 as genocide," said Mr. Meguerditchian.

Mr. Meguerditchian further praised the resolve of Mr. Atkinson and the supporters of this motion, as it was passed despite much-publicized pressure from the Turkish government via its Ambassador to Australia. Click here for more info.

He said: "The unanimous passage of this motion, in spite of direct pressure from the Turkish government, and in spite of US President Obama's failure to use the term 'genocide', demonstrates the will of South Australia to stand firm in the fight against denial."

He added: "The call for the government of Australia to follow NSW and South Australia in recognizing the Armenian Genocide is one we will take directly to Canberra on behalf of our communities."

The Motion In Full

That, whereas the genocide by the Ottoman state between 1915-1923 of Armenians, Hellenes, Syrian and other minorities in Asia Minor is one of the greatest crimes against humanity, the people of South Australia and this House -

(a) join the members of the Armenian-Australian, Pontian Greek-Australian and Syrian-Australian communities in honoring the memory of the innocent men, women and children who fell victim to the first modern genocide;

(b) condemns the genocide of the Armenians, Pontian Greeks, Syrian Orthodox and other Christian minorities, and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance;

(c) recognizes the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated;

(d) condemns and prevents all attempts to use the passage of time to deny or distort the historical truth of the genocide of the Armenians and other acts of genocide committed during this century;

(e) acknowledges the significant humanitarian contribution made by the people of South Australia to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the Pontian Genocide; and

(f) calls on the Commonwealth Parliament officially to condemn the genocide.

What is going on between Turkey and Armenia? April 29 2009 Artemis Kadewala
What is going on between Turkey and Armenia?

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey agreed between the Road Map to imply, "World, Region and Azeri What do you want to know," he said.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, between Turkey and Armenia agreed road map implies the "world, what is the Azeri regions and want to know," he said.

European Union (EU) Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, President of Azerbaijan and Aliyev came together in Brussels. binary, a joint press conference held after the talks. Barroso, Aliyev and "good, constructive and open negotiations" were done, he said. Barroso, stated that Azerbaijan as a partner in the Caucasus ?li a closer energy cooperation is an important factor stressed. European Union relations with the Azeri leaders have made important.

Nagorno Karabakh on a question relating to Aliyev, "Armenia's occupation of Azeri territory to us not only to the region's stability and a threat to safety. 20 years we have experienced the greatest injustice. Recognized territory of Azerbaijan, a neighboring country under occupation. After this invasion of millions of Azerbaijani refugees to the state fell. " I was talking. Aliyev, are working to resolve the problem by saving, "the Armenian forces from territory captured in ??ulsuz want." he said. EU Commission President Barroso, the two countries, efforts to resolve the problem and that they want to see progress made.

Armenia and Turkey's road map agreed on the description as Barroso, "this issue, we have opinions. Dost?have opinions. Azerbaijan issues in terms of how sensitive that I understand. However, in the region, to reduce tensions also are pleased. Between Turkey and Armenia to reduce tensions must be satisfied. We're happy with this step. There are problems between Turkey and Armenia. This situation was not good for the region. These positive steps are satisfied. However, this solution in Nagorno Karabakh do not want to see the sense not to. " I was talking. Azeri leader Aliyev, Armenia and Turkey and stressed that their own decisions. Aliyev, "the two countries, the relations give approval to build or block are not. Policies in the region adapt existing facts are entitled to. Various sources, conflicting sensations are coming to us. One source, the road map, no pre-condition is not specified. Another source, ?rts?t gives information on not said. world, regions and Azeri to know what you want. Nagorno Karabakh issue, Turkey-Armenian close to making an irrelevant? very simple question and got a very simple answer. " said

Et Tu Obama? Letter from a Former Admirer By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier, sassoun at pacbell. net

Mr. President, how could you!

Your candidacy was a breath of fresh air. You stood for change. You made wonderful promises and the Armenian-American community put its trust in you.

We are now terribly disappointed because you acted not much differently than your predecessors on the Armenian Genocide issue. Your April 24 statement fell far short of your solemn pledge to recognize the Genocide.

As a Senator and presidential candidate, you left no doubt about your intentions on this issue. You spoke about it eloquently and passionately.

Yet, when the time came to issue your April 24 statement, we were surprised to find out that "genocide" had been replaced by "Meds Yeghern," a clever ploy, no doubt suggested by one of your ingenious aides.

You may want to know that "Meds Yeghern" does not mean genocide; it means "Great Calamity." Armenians used that term before the word "genocide" was coined by Raphael Lemkin in the 1940´s. "Genocide" in Armenian is "Tseghasbanoutyoun, " which is a much more precise term than "Meds Yeghern," in case you decide to use it in the future.

Not only did your aides come up with the wrong Armenian word, but they failed to provide its English translation, so that non-Armenians could understand its meaning. What was, after all, the point of using an Armenian word in an English text? Did your staff run out of English euphemisms for genocide?

Just in case your resourceful advisors think that they were the first to devise the clever ploy of replacing "genocide" with "Meds Yeghern," let me inform you that several previous leaders have employed that same trick. Pope John Paul II used that term in 2001 during his visit to Armenia. The BBC observed that the Pontiff had said "Meds Yeghern" in order not to offend Turkey. Your immediate predecessor, Pres. George W. Bush, used the English translation of that same tricky word in his April 24, 2005 statement -- "This terrible event is what many Armenian people have come to call the `Great Calamity.´"

Mr. President, last year when you were seeking votes and financial support from Armenian-Americans, you did not promise them to recognize the "Meds Yeghern!" You actually told them: "As President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide." Moreover, you did not state that your acknowledgment of the Genocide is contingent upon Armenian-Turkish negotiations, opening Armenia´s border, war in Iraq or anything else. You made a flat out promise, with no ifs or buts.

There are also two sets of serious contradictions in the words you used before and after your election to the presidency. In your April 24, 2009 statement, you said: "I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed." Yet, on January 19, 2008, as a presidential candidate, you had said: "The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view." Furthermore, on April 24, 2009 you stated: "My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts." Yet, as a candidate, you stated that the Armenian Genocide is "a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable."

Mr. President, twice in one month, both in Ankara and Washington, you made a reference to your past statements on the genocide, in order to avoid using that word as president. This is an old trick that was also utilized by Pres. George H. W. Bush (Senior). In his presidential message of April 20, 1990, Bush stated: "My comments of June 1988 represent the depth of my feeling for the Armenian people and the sufferings they have endured." In order to avoid saying genocide, Pres. Bush, like you, made an indirect reference to that word, by mentioning his earlier remarks as Vice President and presidential candidate: "The United States must acknowledge the attempted genocide of the Armenian People in the last years of the Ottoman Empire, based on the testimony of survivors, scholars, and indeed our own representatives at the time, if we are to ensure that such horrors are not repeated."

Dear Mr. President, there was no need for your staff to waste their valuable time trying to come up with such ploys and verbal gymnastics. If you did not want to say genocide, you did not have to say anything at all. The Armenian Genocide has already been acknowledged by another U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, who signed a Presidential Proclamation on April 22, 1981, in which he referred to "the genocide of the Armenians."

Armenians actually gain nothing by having one more U.S. president reiterate what has been said before. As you know, presidential statements, just as congressional resolutions, have no legal consequence. Pres. Reagan´s proclamation and the adoption of two House resolutions on the Armenian Genocide in 1975 and 1984 have brought nothing tangible to Armenians in terms of seeking reparations for their immense losses in lives and property.

By not keeping your word on April 24, however, you have only succeeded in undermining your own credibility in front of the American people and world public opinion. Already, the Obameter website (politifact. com) has labeled your April 24 statement as "a broken promise." This week, as you complete the first 100 days in office, major TV networks and the press are widely reporting your broken promise on the Armenian Genocide, thus undermining the trust of the American public in your other promises.

Finally, Mr. President, it was improper for you to exploit Turkey´s "make- believe" negotiations with Armenia by using it as a pretext for avoiding the "genocide" word in your April 24 statement. Given your high position, you must know that the Turkish government´s intent all along has been to create the false impression that its discussions with Armenia are proceeding smoothly, making everyone believe that the border would be opened shortly. Turkish leaders have been dangling that carrot in front of Armenia for many years. The fact is that, once you were elected president, Turkish officials took seriously your campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide and were told by your close aides that unless Ankara made a friendly gesture towards Armenia, you could well carry out your promise to the Armenian-American community.

While Turkish officials, with their fake diplomatic initiatives, managed to deceive the rest of the world, including Armenia´s relatively inexperienced leaders, you, Mr. President, knew better. You went along with Turkey´s false gestures knowingly, thus bartering away your principled stand on the Armenian Genocide in order to secure Turkish participation in the Afghan war, and carry out its U.S. assigned role with respect to Iraq, Iran, and Israel.

You must have also known that Turkey would not open its border with Armenia in the foreseeable future, unless the Karabagh conflict was resolved to Azerbaijan´s satisfaction. Using various carrots and sticks, with the connivance of Russia, which pursues its own economic and political interests in Turkey and Azerbaijan, U.S. officials succeeded in pressuring Armenia into agreeing to issue a joint declaration with Turkey and Switzerland as mediator on the eve of April 24. This declaration was a convenient cover for you to duck the genocide issue in order to appease Turkey.

Mr. President, by compelling Armenia to sign such a declaration, you have managed to pit the Armenian Diaspora, as well as the people in Armenia against the government in Yerevan. As a direct result of that action, the ARF, one of Armenia´s influential political parties, quit the ruling coalition this week. The ARF did not wish to associate itself with a government, still reeling from last year´s contentious presidential elections, which is negotiating an agreement with Turkey that could compromise the country´s national interests and historic rights. The ARF also vehemently opposes Armenia´s announced intention to participate in a bilateral historical commission that Turkey would use to question the facts of the Armenian Genocide.

Mr. President, in the coming days, as your administration invites Armenia´s leaders to Washington in order to squeeze more concessions from them, please realize that they can only be pressured so much before they lose their authority. As was the case with Armenia´s first president, crossing the red lines on the Genocide and Karabagh issues could well jeopardize the tenuous hold on power of the remaining ruling coalition, regardless of how many promises are made and carrots extended to them by Washington.

Paul Krekorians Resolution On Armenian Genocide Was Unanimously Passed In Ca PanARMENIAN.Net 26.04.2009
Sacramento's (California, USA) Assistant Majority Leader Paul Krekorian's resolution to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was unanimously passed by the Assembly today. The measure sailed through with broad, bipartisan support and featured impassioned pleas from multiple members of the Assembly, from both parties, who voted for the measure, Asbarez reports.

"Today, we stood up for truth and justice; not just in memory of the Armenian Genocide, but for all modern-day horrors that have blackened this earth since 1915," Assemblyman Paul Krekorian said. "This resolution gives all of us an opportunity to re-commit ourselves to building a society free of bigotry and inhumanity. And if we can do that, we will be able to say at long last, truthfully and finally, never again.'"

AJR 14 will designate April 24, 2009, as a "California Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923." Preceding the 73-0 vote, a number of Democratic and Republican speakers called on the Assembly to pass the resolution, noting that supporting AJR 14 was less a vote for Armenian Genocide remembrance than a call for justice everywhere.

Before that, the Very Reverend Father Baret Yeretzian of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America read the morning's prayer and a trio of musicians called "The Winds of Passion" played two stirring songs in tribute to the memory of 1.5 million Armenians who perished from 1915-23.

Krekorian is also the author of the Justice for Genocide Victims Act, AB 961, which would require California companies to certify that they do not hold wrongfully obtained assets from a modern-day genocide victim and bars companies from doing business with California if they cannot submit that certification.

The Turkey-Armenia Joint Declaration And The U.S. President’s Message, Ömer Engin Lütem AVIM
It was thought that President Obama, who have persistently, even almost to the extent of a commitment, declared during his election campaign that he’d acknowledge the ‘Armenian genocide’, would fulfill his promise at the first appropriate occasion. Yet the need to establish close cooperation with Turkey emerged at a stage when the foreign policy of the new American government was being worked out. This necessitated the visits of first the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and then the President himself to Turkey, and the issue of the ‘genocide’ acknowledgement has slipped towards the back rows of the agenda despite the efforts of hope of the Diaspora. President Obama’s response to a question by a journalist during his visit to Turkey whereby he stated to clarify that he has not changed his opinion regarding this issue and that he did however neither want to impede the positive developments in the Turkish-Armenian relations, has been interpreted by all as he would not use the word ‘genocide’ in his message of April 24th this year and even that he would prevent the approval of the Draft nr. 252 which has already been submitted to the House of the Representatives.

Meanwhile, it comes out that the U.S. President wanted both Turkey and Armenia to make moves to assist him in not including the Armenian allegations on the 24th of April and at later dates. It appears that the main objective of these two countries’ announcement of a joint declaration only 48 hours before the 24th of April, was to facilitate the job of the U.S. President.

The most important point of the joint declaration is the statement that the two countries are involved in intense efforts to normalize their relations. In this context, a ‘‘comprehensive framework’’ has been agreed upon and also a ‘‘ road map’’ was determined. No information was given, however, on the content of the framework and which stations the road map will pass by. This ‘‘secrecy’’ makes one think an agreement has not yet been reached between the two on significant issues. On the other hand, it is also probable that the Armenian government has not deemed it appropriate to furnish further information to ultra-nationalist circles, including primarily the Dashnaks. And the Turkish side may have as well acted with a view not to unnecessarily incite the Azerbaijani public opinion that displays excessive sensitivity when it comes to relations with Armenia.

Furthermore, what the ‘‘framework’’ contains is not a mystery. There exists three problematic issues between Turkey and Armenia: mutual recognition of territorial integrity, ‘genocide’ allegations and, the Karabakh question. It seems that an agreement has been reached on the issue of territorial integrity. Indeed, the fact that neither the official authorities nor the press have made almost no mention to it implies that this dispute has been surmounted. The formulation brought about by Turkey for the ‘genocide’ allegations and reluctantly accepted by Armenia is the referral of these allegations to a joint commission of historians. But some statements by the Arnmenian Foreign Minister Nalbantian implying that Armenia will continue its efforts aimed at ensuring acknowledgement of ‘genocide’ at the international arena, leads one to think that a complete agreement has not been reached in this regard. And the Karabakh question persists being the most important one. Armenia categorically refuses the Karabakh question to be a part of her relations with Turkey. Azerbaijan, on the other hand, wants the construction of a direct bond between the opening of the Turkish border and the Karabakh question. Prime Minister Erdo?an’s continuing support for the latter position constitute an evidence that the differences of opinion between the two countries are still wide apart. In this case, it appears that the opening of the border should not be anticipated before a serious development such as the evacuation of let’s say five Azerbaijani provinces by Armenian forces.

Crossing The Torrent Of Bitterness On The Turkey-Armenia Border Nicolas Cheviron, HALIKISLAK, Turkey, April 25 2009
There is more than the River Araxe separating the villages of Halikislak in Turkey and Bagaran in Armenia -- a sealed border and a torrent of animosity divides their countries.

The 300 people in Halikislak and 700 in Bagaran are never allowed to meet. But hopes of an end to the isolation have been raised on both sides by an accord announced this week by the governments of Armenia and Turkey to move to end their century of hostility.

Memories of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire run deep between the countries even though the villages either side of the river have much in common.

On both sides, the peasants cultivate tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and water melons. Their apricot and peach trees bloom at the same time. In Halikislak there is a mosque minaret looking over the river. The tall chimney of a Soviet-era communal house in Bagaran casts its own shadow.

Border guards block any communication but there is no evident hostility between the villages.

Once a month, leaders from Halikislak and Bagaran take a manually-operated chair lift running over the river for talks.

"We discuss issues about water sharing and the maintenance of border stones and then we eat and drink," said Kiyas Karadag, 56, the village elder of Halikislak.

"They offer us vodka and we give them cigarettes and sugar. They are very poor," he added.

On the opposite bank, Aslan Sahakian, an irrigation technician, said their common problems dominate the monthly chat.

"We talk mostly about work, about how expensive life is and how badly we are paid. We talk about the kids," he told an AFP reporter.

History rears its ugly head when villagers are asked about government efforts to establish diplomatic relations, re-open the border and settle a bitter dispute on whether the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I was "genocide".

-- We have no problem with the new generation of Turks --

The two governments are acting to heal the wounds.

Turkey and Armenia announced this week that they have agreed a "roadmap" to normalising ties at reconciliation talks which Turkey said have produced "concrete progress and mutual understanding".

Impetus has been building since President Abdullah Gul became the first modern Turkish leader to visit Yerevan in September.

In the villages, neither side blames the other for the hostility.

"We don't have a problem with the new generation of Turks. It was Talat Pasha who did wrong," said Slavik Piloyan, 55, referring to the Ottoman general who was in charge of the 1915-1917 deportations of Armenians.

Armenians say 1.5 million people were killed during the turmoil. The Turks say the deportations were ordered after Armenian militants started fighting for independence in eastern Anatolia and backed Russian troops invading the crumbling empire.

For the people of Bagaran, looking across the frontier means getting a glimpse of their own roots.

"This is not the real Bagaran. The real one is four kilometers (2.5 miles) away, in Turkish territory," said Sahakian.

"In 1915, the people fled the genocide and resettled here. Except for some women who came by marriage, all the inhabitants came from there," he explained. "I want to go there to see the old Bagaran. I even know where my grandfather's house is."

In Halikislak, different passions are stirred by the prospect of re-opening the border shut by Turkey in 1993.

Turkey acted then in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan over the conflict in Nagorny-Karabakh, an Armenian-majority enclave inside Azerbaijan that Armenia occupied two years earlier.

The hamlet's inhabitants are all Azeri Turks, who moved to Turkey over the years, and family ties still link many to the enclave.

"I want very much to go to Nagorny-Karabakh because my family lived there. My grandfather came from there," said Karadag, the Halikislak elderman. "Going to Armenia? That does not interest me at all."

Turkey Criticizes Obama For Not Mentioning Slain Turks In 1915
ISTANBUL - Turkish President Abdullah Gul criticized Saturday U.S. President Barack Obama for not mentioning slain Turks during 1915 incidents. Meanwhile, Turks in America praised Obama's April 24 statement, while Armenians expressed disappointment. (UPDATED)

"There are some parts in the Obama's statement that I disagree. There hundreds of thousands Turks and Muslims who lost their lives in 1915. Therefore he should have shared the pain of everybody who lost their lives," Gul was quoted as saying by the state-run Anatolian Agency. His remarks are the first official reaction to Obama's statement.

Obama, who pledged to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incident during presidential campaign, refrained to use the word "genocide" while describing the events in his annual April 24 statement to mark the "day of remembrance of the Armenian deaths."

Instead, he used the Armenian term for the killings, "Meds Yeghern" which has been variously translated into English as "The Great Calamity" or "Great Disaster." He also branded the events as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century."

Turkish opposition also expressed its displeasure with Obama's statement. The leader of Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, Devlet Bahceli, also said Saturday that the statement is "harsh and unacceptable".

Armenian American groups criticized Obama for not keeping a campaign pledge to stick to the genocide characterization, saying he chose to allow Armenians position on the 1915 incidents to remain a hostage to Turkey's threats.”

"I join with all Armenian Americans in voicing our sharp disappointment with President Obama's failure to honor his solemn pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide," Ken Hachikians, head of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in a written statement posted on the organization's Web site.

"The president's statement today represents a retreat from his pledge and a setback to the vital change he promised to bring about in how America confronts the crime of genocide."

Obama's statement came a while after Turkey and Armenia announced that under Switzerland's mediation they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of ties between the two neighboring countries that have not had diplomatic relations for more than a decade. U.S. President extended his support to the normalization process.

The Turkish Coalition of America, however, offered praise and thanked the President for refraining to use the word genocide by withstanding enormous political pressure in this respect.

"We applaud President Obama for deferring to historians to settle the long-standing debate over the events of 1915-1918," said Lincoln McCurdy, the group's president.

"This tragic period in history led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians alike. President Obama has sent a clear message to America and the world that his administration will not sacrifice long-term strategic allies for short-term political gains."

Obama has sent a clear message to America and the world that his Administration will not sacrifice a long-term strategic alliance with Turkey for an issue that cannot be resolved by third parties and is best addressed jointly by Turks and Armenians, the statement on the organization's Web site added.

The issue of the 1915 incidents is highly sensitive one both in Armenia and Turkey. Armenia , with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.

Turkey rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia .

Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate what happened in 1915 and has opened all official archives.

Armenians Worldwide Express Deep Concern Over “road Map” [ 2009/04/24
Concern is mounting in the worldwide Armenian diaspora regarding the “road map” signed by the foreign ministries of Armenia and Turkey on April 22, 2009, in Bern, Switzerland. Initial reaction to the document clearly shows that large segments of the diaspora oppose and reject outright any agreement between Armenia and Turkey that concedes the fundamental rights of the Armenian people.

Here main concerns caused by the Bern agreement. In particular, according Sabah newspaper, the question of recognition of the Treaty of Kars (1921) which identifies the present Turkish-Armenian. This announcement is unwelcome for the following reasons:

1. It is made just before April 24, when Armenians worldwide commemorate the Genocide perpetrated by the Young Turks in 1915.

2. It forces Armenian authorities to make unacceptable concessions on issues related to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Karabagh’s self-determination.

3. It is made under pressure from major powers seeking to advance their own narrow interests, while Armenia’s leadership struggles to establish its legitimacy at a time of political, economical and financial crisis.

Armenian officials involved in such questionable and dangerous “arrangements” should know that French-Armenians, along with other diaspora communities, as well as Armenia’s and Karabagh’s own population will oppose and reject any agreement which concedes the fundamental rights of their Nation!”

The comments of Appo Jabarian, publisher off ArmenianLife Magazine in Los Angeles express the concerns of many Armenians when he writes, “Like millions of Diaspora Armenians and Armenia, I am deeply concerned with the latest developments in regards to the tripartite - Armenia, Turkey, Switzerland - “road map.” It my sincere wish and hope that Armenia doe’s not lose out to Turkish ploys. A denialist Turkey is never to be trusted. Armenians in Armenia and around the world will not accept any kind of capitulation to Ankara. No Armenian leader is authorized to jeopardize our national interests.
Jean Eckian / Paris

Turkish Newspaper Claims to Have “Road Map” Details [ 2009/04/24 |Anahit Shirinyan

Today’s issue of Sabah, a Turkish daily newspaper, features an article that presents what it alleges to be the five main points in the recently signed Turkish-Armenian “road map” leading to the normalization between the two nations. The five points are as follows:

* Armenia must recognize the Kars Agreements signed between SSCB and Turkey. The agreement is not open to renegotiation.

* Third-party nations may also join the commission of historians which will handle the genocide accusations.

* The borders will be opened between the two countries and economic agreements necessary for commerce will be completed.

* Both nations will first off mutually accredit the Tiflis ambassadorship, and later will open embassies in both Ankara and Erivan.

* Agreements in the road map which necessitate the approval of the parliament will be brought to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

The Sabah article goes on to say that according to information it as received, the issue regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh mountain region was not included in the agreement. However, it was noted that the Karabakh mountain issue will remain connected “de facto” to the road map which will include parallel steps to be taken. An authority described the Karabakh issue by referring to the example of Cyprus and Turkey’s accession to the EU; “Cyprus is not a prerequisite, however it is a reality, just as the Karabakh issue is.”

“The agreement may be announced in May in connection to the Minsk Group,” according to a high level official that the paper does not name. Sabah reports that this same official stated, “It may be announced in May or even September, but at least the process has begun.”

Sabah adds that lower and higher level committees will be established for the normalization of relations between the two nations. The lower commission will deal with such issues that fall under the titles of the border, the 1915 incidents, commerce, establishing diplomatic relations, customs and transportation.

Davutoğlu: We Did Not Promise Anything Excessive
After my article was published yesterday Ahmet Davutoğlu, chief advisor of the prime ministry, called to say he wants some corrections to be made. I wrote that word "was out" about Davutoğlu. During his trip to Washington before Obama’s visit to Ankara, he exhibited behavior that increased Americans’ expectations about the readiness to open the border.

Especially during Clinton’s and Obama’s visits, Ankara reflected the impression in the press that it approached this matter with sympathy.

Based on these impressions I said that people wondered whether or not "The Turkish side gave exaggerated hopes to the Obama administration and, if so, if Washington feels deceived then might a genocide decision pass through congress." Ahmet Davutoğlu said, "There is no such thing." Neither during contact with Washington nor during Clinton’s and Obama’s visits did we promise "the opening of the border" and repeated insistently they have not engaged in any commitment they cannot fulfill. He said, "I called because I did not want to be misunderstood."

Davutoğlu stressed the fact that they have never exhibited behavior that might mislead the American administration. Then why did the Azerbaijani take on such a brisk attitude? Davutoğlu is very clear about it. "We shared each development with our Azerbaijani siblings. We did not hide anything from them. In any event that cannot be the case. Would we take a step without the Azerbaijanis?"

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité - Et Realité
False: If the French did not object to Turkey’s European Union membership everything would come up roses and Ankara would win a well-deserved nod for accession.

True: In 2009, EU candidate Turkey is still oceans away from having truly absorbed the values cherished in the club it hopes to join one day Ğ or so it pretends. If Turkey’s all too visible short-comings have not been fairly put under a magnifier over the past few years, it is because of its "nuisance value," or, in more polite words, its "strategic importance."

False: Some Europeans don’t want Turkey in because it’s Muslim.

True: The same Europeans will sooner rather than later (but most likely before Turkey) admit Muslim Bosnia as a full member. Islam per se is not an obstacle for EU membership. Its archaic, dogmatic, political interpretations can be.

False: The biggest single obstacle to Turkish membership is France.
True: The biggest single obstacle to Turkish membership is Turkey.
False: Europe is negatively discriminating Turkey.

True: Europe is positively discriminating in favor of Turkey.

If a Turk and a Frenchman met at a bar, the Turk would probably think the Frenchman owed him a lot of money because he would reflexively think that the Frenchman was the barrier to the fat salary he would be earning in Berlin, Paris or London. The Turk would also think that this Frenchman was not only blocking his nice salary but was also torturing him in long visa queues. Ah, Antoine, what have I done to you to deserve this torment?

Does Ankara want to win French hearts and minds? Yes. Can it? Not with the current state of "Turkish affairs." Most recent public opinion polls put the French support for Turkish membership at 35 percent, with the ’mais non!’ group hovering at around 55 percent. Various other researches also reveal that a majority of the ’s’il vous plait’ camp consists of the French left. Yes, the French left could have been Turkey’s only hope of winning France. Too bad, there are signs that the French left no longer buys into the illusion that Turkey is run by liberal Muslims.

It was not in vain that Bernard Kouchner, France’s socialist foreign minister and until recently a keen supporter of Turkish membership, has remarked that Turkey, which would be the EU’s first Muslim member, was actually heading towards "a reinforcement of religion and a lessened affirmation of secularity?" Why did Mr Kouchner "betray" his Turkish friends? Optimists would cite French domestic politics, European Parliament elections and Mr Kouchner’s desire to look pretty to President Nicolas Sarkozy and therefore to escape losing his cabinet seat. All of which would make for make another "false." The truth is Mr Kouchner said so only because that’s what he thinks. Turkey is on the way of losing the tiny support it got from the country with which it established its first ever diplomatic relations Ğ back in the 16th century Ğ because even the most na?ve French intellectual increasingly tends to believe that Turkey’s Islamists with the masks tagged "hey-we-are-the-real-democrats-not-the-others" have been embarrassingly unmasked.

"We genuinely believed thatÉ the Turkish government deserved a chanceÉ We feared we would otherwise have behaved unethically. Today we only regret being too na?ve. Turkey has just sailed towards Islamic autocracy, pretending it was sailing westwards," a senior French diplomat told me in Paris. "At times when we were the strongest advocates of a democratic, European Turkey we were teased. We shouted back, loud and clearÉ The same teasing goes on today. And we just bow our heads and keep silent." Where we stand on the Ankara-Paris axis today is the accumulation of unpleasant Turkish affairs in the last few years. You can expect the Frenchman who is sympathetic to the idea of Turkish membership to ignore Turkey when the Turkish prime minister, commenting on a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights, publicly declares that the Court should have taken advice from the Ulema (Islamic scholars). You can expect him to delete from his memory the fact that the Turkish prime minister holds the title of having sued a record number of writers, journalists and cartoonistsÉ Or that he once asked for a prison sentence for a female protestor because she had held out a placard that read "Whose prime minister are you?"

But the Frenchman could not just turn around and whistle when his knowledge of Turkish affairs becomes overwhelmingly dominated by bits and pieces of Islamic autocracy. He does not. This is exactly where the Americans are miscalculating. France is not Georgia where one could orchestrate any color of popular movement. When the French should go to the polls for Turkey, they won’t vote to open Europe’s doors to a country run by political Islam disguised as a democracy.

Putting all that into real-life language? Easy. The Sept. 10, 2008 issue of the French humor magazine drew the Pope and Mr Sarkozy together under the headline "Rencontre au sommet entre Pape et Sarkozy (Summit meeting between the Pope and Sarkozy). A second line read: "Le suppositoire et le trou du cul." That line is probably not fit for printing in EU candidate Turkey, so I shall leave it to the curious reader to find out what it quite vulgarly means.

The heart of the matter isÉ France is an overwhelmingly Catholic country; and Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim. France is an EU member state; and Turkey is an EU member candidate. Could anyone even in the distant future reasonably expect the Turkish government to make legal and mental amendments in the country so that one day the Islamic/Turkish version of the same caricature could appear in a Turkish magazine without prosecution Ğ and possibly torching and fists and bullets too? Turkey will certainly deserve membershipÉ just when it governmentally and nationally is prepared to democratically absorb a cartoon that shows, say, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen with the same title and the same line underneath, or even a much lighter version of the same caricature. Ah, that’s just hundreds of years ahead? Peut-etreÉ
Burak Bekdil © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Global Economic Crisis Hits Turkish Workers Abroad
The number of Turkish employees who lost their jobs in 2008 due to the ongoing global financial crisis makes up 31 percent of the population of Turkish workers in some 55 countries, according to a recently released report from the Ministry of Labor.

The number of Turkish workers or job seekers abroad had reached 1.34 million as of 2007, of whom 17.7 percent were without work. The ministry’s report states that many Turks living overseas have decided to return to their homeland amidst a growing unemployment problem.

Official Turkish data put the number of Turks living abroad at 3.66 million, with 3.1 million residing in Western Europe, 291,000 in the US and Canada, 112,203 in the Middle East, 61,500 in Australia, 31,000 in the Turkic republics, 30,326 in Israel and 26,000 in Russia. The majority of European civil institutions and unions, however, say there are some 4.2 million Turks living in Europe alone and that 1.4 million of them are employed. The ministry report says the number of Turkish workers abroad has exceeded 1.3 million, and the majority, some 1.03 million, work in Western European countries.

According to Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) figures, unemployment in Turkey has reached a peak, approaching a historic high of 15.5 percent, which translates to some 3.6 million jobless in the country. Analysts suggest this number has increased with the arrival of Turks who were left jobless in foreign countries. Turkish workers are found mostly in regions where companies from Turkey have made sizeable investments. Now that the crisis has hit these places harder than any other, Turkish workers in these countries are facing serious problems.

The Turkish Employment Organization (İŞKUR) sent some 141,734 Turkish workers to 55 countries in 2006 and 2007 combined. The largest group went to Russia, while Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan accepted 14,402 Turkish workers in the same period. Many these workers now have little choice but to return to Turkey due to the crisis. An important detail is that most of these workers were well-trained personnel, yet the ministry has not released a figure for the number of these workers who have returned.
Number of jobless Turks jumps in Europe

Among countries where Turks are densely concentrated, Belgium, France and Germany have the highest number of unemployed Turks, while Liechtenstein has the lowest. Among all countries, the fewest unemployed Turks live in Japan, followed by Switzerland. In both countries, Turkish workers are engaged in relatively high-status jobs.

In Germany, some 387,000 people lost their jobs in January, and the number of unemployed in the country hit 3.49 million, 8.3 percent of the entire labor force. The 732,000 Turkish in Germany have been badly affected by the crisis, as the unemployment rate among Turks living in Germany increased from 23.3 percent in 2007 to 29.2 percent in 2008. France, which is home to the second-largest Turkish population in Europe after Germany, has 32,623 jobless Turks. The unemployment rate among Turks in this country jumped from 30 percent in 2007 to 35 percent in 2008. Around 42 percent of Turks in Belgium are unemployed, the highest rate in Europe, according to 2008 year-end figures. Of the 51,000 Turkish workers in the Netherlands, 17,000 are jobless. The unemployed in Austria number only 6,874, a relatively low figure compared to the rest of Europe.

There are some 23,000 Turkish workers in the Turkic republics, mostly working in the construction sector.
Turkish workers in Middle East lucky amid crisis

As can be deduced from general indices, the oil-rich states of the Middle East have by far faced the least problems due to the crisis. Very few Turkish workers in the Middle East and North Africa have lost their jobs amid the crisis. İŞKUR says this stems mainly from the fact that countries in the region accept a limited number of employees and because Turkish companies in the region primarily choose to hire Turkish workers. İŞKUR also notes that many Turks who have lost jobs in Europe have applied for jobs in the Middle East. There are 112,203 Turks in the Middle East, and 105,089 of them are employed. Of the 102,121 Turks in Saudi Arabia alone, 95,000 have jobs. Of the Turks living in Qatar, 400 are employed in various sectors.

According to 2007 figures, one out of every three Turkish workers in Russia had to return to Turkey. There were some 10,514 Turkish workers in the country, but this number has fallen to 6,000. Most Turkish construction companies in Russia have suspended operations, leaving 2,000 workers jobless and some without even enough money to return to Turkey.

Meanwhile, the population of foreign workers in Turkey has increased remarkably. While there were only 855 recorded foreign workers in Turkey in 2003, this number increased to 28,198 in 2008. The majority of foreign workers in Turkey are employed in the tourism sector, according to İŞKUR.

24 April 2009, Ercan Yavuz Ankara

Turkgroup Tim Hacked Armenian Sites, 24 April 2009
TURKGROUP TIM, who hacked about 2 thousand Israeli website as a reaction to Gaza attack of Israel, hacked one thousand website that supports so called Armenian genocide before April 24.

Leaving a note to the website backing so called Armenian genocide with title, "No Armenien Genocide"/ "Il n'y a pas eu de génocide Arménien", TURKGROUP TIM wrote, "We say that there was no Armenian genocide and we believe inb that. And you say the contrary. Then why do you oppose establishment of a joint historians committee to research the issue? We support for a joint committee to research events and announce everything. But you say "no" to that. Maybe you are afraid of your lie to be unveiled? We are a nation that is known with its tolerance and mercy for centuries. And once upon a time you were the Armenians who called "loyal nation". You are believing to the lie that you made yourself for cheap pledges of some circles. You are going so far with your lie that you believe that even you know that it is lie. Telling about the mental level of the people who believe their own lie is not suitable for us.

Other than that, what you wished was establishing an Armenian state in Eastern Anatolia. Because of that you picked terror as a method for yourselves and massacred 524 thousand Turks. They all are proved with documents. While you are searching for false documents for the lie you made, we are presenting real documents. But you do not believe that even we show you documents. More than that this lie is made by you. Could human can believe its own lie? This is all we say. Be logical and conscientious as you speak."

On the other hand a spokesman from TURKGROUP TIM announced that they are hacked websites to remind them that so called Armenian genocide is the lie that is made by theirselves.

Turkish Flag Burned In Yerevan, 24 April 2009
Armenia marked the "anniversary" of the so-called "genocide". Youth organization of the Dashnaksutyun Party began the march toward the "genocide" monument in Yerevan with the burning of Turkish flag. One of the young activists said “we didn’t want to burn the Turkish flag today, but agreement between Armenia and Turkey forced us to do that”.

April 23, 2009 London Islamist Hani Sibai: 'The Armenian Genocide by the Ottomans… The Big Lie'
The following is an article by Dr. Hani Sibai, [1] an Islamist activist residing in London who is the founder and director of a private institution called "The Almaqreze Centre for Historical Studies." [2]

A "Reply to the Alleged Claim of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottomans"

When Did the Issue of Armenia Come to Light - And Why Do the Armenians Insist That They Were Subjected to Genocide by the Ottomans?

"First: Introduction
"This false claim and despicable propaganda (i.e. the Armenian genocide by the Ottomans) had been adopted by the Russians who used the Armenians to achieve their political interests and ambitions. It was the Russians who had created the Armenian state and had given them, illegally, most of the lands owned by the Muslims after they were expelled from them. These vast lands were seized by the Russians during centuries of constant wars against the Ottoman Empire.

"Russia conducted an organized terror campaign against the citizens of the Ottoman state; they destroyed complete towns and villages fully inhabited with Muslims, and those Muslims who would remain alive were forced to leave. The Russians [would] seize all the properties of those oppressed Muslims, who were exposed to the worst kind of mass extermination in the history of mankind. At the same time, and under the pretext of defending Christianity, the Russian armies [would] bring in the Armenians who were supporting them in their wars against the Ottomans, and give them Muslims lands. The Russian government [would] provide the Armenian rebels with money and weapons, after any incident between a Muslim among the Ottoman nationals and an Armenian supporting Russia. The Muslim was not allowed to retaliate [against] the hostility of the Armenian gangs, who [would] attack the villages and rape women; and if a Muslim tried to defend his land and honor, the Armenian gangs would destroy and burn down the whole village.

"Russia used the Armenian rebels to extend their areas of influence and seize countries that were under the Ottoman Empire, and this policy had helped them create the Soviet Union since the Bolshevist revolution in 1917. This has been confirmed by Laurent Chabri and Annie Chabri in their valuable book Politics and Minorities in the Near East, and although they were not unbiased in their book (Politics and Minorities in the Near East, translated by Dr. Dhuqan Qarqut, page 311), they said in it: 'The Armenians, who remained in Armenia and who were under the authority of the Turks on one side and under the authority of the Persians on the other, had seen great hope by the end of the eighteenth century in the Russian power, the Christian power that would appear in the scene of the Near East, and with it came the desire to extend well behind the Caucasus towards the south and the southeast. Before that, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Armenians had tried vainly to get a support from the western Catholics, expecting a military intervention from the western countries in order to rescue them from the Turkish firepower. Russia did not break those new hopes, as it used the army of Armenian volunteers to invade Persia and occupy the lands that form what is held to be the Russian Armenia.'

"Perhaps, one [may] ask when the issue of Armenia came to light internationally, and why the Armenians insist about their allegation that they have been subjected to a genocide by the Ottomans.

"To answer these questions, we will shed light upon the following issues:

Crucial Points to Understand the Conflict

"Second: Crucial Points to Understand the Conflict

"The first point: The Armenian issue was raised at the international level for the first time following the Saint Stefano Deal: after the end of the Russian-Turkish war 1877-1878, the two parties conducted the deal of Saint Stefano and Berlin in 1878, where articles 16 and 61 gave way to deal with the Armenian issue internationally in a manner that is still gouging and exacting pressure on the Turks up to our present time.

"The second point: It is necessary to study the historical period during which the Armenians claim to have been subjected to genocide, and it is the period that more or less between 1821 and 1922. There should also be a study of a great geographical region that was under the authority of the Ottomans, from the Caucasus to Anatolia and the Balkans, including Bulgaria and Greece, where most of the inhabitants of these vast regions were Muslims.

"There are indeed some serious studies about this subject, although few, such as the one conducted by Justin McCarthy in his book Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922 (Princeton, N.J.: Darwin Press, ©1995), a book that was sponsored by the U.S. National Endowment for Cultural Studies to investigate the First World War and its effects, and by the Institution for Turkish Studies to look into the deaths and migration of the Turks, jointly with some American and British universities…

"This research is considered to be the best effort regarding this issue, despite our reservation about some remarks that do not diminish its value and its genuine effort, and it was translated into Arabic and published by Qadams in Damascus. Naturally, the study of this region geographically and historically, with the nature of the conflict in that period, necessitates a great deal of research and documented studies, which would allow reasonable and just people to discover the gravity of this allegation, repeatedly quoted by the West about the so-called 'Armenian genocide,' in time when the western writers ignore the fate of millions of Muslims who were expulsed from their lands and killed at the hands of the Russians, the Armenians, the Bulgarians, the Greeks and the Serbians during the aforementioned period up to 1922!

"As in the words of McCarthy: “There were Muslim societies in an area with the size of western Europe that were reduced or exterminated. In the Balkans, the great Turkish population was reduced to their previous number. In the Caucasus, there was expulsion of the Charkas, the Laz, the Abkhaz and the Turks along with other Muslim minorities. Anatolia has changed, as its east and west were almost completely destroyed. This was one of the greatest tragedies in history. (McCarthy: p327)

"The third point: There was the role of the 'Union and Progress Group' in the downfall of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1908, coercing the Sultan Hamid the Second to retire, and introducing an article in the new constitution, allowing all the Ottoman citizens to be armed and providing a legal cover for the ethnic minorities to procure weapons. The Armenians exploited the new legislation to acquire and store weapons with which they killed Muslims. The Armenian aggression against the Muslims began in the town of Adana before the middle of 1909, under the leadership of the vicar of the city of Asvin, named Mustic.

"The fourth point: There was also the role played by western ambassadors and consuls and American protestant missionaries in misleading the public opinion and spreading reports, exaggerating the number of killed Armenians, while disregarding the number of Muslims killed in the war. In many occasions, telling lies was deliberate as is the case of American consul who was accused of siding fanatically with the Armenians. The French consul was not less fanatic than the American or the Russian consuls!

"Unfortunately, the Sultan Abdul Hamid believed that the British government wanted to preserve the unity of the Ottoman provinces, but he came around after it was too late!

"Robert Mantran said in the second part of his book The History of the Ottoman State, a book that contains many inaccurate statements: 'From 1878 to 1879, Abdul Hamid began to have suspicions that England wanted to abandon its traditional policy about preserving the unity of the Ottoman lands. These suspicions were fed by the pressures executed by the British government on the Sultan Abdul Hamid in order to carry out the promised reforms in the Armenian region, and were increased intensely by the appointment of Gladstone, leader of the Liberals, as the head of British government in May 1880. He was a known enemy of the Turks since the slaughters in Bulgaria. Those suspicions were confirmed, in a way, by the control of London upon Egypt in 1882. Since that time, the British diplomacy had witnessed - according to the Istanbul's view - a complete turn over.' (Robert Mantran: The History of the OttomanState ).

"The fifth point: It is the misleading western propaganda, diffused by the media to distort the facts and depict the Muslims as savages and barbarians; while on the other hand, it pictures the Armenians as genius, righteous and tolerant people!

"The sixth point: These problems and worries, stirred by enemy forces against the Ottoman State, appeared in its reigning lands of the Caucasus, the Crimean peninsula, the Balkans and Anatolia, and had an impact on the fate of the Muslims in those vast territories, because of many fundamental factors:

"a. The weakness of the Ottoman State, to the point where it was described as 'the sick man'

"b. Inciting the Christian Nationalism among the minorities, who were under the Ottoman Empire. The Great Powers at that time, which were ambitious enough to divide the properties of the Ottoman Empire, strove to incite the non-Muslim minorities to rise up and revive nationalism, as is the case with Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia. Robert Mantran confirmed this issue, saying: 'In reality, the Armenian National Movement, after 1878, is associated, to a considerable extent, with the analysis which the Armenian intellectuals had conducted about the Bulgarian independence. Bulgaria had achieved this independence with the help of Europe, but, in fact, it had been achieved by the use of force and ruthless methods used by the Bulgarian Revolutionary Committees. Therefore, the Bulgarian example dominated the Armenian combatants' thought, especially those who would resort to create the first organizations. Actually, the first revolutionary parties started to appear in the middle of 1880: the Armenian Party was established (in Fan) in 1885 by a number of educators, then the two large parties, unlike the first party, were formed by Armenians from Caucasus who had very little link with the Armenian Turks. The first of these two large parties was Hintshaq, which was established in Geneva in 1887, and Tashnaq (The Armenian Revolutionary Union) established in 1890 in Tiflis.' (Robert Mantran: Second 2, p. 217)

"c. The Russian colonial expansion, which continued to absorb the properties of the Ottoman Empire piece by piece."

The West Uses "The Armenian Problem" Against the ModernTurkishState - Even Though the "Turkish Government Adopts the Secular System and Fights Any Aspect of Islam in the Country, in Order to Satisfy the West and Join... the EU"

"Therefore, from the aforesaid, we can understand the Armenian problem, which the West uses against the modern Turkish state, though the new Turkish government adopts the secular system and fights any aspect of Islam in the country, in order to satisfy the West and join the promised paradise of the European Union. However, the European Union will never allow Turkey to be a member in its club, because the Western leaders know very well that Kamal Ataturk had done a very good job by turning Turkey into a secular state. Nevertheless, they know that, although the Turkish people are far from the real Islam, they still have the spirit of it in their blood and a yearning for the return of the glorious Islam, which have started to spread in recent years, even though the army tried hard to stop this living spirit. Accordingly, the European leaders worry about the entry of Turkey into the European Union because they believe with faith that this Union is a Christian club and there is no place for a Muslim state in it.

"Although Turkey and the United States are close allies at the moment, the leaders of the White House are not certain about their interests in the remote future; therefore they will, eventually, adopt a resolution which condemns Turkey of the Armenian genocide, and hence use extortion against Turkey and use this resolution as an excuse to sanction Turkey economically, and intervene militarily, if Turkey abandons its extreme secular system and adopts an Islamic system. If that happens, Europe and the US will form an alliance and wage a fierce war against Turkey. It will be like a Third, Fourth or Fifth World War against Turkey in order to occupy Constantinople and annex it to the West."

The Armenians' Loyalty to Russia and Their Mutiny Against the OttomanState

"Third: The Loyalty of the Armenians to Russia and their Mutiny Against the OttomanState

"The religious loyalty had a major impact in the conflict between Russia and the Ottoman state, because the concept of citizenship had not appeared then. This principle was confirmed by McCarthy in his aforementioned book: 'It is obvious that the Armenian people, under the Ottoman and the Russian control, used to view each other as brothers, regardless of their nationalities, and the same thing goes for Muslims. It is not clear whether the concept of citizenship, in comparison with the religious affiliation, was firmly established, to a greater extent, in either the Caucasus or eastern Anatolia before 1920.

"'In the East, a Caucasian Muslim felt that he was closer to his Anatolian Muslim brother than to a Caucasus Armenian; likewise, the Eastern Anatolian Armenian related himself to the Caucasus Armenian and not to the Anatolian Muslims. Their affiliations with their religious groups were confirmed by the Caucasian and Eastern Anatolia wars time after time.” (Justin McCarthy: Expulsion and Genocide, p. 49)

"The religious loyalty is not something strange in world history, but what is strange is to exclude this principle in assessing the nature of the conflict throughout history. As an example of the importance of this religious loyalty, the Russian Tsarists used to persecute the Armenian Church, and then they changed their treatment during the reign of Peter the Great, so that they could use them as support in their expansionist wars against the Ottoman state. The Armenian people understood that on the basis that they belong, along with the Russians, to the same Christian religion and that their enemy was one (the Ottoman Islamic State).

"In fact, the Armenian people used the same principle with the French and established a legion which became under the French army command in Qulayqiliyyah. This Armenian legion caused mischief on earth on the basis that the French were their brothers in religion and that they had a common enemy (i.e. the Ottoman Islamic State). The American Protestant Missionaries had also a major role in inflaming this conflict and the religious brotherhood was the sole factor which associated them with the Armenians, and worst, it covered the reality of the carnage committed by the Armenians against Muslims. This is not prejudice from my part in understanding the nature of the conflict, because all the historical facts confirm it and the modern history supports this opinion.

"If you really want to understand this fact clearly, look at the regions of conflict in the world: Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Burma, Thailand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Somalia, Darfur and the pressure and oppression of Muslims in the West. Is all this just sheer coincidence, unintentional and with no religious loyalty in this conflict and in waging these unjust wars?

Examples of the Armenians' Loyalty to the Russians

"A Few Examples of the Armenians' Loyalty to the Russians and their Mutiny against the Ottoman Empire

"In his study, McCarthy mentioned many historical proofs of the Armenian's loyalty to the Russians, which we will summarize as follows:

"1. During the reign of Peter the Great, the Armenians started to rely more on the Russians, hoping that they would get the support they needed. Since the first waves of attacks by the Russians on the Caucasus, the Armenians had formed a military power to help the Russians attack the region and they pledged their allegiance to the Tsars.

"2. During the eighth and ninth century, the Armenians (Church leaders, secular leaders, different groups, etc.) supported the Russian attack of Muslim lands in the Caucasus, hoping to overthrow the Muslim leaders in these states.

"3. The Armenians were employed as spies for the Russians against their Muslim leaders, whether they were the Ottomans or Armenians who were subjects of the Persian state.

"4. When the city of Derbend was under siege by the Russian army in 1796, its Armenian inhabitants sent to the Russians valuable information about the city's water supplies, and this allowed the Russian army to defeat the army of Derbend.

"5. In the 1890's, Armenian archbishop (Argotnisky-Dolgorokov) publicly announced that he hoped that the Russians would liberate Armenia from Muslim rule.

"6. During the wars of 1827-1829 and the Qaram war, the Armenian citizens of both the Ottoman and Persian Empires, together with the Armenians who lived inside the Russian Empire, fought alongside the Russian army against the Persian army and the Ottoman Empire.

"7. The Armenians, living inside Ottoman Anatolia, gave their allegiance to the Russian cause by working as spies for the Russian government.

"8. The Armenians would cross the borders of Anatolia and give reports of the Ottoman armies to the Russian in all the wars of eastern Anatolia.

"9. The Armenians in Anatolia helped the invading Russian armies in 1827, and when the Russian armies left, thousands of Armenians followed it outside Anatolia.

"10. During the Qaram war, the Armenians gave secret information from the city of Kars which was under the Russian siege.

"11. The Armenian guides paved the way for the Russian invaders from the Ottoman Anatolia in 1877.

"12. In 1877, the Armenians of Elsekirt valley welcomed the invading Russian armies, and when the Russian armies left all Armenians left with them.

"13. The Armenians of Anatolia and Caucasus were allies of the Russian armies in the First World War. In Anatolia, the Armenian rebels' reliance on the Russians became clear by the middle of the 19th century, by revolting in Zeyton when there was need for financial resources to reinforce their defense in Zeyton against the Ottomans. In 1854, while the Ottoman armies were fighting against the Russian in the Qaram war, the Armenian rebels tried to get financial support from the Russians.

"14. In 1872, the Armenians of Van, who were citizens of the Ottoman Empire, wrote to the Russian Emperor's representative in Caucasus asking help from him against their government. They wanted to become citizens of Russia so they started to buy and store weapons.

"15. There were constant contacts and communications between the Ottoman Armenians and the Russian Empire within the Armenian revolutionary groups, especially Tashnaq, and the other half of Armenia under the Russian control was a centre for storing weapons and revolutionary organization against the Ottoman Empire.

"16. The Archbishop of Derik, on the side of the Persian border with the Ottoman, transformed a monastery into a store for weapons and a centre of infiltration for the Armenian rebels to the Ottoman Empire.

"17. The Armenians and the Georgians, especially those who had relatives in Iran or had businesses, continued to be significant sources of information for the Russians; hence they had a major impact in the Russian political and strategic decisions. The Tsar, Alexander Tsitsianov, ordered his advisers to contact Patriarch Daniel and his followers.

"18. Patriarch Daniel, who was a candidate, supported by the Russians, for the position of the Armenian Church Patriarchy (after the death of Argotnisky-Dolgorokov) would spy and give valuable information to the Russians.

"19. In 1808, Alexander Tsitsianov rewarded Patriarch Daniel with a first-degree monastic for his services in spying and providing information to the Russians. While the Russians were fighting to expand their territories in Kur and Aras, the Armenians continued to send letters to the Russian officials encouraging them to capture areas under Muslims control and save the Armenian people from the Muslim persecution.

"20. The relation between the Armenian rebels and the Armenian Church had facilitated their activities to a larger extent, because the church was an organization which managed to cross the border easily, and in Istanbul, itself, the church leaders and priests had the freedom to move as they pleased and the Ottoman Armenians could not touch them, although they were caught many times carrying letters, reports and money to the rebels. Besides, some churches and monasteries were used as clandestine stores for weapons, which were smuggled to the Armenian rebels, as these churches and monasteries were not subject to security inspection.

"Therefore, we have examined some examples of the Armenians' loyalty and allegiance to the Russians during times of war and peace, which quash their fabricated lie (The Armenian genocide by the Ottomans).
For more confirmation about the authenticity of our report, we present this statement:

The Americans Disregarded a Report on the Damage and Destruction Perpetrated by the Armenians and Their Atrocities Against the Muslims

"Fourth: A Statement Buried in the U.S. Archives

"This statement is in the form of a report, made by two men who did not have any sympathy for the Ottoman Muslims. They were rather fanatically inclined towards the Armenians, and went to the region with a deliberate thought that the Armenians were a victimized nation, against whom the Muslims had committed group killings and slaughters, according to information taken from the misleading Western media and from the American Protestant Missionaries, who did not deserve any trust as witnesses of the Muslims' sufferings, because they were excellent in deceptively recording acts against the Armenians in details. They were also dishonest in recording acts against the Muslims, as reported by some historians! Therefore, who are these two witnesses who returned to America with a different mood than the one with which they set out to eastern Anatolia?

"They are Captain Emory Niles and Arthus Sutherland, who were commanded by the American State administration [sic] to check the situation in eastern Anatolia. When they arrived in Anatolia, they travelled all around the region and listened to the testimony of the two parties. They were surprised at the bulk of distortions, fabricated by the Armenians, and were shocked at the terrifying ordeal and atrocities suffered by the Muslims at the hands of the Armenians! The American government was not pleased with the report so they disregarded it.

"It was for this reason that the report of the two American envoys was not included in the file of the American Investigating Committee, and all thanks to Allah, Glorified is He, that their report was not lost, but rather concealed and buried in places linked to the First World War in eastern Anatolia!
Justin McCarthy, of the University of Louisville, printed the report in 1994, and published it in his book Muslims and the Minorities! He published it once more in another book, Expulsion and Genocide, and all thanks and praise to Allah.

"As for the report of Niles and Sutherland, they wrote: 'In the entire region from Bitlis through Van to Bayezit, we were informed that the damage and destruction had been done by the Armenians, who, after the Russians retired, remained in occupation of the country and who, when the Turkish army advanced, destroyed everything belonging to the Muslims. Moreover, the Armenians are accused of having committed murder, rape, arson and horrible atrocities of every description upon the Muslim population. At first, we were most incredulous of these stories, but we finally came to believe them, since the testimony was absolutely unanimous and was corroborated by material evidence. For instance, the only quarters left at all intact in the cities of Bitlis and Van are Armenian quarters … while the Muslim quarters were completely destroyed.'

"They also said in their report: 'The ethnic situation in this region (Bayezit and Ardrom) is extremely critical because of its closeness to an Armenian front, fled by the refugees who report about the atrocities and organized killings committed by the Armenian government and its army and people against the Muslim residents. Although few hundred Armenians live actually in the province of Van, it is impossible for them to live in the mountainous regions of the province of Ardrom, where everyone feel utmost hatred towards them. There, the Armenians destroyed the villages and committed all types of criminal acts against the Muslims, before they retreated. The criminal acts of the Armenians have left a living and influencing factor of hatred on the other side, an aversion that fumes with rage at least in the region of Van. The existence of organized killings in Armenia was confirmed by refugees from all Armenian territories and also by some British officers in Ardrom.' (McCarthy: p251.)

"Niles and Sutherland presented, in their report, some statistics covering the number of Muslim villages and houses which survived the miseries of war around the cities of Van and Bitlis alone; its confirmed that the Armenians had destroyed most Muslim houses and demolished all building with Islamic features, as detailed in the following table:

"Destruction in Van and Bitlis
"After the War 1919 Before the War The City of Van
"3 3400 Muslim houses
"1170 3100 Armenian houses

"After the War 1919 Before the War The City of Bitlis
"Naught 6500 Muslim houses
"1000 1500 Armenian houses [3]

As for villages in the provinces of Van, Sanjiq and Bayezit before the war and the Armenian occupation, it was reported, in the statistics of Noles and Sutherland, that the number of Muslim houses before the war in the villages of the province of Van was 1,373 and it decreased after the war in 1919 to 350 houses! Whereas the houses of the Armenians were 112 before the war and they increased after the war to 200! In the villages of the province of Bayezit, the number of the Muslim houses before the war was 448 and they reduced to 243 after the war, while the houses of the Armenians were 33 and they remained 33 after the war!

"Niles and Sutherland conscientiously summarized the history of Muslims in eastern Anatolia in the end of their report: 'Although it is not part of our investigation at all, one of the significant facts which affected us in every place of Bitlis and Trabzon, that we have passed through, was that the Armenians had committed exactly all the atrocities and group killings which the Turks had committed against the Armenians in other places. At first, we largely had doubt regarding all the narrations we have received, but the overall agreement of all the witnessed and the passion with which they discussed the evil acts perpetuated against them, and their apparent hatred towards the Armenians, besides all the materialistic proofs in the land itself, all this made us believe the authenticity of the facts in general.

"'First, the Armenians killed Muslims in a large scale and with various barbarity in their methods. Second, the Armenians were responsible for the destruction of most towns and villages. The Russians and the Armenians occupied the country for a long period (1915-1916), and it appeared that during that period, anarchy was limited, even though the Russians undoubtedly had caused much damage. In 1917, the Russian army was disbanded and left the authority in the hands of the Armenians alone. During that period, the Armenian militias patrolled the country, killing Muslim civilians. When the Turkish army moved towards Arzugan, Ardrom and Van, the Armenian army broke up and its soldiers or militias began destroying Muslim properties and killings mercilessly the Muslim inhabitants. The result was a completely destroyed country and a strong hatred towards the Armenians; a fact which makes it impossible for these two people to co-exist in the present time. The Muslims declared that if they were to be forced to live under the Armenian authority, they would rather fight, and it seems to us that they are likely to execute their threat. This opinion is shared by the Turkish, British and American officers that we have met.' (McCarthy: p 253-254).

"This is just a testimony about the organized killing perpetuated by the Armenians against the Muslims during the First World War, from 1914 to 1918 in the provinces of Van and Betlis, in east Anatolia, let alone the decrease of the number of Muslim inhabitants in the all eastern Ottoman provinces, such as Ardrom, Betlis, Diyar Bikr, the Al-'Aziz colony, Siwas, Halab and Trabzon. We will discover that in the period from 1912 to 1922, more than 62% of the Muslims in the province of Van were missing, 42% in the province of Betlis, 31% in the province of Ardrom and more than 60% in the Qoqaz!

"As for the provinces in western Anatolia, such as Aydin, Kadawindakar, Bigha and Idmid, the coalition forces expulsed the Turkish refugees who settled there and handed their properties to the Greeks! They left the Muslims without any refuge in the greatest public group theft in history. It was a premeditated group killing against the Muslims in the Qoqaz, Anatolia and the Balkans, with the blessing of the world imperialistic powers in that miserable period, and the dramatic end of the Ottoman Caliphate, which lasted six centuries.

"Millions of Muslims Were Killed at the Hands of the Armenians... The Defect Lies With Us as a Nation That Accepts Humility and Cheers Its Executioner"

"Fifth: Conclusion

"Therefore, it has become clear to us the weakness of this allegation of 'the Armenian genocide by the Ottomans,' which is repeatedly declared by the Armenians and those who encouraged them and supported them.

"Millions of Muslims were killed at the hands of the Armenians, the Russians, the Greeks, the Bulgarians, the Serbians and other enemies of the Ottoman Islamic state, in which lived under its reign various ethnic minorities in peace and security! Yet, no one asked for the punishment of the criminal perpetrators, who committed those group killings.

"The Muslims who were and still are the victims of these gruesome killings are exposed as savage killers!

"The real problem lies with the regimes related to the Islamic world for not demanding - even with diffidence - the punishment of the offenders behind the ongoing crimes against the Muslims in the Caucasus and Chechnya, the population exterminated in the Balkans, the mass graveyards in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the killing of more than one million child in Iraq alone, the destruction and complete disappearance of towns and villages in Afghanistan during the barbaric British, Russian and American aggressions. These oppressive regimes did not take one sound decision in its life to demand justice for their people, and ask for compensations from the French, the British, the Spanish, the Italians, the Dutch, the Russians and the Americans for their victims in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kashmir, Thailand, Somalia and Sudan!!!

"The Armenians have scraped the scab off wounds which are not dressed yet. They revived grieves which have not calmed yet. They stirred sorrows which would not rest until justice is done in the future. The western world owes a clear apology to the Muslims and compensation deemed for the crimes committed in the crusade wars, past and present! Yes, we demand apology and compensation for the mass killings of the Muslims during many centuries.

"As for those who seek their mercy in every fabricated case highlighted by them, and keep on defending disgracefully on the doorsteps of the Security Council and European Union, well it is self-destruction itself! It is better for this nation (Islamic) to be swallowed by the earth than to live in disgrace and dishonor!

"The defect lies with us as a nation that accepts humility and cheers its executioner and does not punish its killer!"

[1] For more about Hani Al-Sibai Visit MEMRI TV: www.memritv.org/clip/en/1513.htm ; www.memritv.org/clip/en/803.htm ; www.memritv.org/clip/en/748.htm ; www.memritv.org/clip/en/576.htm

[2] Article is posted on the centers website, see www.almaqreze.net/articles/artic1059.html.

[3] The table is presented here as in the original article.


President Sargsyan - Recognition of 1915 Genocide the Best Deterrence Against Future Crimes [ 2009/04/24
Below is an excerpt of an interview give by RoA President Serzh Sargsyan to “Russia Today” TV.

Mr. President, my first question that I’d like to direct to you is the following. As the President of the Republic of Armenia, what meaning does April 24 hold for you?

The history of the Armenian people is recorded in terms of thousands of years. During the course of that history we have had victories and defeats, achievements and losses, but there is a watershed point in our history. That date is April 24, 1915.

Subsequent to that date, we are dealing with a totally different state of affairs. Thousands, millions of people were living and creating on their native lands, but they were forcibly evicted from those lands. The bulk, of course, were killed, others fled and found refuge elsewhere. Today, there is not one corner of the globe where you will not find Armenians. In the Armenia of today, half of the population are the descendants of those who barely managed to survive those events. These are facts and we face them every day in our lives.

If you travel 15 to 20 kilometers outside Yerevan you will encounter the last closed border in Europe. Armenia gained independence in 1991 and during the past 18 years the border has remained closed. I cite this example not to state that we have been subjected to a blockade, but in order that it becomes clear that for us, the reality of April 24, 1915, is an everyday fact of life.

April 24 is officially recognized as Genocide Victims Commemoration Day. Even before it was officially marked as such, April 24 has always been a day of remembrance for our people. It is the same for me, one of the representatives of the Armenian people. However, as President of the Republic of Armenia, I am obliged to initiate steps that will mollify the consequences of that terrible crime and, of course, I am obligated to take measures to ensure that such crimes never happen again. The best way to ensure such an outcome is the international recognition of the 1915 Genocide.

RoA President Sargsyan’s April 24th Message to the Nation[ 2009/04/24 |
Below is the unedited version of President Serzh Sargsyan’s address to the nation on the ocasion of the 94th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide

Dear compatriots,
Today we bow down before the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide.

94 years ago the Ottoman Empire organized and perpetrated the Armenian Genocide on the state level. A huge part of our people was coldly annihilated. Today the Genocide in not only a past reality, but also an integral part of the present and the destiny of the Genocide survivors, their heirs and all Armenians.

The crimes against humanity have no statute of limitation either in people’s memory or before the court of history. The international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide is an issue of restoration of historical justice for the Armenian people and the Republic of Armenia.

The Armenian nation is not alone in pursuing the condemnation of the crime of genocide. At this time of remembrance we express our heartfelt gratitude to the states, organizations and individuals who support us in our quest for condemnation and prevention of this crime against humanity. We support those Turkish intellectuals who struggle for historic justice, who share our pain. We have said numerous times that the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not directed against the Turkish people and recognition of the Genocide by Turkey is not a precondition for the establishment of bilateral relations.

At the time ,the lessons of the Armenian Genocide were ignored. During the last decades sophisticated mechanisms against Genocide denial and denunciation of the recognition process have been developed. To deny Genocide means to cast into oblivion this crime against humanity and to pave the way for new similar ferocious crimes. Today, when the world faces new instances of hatred, nationalism, and intolerance, a united and unanimous response of human kind to the crimes against humanity becomes of crucial importance. As President of the Republic of Armenia, I wish no other nation ever goes through that tragedy again.

Dear Compatriots,
Every one of our innocent victims has a name, family and story. The committed crime has concrete culprits – those who planned it and those who executed. Many of those tragic stories have not been told yet. Even though a huge amount of work has been conducted, the world is yet to see abundant evidence testifying to the fact of the Armenian Genocide, testimonies, and documented facts.

Centuries-long Armenian history has many heroic pages, pages of losses and pages of creation. Today, when we are building our new statehood, when we shape the new biography of our freedom we prove that we ourselves can be the guarantors of our security and eliminate any possibility of the repetition of similar crimes in the future.

Gallipoli Diggers and the 'Forgotten' Holocaust Nick Toscano, Eureka Street , A publication of Jesuit Communications Australia, 20 April 2009

Nicholas Toscano is a freelance writer and a student of Classics and Creative Writing at Melbourne University. He has a Diploma in Modern Languages.

Anzac Day is a day history has immortalised. We know 25 April 1915 was when the 'digger' — one of Australia's most identifiable and beloved icons — dug the first trench into the rocky canyon at Gallipoli that would soon be his grave. Albeit a military disaster, many recognise the battle as a defining moment, one that forged a nation.

That same day, the same place and the same battle also mark a nation's destruction. The battle at Gallipoli was the first stage in an effort to systematically exterminate the Armenian race. Denied by Turkey, and unrecognised by the United States, the Armenian Genocide — dubbed 'The Forgotten Holocaust' — has slipped from the memory of a world that has grown accustomed to atrocity.

But it happened. Everyone knows it did. It's the reason 1.5 million Armenians remain unaccounted for, and why their skulls and bones are still embedded in the clay of the north-Syrian river banks. It's the reason modern Armenia's borders lie far away from its historic home.

Just as two decades later Hitler deported Jews to concentration camps in Poland, the Pashas — the Ottoman rulers — expelled the Armenians from their homeland.

Due to nothing more than a fear of Armenians siding with the Russians, and a desire to create a uniformly ethnic pan-Turkic state from Anatolia to central Asia (hindered only by Armenia), the Turkish nationalists embarked on the most horrific crime against humanity the world had seen.

At the Gallipoli landing, the Turks conscripted hundreds of Armenians in the momentous battle for nothing more than cannon fodder. As they ran unarmed into our troops' firing line, it was mass-execution.

The Ottoman government executed 600 of the Armenian educated-elite in Istanbul on 24 April, the very day before the Gallipoli landing, and, immediately afterwards pursued the rest in the Anatolian highlands.

From 1915, tens of thousands of Armenian families crossed a desert the locals called Der-el-Zor, but which the survivors would later name the Desert of Death. They marched for weeks at a time, snaking across the desert, not daring to fall behind in the heat. They faced death by starvation or execution.

Survivors tell of seeing women taken from the rows of prisoners into the fields, hearing screeches, gunfire and, after a time, seeing the soldiers returning alone. Thousands were marched into underground caves in what were the world's first gas chambers.

Mamikon came from a village near the border of Azerbaijan. His parents hid him from the government so he would not be conscripted to be killed at the Dardanelles or forced to join a labour camp at far-away places like Baghdad. Mamikon was a 16-year-old boy.

At his village, they were starved of water. In desperation his mother would cut her fingers and feed her blood to her son so he would not die of thirst.

Children like him from villages all across Armenia were hidden from the government, often in the homes of sympathetic Turkish neighbours. And they watched the Armenians of their villages rounded up and marched off, never to return.

From behind the dark windows of their refuge, they would hear soldiers descend on defenceless Armenian women and elders, killing them with guns or with scythes. After the last cry was stilled, only the lucky ones were left there in a silent village.

'Who now remembers the Armenians?' joked Adolf Hitler as he embarked on a holocaust of his own. While he was mistaken in thinking that his genocide of European Jewry would be similarly overlooked, his words ring sadly true. Turkey denies the claims of an Armenian genocide and manipulates history to conceal anything that suggests otherwise.

In fact, the Turkish government does not even acknowledge that Armenians ever lived in those areas from which they were deported and killed: not even by the banks of the vast and glimmering Lake Van, the ancient capital where Armenian nationality was forged among the Nairi tribes over 2000 years ago; or on the white-capped Mount Ararat that soars into the clouds above it, the very symbol of Armenia, the centrepiece of its national flag.

In 2007, tens of thousands of Armenians and Turks gathered in Istanbul to commemorate the life of Hrant Dink, a decorated writer who demanded recognition of this genocide and spent his life's work striving to bridge the rift between the two nations.

'Hepimiz Hrant'iz! Hepimiz Ermeni'yiz!' read the banners that stretched across the wide streets of Istanbul on 19 January: 'We are all Armenian. We are all Hrant Dink.'

The last to leave the office building of the local Armenian newspaper, The Agos, Dink was confronted by two assassins who appeared from the shadows. They were young boys, ultra-nationalists. Pulling their pistols, they fired two bullets to his head and two to his chest.

He was not starved, he was not gassed, his wife and daughters were not raped and his children were not burned alive, but, in the words of the decorated British journalist, Robert Fisk, Dink was the 1,500,001st victim of the genocide. 'At least the world will not forget him so easily.'

His death stands as an example of the continuing hatred and intolerance that initially wrought this crime against humanity over 90 years ago.

What if?
Was it a surprise? After hearing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declaring just a while ago that until the Nagorno-Karabakh problem was resolved and the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territory was terminated, Turkey would not take any step toward normalizing its relations with Armenia, yes, it was a surprise to read the statement from the Foreign Ministry declaring that Turkey and Armenia have concluded drawing a road map aimed at normalizing their relations in a manner that would satisfy both countries.

Was the prime minister not telling the nation the truth? Is the Foreign Ministry trying to fool foreign leaders and parliaments on the eve of the April 24 anniversary of the so-called Armenian genocide in a bid to stop them using the word "genocide"? That is, was the Foreign Ministry statement an effort to "save the day," or was there a genuine wish in Ankara to establish full diplomatic relations and open its border gates with Armenia (closed immediately after Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh), or was it a product of the "Let’s leave this April 24 behind with no major problem with some palliative moves, and who knows what will happen next April 24," or that sort Machiavellian approach we have become accustomed to observe over the past six years of neo-Ottomanist "foreign policy successes" of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, administration? What has changed since Erdoğan, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek and many other top executives of the AKP were declaring in front of cameras that Turkey would not let down Azerbaijan and would never open the border and normalize relations with Yerevan as long as the occupation of Azerbaijani territory continued? Did the Armenian occupation end? Is there any statement from Yerevan saying it has worked out a roadmap with Baku for its withdrawal from occupied Azerbaijani territory?

What might be the reason behind this move, which smells like an overdose of political opportunism? Was Turkey trying to make it easy for American President Barack Hussein Obama not to use the word "genocide" in what has become a traditional April 24 statement of the White House? Coincidentally, a few hours before the Foreign Ministry made that statement, the Bulgarian parliament recognized the alleged genocide. Apparently, Bulgarian parliament recognizing the alleged genocide, however, was apparently no big insult for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, but helping out Obama not to use the contentious word at the expense of blowing up fraternal relations with Azerbaijan was far more important.

Does it worth?
Opening the border and normalizing relations with Armenia will be, of course, moves conceivable within the framework of Turkey’s strategic interests, particularly in its bid to have easier land and rail access to the Central Asian republic. Such moves also fit well with Turkey’s aim of playing a bigger role in the Caucasus. It also will be in line with the Turkish policy of establishing good relations with all its neighbors. Irrespective whether it is condemned as "Turkey has been held hostage of Armenian-Azeri conflict" or opposed with a milder but emotional "Turkey has to stand tall with Azerbaijan against Armenian occupation" position, the normalization of relations with Armenia should not come as a payback to a bonus of the American president not using the "genocide" word. Particularly, if there were progress in Azerbaijani-Armenian talks and if such a step by Turkey might produce a killer effect on the Azerbaijani position at those talks, can we still continue to ignore the sentimental outbursts in Baku against Turkey?

Whereas, is the "genocide" issue not the sole bullet in the U.S. revolver? If the U.S. president pulls the trigger and fires the bullet, the U.S. will become yet one of the several dozen countries that politically "recognized" the 1915 events as "genocide." Can the U.S. fire the same bullet again? No. Once fired, it will be over. Will it change anything apart from a serious blow to Turkish-American relations? No. Will it help the relatives of the 1915 victims, irrespective of their ethnicities, forget their pain? No. But, the U.S. will no longer be able to use the "genocide card" in blackmailing Turkey to undertake decisions and policies we otherwise would not subscribe to.What if Obama uses the contentious word? Will he be using the last bullet in the U.S. revolver and relieving us from decades old blackmail, or will he be helping out any noble cause that we are unaware of? Is it worth to turn our back to Azerbaijan, thus on ourselves?

Yusuf Kanlı © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Çiçek: TTK Not Against Opening Armenian Border
The Turkish Historical Society (TTK) is not against Turkey opening its border with Armenia, TTK Armenian Desk Chairman Kemal Çiçek has said.

The Armenian border been closed since 1993, when Armenia attacked Azerbaijani territory. Speaking to Today's Zaman, Çiçek also stated that as April 24, the anniversary of an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans in 1915, approaches, no mass cleansing occurred as the Armenians have claimed. Çiçek said Turkey was trying to understand the Armenians, adding his belief that relations between the two countries should normalize. Çiçek said the TTK was not against the opening of the border but added that Turkey had some conditions. He said: "In 1993, the Armenians drove the Azerbaijanis out of their own land and staged large-scale massacres, after which Turkey closed its Armenian border and explained the preconditions for reopening the border. These are for Armenia to pull out of Azerbaijani territory and to stop referring to Turkey's eastern Anatolian lands as 'Western Armenia.' The border should not be opened unless both of these conditions are fulfilled, but the relations should be normalized and the two nations should make peace."

Çiçek also said Armenians started disseminating propaganda on an international level one week before the forced deportation of Anatolia Armenians even started in 1915, adding that the Armenians have come a long way since that time. Stating that Armenians always keep their grief alive, Çiçek said Turkey has kept silent for years with an understanding of "let's look into the future and forget our past grievances." This is why, Çiçek asserted, Turkey has been late to provide explanations to the international community regarding the rationale and rightful intentions causing Turkey to decide to launch the 1915 forced deportation campaign. "Now, no matter what we do to counter their claims, it is not enough because we have started only recently. We are sincerely trying to understand what happened to the Armenians, what made their agony different from ours," Çiçek emphasized, adding that Turkey should develop a policy that respects the deaths and losses of Armenians.


Lifeline For Kars Just Across The Border
KARS - If trade is life, one could easily say the province of Kars in the northeast of the country is slowly losing its will to survive. While Turkey shut its border with Armenia as reparations to that country, the declining living standards, bankrupt economy and migration has left the people of Kars thinking they are the ones being punished.

Since the closure of the border with Armenia in 1993, an act of solidarity with Azerbaijan, the city’s economic development was arrested just when it was so close to taking off. The collapse of the Soviet Union had opened many opportunities for the city that borders both Armenia and Georgia, that it believed it was destined to be the gateway to the Caucasus and to Central Asia beyond.
Whomever one talks to in the city, an overwhelming desire to see the border with Armenia reopened is often followed with a cautious, "but." Once the hospitable people of this city start opening up though, the "but" becomes less intense.

Locals want the border to be opened but their desire for the promised economic advantages are tempered by the possibility of them being accused of being "Armenian lackeys" because of the perception towards Armenians and nationalist pressure that has built up over the years.

Kars Kafkas University Department of Economics president, Professor Mehmet Dikkaya, said ethnic divisions also played a part in the way people addressed the issue. "There are four main ethnic groups in the province. There are Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Karapalpaks and Turks," he said, Karapalpaks being a Turkic group with close ethnic links to the Kazakhs of Central Asia.

"We can say that Azerbaijanis and Karakalpaks are against any border opening while Kurds and Turks welcome the move," Dikkaya said.

He said the province was in dire straits in terms of its economic situation. "Kars has no trade potential. Of the 80,000 who live in the city, half have green cards," he said. Green cards provide free healthcare for the poor.

The only sector that keeps more or less creeping along is the traditional sector of animal husbandry, he said, with the industry based on dairy products.

"Its organized industrial zone is dormant. If the border is opened, Kars will become a center on a trade route and its production sector will pick up. The province shares 325 kilometers of border with Armenia and has two border gates. Average annual loss of trade in $700 million since 1993. If the border opens, Turkish exports will increase by $400 million. If only 20 percent of this passes through Kars, this region will be a paradise," said Dikkaya. He said Turkish goods were widely consumed in Armenia. "According to a recent study of ours, Armenia purchases $100 million worth of Turkish goods a year and all of it go via Georgia and Iran. We have also learned that there is no disapproval of Turkish goods there," he said.

The former mayor of the city, Naif Alibeyoğlu, who lost in the March 29 local elections after switching allegiances from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, to the opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said he had collected a petition for the opening of the border during his term in office. "I collected 50,000 signatures in a city with a population of 80,000. The economic life of Kars has been suspended since 1993. As a municipality, we can’t even collect taxes from the locals."

He said opening the border was the first step after which all bilateral problems between Armenia and Turkey would be resolved with subsequent steps. The prejudice Armenians feel toward Turks dies once they visit Kars, he said. "They told us they thought we were monsters. My granfather’s grandfather was killed by Armenians. There is no reason to keep bitter memories alive. Dialogue solves everything. Let’s open the border and start trading.

The real trade embargo is on Kars, not Armenia, says Kars Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Ali Güvensoy, noting that airplanes from Armenia frequently land in Istanbul, Antalya and other regions.

"Turkish goods reach Armenia via Iran and Georgia and are sold more expensively. If there is an embargo, it is on Kars," he said. In explaining the industrial decline of the province, Güvensoy said the foundations of 44 factories were laid but only 23 were completed. "Nowadays, only 18 of them are operational and all 18 are focused on dairy products. There are a meat plant and a cement factory but after they were privatized, many workers were laid off. They will soon privatize the sugar factory," he said.

The region’s economy is now centered on public servants, said Güvensoy, and added that most locals had begun to pack up and leave in order to make a living elsewhere.

Still, he said, peace had to be established before the border was opened, adding, "We want access to Armenia but we need to make sacrifices and Armenia needs to withdraw from Nagorna-Karabakh."

Güvensoy gave the neighboring province of Iğdır and its border gate Nahchivan as an example to what trade could accomplish. "Trade there is booming. If the border is opened, ours will too."

Zeki Yağcı, a jewelry salesman for the last decade, wants the border to be opened. "Opening the border will attract investment and create opportunities for local businessmen. There is no commerce to speak of in our city. Iğdır used to be a district of Kars. Now it is a separate province and ahead of us. Why? Because there is cross-border trade there," he said.

Businessman Özfer Koçal said the local economy thrived when the border with Armenia was open before 1993. "Closed borders help no one. If there is an embargo on Armenia, it should encompass everyone. There are flights to Yerevan from everywhere. There is trade from Trabzon and Hopa. This embargo is a way of punishing Kars," he said. Koçal also admitted that a certain environment was needed before the border could be opened. "Nagorno-Karabakh, genocide claims and demand for land. If Armenia forgoes these, the doors should be opened," he said.

Shoe-shiner Hasan Perinçek sees the economic collapse first hand everyday, he said. "We definitely want the border to open. Here, the state is nowhere to be seen. Animal husbandry is the only way people earn a living. Let Armenia and Azerbaijan settle their own differences. The city is constantly shrinking because of all the economic hardship. The city will soon be empty. There are ’for sale’ signs everywhere. It seems like the city itself is for sale," he said.

Calls for caution
Shopkeeper Seyhan Karadeniz also wants the border to open. "There is no economy here. Winters are long and living is hard. If the border is opened, business will boom," he said. The fact that Armenians could go to Istanbul by plane while they couldn’t cross the border to Kars was a shame.

However, he also said the border could not be opened before the Nagorno-Karabakh issue was resolved.

Ahmet Sarar, who has been involved in textiles for the past 40 years, said the city was bankrupt but also noted that the historical animosity between Turks and Armenians could prove uncomfortable if the border was opened. "I have my doubts. If the border is opened, the rich there will purchase land here and their demands will increase. If the Armenians over here behaved, those across the border won’t," he said.

The head of Kars’ Association for Supporting Contemporary Living, or ÇYDD, Vedat Akçaöz, who is also a journalist, said during his visit to Armenia he had realized that the prejudices there could be ended easily.

"There, the elderly welcomed me and my associates as ’Kardaş’ [brother]. Unfortunately, the young are very prejudicial. A dialogue needs to be established as soon as possible," he said.

"There is serious trade between Trabzon and Armenia. What kind of embargo is this? And furthermore, what is important for us is the regional Turkic republics beyond Armenia. We don’t want to be the end of a one-way street. We want to be the gateway to the east," he said.

The opening of the border was just one part of a complicated matter, noted Akçaöz, adding that the public needed to be ready for what took place.

"If an Armenian comes here and something untoward happened, everything could get even worse. There is that kind of potential here which should not be ignored. We cannot ignore Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Bkarabakh issue and Armenia’s demands. If the border is opened before these problems are resolved, there will be chaos," he said. © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Armenians Eye Moves With Deep Skepticism
YEREVAN - High expectations in Yerevan of sealing the deal with Turkey to establish diplomatic ties and reopen the border have yielded to concerns that bilateral relations have been besieged once again by the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

The Armenian side no longer talks about the possibility of rapid progress before April 24, the day that commemorates the mass-killing of Armenians in 1915, but maintains cautious optimism about opening the border within 2009. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration dispatched Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza to the region.

Bryza arrives in Ankara today after a round of talks in Baku and Yerevan in search of a breakthrough on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
While Ankara now points to the meeting of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev on May 6 as a new critical juncture, it was learned that Bryza hoped for a breakthrough on the Karabakh issue in June. Former Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, who witnessed a failure of talks with then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, argued that what was happening today was a repetition of history. Speaking exclusively to Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Saturday, Oskanian recalled his own experience with the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government.

"I remember my first meeting with Gül. The AKP had just come to power then and he told me they wanted to normalize relations and added that Turkey did not benefit from linking the Turkey-Armenia problem to third countries and Nagorno-Karabakh. And I told him that this was music to my ears because we have been advocating for this for so long," he said. "But then they realized that the Azeri pressure cannot be dismissed or ignored. Karabakh again became part of our discussions and after a while it became clear that the Karabakh issue was the main obstacle between the two countries."

Ankara`s efforts for an international push toward rapid progress on Karabakh, meanwhile, have other implications for the U.S. in terms of the power struggle in the Caucasus. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Yerevan last week, raised eyebrows in Washington, adding to the existing discontent over Russian-Azerbaijani negotiations over gas. Third-country diplomats, meanwhile, are worried that Armenia’s cautious optimism might be lost, leading to a walk-out from the negotiation table if Turkey squanders too much time with the Karabakh problem. Assertive public statements similar to Erdoğan`s on Karabakh to please Azerbaijan need to be particularly avoided in these days, according to diplomatic observers who follow the process closely.

"Nagorno-Karabakh may play some role over Turkish-Armenian relations. But I think the problem is much deeper than this. Turkey is not ready now," said Hovhannes Igityan, one of the leading names of the National Armenia Party, led by the country’s first president, Levon Ter-Petrossian. "When Turkey is ready to establish relations, it would not wait for a declaration from Azerbaijan," he said.

Tevan Poghosyan, executive director of the International Center for Human Development, joins veteran politician Igityan in disregarding the Karabakh question as the threshold of a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. "I believe that Nagorno-Karabakh is just a fake, artificial reason not to take a real step. Internal problems in Turkey do not allow Turkey’s decision-makers to take the big step," he told to the Daily News.

While skepticism of Turkey’s sincerity still exists as an important element of public opinion in Armenia, businessmen stand out among the primary actors ready to reverse suspicion into interaction. Arsen Ghazaryan, president of Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia (equivalent of TUSIAD) noted that because of the border closure, the two nations that have lived together for 600 years are losing the chance to culturally and economically reintegrate.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

The Internationalization Problem Of Turkey-Armenia Talks
Before proceeding with the current situation, let’s first put a brief late history of the Turkish-Armenian normalization process. After some unfruitful meetings between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Armenia, namely Abdullah Gül and Vartan Oskanian in 2003 and 2004 on the margins of international summits, Turkey officially proposed in 2005 to Armenia the establishment of a joint commission composed of historians and experts from both countries to study the incidents of 1915.

The mastermind of the proposal, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, repeatedly said Turkey would accept the scientific results of the study, adding the country was sure of itself and its history.

In response to the Turkish proposal, former Armenian President Robert Kocharian, a hardliner, offered Turkey to set up an intergovernmental commission to study not only the incidents of 1915 but also the ways to restore diplomatic ties and open the border.

This exchange of proposals did not produce an imminent breakthrough but obviously helped create a suitable environment for both countries to move forward. Especially Armenia’s proposal of broadening the scope and mission of the joint commissions was seen as a good start.

Even though Turkey was initially aiming to nix the recognition of 1915 mass killings as genocide by third countries’ parliaments, especially by the United States House of Representatives, the process has matured afterward. Between 2006 and 2008, diplomats from the two countries held a series of secret talks in various cities in Europe and worked on the modalities of the establishment of these commissions. This course of silent diplomacy turned into a "public diplomacy" only after Turkey and Armenia’s national teams found themselves in the same qualifying group for the 2010 World Football Championship.

On Sept 5, last year, President Abdullah Gül paid a landmark visit to Yerevan to watch the match upon the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serge Sarkisian. Gül and Sarkisian met more than two hours and instructed their foreign ministers to continue to talks over the night. Both sides seemed satisfied of the content of the meetings and hinted "talks at the technical and diplomatic level will continue."

No doubt, Gül and other Turkish officials were informing Azerbaijan about the meetings, probably assuring them Ankara will not take any steps that would hurt the interests of Baku with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The election of Barack Obama as the president of the U.S. and the strengthened democratic majority in the House did raise concerns here and at the same time led to speeding up the process.

That’s why the expectations that between March 29, the local elections, and April 24, the day that commemorates the events in 1915, the parties will declare "a document," a protocol or memorandum or understanding or anything written, to show their commitment to finalizing the talks. Obama’s visit to Turkey had also an important effect on the rise of these expectations and also criticisms from Azerbaijan.

In the light of Foreign Minister Ali Babacan’s last week visit to Yerevan, one can assume that "there will be no an easy breakthrough on the Armenian-Turkey front." Here are some reasons for that:

First is the indispensably internationalization of the bilateral efforts. Turkey and Armenia started this process on their own and improved it a lot. Obama’s meeting with Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers in Istanbul and his expostulatory statements did obviously result in the inclusion of Washington to the process.

Concerned by the American intrusion, Azerbaijan rushed to get Russian support to block Turkey to reconcile with Armenia before the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is settled. Azerbaijan also threatened Turkey and rest of Europe to nix their plans to build the Nabucco pipeline, a project that would save Europe from its dependency to Russia.

The second point was the Turkish government’s failure in keeping two tracks, the Turkish-Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks, parallel. In January, Azerbaijan openly expressed its discomfort with the fact that Turkish-Armenian process was going well ahead of the Nagorno-Karabakh efforts and that could cause real problems. Additionally, when approached to open border with Turkey, there would be not many incentives for Armenia to compromise in the Nagorno-Karabakh talks. This is the point where Turkey lost control and left it to the flow of developments, mainly directed from the United States.

Consequently, Turkish-Armenian reconciliation will have to wait until the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is solved. It’s in fact an obligation of a coherent foreign policy to wait until the removal of the cause that led to seal the border with Armenia in 1993.

Serkan Demirtaş © Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Three Countries, One Regional Leader
As we hope our coverage makes clear today – with our reporters spread from Yerevan to Baku to Kars – we believe reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia to be imperative. As our dispatches also make clear, this is an extraordinarily complex diplomatic challenge. There is suspicion in Armenia, government-fanned paranoia in Azerbaijan and plenty of confusion here.

In this highly symbolic week, with April 24 again the tapestry on which politicians will paint their appeals to the basest of sentiments, we will continue to advocate a more sophisticated dialogue between all three countries. We don’t want to prejudge the work of diplomats that is ongoing as this column is being written. But we do risk the temerity of adding two points to the discussion.

The first is that the current situation serves no one. Armenia’s foreign policy has long been held hostage by its diaspora community for whom a strategy centered on genocide resolutions (alleged in our opinion) may make for brave marches in distant capitals but has stunted and paralyzed the growth and maturation of Armenian culture and society. For the Armenian diaspora, history ended in 1915. It deserves new life.

Turkey’s foreign policy has also run its cynical course. For a generation, a similarly resolution-centric foreign policy has relied on a formula: A $1 million check to some defeated American congressman-turned-lobbyist in the Democratic Party, one to a loser in the Republican Party and a phone call or two to the Israeli lobby. This has thwarted passage of resolutions. But “so what?” is a reasonable question.

On Azerbaijan, yes, Turkey has deep fraternal ties. Azerbaijanis suffered and continue to suffer grievously from the Armenian seizure of Nagorno-Karabakh and the expulsions of hundreds of thousands. But what has the family business that runs Azerbaijan done either to resolve the issue or help its internal refugees? Not much other than use this injustice to justify rule by a police state with scant regard for human rights, democracy or freedom of speech.

Our second point is that much intellectual discussion, and helpful mediation by the United States and Russia, turns on the assumption that this three-way parley is a negotiation between comparable actors. What will Turkey get? What will Armenia get? What will Azerbaijan get?

It is worth reminding the interlocutors in this discussion that there is only one real democracy in the discussion. It is worth remembering that there is only one modern economy involved. It is worth remembering that both Armenia and Azerbaijan are small states whose populations would fit handily into just a few precincts of Istanbul.

Turkey is the regional power in this negotiation. Turkey is the authority in these talks. Only Turkey can truly lead. We expect Turkey to do just that.
© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Transcript: Armenia's Serzh Sargsyan
The Wall Street Journal's Marc Champion sat down with the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, April 20, 2009, to talk about relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, the possibility that the U.S. will recognize Armenian genocide and more. Below is an edited transcript.

* * *
The Wall Street Journal: Opening up Armenia's border with Turkey matters for Armenia, but why does it also matter for the region, for the U.S. or Russia?

Mr. Sargsyan: I think the reason is straightforward, the fewer obstacles and artificial barriers the better for everyone. I believe it is also a very natural desire to see the last closed border of Europe opened. And thirdly, I believe for the U.S. and Russia and everybody else it's extremely important to see stability and peace in this region, and without this border being opened it is impossible to see a solid system of security in this region.

WSJ: Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey said recently there won't be a deal on border opening, there won't be a final deal signed until there is a resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. What is your response to that? Also, do you still think border can open by October, as you have said before?

Mr. Sargsyan: Of course that statement of Prime Minister Erdogan was not in the framework of our agreements. As you may know, I invited [Turkey's] President Gül to Yerevan [to a World Cup qualifier soccer match] and after that our efforts intensified and our negotiations lasted for a few months. Both we and the Turkish side in the negotiations supported the idea that we are negotiating without any preconditions. You know that there has been a genocide and there is no single Armenian in the world would doubt that there was a genocide. But by inviting President Gül to Armenia, we reiterated our position that non-recognition by the Turkish side of the genocide is not an insurmountable obstacle to restoration of relations between our countries. . Obviously setting preconditions at a point where the perimeters are already set and we are very close to a breakthrough is absolutely not acceptable for us.

Of course, if the border is open or is on the eve of opening, I will visit Turkey to attend the return match. Now I want to stress that the ball is on the Turkish side and since the media labeled this development as football diplomacy.like in any football game, this diplomacy has a time frame attached to it. Which means that the ball cannot be in the Turkish side all the time. .

WSJ: Do you mean you can only visit Turkey if the border has been reopened, or is about to be?

Mr. Sargsyan: You understood me exactly right.

WSJ: But if there is no sign of the border opening you will not visit?

Mr. Sargsyan: What is the sense of that? We invited President Gül to Armenia to use that opportunity to intensify our dialogue, to launch a conversation. The idea of me returning to visit for the return game was to further and achieve more in that dialogue, I was not supposed to travel to Turkey as a simple tourist or as a football fan.

WSJ: On April 24, President Barack Obama is due to make a statement on Armenian memorial day. The focus is on whether he uses the term genocide or doesn't. Right or wrong, it seems clear that if the U.S. recognizes the genocide that will make the Turks less willing to engage with Armenia. Which is more important to you? The U.S. genocide recognition now, or success in these reopening talks with Turkey?

Mr. Sargsyan: I think already now the motivation of Turkey has decreased, because as you said Prime Minister Erdogan is now offering preconditions. I believe it is not us Armenians who push the U.S. to recognize the genocide. The U.S. had its diplomats, missionaries and businesses in the Ottoman Empire, as well as its insurance companies, on the ground at the time of the genocide. The amount of evidence, the amount of factual materials the U.S. possesses on the matter of genocide is excessive and is as convincing today as it was years ago. Therefore the moment the U.S. finds it necessary to recognize the genocide they will do it.I don't believe we are pushing people into a dilemma between national interest and moral standing.

WSJ: So your preference, the preference of the Armenian government, would be for Mr. Obama to recognize the Armenian genocide, even if that puts the last nail in the coffin of any deal with Turkey to open the border any time soon?

Mr. Sargsyan: I would not like to see this process in a coffin. I would like us to be more open and broad-minded when watching this issue. That is why we want this issue of genocide not to be an obstacle to our relations with Turkey. After all, by recognizing the genocide neither we nor other countries that recognize it want to harm Turkey. I think this matter is very straightforward, restoration of justice and prevention of genocide in the future. Because if we try to tie relations between Armenia and Turkey to recognition of the genocide by one country or another .Armenian-Turkish relations will always be the footballs of other countries. If some countries decide to create difficulties in those relations, they would just announce a recognition of genocide and so would compromise relations between Armenia and Turkey. Once again, it is not we who are pushing the U.S. to recognize the genocide.

WSJ: Azerbaijan has been very upset by the prospect of the border opening, that seems to have been a reason why Mr. Erdogan made the border opening conditional on progress in Nagorno Karabakh. The Azeris say that if you open the border with Armenia it will remove any pressure on Armenia to compromise over Nagorno Karabakh. Are they right?

Mr. Sargsyan: When we were starting this negotiating process, I am confident that in Turkey they also calculated the possible reaction of Azerbaijan. I do not believe that anyone in Turkey expected anyone in Azerbaijan to applaud this process or to be excited about it. In other words the reaction of Azerbaijan as the motive for Turkey stepping back is not understandable for me. Especially as Azerbaijan's expectations concerning these negotiations are exaggerated. By opening Armenia's border or normalizing relations with Turkey, Armenia's approach to Nagorno Karabakh will not undergo any changes or amendments. The problem of Nagorno Karabakh can be solved only on the basis of mutual compromises. This can never be a one-way, give-me type of approach that resolves this problem of Nagorno Karabakh. Despite the absence of relations with Turkey and despite the economic situation in Armenia, there can be no Armenian leader who signs a paper or who has a small idea in his mind that Nagorno Karabakh can be given to Azerbaijan for any motivation or reason. .It has been one year now since I have been dealing with the Nagorno Karabakh issue as president of the country, and I have had three meetings with the president of Azerbaijan since. I believe this has been sufficient time to get understood by each other, we are aware of each other's positions, and now is the time for a very serious exchange of possible developments and ways to advance to a resolution.

I am happy to see that the Azeris seem right now to understand that this issue should be resolved by peaceful means and on the basis of all principles of international law. In these last three or four days I have had some pleasant moments watching my Azeri colleague visiting Russia. Both in his meetings with our Russian counterpart and in talking to Russian media he spoke about principles of international law, because until now they usually spoke about only one of those principles which is territorial integrity. The core issue of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno Karabakh. Once this problem is solved all the others will easily find their solution.

When Azeris speak about the occupation of some of their territories, they somewhat change or trick around the reality. They forget that those are the territories from which on a daily basis thousands of shells were fired at the people of Nagorno Karabakh. They forget that it was their side that by use of force imposed a war on the people of Nagorno Karabakh and posed a serious threat and challenge to the existence of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, which brought us to the outcome we are at today in the form of the self-defense of the people of Nagorno Karabakh. The fact that 15 years have elapsed since then doesn't change the cause and consequence of this reality.

WSJ: Does that mean the Chechens have a right to self-determination? Also you were military commander in Nagorno Karabakh, are you the right guy to negotiate a deal?

Mr. Sargsyan: I have been the head of the committee for self defense of Nagorno Karabakh. I was one of those who protected and fought for the rights of these people. And I think that, yes, I am one of those who has the right to conduct negotiations on this subject.

As to the first part of your question, yes we believe that all people have the right to self determination. We are not talking about all people who compactly populate a piece of territory. Azeris in their argument have gone so far as to say, well then maybe the Armenians also should have a right to self determination in Glendale in the United States, where they compactly live in one town. But we are talking about.a group of people who have been compactly living for thousands of years in that particular piece of land. Nagorno Karabakh has never been part of Azerbaijan. It was merged with Azerbaijan by a decision of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. And Nagorno Karabakh seceded from the Soviet Union exactly the way the republics have done it under the legislation of the Soviet Union. And of course, Chechnya also has a right to self-determination, and Chechens have entertained that right by a referendum they recently conducted. [Chechnya has held referenda on a new constitution within the Russian federation, following two devastating wars. Some observers challenged the Russian turnout figures as fraudulent.]

WSJ: Why were the borders drawn this way [to carve out autonomous regions populated by neighboring ethic groups]?

Mr. Sargsyan: This was formulated as an expression of goodwill to promote the advancement of communist ideas towards the Muslim east. And this was also done on a wider scale across the Soviet Union to complicate relationships and to .make sure that no Soviet republic ever had it in its mind to use the right to secession from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that was provided for in the constitution. Just imagine if Armenia had tried to secede from the Soviet Union, when there were two Armenian autonomous arrangements within Azerbaijan. These would stay with Azerbaijan forever. If Azerbaijan were to decide to secede from the Soviet Union, both Nakhichevan and Karabakh would be kept within the Soviet Union.

WSJ: In early May you will be in Prague for the European Union's Eastern Partnership talks, and President Aliyev will be there too. Is that the occasion to, as you said earlier, start making some real progress on Nagorno Karabakh?

Mr. Sargsyan: Why not? The Co-chairs [of the so-called Minsk group overseeing talks - France, Russia and the U.S.] have asked me about that opportunity and I have said I don't mind any meeting in any location. We will be guided by the principles of the Minsk group, which also include the idea of territorial integrity and self-determination. And if the President of Azerbaijan is ready to continue negotiations on the basis of these principles, and to achieve progress on that, we are ready.

WSJ: The sub-commissions [to be set up under the proposed Turkey-Armenia agreement] as I understand it will include one on history, what would its goal be?

Mr. Sargsyan: You are asking what questions can be addressed by that historical questions. I can give you one example. The historic Armenian monuments in the Ottoman Empire and today. There are thousands of such monuments. I am sure that Turkey would have many questions to raise with us.

WSJ: Is the genocide an acceptable issue to discuss?

Mr. Sargsyan: We cannot prohibit Turkey from raising any issue in any of the sub-commissions, just as they cannot limit us in raising any issue. One thing is for sure - the fact that a genocide took place raises no doubts in us.

WSJ: Azerbaijan has come into a lot of money from oil revenues recently, and they spent a lot on defense, on military equipment. Is that a concern to you? Do you see in that a potential threat of further war in Nagorno Karabakh?

Mr. Sargsyan: Of course it concerns us. . At the same time I am confident the resources we have allocated to the Armenian armed forces are serious and sufficient. And our armed forces are very well prepared to fight defensive battles.

WSJ: Are you confident that if you needed it, the Collective Security Treaty Organization [A NATO look-alike comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan] would intervene on your behalf?

Mr. Sargsyan: The collective defense principle of an attack against one is an attack against all is a corner stone of the CSTO. And you know that particular provision of the CSTO guided us recently when we established collective forces for reaction in case of armed attacks, which of course brought a very painful reaction from Azerbaijan. And I think it also motivated Azerbaijan to get closer to Russia. And I am happy to see that in the South Caucasus has emerged that believes Russia is a strategic partner.

WSJ: Has Russia been supportive of your efforts to reopen with Turkey?

Mr. Sargsyan: At least at all the meetings at different levels we have heard from Russia that they are in favor of reopening with Turkey. Meanwhile, the biggest effort has been put in and continues to be in by the United States of America, for which I am very thankful to the administration of the U.S.A.

WSJ: Your election last year had a problematic response in the street [eight people were killed in a police crackdown on demonstrators] and then internationally. Does that make it harder for you to reach agreements such as this one with Turkey?

Mr. Sargsyan: We are ready for relations without preconditions despite all the obstacles we might face, despite all possible pressures we might feel. But of course post election developments in Armenia have restrained me in many fields. And of course, if developments did not go in that direction we could make much better decisions for Armenia. But I am confident we are overcoming these post-electoral developments.

WSJ: The Council of Europe just put off a decision on whether to suspend Armenia's membership because of these events. Is there anything you would say to the Council of Europe about the detentions? [Armenian opposition parties say 56 people still being held are political prisoners.]

Mr. Sargsyan: They closely monitor the situation and they have full information on it. I think developments in Armenia now are fully in line with Council of Europe statements after the elections. With all European structures, not only the Council of Europe, we cooperate because of our belief in the usefulness of that cooperation. And it is our aim to deepen these cooperations. We wish to live according to civilized rules.

Armenia And Turkey: Lobby Groups Opposing Confirmation Of Assistant Secretary Of State For Central Asia And Caucasus Joshua Kucera
Eurasianet April 23, 2009

The nomination of a key State Department official responsible for Central Asia and the Caucasus is being held up because of concerns about his views on Turkish-Armenian relations.

At the heart of the simmering controversy surrounding Philip Gordon's confirmation as assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia is his comments on the mass killings and deportations of ethnic Armenians in Ottoman Turkey that occurred during the second decade of the 20th century. Since gaining independence in 1991, Armenia has pressed for international recognition of the tragedy as genocide. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

Gordon, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, had a confirmation hearing before a Senate committee on March 27. During that hearing, he declined to characterize the events of 1915, when an estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished, as "genocide." Instead, he used the term "tragedy." He also said that he was concerned that a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide would "provoke a nationalistic backlash in Turkey."

The Senate committee proceeded to endorse Gordon's nomination. But his responses did not sit well with Armenian-American lobby groups, which subsequently mobilized opposition among their allies in Congress. One senator has placed a hold on the nomination, and until the hold is removed, the full Senate will not be able to vote on the nomination.

Senators do not have to identity themselves on a hold, but a Senate source told EurasiaNet that the member was John Ensign, a Republican from Nevada who has co-sponsored a congressional resolution on the genocide in the past. A spokesman from Ensign's office did not return calls and emails seeking comment.

Prospects that the United States would officially recognize the 1915 events as genocide have risen with the election of Barack Obama. Obama, during his presidential campaign, pledged to recognize the genocide if elected, although in a recent visit to Turkey he declined to use the word "genocide." [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

That disappointed Armenian lobby groups. Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, said Obama's comments in Turkey represented "a missed opportunity." But he said that he was hoping for Obama to use the word "genocide" on April 24 --the day that Armenians traditionally remember the tragedy. "He has an opportunity to honor his pledge on [April 24]," Hamparian said.

Representatives of Armenian lobby groups contend that Gordon's nomination was troubling and not in line with Obama's stated views. "Our concern is that his remarks, his writings and his responses to Senate questions during his confirmation process were markedly at odds with the president's record on the Armenian genocide," Hamparian said "The president has said that the Armenian genocide should be recognized."

The Armenian Assembly of America also urged Gordon to get his views in line with other members of the administration: "With President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton's clear and consistent record with respect to US affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, the Assembly expects that, if confirmed, Philip Gordon will fully embrace this important human rights policy position," said Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the assembly.

Gordon previously served in government in the administration of former president Bill Clinton, as director for European affairs at the National Security Council. During the presidential campaign, he served as head of the Europe team in Obama's group of foreign policy advisers.

Recently, however, he has been a scholar at the Brookings Institution, and has written extensively on Turkey. As part of the confirmation process, Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, asked for details on foreign funding to Brookings. According to figures released by the think tank, since 2006 Brookings has received $200,000 from the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, $200,000 from Sabanci University, $150,000 from the Eksiogullari Group (a construction company in Turkey), and $100,000 from the Dogan Yayin Holding Company, a media-entertainment conglomerate.

Brookings, in a note attached to the spreadsheet listing the donations, said that the "primary funding for the work of Philip H. Gordon in 2006-2007 was provided by the Smith Richardson Foundation. From 2007-2009 primary funding was provided to Mr. Gordon by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, the Carnegie Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Brookings Endowment."

Hamparian, of the ANCA, said the funding suggests that writings by Brookings scholars, including Gordon and Mark Parris, a former US ambassador to Turkey who also works at Brookings, are compromised.

Melissa Skolfield, the vice president for communications at Brookings, responding to a EurasiaNet query via email, offered a spirited defense of the independence of the institution's analysis. "Brookings is committed to high-quality, independent research, and all of our scholars share that commitment," Skolfield said. "Our donors respect our independence to pose questions, search for answers and present our findings based on the facts."

Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, posed a series of written questions about Armenian issues to Gordon. The ANCA provided Gordon's responses to the questions to EurasiaNet.

In one question, Menendez asked "How does the non-use of the genocide term, as you have advocated, advance US efforts to promote Armenian-Turkish reconciliation?" Gordon responded: "I believe the United States should strongly support Armenian-Turkish reconciliation and avoid steps that could derail that process or discourage either party from participating in the ongoing dialogue."

Editor's Link: Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based freelance writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.

Choosing Armenian Tamar Kevonian Asbarez, April 23, 2009
Everyone from the taxi driver to the grocer to the high powered financier has a story to tell. Each one with a unique perspective on life and ideas on what it means to be Armenian.

A hundred years ago, our ancestors lived in a land that was culturally homogenous. Their identity was a given, their home was known and their history was second nature. They were either from Adana or Van or any other point in between and there was no need to explain who they were.

In the ninety-four years since the Genocide we have created microcosm around the globe of the world our grandparents knew. Hayrenagtsagan (compatriotic) organizations exist to perpetuate the subtle aspects of our identity. "Where is your family from?" is a common question that goes beyond the mere geographic location of where our families found themselves following the slaughter, but a deeper question to get to the root of who we are by trying to pinpoint the exact location of our familial origins.

This may seem redundant, especially now, almost two or three generations and several continents removed from the source of our distinctiveness but it belies a deeper question: what is the nature of our transplanted nation? Despite the existence of the Republic of Armenia we are a borderless nation that exists within the boundaries of our adopted countries because wherever we are can always find another Vanetsi (a person from Van) or Adanatsi (a person from Adana) and instantly find common ground.

In today's challenging world we are concerned not only with the concerns of the politics of our host countries, the communities in which we live, the needs of our families but also have the added preoccupation of our tiny republic, our Armenian communities, our history and the perpetuation of the collective future of the Armenian Diaspora.

The challenges of being Armenian were a hot topic of debate at a recent gathering of friends to celebrate the baptism of one of the newest members of the Armenian community.

"I'm proud to be Armenian," stated Carlo.

"But given the choice would you want to be Armenian?" I asked.

"Absolutely," he affirmed

"Why is this an issue?" asked Raffi, playing the devil's advocate.

"I wonder how seriously we take our cultural identity when we give children westernized names and don't teach them to speak or write Armenian."

"It's difficult for Americans to say Armenian names," was the response.

"I have that problem all the time," said Vicken and went on to describe the various challenges he faces when spelling his last name during the course of conducting his business.

"But if they can say %u218Schwarzenegger' and elect him governor of California, then they can easily say any of our names," I responded.

H. Edward Deluzain in his article entitled Name and Personal Identity said it best, "This bestowal of name and identity is a kind of symbolic contract between the society and the individual. The sense of personal identity and uniqueness that a name gives us is at the heart of why names interest us and why they are important to us as individuals and to our society as a whole."

Our sense of identity is shaped by our names (either first or last name) and practices such as dropping the ian, simplifying or Anglicizing our last names or using European/American first names may be the first step in distancing ourselves from our history.

One of the other particular challenges of being Armenian is also learning the language. The discussion included a larger argument for cultural responsibility encompassing the Armenian language. Hundreds of indigenous languages die every day in today's global world. It's an added burden on many parents to fight the overwhelming tide of the local societies in which they live. Even if they start life by speaking Armenian, children quickly switch to English once they start school and parents find themselves responding in kind. Many don't bother to learn or teach their children the alphabet.

Most of us are now more proficient in English and opt to use in our daily communications.

"Sure, I'll answer a couple of questions," said Varoujan when asked, in Armenian, for an interview. "Great," I said. "Is it in Armenian?" he asked in a panic. "I can't speak Armenian," he said in Armenian.

The Armenian language and its alphabet have been in existence for over a millennium. Much like the Sumerian hyroglygh, which was in common use and is the basis for any modern alphabet, it did not survive the passage of time and completely disappeared from known history. In fact, after its rediscovery in the 20th century, it remained unreadable for decades.

A language may have tens of thousands of speakers but be endangered because children are no longer learning them, and speakers are in the process of shifting to using the national language instead of their ethnic languages.

Some linguists, like Michael Krauss and Stephen Wurn, argue that at least 3,000 of the world's 6,000-7,000 languages are liable to be lost before the year 2100. When a language dies, its speakers, culture, art and history also die. Once that happens there is almost no chance of reviving them.

In was inevitable that we would continue to exist after the perpetration of the Genocide. We are a tenacious people as evidenced by our unwillingness to give up in the face of adversity and to thrive in unfamiliar environments. But our greatest victory is that we continue to exist as Armenians. It is a choice our grandparents made and it is a choice we continue to make. Our ethnic names and our distinctive language is simply a vehicle to realize our choices.

Senator Barbara Boxer
Washington D.C.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxers Statement on the 94th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the 94th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Ninety-four years ago today, the Ottoman Empire -- now modern-day Turkey -- began the systematic destruction of the Armenian people. Armenians were driven from their homes and villages, marched to their deaths in the deserts of the Middle East, and slaughtered in cold blood. Before it was over, approximately 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the first genocide of the 20th century.

Recently, the Armenian and Turkish governments announced important progress toward achieving the full normalization of relations between their two countries. I support this effort, and am hopeful that this process will lead the Turkish government to finally acknowledge the irrefutable truth of the Armenian Genocide, and also to greater peace and prosperity for the people of Armenia.

As President Barack Obama has said, `The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable.' There is no need for further study or debate, because we must never legitimize the views of those who deny the very worst of crimes against humanity.

On this solemn anniversary, we remember those who were lost in the Armenian Genocide, while honoring the survivors and their descendants who have done so much to make America and the world a better place. I am personally grateful that so many of those individuals have chosen to call California home.

We also take pause to acknowledge that such crimes are continuing today. There is perhaps no more fitting example than the genocide that is raging in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Since 2002, the Sudanese government has attempted to exterminate the African Muslim population of Darfur with horrific acts of brutality. Villages have been burned to the ground, innocent women and children slaughtered by helicopter gunships, and rape has been used as a tool of genocide. What happened to the Armenians is genocide. What is happening today in Darfur is genocide, even though the government of Sudan denies this.

Genocide is only possible when people avert their eyes. Any effort to deal with genocide -- in the past, present or future -- must begin with the truth. By acknowledging the truth of the Armenian Genocide, we can end the phony debates and strengthen our ability to stand up against mass killing today.

Justice, Dignity, And Security: The Manifold Reasons Why Reparations Are Necessary Serouj Aprahamian Asbarez April 23, 2009

When it comes to discussion of the Armenian Genocide, there is one topic that has, for far too long, been the proverbial "elephant in the room." Although the topic is on virtually everyone's mind, it tends to be left largely unaddressed or ignored for one reason or another. This topic is, of course, that of reparations.

For some, the idea of reparations is a radical "dream"; an impossible and fanatic proposition which takes away from the more feasible task of achieving recognition. It is taken for granted that the most Armenians can reasonably hope for is acknowledgment and an apology from Turkey. Among many such individuals, the cause of reparations is looked upon with automatic disapproval and disdain. Hence, the topic itself is barred from any serious consideration.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who maintain that recognition without reparation is meaningless; that the Turkish government must pay for the crimes it has committed and not be allowed to walk away scot-free. In this case, also, we find many who consider the matter so straightforward, that they see no need in discussing it further or elaborating upon the reasons why reparations are so fundamentally needed.

We argue that, not only are reparations far from being an unreachable goal, they are the only practical means for effectively bringing the Genocide issue to any sort of a just resolution. Given its crucial importance to healing the wounds created by the Genocide, it is imperative that the merits and meaning of reparations be properly explained and expounded upon. This article will attempt to lay out some of the many reasons why reparations are so essential.


At the core of why reparations are necessary is the concept of justice. A colossal crime was committed against the Armenian nation and our moral instinct demands that we redress this in an adequate fashion. This major wrongdoing must be compensated for in order to restore some semblance of balance and normality.

To illustrate, let us imagine for a moment that someone tortures, rapes, and murders your family; invades and occupies your home; steals all of your wealth and belongings; desecrates your family heritage and possessions; and expels you by force from your home. Not only does the perpetrator refuse to give any compensation to your family, he aggressively denies that a crime ever even took place. The blame is deflected, instead, upon you and your offspring--who must struggle to even mourn or remember their family--while the criminal portrays himself in public as the victim.

After all of this, would it be enough for the criminal to simply give you an apology and say he will no longer inflict any further mistreatment on you? Of course not! It would be perfectly reasonable for all of us to want some sort of reparations; some form of payment for the damage that has been done.1

In this vein, the Turkish government has a moral responsibility to pay the huge debt it owes to the Armenian people. Just because Turkey has, as of yet, not paid this debt does not mean that the debt itself disappears.

On the contrary, it is the Armenian people who are continuing to bear the brunt of this debt through the loss of years of human and material capital, dispersion in the Diaspora, the compromise of our historic homeland, a small and landlocked Republic, psychological suffering, and economic hardship. Indeed, a great deal is already being paid--the problem is that it is largely the victim rather than the perpetrator who is doing the paying.

For this reason alone, some form of reparations proportionate to the suffering caused by the crime is a must for anyone concerned with upholding justice and repairing the wounds wrought by the Genocide. As explained by genocide scholar Taner Akcam in a recent commentary about discussions of the Genocide within Turkey, "The process of healing a past injustice must take place within the realm of justice, not [just] freedom . . . Today, however, in many democratic nations in the West . . . Injustices of the past are freely discussed, but the wounds from the past continue because justice remains undone. All of the powerful states' relationships with former colonies; the massacres and genocidal episodes from colonial periods; slavery in America, etc., all of these remain unresolved in the realm of justice. Therefore, even if the %u218Armenian problem' were to be discussed freely in Turkey it would nevertheless remain unresolved."2


Closely related to the issue of justice is the maintenance of human dignity for the Armenian people.

It is well known that one of the principal features of genocide is the denigration of the target population's humanity. Once again, as Akcam points out:

"Every large-scale massacre begins by removing the targeted group from humanity. That group's human dignity is trampled on, and they begin to be defined by biological terms like %u218bacteria,' %u218parasite,' %u218germ,' or %u218cancerous cell.' The victims aren't usually defined only as something that needs to be removed from a healthy body: they are socially and culturally demeaned, their humanity removed. . . Our humane duty is to restore the dignity of these victims and show them the respect they deserved as human beings. Reparations and other similar moves to heal past injustice work to restore the victims' dignity and gain meaning as a way of repairing emotional wounds."3

To ask that the Turkish government merely grant us an apology without demanding that they do anything significant to rectify our suffering--or worse, to seek "reconciliation" without addressing the Genocide at all--is the ultimate form of surrendering our human dignity. Giving up our rightful claims and simply seeking to have the perpetrator acknowledge what we already know to be true is equivalent to forfeiting our rights as a people; and, hence, indirectly accepting the success of the Genocide itself.4

Pursuing such an outcome will prove to be even more detrimental to the dignity, self-respect, and self-determination of the Armenian people than not having the Genocide recognized at all.


Finally, the matter of reparations has profound meaning for the security and viability of the Armenian Republic.

Let us not forget that the motivation behind the Genocide itself was to destroy Armenians as an entity in the region. The present borders of Armenia were purposely designed under pressure from Turkey as a way of reducing the country into one incapable of surviving on its own. Such a policy of aggression was fueled by an institutionalized prejudice against Armenian national self-determination which continues to manifest itself in Turkish society to this day.

Changing this reality will require more than a mere symbolic apology or recognition of historical facts. It will require meaningful compensation and tangible measures which ensure Armenia's long-term sustainability, as well as programs to tackle the hostile attitudes in Turkish society against its neighbors and minorities.

As scholar Henry Theriault has pointed out, recognition alone is no guarantee of improved relations or a change in Turkey's adversarial stance. Indeed, Ankara could stand up tomorrow and admit the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, only to retract its statement or worsen relations the day after. In his words, "The giving of reparations, especially land reparations, transforms acknowledgment and apology into concrete, meaningful acts rather than mere rhetoric."5

In addition, reparations are an important deterrent for future governments in Turkey--and potential perpetrators of genocide around the world--from repeating similar atrocities in the future. Failure to implement any sort of punishment for an act as horrific as genocide sends a signal to despots everywhere that they can commit such acts with impunity. This is certainly the lesson Turkish leaders have drawn as they have gone on to suppress and carry out massive ethnic cleansing operations against their own Kurdish minority.

As Armenians, we have a moral responsibility to prevent future atrocities and end the cycle of genocide. To give up our demands for reparations and simply seek an apology for the Genocide would be worst than not having it recognized at all. This is because we would be helping Turkey tell the world that a state can commit genocide, admit to it, and subsequently face no consequences whatsoever.

Resolution through Reparations

For these, and a host of other reasons, it seems clear that a lasting solution to the pain, loss, and enmity created by the Armenian Genocide will necessarily require large-scale reparations on behalf of the Turkish government. Otherwise, any hope of genuine reconciliation and regional stability will remain a hollow illusion.

To those who would still argue that, despite the merits, forcing reparations from Turkey is a hopeless and impossible dream, we would remind them that a mere twenty years ago, the same would have been said about those seeking the independence of Armenia. It would have been equally "unrealistic" to imagine then that a Turkish Nobel laureate and countless dissident intellectuals would be openly questioning Ankara's narrative on the Armenian Genocide.

Today, the world is more aware than it has ever been about the facts of the Armenian Genocide, and we see the Turkish government increasingly on the defensive when it comes to this issue. The momentum towards moving beyond recognition and securing compensation for the countless losses incurred during the Genocide is also increasingly gathering pace. Thus, rather than being an impossible dream, the attainment of reparations appears, in many ways, the most probable in recent memory.

Furthermore, as we have shown, seeking recognition without reparation is potentially more harmful than not attaining recognition at all. As such, achieving reparations remains the most critical means for securing a just and lasting resolution. Concurrently, to turn away from reparations would be a disservice to all those who have suffered from the Genocide and those who continue to struggle to overcome it.

The Path To Rapprochement Isabel Gorst, FT 23 2009
Serzh Sarksyan, president of Armenia, told the FT in an interview earlier this month that the opening of the dialogue with Turkey -which led to this week's framework agreement - marked "the biggest achievement" of his presidency.

An historic deal announced on Wednesday night sets out a road map for the normalisation of ties between the two countries, paving the way for the reopening of the Turkish/Armenian border that has isolated Armenia for almost two decades.

It could also end Armenia's exclusion from strategic transport projects to bring Caspian oil and gas across the South Caucasus to the west.

"Our primary concern is to eliminate the feeling of animosity between Armenia and Turkey to allow us to spend resources on development and not animosity," Mr Sarkysan told the FT ahead this week's announcement.

Turkey shut its border with Armenia in 1993 to demonstrate solidarity with its ally Azerbaijan, which was in a violent conflict with Armenian-backed separatists over the breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under Armenian control since Russia brokered a fragile ceasefire in 1994, although Azerbaijan has vowed to restore its territorial integrity.

Mr Sarksyan ruled out any pre-conditions for the rebuilding of ties with Turkey despite insistence by Turkish officials that the rapprochement was dependent on resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

He sees no quick fix for the conflict, although a settlement drawn up by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Minsk Group offers "a good basis for continuing talks in the region".

Security concerns have so far persuaded investors to bypass Armenia when building pipelines across the South Caucasus to bring Caspian oil and gas to the west by a non-Russian route.

Mr Sarksyan said the war between Russia and Georgia last summer exposed the vulnerability of pipelines in the area, and could provide an opening for Armenian involvement in energy transit.

"The war in Georgia has demonstrated that alternative routes are a must in the region, not just for us but for Azerbaijan as well," he said.

European diplomats said Russia, which controls Armenia's railway and gas pipeline network, might promote the building of new energy export routs across the country.

Mr Sarksyan looks back with pride on the football match between Armenia and Turkey in Yerevan last September which marked the start of a rapprochement between the two countries.

The match, a suit and tie occasion, was not marred by any spectator protests, despite Turkey's win.

"It was our initiative," he said.

Opposition leaders said the government has used the Turkish rapprochem ent to distract attention from economic and political problems in Armenia.

Ten people died when police cracked down on street protests that erupted in Yerevan after Mr Sarksyan won a general election in February 2008 that the opposition says was falsified.

An economic downturn caused by the global financial crisis could provoke further social unrest.

Falling earnings from commodity exports together with a drop in remittance payments from Armenian's working abroad are expected to drive economic growth to near zero this year from 6.8 per cent in 2008 and 13.8 per cent in 2009.

Nerses Yeritsyan, the economy minister, said the opening of the border with Turkey would end Armenia's dependence on Georgia as a land route to the west and draw more foreign investors to the country.

Interview: Serj TankianCherwell Online April 23 2009
Serj Tankian, the multi-million selling Grammy Award-winning musician, best known for his work with System of a Down, came to Oxford last Wednesday 22nd April to talk to an issue very close to his heart: genocide. Screamers is a film that follows the band, all of whom are descendents of survivors of the Armenian genocide, as they tour and it points out the horrors of modern genocide that began in Armenia in 1915 and continue to the present day.

The screening of the film, put on by a partnership of the University's Development Office and the Aegis society, gave an opportunity for students to ask Serj and other panellists Raffy Manoukian -London-based philanthropist and donor to the University who helped fund the film - and Professor Theo van Lint - Oxford's professor of Armenian Studies and Fellow of Pembroke College - their questions in a panel discussion. We caught up with Serj before the event:

Have you had much time to see Oxford? I've been to Oxford before! We actually played about an hour away in Reading over the summer and stayed in Oxford overnight. It was beautiful.

Not spent much time here today then just been travelling? No we've just got here and have been travelling all day. Haven't had any time to eat-[eats]

Do you know particularly or have any relationship with the other two men that are on the panel with you at the talk: Raffy Manoukian [London-based philanthropist] and Professor Theo van Lint [Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies and Fellow of Pembroke College]?

I Know Raffy really well- I met him because he worked with the BBC on the production behind Screamers. I met him through that and became since then and he's been very very active in promoting awareness about genocide. In terms of pushing the film as well getting distribution for it and screenings and working with different non-profit organisations he's done a great job. He's done a lot to be respected.

How did you get involved with making the film?

I was approached by the film maker Carla Garapedian a number of years ago and she was keen on getting System of a Down involved in making a film about genocide. So I met with her and I was really interested in presenting the similarities of different genocide and holocaust because I see a connection between them all. She was down for that idea which was cool and I thought that the uniqueness of the experience of the Armenian genocide in terms of it being denied by the perpetrators still after 94 years.

Urm, so, we kind of had a meeting of minds and I said OK let me go back to the other guys from SOAD and see if they are willing to participate and they were so we, you know, as a band we didn't do anything differently than we did on a regular basis: our concerts, our activism, our meetings with congressional delegates. Everything that we do we did anyway we would do anyway with or without the film. We allowed her access so that she could film it and tied that into her story. So the film is really about genocide but it involves the band.

A lot of your song writing is affected by your politicization- how did this politicizing come about?

The hypocrisy of the denial of genocide in a well known democracy was the first spark for my politicization as a young adult and made me wonder how many truths there are out there that are being denied for economical or geo-political interests. Since then I've found a lot of others truths or injustices I might say that need shedding of light. So that was the first trigger for me growing up.

Was your primary motivation for making this film to raise awareness of the genocide issues surrounding it?

When I first decided to be involved with the film, one of the primary reasons was to raise awareness of the Armenian genocide another was to raise awareness of the human disease of this genocide in general. I think we haven't realised the importance of prioritizing the reaction to genocide intervention to genocide as a global society and we still allow different interests to supersede intervention regarding genocide-Sudan being a prime example of our times today and how we- when I say 'we' I am primarily referring to the western nations and governments-have not really interfered in a major way.

Like you see Sudan collaborating a number of years back with the CIA and US intelligence on Al Qaeda authorities within the country because obviously Bin Laden had spent a quite a bit of time there and it's purported that Bin Laden was there after it was known that genocide was going on- this was after George Bush Jnr. called the atrocities genocide within Sudan. So you start to think and think OK I guess for America that meant that fighting terror was more important than helping victims of genocide and that is a prime example of how our priorities are misplaced.

Are any of your songs particularly relevant to the issue of genocide?

System of a Down has two songs that touch upon genocide: one is from the first album we ever made and one is from the last album that we ever made. The songs are 'P.L.U.C.K' and the other 'The Holy Mountains'.

Do you think that you could have been part of such a film if you didn't have your status as a musician?

I would have wanted to have been part of such a film if I weren't a musician- I'm not sure that anyone would be interested in asking me though!

So, do you consider it important for musicians such as yourself and Tom Morello to speak out on political issues? Do you think that it is an important voice?

I think every artist has his or her own vision- I think that it is important for every artist to follow that vision. I don't think every artist should be political. I think that ... I've always said that a really great love song is more important than any political song ever written: it can change the world in much more interesting ways than any political song. However, that said, I think that music is a great narration of our times. It's a great truthsayer of our times.

You listen to Bob Dylan's music of the sixties and on and you see that it's a great way of presenting some truths and a great way of fighting injustice and power through the arts. So, I think it's definitely been part of my vision in life to always, you know, kind of bring certain topics to the forefront- you know, whether it's through music or through conversation. Every artist has their own vision and I respect that.

Which love songs and political songs do you think are the best ones for conveying their message?

One of my favourite - I don't know whether you can call it a love song - but one of my favourite songs is 'Yesterday' by Paul McCartney as one of those songs that is changing. It is a change oriented type of song. It makes you think back in time but it also paraphrases life in such a beautiful way. But there are a lot of beautiful love songs. I think more sixties- because that's when a lot of great lovin' was going on [laughs]. The Summer of Love and a free and open society. But there's a lot of good stuff being written today or quite recently.

Are there any up-and-coming bands or those of the past that are particularly good at conveying their political message?

There's a lot more bands touching upon political subjects today than there were, I would say, six or seven years ago. All I remember is that right after 9/11, certain parties, myself inclusive, Tom Morello [Rage Against the Machine] inclusive were questioning some of the actions that were taken and some of the 'gung-ho'-ness of the flag-waving involved. I appreciate authenticity and emotion in any type of situation but there was a lot of fear-induced flag-waving going on if that makes sense.

Also reactions that were prevailing: 'Let's cut them down' that kind of stuff- very illogical type of response which I guess is acceptable for a tragedy. However, I don't think that most people understand that the sources of those tragedies were injustices themselves from elsewhere-that it stemmed from somewhere and it didn't just come out of thin air as a tragedy. It came as a reaction to foreign policy of the US, Britain and a lot of nations post WW2 and 1 having to do with the Armenian genocide and other topics. There are a lot of things that if we go back in history and look at how we've interacted as nations we can see how things are affected by that today.

Last term, there was a motion put to Oxford University Student Union amounting to a condemnation of the actions in Gaza. This provoked fierce debate amongst colleges as to whether it was the place of the student union to put forward a strong opinion on political issues-do you think that Student Unions should?

Most activism has started in universities. Historically, you look at the sixties, seventies, eighties, and I think university students are at a prime age and period of cognisant recognition of the world around them to be able to stand up for things and still have the youthful romanticism necessary to not be sceptical enough to actually put in their time and efforts to do so. I think that it is a very promising thing.

I don't like sceptics of activism; we have plenty of it ourselves in what I do and what Tom Morello does- people saying 'why should we listen to you you're musicians and not foreign policy experts. I say I'm a human being beyond my particular job description and I happen to be involved in a number of things that include American foreign policy and I read a lot about that and I have so for the last 25 years so that doesn't make me an official expert but I'll sit down with an official expert and I'll have a good repartee, you know?

Is there anything else that you think is particularly important to say in relation to Oxford students?

I went to university myself - I didn't go to Oxford [laughs] but I went to Southern California University. It was a time of growth of the mind. I personally don't think that you learn anything constructive in University. I think what you learn in University is to allow yourself to learn. I think that that's what you learn. You learn to be open to things and to allow things to enter your mind without critically cutting it down and that openness to learning. You'll retain some of the knowledge obviously but I think the average is about fifteen percent if at all. I certainly don't remember anything that I learnt from my business degree in college except maybe a few quotes or something like that from funny professors if anything.

But I think it's important, though, to have the community where you're able to communicate with other people about things happening not just domestically but around the world and having like I said the lack of scepticism to be involved in standing up for what you truly believe in.

"Could There Be A Crisis Between Two Brotherly Countries?" Azerbaijani Ambassador Anadolu Agency, 23 2009
ANKARA (A.A) - 23.04.2009 - Azerbaijan's Ambassador in Ankara Zakir Hasimov said Thursday Turkey and Azerbaijan share relations based on the idea of "two states and one nation". Speaking at the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day reception held at the Turkish Parliament, Ambassador Hasimov said "could there be a crisis between two brotherly countries?".

Answering questions of journalists, Hasimov said that "as an independent state, Turkey has the right to establish bilateral relations with any country it wishes. However, Turkey-Armenia relations should be parallel to the developments taking place in Upper Karabakh".

"President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made assurances to us in this direction," Hasimov said.

Reminding the words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that "Azerbaijan's happiness is our happiness" and the words of late Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliyev that "Turkey and Azerbaijan are two states of one nation", Ambassador Hasimov said that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations can not go out of such principles and no one can disturb such principles.

Stressing that windows between Turkey and Azerbaijan are open, Hasimov said that the Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev will pay a visit to Turkey on Friday.

"President Gul and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had a positive phone conversation today (Thursday)," Hasimov said.

Asked about when Azerbaijan will accept the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border, Hasimov said that Armenia must withdraw from five towns out of seven and Azerbaijani refugees must go back to their homes in these territories. "Only then will Azerbaijan accept the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border".

Armenian troops must also withdraw from the remaining two towns and Upper Karabakh and Azerbaijani refugees must be able to go back to their homes in these regions, Hasimov said.

We can then discuss the status, Hasimov also said. (SOL)

There Is A Turkish Remedy For Anti-Americanism In Turkey Soner Cagaptay Daily Star April 24 2009, Lebanon

President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey could not have gone better in terms of winning Turkish hearts and minds. Obama did all the right things, visiting Ataturk's mausoleum, the Blue Mosque and the Turkish Parliament, capturing the complexity of a country that is Turkish by birth, Muslim in culture and Western in its political identity.

Yet Washington still faces a challenge among the Turks: after a debilitating downturn in recent years, America's favorability rating is at rock bottom. Obama should be concerned about this phenomenon that, if it continues to be ignored, will eat into the foundations of the new United States-Turkish relationship that he wants to promote on key issues, including Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. As serious as the problem is, though, Turkish anti-Americanism can be fixed.

Obama cannot and should not ignore anti-Americanism in Turkey, because as a democracy, Turkish politics and politicians are ultimately accountable to public opinion. Washington can sustain cooperation with all sorts of authoritarian Muslim states, such as Egypt, despite pervasive anti-Americanism in those countries, because these authoritarian regimes do not care for public opinion. In Turkey, however, these sentiments will sooner or later erode, reshape and then cripple governmental cooperation with the United States. Anti-Americanism in Turkey presents a larger, more immediate challenge to the Obama administration than it does in other Muslim majority societies.

Obamamania will help face this challenge. According to a recent poll by Infacto, whereas only 9 percent of Turks thought favorably of the US president four years ago, at the time George W. Bush, today 39 percent have a positive view of Barack Obama. However, this jolt has not lifted America's standing in Turkey to match political ambitions for long-term and grand cooperation with Ankara as laid out by Obama's speech to the Turkish Parliament on April 6. The Infacto poll also shows that 44 percent of Turks view the United States as the biggest threat to Turkey.

Lately, the United States has done the right things to win Turkish hearts and minds. First, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her March visit to Turkey, and then Obama gave the Turks a needed bear hug, emphasizing that the United States likes the Turks, respects their faith and supports their Western vocation. Washington is assisting Turkey in its struggle against the terror attacks of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a key security concern for many Turks. Obama has even shied away from his campaign promise to support the "Armenian Genocide" bill in the US Congress, which many Turks find extremely offensive.

At this stage, there is little more that Washington can do to charm the Turks. As I learned during a recent sabbatical in Turkey, the Turks form their views of the world based upon what they hear from their leadership. Turkey is a rare fence-sitting country between East and West, in which pro-American and Western statements have the same weight in shaping public views as do views that oppose the United States and the West.

Since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) assumed power in 2002, the Turks have not heard anything positive about the West from their leadership. In fact, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often lambasted the West, suggesting, for instance, that "the West uses terrorism to sell Turkey weapons" or that "Turkey has borrowed only immoral stuff from the West." Anti-Americanism has become pervasive in Turkey as not just the AKP, but also even secular and nationalist leaders now vehemently voice such views.

The United States cannot stop entrenched anti-Americanism altogether; only the Turkish leadership can do that. Hence, the first step toward combating anti-Americanism would be zero anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric from opinion makers in Turkey, whether they are on the side of the government or on the side of the opposition. By avoiding anti-American rhetoric, the Turkish leadership could demonstrate that it is ready to receive Obama's extended olive branch.

The next step is targeting existing anti-Americanism, which can be alleviated precisely because the Turks are a fence-sitting people. What the Turks hear about the United States and the West shapes their views. In battling anti-Americanism, the Turkish leadership needs to highlight for the Turks the common interests of Turkey and the US, such as a stable Iraq; shared institutions, such as NATO; and shared values, such as democracy. Ankara should also give Washington major credit for intelligence assistance to Turkey in its attempt to stop the terror attacks launched by the PKK. Many Turks are not only unaware of this fact, but also think that the United States supports the PKK, as many news reports and government allegations have insinuated. The situation on the PKK shows best how Turkish views of the United States can be distorted.

Barack Obama should not despair when faced with evidence of anti-Americanism in Turkey. This is indeed an immediate and big problem, but it can be fixed. There is a Turkish solution to anti-Americanism in Turkey.

Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of "Islam, Secularism and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who Is a Turk?" This commentary first appeared at bitterlemons-international.org, an online newsletter that publishes articles on Middle Eastern and Islamic issues.

Democracy In Turkey: A Farce With Tragic Consequences, Edmond Y. Azadian, AZG,April 22 2009, Armenia
Turkey is in the spotlight of the world, especially with the US president's dramatic visit to Ankara. No one can debate the strategic significance of that country for the West and for the Middle East. The Turkish leaders are the first ones to recognize and exploit that significance, to continue the oppression of minorities in that country, while the West opts for political expediency over democratic values, which on the other hand tries to impose on to the rest of the world.

Continuing his predecessor's policy, President Obama reiterated US support for Turkey's admission into the European Union. The response was swift and categorical from the European allies, who are better positioned to evaluate Turkey's readiness for membership. President Sarkozy was blunt in his opposition to Mr. Obama's plea, while Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel was more polite in expressing the same message.

Simply, it is not possible to wish away cruel realities in the Turkish society to which its government is beholden.

Thus, while broadcasting to the world that Turkish-Armenian relations are at the verge of a breakthrough, the Turkish government spends millions of dollars, to prepare a propaganda movie named "Sari Gelin" to incite hatred among Turkish schoolchildren against Armenians. When protests and lawsuits are lodged against the Ministry of Education, official announcements are issued by the same ministry that the order to show the documentary has been rescinded, while continuing to harass school administrators -- including the Armenian schools --to execute the previous order.

Europeans -- and especially Americans -- will be hard-pressed to penetrate the Turkish mind and evaluate the duplicity and connivance behind each and every move of Turkish politics. That is why we are continuously being treated to the "niceties" of Turkish democracy, which we fail to swallow.

Another travesty is the Turkish education system. When it comes to responsibilities, all Armenians are Turkish citizens; when it comes to rights, they are pariahs under racist laws. Thus, although Armenian schools are considered Turkish schools for minorities, unlike foreign schools, but they are treated like foreigners. Each and every Armenian school has to employ an ethnic Turkish assistant principle, who in practice serves as the government's spy. The Armenian principal has no power whatsoever over the faculty, which is under the jurisdiction of an ethnic Turk.

This anomaly, which was detected by the European Union observers, has been met with protests from the minorities. The government has taken the official position that it is committed to making changes. However, there are still spies in Armenian schools who are continuing their brainwashing task with the children.

Europe is guided by certain civilized values and policies, which it tries to implement in Turkey in the hopes of ushering it, someday, into the European Union, while Turkey is guided by the values and rules of an Oriental bazaar -- the two will never mesh, no matter how much the Western media applauds Turkey as the only Muslim country ruled by democratic principles.

Yet another outrageous issue is the continuation of the confiscation of community assets, contrary to the new laws promulgated by the government and contrary to the government assurances to the European agencies that confiscated minority assets are being returned to their rightful owners.

In the middle of March, a report was issued by the TASEV -- the economic and social charities agency of Turkey -- regarding the status of community assets confiscated over the years. The report was signed by two lawyers, Kesban Hatemi and Deelek Kourban. It is about the status of minority community assets since the Ottoman era as currently evaluated in the light of the laws adopted to satisfy European Union recommendations.

Previously, a law was passed to regulate community assets, but it was vetoed by former President Ahmed Sezer, who argued that returning the assets to their lawful owners would give too much power to minorities, which may eventually contribute to the break up of the Turkish state. The same law was adopted by the Turkish parliament on February 20, 2008 and was signed by President Abdullah Gul. But the minorities have yet to see their grievances addressed, because Turkey may adopt laws, make statements to please and appease the Europeans, but there is a long way between adopting and implementing those lawas.

But what actually is happening is that the Turkish state not only is not processing the release of those assets, as it reports to the EU representatives, but, on the contrary, it continues confiscating more assets, declaring those assets as "no value for charity or commercial purposes." They have confiscated recently 24 pieces of real estate belonging to Greek and Jewish communities. The Armenian community did not fare any better since it has lost 30 pieces of real estate. There is a total of 1,000 pieces of real estate confiscated from the Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks.

Therefore, the laws adopted about the community rights have only served to cover up the inexorable pace of continued usurpations by the Turkish government -- this is how the Turkish leaders thumb their nose to the Europeans, who are already predisposed to accept Turkish assurances at face value.

The co-author of the report states that those continued confiscations are in flagrant violation of human rights principles and they are being carried out in broad daylight, at the same time assuring the European Union agencies that there is full compliance with their recommendations.

It looks like the more Europe and the US court Turkey as a reliable ally and a bastion of democracy in the Muslim world, the more minorities will suffer, while their rights are overlooked in the process.

Duplicity, hypocrisy and double standards are part and parcel of the Turkish state policy, under any color or shape. Condoning such behavior by the West is a sad commentary on the general state of politics today.

The Armenians are at the receiving end of this ugly state of affairs, which is being staged in "democratic" Turkey.

This is indeed a true farce, which would have been too laughable, if the results were not so tragic.

Obama Uses Armenian Equivalent Of Genocide Twice In Speech [ 2009/04/25 | HETQ.AM
It is true that president Barack Obama did not use the word Genocide when refering to the mass killings of the Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia (today’s Turkey), however, he used the Armenian very respected equivalent of Genocide “The Meds Yeghern” two times in his speech. Armenians use the phrase The Meds Yeghern when referring to the Genocide.

In his speech president Obama writes:

“The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people.” Also, three paragraph below the text reads “Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Meds Yeghern.”

These two sentences can equally be translated and interpreted in the following way. The Armenian Genocide must live in our memories, just as it lives on in the heart of the Armenian people… Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Armenian Genocide.

In other words Obama did a great political move: he satisfied both Armenians and Turkey. Today the newspapers are writing “Obama refrained from using the G word,” but tomorrow all of them will write, Obama used the G. word, but the Armenian equivalent and two times in his speech. In my opinion “The Meds Eghern” is a stronger way of labeling the mass attrocities It’s also a respected way of labeling the deaths. In fact, Obama used “Mets Eghern” twice in his text.

Why is the wording Genocide important? Since to this day Turkey has denied that what had taken place amounted to genocide Armenians are struggling and battling for justice to have the genocide recognized world-wide. The aim of this is to bring justice. An apology has to take place, perpertrators tried (all of them dead) and punished and reconciliation moved forward. In this regard, the United States recognizing the events as “Medz Eghern” as Genocide is a milestone in the worldwide recognition and condemnation of such an attrocity that payved the way of the Jewish Holocaust, Rwanda and Darfur. See how many countries have already recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide.

Turkey, so far, is in the state of denial. It is obvious because Turkey does not want to be labeled as a country who committed a genocide. However, how far can this policy sustain itself no serious historian or a statesman knows. Even there are several and growing number of Turkish scholars who take the critical view on own history and call on the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Taner Akcam is one of them. On March 19 Turkish genocide scholar Taner Akcam in his lecture titled “Facing History” and delivered at the Clark University sent a powerful message to U.S. President Barack Obama, asking him to liberate Turks and Armenians by properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Barack Obama in today called the events “Meds Eghern,” saying his views have not changed. Now where do we go from here?

As an Armenian parent my dream is to see the Southern Caucasus as it is in Western Europe: full of prosperity, freedom and security. However, this cannot happen if the Turkish society and the government deny to believe deep in their hearts the suffering and the attrocities that their past political leaders have caused to the Armenian people. Note that I am not saying the Turkish people committed the genocide, as no one says the German people committed the Holocaust. It is the political leaders of Turkish past that have made this very bad decision during the first World War thinking a genocide and the annihilation of Armenians and deprivation of them from their homeland is a solution to their agenda. The souls of the innocent are crying for justice and have come to haunt today’s reality.

Turkey and Armenia are engaged in a reconciliation process. The idea of the start is already promising. However, the road ahead i very bumpy and requires strong political will. Only time will show how far the parties are ready to go. If there is a strong political will to change we may be able to leave a better world and future for our children and grand children. In the meanwhile the souls of the Genocide victims are waiting for justice. As the president Obama puts it “The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories” until justice and recognition triumph.
Armen Hareyan www.huliq.com

e.mahcupyan at todayszaman So-Called Morals
Last week, the Turkey-Italy Friendship Association held a conference in which Turkey was presented as a strategic junction, a step that was clearly taken to emphasize the importance of Turkey's membership in the European Union to both countries.

But during the question and answer session, it was clear that Turkey had reached a fork in the road. The Western diplomats who do not wish to offend Turkey want to present our ties with Europe in a balanced manner, but the views of the members of the media are not that balanced.

Therefore, the questions centered on the millstones around Turkey's neck. While Turkish diplomats have been repeating that they are European by making references to some documents, foreign journalists have been looking not at the documents, but at the events that have transpired and the mentality that has prevailed. Therefore, it was no surprise that the Armenian issue was discussed and questions on when Turkish authorities would confront its history were asked during the conference, the main topic of which was the "media and economy."

The Turkish authorities that attended the conference said the issue had no bearing on its ties with the EU. Turkey was being pressured over a matter -- one in which it was essentially innocent -- by gullible individuals that have fallen under the influence of international propaganda. It was said that Turkey did not commit genocide and that the side which was avoiding confrontation with its past was Armenia. The statements of Turkey's EU negotiator, Egemen Bağış, were not confined to just these comments. He elaborated on his views by taking advantage of the traditional question, "Why can't we explain to Westerners the so-called Armenian genocide?" He summarized his ideas in these words: "When we look at our archives, we do not see genocide. There is pain, but this pain is mutual." I believe there is still no understanding how objective ears perceive this memorized Foreign Ministry statement.

First, studying archives in Turkey means accessing a very limited number of documents because many historical archives have been destroyed. For example, we no longer have the archives of the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terrakki). They were gathered and burned by Mehmed Talat Paşa, one of the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress. Nor do we have the archives of the Ottoman intelligence organization, Teşkilât-ı Mahsûsa. These groups may be perceived as elements of a state that has gone off track. But the archives from the period's Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs have also vanished. Court records and records of the institution that handled the deportations dating back to 1919 are also "lost." But we do have telegraphs warning members of the Committee of Union and Progress bureaucracy to burn all of the documents in their possession, as well as many notes in members' memoirs describing how the documents were destroyed.

In short, Turkey does not have the essential archives pertaining to the year 1915 because of a conscientious strategy to destroy them. This situation hints at a fact well known by historians, but is not pointed out to Turkish authorities, perhaps out of courtesy. Instead, they faintly smile and continue taking down notes. There is a big irony in the fact that Turkey has offered to open up the archives to historians when many of its archives have been destroyed by government orders, and Turkey has not taken steps to confront this truth.

There is a similar challenge with the word genocide. A definition of this word is found in the United Nations Charter. While the definition is open and broad in scope, it has become the legal definition. For example, separating children from their mothers because of their ethnic identity or trying to prevent a society from culturally renewing themselves can be coined as genocide. If we look at it from this perspective, then there have been many occurrences of genocide in history and 1915 is not unique. But there is another critical concept involved in defining an event as genocide and that is "deliberate intention," which involves asking the question "Was it done deliberately?"

The answer of those who view history objectively is clear. They say: "The Turkish state, government and public did not as a whole have such intent. But, an organized group within the government and bureaucracy did have such intent."

But Turkey fails to make this distinction. Instead of associating today's Turkey with Turks who respect the laws, the freedom of thought and conscience and protect their Armenian neighbors, Turkey is associated with racist Turks that have committed murder and torture. It does this even though it sees how this fascist-like wave is poisoning the government.

This is the real issue on the agenda that Turkey needs to confront -- confronting the events of 1915 is a sub-topic. Turkey must confront the ideology that used nationalism and secularism to extol statism, which has placed the regime under military authority and has brought it to the brink of fascism.

But the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is not that strong and therefore it is avoiding confrontation by using "the pain is mutual" rhetoric. On the one hand, it suggests setting up a joint history commission and, on the other, it insists that genocide did not occur. It is said that history concerns historians, but whenever the topic comes up, Turkey's importance is highlighted, as if a country that is powerful can write history according to its own will. Yet this is not surprising either, considering that the history of the republic is also a byproduct of this understanding.

In other words, the current Turkey implies a society that has been removed from the facts by ideological gimmicks and this removal was part of a state strategy. So the phrase "so-called genocide" calls to mind other facts in Turkey, such as "so-called history" and "so-called citizen." But perhaps what's more important is that this stance has created "so-called morals" and has openly debased the public.
24 April 2009,

Sargsian's Interview To Russia Today Tv Azg, April 24 2009
Question - Alexander Gurnov: Good evening, Mr. President. Thank you for accepting our interview invitation. The first question, I would like to address is the following: what is the meaning of the date of April 24 for you as the President of the Republic of Armenia.

Answer: Serzh Sargsian, President of Armenia: Good afternoon! The history of the people of Armenia is calculated in thousands of years. Throughout that history we've had victories and defeats; we have had gains and losses. But throughout our history there is one turning point which is a dividing line. And that point is the April 24 of 1915. After that we deal with absolutely different reality. Hundreds of thousands and millions of people were living and creating a cultural heritage and their daily life in their homeland, but were made to leave those lands - part of which were massacred and the other part had to escape to survive. And today in the world there is no, almost no country where are no Armenians. The population of today's Armenia, almost half of it, are the heirs of the survivors of the genocide. And these are realities which are in our life every day.

Today if you move from Yerevan 15-20 km towards Turkey you would see the last closed border of Europe. Armenia gained its independence in 1991. And for 18 years now that border is closed. I cite this example not to say that we are under blockade, but to make it clear that April 24 of 1915 is everyday present in our lives. April 24 is officially announced as the day of the victims of the genocide. But even before being officially recognized as such a date, April 24 has always been for our people such a day of memory and remembrance, also for me as one of the representatives of our people.

But for me as the President of Armenia it is my duty to take measures to soften the impact of that terrible tragedy and to take measures to make sure that such crimes will not repeat in the future. And the most efficient way for that is the international recognition of the genocide.

Question - Alexander Gurnov: These days many believe that the President of the United States Barak Obama is likely to recognize the Armenian genocide as he had promised during his election campaign. What is the reason Armenians attach such a big importance to the genocide recognition?

Answer: Serzh Sargsian, President of Armenia: Firstly, the recognition of the genocide is the most efficient way for the prevention from such crimes in the future. Secondly, justice means much for the Armenian people. And recognition of the genocide is also affected by that belief. There is no single Armenian in the world that is not affected somehow by that genocide. And obviously each Armenian wants to see justice in that regard.

The United States has been extensively present in the Ottoman Empire through their diplomatic corps, through their missionaries, businesspeople. We all know they had insurance companies functioning in the Ottoman Empire. And for the US there is no doubt about the historic nature of the genocide as it has taken place. They do not need any additional proves or witnesses from us. I want to remind that 42 states of the US have recognized the genocide. I want to remind that when the US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee was hearing the case and they do it on regular basis discussing the issue of the Armenian genocide -it is almost unanimous recognition that there was genocide. But some of the congressmen say: "Yes, there has been genocide, and the US has to recognize that reality". And the others say: "Yes, it has taken place, but now it is not in the national interests of the US to recognize it."

Question - Alexander Gurnov: Mr. President, you described the border with Turkey as the last closed one in Europe. In what degree the events of 1915 hinder your relations with Turkey nowadays, about 100 years after the Genocide? What are the current perspectives of normalization of relations?

Answer: Serzh Sargsian, President of Armenia: As I have mentioned, April 24 1915 has everyday presence in our live. But also as you know I have invited the President of Turkey Mr. Gul to come to Yerevan last year in September to jointly watch the football game between Armenia and Turkey and also to talk about our relations. And as you know Mr. Gul accepted that invitation and visited Yerevan. We have started an intensive negotiation stage with Turkey to establish diplomatic relations.

We base ourselves on the fact that there has been genocide, but non-recognition of that genocide by Turkey is not watched by us as an insurmountable obstacle for the establishment of the relations. We are in favor of having relations with Turkey without any preconditions. As you know before Gul`s visit to Armenia Turkey was offering two preconditions. One of them - genocide related and the other - Naghorno Karabakh problem. In the negotiations that we have had since, we both, Armenia and Turkey, took stance that our negotiations shall proceed without any preconditions: establishment of relations without preconditions and then discussion of any questions that might be of interest to the parties.

And as you know Mr. Gul invited me to Turkey to jointly watch the return football game and I will be happy to accept that invitation and will visit Turkey, if by that time the border is open or at least we are very close to that. Till recent period of time, everyone was convinced that we have significantly progressed and there was some expectation that would allow having a historic breakthrough, but recently there have been statements by the Prime Minister of Turkey to the effect that the Armenian-Turkish relations can improve if Armenia compromises on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We watch this as a step back from the existing agreements and as a precondition being put forward. I believe that in our relations we have progressed sufficiently. And now the ball is on the Turkish side of the field. And if we use the football terminology (as this process has been labeled as "football diplomacy" by the media) then we can say that any football game has a certain timeframe that limits it.

Question - Alexander Gurnov: Mr. President, you mentioned the Naghorno-Karabakh conflict. What are the perspectives of peaceful settlement of Naghorno-Karabakh conflict and normalization of relations with Azerbaijan - another important neighbor?

Answer: Serzh Sargsian, President of Armenia: As you know, the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh is dealt with by the Minsk group and its co-chairs: Russia, the US and France. And from the beginning of the presidency, I have had three meetings with my Azeri counterpart Mr. Ilham Aliev. And I think this one year has been a sufficient period for us to understand each other's positions, clarify those positions, and make our judgments on them. I think now it is the right time to speed up the whole process and to move towards mutually acceptable solutions. And as you know the key point of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the right to self determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. If this issue is solved, then all the other issues of concern can be solved.

I am happy that most recently the leadership of Azerbaijan has been talking about solving this conflict on the basis of all principles of the international law. A few days ago the President of Azerbaijan has met the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and he has talked to the Russian media and reiterated that this problem has to be solved on the basis of all principles of international law. And to remind you I want to tell that for a long time the leadership of Azerbaijan has been talking about solving this Nagorno-Karabakh conflict either by military means or only on the principle of the territorial integrity.

In general when I hear people speaking about territorial integrity in many cases not knowing the substance of the conflict or due to political considerations many people prefer to say things that put them into a very delicate condition - in many cases I start to think that there are not only double, but also triple standards. Within the last twenty years, the membership of the United Nations has been increased by forty sovereign states. Forty out of 192 member states of the UN have joined the organization in the last twenty years. How could one then speak about inviolability of frontiers? Of course, I am in favor of, and I can never be against the principle of territorial integrity of states and we have never had any territorial claims towards Azerbaijan. The problem is being deformed here.

It is the initiative of self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh that has been represented as a territorial claim of Armenia towards Azerbaijan, which is of course not true. Nagorno-Karabakh was merged to Azerbaijan in the Soviet period by the decision of the Communist Party Body and even in that case the Constitution of the Soviet Union was straightforwardly providing for the autonomous status of Nagorno-Karabakh as a district. In other words, it was recognized as some national state arrangement. And Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous district succeeded from the Soviet Union and Azerbaijan according to the legislation of the Soviet Union. When Azerbaijan today is speaking about the occupation of the part of its territory, to put it in a most soft way, they forget how these events unfolded. In 1991, along with Azerbaijan, Naghorno Karabakh succeeded from the Soviet Union after which it suffered an aggression from Azerbaijan and as the result of the military actions that were imposed by Azerbaijan we have what we have today.

Indeed, today forces of self-defense of Naghorno Karabakh control also such territories which in the past have not been part of Naghorno Karabakh autonomous district, but it should be remembered, that people of Naghorno Karabakh call those territories "security zone". Despite the fact that the cease-fire stands for 15 years, the cause-consequences relationships in that conflict have not changed. From those territories on a daily bases thousands of shells were thrown on peaceful inhabitants of Naghorno Karabakh, and it is not right to accuse the people of Naghorno Karabakh, Armenians that they have been able to secure their right for life by a heavy price of their blood, and to call that an 'occupation.' I don't think it is a just approach.

I want to repeat that I am very happy that the President of Azerbaijan, a few days ago, when he was speaking about international law principles he also spoke about the fact that this also has to be addressed on the basis of all founding principles of the UN and OSCE. Of course, this is the way to move forward. As we all know, the most recent ministerial summit of OSCE that took place at the end of 2008 in Helsinki has stated three principles: the right to self determination, territorial integrity and non-use of force as the guiding principles for the solution of this conflict. And these principles are the basis for the negotiations also incorporated into the framework document offered to us by the Minsk Group co-chairs. So, if we look from this perspective we have advanced significantly. There are possibilities and chances that situation can greatly change as well.

Question - Alexander Gurnov: Mr. President, there is an opinion that many problems in the post soviet area can be resolved through CIS structures. According to another opinion, CIS has already exhausted itself. Do you think that this is true or are there resources to be used?

Answer: Serzh Sargsian, President of Armenia: I do not think that the CIS has exhausted its resources and I have to state that the cease fire that has been signed in 1994 has been signed exactly under the auspices of the CIS. And this once again comes to prove that the CIS is definitely needed. Any organization can be only what its members want to see and make out of it. We have lived within one country for 70 years. And many countries for decades had been the part of the Russian Empire before that. And to immediately interrupt all those connections and ties - I do not think it is right or productive. If countries like Canada or Australia till now keep their connections and do not cut their ties with the United Kingdom, with the Royal dynasty of the UK - it does not mean that Canada or Australia are less sovereign states than we are. Within decades and centuries they have created ties and connections that can be very beneficial within the Commonwealth. Here much depends on Russia. If Russia believes that the CIS is an important and needed structure, I think that the resources of the CIS are increasing.

Question - Alexander Gurnov: Mr. President, Russia is actively voicing the idea of the need to review the existing system of European security and stressing the necessity to sign a new Treaty on European security. In what degree official Yerevan shares this approach?

Answer: Serzh Sargsian, President of Armenia: I understand the motivation of my Russian colleagues. I understand the position of the Russian Federation. The security system that we see today was formed decades ago, when it was difficult to take into account all the realities, when the threats and challenges were significantly different from what we face today. And exactly for that reason there is need for some amendments and changes to the security system. Let me bring a few examples. If we speak about the efficiency of OSCE, as you know, there is an agreement regulating the conventional forces in Europe and providing for certain quotas for each signatory country.

For a long period of time, Azerbaijan is significantly violating those quotas. It was violating these quotas by getting supplies from one or a few countries which are parties to the same treaty. And it seems that no one is ready to take necessary steps to show us mechanisms for those quotas. Security systems are usually being formed at the time of global shocks - and the two world wars were the shocks like that. There are analysts who even believe that it is a precondition for the formation of a new security system - there should be a global shock before a new international security architecture can be formed. But I hope, that at the time of this global economic crisis the big powers of the world will consider this as the major international shock that would allow changing the security architecture as well within the European model of security.

Two Views Of Obama's Armenian Genocide Policy Atlantic Online April 24 2009
View one. Obama broke his campaign promise. This YouTube makes it clear. Samantha Power (who is a new mommy today -- congrats to her) -- said Obama would speak truth to power. Obama himself said he'd use the word "genocide." And he didn't. He needs Turkey too much.

View two, courtesy of reader BJ: Most analysts see Obama as capitulating on the Armenian issue due to real-world foreign affairs. I see it differently. If you watch Obama's behavior patterns in the controversial arenas (torture, anyone?), he seems doggedly determined to not let emotionally charged issues (however valid) derail far more important agendas.

In the case of the Armenian genocide, Turkey and Armenia are making real, substantial diplomatic progress on their relationship, and the Turkish prime minister has acknowledged the role of historians in reaching some type of conclusion (however complex). While I realize that Obama does not mind dodging a bullet for now, I also believe that he is even more reticent to inflame passions and risk setbacks while the Turkish and Armenian governments build new bridges. The real question is, "What action (or inaction) at this moment will help us reach the goal (Turkish-Armenian rapprochement) in the shortest timeframe and with enduring results?"

It's the same, I believe, with the torture issues. It's a huge moral issue, it must be dealt with, but the costs of settling it "right now" would put many important national goals in serious risk of failure. How would history judge the Obama administration if he settled everything on the torture front quickly and thoroughly, but lost the small window of political momentum where financial reforms, health care reforms, entitlement restructuring, new energy policies, etc. wasted away to the Washington purgatory they've been in for generations?

Obama's Weapon Of Choice Is Charm by Linda Heard
Arab News April 21, 2009 Saudi Arabia

I once met an American lawyer-cum-philosopher in Jakarta, whose message literally changed my life. The transformation in me was so radical that when I returned home to the UK my mother was worried that I had undergone a personality change, although she later conceded it was a change for the better. He told me to meet hostility or even threats with a smile. This probably sounds strange but nine times out of ten it works. Firstly because you remove power from your protagonist who invariably anticipates a like reaction and is totally confused or disarmed when his expectations aren't met, and, secondly, you maintain your own equilibrium at the same time.

And as anyone who is lucky enough to be in a successful marriage understands, the use of bullying and aggression to get one's own way is a road to the divorce court. The best relationships are built on mutual respect, openness and a willingness to listen.

It appears that President Obama understands these gems of truth only too well and practices them in both his political and personal life.

The American president's political style is a complete and refreshing departure from that of his predecessor's "it's my way or the highway', which often created enemies where there were none. In less than 100 days in office, he has wooed suspicious Europeans, mended bridges with Russia, proffered an olive branch to America's arch enemy Iran, made positive moves toward Syria, reached out to the "moderate Taleban", flirted with Cuba and extended an enthusiastic handshake to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who once likened George W. Bush to the devil.

By all accounts, President Chavez has already been won over. Most observers expected the two leaders to stay out of each other's way at the recent Summit of the Americas, so when Obama made a beeline for his Venezuelan counterpart armed with a smile and a friendly "Como estâ~@¡s?" to say that onlookers were surprised is an understatement. In return, he received the gift of a book, personal compliments and the probability that a Venezuelan ambassador will finally return to Washington.

Initiating this contact was sheer brilliance on Obama's part, as is his new approach to Cuba, which is still lukewarm. If he eventually normalizes US relations with Havana, lurking Moscow, which has recently agreed to boost Cuban military defenses, will be out in the cold. If you think about it, Washington isn't served by prolonging enmity against it in its own hemisphere or anywhere else for that matter.

Obama has proved his determination to turn foes into friends and revitalize cooled relations. This is a winning strategy that even managed to warm the hearts of the Turks who were in the throes of deciding upon the direction of their policy vis-Ë~F-vis the US following the unpopular occupation of Iraq, Washington's "Armenian genocide characterization", and Israel's Gaza onslaught.

Similarly, the Obama administration's attempts to engage Syria are beneficial from a US standpoint. As the New Yorker's investigate journalist Seymour Hersh recently put it, "There are a lot of people going back and forth to Damascus from Washington saying there is a low-hanging fruit for someone to harvest."

In the same article, Hersh quotes former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk as saying, "Syria is a strategic linchpin for dealing with Iran and the Palestinian issue. Don't forget, everything in the Middle East is connected". The aim here, of course, is to prize Syria away from its ally Iran, which will never happen as a result of censure or threats.

Rather than eat up the world, Obama wants the world eating out of his hands and he's already gone a long way to achieving that goal. But there are some who are bent on misinterpreting his revolutionary approach of smearing a cast iron fist with lashings of goodwill. They wrongly perceive this as a display of weakness, a cowardly avoidance of confrontation or a shameful readiness to appease.

Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, for instance, constantly rolls out grim-faced Republican senators and right-wing commentators who invariably say Obama's behavior doesn't fit his status as leader of a superpower. They would prefer an antagonistic, stomping America with its red, white and blue nose in the air as it looks down at the rest of us.

A fine example of this entrenched arrogance appears in an article by an Iranian-American called Amil Imani writing in The Global Politician. "Mr. President, many Americans are still in shock by our action at the G-20 summit," he writes. "Your appearance looked submissive, insulting to millions of Americans and treacherous at worst. Your naivetŽ is really making it difficult for Americans to like you..."

He goes on to say, "only a person who was not born in the United States would commit such a fatuous act. Only a person who considers himself a citizen of the world would willfully attempt to demolish the greatest republic and democracy in the world, America, as fast as he can." It seems to escape Imani that while Obama was born in the US, by his own admission in the blurb at the end of his column, he wasn't.

Poor deluded, intellectually-challenged Imani and others of like mind would do well to reflect on these words spoken by the French Bishop Franois de Sales: "Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength". Bush's misguided policies thrust the US and the rest of the planet into a horrible mess. I don't mind predicting that the sophisticated, subtle and many-layered policies of the new man in the White House are just what the doctor ordered. Let's see!

Time To Calm Down A Little by Ibrahim Karagul Yeni Safak April 16 2009
There are attempts to create an extremely artificial and exaggerated crisis - being shaped based on rumours rather than realities - between Turkey and Azerbaijan; a crisis which is being exploited and which will eventually cause serious damage to both countries. A disturbing picture is being marketed through remarks such as "Turkey has turned its back on Azerbaijan, it is collaborating with Armenia, it has sold Baku, it has betrayed the Turkic world" and similarly nonsensical ones, a picture that is instigating the Azeri public opinion against Turkey and that has even a tendency to turn into an enmity against the Justice and Development Party, AKP, on a domestic scale.

An amateurish crisis is being concocted. A disquieting goal that will drag Azerbaijan to commit a historic mistake and that will force Turkey to retreat from its position in the region can be detected. This is a situation in which the secret agendas are mixed with realities and natural reactions, in which narrow power schemes directed against Turkey and Azerbaijan coexist with multinational scenarios involving the Caucasus, and in which covert operations shape the infrastructure for Turkish enmity -as was previously experience in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Both Baku and Ankara have to be extremely careful. The public both in Azerbaijan and Turkey should use their common sense. The perpetrators of this scheme are exploiting the sensitivities, the weaknesses, and the vulnerabilities of the two countries, the two capitals and the two communities. Daily stances, policies, and tactics might mortgage the future of especially Azerbaijan. A great wall can be erected along Turkey's Eastern Gate.

The strategy of severing the link between the East and the West, which had been implemented in Caucasus for centuries, can be transported to the present time. Why did Armenia occupy Azeri territories outside Karabakh? Did it occupy those territories only to have a bargaining chip? No, it occupied through Russian guidance. When Armenian troops approached the Iranian border, the Iranian army immediately crossed over to the Azeri side of the border to create a buffer zone. Here the Russian-Iranian strategy was implemented. The same strategy has been kept alive since the destruction of the Altinordu state. This strategy never changed despite the changing administrations in both Russia and Iran. This strategy is about dividing the East-West Turkic world, the Sunni world. It succeeded today just as it has succeeded in the past. The Caspian Basin, today's Azerbaijan, has been the venue for this scheme for centuries.

Therefore, especially Azeri territories outside Karabakh should be liberated. This strategy is more important than Karabakh for Russia and Iran. Consequently, negotiations on the withdrawal (of Armenia) from these territories will seriously be sabotaged. It might even lead to governmental problems in Baku. To what extent is the Azerbaijani administration aware of this historic role? The existence and power of states, countries, nations, and empires are determined by such strategies and not by daily policies, rages, and susceptibilities. Therefore, Baku should well know that the steps it is about to take will determine the future of the country and its people. Turkey should remember the essence of this border which was more effective in its past as an empire.

The amelioration of Turkish-Armenian relations will not only be beneficial for Armenia, but it will be beneficial for Turkey and Azerbaijan as well. Naturally, Baku will and should use the cards in its possession in a most effective way. Its territories are under occupation, it has been extremely wronged, and international public opinion does not seem to attach much importance to this wrongdoing. Those who scheme over the resources of a country, which is one of the most effective actors of the energy projects of the 21st century and which has such a power, have been taking Azerbaijan's sensibilities very lightly. They have been unjust towards this country. This reality should be known.

The issue, however, is not only the opening of the Armenian border. The Azeri territories should be liberated as well. These two issues have to be advanced simultaneously. Discussions on the genocide issue or the activities of the Armenian lobby cannot be assessed alone just because the United States so wishes. Turkey recognizes and will continue to recognize this reality. Those who are exploiting the sensitive approach of Ankara are making a new move in the geopolitical chess game of the Caucasus by trying to channel Azerbaijan in the wrong direction. We are fully aware of this move! The issue is far beyond Turkish-Armenian, Turkish-Azerbaijani, Azerbaijani-Armenian relations; it is about the consequences of the global power struggle being waged between Russia and the West. When Russia loses Armenia, it will be totally distanced from South Caucasus. Energy projects will be reshaped. A new stance will be determined with regards to the future of the region.

Therefore, the Azeri public and even the administration are being instigated by Russia and its allies. If this attempt to lead Azerbaijan in the wrong direction succeeds, President Ilham Aliyev will have committed a very grave mistake. He will have opened the door not only to his own irrevocable servitude, but to that of his country and nation. Those who have a look at the last century will realize this.

The trump card of "Russia against the West" is as valid as the energy card. Aliyev should definitely use this card. He should do so if the interests of his country necessitate it. He should, however, not eliminate his country's will. He should not let it be held hostage. Currently, this is not the situation. There is only a card and Aliyev is forcing it to be perceived. If, however, he is inclined to use it, there might be trouble in Baku. Yes, even this can happen. It is true that Armenia is very important for the West. However, Azerbaijan is much more important and neither the West nor Turkey can turn a blind eye to the reasons that will push Azerbaijan to take such a decision.

For the time being, an experiment is being conducted over Azerbaijan on the assumption that "Armenia will slide towards the Western axis." Russia is playing its card. Even Iran is playing its card. Those linked to circles making power calculations in Turkey are implementing their own agenda. The confidence crisis between Turkey and Azerbaijan should be surmounted immediately. So long as this is not surmounted, everyone will continue to play their cards. This can, in the initial stage, lead to instability in Azerbaijan.

Therefore, everyone should primarily try to calm down...

The History And The Law 25 April 2009, Ara / armenews By Peter Weill, director of the Sofres.
Launched by four eminent Turkish - journalist Ali Bayramoglu editorial, Professors Baskin Oran, Ahmet Insel and Cengiz Aktar - the petition "I ask forgiveness," points event in Turkey. The authors have chosen, explains Cengiz Aktar, make a personal, man to man. The text says: "My conscience does not accept that we can remain indifferent to the great disaster suffered by the Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and that continues to deny this truth. I reject this injustice, I am on my own emotions and suffering of my Armenian brothers and I ask forgiveness. "

This forgiveness citizen is variously appreciated by Armenians. The latter, especially in the Diaspora continue to demand that the Turkish state not recognizing the massacres but that of a "genocide". However, the petition of the Turkish intellectuals represents a historic opportunity to unlock the deadlock by the accumulation of the passions, all understandable, but, nearly a hundred years after the events related to the irrational. It can contribute to changing public opinion and the Turkish authorities as qu'arméniennes. There is no denying that the Ottoman Empire ended in 1915 has committed the deportations and a horrific mass murder in the Armenian population of Anatolia. The result was a profound trauma that still marks the Armenian diaspora.

But these events took place at the beginning of the First World War when the Young Turks was the ally of the German Empire and Austro-Hungarian, while the Armenians in Anatolia were naturally inclined to support their brothers in the Armenia incorporated into the Tsarist empire. It is undeniable that many Turkish civilians were massacred by Armenians. Nothing does the massacres, war crimes wherever they come from. Nothing can replace either the work of historians. They alone have the knowledge, methodology, objectivity and declining to describe and explain the conflicts that arouse the passions of which the protagonists - or their descendants - are unable to depart. It should be remembered here that the term "genocide" is not a historical concept but a criminal record. Coined in 1944 by a professor of international law at Yale University, Raphael Lemkin, the word will be taken over by the UN General Assembly four years later, on 9 December 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of crime of genocide. In the meantime, in 1945, the Nuremberg Tribunal, established by the allies to try Nazi criminals, had included in its status, along with the war crime and crime against peace, crimes against humanity.

Since the term "genocide" and "crime against humanity" have each been used for criminal investigation after classified national courts (Eichmann in Israel, Barbie, Touvier and Papon in France) and international (Rwanda, former Yugoslavia). No criminal court can not enter or be entered for the events of 1915, it is up to historians to determine whether the term "genocide" is appropriate to describe the massacres committed against the Armenians in Anatolia. Ankara has proposed a joint committee is working. Armenians refused. Probably wrong. The Armenians should be asked whether the memory of the victims and the healing of their people to take over the legal classification of the massacres of 1915 as the knowledge that may give historians and forgiveness citizen that offer tens of thousands of Turks of all ages. As for Ankara, it would be desirable to the extent that trauma experienced the Armenian nation by creating places of memory and history in Turkey and revising textbooks so that old events a century are no longer hidden. These actions on both sides would do more for the memory of the victims and the calming of the passions that the controversy around a legal concept or the passing of resolutions by parliaments whose members are more concerned their voters that historical truth or compassion.

Two images have more than any other showed how history, politics and ethics can at times take a powerful symbolic meaning: Willy Brandt kneeling at the monument of the Warsaw Ghetto and François Mitterrand hand in hand with Helmut Kohl in Verdun. Today, Armenians and Turks could all take a further step in this direction.

Beyond The Armenian Genocide Great Catastrophe 26 April 2009, Ara / armenews By Cengiz Aktar professor at the University Bahçesehir (Istanbul).

Things are happening on the front Armenian in Turkey. The government and society, each in its own way, seek to break taboos that exist deep on this issue for almost a century. The head of state in September was a historic visit to Yerevan, the secret talks between delegations are held in Switzerland for months to make the opening of the Turkish border and later the establishment of diplomatic relations. The President Barack Obama, during his visit to Turkey in early April, while reaffirming its belief, has avoided the word "genocide" in order not to hinder the process. He wanted concrete progress between Armenians and Turks. Recently, a new movement recognition and forgiveness towards the Armenians began in Turkey. Launched on 15 December on the Internet by some 350 intellectuals and opinion leaders (1), the campaign has gathered to date, more than 30 000 signatures. Turkish citizens of all backgrounds, the signatories have expressed their rejection of the denial of state propaganda that has lasted since 1915. The Armenian diaspora but also some Turkish researchers have deplored the omission of the word "genocide" in this short text.

Developed in the West, the concept of genocide is based on the Holocaust. So, since any policy paper on the conduct of a massacre in the history is most often designed with the thought and image of the Holocaust for reference. For the Western public opinion, the word genocide and what it represents are indisputable. It is, in a sense, stronger than context, freed from time and space. For my part, I am not sure that the concept of genocide is adequate to describe fully what happened. To break the impasse, it seems useful to return to a time of horror through the descriptions that we give the Armenians themselves.

The term "Great Catastrophe", which was forged and used by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire at that time to describe what was happening to them and that we used in the campaign to pardon, seems more suggestive of past events. The decision of the Committee of Union and Progress that is to say, the Ottoman government at the time, to eliminate the Armenians, one of the oldest groups in Anatolia, is a disaster that affected so permanent the future, not only Armenians, but also all other living entities on this earth. Already torn by war, Anatolia, who lost his Armenians, Assyrians and Roumi (Greek), has become a piece of land ruined at all levels: human, economic, social, political and cultural. In this sense, the Armenian genocide is a common tragedy of Anatolia, which says even in the villages as an unprecedented disaster. Also I am not sure the general concept of "genocide" is sufficient or suitable for covering all the consequences of that decision which was imposed demented to Anatolia as a whole. It is simply inappropriate to explain what happened, beyond the genocide of Armenians. From the moment the history of the Armenian tragedy was rooted in a sense, exported, revived outside Turkey and around the world by the diaspora, it has lost some of his story: it does not speak or more Anatolia after 1915. The gap between the word "genocide" - the amount of terror he evokes - and seemingly less harsh words such as maps (massacre), disaster, disaster, is as deep as the one that has widened between the morbid state of the decision taken in Istanbul, and the human drama that took place in Anatolia.

In fact, many gray areas exist between the victims of genocide and criminals. The fates are multiple: both of Armenians had to change their identities to survive, as others have saved lives Armenian, and others are simply stayed and suffered the consequences of genocide. The Great Catastrophe also all those people. The family and individual stories that were discovered by historical research emerging in Turkey reveal the dimensions of the disaster suffered by Anatolia. They show a disaster that goes beyond the genocide. In this sense, the recognition of "genocide" would be a punishment, the study of what we call the Great Catastrophe may, however, cover the entire scope of the suffering and spawn simultaneously towards a new coexistence between Armenians and Turks.

The debates that began with the campaign to pardon offer a huge opportunity to learn what happened to the Armenians as well as their neighbors. This year is the centenary of the takeover of the Young Turk government, who took the decision to exterminate the Armenians, by the military wing of the Union and Progress, whose mentality is rampant in Turkey since. Almost every year until 2023 [Centennial of the Republic of Turkey, ed] and even beyond, the opportunity will be given to learn, remember and be aware of the tragic fate of Armenians, and the consequences of this catastrophe common to all of Anatolia. Justice will prevail when we have taken note of all the infernal mysteries of the process initiated a hundred years ago, when we know what it has cost us all.

Janine Altounian: Medzyeghen Is A Racist Term 26 April 2009, Ara / armenews
On reading the editorial of 25 April Ara Toranian noting that "the term Armenian MedzYeghen benefits lately of a second youth," Janine Altounian writes:

"If I am forced to resign myself to the" diplomatic option "of Obama which may even go so far suggests that the absence in his statement of meaning in G while the signified is maintained, ridicules the dictates of the Turkish denial, I am outraged against the use in some way racist, "the Armenian MedzYeghen expression which, as you say, in recent times a second youth." I explains that the Armenians would not have lived thus not a common name in the political vocabulary of respect for customary falsehood protective agreements with Turkey, either. But to use a signifier Armenian, is asking the Armenian reality as untranslatable into the language of universal culture, inaccessible to it, the ghettoising in its language. It makes me think of the racist position ethnopsychiatry prescribing injections of original culture to political exiles or economic suffering which the psyche can not survive the violence. In short: you lock in your culture and you will get better, you can live a cultural deficiency 'and Armenians will say "yes but we recognize your MedzYeghen the genocide does not apply to you. " Of course Obama had no choice, he needed a word of the coup he used "racist" of language, racism does not is obviously unknown. The words would be places like buses, they are attributed differently by different users. "
Janine Altounian

Open The Border With Turkey, What For? 26 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
'Possibility of opening the border between Armenia and Turkey [closed since 1994] is now one of the most commented on by newspapers across the region. Yet, the more necessary in the news over the face of increasing distrust clearly exaggerated efforts deployed Turkey to prove to the world how she gets along well with Armenia.

One can not help but ask some basic questions: why the optimism and mutual understanding [between Armenia and Turkey] triumph they suddenly today, when we had not seen anything come of this in previous years? Why Turkey would accept it to open its border with Armenia? Even the important factor is the growing possibility of official recognition by the United States President of the Armenian genocide can not explain everything.

Yet even in Armenia, many have the misleading impression that the threat of the new U.S. administration to recognize the genocide that has prompted Ankara to engage in desperate attempts to show the world that Turkey was ready to resolve itself the complex problems that preclude Armenia. Thus, Turkey tries to show is all-that she decided to end the economic blockade of Armenia. In addition, the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Armenian], M. Babadjan, went so far as to state: "Armenia and Turkey have discussions regarding the events of 1915", an assertion naturally followed by the endless detail "The interference of a third party could only have negative effects." If Turkey is really to be honest with his neighbor and with its own history, we do not see how "the interference of a third party "in this case the recognition of genocide by the United States could have" negative effects ".

Moreover, the possibility of opening the border is presented not as a way to restore a norm in international relations, but merely as a goodwill gesture, an expression of generosity on the part of Turkey. Armenia does almost no official comment on the possible opening. Yet, it ought at least to the absence of a referendum, a broad public debate.

The experts confirmed the view that there has been no recent surveys on the subject. Dr. Gevorg Pogossian, chairman of the Armenian Sociological Association, however, responses of a few years ago. At the time, only to be strongly in favor of opening the border were the businessmen, while the Armenian population in general is fairly reluctant. Even if things have evolved since then, I think this survey is still valid.

The only obvious result of opening the border would be to provide an alternative outlet to the outside world, that benefit nobody denies. But what will win Armenia's opening of the border? What will win the Turkey? What may be the political, economic, cultural and demographic? This opening will it be followed by the establishment of diplomatic relations and signed agreements of bilateral obligations, including safety? To date, nobody can tell. And n'al'intention to say, neither the Armenian authorities as international organizations, who insist on pushing Armenia in the arms of Turkey while failing to want to assume any responsibility for this that will result. All this only aggravates the enormous risks that will take the country, which has no clear vision of the tactical interests motivating gesture of Turkey. And in society, this increases the instinctive feeling that we are once again a mere pawn in a game that is played in our back and do nothing bodes well for us.


Moving Beyond Black And White On The Armenian Genocide
It's time to ask what outside resolutions are doing to further the conversation in Turkey over recognizing the Armenian genocide.
Nick Danforth | April 24, 2009

Faced with a question about the Armenian genocide while in Turkey, President Barack Obama responded deftly, saying, "My views are on the record and I have not changed views." With this formulation, he implicitly recognized the death of a million or more Armenians during World War I as "genocide" without infuriating his hosts by using the word itself. He later urged Turkey to reckon with what he called "the terrible events of 1915," before praising the ongoing negotiations that may soon bring about Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. Today, as Armenians around the world commemorate the 94th anniversary of these terrible events, Obama faces pressure to explicitly refer to the events as genocide now that he has taken office. Whether he does or not, the debate has moved to Congress, where a resolution has been introduced formally recognizing the genocide.

As in past years, supporters of genocide recognition present the issue as a matter of principle versus pragmatism. They argue that we should call what happened "genocide" because it was, after all, genocide. The counter-argument is, essentially, "Yes, we agree in principle, but let's be pragmatic: It may well have been genocide, but Turkey's help is crucial to solving the problems we face in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran." Additionally, opponents add that to recognize the genocide now would destroy the considerable goodwill created on Obama's trip and poison Turkish-Armenian relations.

The one thing missing from the debate is a serious discussion of how the issue is understood in Turkey, and why it arouses such fierce passions there. Of course, if the goal is to have the United States recognize the Armenian genocide, Turkish views do not matter. If, however, the ultimate goal is for Turkey to recognize it, Turkish views cannot continue to be dismissed as nothing more than the byproduct of censorship and nationalist lunacy.

While no one would claim it is easy to discuss the fate of the Armenians openly in Turkey, the once formidable legal and social obstacles to doing so are gradually eroding. Until recently, challenging the official view of the 1915 killings was a sure way to end up in court. Now historians are debating what happened on television and columnists are doing so in print. This winter, around 200 Turkish intellectuals apologized to their "Armenian brothers and sisters" in an online petition which almost 30,000 people have since signed. Responding to demands that the authors be prosecuted, Turkish President Abdullah Gul declared that everybody was free to express their opinion. The ruling Justice and Development Party is slowly beginning to recognize and conserve Armenian architectural monuments in Turkey, and recently began Armenian-language broadcasting on Turkey's state radio.

Some Armenians have suggested that many of these steps were taken cynically, designed for use in op-eds like this one, as arguments against genocide recognition. Even if this is true, Turkey is likely to find it has shortsightedly purchased American silence at the price of a robust internal debate with unanticipated consequences.

Most Turks will merely see a U.S. congressional resolution as a tribute to the power of an aggressive, Turk-hating Armenian lobby. Rather than question deeply held beliefs, many will feel that their nation is under attack, and may be more inclined to support laws like the infamous Article 301 that claim to protect the nation by curtailing free speech.

This is not to imply that the Turkish population is simply too immature to handle the truth. Part of the problem is that many Armenians and Americans are so fixated on the egregiousness of Turkish denial that they fail to see how this denial feeds off of the biases, distortions and omissions in their own versions of history.

Perhaps because of the fear that explanation would imply justification, popular accounts of the genocide seldom delve too deeply into its historical causes. During the 19th century, Christian Greeks, Serbs and Bulgarians revolted against Ottoman Turkish rule. Following their victories, they expelled or massacred the Muslims who lived in their newly created states. By some estimates over 200,000 Muslims died when Bulgaria won its independence in 1878. In light of this precedent, destroying the Armenian Christian population of Eastern Anatolia became a coldly rational -- and in the end brutally effective -- way of preserving Ottoman/Turkish control over the region and protecting its Muslim inhabitants. It is no coincidence that the men who planned the genocide began their careers as army officers witnessing Ottoman defeat in the Balkans.

Clearly this context does nothing to mitigate the individual guilt of the perpetrators. Yet to ignore it is to unfairly demonize Turkey, and it is no surprise that accounts which do so hold little appeal for Turks. As Turkish scholars gain the freedom to acknowledge the genocide while also acknowledging Turkish suffering, they will be able to write far more persuasive accounts of what happened.

Similarly, histories that over-emphasize parallels with the Holocaust further confuse the issue. The Holocaust was unique in being so irrational, unprovoked and completely one sided. Yet most Turks now see these qualities as integral to the definition of genocide. As a result, many base their genocide denial on the fact that, in the turbulent period before and during World War I, there were Armenian terrorists who set off bombs in Istanbul, Armenian soldiers who fought for Russia against the Ottoman Empire, and Armenian guerrillas who massacred Muslim children.

These events, if repeatedly overstated in Turkish accounts, are well documented. Historically speaking, they are hardly surprising. The Sudanese government's genocidal campaign in Darfur began in response to armed attacks by Fur rebel groups. The Hague charged Slobodan Milosevic with orchestrating a genocide in Bosnia while also charging Croat generals for committing atrocities against Serbs. More often than not, states commit genocide in wartime, when violence is widespread. If those who accuse Turkey of genocide ignore evidence of Armenian crimes it only encourages Turks to believe that in fact this evidence negates the charge of genocide.

In debating this resolution, Congress should recognize, as Obama did, that confronting Turks with a simplistic and hostile version of their history will not help them overcome the even more simplistic and nationalistic version they grew up with. Turkey's official history is already under assault from a new spirit of tolerance and intellectual freedom. America should encourage this spirit, for if it is allowed to blossom, it will do more to advance the truth than any congressional resolution.

Nick Danforth is a research associate at the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), where he focuses on Turkish politics.

Obama’s Message Brings No Relief To Ankara
“Turkey is not a country that can be flattered and then fooled,” Prime Minister Erdoğan said yesterday.
US President Obama disappointed Armenians by breaking his campaign promise to use the word "genocide" in a traditional message he released on Friday, but he certainly did not please Turkey, which vehemently rejects the genocide accusations.

“We regard the statement concerning the 1915 events as an interpretation of history that does not reflect the truth and is thus unacceptable," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday. "We are saddened that the issue is being persistently exploited and many politicians are trying to win votes out of the controversy over the 1915 events." Apparently referring to Obama's earlier remarks underlining Turkey's importance in efforts for peace in the region and around the world, Erdoğan also said, "Turkey is not a country that can be flattered and then fooled."

Obama, as widely expected, refrained from calling the World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, referring to them as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century" and using the Armenian phrase "Meds Yeghern," which is often translated as "Great Calamity," twice in his message. Obama, who said during his election campaign that the killings amounted to genocide, stated in the message that his view on the issue has not changed and that his "interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts." The decision not to use the word genocide is both a result of Obama's desire not to harm efforts by Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations after a 15-year hiatus and a recognition of Turkey's importance as a US partner in achieving several foreign policy goals in the region.

Obama's April 24 statement is an 'unacceptable interpretation of history,' says Prime Minister Erdoğan, warning that Turkey is not a country which can be 'flattered and then fooled'.

Armenian-American groups, which heavily campaigned for Obama's endorsement of the genocide claims, expressed deep disappointment, saying, "The president chose to allow our nation's stand against genocide to remain a hostage to Turkey's threats." Turkey is a key partner for the US administration in achieving many key US foreign policy goals, ranging from Iran's nuclear program to the stabilization of Afghanistan. Many have expressed concern that any reference to the g-word in the April 24 message would cause a road accident in the Turkish-US cooperation to achieve the mutual foreign policy goals and could come as a setback to Turkish-Armenian efforts to normalize relations.

But although he avoided the word genocide, Obama's use of Meds Yeghern, said analysts, was almost equally harmful. The phrase is used by Armenians to refer to the World War I events and some comments in the Turkish media said the use of it was identical to call the killings genocide.

Erdoğan said history should not be a tool to attain domestic political goals and insisted that historical questions should be left to historians. "Turkish-Armenian relations will be normalized, historical matters will be enlightened and the road will be paved for peace if countries that have nothing to do with the issue stop getting involved," he told a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Turkey and Armenia announced on Wednesday that they reached an agreement on a framework to normalize ties, strained over a number of disputes, including the genocide row. Obama said he strongly supported the efforts by Turkey and Armenia to normalize their relations.

Armenians say 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a systematic campaign in eastern Anatolia, while Turkey vehemently rejects the claims of genocide, saying the killings came as the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell civil strife and that Muslim Turks were also killed in the clashes. Erdoğan complained that he had not even received a reply from Armenia to his 2005 proposal to set up a joint committee of historians to study the events.

On Saturday, President Abdullah Gül, speaking in Bulgaria, said there were points in Obama's statements and said the Turks, who perished at the hand of rioting Armenians should also be remembered: "Hundreds of thousands of Turks and Muslims also died in 1915. Everyone's pain must be shared," he said.

The Foreign Ministry echoed his remarks, saying the statement's perception of history was "unacceptable" and appealed for an impartial study of the conflict. Obama visited Turkey in early April and urged Ankara to repair ties with Armenia. Turkish officials have said any new attempt in the US Congress to brand the killings genocide could damage US-Turkish ties.

Turkey and Armenia have been holding closed-door talks since September. The process is criticized by the nationalist opposition at home and criticism is growing as Azerbaijan, part of whose territory is under Armenian occupation over a dispute on Nagorno-Karabakh, is protesting reconciliation between its ally, Turkey, and Armenia.

"Obama's statement shows that efforts to please outsiders by giving concessions are not yielding any result," main opposition leader Deniz Baykal said on Saturday. "And we have managed to alienate Azerbaijan, too," he added.

"Looking at the entire statement, one will see that it is unacceptable," Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said of Obama's statement. "If the US sacrifices Turkey for the sake of Armenian votes, everyone, including most notably Armenia, will have to suffer the consequences."
27 April 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN

April 24, 2009 South Caucasus Presents Tangled Web Of Shifting Allegiances by Brian Whitmore
Anticipation is in the air in the Armenian village of Margara.

Roads are being repaired. Visitors are inquiring about real estate prices. Talk abounds of new hotels, shops, and restaurants.

A sleepy border hamlet of just 1,500 people, Magara is the site of the only bridge linking Armenia with Turkey -- a bridge that has not been used since Ankara closed the border and cut off diplomatic relations with Yerevan in 1993 over the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Now, with talk of an impending Armenian-Turkish rapprochement reaching a fever pitch, locals like 70-year-old Demaxia Manukian are hopeful that their isolation is at an end.

"The more consumers there will be, the better it will be for us. Infrastructure will improve -- the streets and the water system," Manukian tells RFE/RL's Armenian Service, stressing that the town will need to be spruced up in order to impress all the new visitors if the border opens.

"After all, it's a matter of prestige. That's why it has to get better."

The thaw in relations between Ankara and Yerevan, which began shortly after Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian took office a year ago, has picked up steam in recent months with high-level backing from both the United States and Russia.

The issue takes on added relevance this week, as Armenians on April 24 commemorate the 94th anniversary of the onset of mass killings of ethnic Armenians by Ottoman Turks at the end of World War I -- a longstanding source of tension between Turkey and Armenia.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry announced this week that the two sides had agreed to a road map to normalize ties. In testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Ankara and Yerevan for taking "bold steps" toward reconciliation, adding that "normalizing relations and opening their borders will foster a better environment for confronting that shared, tragic history."

But the complex Turkish-Armenian relationship does not exist in a vacuum. It is but one thread in a tangled web of grievances and mistrust that have long plagued the South Caucasus -- and sparked a sometimes fractious race for influence among the international powers drawn by the lure of energy and strategic location.

Historical Animosities

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Turkey was the first country to recognize Armenia's independence, but the warm neighborly relations were short-lived.

Turkey and Azerbaijan, both predominantly Muslim countries, are close allies. When Armenia occupied Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region, Ankara broke off relations with Yerevan and closed the border in solidarity with its ally.

Azerbaijan remains deeply suspicious of a Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and has hinted that it would scuttle the regional balance if its interests are not safeguarded.

Moreover, Yerevan's longstanding claim that the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I constituted genocide infuriates Ankara and has long been a roadblock to normalizing ties.

The Turkey-Armenia road map, brokered by Switzerland, comes as Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to be edging closer to a resolution of the Karabakh standoff, with apparent help from Moscow.

Both the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders traveled to Russia this week for talks with officials, and both offered carefully worded, but optimistic, assessments of the talks.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, which fears it will be the odd man out in a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, has turned a cold shoulder to its traditional allies in Ankara in recent weeks, with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev refusing a recent invitation to travel to Turkey.

At the same time, Baku has been cozying up to Moscow.

Baku may be seeking to remind Ankara that as the sole energy supplier in the South Caucasus, it is free to choose its friends, and its issues. Analysts say Turkey is trying desperately to persuade Azerbaijan that an opening to Armenia is in everybody's interests.

"The Turkish strategic perspective and the message that they constantly articulate to Baku is that over the longer term, a normalization with Armenia will actually enhance Turkish leverage and influence in the region -- which, from the Turkish point of view is good for Ankara and good for Baku," says Richard Giragosian, director of the Yerevan-based Center for National and International Studies.

"This is a Turkish strategic agenda based on Turkish national interests. It is not to curry favor with Brussels, nor is it to please Washington. But in the long run from a Turkish perspective, it's good for the region, it's good for Azerbaijan, and it's good for Turkey."

Baku, however, appears unconvinced.

During his visit to Moscow on April 17, Aliyev said he saw no obstacles to cutting a deal to sell natural gas to Russia's Gazprom. Aliyev added that Baku hoped to diversify its natural gas exports, most of which are currently sent west to Europe via Turkey.

Such a move would be a severe blow to the proposed U.S.- and EU-backed Nabucco pipeline, which would transport gas from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to Europe via the South Caucasus, bypassing Russia.

Baku has also warned that an open Turkish-Armenian border "could lead to tensions in the region and would be contradictory to the interests of Azerbaijan."

Shifting Alliances

Analysts say Aliyev is attempting play the gas card to get the best possible deal in a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Specifically, Baku is seeking Russian support for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.

A Karabakh resolution would be a feather in Moscow's cap as it seeks to reassert itself in its former Soviet territories. But a far greater draw -- for Moscow and all the international powers keeping toeholds in the South Caucasus -- is energy.

The South Caucasus' role as a transit hub for oil and gas from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia to Europe is casting a long shadow over the ongoing process as Russia and the West seek to control these crucial energy routes. Ilgar Mammadov, a Baku-based political analyst, says "everybody is playing a sophisticated game."

After the Armenian-Turkish road map was announced on April 22, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that "the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations must proceed in parallel with the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan."

But Mammadov says Baku's strategy has risks, as it could push Azerbaijan even "farther into the hands of Russia" and away from the West.

"Baku is trying to use the advantage of its geopolitical location to influence the position of its European and American partners. But if the Russians respond to this policy in a very material way, like pulling Armenian forces back from some of the occupied territories, I think the foreign policy orientation of this regime in Baku may become irreversible," Mammadov says.

The moves toward Moscow by Baku, which until now has enjoyed a degree of independence due to its energy wealth, are being watched nervously in Georgia, whose ties with Russia have sunk in recent years, bottoming out during the five-day war over South Ossetia in August.

With no energy resources of its own, and an international partner -- the United States -- that has grown more accommodating of Moscow in recent months, Georgia may be in the position to suffer most in the event of a resurgence of Russian influence in the region.

Armenia, which has the strongest traditional ties with Moscow despite its relative lack of resources, may prove a more equal partner if the border with Turkey is opened and its commercial isolation ends. In this way, Russia has a vested interest in seeing the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement move forward, and may be using the Karabakh process to help nudge it along.

In a recent interview with RFE/RL, Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza -- who is one of three co-chairmen of OSCE-sponsored mediation on Karabakh -- stressed that Washington sees the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation and a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement as "separate tracks." He added, however, that negotiations on Karabakh are gaining momentum.

"I honestly can say that I feel more than ever a constructive spirit and that we are actually entering a new phase, I hope, of the negotiations," Bryza said. "The presidents spent a year getting to know each other a bit and knowing each other's positions. And now I feel we are moving to a new phase with a deeper more detailed discussion of the remaining elements of the basic principles that need to be resolved."

Football Diplomacy 2.0

Analysts say, however, that Turkish-Armenian reconciliation will likely precede any settlement on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sabina Freizer, director of the Brussels-based The International Crisis Group's Europe program says many Caucasus-watchers are pointing to October, when Sarkisian is due to visit Turkey to watch a World Cup qualifying soccer match between Armenia and Turkey, as a possible date to close the deal.

"I am quite optimistic and I believe that if the border is opened and diplomatic relations are established this will change things fundamentally in the South Caucasus. I personally believe that at this point the two sides seem to be close enough that the border should open quite quickly," Freizer said. "But of course the timing is very political. One date that people are talking about is during President Sarkisian's visit to Turkey, if it occurs in October. That might be a good time to open the border."

If an agreement is reached in time for Sarkisian's visit, it would provide a tidy conclusion to the "football diplomacy" that the Armenian president began in September, when he hosted Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan to watch the last match between the two national teams.

While the United States has strongly backed Turkey and Armenia normalizing relations, the momentum is also causing some political discomfort for U.S. President Barack Obama.

During a visit to Turkey earlier this month, Obama encouraged the talks between Ankara and Yerevan, saying they "could bear fruit very quickly."

The recent progress, however, will make it difficult for Obama to make good on a campaign promise to Armenian-Americans to recognize the 90-year-old mass killings as genocide. Such a move now would infuriate Turkey and potentially scuttle any deal to open the Armenian border.

But back in the border village of Margara, residents say they are ready to move beyond painful historical grievances.

Three of Demaxia Manukian's uncles perished in the mass killings, but he nevertheless says he is ready to move on.

"There are Turks and there are Armenians. The Turks are human beings, too. They rock their children in their cradles just like we do," Manukian said. "But when politics get injected into this, that is the danger."

RFE/RL's Armenian and Azerbaijani services contributed to this report Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty © 2009

Armenia-Turkey Student Exchange Programs
ANKARA - In a survey carried out to determine the attitudes of university students toward Armenians, it is found that for 44 percent of 3,095 students surveyed the word ‘Armenian’ has negative connotations. However, the majority would prefer opportunities to interact more with them

A comprehensive survey on Turkish university students’ perception of Armenians has revealed that while a majority harbor mainly negative feelings toward Armenians, they would welcome an opportunity for greater interaction with them.

against Armenians exist also at the university students’ level. We wanted to pinpoint the reasons by surveying 3,095 students,” said Evrim Tan, founder of Turkish University Students’ Perspective, or TÜÖY, the student group that carried out the poll, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

The word “Armenian” had negative connotations for 44 percent of respondents. Moreover, 35 percent preferred to not have an Armenian employer, and almost half of students did not want an Armenian spouse. The political appearance of Armenians was even more problematic, as 54 percent of students said they would not vote for a deputy candidate of Armenian origin and 50 percent said they would not want Armenians to have their own publications.

No common ground
“We think a major reason is the lack of contact with the Armenian culture,” Tan said. Despite hundreds of years of co-existence in the Ottoman era, now only 33 percent of students suggested that there were common grounds and proximity between Turkish and Armenian cultures. Contemporary relations are also in a poor stance. Almost 70 percent had never heard the Armenian language being spoken, and only 24 percent said they would welcome an institute for the Armenian language.

“Despite the large number of negative answers regarding Armenians, many interviewees expressed that more studies of a similar type should be carried out,” said Mühtan Sağlam, a senior at TOBB and a writer of the survey. The percent of students who would like to participate in joint social activities with Armenian university students was 42, while 38 said they would not want to take part in such activities.

TÜÖY found a chance to share the results of the survey with its Armenian counterparts in Yerevan, during the Armenia-Turkey nongovernmental organizations meeting in March prepared by the Civil Society Development Centre in Turkey in collaboration with Civil Society Institute in Armenia. “Armenian NGO representatives told us that results would be similar in Armenia, if a Turkish perception survey would be carried out,” said Ozan Ağabaş, TÜÖY representative for the meeting.

“They know very little about Turkey. Indeed, the most widely recognized Turkish figures are Enver, Celal and Talat pashas according to information we had at the convention,” Ağabaş said. The three pashas wielded the power in the Union and Progress Party that ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I. They are viewed as the masterminds of the forced migration of Armenians in 1915, which Armenians claim to be genocide.

Not only the results, which will be published as a book, but also the story of the preparation for the survey is revealing of some troubling tendencies still prevalent in Turkey that cause problems for Armenians.

“The survey was preceded by ‘Dialogue Camp,’ a large student convention to boost Turkish-Armenian cultural dialogue in Ürgüp last March, but many Armenian youth groups in Istanbul refrained from participating at the last minute as their parents asked them ‘not to be seen around too much,’” Tan said. “Nevertheless, we observed that young Armenians in Turkey are way more eager to establish good contacts with Turks.”

TÜÖY will step up efforts to remedy what it says are false perceptions, and seek ways to improve the pace of cultural exchanges between Turks and Armenians. “The next step will be to prepare a detailed plan on initiating student exchange programs between university students in Turkey and Armenia,” Tan said. “Turkish students may be lodged near Armenian families and vice-versa. The plan will be jointly carried out with our Armenian partners in Yerevan and is scheduled for launch in August 2010,” he said.

© Copyright 2008 Hürriyet

Genocide' And The Armenian Reaction 4/27/2009 BY TAHA AKYOL
MILLIYET- US President Barack Obama`s statement was the harshest yet since Ronald Reagan. No, he never said `genocide,` but his statement was harsh, unilateral and accusatory. More and more academic journals call the incidents of 1915 a genocide, and 17 countries have done the same. Obama also contributed to this rising tide of academic and political pressure on Turkey. He said everything but that one word! This isn`t just about our moral and historical stature. There are also Armenian nationalists` political calculations behind the allegations! Even if certain intellectuals and politicians think they`re acting out of `humanitarian` feelings, in the end they become a tool for such spiteful calculations.

As this tide has been rising worldwide for tow decades, what should we do? There`s no ready or easy prescription, but there are two paths:

Develop our relations with Armenia and decrease the tension which feeds the `genocide` claims. The Armenian nationalists realize this, and so are fighting the latest `consensus` reached by Ankara and Yerevan.

Work to set up a joint historical commission to make people realize that not only Armenians, but also Muslims, suffered terribly, and thus the genocide allegations are both one-sided and wrong. That`s why the diaspora and Armenian nationalists from Armenia oppose such a commission. So Hrant Markarian, leader of coalition party the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, said that if the consensus includes a commission, moves on Nagorno-Karabakh and recognition of Turkey`s territorial integrity and its current borders, Armenia should break off the talks. Markarian even mentioned eastern Anatolian in the context of `saving western Armenia.` But if the consensus process continues, it would help spur Armenia`s economy.

Turkey`s interests require developing relations with Armenia, but Azerbaijan has long kept a distance from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Turkey on the Cyprus issue for its own interests. It would be wrong to provoke things by raising these issues. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev is bowing to domestic politics by closing down a Turkish mosque; maybe he wants to dispel the impression that Azerbaijan hasn`t registered a protest. He might be even planning to raise the price of natural gas. I don`t think that he would go so far as to cut off the Shahdeniz gas or sabotage the Nabucco project and thus oppose Turkey and the entire West. When positive developments on the Karabakh issue come from the Minsk Group in a few months, I hope Aliyev will be better able to see what a positive role Turkey has played. Turkey should be very careful on the Azerbaijan issue and avoid getting drawn into a debate.

Turkey contacts US ambassador over Obama's April 24 statement
ISTANBUL - The undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey on Monday to express Ankara's uneasiness regarding the President Barack Obama's statement on April 24.

Obama, who pledged to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incident during his presidential campaign, did not use the word "genocide" while describing the events in his annual April 24 statement to mark the "day of remembrance of the Armenian deaths."

Instead, he used the Armenian term for the killings, "Meds Yeghern," which has been variously translated into English as the "Great Calamity" or "Great Disaster." He also branded the events as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century."

Diplomatic sources said Ertugrul Apakan, undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, expressed Ankara's uneasiness regarding the statement, which ignored the deaths of thousands of Turks during the incidents, according to private ANKA news agency.

Apakan also said some of the expressions Obama used were "unacceptable" and reiterated Turkey's stance that the issue should be resolved by historians, not politicians, Hurriyet daily reported on its Web site.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry, however, did not deliver an official protest to Jeffrey, the reports added.

The issue of the 1915 incidents is a highly sensitive one in both Armenia and Turkey. Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.

Turkey rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate what happened in 1915 and has opened all official archives.
© Copyright 2008

Athens: The Armenians are prohibited from approaching the Turkish Embassy 27 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
On 24 April, after the ceremony commemorating the 94th anniversary of the Genocide of Armenians nearly a thousand of our fellow citizens of Athens began a march to the Turkish Embassy, but were prevented by the police who had established an impressive dam policeman.

The protesters remained in place until late in the evening, without having obtained permission to approach the Turkish Embassy.

Hripsime Haroutiounian who runs the site www.azator.gr is disgusted by the practices of the Police "in a democratic country like Greece where freedom of expression is a common rule."

Yesterday, Sunday 26 April, the Minister of Interior, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, said he was "sorry for the violence and behavior of law enforcement during the event."

Madam Haroutiounian said that Greece has recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1996.
Jean Eckian

History Of How To Fill The Blank Pages And Agree On How The Events That Divide 27 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews

According to Hurriyet Daily News, the Minister of Education issued a revised chapter of the history book of the Year 8 and asked the teachers to teach from the new text. The withdrawal of the name of influential politicians and a change in the definition of fundamentalism would be part of change. The minister's decision would have provoked a lively debate on the effect of chapter on the history of the Republic: updating or revision?

The changes made in the manual classes are taught the history of the Republic have left much white in the last forty years of the country, revealing that the recent history of Turkey is difficult to control.

The seventh chapter of the book, 'Turkey after Ataturk: The Second World War and after has been criticized for mentioning the capture of PKK leader in 1999, some changes to be made by the Ministry of Education led of frown. The Minister has published the 27 pages of the chapter on his website calling for their soint used instead of the version printed in the manual.

The chapter focuses on the history of the country after 1939 and therefore the role of Turkey in the Second World War. The beginning of the democratic multi-party, coups d'état of 1960, 1971 and 1980, the 1970s dominated by the terrorists left and right extremes, the efforts of Turkey to join the EU, the beginning of attacks PKK in years 80 and the capture of Ocalan in 1999, the Gulf wars and the region after the demise of the Soviet Union are developed.

Historians believe that recent history should be treated objectively. Toktam Ates, professor at the University of Istanbul, said that the Committee of Education and Discipline prepared texts based on political views and opinions of those who compose it. People who have lived these events are still there and praise (coups d'état) that is made can be hurt, a-til NTV News reported on April 21.

But Zübeyde Kilic, president of Union of Teachers said that the history textbook is not in accordance with their wishes, especially for coups d'état. According to her, that of September 1980 was a violation of democracy. And there should not be so superficial.


Daily Milliyet focused on change, emphasizing the fundamental threat to the country. In the previous version, fundamentalist acts were defined as efforts to create chaos by the difference of beliefs, and to accuse secularism as anti-religion propaganda against the state and against the founder of Turkey Ataturk. In the new version, there is no mention of secularism but there accuse fundamentalists of trying to 'perpetrate acts of anti-scientific rejecting progressive values for the return of a medieval system.

Another leader of a division of the teachers' union, said the change reflects the intervention of the ruling Justice and Development in the curriculum in order to defend the Islamic political views. 'The fundamentalists and atheists qu'Alévis say the same thing, and they have to condemn Ataturk established a secular system in Turkey. 'But these details have disappeared, which makes the teaching of fundamentalism in Turkey in a concrete way. The new version cites the statement of Ataturk who warned that individuals and groups wishing to return to the past stood before the republic. The chapter argues that the fundamentalists have been a threat since the establishment of the republic.

The military coups

The new chapter refers to the coup of 1960, 1971 and 1980 as having suspended the course of democratization of the country and added that their negative Therefore have been corrected by changes to the constitution, new laws on parties and broader reforms.

The two pages were devoted to coups d'etat in the original section have been replaced by two sentences. The section on the statement of 28 February 1996 written by the soldier who brought the fall of the coalition government, called the coup d'état modern post was removed altogether.

Another leader of the teachers' union, the withdrawal of coups d'état of the course is a good thing because the previous version had these coups d'etat as acts reasonable and legitimate.

Among the sections that have not been included in the new chapter are those which were included former presidents Turgut Ozal and Suleyman Demirel and former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.


The activity of the missionaries were included in the sections on threats to the country and the fundamental threats. They wrote 'missionary activity is not simply a proliferation of religious activity. It can not be justified by freedom of thought or freedom of expression. It is a systematic and organized movement to force people to change religion. The work of missionaries also includes political, economic and cultural and is supported by NGOs and by foreign forces .. Missionaries exploit individual and economic problems are a threat to national unity and sovereignty. "


The section 'Why Armenians are they a problem? "Was changed to' Turkish-Armenian relations.

The new section lists the terrorist activities of 70 and 80 years against the Turkish diplomats and noted that Turkey opened its archives on the incidents of 1915.

Aksam newspaper notes that these changes occur at a time when Turkey and Armenia are trying to improve their bilateral relations.

Translation: Gilbert Beguian

Baskin Oran Ataturk Accuses Of Taking Advantage Of The "Great Catastrophe" 27 April 2009, by Stéphane / armenews

On the television Habertürk, Baskin Oran was the guest on the program Kisa Devre (Circuit Court) where he was interrogated by Cem Mumcu and Harun Tekin. Baskin Oran has claimed that the Armenian issue was an underlying element of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. Recognizing that tribes Kurds (ashiretler) had appropriéss properties of Armenians during the deportation of 1915 "said Baskin Oran," if the Kurds had not supported Mustafa Kemal, the Turkish Republic was not founded ".

Baskin Oran claimed he would not have been possible to establish the Turkish Republic [with the support of] tribal Kurds, there was a risk that the Armenians return to claim their properties.

Manifesations of 24 April 2009 before the Parliament in Ottawa 27 avril 2009, par Ara/armenews lundi27 April 2009, Ara / armenews

Beaucoup de monde devant le Parlement Canadien à la manifestation du 24 avril. Many people before the Canadian Parliament in the demonstration on 24 April.

Reportage photos envoyé par Maître Haytoug Chamlian. Reportage photos sent by Master Haytoug Chamlian.

Turkish Wedge In The Armenian Reality Karine Ter-Sahakyan, PanARMENIAN.Net 23.04.2009

Representatives of the Armenian Diaspora find it important for Yerevan to know that the Armenians of France repudiate any agreement, achieved at the expense of national interests of the Armenian people.

The Armenian-Turkish agreement on the road map, in the final analysis, could be promulgated after April 24, at least out of respect for the memory of one-and-a-half million Armenians tortured and killed in the Syrian deserts and another half a million, scattered throughout the world. After all, this is not even an agreement, but simply a memorandum on mutual understanding, that could be signed at any time within the framework of "football diplomacy" between September 6, 2008 and October 2009, when the reciprocal match Turkey - Armenia would take place.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ However, since the document contains no word about preconditions, Turkey decided to at least snatch a piece of imaginary victory - the date of proclamation, thus putting Armenia and the Diaspora on the verge of separation. And in a few years no one will ever remember what was there in the agreement, the most important factor is that it was signed a day before April 24...

According to independent French journalist Jean Eckiyan, Armenians express their deepest concern over the statement of the Armenian and Turkish MFAs. "This statement is undesirable for the following reasons: first, it is made on the threshold of April 24, when throughout the world Armenians remember the Armenian Genocide and second, it can force Armenia to make certain concessions in the question of recognition of the Genocide and the regulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."

Representatives of the Armenian Diaspora consider that official Yerevan, participating in such "doubtful and dangerous negotiations", should know that the Armenians of France, together with other Diaspora communities, repudiate any agreement, achieved at the expense of national interests of the Armenian people.

Hardly can any government of Armenia sign a document, analogous to the Kars agreement, which will now be discussed below.

The text contains no mention whatever of preconditions laid by Turkey, namely: renunciation of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, regulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and acknowledgement of the boundaries of present-day Turkey, i.e. ratification of the Kars agreement signed in 1921. And if the first two clauses are not so important for Turkey, signing of the Kars agreement is so much necessary to Ankara that it is ready to give up everything, and the Karabakh issue in particular, which, in the essence, has been only hindering Turkey for the last 15 years. It is appropriate to recall that Baku is now in a very nervous state, quite close to panic. But this is, in the essence, their problem.

However, as far as the Kars agreement is concerned, it expired in 1946, which we have already written about. Actually, therefore the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Vyacheslav Molotov in 1951 stated that the USSR had no territorial claims to Turkey, "forgetting", that the agreement was already void. Consequently, the Kars Province, that was part of the Russian Empire, was to automatically return to Russia, i.e. to the Soviet Union. However, the Cold War started and Turkey should have been neutralized and flattered, and we got what we have now: an extremely dangerous neighbor, which is eager to, at any cost, legally consolidate its borders.

It is probably necessary to remind that the Armenian-Turkish negotiations have been conducted in Switzerland since 2007. Only they have livened up recently, especially in connection with the growing instability in Georgia. Russia, USA and Europe are all interested in the normalization.

In a word, everything was leading to the fact that sooner or later a document had to be signed. Even the date was assumed - April 16, when FM of Turkey Ali Babacan was to arrive in Yerevan. However, no document was signed in Yerevan, though judging by some information leakages from government sources, the preliminary version of agreement was made.

The road map between Armenia and Turkey is only a preliminary document. It is not yet elaborated and we do not know what its final version will be like. The agreement is apparently called to confirm that the Turkish-Armenian negotiations go normally; however, it is not less obvious that not all the disputable matters are finally settled.

Sydney's Armenian Community Commemorates The Armenian Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net
26.04.2009 01:39
Armenians all around the world, both in Armenia and the Diaspora, commemorate the death of 1.5 million Armenians exterminated during the first genocide of the 20th century by Ottoman Turkey, Armenian Rights Council of Australia reports.

This year, the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide has particularly significant meaning because it coincides with the 100th Anniversary of Adana massacres where an estimated 30,000 Armenians in the province were killed in events that coincided with the April 1909 counter-revolution stages by supporters of Sultan Abdul Hamid II who had been forced to restore the Ottoman Constitution as a result of the 1908 Young Turk revolution.

The Sydney Armenian community came together on Sunday 19th of April 2009 for the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. The annual commemoration is organized by the Armenian Democratic Liberal Organization, the Hunchak Social Democratic Organization and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and is supported by Sydney based Armenian religious, cultural, benevolent, educational, media, and sporting organisations.

The key note speaker at this year's commemoration was Melbourne-based scholar, Dr. Paul Bartrop who joined political figures, representatives and members of Sydney's Armenian community in commemorating the 94th Anniversary of the Turkish campaign to annihilate the entire Armenian nation.

Represented at the commemoration were the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Kevin Rudd MP, as well as the Leader of the Federal Opposition, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP. Also represented at the commemoration were the Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales, Mr. Barry O'Farrell MP and the New South Wales Greens Party.

Both the statement sent by Prime Minister Rudd and the address made on behalf of Mr. Turnbull referred to what took place in 1915 as tragic events' and expressed their solidarity and support to the Australian Armenian community.

Ny Governor And Mayor Issued Proclamations On Armenian Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net
New York Governor David A. Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued proclamations acknowledging Armenian Genocide, Yonkers Tribune reports.

New York Governor David A. Paterson issued a Proclamation for the Empire State to join in with the entire community to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923), the first genocide of the 20th Century. Governor Bloomberg also issued a proclamation acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. In the City of New York proclamation, Mayor Bloomberg states, "The first victims of the Genocide were the religious, political and intellectual leaders of the Constantinople's community who were arrested and murdered on April 24, 1915."

In the New York State proclamation, the Governor states, "Whereas, a deliberate effort to destroy people on a massive scale, the Armenian Genocide led academics to use the term genocide and it is believed that, had the Armenian Genocide been stopped through diplomatic or interventionist means, the resulting precedent for peace could have prevented the Holocaust that befell the Jewish people."

Armenian Genocide Commemorated In Capitol Hill's Historic Cannon Caucus Room PanARMENIAN.Net
Dozens of Democratic and Republican Members of Congress joined Wednesday evening with over five hundred Armenian Americans from across the United States in Capitol Hill's historic Cannon Caucus Room in a solemn remembrance devoted to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), in their remarks to the standing-room only audience, both spoke forcefully of their personal commitment to proper U.S. condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

"It is long past the time for the United States to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide," noted Speaker Pelosi in her remarks. She went on to spotlight the importance of grassroots efforts against Turkey's multi-million dollar campaign of genocide denial. "How far we can go with the resolution [H.Res.252] this year depends on the outreach that each and everyone of us in this room can do to win on the floor of the House. We can do any amount of inside maneuvering in the Congress and Washington, but what is important is the outside mobilization to bring to bear the voices of people across America."

The Congressional Armenian Genocide observance was organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, with Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) serving as Masters of Ceremony. Opening prayers were offered by his Eminence Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern United States as well as Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern United States.

Joining Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer in offering remarks at the Armenian Genocide commemoration were Armenian Genocide Resolution lead sponsors Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), House Members of Armenian descent Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), as well as Reps. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV) and Tim Walz (D-MN).

The evening included powerful remarks about the consequences of genocide by guest speaker Dr. Henry Theriault of Worcester State University. Also offering remarks were Armenian Ambasador Tatul Markarian and Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan.

New US / Armenia / Turkey Axis? Nikos Retsos on April 27th, 2009
At a time that the U.S. is debating whether to go ahead with its anti-missile system in Europe against Russia under a hypothetical threat from Iran, and the U.S. and other Nato forces are holding military exercises in Georgia, it seems to me that Armenia is coaxed into this friendship by Turkey probably at the behest of the U.S. The re-emergence of Russia as a power to be reckon with, and the recent Chinese display of modernization of its army and navy, has signified the need for the U.S. to establish a friendly countries corridor in Asia against Russian and Chinese expansion of influence.

Does Armenia want to be part of that game? Georgia and Ukraine thought before that being part of that game will make them secure from Russia, rich and prosperous. These countries are in shambles now, and the worst is yet to come. Turkey is on the game to lure Armenia into the Western geopolitical strategy in Central Asia in return of U.S. help to Turkeys admission into the European Union. At the same time, Turkey can wash out the Armenian Genocide of 1915 with euphemisms such as millions of Turks died too, and come on top of the Armenian Genocide as a victim too! And that will be the ultimate insult to the 1.5 Armenian genocide victims, and an insult to the history of the Armenian nation.

Turkey wants to use its friendship with Armenia not only as a Trojan Horse to enter the European Union, but also expects a friendly Armenia to cooperate with Turkey on military intelligence against the Kurdish guerrillas. And the U.S. will be part of that military intelligence network against Iran. And once Armenia has become part of that U.S./Turkey network, and once it has alienated Russia and has nowhere else to go, Armenian interests in Nagorno Karabagh will be sold out to Azerbaijan to keep it in the Western alliance as well. That is how the U.S. deceived the late legendary Kurdish guerrilla leader Mustafa Barzani, and brought him to the U.S. to live in Washington under a CIA pension until his death, and it is still unknown if that was voluntary or against his will. And of course the de-population of Kurds from southeastern Turkey continues, as is the bombing of the Kurdish villages in Eastern Turkey and northern Iraq with the consent of the U.S.

Does Armenia want to be an errand boy of the U.S. and Turkey in the game of the geopolitical interests in the region? I am sure Armenia will be offered sweetening deals to become part of the U.S./Turkey fold, but, if it does, it will become so dependent in the long run that it will find itself subservient and unable to disengage. A look at the collapsing economies of Georgia and Ukraine may provide a glimpse of what Armenia may look like some day down the road. And once that road is taken, as Georgia and Ukraine have found out, there may be no easy return.

I am sure there are different opinions in Armenia about what is best for the country, and what the countrys best interests are. But the motto: history repeat itself, because those who do not know history repeat the mistakes of the past, carries a lot of weight for Armenia. Armenia shall not sweep its history under the rug for expediency. And that is why Iran wisely doesnt want to jump into the U.S. offer for better U.S/Iranian relations. Because it doesnt want to sweep its past history of full U.S. control of the country under the rug, to make sure that it is not repeated again. Global hegemonism is like a spider web. The smaller counties trapped in are usually the victims. And as the proverb says: Be careful what you want. You may get it! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

April 27, 2009 What Happens Next? By Ara Khachatourian
The timing of the now-infamous Roadmap announced last Wednesday by the foreign ministries of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland not only cast a dark cloud over April 24 commemorations around the world and in Armenia, but also put in motion political events, the results of which may, in the long run, hurt Armenia and Armenians and their national aspirations and security.

Monday's announcement by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation to quit Armenia's coalition government resulted from this and other contentious issues stemming from Yerevan's handling of this process and creating a new political landscape that can have its implications in the Diaspora.

It is always desirable and socio-economically necessary to have good relations with one's neighbors, but the manner in which this particular agreement was derived raises questions about the viability of Armenia's position in this and other regional aspects. The agreement, which is shrouded in secrecy and official Yerevan's refusal to dialogue with its people prior to taking the country on a journey of historic proportions, makes it hard to not conjecture that in this process Armenia has made certain concessions.

Although President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian continue to reiterate that these discussions and any future agreement on opening of the borders will be derived without any pre-conditions, the timing--two days before the official 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide--signals that an irreversible and irrevocable concession was already forced on and made by Armenia.

While during the negotiation process, the parties can express and adopt positions that may lead to success or breakdown of talks, the fact will always remain that the announcement was made on April 22. There is no going back.

The Turkish side adeptly manipulated this process beginning with leaks in Turkish, US and Azeri press alleging that Armenia had already agreed to certain provisions the most important of which was the establishment of a commission to address the Genocide and the second the recognition of today's Turkish borders, which effectively signaled that Armenia was willing to recognize the Kars treaty to which it was never a signatory.

During recent weeks, the tenor of the Sarkisian administration on the issue of Genocide recognition also changed.

In an interview, which was conducted before the roadmap agreement but was published after the announcement Sarkisian told the Wall Street Journal that recognition of Genocide was for restoration of justice and prevention of genocide in the future--a very watered-down version of the Armenian Cause.

Sarkisian went on tell the WSJ that If some countries decide to create difficulties in those [Armenia-Turkey] relations, they would just announce a recognition of genocide and so would compromise relations between Armenia and Turkey. Once again, it is not we who are pushing the US to recognize the genocide. For an administration, which from day one has stated that the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide was an integral part of its foreign and domestic policy, this flip-flopping by the president sends a mixed signal to foreign governments and thwarts decades-long efforts to garner recognition for the Genocide.

The meddling US-factor cannot be ignored in this equation. The unprecedented attention that the Caucasus/Turkey received during the first 100 days of the Obama administration, with Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama visiting Turkey and the State Department's consigliore, Matthew Bryza effectively setting up camp in the Caucasus and specifically at Ilham Aliyev's doorstep, signaled that the US wanted to place this issue on the fast track, because it wanted to advance its agenda in the region and the role Turkey needed to play in order for US aspirations to succeed. Obama was not going to risk a repeat of 2003 when Turkey refused US access to Iraq through the Incirlik airbase.

So, why not give everyone what they wanted.

Obama perched Turkey on a mantle as a regional player/leader/conduit and through Vice-President Joe Biden applauded Sarkisian for his leadership, an affirmation by the US that the Armenian president needed and direly wanted ever since taking office in April 2008. So, Armenia was quick to give in to US demands, perhaps in hopes that it will receive a larger US aid package and the once-frozen Millennium challenge money.

This is no excuse for Obama to trample on his own campaign pledge on April 24, but if the Armenian leadership was willing to show disdain on the timing of this announcement, then more reason for the US to justify its actions by pointing the finger at Armenia.

Nevertheless, Obama's betrayal of his own pledge is unforgivable and demonstrates that this agent for change buckled down under pressure from the various forces that define the US agenda and became synonymous with his predecessors. By not properly recognizing the Genocide, Obama alienated a very vocal support-base, which went to great lengths to ensure his election.

The always word-conscious Obama should be told that Medz Yeghern does not mean Tseghaspanutiune--Genocide.

So, what does happen next? The domino effect that Yerevan's faulty timing has created will impact on how we do things here in the US. This means securing the passage of the Genocide resolution is now, more than ever, more critical and demands a more vigorous grassroots involvement to ensure that the number of co-sponsors increases and that Speaker Pelosi will place this for a vote on the House floor.

Her remarks last week indicated her continued insistence that the Genocide be recognized. We should harness the bi-partisan support toward the passage of the resolution, which, in essence, direct the president to properly recognize the Genocide.

As for the ARF, it will become an alternative on the political scene in Armenia and will be able to guide the people through principled policies aimed at fostering national interests and it will continue to vocally oppose any effort or agreement that will pose a threat to national security and threaten our national aspirations. April 27, 2009

What Is Kars Agreement? Armen Manvelian AZG Armenian Daily , 28/04/2009
Armenian-Turkish last statement has kicked up a fuss in Armenia. We can underline that there is no neutral and impartial analysis here. Trying to fill up the gap here, "Azg" daily publishes so-called Kars agreement that according to the Turkish press is one of the preconditions that the official Ankara puts forward for improvement of Armenian-Turkish bilateral relations and opening of the border. And in this situation the main question is - what is Kars agreement and what subject does it touch upon?

Once more we want to underline that it is not clear yet if the Kars agreement is a precondition or not, but we want to note that it is signed on October 13, 1921, between Turkey, on the one hand, and Soviet Republics of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, on the other hand. This multilateral agreement was signed in the presence of Russian delegation representatives and was actually the reflection of the Russian-Turkish agreement signed in March of 1921. Foreign Minister Asqanaz Mravian and Minister of Internal Affairs Petros Makintsian signed the agreement on behalf of Soviet Armenia. After one year of signing the agreement it was ratified by the Transcaucasian three republics and the ratification documents were handed to the Turkish side in Yerevan. Practically, the Armenian-Turkish present-day border has been marked by this agreement. It is the only agreement that regulates the relations between the two countries. Subsequently, a memorandum of using drinking and irrigation water on Armenian-Turkish border, and also other documents were signed on the basis of this agreement.

People, who are against this agreement's reaffirmation, mention that it is against our claim and with this agreement we actually recognize modern Turkey's territorial integrity. In 1991, when Armenia proclaimed its independence, it was announced that the newly independent Armenia is the legal successor of the Soviet Republic. It stands to reason that the third republic recognizes all agreements signed by the Soviet Armenia.

Besides, in March of 1991, when Armenia became a UN member, the Armenian authorities actually recognized the territorial integrity of the UN member-countries. It means that Armenia has already de jure recognized the neighboring Turkey's territorial integrity for several times. Consequently, the clamor set up by the Armenian political parties is only a PR and is delayed from the aspect of international law.

However, the Kars agreement has defects as well. In particular, it is underlined in the agreement that under concept of Turkey the territories are kept in view that are involved in the National Oath adopted by the Ottoman Parliament in Costandinopolis (Istanbul) on January 28, 1920. It means that Armenia taking into account the above-mentioned can renounce this agreement, because according to so-called National Oath such territories were involved in the borders of Turkey that today are not part of it and belong to Iran and Iraq. Besides, the Kars state was out of the borders of that Turkey.

Therefore, the agreement needs detailed and impartial discussion and analysis to understand if it is advantageous or not.

Nevertheless, I think that Armenia should step boldly forward and carry on an active dialogue with Turkey that will not only solve the issue of the border but also will create a new political situation in the whole South Caucasus and will strengthen Armenia's position in the international scene.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation Statement www.arf.am Yerevan
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation announces the cessation of its participation in the political coalition.

We deem it necessary to explain this step in view of its political significance and consequences, and the public's interest.

First of all, the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun joined the coalition in order to overcome through the unity of forces the crisis facing the country following the presidential elections and the threats to the independence and security of the two Armenian states, and with the aim of making coordinated reforms.

During this period there were certain achievements, but insurmountable disagreements on matters of principle emerged with respect to the direction of the foreign policy.

It has always been our conviction that one of the main directions of the the state's national security strategy is the universal recognition and condemnation, especially by Turkey, of the Armenian Genocide. This is seen not only in the context of the restoration of historical justice, but also as a way to improve the overall environment of mutual trust in the region, while also preventing similar crimes in the future. In this sense, as we have already announced, we find unacceptable and condemn the agreement by Armenia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to join the April 22 joint statement with Turkey, on the eve of April 24 and when the leaders of Turkey are=0 D making anti-Armenian announcements and restating preconditions for the normalization of relations. We also have principled disagreements with the position of the authorities of Armenia on certain issues being discussed in the Armenia-Turkey negotiations. We will publicize our positions regarding those issues when they are discussed in public.

Henceforth, in the political landscape of Armenia the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun will assume a new role, that of an opposition force. Our main priorities will be:

1. To become a full-fledged alternative to the authorities, proposing our own programs and solutions on all major issues.

2. As opposition to assume the role of effectively counterbalancing and restraining the authorities.

3. To take the necessary actions to heal and crystallize the political landscape, to form civilized relations between the authorities and the opposition, to establish social justice and to strengthen democracy.

4. To carry on comprehensive activities emanating from electoral promises, showcasing the ARF-Dashnkatsutyun's ideological and political character.

5. In the processes of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and the resolution of the Karabagh conflict, to be guided exclusively by our state-national interests and goals.

We appreciate the work carried out jointly with our coalition partners and we wish them success in their endeavors in the interest of our state and people.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Body Of Armenia 27 April 2009

A Decent Compromise April 25th, 2009 by Daniel Larison
I failed to mention the commemoration of the Armenian genocide yesterday. After seeing Obama’s remarks, I thought I would make a couple of observations. Obviously, Obama refrained from referring to it directly as genocide in English, and the Armenian phrase he used to describe it, Mets Yeghern (or, in the Western dialect transliteration being used in the official remarks, Meds Yeghern), primarily means slaughter or crime, but it can be and has been used to refer to genocide. The official name for the genocide in Armenian is a calque, tseghaspanut’yun, which refers specifically to the killing of a race or people, so it is not quite full recognition, but it is also as close to full recognition as possible under present circumstances. This provides a face-saving way to acknowledge the reality of what happened without unduly irritating Turkey, and I think it shows enough respect to Armenian history without jeopardizing the improving relations between Turkey and Armenia.

A Decent Compromise (II) April 26th, 2009 by Daniel Larison
Alex Massie and Michael Crowley are less impressed with Obama’s statement on the Armenian genocide than I was. Ben Smith records the official lobby reactions, which I think are mistaken on both sides. Contrary to the Turkish Coalition’s awful statement, Obama did not “defer” to historians (by which they mean embrace whitewashing of the record), but he made quite clear that he regarded it as one of the great atrocities of the last century and used an Armenian phrase, Meds Yeghern, to describe it that conveys the message that these were criminal acts. Not unfortunate incidents or unavoidable wartime excesses, as the hacks and paid-off spokesmen would have it, but crimes and atrocities. That implies willful mass murder directed against an entire people, which in the end is quite close to what people understand when someone refers to genocide. In my modern Eastern Armenian dictionary, yeghern means “slaughter, carnage, genocide” or a “crime” or “evil deed,” and the word yeghern has been and can be used in the context of referring to the genocide.

The one thing lacking from the statement, which we know is lacking not for any good historical reason but obviously because of sheer politicking and interest group lobbying, is the word itself and the attribution of responsibility to the elements of the Ottoman government that organized and carried out the genocide. The statement is therefore incomplete, and it does fall short of what Obama promised he would do, but there is little cause for the pro-Turkish side to be particularly pleased about the result. It is understandable that advocates of recognition are disappointed, but one need only compare statements of the last two Presidents to appreciate how much of an improvement this statement is over what we have been offered before. In his last statement in 2000, the same year he scuppered a House resolution acknowledging the genocide, Clinton referred to the genocide as a “great tragedy,” which is rather less strong than referring to it as a great atrocity. Bush’s 2001 statement was relatively stronger, inasmuch as he described it as “forced exile and annihilation,” but did not go so far as to call it an atrocity, and by 2008 the word annihilation had dropped out all together to be replaced by “mass killings.” By comparison, Obama’s statement is a significant improvement, especially when he says:

I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.

In every way short of using the word, he is saying that it was a genocide, and I think he reasonably refrains from using the word, which might badly damaged U.S.-Turkish and Turkish-Armenian relations*, while all but conveying the same meaning.

* It is worth noting that Reagan publicly referred to “the genocide of the Armenians” almost thirty years ago, and somehow our alliance with Turkey endured. I am still inclined to think that waiting until relations are somewhat better is the wiser thing to do, but a President has already acknowledged the truth and our relationship with Turkey survived intact because of shared interests. My guess is that the Turkish Coalition’s boast that “his administration will not sacrifice long-term strategic allies for short-term political gains” will be thrown back in their faces in the event it becomes clear that neither Washington nor Ankara is willing to end our long-term strategic alliance over this question. Indeed, my guess is that over the next few years we will find out that Ankara has been engaged in an extraordinary bluff that multiple administrations have never had the courage to call.

5 Responses to “A Decent Compromise (II)”
JJM, on April 27th, 2009 Said:

It’s worth noting that Reagan’s comment was made in the context of ongoing fighting in Lebanon, which pitted Christians against Muslim and secular factions. I don’t think I have to mention that Reagan greatly depended on the Christian vote, and moreover would later go on to make somewhat fawning comments about other foreign factions fighting “American-esque” conflicts, e.g. the Mujahideen.

I certainly wouldn’t have put it past Reagan to make such a comment about the Armenian genocide in order to please domestic groups or, even, simply for bluster. It’s part of what Reagan was.

Daniel Larison, on April 27th, 2009 Said:

Er, no, he was referring to the genocide in the context of remarks on Holocaust remembrance, in which he also referred to the genocide of the Cambodians. Perhaps he was also keen to win the burgeoning Buddhist vote. Seriously, the Armenians in Lebanon tried to stay neutral in the civil war, so it wouldn’t make much sense to invoke the genocide in connection with a war in which Armenians were largely not involved in active fighting on either side.

Reagan was from California, where a lot of Armenian-Americans lived then and still live today, and so he was undoubtedly more attuned to Armenian constituencies and more responsive to pressure from them on this question. It’s not that mysterious why he is the only modern President to call the genocide what it was.

bjololian, on April 27th, 2009 Said:

It is astonishing to read that President Obama did not use the word “genocide” to describe the Armenian experience 1915-23, when the word “genocide” was coined by Raphael Lemkin to specifically describe the barbarity that befell the Armenians at the hands of the Turks.

Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent and a holocaust survivor, coined the word “genocide” to properly characterize the slaughter of the Armenians, explaining that the Turks acted with intent to annihilate.

Prior to the use of the word “genocide”, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other world leaders described the events as the “Armenian holocaust.”

President Obama who does not speak Armenian, used the Armenian words “Medz Yeghern” (The great catastrophe) thus shielding Turkey of any legal accountability for its crimes under UN and international laws for the prevention and punishment of the crimes of genocide.

Imagine if back in the days of West Germany the US president refrained from using the word “Holocaust” not wanting to offend or sour relations with a strategic NATO ally, thus describing the events of WWII as “Shoha”.

bjololian, on April 27th, 2009 Said:

It is astonishing to read that President Obama did not use the word “genocide” to describe the Armenian experience 1915-23, when the word “genocide” was coined by Dr. Raphael Lemkin to specifically describe the barbarity that befell the Armenians at the hands of the Turks.

Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent and a holocaust survivor, coined the word “genocide” to properly characterize the slaughter of the Armenians, explaining that the Turks acted with intent to annihilate.

Prior to the use of the word “genocide”, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other world leaders described the events as the “Armenian holocaust.”

President Obama who does not speak Armenian, used the Armenian words “Medz Yeghern” (The great catastrophe) thus shielding Turkey of any legal
accountability for its crimes under UN and international laws for the prevention and punishment of the crimes of genocide.

Imagine if back in the days of West Germany the US president refrained from using the word “Holocaust” not wanting to offend or sour relations with a strategic NATO ally, thus describing the events surrounding WWII as “Shoha”.

JJM, on April 27th, 2009 Said:

It’s not that mysterious why he is the only modern President to call the genocide what it was.

You’re right; it’s not mysterious at all. As I stated and you agreed, it was politically expedient for Reagan.

The Caucasian Energy Circle By Soner Cagaptay , April 27, 2009
Turkey and Armenia are getting closer, and that's great news. Washington has long wanted the two countries to get over their differences, open their closed border, and establish diplomatic ties. If all that happened, it would be wonderful news. But euphoria over Turkish-Armenian rapprochement should not, however, obfuscate the big, strategic picture in the Caucasian energy circle. The thaw in Turkish-Armenian relations should not come at the expense of the East-West energy corridor, i.e. cooperation over pipelines running from Azerbaijan to Turkey, a crucial strategic tool for Washington to decrease the West's dependence on Middle East oil and gas.

The Caucasian energy circle starts in the oil and gas-rich countries on the Caspian Sea, namely Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. Azerbaijan, lying to the west of the Caspian Sea, is the origin of any energy lines emanating from the basin. Russia to the north wants to be the only buyer of these resources, so it can monopolize the sales to Western markets. So far, however, Azerbaijan has worked with the West and Turkey to build the pipelines, instead of with Russia. Turkey, which lies to the West, closes the energy circle as the terminus of pipelines. In the 1990s, the United States joined the Caucasian circle, supporting construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline that extends from Azerbaijan to Turkey, successfully bypassing Russia.

The BTC is anathema to Russia. Built when Russia was weak and ruled by politically impotent Yeltsin, the BTC is one of only two pipelines that run from the Caspian basin to the West without going through Russia. Today, Russia is a muscular country and ruled by politically-savvy Putin. If Putin had a magic wand; the first thing he would do would be to make BTC disappear.

Washington, for its part, wants the BTC to flourish and extend new pipeline projects, both eastwards to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and westwards towards Europe in new pipeline projects, including the Nabucco gas pipeline to Western Europe. In this endeavor, Turkey is a crucial transit country, but Azerbaijan is still key since it is where the pipelines emanate. Without Azerbaijan, there could be no BTC or Nabucco, and then, the East-West corridor would be a pipedream.

Enter the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. Azerbaijan has a dispute with Armenia over the latter's occupation of Azeri territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave since the early 1990s. Turkey has long supported Azerbaijan, a fellow Turkic country, against Armenian occupation, keeping its border with Yerevan closed to force Armenia to pull out. This stance bonded Turkey and Azerbaijan in the 1990s, allowing the United States to work with both nations to build the BTC. However, if Turkish-Armenian relations warmed sans Armenian guarantees to end occupation, Azerbaijan would feel rejected by Turkey. Azerbaijan already feels abandoned by the West, following the lack of criticism to Russia's summer 2008 invasion of Georgia, another country in the Caucasian circle. Forsaken by the West and now by Turkey and increasingly intimidated by the region's new bully, Azerbaijan would certainly turn towards Russia as its new patron. That would be the death knoll of the East-West corridor. In fact, in anticipation of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, Azerbaijan has already hinted that it wants to give its gas and oil to Moscow to make nice with Russia.

The United States can have its cake and eat it, too. The trick is to normalize Turkish-Armenian ties, but to accomplish that while keeping Turkey and Azerbaijan aligned. An Azerbaijani-Armenian-Turkish axis would be Washington's lynchpin in the Caucasian circle, but it would only be possible if the ongoing Turkish-Armenian rapprochement was accompanied by a guarantee from Armenia that it is ready to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan. Washington and Ankara should join the Caucasian circle to achieve this strategic end.

Turkey and Armenia have to move ahead, and Washington should support this process. However, it would be sad if the United States won over Armenia but lost Azerbaijan. Breaking the Caucasian energy circle would dead-end U.S. efforts in the Caucasus and cede the entire region and its energy resources to the circle's new owner, Russia.

Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the author of Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who Is a Turk? (2006).

Genocide and Its (Dis)contents
`Genocide' debate is important, but should not distract from Armenians' historical suffering
Thursday, April 23, 2009 By MATTHEW H. GHAZARIAN

Tomorrow, April 24th, Armenians around the world will gather on what they call Martyrs' Day to commemorate the Ottoman Empire's deportation and mass slaughter of Armenians during World War I. Armenians and many others deem this the first genocide of the 20th century, citing scholarly consensus that the atrocities were a well-documented and premeditated wartime assault on an ethnic and religious minority.

Not everyone aligns with this view, however'others, namely the current Turkish government, vehemently reject the use of the word `genocide' to describe these events. This puts President Obama in a difficult situation. In years past, the president of the United States has delivered a speech commemorating these events. Obama will almost certainly keep with this unofficial tradition. But, if he omits the word `genocide,' Armenians around the world will accuse Obama of breaking his promise to explicitly label the events as such. Likewise, if he does utter the `G-word,' a torrent of infuriated accusations will flood in from the many who reject this label.

Word choice here is certainly very important. To label the acts `genocide' would put the late Ottoman government in the company of Nazis in Germany, Hutus in Rwanda, and other perpetrators of genocide. But no matter how powerful the label of `genocide' may be, insisting on its use should never come before the priority of accurately describing what happened. While a debate over the precise terminology may be useful for international lawyers, for activists and ordinary citizens, studying the actual historical events and their lessons is far more relevant and meaningful than sparring over semantics. For Turkey and Armenia to learn from their experiences in a productive way, both countries should resist the temptation to concentrate too much on this single, albeit extremely powerful, word.

So loaded is the term that it can override logic itself. In an official statement last year, President George W. Bush declared that `as many as 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, many of them victims of mass killings and forced deportations.' Ironically, many Turkish activists celebrated this description for its omission of the word `genocide,' despite its overwhelming castigation of the events in all other ways. Never mind Bush's accusation that their forebears had executed a campaign of forced deportation and mass murder; as long as the word `genocide' was not mentioned, they believed that they had won.

Similarly, at times Armenian activists have allowed their fixation with the word `genocide' to trump their respect for historical fact. In attempts to convince the world that genocide took place, activists rely at times on inflated death tolls and disputable sources to prove their points. Armenian activists must realize that the accusation of genocide is grave and that using any source or figure that is even remotely disputable is an irresponsible act that only undermines their cause. Carelessly spreading inaccurate information insults both the Turkish and Armenian peoples, slandering the Turkish nation for crimes it did not commit as well as casting doubt on the true accounts of Armenian survivors.

Those of us recognizing Martyrs' Day tomorrow, then, should not fall into the trap of arguing over whether the events of 1915 should be classified as `genocide.' Instead, we should find people who were there or were affected and speak with these living primary and secondary sources. It shouldn't be too difficult to find someone'cities all over the world, from Boston to L.A., Montreal to Fresno, Moscow to Sao Paulo, and Paris to Beirut, host thriving Armenian communities made up of scattered survivors and their descendants, all of whom have a story to tell. And, when we do talk to them, instead of asking, `Was it a genocide?', we should simply ask, `What happened?' That way, instead of feeling the pressure to shape such devastating experiences to a label, we can let the content of history speak for itself.

Matthew H. Ghazarian '10, a Crimson editorial writer, is a government concentrator in Kirkland House.
PanArmenian News, Armenia

Ruben Safrastyan: Obama Excelled His Predecessors 25.04.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ U.S. President Barack Obama excelled his predecessors in his annual April 24 statement and this fact is welcome, an Armenian professor said.

`Obama employed the term Genocide, which is used by Armenians and has no legal power, while Genocide is the term used in international law. Nevertheless, I think progress has been fixed and adoption of the Armenian Genocide resolution will not be opposed by the White House any longer,' Ruben Safrastyan, director of the NAS RA Institute of Oriental Studies, told PanARMENIAN.Net.

At that, he thinks that the joint statement issued by the Armenian and Turkish Foreign Ministries was not the key reason for Obama's not saying `genocide'.

`Turkey is an important ally for U.S. in case with Afghanistan and Iraq. The Armenian-Turkish relations have nothing to do with it,' prof. Safrastyan said.

Armen Djigarkhanyan: In Truth, Obama Saying The Genocide Word Is Not Of Importance25.04.2009

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ When asked to express his opinion about US President Barack Obama's not saying the Genocide word in his April 24 address, USSR People's actor Armen Djigarkhanyan replied in a half-joking manner, `I never met Obama, so I didn't have a chance discuss the issue.'

`What we are anticipating at present, is a matter of political importance. The importance of Obama's personality is of temporary nature, while the Armenian Genocide recognition issue has a history of 94 years. The most important thing is our attitude to the current situation. We are required to approach the matter with an open heart and sober mind. Emotions won't be of any use,' the actor said.

Djikarkhanyan believes that anyone speaking about the Armenian Genocide should first of all consider his competency with regard to the matter. At the same time, the great actor expressed confidence that any Armenian is entitled to demand Genocide recognition and allow of possibility of diplomatic ties between Armenia and Turkey.

Opposition Criticizes Erdoğan’s Reaction To Obama Message
Opposition leaders have been critical of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's comments following US President Barack Obama's statement commemorating Armenians killed in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said yesterday that Erdoğan in a way accepted Obama's "unacceptable" remarks, opining that the prime minister's response to the words of the US president was "not harsh enough."

"Muslims' concerns have been ignored [in Obama's remarks.] There was even a number spelled out, 1.5 million, [by the US president]. This is the terminology that Armenian propagandists use," he said, addressing his party's deputies in Parliament. "He [Obama] had no concerns about harming the relations between Turkey and the United States."

Armenians say 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a systematic campaign in eastern Anatolia, while Turkey vehemently rejects the claims of genocide, saying the killings came as the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell civil strife and that Muslim Turks were also killed in the clashes. Turkey proposes the establishment of a joint committee of historians to study the World War I events, an offer dismissed by Armenia, which claims the genocide is a historical fact.

Obama refrained from using the word genocide in his traditional message, in order not to harm an ongoing process of reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, but called the events "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century" and used the Armenian phrase "Meds Yeghern" to describe the events twice throughout the speech. The term is commonly translated as "Great Calamity."

Another dimension to the "genocide" issue is the talks between Turkey and Armenia on how to restore ties, severed in 1993 after Armenia occupied part of Azerbaijan's territory in a war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Armenia announced last week that they have achieved solid progress in talks on the normalization of their relations and that they had agreed on a road map. The opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the CHP have both criticized the government's efforts to restore ties with Armenia without Armenian concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and have urged the government to immediately take steps in order not to alienate Azerbaijan.

In his speech, Baykal apologized to the Azerbaijanis on behalf of Erdoğan. "The AK Party [ruling Justice and Development Party] is here today but it may not be here tomorrow. However, Turkey is always on the side of Azerbaijanis."

Also speaking to his parliamentary group yesterday, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said that PM Erdoğan's message to Obama was weak as the term the US president used was a description of "genocide." He also said the government had made an agreement with Armenia without first securing a deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

"[Armenian President Serzh] Sarksyan even dared to say that Karabakh will remain as part of Armenia. The prime minister's silence over this is unacceptable," he said.

Bahçeli also questioned the role of President Abdullah Gül, who said on the weekend that Turks who perished at the hands of rioting Armenians should also be remembered, accusing him of being the "shadow foreign minister." US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey was summoned to the Foreign Ministry headquarters on Saturday as Turkish officials expressed "views, comments and assessments as well as the reaction" of Turkey to Obama's message. No official protest was conveyed to the envoy.
29 April 2009, TODAY'S ZAMAN

by Barçın Yinanç Implicit 'Genocide' Threat Lies Behind Turkey-Armenia Breakthrough
ISTANBUL - The threat of a word is behind the breakthrough after years of diplomatic strife between Turkey and Armenia. President Obama’s insistence about the alleged genocide convinced Turkey to sign on to the road map declared just before the annual April 24 address, sources say

Implicit 'genocide' threat lies behind Turkey-Armenia breakthrough An implicit threat by U.S. President Barack Obama to use the word "genocide" in an annual April 24 address to Armenians, followed by increasing frankness from diplomats, was pivotal to strong-arming Turkey and Armenia out of their deadlock.

The muscle behind the highly emotional word was the main diplomatic stick, the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review has learned from sources familiar with the marathon negotiations that led up to the declaration of a road map for opening the Turkish-Armenian border. It was first used by Obama implicitly in an April 7 meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and later U.S. negotiators were increasingly straightforward as they pushed their clout, sources said. The word "genocide" is just one divide between the two societies. Armenians use it to describe mass deaths of their kinsmen in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. Many Turks take deep offense to this and cite conditions in 1915 and civil strife as reason for the deaths of many members of many ethnic groups and that it exacted a toll from Muslims as well as Christians.

In the run-up to the April 24 commemoration of the tragedy, which in recent years has included a presidential address, lobbying efforts by all sides converged on the White House to seek use of the word or oppose it. To date, Turks have largely been successful in the annual ritual. But the dynamics changed with the new Obama presidency because he had pledged to use the sensitive word during his campaign. It is now clear that his pledge, and ultimately his nuanced breaking of it by using the Armenian term for the events, "Meds Yerghern" (Great Catastrophe), was the key to the tentative reconciliation.

Just when and how the border will reopen has not been disclosed. Neither have other details of the accord, made in part with Swiss mediation, which all sides are now keeping secret.

While the bilateral politics of language are one dimension, another is the Armenia’s seizure and occupation in 1992 of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in neighboring Azerbaijan.

Turkey closed its land border to Armenia in 1993 in support of Azerbaijan, with whom cultural ties include a common language.

The first use of the symbolic word as a pressure point came directly from President Obama during his April 7 visit. In his talks with Erdoğan, according to sources, he said Turkey should reach an understanding with Armenia prior to April 24. The message was not lost on Erdoğan after Obama departed and talks accelerated.

In subsequent days, serious progress was made but a setback emerged following Azerbaijan’s reaction to a possible deal without progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh front. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s moved to assuage Azerbaijan with a statement that no deal would be concluded with Armenia unless it included prospects for resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh. The specter of a rupture in Turkish-Armenian talks brought the U.S. administration back into active negotiating.

The deal was concluded on April 22 after lengthy negotiations in both Yerevan and Ankara, under the mediation of U.S. officials. Matt Bryza, U.S. assistant secretary of state, conducted 14 hours of marathon talks with the Armenians in Yerevan while talks in Ankara were conducted between the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertuğrul Apakan.

In those talks the Turkish side insisted on a reference to Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara specifically sought a pledge to withdraw from at least five of seven regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh that Armenia had occupied in addition to the enclave, to use as a bargain chip. Armenians refused to bow to U.S. pressure, however, the Turkish side was asked to accept the deal without reference to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Turkey only swallowed the package after it was made clear that in the absence of a brokered deal Obama would use the word "genocide."

Obama did not and that has angered many Armenians, including one political party that abandoned the coalition government in response. In Turkey, the alternative phrase, and his further words "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century," has not gone down well either, leading some to accuse the president of disingenuousness.

Meanwhile a new set of talks is underway to solve Nagorno-Karabakh. The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet next week, and possibly again in June, to discuss the disputed enclave, mediators said Monday. Diplomatic sources told the Daily News that Armenia refuses to withdraw from five regions surrounding the enclave unless there is a complete deal.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia's Serge Sarkisian will meet in Prague on May 7, envoys of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said, according to Reuters. They said they also hoped to organize a meeting in early June in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

Talks in Prague will concentrate on the vote for the final status of Karabakh as well as the interim status, sources told the Daily News. Armenians and Azerbaijanis disagree over the methods for the referendum that will take place on the status of the enclave. Armenia wants one referendum, whereas Azerbaijan insists on separate referendums conducted in the two communities.

Ethnic Armenian separatists, backed by Armenia, fought a war in the 1990s to throw off Azerbaijan's control of the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. An estimated 30,000 people were killed. Azerbaijan claims nearly 800,000 fled the enclave. A fragile cease-fire is in force but a peace accord has never been signed.

Affecting efforts
There has been an increase in diplomatic activity since last year's war in neighboring Georgia, when Russia repelled a Georgian assault on the rebel pro-Russian region of South Ossetia. However, there is uncertainty over how a thaw in relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey might affect efforts to resolve the conflict, reported Reuters.

U.S. envoy Bryza said he expected developments between Turkey and Armenia to help the mediation efforts. "We believe that these two processes will develop separately, in parallel with one another, perhaps at different paces," he said, according to a report by Reuters.

ARF Quits Coalition Over Government's Approach Towards Normalizing Relations with Turkey
YEREVAN (Combined Sources)--The Armenian Revolutionary Federation on Monday announced that it is quitting Armenia's ruling coalition and cited "insurmountable, fundamental disagreements" over the government's approach toward normalizing relations with Turkey

In a written statement presented by ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamian Monday, the party condemned and called unacceptable the joint statement issued on April 22--less than two days before Armenian Genocide commemoration day--by the foreign ministries of Turkey and Armenia, announcing an agreement on a "roadmap" for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations. The party also cited serious disagreements on some of the issues that are under discussion between Turkish and Armenian officials.

"Henceforth, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation will work as a new opposition force in Armenia's political landscape," said the statement, underlining that the party will present alternatives to the current government's policies, and will aim at "counterbalancing and restraining" the actions of the authorities.

Rustamian explained that all party members holding senior positions in the executive and legislative branches will tender their resignations. The ARF was represented in the cabinet by three ministers and several deputy ministers, two governorships, as well as the deputy speaker post in the National Assembly.

The ARF stressed that it will be dealing with Turkey-Armenia relations and the Karabagh issue based, exclusively, on national interests. The decision to pull out of the coalition government followed a meeting Saturday between President Serzh Sarkisian and two ARF leaders, Rustamian and ARF Bureau chairman, Hrant Markarian.

Rustamian said Sarkisian briefed them on the essence of the still unpublicized "roadmap" agreement. "The president's explanations did not satisfy us," Rustamian said on Monday.

The ARF strongly condemned the roadmap agreement, which was announced by the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries on April 22 and 23. Earlier last week, Markarian criticized the Sarkisian-administration's policies on Turkey, saying that Yerevan has made major concessions to Ankara while failing to secure the lifting of the Turkish economic blockade of Armenia.

Rustamian on Monday reiterated the criticism, saying that Armenia has effectively ended its long-standing insistence on an unconditional establishment of diplomatic relations and reopening of the border between the two estranged nations. He said that Ankara continues to make that conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and an end to the campaign for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

"The Turks are now trying to turn those preconditions into conditions and include them into a package [deal with Armenia]," said Rustamian, "For them the key thing is to exploit the process of normalization and they are doing that very well. We must realize that."

Rustamian said that the Turkish-Armenian agreement could deter more countries from officially recognizing the Armenian genocide. "We must never allow the replacement of the process of international recognition by efforts to force Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide," he said. "One process should not suspend the other." "Nobody here doubts that Turkey will do everything to avoid recognizing the Armenian genocide," added Rustamian.
The California Courier

The Trouble With The 'Genocide' Label
The Current Discussion: Today is "Genocide Remembrance Day "in the Armenian community, a particularly strained time of year for Turkey and Armenia. What's a realistic first step forward toward reconciliation for each of these countries?

By Salil Tripathi

Turkey and Armenia have begun the slow, tentative waltz of rebuilding relations, after President Obama spoke in Istanbul, but did not use the G-word.

That was perhaps a wise decision, notwithstanding the strong emotive reason that propelled many to call a spade a spade, a machete a machete, and a genocide a genocide, leading to the Congressional Resolution. The truth is that ultimately only communities themselves can make the decision to leave the past behind. International leaders - even one as gifted as Barack Obama - can only play a limited role. (Sudan's conflict didn't stop when Colin Powell called the killings in Darfur a genocide, and few countries joined him in condemning the Sudanese leadership.)

This is a peculiar period in the world annals of our coming to terms with genocide. Cambodia is trying to account for genocide and killing fields by indicting Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch. India's ruling party withdrew a candidate for Parliament, partially in response to a shoe-throwing incident. (Credible human rights groups allege that the candidate was involved in the 1984 Sikh massacre, after two Sikh bodyguards assassinated former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.) Tamils in Britain accuse the Sri Lankan army of committing genocide in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh's newly-elected government sets its sights on bringing to justice those accountable for the Pakistani Army's widespread killings of Bangladeshis in 1971.

And then there is Rwanda. This month is the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. In a recent issue of Paris Review, the French writer Jean Hatzfeld recalls the uneasy aftermath of dealing with released prisoners who had at one time massacred a community's loved ones. Hatzfeld's books - The Machete Season (2005), Life Laid Bare (2007), and The Antelope's Strategy (2009) -- are required reading for anyone who wants to understand the psyche of the perpetrator and the victim, of what makes a killer, and, as Hannah Arendt observed in the context of Eichmann, the banality of evil.

The fixation with the word 'genocide' comes from its emotive power. Among human rights abuses, genocide is arguably the worst, which is why governments fight tooth and nail to prevent others from calling their heinous acts as genocidal. The definition, developed after we discovered the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, is written bearing in mind the Nazi atrocities against the Jewish community. Those abuses made every preceding abuse seem less significant. With the definition was so precisely drafted, what were we to call Stalin's purges - or even Pol Pot's bloody rule - where a single ethnic group wasn't targeted, and where the masterminds of those genocides did not always get around to implementing policies that would prevent future generations from being born? These were mass killings, massacres, crimes against humanity. But they weren't quite like the Holocaust - just as the Holocaust wasn't quite like what happened in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.

Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity are extremely powerful terms, which is why governments resent such characterization. The sad consequence is that diplomats then perform the delicate dance of defining the term more precisely, and argue whether a particularly horrendous abuse was genocide. Lost, amidst all this, are human impulses - of ethics, morality, revenge, justice, redemption, and compassion.

What happened in Turkey nearly a century ago - as indeed in Rwanda, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Sudan - must never happen again. And yet Obama and other world leaders can only nudge governments to do the right thing. Ultimately communities and nations must develop the confidence and face the past, apologize where necessary, and forgive as appropriate. That requires a moral core, not legalism alone. The law helps and is of course necessary. But genocide is wrong not because the law says so, but because it is against our conscience.

Posted by Sail Tripathi on April 28, 2009

The Lesson from Turkey & Armenia HASSAN MASIKY
Let’s hope politicians in Morocco and Algeria were following the news coming out of Ankara and Yerevan: Muslim Turkey and Christian Armenia have agreed to normalize their bilateral ties, putting decades of animosity behind them. It is a historical moment for both countries and a message to other nations involved in conflicts to overcome differences for the benefits of the advancement of their citizens. The significant of this event is magnified by the seriousness of the Armenian charge of “Genocide” against Turkey in the mass killings of thousands of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

While Armenia and its neighbor Turkey were working out a “road map” to normalize their relationship, Algeria and its neighbor Morocco were locked, again, in a war of words over the Western Sahara conflict. The “newly elected” President Bouteflika of Algeria used his “inaugural Speech” to compare the Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories belittling the Palestinian cause and showing a great intransigence toward the United Nations efforts to resolve the Sahara conflict. Such “Brezhnev era’s Soviet Union” like statements from the Algerian President reinforce the existence sentiment that the so-called western Sahara conflict is an Algerian-Moroccan dispute that can only be resolved in direct bi-lateral negotiation between Rabat and Algiers.

Historically, Morocco under the late King Hassan II approached the conflict over the Sahara as an argument with the late Algerian President Boumedienne. However, as the disastrous Moroccan diplomacy of the seventies and eighties stumbled and the Algerian position in support of the Algeria created Polisario separatist movement gained momentum, Morocco was compelled to deal with the Polisario in equal terms as an adversary. Presently, this argument does not stand. Both Morocco and Algeria are going through different historical stages that are bound to affect their policies in dealing with the Sahara Conflict. Whereas the Moroccan diplomacy, with all its lapses, has joined the twenty first century, the Algerian Foreign Ministry is stuck in the twilight zone, and will stay that way for few years to come with the return of Bouteflika for a third term. On the issue of the Western Sahara, Morocco’s position has evolved with Rabat’s local autonomy for the population of the Sahara while Algeria’s stagnated. Accordingly, it is time to repaint this conflict with its true color: a border dispute between Morocco and Algeria.

As long as the Western Sahara conflict is not framed as a grouping of the Moroccan-Algerian disputes over the Sahara, Tindouf and Beshar, all attempts by the United Nations to resolve the conflict will flounder. Actually, Algerian officials are first to admit that the bitter memory of the 1963 Sands War with Morocco is the driving force behind their government rigid anti-Morocco position disputing the legitimacy of Rabat presence in the Western Sahara. Consequently, resolving all and any leftover issues from this war hold the key to resolving the current crisis, as long as the resolution is through direct negotiations between the two Belligerents.

The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been waist of money. Similarly, the missions of successive UN envoys to the region were complete failure as most of the UN diplomats persisted in including the Polisario movement as an independent entity outside the influence of Algerian Military influence. It is naïve and unrealistic to believe that the Polisario leadership make independent decisions without direction from Algiers.

It is becoming ever evident that the only way to resolve this long simmering conflict is to remove the Polisario element out of the equation, demark the Moroccan Algerian borders once for all, and address Algeria’s geographical concerns in terms of access to the Atlantic Ocean.

Rabat, unheeded, appeals to improve relations with Algiers are the first step to resolve all outstanding problems between the two countries. Algerians and Moroccans do not have to open borders but must settle the dispute over the Sahara and their borders as did Armenia and Turkey. With its obstinacy to address the underlining sources of its dispute with Morocco, the Algerian diplomacy will be eventually be tired by the international community as an out-of-date institution poorly adapted to the new realities in the region and overly influenced by bunch of political dinosaurs.

King Mohamed VI has a vision for prosperous Morocco and Algeria where economy is more important than who controls which oasis in a desalt corner of the Sahara. With 35% unemployment, the Algerian government should be drafting plans to bring out their country out of the economical abyss instead of redirecting domestic opinion wrath against neighboring countries.

The Armenian and Turkish leaders are visionaries who recognize the importance of prosperity versus demagogy and historical events that can be settled in time. I hope the leadership in Al-Moradia wakes up from its deep sleep and comes to terms with the demands of today’s political realities. As Turks and Armenians dream of joining the European Union, Moroccans and Algerians continue to live a “Kafkasian” nightmare exasperated with a Bouteflika part III act.

Turkey may hit wall in Armenian dialogue
Is Turkey slamming the brakes on Armenian rapprochement? Yes and no, depending on whom you ask in the Turkish capital, and most of the time, the response is understandably not straightforward as the decades-long issue has too many dimensions.

"If parallel diplomacy -- moving on negotiations on both border opening and resolving the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh territories at the same time -- is deemed to not be working, we should ease off the gas and start contemplating hitting the brakes," says Murat Mercan, chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission and a high-ranking member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Mercan told Today's Zaman that Turkey may be forced to revise its standing against the backdrop of mounting public pressure.

Opposition party leaders on Tuesday blamed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for giving in to pressure brought to bear by the US and the European Union. In a speech delivered to the Republican People's Party (CHP) parliamentary group, CHP leader Deniz Baykal apologized to Azerbaijanis on behalf of Erdoğan. "The AK Party is here today, but it may not be here tomorrow. However, Turkey will always be on the side of Azerbaijanis."

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli joined Baykal in criticizing the government for making an agreement with Armenia without first securing a deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Columnist Hasan Kanbolat, an expert on Caucasian politics, disagrees. He explained to Today's Zaman that the opening with Armenia has reached a point where backpedaling is no longer possible. "I think stability and security in the Caucasian region has become a transatlantic issue and both the US and the EU want the problems resolved," he said. Kanbolat believes the ongoing diplomatic process will stay on course despite the public backlash, which he thinks could have been handled much better.

After Russia's invasion of Georgia last year, the West has learned its lesson and will try to nudge both Armenia and Georgia to accept the protective custody of NATO and even of the EU, Kanbolat argued, noting that Turkey has little room to maneuver under the present circumstances. "Even that maneuverability will be limited to conjecture," he stressed.

Commenting on his recent fact-finding mission to Azerbaijan, Yılmaz Ateş, deputy chairman of the CHP, told Today's Zaman that he found Azerbaijan fuming over the prospect of Turkey opening its border with Armenia. "They are very frustrated with the Turkish government because they claim Ankara has kept Baku in the dark on the content of secret talks being held since 2004 through a Swiss intermediary," Ateş noted, saying Azerbaijani officials felt they had been betrayed by a friend.

Ankara has long claimed that Azerbaijani officials are well informed about the talks and have been kept abreast of the latest happenings. Both President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Erdoğan have repeatedly made assurances that Turkey would never agree to any settlement with Armenia without resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh problem; however, this does not seem to be working well to alleviate the concerns of Azerbaijani officials. At a meeting with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on Tuesday, Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev warned Turkey, "We have the right to re-establish our policy in accordance with the regional realities, and we shall exercise our right."

Explaining what went south in Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, Ateş pointed to the Russian factor. "Moscow handed the details of secret talks between Turkey and Armenia over to Azerbaijan. The details were turned over to the Russians by Armenia," he noted. "We constantly heard from Azerbaijani members of parliament who said, 'Turks should have let us in these secret talks and not gone behind our backs'," Ateş said, recalling his tour of Baku.

Now that relations between Turkey and Armenia are showing signs of stress, many politicians in Ankara seem to have put their wet fingers up in the air to feel the direction of the political winds as they scramble to readjust their positions according to changing perceptions.

Ankara Statements Can Split Armenian Society PanARMENIAN.Net 30.04.2009
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Being problematic, the legal framework of Treaty of Kars was blatantly violated by Turkey, Armenian Genocide Museum Institute Director Hayk Demoyan told a news conference in Yerevan today.

According to him, Treaty of Kars was signed by Kemalist Turkey and Soviet Republics of Transcaucasia. The Treaty implicates that Turkey should recognize the Nakhijevan region and declare it under Azerbaijan's jurisdiction.

"In case of normalization of relations, Armenia and Turkey must sign a new intergovernmental agreement. We should not even think of Treaty of Kars. Such statements by Ankara can cause a split in the Armenian society," the Armenian historian said.

Speaking of new intergovernmental agreement between Yerevan and Ankara, Demoyan noted, it would be good to put in the document Turkey's readiness to liquidate consequences of the Armenian Genocide.

"The document should cover such issues like rescue of Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey and definition of statuses. Following Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey took the responsibility to respect cultural and religious rights of ethnic minorities in the country," concluded Demoyan.

The Question Is What Nalbandyan Wants And What The Karabakhi People Need NANO ARGHUTYAN LRAGIR.AM - 29/04/2009
The OSCE Minsk group co-chairs stated that the stances of the sides in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh issue settlement have a little approached. During yesterday's press conference, they reiterated about Ilham Aliyev's "unprecedented" statements on April 28, in Moscow, hinting that the stances approached due to the concessions by the Azerbaijani party. Apparently, they even got surprised why the Armenian journalists did not ask them questions in connection with Aliyev's statements which the co-chairs consider crucial. Probably, they convened the press conference in order to speak about the "concessions" of Azerbaijan.

Remind that Ilham Aliyev, in his interview with the Vesti news program and ITAR-TASS agency, said that "the stances of Azerbaijan include also the preservation of security of those people living in Nagorno-Karabakh and questions regarding the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. We realize the importance of the ties of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh for the Armenian people. In this case, we do not see any problem. And questions relating to the Lachin corridor may be effectively settled", stated Aliyev.

In fact, the co-chairs accepted of having persuaded Aliyev incline towards the principles proposed by the mediators. According to the American co-chair Mathew Bryza, now the settlement will be led by 3 principles of the agreement of Helsinki- territorial integrity, right for self-determination and immediate forces. True, yesterday during the press conference, the co-chairs did not mention the third "concession" of Ilham Aliyev - Lachin. As it is know, before, the co-chairs had announced that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents reached an agreement on the principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue settlement, and only the problem of Lachin was unsolved. Now, Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan is ready to "cede" Lachin to Armenia, consequently, there is no unsolved question. And, this fact determines the optimism of the co-chairs who stated that the meeting of the presidents Sargsyan and Aliyev on May 7 in Prague may be "extremely constructive".

The Armenian authorities state that both processes relating to the Armenian and Turkish relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh issue are being carried out in accordance with the Armenian interests. "Everything is going as we wanted", stated Edward Nalbandyan. The question is what Nalbandyan wants and what the Karabakhi people need. And the Karabakhi people insist that Ilham Aliyev's "guarantees" on the security cannot be taken seriously. "If Bernard Fassier believes these guarantees we propose him moving to the "secure" Karabakh with his family. We can offer him a very good post in the NKR foreign ministry considering his experience," we were told in the NKR foreign policy department. Bernard Fassier could settle in Lachin the security of which will probably be ensured by Azerbaijan and Turkey too.

The official figures, the political parties and the non-governmental organization of Nagorno-Karabakh stated that the "principles of Madrid" proposed by the mediators contradict the Karabakhi interests. Moreover, unlike Armenia, where the Dashnaktsutyun party announced its disagreement with the Armenian government in connection with the Armenian and Turkish relations normalization and the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and left the coalition, the Karabakhi Dashnaktsutyun does not have any problems with the government. They are going to defend the national interests together. And they evaluate the things soberly without being influenced by the euphoria of the statements of the Armenian government that everything is going well. What is there of good that Nagorno-Karabakh will have a status in case the normal vital functions and security cannot be provided there? This is worthwhile being discussed and not the useless discussions that the Armenian and Turkish relations normalization is determined by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict solution. What difference does it really make?

In The Negotiating Room And Out Of It HAKOB BADALYAN LRAGIR.AM 28/04/2009
A very interesting situation is created in the Armenian and Turkish relations. The Armenian government is trying to persuade its citizens of being right. And, the there is no precondition for the normalization of the Armenian and Turkish relations, but the great part of the society, reading and watching the governmental media which is overwhelmed with references to the Turkish sources, seems to believe more the statements of the Turkish government, which state that until the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is not settled, the Armenian and Turkish border will not be open.

In theory, it could not be ruled out that the Armenian and Turkish negotiations do not have any precondition. Perhaps, Turkey negotiates with Armenia without any precondition, then, going out of the negotiating room, it announces that unless the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is settled, it will not open its border. Naturally, it becomes more interesting to know what Turkey does in the negotiating room, when it stays alone with the Armenian government, or the U.S., Russia or Switzerland are also present there.

No one knows. Why the Armenian government does not make this circumstance public is not known either.

Consequently, either no one tells anything in the room, or Turkey says what it states while coming out of the negotiating room, which is the reason why the Armenian government does not want to make it public and goes on stating that there is no question of precondition. In other words, either nothing is spoken about in the negotiating room, or what is spoken out of it, is spoken inside it too. Subsequently, there is a precondition.

But, let us not forget that the Armenian government says that there is no precondition. However, an essential question occurs: what is there? What the negotiating process includes. It is not enough to state "don't believe" or "believe us" for persuading the public, moreover, when it does such a government which was formed as a result of such an election and of a post electoral situation which took place in February and March 2008.

If the Armenian government does not voice its version of the Armenian and Turkish negotiations, the society is natural to believe to the other side which speaks of some version and which is the Turkish one. The same goes for the Nagorno-Karabakh question. Only the Azerbaijani party voices any version of the settlement of the conflict, as well as the co-chairs and Armenia only says "do not believe", "believe us".

But nothing precise is said. Why it is not stated at least something which would make pleasure to the public. The point is not that the sweet lie is better than the bitter truth. But the point is that the Armenian and Turkish negotiations are not conducted around the negotiating tables but on the level of public statements.

The negotiating rooms serve only for the statements out of them. That is why it brings more pleasurable to hear Serge Sargsyan's statements that due to the wrong calculation Armenian may leave the negotiating process, very surprisingly become stronger than the statement which calls to believe them, that there are no preconditions. At least, the only exact thought of the Armenian government during the whole period of the negotiations, almost one year, was that if its calculations come out to be wrong Armenia will give up the negotiations. The rest of the precise thoughts, unfortunately, were authored by Turkey.

There Is No Armenian And Turkish Document LRAGIR.AM - 29/04/2009
On April 29, in answer to Victor Dallakyan's question whether the Armenian and Turkish document contains a provision on the agreement of Kars, the Armenian foreign minister Edward Nalbandyan answered, saying that there is not such a point, and explained that the roadmap is time-table of the steps the two sides are to take up for the agreements and arrangements to be carried into life. Nalbandyan added that the roadmap does not contain any provision on the principles in that sense. He noted that the statement signed on April 22 was just a statement and not a document.

The parliamentary member from ARF Dashnaktsutyun Artyusha Shahbazyan asked a question on the commission of historians saying that there is some hint in this connection in the official message on the session of the Turkish Security Council, according to which the 1915 events are to be studied. In answer to the question on the commission of the historians, Edward Nalbandyan said that the statement singed on April 22 runs that the sides have recorded some progress and both of them are satisfied with it.

Nalbandyan stated that there cannot be any precondition, as he personally and the president of the country stated very often that they launched the establishment of relations without any precondition and they reached the progress by the same logic.

When Daily Life And Strategy Oppose Each Other It Creates The Armenian History HAKOB BADALYAN LRAGIR.AM - 29/04/2009
Some propaganda background is formed in Armenia and not without the oppositional efforts, as if unless the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and the relations with our neighboring countries, in particular with Turkey, are not settled, Armenia cannot develop. To say that this approach is absolutely wrong, will not be right. But it is that much wrong to state that Armenia's development is determined by the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and relations with Turkey, which is being skillfully used by the government now. It is above all doubts that the settled Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the normalized relations with Turkey may play a serious role in the development of Armenia, in other words, in these condition Armenia will have better prospects and possibilities for development. But, the point first of all is what we understand by saying Nagorno-Karabakh conflict solution and normalization of the Armenian and Turkish relations. And what we understand by saying development.

If the development supposes Armenia to become an oasis of well-being or an epicenter of well-being where it will be very easy to live in comfortable conditions, so to this extent, the normalization of the Armenian and Turkish relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement will give such opportunities. But, if the development supposes Armenia to become a country which would be not only a place to earn and spend money, but also a factor in the regional developments, an object in politics which decides by itself what is favorable for it and what is not, so the Armenian and Turkish relations and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will not provide this, especially in the form the international society offers it to us.

Here the question occurs: what we imagine by saying solution to the problem. Is it what we are proposed or we have a proper idea in this connection, which is based on the development of the country and on our social-political stances? The worst is that what we are proposed coincides completely with the ideas of the development of the state where the most important is to solve the questions relating to the food, cars and apartments for the public. Of course, it is important to solve these questions, especially if they become electoral pledges, but the government is not to solve these questions speculating the social -political mutated ideas or enhancing this mutation. Moreover, not the strategical interest should become a payment for daily achievements but the daily achievements should strengthen the basis of the state. It is especially dangerous when these two problems oppose each other by means of propaganda tricks. Now, this danger seems to be coming true.

Protesting Turkish Cultural Week- Demanding Recognition Of The Armenian Genocide Arab Media Comunity April 28, 2009
On Tuesday, April 28, 2009, a group of around 20 feminist activists staged a sit-in at the UNESCO palace in Beirut in protest of the opening of the Turkish Cultural Week only days after the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Demonstrators argued that the event was an "insult" to the Armenian Genocide and a "sign of disrespect to its memory". As the group dropped a giant banner reading "Recognize the Armenian Genocide" before the surprised faces of diplomats and politicians that had gathered at the UNESCO for the inauguration ceremony of the Turkish Cultural week, fifteen of the activists were detained by the Lebanese police. They were transferred to a police station near the UNESCO and were held there for 3 hours until the ceremony had ended.

Detained demonstrator "Shantal P" sent this personal account and photos of the sit-in to MENASSAT:

"April 24th marked the commemoration of the Armenian genocide on the hands of the Ottoman empire. April 24th also marked 94 years of denial by the Turkish government that such a thing ever happened. They called it casualties of war...

I go to work and it's a regular Tuesday, so I log onto Gmail and my friend Lynn sends me the link to an article in the press praising the Turkish cultural week. I do not understand this. Two days ago marked one of the harshest days in the year for me. Two days ago I was wallowing in transgenerational trauma and reading William Saroyan. I got angry and confused and after a conversation with my friends, I realized that Martyr's day is in a week and it all made sense...

How perfect to put a cultural event in the middle and diverge the minds and thoughts of everybody from Turkey's past and denial.

So my friend Lynn tells me: "let's do something. Let's hold up a banner in a very peaceful manner". I go with the idea and we tell another friend, Jay, and he makes a page on Facebook. Then we start calling people we know, updating our statuses online, and telling more friends about our plan.

At 7.30 pm we are around 17 people and we head to UNESCO. We walk in under a banner that reads something along the lines with "Turkey Nation of Peace". I laugh . Lynn had brought a camera. I take it. We start dispersing. My friends Ali and Sara go up the stairs and the rest follow. Then they drop the banner and my friends start shouting : "Hey up here!" So everyone looks up and I start taking photos hysterically because we know that the photos are what will mean most along with the banner.

A TV cameraman turns his lens upwards. I hear the security guy say : "check which TV station that is and stop them." A moukhabarat (security forces) guy goes up and rips the banner. He starts yelling at Ali and Sara. They take us outside. In the meantime, we manage to give the camera to our friend and tell her to just leave with the photos just in case they take it from us inside.

We stick together and are eventually led to the Makhfar ( police station ) all 15 of us.

The faces of the officers were priceless, I guess seeing 14 girls and a guy in their twenties walking into the makhfar is not something you see everyday here.

Inside the Makhfar, they asked us for our IDs and some had left them in the car and had to call our friends to get them for us. To be very honest, what they ended up charging us with was walking around without identification which is quite hilarious and very George Orwell fiction-like.

Anyhow, they took those without IDs to another room where a small television was sitting in the corner. The officers were watching football. We sat there and a bit later they changed the channel and names in the Turkish alphabet started popping up on the screen. We just looked at each other and smiled.

They thought we were all Armenian. We were in some metaphorical way. I should have reminded them of the day Hrant Dink was murdered in Istanbul and the Turkish crowd gathered in the streets shouting : "We are all Armenians". However, on paper, of the 15 people arrested, only 4 were Armenians.

The officers didn't like this much. They didn't really understand why a bunch of our friends were with the cause. They kept asking us : "enno, you hate the turks is that it?" We do not hate the Turks. I do not hate Turks, I hate any government or power who denies others the right to live and oppresses them. I hate any government or power who chokes ideas and freedom ( Orhan Pamuk and Hrant Dink anyone? ). I hate any government of power whose basic value is denial of caused pain and anguish and its past. I hate any government or power whose morals are to spread their culture by erasing that of others ( no need to let you know what is happening to the historical Armenian landmarks in eastern Anatolia ). I have nothing against the brainwashed masses, they are brainwashed, lobotomized and ashamed, one can only try to speak out and break the silence and the walls.

The head of UNESCO came to tell us how hurt he was, I snickered and Sarag, my friend, told him, "well my people have been hurting for 94 years and this is what you care about? A diplomatic affair? Before your fellow citizens"? We shamed them, they said. I wonder if he realized how much he shamed me as a citizen when he disrespected my culture, our dead, our memory.

We sat there waiting for the event to end so they'd release us. A phone call told us that people outside had gathered, around 200 of them, from parties and universities. They were not related to us, but knowing they were outside made us all the more proud and we felt strong. We called our friends to let them know we are inside. We changed Facebook statuses. Nadine, one of the detained activists, managed to update hers from within the police office. There was just something so powerful to be inside a room with friends and colleagues and people who were there to support a cause you always deemed yours and that had suddenly become theirs as well.

They released us around 11.40 p.m. We walked out from the same place we entered from, in front of all the officers and the UNESCO main entrance. Some diplomats were still leaving. I was smiling.

We gathered at a friend's house and got some beer. It was very emotional to say the least. Sarag came up to me before leaving. She automatically realized what i was thinking about. We had discussed our identity so many times before. At the risk of sounding sappy, we hugged, we couldn't help but cry. It all made sense, made real sense. The banner, the arrest, our friends supporting our case, the feminists supporting a human issue, it all made perfect sense.

The next morning my mom called to ask me if I heard about the protest. I said "yeah". She told me :" your dad wished he was there." I replied, :"mom I was there, it was our idea." She was shocked. She finally asked: "were you arrested? " I said yes. She laughed and told me she was proud. I thought of the police officer that kept nagging and wanting to be right about all of us being Armenian and IANs and I felt like saying, my mom isn't and what makes her special is that she gets it. She gets the cause, our cause and like my friends views it as something beyond race and ethnicity, as something fundamentally righteous, fundamentally human.

Turkish-Armenian Agreements: None precondition 30 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian said in parliament yesterday that there is no document or Turkish Armenian.

"The roadmap was signed on 22 April that a report is not a document.," He said.

Replying to the question of Victor Dallakyan about the supposed existence of a provision on agreements Kars, the Minister said that this point was not raised. Also that the road map is the schedule of arrangements for future agreements.

When asked Artyusha Shahbazyan, secretary of the parliamentary faction FRA Dashnaksoutioun that the Turkish Security Council had discussed the establishment of a commission of historians to study the events of 1915, Edouard Nalbandian would have been less locace is simply reply that "when signing the declaration on 22 April, the parties have made progress and are satistaits."

The former ambassador to France has reiterated its previous statements and those of President Sarkissian that the establishment of relations with Turkey are not subject to any preconditions. Progress has been achieved according to this logic.
Jean Eckian

Nedim Gürsel for Freedom, by Marc Levy 1 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
Mr President of the Court of Sisli, in a few days the writer Nedim Gürsel appear before your court. As Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize winner who is the pride of Turkey, a man of peace who was also tried in your court, Nedim Gürsel was accused of having a book in which he questions the nature of Islam, "vilified publicly religious values of a portion of the population "and" threatening social peace. "

You might think I am yet another European to pretend to give lessons in democracy. If I'm a french writer, my origins are Turkish. Nissim Levy Baïracli, my great-grandfather, lived in Izmir. He gave his house to build the first maternity in the city. To assist the various communities of Izmir, he also built a large elevator, the famous big lift Izmir municipality whose celebrated, not long ago, the one hundredth anniversary. It was built so that the elderly can continue to move freely between the upper and the lower part of the city, because he believed that older persons were carriers of wisdom, that their words would be heard between the different communities.

I am of Turkish origin and therefore injured as such by the trial court that you will open. In this Europe that Turkey wants to join, this is one of those rules that transcend our differences, however real and deep. We have learned, when we feel attacked by words or writings to refute, to share ideas before judging, debating rather than fighting.

But Mr. Chairman, since we are talking about a writer accused of having infringed the beliefs of a community, your courts have also opened their doors to those who judge in the world really offend the values of the Islam?


These men of the charges, your sides are preparing to try the pages Nedim Gürsel, they were prepared to condemn those who burn schools, forbid education to women, hang bombs torso their children, those who terrorize and kill civilians, those who commit such atrocities by diverting the word of the Prophet?

They said out loud that those who martyrisent or kill in the name of God will be brought to justice? As they threaten social peace in the world, publicly distort religious values a part of the population and damage the honor and the greatness of Islam.

Two years ago, the city of Izmir had asked me to write a text in favor of his candidacy to the International Exhibition of 2015, I read in Paris before a distinguished gathering which attended the premier of your country. I said how Izmir was a model city, where churches, mosques and synagogues share walls, a city where those who believe in different gods meet, talk and listen. Izmir, a city of tolerance.

Trials like the one to be held within the walls of your yard will damage the image of your beautiful country, so rich in its cultural diversity. I hope from the bottom of my heart, that your court up those who want their ignorance by attacking the freedom to think, share, exchange views, freedom to write, because these are the fundamental the dignity of a democracy. You're in for a few days the keeper, all those who love Turkey and feel connected to her hope in you, Mr. Chairman.

Armenia: Repères Sheet 1 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews By Catherine Gouëset EXPRESS
Area: 29 800 km ² (about that of Britain) Population: 3 million in 2007 (3.6 in 1997), including 64.1% of urban population.

Consequence of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and the economic crisis, the country suffered a heavy emigration.

Density: 100 inhabitants / km ²
Population Distribution: Armenians, 97%, Kurds, 1.6% Russians, 0.8%
Language: Armenian (which is in itself an independent group within the family of Indo-European languages)

According to the conference in the Armenian diaspora in 2002, there are about 10 million Armenians around the world. The Armenians are about 800 000 in the United States, 550 Georgia 000, 500 000 Russia, 350 to 400 000 in France, 200 000 in Canada, 110 000 in Syria, 100 000 in Argentina, 80 000 and 80 in Iran 000 Lebanon, 50 000 Turkey.

Major cities (2001)
Yerevan, the capital (2007): 1.1 million
Gumri: 151 000
Vanadzor: 107 000

Head of state: Serge Sarkissian who was succeeded in April 2008 to Robert Kocharian.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkissian who replaced Serge Sarkissian in April 2008.

The province of Nagorno-Karabakh, located in neighboring Azerbaijan and populated mostly by Armenians, was the cause of a violent conflict after the disintegration of the USSR in the early 1990s, which was 30 000 dead and more than a million refugees. Armenian political life revolves largely around this dispute is still awaiting a settlement.

Demographic Indicators (2006 figures)
Life expectancy: 71.8 years
Adult literacy rate: 99.5%
Annual growth rate (1975-2005): 0.2%
Fertility rate (2000-2005): 1.3 (France: 1.9)
Infant mortality rate: 26/1000
Population under 15 years: 20.8% of Total (France: 18.4)
Population aged 65 and over: 12.1% of Total (France: 16.3)

Economic indicators (2007 figures)
GDP ($ billion): 9.1
GNP per capita ($, using the PPP (1)): 5 900 (Georgia 4770)
Annual growth in GDP.: 4.4% (1990-2005)
Public expenditure on education (2002-05): 3.2% of GDP
Public expenditure on health (2004): 1.4% of GDP
Military expenditures: 2.7% of GDP (France 2.5%)

83rd largest in the world on the scale of human development index (²) of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2008, behind Ukraine and to Iran.

(1) The purchasing power parities (PPP) are rates of currency conversion that eliminate differences in price levels between countries. They are obtained by evaluating the cost of a basket of goods and services covering all components of GDP.

(2) The human development index (HDI) is a method of classification calculated each year since 1990 by UNDP to determine the general progress of the fundamental aspects of human development (education, health, poverty rates, etc..), thus taking into account the various criteria that the only GNP per capita to compare countries between them.
Sources: UNDP, World Bank, Statesman's Yearbook

Chronology of Armenia 1 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews By Catherine Gouëset published on 24/04/2009
600 BC: Arrival of the first Armenian (an Indo-European people) in the vicinity of the lakes of Sevan and Van (Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus). They mingle with people of the Kingdom of Ourartou. The region shortly after going under the Persians and not found a relative independence to the conquest of Alexander.

189 BC: two generals founded the Kingdom of Great and Little Armenia.

95-55 BC: during the reign of Tigran the Great Armenia extends from the Mediterranean to the Caspian.

Fourth century Christianity became the official religion. This is the first Christian state in history. At the end of the century, the Persian Empire and Roman Empire shared Armenia.

Sixth century: rupture of the Armenian Church with the Greek Orthodox Church.

Seventh century: part of Armenia came under Arab supervision. To the west of the Euphrates, the "Armenia minor is under guardianship Byzantine.

1020: the Byzantine Empire deported a large number of Armenians in Cilicia (Adana region in present-day Turkey).

X-XI century Bagratide dynasty. "The golden age" of Armenia.

Eleventh century: Seljoukides domination, a Turkish people. Crusader allies, the Armenians of Cilicia create the kingdom of Little Armenia on the shores of the Mediterranean. It continued until 1375.

Thirteenth century the Mongol invasions devastated the region.

Fifteenth century Ottoman occupation.

Sixteenth century wars between the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Empire. They divide the country. Persia is deport many Armenians in Isfahan.

Nineteenth century: Russia conquers a part of the Persian Empire. Follows a wave of Armenian immigration to the region under Russian rule.

1877-78: Russo-Turkish war. Russia captured a band in eastern Anatolia inhabited by Armenians.

1887-90: Creation of the Revolutionary Party and Dashnak Hentchak.

1894-96: insurgency in Eastern Anatolia. The Ottoman army responded by killing (300 000 deaths according to the Armenians).

1909: Massacre of 30 000 Armenians in Adana.

1912-1913: the defeat of the Balkan war weakens Turkey, and urged Western countries to implement reforms conducive to ethnic and religious minorities of the Empire.

1914: started by the Ottomans, the war against Russia began in the region of Lake Van.

1915: Armenian revolt erupted in the area. The government to make arrests and executions of thousands of Armenians, then decides the deportation of Armenians from Anatolia and Cilicia to the deserts of Mesopotamia. The massacres are between 1.2 and 1.5 million Armenians died as between 250 000 and 500 000 according to the Turks, who deny its genocide.

1920: Proclamation of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia. The Russo-Turkish Treaty of Kars empute the western part of Armenia in favor of Turkey.

1921: Nakhichevan (with 96% of Azeris) and the Nagorno-Karabakh (77% populated by Armenians) are allocated to Azerbaijan.

1923: Nagorno-Karabagh received the status of autonomous region of Azerbaijan.

1984: The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915.

1985: Sub-Committee on Human Rights to the UN in turn recognizes the Armenian genocide. The European Parliament did the same in 1987.

1988: perestroika in full, demonstrations broke out demanding the linking Karabakh to Armenia. Of anti-Armenian pogroms are dozens of victims in the region of Baku (capital of Azerbaijan). In December, an earthquake nearly 100 000 victims.

1989: Azerbaijan imposes an economic blockade on Armenia.

1990: Moscow sent the Red Army to restore order.

1991: Armenia declares its independence, when the USSR collapsed. A referendum in Karabakh plebiscite in December to more than 99% independence. Separatist seized by military and trigger war with Azerbaijan. Baku place the province under direct rule. Russia supports Armenia.

1993: Armenia is the Karabakh and the entire area surrounding the Karabagh and separates the enclave of Armenia, 20% of Azerbaijani territory.

1994: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is sponsoring negotiations between Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and Armenian Levon Ter-Petrossian. A peace agreement was signed in July.

1997: Lisbon. Baku is ready to grant broad autonomy to Karabakh in exchange for recognition of his authority over the province.

1998: Levon Ter-Petrossian resigned, under pressure from nationalists. Robert Kocharian, the former strongman Karabakh, largely prevails. Negotiations are frozen. The assassination of numerous highlights drift mafia in the country.

1998: Belgium recognizes the genocide of 1915.

1999: Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkissian was shot dead on the sitting of parliament. it is replaced by his brother.

2001: France recognizes the Armenian genocide. Armenia was admitted to the Council of Europe, together with Azerbaijan.

2002: In September, the Council of Europe is still in Armenia to abolish the death penalty by June 2003. On 28 December, the director of state radio and television is murdered.

February 2003: contested re-election of Robert Kocharian, the majority wins the parliamentary elections. Armenia became the 145th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). September 2003: National Assembly abolished the death penalty.

April 2004 demonstrations to demand the departure of President Robert Kotcharia.

November 2005: by 93.3% "yes", the Armenians to accept the constitutional reform that provides for a reduction of powers of the President. The opposition boycotted the project.

January 2006: attacks damaged two pipelines that carry Russian gas in Arménie.Cet event at a time when Moscow has decided to increase the price of gas to countries of the former USSR.

February 2006: The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan close negotiations on the enclave of Nagorno Karabakh but failed to lay the groundwork for a negotiated settlement.

May 2007: the majority parties remporent parliamentary elections.

March 2008: after the presidential election on February 19 won by Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian, the opposition, led by Levon Ter-Petrossian, alleges fraud and organizes demonstrations in central Yerevan. Clashes with the police caused the death of eight people.

November 2008: Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia sign a declaration calling for a "political settlement" of the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh in order to "restore stability" in the region.

March 2009: IMF grants a loan of $ 540 million to Armenia, strongly affected by the global financial crisis.

The Council Of Europe To Avoid The Armenian Issue 30 April 2009, Virginia / armenews
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has not discussed the political situation in Armenia, during the current session again extending the deadline imposed on the country to free dozens of opposition members imprisoned.

In a resolution on Armenia adopted in January, the PACE has again expressed their continued imprisonment, but has reconsidered its threat to suspend the voting rights of members of the Armenian Assembly.

The resolution obliges Yerevan to amend certain articles of the Armenian Criminal Code used against most opponents arrested after the presidential elections of February 2008. The Monitoring Committee of PACE is to check if the commitment is met and the deal is reportedly the subject at this session, scheduled from 27 to 30 April.

The Armenian Parliament voted promised amendments to the PACE on 18 March, ordering prosecutors to drop the state charges against seven accused the opposition were arrested on 1st March 2008. None of them have been released since. Fifty-five supporters of Levon Ter Petrossian remain under arrest. Oddly, despite the imminence to address the issue raised by Johan Prescott and Georges Colombier, the two rapporteurs for Armenia, it has not been addressed in this session. Colombier and Prescott had promised he would be on the agenda of the next session.

Reprinted with permission from RFE / RL Copyright (c) 2007

The opposition criticized the Turkish reaction to a message from Erdogan Obama 30 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews
The head of the opposition party CHP (Republican People's Part) Deniz Baikal, said yesterday qu'Erdogan had accepted indirectdeùment remarks' unacceptable 'to Obama, stating that the answer to the words of the President of the USA had not been severe enough.

'The losses of Muslims have been ignored while the number indicated (1.5 million) comes from the Armenian propagandists. He (Obama) has no fear of damaging the relationship between Turkey and the USA. The government tries to restore relations with Armenia without obtaining concessions on Karabakh. In his speech in Parliament, Baykal sent to Azerbaijan apology returning to Erdogan. He said that the AKP is in power today, it may not be tomorrow, but that Turkey will always side with Azerbaijan "he said.

Speaking also to his party in Parliament, the leader of the MHP, Devlet Bahceli said that the message of Erdogan was low, the words of the President of the USA have been described in the genocide. He also criticized the agreement with Armenia without an agreement has been concluded between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the Karabgah, the President of Armenia had even dared to say that Karabakh would remain part of Armenia . According to him, the silence of the Turkish Prime Minister on this point is unacceptable.

Bahceli also asked about the role of Abdullah Gul when he said that the Turks killed by Armenian revolts should have mentioned them too, accusing him of 'foreign minister is hiding.

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey was convened at the Foreign Ministry Saturday, but no official protest has been addressed.
To Day's Zaman / 29/04/09

Negationist flop in New York 30 April 2009, Ara / armenews
"Stop lying Armenian. That was the slogan of the event that Turkish deniers held April 25 at Times Square, on the eve of commemorations for the 94 th anniversary of the genocide of Armenians. The meeting at the center of New York was organized by the Young Turks, which belongs to the Federation of Turkish American Associations. On this hot afternoon, Sixty to seventy people were present on site to spread their against-truth as evidenced by the following series of photos.
Puzant Buzantian

Yavuz Baidar: What Is New And What Is Not ... "The Turkish Politicians Know That The White House Knows" 30 April 2009, by Jean Eckian / armenews

To an outside observer, all this bustle around the declaration of the President of the USA and on the question whether using the 'G word' is strange.

That the 'G word' was used by Ronald Reagan and before him by Gerald Ford may surprise some. But what is more important is that the world knows that this is a genocide to the White House and this policy has not changed despite all disguised and sophisticated formulation.

Hence the outraged reaction of figures of Turkish politics. They know that the White House knows it. But the surprise is the dismay of the leaders of the Armenian diaspora, which claims not to have taken the extraordinary severity of tone of the text of Barack Obama. The text goes beyond a legal term and reveals the heart of the tragedy-deep in its human dimension.

The article by Robert Fisk in The Independent yesterday, was marked by a total lack of wisdom, ignoring the importance of the presentation of a fact in consciousness, and marked by his elitist. Obama is the one closest to the hearts. The superficial nature of Fisk, together with ignorance and disease intention Turkish columnists, misses the courageous efforts of President Serge Sarkissian, Abdullah Gul, Edward Nalbandian and Tayib Recep Erdogan to break the ice (particularly those of the latter, which challenged at the last minute the evil forces of the status quo).

The State of the Turkish Republic is still in the simple negation of what happened in 1915? 'No', said a researcher and colleague Mensur Akgun, director of the Center for Policy Studies of Trends in the Globe, at the University of Culture in Istanbul. He criticizes the whole of the Turkish political class and calls them to make public the official position of Turkey. The radical change occurred in 2005 in Ankara, when Erdogan sent a letter to President Kocharian, suggesting the creation of a Commisssion mixed. The merits of the idea was Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Akgun said.

The acceptance by both parties for the holding of this commission means that Ankara is now far from the denial and advanced.

According Akgun, Erdogan could have reacted to the statements of Obama and otherwise avoid the drift of the debate on Azerbaijan 'cheap' or 'loss of Azerbaijan. If he had, or if Gul had done the doors of the statement of deep regret for 1915 have been opened. The sooner the better because the number of survivors of the tragedy, or tragedy, is low.
Today's Zaman / 29/04/09

"A Highly Symbolic Closure" By Ismet Berkan 30 April 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
The land border between Turkey and Armenia ¬ was closed [three years] after the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, in September 1991. This closure was the result of Turkey, which expressed its solidarity towards Azerbaijan, which part of the territory had been occupied by Armenia in the conflict over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. By this action, forcing Yerevan Ankara intended to conclude a peace agreement with Baku. However, and as everyone knows, the regular civilian flights between Turkey and Armenia have, they never stopped. Anyone can take a plane and go to Yerevan to Istanbul and vice versa. It seems that those planes are always full. The closure of the border land between the two countries has affected the Turkish city of Kars and its environs, which were cross-border trade. As for the Turkish embargo against Armenia, he contributed to the impoverishment of the country, whose population has continued since then to fall.

However, the loss of Armenia, the weakening of its economy, the mass start to abroad - including to Turkey - many Armenians can not be explained only by the Turkish trade embargo. Indeed, Armenia remains poor because it did not attempt to move closer to the West and has chosen to remain anchored in the East by waging war with Azerbaijan and putting themselves under the protective wing of the Russians. It could have preferred another option and resolve the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh through negotiations and an exchange of territories with Azerbaijan. Through Turkey, it could integrate into the Western world. But Armenians have privileged their national pride and opted for revenge on history rather than pragmatism.

In these circumstances, it seems unlikely that Turkey decided to reopen its border with Armenia until the issue of Nagorno Karabakh will not find a solution, ie that both Armenia and Azerbaijan will not sign an agreement of peace. No Turkish government can not proceed with the opening of the border without. However, the Turkish foreign policy - ie its relations with Armenia - should not be taken hostage by Azerbaijan. This gesture could be done before President Obama uses the term "genocide" [to describe the massacre of Armenians by the Ottomans, in accordance with its election promises]. Ankara, for example, to the inauguration of diplomatic relations with Yerevan, as Turkey does not yet have diplomatic relations with Armenia, despite being one of the first states to recognize its independence. The presence of ambassadors from both sides of the border and certainly contribute to the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Moreover, in recent months, Turkey has played an active role in trying to bring Armenians and Azeris. Everyone knows that in the past these two parties were close to concluding an agreement, but that because of the intervention of Russia on Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute is finally remained in the state. Nevertheless, President Abdullah Gül have received from the Russians positive signals in this regard during his recent visit to Moscow in February 2009, a solution to the dispute between Baku and Yerevan may not be so distant. On this matter, the Turkish diplomacy is very discreet and there is no filter. It will be crucial that this window of opportunity to establish peace in the region is torpedoed by either Russia or the United States. That the new U.S. president has called the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev immediately after his departure from Istanbul at the beginning of April, shows that it takes this matter very seriously.
23.04.2009 Ismet Berkan Radikal newspaper

Students Become Witnesses To Genocide by Allan Appel April 30, 2009
kids at the New Haven Academy study genocide in history as an academic subject. They came face to face with genocide as an all too ongoing event when a survivor of the ethnic cleansing in Darfur spent an hour in remarkable conversation with them.

Tenth-graders at the magnet school did more than listen at Wednesday mornings encounter. They rose to El-Fadel Arbabs challenge to do something about it.

Arbab is a member of the Fur tribe of western Sudan, from which Darfur gets its name. Hes a spokesperson for the Fur Cultural Revival, a part of the Maine Peace Fund. His stop at NHA was part of a tour of area high schools and colleges sponsored by the Holocaust Education and Prejudice Reduction Program of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.

The students were exposed to a tale of terror by the soft-spoken Arbab. It included a nighttime attack on his African village by Sudanese soldiers and gangs of Arabic-speaking armed gunmen known as Janjeweed; escape from being burned to death by hiding in a tree for days, and a 12-year odyssey from Khartoum to Cairo and eventually to resettlement in Portland Maine.

You dont seem to show anger or hatred, Melody Smith said. Dont you hate your country or the Janjeweed?

No, he replied. What I hate is how in my country the people divide us, one people against the other. Who I blame is the worlds leaders. They say never again, but it goes on. But Bashir [Omar el-Bashir, the International Criminal Court-indicted president of Sudan] must be brought to justice, even if it takes a 100 years.

Melody, like all tenth-graders, participates in a curriculum called Facing History and Ourselves, in which genocide in the Holocaust, Armenia, and Rwanda is studied along with issues of justice and reconciliation, as in South Africa.

She was amazed at Arbabs measured response and even the sense of peacefulness that emanated from the 25-year old. He was only 12 at the time of the attack. Today he works seven days a week in Portland restaurants to support his four brothers, sister, and mother all, like him, immigrants.

I couldnt be the way he is, Smith said. Id want to react violently.

But we are all human beings, said Arbab. Even the Janjeweed. Maybe some of them were being forced to do these terrible things. We have to live together. Maybe some time we will forgive them.

Laron Strong, also a tenth-grader from New Haven, was moved particularly by Arbabs story of his hiding in a tree immediately after the attack. Arbabs grandfather had told him how he had hidden in the trees in a previous war.

Arbab said that while he was concealed in branches, far below, the Janjeweed killed survivors, chased them down the river valleys, macheted babies, so as not to waste a bullet on them, but all the time they did not look up into the trees.

Taking Action

Strong raised his hand. He wanted to know what he and his colleagues at NHA could do to help. Not next semester or next month, but now.

A suggestion came from Lauren Kempton of the Jewish Federation, who was traveling with Arbab. She described solar ovens being used by the females of the 2.5 million refugees of the genocide because they fear rape if they dare to leave the camps to collect fire wood.

The ovens cost all of $15.

Can we raise some money to purchase some of them?

Meredith Gavrin, one of the schools directors, gave a thumbs up. Strong said he was going to start raising it in the cafeteria.

Arbab also urged the tenth-graders to go to savedarfur.org and write to their Congress people.

Thanking the kids for being such interested, rapt listeners, Kempton, quoting Elie Wiesel, said, When you listen to a witness, you become a witness. Now you are witnesses.

Paige Russell, another tenth grader who had lingered to talk with Arbab, said, Welcome to America, welcome to New Haven.

In addition to NHA, Arbab spoke to students at Hamden Hall, Sacred Heart University, the University of New Haven, and Hillhouse High on Thursday afternoon, all told nearly a thousand new witnesses.


Armenia Telephone Company, Yerevan, Armenia said...

Re: "Opposition Journalist Attacked In Armenia"

Unfortunately situation in Armenia becoming worse every year.

The oligarchs, mafia, criminals and low class, rich uneducated rule our poor country and it will not prosper while they have power.

I came to Armenia 3 years ago and now extremely frustrated with this country and have no more hope for it. Nothing to do here, only one thing remains it is beautiful nature that it is it.

I think our Diaspora should stop helping current government until they suffocate.

We need to do something about our country it should not belong to criminals, mafia and current government.

(IP Address Logged)

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