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  1. Altan : Military Chief Wants To Govern This Country
  2. Senturk: Southern Energy Corridor In Context
  3. Dogu Ergil: Meds Yeghern
  4. GenocideReality.com: Racist Campaign With “Medz Yeghern” Spreading
  5. Rahmi Turan: Russian General and Armenians!
  6. Sami Kohen Synchronized Steps Should Be Taken During Process
  7. O E Lutem Dashnaks’ Withdrawal From Coalition
  8. Logoglu: "Turkey & Armenia: Hope For Future"
  9. Sassounian: Armenian Patriarch:Turkey:Religious or Political Leader
  10. Vartan Oskanian: "Time To Take Stock"
  11. Erol Manisali “West Is Taking Atatürk To Court…”
  12. Ahmet Insel "This Conduct Was Crime Against Humanity”
  13. Robert Ellis Tackling Turkish Taboo
  14. Yeliz Hacıosmanoğlu: Eastern Partnership More For More Or More For Less?
  15. Five Arguments Against Any Acceptance Of The So-Called Armenian-Turkish Road Map Name To Be Credited Upon Confirmation
  16. David Judson: More Than A Pair Of Dimes To Examine The Paradigm
  17. Avedis Kevorkian: Word-Games for Armenians

Turkey: Military Chief Wants To Govern This Country " 7 May 2009, by Stéphane / armenews
collectifvan.org - Intellectual Turkish Ahmet Altan wrote in his article of 15.04.2009 published in the newspaper Taraf, his analysis of the statement by the Chief of Staff of Turkey, İlker Başbuğ and the hand-setting of the Turkish Army on all political issues and citizenship. Altan believes that the real question for Turkey is like, "the Chief of Staff wants to govern this country, and the more it believes it is his right."

The Real Problem Ahmet Altan - 15.04.2009 Taraf

I listened live statement by the Chief of Staff, İlker Başbuğ.

His speech was responsible for conflict, but the real problem is not there.

The real problem is that our country is a country where the speech of the Chief of Staff General be broadcast live by I do not know how many television channels.

Our subconscious mind is twisted at the base.

It seems natural that the Commander in Chief of the General Staff we address a speech on all subjects, as a major [college] and that this speech is broadcast in this way.

In which country have you encountered such a situation? Nowhere.

I know, they say "we have special conditions."

Here's where the problem is, we have "special conditions", and since the beginning of the Republic, these conditions remain unchanged.

The real problem is here:

"Why do we have conditions?"

If you answer "The Kurdish case, we must remind ourselves of the United Kingdom and Spain.

There there were the Irish and Basque affairs, speeches of General Staff were they provided each year to broadcast television?


It is true that we have "special conditions".

In my opinion, more accurately, we only have a "special condition": "the strength of the army" not to be detached from the policy. "

Yesterday in the discourse of the 'Chief of Staff there were positive words compared to "our condition."

He said "Turkey is right."

He said "The Turkish army [TSK] is respectful to democracy."

If an army is obliged to explain it is "respectful to democracy" and that this is seen as a "positive", it is precisely a problem too.

In a country, respect for the military to democracy must be rooted truth that you do not need to say ...

But in this country, the army has so abused the democracy that we are in a state of mind as we find it positive. "

Of course, it also gave bizarre lyrics.

It has, for example, defended the "nation state".

You knock on the door of the European Union and at the same time you t'entêteras to say "we will remain a" nation state ".

How much will it be possible, a "nation state" member of the European Union?

When you become an EU member, you will have "a single currency, there will be a" common justice ", you will accept" a common Constitution, "" boundaries "no longer exist.

As you can understand, the nation state will disappear.

So does the General Staff was opposed to joining the European Union?

He did not say it openly but he likes the "nation state" at this point, we can conclude that it is against the EU

On this point, how the Chief of Staff might try to play a "decision" on a topic so important that policy will change the lives and future of a people?

If the government adopted a policy favorable to the membership and if you are against it there only one thing to do: "resign" and create a political party opposing the EU or join a political party of this kind.

But if you t'opposes to a policy defined by the state and trying to "dictate" your ideas on this subject without resigning from your position, you pronounce words and saying "The Turkish army TSK is respectful to the democracy are empty words.

In democracies, the generals of the General Staff are not involved in this kind of political decisions.

When they try to intervene, they were faced with the answer "it does not look at you, Mind your own business."

If you ask me my opinion, one of the biggest "mistakes" of the General was the examples he has given about the system Koruculuk. [CVAN Note: the State pays the Kurds and give them weapons to kill members of the PKK and to work against other Kurds seeking freedom, equality and pluralist democracy. In short, those who work in this system Koruculuk represent the extension of the system Hamidiye, these Kurdish tribes that Unionists have used to eliminate the Armenians. Today, these neo-Hamidiye are used to betray and murder their own people].

He said the Americans had set up the system "Koruculuk" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Okay, but they are "occupying armies" on the land, if you watch as an example in your own methods of "occupying armies, we may conclude that you see as an" army occupation "on your own land.

An army should never act as an "occupying army" on its own land.

The result of this behavior is never good. We also have a case of Huntington.

The General spoke of Huntington so that I began to think that Huntington was also a general.

Among the words attributed to Huntington, the most dangerous was the need for "autonomy of the army."

The army can not act "independently" during the war. It is Parliament that decides when, where, the object and purpose of the war.

The military is "autonomous" for determining the form and means of action "military" to achieve the goal.

Nobody can say "send four regiments there." But the army can not say "I will decide the aim and purpose of the war."

The war is part of the policy and therefore it is the politicians who decide when and with whom we must make war.

The Chief of Staff also spoke of the "untouchables articles of the constitution."

What it looks he Chief of Staff? He talked about amnesty.

What it looks he Chief of Staff?

The real issue is this: "the Chief of Staff wants to govern this country, and the more it believes it is his right."

As long as we feel the need to write the speeches of the General Staff, this "problem" exists.

One day when we will not need this, "special conditions" of Turkey will also end.

Turkish translation: SC for the Collectif VAN - 30 April 2009

Southern Energy Corridor In Context Bala Çelebi Şentürk
A large-scale international conference in Budapest aimed at mobilizing tangible support for Nabucco, a genuine southern corridor project, despite the agonizing problems that have been stalling its progress, in particular the ambiguities over Nabucco’s potential gas sources and financiers.
On May 8 the “Southern Corridor -- New Silk Road” conference in Prague, launched by the European Union under the Czech presidency, will round off a series of summits in Budapest, Ashgabat and Sofia that started in January.

Their different agendas notwithstanding, all of these conferences centered on future cooperation between producers, consumers and transporters for the reliable supply of natural gas to Europe, or, in other words, on which energy networks will deliver to Europe from which sources and via which pathways. Ironically, the summit will take place against the backdrop of European energy security and partnership embracing Russian involvement, which it was previously intended to balance. Whether the Turkish energy conduit will become a pivotal link in the “new silk road” is highly questionable due to the chain of developments this article aims to illuminate.

Paradigm shift in the context of recent politics

The first of its kind in the new year, the Budapest Summit (Jan. 26-27, 2009) brought together high-level representatives from the Nabucco consortium (Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and Romania), potential supplier countries (Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iraq, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), of transit nation Georgia (in the absence of the Iranian delegation), and the EU, as well as delegates from Russia and the United States. The large-scale international conference aimed at mobilizing tangible support for Nabucco, a genuine southern corridor project, despite the agonizing problems that have been stalling its progress, in particular the ambiguities over Nabucco’s potential gas sources and financiers (“Nabucco pipeline or pipedream,” Today’s Zaman, Feb. 26, 2009). This, however, did not transpire, as the conference remained under the shadow of several events that reinforced the split among EU member states regarding differing levels of Russian gas dependency and energy security concepts.

In March Nabucco was removed from the list of priority projects to be financed by a 5 billion euro EU stimulus plan. Instead, Nabucco was put under a more inclusive common title, “southern gas corridor,” which involves several other and partly more promising projects, such as Russia’s South Stream. Against the backdrop of groundbreaking developments, the US proposed uniting Nabucco, South Stream and other projects into a larger “southern energy corridor” plan in order to create a friendly basis for Western-Russian cooperation on issues such as Iran’s controversial nuclear program and Afghanistan. Similarly, key EU members such as Germany, France and Italy, backed off from funding an alternative gas bridge excluding and, presumably, antagonizing Russia. The new southern corridor concept is obviously founded on this substantially different approach to European energy affairs, and contradicts Turkey’s plans to become an energy hub rather than a mere energy transit point with fixed fees.

Russian foreign energy politics

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made two calls during his visit to Helsinki prior to the Sofia Energy Summit (April 24-25, 2009): first, for a new global security order (Helsinki Plus) mirroring the realities of a substantially changed and multi-polar international political system in which Russia has reclaimed its place as a re-emergent superpower; and secondly, for a “modern global energy supply system” based on Russia’s “Conceptual Approach to the New Legal Framework for Energy Cooperation” that will appropriately reflect and “unconditionally” accept the current conditions under which Russia is and will try to remain the primary source, producer and exporter of energy, most notably natural gas. However, these two forays also reflect the powerful role that Russia’s energy strategies will continue to play in fostering its impressive comeback in the broader regional political sphere, and Russian foreign policies will share in advancing energy priorities by virtue of their geopolitical dividends.

The interdependence between Russian geopolitical engagement and energy interests was most evident in the Russo-Georgian conflict way ahead of the 2009 summits. Aside from its geopolitical implications, the Russian invasion of Georgia exposed the vulnerability of the southern energy corridor transporting gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East into Europe via Turkey and helping producers, transporters and consumers diversify their energy alternatives and improve their resilience to export/import risks. Hence, the war triggered a chain of intertwined developments further discrediting the viability of such a concept, if it is to bypass Russia in the future. For Georgia, which every once a while has been embroiled in gas supply and pricing disputes with Russia’s energy giant, Gazprom, the continuation of alternative gas transfers into and through its territory is vital. From the European perspective, Georgia represents the only non-Russian energy outlet for existing Caucasian and possible Central Asian natural gas exports, and thus is considered pivotal for supply diversification. Likewise, Turkey attaches great importance to the Georgian conduit for several reasons.

First of all, the Georgian conduit helps Turkey diversify own its gas import routes and foreign sources. Blue Stream is the only Russian pipeline delivering gas to Turkey. But considering its capacity for supplying 64 percent of Turkey’s total annual gas demand (BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2008) the Russian pipeline plays an immense role in tying Turkey to Russian influence. The utility of decreasing Russia’s involvement in Turkey’s energy equation, and easing Turkey’s vulnerability to possible far-reaching repercussions that its over-dependency could imply, is just one aspect of the significance of the Georgian transit route. Other than that, Georgia is the only viable passage for potential Central Asian gas to feed the planned Nabucco pipeline, and other projects on the way to establishing a secure southern energy network. A non-Russian gas conduit would inevitably traverse Turkish networks, rendering it an indispensable ring in the future European energy supply chain. A Georgia subject to the coercive policies of a resurgent Russia complicates future energy transfer plans for Turkey, which does not border Azerbaijan or any of its other resource-rich Central Asian kinsmen. It also annuls the chances for establishing a secure and stable gas corridor without Russia’s blessings.

Iran is an economically and geographically viable option, as a future source and transit route for a non-Russian Southern Corridor, but not politically. Iranian populist rhetoric, at least until the general elections in June this year, will hamper Western rapprochement efforts, and thus possible solutions to the unsolved Iranian nuclear issue. In its most recent report the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could not provide credible assurance about the absence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s program. Additionally, the US State Department released its 2008 report on state sponsors of terrorism, which identifies Iran as “the most active state sponsor of terrorism” and a major destabilizing factor in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Without a mutually convincing solution for these important matters, it is unlikely that the US and the EU would want to equip Iran with vital leverage over Europe’s energy security.

By virtue of bordering Azerbaijan and Turkey, landlocked and impoverished Armenia would be an alternative to Georgia. Supply routes via Armenia would be shorter, and thus would pull down pipeline costs, which have been a huge barrier to Nabucco’s realization. But bilateral relations had come to a deadlock when Turkey, on its own initiative, closed its borders with Armenia in 1993 in support of Azerbaijan and in retaliation against Armenian atrocities in and occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s borders with Armenia remain closed as well.

Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s visit to Armenia last year was the product of cautious preparations for rapprochement that started last June. However, intentions for normalization of strained relations and partial reopening of borders for trade must also be considered in the light of the Russian-Georgian conflict, and the urgency it created on the part of Turkey to seek alternative energy lines to landlocked Caucasian gas. But sensibilities on all sides concerned cut off prospects of restoring full diplomatic ties quickly. Turkey’s announcement in October that improved bilateral relations with Armenia would give conflict resolution efforts a new impetus, fueled Azerbaijan’s concerns, since thawed relations and open borders would neutralize Azerbaijan’s leverage over Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The blurry Armenian-Turkish Roadmap toward the gradual normalization of strained relations was certainly a move to preempt any US acceptance of Armenian genocide claims on April 24, when Armenians mark the 1915 events they believe constituted genocide. Despite Turkey’s recent overtures toward Azerbaijan to tie Armenian-Turkish rapprochement to Azerbaijani sensibilities and to a separate Armenian-Azerbaijani détente, prospects of entering into a win-win trilateral energy dialogue are quite bleak for the medium term. Russia’s involvement as mediator is more of a setback than a step forward in the standoff.

Divide et impera

The spat between Iran and the West has mainly helped expand and foster Russian energy hegemony over gas supply and pricing, its monopoly over European markets and monopsony in the broader resource-rich region. With a view to preempting future Iranian involvement in Europe’s energy projects as an alternative to Russia, Moscow suggested that Iran and Qatar form a “gas troika” in October of last year. The main beneficiary, however, would be Russia’s state-steered Gazprom, the world’s third-largest energy company, with an already overwhelming amount of control over the production, marketing and transportation of gas beyond Russia’s traditional sphere of influence. From this perspective, trilateral talks on a Russian initiative involving Armenia and Azerbaijan since November 2008 cannot be interpreted as an effort to contribute to the restoration of good neighborly relations between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. This would not be in the interest of Russia, since Russia has more to gain from their division. The November talks are based on an Armenian-Russian cooperation agreement for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in June 2008, on the sidelines of which a more significant bilateral deal had been inked to extend the scope of military and energy cooperation. The same deal was extended to Azerbaijan in September 2008.

Since 2003 Gazprom has been the only gas supplier for Armenia, the power generation sector of which is totally dependent on gas purchases. The company previously had a 45 percent stake in Armenia’s major energy concern, ArmRosGazprom, and controlled the distribution, transportation and marketing of gas in Armenia together with Armenia’s Energy Ministry (45 percent) and yet another Russian energy group, Itera (10 percent). Upon the implementation of an energy cooperation deal from March 2006, which stipulated ArmRosGazprom’s acquisition of a series of important gas facilities and its planned investments in Armenia’s power sector, Gazprom expanded its share in the internal energy market at the expense of the Armenian share. By buying off Itera’s ownership in the joint venture (March 2009), Gazprom now owns 80 percent of ArmRosGazprom, leaving a mere 20 percent under Armenian control. In April 2006 Armenia sold its section of the Armenian-Iranian gas pipeline to Russia, locking in prices for cheap Russian fuel ($100 per 1,000 cubic centimeters) until this year, but more importantly, locking itself out of the only alternative gas supply route. Russia’s response to the recent Turkish-Armenian thaw came immediately after Turkey and Armenia announced their roadmap plan on April 22. ArmRosGazprom spokeswoman Shushan Sardaryan announced last week that Russian gas supply to fully dependent Armenia would be halted from April 23 to 26 for “maintenance work.”

Russia had been the sole gas supplier to Azerbaijan until 2007. Today Azerbaijan is referred to as the most likely first supplier for the controversial Nabucco project. A milestone in breaking off Azerbaijan’s reliance on Russian exports and realizing the southern corridor concept had been the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline (BTC), and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline (BTE), which currently supply Azeri oil and gas to Turkey and on to Europe. However, British Petroleum (BP) was forced to completely shut down the oil pipeline as Russian jets targeted it during a bombing raid near Tbilisi in August 2008.

Already in June, prior to Russia’s Georgia offensive and Turkey’s Armenian venture, Gazprom had made its plans public to buy off Azerbaijan’s gas from Shah Deniz’s second development phase paying market prices ($400 per 1,000 cubic meters). Russia had been able to win over Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in March to trade off their strategic assets at European prices. Azerbaijan had resisted Russian persuasion efforts, while explicitly arguing that it would consider selling its second phase Shah Deniz gas to Russia if it continued to trump other offers and, implicitly, if Europe lacked the political will to push ahead with alternative plans. Finally, Russia has been able to clinch a crucial deal with Azerbaijan, which stipulates negotiations on long-term gas supplies to Russia at market prices beginning in 2010. The deal can be traced back to the Russia’s Georgia offensive, which produced a substantial shift in the European southern corridor concept, embracing Russian projects as well, and which inevitably accelerated the pace of Turkish-Armenian rapprochement at Azerbaijan’s understandable dismay.

The Georgia crisis ruined the idea of a secure alternative gas route via Georgia, and thus Turkey, which does not have any other operable gateways to energy sources

Complementing Russia’s foreign policy is Gazprom’s strategy of buying into various energy markets and perpetuating its “divide and conquer” maxim. The gas row between Russia and Ukraine, which escalated into the “New Year’s crisis,” exposed European disunion along differing levels of Russian gas dependency and clashing concepts of energy security. Russia, on the other hand, has been able to capitalize on this.

Europe’s lack of unity over which energy policies to pursue stalled legislation for preventing third parties such as Gazprom from expanding control over strategic energy assets. Although the EU tends to downplay this deficiency, it decreases the chances that a genuinely European common strategy will come to fruition any time soon.

The Nabucco consortium includes several leading energy companies: the state-run Turkish Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ), Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz, Romania’s Transgaz, Hungary’s MOL, Austria’s OMV Gas and Power GmbH and Germany’s RWE Supply and Trading GmbH. As projected, Nabucco would run through Georgia (or any other alternative transit route, such as Iran), Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, and would terminate in Baumgarten, Austria. On Jan. 25, 2008 OMV sealed a deal for a joint venture with Gazprom for extending Baumgarten’s storage and distribution capacity. Accordingly, Gazprom holds a 50 percent stake there. Initially OMV insisted that this project had nothing to do with Nabucco, although some took it as a sign that the Austrians were secretly hoping that Russian gas could fill the pipeline if other supplies did not. Yet a different train of thought seems to be more plausible.

The Baumgarten facility, led by OMV, was planned to store Nabucco gas and distribute it to other European consumers. Gazprom, in which the Russian state has a 51 percent stake and which intends to sell its own gas through its own pipelines, now shares control over the OMV network, and thus is a stakeholder in its decision-making. As a result, Gazprom, on the one hand, can decide which natural gas artery (Nabucco or South Stream) should flow into the major European terminal, and Russia, on the other, can steer decisions over which role transit countries such as Turkey will play in the future supply chain. With Gazprom’s participation in this venture, Russia has improved access to information regarding price offers the EU is extending to Azerbaijan, allowing Russia to trump the offers each time.

Moreover, OMV has been buying into Hungary’s MOL. Considering Russia’s significant share in OMV, any amount of OMV ownership of MOL again translates into stakes for Russia’s energy giant. Even further challenging the Nabucco project is the fact that OMV and MOL, together with yet a third consortium member, Bulgargaz, have already signed up to Gazprom’s South Stream project. If, under the current circumstances, Nabucco were to materialize at all, Russia’s increasing control over its planned supply chain would, first of all, diminish the security-enhancing aspect of Nabucco, which is the reason it was planned in the first place, and ultimately obstruct any Turkish plans to assume a hub position in the planned supply route.

Prospects for Turkey

Summits prior to the upcoming “southern corridor” conference have taken place against the backdrop of a range of partly correlated developments, which have obscured prospects for a secure southern gas corridor balancing Russian involvement, a prerequisite for a strong Turkish posture in the future European energy structure. Russia’s assertive politics against the crumbling facade of unity and cooperation among Western opponents has been able to induce a shift in the southern energy corridor concept for European energy security and independence, which ultimately evolved to include Russia for strategic reasons. The Georgia crisis ruined the idea of a secure alternative gas route via Georgia, and thus Turkey, which does not have any other operable gateways to energy sources. Inevitably, it accelerated the pace of Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, yet alienated Azerbaijan, and seemingly pulled it closer to Russia.

Energy triangle?

There are incentives on the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides for exploring the pragmatic aspects of a potential trilateral relationship. Its dependency on Russian energy forecloses any future chances for Armenia to play an independent and significant role in the region. But rapprochement with Turkey and Azerbaijan would change this in several ways. It would free Armenia from its landlocked position, as an effect of which its foreign policies remain myopic and based on a limited worst-case-scenario perspective. It could elevate Armenia’s role to an energy transit route for future pipeline projects, with prospects for foreign investment in the modernization and expansion of its infrastructure as in the case of Georgia. Turkey is already working out arrangements for the US and the EU to extend financial aid to Armenia. As of April 1 this year, Armenia’s natural gas prices will rise gradually to European levels until 2010, in accordance with an energy accord signed between Gazprom and ArmRosGazprom. Yet the availability of Azerbaijani gas in the Armenian gas market would fuel competition and would arguably keep Russian gas prices down at reasonable levels in the future.

Reportedly Azerbaijan’s proven gas reserves have been revised up from approximately 2 trillion cubic meters to 5 trillion cubic meters, which makes it even more attractive. Azerbaijan would lose its strategic importance for the West and, ironically, for Russia if it moved closer to the latter, particularly in the energy sphere. The Russian offensive in Georgia has forced Azerbaijan to rethink its relations and priorities with the West. But Azerbaijan needs a Western prospect as well, particularly because only this promises a more equal footing in relations with Russia and on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Azerbaijan will continue to press ahead with its choices only by balancing Russia and the West, particularly regarding the energy dimension of relations.

In the swiftly changing global system, Turkey is a regional power on the rise. Over the last couple of years it has been able to shake off the remains of a rigid foreign policy, previously enforced by the Cold War paradigm. With its far-sighted, highly diversified and multi-dimensional foreign policy based on the synthesis of others’ sensibilities, preferences and possibilities and its own interests, necessities, priorities and capabilities, Turkey has evolved from a highly functional Western military bulwark to a highly strategic state, now able to balance various roles and power poles. However, if Turkey is to consolidate itself as a pivotal energy bridge in the region and wants to extend its influence among its Central Asian kinsmen, it needs to have direct access to Azerbaijan. The shortest route is through Armenia. Russia will profit from the normalization of ties between Armenia and Turkey only if it does not involve a comprehensive approach to disputes, which could tie Azerbaijan closer to the two.

Rapprochement with Armenia must go hand-in-hand with a diplomatic foray into Azerbaijan with a view to assuaging its concerns. Turkey has to understand that a hasty rapprochement with Armenia without consultations with its Azerbaijani counterparts will not only lift Azerbaijan’s dual leverage on Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, but will turn this dual pressure toward Azerbaijan, as two recent statements reflect. On the one hand, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry expressed concerns over Russian arms transfers to Armenia in January this year. Russia’s motive for transferring arms to Armenia appears to have been threefold. First, after the Georgia crisis Russia sped up the implementation of its ambitious military modernization plans, which include upgrading aging arsenals and acquisition of precision “smart” weapons and modern communication gear. While rising oil prices have enabled Moscow to almost quadruple its defense spending over the last decade, modernization plans allowed Russia to sell older arms to Armenia at domestic prices. Secondly, Russia presumably anticipates the future possibility of NATO training camps and troop bases in Georgia, which gives it incentive to beef up its Armenian outpost. Based on an agreement for military cooperation signed in 1997, Russia is Armenia’s military ally. Thirdly, Russia had seen Azerbaijan channeling energy export revenues toward boosting its armed forces and increasingly determining the balance of power with Armenia. Russian arms sales tilt the military balance in the Caucasus in favor of Armenia, Russia’s ally.

Most recently, on the other side, Azerbaijan warned that Turkey’s Armenia venture may increase tensions in the region. Given the shift in the balance of military power, in addition to dynamics exacerbating Azerbaijan’s security dilemma, this is quite probable. Russia’s military cooperation with Armenia indicates that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue cannot be solved impartially. Turkey must reiterate its support for Azerbaijan and communicate its incentives to restore ties with Armenia on a bilateral basis. The coincidence of a meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders and the “Southern Corridor -- New Silk Road” conference yesterday carries great symbolic value. A positive outcome in the bilateral meeting will have an impact on the future of the European southern corridor concept, and inevitably on which role Turkey either must or can assume in the broader energy structure. Without Azerbaijan, the second Turkish state, trilateral energy dialogue is inconceivable.

The Turkmen window of opportunity

In early April, prior to the Ashgabat Energy Summit on Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy, an explosion struck the Turkmen-Russian Central Asian Center 4 (CAC-4) pipeline, temporarily suspending Turkmen gas supply to Russia. The rupture, which Turkmenistan claims happened due to GazpromExport’s sudden import cut (arguably because of lower demand in Europe) and a sharp rise of pressure in the pipe, curbed Russo-Turkmen dialogue for expanding energy relations. Russia attributed the incident to worn-out infrastructure and Turkmen negligence.

Previously Russia had expressed concerns over Turkmenistan’s failure to set up a follow-up meeting with Russia after Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdimuhammedov’s visit to Moscow on March 25, 2009. During the March visit the presidents had signed a dozen agreements on enhancing cooperation at multiple levels, leaving aside the most critical one, which called for the construction of a new “East-West pipeline.” From the Russian perspective this left the meeting inconclusive. According to Russia’s plans, the new natural gas corridor would run Turkmenistan’s gas to its Caspian coast, plugging it into the existing, but old Caspian Pipeline, which already carries Turkmen gas to Russia via Kazakhstan. Together, the East-West pipeline and Caspian coastal conduit, once fully reconstructed and revamped, would add at least another 20 billion cubic meters to the annual 45 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas flow into Russia. From the Russian perspective, these outlets would deliver the gas needed to feed Russia’s ambitious pipeline projects, Nord Stream and South Stream, which are to boost the vast volumes of gas exported to the major European market. A day after the Nabucco Budapest Summit, Gazprom deputy chief Alexander Medvedev had announced plans to enhance the projected capacity of its South Stream by 50 percent from 31 billion cubic meters annually to 47 billion. Securing Turkmen gas for its own purposes would strengthen Russia’s project against any southern gas corridors excluding its involvement. Thus, Turkmenistan’s attitude is a serious blow to Russia.

Citing the lack of alternatives to Russia and the recent pipeline explosion, the Turkmen president used the Ashgabat conference to communicate Turkmenistan’s “sovereign right” to diversify export routes and markets for its vast 75 billion cubic meters of produced gas per year. In order to benefit from this outburst, Turkey will have to boost its ties with Turkmenistan. Operable pipelines theoretically exist linking Turkmenistan to Turkey via Iran. Such projects have to be given a new impetus. Turkey’s foreign policy must consider the recent developments as opportunities, rather than challenges, and must integrate them to consolidate Turkey as a major regional player politically and in the new great game for energy security. Turkey’s own energy security is of the utmost importance by virtue of being an underpinning of national security. At the domestic level privatization policies must, therefore, be executed to a degree that allows Turkey to maintain its sovereignty over its strategic energy assets and energy companies, such as BOTAŞ.

* Bala Çelebi Şentürk is an energy strategy analyst who can be reached at balacelebi@nyu.edu.
08 May 2009, BALA ÇELEBİ ŞENTÜRK Zaman

Meds Yeghern By Doğu Ergil @Todayszaman.Com
What a country. You intend to write on a subject only to wake up the next morning to see that it is already overshadowed by a totally new event. Indeed, things change very fast in Turkey, but not the institutional framework in which they take place. The fluidity of daily phenomena and the rigidity of the institutions create a chaotic atmosphere where nothing is properly identified and few outcomes are predicted.

While the national press and the political class were commenting on what US President Barack Obama said on the fateful day of April 24 concerning the predicament of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915, they dropped the subject instantaneously and began to focus on the public statements of Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ the next day. Why a general's public statements are so vitally important and why the press and the public are so concerned about what he was expected to say is an anomaly in a democratic country. But then this phenomenon itself reflects the particular character of the Turkish political structure and culture. But this is another day's discussion.

Every year the Turkish bureaucracy and the political class wait with their hands over their pounding hearts and look across the ocean to hear whether the American president mentioned the "buzz word," genocide, to define the unsavory events that took place during World War I in the last decade of the Ottoman Empire. This is a shame. Why would a whole nation and its bureaucracy try to ward off a definition of a certain historical event as a full-time effort and threaten to sever relations with a country that adopts that definition? The event is the 1915 deportation of Ottoman Armenians, who were never allowed to return.

The Armenians call this event "Meds Yeghern" or the "Great Catastrophe." Mr. Obama mentioned the event on its 94th anniversary as the Armenians had coined it. He did not say "genocide," which the Turks vehemently deny. This expression testifies that he sympathizes with the Armenians, who carry a fatal scar on their collective psyche, for they have been bereft of a homeland and a history. 1915 is the year that the Armenians feel they lost the integrity of their community and the continuity between their past and future was disrupted. This feeling is deeper than obtaining the approval of the legal and political term "genocide."

The Armenian diaspora has been working full time at all levels in every major country of the world to have Turkey blamed for the genocide of their ancestors. Mr. Obama has threaded a fine line between psychological comfort for the scarred and not falling into the trap of shallow moral labeling, just as he has tried not to offend the Turkish and Armenian parties that are presently seeking reconciliation.

The "Great Catastrophe" is how the Ottoman Armenian community defines what happened in its history. The victim produced it out of its victimization. It is human and emotional. Yet, genocide is an attribute of the deeds and the intention of the perpetrator. Hence the word "genocide" is political, and after 1948, was a legal term only determined by a special court.

Mr. Obama has used the term "Meds Yeghern" to identify with the trauma of the Armenians without offending the Turks. He has proven to be a more astute and sensitive politician than many of his Turkish and Armenian colleagues who have expressed their distaste with this terminology. They wanted either a full accusation and condemnation or a full absolution. Yet, no side is innocent enough to get all that they want. There are gray areas in their mutual history that they need to discuss and clear. For one side's resistance is rebellion for the other. One side's defense is offense for the other.

Can we be honest with each other and face the facts of a history shared? Yes, only we can face different and dissident interpretations that deviate from the mainstream. So far, neither Armenians nor Turks have been courageous and straightforward in this regard. Only a handful could defy the official or collectively internalized labels and definitions. We can learn about our mistakes and cruelty if only the other side acknowledges its own. There is enough documentation to consider if we really want to take on the challenge.

What is really hard to understand is why today's Turkey feels so offended by events that took place generations ago and under the jurisdiction of another state. There is no legal responsibility for the Republic of Turkey. It is obvious that painful events took place because a part of the Ottoman bureaucracy made some cruel decisions in response to unmet demands and ensuing unruliness that led to catastrophic results for a portion of the state's citizens. Why not acknowledge these and free our mind and souls from the burden of history and salvage the Armenian soul by acknowledging the agony they had suffered at the hands of their former rulers -- who the republic takes pride in overthrowing in order to create a modern state and society? If we can free ourselves, then the victims will rest in peace, and the criminals will be eternally damned. This can't be what we are afraid of, can it?
03 May 2009

The Racist Campaign That Started With “Medz Yeghern” Is Spreading
As will be remembered, the campaign for “I apologize from the Armenians” was turned into a slandering campaign against Turkey at abroad as well as in our country.

One of the most stressed issue was the expression of “Medz Yeghern” which is how it is pronounced in Armenian language. This expression which the campaign is based upon according to the “apologizers” includes the meanings such as “Great Disaster”, “Tragic incidents during the relocation of the Armenians”, “Relocation” as well as the exact meaning of “genocide” which is fastidiously hidden by the Armenians.

While the current situation seems to be more breathable comparing the previous months, it points out the existence of a great “racist campaign” underneath the iceberg! According to some experts, the goal of this campaign is to lessen the influence of Turkey’s offer for a “Mutual History Commission”! Moreover, “the panic attack syndrome” that is experienced by the Armenians, led the harsh and uncompromised objections that would support the statements of “Never be courageous to sit at the table with Turks for discussing historical issues; you will lose”.

And the freshest example of this has found its exact expression at a publication called “Medz Yeghern” which is published in French in Belgium. It is a great coincidence (!) to carry the similarity with a sentence that was voiced first time in a campaign in Turkey. Moreover, it is the same headline that is used at its first edition, which was in Italian. The book is written by Italian origin Paolo Cossi. A publishing house called Dargaud Benelux has published it in French and put it on the market on January 2009 in Brussels…

And the fact that it is a book which would address to young children is the most striking point about it…Because it is;

“An Extreme Racist Comic that is Consisted of 140 Pages”…

The issue should be seriously commented upon by us and the intellectuals and a couple of questions, which comes to mind immediately, should be answered in the scope of the “apology”:

1. Would the psychological strengths of children, young people and students, who will be loaded with great prejudges about Turks, be maintained when they see the pages that is full with blood and violence?

2. Will the scientific facts be concealed by presenting a racist comic book against an objective documentary film that is on the market for years?

3. When will the ones, who talk about brotherhood among Turkish-Armenian nations come together and condemn these kinds of publications with a similar declarations, and put forward that they are both objective and impartial while this racist comic book is available and can be obtained in all of Europe?

Editor, genocidereality.com

Russian General and Armenians!
Sarkisyan, the President of Armenia said: “We are straightening our relations with Turkey. The border gate of Turkey may soon be opened.” It is perceived from there statement that there is a serious closeness between the Foreign Ministry of Turkey and Armenia. However…This is a single-sided, strange closeness…because, Armenians always demand and never give!

The two main issues between Turkey and Armenia: The so-called Armenian genocide claim and the Armenian invasion of the one fifth of the Azerbaijani lands!”

The President of Armenia says with a definite altitude: “We will never give up Armenian genocide claim. We will never abandon mountainous Karabagh!”

So…why shall we open the borders? What kind of closeness is that? What kind of a straightening is that? Does it write “Foolish” on our foreheads?

(…) A report on the Armenian question of a famous Russian general was published. General Bolhovitinov (1871-1928), whose life had passed at the fronts, was the Chief of the Caucasus Army of the Tsarist Russia, which was fighting against the Ottoman army.

General Bolhovitinov is one of the closest eye-witnesses of 1915 Armenian incidents. The Russian General had presented his detailed report on the Armenian issue to the Caucasus Front Commander-in-Chief.

Mehmet Perinçek’s “Official Armenian Report” which was based on the Tsarist archives, was published by” Doğan Kitap”.

The findings at the report can be summarized such as following:

There was no Armenian issue even until the end of the 19th century. The Armenians, Kurds and Turks have coexisted in peace. The living conditions of Armenians are fine and they had lived in prosperity comparing to Turks and Kurds.

The Armenian issue has appeared at the end of the 19th century with the incitements of the England. England has created a disagreement between Turkey and Russia, by this way prevented Russia to dominate the Straits.

England had implanted the idea of founding an “independent Armenia” to Armenians with the help of Europeans. It organized Armenians for stirring up trouble and shedding blood and influencing European public opinion by this way.

Armenian leaders had sacrificed Armenian people for the sake of the European interests. The Armenian gangs had made every king of attack against the Muslim population.

The Armenian units, which supported Russian armies in the Eastern Anatolia, which was invaded during the World War I, had violently massacred Muslim population with the racist sentiments.

These bloody attacks had started before the “Armenian Relocation” (Compulsory immigration) decision that was taken by the Ottoman Empire.

The Armenians are continuously exaggerating their losses at 1915 relocation. The numbers that are given by them can never be trusted.

Indicating that the Ottoman Empire had many valid reasons to be strict against the Armenians at his report, the Russian General says: “Because, three quarters of our units, which invaded the Eastern Anatolia, were composed of the Ottoman Armenians.”

The documents at archives of the Tsarist Russia also confirm General Bolhovitinov.

“The Official Armenian Report” that is written by a Russian general, who had fought against Turkey, describes how Armenians were deceived by the West. Poor people, they are still inside the same game!

Source: Rahmi Turan-Hürriyet Daily Newspaper- 20/04/2009 & GenocideReality.com

Synchronized Steps Should Be Taken During This Process
Nobody has an intention of winning Armenian at the cost of losing Azerbaijan in Ankara. Turkish diplomacy has been working on an extensive resolution package, which also takes the crucial interests of Azerbaijanis with its counterparts since months. Evidently, mountainous Karabagh and Azerbaijani lands under Armenian invasion is a part of this resolution package.

During the negotiation process with Yerevan, Ankara, keeps the Azerbaijani government informed over the developments. Turkish leaders particularly stress their Azerbaijani counterparts that they should not be concerned over the process and rely on them.

As a matter of fact, the news-or speculations- on media have created a crisis of trust towards Turkey in Azerbaijan. The reports that point out that Turkey would open its borders in the coming days was used by various political circles in Baku as a “domestic material”. Unfortunately, this atmosphere has also influenced the senior Azerbaijani administration…

We don’t know to what extent these doubts have disappeared following the two telephone conversation that President Abdullah Gül has made with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev in the beginning of the week.

However, the Azerbaijanis should know that Turkey would not create some kind of “fait accompli” that she would not be fond of.

It is also stated officially in Ankara that it is not possible for Turkey to open her borders with Armenia with a single-sided move in March 16th or before April 24th. Of Course, that does not mean that opening borders or establishing diplomatic relations, are being planned. However, this is only one part of the extensive package as it is mentioned above. The Karabgh and Armenian invasion issue, in addition to the “mutual disagreements” between Ankara and Yerevan, are also included in the package. In another words, the path that is expected to be followed is taking synchronized steps during this process…

(…) However, It is a fact that the process has multi-dimensions and it is complex, which involves many countries (including the USA and Russia) and multi-sides (including Armenian Diaspora). Therefore, the solution will not be easy; it will take some time. If only the steps that are taken are in the right direction…
Source: Sami Kohen- Milliyet Daily Newspaper www.genocidereality.com/htmpage.asp?id=485

Dashnaks’ Withdrawal From The Coalition Government Ömer Engin Lütem
The Dashnaks (The Armenian Revolutionary Federation), who have participated in all the Armenian coalition governments for the last eleven years, have declared two days ago, on the 27th of April, that they parted from the Coalition Government following a long meeting with the Head of the State, Sarkissian. The reason shown for this is that the joint declaration publicized on the 22nd of April by Turkey and Armenia has been found unacceptable and hence denounced by them. Although it is not clear which points of the joint declaration they are objecting, it is understood that the primary disagreement is connected with the genocide allegations and that, in this regard, the focus was on Turkey’s acknowledgement of these allegations.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation was founded 120 years ago, in 1890, and has succeeded in surviving, though with some ups and downs, till our day. The most prominent feature of this party is using illegal force to achieve its political aims when the conditions are favorable, in other words, its tradition of resorting to terror. In fact, the Dashnaks have played the primary role at all of the three periods of Armenian terror throughout the history. The main instigator of the rebellions performed between 1882-1909 was the Dashnak Party. After the World War I, Talat, Cemal and Sait Halim Pashas and some other Unionists (Ittihatchis) have been murdered by the Dashnaks during the second period of the Armenian terror. The Armenian Brigade formed during the World War II to cooperate with Nazi Germany was also founded by the Dashnaks. During the third period of Armenian Terror between the years 1973-1986 which targeted Turkish diplomats and caused the death of 70 persons and wounded 524, the Dashnaks, have killed 13 and wounded 67 individuals through a terror organization called the Dashnaki Justice Commandos.

The Dashnak Party, which was banned during the Soviet era has continued its activities within the Diaspora, returned back to Armenia and has been founded again when the country re-gained its independence in 1991. As a result of his ultra nationalist and nonconciliatory stance, and its tendency to resort to violence, it soon fell in conflict with the Armenian government of the time and was shut down in 1994. Following the resignation of the then Head of the State Levon Ter Petrossian in 1998 due to the Karabakh question, they assisted the election of Robert Kocharian to this post and have been rewarded with the inclusion in the various coalition governments after his ascend to power.

The issue of recognition of genocide allegations at an international level was included in the programs of the Armenian governments with the insistence of the Dashnaks and it has been collaborated with the Diaspora for this end. Beside Diaspora, the Armenian diplomacy has also played a significant role in 11 parliaments’, out of a total of 19 that has so far done so, taking their decisions after the year 2000. In the meanwhile, we should point out that the Dashnaks have mostly acted like an opposition party and the Head of State Kocharian allowed them to stay in the government despite this. Yet, because the new Head of State Sarkissian has attributed priority to constructing normal relations with Turkey, he made no move to prevent their withdrawal from the Government.

It is probable that the Dashnaks may have taken this decision with motives pertaining to domestic politics as well, although they show the ongoing negotiations with Turkey as the reason of withdrawal. In deed, despite the fact that this party has cherished all the advantages of being in government for 11 years, it has not been able to draw any significant number of votes. In the parliamentary elections that took place about two years ago, in 2007, the Dashnaks collected 12,7 % of the votes and won 16 seats in the Armenian Parliament that has 131 seats. The Dashnaks who participated in the presidential elections of February 2008, have lost close to fifty percent of its electorate and collected only 6,12 % the votes. In this context, one should point out that the winner of the elections, Serj Sarkissian, has collected 52,8 % of the votes. In this case, one reaches the conclusion that the Dashnaks may have made their calculations with the aim of winning the votes of ultra-right voters in the 2012 elections by leading a primarily anti Turkey campaign, following some uncompromising policies and, making demagogical proposals after quitting the government, and entering the Parliament with a more powerful composition.

Turkey And Armenia: Hope For The Future By By Faruk Loğoğlu
The Turkish-Armenian front draws a lot of attention these days. The good news is that Turkey and Armenia are trying to mend their relations. However, the United States is not being helpful and the European Union stands by and watches. Russia, on the other hand, is alert and trying to turn developments to its advantage. Most importantly, Azerbaijan is unhappy.

The ongoing rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia is long overdue. The two neighbors, representing two venerable peoples, need to address pending bilateral issues and normalize their relations, while paving the way for a negotiated solution of the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict. This will enhance stability, security and prosperity in the critical region of the Caucasus.

Therefore, the ongoing Turkish-Armenian dialogue with the formal announcements of an agreement on a “road map” is encouraging and the right path to follow. There will be detractors from all sides who will try to derail the process, but Ankara and Yerevan should stand firm and pursue the path of friendship with tenacity.

Azerbaijan is right and justified to expect, parallel to the process of Turkish-Armenian normalization, an assurance of progress in its dispute over Nagorno Karabagh, specifically withdrawal by Armenia from occupied Azerbaijani territories as a first step. Turkey herself had established this linkage in her foreign policy in 1993 by shutting down the land border following Armenian attacks against Azerbaijan. The occupation continues and it is Turkey’s duty now to persuade Armenia to make conciliatory gestures towards Azerbaijan.

Turkish political leadership should continue to keep in close touch with the Azerbaijani leadership and better inform both the Turkish and Azerbaijani publics about what they are doing with Armenia and why. However, the leadership in Baku must also take care not to disrupt the Turkish-Armenian process. These are delicate times and all parties ought to act with circumspection. Azerbaijan has as much interest and need to maintain good relations with Turkey as Ankara does with Baku. Returning to the Russian sphere of influence is not a wise alternative for Azerbaijan. It is also clear that improved relations between Turkey and Armenia could increase the chances of a long-term peaceful solution to the Nagorno Karabagh problem.

President Obama disappoints
President Obama believes the Armenian narrative of genocide. He has stated that it is his “firmly held conviction that 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.” He said in Turkey that his views had not changed. In his 24 April proclamation, Obama reaffirmed his recognition of genocide without actually using the term. Both during his visit to Turkey and on April 24, he explicitly called on Turkey to come to terms with the facts of history, that is, the recognition and acceptance of Armenian claims.

Obama’s stance does not augur well for the future of Turkish-American relations. It is one thing to have a personal conviction on a given issue, but it is another thing to allow that personal conviction to dictate a slanted policy toward an important friendly and allied country. Obama claims he is open to dialogue and willing to listen. Yet he is not listening to the Turkish side on the sensitive and highly controversial issue of Armenian claims. Everything regarding this dispute is under contention: events, statistics, documents and the presumed perpetrators. Most significantly, the parties to the case are not in possession of all the facts. It is also ironic that President Obama calls for dialogue on this issue within Turkey where a belated and uneasy debate is in fact taking place rather than on the Armenian side where the subject is sacrosanct, exempt from any discussion.

Having painted himself into a corner, President Obama will constantly be facing an Armenian community pushing and pulling him at every opportunity to deliver on his promises. Such opportunities could arise anytime there are difficulties in ties between Turkey and the United States. Particularly if the Turkish-Armenian “road map” does not work, Obama might find it hard to resist Armenian demands. Moreover, as the Armenian issue is likely to remain on America’s agenda even after a full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, Obama will have to continue to deal with it.

Given Obama’s position, we should not expect him to play a significantly positive role in the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia. The President is unlikely to change his views on the matter. However, he can and must exert his influence in favor of the resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. That would be how he can contribute to the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.

What should Turkey do?
Turkey’s strategic goal ought to be the normalization of its ties with Armenia and the establishment of diplomatic relations. The prevention of a Congressional resolution or keeping the US President from using the “G” word is a separate and secondary consideration. Ankara should focus more on Yerevan than on Washington, Brussels or Moscow. Undoubtedly, if Turkey and Armenia succeed in opening an era of mutual friendship, it will weaken the hands of the proponents of Armenian claims and strengthen the hands of those who favor reconciliation between the two peoples through dialogue in the context of a collaborative examination of historical evidence in all the relevant archives. Turkey should therefore continue to stand behind its proposal of establishing a joint commission to deal with the historical issues.

The pursuit of good neighborly relations with Armenia is the only wise and logical option. Nevertheless, it is not at all an easy undertaking. There are historical, legal, and political issues to deal with. Turkey must not only address its own concerns, but also make certain that the interests of Azerbaijan are not harmed. It is a complex process. The normalization effort will have zealous detractors everywhere. There will be difficulties. Armenian side has on all previous attempts negated and withdrawn from talks with Turkey. Erivan may well do so again. The success of the process will ultimately depend on the political leaders. What we need from our political leaders in Turkey is steadfast adherence to the “road map” while conducting an effective public diplomacy campaign as the process continues.

Armenian Patriarch of Turkey: Religious or Political Leader? By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
A year ago, the 53-year-old Patriarch of Turkey, Mesrob Mutafyan, was unexpectedly diagnosed with a debilitating and apparently incurable illness. His official duties were assumed on a temporary basis by Archbishop Aram Ateshian, 55, and Archbishop Shahan Svajian, 83.

There have been many puzzling questions as to the cause of the Patriarch's illness. His doctors have announced that he is suffering from an unspecified neurological disorder and loss of memory.

Members of the Istanbul Armenian community have expressed conflicting opinions as to the advisability of replacing the Patriarch. Electing a replacement is problematic, as Patriarchs usually serve for life. However, such an important seat cannot remain vacant for long. Patriarch Mutafyan was elected to his post in 1998.

There are only about 10 Armenian clergymen worldwide who qualify to stand as candidates in a new patriarchal election, since Turkish law disqualifies those not born in that country. Two of the 10 clergymen reside in Istanbul, while the rest are in Armenia, the United States and Germany.

Since Archbishop Atesyan has already taken on many of the patriarchal duties, he may emerge as the front-runner in a future election for that post. It is therefore important for the Armenian public to be informed about his background, actions and statements.

In previous patriarchal elections, the Turkish government has indicated to the local Armenian community its preferred candidate. An early indication of such a preference would be the number of times a particular clergyman is invited to Ankara for "consultation."

To gain insight into Abp. Atesyan's positions on Armenian-Turkish issues, here are several excerpts from his lengthy interview with Spiegel online, the electronic version of the prominent German Der Spiegel magazine. The interview was conducted shortly after the Armenian clergyman, along with the Jewish Rabbi, the Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Islamic Mufti of Istanbul met with Pres. Obama in Istanbul last month. The Greek Patriarch met separately with the U.S. President.

Abp. Atesyan told Spiegel that he "spoke with Pres. Obama about the events of 1915 and told him that both peoples suffered." He also the President: "We, the Armenians in Turkey, are like the children of a divorce. In Turkish, we call our homeland 'Anavatan' -- that means 'motherland' -- and in Armenian we call it 'Hayrenik,' which means 'fatherland.' We have lived with our mother for the past 80 years. Now we want our parents to finally reconcile."

Commenting on Pres. Obama's April 24 statement, Abp. Atesyan said: "The Turkish government is unhappy that the US president used the term 'Meds Yeghern,' the 'Great Catastrophe.' That is the common Armenian name for the events of 1915 and basically means the same thing. But there is also some disappointment among Armenians. Many wished that he would specifically use the G-word. But of course he did not. The US needs Turkey, it is one of its most important strategic partners."

Abp. Atesyan proceeded to explain that "Armenians have been living on Anatolian soil for the past 2,000 years, and for the last thousand we have shared this land with the Turks. Our people were like brothers -- until the tragic events of 1915. Now there is hope once again, but we should not gamble it away. Therefore the next step is diplomatic rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, followed by the opening of common borders." Interestingly, he dismissed the much talked about possible formation of a "historical commission," by asserting that "a closer examination of our history will not be attempted for the time being."

When asked about the Armenian Diaspora's demands for genocide recognition, Abp. Atesyan responded very cautiously: "I do not want to judge them. I do not want to judge anyone. I am a member of the clergy, it's not my responsibility to conduct historical research or raise questions of guilt. The only thing I want to say to my Turkish and Armenian counterparts is: We know that something very terrible happened to my people in 1915. We also know that Turks and Muslims suffered. And we know that today there is a chance for our people to engage with each other."

Abp. Atesyan then commented on recent developments in Turkey: "Yes, there is certainly a change of mentality in Turkey. Ten years ago, no one would have had the courage to ask questions about the events of 1915. This fear has receded; today one can write about the issue or discuss it on television. In comparison to the 1990s, human rights in this country have made a big leap forward. This also affects our ability to practice our religion. We are now in a position to freely renovate our churches. Until recently, we had to ask permission from the government for each new nail=80¦. It is an unwritten law in this country that a Christian can never be a government minister or a military officer. But I believe that this could change in the future." The problem in giving such interviews is that Armenian clergymen in Turkey have to be extremely careful about what they say publicly, given that country's draconian laws restricting freedom of speech. One wrong word can land them in jail or worse! In his case, Abp. Atesyan has an even more compelling reason for minding his words. He could either ingratiate himself to the Turkish authorities or have them veto his patriarchal candidacy. The wisest course for an Armenian clergyman in Turkey is to deal exclusively with religious issues and not discuss politics, thus avoiding the possibility of being used as a propaganda tool for the Turkish government.

By Vartan Oskanian Time To Take Stock
The article below was published on May 2, in Yerevan newspaper "168 zham". Written by Vartan Oskanian, founder of the Civilitas Foundation and former foreign minister, the article addresses the issue of Armenian-Turkish relations.

Turkish-Armenian relations have to be viewed on two levels: process and content.

It's probably natural to think that to achieve progress in content, a process must take place. But not in the case of Turkish-Armenian relations. For Turkey, the process itself has always been an end, not a means. On the one hand, Turks clearly realize their conditions -- that Armenia abandon international efforts at genocide recognition, explicitly abandon territorial claims of Turkey, and concede on the Nagorno Karabakh issue, even partially -- would be unacceptable for Armenia.

On the other hand, since Turkey is under pressure by the international community on border opening and on genocide recognition, they want to demonstrate that there is a process underway with Armenia, and that the main issues on the agenda -- territorial claims and genocide - are under discussion. Thus they can call on the world not to interfere and not to harm a possible resolution that will eventually lead to the opening of the border and establishment of diplomatic relations.

While there were intensive Turkish-Armenian negotiations during the previous Armenian administration, the Armenian side, by insisting on the confidentiality of the talks, never offered the Turks a chance to exploit either the fact of the negotiations, that is, the process, nor their content. I believe the main shortcoming of Armenia's current policy on relations with Turkey is that the negotiations -- both the process and the content - have been made public.

Today, Turkish diplomacy has succeeded in formulating its blunt preconditions in such a way as to make them palatable to the international community. The precondition of abandoning genocide recognition has assumed the form of an offer to set up a joint commission of historians. The territorial issues have taken the form of reciprocal recognition of borders through establishment of diplomatic relations.

It's already inarguable that both the issue of the joint commission and diplomatic relations are on the Turkish-Armenian negotiation agenda, and agreement in principle has been reached on these issues. This is what the world was told on April 22 with an announcement on the existence of a `Roadmap.'

But so long as that document's content is not public, the Turkish side can successfully present the agreement on diplomatic relations and on a joint commission as evidence of the Armenian side's consent to jointly study historical issues and on abandonment of any Armenian territorial claims.

Moreover, even if diplomatic formulations on these two issues in the document are acceptable for the Armenian side, Turkey will still exploit the document and interpret it as the Armenian side's agreement on a commission of historians and standing back from territorial claims.

Today, it is obvious that Armenia has been involved in a process that it no longer controls and on which it has no leverage. By publicly announcing the existence of the Roadmap without any indication about its content, Armenia has ended its role in the negotiations, and left the process, its interpretation, and its future evolution to the Turks.

The date of the announcement is a topic unto itself. But whether such a statement on the eve of April 24 was pure coincidence, or whether it was done intentionally at someone's proposal or perhaps insistence, and with expectations of something in exchange, in both cases, it is neither comprehensible nor acceptable.

Unfortunately, recent official comments from Turkey and from Armenia make clear that the date of the announcement was imposed on Armenia. By yielding, Armenia has given credence to the Turkish theory that the issue of genocide recognition is the Diaspora's issue, not Armenia's, thus forging a dangerous chasm between Armenia and the Diaspora.

The use of the term `Roadmap' is also difficult to understand. By using such a term, we invite unavoidable parallels with the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is one of the most intractable in the world, unsolved since 1948. Naturally the international community will picture a similarly complex problem, the solution of which will require endless steps and a long time. However, the Turkish-Armenian problem is very simple. Turkey has unjustly closed the border, and it should open it without preconditions.

The most concerning problem regarding this process is that it is being coupled to the Karabakh conflict. It's true that Karabakh is not part of the official Turkish-Armenian bilateral agenda. Nor could it be; otherwise it would have been obvious that this is a Turkish precondition and the negotiations would have been senseless from the beginning. The Karabakh problem was not a part of the negotiations in the past either. At that time, however, the Turks could not attach the issue publicly and conditionally to the Turkish- Armenian negotiations, because there was no public track to which they could link Karabakh.

Today, the Karabakh issue has become a parallel process, linked to Armenian-Turkish relations, where Turks have become an equal player with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Today, as a result of Armenia's policy, the Turks have gained the right to discuss Karabakh both bilaterally and regionally, without taking into consideration the Armenian factor. On the Turkey-Russia agenda, the Turkey-US agenda, too, Karabakh now is one of the main issues. This was not possible in the past. Turkey now somehow has assumed the right to initiate a regional meeting with the participation of Turkey, the US, Russia, Switzerland, Armenia and Azerbaijan, where, according to the Turkish foreign minister not only regional issues, and Armenia-Turkey relations, but also Karabakh will be discussed.

Today, Turkey can behave as it wishes. It already has the Armenian side's public consent on the key bilateral issues, and now it can determine, based on its own preference, discretion and convenience when and under what conditions to open the border. Turkey has two options: either to wait for some progress on the Karabakh resolution and a return of some territories, something that will please the Azerbaijani side, and then open the border; or, it will open the border only when it has guarantees from the US, Russia and Europe, that the Karabakh problem will be resolved within the principle of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

For that, the necessary legal foundation has been provided. The declaration signed by Armenia, in November, in Moscow, states that the resolution of the Karabakh conflict must be based on the decisions and resolutions of international organizations. This provision has already been used by Russian President Dimitri Medvedev during his joint press conference with the Azeri president, during the latter's latest Moscow visit.

As difficult as the current situation has been made due to our own missteps, there are no irreversible processes in diplomacy. It's important to acknowledge the complexity of the situation and take steps to correct it. First of all, the issue of the border opening has to be transformed. It is true that Turkey is the one who has closed the border, and Armenia has always declared it is ready to normalize relations without preconditions. However, since Turkey has turned the border opening issue into a bargaining chip in a process that has become dangerous for us, the Armenian side has to state that after Turkey agrees to open the border, the Armenian side itself must determine whether to open the border from its side. By doing so, Armenia will regain its leverage in a process that hasn't yet reached its conclusion.

Secondly, the Armenian side must make clear that if the border is not open by a clear and near deadline, then it will withdraw from the negotiations. Since Armenia's president has already indicated that the Armenian side is willing to wait until October, it is essential that Armenia make clear that the president will only go to Turkey to watch the football match in October if the border is already open and the railway already functioning.

And finally, since the process has become public in a way that does not serve our best interests, Armenia has to make the Roadmap and all documents derived from it public, as soon as possible. It is also important that the Armenian side publicly offers its own interpretations of each of the diplomatically formulated statements in the document. Only by doing so, will it be possible to stop Turkey from exploiting the process and the content of these negotiations in a way that is harmful for us.

“The West Is Taking Atatürk To The Court…” Erol Manisalı, 04-05-2009
Erol Manisalı (1940-), a professor of economics has been arrested on the 13th of April, 2009 and nothing has been heard about him in the national media up to day. He has been accused of involvement with the so-called “Ergenekon Case.” During this so-called “Ergenekon Case” several authors and cultural figures have been arrested. Manisalı has authored outstanding academic and popular books on many topics. These unreasonable arrests deeply troubles the intellectuals living in Turkey. Below is translation of the last piece of writing he did for the newspaper Cumhuriyet (Republic), on the day of his arrest.

“The West is taking Atatürk to the court…

Turkish Republic is at the court, our revolutions are at the court…

Our independence, our freedom is at the court…

Lausanne is at the court, the war we won against the imperialism is at the court…

Our people, our nation has been taken to the court by the colonialists…

Our identity, our values and our presence is at the court…

Our liberation and its leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has been taken to the court by the colonialists and their puppets…

The foremost criminal is Atatürk; he created an independent nation and a Republic from the Ottoman State which had decayed, had been actually occupied as a playground of the imperialism.

Turkey became a symbol of independence in an oppressed and exploited world; and this happened in the most problematic part of the world. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became a model for India to uprise against England, for African countries to struggle against Europe; he was a model for Castro and he is a model for Chavez in his challenging attitude against USA.

The colonialists never liked him and they never will. This is why they are taking Atatürk to the court, to defeat him. They want us to go back to the chaos, to the Ottoman State which they made to submit to the Sevres.

Instead of modern values, modern law order and social rights, in this land, they want a social disorder which the political Islam dominates.

They want a puppet at the top the crowd, to command.

Obama’s Memory

Does Obama remember his African ancestors?

While “planning new military operations to Soudan”, does not he ever remember how the Africans were carried to the cotton fields of America?

Can’t he see how Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan has been turned into a sea of blood by America?

It seems like he could has see, so he wants “the present policy to continue.”

He wants “Turkish soldiers” to fight for him. America has been defeated, so he says “come, fight to cover me,” he seeks an instrument for his own imperialism…

We have sent soldiers to Korea, to Somali, to Yugoslavia, to Afganistan, to Lebanon for America. Why are we helping the colonizers who are doing the same thing that the Western Allies did us during our Independence War? Why are we giving harm to ourselves?

Gurka Soldiers from Nepal serving for English Army, 1896 (Source: Vikipedia)

Are we not in the same condition with the Africans and Asians which the British Empire forces carried to our shores at the beginning of XXth century?Turkish people does not want to be “American Gurkas.” We saw the Gurkas that British carried in 1915 at Gallipoli, in 1974 at Cyprus. Now they want us to be “Gurkas.”

Obama’s visit of Anıtkabir and the words he has written are just hiding the fact that the West is taking the Republic and Atatürk to the court. It is very clear who is behind the incredible events that we are living through today. Yo may see them while watching the tv channels, reading the newspapers…

They need new “Gurkas” in Afghanistan, in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Georgia. Georg Soros has told this, hasn’t he? According to the imperialists, “The most valuable export product of Turkey is Turkey’s people, Turkey’s soldier”!..

And Soros is just a symbol, a symbol of how Turkey is seen from the point of view of the West; in order Turkey to remain and not to be crushed by them, it has to allow them to use its people, its soldier for the interests of imperialism. That’s why our best managers will be in charge of the Coca-Cola company; our best doctors will work in their health insttitutions; our best soldiers wil protect their interests in Asia, in Africa and Middle East.

They say that the West will accept, keep Turkey near just with this condition.

Obama came and kissed us. He did not “hit from our back” like Bush.

He said “We are waiting for your services in Armenia, in Kurdistan, in Afghanistan.” They did not like and do not like Mustafa Kemal because he said “No” to these demands.

The imperialism is taking Mustafa Kemal, our Republic, our independence and freedom to the court. They do not want a real and participant democracy which develops social rights in Turkey. Thew want to bring back the Sevres and the Ottoman State with all its collaborators.

Reagan, father Bush, Clinton, son Bush and Obama views Turkey just like this. Their advisers in America and Turkey have served them well.

But you can’t blok the sun with a piece of mud; even the black Obama can’t dim the naked facts…”

13 April 2009, Cumhuriyet, Erol Manisalı, Translated by Sabri Gürses

"This Conduct Was a Crime Against Humanity”: An Evaluation of the Initiative to Apologize to the Armenians, Ahmet İnsel, Birikim, 238, February 2009

“My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers and sisters. I apologize to them.”

As of January 21, 2009, 28 thousand citizens of the Republic of Turkey had signed this statement. Joining in this entirely personal undertaking, listening to the voice of their own consciences, assessing the situation for themselves, persons have signed and continue to sign this “apology” text. This signature campaign constitutes an important step of the attempts, which have been in existence for over ten years, to confront the Armenian question. The apology initiative connotes not only the great human tragedy caused by the mass deportation and chastising of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915, but more than that, it connotes the collective reaction which accumulated in response to the trivialization, even the denial and or inversion of this utmost serious event.

Before the signature campaign—thanks especially to Taner Akçam’s pioneering writings and books, the studies of many historians questioning our recent history, perseverance of Belge Publications in translating and publishing in Turkish studies on the Armenian question in foreign languages, presentations delivered at the conference at Bilgi University in 2005—an opposing voice that could countervail the official historiography’s approach to the Armenian question, which has increasingly taken the form of a systematic denial, had begun to gain strength in Turkey. Many valuable studies undertaken in the last twenty five-thirty years on the subject of the formation and development of nationalism in Turkey have fed into this. Studies illustrating how being a minority in Turkey means to live in a constant state of anxiety as well as ostracization have proliferated and diversified in the last twenty years. A series of historic events that an average resident of Turkey had not hitherto heard of were given voice, their documents published and, even if restrictedly, debated. Certain manifestations of Turkish nationalism, which, from time to time, goes beyond ordinary nationalism and turns into expressions of hatred or even eradicative actions with blatant racist characteristics, have begun to be exposed in a bolder fashion.

Against this backdrop, upon publication of allegations regarding Sabiha Gökçen’s Armenian origins in Agos newspaper, the death trap that had been set and working irreversibly against Hrant Dink reached its aim on January 19, 2007. At the same time, however, a public reaction, which was not anticipated by those who had set this death trap, erupted in Turkey. Those who thought that only a handful of people would mourn the death of an Armenian journalist and the incident would go by the wayside as “an isolated case due to grievous provocation” like the murder of priest Santoro, were this time mistaken. The massive crowd that gathered at Hrant’s funeral and walked for kilometers behind his casket in Istanbul showed that some things had changed in Turkish society. Tens of thousands of men and women of all ages, who shouted the words “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian”, who wore them as pins and carried them as banners came as quite a surprise to the fierce Turkish nationalists and racists. It was perhaps this development that altered the preset course of the Hrant Dink’s murder trial.

At the end of 2008 it is, in a nutshell, these developments that brought about the private apology initiative of the Turkish people, whose consciences do not accept the trivialization and the denial of the human tragedy that took place during the mass deportations a century ago and the crime against humanity committed thereby.

Surely, everyone signed this statement based on their own conscientious assessment. Therefore, it would perhaps be most accurate to say that there are as many motives for signing on as the number of signatures. These motives, which could not be reduced to a general purpose, which are meaningful in their plurality and dissimilarity, and which complement each other in their differences, convey a need that increasingly makes its weight felt in Turkey. This is the need to face our history without having to bow to any taboo, ban or pressure. Those who get hung up on the apology part of the text and state that they are content with “sharing the pain” and therefore refrain from signing are in essence expressing the same need to confront [the history]. So do those who note that an apology is not the responsibility of individuals, but of the persons who are liable for this crime against humanity along with the state authorities who bring the ethnic cleansing
to completion by means of a cultural cleansing.

The apology intiative, simultaneously and more explicitly, revealed in Turkey a very powerful fear as well as the hatred that feeds from this fear. Part of the opposition to the private apology initiative arose from not knowing past events or knowing them solely from their versions in official historiography. There is hope that, in time, the violent outbursts displayed by those people may give way to a more cool-headed state of listening and understanding as the information sources diversify. Hopeless is the case of those who purposely try to incite a backlash in society against this initiative by distorting the text of the statement. Those who try and present a text that does not feature the term ‘genocide’ as “recognizing and apologizing for genocide” and who accuse the signers of being traitors, are fulfilling their duties as the guardians-of-the-taboos with heart and soul.

Since the term “genocide” was coined in 1944, it could not have been used by those who lived through the deportations of 1915 and mass massacres that followed. They called it “tehcir” [deportation], called it “kafile”[procession, convoy], called it “kıyım” [slaughter]. Later on “Great Catastrophe” caught on. The term “Great Catastrophe” truly reflected, with all its weight, the virtually total obliteration of the Armenians that were one of the ancient constituents of Anatolia.

During the days the First World War came to an end with a disastrous defeat, there was a strong consensus among a sizeable portion of the Ottoman intellectuals, except for those who were implicated in the crimes and the fanatic Turkish nationalists, regarding the evaluation of the ethnic cleansing that was conducted by the Union and Progress government. Deportation was “taktil-i nüfus,” i.e. mass murder. Field Marshal Izzet Fuat Pasha said: “As there is no other way but to admit to the occurrence of the undeniable ‘Unionist’ acts against humanity, the most urgent duty today is to proclaim it as such honorably, nobly and unhesitantly, as befitting the repute of a great people [kavim]”.

The situation was crystal clear for Halide Edip in 1918: “We slaughtered the innocent Armenian population… We tried to extinguish the Armenians through methods that belong to the medieval times”. For many writers and journalists, “The Union and Progress gang [had] destroyed the entire constituents [anasır]”. Historian Ahmet Refik wrote the following on September 20, 1915 in Eskisehir, where he witnessed the deportations firsthand:

“It was being said that the most distressing tragedies occurred in Bursa and Ankara; houses were ransacked, hundreds of Armenian families were put into cars and hurled into streams. Many women went insane in the face of such awful murders. Houses of wealthy Armenians were bought, but the payments were recovered by fiat upon transfer of title. This conduct was a murder against humanity. No government, in any age, had brought about a murder this cruel.”[i]

On October 1, 1918, Ahmed Riza stressed in the Senate that the Armenians were annihilated as an outcome of an official policy that was carried out by the hand of the state. Minister of Internal Affairs Mustafa Arif expressed on December 1918 that the leaders of the martial period had carried out the deportation activities “in a manner that exceeded even what the most sanguinary gangs are capable of”, that they had “decided to exterminate the Armenians” and that they had “exterminated” them.

In short, it was, “a massacre that started in the name of deportation” and a repugnant act that was “organized in the Union and Progress headquarters with the intention of uprooting certain constituents, executed by civil servants and some army officials along with some of the population”. The charges were clear in the indictment of the suit filed against the Union and Progress executives at the Court of War Crimes: “mass murder, pillaging of money and goods, burning of buildings and bodies, burning of villages, rape, torture and shameless acts of cruelty”.

“Consequent massacre and extermination of a group of people and plundering of their property” was highlighted in the indictments, and it was expressed that what was expected of the court was “justice’ in the name of the rights of the humanity”.[ii]

The prevailing mood in Turkey between November 1918 and March 1919 was to recognize what had been done to the Armenians as “taktil” [mass murder], to reprobate these crimes and to demand the punishment of those who had committed them. “Crimes committed against the humanitarian code”, “deportation and chastising”, “murder and extermination”, “crime against humanity”. These and other similar phrases used by Muslim Ottoman politicians, by man of law and by journalists to define what had been done were tantamount in weight to the term “Great Catastrophe” used in the apology statement. While using such terms, Ottoman Muslims were paying special attention to not implicate the Ottoman Empire, the Muslims or the Turkish nation and pointed to the local executives and headquarters of the Committee of Union and Progress along with the Special Organization [Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa] as the main offenders.

However, owing to factors (such as the execution of Bogazliyan district’s governor Mehmed Kemal on April 1919, which was the first instance of an execution of a state official, who was both a Muslim and a Turk, for murders committed against non-Muslims; the invasion of the shoreline between Izmir and Ayvalik along with the Cesme peninsula by the Greek Army on May 15; the turning of the Central Powers into an invasion force and their use of the Armenian massacre as grounds for their territorial carve up) the escalating nationalist sentiment began to repress the outcry against the perpetrators of deportation and the general sense of victimization that took over the society overshadowed the demand for punishment. In spite of this [backlash], Mustafa Kemal on April 20th 1920 was still characterizing what had been done during the deportation of Armenians as “fazahat”, that is, shamelessness and ignominy.[iii] Nevertheless, six months later, on December
1920, TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) which was presided by Mustafa Kemal, was not only going to allot retirement pension to the families of Mehmed Kemal and Mehmed Nusret who were executed for massacres against Armenians, but was going to declare these two state officials “National Martyr”. In between these two dates, Treaty of Sevres was signed on August 1920. Sevres reinforced the becoming of Armenian question a national taboo.[iv] Once the Turkish national identity coalesced—essentially against non-Muslims and particularly against Armenians—the attitude of the state executives and the opinion makers toward the Armenian question changed completely.

After 1921 critical approaches to the deportations were rapidly effaced from the collective memory in Turkey. A long era of silence on this issue commenced. Demands for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide as well as assassinations by the ASALA of Turkish diplomats and eventually THY (Turkish Airlines) passengers strengthened the negative perception of the Armenian question in Turkish society. Afterwards, with the surge of the new wave of nationalism in the last twenty years, the dominant attitude towards the human tragedy the Armenians were subjected to shifted from trivializing it through construing what had occurred as mutual violence [mukatele] to denial. In fact, completely turning the hierarchy of responsibility upside down, it reached the point of alluding to a genocide that was occasionally carried out by Armenians against Turks, as was the case with the officially named Armenian Atrocities Monument that was erected by state verdict in Igdır. The number of the massacred Ottoman Armenians that was estimated by the [Ottoman] Senate to be around 800 thousand was reduced to 300 thousand in 1980 by Kamuran Gürün, and in early 2000s further diminished to 50 thousand with the efforts of then-president of the Turkish Historical Society Yusuf Halaçoglu.

The insensitivity and denial alluded to in the apology statement and the injustice therein are essentially directed at the condition outlined above. The conspiracy theorists, who have become a classic in Turkey, immediately got down to work as part of the [counter] campaign that was launched without even waiting for the statement to be opened for signatures over the internet. Being the expert text interpreters they are, ex-ambassadors, immediately recognized that ‘genocide’ was implied by the term ‘Great Catastrophe’ in the text and exposed it as such. They declared ‘Great Catastrophe’ as synonymous with ‘Genocide’. However, a number of people who defined the deportation of the Armenians as genocide, had not signed the statement precisely because it did not include the word “genocide”. Others who believed it to be genocide, have signed the statement nonetheless, saying it is better than nothing.

Similarly, there were those who did not hold back from signing due to the importance they ascribed to the launching of such a signature campaign in itself , even though they thought such an apology is not the responsibility of persons, but of the state.

Besides, it was not a crime in Turkey to claim that the Armenians were subjected to genocide. So there was no legal barrier against the explicit expression of it. At least this was generally asserted to be the case by the very same ex-ambassadors abroad. Consequently, the skill of misunderstanding what is read or not understanding it at all, one of the significant characteristics inculcated by the Turkish education system, had shown its effect again, this time in the reading of “Great Catastrophe” as genocide. However, the situation needs to be evaluated differently when those, whom we cannot but assume to understand what they read, come to this conclusion. What is at work here is deliberate distortion, insinuation of ulterior motives, identification of the internal enemy and the designation of the axis of treachery. As a matter of fact, the document/evidence manufacturers who allege that a number of the signatories were paid by the EU or the Armenians rolled up their sleeves right away. Such statements roaming the Internet found their way to the media through journalists whose raison d’etre is to produce these kinds of false reports. Once again, the launch button for “traitors and defectors amidst us nurtured by our enemies” campaign was pressed. There is an urgent need in Turkey for an analysis of the psychological motives behind the popularity of the “sell-out traitors” theme in nationalistic spheres, along with the reasons why people believe and distribute, with exhilaration, such information, which any rational human being should recognize to be false at first sight. Could this be, in addition to the perennial psyche of self-victimization and egocentric perception of events characteristic of the pre-adult phase, a case of “it takes one to know one”? We cannot substantiate the above in the lack of such psychological analysis.

The common expectation of all those who launched this apology initiative, those who supported and signed it, those fewer than 10 signatories who later had to withdraw out of heavy societal pressure [mahalle baskısı], those who couldn’t bring themselves to sign although they genuinely wanted to or because they were not in a position to do so, was obviously not that the issue would be solved with a single signature. The objective of the signature initiative was to open the channels of communication, and to take the first necessary step in order to be able to commiserate. The apology, in a way, was for the lack of apology by those who actually should apologize. People apologized because of their inability to forestall the expressions of denial, falsehood and hatred in Turkey, because they were powerless to render those to be the expressions of a fanatical minority. They continue to insist on the apology for they have a prime minister who declares:
“they must have committed such genocide to be apologizing. The Republic of Turkey does not have such a problem. That is to say, if there is such a crime, those who committed it can apologize. But not I, nor my country or my people have such a problem”. They recognize that it is all the more pressing to apologize in the face of a “social democrat” party leader who says: “these intellectuals are having an outpouring of conscience. We are in a position to assess what/who is lurking behind them”. Turkey’s card-carrying racists and radical nationalists staged a reaction that is staged by all racists and radical nationalists of the world in similar situations. This, in a way, was natural. Apology, however, is a true necessity born out of embarrassment for the hand in glove opposition of the leaders of the two biggest political parties in contemporary Turkey to the private apology initiative.

The apology campaign revealed, in the context of yet another issue, that the authoritarian statist reflex continues to be extremely powerful in Turkey. The signature initiative was an initiative of the free people with no regard for any foreign policy development, nor any intention to intervene in such developments in any way. It paid heed to neither the Turkey-Armenia relations, nor the attempts of any state to recognize/not recognize the “Armenian Genocide”. Thousands of people in Turkey had decided to utter, here and now, an uneasiness in their conscience. Now this could not be tolerated by the authoritarian stateist mentality. Only state is to decide to do what, when and how. In fact, not even the state, but the guardians of the state are to decide. The apology initiative was undermining a monopoly in this respect, which the guardians of the state have always endeavored to hold onto.

Besides, the fact that all the strata of the state hierarchy set their quarrels aside on this issue in a more or less uniform opposition illustrates how the archaic authoritarian state reflex is alive and kicking.

It is too soon to say that the apology initiative has shattered a powerful taboo in Turkey. Nonetheless, it certainly rendered this taboo more visible, and therefore more questionable. That a number of the Armenians that reside in Europe and North America responded to the apology with a text of gratitude, and that the initiative was welcomed in Armenia even though the text in Turkey did not mention the term ‘genocide’ go to show that a different taboo has also become questionable among the other interlocutors of the Armenian question. In his famous words, which the high judiciary in Turkey insisted on misconstruing despite all the expert opinions and earned him a prison sentence, Hrant was pointing exactly to the importance of this mutual shattering of taboos.

Today, there are those who demand for the expansion of the apology initiative to include all state-victimized segments [of the society]. Also, there are those who demand the reciprocation of the apology, and assert the prerequisite that Armenians apologize from the Turks as well.

The first request, which on the face of it sounds somewhat reasonable, conflates issues that are positioned today at very dissimilar levels. The actual designation of the first condition is the cruelties, discriminations, murders, pogroms, exiles and prohibitions Kurds have been subjected to. Today in Turkey, there is a struggle against such exclusions and oppressions within the society. The main characteristic that renders the Kurdish question different from the Armenian question is that today, in Turkey, a solution to the Kurdish question through democratic means and the punishment of those who have committed crimes against the Kurds in the recent past and are still alive, is possible. Therefore, not a demand for apology, but demands for solution and punishment ought to be on the agenda regarding the Kurdish question. However, what we have in the case of the Armenian question is a great destruction [yıkım] that is utterly irredeemable. Hence, apologizing is the first and essential thing to do about the purposeful and nearly complete physical wiping out of one of Anatolia’s ancient and significant peoples from the Anatolian geography, the similarly vast and purposeful removal of the traces of their cultural existence, and the decades of taciturnity regarding it.

On the other hand, demanding reciprocation of the apology comes to homogenize, and thus ascribe equal responsibility to the massacres, cruelties, exiles that happened in different times, places and to different groups of people. There is a fundamental difference between the insurgency of Armenian gangs in Van and the mass deportations aimed at the ethnic cleansing of, causing the deaths of as well as the plundering of the property of all the Armenian Ottoman citizens through a temporary legislation which was in clear violation of the constitution that was in force in May 1915. Just as a major difference can be found between the massacres that were later on carried out by the Armenian gangs joining the Russian invasion forces essentially to avenge the great carnage during the deportations and a year and a half long Armenian deportation that was enacted through the use of the official state force by a certain segment of the Ottoman civil and military officials, deputies of the Ottoman government and the party in power at the time along with the members of the secret organization that was run by it. Difference being, the perpetrators of the massacres were gangs, on one side, and state agents, on the other. To make a comparison between the local acts of violence by an illegal entity such as a gang towards the segments of the public deemed enemies and a state’s execution of an ethnic cleansing operation against a certain segment [of the population] on the grounds of distinctions of language, religion, ethnicity, is tantamount putting the state in question on a par with a gang, at best. In fact, this is mainly the thesis put forth by the non-Unionist Ottomans between 1918-19: Armenian massacre is the deed of the Unionist gang and there is more to the gang’s crimes than that. They had also led the state to its demise!

Yet today, with the exception of those executives who were hanged as a result of the Izmir assassination, the rest of the leaders of the Union and Progress “gang”, chiefly Talat Pasha, are national heroes. There is no Enver Pasha Boulevard in big cities as far as we know but Talat Pasha Boulevard is the name of one of the most important avenues in both Izmir and Ankara.[v] Another case in point is the Talat Pasha street in Bahcelievler/Istanbul. There is no need to even bring up the Talat Pasha Committee, but the tomb of Talat Pasha, whose remains were brought to Turkey in 1943 with Hitler’s permission, is on the Hürriyet-i Ebediyye (Eternal Liberty) hill, next to the Martyrs of Liberty. The one and a half year period during which he got the deportation ruling decreed and rapidly implemented with what could almost be called an idée fixe, this ‘national hero’ was primarily responsible for 972 thousand Armenians out of a million and a half to “disappear from the records” according to the very tally charts he had kept so diligently in his notebooks.[vi]

Most probably, the Armenian gang leaders who carried out massacres against the Muslim community in Eastern Anatolia are also heroes today in Armenia. However, this seeming equivalence does not take away from the unique situation caused by the crimes committed against humanity by civil and military state officials like Governor of Trabzon Azmi Bey, III. Army Commander Mehmet Vehip Pasha, ex-Minister of Internal Affairs and later on Grand Vizier Talat Pasha, who were exercising their state authority. There are armed gangs that committed massacres, on one side, whereas, on the other, are there state officials who embarked on a systematic ethnic cleansing and adamantly executed it on their entire geographic jurisdiction along with those whom they governed and manipulated, The mass murder of the Armenians that was planned, executed and overseen by the Union and Progress government is a severe crime against humanity that cannot even be justified as an unavoidable route that the state took out of desperation during its fight for survival. It is not a war crime. either. For it is not a crime committed by a warring army against the civilians of the enemy state. It is an ethnic cleansing operation by a state, implemented up to its final stage against men, women, elderly or children alike, on the basis of the religious/ethnic attributes of a group of its own citizens who had not shown any signs of insurgency or were guilty of any crimes whatsoever.

Those who say that they did it to us as well, have to openly express what “them” and “us” come to mean in this case. When they start to do so, the racist streak behind the “us” of those cling to the reciprocation claim will further be revealed. In fact, it already is. Those who attack the private apology initiative with rancor and hatred today, disclose the racist essence that has managed to hide behind the nationalist discourse for decades. Those who viciously attack this apology initiative, evaluate it entirely through their own self-centric world instead of a universal humane and ethical norm, a moral sense of responsibility or a specific conscientious position. They feel the need to look for the involvement of external and enemy forces as well as material expectations behind this deed. Because they get great discomfort out of the mobilization of citizens who talk and act on an issue to which they bear no direct relation, who do not look out for any benefits, who are not involved in political games, and who take a humane stance on the grounds of universal principles instead of values that change with circumstances.

Those who join in with the apology initiative do not essentially turn their faces towards the Turkish Armenians or the Armenians who live in Armenia or diaspora, or towards the EU or the USA, but mainly towards the Turkey society. And maybe this is what is most disturbing to racists, denialists and those who do not want to give up on their stranglehold on raison d’etat. If they really are disturbed, it only goes to show that this apology initiative is advancing its objective.

Translated by Ayşe Ünaldı

[i] Ahmet Refik (Altınay), İki Komite İki Kıtâl, Kebikeç Yayınları, 1994 (ilk baskı, İstanbul, 1919).

[ii] For quotes except Ahmet Refik’s, see “Tehcir ve Taktil” Divan-ı Harb-i Örfi Zabıtları, eds. Vahakn N. Dadrian ve Taner Akçam, Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları, Aralık 2008. Statements of certain officials of the period as quoted in a book edited by Osman Selim Kocahanoğlu, İttihat-Terakki’nin Sorgulanması ve Yargılanması ( Temel Yayınları, 1998).

[iii] Atatürk’ün Söylev ve Demeçleri, M.E.B. Yayını, c.1, 1945, s.49.

[iv] On the formation of the prevalent taboo on the Armenian question see Baskın Oran, “Son Tabu”nun kökenleri: Türkiye kamuoyunun Ermeni sorunundaki tarihsel-psikolojik tıkanışı”, İmparatorluğun Çöküş Döneminde Osmanlı Ermenileri, 24-25 Eylül 2005, İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi.

[v] An entry from www.sozluk.sourtimes.org on the Talat Pasha Boulevard says it all: “The shameful street sign, which every time I pass by, makes me wonder in embarrassment how an Armenian would feel if s/he were to see it. Later on I think to myself what we would have felt had there been a street in Sarajevo named Ulica Radovan Karadzic.”

[vi] Murat Bardakçı, Talât Paşa’nın Evrak-ı Metrûkesi, Everest Yayınları, 2008.

Tackling The Turkish Taboo by Robert Ellis www.guardian.co.uk
Last December, about 200 Turkish academics and journalists challenged a longstanding Turkish taboo when they launched a petition on the internet apologising for “the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915?. To date 30,000 have signed the petition.

The reaction was twofold. The Turkish president, Abdullah Gül, who had earlier attended a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia in Yerevan, said that being able to discuss every opinion was the policy of the state. The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other hand, said there was no need to apologise because Turkey had not committed a crime.

In a further move, Canan Aritman, the Izmir deputy for the opposition Republican People’s party, accused the president’s mother of being Armenian, and when Gül explained that both sides of his family were Muslim and Turkish, she demanded a DNA test. A defamation lawsuit followed which resulted in the president being awarded a symbolic 1 Turkish lira (50p).

Inevitably, after a complaint that the website campaign had violated article 301 of the Turkish penal code for “public denigration of the Turkish nation”, the Ankara public prosecutor’s office investigated the matter. The conclusion, surprisingly, was that there was no need for a criminal prosecution on the grounds that opposing opinions are also protected under freedom of thought in democratic societies. However, the high criminal court annulled this ruling and the issue is still pending.

In recent years, a number of high-profile cases in Turkey have illustrated the fact that public discussion of the events of 1915 is still fraught with risk. Three years ago, the Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk was prosecuted for stating in an interview with a Swiss daily that “30,000 Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it”. The charge was dropped on a technicality but it transpired that an ultranationalist gang was trying to raise 2m lira to get someone to kill him.

Another Turkish novelist, Elif Şafak, was also prosecuted under article 301 because a character in her novel The Bastard of Istanbul had raised the issue of the Armenian genocide, but the charge was ultimately dropped because of insufficient evidence. And two years ago, Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian editor, was murdered outside his office in Istanbul by a young Turkish nationalist.

Even on an academic level this topic is controversial. Four years ago, scholars who organised a conference at Bosphorus University on the Armenian issue during the Ottoman empire were accused by the government’s spokesman and minister of justice, Cemil Çiçek, of “stabbing the Turkish nation in the back”. The conference was postponed, but after an international outcry it was finally reconvened at Bilgi University four months later.

More fuel was added to the fire last November when the defence minister, Vecdi Gönül, on the 70th anniversary of the death of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, said: “If there were Greeks in the Aegean and Armenians in most places in Turkey today, would it be the same nation state?”

But a fortnight ago the chief of the Turkish general staff, İlker Başbuğ, in a keynote speech reminded his audience that Atatürk had said it was the people of Turkey, without ethnic and religious distinction, who had founded the Republic of Turkey. If he had spoken of the Turkish people, that would be an ethnic definition.

Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton pledged to recognise the Armenian genocide to garner the substantial Armenian-American vote during their presidential campaigns, but now geopolitical reality has set in. On Obama’s visit to Turkey at the beginning of this month, the US president maintained that his views on the incidents of 1915 had not changed and in his statement last Friday on Armenian Remembrance Day he reiterated that stance.

However, without using the dreaded g-word, Obama instead spoke of “one of the great atrocities of the 20th century” and “Meds Yeghern” - the Armenian for the “Great Catastrophe”. His goal was still “a full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts” and he strongly supported efforts by the Turkish and Armenian people to work through their painful history in an honest, open and constructive manner.

While trying to manoeuvre between a rock and a hard place, Obama was met with criticism from both sides. The chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America expressed his “sharp disappointment” and Erdogan called Obama’s remarks “an unacceptable interpretation of history”.

Nine months after Dink was murdered, his son Arant Dink and another Turkish-Armenian journalist received suspended sentences of one year’s imprisonment for using the term genocide. The Turkish court in its judgment stated: “Talk about genocide, both in Turkey and other countries, unfavourably affects national security and the national interest.”

After the first world war, the treaty of Sèvres in 1920 was the instrument by which the victorious allies dismembered Ottoman Turkey and divided the spoils among themselves. It was only after the Turkish war of independence and a heroic struggle under the leadership of Atatürk that the treaty of Lausanne (1923) established the borders of modern Turkey.

The Armenian diaspora is also responsible for Turkey’s fears of partition. In December 2007, journalist Harut Sasunian, a prominent member of the Armenian community in the US, said the ultimate objective of Armenians was to get recognition of their genocide claims and to obtain territory and compensation from Turkey.

According to the prominent Turkish historian Taner Akcam, “Turkey needs to stop treating the discussion of history as a category of crime”. Perhaps the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia and the agreement on a “roadmap” to normalise ties will one day lead to that.
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Comments In Chronological Order

29 Apr 09, 7:45pm


Nationally recognised and influential politicians are demandig DNA tests of their opponents?


How come we didn´t think of it first?

("Wake up Jacqui, The DVD´s got stuck"...).


29 Apr 09, 7:49pm

You think that's hard? Try taking on the Sabra/Shatila genocide/lack of prosecution taboos.

And they happened some 68 years later.


29 Apr 09, 7:56pm

As a Turk I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the Armenian genocide..


29 Apr 09, 8:04pm

@ Robert Ellis

The fact that nearly 2 million Armenians were murdered is historically verifiable. The reasons for the deaths of so many can be read in this scholarly, well researched article that appeared in the American Thinker.



29 Apr 09, 8:18pm

I am amused at the idea that a DNA test can distinguish between Christian and Muslim genes.

On second thoughts, I am not amused.

Imagine a scenario in which the Nazis had won the war and in order to erase the crimes of the Holocaust they have since written the Jews out of their history books, demolished every synagogue, and to complete the erasure, quietly removed all Jewish gravestones.

That is what happened to the Armenians in Turkey. Their crime was that they were Christians.


29 Apr 09, 8:30pm

As a Turk I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the Armenian genocide..

as as Armenian (Greek) I accept. now can we all move forward? I believe there are a few more pressing issues to be dealt with, am I right?


29 Apr 09, 8:39pm

Thanks to almostextinct for that devastating American Thinker article.

What I don't understand is why other American "thinkers" (George Bush and Barack Obama, to name but two) who are presumably aware of this terrible history (obviously more so in Obama's case than Bush's), still think it would be such a fine idea for Turkey to join the EU.


29 Apr 09, 8:42pm

William Dalrymple's From the Holy Mountain has some heartrending stories of the Armenian genocide - Dalrymple also describes how the Turkish government has (in modern times) wiped out archaelogical evidence of Armenian settlements: whole villages, churches, even gravestones smashed up.

It's not just the Armenians who have suffered in Turkey, though they are by far the largest category of victim.

Tom Holland's Persian Fire - an account of the Greek wars against the Persians - describes at the end how the Greek settlements in Anatolia lasted for 2500 years until the population was displaced or wiped out in the early 20th century.

That is a lot of history to come to terms with, and as Peter says Mr Ellis' account of this idea that Christian/Muslim DNA can be viewed separately -

In a further move, Canan Aritman, the Izmir deputy for the opposition Republican People's party, accused the president's mother of being Armenian, and when Gül explained that both sides of his family were Muslim and Turkish, she demanded a DNA test. A defamation lawsuit followed which resulted in the president being awarded a symbolic 1 Turkish lira (50p).

hardly inspires confidence.


29 Apr 09, 8:48pm

As a Turk I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the Armenian genocide.

I don't doubt your sincerity and but one expects Turks to apoligise for something that has nothing to do with them. There is a difference between acknowledgeing something and saying sorry for something. The Turkish government should apoligise for not acknowledgeing this historical event.

As for the event itself, it has nothing to do with Turkish leaders or yourself.

Blair's apologised for 18th slavery and mercantilsm but it had nothing to do with him or contemporary Britain.

The concern I have to is that nation thats wants to join the EU is still criminalising historical facts.


29 Apr 09, 8:49pm

Robert Ellis

Thanks for an excellent, insightful and informative article.

Recognition is indeed the first step to reconciliation -- even when in this case, the crime against humanity was committed nearly 100 years ago.

And hell on Earth -- we must keep a check on all this horror from the past if we are to evolve into more compassionate beings, now and into the future.


29 Apr 09, 8:57pm

And of course, another "Turkish taboo" (Greek too) is the current, tragic partition of the Republic of Cyprus / ???????? ?????????? / Kypriakí Dimokratía
Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti...



29 Apr 09, 9:03pm

Turkey must not only acknowledge and apologize for the Armenian genocide, but also start some kind of compensation program to the remaining family members of the victims, ... in the same way that Germany has done with
the jewish holocaust... only then it can hope be taken seriously as a civilized country... In fact, the sad reality is that if Turkey does it at all it will not be out of sincere regret but out of international pressure.. so much for its place among civilized countries!


29 Apr 09, 9:45pm


What I don't understand is why other American "thinkers" (George Bush and Barack Obama, to name but two) who are presumably aware of this terrible history (obviously more so in Obama's case than Bush's), still think it would be such a fine idea for Turkey to join the EU.

Probably because most European nations at the time were not averse to a bit of gennocidaire-ing!


29 Apr 09, 10:12pm

Here's a video where the foremost western historian on the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, speaks on the subject of the events of 1915:


There are many more historians of equal or greater standing that have similar views. This is the real "taboo" for contemporary Armenians - i.e. a truthful account of the facts. And the fact that the Armenian Dashnak terrorists may have murdered 100s of thousands of Turks before the Ottoman state made any kind of collective reprisal.

And another taboo that the author of this article conveniently misses out is that the Dashnak political party ("proud" bearers of their terrorist legacy) in Armenia withdrew from the governing coalition to protest the roadmap announced to normalize relations with Turkey, just last week.


29 Apr 09, 11:22pm

Dear WestToEast
I watched that video but I could not find anything new there, the same turkish propaganda machine spreading the same lies and justifications.
the truth is that Bernard Lewis is a well known genocide denier and he was convicted and even fined by a french court.there are two groups of so called historians who are involved in this denial campaign, those who are paid by the turkish government and those who see the recognition of the Armenian genocide a threat to the socalled Holocaust industry, sadly Bernard Lewis falls in the second category and he is also very active in marginalizing sufferings of victems of other genocides.
let me give you a good advice, find a good book written by an impartial historian about the Armenian genocide and read it, I am sure that will eventually open your eyes.


29 Apr 09, 11:34pm
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29 Apr 09, 11:41pm

... and here goes another " but you are not civilized enough for the EU blah blah"... and usually involves the motley crew of Greeks, Cypriots etc. What pisses most enlightened people in Turkey who are well cognicant that a some regional ethnic cleansing has taken place albeit with lower death toll is that during the same time period, Muslim citizens of the same empire were also being massacred in the Balkans by Christians (the final round was the Serbian ethnic cleansing of the Bosnians in the 90s). Yet nobody gives a damn or cares to remember. Had they the fortune of being Christians, they would be alive and their survivors and ancestors (me being one of them) would not have emigrated to Turkey. Ethnic cleansing happened all across Europe, the Ottoman Empire and Russia during the first decades of the 20th century but the Christian West has selective memory over which ethnic cleansing they want to remember and which ethnic cleansing they want to name as genocide...


30 Apr 09, 12:19am

Once again a completely biased and factually incorrect article on the issue. As others have pointed out while describing the "armenian genocide" the writer completely ignores the Turks and other Muslims slaughtered by Armenians during this episode. These would include members of my own family who would be disconcerted to say the least to read such crap.

But the more important point isn't whether Turkey acknowledges a fictitious "genocide" but the fact that Europeans and Anglo-Saxons continue to make hay out of this tragic episode in Anatolian history. Consider; the British (and other allies) funded and supported the Armenian uprisings that led to Turks retailiating against these Christian citizens of the Ottoman Empire. Classic divide and conquer. The great thing for guys like Ellis and other Westerners in France and the USA is that they don't care who wins this pointless debate. They can write articles such as this to show their "concern" for "acknowledging" a "historic tragedy" and occupy the high ground, and paint themselves as the moral gold standard while collecting well leveraged and misguided Armenian votes in their domestic audience. As a bonus there is an off chance they can continue to hack apart the remnants of the old Ottoman Empire whose memory still elicits fear and horror in the average European skull. This is great. Having these two alien and vaguely threatening ethic groups duke it out on their sealed border or Nagorno-Karabakh or chat rooms is the entertainment icing on the cake. The truely maddening thing is that this is spearheaded by the three countries (USA, Britain, France) who are the kings of genocide, who have slaughtered native tribes int he Americas, Africa and Asia that we will never even hear of. If they were handing out medals for genocide these countries would win gold, silver, and bronze. If anyone doubts that there is irony in the world consider these three nations passing judgement on the events of 1915. If you don't think there is injustice in the world, try being lectured to by a British newspaper on the importance of "confronting the past".


30 Apr 09, 12:42am

If every Turk was as reasonable as you, then there would be no need for this article. The whole mess would have been dealt with in the 20's and that would have been that.
Sadly they are not. There is this little mental condition called Nationalism which seems to make people talk utter bull****. You get it in Americans, you get it in Israelis, and you also get it in Chinese people. In fact, you get it almost everywhere. These people are prepared to completely ignore every fact, no matter how obvious, just because it might state that their beloved fatherland is not the be-all and end-all that they belive it to be.


30 Apr 09, 2:14am

Last December, about 200 Turkish academics and journalists challenged a longstanding Turkish taboo when they launched a petition on the internet apologising for "the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915". To date 30,000 have signed the petition.

A mere drop in the ocean. And a devious one. When Armenians talk of "the Great Catastrophe" it means an event that is greater than the genocide itself. When Turks use the expression "Great Catastrophe" they mean to say events that fell short of genocide. If those Turks were really seeking to break a taboo, they would have used the expression "Armenian Genocide" unequivocally.

The reaction was twofold. The Turkish president, Abdullah Gül, who had earlier attended a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia in Yerevan, said that being able to discuss every opinion was the policy of the state.

Yeah! That is every opinion that doesnt ‘insult Turkishness, the Army, Ataturk, the indivisible unity of the state, and the national interests in general.

In a further move, Canan Aritman, the Izmir deputy for the opposition Republican People's party, accused the president's mother of being Armenian, and when Gül explained that both sides of his family were Muslim and Turkish, she demanded a DNA test.

Better still, maybe both the defamer and the defamed should take DNA tests. The results will most probably show that both their ancestors were Arabs, Kurds, Greeks, Slavs, Jews or Armenians, The Turks of Turkey look nothing like their Asiatic ancestors that conquered Anatolia a thousand years ago. The Turkish nation as we know it are the descendants of the Muslim converts of Anatolia and the Balkans.

The conclusion, surprisingly, was that there was no need for a criminal prosecution on the grounds that opposing opinions are also protected under freedom of thought in democratic societies. However, the high criminal court annulled this ruling and the issue is still pending.

So, there is no conclusion after all. And Turkey is still not a democratic society with freedom of thought. The judiciary have not put much thought yet to freedom of expression.

Three years ago, the Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk was prosecuted for stating in an interview with a Swiss daily that "30,000 Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it".

That's another piece of fiction from the great imagination of Orhan Pamuk. Pamuk has never been a political activist, unlike many other writers, journalists and academics (Ismail Besikci, Yasar Kemal, Taner Akcam) who paid the price for talking and writing about the crimes committed against Armenians and Kurds. But when he lost the Nobel Prize in 2005 to Harold Pinter, a friend of Kurds, Pamuk realised he had to enhance his credentials as a political dissident fast if he were to have any chance of getting the Nobel Prize in 2006.

Indeed, way back in 2004, Christopher Hitchens wrote a superb review of Pamuk's novel Kar, in which he not only criticised Pamuk for his silence on Armenian genocide, but predicted ever-so-subtly that the West may have found a "dragoman" it was looking for.

But a fortnight ago the chief of the Turkish general staff, İlker Başbuğ, in a keynote speech reminded his audience that Atatürk had said it was the people of Turkey, without ethnic and religious distinction, who had founded the Republic of Turkey. If he had spoken of the Turkish people, that would be an ethnic definition.

Yet another lie straight from the horse's mouth that's gobbled up by Western journos and shoved down the throat of their audience. "Happy is he who says I am a Turk" is the final sentence of a pledge that must be yelled out by every kid in Turkey in every school day, even by Kurds. "Happy is he who says I am a Turk" is arguably the most celebrated quote from Kemal Ataturk as he set about to re-invent the remaining Ottoman territories and the Muslim communities within it as "Turkish".

It should also be noted that Kemal Ataturk was a member of the Young Turk movement (though not the Young Turk government) that carried out the Armenian Genocide. He was joined by many other former Young Turks in establishing the current Turkish state.

Some people get away with murder but condemned nevertheless. Others get away with genocide but are still glorified.


30 Apr 09, 2:31am

Three years ago, the Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk was prosecuted for stating in an interview with a Swiss daily that "30,000 Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it".

From Hitch's review of Kar back in 2004:

Well before the fall of 2001 a search was in progress, on the part of Western readers and critics, for a novelist in the Muslim world who could act the part of dragoman, an interpretive guide to the East. In part this was and remains a quest for reassurance. The hope was (and is) that an apparently "answering" voice, attuned to irony and rationality and to the quotidian rather than the supernatural, would pick up the signals sent by self-critical Americans and Europeans and remit them in an intelligible form.
However, courage is an element that this novel lacks. Some important Turkish scholarship has recently attempted an honest admission of the Armenian genocide and a critique of the official rationalizations for it. The principal author in this respect is Taner Akcam, who, as Pamuk is certainly aware, was initially forced to publish his findings as one of those despised leftist exiles in Germany—whereas from reading Snow one might easily conclude that all the Armenians of Anatolia had decided for some reason to pick up and depart en masse, leaving their ancestral properties for tourists to gawk at. As for the Kurds, Pamuk tends to represent them as rather primitive objects of sympathy.

It should be of further note that unlike most Nobel Prize winners -most certainly unlike 2005 laureate Harold Pinter-, Orhan Pamuk did not continue his 'courageous' political activism during his acceptance speech. Instead of talking about the contents of his nation's seemingly untroubled conscience, Pamuk talked about the contents of his father's suitcase. It was a cowardly anti-climax for the dragoman's eager fans.


30 Apr 09, 8:44am

It is no surprise very few Turks will accept what happened to the Armenians. From my time working in Turkey I found the Turks helpful and friendly, however they seem to have replaced religion with a personality cult of Ataturk. Any criticism of him or his actions would not be tolerated during the formatitive years of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

Although I do not agree with the PKK, I can see why many Kurds resent how Kemalism is forced down their throats.


30 Apr 09, 8:45am

Documents, from mostly non-Turkish sources, make it abundantly clear that Armenian claims about 'genocide' are invalid, as they are not based on facts.

The Turkish Government supports the establishment of an independent International commission to research the background of the Turco-Armenian relations during the 1st World War, but the Armenians are refusing to participate!. Do ask them why..! If truth scares them, then let it be. Simply put, they are afraid of the truth surfacing and damaging the bond holding together their people.


30 Apr 09, 9:43am

In respects, Turkey is the last unfinished, messed-up business of Versailles. The turks should have been forced to accept the treaty of Sevres and had their country dismantled. Unfortunately the Greeks, in what may yet prove to be the biggest mistake of the post-WWI settlements, blew it. Now the turks still behave as if they still have a great empire and that everyone else should behave as if they are worth listening to.

If the US would stop trying to stick it to Russia we could completely ignore the childish whining of the turks and their constant bakshish over treaty negotiations.


30 Apr 09, 9:49am

@ Armenophile

Documents, from mostly non-Turkish sources, make it abundantly clear that Armenian claims about 'genocide' are invalid, as they are not based on facts.

Here's an extract from a factual document. It's an account given by the Chief Dragoman (Turkish-speaking interpreter) at the British embassy with regard to the 1894-96 massacres:

…(The perpetrators) are guided in their general action by the prescriptions of the Sheri (Sharia) Law. That law prescribes that if the "rayah" (dhimmi) Christian attempts, by having recourse to foreign powers, to overstep the limits of privileges allowed them by their Mussulman (Muslim) masters, and free themselves from their bondage, their lives and property are to be forfeited, and are at the mercy of the Mussulmans."

To the Turkish mind the Armenians had tried to overstep those limits of their dhimmi status by appealing to foreign powers, especially Britain. The Turks therefore considered it their religious duty and a righteous thing to destroy and seize the lives and property of the Armenians.

Is this factual enough?


30 Apr 09, 10:01am

@ Agitator2

The truely maddening thing is that this is spearheaded by the three countries (USA, Britain, France) who are the kings of genocide, who have slaughtered native tribes int he Americas, Africa and Asia that we will never even hear of. If they were handing out medals for genocide these countries would win gold, silver, and bronze.

Yes, but where are the state prosecustions of authors who may write about such things? Can you hear the sirens of police cars, speeding to drag you off to prison for your heinous crime of 'defaming the nation'? No?

The world and its mother knows what we've done in the past, mainly because someone, somewhere, will gladly point it out whenever there's a discussion like this, on someone elses failings. There are precious few secrets left about our inhumane history, because all and sundry are willing to talk about it and there are no gags.


30 Apr 09, 10:09am

Any country which fails to accept their part in the murder of many hundreds of thousands of civillians, using the 'there was a war on' excuse, is unworthy of moving forward and joining the European Union.

This debate will go on and on as the Americans have a strategic military presence in Turkey.

Why is is not a crime to deny this atrocity, yet it is a crime to deny others?

I guess it all depends on how much of the media you control.


30 Apr 09, 10:51am

@ Agitator2 The Irish were in almost precisely the same relation to the English during WW1 as the Armenians were to the Turks. The Easter Rising relied on German help and was put down pretty brutally and the instigators hanged as traitors.

If writings sympathetic to the Rising were treated in the same way as the Armenian genocide question in Turkey, half of the Guardian's staff would be permanent guests of Her Majesty.


30 Apr 09, 11:44am

Old Bagpuss:

It's not just the Armenians who have suffered in Turkey, though they are by far the largest category of victim.
Tom Holland's Persian Fire - an account of the Greek wars against the Persians - describes at the end how the Greek settlements in Anatolia lasted for 2500 years until the population was displaced or wiped out in the early 20th century.

Good point. Here in the West, at least we hear about the Armenians. The other so-called "population transfers" (ethnic cleansing) after WW1 tend to be glossed over. A good friend of mine is of Anatolian-Greek background. Have you seen the Greek film Rembetiko? It's a drama that reflects the culture of rembetiko music (which some call 'Greek blues') among refugees (the main characters are from Smyrna) in Greece.


30 Apr 09, 12:05pm


In the early Republic, Ataturk clearly distanced himself from the genocide perpetrators, calling the massacre 'a shameful act' just one day after a new Parliament has been established in 1920. Nevertheless, especially in the 30s, the young Republic has been heavily affected by Italy / fascism and resorted to establishing a Turkish national identity based on repression / reproduction of memory by heavy indoctrination, and repression of minorities, including not only Christians, but also Kurds, who played a major part in the Genocide.


"Their crime was that they were Christians."

The Armenian Genocide didn't take place on the basis of religious, but ethnic identity. Hundreds of thousands of them have been murdered, arrested, exiled, not because they were Christians. Nationalism was introduced to Turkey by the Union and Progress cadres, almost all of whom got their education / indoctrination in France, the thoughtbed of nationalism. Here we come to your second point, which is, Turkey should never be an EU member. Wrong. First, most prominent EU countries have very bad records, particularly back to their imperial period. I don't need to remind you what the British have done in India, more notoriously, French in Algeria, Belgium in Congo. I'm not even mentioning that most European countries were affected by anti-Semitism in the 20s and 30s, which was a reason why Hitler progressed to power without any alarm. European history is not a clean one, and on facing that, no country did their job properly.

It's no surprise that it all comes back to Turkey's EU membership. However, most commentators reverse the process in their minds: "Turkey denies genocide, so it cannot be a member." Do not forget that membership is a social, political and cultural process which requires a great deal of transformation. My roadmap for the solution of the recognition issue would be:

1. Turkey -my country- should be supported in its membership prospect, and encouraged for the establishment of a free-speech environment. Foreigners may not observe it well, but the level of transformation, thanks to the EU membership prospect, is amazing, yet, far from ideal -actually, it's far from good-. Organisation of such a conference mentioned in the article was unimaginable a decade ago. Let alone the petition. it's true that the social psyche -thanks to the level of indoctrination I mentioned above- is not ripe enough for such talks, but again, that's just another reason for encouraging transformation, not blocking it by arguing "You can never do it"

2. I think the greatest obstacle in the recognition process would be territorial demands, to which current international legislation is open to. The question for me is, do Armenians want respect to their sorrow, to their history, or do they want compensation / land? I deem the second not feasible: will Armenians come back and settle to East Anatolia?

3. Vague international legislation renders it difficult to speak to a party on the issue. Is it Armenia? Armenians in France? In the US? Who is the representative? Again, who can prevent any Armenian individual to sue Turkey, asking for land?

To sum up, for the European / american community and their Armenian diaspora members, there are two ways: a) to push Turkey to the corner via international legislation, various congress and parliament decisions, b) to encourage Turkey to discuss the issue more freely in the domestic arena. For the second, the only way is the EU membership prospect.


30 Apr 09, 12:39pm

What pisses most enlightened people in Turkey who are well cognicant that a some regional ethnic cleansing has taken place albeit with lower death toll is that during the same time period, Muslim citizens of the same empire were also being massacred in the Balkans by Christians (the final round was the Serbian ethnic cleansing of the Bosnians in the 90s)

Of course, there's the invasions and ethnic cleansing that got them there in the first place. The history of the Turks with regards to Christians is one of genocide, murder, rape and enslavement - the Armenian genocide is only one of many atrocities in the history of the Ottoman Empire.


30 Apr 09, 1:00pm

The past should, and perhaps even must, be told as it was, without politicising it. It is important for the future that we come to terms with past events. But how can Turkey do so when you get stuff like this from the Armenian side:

journalist Harut Sasunian, a prominent member of the Armenian community in the US, said the ultimate objective of Armenians was to get recognition of their genocide claims and to obtain territory and compensation from Turkey.

Clearly, such ulterior motives from some in the highly influential Armenian diaspora do not help the matter either!

What I find also astounding is how blatantly diaspora Armenians use and abuse their new home countries' avenues of power to further their own ethnic interests. Surely, this is a classic case of multiculturalism gone wrong?


30 Apr 09, 1:10pm

I am very uneasy about Turkey. I have been there three times. It is beautiful and cultured and the people are everything you might hope for and expect. But there are several huge holes in their history. I understand perfectly well their 20th C history. But compare their attitudes to the modern German acceptance of their terrible wrongs against the Jews. The Turks are in denial.

"After the first world war, the treaty of Sèvres in 1920 was the instrument by which the victorious allies dismembered Ottoman Turkey and divided the spoils among themselves". I don't think this is the whole truth Mr Ellis. My father was sent there as a young British Lieutenant and all his life he remembered the Armenian slaughter. He was sent there as a peace keeper as I recall not as an enforcer of British might.

I live now in California where there are many Armenians. It was a great pleasure for me to able to give some 1922 photographs of Batumi to some of them. That is the Black Sea port from which their parents and grandparents fled at the time my Dad was trying to keep the peace.

Kemel Ataturk was a very flawed genius. Turkish treatment of the Greeks after WW1 was appalling - probably a second genocide. Look no further than "Birds Without Wings" by De Bernières. I do not want the Turks within the EU.


30 Apr 09, 1:26pm

This whole article is backward.

Why is it more wrong to deny the " Armenian genocide " than for the Turks not to accept it? One of the tenants of the EU (and Democracy ) is free speech, but in France it is illegal to deny the "Armenian genocide" ( French Taboo maybe ? ).
The Turks cannot be expected to accept something they do not know or believe to have happened, therefore it should be proved to them, if such a thing did occur. Regardless of other taboos in Turkey the present Turkish leadership has proposed a joint Commission of historians to look into the all events of surrounding 1915 and has promised to accept their findings - they have not been taken up on their offer yet.
Perhaps, this article ( with it's skewed version of history ) should have been titled Tackling the ......Armenian taboo, ......French taboo, .......British taboo ....... etc etc. because it is they, who do not want the truth to emerge. Third countries should assist the process and stop using the situation as political fodder to further their own ends. Much of the criticisms of Turkey, in this regard, are excuses ( to prevent Turkey's EU accession ).

Massacres on both sides certainly took place but whether there was a Genocide or not, should be left to the experts - not to the politicians!!


30 Apr 09, 1:48pm


One of the tenants of the EU (and Democracy ) is free speech, but in France it is illegal to deny the "Armenian genocide" ( French Taboo maybe ? ).

This showcases precisely what's so wrong with this whole affair. What makes a country (foreign at that) legalise one version of the story regarding some genocide thousands of miles away from its borders? It's truly mind-boggling!


live now in California where there are many Armenians. I do not want the Turks within the EU.

That's what this faux pretence to give a toss about the poor Armenians of 1915 is all about, isn't it? Besides, what does it matter to you whether Turkey is in the EU or not, you're not in it either!


30 Apr 09, 1:49pm

I am Delighted!!!


30 Apr 09, 1:49pm
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30 Apr 09, 2:50pm

Sorry my previous post didn't quite come out the way I meant it to - here it is again - but revised

This whole article is backward.

Why is it more wrong for the Turks not to accept the " Armenian genocide " than it is for the French to make it illegal to deny it. One of the tenants of the EU (and Democracy ) is free speech, but in France it is illegal to deny the "Armenian genocide" ( French Taboo maybe ? ).
The Turks cannot be expected to accept something they do not know or believe to have happened, therefore it should be proved to them, if such a thing did occur. Turkey has opened it's archives and welcomes the input from other archives to help solve this problem, once and for all. Regardless of other taboos in Turkey, the present Turkish leadership has proposed a joint Commission of historians to look into the events surrounding 1915 AND has promised to accept their findings - they have not been taken up on their offer yet !
Perhaps, this article ( with it's skewed version of history ) should have been titled Tackling the ......Armenian taboo, ......French taboo, .......British taboo ....... etc etc. because it is they, who do not want the truth to emerge. Third countries should assist the process and stop using the situation as political fodder to further their own ends. Much of the criticisms of Turkey, in this regard, are excuses ( to prevent Turkey's EU accession ).

Massacres on both sides certainly took place but whether there was a Genocide or not, should be left to the experts - not to the politicians!!


30 Apr 09, 2:51pm

Turkey should not be allowed to join the EU, NOT because it committed genocide in the early part of the twentieth century but because it is a criminal offence to state that it happened. The EU is for modern, forward thinking countries, I look forward to a time when Turkey is one of those.


30 Apr 09, 3:39pm

Turkey can't join the EU because only the constant threat of a military coup stops it becoming a de facto theocracy.


30 Apr 09, 5:23pm

@ HuffinJenkem,

Keep the venom flowing mate... your comments give further strength to the hotheads in Turkey. In fact, characters like you, straight out of

30 Apr 09, 5:45pm

Genocide against "Turks" outside of Turkey, on the other hand, never stopped. The latest instance was Bosnia. This historic revisionism concerning the Armenians is constructed in order to relativise the numerous European genocides. During the Armenian genocide most of the Muslim population of Balkans was wiped out and slaughtered. It started in the second half of the 19 century and is not yet finished. They were not Turks but locals, who during the history converted to Islam. It was perhaps the biggest apostasy punishment in history.


30 Apr 09, 5:47pm


30 Apr 09, 2:51pm (about 3 hours ago)

Turkey should not be allowed to join the EU, NOT because it committed genocide in the early part of the twentieth century but because it is a criminal offence to state that it happened. The EU is for modern, forward thinking countries, I look forward to a time when Turkey is one of those.

In Austria and Germany you can go to jail if you question the Holocaust. But these countries are in EU.


30 Apr 09, 5:52pm


Bosnians are as long where they are as Serbs, some even longer. They are not Turks.


30 Apr 09, 10:32pm


I don't know what makes any historian "foremost" on anything, but in the case of Bernard Lewis we could say that he has gained notoriety for denying the Armenian genocide, against widely documented history of the times, rather than respectability for his views (see among other the works of Alain Finkielkraut, Yves Ternon, Richard G. Hovannisian, Albert Memmi, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Robert Melson, David B. MacDonald, Norman Finkelstein, Stephen Zunes, Yair Auron and Israel Charny). His department in Princeton may or may not have been financed by Turkish government funds at the time - you tell me - but I can tell you that the good professor was also the theoretician of the Iraqi invasion, behind Richard Pearl, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the neocons in the Bush Administration.
He was also convinced, and wrote about it in the Wall Street Journal in August of 2006, that August 22, 2006, "would be an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel, and if necessary, of the world". As the day came and went, and Israel and the world are still standing, the only casualty of Lewis' "foremost" academic thinking turned out to be his own reputation. As usual!


01 May 09, 1:29am


Both of you are using smear tactics against a first-class scholar of history, just because your uninformed/biased views don't agree with his. Bernard Lewis IS probably the foremost western historian on the middle east, as witnessed by the fact that he consistently advises western governments on middle eastern affairs, the depth of his studies on the subject and his numerous publications.

And orbit1, the fact that Lewis is at the same time a strong supporter of the neo-cons, yet is able to dispute the widespread (yet misguided) western account of this historical episode is testament to the sincerity of his beliefs.

Finally, here are some other major western historians who agreed that the events of 1915 should not be classified as "genocide":

Norman Stone
Andrew Mango
Gunther Lewy
Justin McCarthy
Samuel Weems
Stanford Shaw
Pierre Oberling
Dankwart Rostow
Heath Lowry
Avigdor Levy

Again, you can try to smear all of these names too but the truth is that you would only be "satisfying" yourselves.


01 May 09, 2:54am


Smear tactics? I agree that I am critical of him and I don't share your respect for his views. But smear? He wrote that ridiculous article in the Wall Street Journal, didn't he? And he participated with the rest of the neocons in bringing unnecessary further disaster to the Middle East. Aren't historians supposed to report history rather than facilitating it? Well, one can change the present, and so much I can give him. But one cannot change the past. The Armenian genocide is a historical event and there is so much Lewis can do to alter it. His fame came with genocide denial. And so did his infamy.

I fail to understand your point on Lewis' neocon affiliations as a proof of the "sincerity of his beliefs". It sounds strange at best. But it's not his beliefs that I doubt, it is the facts he bases these beliefs on. To imply that his theories are based on beliefs though ("faith"), may be true, however you would have called it "smear", had such an appraisal come from me.

I agree with you that "he is able to dispute the widespread (yet misguided)" - your opinion! - "western account of this historical episode", as much as I disagree with your (misguided - my opinion) characterisation of the first genocide of the 20th century as a mere "historical episode". And I wonder what are the chances that a historian may have to dispute the widespread Turkish account ....in Turkey!


01 May 09, 10:17am


Ïn your first post you insinuate that Lewis may be receiving finance/bribery from the Turkish government. Unless you have any proof to back this up, the term "smear"is the politest possible way to describe this kind of behaviour.


01 May 09, 12:26pm


My "insinuation" is about Lewis' department receiving Turkish government funding (it did and legally so). Bribery? I didn't say that, you did! I can also add (no insinuation here) that Richard Pearl was a paid Turkey lobbyist (with Turkey his only client) in the American Congress in the 90s.It will be more of a fact, and not insinuation, to say that there is a well established connection between Turkey, Lewis and the American neocons. Ashcroft, another neocon is Turkey's current paid lobbyist. As for Lewis, he also received in 2006 the prestigious National Humanities Medal from none other than President George W. Bush! And he got praise from VP Cheney ("His wisdom is sought daily by policymakers, diplomats, fellow academics and the news media").

There is no doubt that Professor Lewis is a controversial figure to say the least. He receives his share of praise and his share of criticism. The direction of where the praise comes from only supports the criticism leveled against him. But to call criticism "smear" is the easy way out for you. Consider his overall record and perhaps you may see why most of the world does not share his views. Now after having defended Lewis' reputation in general terms, do you care to tackle the details of my posting? Answer my question on the chances a historian has to dispute the widespread Turkish view ....in Turkey without "offending Turkishness (or Turks)", which is a crime in Turkey?


01 May 09, 1:58pm


So, in order for me make the Princeton/Turkish Government connection, this from a NY Times article titled "Princeton Is Accused of Fronting For the Turkish Government", by William H. Honnan, published May 22, 1996 (Google it and may see it in its entirety):

"Three years ago , the university accepted $750,000 from the Government of Turkey to endow a new Ataturk Chair of Turkish Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies and hired a professor, Heath W. Lowry, who had worked for the Turkish Government as executive director of the Washington-based Institute of Turkish Studies".

The Institute of Turkish Studies was founded in 1982 with a $3 million grant from Turkey to promote a pro-Turkey agenda, including denial of the Armenian genocide. In 1985 there was a letter denying the Armenian genocide signed by 69 American scholars and published in full-page advertisements in major newspapers paid for by the Turkish government. All 69 signers had received funding that year from the Turkish government. One of them was Prof. Donald Quataert, who later served as Chairman of the ITS Board of Governors from 2001 until Dec. 2006. He was forced to resign by Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy after he refused to retract a scholarly book review in which Quataert said "what happened to the Armenians readily satisfies the UN definition of genocide."

In an open letter to prime minister Erdogan (June 2008), Mervat Hatem, president of the Middle East Studies Association, the preeminent organization promoting scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa, pointed out that the circumstances of Quataert's forced resignation "sharply contrasts with your government's recent call to leave the debate regarding the events of 1915 to the independent judgement and study of scholars'.

So much then about "leaving it to the historians and scholars" and so much about "historians and scholars" being on the take (and what happens if they cross the line).


01 May 09, 3:42pm


So, in order to smear a renowned academic, you are prepared to go out of your way and do some research. But your findings are as pathetic as the point you have been trying to make. Stop contradicting yourself and just quit. This is a platform for people who make sense.

Your attacks on the scholars disputing genocide allegations demonstrate how an inquiry into the tragic events of the First World War can be removed from historical context and elevated to mythological level, a process that, in turn, prevents any rational exchange between the two sides.

You know very well that the Armenian sides argument of the premeditation thesis lacks authentic documentary evidence and suffers from a logical fallacy. You say free speech about Armenian massacres is denied in Turkey. But at the same time you try to smear, silence and suppress different interpretations about the events of 1915.

Armenian claims still stand unproven at any International Court or at the United Nations, but machinations leading to unfair propaganda, racist denigration of Turks and backdoor recognition attempts are still alive. Furthermore, these unproven Armenian claims are currently used as a convenient leverage against Turkey by whomever and whenever opportune!



01 May 09, 4:45pm


The most fundamental principle of justice is that a person is innocent till proven guilty. And along with that comes the obligation to prove guilt, rather than innocence.

You made some ludicrous speculations/accusations, which I rightly call smear, against internationaillty reknown scholars, so the onus of proof is on you. The fact that many international culture groups/countries/NGOs/etc. fund historical studies legally and transparently at various universities throughout the world, doesn't prove anything.

So there is no need for me to go and try to answer the bollocks, which doesn't even constitute the beginning of proof of fraud or scholarly dishonesty, you copy-pasted from a biased Wiki article,


01 May 09, 5:47pm

@ Armenophile

Your distortions start with your name, Armenophile. Have I ever wondered what really lies behind the Armenian genocide claims? Yes, the facts! Have you ever wondered what lies behind Turkish denials? Other than the Turkish "truth" that is?


That the Turkish government funding was legal is something I already wrote myself. You can give me at least that much! As for the "internationally reknown(sic) scholars", I am sure Prof. Quataert was one of them while heading the ITS from 2001 to 2006, and stopped being one after he was discarded by the Turkish government. So are these "legal funds" provided to seek the truth of the matter, or just to advance the Turkish positions? It is not a question you "need to answer", no need for you to be here in the first place, but a question of your ability to answer.

Yes, I utilize the internet to access information, but had I "pasted Wiki", I would have been echoing YOUR admiration for Prof. Lewis! For my particular post, I retrieved information from the NY Times with a direct quotation (you may call it "pasting" if you wish!), and the following:

1. Intelligence Report
2. Prof. Quataert's review of Donald Bloxham's book, The Great Game of Genocide:Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians, which was published in the Fall 2006 issue of the Journal of Interdisciplinary History
3. Mervat Hatem's open letter to prime minister Erdogan

I find it entertaining how you keep calling for an "academic discussion", only to get out of shape when one is offered! I welcome your argument against mine. I don't care about your predictable personal attacks. Implying that only the Turkish version is presented by "scholars and academics" puts your positions in the right perspective.

PS. Still waiting for your scholarly opinion on Lewis' Wall Street Journal article predicting the end of the world!


01 May 09, 6:19pm

By the way, why don't you set the record straight on Professor Quataert's evolution from a cosigner of an Armenian genocide denial letter, to his ascend in the Institute of Turkish Studies top position, and his eventual abrupt fall? Considering his record, we may assume that he too is a "prominent historian". So, what is your "unbiased" story of Prof. Quataert? Or, like the Armenian genocide, he didn't "happen" either?

Insightful's profile picture Insightful

02 May 09, 1:52am


Armenian claims still stand unproven at any International Court or at the United Nations, but machinations leading to unfair propaganda, racist denigration of Turks and backdoor recognition attempts are still alive.

Hmmm .. so now it turns that pointing out to the horrible murder of 1.5 million human beings is a ``racist denigration of the Turks"?

I have not seen one single claim here that the Turks committed Genocide because it is in their genes.. or because it is the nature of their race ( are they a race'?.. so there goes your claim..... the point is not why did they carry out the Armenian Genocide, but when will they come to terms with that!

Furthermore, these unproven Armenian claims are currently used as a convenient leverage against Turkey by whomever and whenever opportune!

Now this is an unfounded accusation if you want one... Everybody that knows about the Armenian Genocide and thinks it is important that the
Turks acknowledge it.. .. is there to F**K the Turks and take away some
of their assests...

Come of your horse and see the facts.. and stop your silly paranoia !!! Otherwise visit a shrink and get some pills.....

And when you calm down, we can talk and you can tell me about the 4 genocides of the last century Armenian ( 1.5 millon), Jewish ( 6 millon) Cambodian( 3 million) and Tutsi ( close to 1 million) and the parties responsible for each one...
I bet you can name 3.. but the first must be the result of some creature from outer space right?


02 May 09, 12:57pm


Excellent post @ 29 Apr 09, 11:22pm. Well said that panda!

And for anyone who is interested in the other (running since 1974) current 'Turkish taboo' -- here's a pertinent item just up:

Scent of victory among the lemon trees as displaced Cypriots win claim on ancestral land

Like so many Cypriots, Meletis Apostolides has long been haunted by memories of a lost past. All his adult life he has yearned to return to his boyhood home – and this week, nearly 35 years after war left what should be an idlyllic corner of the Levant brutally divided, the European court of justice brought him one step closer to fulfilling that dream.

Even now, in late middle age, the architect can still recall the scent of the lemon trees, the smell of the sea, the dappled light that filtered through the citrus orchards of Lapithos, the village in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus where he and his ancestors were born.


Yes -- I remember it too.

The Eastern Partnership More For More Or More For Less? by Yeliz Hacıosmanoğlu*
The Swedish-Polish initiative of the Eastern Partnership was launched to strengthen the multilateral track of the European Neighborhood Policy in the East. The commission describes it as being “different” than similar regional initiatives, as it is supposed to be “more focused on convergence with EU legislation and standards, and therefore has to operate on a ‘more for more’ principle,” but ironically enough, in the EU summit declarations “mutual interests and commitments” are placed ahead of “values.”

Amid the six countries of the Eastern Partnership -- Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Moldova -- no country has a good record in democracy and human rights. At the same time, they are all very closely connected to a newly invigorated Russia, which is losing interest in these two issues. Georgia and Ukraine, which aspired to EU and NATO membership, faced a big Russian threat that became apparent with the Russia-Georgia war and the Ukrainian gas crisis. Russia clearly demonstrated its aversion to the Eastern Partnership by accusing the EU of establishing a new “sphere of influence.”

Almost all of these countries seemed to follow a Russian model of “managed democracy” rather than aligning themselves with EU legislation and standards after the ’90s. Almost no country was reported to have free and fair elections and cases of human rights violations have piled up throughout the last years. The dynamism that is indispensable for liberal democracies is almost absent in the political scene of the countries covered in the Eastern Partnership.

Public trust in Georgia's pro-American Mikhail Saakashvili has eroded in the aftermath of the Georgia-Russia war. He was not only seen as being “a madman” to have gone so far as to endanger the future of his country, but also as an inept political figure who burdened his country with two unresolved conflicts -- South Ossetia and Abkhazia. People frustrated with the government take it to the streets, and unrest prevails in Georgia today.

Marred elections, intimidation and the lack of independent media are part of the political reality in Moldova. The authoritarian Communist-led government was re-elected in April 2009. The demonstrations following the election results led to death and mass arrests. These protests demonstrated that opposition is still alive in some of our Eastern neighbors, but the situation in others is rather alarming.

In Ukraine, most of the population is convinced that it is even not worth protesting, as the political chaos became a norm in the country and no politician seems to accommodate citizens’ expectations. The question of whether Yulia Tymoshenko would be replaced by Viktor Yuschenko or Arseniy Yatsenyuk during the next elections causes sheer indifference among Ukrainian voters, for all politicians, according to them, are the same.

Alexander Lukashenko, who has been ruling Belarus for the last 14 years, has been invited to Prague, regardless of his reputation as “the last dictator in Europe.” The EU leaders seem to have forgotten the lack of democracy in the country, the domination of the media by the ruling party, the silenced opposition and the numerous imprisonments, which even led to sanctions against Belarus. Even, the loosening of these sanctions was much criticized last year; the Belarusian elections were neither free nor fair and there was no particular “positive sign” of improvements in the sphere of democracy in Belarus. In a conference in the European Parliament in April, the Belarusian ambassador to the EU explicitly said, “It is in the EU’s interest to have Belarus on its side.” This pragmatic approach does not simply shed light on Belarus’ skepticism about the Eastern Partnership, but it also implies that Belarus has no intention of aligning itself with the EU’s principles and will continue to see Russia as “its only true partner.”

The lifting of the constitutional ban on one person serving more than two consecutive terms through a referendum -- without any major opposition -- in Azerbaijan is even more alarming, as it will allow İlham Aliyev to serve a third term of five years in the 2013 elections. Thy tyranny of the Aliyev family since 1993 has drowned liberal and democratic powers. The manipulated elections, clientelism, the strict control over media, the lack of transparency, violent police interventions and a blurred amalgam of state and private interests has become a norm in the country. One can even argue that even in African countries there is better separation of such spheres and easier access to power.

What is the EU’s response to these developments? Most European countries seem to be intimidated by Dmitry Medvedev’s recent announcements that Gazprom is likely to conclude an accord with Azerbaijan to get future Azerbaijani gas; however those fears should not constitute sufficient justification for political inaction. The EU cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the developments in these countries, which are by far anti-democratic. The main objective of the Eastern enlargement was to turn the former Communist countries into functioning and democratic free market economies.

Do the six countries of the Eastern Partnership constitute an exception to this goal?

The political and economic ties between these six countries and Russia are strong enough to carry on with the “status quo,” yet one should keep in mind it is “this very status quo” rather than questions related to energy, which is the biggest threat to the EU as it targets its basic foundations. Removing the “human factor” from negotiations with third countries entails the immense risk of making the whole EU project void. The EU will be strong as long as it adheres to its principles, and any compromise to satisfy private interest would decrease its credibility and undermine its weight in the international scene. In fact, it is its promise of promoting democracy and human rights that distinguishes the EU as an alternative partner to Russia.

In order to achieve tangible results, one should be focusing on the root causes of the “status quo” in these countries, spreading EU values, strengthening democracy and engaging civil society in the six partner countries. The EU leaders should push for a change, rather than accepting the existing realities, which are far from being in line with its principles and values. It is of great importance to accommodate the EU’s pragmatic concerns in the region, but this should not be done to the detriment of the rights and liberties of the peoples of these countries. The EU has to follow a consistent policy as a promoter of peace and liberal values, rather than cooperating with any dictator or turning a blind eye to tyrannies that guarantee to provide a secure environment for investments. This would be a too short-sighted strategy to follow. Having truly democratic neighbors who adhere to liberal values will serve the long-term interests of the EU. If the EU opts to ignore the initial set of objectives for the Eastern Partnership, it could end up with “more for less” instead of “more for more.”

*Yeliz Hacıosmanoğlu is the parliamentary assistant to European Parliament deputy Metin Kazak, a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the European Parliament and a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. 08 May 2009

Five Arguments Against Any Acceptance Of The So-Called Armenian-Turkish Road Map May 6, 2009
1. The Armenian-Turkish Road Map negotiations were conducted in secret. The contents of the agreement have yet not been made public. Sub-clauses to the agreement may never be made public. This suggests a deal that is against interests of the people, why otherwise keep it secret. Some will argue that it prevents demagogues will incite popular opposition. But to fear so-called demagogues despite controlling virtually the whole of the media is evidence of a weak argument for the deal and an argument the government has no confidence in winning.

The Armenian people cannot and should not agree to any deal that is done behind their backs especially one with a state like the Turkish state that does not recognize the right of the Armenian state and people to exist in the region of their historic homelands.

2. As a unit of territory and as a source of economic exploitation Armenia represents little of interest to Turkey. However Armenia's geopolitical position is a significant thorn in Turkey's side in the contest between Russia, Turkey and Iran for supremacy in the Caucuses. As a formally independent state it can act as a convenient pawn and base primarily for Russia, but also for Iran and even perhaps the US if the latter's interest required putting pressure on Turkey. For Turkey the removal of an Armenian state and the resulting direct Turkish-Azerbaijani border would strengthen Turkey's position vis-à-vis Russia and Iran.

As important is the geopolitical issue the Turkish elite's fear that a strong and stable Armenian state would represent a major challenge to Turkey's denial of the Genocide and its refusal to come to any realistic and legitimate accommodation with the Armenia and the Armenian people. Combined with challenges from Kurds, Assyrians and Arabs, the presence of a strong Armenian state would expose the colonial and repressive character of the Turkish state call into question its current form of existence.

For these and other reasons the Turkish state is resolutely opposed to the idea of an independent and strong Armenian state and is doing its utmost to weaken and eliminate it.

3. The Turkish state daily demonstrates uncompromising hostility to the idea of an independent Armenian state and to the very right of Armenian people to live in the region. In Turkey It denies Armenians elementary national democratic rights. It sponsors the falsification of Armenian history and the propagation of virulent racist hatred against Armenians and it is party to the destruction of the remnants of participates in the chauvinist propaganda against Armenians that ends with assassination. In this way it prepares its people not just for campaigns against Armenians in Turkey but for possible war and pogroms against the people of Armenia. What other reason can there be for the level of vicious hatred nurtured by the Turkish state against the Armenian people?

More critically still the Turkish state's opposition to an independent Armenia is demonstrated by its unwavering support for Azerbaijan that is preparing for the forcible occupation and destruction of Armenian Garabagh. The destruction of Armenian Garabagh would represent a body blow to the future of Armenia. It would give confidence to every Armenian hating chauvinist movement in the region and of these there are many. Recall the vandalistic destruction of Armenian cemeteries in Nakhichevan and Azeri chauvinists claims Sevan and Yerevan.

4. No Armenian-Turkish Road Map is of any value if it does not immediately improve Armenian state security and stability and enhance Armenian rights throughout the region. No Armenian-Turkish Road Map is of any value if it does not include the right of the Armenians of Garabagh to live on their own homelands and within a state of their own choice. No road map is of value unless it is accompanied by practical measures that secure the democratic rights of Armenians in Garabagh among them the removal of military forces encircling and threatening Garabagh.

5. The opening of the Armenian-Turkish borders is sometimes presented as a significant Turkish concession. It is nothing of the sort. Turkey unilaterally closed its borders and it can unilaterally open them. Armenia has nothing to gain from the borders being opened. Indeed in the context of international agreements the Armenian state is bound into, opening the borders will allow an immediate Turkish economic invasion of Armenia that could be as serious as any military invasion.

Cheaper Turkish commodities could serve to weaken and wipe out indigenous Armenian agriculture and industry. If the borders are opened the Armenian state must summon up the courage to impose border trade controls irrespective of world free market regulations that are not in our interests.

We must refuse to abide by principles of global free trade that are harmful to all small and weaker economies.

Alas the unlike the Turkish and Azerbaijani state, the Armenian state does not have at its head a force or even a faction of the elite that is dedicated to the needs of the Armenian nation and state. For Armenians the resolving of this and the formation of a government that fights for the interests of the people is the critical question. The Turkish state and their allies in Europe and America and the Azeri state and their allies will plough on with their anti-Armenian strategy irrespective. The business of the Armenian people is to act to look after our own interests without dependence on foreign forces or on so-called Turkish state concessions. With such a firm and stable Armenian state it will be possible for Armenians to independently approach the Turkish people, to relate to the progressive wing of Turkish society and unite with them in overwhelming the chauvinist Turkish state that also treads upon its own people.

Credit Witheld Upon Confirmation 5 May 2009

The entire affair is a theatrical farce. Turkish good have been flooding Armenia through the various Georgia routes since 1990, and as a result

1) Armenian light industry – the main employer of an economy of Armenia’s current semi-industrial (thus demoted) character, is already virtually non-existent;

2) Armenian agriculture has been ravaged both by cheap and substandard imports from Turkey and Iran (yes, Iran does much damage to the Armenian agro sector as well as potential light industry) as well as the working of the corporate driven USAid apparatus, whose level of damage to Armenia’s natively development agricultural species/stock is beyond description. Armenia is now suffering from three-pronged attack by “allies” and “oh-we-are-not-so-sure-if-they-truly-are-enemies-due-to-our-ignorance” to the extent of total paralysis.

E. Nalbandian turned out to be the incompetent who would carry out the task of dupe for this “road-map: nonsense, as was predicted by www.Ararat-Center.org when he was first appointed. The “road map” has nothing to do with trade, and has everything to do with brainwashing Armenians out of their national grievances and, by extension, their historical memory, and, therefore, their will to maintain their identity. It is and has always been a “roadmap to genocide completion”, as TARC, MARC, and other such moneybag (bone-head) driven “reconciliation” nonsense are merely stepping stones to have our anti-nationalist lackeys and FIFTH COLUMNS achieve their tasks for their foreign (and well paying) employers.

The latest IMF Bribe Package they like to mislabel as “loans” apparently did well to convince our “leadership.” One wonders how much of that “honey” was licked by the foreign ministry alone.
- - - -
Your five points address and explain all that is so very wrong with the Armenian-Turko Roadmap
Secret deals, believing the Turko state wants to cozy up to Armenia, not looking out for Armenia's and our Tahd/martyrs interests, all point to the ineptitude of our so call leaders.

Armenia/Armenians beware, as my father used to say, a leopard doen't change it's spots.

In the Armenian nation, somewhere, is a leader, one who will stand strong for the fatherland, for our rights both past and present, someone who will not portray the dhimmi attitude, who will be strong in words, deeds, actions and portrayal, charismatic, the next Antranig, maybe someone who fought valiantly for the independence of Karabagh, or someone from zone 9 of the Motor City, someone who is not out for monetary gain but for the betterment of Armenia/Armenians, rise up, show yourself, come to the forefront, rise up the Armenian nation, show the world that we are not just pawns, that we are to be dealt with respectfully. We await you, the one who will not sell us out, but, cash in on all the debts due us.

More Than A Pair Of Dimes To Examine The Paradigm
May 3, is "World Press Freedom Day," an occasion that deserves notice. I am writing on the morning of May 1, an occasion that a few blocks from my house will soon transform into a test of wills over freedom of expression. So let me deal with both dates.

The Enlightenment of the 18th century onward has been one fitful, European-inspired endeavor in pursuit of a basic set of rules to consecrate freedom of thought and expression. Turkey is as good a barometer as any to measure just how far we’ve come in 300 years. And within that exercise in measurement, it is not immodest to say that my little newspaper is as good a laboratory as you will find. A hot little petri dish, in fact.

The practical details of this continuing endeavor do Ğ about every 15 minutes or so Ğdistract any editor of a Turkish newspaper from thinking broadly on the criteria of free speech progress. Last night I distributed gas masks to reporters whose courage is always an inspiration. I hope they are using them and the worry today is among distractions.

Another challenge to thinking broadly on concepts of freedom this morning is certainly the several hundred police taking over the sidewalk beneath my apartment balcony. That just moments ago, a standoff between them and demonstrators filled my living room with the smell of tear gas, when I was stupid enough to rush to the balcony, is just part of the problem. But the question is not of this contest of stones and slogans versus water cannons downstairs. It is larger, and I have an idea to prove my case. It won’t be ready, however, until next "World Freedom Day." May 3, 2010, that is to say.

My idea is a grant application to the European Union’s "7th Framework Fund." Trust me, this one’s a winner. I will be looking for a worthy NGO to take this on. I don’t even want to be a "partner." But I can help you through the steps. In my experience of the various administrative fees, etc., with which you have to stud these applications, the NGOs net after expenses will be in the neighborhood of 60,000 to 70,000 euros. Maybe more. First, a title. It can be anything as long as it includes the word "paradigm." Grant jurors love paradigms. Something like: "A Scoping Project to Assess the Public Consciousness Paradigm Toward Freedom of Expression in Tomorrow’s European Union." How’s that?

Next, a terse but catchy "project description." Something like this: "The following scoping project seeks to go beyond existing European Commission methodologies, including Eurobarometer, to robustly measure the sociological multi-plaining of free expression contextualization, embrace of democratic values and perspective diversity within the public consciousness paradigm of seven European societies. Said cities will include four EU member states, two states of accessionary candidature and one (insert the formal term for the weird EU-Norway relationship here; always include non-member Norway in EU applications. Norway has the money)."

I will spare further use of Eurojargon or this column will not fit in today’s Daily News. But over the next 20 or 30 pages of the mind-bending grant application, you have to argue with this arcane language.

What we will do is identify seven central newsstands in seven major cities. There have to be many other things, including a methodology developed by referees from university faculties of communication outside of the seven countries and a few other things to assure credibility and a proper spread of what they call the "footprint of geographic appeal." But it will boil down to this:

On an arbitrary date, or rather a "random" date, we will conduct raids on the seven newsstands in, say, Istanbul, Bucharest, Zagreb, Oslo, London, Paris and Vienna. We will seize, or buy, copies of every newspaper, magazine, supplement, flier, handout available. If possible, we will also establish a few other things, like how many copies are sold each day. Get the name of the newsagent so we can get back with questions. By nightfall, we will have a start on a small warehouse full of paper, in probably dozens of languages. Remember, seven cities are involved. Over the next six months, all of this has to be catalogued, analyzed, parsed, spliced and diced.

The goal is a truly comparative database on the density of perspective diversity. How pluralistic is the speech and thought we endeavor to protect? We will probably need to match this "print media" exercise with a similar one-day, simultaneous capture of television talk shows and maybe Internet blogs or something. This will become extraordinarily complex and horribly expensive. Lots of plane tickets in the planning stages, too. Which is all fine. We have a year to work on this, and the EU will pay for it.

One thing that should not be speculated upon at the outset, of course, is the conclusion you expect to reach. I am an outsider, and I have no plans to be any actual part of the exercise. So I can tell you what you will find. On the print side, London may edge out Istanbul in this broad measurement of expression. But I doubt it. Istanbul will be "No. 1" or "No. 2" by a tiny margin. On the electronic side, Istanbul will be "No. 1" in Europe, hands down.

What it will reveal is that Turkey is awash in expression. Currently, all existing measurements of freedom of the press are entirely based on the monitoring of sanctions. On Monday, no index or survey will reflect a measurement of the richness of speech and thought. All we will measure is efforts to control it. The latter is important, but the omission of the former is in and of itself an assault of freedom of thought.

Assaults on press freedom occupy the mind of every Turkish journalist. But the assaults do not reflect any lack of Turks who are clearly, articulately and passionately expressing themselves across the full spectrum of debate. It is precisely the opposite. The attempts to sanction free speech in Turkey exist because Turks are speaking freely. And passionately. In much of Europe, there is no need to do so. Free and passionate speech, pluralistic thinking and perspective diversity died years ago.

Not here. Early this morning, a bit before this street scene below was played out, some group set up loudspeakers in an audio challenge to the police. The song was "Venceremos," famous for being composed in 1970 for the presidential campaign of Chile’s Salvador Allende. The lyrics, however, were translated into Turkish. Just one tiny example of expression here. I rest my case that expression is alive and well in Turkey. So are challenges to it. Let’s measure both.

David Judson is editor-in-chief of Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Word-Games for Armenians By Avedis Kevorkian, Philadelphia, USA, 1 May 2009
On April 24, that was not rain that fell on the faces of the Armenians in America, it was spittle from The Liar In The White House, Mark 3.

Instead of living up to his promises regarding the Armenian Genocide, the Liar made a wordy waffle statement--not to the World, not to the Turks, not to America, but only to the Armenians.

That was evident by his use of the words "Meds [wouldn't "medz" have been better?] Yeghern." a term that I, for one, had not heard until earlier this year. It, no doubt, is the creation of an Armenian scholar who felt that a new expression was needed--and one of the Liar's flunkies must have picked it up and said to the Liar, "Hey, Boss, here is something that will impress those stupid Armenians!"

No one of my parents' generation ever used that term. In all his speeches and all his writings, my father used the term "chahrt"--"slaughter." As a child, I couldn't understand why he used an English word to describe the massacres, and he patiently explained to his idiot son the meaning of the Armenian word "chahrt."

When my parents and their friends would get together and the subject got around to 1915 (and before they resorted to Turkish so that we young children would not understand) they spoke of the "chahrt," not any "meds yeghern."

For the Liar to use "Meds Yeghern--and not explain it to the World, to the Americans, to the Turks--and not "genocide" is hypocrisy, plain and simple.

The United Nations has not condemned "Meds Yeghern"; it has condemned "Genocide."
What is going on in Darfur is not a "Meds Yeghern"; it is "Genocide."
What Milosovic was being tried for was not "Meds Yeghern"; it was "Genocide."
The international courts are not going to hear cases of "Meds Yeghern"; they will hear cases of "Genocide."
The Ottoman Turks did not commit the 20th century's first state-conceived, state-planned, state-executed "Meds Yeghern"; they committed the 20th century's first state-conceived, state-planned, state-executed "Genocide."

My father knew a thing or two about the Armenian language and if he ever used the word "yeghern" (and I don't recall his having done so), he would have been referring to a "crime" or an "offense." Given the opportunity, he would have told the Liar that the murder of his entire family by the Turks was something more than a "crime" or an "offense." Those who have told the journalists that "yeghern" means "calamity" or "disaster" are playing the Liar's word-game. We recall the word-game played by Israel's Shimon Peres: "What happened to the Armenians in World War One was a tragedy but not a genocide," to which the proper word-game retort is: "What happened to the Jews in World War Two was a genocide, but not a tragedy."

It would be interesting to learn the name of the foolish Armenian who told the Liar that using "Meds Yeghern" would mollify the Armenians.

If the Liar in the White House has an aversion to using the word "genocide" (now that he is president), he could have used the word "holocaust" which was used to describe the Hamidian massacres of 1894/6 and also the Ottoman massacres of World War One (by Winston Churchill and Bernard Lewis, for instance), well before the Jewish genocide.

I don't expect anyone to agree with me, when I write these essays In fact, I would begin to worry if people did, but those who disagree with me because I am not impressed by "Meds Yeghern" are, to put it simply, fools.

Enough should be enough for the Armenians, and the message should go out to the Liar (and to all other candidates who lie for the Armenian vote), "If you want a 'yeghern,' we will give you one at the next elections." When they lose and slink home from Washington, let the Liar and his friends decide whether it is a "calamity" or a "disaster."

The expression "Medz Yeghern"
Submitted by Armen E. on Sun, 2009-05-03 13:31.
The expression "Medz Yeghern" was used before the 50th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. There is nothing wrong in being used by Obama. The question I think is not the expression, it was the lack on Obama's part to tell what is meant by it. Non-Armenians will not have a clue that for Armenians it means the Genocide. If he had done that, then probably there would have been less criticism. At any rate as it comes out in his statement, it is simply not acceptable from a President who in so many words promised that when elected he would use the term Genocide.
reply from Canada

no matter how you cut it
Submitted by FBP on Sat, 2009-05-02 13:51.
No matter how you cut it, Obama demonstrated once again why he has been popular. It's the same reason why Bill Clinton has been popular. They are both master politicians and superb lawyers quite capable of playing word games, unlike the simple minded George Bush that everyone loved to hate. Say what you will about Bush, at least the man had his principal and did not mince words. This Obama word trick reminded me of the infamous "It depends on what the meaning of the words 'is' is".
reply from Canada

Word-games for Armenians
Submitted by Jirair Tutunjian on Sat, 2009-05-02 08:47.

Barack Obama's wafflying on "genocide" and his use of "Medz Yeghern" reminded me of this exchange from "Alice in Wonderland":

March Hare: Then you should say what you mean.
Alice: I do; at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.
Mad Hatter: Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, 'I see what I eat' is the same as 'I eat what I see'!
March Hare: You might just as well say, that 'I like what I get' is the same thing as 'I get what I like'!

And the absurdity continues...

reply from Canada

Avedis, a couple of
Submitted by Arpi on Sat, 2009-05-02 02:21.

Avedis, a couple of comments. First, I have heard the expression Medz Yeghern. I don't know if it's a matter of geography, part of my family is from Western Armenia, the other from Eastern Armenia. But my grandmother used the term and she's been gone for over 10 years now. My great aunts (also from Eastern Armenia) used to use the term. But that's really besides the point.

The point is that his use of the term is a huge insult because, as you suggested, he thinks we are stupid enough to be fooled by such a lame trick. I suppose we were supposed to be dazzled into thinking he cares enough to have learned a couple of words in Armenian (like when they try to talk Spanish to kiss up to Hispanics!) I doubt it was an Armenian who suggested he do that, more like one of his snake advisors. One in particular comes to mind.

Here's the problem. I supported Obama big time in the election and not just because of his promise to the Armenians. Things like the war in Iraq, stem cell research, not wanting to bomb Iran and many other issues. I am still glad he won instead of the senile war mongering McCain. That's the rub. What do you do? If you work against him to try to make sure he's not reelected, as so many Armenians threaten, we are in a sense cutting off our noses to spite our faces. He is still highly qualified. Still, I CANNOT get past this betrayal. So, I have decided to just drop out of American society (not that I was ever that much into it). If Barack Obama did not keep his word to us, I don't think anyone will. So they can all go to hell as far as I'm concerned. I will not be voting in any future elections.


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