Thursday, 29 April 2010
April 26 2010
Another "April 24" has come and gone with all its suffering,
accusations, counter accusations and cross-vilifications. In the
meantime, ugly scenes took place in Yerevan and Beirut, where Turkish
flags and effigies of Turkish leaders were burned by hard-liners. It
did not take long for hard-liner Turks to reciprocate, and the next day
Armenian flags were burned in Istanbul, which also frequently witnesses
the burning of Israeli, American and Chinese flags, to name but a few.
Looking at all this, it is clear that the proverbial "glass" is not
yet "half full" in terms of reconciliation between the Turkish and
Armenian nations. But neither can it be said to be totally empty. This
year there were unprecedented developments that cracked the hard shell
of hatred between the two peoples. These can be expected to continue.
Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, for example, had kind words for
President Abdullah Gul in his speech, in which he explained to his
nation why Yerevan was only suspending the Turkish-Armenian protocols
and not annulling them. He also thanked those Turkish intellectuals
who have started to openly share the pain of the Armenian people.
It was noteworthy in this respect that two commemorative events took
place in Istanbul on April 24 to sympathize with Armenians who suffered
in 1915. The numbers of those attending were not great perhaps. But
one of the organizations was the Human Rights Association, or IHD,
which is well known and has branches all over Turkey. The other was by
a group of intellectuals comprising academics, journalists, lawyers and
businessmen etc., including some who are household names around Turkey.
These events were preceded by heated debates on television, where
things never pronounced before concerning 1915 were said and where the
term "genocide" was used without qualifiers, such as "so called" or
"alleged." Put another way, the infamous "article 301" of the penal
code holds no sway over this debate anymore despite the existence of
overzealous nationalist prosecutors.
In the meantime, one of the most notable articles in the mainstream
Turkish press on the topic came from Hasan Cemal of Milliyet.
"Some may call it deportation, some a tragedy, some may say genocide,
while some may refer to the great disaster. But you cannot deny it."
Cemal said going on to indicate he shares the suffering of the
Armenian people. What makes Cemal's words important is that he is
the grandson of the infamous Cemal Pasha who was implicated in the
mass deportations of the Armenians in 1915.
Last year Cemal, while in Armenia, also met the grandson of the killer
of his grandfather, who was gunned down by a vengeance-seeking Armenian
nationalist in Tbilisi in July 1922. The meeting was later described
by witnesses as "a civilized and highly emotional event."
There was also something new in President Obama's April 24 statement
this year. Of course, he displeased Armenians because he did not use
the term "genocide," but his remarks and the concrete number he used
for Armenian losses in 1915 were sufficient to show what he believes
But what was new in his statement was that he thanked Turks who had
saved Armenians in 1915, a dimension of the whole issue that is not
dwelled on in any great length when this subject is debated.
Even the great Austrian writer Franz Werfel acknowledges this important
fact in his masterpiece "40 Days on Musa Dagh." Those who have read
this amazing piece of work know one of the "righteous" characters in
the novel is a certain "Rifat Bereket Agha" from Antakya, who actually
existed in real life.
Meanwhile, Turkish papers have become abound with human interest
stories about Armenians. Contacts are increasing between Turkish and
Armenian citizen groups, professional organizations and academicians.
In addition to this, Turkish reporters are traveling both to Armenia
and places like Beirut, where Armenians live in large numbers and
are reporting on what they hear and see.
These reports indicate clearly that Armenians will never forget what
happened to them in 1915, and no one has a right to expect this from
them. But they also indicate a very lively curiosity about Turkey,
as well as certain nostalgia, which is normal given that Turks and
Armenians have much in common culturally.
So the proverbial glass is not yet half full by a long shot. But
the developments of the past two years, including the two protocols
signed by the foreign ministers in Zurich, have galvanized something
between the two nations that did not exist before.
Hard-liners on both sides will try and nip this in the bud, of course.
But many seeds have been and are being sowed presently. And anyone who
works in a garden knows no matter how inhospitable the soil may be,
some seeds will insist on growing.
April 27 2010
There is no alternative to the international recognition of the
Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire, Armenian President Serzh
Sargsyan said in an address posted on the 95th anniversary of the
"A crime unprecedented by its scale, barbarity and consequences was
orchestrated by the state and committed 95 years ago," he said.
"We are grateful to everyone, including people in Turkey, who realizes
the importance of the prevention of crimes against humanity and
support our struggle. There is no alternative to the recognition
[of this crime]," he said in a statement released by his press service.
Armenia held a memorial service for victims of the 1915 Armenian
genocide in the Ottoman Empire on April 24. More than 1.5 million
Armenians are believed to have fallen victim during the genocide.
Turkey denies the genocide which is recognized by a number of states.
Sargsyan signed an ordinance stopping the ratification of protocols on
diplomatic relations and normalization between Armenia and Turkey
on Thursday. He also declared the Armenian secession from the
Armenian Genocide Bill Again On Israel Parliament Agenda
Israel - Knesset building, undated
Israel's parliament agreed on Wednesday to again consider a draft
resolution recognizing the World War One-era mass killings and
deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide.
The Knesset decided by 12 votes to 8, with one abstention, that one of
its standing committees will discuss the resolution and determine
whether it should be put to a full parliament vote.
Speaker Reuven Rivlin was among those who voted for the
decision. Significantly, a representative of Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu also backed a parliament debate on the bill drafted
by Haim Oron, the leader of the left-wing opposition Meretz party.
Most of the lawmakers voting against its inclusion on the parliament
agenda were from the Yisrael Beiteinu party, a junior partner in
Netanyahu's coalition government that mainly represents Jewish
immigrants from Soviet republics and Azerbaijan in particular. One of
them, the Baku-born Yosef Shagal, said Israel should not pass judgment
on what he described as a Turkish-Armenian dispute.
It is not yet clear which Knesset committee will pick up the
measure. Oron wants it to be debated by the Education Committee,
having failed to push similar bills through the Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee in 2009 and 2008. But both Rivlin and Netanyahu's
representative said that the latter panel should again deal with the
The Defense Committee did not even vote on the Armenian genocide
resolutions in the past, despite clearance from the Knesset. It thus
highlighted successive Israeli governments' reluctance to antagonize
Turkey, a rare Muslim partner of the Jewish state.
The Netanyahu government did not back a parliament debate on Armenian
genocide recognition on the previous occasion, in May 2009.
Commentators might link the apparent shift in its position on the
highly sensitive issue to recent months' worsening of Turkish-Israeli
President Serzh Sarkisian held out hope for Armenian electricity
exports to Turkey on Tuesday just as one of his top diplomats warned
that Yerevan may still formally rescind the Turkish-Armenian
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, meanwhile, brushed aside
continuing domestic criticism of the Sarkisian administration's policy
on Turkey and accused Armenia's previous leadership of committing
foreign policy `mistakes.'
Sarkisian touched, in passing, upon his decision to freeze Armenian
parliamentary ratification of the agreements as he chaired a regular
meeting of his advisory Council on Atomic Energy Safety. He said the
opening of the Turkish-Armenian frontier, which he described as
`Europe's last closed border,' would give a massive boost to energy
cooperation in the region.
`Despite the fact that the process has been suspended because of the
Turkish government's inactivity, we see a potential to export
electricity to Turkey and, by transit, on to countries of the Middle
East,' the president said. He did not specify whether he thinks
Armenian power supplies could start before the Turkish-Armenian
protocols are put into effect.
An agreement on such deliveries was reportedly reached by Armenian and
Turkish energy companies during Turkish President Abdullah Gul's
historic visit to Yerevan in September 2008. Energy Minister Armen
Movsisian and other Armenian officials repeatedly said in the
following months that power grids in eastern Turkey are gearing up
electricity supplies from Armenia.
Movsisian said in October last year that the energy deal has not been
implemented because of `political problems in Turkey.' The effective
freezing of the Turkish-Armenian protocols announced by Sarkisian on
April 22 seems to have made the launch of energy cooperation between
the two neighboring states even more problematic.
Speaking to RFE/RL's Armenian service after the meeting of the
presidential council, Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian
defended Sarkisian's decision not to walk away from the protocols
despite Ankara's refusal to unconditionally ratify them.
`Let us not forget that we too have an option to withdraw our
signatures [from the protocols,]' Kirakosian said. `That is a
variant. Depending on further developments in the process, we may use
The diplomat added that such a scenario will be `definitely possible'
if the normalization process remains deadlocked. But he could not say
just how long Yerevan is ready to wait.
`If there are credible statements and actions by the Turkish
leadership, there will be adequate steps on our part,' Nalbandian told
Armenian Public Television late on Monday. `But I see no need
whatsoever to start new negotiations [with Ankara.]'
Nalbandian also hit out at domestic critics of the Sarkisian
administration's policy on Turkey. He said recent resolutions approved
by U.S. and Swedish lawmakers disproved their claims that the
Turkish-Armenian rapprochement will halt broader international
recognition of the Armenian genocide.
And in an apparent jibe at former President Robert Kocharian,
Nalbandian said: `You know, when it comes to ensuring the continuity
of foreign policy, that doesn't mean we should continue mistakes. We
must not repeat mistakes, and it is this logic that led the president
of the republic to start this process.' He did not elaborate.
Earlier on Monday, a key member of the Kocharian administration,
former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, renewed his strong criticism
of the protocols and said Sarkisian has opted for the worst possible
response to the Turkish delay tactic. `If there were half a dozen
possible exit strategies from this situation - from doing nothing to
revoking Armenia's signature - the government has chosen the option
least beneficial to us,' Oskanian said in a statement.
Kirakosian, who served as deputy foreign minister also under Oskanian,
disagreed with the claim, arguing that Sarkisian's move has been
praised by the United States and other foreign powers. `I think it was
the right decision,' he said. `Right now we are waiting to see what
developments will occur in Turkey in relation to the ratification
April 27 2010
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday defended the government's
efforts to normalize relations with neighboring Armenia and warned
that Turkey had the right to take necessary measures should Armenia
distort two protocols on restoring the ties.
Davutoglu and his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, signed
the two protocols in October but they are yet to be ratified in the
national parliaments -- a necessary condition for their implementation
-- amid mutual accusations of belatedly added preconditions. Turkey
says a decision of the Constitutional Court of Armenia on the protocols
interprets them in a way that misrepresent their objectives.
Armenia, on the other hand, says Turkey has linked the process to the
Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan although this
contravenes the text of the protocols.
Davutoglu, speaking at a parliamentary session, gave assurances to the
opposition that the protocols will go into force only on the condition
that they are implemented without any alteration. "We will make sure
that there will be no confusion or grey area in the implementation of
the protocols," he told deputies. "We have the right to take necessary
measures if the protocols are interpreted in a way that contradicts
their letter and spirit. ... Our parliaments will ratify the protocols
when political conditions are ripe."
The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist
Movement Party (MHP) object to the protocols, saying they harm
Turkey's relations with Azerbaijan, an ethnic and regional ally of
Turkey and a key gas supplier. Deniz BÃ¶lukbaÅ~_Ä±, a deputy from the
MHP, said after Davutoglu's speech that the signing of the protocols
with Armenia was a "historical mistake" as Armenia still refuses to
formally recognize its borders with Turkey and keeps Nagorno-Karabakh
and adjacent territory in Azerbaijani land under occupation.
CHP Deputy Chairman Onur Oymen criticized the government's pledges
to continue with the normalization process with Armenia despite
the ruling of the Armenian Constitutional Court. "This decision is
irreversible. How can you say you will ratify the protocols despite
this decision?" Oymen asked in Parliament.
Davutoglu, on the other hand, said normal ties with neighbors are a
key element for peace in the Caucasus and that the government would
continue with its initiative for normal ties with Armenia despite
obstacles raised in Armenia and in other parts of the world by the
Armenian diaspora. "We can opt for preserving the status quo and we
can live happily and comfortably for a while as a result. But we will
end up leaving a troubled Caucasus to our grandchildren," he said.
"The status quo in the Caucasus is not in the interests of Turkey
or Azerbaijan or Armenia or Russia but so far no brave step has been
taken to change it. Now, what we want is to change it."
The foreign minister also said Turkey was acting in full coordination
with Azerbaijan. "No development can harm the friendship between
Turkey and Azerbaijan," he said.
April 27 2010
YEREVAN, April 27 (Itar-Tass) -- Armenia is ready to advance in
the improvement of relations with Turkey, if Ankara observes the
agreements reached between the countries, Armenian Foreign Minister
Edward Nalbandian said on the republican public television. "We are
ready to move forward, if Turkey turns in our partner again ready to
advance without preconditions, improve relations and to fulfill the
agreements," the minister noted. "It is Turkey to decide whether we
will be new or old partners," Nalbandian noted.
"We passed a certain way for improving the relations without
preconditions. From our point of view and from that of the
international community, this way is the only right one," the minister
recalled. "If Turkey makes again statements worthy of trust, undertakes
the deeds worthy of trust, there will be adequate steps on our side,"
The minister considers it unnecessary to enter again into the
negotiations with Turkey. "Armenia will never participate in the
process (of normalization with Turkey - Itar-Tass) for the sake of
the process and in the negotiations for the sake of negotiations,"
Nalbandian noted. "We launched this process, entered into the
negotiations, initialed and then signed the protocols, which are
pending ratification," the minister believes. But then "the process of
improving Armenian-Turkish relations was deadlocked, but the deadlock
was broken at the initiative of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan,"
the Armenian foreign minister pointed out.
By Harut Sassounian Publisher
The California Courier
Two developments on Armenian-Turkish issues spilled a lot of ink last
week. Neither one was significant, but assumed significance because
of extensive international media coverage.
On April 22, exactly a year after the release of the roadmap,
ostensibly to normalize Armenia-Turkey relations, and six months
after the infamous Protocols were signed by the two countries with
great fanfare, Pres. Serzh Sargsyan announced their suspension.
There was actually nothing new in this announcement. It has been
crystal clear for months that Turkey's leaders never intended to
ratify the Protocols. They simply wanted to exploit them in order to
extract further concessions from Armenia. Turks repeatedly announced
that unless Armenia turned over Karabagh (Artsakh) to Azerbaijan,
the Turkish Parliament would not ratify the Protocols. As time went
by, Turkey added more inane demands, such as reversal of the Armenian
Constitutional Court's decision, and withdrawal of genocide resolutions
from Parliaments of other countries. Since Armenia had repeatedly
announced that it would not be the first to ratify the Protocols,
the accords were already frozen for months, if not stillborn.
Even though some may view Pres. Sargsyan's decision as a bold
move, it would have been far more preferable for him to withdraw
his country's signature from the Protocols, since they were dead
in the water anyway. He could have easily blamed their collapse on
Turkey's intransigence. He did acknowledge in his last week's public
announcement that he decided to suspend the Protocols, after Russia,
France and the United States asked him not to abandon them completely.
Now that Armenia has blinked first, Turkey is blaming it for causing
the collapse of the Protocols. Armenia has thus helped Turkey to
wiggle its way out of the intense international pressure it was
subjected to in recent months for its failure to ratify them.
Moreover, as long as the Protocols are not completely discarded,
Turkey will continue to exploit them by cleverly claiming that it is
still committed to their ratification under the "right" conditions,
and will use them as a viable tool to defeat all initiatives by third
countries on the Armenian Genocide.
Regrettably, Turkey is not the only country exploiting the Protocols.
Pres. Obama, after pressuring Armenia not to reject the Protocols,
dodged the term "Armenian Genocide" once again in his annual
statement. He used as an excuse the non-existent "dialogue among
Turks and Armenians."
Just as he had done last year, Pres. Obama substituted the term "Meds
Yeghern" [Great Calamity] for the Armenian Genocide and used the same
worn out euphemisms and shameful word games for which, as a Senator
and presidential candidate, he had condemned Pres. George W. Bush.
The overwhelming majority of Armenian-Americans, who had supported
Obama's candidacy and trusted him, now feel disillusioned and
deceived. He ran his campaign on the promise of change, only to
adopt the same immoral position of his predecessors, even though he
keeps saying that he has not changed his mind regarding his pledge
to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide!
In a column I wrote last year after Pres. Obama first broke
his campaign promise on the Armenian Genocide, I stated that
Armenian-Americans do not need to beg him to acknowledge the Genocide.
Thirty years ago, Pres. Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation
referring to the Armenian Genocide. Therefore, Armenian-Americans
see no special advantage in a repeat statement by Pres. Obama. By
not keeping his word, however, Pres. Obama succeeded in undermining
his own reputation and credibility with the American people and world
It is simply mind-boggling that the President of the United States
would go out of his way to issue a statement that would alienate the
very people he is trying to accommodate.
Just imagine what the outcry would be had Pres. Obama referred to the
Holocaust as a massacre or a tragic event. Yet, this is exactly what
he has done on the Armenian Genocide by using a series of euphemisms
in his April 24 statement: "Dark past," "Dark moment in history,"
"painful history." "awful events of 1915," " a devastating chapter,"
"one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century," "murder," and
"terrible events." Pres. Obama's aides could have spent their time
more usefully by reading a history book rather than a dictionary
The only new idea in Pres. Obama's April 24, 2010 statement is the
following brief sentence: "I salute the Turks who saved Armenians
in 1915." This is a commendable notion which unfortunately becomes
devoid of any meaning, in the absence of who or what exactly these
Armenians were saved from!
We all hope that the solemn commemorations next April 24 would not
be tarnished either by the Protocols (frozen or thawed) or by Pres.
Obama's offensive statement!
The European Union on Tuesday welcomed Armenia's decision not to walk
away from its fence-mending agreements with Turkey, while expressing
concern about `the loss of momentum in this process.'
The EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy,
Catherine Ashton, also reaffirmed through a spokesperson the bloc's
support for an unconditional and speedy ratification of the
Turkish-Armenian protocols sought by Yerevan.
`The High Representative is pleased to note that Armenia remains
committed to pursue the process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish
relations but at the same time expresses concern about the loss of
momentum in this process,' the unnamed spokesperson said in a
statement circulated by the EU delegation in Yerevan.
`The EU reiterates its call to both countries to continue their
dialogue and remain committed to the process of normalization without
preconditions and in a reasonable timeframe,' said the statement.
Germany, a key EU member state, also praised President Serzh Sarkisian
for not formally ending the normalization process, in a separate
statement released by its ambassador in Yerevan, Hans-Jochen
Schmidt. `We greatly welcome that,' said Schmidt.
France, another EU heavyweight, as well as the United States reacted
to Sarkisian's move in a similar fashion late last week. `We applaud
President Sarkisian's decision to continue to work towards a vision of
peace, stability, and reconciliation,' said U.S. Assistant Secretary
of State Philip Gordon.
Both the U.S. and the EU have essentially shared Yerevan's view that
Armenia and Turkey should normalize relations regardless of decisive
progress in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. Ankara regards such progress as a necessary condition for
Turkish ratification of the protocols.
`The High Representative believes that the full normalization of
bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey will contribute to
security, stability and cooperation in the Southern Caucasus,' read
the EU statement. `The EU will continue to provide its political and
technical support to this process and stands ready to help
implementing the steps agreed between the two countries.'
April 28, 2010
Armenia Fund Honors VivaCell-MTS CEO Ralph Yirikian
Los Angeles, CA - On Friday, April 16, 2010, during a dinner reception held at the residence of Ara and Julia Aghishian, Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region honored long time supporter Ralph Yirikian, Chief Executive Officer of VivaCell MTS with the Armenia Fund Corporate Philanthropy Award. Yirikian was visiting the United States to expand VivaCell-MTS's corporate social responsibility programs.
The event attracted Armenia Fund's long time supporters and donors and provided a unique opportunity to meet with Yirikian who has long shared the unshakeable devotion to the betterment of the Homeland. Also, present at the event was Consul General of the Republic of Armenia, Grigor Hovhannissian.
U.S. Western Region Chairman, Ara Aghishian, Esq., expressed gratitude to VivaCell MTS for its generous support of Armenia Fund's nation-building efforts in Armenia and Artsakh. Since 2007 VivaCell MTS has been the general sponsor of Armenia Fund's Telethon - an international live fundraiser that reaches every Armenian community around the world - underwriting the production cost and maximizing the impact of every donation in the Homeland.
"Armenia Fund appreciates VivaCell MTS' belief in leading by example when it comes to corporate philanthropy in our Homeland. VivaCell's partnership with Armenia Fund brings a tangible positive change in the lives of thousands in Armenia”, said Aghishian.
Mr. Yirikian spoke of his personal story of permanently moving to Armenia with his family, a challenging task at first, but a very rewarding experience for his Armenian identity. "Instead of listening to others' experiences in Armenia - good or bad – one should visit Armenia, stand on its soil, breath its air, drink its water and talk to its people. Only this way one can fully grasp his or her Armenian identity and shape an opinion about what Armenia is”, said Yirikian.
Yirikian thanked Armenia Fund donors and supporters for their unwavering commitment to working towards a stronger Armenia and a prosperous Homeland. "We stand by Armenia Fund because we believe in Armenia Fund's mission. We will continue supporting it”, added Yirikian.
Armenia Fund, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation established in 1994 to facilitate large-scale humanitarian and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Since 1991, Armenia Fund has rendered more than $190 million in development aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia Fund, Inc. is the U.S. Western Region affiliate of "Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund. Tax ID# 95-4485698
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
26 April 2010
Following his trip to the United States, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu traveled to Azerbaijan April 19, after which he will travel
to Iran. Though Ankara and Washington are pursuing a fresh diplomatic
attempt to simultaneously restore Turkish-Armenian ties and resolve
territorial differences between Azerbaijan and Armenia, they will
continue to face heavy resistance from both Baku and Moscow in their
efforts. Meanwhile, Turkey will use the Armenian-Azerbaijan dispute
to involve Iran in another regional affair, thereby showing Ankara's
capacity as a potential mediator between the United States and Iran.
Analysis Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu traveled to
Azerbaijan April 19 after departing from Washington, where he and
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with U.S. officials
to discuss the contentious issues of Turkish-Armenian diplomatic
normalization and a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh territorial
dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
During Erdogan's stay, U.S. President Barack Obama was firm with
Erdogan in expressing Washington's desire for Turkey to move forward
in signing the parliamentary protocols to reopen Turkey's border
with Armenia. A stronger Turkish presence in the Caucasus would,
in the United States' view, pose a counter to Russian influence in
the region and potentially expands trade and transit from the Middle
East to Central Asia without having to traverse Russian territory - a
growing strategic need for the United States as it seeks to militarily
extricate itself from Iraq and transfer resources to Afghanistan.
Turkey, however, has demanded in return that the United States, along
with France and Russia, first do their part within the Minsk Group
to pressure Armenia into conceding on Nagorno-Karabakh. Only then,
Turkey argues, can it effectively deal with Azerbaijan, which has been
alienated by the Turkish-Armenian negotiations and has consequently
grown closer to Russia, putting Turkey's and Western Europe's energy
diversification plans at risk. According to STRATFOR sources in
Turkey, Erdogan and Obama have come up with a preliminary proposal
that would entail Armenia publicly outlining a road map to withdraw
from a certain mountainous section of Nagorno-Karabakh. That way,
Turkey can distance itself from the Minsk Group's efforts and show
at least some progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue to move forward
with the Armenia protocols.
It is thus up to Turkey to convince Azerbaijan to go along with this
proposal (hence Davutoglu's trip to Baku) and up to the United States
to convince Armenia to make this public concession. Success is not
assured in either effort, particularly given the history of past road
maps that have ended in stalemate and as Russia, which has significant
influence over Armenia and growing influence over Azerbaijan, will
be expected to scuttle this latest proposal.
Indeed, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has been called up for a
visit to Moscow April 20 to discuss the latest U.S.-Turkish push on the
protocols. STRATFOR sources in Armenia say Russia is urging Sarkisian
to push for legislation that would allow the president to withdraw
from an agreement with Turkey at any time without parliamentary
approval. Such a move would allow Russia more freedom to hamper the
talks when the need arises.
Azerbaijan, meanwhile, is already angry at the United States for not
including it in the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on April
12, where Armenian, Turkish and U.S. officials met on the sidelines
to discuss this issue. Baku's anger could be seen in Azerbaijan's
cancellation of joint military drills with the United States planned
While the United States has been firm with Turkey on the issue of
Armenia and Azerbaijan, Turkey has been just as firm with the United
States in defending Iran. Davutoglu is scheduled to leave Baku for
Tehran to inform the Iranian leadership of the results of his meetings
in Washington. In defiance of the U.S.-hosted Nuclear Security Summit,
Iran hosted its own nuclear summit in Tehran April 17-18 and is
feeling confident about its ability to deflect U.S. pressure on its
For Turkey to demonstrate that it is playing a useful mediator role in
this conflict, it needs to show it can carry some influence with Iran.
For this reason, Turkey likely will entertain Iran's efforts to get
involved in other regional disputes, such as the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict, as a way of recognizing Iran's regional clout to earn
Tehran's trust in the ongoing nuclear negotiations.
Moreover, involving Iran in the negotiations is a way to further dilute
Turkey's responsibility over the Nagorno-Karabakh affair and provide
Ankara with more room to maneuver in its negotiations with Armenia. To
this end, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced April
19 that Iran will host a meeting among foreign ministers from Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Iran. Iran does not carry nearly as much influence in
this dispute as Turkey and Russia, but it is another foreign policy
arena for Tehran to project its influence with Turkey's endorsement.
(the following article deminstrates Turkey's subservience to the Azeris)
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Once again, the usual we-must-look-it-up-in-the-Thesaurus season in
Washington is over and we all can sigh with relief. The thesaurus must
have depleted its alternative entries for the word “genocide,” as
evidenced by President Barack Obama’s repeat of the words “Meds
Yeghern” in reference to the 1915 killings of Ottoman Armenians. So,
“Great Calamity” is all right. “Genocide” is not.
The U.S. president’s selection for this year’s April 24 menu has
confused hearts and minds. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not
offended, but his Foreign Ministry was.
Some Turks were jubilant that President Obama avoided the term pushed
by diaspora Armenians and their congressional allies. Some took to the
streets and shouted, in protest, “Allah is the greatest!” as if they
were marching for jihad.
Apparently there is something sick in the Turkish psyche. Turks are
too prickly about being called genocide committers, but wear bitter
smiles when they are called “the committers of one of the greatest
atrocities of the 20th century,” or when their ancestors are accused
of causing a “devastating chapter.” Bizarre? Just “Turkishly”
Another bullet dodged, and many Turks breathed easily in all corners
of America. Some may have told their Turkish-American sons and
daughters that they can now take a deep breathe and relax… See, it’s
just “one of the greatest atrocities of the past century,” or merely
“Meds Yeghern,” but not “genocide.”
The Armenians, on the other hand, must have thought of Mr. Obama as a
leader who ended up just like any other human being – for the second
time now, making promises he could not keep. It should not come as a
surprise though because presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush
broke similar pledges, and President Bill Clinton leaned on Congress
not to pass genocide commemoration measures. Hearts and minds tend to
Hence the Armenian National Committee of America’s statement,
describing Mr. Obama's declaration as “yet another disgraceful
capitulation to Turkey's threats, offering euphemisms and evasive
terminology to characterize this crime against humanity.”
Mr. Obama was probably cute enough when he also mentioned how
encouraged he was about the Armenian-Turkish dialogue, and the Turkish
domestic debate about the issue. He was fair and unfair, depending on
which side of the Alican border one lives, when he mentioned the Turks
who helped the victims of other Turks’ atrocities. All in all, his
abstention from the dangerous word was sufficient for many to be
content on the western side of the border, if not all together
jubilant; and sad and disappointed on the other side, if not angered.
As always, the Turks look divided. Serious faces in the corridors of
grey buildings; prickly, less prickly and too prickly statements in
reaction to the word “atrocities;” increased security around the
Turkish embassy and consulates in the United States; but for the time
being the Turkish ambassador to Washington seems not to be packing up
once again for another lengthy stay in Ankara.
President Obama’s speech was grey. Armenians were heart-broken and
felt cheated yet again. They believed the Turkish powers on the U.S.
were deep. Turks were not happy that the issue did not disappear from
the face of the earth, along with the victims’ bones, and that Mr.
Obama’s speech was ambiguous and not supportive enough of their cause.
But there was some good coming out of this sad day. More and more
Turks are making attempts to understand the issue and the scientific
proof of atrocities, or genocide, depending on which part you belong.
Three outdoor commemorations of the “Armenian Genocide” on April 24, a
lecture by a diaspora Armenian journalist in Istanbul and a two-day
conference on the “Armenian Genocide” in Ankara took place, while
obstacles, counter-protests and fascist rhetoric tried to disrupt the
events and reminded the few hundred participants of the long way
Is it genocide? Will the much-spoken archives help? Will there be a
film soon, an adapted version of “Schindler’s List,” which not only
shows the torment but also those on the other side who helped the
victims? If the person who had coined the term genocide, Raphael
Lemkin, declares the Armenian tragedy as “genocide,” will that
One thing is clear though. Whether or not we like the Obama speech, it
indicates that the president still opposes the “genocide” resolution,
and its likelihood to pass is now slimmer than before.
Could human nature not help us here to provide a convincing argument?
Could we not say: “Dear Armenians; we know you expect an apology but
apologies come from nations – in majority at least – who can accept
their faults, attempt to change and take lessons from their wrongs…
Sorry, that’s not yet us. See, just a day before your ‘commemoration,’
which was our Children’s Day, our beloved prime minister told the
‘child prime minister of the day:’ ‘You can do whatever you please,
you can hang them or use your sword, the choice is yours…’ So do not
take it personally, dear Armenians, it is not personal, this is us,
your neighbors. Hello!”
But let’s try to derive some crisis resolution methodology from the
“Obama jurisprudence” on the “genocide” dispute. Because for two years
in a row, Mr. Obama’s preferred term for the tragedies of 1915-1920 is
“Meds Yeghern,” will the president agree to a Turkish apology for
“Meds Yeghern,” instead of “genocide?” Why should he not propose to
Congress a resolution recognizing “Meds Yeghern” instead of
“genocide?” Not many Turks would care if they are accused of having
ancestors who had caused “Meds Yeghern.”
“Shoah” is all right; “genocide” is not.
Our Primate, the Very Revd Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian, is happy to announce the launching of the "Continuing Education Ministry" (CEM), and invite you to be actively involved in the programs of the ministry.
The inaugural lecture of the CEM will be deliverd by the Very Rev. Dr. Paul N. Tarazi, Professor of Biblical Studies at St. Vladimir?s Orthodox Theological Seminary, New York, USA, on Friday, 30 April, 2010 (see flyer attached). Professor Tarazi's lecture, titled "St. Paul - The Apostle to the Gentiles: His Life, Letters and Theology," will be offered at 7:30pm in the Armenian Home (Hye Doon).
The lecture will be a great introduction to the life, letters and teachings of the Apostle. Professor Tarazi will review the biography of the St. Paul and examine the structure and outline of his letters highlighting important theological themes that helped shape the doctrine, theology and spirituality of the Church.
All are welcome. Admission free.
Armenian Church of UK
Subj: Re: Armenian articles on MediaLens.org in the UK
Subject: Armenian articles on MediaLens.org in the UK
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
ARMENIANS IN CYPRUS STAND UNITED, SENDING A POWERFUL MESSAGE FOR THE RECOGNITION OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
VIEW THE VIDEOS & IMAGES OF THE 95TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION EVENTS IN CYPRUS BY CLICKING HERE
THE MESSAGE FROM CYPRUS
WHO ARE THESE BRAVE PEOPLE?
|Saturday 24 April, 2010 - The 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is commemorated in front of Haydarpasha train station in Bolis, from where the first convoy of 220 deported Armenians left on April 24, 1915. Most of them never returned back ...|
|Agence France Presse - April 24, 2010 - Hundreds of rights activists and artists in Istanbul commemorated the 1915-17 massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks for the first time Saturday, breaking a near century-old Turkish taboo.|
The biggest rally was in Taksim Square, in the heart of modern Istanbul, where several hundred people staged a sit-in, holding red carnations and candles and listening to recordings of Armenian music.
Police in riot gear guarded the event and kept at bay a group of counter-demonstrators, AFP journalists saw.
Earlier the Istanbul branch of the IHD human rights association organised a rally attended by about 100 people on the steps of the Haydarpasa train station from where the first convoy of 220 deported Armenians left on April 24, 1915.
Under the slogan "Never Again" and, again, the watchful eye of the police, demonstrators carried black and white photos of some of the deportees, most of whom never returned.
Counter-protesters also gathered near the IHD demo, including former diplomats waving the Turkish flag. Forty-two Turkish diplomats were killed by the extremist Armenian Asala organisation in the 1970s and 1980s.
Turkish intellectuals and artists signed a petition calling on "those who feel the great pain" to show their sorrow.
Avoiding an open confrontation over the term genocide -- which the Turkish government fiercely rejects -- the petition speaks of the "Great Catastrophe" of the massacres.
"The genie is out of the bottle," Cengiz Aktar, an Istanbul academic who backs the petition, told AFP.
"These broken taboos concern not just Armenia, but also other hidden subjects" such as the rights of minority Kurds, he added.
He said that despite the police presence, organisers feared a backlash from people opposed to the demonstration.
The Istanbul rallies came as tens of thousands of Armenians marked the 95th anniversary of the mass killings in the Armenian capital Yerevan, amid fresh tensions with Turkey over the collapse of reconciliation efforts.
The dispute about the genocide label has poisoned relations between the two neighbours for decades.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed a statement by US President Barack Obama on Saturday which avoided the use of the term and instead referred to "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century".
"President Obama has made a statement which takes into account the sensibilities of Turkey," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, was falling apart.
GIBRAHAYER CALENDAR OF EVENTS
TURKISH PRECONDITIONS FREEZE PROTOCOLS
|The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy welcomes with overwhelming satisfaction the decision of Armenia to freeze the ratification of the protocols signed with Turkey by the Armenian Parliament.|
One year after the beginning of the process, the Armenian President, Serge Sarkissian, while reaffirming his attachment with the normalisation of relations with Turkey, reported the absence in Turkey of a favourable environment, and of leaders ready to engage in this process. Indeed, the Turkish leaders had put additional conditions, without agreement between the two countries, to the ratification of these protocols, while thus hoping to keep Armenia under pressure.
“The first condition to succeed such negotiations is the bona fide of it’s contents: however, we had already observed an obvious imbalance: Armenia clearly expected for this situation to be normalised, and Turkey, whom we denounced as having leaders with a serious lack of sincerity” declared Hilda Tchoboian, Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.
The European Armenian Federation recalls that on April 6th, Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy affirmed the EU support for the protocols by indicating, in accordance with the agreements, that the latter should be applied with no preconditions.
“The conditions of a true agreement between the two countries were distorted in advance: Armenia had to pay too high a price for the lifting of the Turkish blockade,” added Hilda Tchoboian. “This decision confirms that Armenia had been duped by Turkey who wants to maintain Armenia as a neighbour hostage”.
The Federation recalls that with this attitude, Turkey is infringing the Copenhagen criteria, which stipulate that the applicant countries should establish good relations with their neighbouring countries.
“We invite the European Union to take note of Turkish responsibility for the failure of these agreements; and to take effective and rapid measures for the lifting of the blockade on Armenia,” concluded Hilda Tchoboian.
|News in Brief - by Sevag Devletian|
|Barak Obama's notorious statement on Armenian Remembrance Day|
On this solemn day of remembrance, we pause to recall that ninety-five years ago one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century began. In that dark moment of history, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.
|Letters to the Editor|
President Barack Obama was a Messiah for me during his campaign. I even wrote a poem for him. But I feel let down. It seems, after all, that the Armenian Genocide is AN INCONVENIENT GENOCIDE for him, since he cannot even pronounce the word. He could have remained as a hero in history, changing Washington, as he promised, yet, unfortunately, Washington changed him.
Obama (I omit the "Dear" since you certainly have not earned it),
WELCOMING VISITOR NUMBER 165,555 TO OUR WEBSITE
YOU CAN ASSIST GIBRAHAYER E-MAGAZINE
PILGRIMAGE TO THE SOURP MAGAR MONASTERY
|Press release from the Office of The Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian - We are delighted to inform the members of our community that the Office of the Armenian Representative is co-organising, together with the Armenian Prelature, a pilgrimage at the site of the Sourp Magar Monastery on Sunday 9 May 2010. This pilgrimage will be under the supervision of the UNFICYP. We would like to ask all persons who wish to participate in this pilgrimage, to register with the Office of the Armenian Representative via telephone number 22-454540 by providing the following details.|
- Name/Surname, date and place of birth
- European ID number or valid passport number
Participation cost 10 euros. We ask that you necessarily have with you the European ID or passport you provide us by telephone on the day of the pilgrimage.
The bus service will depart from the Armenian Prelature at 11:00 am exactly.
The last day of registration is in tow days on Friday, 30 April 2010
|Armenian Sports by Sevag Devletian|
|Gibrahay Sports by Sevag Devletian|
|Armenian Premier League - Week Results|
|FC Mika 2 - FC Gandzasar 0|
FC Impuls 2 - FC Shirak 1
FC Ulysses 2 - FC Kilikia 0
FC Banants 1 - FC Pyunik 1
|1st - FC Mika 12 points, 2nd - FC Pyunik 11 points, 3rd - FC Ulysses 10 points, 4th - FC Banants 8 points, 5th - FC Impuls 7 points, 6th - FC Kilikia 6 points, 7th - FC Gandzasar 3 points, 8th - FC Shirak 0 points|