Monday, 25 February 2008



The ongoing struggle for freedom of expression in Turkey

Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 7 pm

Amnesty International UK, The Human Rights Action Centre,

17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

Editor in Chief of the bilingual Armenian and Turkish weekly Agos, Hrant Dink was assassinated outside his office in Istanbul on 19 January 2007. It is already one year since the 40–day memorial of Hrant Dink which we commemorated with a tribute to the man and his work. This year’s event will see the premier screening of a 50-minute documentary by Nouritza Matossian of in-depth interviews with Hrant Dink. This will be followed by a panel discussion with Matossian, writer and broadcaster Ayse Onal and Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International Turkey Researcher. A reception follows.

Amnesty International UK, in association with the Armenian Institute, English PEN and Index on Censorship invite you to this special event.

Tickets are free of charge but space is limited. Book online at or call 020 7033 1585


Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 7.00 pm

Room B102 Brunei Gallery, SOAS

Dr Taner Akçam teaches (since 2002) in the History Department of University of Minnesota and is an authority on the late Ottoman and modern Turkish history. He has authored ten scholarly works on history and sociology, as well as numerous articles in Turkish, German and English. His most recent publications include From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (Zed, 2004); A Shameful Act: the Armenia Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Metropolitan, 2006) and most recently ‘Ermeni Meselesi Hallolunmustur’: Osmanli Belgelerine Göre Savas Yillarinda Ermenilere Yönelik Politikalar (Istanbul, Iletisim , 2008).

May I have feedback on this item in the form of some comments - Thank you !

Monday, 18 February 2008

Turkey, attempts to undermine Obama's U.S. presidential campaign

Dear Friend,
The media is preoccupied with the ongoing competition for the most coveted position in a country that has a lot to say about its conduct in the international field. Not surprisingly many capitals around the world are attentively following the outcome.

Like in all such contests “interest groups”, ethnic or otherwise, try to voice their grievances, concerns, and advance their agendas. The war and oil industry, the transnational corporations, although not explicitly, have their say. The Latinos want to achieve a just resolution of the “illegal immigration” syndrome, the African Americans and women voters express their pride...and the list goes on. The Armenians are not an exception. This community that counts an estimated one million and one half people in USA strives to promote its cherished causes.

Avedis Kevorkian's It Wasn't a Win, It Wasn't a Loss; It Was a. . .well, you see it's like this. . . . takes us back to October when it all began. In a humorous way, though probably somewhat unflattering in content for some, the author reminds us of the shortcomings. It is a pleasure to read it and follow the trails of the fox and the mice.

Three items appearing in this issue of Keghart constitute just a sample devoted to the elctions from an Armenian perspective. Appo Jabarian in his article Prime Minister of a foreign government, Turkey, attempts to undermine Obama's U.S. presidential campaign speaks about the interference of a foreign statesman in the process of who the Americans choose as their next commander-in-chief. Candidates McCain, Romney & Huckabee Don’t Seem Interested in Armenian Voters penned by Harut Sassounian reminds the readers of the insensitivity of the Republican contestants, and Looking ahead into the future, distancing from the past is unequivocally Obama's path contrasts the Democratic hopefuls with respect to the recognition of the Genocide of the Armenians if one of them becomes the next president.

Following the previous message of 19th January dealing with article 301 of the Penal code of Turkey the site was hacked and disrupted. It took several days until it got fully restored. Many private messages were received regarding the issues raised in various items that were posted. The most thought provoking was Dr. Tuna Baskoy’s correspondence. He is an assistant professor in the department of Political Science and Public Administration at Ryerson University, Toronto. His remarks interest Turkish and Armenian intellectuals, political leaders, activists, and the public at large. With his kind permission and in the belief that civil society has a say in these matters, the aforementioned correspondence is posted in Keghart in its entirety without alterations under the title Why don't Armenians support the idea of setting up an international commission? It may raise some eyebrows. So be it.

Recently The Human Rights Watch USA 2008 report was published. Olivia Ward, a regular columnist of Toronto Star, presents an overview in the essay Rights group says West backs 'sham' democracies Probably due to limitations of the size of the article references to Armenia and neighbouring countires were not reflected. That geographical area, a hot spot, is of concern to many Keghart readers. Hopefully it will soon be covered in an upcoming essay.

Views expressed in the above articles are those of the respective authors. You may read them by clicking at
The "Visitors' Comments" section is updated and readers are invited to browse it.

If you would like to submit an article please feel free to contact and provide full name, city and phone number.
A friendly reminder: Please visit Open Letter of Protest/Article 301 and express your voice if you agree with the content.


Dikran Abrahamian BA, MD
Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Candidates McCain, Romney & Huckabee -Do not seem to be Interested in Armenian Voters

Publisher, The California Courier

While Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton , and John Edwards issued strong statements last month recognizing the Armenian Genocide and expressing support for other Armenian issues, Republican candidates John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee do not seem as interested in courting Armenian-American voters.

Sen. McCain sent a letter to the Armenian National Committee of America last week in which he avoided using the term "Armenian Genocide," while heaping praise on Armenia and Armenian-Americans. As I have noted in previous columns, Armenians do not need presidential candidates to reaffirm the Genocide which is a proven fact independent of anyone’s acknowledgment. Any candidate who reaffirms the facts of the Armenian Genocide does so because it is the right thing to do, and wishes to gain Armenian-American votes.

In the case of Sen. McCain, he is simply alienating Armenian-American voters by issuing a statement that uses words such as "tragedy," "suffering," "brutal murder," and "painful experiences" as substitutes for "genocide." Sen. McCain is sadly mistaken if he believes that such words will win him any supporters in the Armenian community. After enduring similar insulting euphemisms from Presidents Bush and Clinton for the past 16 years, it is highly unlikely that Armenian-Americans would be satisfied with yet another politician who makes such flawed characterizations! Since Pres. Reagan recognized the Armenian Genocide in his 1981 Presidential Proclamation, what would Armenians gain by having yet another president acknowledge it, or even worse, mischaracterize it? Sen. McCain would have been better off to say nothing. Since he is reluctant to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide at a time when he is seeking the votes of Armenian-Americans, imagine how much more reluctant would he be, if he becomes president!

Another Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney, has decided not to make a statement on Armenian issues, even though he has been asked to do so by two Armenian-American organizations. During his four-year term as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney issued four proclamations on Armenian issues. The first three properly characterized the Armenian Genocide, while the fourth did not. As is the case with Sen. McCain, Gov. Romney refuses to make a statement on Armenian issues at a time when he desperately needs Armenian-American votes. How much more reluctant would he be, if he is elected president!

Mike Huckabee is in a similar situation. During his long tenure as Governor of Arkansas, he issued one statement that properly characterized the Armenian Genocide and one that did not. During the presidential campaign, Gov. Huckabee has not made any statements on Armenian issues even though he has been asked to do so.

Since Democratic presidential candidates are the ones that made strong statements on Armenian issues, Ankara has concentrated its attention on them, ignoring the Republican candidates. As reported in my previous column, Turkish Prime Minister Rejeb Erdogan harshly criticized Sen. Obama for stating that he recognizes the Armenian Genocide. I had expressed the wish that it would be very helpful for the Armenian Cause, should Erdogan also insult other U.S. presidential candidates, thus antagonizing the next American president. I am pleased to report that my wish came true.

Levent Bilman, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said: "Turkey feels regret over recent statements of U.S. presidential candidates supporting the Armenian stance on the events of 1915. The attempts to cast a shadow over our history in the name of competition among candidates within a political party deeply hurt the Turkish nation. We invite the U.S. presidential candidate nominees to act responsibly in regards to both the past and future, to pay attention not to hurt an ally country and its nation with baseless statements and keep in mind in this respect the delicacy of the Turkish-American relations."

Similarly, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) condemned Senators Obama and Clinton for recognizing the Armenian Genocide. "The Armenian issue, which has become a matter of history, is being used as a tool to exert pressure on Turkey. We are strongly condemning these unfair and unfounded statements which were made to receive a handful of additional votes," the AKP said.

It never fails. Sophisticated Turkish diplomats routinely lose their cool and react emotionally whenever they are confronted with any one of the following three issues: The Armenian Genocide, the occupation of Cyprus and the Kurdish conflict. On this occasion, Democratic presidential candidates drove the Turkish leaders over the edge!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


School of Oriental and African Studies

Tuesday Evening Lecture Programme ON
THE contemporary Middle East: 2007/08

Isolation or Integration?

The Armenians in Turkey Today

Dr Hratch Tchilingirian

Judge Business School,

University of Cambridge

Tuesday 19th February – 5.30pm

Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS

All Welcome, This lecture is free and there is no need to book.

Tea and biscuits are available from 5pm.

For further information contact:

The London Middle East Institute at SOAS,
University of London, Thornhaugh Street,
Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG
T: 020 7898 4330; F: 020 7898 4329,

E:, W:

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Survey on Recognition of Armenian Genocide

MSNBC is doing a survey on whether the Armenian Genocide should be recognized. The majority of votes are ‘NO’. It just takes one second. Please vote.

Please ask everyone you know to vote too.

Armenian Genocide Monument Desecrated on UK Holocaust Memorial Day

Wales-Armenia Solidarity Press Release

c/o The Temple of Peace, Cardiff
Tel: + 00 44 7718982732
(UK) 07718982732

Armenian Genocide Monument desecrated on 27 January 2008
- UK Holocaust Memorial Day

Turkish protesters disrupt Holocaust and Hrant Dink Commemorations

Armenians and Welsh gathered to pray for victims of all genocides on the United Kingdom’s Holocaust Memorial Day and to remember the first anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink, the journalist killed for raising the issue of the Armenian Genocide in the Turkish press.

The small Welsh Armenian community found that the ornate slate cross on the monument was smashed into pieces with a hammer left at the scene. The Armenian Genocide Monument was desecrated on a symbolic day designated to recall the events, consequences and lessons of the darkest days of human history in a deliberate and premeditated act of vandalism

The ceremony went ahead. Eminent Welshman Robin Gwyndaf prayed in Welsh and English, Assembly Member Jenny Randerson called on the UK government to recognise the Armenian Genocide and Martin Shipton, representing the National Union of Journalists and chief reporter for the "Western Mail", gave the tribute to Hrant Dink. Solemn prayers for all genocide victims and speeches were disrupted by continual taunting by protestors using a megaphone. Copies of the book "Remember" were presented to the guest speakers representing the theme of the occasion.

One of the Welsh Armenians said "This is our holiest shrine. Our grandparents who perished in the Genocide do not have marked graves. This is where we remember them"

It is ironic that the main Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in Liverpool again failed to remember the Armenian victims of the first genocide in the 20th century. The political decision runs against the core purpose of this solemn day, and shows that the lessons from the last century have yet to be fully grasped by even the organisers of HMD.

Eilian Williams of Wales Armenia Solidarity called on "Armenians and other sympathisers throughout the world to send messages of support to Wales Armenia Solidarity ( ) to be forwarded to the Prime Minister of the National Assembly of Wales. We also challenge the UK government and the Turkish Embassy to condemn this attack on a peaceful ethnic and religious minority.”

Friday, 1 February 2008


Dear Friends,


Saturday, February 2nd, 9:00 AM Sharp

312 Sutter Street (between Stockton & Kearny Sts.), San Francisco, 94108

In memory of Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink, assassinated in Turkey on January 20, 2007, The Bay Area ANC has organized a demonstration at the site of an all-day workshop, "Portrait of Turkey," hosted by the World Affairs Council in San Francisco.

Speakers at the workshop include the Consul General of Turkey, Hakan Tekin, and the Honorary Consul General of Turkey for the Bay Area, Bonnie Joy Kaslan (a plaintiff in the 2004 lawsuit seeking removal of the Mt. Davidson Cross memorial plaque, commemorating the Armenian Genocide.)

HELP US RAISE OUR VOICES LOUDLY to workshop participants, reminding them:

Hrant Dink was silenced forever because he spoke out about the Armenian Genocide;

Many others are being criminally prosecuted for discussing the Armenian Genocide;

Armenians, Kurds, Greeks, other minorities and their cultural properties are under constant threat in Turkey;

Turkey conducts a massive campaign of Armenian Genocide denial, recently spending millions of dollars and using drastic political threats to manipulate the U.S. legislative process to defeat the Armenian Genocide resolution pending in Congress.

Transportation Options:

Parking on Sutter Street is available at the Sutter-Stockton Garage (entrance on Stockton).

It is recommended to take BART or MUNI and get off at the Montgomery Station.

MUNI Buses are also available: Bus lines 38/38L Geary, 30/45 Stockton, and the 2/3/4 Sutter bus lines.

Visit for schedule and fares.


BERKELEY, CA The Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the United States House of Representatives to advance H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, reported the San Francisco Bay Area Armenian National Committee (Bay Area ANC).

“Your action tonight will help send the message that Berkeley does not want our country to bow to foreign intimidation on a matter as fundamental as genocide,” said Bay Area ANC Chairwoman Roxanne Makasdjian in thanking the Council for adopting the resolution.

The measure was introduced by Councilman Kriss Worthington, who worked with the Bay Area ANC in drafting the language for the resolution. A number of Armenian Americans were on hand and spoke during the public comment portion of the Council meeting, including members of the Armenian Youth Federation and the University of California Berkeley Armenian Student Association.

“I’m glad to see Berkeley once again stand up for human rights,” said Shant Hagopian, a UC Berkeley student and Bay Area ANC activist. “This resolution is one more step forward on the path to justice.”

Over the few weeks following the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ passage of H.Res.106 on October 10, 2007, the Armenian Genocide captured the attention of US leaders and policymakers in an unprecedented fashion. Despite tremendous pressure put on Representatives by the Turkish government to withdraw their co-sponsorship of the resolution, an overwhelming number of members of Congress continue to support H.Res.106.

H.Res.106 “call[s] upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide.” The resolution is necessary now due to the Turkish government’s increasingly aggressive campaign of genocide denial, including demands that the US government join Turkey in denying the Armenian Genocide.


Armenian National Committee

San Francisco - Bay Area

51 Commonwealth Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94118

Tel: (415) 387-3433

Fax: (415) 751-0617