ARTICLE BY ARA PAPIAN
ՅՕԴՈՒԱԾ ԱՐԱ ՊԱՊԵԱՆԷՆ
Petk E Vorsal Hajoghoutyan Pah-ue By Ara Papian.jpg
Saturday, 26 June 2010
ARTICLE BY ARA PAPIAN
Azerbaijan `Deemed Responsible' For Karabakh Fighting
The international community holds Azerbaijan primarily responsible for
the latest upsurge in ceasefire violations around Nagorno-Karabakh,
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian claimed on Friday.
The U.S., Russian and French mediators acting under the aegis of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European
Union deplored last week's deadly fighting in northeastern Karabakh.
Yet neither the mediators, nor the EU explicitly blamed either
conflicting for the most serious armed incident on the
Armenian-Azerbaijani Line of Contact reported in over two years. They
urged both sides to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful solution to
the Karabakh dispute.
Nalbandian insisted that these statements are `primarily addressed to
Azerbaijan.' `In contacts with us, those making such statements,
especially after the latest incident, are telling us, `You can clearly
see to whom our statements are addressed,'' he told a joint news
conference with Austria's visiting Foreign Minister Michael Spindeleger
`Because clearly it's not Armenia that makes bellicose statements, calls
for war,' said Nalbandian. `It's not Armenia that organized that
provocation on the border and inside the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's
territory. It's not Armenia that rejected a proposal to reinforce the
ceasefire regime which was made by the OSCE Minsk Group.'
Nalbandian stressed at the same time that Yerevan expects a more
`clear-cut stance' from the international community on the Karabakh
clash as well as Azerbaijan's regular threats to resolve the conflict by
force. Both he and President Serzh Sarkisian demanded an explicit
international condemnation of Baku in the immediate aftermath of the
Azerbaijan -- President Ilham Aliyev army weaponry, 24Jun2010
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev again warned on Thursday that his
troops will try to win back the disputed region and Azerbaijani
districts surrounding if the long-running peace talks with the Armenians
do not yield an agreement acceptable to Baku. `The entire people of
Azerbaijan will be mobilized,' he said in a speech reported by
Azerbaijani news agencies the next day. `All armed units will be
mobilized. A coordination work must be conducted within the Armed Forces
for that purpose.'
Aliyev reportedly spoke before Azerbaijani soldiers at the at the end of
what the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said were large-scale military
exercises held in an undisclosed location on June 21-24.
Aliyev described the war games, which were reported by the ministry on
Thursday evening, as `very successful.' `The main purpose of these
exercises is to enable us to liberate our lands from the occupiers with
our joint efforts,' he said.
Armenian Security Chief Cools War Talk
A top Armenian security official on Friday dismissed speculation that a
new war with Azerbaijan is imminent after last week's deadly fighting in
Nagorno-Karabakh that claimed the lives of four Armenian soldiers.
The clash, which Yerevan says resulted from an Azerbaijani attack on
Karabakh Armenian army positions, underlined the shaky state of a
ceasefire that has kept the Karabakh dispute essentially frozen for the
past 16 years.
`We are now prepared for any scenario, but do not support artificial
rumors circulating in our society that war is imminent,' said Artur
Baghdasarian, the secretary of President Serzh Sarkisian's National
Security Council. `On the contrary, I condemn such statements.'
`We must realize that we live in a difficult region and have an
unresolved crisis which means that as long as this period of relative
peace lasts our armed forces must be ready to repel any military
aggression,' Baghdasarian told a news conference. He insisted that the
armed forces of Armenia and Karabakh are `sufficiently combat-ready' to
fight back a possible Azerbaijani offensive.
Echoing a statement by Sarkisian, Baghdasarian said the incident will
not influence Armenia's position in peace negotiations with Azerbaijan.
`Armenia is committed to continuing peace negotiations, and we believe
that we must not succumb to various provocations or organized sabotage
actions,' he said.
Like the Armenian president, Baghdasarian also made clear that Yerevan
will not drop its insistence on a peaceful settlement that would
preclude Karabakh's return under Azerbaijani rule and give the disputed
enclave a reliable overland link with Armenia proper. The Armenian side
will also continue to seek international `security guarantees' for
Karabakh, he added.
PACE Officials Question Armenian Reform Plan
Armenia -- John Prescott (L) and Georges Colombier of the Council of
Europe Parliamentary Assembly visit Yerevan, 16Jun2009
Senior representatives of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
(PACE) have expressed misgivings about a plan of political reforms which
the Armenian authorities say would address the lingering political
fallout from the 2008 post-election unrest in Yerevan.
Such reforms were recommended late last year by the PACE's Monitoring
Committee and an Armenian parliamentary body that investigated the
deadly March 2008 clashes between opposition protesters and security
The Monitoring Committee discussed a `roadmap' of relevant measures,
submitted by Armenian parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian, at its latest
meeting in Strasbourg on Tuesday. It largely envisages fresh changes in
Armenia's electoral, judicial and law-enforcement legislation.
In a joint statement issued late on Thursday, the committee's two
co-rapporteurs on Armenia, John Prescott and Georges Colombier, gave a
mixed preliminary assessment of the plan. While expressing their overall
`satisfaction' with the planned reform of the Armenian police and
judiciary, they said the authorities in Yerevan have so far failed to
cooperate with the opposition in drawing up a new electoral code.
`It is clear to us that any election code that has not been discussed
with the different political forces in the country, and that is not
based on an as wide as possible a consensus among them, will not help to
create the necessary public trust in the electoral system,' said the
Prescott and Colombier also added their voice to serious international
concerns about a recently enacted bill which Armenian media associations
say will enable the government to maintain its strong influence on
domestic television and radio stations. They stressed that `the reform
of the legal framework for the media in Armenia should not only result
in a fully transparent licensing procedure, but also in a far more
diverse and pluralistic media environment than is currently the case in
The statement came on the last day of the PACE's summer session in
Strasbourg. The assembly bringing together lawmakers from all Council of
Europe member states again avoided discussing the political situation in
Armenia and, in particular, the Yerevan government's compliance with
several PACE resolutions adopted after the 2008 unrest.
The most recent resolution adopted in June 2009 welcomed a general
amnesty that led to the release of more than 30 opposition members
arrested following the February 2008 presidential election. But it said
only the release of all Armenian oppositionists remaining in jail would
`provide the necessary basis for the start of the dialogue and
reconsolidation that is needed to overcome the political crisis.'
At least 13 individuals, who are considered `political prisoners' by the
opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), remain behind bars at
present. The authorities insist that none of them was jailed for
The HAK has repeatedly accused the Strasbourg-based assembly of doing
little to ensure Yerevan's compliance with the resolution. The
opposition bloc's representative to the Council of Europe, Arman
Grigorian, last month denounced Colombier and Prescott for repeatedly
canceling their planned fact-finding visits to Armenia this year.
The co-rapporteurs said on Thursday that they will visit Yerevan `in
IRAN AGAINST U.S. PEACEKEEPING ROLE IN KARABAKH
Armenia -- Iranian Ambassador Seyed Ali Saghaeyan at a news conference
in Yerevan, 23June 2010.
Iran is strongly opposed to U.S. involvement in a multi-national
peacekeeping force that would presumably be deployed around
Nagorno-Karabakh after the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace
accord, a senior Iranian diplomat warned on Wednesday.
Such a peacekeeping operation is an important element of the current
and previous peace proposals made by the U.S., Russian and French
mediators spearheading international efforts to settle the Karabakh
Analysts in and outside the region have long speculated about the
possible composition of foreign troops that would enforce a future
peace deal. The mediators' existing "basic principles" of a peaceful
settlement apparently leave that question unanswered.
According to Iran's ambassador to Armenia, Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, the
United States is keen to have troops in Azerbaijan's Fizuli district,
which borders Iran and was mostly occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces
in 1993. He claimed that that would pose a serious threat to the
Islamic Republic given its extremely tense relations with Washington.
"Iran is the only country adjacent to the conflicting parties, and in
terms of ensuring its own security, it will not allow the deployment
of American forces," Saghayean told a news conference.
The diplomat declined to specify whether Tehran does not want to see
peacekeeping forces from other foreign powers as well. He argued that
both the conflicting parties and the OSCE Minsk Group have still a
long way to go to reach agreement on the matter.
Saghayean similarly indicated in February that Iran regards the make-up
of the would-be peacekeeping force in the conflict zone as a matter
of national security. "Iran shares a common border with Karabakh and
therefore we surely have our own considerations and views about the
composition of a peacekeeping force that might be deployed in the
conflict zone," he said.
The Iranian envoy also insisted on Wednesday that a renewed war in
Karabakh is extremely unlikely now despite the latest upsurge in
skirmishes along the Armenian-Azerbaijani Line of Contact north and
east of the disputed territory. "Iran rules that out," he said.
CATHERINE ASHTON`S STATEMENT
The spokesperson of High Representative of the Union for Foreign
Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine
Ashton issued a following statement today:
'The High Representative regrets the armed incident resulting in the
loss of human life that took place during the night between 18-19
June along the Line of Contact in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. The High Representative calls on both sides to respect the
ceasefire, restrain from the use of force or any threat thereof, and
continue efforts for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh
conflict. The EU reiterates its full support to the efforts of the
OSCE Minsk Group and the work of the three co-chairs.'
This email is to introduce you to a fund, the Atken Armenian Fund (AAF),
seeking your support. If you would like to learn more, you are invited to an
evening gathering in the Armenian House, 25 Cheniston Gardens,
Kensington on 10 July to meet two board members who are his
Some of you will remember Atken from his student days in London. After
many years in Canada, he repatriated to Armenia where he served as an
educator in universities and in Gyumri until his untimely passing away.
During this time, he worked on many humanitarian projects in Armenia, and
there are countless students today who were able to continue their studies
because he paid their fees. To quote from one who knew him,
he “combined music and social activism” and “touched many lives quite
profoundly. I can speak at least for myself by saying he has always inspired
me by his passion, his love of life, his rectitude, and most of all his REAL
dedication to his ideals and principles. He was one of very rare individuals
who pursued his beliefs unconditionally, without expecting anything in return.
Where others profess their ideals with talk, he showed the way and set a
true example of how sincere commitment should be.”
The AAF was started in his memory to continue his mission by supporting
children’s choirs in deprived parts of Armenia. The target is underprivileged
children in areas where there are no serious music programs to bring new
and positive interest into their lives.
This commenced with a partnership with the international SOS Kinderdorf
Kindergarten serving the Kotayk villages of Nor Kyugh, Agunk and the large
Kinderdorf orphanage itself, about 35 kms from Yerevan. The choir built up
rapidly to 75 members between 6 and 13 years old (see attached photo),
led by one of the foremost choir conductors in the country. They participated
in their first major public concert in Chamber Music Hall in Yerevan. This
included singing three voice harmony pieces at the concert whereas at the
beginning they could not handle three different parts at the same time.
The improvement of music education and the discovery of exceptional
musical talent in the regions of Armenia will continue. Two new young
conductors are to be trained to expand the current program (one of which
worked at the Armenian Philanthropic School in Calcutta and was
recommended by the Yerevan Conservatory Choir Conducting professor).
Two new choirs in Yegheknatsor based around the cultural centre are to be
taken on. One is a youth choir and the second a small group of 10 children
called the Ourakh Ghoghanjner (Happy Chimes). They will be developed
complete with outfits to eventually tour the regions of Goris, Kapan and
All this requires external funding support and we hope that you will like this
project enough to give us just that.
More on the AAF
This is a registered Canadian charity
(Business number 85116 2461 RR0001) run on the same qualities dear
Straightforward and Efficient:
All funds collected are spent for the benefit of the children; there are no
administrative costs. The program is monitored locally by persons who
knew what Atken stood for. The fund has to adhere to Canadian
Professional and Far Reaching:
Hiring professional choir masters provides quality musical education to
Pinpoint and Act:
Locations are chosen carefully to ensure that the project reaches to new
areas, recruiting local volunteers and schools to help realise the project
for their children.
Thanks to certain board members who are themselves professional
musicians, musical quality and success is monitored. These professionals
are Raffi Armenian OC (Director of the Montreal Conservatory) , Agnes
Grossman (international conductor, previously with the Vienna Boy's Choir)
and Levon Chilingirian OBE (founder of the Chilingirian Quartet).
See the attached launch leaflet for further details.
The charity details are:
Fondation Atken Armenian Foundation
2110 Harbour, Laval, Quebec,
Canada H7T 2M5
Phone: 450 978 2567 E-mail: INFOAAF@YAHOO.CA
For those who wish to donate directly, the banking details are
(please note that Canadian laws stipulate that the address of the charity
must be provided to the sending bank)
Institution code: 002
Account Number: 800510120111
Bank name & Address:
7885 Decarie Blvd.
Canada, H4P 2H2
For those who knew Atken, paste the following link for a short clip of his
ashes spread in their final resting place, the gorge behind Saghmosavank
(the Speghani choir in the clip is one he funded):
Armenian Magagan Yerkjakhoump.jpg
SERZH SARGSYAN: TURKEY'S POLICY OF "ZERO PROBLEMS
WITH NEIGHBORS" YIELDS ZERO RESULTS
Within the framework of the official visit to Germany, Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan delivered a speech on "Armenia: For the sake
of secure and prosperous South Caucasus" at the Conrad Adenauer Fund.
Speaking about the role, importance, the presence and the future of the
South Caucasus, President Sargsyan stated: "Our region has been called
a bridge linking Asia to Europe, as an energy security link, as a
factor of stability or instability, as a transit zone for communication
routes, as a platform of competition or clash of interests."
"All these characteristics are cold and full of ignorance, since
they do not present the peoples of the region and the differences
between them," President Sargsyan stated, expressing regret that the
international borders in the South Caucasus, which stretch for more
than 3 000 km divide peoples of the region rather than unite them.
According to the President, the end of cold war brought stability
and peace to a number of countries of the world. However, there
were regions, including the South Caucasus, which entered a stage of
more severe conflicts. "About twenty years have passed. Have we drawn
lessons from our own past? I think, we haven't," Serzh Sargsyan stated,
adding that it's unacceptable to build own security and prosperity
at the cost of neighbors. Neighbors do not easily forget this.
Touching upon the Armenian-Turkish relations, President Sargsyan
stated: "Of course, the failure of the Armenian-Turkish normalization
can be explained by the unwillingness of the Turkish political
leadership and possibly Azerbaijan's pressures."
"Turkey's policy of "zero problems with neighbors" yields zero
results. And this will continue until Turkey stops seeking for a
solution in the context of collision rather than coordination of
interests in the region," President Sargsyan stated.
Serzh Sargsyan concluded his speech, quoting Martin Luther King as
saying "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." The
President voiced hope that real and practical dialogue would start
between the neighbors and friends, bringing everyone together at the
Azerbaijan’s Carte Blanche to Destroy Monuments
Posted By Ara Khachatourian
June 24, 2010
BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
We have extensively criticized Armenia’s foreign policy and
diplomatic efforts vis-à-vis the protocols and the Karabakh
conflict resolution process, but a small news item Thursday
prompts us to warn that someone’s asleep at the wheel again.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization, voted to admit Azerbaijan on its
body that oversees the preservation of cultural monuments
around the world. The Azeri news item points out that
Armenia did not get the necessary votes to be included in
this important body.
For over a decade now Azerbaijan has been mounting a two
-pronged policy where, on the one hand, it is systematically
destroying Armenian cultural monuments in Nakhichevan and
elsewhere in Azerbaijan, while, on the diplomatic front waging
an international campaign to accuse Armenia of doing the same.
Our publication has extensively covered Azerbaijan’s campaign
to eradicate Armenian historical monuments and efforts by
Armenian NGO’s, and to a certain extent governments to shed
light on this cultural Genocide.
Yet when push comes to shove, the diplomatic corps, especially
those guiding our representations at the UN, have fallen short.
For years, planned visits by UNESCO officials have been
postponed and cancelled and Armenia’s efforts to shed light on
this critical matter have gone on deaf ears. Now, Azerbaijan not
only will ensure that relevant UNESCO bodies will visit the region,
they will also stage this junket to meet their needs and correspond
to their destructive policies.
When Armenian Revolutionary Federation Parliamentary bloc
chairman Vahan Hovannesian raised the imperative for new
blood in the foreign ministry and in Armenia’s diplomatic circles,
he was alluding to the tired nature of our diplomatic activities in
comparison to the excess noise that usually surrounds Azeri efforts.
Several years ago, Azerbaijan’s diplomats maneuvered a resolution
at the UN Security Council, which, in no uncertain terms characterized
Armenia as an “aggressor.” Just last month, again due to Azeri efforts,
the European Parliament approved a report urging the immediate
withdrawal of Armenians from the liberated territories surrounding the
In response to the UN Security Council decision, Armenia was quick
to point out that the international powers—US, Russia, France and
other European countries—abstained from the vote and condemned
the discussion of the Karabakh conflict outside the framework of the
OSCE. A similar response was also provided for last month’s debacle,
with Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian saying that the countries
involved in the mediation process had unequivocally declared that only
the OSCE was mandated with dealing with the Karabakh issue. Let’s
not even revisit the deafening silence from official Yerevan during most
of the protocols process.
A clear pattern of reacting rather than initiating can be seen in Armenia’s
maneuvering of important foreign policy issues and its lack of activism is
paving the way for others to step in claim legitimacy.
Just how active was Armenia’s UN Mission in lobbying for membership
in the UNESCO committee? Perhaps, we will never know. But what is
crystal clear is that Azerbaijan just secured a carte blanche to continue
the savage desecration of Armenian monuments and perpetuation of its
ARMENIA LEAVES AZERBAIJAN AND GEORGIA BEHIND IN FAILED
STATES INDEX 2010
ArmInfo. Armenia ranks the 101st out of 177 positions in the Failed
States Index 2010 published by the US Foreign Policy Magazine in
cooperation with The Fund for Peace public organization. (A total of
177 states were ranked in order from most to least at risk of failure).
Armenia was ranked among Borderline countries alongside with Russia,
Turkey, India, Brazil, Mexico, and others. The most stable countries
were Norway, Finland and Sweden (177m 176 and 175m respectively).
Somalia, a country without government (as determined by the UN) tops
the list. Top 5 critical countries are Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and
the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As for our region, Azerbaijan,
Georgia and Iran were ranked 55th, 37th and 32nd, respectively among
the countries In Danger. Uzbekistan (36th) and Tajikistan (38th)
proved the most vulnerable countries in the post-Soviet area.
The Fund for Peace uses its Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), an
original methodology it has developed and tested over the past decade.
CAST is a flexible model that has the capability to employ a four-step
trend-line analysis, consisting of (1) rating 12 social, economic,
political, and military indicators; (2) assessing the capabilities
of five core state institutions considered essential for sustaining
security; (3) identifying idiosyncratic factors and surprises; and
(4) placing countries on a conflict map that shows the risk history
of countries being analyzed.
Armenian School Bill Further Amended
Responding to a continuing public outcry, the Armenian government has
further modified a highly controversial bill that would allow the
existence of schools where the main language of instruction is not
Education Minister Armen Ashotian presented the changes to parliament
as it resumed heated debates on the measure amid more street protests
staged by its most vocal opponents.
The latest version of the government-drafted amendments to Armenia's
laws on education and the state language stipulates that only two
private foreign-language schools teaching above the elementary level
can operate in the country. They each can be located only in the
resort towns of Dilijan and Jermuk.
The modified bill also allows for up to nine foreign-language high
schools elsewhere in Armenia. They can be set up only in accordance
with inter-state agreements signed on a case-by-case basis.
The government had already watered down the bill in the face of fierce
criticism from not only opposition but some pro-establishment
elements. In particular, it added a clause requiring foreign-language
institutions to teach one-third of their subjects in Armenian.
The latest changes also failed to satisfy most of the critics, who say
they still pose a threat to Armenian's constitutional status as the
country's sole official language. Parliament deputies from the
opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and
Zharangutyun party said they will vote against the bill.
They indicated that they will back it if the government renounces any
changes in the language law. As Dashnaktsutyun's parliamentary leader,
Vahan Dashnaktsutyun, put it, that would `limit the possibility of
future dangers' that could emanate from foreign-language education.
`Nobody is against in-depth studies of foreign languages,' said
Hovannisian. `We should have worked in that direction.'
The vocal opposition is unlikely to prevent the government from
pushing the bill through the National Assembly dominated by members of
President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party and its two junior
coalition partners, the Prosperous Armenia and Orinats Yerkir
parties. All three factions said they will back the amendments during
the vote scheduled for Thursday.
The bill's reference to Dilijan came as a further indication that the
government bill stems, in large measure, from an educational project
devised by Ruben Vartanian, an Armenian-born Russian
businessman. Vartanian began building what he hopes will be an
international boarding school in the town even before the Armenian
government first moved to amend the two laws in early May. President
Sarkisian visited the construction site in April.
Speaking in the parliament, Ashotian mentioned the `huge educational
complex' planned by Vartanian. He said it will have about 650
OVER A THIRD OF ARMENIA'S ECONOMY GONE MISSING
June 21, 2010 - 1:35pm, by Giorgi Lomsadze
Tamada Tales Armenia Economy
Where is Armenia's economy? Well, to hear the World Bank's country
chief tell it, more than a third of the economy is closeted away in
a world impervious to accounting and tax collection. Light must be
shed on the shadow economy for Armenia to make ends meet, Airstomene
Varoudakis said at a June 18 press conference.
"It is a very important challenge to formalize this informal economy
so as to increase tax revenues and be able to pay for much-needed
social services," he said.
Armenia's government described poor tax administration as one of
the weakest spots in its economic stewardship and promised a massive
overhaul of the system. That would mean a "softer" regime for business
owners and fewer encounters with tax collectors.
Varoudakis said the World Bank will provide $25 million to underwrite
the reform. The World Bank, IMF and Russia have provided hundreds
of millions of dollars in economic aid to blunt the effects of the
global financial crisis, a sharp decrease in foreign remittances and
bust of the country's construction bubble.
AZERBAIJAN PROTESTS AGAINST CONSTRUCTION OF
June 21, 2010 | 18:42
Azerbaijan's State Committee for the Work with Religious Associations
expressed a protest against construction of an orthodox church in
the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) that was not agreed with the
The head of the committee press service Saleh Aslanov stated that
construction of a Russian orthodox church in Stepanakert demonstrates
disrespect for principles of international law and Azerbaijan's
territorial integrity, 1news reported.
A cross has been put in the construction site for the orthodox
cathedral in Stepanakert.
In search of the Mythical Mountain
by Frank Westerman
A entertaining mix of memoir, meditation, history and travel Financial Times
Thought-provoking and beautifully written... the book is much more than a travelogue... Sam Garrett's excellent translation highlights both Westerman's skilful pacing and love of language... Westerman has achieved his aim - to climb the mountain - and has found, too, an answer of sorts to the question of how science and religion can coexist Literary Review
In this beguiling, digressive mix of travelogue, memoir, history and gentle philosophising, [Westerman] probes at the roots of his own sceptical fascination with the mountain...consistently fascinating and elegantly written Scotsman
What separates Ararat from the hundreds of other books that have taken on this subject in the past few years is the poetic, novelistic logic behind the author's search... It is Westerman's calm intelligence and freshness of perspective that make his book so appealing Sunday Times
Westerman's personal voyage of understanding - philosophical, rational and spiritual - as he tries to reconcile the clarity of science with the gravity pull of faith is a humane one Metro An episodic, discursive book... The book is studded with information, skilfully constructed and fluently written. The translation from the Dutch, by Sam Garrett, is relaxed and colloquial Independent on Sunday
The result ... is a short book of stupendous richness and complexity... written with enough knowledge, craft and competence to keep the drowsiest of readers wide awake from first to last Spectator Westerman proves a perceptive, passionate writer, with a line in memorable observations... He also pens excellent discursive sections Sunday Telegraph
Besides surmounting Ararat, the feat achieved by Westerman is aligning his style with the nature of religion Scotland on Sunday
An ambitious and attractive book. Its tone is learned, thoughtful and usually intimate...a finely balanced and well-told experiment that will echo with many readers Independent
This books has been translated into Armenian but not into Turkish.
Apparently there are too many references to the Armenian Genocide (too honest a description for the neighbours) and the Kurds (Mehmet the Kurdish guide greets the climbers with "Welcome to Free Kurdistan").
This is an excellent read both for the climb and the author's struggle with faith, including his observations on the old and new churches.
A book that “changed the image of Diaspora” in Turkey
Ece Temelkuran inspired by Hrant Dink’s life and death
by Taleen Babayan
Published: Wednesday June 02, 2010
New York - Ece Temelkuran's latest book Deep Mountain: Across the Turkish-Armenian Divide explores the history and continuing discussion surrounding the Armenian Genocide in Armenia, Turkey, France and the United States.
The project -- which was borne from conversations the author had with Hrant Dink, the assassinated editor of Agos newspaper - draws on interviews with a wide-range of Armenian writers, thinkers and activists including poet Silva Kaputikyan (who passed away in 2006), musician Arto Tuncboyaciyan and filmmaker Serge Avedikian.
A well-known journalist and political commentator in Turkey, Temelkuran writes regularly for the online Turkish newspaper Haberturk and has won numerous awards for her work, including the Pen for Peace Award and Turkish Journalist of the Year.
On May 21 Temelkuran sat down with Taleen Babayan for an interview about Deep Mountain which was recently translated into English by Verso Books.
Taleen Babayan: You interview so many amazing and influential people in this book, including Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Silva Kaputikian, Patrick Devejian, Vartkes Yeghiayan, and they each have their own way of looking at not only the Turks but at themselves as Armenians. Was there a common thread among your subjects and the people you spoke with?
Ece Temelkuran: Although they expressed it in completely different ways, the main question that was eating them was this: Why don't Turks feel anything? Even Ara Toranian (editor of Nouvelles d'Arménie Magazine and past ASALA sympathizer). He wants to tell his story to the Turks, not to the French or Americans. But the one who he wants to tell the story to doesn't want to listen.
I think, although the Armenian community is extremely mature, they have this wounded child in them, whatever their ages are. That is the common thread I guess.
TB: You interviewed French politician Patrick Devedjian, who was the architect of the genocide legislation in France, which had an amendment that would criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide in France. He felt Turkey would change under heavy pressure. And you felt the opposite: that this kind of legislation would cause Turkey to retreat and make it more difficult for open dialogue to ensue.
Do you still hold this viewpoint? Don't you think the recognition of the genocide by the world will cause Turkey to finally face its past since the rest of the world is doing so?
ET: There are two levels of this issue.
One of them is the diplomatic side. Of course Turkey will change under diplomatic pressure, and it started changing as we all witnessed recently. We have seen Turkish and Armenian leaders shaking hands and two foreign affairs ministers signing protocols. Behind them were the world leaders as if these politicians were the children and the leaders of the world were the parents who are guarding them.
But this is not real. It's something artificial. When people don't feel it within them, it doesn't matter if diplomatic progress has been made. If the peoples on both sides aren't genuinely integrated to the process the diplomatic progress can be easily sabotaged.
After Hrant [Dink was assassinated], Armenians became an easier topic to talk about. His death became a human shield on the issue. People even created the slogan ‘We are all Armenians' in his funeral. I always feel as if Hrant was sacrificed. After his death, it became relatively easier for people to talk about Armenian issues and openly say they have Armenian friends.
It's tragically ironic. Even the diplomatic progress would be completely impossible without what people felt after Hrant's death. Bottom line is, Hrant has done more than any world leader or any legislation could do.
TB: How has the reception been for Deep Mountain amongst both Armenians and Turks? Was it written for an Armenian audience?
ET: It was received very well in Turkey, to my surprise. The book sold over 60,000 copies and [that is a high number] for a country like Turkey, which clings to amnesia. I think it was because of the attitude of the book. In most cases, intellectuals are trying to push and slap this issue into people's faces. They expect people to feel guilty rather than remember. I tried to make them remember first and then leave it to them to figure out what they feel about it.
Most of the people felt, not necessarily guilty, but touched for the first time, and without even questioning what really happened in 1915 they were eager to understand the humane side of the history. They admitted that they have feelings about Armenians which Turks are taught not to have. I guess, for the first time, Turkish people were trying to put themselves in the place of Armenians.
I wanted the audience, especially the Turkish audience to put themselves in this character, who in the beginning doesn't feel a thing about Armenians, who rejects to feel anything and who by time understand the reason of her numbness. I suppose that numbness is what intimidates Armenians most, and they have a point. They say, "We feel so much about this ancient conflict and you feel nothing. How come you feel nothing?" That's the biggest question of the Armenians.
That is why I wrote the book for both audiences, Armenians and Turks, just to create a new path of communication. Because there are Turkish people who feel for Armenians and there are Armenians who are not just furious.
TB: Have there been any consequences for you or your career since you wrote and published a book that discusses the Armenian-Turkish relationship and the Armenian Genocide?
ET: The positive reaction was more of a whispering, not out loud. Recently, a middle aged woman stopped me on my way and said that she thought I was betraying my country and countrymen.
I think that's an exception because most of the people thought that this book tells the true stories of people. Deep Mountain was never after proving some historic reality, or never took a side in the genocide discussion. It was more about a human story.
The book is defending that we should share our stories before labeling the story and if labeling the story is an obstacle let's leave it aside and talk our minds. I got some threats of course but that is... [but] you know, [that is] kind of daily life in Turkey.
TB: When was the first time you heard about the Armenian Genocide?
ET: Through Hrant. Even when you are exposed to it, somehow you don't see it. It's in front of your eyes and you don't see it. Somehow when it comes to Armenians, you just stop thinking.
And if you don't want to really get involved in the subject, you don't have to because you can't find information about Armenians. It's not easy to blame Turkish people about not knowing about 1915 because there are no sources that are out there and legal in Turkey.
TB: One of my many favorite lines in your book is "A true journey doesn't answer a traveler's questions. A true journey changes the traveler's questions" (p. 98).
How long did this journey take you? Is it still continuing? And how did your questions change over time?
ET: Hrant was killed and that changed everything, for not only me but his family, friends and the Turkish people. For the first time they saw that this Armenian was an amazing man, so it changed all of our questions. But on the other hand, after his death, after I finished the book, my journey continued. He was killed because he was Armenian, that's for sure.
But there's something else. He was a friend of mine. And all of a sudden you see that a normal friend of yours is killed and has turned into a symbol and someone you can't define. So it changed my life in that respect as well. It was the first time I saw a friend dying. I saw him when he was lying on the ground in the street. So it changed a lot.
But then it became like keeping a promise because he wanted me to write this book and he wanted the Diaspora to read it. It was a promise to him.
TB: In the postscript of Deep Mountain you apologize to the Armenians and invite them to have a glass of raki with you and to visit Turkey. Don't you think this is a bit idealistic?
ET: That's what Hrant was after, and I know there are people who take it seriously which I would love to see. And there are homes of Armenians in Istanbul so they should really come. Even if it sounds idealistic or naïve, I feel that it's important for Diaspora Armenians to hear this from Turkish people. What's done is done but the current psychological problem is feeling homeless, in a way, even for those wealthy Armenians with big estates in the U.S.
TB: In your opinion, what does the future hold for Armenians and Turks? You said in your book that neither the Turks nor the Armenians are homogenous. With this many different viewpoints, will there ever be a resolution? Will there ever be reconciliation?
ET: I think there will be. There is a crack in the wall of numbness. We cannot go back. There is a new wave now in Turkey among Turkish people. They are talking about finding their Armenian roots. It's everywhere and people are happy about this. It is interesting to observe this new, deep wave. Since Hrant died three years ago, people are searching for their Armenian roots.
TB: You encountered many Armenians while you were writing this book. How did the process change your ideas of Armenians?
ET: People in Turkey are brought up with the idea that there is a giant monster called ‘Diaspora' and then there are ‘our Armenians'. It is mostly believed that ‘the monster' is doing the evil (bringing up the recognition issue, etc.) and that "our" Armenians are actually "well behaved" enough to forget about what happened in 1915.
After speaking to the Armenians abroad I came to know and actually wrote about how deceiving this perception was. Most of it all, seeing that all those "furious Diaspora Armenians" were actually the ones were most easy to talk to made me think about the "heart of the Armenians."
I thought about this especially when I talked to Ara Toranian in Paris. Over all, I never knew that the Armenians, even those whose fathers were born in the US missed Anatolia with such passion. I think the Turkish audience was most touched by this reality.
Speaking to the readers in Turkey I can say that Deep Mountain changed the image of Diaspora in Turkey in every sense.
TB: While conducting your interviews and research for Deep Mountain, you spent time in France, U.S. and Armenia and got to know the Armenian communities there. Do you now see a difference between Armenians in Armenia and Diaspora-Armenians in terms of how they perceive Turks?
ET: As you go West, the subjects I met became less emotional I can say. Such generalizations never represent the whole truth though. Yet again I can say that in Europe the issues of memory, 1915 and dialogue are more intellectualized.
As for Armenia, I observed an eagerness to "forgive" Turks, even though there has been no apology. I even heard a couple of Armenians in Yerevan saying this: "It wasn't the Turks, it was Jews who killed the Armenians."
TB: As someone who knew and respected Hrant Dink, what do you think people should do to honor his memory?
ET: Rather than proving that they were killed, Hrant wanted to prove that the Armenians actually lived in Turkey. So I think putting this reality forward might be the first thing to do. Besides, he was saying that, "We should learn to talk about today, and then we can find a way to talk about the past."
That is why I tried to describe the Armenians and Turks of today, rather than going to the archives. This is an attempt which requires a collective effort. I hope Deep Mountain can help us start a journey together that Hrant long dreamed of and sacrificed himself for.
For more information about Ece Temelkuran and Deep Mountain please visit http://en.ecetemelkuran.com.
(c) 2010 Armenian Reporter
Scholars and Activists describe the works that shaped their lives
edited by Dr Adam Jones (University of British Columbia)
Key Publishing House Inc
Evoking Genocide compiles more than sixty short essays written by leading scholars and activists in the field of genocide studies. These authors pay eloquent tribute to the works of art and media that influenced their engagement with genocide and crimes against humanity. The subjects include books and stories, films, songs, drawings, documents, monuments, sculptures, personal testimonies, and even a Lego set. In an accessible and often deeply personal way, contributors explore their own relationships with the works in question. Edited by Adam Jones, recently selected as one of fifty key thinkers in Holocaust and genocide studies, Evoking Genocide makes an important contribution to the study of the art and culture of mass atrocity.
It is to be expected that most of the essays relate to the Jewish Holocaust but with good entries for others. The Armenian content includes one by Sara Cohan who had a Jewish father and an Armenian mother, how Werfel's Musa Dagh affected William Schabas (now heads the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the impact of Armin Wegner on Nina Krieger, the Conspiracy of Silence by Ani Kalayjian, and finally how Benjamin Lieberman was initially fooled by Bernard Lewis (quote: "Evidence cannot speak for itself, but evidence must always come before expertise if it presents a picture that is fundamentally at odds with expert opinion". The so-called expert was Mr Lewis).
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ANCT Updates www.anctoronto.org
Turkey to Open a Consulate in Toronto
If you thought that the Turkish lobby in Canada was weak...think again.
This weekend marks the G20 summit which will be taking place in Toronto. Leaders from all over the world will be present at this important meeting including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
This is a man who has made a multi-million dollar industry out of arm-twisting powerful countries such as the U.S. against recognizing the Armenian Genocide and who cannot hide his pride in having bullied and bribed his way through yet another April 24th.
Furthermore, as part of his agenda this week, Prime Minister Erdogan will be opening a new Turkish Consulate in Toronto. It seems that the Turkish government has targeted Toronto as a place to try and roll back the Armenian community's recent gains, such as the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in a course administered by the Toronto District School Board. These efforts, and others, by the Turkish lobby are dangerous to the future security of the Armenian nation - but we know that with your help they will not go unopposed.
The Armenian National Committee of Toronto knows the stakes.
That's why we fight night and day across the front lines of the Armenian Cause, to stand up for your views, to defend your values, and to ensure that your voice is heard and respected locally and federally.
But to take on the Turkish lobby we need your help, and we need it right away. So please sign up to our Frequent Donor Program today and send in your secure on-line donation for the Armenian Cause.
Our agenda is to lead our community to further our cause. That's why your donation makes a real difference.
Please take a moment right now to sign up to the Frequent Donor Program and make a commitment to help the cause with a monthly secure on-line donation today of $5, $10, $15, $20, $25 or more.
Every dollar counts and goes directly to advance the cause you hold so close to your heart.
Please visit www.anctoronto.org/donations today to help us make a difference!
Public Memorial Program
In Honor and Celebration of
Join us as we celebrate and pay tribute to the life and work of Richard Kloian, founder of the Armenian Genocide Resource Center, an invaluable resource to the Bay Area ANC and the pursuit of the Armenian Cause. In 2002, the Bay Area ANC awarded Richard Kloian with its "Local Hero" award for his tireless work on behalf of Armenian Genocide scholarship and education.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
St. Vartan Armenian Church, 650 Spruce Street, Oakland, CA 94610
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: Church Service and Requiem - "Hokéhankist"
1:00 p.m.: Memorial Program and Luncheon - "Hokéjash"
(commemorative remarks, readings, Congressional & State messages, multimedia presentations)
Open to the public, free of charge / Luncheon provided by La Méditerranée
The Kloian family has requested gifts in Richard's memory be made to The Genocide Education Project, in order to help fulfill Kloian's fervent desire for the expansion of instruction on the Armenian Genocide in American schools.
Remembering Richard Kloian:
"Richard Kloian was a GIANT on behalf of Armenian Genocide recognition and memory"
Prof. Israel W. Charny, Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem
Through the Armenian Genocide Resource Center, Richard Kloian compiled and published hundreds of articles, transcripts of memoirs, lectures, meetings, as well as a variety archival and primary documentation related to the Armenian Genocide. He was well known or publishing the important book, "The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts from the American Press, 1915-1922," a collection of New York Times and other articles. First published in 1980, the book continues to be a valuable educational resource for the study of the Armenian Genocide. Kloian passed away on May 1st at the age of 73, after a massive stroke.
For more on Richard Kloian, search "Kloian" at www.reporter.am & www.asbarez.com
Armenian National Committee
San Francisco - Bay Area
Solidarity with the Victims of All Genocides,
c/o The Temple of Peace, Cardiff
“Re-thinking our Policy on Turkey
- Did our policy of Appeasement and Collusion with Genocide Denial lead to more Human Rights Abuses?”
held in the Grimmond Room, Portcullis House, London on 8th June 2010:
Sponsored by Nia Griffith, MP .
Report by Des Fernandes
Eilian Williams asked the question: In light of the genocide of Armenians that witnessed their mass murder (physical genocide), and subsequent cultural genocide (forced conversion and forced assimilation) and forced removal from Western Armenia, and in light of the manner in which Britain and other powers – by the Treaty of Lausanne – legitimised the creation of Turkey, and gave ongoing support to the new Turkish regime and nation state that was formed through such genocidal 'clearance' and eradication of the Armenian 'Other', should we not more forcefully and honestly recognise and speak today of an 'Occupied Armenia in Turkey?' Should we not recognise and address the extent of the UK's and other states' appeasement policies towards a genocidal Turkish state and ask whether there is a need to formulate "a new policy of helping Turkey rebuild Turkish Armenia?" Whilst speaking of the UK's collusion with Turkey over its Armenian genocide denialism policy and its other policies criminalising and targeting 'Others', he also highlighted the manner in which many 'crypto-Armenians' (descendants of genocide survivors, many of whom were forced to convert) are still discriminated upon by the Turkish state today and subjected to surveillance and ongoing threats and intimidation. They are in need of support that ensures that they can lead lives without fear of targeting and without fear of reprisal and institutional discrimination should they openly acknowledge their Armenian identities and heritage.
For Eilian: “The legitimacy of Turkey's present borders … seems dependent on the success of the 1915 Genocide of its Armenian and Syriac population, and for the United Nations [now] and other international bodies to continue to ignore this fact is a serious” challenge “to their moral authority. The UN and these other bodies have thus a responsibility to the Islamised Armenians of Turkey (those whose grandparents were forcibly converted during the genocide) to ensure their welfare. The Lausanne Treaty, signed by Britain and some of her allies, has condemned four generations of 'Crypto-Armenians' to the human suffering of Cultural Genocide ... It has been revealed that the Turkish government keeps information on 'Crypto-Armenians' as being of possible danger to the state. The neuralgic attitude of Turkey towards its minorities cannot be better illustrated than here. Those whose only crime is that their grandparents were not massacred in the genocide, are suspected as being of a possible threat to the Turkish State. This speaks volumes about Turkey's guilt and fear of eventual Justice".
Sait Çetinoğlu, author of The Malta Documents and Economic and Cultural Genocide, 1942-1944 (published by Belge Press in Istanbul), and an organising member of the Ankara Freedom of Thought Initiative that hosted the “1915 Within Its Pre-and Post-Historical Periods: Denial and Confrontation” conference in Ankara on 24th April 2010, highlighted the dangers that still exist in Turkey for those that seek to expose the genocidal realities of the past: “What happened” at the conference, he noted, “which we organised in Ankara under the leadership of the Ankara Freedom of Thought initiative and with the support of socialist circles, showed how difficult and dangerous discussing the topic is. Despite the fact that we faced tremendous obstacles, we as socialists of Turkey discussed this question for two days with oppressed [people], socialists and poor people of Turkey, and scholars from Turkey and abroad”.
Sait presented a paper on “The Mechanisms of Terrorising Minorities: The Work Battalions and the Capital Tax [Varlik Vergisi] in Turkey During World War Two”. He detailed the manner in which the tax was designed to intentionally “exterminate the economic and cultural existence … of the non-Muslim minorities, ...[to] loot their properties and living means and, in parallel, to Turkify the economy of the country. This tax”, he clarified, must be assessed as “a continuation of the tradition of the Committee of Union and Progress and has the structure of an ethnic cleansing” mechanism. “The government of that time, … through this law” that implemented the Capital Tax, achieved in great part its aim of acting “to destroy the minorities economically and culturally in order to promote ethnic homogenisation”. This genocidal initiative, following in the tradition of the Committee of Union and Progress, he noted, followed other terrible actions that had also been used against the targeted 'Other' in Turkey: the anti-Jewish pogroms in Thrace in 1934, the intimidatory campaign “Citizen Speak Turkish” and the mobilisation of work battalions for the 'minorities' during 1941-42.
As he clarified, these political initiatives – as with the 6th-7th September 1955 pogrom against the Greek community living in Turkey - “were aimed to show the 'minorities' that they don't have a place to live in this land” of Turkey. For Sait, an important factor that also needs to be noted is “the fact that the 1915 genocide remained unpunished. If Malta [for his detailed discussion of this matter, see:http://www.keghart.com/node/515] could be a Nuremberg in 1920, there could have been neither a Jewish Holocaust nor the Capital Tax. Unfortunately, the fact that the state which implemented the Capital Tax was rewarded and remained unpunished” for these actions “due to realpolitik, encouraged and promoted the pogrom of 6/7th September 1955. The UK archival documents” which have been recently released indicate, indeed, “that UK consulate officials provoked the 6/7th September events”.
Sait concluded by confirming that “discrimination and ethnic cleansing policies against non-Turkish subjects in the Ottoman Empire and its successor, the Republic of Turkey”, have been “implemented with the encouragement of the West for the sake of realpolitik. For this reason, the West and the UK which was the hegemonic power of the period, owe an apology because of these policies against Armenians, Greeks and other people”.
Desmond Fernandes highlighted the nature of "Criminalisation and Freedom of Expression/ Human Rights Concerns in Turkey". A key human rights concern, he noted, relates to the nature of “genocide” of the 'Other'. Not only has it been a concern of the past, it is very much a concern of the present. He detailed the manner in which the renowned genocide scholar and human rights campaigner Tove Skutnabb Kangas has concluded that Kurds still – and not just during past decades in republican Turkey - are being subjected to “genocide”, as defined by at least two articles of the United Nations Genocide Convention. He also identified the following key analysts and representatives concerns that genocide can be discerned in the present time in Turkey as far as the targeting of the Kurdish 'Other' is concerned: Naqishbendi; Nilufer Koc (Vice-President of the Kurdistan National Congress); Gautam Kumar Bandopadhyay; N. Tungshang; Susana Barria and Rohan Dominic Mathews (of Intercultural Resources); Ashok Chowdhury and Mamata Dash (of the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers); Amit Bhaduri (Professor of the Council for Social Development); Rabin Chakraborty; Asit Das; Shibayan Raha; James Pochury; Arun Kumar (Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India); Dunu Roy (of the Hazard Centre); Sushant Panigrahy and Ashok Sharma (of the Delhi Forum); Madhuresh Kumar and Rajendra Ravi (of the National Alliance of People's Movements); Bhupinder Singh Rawat; Vimal Bhai; Nadeem Ansari; Shrikanth (of the Human Rights Forum, India); Sunita Rani; Abdullah Ocalan and Kurdistan Democratic Confederation [i.e. KCK] Executive Council members Bozan Tekin and Cemil Bayik.
He also reminded the audience of Vardan Tadevossian's presentation in the House of Commons on 19th January 2010 (that detailed the nature of the ongoing cultural genocide of Armenians in Turkey – which could also be identified as 'genocide' as defined by the UN Genocide Convention) and also noted the genocidal concerns that had been raised by other analysts and scholars concerning the nature of the targeting of 'Pontic Greek/Assyrian/Aramean Others'. Despite such genocidal concerns, Desmond noted that support is still - as we speak - militarily, strategically and in psychological warfare terms, being provided by the US-UK governments and NATO to Turkey, under the guise of support for the so-called 'War on Terror/the Long War' and the need for 'stability of the region'.
Concerted attempts were also being made to criminalise and target/monitor human rights campaigners, lawyers, students, trade unionists, novelists (such as Mehmet Güler, because of the fictional characters of his Kurdish novel "More Difficult Decisions than Death”), journalists, musicians (such as Ferhat Tunc, facing a possible 15 year sentence for comments made at a cultural arts festival), publishers such as Ragip Zarakolu (from Belge Press, Istanbul) and members collectively struggling for basic organising and working/human rights (as detailed by the International Platform Against Isolation and other human rights organisations). The Democratic Society Party (DTP) – which was scandalously closed down by the constitutional court last December, and which has so many of its members criminalised – and now the recently formed 'pro-Kurdish' Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was also being subjected to scandalous targeting.
Criminalisation and targeting measures, Desmond confirmed, have been occurring under the guise of 'operations against the Kurdistan Democratic Confederation [the KCK] and/or the PKK'. On 26 May 2010, for example, “the police and the gendarmerie carried out 'operations' against the Kurdish umbrella organization KCK in several cities all over Turkey … Günlük newspaper [reported] that the number of people taken into custody during ... four days amounted to 124. The daily described the” official state “operation in its headline as 'Code name: Hunting Kurds'” (Bianet, 26 May 2010). For Desmond: “Note here, the targeting operation by its very name and title, as reported by Gunluk, appears to be aimed at a collectivity – that of the 'Kurds'. With the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) Executive Committee very recently announcing the end of its unilateral cease-fire due to the lack of any meaningful initiative by the state to end its eliminationist programme, or to engage in any meaningful dialogue with mass-based Kurdish political parties, concerns over the human rights situation”, he concluded, “have only increased”.
At the meeting, it was announced that a major exhibition on Cultural Genocide in Western Armenia will be taking place in Cardiff, Wales, from 24th to 30th September. Concerns were also raised about the court decision which Ragip Zarakolu, proprietor of Belge Press, and Mehmet Guler (the novelist) were facing on 10th June.
Note: On 10th June 2010, whilst the court acquitted Ragip Zarakolu, Mehmet Guler was scandalously convicted and sentenced to imprisonment of one year and three months according to article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law “because of the fictional characters of the novel named Sıti, Sabri and Şiyar … After the court session, Güler [said]: 'We all see to what extent trials in Turkey are deteriorating. The government, talking about opening and high standard democracy, went as far as prosecuting and punishing fantasy and imagination'” (BIA News, 11 June 2010). For Bjorn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee: "Through convicting N. Mehmet Güler to a prison sentence of 15 months, Turkey is in breach of its international obligations under Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ... International PEN calls for writer Güler to be acquitted on appeal”. Eugene Schoulgin, International Secretary of PEN International emphasised that "it is not only the big names attracting media attention like Elif Shafak or Orhan Pamuk, who need acquittal. The lesser-known names need acquittals too, in those freedom of expression trials. PEN International therefore joins IPA in calling for the acquittal of N. Mehmet Güler on appeal" (IPA/WiPC/IFEX,10 June 2010).
For further information about the event, contact Eilian Williams at: email@example.com
Here is the speech by Sait Cetinoglu
The Mechanisms of Terrorizing Minorities:
The Work Battalions and the Capital Tax-Varlik Vergisi- in Turkey during the WWII.
Historian, Free University- Ankara-Turkey.
What is the Capital (or Wealth)Tax-Varlik Vergisi?
The Capital Tax known as Varlik Vergisi, constitutes a black page in the history of modern Turkey. It was implemented by the Turkish Government under the pretext to control the prices of the goods and suppose to prevent the accumulation of capital, without taking care of the increase of the black market and the illegal profits. Then, in order to respond to the reaction of the people and suppose to tax the excessive profits and with this “innocent” reason implemented a heavy taxing of the non-Muslim minorities with the purpose to exterminate their economic and cultural existence, loot their properties and living means and in parallel to Turkify the economy of the Country. This tax is a continuation of the tradition of the Committee Union and Progress (CUP) and has the structure of an ethnic cleansing whip. The law of Capital Tax-Varlik Vergisi is entirely political and represents a pre-capitalist implementation of a social transformation.
The Government of that time, with a very devious way succeeded to divert the critics against her towards the non-Muslim citizens and through this law achieved to destroy the minorities economically and culturally in order to promote the ethnic homogenization. There was also the reason that ethnic homogenization was achieved in the other parts of the country and only in Istanbul that Greeks, Armenians and Jews were not “diluted” yet.
By implementing the Law with an extremely unequal way between Muslims and non-Muslims the minorities were “targeted” to a such degree that when the President Ismet Inonu himself paid the tax was get upset, while Fevzi Cakmak (The Chief of the Armed Forces) asked himself “Am I a Giavour-infidel?” not being able to hide his rage and anger. According to the narration by Faik Okte, one of the architects conceiving and applying the Capital Tax, shows that for whom the Tax was designed. Fevzi Cakmak during the collection of the Tax said: “One of my aides came to my office and expressed his disapproval to the fact that he is obliged to pay tax together with the minority people who are black marketers and merchants”.
Ferit Melen, one of the ex prime ministers, who has been an indisputable factor of the non-ordinary periods, said that “through Varlik Vergisi all the anti-minority goals were aimed to be realized simultaneously“. Varlik Vergisi, as a tradition of the Union and Progress, has been one of the most serious practices after the anti-Jewish pogroms of Thrace in 1934, the campaign “citizen speak Turkish” and the mobilization to work battalions during 1941-42 of the minorities. These political practices were aimed to show the minorities that they don’t have a place to live in this land. Those they didn’t understand this act the 6-7 September was applied, with a much more strength in order to “understand” it clearly. The only choice minorities had was to leave the country by abandoning their properties. Those Jews wanted to immigrate to the new established State of Israel, in getting permit of leave had to abandon all their properties. The Greek citizens which were “etablis” according to Lausanne Treaty, when they were deported in 1964 had to abandon all their movable and real estate properties. The Greek citizens whose staying in Turkey were under the guarantee of the Lausanne Treaty, when they were deported couldn’t receive anything from their properties with them. They were thanking God for passing the border alive.
We can read the terrible writings of Fazil Ahmet Aykac, in the semi official state journal Ulus in the context of that times atmosphere: “We should know that this Tax more than a punishment to those have not understood their limits, it was a colossal warning for those who dare to forget”. The events of the night of 6 - 7/9/1955 can be understood as an expression of this mentality. Akcaz notices that the Capital Tax it is the point of the path stared in 1915.
Sergati was not able to afford the exile conditions in Askale and tried to commit suicide and in the letter left to her wife expresses clearly the conditions of the minorities in Turkey: “I don’t know if we will return to our homes, all the time death above of us, please take care of our children and go to a free country, here they will nothing more than slaves”.
The signs of Capital Tax-Varlik Vergisi even today are deep. After so many years the victims don’t want to speak about this tax. Still they haven’t escaped of the fear of it. Because of this no research work can describe the level of barbaric act of this Tax. Not any statistics and analysis can reflect the pain of the victims totally. As a result of my research I arrived to the conclusion that any analysis is insufficient. This work is more concentrated on the political aspects of the Tax rather than the statistical analysis.
Capital Tax is the final point of 1915 genocide. As the 1915 genocide, it was implemented with the help of the opportunities presented by the war time conditions.
The other important factor that we need to point out is the fact that the 1915 genocide remained unpunished. If Malta had been be a Nuremberg in 1920, there could be neither Jewish Holocaust nor the Capital Tax . Unfortunately, the facts that the state which implemented the Capital Tax was rewarded and remained unpunished due to real politics encouraged and promoted the pogrom of 6/7 September. The UK archival documents which have been recently found out indicate that UK consulate officials provoked 6/7 September events.
Discrimination and ethnic cleansing policies against non-Turkish subjects in the Ottoman Empire and its successor, the Republic of Turkey were implemented with the encouragement of the West for the sake of real politics. For this reason, the West and the United Kingdom which was the hegemonic power of the period owe an apology because of these policies against Armenians, Greeks and other people. The West should not forget that it welcomed these people who were expelled from their territories as cheap and insecure labor force, and it created capital accumulation by exploiting these people who were forced to leave their destinies. The West and UK have not paid this debt yet.
The pains and miseries of these people expelled from their historic territories were forgotten for a long time but they have been opened for discussions since 1965. The genocide which was made forgotten in Turkey would be started to be discussed beginning with 1980’s. In these discussions, I want to emphasize that the contribution of Belge International Publication, in which I took part as an editor despite the law suits that have been claimed and continue, has been very important.
“What happened in 1915: Denial and Confrontation” conference which we organized in Ankara under the leadership of Ankara Freedom to Thought Initiative and with the support of socialist circles showed how difficult and dangerous discussing this topic is. Despite the fact that we faced with tremendous obstacles, we as the socialists of Turkey discussed this question for two days with oppressed, socialists and poor people of Turkey and scholars from Turkey and abroad.
Turkey's 'zero problems' policy is a flop
The Turkish government is running into trouble at every
turn in its attempt to be a regional powerbroker
guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 June 2010 16.30 BST
Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is seeking influence and
markets for Turkey's expanding economy across the Middle East.
Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images
A surge in violence pitting Turkish forces against Kurdish separatists
along Turkey's south-eastern border with Iraq has underscored how far the
Ankara government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan still has to go in resolving the
But the renewed fighting also poses a larger question: to what extent the
policy espoused by Erdogan and his high-profile foreign minister, Ahmet
Davutoglu, of "zero problems with neighbours" is producing tangible, lasting
results. On a range of fronts, high ambitions are colliding with intractable
realities on the ground.
Erdogan's fierce condemnation of the killing on Saturday of 11 soldiers by
Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) fighters possibly reflected frustration that
Ankara's pursuit of non-military solutions has produced little that is concrete
in the eight years since his Justice and Development party (AKP) first came
"Today we will not make the traitors happy," Erdogan said during a visit to
Van. "We will defend this ground heroically ... "I say here very clearly, they
will not win. They will gain nothing. They will melt
away in their own darkness ... they will drown in their own blood."
Such rhetoric, echoing Erdogan's full-blooded attacks on Israel over Gaza,
could not disguise widely felt dismay that a conflict that has claimed an
estimated 40,000 lives since 1984 may be reviving, partly due to political
Citing continuing Turkish military attacks, the PKK announced this month
it was ending a unilateral ceasefire. The decision followed the banning by
Turkey's constitutional court of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society party
(DTP), a ruling strongly criticised by Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi
Kurdistan, and the EU.
Concern is now growing that further clashes could lead to a repeat of the
2008 Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq, where some PKK fighters
are based. Such an outcome could strain Ankara's relations with Baghdad,
where its efforts to encourage a role in government for Iraq's Sunni Muslim
minority are already viewed as unwelcome meddling by some Shia politicians.
Turkey's "zero problems" has also run into trouble around Azerbaijan's
disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, where four ethnic Armenian and
one Azeri soldier were killed in a skirmish on Saturday. Turkey and Armenia
struck a supposedly historic peace accord last year but the deal backfired
when close Turkish ally Azerbaijan angrily insisted the Nagorno-Karabakh
stand-off be settled first. Instead of easing tensions, Erdogan's initiative
Despite its aspirations to act as a regional powerbroker, Turkish talk has not been
matched by persuasive actions in another troublespot – Cyprus. Elections earlier
this year saw Turkish Cypriots vote in a new president who appears to favour the
permanent partition of the island, notwithstanding the ongoing UN-sponsored
reunification talks backed by Greece and the EU.
Erdogan has certainly improved relations with one important neighbour: Iran. His
decision to vote against the latest UN sanctions on Tehran dismayed the US and
European countries while delighting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In contrast,
relations with Israel are at low ebb after the Gaza flotilla debacle, with Turkish media
reporting that diplomatic and military relations will be frozen indefinitely.
Erdogan's regional foreign policy initiatives, his flirtation with Iran, his split with Israel,
and his courting of supposedly suspect countries such as Syria have led western
commentators to speculate about a "strategic realignment" in Turkish policy, away
from the west and Nato and towards the Arab and Muslim worlds, in parallel with the
AKP's pursuit of a neo-Islamist agenda at home.
"Turkey's Islamist government [seems] focused not on joining the European Union
but the Arab League – no, scratch that, on joining the Hamas-Hezbollah-Iran
resistance front against Israel," complainedAmerican columnist Tom Friedman.
Writing in The Australian, Greg Sheridan drew a comparison with the situation in
south-east Turkey: "The Turkish government is expressing maximum outrage over
the Gaza incident, although it has been vastly more brutal in suppressing Kurdish
separatists and suspected terrorists than anything Israel has ever dreamed of."
Strong criticism of the perceived shift has also been voiced in the US Congress,
while the Obama administration has voiced concern at some recent Turkish actions.
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, said one explanation was EU foot-dragging
over Turkey's membership bid.
For his part, Davutoglu says western countries should not worry. Rather, they should
welcome the fact that Turkey was "playing an increasingly central role in promoting
international security and prosperity". Close relations with the EU and Nato were
"main fixtures" of Turkish policy while bilateral ties with the US remained of "vital
importance", he said in Foreign Policy magazine.
Such assurances may miss the point. From a western perspective at least,
the problem is not that Erdogan and Davutoglu want a bigger role for Turkey
and are increasingly ready to go it alone. The problem, more often than not,
is that when they do, they mess up.
ARMENIA SAYS NEW TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY 'REGRETTABLE'
Dalje.com 22 June 2010
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said Tuesday that he thought a
perceived new direction in Turkish foreign policy was undermining
any easing of tensions between the neighbours. "This new path offers
little grounds for optimism and is regrettable," he told reporters
after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
"Current Turkish policy is not contributing to greater openness in
European and US officials have shown growing concern in recent months
over Ankara purportedly turning "eastwards" by no longer reliably
backing US diplomacy and due to its worsening relations with Israel.
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.
Turkey fiercely rejects the genocide label and the dispute has poisoned
relations between the two countries for decades.
Armenia and Turkey signed a landmark deal in October to establish
diplomatic ties and reopen their border.
But ratification of the deal faltered amid mutual recriminations that
the other side was not committed to reconciliation and Armenia in April
announced it was removing the agreement from its parliament's agenda.
Sarkisian said in Berlin that Turkish-Armenian relations "will not
be able to evolve unless a great political will is there and we have
not seen that will on the Turkish side." (...)
SERZH SARGSYAN: ARMENIA KNOWS FIRSTHAND WHAT IS BLOCKADE
ArmInfo. Armenia knows firsthand what is to live in blockade,
President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan said in the Tavrichesky Hall of
St.Petersburg over the reception dedicated to the 300th anniversary
of the Armenian community in this city.
'We have recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of our great victory
over fascism. It is impossible to remember without shudder what
Leningrad passed through in 1941-44. Thousands of Armenian-soldiers
took part in the Leningrad battle and died for the better future...
But Leningrad did not capitulate to the enemy...Moreover, though all
the horrors it carried the touching care about the spiritual heritage,
it preserved priceless monuments and masterpieces of architecture
and art, but the most important is that it carried special Petersburg
culture of human communication', - Sargsyan said.
'Despite cease-fire established as a result of the heroic fight of
the people of Karabakh, Armenia continues living in the conditions
of illegal blockade from the side of Azerbaijan and Turkey. Despite
this and thanks to our hard-working nation and priceless support of
our allies and friends we have managed to stabilize the economy of
Armenia and ensure its growth. But the blockade is still preserved,
and in the 21-st century our children continue growing surrounded by
the dividing lines and mine fields'- Serzh Sargsyan said.
PRIZED FOR PEACE, PUNISHED FOR WAR
18 June 2010
Translated By Garabet Moumdjian
Edited by Harley Jackson
Is there anything that can be reversed to such a degree in a matter
of three months?
Unfortunately, there is, and it did!
I will come back to the reasons later.
This is the story of that reversal. ...
Until three months ago, the Woodrow Wilson Center, one of America's
most important think tanks, made it public that it was eagerly awaiting
to give its annual prize for Community Service to Ahmet Davutoglu,
the foreign minister of Turkey, for "his contributions in improving
Turkey's external credibility."
The prize was given in the past to such respected personalities as
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva; A.P.J. Abdul Kalam,
the president of India; American politicians Henry Kissinger and
John McCain, architect Frank Gehry; and prominent journalists such
as Barbara Walters.
Moreover, in March, the Wilson Center announced that it would grant
its "Corporate Citizenship Award" to the Chairman of the DoguÅ~_
Group, Ferit Å~^ahenk, for bringing "modern business practices and
management styles to Turkey."
Until today, no Turks had been nominated for such prestigious prizes.
But this year, two awards came to Turkey. ...
In a ceremony held in Istanbul last night, Sahenk and Davutoglu did
get the aforementioned prestigious awards.
They got the prizes. However, the situation in America was a mess.
The Public Service Award, which the Wilson Center had announced it
would give to Ahmet Davutoglu three months ago and which was praised
at the time by many American politicians, has since been undermined
by Turkey's stance regarding Israel and Iran during the same period,
as these issues had brought Turkey face-to-face with America. This
in turn brought the center's director, Lee Hamilton, under fire.
It so happened that Gary Ackerman, member of the New York State House
of Representatives, stressed the importance of cancelling the awarding
of the prizes in an extremely harsh letter to Hamilton.
The monetary section of the prize, which bears the name of an
intellectual American president who had contributed to world peace,
comes from the United States Congress. This put the Wilson Center in
an awkward position.
This is more so, since the center had nominated Davutoglu for the
prize for his contributions to peace in the Balkans, the Caucasus
and the Middle East and for his diplomatic role in those events.
Indeed, in those days, many politicians in America and Europe had a
real appreciation for Turkey's shuttle role between Russia and Georgia,
for its ability to bring unwavering Iraqi sides to the same discussion
table, for its ability to bring the Serbs and the Boshnaks to the
dialogue table and for Davutoglu's role in and up to the signing of
the protocols with longtime-enemy Armenia.
Yet it so happened that at the moment the prize was to be delivered
on June 17, Turkey had created a big problem and almost went to war
with America's most trusted ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Also, in a very critical moment, and coming out of its "noncommittal"
stance, Turkey even preferred Iran over America.
In the eyes of the Wilson Center, Davutoglu was, up to three months
ago, a promising government functionary who was transforming his
country into a pivotal peace broker in the area within the framework of
"creative" and "constructive" suggestions.
This is why there was no opposition at the time for granting the
center's public service award to him.
But today Davutoglu, and his ruling AK Party's image, is exactly the
opposite in America.
Preferring friendship with Iran, and siding not with Abbas but
his opponent, Hamas, against America's 60-year-old ally, Israel;
repeatedly putting Israel in the criminal's seat; officially inviting
Sudan's criminal president to Turkey; accusing Netanyahu's government
of the heaviest crimes and taking no vengeance against Ahmadinejad,
who has perplexed the West and America, makes Davutoglu and Turkey
So how was it that three months ago, America had no qualms in bestowing
its Nobel Prize for peace, otherwise known as the Wilson Center's
Public Service Award, to Davutoglu, yet all hell broke loose and
American congressmen vehemently opposed the bestowal of the prize on
the very day it was to be presented?
Unfortunately, everything was reversed in three months.
Yesterday's "Man of Peace" was suddenly declared a "Lord of War."
It seems that a war penalty was mixed with the peace prize.
I will explain this more thoroughly tomorrow.
Armenian Parties Warn Azerbaijan Against Another War
Armenia's leading political forces on Tuesday blamed Azerbaijan for
the latest ceasefire violations in Nagorno-Karabakh and warned it
against attempting to resolve the conflict by force.
President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party (HHK) and the main
opposition forces accused Baku of deliberately provoking the June
18-19 clash in Karabakh's northeast that left four Armenian soldiers
Like the Armenian government, HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov linked
the incident with the latest meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani
presidents that was held in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg late
on June 17.
He claimed that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev came away
`extremely dissatisfied' from the talks. `This may have annoyed
Azerbaijan's little sultan and he resorted to that step,' Sharmazanov
told RFE/RL's Armenian service.
`If Azerbaijan hopes that with such provocative acts it can spread
panic in Karabakh or Armenia, then I must disappoint them and say our
military is in very high spirits,' Sharmazanov said, adding that
Azerbaijan would lose more swathes of land in case of another war.
`We all must make it clear to Azerbaijan that if it opts for war we
will end up as the winners just as we did in 1988-1994,' agreed Hrant
Markarian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary
Speaking to RFE/RL's Armenian service, Markarian likewise said Aliyev
ordered an attack on a Karabakh Armenian outpost because of the
outcome of the Saint Petersburg talks. He speculated that the talks
marked the collapse of a modified version of a framework peace accord
on Karabakh proposed by international mediators last year.
`The variant of the updated Madrid principles seems to have failed,'
said Markarian. `It's a variant that envisaged a totally
pro-Azerbaijani solution. And that failure has naturally left
Azerbaijan in a nervous state.'
Another, more radical opposition force, the Armenia National Congress
(HAK), also condemned `the violation of the ceasefire regime by
Azerbaijan.' In a written statement, the alliance led by former
President Levon Ter-Petrosian said it would be `at the forefront of
the fight for Nagorno-Karabakh's security in the event of a war
`I am convinced that in the event of a real danger, the Armenian
society will put aside differences and stand by the Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic,' HAK spokesman Arman Musinian told RFE/RL separately.
`There is a danger of the war's resumption,' he said. `That danger has
somewhat increased. But in order to reduce it, we need a correct and
coordinated foreign policy on the part of Armenia.'
The HAK statement charged that the Sarkisian administration has added
to the increased the likelihood of renewed fighting with its
`criminal' Karabakh policy.
Markarian, whose nationalist party favors a hard line on the dispute,
criticized that policy in milder terms, calling it `dithering and
NAMES OF THE KILLED SERVICEMEN MADE PUBLIC
The NKR Defense Army has announced the names of the servicemen
killed as a result of the fight at the contact line between the
armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. Among the victims
were junior sergeant Mnatsakan Gasparyan, soldiers Araik Barseghyan,
Edward Manukyan and Paruyr Melkonyan.
Junior sergeant Garik Matevosyan, soldiers Galust Badasyan, Andranik
Arzumanyan and Harutyun Mesropyan were wounded.
On June 18, at 23.30, an armed reconnaissance group entered the
territory of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan.
The Azeris managed to penetrate into the northeast part of the contact
line between the Armed Forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan.
The advancement of the rival was prevented as a result of the measures
taken by the Armenian side. The enemy receded, leaving one dead. Four
were killed and another four were inured on the Armenian side.
CONGRESSMAN PALLONE CALLS ON US GOVERNMENT TO
RESTRICT MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO AZERBAIJAN
Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), co-chair of the Congressional
Caucus on Armenian Issues, Monday released a statement condemning
attacks by the armed forces of Azerbaijan on soldiers of the
"I condemn these attacks in the strongest terms. The attempt to
penetrate the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh defenses was
an unacceptable provocation and an attempt to precipitate further
conflict," the Congressman said, expressing his deepest condolences
to the families of the four soldiers who lost their lives due to
"The fact that these attacks were unprovoked and came just hours after
a meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan with Russian
President Medvedev as part of ongoing efforts to bring the conflict to
a final peace settlement, makes the attacks that much more egregious. I
continue to call on the U.S. government to reinstate Section 907 of
the FREEDOM Support Act and restrict all further military assistance
to Azerbaijan. We can not stand complacent as Azerbaijan makes good
on their aggressive statements and engages in violent attacks,"
Pallone said, according to Asbarez.
AZERBAIJAN HAS GIVEN A STRONG SLAP IN RUSSIA'S FACE
Azerbaijan has given a strong slap in Russia's face by organizing
a provocation immediately after the meeting of the Armenian and
Azerbaijani Presidents in Saint Petersburg at the invitation of
the Russian President, Republican MP Rafik Petrosyan told a press
Leader of the People's Party Tigran Karapetyan has a different
explanation of the latest developments. "In reality, the problem
has reached a level, where the issue of deployment of peacekeeping
forces is on the agenda. Russian peacekeepers will be deployed on
some liberated territories, while the Turkish forces will be deployed
"There have always been provocations, and there will be ones in the
future. However, there will be no large-scale war. Every provocation
provides an opportunity to the superpowers to think about peacekeeping
forces," Tigran Karapetyan said.
"I do not rule out that Russian peacekeeping forces could once be
deployed with our consent. As for the Azeri provocation, it was a
strong blow to Russia. Aliyev ignored not only the Armenian side,
but also the Russian President. I think this factor will turn positive
for us," Rafik Petrosyan stated.
EU, NATO `Regret' Karabakh Fighting
The European Union and NATO on Wednesday added their voice to
international mediators' concerns about the worst ceasefire violation
in Nagorno-Karabakh in over two years that was reported late last
Azerbaijan, meanwhile, sought to rationalize this and other skirmishes
between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, saying that they are the
inevitable result of the unresolved dispute over the
The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Catherine Ashton said through a spokesperson that she regrets the June
18-19 armed incident in northeastern Karabakh that left four Armenian
and one Azerbaijani soldiers dead.
`The High Representative calls on both sides to respect the ceasefire,
restrain from the use of force or any threat thereof, and continue
efforts for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,'
read a statement issued by the spokesperson. `The EU reiterates its
full support to the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group and the work of
the three co-chairs.'
`NATO regrets these incidents and we certainly monitor the situation,'
Guenter Bretschneider, the head of the alliance's Euro-Atlantic
Disaster Response Coordination Center, told journalists in
Yerevan. `That's all I can say at this moment.'
Neither Ashton, nor the NATO official blamed any party for the
fighting which came just one day after a meeting of Armenia's and
Azerbaijan's presidents in Russia. Armenian leaders claim that Aliyev
ordered an Azerbaijani army unit to attack a Karabakh Armenian
outpost to sabotage the negotiating process.
In a joint statement issued late on Monday, the Minsk Group's
American, Russian and French chairs strongly condemned the
incident as an `unacceptable violation of the 1994 Ceasefire
Agreement.' They reiterated their view that `there is no alternative
to a peaceful negotiation solution of the conflict and that war is
not an option.'
`The co-chairs are urging us not give the war a chance, but in order
for that to happen, the armed forces of Armenia must leave
Azerbaijan's territories,' Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar
Mammadyarov told a news conference in Baku on Wednesday. `The sooner
that process begins, the better for everyone.'
`Armenia wants to sign with us some agreement on non-use of force,'
he said, according to the APA news agency. `But force was already
used and its consequences must be eliminated.'
Mammadyarov also said that Armenia has still not formally responded to
what the co-chairs call `an updated version' of their basic principles
of a Karabakh settlement that were originally put forward in Madrid in
2007. `It is very difficult to work in such circumstances,' he said.
Official Yerevan has repeatedly downplayed the still unpublicized
changes made by the mediators in the Madrid document. Armenian leaders
say they always accepted the original document as `a basis for
negotiations.' They also dispute Baku's stated acceptance of its
Meanwhile, the warring sides continued on Wednesday to accuse each
other of violating the ceasefire regime in various sections of the
Karabakh frontline. Neither side reported fresh casualties.
The Trend news agency cited the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry as saying
that its forces came under `intense fire' from Armenian positions east
and north of the disputed region on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A Karabakh military spokesman denied this, saying that Karabakh
Armenian forces only returned fire to `silence the enemy.' `The
Karabakh side did not breach the ceasefire,' Senor Hasratian told
RFE/RL's Armenian service from Stepanakert.
TURKEY TO PRODUCE ATTACK WEAPONRY FOR AZERBAIJAN
June 22, 2010 | 17:32
Turkey and Azerbaijan intend to establish an arms production company,
Today's Zaman reports referring to Azerbaijani press.
Presently, Azerbaijani "Azersimtel" company is holding negotiations on
structure and scope of a new company, Today's Zaman says. According to
the source, the Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation
(MKE) will hold a large share of the military facility. It is also
reported that the company will produce attack weaponry for Azerbaijan.
"Using the trade networks of both Azerbaijan and Turkey, the arms
company will most likely export some of its products abroad," Today's
Iran on war alert over "US and Israeli concentrations" in Azerbaijan
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
June 23, 2010, 1:23 PM (GMT+02:00)
In a rare move, Iran has declared a state of war on its northwestern
border, debkafile's military and Iranian sources report. Iranian
Revolutionary Guards Corps men and equipment units are being massed in
the Caspian Sea region against what Tehran claims are US and Israeli
forces concentrated on army and air bases in Azerbaijan ready to
strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
The announcement came on Tuesday, June 22 from Brig.-Gen Mehdi Moini
of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), commander of the forces tasked
with "repelling" this American-Israeli offensive. He said: "The
mobilization is due to the presence of American and Israeli forces on
the western border," adding, "Reinforcements are being dispatched to
WestAzerbaijan Province because some western countries are fueling
ethnic conflicts to destabilize the situation in the region."
In the past, Iranian officials have spoken of US and Israel attacks in
general terms. debkafile's Iranian sources note that this is the first
time that a specific location was mentioned and large reinforcements
dispatched to give the threat substance.
Other Iranian sources report that in the last few days, Israel has
secretly transferred a large number of bomber jets to bases in
Azerbaijan, via Georgia, and that American special forces are also
concentrated in Azerbaijan in preparation for a strike.
No comment has come from Azerbaijan about any of these reports.
Iranian Azerbaijan, the destination of the Revolutionary Guards forces
reinforcements, borders on Turkey, Iraq and Armenia. Witnesses say
long IRGC convoys of tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft units and
infantry are seen heading up the main highways to Azerbaijan and then
further north to the Caspian Sea.
On Tuesday, June 22, Dr. Uzi Arad, head of Israel's National Security
Council and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest adviser, said
"The latest round of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran is
inadequate for thwarting its nuclear progress. A preemptive military
strike might eventually be necessary."
debkafile's intelligence and Iranian sources point to three other
developments as setting off Iran's war alert:
1. A certain (limited) reinforcement of American and Israeli forces
has taken place in Azerbaijan. Neither Washington nor Jerusalem has
ever acknowledged a military presence in this country that borders on
Iran, but Western intelligence sources say that both keep a wary eye
on the goings-on inside Iran from electronic surveillance bases in
2. Iran feels moved to respond to certain US steps: The arrival of
the USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group in the Persian Gulf and the
Arabian Sea and its war games with France and Israel, which included
live-fire bombing practices against targets in Iran.
3. The execution of Abdolmalek Rigi, head of the Sunni Baluchi rebel
organization (including the Iranian Baluchis), on June 20 was intended
as a deterrent for Iran's other minorities. Instead, they are more
restive than ever. Several Azeri breakaway movements operate in
Iranian Azerbaijan in combination with their brethren across the
border. Tehran decided a substantial buildup in the province would
serve as a timely measure against possible upheavals.