Prosperous Armenia Party Will Not Enter Into Coalition With the Republican Party
YEREVAN -- The post-election political situation in Armenia took an unexpected turn Thurs- day when the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), President Serzh Sarkisian’s main partner in the out- going ruling coalition, announced that it will not join a new government that will be formed soon.
PAP leader Gagik Tsarukian said that his party, the official runner-up in this month’s parlia- mentary elections, would not have sufficient power to deliver on “substantial changes” promised to Armenia if it were to become part of Sarkisian’s new cabinet.
“As a result of parliamentary elections, Prosperous Armenia Party has received nearly half a million votes. These people voted for PAP, trusting us and demanding real, visible changes in the socio-economic life. As a result of the elections PAP does not have a constitutional possibility to form the government and to implement its programs. Based on the above, I officially declare that it is not advisable for Prosperous Armenia Party to participate in the formation of a coalition govern- ment,” Tsarukian’s statement reads.
PAP got 30 percent votes as a result of the parliamentary elections and will possess 11 more seats (37 instead of 26 lawmakers) at the National Assembly of the fifth convocation.
Tsarukian pointed to his pre-election assurances that he will “cherish the people’s trust” even at the expense of personal “losses.” “The PAP will continue to play a weighty role in our country’s political life,” he added. “We will have a highly constructive, balancing role and participation in the country’s political-public life.”
The announcement followed more that two weeks of behind-the-scenes consultations reportedly held by the PAP and President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). Coalition sources privy to those discussions said earlier this week that the two sides are close to striking a new power-sharing deal.
Tsarukian’s statement also did not specify whom his party will support in Armenia’s next pres- idential election due in February 2013. The PAP leader has been reluctant to publicly voice support for Sarkisian’s reelection plans. Today’s announcement opens the door for speculation on whether former president Robert Ko- charian – considered the “godfather” of PAP – will contest for president, as well as what role for- mer Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian, who recently joined PAP will hold in the cam- paign that unofficially begins with today’s statement by Tsarukian.
US Secretary of State Clinton to Visit Armenia on June 4
10WASHINGTON, DC -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey from May 31-June 7. In Copenhagen, Denmark, Secretary Clinton will hold bilateral meetings with senior Danish officials. She will also participate in the kick-off event for Green Partnerships for Growth, a bilateral initiative to promote green technology through public and private sector partnerships.
The Secretary will travel to the Caucasus from June 4 to 7. In all these countries, she will dis- cuss important issues of regional security, democracy, economic development and counterterrorism.
In Armenia on June 4, the Secretary will meet with President Sarkisian and other senior Arme- nian officials. She will also meet with Armenian civil society leaders.
While in Armenia, Secretary Clinton will discuss the State Department Annual Human Rights Report, according to Richard Giragosian, director of Regional Studies Center.
This year’s report, just like others, mentions about weaknesses and problems with state of hu- man rights in Armenia.
“Armenia has already passed the test of elections. The elections could have been and should have been much better,” Giragosian said.
The expert is confident that during her visit Clinton will speak about the need to deepen re- forms.
“The timing of the visit is interesting, we will already have a new parliament and see what the new coalition will look like,” he added.
On June 5, the Secretary will open the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission plenary session in Batumi, Georgia. She will meet also with President Saakashvili and hold discussions with a broad range of political actors and civil society representatives.
The Secretary will travel on June 6 to Azerbaijan to meet with President Aliyev as well as Azerbaijani civil society leaders. On June 7, the Secretary will co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum Ministerial in Istanbul, Turkey and consult with senior Turkish officials on a range of foreign policy challenges, including Syria and Iran.
US State Department’s Report on Human Rights in Armenia
WASHINGTON, DC -- The most significant human rights problems in Armenia were limita- tions on citizens’ right to change their government, freedom of speech and press, and the independ- ence of the judiciary, U.S. State Department said on Thursday.
In its annual reports on human rights practices around the world presented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the department also noted the release in May-June 2011 of the last Armenian
opposition members remaining in prison on controversial charges stemming from the 2008 post- election unrest in Yerevan.
“The government released the remaining six opposition members detained in connection with the 2008 clashes between security forces and protesters disputing the outcome of the 2008 presiden- tial election. Since April 28 the government began permitting demonstrations and opposition rallies in previously restricted areas of the capital city, and all were held without incident, although dem- onstrators from outside of Yerevan at times were impeded in their attempts to travel to rallies.
“The most significant human rights problems [in 2011] were limitations on citizens’ right to change their government, freedom of speech and press, and the independence of the judiciary,” reads the extensive report on Armenia.
“Courts remained subject to political pressure from the executive branch, and judges operated in a judicial culture that expected courts to find the accused guilty in almost every case,” it says, adding that only about 2 percent of individuals charged with various crimes were acquitted by Ar- menian courts last year. The acquittal rate stood at 0.9 percent in 2010.
The lack of judicial independence has long been linked with a widespread torture of detainees reported by local and international human rights groups.
“While the law prohibits such practices, members of the security forces continued to employ them regularly,” says the U.S. report. “Witnesses reported that police beat citizens during arrest and interrogation.”
According to the State Department, Armenian law-enforcement bodies investigated last year 35 complaints of police brutality and in about half of those cases police officers involved were sub- jected to disciplinary action. None of them was apparently prosecuted or fired.
“Authorities continued to arrest and detain criminal suspects without reasonable suspicion and to detain individuals arbitrarily due to their opposition political affiliations or political activities,” says the report.
The State Department also highlighted the authorities’ continuing strong influence on the news coverage of Armenian TV and radio stations. “Most stations were owned by politicians in the ruling party or politically connected businessmen and presented one-sided views of events,” it said.
Its report also points to an upsurge in libel lawsuits filed against media outlets over the course of 2011. “The government decriminalized libel and defamation but established high new civil fines that encouraged journalists and media outlets to practice self-censorship,” it says.
Armenia Marks 94th Anniversary of the First Republic
SARTARAPAT -- President Serzh Sarkisian, accompanied by His Holiness Karekin II, Su- preme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Speaker of Parliament Samvel Nikoian, PM Ti- gran Sarkisian, MPs, ministers, ambassadors, militaries, visited Sardarapat Memorial to participate
in the festive events dedicated to the 94th anniversary of the 1st Independence of the Republic of Armenia and the Battle of Sardarapat
President Sarkisian laid a wreath in honor of those who gave their lives in defense of the re- maining part of the Armenian nation against an Ottoman advance. The actual battle lasted from May 21-29, 1918.
As part of the celebrations, Sarkisian visited pavilions representing all villages of Armavir re- gion, featuring their traditional cuisines, goods, culture and everyday life.
Sardarapat was only 40 kilometers west of the city of Yerevan and the battle is currently seen as not only stopping the Ottoman advance into the rest of Armenia but also preventing the complete destruction of the Armenian nation. In the words of historian and researcher Christopher J. Walker, had the Armenians lost this battle, "it is perfectly possible that the word Armenia would have henceforth denoted only an antique geographical term."
1918 marked a breakthrough in the Armenian history. People, who had survived genocide, found strength in themselves to restore the statehood lost five centuries ago.
Recalling some episodes of the heroic battles of Sardarapat, Bash-Aparan and Gharakilisa, Doctor of History, Professor Babken Harutyunian said that the May victories were celebrated thanks to a small group of Armenian regular forces and volunteers. “We defeated the Turks due to our uni- ty,” he told reporters today.
Dean of the History Faculty of the Yerevan State University Edik Minasian also emphasized the importance of unity in the May victories. However, the first republic existed for just 2.5 years. Which are the lessons that must be drawn from the loss of the first republic? First of all it was the lack of regular army, a shortcoming that has been corrected today, Minasoan said.
Historian Babken Harutyunian, in turn, emphasized the importance of pursuing a correct eco- nomic policy and having a strong army.
Senate Appropriations Committee Supports Continued Assistance for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill outlining U.S. funding and policy priorities abroad, including Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
The Appropriations Committee recommended "assistance for victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in amounts consistent with prior years, and for ongoing needs related to the conflict." In addition, the Committee urged "a peaceful resolution to the conflict" and the Bill itself made funds available for "confidence-building measures and other activities in furtherance of the peaceful reso- lution of conflicts, including in Nagorno Karabakh."
"The Senate Appropriations Committee's inclusion of assistance to Nagorno Karabakh advances important US foreign policy and humanitarian priorities in the region and will provide for those most affected by this conflict," said a spokesperson for Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL).
Sources familiar with the Bill noted that funding for Armenia in terms of economic and mili- tary assistance mirrors the President's request, which included the following: $27.22 million in Economic Support Funds, $2.5 million in Global Health Programs, and $2.82 million in Interna- tional Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement. The Administration's request also called for $2.7 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Armenia and allocates $600,000 each in Interna- tional Military Education Training (IMET).
The Bill also restated the six customary exemptions for humanitarian and other assistance to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Section 907 was enacted in 1992 and requires the Gov- ernment of Azerbaijan to take "demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force" against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Sub- committee noted that while overall funding in this "bipartisan bill" is "$2.6 billion below the Presi- dent's budget request, and $1.2 billow below the Fiscal Year 2012 level" at the same time still "ad- dresses the priorities of Senators of both parties."
Further action on this Bill and its counterpart in the House of Representatives has not been sched- uled.
French Senators Honor Armenian Genocide Victims in
YEREVAN -- French Senators Sophie Joissains, Philippe Marini and Bernard Fournier, who were on a two-days visit to Armenia, visited on Saturday the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex and honored the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims.
The Senators also attended the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, parliament press service informs Armenian News-NEWS.am.
“I saw sorrow, loss and massacre, which documents testify. There are people, who still deny the genocide, which brought forth the World War II,” Senator Marini wrote.
Condemning the 1915 genocide organizers, the Senator claimed that there are no contradictions between French political powers on criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide adding that newly elected President Francois Hollande also will be consistent in passing the bill. “We are members of the Union for Popular Movement (UMP) supporting former President Nikolas Sarkozy and learned with interest about Hollande’s intentions. We will be very glad if a consensus is established on the issue in France,” Senator Bernard Fournier said.
Prominent Turkish Publisher Ragip Zarakolu Receives Armenian State Award
Ragip Zarakolu delivers a speech in Yerevan after receiving Armenian state award
YEREVAN -- Ragip Zarakolu, prominent Turkish human rights campaigner and book publisher, received an Armenian state award on Tuesday for what President Serzh Sarkisian called a “remarkable contribution” to interna- tional recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Zarakolu was among more than two dozen mostly Armenian scientists, writers and artists chosen for annual presidential awards given by Sarkisian. He arrived in Armenia with his wife and daughter to accept the prize less than two months after being released from prison pending trial on controversial charges of aiding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey.
“His activities have been an exceptional mission,” Sarkisian said at the awards ceremony held in the presidential palace in Yerevan. “His struggle for conveying historical truth to the Turkish society is a brilliant example of high civic stance and courage.”
“Your presence here and acceptance of this prize today is also an act of courage,” he told Zarakolu.
In his speech at the ceremony, Zarakolu reaffirmed his belief that the ArmeniansGenocide must be acknowl- edged by modern-day Turkey. “Turkey must accept historical truth,” he said. “Only in this way can Turkey regain its self-respect.”
“My generation knew what happened and tried to conceal it. However, the younger generation had to believe this lie under certain conditions, which is even worse. Koran says ‘Give up telling lies first and always speak the truth,’” the Turkish publisher said. According to him, Turkey has gone blind and deaf.
“My country has turned into a cemetery of the dumb,” the Turkish intellectual stated adding that as the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide approaches, Turkey must come to understand that recognizing and apologizing fro it has become a precondition for establishment of democratic society in the country.
“Even after Turkey apologizes and compensates [Armenians,] Armenians and Turks can’t be as before,” he said. “But we can look to the future together.”
Zarakolu, 63, rose to prominence in the 1970s as a newspaper columnist and editor highlighting human rights abuses committed in Turkey. He was twice imprisoned by military governments in Ankara before founding, together with other prominent Turks, the Human Rights Association of Turkey in 1986.
Around that time, Belge began publishing books on taboo subjects such as the Armenian genocide. Belge has since translated into Turkish more than a dozen books by Diaspora Armenian authors challenging the official Turkish version of the 1915 events.
At least two of those translations landed Zarakolu in court. A Turkish court ruled in June 2008 that the publica- tion of one of those books insulted “the institutions of the Turkish Republic.” The publisher received a suspended five-month prison sentence.
Zarakolu was again arrested by the Turkish police in October last year for “knowingly aiding and abetting a ter- rorist organization” together with dozens of other Turks. If convicted, he will face up to 15 years in prison. The Euro- pean Union and international human rights groups have expressed serious concern over the case. Zarakolu was honored at the Armenian National Library during his previous trip to Yerevan in February 2011. Its di- rector, Davit Sargsian, handed a medal to the publisher, praising his decades-long activism and thanking him for do- nating dozens of books to the state-funded library.
Interview: Congressman Adam Schiff Discusses Foreign Aid to Armenia and Artsakh for Fiscal Year 2013
Congressman Adam Schiff with ACA representatives Chris Garsevanian and Sevak Khatchadorian
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a recent interview with the Armenian Council of America (ACA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) discussed the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2013 and its impact on foreign assistance to the Republic of Armenia and to Nagorno- Karabakh. The following is a transcript of the interview:
ACA: Congressman, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you briefly discuss the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill and how it will guarantee foreign aid to Armenia. Will that also include Nagorno-Karabakh?
Congressman Schiff: Sure and the answer is Yes. We were successful in maintaining a strong level of support for Armenia. Most of the foreign aid is being cut this year as a result of our dimin- ished budget resources and foreign aid took a bigger cut than most of the other parts of the U.S. budget. But nonetheless, we were able to maintain the same level of funding for Armenia of about $40 million in the economic support funds. This was a very good victory.
In the case of Nagorno-Karabakh we were even more successful. In the past, we have allocated funding only to see the State Department not use much of the funding that we have provided. This year, we included language requiring the State Department to invest at least $5 million in helping with some of the humanitarian concerns in Artsakh and that was incorporated in the Bill and that more than doubles assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Finally, we followed up on a meeting I had with the President of the Republic of Georgia where I raised the issue of some of the Armenian enclaves in that country and the needs of the Ar- menian community there. He expressed a willingness to work with us and make sure to use the re- sources that we’re helping provide to improve the quality of life in those areas. This is now re- flected in the State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill where we have language requiring the Millennium Challenge Corporation and USAID to assess the situation in those com- munities and develop an aid plan to help those areas. So in each of the three areas we focused on, we were very successful.
ACA: You mentioned that some cuts were made to foreign assistance because of the econ- omy. Has Armenia or Artsakh been affected negatively in any way due to the economy?
CS: Fortunately, thus far, no. We are only through one part of the process. This is what is in the House version of what is in the State Foreign Operations Bill. Many of these items are not in the Senate version and when the two items pass, they will go into a Conference Committee and we’re voting to fight for the House language. So we are not yet at the goal line by any means, but in the House bill, Armenia and Artsakh did better than almost any other region in the sense that they maintained the level of funding in the case of Armenia or increased funding in the case of Artsakh. That’s quite a rarity and goes against the grain of what most other countries faced that didn’t get specific appropriations, or if they did, were much reduced.
ACA: That leads to the next question. Countries like Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan and the Palestinian authority had clear conditions which they had to adhere to in order to receive any kind of funding. Will there be any such limitations posed on Armenia and if so, what are they?
CS: There are no specific limitations posed in the language of the Foreign Operations Bill like the other countries mentioned. There are more general limitations applied to all of our foreign assis- tance, the primary one being that it has to be used for its intended purpose. If these funds are allo- cated by the State Department, for example, to help build an irrigation system or build a health clin- ic, then they need to be used for that purpose and they can’t be stiffened off or be misappropriated or misspent. But apart from that very universal requirement, there are no specific obligations at- tached to these funds.
ACA: It is no secret that Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have had a mutually beneficial relationship for many years in the areas of commerce, trade and energy. How will Armenia’s relationship with Iran affect whether or not the amount of aid they receive?
CS: We are obviously very concerned about Iran. About the fact that it is a State sponsor of terror and that it is proceeding with a nuclear program against the demands of the International community and so it concerns us when any country has a relationship where they are supporting the Iranian economy, particularly in the energy sector and this is something we are going to have to continue to work on with Armenia. Armenia is in a pretty tough situation because it is landlocked and blockaded by Turkey and Azerbaijan, so it has limited resources and access to energy and I think that’s something that the Administration certainly takes into consideration. As opposed to other countries that have a great choice in where they obtain their energy and who they do their business with.
ACA: What would you say to those who are opponents of foreign aid to Armenia and Na- gorno- Karabakh?
CS: Foreign assistance is a very small part of our budget. Most people think it represents 10 percent or 15 percent of our budget, but it’s a tiny fraction of that and I think it is very important. It is in the highest ideals of the country that we help those that are less fortunate. It is also in our na- tional security interest that we don’t allow countries to become Stateless, potential havens for ter- rorism. So I think that the American people have always been supportive. It is much more difficult in strife economic times where there are a lot of pressing needs at home, but this is why it is a very small portion of our budget but I think an important one.
ACA: Being a long-time friend of the Armenian-American community and advocate for Armenian Causes, what will you do to ensure that Armenia will receive an adequate sum of foreign assistance?
CS: I have been working with the Armenian community and some of the leader organizations to try to impress upon my colleagues in congress the importance of moving forward with the language we have included in the Foreign Operations Bill. It certainly is a bigger challenge than any one per- son or any one member of Congress, but we have a pretty good team assembled. The Armenian Di- aspora has been very effective in making sure their voices are heard through an incredible grass- roots campaign, reaching out, calling Members, faxing them and I hope they will do the same when it comes to the Conference Committee. But through this joint effort, we can work and fight for the best resources available.
ACA: Congressman, do you have any last thoughts or messages that you would like to convey to the Armenian-American community?
CS: We have had a very important success this session with the passage of the Church’s Reso- lution in the House which calls on Turkey to observe human rights and restore and return confis- cated church properties to the Armenian church and that passed with a strong, bipartisan vote. We are very pleased to have that legislative success, as well as the good progress we are making on the aid picture.
I appreciate the friendship and good counsel and advice I get from the community. It’s really a pleasure to work and to represent the community and I enjoy that very much.
The full text of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill can be found by clicking on the following link: http://appropriations.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=294389
Armenian Fund Opens Renovated Shushi Cultural Center
SHUSHI -- A delegation of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, led by executive director Ara Var- danyan, officiated the opening of a large, newly rebuilt section of the Shushi Cultural Center. The extensive renovation project, the first leg of a two-phase initiative, was made possible by the finan- cial support of the fund’s Toronto affiliate.
The opening ceremony was attended by Narine Aghabalyan, Artsakh’s minister of Culture and Youth Affairs; Kajik Khachatryan, head of the Shushi Administration; various local officials; guests; and numerous Shushi residents.
The cutting of the red ribbon was performed by Mkrtich Mkrtichian, chairman of the fund’s Toronto affiliate; Ara Boyajian, SDHP representative on the fund’s Board of Trustees; Minister Aghabalyan; and Ohan Ohannessian, one of the benefactors of the renovation project.
The rebuilt section of the Shushi Cultural Center will house the Mkrtich Khandamiryan State Theater as well as a puppet theater named after world-renowned filmmaker Atom Egoyan, one of the sponsors of the renovation project and a longtime supporter of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. The rebuilt section will also be home to the Varanda Youth Choir and a smaller theater, and include classrooms for painting, ballet, instrumental folk music, and embroidery.
“While Artsakh’s strength rests in its mountains, the strength of its people rests in its culture,” said Mkrtich Mkrtichian in his address, stressing the role of a dynamic artistic environment in the revitalization of Shushi’s venerable cultural traditions.
Commenting on the significance of the refurbished Shushi Cultural Center, Ara Boyajian said in his speech, “Here is one more triumph that was achieved through our united efforts, of which I am so very proud. Projects of this caliber, complemented by our faith in Shushi, will enable it to re- gain its former glory. Our only wish is that you continue to live in this precious land and help make it thrive.”
The second phase of the Shushi Cultural Center renovation project will include the refurbish- ment of a 450-seat events hall and new landscaping throughout the grounds. This leg of the initia- tive, slated to be completed within the next few months, is being implemented with the financial support of the government of Artsakh.
Following the opening ceremony, the fund’s delegation visited the Khachatur Abovyan School, which is currently undergoing a complete makeover. The project, made possible by funds raised at the 2011 Moscow Gala and additional support from the government of Artsakh, is nearing comple- tion. Also to open soon are the school’s two fully furnished computer rooms, which were estab- lished through individual donations to Armenia Fund USA, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s East- ern U.S. affiliate. Subsequently, accompanied by Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, primate of the Artsakh Diocese, the delegation visited the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral as well as the Mariamyan Girls’ School, which was recently refurbished through the efforts of the government of Artsakh.
Semyon Davidovich Kirlian
Kirlian was born in Yekaterinodar, now Krasnodar, Russian of Armenian descent. He possessed an early interest in, and aptitude for, work with electricity. Just before the Russian Revolution of 1917, Kirlian attended a conference in his home city at which Nikola Tesla gave talks and demonstrations; Tesla was one of Kirlian's predecessors in the field of corona discharge photography. In the 1930 He married Valentina Khrisanovna.
By 1939 Kirlian had acquired a reputation as the best local resource for repairing electrical equipment, and was regularly called upon to fix the apparatus of scientists and laboratories in the area. In that year, he happened to witness a demonstration of a high-frequency d'Arsonval electrotherapy device. He no- ticed that there was a small flash of light between the machine's electrodes and the patient's skin, and wondered if he would be able to photograph it.
Experimenting with similar equipment, he replaced glass electrodes with metal substitutes to take pho- tographs in visible light; at the price of a severe electrical burn, he was able to take an unusual and striking photograph of an apparent energy discharge around his own hand.
Development of Kirlian Photography
Over the next ten years he and his wife developed and perfected apparatus for what we now call Kir- lian photography. They employed a high-frequency oscillator or spark generator that operated at 75 to 200 kHz. They took photographs with no camera, merely with electric current and photographic film. The Kirlians then moved beyond static photography, to develop an optical filter that allowed them to witness the phenomenon in real time; they saw miniature fireworks displays of light and color playing around their hands.
Gradually the Kirlians' activity began to attract attention from professional scientists. Kirlian made controversial claims that the image he was studying might be compared with the human aura. An ex- 18
periment advanced as evidence of energy fields generated by living entities involves taking Kirlian contact photographs of a picked leaf at set periods, its gradual withering being said to correspond with a decline in the strength of the aura. The Kirlians made many photographs of the leaves of various plants; by 1949, it was determined that Kirlian photography could detect incipient plant disease that was not otherwise detectable. In the same year, the Kirlians received a Soviet patent on their basic de- vice, "a method of photographing by means of high-frequency currents." Experimenting further upon themselves, the Kirlians acquired the first results showing that Kirlian photography could provide an index of a person's physical health, and could illuminate the acupuncture points of the human body.
It was not until the early 1960s, however, that the Kirlians' efforts attracted widespread recognition and official support, once popular journalists wrote a series of newspaper and magazine articles about Kir- lian photography. The Kirlians were awarded a pension and were provided with a pleasant new apart- ment and a well-equipped laboratory in Krasnodar. Their first scientific paper on Kirlian photography was published in 1961, in the (Russian) Journal of Scientific and Applied Photography. Scientific insti- tutions around the Soviet Union were set to work on Kirlian photography in 1962. The first appearance in the US is unknown, but an educational film about Kirlian photography and energy emissions from living things was seen in a Southern California elementary school about 1964.
Armenians Should Form a United Front Before Any Negotiations With Turkey
By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier My latest column on Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s efforts to initiate a dialog with the
Diaspora generated numerous reactions from both Armenians and Turks. Turkish newspapers, TV stations, and websites gave extensive coverage to Davutoglu’s reported overtures to
Armenians. The Turkish media linked the Foreign Minister’s initiative to Armenian plans for the commemora- tion of the 100th anniversary of the Genocide in 2015.
Armenians posted dozens of comments on websites and facebook in response to my column which was circu- lated worldwide in English, Armenian, Turkish, French, and Russian. The Armenian reaction was understanda- bly skeptical and cautious. Armenian government officials quietly followed the reports on Davutoglu’s meetings without making any public comment, while the Armenian press in Istanbul simply reprinted what the Turkish media had published on this topic.
Armenian readers raised two key issues: Who would represent the Diaspora if and when Armenians start nego- tiating with Turkey, and what should be the specific Armenian demands from the Turkish government?
These are highly complex issues deserving serious consideration by Armenians worldwide. Ideally, Diaspora representatives should be selected through elections in various countries, as proposed in my earlier columns. Those elected would have the right to represent Diaspora Armenians in any negotiations.
These representatives would have to coordinate their decisions and actions with the Armenian government, particularly on the critical issue of negotiating with Turkey, by forming a joint delegation. As Armenians learned from the recent fiasco of the Armenia-Turkey Protocols, it would be unthinkable to reach a settlement with Turkey without the participation and agreement of both Armenia and the Diaspora.
In the absence of an elected Diasporan structure, representatives of the three main Armenian political parties, jointly with the Armenian government, could take the lead in forming a single negotiating team. To make the delegation more inclusive, several major community organizations and prominent individuals could be asked to join, including representatives of Armenians in Turkey.
Another critical issue is framing the agenda of negotiations with Turkish officials. What are the Armenians’ concrete demands from Turkey? This is an extremely serious and sensitive matter that requires in depth knowl- edge of the Armenian Cause and expertise in negotiating strategies and tactics.
It would be instructive for Armenians to review how Israel and 23 major Jewish organizations came together as the
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, to obtain restitution for Holocaust victims; and how these organizations coordinated their positions with the State of Israel which signed a separate Reparations Agreement with West Germany? Over the years, as a result of their collaborative efforts, the coalition of Jewish Diaspora organizations and Israel received more than $70 billion dollars in restitution from Germany.
Additional lessons could be learned from examples of financial settlements resulting from mass torts, asbestos exposure and product liability, and claims arising from destruction of the World Trade Center and the Gulf oil spill.
There is, however, a significant difference between the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. While the Jew- ish people were exterminated in European countries under Nazi rule, Armenians were massacred and forcefully driven from their ancestral homeland. Therefore, no amount of monetary payment will fully compensate Arme- nians for the loss of their historic lands. Armenians should seek not only compensation for their personal losses, but also the return of Western Armenia as arbitrated by Pres. Woodrow Wilson -- a claim Turkey has repeatedly rejected.
Should serious negotiations materialize, the joint Armenian delegation could ask Turkey to take the following preliminary actions to show its good faith:
-- Compensate all Genocide victims; -- Rebuild and return all religious sites to the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul; -- Return all confiscated private and community properties to their Armenian owners; -- Provide the Republic of Armenia with special access to the Turkish port of Trabzon for commercial purposes; -- Give Armenians visa-free entry to Ararat, Ani, and other Armenian historical sites in Turkey; -- Lift the blockade of Armenia; -- End Turkey’s official policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide and annul Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code; -- Refrain from all hostile policies directed against Armenia and Artsakh (Karabagh).
These measures, if agreed upon, would represent significant progress in the pursuit of Armenian claims from Turkey, whereas the issue of territorial restitution could be addressed separately through international legal ac- tion.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2012
CONTACT: Catherine Minogue TEL: 416-250-9807
New Book on Forced Turkification of Jews, Their Fight against Anti-Semitism, and Turkish-Jewish Leadership Lobbying against Recognition of Armenian Genocide
Toronto—The Zoryan Institute is proud to announce the translation and publication of a new book by noted author Rifat Bali, Model Citizens of
the State: The Jews of Turkey during the Multi-Party Period (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2012). This book provides an exposé of the treatment of the Jewish community in
Turkey from 1950 to the present, their fight against anti-Semitism, the struggle for their constitutional rights, and the attitude of the Turkish state and society towards these problems.
In a review of the Turkish edition that appeared in the Armenian Weekly, Turkish journalist Ayse Gunaysu and a member of the Committee Against Racism and Discrimination of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (Istanbul branch) since 1995, described the book as “groundbreaking . . . unearthing facts and first-hand accounts that unmistakably illustrate how the Turkish establishment blackmailed the leaders of the Jewish community—and through them Jewish organizations in the United States—to secure their support of the Turkish position against the Armenians’ campaign for genocide recognition . . . The book also offers rich material about how Turkish diplomats and semi- official spokesmen of Turkish policies, while carrying out their lobbying activities, threatened both Is- rael and the U.S. by indicating that if the Jewish lobby failed to prevent Armenian initiatives abroad—
Turkey might not be able to guarantee the security of Turkish Jews . . . It has been a routine practice for Turkish authorities to invariably deny such threats. However, Bali’s industrious work in the ar- chives reveals first-hand accounts that confirm these allegations.” In explaining his motivation for writing this book, Bali states,
There are a number of facts which triggered my starting to research the history of the Jews in the Turkish Republic. They can all be summed up in the fact that I was tired of listening to and reading the rosy narrative that was repeated over and over by the lead- ers of the Turkish Jewish community, as well as by Turkish intellectuals, politicians and historians. The same narrative was also predominant outside Turkey. I wanted to dis- cover what was really behind this rhetoric.
Bali details how, despite the attempt of Jewish community leaders in Istanbul to fit into the mold of the “model” Turkish citizen as defined by Kemal Ataturk, and regardless of the official government policy toward the Jewish community, the anti-Semitic attitudes of the majority Muslim population in Turkish society were ever present.
The book describes how, initially, the Jewish community received similar treatment by the government of Turkey and had similar problems, fears and reactions as the Armenian and Greek minorities during the Single Party period, 1923-1949, to such things as the Capital Tax Law and policy of Labor Battal- ions. During the first two decades of the Multi-Party period, it endured the September 6, 1955 pogrom, the May 27, 1960 revolution, and the 1971 military coup. All three minorities suffered equally from these critical events, with loss of life and property and consequent emigrations to Greece, Israel, Europe and North America.
Bali explains how a shift in the Turkish state’s treatment of its Jewish citizens started in the late 1960s and early 1970s due to three pivotal events outside of Turkey: the 1967 Israeli Six-Day War, the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and the movement for international recognition of the Armenian Geno- cide. He shows that the Turkish government in the 1970s reversed its policy of prohibiting minorities’ links to outside organizations by encouraging the Jews of Turkey to connect with American Jewish or- ganizations, once it realized the importance of American Jewish political lobby groups. Since then, Turkey has adopted a policy of utilizing the American Jewish lobby against the Greek lobby to lift the Cyprus related arms embargo, and against the Armenian lobby to further its genocide denial policies. Bali details efforts to distance the American Jewish community from the Armenian community by propagandizing that the Armenian Genocide is a non-truth, or that whatever may have happened in 1915 it can not be compared to the Jewish Holocaust and therefore can not be called genocide, and that Turks have been very tolerant and friendly to Jews since their expulsion from Spain in 1492.
Bali illustrates that with this new policy, successive Turkish governments obtained the cooperation of Turkish Jews to convince the American Jewish lobbies to actively support pro-Turkish measures, in- cluding fighting against Armenian Genocide resolutions in the US Congress, excluding the Armenian Genocide from the Holocaust Museums in Washington and Los Angeles, prohibiting papers on the Armenian Genocide from being presented at Israeli Holocaust conferences, prohibiting the showing of Armenian Genocide related movies in US and Israel, etc. The tactics used by Turkish governments in- cluded financial assistance, economic concessions and other privileges, but also veiled threats that lack of cooperation by the Jewish lobby, the State of Israel, or Turkish-Jewish leaders would jeopardize the safety and economic well-being of the Jews in Turkey.
When asked about the possible effect his research could have, Bali answers, I do not believe that the book will have any sort of negative impact on Israeli-Turkish and/or Turkish-Jewish relations. Real politics and strategic concerns always dominate and even embellish past history. However I hope that at last the English-speaking public will have the opportunity to read the “real” story of Turkish-Jewish relations instead of an embellished one.
In documenting the Turkish state’s manipulation of its vulnerable Jewish minority and their acquies- cence, this book serves as a valuable case study of how Realpolitik in domestic politics and foreign re- lations distorts the truth and how coercion by the powerful contributes to the violation of collective
human rights. It will be of interest to academics and students of non-Muslim minorities in Turkey, po- litical lobbyists in America, Israeli policy-makers, as well as to the Jewish, Greek and Armenian com- munities around the world. Rifat N. Bali, born in 1948 in Istanbul, is an independent scholar specializing in the history of Turkish Jews and an associate member of the Alberto-Benveniste Center for Sephardic Studies and the So- ciocultural History of the Jews (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes/CNRS/Université Paris-Sorbonne). He is the winner of the Alberto Benveniste Research Award for 2009 for his publications on Turkish Jewry.
The Zoryan Institute is the parent organization of the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, which runs an annual, accredited university program on the subject and is co-publisher of Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal in partnership with the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the University of Toronto Press. It is the first non-profit, inter- national center devoted to the research and documentation of contemporary issues with a focus on Genocide, Diaspora and Armenia. For more information please contact the Zoryan Institute by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 416-250-9807.
St. Gregory The Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church Of Toronto
the honored guest was ushered into the Church.
The Minister followed the church services attentively (Mr. Kenney is of Catholic faith) and received communion from the Very Reverent Father Elias Kirijian, Pastor. Soon after, the Minister was invited to the alter and said a few wards about the Armenian Catholic Church and Saint Maloyan (the Minister was at the Vatican for the beatification of St. Maloyan). Mr. Chahinian had the honour of introducing the Minister to the faithful. The church service was concluded by presenting a framed picture of the Armenian "Khatchkar" to the Minister by The Very Rev. Fr. Kirijian, Mr. Sarkis Assadourian and Mr. Gary Chahinian.
Following the Church Mass, the Minister had the opportunity to mix and mingle with the crowd for about 15 to 20 minutes. The second part of the day's activities followed with Mr. Chahinian in- troducing Mr. Sarkis Assadourian, saying the following:
St. Gregory's Armenian Catho- lic Church of Toronto Yesterday, May 27th, 2012 was a historic day for the Ar- menian Catholic Church in To- ronto and for the Canadian- Armenian Community of To- ronto, Canada. At 11:30am, the Minister Hon. Jason Kenney arrived at the Church. He was greeted by Mr. Gary Chahinian, the Chairman of the Catholic Parish Council and Mr. Sarkis Assadourian. After a few photos were taken by the Armenian alphabet sculpture,
"Sarkis was born in Aleppo. He was the first and the only Syrian-born MP (1993-2004) and the par- liamentary secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in Canada. He was also a Citizen- ship Judge for three years. Soon after his election, Sarkis headed a business/parliamentary delegation to Syria (1994). Since then, he visited Syria more than half-a-dozen times, including in 2001, with the first-ever visit to Syria by the Prime Minister of Canada. He was active in Maher Arrar's (Syr- ian/Canadian) release from Syrian jail in 2004, who was charged with terrorism by the US. The last time Sarkis was in Syria was in 2008.
As an MP, he had the pleasure of meeting the Vice-President of Syria, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Syrian Ambassadors, current and former honorary consul generals, and officials of the current government in charge of the Middle East/Syria. He is in contact with minority group leaders from the Middle East. He was interviewed on a number of occa- sions by various government departments in Canada."
A.C.C.T. Parish Council St. Gregory The Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church Of Toronto
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