Friday, 30 January 2015

Armenian News...Pope to lead special Armenian Mass on 100th anniversary of genocide

Amal Clooney’s speech in ECHR hearing of 

Perinçek v. Switzerland case 

representing the Republic of Armenia

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Germany
January 27, 2015 Tuesday 12:59 PM EST
Pope to lead special Armenian Mass on 100th anniversary 

of genocide

DPA CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT Vatican religion Armenia Turkey Pope to
lead special Armenian Mass on 100th anniversary of genocide Vatican
City Pope Francis will celebrate a special mass for Armenian Catholics
in St Peter's Basilica on April 12, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

No official motivation was given, but the service will be held in a
year marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Up to 1.5 million Armenians are estimated to have been killed by
Turkish Ottoman troops during World War I through massacres and death

The topic is taboo in Turkey, where authorities reject classifying the
killings as genocide.

In June 2013, meeting Armenian Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni at
the Vatican, Francis referred to the 1915 events as "the first
genocide of the 20th century." His remarks prompted an official
complaint from the Turkish government.

The Tablet, UK
Jan 22 2015 

Churches in Armenia are this year marking the centenary of the 1915
Genocide, in which one and a half million Christian Armenians were
killed by the Ottoman Turks. The head of the Armenian Apostolic church,
Catholicos Garegin II, praised his country for "rising again from
the ruins" after the massacres, during with Armenian churches and
schools were also destroyed.

Patriarch Garegin II and Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius
Aphrem II, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
visited the memorial to victims of the genocide, the Tsitsernakaberd
Memorial Complex in Yerevan, in November to celebrate a requiem Mass.

The two also visited a temporary exhibition at the Armenian Genocide
Museum-Institute in Yerevan about the history of the genocide.

Photo: Above: The Akdamar church, one of the most precious remnants
of Armenian culture. It was inaugurated as the Church of Surp Khach,
or Holy Cross, in AD 921 on Akdamar Island on Lake Van, Turkey. A
Mass was finally celebrated there in 2010, the first time since the
genocide. Image: PA


According to the news agency Fides a delegation of bishops and priests
of different churches of Jerusalem visited on January 21 visit to the
headquarters of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem to present to
the Patriarch Manoogian Narhoun wishes for Christmas and the beginning
of 2015, which will see the commemoration of the centenary of the
Armenian Genocide. In Jerusalem, the Armenians celebrate Christmas
and Baptism of Our Lord on 19 January.

In a brief hello, broadcast by the official media of the Latin
Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad
Twal, stressed the importance of the event that Armenians are
preparing to commemorate worldwide . "Turkey - said among other
Patriarch - considers the Armenian genocide as a pure figment of
the imagination. Some nations have had the courage and conviction,
to recognize and condemn the genocide. However, this massive denial
lasted too long. It must be defeated by the truth. "

Star (in Turkish), Turkey
Jan 18 2015
by Mensur Akgun 

On Friday, the media reported that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan
responded to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's invitation to take part
in the commemorations of the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli. In
his letter, Sargsyan referred to the significance of 24 April for
them and explained what the date meant, questioning the reason why
the commemorations and celebrations, which previously took place on
18 March, were postponed to 24 April.

In "the letter of reply," penned in a highly "candid" style as covered
by the press, certain historical facts were recalled and it was not
stated whether the Armenian president himself or somebody else on
his behalf would be attending the ceremonies.

In the letter, the question was put whether Turkey would be accepting
the invitation, personally delivered to President Erdogan previously
by Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nalbandian, to attend
the ceremony to be held on 24 April in Yerevan. In this way, without
rejecting such an opportunity that could provide a breakthrough in
relations, the letter left a diplomatic exit route for his counterpart.

I hope Turkey will use this exit route and give Armenia a sensible
response. I also think the most sensible thing would be for the foreign
ministers of both countries to attend each other's commemoration
ceremonies representing the invitee presidents.

I do not think it will create a problem for Armenia to take part in
the ceremonies marking the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. It
should not cause a problem to take part in the commemoration ceremony
of a great tragedy that Turkey experienced simultaneously [referring
to the events of the 1915.]

With the commiseration message issued on 23 April 2014, Turkey already
surpassed itself and announced to the world, with the signature of
its then prime minister Erdogan, that it would take steps on the way
to creating a fair recollection.

Let us not forget that taking part in the ceremonies does not indicate
that the tragedy of 1915 is acknowledged as genocide. At most,
it indicates where Turkey is now and that it is open to facing its
history. Besides, as I wrote on numerous occasions, what one calls
genocide is an individual crime. It implicates its perpetrator.

The nature of the crime committed does not have any link to the
personal property and possessions lost to the Armenians, the subjects
of the empire, or to the lands that some dream of. Legally speaking,
since it is not possible under any circumstances to address the
question of ownership separately from the nature of the crime or to
respond to the demand for land, these issues are bound to remain in
a world of dreams.

Turkey should not stop only at participating with its foreign minister
or another minister in the commemoration ceremony to be held on 24
April, but it should also undertake other overtures and continue with
the process it started last year. This is both necessary for Turkey's
own internal peace and for its democracy to properly become established
and also significant to restore its image, which for various reasons,
rightly or wrongly, was tarnished for a while.

Our press, columnists, opinion leaders, and of course, our politicians
should stop seeing the relations with Armenia and the question of
genocide as political football and should not see every single step
taken as a goal scored in Armenia's goalpost. Overcoming the genocide
issue would neither lose Turkey points nor harm the interests of
Azerbaijan. On the contrary, it will put Azerbaijan at ease and ensure
that the attention is focused on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

* * *

Last year, as part of the projects we ran both as TESEV [Turkish
Economic and Social Studies Foundation] and GPoT [Global Political
Trends Centre], we held meetings with the Armenian diaspora in Los
Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Toronto. Significant number of them
said they were pleased with Turkey's overture regarding 23 April and
added that they were expecting more to follow.

The sections of the Armenian lobby that have influence on the US
administration and that can be taken seriously wish that we maintain
our internal debate, clearly see, and acknowledge this aspect of our
history that we ignored. In other words, they in fact also expect a
fair recollection as proposed by Turkey.

I hope Sargsyan's letter will create an occasion for these expectations
to be met, to close the emotional chasm between the two countries, and
ensure that there will not be another tension between the United States
and Turkey. Even today, when we commemorate Hrant, much can be done.

[Groong note: the above was translated from Turkish]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
January 20, 2015 Tuesday 

It has now been eight years since Hrant Dink was taken from us.
Throughout his life, he strived, mind, heart and soul, to shed light
on one of the major issues that the Ottoman Empire passed down to
the Republic of Turkey. We wish patience to Dink's bereaved family
and all those who held him dear.

Hrant Dink was an invaluable Anatolian intellectual who, without
compromising either his Armenian heritage or his loyalty to Turkey,
sought to help find the ways and means through which Turks and
Armenians may build a common future. As someone who personified
Turkish-Armenian friendship, he worked selflessly and gave his all,
so that the bonds of a historic coexistence could be remembered, and
the deep-rooted suffering overcome. As we commemorate the anniversary
of his demise, and guided by the seeds of friendship he sowed, we
wish to open new paths into hearts and minds.

With this understanding, we call on all Armenians, and invite all
those who believe in Turkish-Armenian friendship to contribute to a
new beginning:

Having already underscored the inhumane consequences of the relocation
policies essentially enforced under wartime circumstances, including
that of 1915, Turkey shares the suffering of Armenians and, with
patience and resolve, is endeavouring to re-establish empathy between
the two peoples. Our 23 April 2014 message of condolence, which
included elements of how, primarily through dialogue, we may together
bring an end to the enmity that has kept our relations captive, was a
testament to this determination. Only by breaking taboos can we hope
to begin addressing the great trauma that froze time in 1915. For its
part, Turkey has transcended this critical threshold and relinquished
the generalizations and stereotypical assertions of the past.

There is every reason to believe that these two ancient nations can
demonstrate the wisdom to understand each other and contemplate a
future together. Having shared the same geography and a long history,
it is only Turks and Armenians who can effectively address their issues
together and work jointly to find ways forward. Fostering a sense of
mutual trust and cooperation; getting reacquainted against the backdrop
of an 800 years-old common history and promoting human interaction
will be essential. Accordingly, we invite our Armenian friends to
visit Turkey more often and do away with respective prejudices.

Furthermore, we will press ahead with resolve to give due recognition
to the Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey and to those Armenian
personalities who made inestimable contributions to Ottoman/Turkish
culture. Our desire to share in the pain, to heal the wounds and
to re-establish friendships is sincere. Our course is set towards a
horizon of friendship and peace.

January 21, 2015
By MassisPost 

Your Excellency Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu:

Indeed "It has now been eight years since Hrant Dink was taken from
us," suddenly and cruelly, from his family and friends. Your wishes
for our patience seem insincere, since your government has been unable
or unwilling to bring all those responsible for his murder to justice
after all this time.

I am one of those Anatolians by heritage and also a Canadian citizen,
who held Hrant Dink very dear. My roots, our roots, are still there in
our ancestral land, Anatolia, as Hrant always talked and wrote. That
is why it is so troubling to see the dichotomy you present between
Hrant's Armenian heritage and his loyalty to Turkey. His loyalty to
the homeland of his forefathers, and his love for all the people of
Anatolia--Turks, Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Jews,
and others--was an integral part of his identity. There was no need
for him to compromise, as there was no separation of his Armenian
heritage from his loyalty to the country and people. Yet, you make the
prejudicial assumption that a compromise should have been expected
between Hrant's Armenian heritage and Turkish loyalty. You would
never make or accept such an assumption about an ethnic Turk. Please
remember, it was his land as much as it is yours. This is what Hrant
was trying to explain. Alas, they, the real killers, did not accept
his message. That is why they killed him.

It is jarring to see the anniversary of Hrant's murder used as an
opportunity to obfuscate the events of 1915. They were not as you
state, simply "the inhumane consequences of the relocation policies
essentially enforced under wartime circumstances, including that of
1915," but rather, the killing, planned and executed by the state
apparatus, of about 1.5 million Armenian citizens with the clear
intent to exterminate the entire race and even the memory of the
existence of the Armenians.

I also yearn for "friendship and peace" between our two peoples
and wish very much "to open new path into hearts and minds." But,
how can we achieve that? How can you expect patience after 8 years,
without bringing to justice those who were the real murderers of Dink,
or those who took turns to get their photos taken in front of the
Turkish flag with Ogun Samast?

How do you show empathy for Armenians when, on the day you commemorate
Hrant's death, 19 January 2015, the Turkish court lifts a travel
ban imposed on Doðu Perincek, so that he can attend a hearing at
the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) related to his denial of
the Armenian Genocide, scheduled to take place on Jan. 28? How can
you talk about "Fostering a sense of mutual trust and cooperation,"
when the Turkish Government actively defends Perincek's denial of the
Armenian Genocide at the ECtHR, a man convicted in Turkey of being
a member of Ergenekon, described by the Turkish court as an armed
terrorist organization bent on overthrowing your own government?

This is a man who, following Hrant's assassination, wrote a letter to
the Armenian Patriarch Mutafyan in Istanbul and distributed in mosques,
condemning the public sympathy for Armenians displayed at Hrant's
funeral as "a rally of war against Turkey."1 The Ergenekon evidence
included a May 2007 letter from Perincek addressed to Armenian schools
in Turkey, urging them "to publicly declare in demonstrations, in their
neighbourhoods, workplaces and social activities that allegations
of genocide or other wrongdoings are lies," warning that otherwise
Armenians would soon be "counting the coffins to see how many real
Turks there are in this country."2

In the Ergenekon judgment, the Istanbul court also found "similarities
between the murder of ... Hrant Dink and [other Christian minorities]
which took place in different places of Turkey,"3 supporting the
prosecution's allegation that these were "not separate individual
incidents but killings done in accordance with a plan by the Ergenekon
Terror Organisation with the aim of accomplishing a common goal."4

Given the Istanbul court's finding concerning Perincek's "leadership
role" in "psychological war and propaganda," within both the Talaat
Pasha Committee and the Ergenekon Terror Organisation, and incitement
to anti-Armenian hatred and violence, including Hrant Dink's and
other murders, it is astonishing that your government has intervened
in support of Perincek in this case.

It is my hope that human values, fortified with the knowledge of
historical truth, will eventually empower Turkish civil society to
demand more effectively that your government embrace the facts of
history. It is worth recalling here the recent op-ed by Cengiz Aktar,
titled "Entering 2015," in which he wrote the following:

...The Armenian genocide is the Great Catastrophe of Anatolia, and
the mother of all taboos in this land. Its curse will continue to
haunt us as long as we fail to talk about, recognize, understand
and reckon with it. Its centennial anniversary actually offers us
a historic opportunity to dispense with our habits, understand the
Other and start with the collective therapy.

When I read words such as these, full of wisdom and truth, it
demonstrates the growing understanding of Turkish civil society of
the fundamental issue, which your government continues to deny. Civil
society's movement in this regard is already evident in that the
Human Rights Association of Turkey has made a strong argument for the
racism inherent in the Armenian case. They wrote, "...we are the most
immediate, direct witnesses of how the denial of the genocide against
Armenians and other Christian ethnic groups of Asia Minor has right
from the start generated an anti-democratic system, allowing racist
hatred, hate crimes, and violation of freedom of expression and human
rights in general...This has paved the way for Armenians in Turkey
to be treated as a 'fifth column' throughout the Republican history,
to be discriminated against, to be destined to lead their lives in
constant fear as their lives were threatened during various nationalist
upheavals and pogroms that took place during the Republican period."

Moreover, two Turkish human rights organizations have partnered
with the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights
Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute) to jointly submit a
brief to the European Court of Human Rights in the Perincek case -
a matter of genocide denial - documenting his discriminatory and
racist activities and statements against Armenians in Turkey and
Switzerland. Such instances of co-operation do strengthen contacts
between our two societies and take us on a genuine course "towards
a horizon of friendship and peace."

While your commitment "to press ahead with resolve to give
due recognition to the Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey and
those Armenian personalities who made inestimable contribution to
Ottoman/Turkish culture" would be a valuable confidence-building
gesture, it would lose its impact if your government continues its
official policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide.

My wish is that you, as the prime minister of the country, would
become an agent of change, bringing your government and the country
on the side of the true history of 1915. With that truth acknowledged,
it would be possible "to heal the wounds and re-establish friendship."

Respectfully yours,

K.M. Greg Sarkissian, President, Zoryan Institute

(Footnotes) 1 Vatan, 26 July 2007, "Perincek's
letter to Mutafyan distributed in mosques", at

2 Three-page document stamped, signed and numbered 319783, pages
193, 194 and 195, by the Public Prosecutor included in the Ergenekon
Court File; see also Milliyet, 19 May 2007, "Armenian schools receive
threats", at .

3 Ergenekon Judgment, Book Two (A), Legal Opinions, Item 6.2, Opinion
established by Chief Prosecutor of Ankara, at p. 1720/6573.

4 Zirve Publishing House Massacre Case, Indictment, Section
1, under the heading "Evaluation of Section One", p. 23/1; see . See also
Zirve Publishing House Massacre Case, Indictment, Section 1, p. 85.
Historical knowledge: the surprises of a global survey
By Marie-Estelle P

Conducted among more than 30,000 young people in 31
countries, the survey book portrait of a pretty well informed youth on
a historical level, but reveals significant differences between

While dozens of important commemorations will succeed this year,
beginning with that of the liberation of Auschwitz in late January, a
survey of 31,172 young people aged 16 to 29 years in 31 countries
delivers the portrait of a young pretty well informed on a historical
level, strongly condemning communists and Nazis systems while greatly
distrusting democracies.

These results are "somewhat reassuring" for David de Rothschild,
President of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, which the
Foundation for Political Innovation revealed in Le Figaro the results
of the joint investigation into the memories of the twentieth century
and the early twenty-first century. If knowledge of the First World
War is patchy, with only 39% who feel well informed , new generations
have over 51% feel they have the "depth" knowledge of World War II.
Israelis, Russians and Chinese (65%) feel particularly informed, ahead
of the Germans (66%) and French (49%).Only the Japanese say poor
before this period despite the involvement of their country in the

The extermination of Jews by the Nazis (66%) and the use of the atomic
bomb in Japan (65%) are the two most important events of the Second
World War, far ahead of Pearl Harbor (34%) and the landing Allies in
France (32%). "I thought more of indifference about the Holocaust,"
says David de Rothschild. The changes reflect national prisms. If the
French cite the Holocaust massive 88%, ahead of the Belgians,
Italians, Germans (73%), emerging countries youth seems carrier of
another memory. The extermination of the Jews is so much less cited by
the Indians, the Chinese or the Turks. Americans (60%) and Japanese,
which, however, are not part of the emerging countries are also among
those least often cite the genocide. For Americans like the Japanese,
it is the attack on Pearl Harbour prevails. The Normandy Landings is
widely quoted by the French (77%) and the British (47%), Canadians
(42%), Americans (29%) whose armies yet played a crucial role and
glorious. A result all the more surprising that American cinema has
largely popularized this battle.

Democratic regimes seen as murderers

The consensus prevails among Europeans about the genocide.
The massacre of the Jews is one for 90% of respondents, such
as the Armenians by the Turks (77%) or that of the Tutsis in 1994 
The Anglo-Saxons are less inclined to describe as "genocide"
the extermination of Jews . The Japanese and the Turks are
also back. If the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks in 1915
is considered a genocide by 77% of respondents - 93% of French
- Turkish youth is obviously less inclined (33%) recognized it as

The overwhelming majority of Germans wearing a proper judgment on the
role of his government during World War II. However, it is surprising
to read that a fifth of this youth a sense that the government was in
favor of freedom and human dignity at the time. What about the
Austrian youth in which the proportion concerned about a third of
respondents? Not to mention the Hungarians and Croats. The French are
also 49% think that their country has been working for freedom and

Another surprise if asked about their perception of democratic
regimes, there is a judgment they generate much more favorable than
the Nazi and communist regimes but that the difference in judgment is
not one that could be expected. More than a third of respondents
agreed with the idea that democratic regimes have caused the death of
millions of people. Probably respondents Have in mind the victims of
Hiroshima or the colonial wars. Find the program of the investigation
of the memory of the twentieth century, presented on Wednesday from 18
am to Paris. 

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