Sunday, 15 March 2015

Armenian News...@...You work it out...Battle of Gallipoli or Armenian Genocide?...


Carnegie Moscow Center
March 11 2015
Posted by: Thomas de Waal 

In six weeks' time, on April 24, Armenia and Turkey will hold competing
centennial commemorations, each studying the international guest list
to see who did and did not come.

It is a political row that could easily have been avoided if the
Turkish government had moved its ceremony honoring the Battle of
Gallipoli only one day later, to April 25. It has been obvious for many
years that on April 24 Armenians will commemorate the centenary of the
tragedy of 1915 they now know as the Armenian Genocide. They first
marked that day in 1919 in British-administered Istanbul. In 1915,
April 24 was the day that 200 Armenian leaders and intellectuals
were arrested by the Ottoman authorities as a prelude to the mass
deportation and partial destruction of the entire Armenian population
of the empire.

The following day, April 25, 1915, British imperial forces, along
with men from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps or ANZAC in
the forefront, landed at Gallipoli to try and capture Istanbul and
defeat the Ottoman empire. Thousands of soldiers died. Very soon
April 25 was known as ANZAC day.

April 25 was therefore the obvious day to hold international
commemorations for the Gallipoli battles. Another possible date
would have been March 18, the day in 1915 when the Allied force first
sailed up the Straits and began the campaign. On that day in 1934,
a moving and famous speech written by Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal
(soon to be renamed Ataturk) was delivered. In it the mothers of his
former adversaries were told to "wipe away their tears," and that
"there is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us,
where they lie side by side here in this country of ours."

However, current Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose to hold the
Gallipoli centennial ceremonies on April 24, precipitating a direct
clash with the commemorations in Yerevan. The obvious conclusion is
that this was a direct attempt to divert attention and guests from
the Armenian commemorations.

By doing this, Erdogan undid some of the good work he had done
last year by issuing the first ever statement of condolences to the
Armenians by a Turkish leader.

And it was also a political miscalculation. The Today Zaman newspaper
reported on February 21 that preparations for the Gallipoli ceremonies
had been suspended because "only five countries have accepted the
invitation and they will not be represented by high-level officials."

Official sources then dismissed the report, noting that Today Zaman
is affiliated with Turkey's new opposition, the Gulenist movement.

Even if it does go ahead, the Gallipoli ceremony lacks international
resonance. It is fundamentally a story for six nations: Turkey,
Australia, France, Great Britain, India, and New Zealand. Prince
Charles will be coming from Britain, but there will be no high-level
American guest for example.

Gallipoli and the Armenian deportations already had unfortunate
connections that were best kept separate. The paranoid Young Turks
may well have arrested the Armenian leaders as a kind of pre-emptive
strike against presumed "fifth columnists" ahead of the anticipated
Allied landings. The moving 1934 speech at Gallipoli was delivered
on behalf of Ataturk by Interior Minister Å~^ukru Kaya, one of the
Ottoman officials directly in charge of the Armenian deportations.

More recently, the Turkish government suggested it might not invite
officials from New South Wales to the ceremony, after that Australian
state parliament passed an Armenian genocide resolution.

For the government of Armenia, having a big turnout in Yerevan on
April 24 is probably the main priority for 2015. (Although they would
not say it out loud, it is probably a bigger priority than getting
a genocide recognition resolution in the U.S. Congress.)

The Armenians have already secured the presence of French President
Francois Hollande in Yerevan. And it is likely that a senior U.S.
official, perhaps Secretary of State John Kerry, will attend as well.

Turkey has changed so much in the last few years that there will also
be an Armenian remembrance ceremony on Taksim Square in the heart of
Istanbul that same evening.

Fortunately, those who want to attend the ceremonies in both in
Yerevan and in Istanbul--where the fateful events of April 24,
1915 actually occurred--may be able to do both. The travel company
that runs the air link between Istanbul and Yerevan is planning to
organize a special charter flight so that people can be part of the
commemorations in both cities on the same day.
Armenian FM: We will never question either the fact of the 
Armenian Genocide or the importance of its international 
condemnation and recognition
by Karina Manukyan
Saturday, March 14

"We will never question either the fact of the Armenian Genocide or
the importance of its international condemnation and recognition,"
Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian said in an interview
with Dnevnik Daily,Slovenia.

Asked about the Armenian0Turkish protocols, Nalbandian recalled that
Turkey has returned to the language of preconditions, trying to link
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement with Armenia-Turkey
normalization. Meanwhile, many countries condemn the attempts to link
the two issues saying it could harm both the processes.  One of the
old Turkish preconditions, reanimated after Zurich, was related to the
Armenian Genocide recognition. "But Armenia has repeatedly said and
insisted: we will never question the reality of the Armenian Genocide
and the importance of its international recognition and condemnation,"
the minister said.

"Unfortunately, Turkey did not have courage and wisdom to ratify and
implement agreed and signed protocols. So this is not about waiting
for anybody to play a role to push forward normalization of relations
between Armenia and Turkey. First of all, Turkey has to reconsider
what it has done wrong. Back then I had warned that with this 
approach of Turkey, their proclaimed policy of "zero problems 
with neighbors" would turn into "zero neighbor without problems"
Nowadays everyone is reaffirming this view," the minister said.

To note, on Feb 16 President Serzh Sargsyan addressed a letter to the
President of the RA National Assembly Galust Sahakyan, informing him
about his decision to recall the Armenian-Turkish Protocols from the
RA NA. The Armenian President's press service quotes Sargsyan as
saying, "It is already six years since the Armenia-Turkey Protocols
were signed. During the entire period, Armenia has always demonstrated
a consistent approach in bringing the protocols to life.  However, we
have to state the lack of Turkish authorities' political will, the
distortion of the letter and spirit of the protocols and the
continuous stimulation of preconditions. Simultaneously, as the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide approaches, the policy of
negationism and historical revisionism is gaining new momentum. I have
spoken many times about the non-inexhaustibility of time, including
from the podium of the UN General Assembly in September 2014. I repent
that the Turkish leadership failed to listen to Armenia's exhortation.
Hence, I have made a decision to recall from the National Assembly of
the Republic of Armenia, the Protocol on the Establishment of
Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic
of Turkey and the Protocol on Development of Relations between the
Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey which were signed on
the 10th of October of 2009 in Zurich."
Armenian Genocide: New way to commemorate - The Economist

In the early 20th century, concern for the fate of the Armenians was
often presented in the Western world as a matter of inter-Christian
solidarity. If you were an American Protestant church-goer, you
probably heard sermons about the suffering endured by your
co-religionists in the Near and Middle East. American missionaries
were by that time well-established in the Ottoman lands, tending to
the education and welfare of Christian communities in far-flung

American and other missionaries were crucial witnesses of the terrible
fate that was meted out to well over a million Armenians starting in
the spring of 1915: a mass "deportation" in which most did not
survive, whether they died of heat, hunger, exhaustion or were killed
outright. In places ranging from Syria to Transcaucasia, missionaries
succoured those whose did somehow live through the experience, and
made sure that orphans were fed, educated and given a new life. Money
for this cause was raised in American churches. In devout American
households, a child who ate poorly would be told to "think of the
hungry Armenians" and be more grateful.

In New York today, an initiative was launched to honour the dead and
celebrate survivors in ways that far transcend the bounds of any one
religion or ethnic group. Two businessmen of Armenian origin, one
Russian and one American, teamed up with a scholar and philanthropist,
Vartan Gregorian, head of the Carnegie Corporation, to come up with a
response to the dreadful events of 1915 that goes beyond lamenting the
victims of genocide or demanding recompense.

One aim of the 100 Lives project is to uncover stories of "survivors
and saviours", in other words cases where an individual or family
lived through the horrors thanks to courageous helpers. Ruben
Vardanyan, a co-founder who also built up the Russian investment bank
Troika Dialog, said his grandfather was saved and schooled by American
missionaries; his Armenian-American partner, Noubar Afeyan, a biotech
entrepreneur, recalls that his grandfather was spared from execution
thanks to the intervention of German officers who were building a
Berlin-Baghdad railway for their Turkish allies. But in some cases,
the "saviours" might turn out to be a Muslim Turkish or Kurdish family
who hid an Armenian family at risk to themselves.

A second part of the project will establish a prize for people in any
part of the world who take risks to help others survive, from health
workers braving an epidemic to human-rights campaigners in a zone of
war or oppression. An Aurora prize of $1m will will be awarded
annually to one individual, who will then be invited to pass the money
on to an organisation that is doing inspiring work. Selectors will
include Elie Wiesel, a Nobel prize laureate and Holocaust survivor,
Mary Robinson, a former Irish president and UN human-rights
commissioner, and George Clooney, an actor and human-rights

There are, of course, lots of initiatives that aim to investigate and
denounce genocide; and plenty of efforts to recognise those who have
courageously saved human lives, either recently or long ago. This is a
proposal to serve all those purposes, with no regard for the religion
or race of the saviour or the saved.

March 13 2015
Giorgi Lomsadze

Armenia plans to use Eurovision, the pop-and-politics fest
extraordinaire, to ask Europe not to "deny" that the slaughter of
thousands of ethnic Armenians in Ottoman Turkey amounted to genocide.

The Armenian entry for Eurovision, "Don't Deny," has not formally been
linked to many countries' - most notably, Turkey's - reluctance to
admit that the slaying amounted to genocide. But in the song's video,
presented on March 12, the subtext is fairly obvious.

The performers, a sextet called Genealogy, are made up of five ethnic
Armenian artists (from Australia, Ethiopia, France, Japan and the
US), reportedly all descendants of survivors of the 1915 massacre,
and a singer from Armenia.

The group, mostly kitted out in contemporary renditions of early
20th-century outfits, sing amidst retro-shots of an extended
World-War-I-era family. The family ultimately vanishes, leaving empty
chairs behind.

Armenian Weekly claimed that each singer in the collective stands
for a petal of the forget-me-not flower, the symbol chosen for the
April 24 genocide-centennial in the Armenian capital, Yerevan. The
publication claimed that Armenian singer Inga Arshakian represents
the midpoint of the flower -- the center of gravity, if you will --
for the far-flung Armenian Diaspora.

The centennial's official commemoration date hits roughly a month
before Eurovision's May 19-23 run in Vienna.

Yet despite the obvious symbolism, Armenia denies that "Don't Deny"
is about genocide denial. Arguably, it has its reasons. The country
needs to make sure its submission makes it into the contest over
complaints from century-old foe Turkey and modern-day enemy Azerbaijan.

Already, Azerbaijan, which hosted the 2012 contest, has pledged that
it will "act adequately" to stop Eurovision 2015 from "being sacrificed
to the political ambitions of a country;" in other words, Armenia.

The European Broadcasting Union maintains that it wants to avoid
turning the contest, decided by cross-border voting, into a venue
for political exchange. In 2009, an entry from Armenia's neighbor,
Georgia, a song called "We Don't Wanna Put In," was disqualified for
allegedly taking a swipe at Vladimir Putin, the then prime minister
of host-country Russia.

But the event is unavoidably political. Particularly in the post-Soviet
region, where countries tend to take the result especially seriously.

Don't expect anything different this time round. 
Vatican Holds 'Moment of Reflection' on Armenian Genocide
14 Mar 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The Pontifical Oriental Institute on Thursday held a "moment of
reflection" to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the "Metz Yeghern,
the Great Evil: ter voghormia, Lord have mercy," Vatican Radio

Metz Yeghern is the traditional expression used for attacks by the
government against ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Between one
and one and a half million people are believed to have been killed
between 1915 and 1918.

Thursday's event centered on the presentation of the work of Father
George Ryssen, SJ, and on the commemoration of alumni of the
Pontifical Armenian College who were killed during that time. Father
Ruyssen's work, of which four of a projected seven volumes have been
published, collects all the documents pertaining to the historical
events to be found in the different archives of the Holy See.

The Prefect for the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal
Leonardo Sandri - who is also Chancellor of the Institute - attend the
event, and addressed the participants.

In his remarks, Cardinal Sandri said the "moment of reflection" was
not only an academic exercise, but was also "a Christian gesture of
justice and mercy." The event, he said, shows that we are untiring
seekers after the Truth that is Christ; collaborators [working for]
the coming of the city 'in which dwells righteousness'; and
supplicants invoking the intercession of the witnesses, the martyroi
of the Armenian people" who made the supreme profession of faith by
shedding their blood.

Cardinal Sandri also noted the gratitude of the Armenian people to the
Pope of the time, Benedict XV. He said the work of Father Ruyssen
"allows us to understand how the Holy See was diligent in attempting
to stay the hands of the executioners, and to bring possible relief
and aid to those who escaped the massacres that took place one hundred
years ago."

We are still saddened, he continued, for those who rose up to 
kill their neighbours, but even more, astonished by the silence of 
so many nations and so many powerful people, as we are still 
astonished to day on the part of others to speak with objectivity, 
to arrive at the longed-for goal of reconciliation, in truth and in 

The mystery of evil, he said, "mysterium iniquitatis, that is able to
flow from the heart of man, and that is made manifest in the
destruction that every sin brings with it, compels us to get down on
our knees, and pray, as we say in the subtitle of our meeting: "Ter
voghormia... Lord have mercy!" Have mercy on man whom you have created,
but who now is wounded, is far from you, poor, a sinner, capable, as
Cain was, of conceiving death for his brother, capable of nourishing
hatred and seeking vengeance."

Cardinal Sandri concluded his remarks with the words of Benedict XVI
during the former Pope's visit to the extermination camp at Auschwitz:
"We cannot peer into God's mysterious plan - we see only piecemeal,
and we would be wrong to set ourselves up as judges of God and
history. Then we would not be defending man, but only contributing to
his downfall. No - when all is said and done, we must continue to cry
out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself! Do not forget
mankind, your creature! And our cry to God must also be a cry that
pierces our very heart, a cry that awakens within us God's hidden
presence - so that his power, the power he has planted in our hearts,
will not be buried or choked within us by the mire of selfishness,
pusillanimity, indifference or opportunism. Let us cry out to God,
with all our hearts, at the present hour, when new misfortunes befall
us, when all the forces of darkness seem to issue anew from human
hearts: whether it is the abuse of God's name as a means of justifying
senseless violence against innocent persons, or the cynicism which
refuses to acknowledge God and ridicules faith in him. Let us cry out
to God, that he may draw men and women to conversion and help them to
see that violence does not bring peace, but only generates more
violence - a morass of devastation in which everyone is ultimately the
Aznavour joins Swiss Armenian Genocide discussion at Swiss parliament

French-Armenian prominent singer and musician Charles Aznavour, who is
Armenia's Ambassador to Switzerland has taken part in a discussion on
the Armenian Genocide at the Swiss Federal Assembly.

The event, entitled "Mets Yeghern 100 years on: Consequences of the
denial of the Armenian Genocide", was attended by the co-chairmen of
the Armenia-Switzerland Parliamentary Friendship Group and National
Council and Council of States, reports the Foreign Ministry's press

Raymond Kevorkian, a French-Armenian historian and professor at the
French Institute of Geopolitics, delivered a lecture to introduce the
historical and legal aspects of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey's denial
policies and their consequences.

Swiss parliamentarians later raised different issues, including but
not limited to, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the
situation in the Middle East, particularly with regard to Turkey's
role in Syrian and Iraqi crises, the international community's efforts
towards the prevention of crimes against humanity and installation of
"Streetlights of Memory" memorial in Geneva.

A book entitled "Armenian Genocide Memorial" (co-authored by of
Raymond Kevorkian and Yves Ternon) was presented at the end of the
"Responsibility 2015" international conference kicks off in New York

The opening panel of "Responsibility 2015" international conference
kicked off in New York on Friday.

Hannibal Travis, keynote speaker Geoffrey Robertson QC, and Antranig
Kasbarian discussed 100 years of human rights violations with a
special focus on justice for the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian
National Committee of America said in a message on Facebook.

In his speech Geoffrey Robertson condemned the equivocation of
Armenian Genocide by U.S. and UK.

"Final act of genocide is denial," he said.

Robertson added that scars of Armenian Genocide continue till Turkey
makes some sort of acknowledgment and reparations.

The conference entitled "Responsibility 2015" is being held on March
13-15, 2015 at New York's Marriott Marquis Hotel

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