Friday, 17 April 2015

Armenian News A Topalian...German Chancellor, President Snub Gallipoli; President Opts for Genocide Commemoration 

16 April 2015 
BERLIN—Ankara has invited more than a hundred leaders to join 
commemorations of the Battle of Gallipoli this year on April 24, in 
an attempt to overshadow the commemorations of the centennial 
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The German government 
has announced that it will only be sending its Secretary of Defense 
Markus Grübel to the Gallipoli commemorations, after German 
Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Joachim Gauck 
indicated they would not participate in the event, with President 
Gauck signaling that he will be attending commemorations of the 
Armenian Genocide in Berlin on April 24 instead. 

Until now, Turkey has traditionally commemorated the Battle of 
Gallipoli on March 18. Remembering the Gallipoli Campaign has 
never been scheduled for April 24 until this year, when the ruling 
Justice and Development Party (AK Party) decided to mark the 
100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign on April 24, the same 
day that Armenians will mourn the mass killings of their ancestors 
during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, in 1915.

Rather than visit Turkey as part of the Gallipoli commemorations, 
President Gauck has instead chosen to stay in Berlin to participate 
in the 100th anniversary commemorative events for the Armenian 
Genocide. Gauck will attend the spiritual ceremony being organized 
at the Berlin Oberpfarr and Dom Church and will make a speech 
to commemorate the tragic events that took place against the 
Armenians under Ottoman rule.

It has not yet been determined whether Gauck will call the 
Armenian Genocide by name. The statement released by the 
German Presidency says, “Joining the ceremony to be held in 
Berlin, the German President will commemorate the grief that 
Armenians and other Christian minorities passed through in 
the Ottoman Empire.” This will make Gauck the first German 
president to join any such event commemorating the Armenian 

by Marianna Mkrtchyan
Tuesday, April 14, 00:39

World's leading mass media have responded to Pope Francis's 
statement on Genocide of Armenians during a Mass in St. Peter's 
Basilica on April 12.

Pope Francis on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the slaughter
of Armenians by calling the massacre by Ottoman Turks "the first
genocide of the 20th century" and urging the international community to
recognize it as such. His Holiness called the Genocide of Armenians,
Nazism, and Stalinism as three massive and unprecedented tragedies
of 20th century.

German Deutsche Welle writes: "On the 100th anniversary of the
slaughter of Armenians, Pope Francis has described the mass killing
by the Ottoman Empire as "the first genocide of the 20th century." The
move could strain diplomatic ties with Turkey."

Tagesschau, in turn, writes Pope Francis expressed a strong stand on
an explosive political issue by calling the pogroms of Armenians in
Ottoman Turkey as the first genocide of the 20th century.

According to Reuters, Pope Francis described the massacre of as many
as 1.5 million Armenians as "the first genocide of the 20th century"
at a 100th anniversary Mass on Sunday, choosing words that could draw
an angry reaction from Turkey.

AFP writes: "Pope Francis uttered the word "genocide" on Sunday to
describe the mass murder of Armenians 100 years ago, sparking fury
from Turkey which slammed the term as "far from historical reality."

Commenting on the Pope's statement, Le Monde writes Turkey offered
its hand to Armenia but did it quite poorly. The liturgy has aroused
a heated response of the Islamic conservative government of Turkey.

Referring to Turkish media, Le Figaro wrote that after Pope Francis's
statement on Genocide of Armenians, Turkey summoned papal nuncio
for explanations.

Italy press also reflected on the event. Repubblica quotes the Pope
as saying: "It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to
the shedding of innocent blood."

The Times of Israel writes: " Pope Francis on Sunday honored the 100th
anniversary of the slaughter of Armenians by calling it "the first
genocide of the 20th century," a politically explosive declaration that
will certainly anger Turkey. Turkey's embassy to the Holy See canceled
a planned news conference for Sunday, presumably after learning that
the pope would utter the word "genocide" over its objections."

"The blunt-speaking Pope on Sunday set off a diplomatic row by calling
the slaughter of Armenians during World War I "the first genocide of
the 20th century."

While some 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Ottoman Turks
between 1914 and 1918, politicians including George W. Bush and
Barack Obama -- who during his 2008 campaign vowed to call the
slaughter a genocide -- have refrained from using the word, fearing
political fallout. Pope Francis, however, had no such fears," The
Truth Revolt said.

According to CNN, "Pope Francis risked Turkish anger on Sunday by
using the word "genocide" to refer to the mass killings of Armenians
a century ago."

Fox News says Pope Francis' comments again show that he is willing to
take diplomatic risks for issues he feels strongly about. In 2014,
he invited the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to pray together
for peace at the Vatican.

Acconrding to NBC, "Pope Francis sparked a diplomatic incident with
Turkey on Sunday by calling the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks
"the first genocide of the 20th century."

"Francis, who has close ties to the Armenian community from his days
in Argentina, defended his pronouncement by saying it was his duty
to honor the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were
"senselessly" murdered by Ottoman Turks 100 years ago this month,"
NBC said.

Pope Francis described the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Turks
as the "first genocide of the 20th century" on Sunday, touching off
a diplomatic furor with Turkey and entering into a tense historical
debate with wider implications for the Vatican's relations with Islam,
the Wall Street Journal writes.

Los Angeles Times: "A number of countries have issued statements
over the years condemning Turkey's actions as genocide. Although
President Obama, before his 2008 election, referred several times to
the deaths as genocide, he has not done so as president, maintaining
his predecessors' reluctance to alienate Turkey, a highly valued ally
in the Middle East."

USA Today: "The killings are recognized as genocide by a number of
countries around the world, but Turkey's allies Italy and the United
States have avoided using the contentious term. The United Nations
defined genocide as acts intended to destroy a national, ethnic,
racial or religious group, in whole or in part."

Russia media also responded to the issue: "Turkey is disappointed at
Pope Francis's statement on the Genocide of Armenians," TASS writes.

According to RIA, religious leaders should create environment for
peace and unity of people, but not stir up hatred and confrontation. writes Turkey is outraged with Pope Francis's speech on
Genocide of Armenians. Azerbaijani, Lithuanian, Moldavian, Arab press
have also reflected on the Pope's statement on Genocide of Armenians.

‘Remembering the Armenian Massacres’ 
The BBC has prepared a 25 minute documentary on the Armenian 
Genocide, but as usual for the British organizations, they do not 
sue the G word, instead they use the word MassacresIn any case,
have provided them with some historic photos and tracks of Armenian 
music to be used on the film. 

The BBC has asked me that if anyone uses the info about the 
program, their description of the program wording MUST NOT 
BE CHANGEDHelga Farhadian is the production coordinator of 
this program. 

In any case, there is the description and the timing for airing the 
program on various BBC programs. 

It’s 100 years since the massacres and mass deportation of Armenians 
who lived in the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey. Armenians say one and 
a half million people died, the Turkish government says it was many 
fewer. The killings remain extremely controversial with the Turkish 
government resisting Armenian calls to recognise them as genocide. 
They’re rarely spoken of or taught in Turkish schools. BBC reporter 
Lara Petrossian’s Armenian great grandfather was one of the few who 
escaped and started a new life abroad. A century on, Lara visits her 
Armenian family’s destroyed neighbourhood in Turkey. She’s joined 
by BBC Turkish reporter, Rengin Arslan, and together they discover 
how little remains of Armenian culture and community in Turkey. As 
they discover their families’ very different versions of the past, they 
try to understand why the story of the massacres continues to be so 
difficult to tell. 

This are the times that it will be broadcasting on the following channels…

BBC World
Fri 24 th April 23 .30 GMT
Sat25th April 11 .30 GMT & 22.30 GMT
Sun 26 th April 04 .30 GMT & 17.30 GMT

BBC News Channel 
(Once on BBC News Channel then it will be released on IPlayer)
Sat 25 th April 03 .30 GMT & 20.30 GMT
Sun 26 th April 02 .30 GMT & 20.30 GMT
Featured under ‘Our World’ programmes
Sat 25 th April

If you have access to BBC iPlayer
mentions about the Armenian Genocide...with films...interesting one 

BGN News, Turkey
April 16 2015

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's adviser Etyen Mahcupyan says
it was impossible to deny that the 1915 events were a 'genocide.'

Turkish government figures reacted strongly to Pope Francis over his
use of the word "genocide" during a mass on Sunday, referring to the
1915 mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman empire. Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned him to not make the same
"mistake" again.

Mahcupyan, a former journalist and adviser to the Prime Minister,
weighed in and expressed that there was no other way of viewing the
incidents of 1915.

"It is impossible to classify what happened as anything other than
'genocide'," Mahcupyan said, adding that it was more important to
own up to the mistakes of history and learn from it, and for Turks
and Armenians alike to be able to view historic events together
with empathy.

"The Vatican has cleared the pressure it has been held under for the
past 100 years," Mahcupyan said. "Instead of being outraged as to why
the pope decided to use this word after 100 years, one should question
why they have been caving into pressure for the past 100 years."

Mahcupyan noted, "The 'genocide' word no longer has political meaning
but a psychological one."

Turkey accepts that many Armenians died in clashes during 1915 when
Armenia was under Ottoman rule; however, its official position states
that killings were observed on both sides and therefore the events
could not constitute a "genocide."

Anadolu Agency, Turkey
April 16 2015

The official statement follows media reports that Turkish PM's chief
adviser Mahcupyan welcomed Pope Francis' statement over 1915 incidents
in Turkey

Etyen Mahcupyan is no longer Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's
chief adviser, prime ministry sources said Thursday.

Mahcupyan has been retired since March 9 because of old age
sources said. However, Davutoglu "could and would still benefit from 
his opinions as a valued intellectual," sources added.

The statement follows recent media reports that Mahcupyan welcomed
Pope Francis' statement over 1915 incidents in Turkey, saying:
"It is impossible not to call what was done to the Armenians in 1915
a genocide, when the incidents in Bosnia and Africa are recognized
as such."

Last Sunday, Pope Francis had called the 1915 events that affected
Armenians "the first genocide of the 20th century," which led Turkey
to recall its ambassador to the Vatican and also summon the Vatican
envoy in Ankara.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted on the centenary of the
1915 events to reconfirm a 1987 resolution in which it first recognized
them as "genocide".

"It is not right for Mahcupyan to make those comments in the capacity
of the prime minister's chief adviser. They are his personal opinions,"
Turkey's EU Minister Volkan Bozkir said during a televised interview
in Ankara Thursday.

"Such opinions are not befitting for a Turkish citizen. Perhaps 
he will have the opportunity to review his words," he added.

The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of
the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the
invading Russians and revolted against the empire.

The Ottoman Empire relocated Armenians in eastern Anatolia following
the revolts and there were Armenian casualties during the process.

Armenia has demanded an apology and compensation, while Turkey has
officially refuted Armenian allegations over the incidents saying that,
although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost
their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.

Cihan News Agency, Turkey
April 16 2015

Turkey may open the Hagia Sofia museum for the believers in response
to the statement of Pope Francis saying that 1915 events are "Armenian
genocide", Grand Mufti (Islamic scholar) of Ankara Mifail Hizli, said.

At the beginning of the Mass, dedicated to the centennial of the
so-called Armenian genocide, Pope Francis said on April 12 that in the
XX century, mankind experienced three "big unprecedented tragedies"
- the so-called Armenian genocide, Nazism and Stalinism.

The Pontiff described the tortures endured at the beginning of the
last century by Armenians, Syrian Catholics and Orthodox, Assyrians
and Greeks, as "the first genocide of the twentieth century."

Hizli said Pope's statement suggests that the Catholic Church expresses
solidarity with Armenians by turning a blind eye to the suffering of
Muslims during the First World War, Milliyet newspaper reported Apr.16.

Earlier, Turkish opposition said that the Hagia Sophia museum in
Istanbul should operate as a mosque. A corresponding appeal has been
sent to Turkish parliament for restoring the mosque status.

Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor, the
Ottoman Empire allegedly carried out "genocide" against the Armenians
living in Anatolia in 1915. Turkey in turn has always denied "the
genocide" took place. While strengthening the efforts to promote the
"genocide" in the world, Armenians have achieved its recognition by
the parliaments of some countries. (Cihan/Trend az) 

Gulf Times, Qatar
April 15 2015

Turkey has warned the European Parliament that it would ignore any
resolution calling on Ankara to recognise the 1915 killings of
Armenians in World War I as genocide.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said any such statement would 
go "in one ear and out from the other".

The European Parliament is voted later in the day on a "motion for
resolution on the commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian

The vote took place against the backdrop of growing tensions over the
characterisation of the tragedy ahead of the 100th anniversary of the
Ottoman-era massacres this month.

"Whatever decision the European Union Parliament makes today would go
in one ear and out from the other because it is not possible for
Turkey to accept such a sin or crime," Erdogan told reporters at an
Ankara airport before leaving for Kazakhstan.

The EU parliament had itself recognised the killings as genocide in 1987.

Furious with Pope Francis's use of the word "genocide" at the weekend
to describe the killings, Turkey responded by summoning the Vatican's
ambassador in Ankara and recalling the Turkish envoy to the Holy See
in a show of protest.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose country is a Nato member and
long-time European Union hopeful, warned the Pope not to use
"blackmail against Turkey".

"We will not let our nation be insulted over history," Davutoglu 
said in an address to his ruling Justice and Development Party 
(AKP) in  Ankara.

"The Pope has also joined those traps set against the AK Party and
Turkey," he said, railing at the "unfair accusations" made ahead of
Turkey's June 7 elections.

The United States on Tuesday called for a "full, frank"
acknowledgement of the mass killings while shying away from 
calling the massacres "genocide".

"I don't know right now what sort of decision they will make ... but I
barely understand why we, as the nation, as well as print and visual
media, stand in defence," Erdogan said, referring to the European
parliament, before the vote. "I personally don't bother about a
defence because we don't carry a stain or a shadow like genocide."

Armenia and Armenians in the diaspora say that some 1.5mn of their
forefathers were killed by Ottoman forces in a targeted campaign to
eradicate the Armenian people from Anatolia, in what is now eastern

Turkey takes a sharply different view, saying that hundreds of
thousands of both Turks and Armenians lost their lives as Ottoman
forces battled the Russian Empire for control of eastern Anatolia
during World War I.

Erdogan said yesterday that Turkey was home to some 100,000 
Armenian citizens, who were working in the country, some illegally.

"We could have deported them but we did not. We're still hosting 
them in our country. It is not possible to understand such a stance 
against a country which displays" hospitality, he said.

Turkey is also still home to a small Turkish-Armenian community,
mostly based in Istanbul, who number around 60,000.

Armenians around the world will commemorate the 100th anniversary 
of the tragedy on April 24, the same day as Turkey is planning major
commemorations of the World War I battle of Gallipoli.
AKP's stance on Armenians worries Christians
Author Fehim Taştekin Posted April 14 , 2015
Translator Timur Göksel 

Early in its rule, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government 
raised expectations that Turkey was willing to face its past. But now, 
as the 100th anniversary of Armenian genocide approaches, the 
government, let alone facing up to the past, has indulged in a frenzy 
of casting shadows on the genocide observances and moved Turkey’s
 traditional Gallipoli celebrations, normally held March 18, to April 22-24 .

How do Christians in Turkey and the Middle East judge the AKP 
government’s course of action?

The effect of Turkey’s refusal to confront the historic tragedy on 
relations with countries that received the Armenians is not usually 
discussed. The much-vaunted Turkish model had lost some of
its glitter because of Turkey’s reluctance to take steps to face 
the past and develop solutions to the questions of its own 

Sure, the AKP's initial attempts to normalize with Armenia melted 
some of the frost with the region's Christians. But when — in the 
course of Arab uprisings — Christians were targeted by radical 
groups supported by Turkey, that positive atmosphere was 
shattered. With Christians once again forced to abandon their 
homes in Iraq and Syria, their co-religionists in Turkey began to 
dread a return to their fearful days.

"The AKP government is a major disappointment"

When I asked a Christian entrepreneur from Aleppo trying to make 
a new start in Istanbul his views about Turkey before and after the 
Arab Spring, he said, ‘’For us, the AKP government is a major 
disappointment. Just as Syrian Christians were beginning to feel 
sympathy for Turkey before the Arab Spring, Turkey did everything 
possible to turn this sympathy into animosity. Your officials actually 
worked hard to make Christians remember their old grievances. 
Believe me, we don’t trust them. We don’t know what is going to 
happen to us."

Syrian Armenian author Hrach Kalsahakian told Al-Monitor, 
“Since the Arab Spring, life has been tough for Christians. Their 
numbers have dwindled even more in Syria and Iraq. Sure, 
Muslims are feeling the pain also. The Syria situation is enormously 
complicated. AKP policies have not helped in solving these problems. 
The Turkish government did not prevent extremist fighters from 
entering the peaceful Armenian town of Kassab. These extremists 
could not have entered Syria with their guns unless the AKP 
government allowed them.”

"Christians were delighted" — at first

Journalist-producer Harout Ekmanian, who left Aleppo and moved 
to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, explained how the Christian 
attitude toward the AKP has changed: ”At the beginning, like 
other groups in the Middle East, the Christians were also delighted. 
But after the Arab Spring, the AKP government exposed its 
sectarian-religious colors and forgot about its aspiration for regional
 peace. With the AKP government’s overt and direct support of t
he Muslim Brotherhood and other fanatical Islamic movements, 
Christians were marginalized.”

Can Turkey inspire its neighbors without first accounting for the past?

“Never," Ekmanian replied. "Following the political and social 
upheavals in the Middle East, Turkey adopted a sectarian and 
provocative approach and revived historic negativities. This 
shows how halfway measures and flimsy displays of goodwill are 
not enough to establish lasting good relations. In the Middle East to 
build dependable, good neighborliness one needs to face the past, 
recognize it and bear its physical, social, political and financial 

Armenians worried again

Journalist Serdar Korucu said the AKP government first promised 
a new era for Christian minorities in Turkey and secured the 
support of the Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. But then there 
was a reversion to an old Turkish pattern, and the reopening of the
Theological School of Halki at Heybeliada was disallowed. 

Korucu drew a disturbing picture of the Armenian community for 
Al-Monitor: “Armenians, because of their painful past, are fluttering 
like pigeons. History has taught Armenians that on this soil steps 
forward may easily be followed by steps backward. At the beginning 
of the 20th century, Armenians were the most ardent supporters 
of the revolutionary Committee of Union and Progress [CUP]. 
They paid for it with the Adana massacre of 1909 engineered by 
partisans of the sultan. Six years later Armenians became the 
targets of the CUP genocide. Armenians lived through similar 
steps backward in the 2000s also. Although there have been 
some positive steps in restoring properties of religious foundations, 
there are many issues that shake Armenian confidence, such as 
the claims that the forces that attacked Kessab were supported b
y Ankara, the targeting of the ancient church of Deir ez-Zor by 
the [Islamic State] said to be supported by Turkey and changing 
the date of the Gallipoli observances to overshadow the Armenian 
genocide anniversary.”

In short, Turkey has been unable to develop a new approach 
to the Armenian tragedy. Rekindling the pains of the past, and 
adding to them, have been Armenian journalist Hrant Dink 's 
murder (still unsolved after eight years), the use of Turkish 
territory by jihadist groups that captured the Armenian town 
of Kessab, Ankara still ignoring Christians' basic demands, 
neglecting to act on the normalization with Armenia because 
of Turkey’s demand that Armenia evacuate Nagorno-Karabakh 
and the  conviction of many that jihadists in Syria who have 
been targeting Christian communities are supported by Turkey. 

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