Thursday, 7 May 2015

Armenian News...A Topalian... 8 editorials ... world wide!

Bulgarian News Agency
April 24 2015 

Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - Bulgaria's Parliament Friday passed a 
resolution recognizing the mass extermination of Armenians in the 
Ottoman Empire in the 1915-1922 period. The vote was 157 in favour 
and 36 against. 

"The extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1922 
is identified by undeniable historic facts and authentic documents," 
the resolution points out. "According to the Bulgarian people's humane 
traditions and the obligations assumed under the ratification of the 
UN instruments, Bulgaria draws a distinction between the historical 
legacy of the Ottoman Empire and the legacy of the Republic of Turkey 
and welcomes a dialogue between Turkey and Armenia on a conclusive 
commitment to the historic truth," the resolution reads. 

The draft resolution on recognition of the Armenian genocide was 
moved by the Ataka Parliamentary Group and was rephrased on motions 
by Tsveta Karayancheva MP of GERB and Krassimira Kovachka MP of 
the Bulgarian Democratic Centre. Karayancheva moved that the word 
'genocide' be replaced by the expression 'mass extermination'. On 
Kovachka's motion, two passages were dropped from the reasoning to 
the draft: "The act entirely satisfies the essential elements of the 
United Nations enacting instruments: the Convention on the Prevention 
and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) and the Convention 
on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and 
Crimes Against Humanity (1968)" and "sharing the position of the 
European Parliament in support of this dialogue". Ataka objected to 
these revisions. 

The resolution declared April 24 a Victims Remembrance Day. 

After the vote, Parliament observed a minute of silence in 
commemoration of the Armenian victims. The attending MPs of the 
Movement of Rights and Freedoms walked out of the debating chamber. 

Representatives of the Turkish Embassy in Sofia listened to the debate 
from the visitors' gallery. 

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that he 
hopes that the political forces will recognize the Armenians' mass 
extermination by consensus. He made this statement to reporters in 
Parliament, emerging from consultations with the GERB Parliamentary 
Group and Reformist Bloc Co-floor Leader Radan Kanev at the office 
of National Assembly Chair Tsetska Tsacheva. 

Borissov specified that GERB had proposed a recognition of the 
Armenians' mass extermination. "I said it very clearly: this is the 
Bulgarian word or the Bulgarian words, or the Bulgarian idiom for 
'genocide," the PM pointed out. 

He confirmed the clear distinction between the Ottoman Empire and 
present-day Turkey. 

Yerevan defines as 'genocide' the killing of a little over 1.5 
million Armenians by Turkish troops during systematic extermination 
operations in the 1915-1923 period. Ankara denies this. According 
to the official position of the Turkish authorities, killing people 
was not deliberately sought. Turkey admits to the death of not more 
than 500,000 people, who fell victim to sporadic armed groups and 

The Armenian genocide has been recognized by a number of countries, 
including Russia, France, Italy, Germany and Uruguay. 

It was recently recognized by Pope Francis and the European 
Parliament.Source: Sofia

YEREVAN. - Armenia welcomes the unanimous adoption by the Luxemburg 
Parliament of a resolution on recognition of the Armenian Genocide 
in the Ottoman Empire, Armenia's FM Edward Nalbandian said in his 
statement, referring to the acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide 
by Luxemburg's Parliament. 

The irrevocable process of the Armenian Genocide recognition by the 
international community continues, Nalbandian said. 

By adopting this resolution, Luxemburg added to the list of the 
countries, which have recognized the Armenian Genocide, making its 
important input in the eminent work of preventing new crimes against 
humanity, the FM noted. 

UN: Slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians is not genocide
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rejected the Pope’s
categorization of the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians
during World War I as genocide.
April 14, 2015 

[how depressing that the decision-making of the person who leads
the United Nations is influenced by "sensitivities". At least he has the 

courage to call it a crime, but it's not good enough.] 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the slaughter
of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I was not genocide, but
rather “atrocity crimes.” The categorization was in response to a
statement made earlier by the Pope, who called it “the first genocide
of the 20th century.”

April 24, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the
Armenian genocide. On that date, the Ottoman Empire rounded up
250 Armenian leaders and intellectuals whom they accused of
supporting the Russian enemy in World War I. The Ottomans then
executed Armenian men of military age and sent the elderly, women
and children on death marches into the Syrian desert. Scholars
estimate that 1-1.5 million Armenians died.

The term “genocide” was coined in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish
refugee from Poland, specifically to describe the experience of the

In recognition of the approaching anniversary, Pope Francis held a
special mass in memory of the victims, during which he noted the
“three massive and unprecedented tragedies” of the past century.
“The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of the 20th
century, struck your own Armenian people,” he said. “Bishops and
priests, religious women and men, the elderly and even defenseless
children and the infirm were murdered.”

The other two tragedies were the Holocaust and the Stalinist
massacres, he said. Israel will commemorate the Holocaust on Yom
Hashoah, which begins Wednesday night.

Turkey responded to the Pope’s statement by recalling its ambassador
to the Vatican for consultations. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
said that “to read these sorrows in a one-sided way is inappropriate
for the pope and the authority that he holds,” while Foreign Minister
Mevlut Cavusoglu described it as “far from the legal and historical reality.”

The UN contradicted the pope’s description of the mass killings as
genocide. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that Ban
took note of the pope’s comments but is aware of “the sensitivities
related to the characterization of what happened .” Dujarric does
not envision a fact-finding inquiry into the genocide, saying, “There’ve
been discussions with the countries concerned, and communities
concerned and I think it’s important that those discussions continue.”

“The UN has sought to strengthen the capacity of the international
community to prevent such atrocity crimes from ever occurring,” he

The official position of the State of Israel is to neither recognize nor
deny the Armenian genocide in light of sensitive relations with Turkey
and Azerbaijan. This decision has generated considerable debate
in Israel, including condemnation by President Reuven Rivlin.

[don't need a fact-finding inquiry - the scholarship is already in
the public domain]

US Holocaust Museum Statement on the 100th Anniversary
of the Armenian Genocide
April 23, 2015 

WASHINGTON, DC—On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian
genocide, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum remembers
the suffering of the Armenian people . The Ottoman government,
controlled by the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki
Cemiyeti), systematically eliminated the Armenian ethnic presence in
the Anatolia region of its empire. Between the spring of 1915 and the
end of autumn 1916, Ottoman authorities arrested, deported, conducted
mass killings, and created conditions intended to cause widespread
death among Armenian Christians.

At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million Armenian men,
women, and children died in massacres, in individual killings, or as a
consequence of systematic ill-treatment, exposure, starvation, and
disease. Knowledge of these atrocities quickly spread around the
world and aroused widespread activism and even protests from
representatives of the Ottomans’ World War I allies, Germany and

The origins of the term “genocide” rest, in part, in the events of
1915–16 in Anatolia, then part of the Ottoman Turkish empire. Polis h
-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin highlighted early exposure to the
history of Ottoman attacks against Armenians, antisemitic pogroms,
and other cases of targeted violence as key to his beliefs about the
need for the protection of groups under international law. Inspired by
the murder of his own family during the Holocaust, Lemkin tirelessly
championed this legal concept until it was codified in the United Nations
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
in 1948.

An accurate understanding of history rests on objective research
conducted by scholars of all nationalities and disciplines. The
Museum calls on all governments and private institutions to make
freely available complete archives relevant to these events.

[this last paragraph is a sop to the Turkish government. Surely the
Museum is aware of all the ongoing research published worldwide by
independent scholars? Otherwise it should increase its book purchasing

[This is how to confront the moral haze that's developing with
organisations and individuals with difficulty in adapting to the
overwhelming case for genocide.] 

April 28, 2015
Ms. Esther Enkin
CBC, Ombudsman
P.O. Box 500 Station A Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1E6 

Dear Madam,

The CBC Alert Desk issued an internal memo to staff covering the
Armenian Genocide centennial commemorations [April 24] and
instructed them that “the common term Armenian genocide should
be qualified when used in our reporting.” Details of the unfortunate
memo were first posted on the Canadaland media watch website.

To justify its policy instructions, the CBC memo went on to state:
“ Turkey has refused to classify the mass killings of Armenians
by Ottoman Turks during the First World War as genocide. Turkish
authorities consider the deaths a legitimate military response to
revolution and banditry.”

The memo also stated “critics, however, have questioned whether the
killings between 1915 and 1916 were actually part of an orchestrated,
systematic attempt at extermination--a key component in their definition
of genocide.” The guidelines concluded that “while some governments
and many scholars label the killings genocide, it's important to
acknowledge that Turkey and others do not.”

The CBC memo reads like a page from the Turkish government denial
book. It’s shocking to watch our publicly-funded corporation become
an instrument of historical revisionism. The memo undermines CBC’s
credibility and integrity. Thus in contrast to the ‘Globe and Mail’,
‘Toronto Star’, ‘Montreal Gazette’, ‘Ottawa Citizen’, the Sun newspaper
chain, CTV and other media outlets, the CBC is the only major Canadian
media outlet which has adopted such a regressive policy.

The ‘Montreal Gazette’ policy states: “It seems clear from the historical
record that what took place in Turkey around 1915 amounted to a
genocide, as defined in the 1948 UN convention on genocide…As a
result, reporters and editors are free to use the word genocide, without
quotation marks, in relation to the Armenian tragedy and should avoid
using qualifiers.” Other major Canadian media outlets have similar
guidelines in their style books.

Major international media outlets such as the ‘New York Times’, ‘Boston
Globe’, ‘Los Angeles Times’, ‘Guardian’, ‘Independent’, ‘Daily Telegraph’,
‘Times’ of London and all French media institutions in Quebec and France
unequivocally utilize the term 'genocide' to describe what happened to
the Armenians in 1915.

In addition to Canada, France, Russia, the Vatican and a score of other
countries, the horrific crime of the Armenian Genocide are recognized
by Germany and Austria (Turkey’s allies in the First World War),
Quebec, Ontario, B.C., and 43 American states.

In the face of the mountain of evidence proving the reality of the
Armenian Genocide it’s stunning to witness the CBC’s belated
guideline which fabricates a false equivalency between the ‘studies’
of a half-dozen Turkey-hired ‘scholars and critics’ and the overwhelming
majority of genocide and Holocaust scholars, experts, and organizations.
The ultimate authority on genocides is the International Association of
Genocide Scholars (IAGS). In a letter to then-Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the IAGS labelled such ‘historians’ as “Scholars
who advise your government and who are affiliated in other ways with
your state-controlled institutions are not impartial. Such so called
scholars work to serve the agenda of historical and moral obfuscation.”
In contrast to the above denialist and revisionist “critics”, over 400
historians and genocide experts, among them 126 Holocaust scholars
(Elie Wiesel, Yehuda Bauer, Israel Charny, Steven Katz, Steven Jacobs,
and Irving L. Horowitz…etc.), have asserted that what Ottoman Turkey
committed was genocide.

The CBC memo claims that its news department “maintains balanced
coverage.” However, it’s guidelines re the Armenian Genocide makes
us wonder about the corporation’s credibility, integrity and professionalism.
Do Armenians and credible scholars have to prove again and again
and again that Ottoman Turkey committed genocide? The gross
inaccuracies of the CBC Armenian Genocide narrative is a black mark
on the corporation and should be erased immediately by unequivocally
asserting the veracity of the Armenian Genocide.

It seems that the persons responsible for this appalling guideline are
unaware that nowadays within Turkey, an influential movement of
righteous Turks have acknowledged what happened to the Armenians
as genocide and are openly criticizing their government’s denialist
policy. It is shameful for the CBC to succumb to the Turkish government
falsehoods when courageous Turks are standing up to the same
government's intimidation and are putting their safety on line by
demanding Armenian Genocide recognition and atonement.

Considering CBC’s misguided guideline, we wonder whether those
responsible for writing the embarrassing advice are more qualified
than jurist Raphael Lemkin, the father of the UN Genocide Convention,
who during a 1949 interview with CBS said: “I became interested in
genocide because it happened to the Armenians.” In his autobiography
he also stated “ … Soon contemporary examples of genocide followed,
such as the slaughter of the Armenians in 1915.” Elsewhere in his book
Lemkin said: “…A bold plan was formulated in my mind. This consisted
[of] obtaining the ratification by Turkey [of the proposed UN Convention
on Genocide]…This would be an atonement for [the] genocide of the

Furthermore, the IAGS, during its 1997 convention, unanimously
adopted a resolution reaffirming: “The mass murder of over a million
Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide which conforms to
the statutes of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of Genocide.”

Finally, the memo is in direct conflict with former CBC Ombudsman
Vince Carlin’s March 12, 2008 report. In his report, Mr. Carlin said:
“In the cases at issue [Armenian Genocide], the preponderance of
credible academic work has found that the Turkish government took
deliberate action against the Armenian population and those actions
fit what became the definition of genocide. …While fairness and
balance would impel journalists to be on the look-out for credible
contradictory evidence, appropriate weight must be given to broad
-based conclusions, in this case not only academic-based, but also
endorsed by UN agencies and the Canadian government.”

He went on to say: “I must point out that, as stated above, policy does
not imply that equal time has to be given to those who dissent from
a historical consensus. The implications of such a notion are evident
when one thinks of giving substantial time to those who deny that
there was a genocide directed against Jews during World War II.”

The current memo, being inconsistent with Mr. Carlin’s report, creates
confusion for your staff and audience.

With the above in mind, we kindly ask you to retract the said policy
memo, apologize to the Armenian, Jewish, Greek Pontian, Assyrian
and other victims of genocide, and issue a new directive to uphold
the historical truth without qualifiers and lame euphemisms.

We also request a meeting with the CBC CEO, the head of the news
department, and the Ombudsman to formulate a historically accurate
portrayal of the Armenian Genocide.

Vatche Demirdjian, Chairman

The Harvard Crimson: Harvard University
April 30, 2015 Thursday

On April 24, the world commemorated the 100th anniversary of the
Armenian Genocide. During this period from 1915 to 1923, over 1.5
million ethnic Armenians were killed in the declining Ottoman Empire
and its successor state, Turkey. Historians overwhelmingly agree that
the events in question constitute genocide-Raphael Lemkin, who coined
the term genocide, was inspired by the Armenian Genocide to do so.

Yet, despite the horrors inflicted by the Ottoman and Turkish
governments on their own people during the early twentieth century,
many nations and institutions refuse to recognize the Genocide as
such. The United States shamefully remains such a nation. As we
commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, we hope
the victims receive the recognition they deserve.

The actions of the Ottoman and Turkish governments during the
early 20th century must be called a genocide; to do otherwise
is to ignore the facts of history. Following the Ottoman defeat
in World War I (in which some Armenian nationalists aided Russia
against the Empire), Turkish leaders began a program of retribution
against the Armenian people. Forced relocation, property seizures,
and mass executions became the norm in Turkey. These actions were
part of the nationalist policies of the Young Turk Party, and the
New York Times at the time reported that the Turkish government
"organized" the "systematic...massacres." By 1923, Turkey was no
longer a plural society with major populations of Armenians, Greeks,
and Assyrians-ethnic cleansing had paved the way to national unity.

Modern attempts to deny labeling these atrocities as a genocide should
be condemned. The Turkish government and the Armenian diaspora both
have major lobbies in Washington, and Turkey thwarts each year's
attempts to extend U.S. recognition to the Armenian genocide. Turkey
has also made clear that recognizing the genocide will lead to worse
relations between the U.S. and Turkish governments. Ankara doubtlessly
holds strategic importance to the United States, and our relationship
with the country should not be taken lightly; however, to prioritize
politics over the genocide of 1.5 million people is nothing short
of craven.

In Turkey, today it remains a crime-"insulting Turkishness"-to even
mention the Armenian Genocide. Beyond the problems of criminalizing
speech, this law enters the dangerous territory of willfully ignoring
the ghosts of the past. Countries throughout the world-including our
own-must do better at recognizing the specters of past atrocities.

Attempts to obscure violent histories must be opposed. Hasan Cemal,
whose grandfather played a leading role in the Genocide, has said
that the state must apologize for its wrongdoing. Cemal is correct:
A formal apology is the first step toward healing.

100 years is far too long to ignore the Armenian Genocide. As the
Armenian community continues to grieve and commemorate, we hope
that the United States will extend the recognition that the Genocide
warrants. We also hope that Turkey will embrace its difficult past-as
all nations must-and work to amend it.

Independent Catholic News
May 4 2015
By: Anne Dunhill 

I realized from the title of the documentary drama currently playing
at the Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court, that it was unlikely to be
an evening of light entertainment, but was nonetheless taken aback
by the almost overwhelming intensity of the production, which runs
for ninety minutes without an interval.

Directed by Tommo Fowler and performed by a cast of seven playing
multiple roles, I Wish to Die Singing, forms part of The Great War
100, an occasional series of plays about the First World War that
the Finborough is presenting to commemorate the centenary.

Written by the Finborough's artistic director Neil McPherson, it's
a moving and meticulously researched expose of the most shameful
incident in Turkey's history, which began on the night of 24 April
1915, when some 250 Armenian intellectuals were rounded up, arrested
and executed in Constantinople. Next the Armenians in the countryside
were ordered to surrender their weapons and the men were taken to
join forced labour battalions. Finally the women and children were
marched away into the desert to be tortured and murdered.

By the following year, one and a half million Armenians had died.

The drama begins in a lighthearted fashion. Jilly Bond as the narrator
- excellent as the voice of calm in a world of increasing madness -
shows us slides of famous Armenians including Cher, Gregory Peck,
Princess Diana (one sixty-fourth Armenian) and David Cameron,
improbably a distant cousin of Kim Kardashian.

The horror starts when the survivors of the genocide give their
witness statements. Finally the audience is reminded that the Turkish
Government still refuses to acknowledge the genocide. When Pope Francis
stated recently that `the first genocide of the twentieth century was
that of the Armenians,' Turkey promptly recalled its ambassador to the
Vatican, however the Turkish Ambassador to Paris has been reinstated
in spite of the fact that President Francis Hollande recently attended
a ceremony marking the hundredth anniversary of the massacre.

We are urged to sign the petition on to recognize the
genocide. After the overwheIming evidence presented in McPherson's
play, I doubt that anybody would want (or dare) to refuse.

I Wish to Die Singing continues at the Finborough Theatre until 16 May.

For more information and to book tickets, click on:
06 May 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan 

One of the first modern genocides has been commemorated at a church
to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, according to
Ilford Recorder.

The 100-strong congregation at St Mary's Church, in High Road, South
Woodford, was made up from people from across London - with around
30 per cent being Armenian - on Saturday.

Rev Santou Beurklian-Carter led the service which featured guest
speakers, Armenian music and food.

She said: "[The genocide] is not fully recognised by the international
community as something that happened.

"The fact that more and more countries are now acknowledging it is
really important.

"I wanted the service to be an opportunity for people to mourn their
loved ones."

Rev Beurklian-Carter added she was "jealous" of people being able to
trace back their family histories beyond 100 years.

Turkey has resisted calls for it to recognise the genocide.

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