Sunday, 5 June 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Russian TV Report on Bundestag vote

How Russian TV reported the Bundestag vote
with an analysis of a German legal expert

German Interview
Cem Özdemir speaks to DW about Armenia vote (before the vote) 

Of Turkish ethnicity, he was one of the driving forces behind getting the 
vote in front of the Lower House.özdemir-speaks-to-dw-about-armenia-vote/av-19299619 

Attached is the Bundestag Resolution in German. 
If anybody comes across an official English translation, 
please pass on to me (Google Translate does not work). 

The Times Editorial
3 June 2016
Genocide Denial
The mass slaughter of Armenians needs to be acknowledged 
by Turkey
The word genocide was coined in the Second World War by Raphael 
Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer and keen philologist, to describe the 
horrors of Nazi antisemitism. Had the neologism been in earlier use, 
it would certainly have described the campaign of the Ottoman Empire 
to extinguish the Armenian people during the First World War.

Yesterday, the lower house of the German parliament carried a resolution 
declaring the 1915 assault on the Armenians to have been genocide. 
Instead of expressing respect for the decision, let alone official contrition, 
the Turkish government withdrew its ambassador. The German resolution
is right not only in its message but also in diplomacy. Turkish pique is 
regularly directed at allies who recognise the Armenian genocide. That 
response is worse than undignified and ahistorical: it is a denial of 
suffering on an unspeakable scale that poisons the politics of Europe 
to this day, and needs to be challenged. 

The slaughter of Armenians was not, as Turkish apologists maintain, 
one of the unplanned but inescapable tragedies that happen in wartime. 
It was a specific campaign of deportation and mass killing by the Ottoman 
regime. Its principal architect, Talaat Pasha, who was assassinated in 
1921 by a survivor of the genocide, bequeathed copious documentation
giving exact figures. 

In macabre detail, this archive records that, of 1,256,000 Armenian living 
under Ottoman rule before 1915, the number had dwindled to 284,157 in 
1917. One witness to the catastrophe was Henry Morgenthau, the US 
ambassador, whose urgent cables to the State Department were unheeded. 
Non-intervention has heavy human costs.

Modern Germany and its statement have expressed repeatedly 
their nation's remorse for gencodial barbarism in the last century. 
It is long past time for Turkey to do the same.
At least 7 Turkish Bundestag MPs voted in favor of Genocide 
June 3, 2016 

At least seven Bundestag members ofTurkish descent
have voted in favor of the resolution on the recognition of the
Armenian Genocide, reports.

The German Bundestag on Thursday, June 2 adopted a resolution on the
recognition and the condemnation of the Armenian Genocide.

The vote was unanimous in supporting the resolution with just one MP
voting against and another one abstaining.

Only Bettina Kudla from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian
Democratic Union (CDU) voted against, while another MP, also from
Merkel’s party, refrained altogether.

Titled “Remembrance and commemoration of the Genocide of Armenians 
and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916,” the resolution
passed with support from all the parties in Parliament. It was put
forward by Merkel's conservative bloc, their partners in the
government, the Social Democrats, and the opposition Greens.

Merkel was not present with officials citing scheduling reasons.
However, her spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz has made clear that the
chancellor supported the motion., Ireland
June 3 2016

Germany warns Turkey not to overreact over vote on 'genocide'

Germany's foreign minister has urged Turkey not to overreact to a
decision by the German parliament to brand the 915 massacre of
Armenians by Ottoman forces a "genocide".

Turkey, which rejects the notion that the killing of Christian
Armenians during World War I amounted to a genocide, has recalled its
ambassador to Germany in protest .

Turkeys Deputy Prime Minister said the vote was a "historic mistake".

Speaking on a visit to Argentina, the foreign minister said "as
expected, Turkey has reacted, and I hope that we will succeed in the
next days and weeks to avoid any overreaction."

The nature and scale of the killings remain highly contentious.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians died in partisan fighting beginning
in 1915, but denies that up to 1.5 million were killed and that this
constituted an act of genocide, a term used by many western historians
and foreign parliaments.

Even before Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament passed the
symbolic resolution by an overwhelming majority, Turkey's prime
minister had condemned the motion as "irrational" and said it would
test the friendship between the NATO partners.

Within two hours, Turkey had recalled its ambassador to Germany for
consultations and summoned a top German diplomat to the foreign
ministry in Ankara, according to officials.

Armed riot police were deployed outside the German consulate in
Istanbul, near Taksim square, in case of protests.

President Tayyip Erdogan, who is in Kenya, said the resolution would
seriously affect relations with Germany and the government would
discuss what steps they would take.

"The way to close the dark pages in your own history is not by
besmirching the history of other countries with irresponsible and
groundless parliamentary decisions," tweeted Foreign Minister Mevlut

A spokesman for the ruling AK Party responded swiftly to the vote,
saying it had "seriously damaged" relations.

The timing could not be worse for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is
relying on the success of an EU-Turkey deal she has championed to stem
the flow of migrants to Europe in return for cash, visa-free travel
rights and accelerated talks on EU membership.

In an indication of how sensitive the issue was, she did not take part
in the vote due to "public engagements".

Later, however, she put the emphasis on the close ties between the two

"Even if we have a difference of opinion on an individual matter, the
breadth of our links, our friendship, our strategic ties, is great,"
she told reporters when asked about it.

Over 1,000 demonstrated against the resolution on Saturday in front of
the Reichstag building in Berlin.

Armenia welcomed the resolution. The foreign ministry said Turkish
authorities continued "to obstinately reject the undeniable fact of

Nearly a dozen other EU countries have passed similar resolutions.

TASS, Russia
June 2 2016
Azerbaijan calls Bundestag's resolution on Armenian genocide 
in Ottoman Empire biased

BAKU, June 2. A resolution on recognition of the genocide of
ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, which
Germany's Bundestag passed on Thursday, is biased, Hikmet Gajiev, the
chief of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's press service said in a

"We find the resolution on Armenian genocide adopted by the German
parliament to be biased and partial," Gajiev said. "Falsifications of
history or its utilization for political purposes are inadmissible."

Adoption of a one-sided resolution "on a historical issue as much
faked as the Armenian genocide comes forth as a glaring instance of
double standards at a time when the German parliament shows
indifference towards Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan," the
statement said.

[this is a much earlier nevertheless interesting article on the 
Turkish psyche. Not convinced by the urbanisation argument as 
Armenians suffered mostly in the provinces before the subsequent 
drift to cities. But it brings to mind the reaction of a group of women 
visiting St Sarkis Church, Kensington, on a national open day: 
when asked 'where are you from?', one of then replied defiantly with 
clenched fists "I am Turk". Maybe they lack self-confidence?]

AI Monitor
Turks' paranoia explained by their past
Author Mustafa Akyol
November 11, 2014 

A poll by the Pew Research Center in October highlighted a trend in Turkish society with foreign policy implications: Turks hold deeply unfavorable views of other nations . The most disliked nation proved to be Israel , with only 2% of Turks expressing any sympathy for the Jewish state. The United States also turned out to be highly unpopular, with only 19% of polled Turks expressing sympathy. Similarly unpopular were the European Union, China, Brazil and Russia. 

One could suspect that Turks' views of other nations are based on a distaste for all non-Muslims, as Turkey is a predominantly Muslim nation . However, Iran and Saudi Arabia — fellow Muslim nations — proved to be unpopular in the same poll, too. "In fact," the Pew researchers concluded, "it is hard to find any country or organization the Turkish people really like, except, of course, Turkey itself." 

Yet, one could doubt this conclusion as well, because other polls have shown that the opinions of Turks of one another are not terribly positive either. Different surveys about levels of global "interpersonal trust" have repeatedly shown Turkey is one of the most extreme examples of a distrustful society. In a 2008 poll by World Values Survey, for example, Turkey was at the bottom of a list of 60 different countries rated according to interpersonal trust . Only 4.9% of Turks agreed with the statement, “Most people can be trusted,” equaling the answers from Rwandans, who suffered a genocide 14 years prior to the poll. (In contrast, the highest levels of trust turned out to be in Norway and Sweden, where around 70% of citizens agree with the same statement.) 

The world map of interpersonal trust also confirms Turkey's situation . Countries are graded by color, and it is clear that Turkey stands out as one of the few countries with the least amount of trust in others. 

By looking at data such as this, it seems fair to say that Turkey is a paranoid nation, which is apparent in its foreign policy that exhibits a passion for conspiracy theories, where the presumption reigns that most other nations are somehow plotting against it. In domestic politics, this is displayed through bitter political fights, constant chest beating and repeated waves of witch-hunting. 

However, this paranoia does not turn Turks into atomistic individuals — at least not yet. It rather makes them seek small islands of trust in a sea of danger, which has created Turkey’s famously deep family and community ties. (One's community can be religious, political, ethnic or even provincial.) That is also why nepotism is not an anomaly but the rule in Turkey: Whenever there is power up for grabs, use it solely to empower your own group, i.e., the limited number of people you can trust; others deserve nothing. 

But what is the source of all this extreme cynicism, which gives Turkish society only discomfort and pain, and deprives it of the chance to fulfill its true potential, let alone be happy? 

While there is no obvious answer to this question, there are two issues at play. First, Turkish society has never been able to get over, and think objectively about, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. For decades, textbooks have taught Turkish students that the empire collapsed because of two evils: the major imperialist powers of the West and their collaborators within. The real reasons for the empire's long decline — such as lack of intellectual curiosity, much-belated industrialization and the rise of nationalism — were overlooked. 

That is why still the typical Turkish formula for explaining troubles is to imagine a conspirator outside and a collaborator within. A case in point is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent speculations about the " mastermind " of the Middle East, which supposedly conspires day and night against Turkey — or, more specifically, Erdogan's "New Turkey." 

The second explanation for Turkey's national cynicism is the country's much-belated urbanization. In 1950, Istanbul's population counted about a million. Now, it stands at more than 14 million. Almost all of these "new Istanbulians" came from much smaller towns or villages, in which they lived by a certain code of trust: They knew most people around them and shared similar customs and norms. In the colossal city, however, they felt like strangers, and thus created cultural ghettos based on kinship. The old city elite looked down on the newcomers as unwashed masses. The newcomers resented this elite group as corrupt, unfair and arrogant. Erdogan's political triumph is basically the triumph of this formerly rural, newly urbanized class over the old city elite. 

Because of these deep social trends, it might take at least a generation for Turkey to breed a civic culture that will replace fear with trust and self-righteousness with self-criticism, and favor meritocracy over nepotism. Principled leadership could certainly help, if Turkey had reconciliatory figures such as the late Nelson Mandela. In the sad absence of such leadership, however, time, and the bitter lessons it will teach, may be Turkey’s only hope to become a society at peace with both itself and the world. 

Read more: 

No comments: