Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian...There was a time when the highest elections of the establishment in Great Britain understood the true nature of the Armenian Geneocide. See `attachment.

Carolyn Rafaelian joins Forbes’ list of Richest Self-Made Women
Jun 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Forbes – Armenian American designer Carolyn Rafaelian has joined the
Forbes’ annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Carolyn Rafaelian founded fashion jewelry company Alex and Ani in
2004, taking over what had been her father’s Rhode Island jewelry
factory to manufacture the new age, celestial-chic bangles that have
become the brand’s staple.

To say growth has been explosive would be an understatement. In 2010,
Alex and Ani — named after two of Rafaelian’s daughters — did an
estimated $4.5 million in revenues. By 2015, sales had hit $500
million, catapulting the 49-year-old onto Forbes’ second annual list
of America’s Richest Self-Made Women thanks to her majority ownership.

Rafaelian joins the ranks at #22, with an estimated net worth of $700
million, making her the second richest newcomer to the list, after
Gail Miller, billionaire owner of basketball’s Utah Jazz.

She’s the richest self-made woman in the nation to derive her wealth
from jewelry, and joins an impressive group of fashion and retail
moguls on Forbes’ ranking that includes Spanx founder Sara Blakely,
preppie-chic designer Tory Burch, and bridal tycoon Vera Wang.

Kent and Sussex Courier, UK
June 3, 2016 Friday
Christina leaves 'boring' office work behind for her new shop

A NEW gift and fresh flower shop in Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, is
"really just an extension of my home upstairs", confessed owner
Christina Gudenian.

She explained: "Because I live above the shop and stock things I like
myself, work and home tend to spill into each other."

The shop is named after her Armenian father, Zaven, whose parents
escaped to England in the early years of the 20th century.

"He died long ago, but it gives me pleasure to see his name over my
shop," she added.

After studying textiles at art school, Ms Gudenian worked in an office
for 30 years.

"It was boring and eventually I came to a time in my life, with both
daughters grown-up, when I realised it was now or never," the mum

As she searched for the right property, she began to build up stock
for her new venture. Her aim is to sell work by artists and
craftspeople alongside antiques and collectibles. She also took a
course in floristry so she could provide fresh plants and flowers in
her shop, as well as supplying arrangements for nearby businesses and
special events like weddings and funerals.

She said: "I have always liked this area, and it's very nice to be in
a listed building. I like to hear the hum of people and traffic
passing by and, with Sankey's opposite and The George now reopened, it
always feels lively." 

MWC - Media With Conscience
June 5 2016
Erdogan: Armenia 'genocide' used to blackmail Turkey

Turkish leader says Ankara will never accept such charges, in
strongest reaction yet to German parliament's resolution.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said charges the Ottoman
Empire committed a genocide against the Armenians are being used as
"blackmail" against Turkey, insisting that Ankara will "never" accept
such accusations.

On Thursday, the German parliament voted to label the 1915 killings of
Armenians by Ottoman Turks as "genocide", prompting Ankara to recall
its ambassador.

In his strongest reaction yet, Erdogan said on Saturday the German
parliament's resolution will have no impact on Turkey's position on
the issue.

"The Armenian issue is a useful blackmail opportunity against Turkey
all around the world, and it is even starting to be used as a stick,"
he said in a televised speech.

"I am addressing the whole world. You may like it, you may not. Our
attitude on the Armenian issue is clear from the beginning. We will
never accept the accusations of genocide."

Turkey agrees that many Armenians died in ethnic fighting and the
deportation process between 1915 and 1917 during World War I, putting
its estimate at 300,000 casualties.

Armenia says 1.5 million died in the process in what it calls a "genocide".

'Stop being a barrier'

The dispute sparked alarm over the potential damage to relations
between Turkey and Germany at a sensitive time when the two sides are
working together to implement a deal seeking to stem the flow of
refugees into the EU.

"Either we find solutions to our problems in a fair way, or Turkey
will stop being a barrier in front of the problems of Europe," Erdogan
said. "We will leave you to your own worries".

Speaking after Thursday's vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who
skipped the ballot due to "public engagements", emphasised on the
close ties between the two countries and said that Germany's relations
with Turkey remain "broad and strong".

"There is a lot that binds Germany to Turkey and even if we have a
difference of opinion on an individual matter, the breadth of our
links, our friendship, our strategic ties, is great," Merkel said.

Yet, Erdogan expressed disappointment over Merkel's stance, saying he
wished she had taken part "and cast her vote.

"Now I wonder how, after such a decision, German officials will look
me and our prime minister in the face," Erdogan said on Saturday in
interviews published in several Turkish newspapers.

He added that Germany has no right to comment on genocide, given its
own history during World War II and in Namibia.

"The countries that are blackmailing us with these Armenian genocide
resolutions have the blood of millions of innocents on their hands."

'This is our difference'

In his speech to Turkish businessmen, Erdogan also mentioned that
Turkey is currently hosting tens of thousands of Armenian citizens as
economic migrants. He claimed that Turkey can send them back to
Armenia, just like Europeans are sending refugees back to Turkey.

"Just like Europeans are doing now [to the refugees] we could have
sent them [Armenians citizens living and working in Turkey] to
Armenia. We can do that."

"Is Europe taking in refugees at the moment?" he added. "Right now
Turkey is hosting three million refugees. This is our difference."

But, at the end of his speech, Erdogan said that "Turkey has no
problems with the EU.

"We can't nurture enmity towards a region that is home to five million
people from Turkey," he said.

"We do not demand positive discrimination," he said, "We just want the
EU to be just and principled."

Edward Nalbandian, Armenia's foreign minister, said the German
parliament's decision was a "valuable contribution" to the
"international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide".

On the centenary of the events, which was commemorated on April 24,
2015, the European Parliament published a non-legislative resolution
in which they urged Turkey to recognise the genocide.

The Sunday Herald (Glasgow)
June 5, 2016 Sunday
Atrocity shames Turkey ... but the country won't admit its guilt
David Pratt

THE mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during the First World
War remains a highly sensitive and controversial issue. In 1915,
leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and
massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Reports vary, but
most agree they numbered about two million people.

The total number of dead is disputed. Armenians say 1.5 million died.
The Republic of Turkey estimates the total to be 300,000. According to
the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), the death
toll was "more than a million". In a letter to Turkish prime minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2005, the IAGS said: "We want to underscore
that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide,
it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide."

The Turkish government does not acknowledge that genocide took place.
Despite pressure from Armenians and social justice advocates
throughout the world, it is still illegal in Turkey to talk about what
happened to Armenians during this era. Article 301 of the penal code,
on "insulting Turkishness", has been used to prosecute prominent
writers who highlight the mass killings of Armenians. Among them were
Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.

The political seeds for events leading up to the genocide came about
in 1908 when reformers who called themselves the "Young
Turks'"overthrew Sultan Abdul Hamid and established a more modern
constitutional government in Turkey.

The Armenian genocide began on April 24, 1915, when that government
arrested and executed several hundred Armenian intellectuals. Ordinary
Armenians were then turned out of their homes and sent on death
marches through the Mesopotamian desert. Often, they were stripped
naked and forced to walk under the scorching sun until they dropped
dead. Those who stopped to rest were shot.

The Young Turks also created a "Special Organisation" which set up
"butcher battalions" to carry out, as one officer put it, "the
liquidation of the Christian elements". People were drowned, crucified
or burned alive.

The dispute about whether it was genocide centres on the question of
premeditation - the degree to which the killings were orchestrated.
Article Two of the UN Convention on Genocide of December 1948
describes genocide as carrying out acts intended "to destroy, in whole
or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group". Many
people believe what happened was genocide but some scholars question

Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who coined the term
"genocide" in 1943, referred to the atrocities against Armenians as
well as the Nazi massacres of Jews. Turkish officials accept
atrocities were committed but argue there was no systematic attempt to
destroy the Christian Armenian people, pointing out many innocent
Muslim Turks also died.

Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay are
among more than 20 countries which have formally recognised genocide.
The European Parliament and the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities have also done so. The UK,
US and Israel are among those that use different terminology to
describe the events.

June 3 2016
What's next after Germany's Armenian genocide resolution?
Author: Cengiz Çandar

The German Parliament's (Bundestag) recognition of the tragedy that
had befallen Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as genocide was no surprise.
Everyone knew it was coming.

Summary⎙ Print The German Parliament's historic resolution on the
Armenian genocide led to predictable responses from Ankara while
creating further uncertainty in Turkey's relations with the West.
AuthorCengiz ÇandarPosted June 3, 2016

And yet disbelief characterized the Turkish government's response to
the German action. It was such a disbelief that Turkey’s staunchly
Erdogan-loyalist new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, just a few
minutes prior to the vote at the Bundestag, referred to his
conversation with his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"There is a vote at the German parliament … They intend to hold us
responsible for the events of 1915. When desperate situations arise in
politics, such bright ideas come to mind. This is one example. I told
Angela Merkel, 'Germany is a strong ally of Turkey; as such, we hope
it will not be involved in such an irrational act.' She said to me,
'We will do our best.' And I told her that nothing can happen there
[the Bundestag] despite her wishes. We'll see what happens. Germany is
passing through a real test of friendship," Yildirim said at a party

And Germany failed Yildirim's test.

Worse, Merkel proved to be a non-entity when it comes to confronting
the Bundestag and diminished her reliability in the eyes of Turkish
authorities, who are reluctant to work with the European Union (EU) in
the future.

Only a day before the German vote, Yildirim had referred to what had
happened to the Armenians in 1915 as an "ordinary event." President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan went further. In an intimidating tone toward
Berlin, he asserted that Ankara has no problem whatsoever with what he
labeled "the so-called Armenian genocide." If the draft would pass the
Bundestag, then all relations with Germany will be impaired.

Such intimidation by Turkish authorities may have been prompted by the
signing of the refugee deal with the EU — the agreement was Merkel's
brainchild. Especially Merkel’s "realpolitik," in which she appeared
excessively appeasing toward Erdogan at home and abroad, probably
motivated German legislators to pass the bill, which was postponed
before and not discussed during the genocide's centennial anniversary
last year.

The draft law that was put into vote only two months ago was brought
to the Bundestag jointly by Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union; its
main Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union; its coalition partner
in government, the Social Democrat Party; and the opposition Greens,
whose co-chairman, Cem Ozdemir, is of Turkish origin. Originally, the
draft had been prepared by former communists Die Linke (The Left).

For days, Turkish nationalists campaigned against the resolution and a
planeload of them had traveled to Berlin to demonstrate in front of
the Bundestag. Berlin is home to one of the largest conglomeration of
Turkish people outside Turkey — almost 300,000 Turks (including those
of Kurdish origin) reside in Berlin. The campaign against the draft
law even involved Ozdemir's harassment, who disclosed publicly that he
has been personally threatened.

That the Armenian genocide resolution was accepted in the Bundestag
after such a heated contest is significant. There was only one
abstention and a single vote against it.

This result, naturally, is a blow not only to Erdogan's standing in
Turkey, but also to the prestige of Merkel and her Social Democratic
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, because both had implied
that it would be unwise for Germany to adopt such a resolution at a
time when they need the Turkish government's cooperation over the
refugee deal. Merkel mentioned putting the resolution to vote at the
Bundestag "an unfortunate coincidence."

In contrast to Merkel, Ozdemir — the Green of Turkish origin and
leading pioneer of the resolution — emphasized how "historical facts
should not be concealed because of possible consequences of passing
such a resolution." The Bundestag's Foreign Relations Committee
Chairman Norbert Rottgen from CSU, who is at the political opposite of
the Greens, said, "When it is a matter of genocide, diplomatic
sensitivities should come to an end."

German President Joachim Gauck, who enjoys a reputation for his
conscientiousness and his work as a human rights advocate, had already
called the events in 1915 genocide during its centenary in April 2015.

Although it is not legally binding, the resolution that the Bundestag
passed not only recognizes the events of 1915 as genocide, but it also
opens the way to modify how it is written in German textbooks.

Probably one of the most interesting and important aspects of the
Bundestag resolution on the Armenian genocide is its mentioning
Germany as "a partner in crime" of the Ottoman-Turkish government of
the "Young Turks," and thus accepts to face its own history in a
self-critical way — similar to the way it had done with acknowledging
Germany's irrefutable responsibility for the Holocaust during World
War II.

Consequently, the resolution — while underlining the "uniqueness of
the Holocaust" — places the Armenian genocide in the same category and
puts some of the responsibility on Germany's shoulders.

Hence, the Bundestag's genocide resolution serves as an important
document and a reference point in transitional justice, elevating
Germany to a moral high ground.

So far 23 countries — among them France, Italy, the Netherlands,
Belgium and Switzerland — have adopted similar resolutions. But
Germany's position is special in this respect, because it was the
country that took part in atrocities that go back to 1915 as the major
ally of Ottoman Turkey. Furthermore, Germany has a leading status
within the EU, hosts more than 2 million Turkish nationals and enjoys
other bonds with Turkey, especially as its largest foreign trade

From the viewpoint of Armenians — especially those in the diaspora,
who for decades have made the recognition of the genocide the main
component of their identity and an almost existential issue —
Germany's recognition is considered the "last exit before Washington."

Because more than anything else, the recognition of 1915 as genocide
by the US Congress would be the crown jewel for Armenian efforts.

Could that happen one day? That's too early to tell, but obviously the
German legislative body's decision will inform other Western
countries' actions.

The repercussions from Turkey have been as predicted. Three of the
four parties that are represented in the parliament — with the
exception of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party — protested the
Bundestag resolution.

Yildirim accused Germany of succumbing to the Armenian lobby. The
Turkish ambassador in Berlin was recalled and returned to Turkey on
the evening of the day the resolution passed.

Meanwhile, Erdogan said the resolution will have a very serious impact
on Turkish-German relations at every level. As a first step, he
reminded everyone of the ambassador's recall. Despite his well-known
fiery rhetoric, his initial reaction could be termed muted.

On the German side, Merkel was quick to define the bilateral relations
with Turkey as "strong." Understandably, she was trying to downplay
the drama and preserve the refugee deal. Her political career is
obviously tarnished from all her dealings with Erdogan; she probably
wants to prevent further damage.

So how would the German Parliament's resolution affect Turkish-EU relations?

A day before the vote, the president of the European Commission
Jean-Claude Juncker, a Merkel protege, had warned the Turkish
government not to overplay its hand and think twice before taking a
dramatic step. The Europeans, it seems, calculate that Turkey does not
have much room to maneuver in the bilateral game.

The first 24 hours displayed the predictable nervousness on the
Turkish side, but nothing beyond that. Even Erdogan was not harsh and
tough, which he usually is. The Turks might actually be thinking

If in the coming days and weeks no dramatic moves come out of Ankara,
the resolution of the German Bundestag will be registered as yet
another defeat inflicted on Turkish foreign policy in 2016.


Cengiz Candar is a columnist for Al-Monitor's Turkey Pulse. A
journalist since 1976, he is the author of seven books in the Turkish
language, mainly on Middle East issues, including the best-seller
Mesopotamia Express: A Journey in History. Currently, he is a
Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Stockholm University Institute
of Turkish Studies 

Genocide Recognition: 
Armenian scholar says Bundestag resolution
signal for other countries
June 6, 2016

Last week’s resolution adopted by the German Parliament, the
Bundestag, will be a signal for other countries to consider starting
an Armenian Genocide recognition process, said Hayk Demean, 
the head of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan.

“It will be important if the UK recognizes [the Armenian 
Genocide], as they are refraining from taking any steps 
[in that direction] not only because of relations with Turkey 
but also with Azerbaijan,” Demean told media on Monday, June 6, 
recalling that in the early 20th centurythe British made donations 
for Armenian orphans who lost parents in the massacres.

According to the head of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, as
any recognition, Germany’s move also has its implications that stem
from German-Turkish relations. Germany has a strong position in this
matter, and despite a number of steps taken by Turkey, such as
recalling the ambassador, it has economic interests with its partner
and cannot take too drastic steps.

“Turkey, in fact, remained with its extreme intolerance alone, because
Germany not only called the events a genocide, but also admitted its
own guilt, thus facing its history,” said Demoyan, expressing an
opinion that in this respect Turkey will take no further steps.

“It is true that [the authorities] in Turkey are feeling down, but we
must remember that there is a large Turkish community in Germany, and
further aggressive steps by Turkey could have a negative impact,
particularly on labor migrants,” he added.

Demoyan is confident that though the resolution adopted by Germany
will not lead to direct legal or financial results against Turkey, it
will be a very important reference for historians and lawyers in the
future, in the process of demanding Armenians’ estates [in Turkey].

“Germany is a country with important influence in the world, and a
resolution of this kind adopted by the Bundestag will serve as an
important document for bringing Turkey to legal and financial
responsibility,” he said. 

Germany hits back at Erdogan comments in Armenian Genocide 
06 Jun 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office hit back Monday at Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a blistering row over a German parliamentary
vote declaring the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against
Armenians, Agence France Presse reports.

Erdogan has angrily condemned last week’s vote on the World War I
massacres, charging that the 11 German MPs with Turkish roots who
backed it supported “terrorism” by the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party
(PKK), and demanding “blood tests” to see “what kind of Turks they

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert Monday said that while Berlin also
considers the PKK a terrorist group, “to associate individual members
of parliament with terrorism is utterly incomprehensible to us.”

“The resolution was a political initiative that emerged from the midst
of the Bundestag, which is a democratically elected, independent organ
under our constitution,” Seibert told a regular press conference.

“The Bundestag reached a sovereign decision. That must be respected,”
Seibert said, adding that this was the message Merkel had given to the
Turkish president.

Erdogan – in a bitter reaction to the vote to recognize the 1915-1916
killings as genocide – singled out German Greens party co-leader Cem
Ozdemir, one of the instigators of the resolution passed on June 2.

Ozdemir has been placed under police protection after receiving
anonymous death threats.

The Turkish community in Germany – which broadly opposes the genocide
vote – nonetheless criticized Erdogan Monday for the pressure his
government and its supporters had placed on German lawmakers of
Turkish origin.

“We find death threats and demands for blood tests abhorrent,” its
chairman Gokay Sofuoglu told national news agency DPA.

“I think the era when people were defined by their blood ended in
1945. This is absolutely out of place.” 

[a Turkish viewpoint in a UK publication] 

Affairs Today, UK
June 6 2016
Germany recognizes the 1915 Armenian genocide

German Parliament, Bundestag, recognized the alleged 1915 Armenian
genocide on Thursday, by passing the resolution that was proposed by
the Green Party. The acknowledgement has already raised the anger
level of Turkish officials.  Turkey’s President Erdogan called the
Ambassador, Huseyin Avni Karslıoglu, back to Ankara for

The events of 1915 remains a delicate topic in Turkey. Let alone
accepting the events as a genocide, Turkish officials claim that equal
amount of Turkish people died during that tragic time. The events
occurred in early 1915, during World War I. Armenian people and some
other Christian minorities were forced to leave their land by the
Ottoman Empire, which was disintegrating at that time. As a result,
some of those people died because of hunger and severe weather
conditions. In order to recognize a mass killing as a genocide, there
should be an intentional action to systematically eliminate an ethnic,
national, racial or religious group. However, according to Turkish
historians, the Ottoman Empire never had such a systematical aim, on
the contrary the Empire at the time was busing trying to prevent a
total disintegration.  The historians also note that Armenia rejected
to open its archives until 2009, while Turkey opened its archives long
ago. As a result, it is believed that the research is incomplete.

Armenian officials think that Germany needed to pass this resolution
long ago, due to its indirect involvement in the alleged killings.
They believe that Germany knew about the situation and did nothing to
stop it. However, the Foreign Minister of Turkey claims that Germany
has tried to deflect from its dark Nazi history by passing such a
resolution. Also, there are over 3 million Turkish people living in
the country. This decision will affect them more than anyone else, and
Turkish officials think that they will not remain silenced regarding
this alleged situation.

The biggest question is that “will this decision affect the
relationship between Germany and Turkey?”. As it is known, Merkel was
the lead player when negotiating an agreement with Turkey regarding
the Syrian refugees. In return of taking those refugees back, Turkey
will be given over 2.5 billion euros and visa-free travel right to
Schengen countries. However, as a consequence of the recent decision,
Germany is afraid that Turkey might break the deal. Also, Turkey’s
parliament is preparing to release a joint declaration. The
declaration might reflect the final decision regarding the deal.

By: Özge Yıldırım
Edited by: M.Al-waadh 

[another more official Turkish viewpoint] 
Aljazeera.com, Qatar
June 6 2016
Germany's Armenian resolution: Unlawful and harmful

The resolution showed that politicising history for the sake of
accomplishing short-term goals does more harm than good.

By Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesperson for the Turkish presidency.

On June 2, the German Parliament adopted a controversial resolution
declaring the tragic events of 1915 a genocide. This politically
motivated decision is unlawful, misguided and ultimately harmful to
the prospect of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.

First of all, it is important to note that the Bundestag's decision
has no legal basis.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 to make sure that
Germany's atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities, in
particular the Holocaust, would not happen again in the future (PDF).

Turkey adopted the convention in 1950 - four years before Germany. The
convention was enforced for the first time in 1998, when the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda sentenced Jean-Paul
Akayesu, a Republican Democratic Movement politician, to life

Nine years later, the International Court of Justice invoked the
Convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro.
Designating the 1915 events as genocide inherently violates the core
legal principle that there can be no penalty without law - "nulla
poena sine lege".

Turkey condemns Germany over 'Armenia genocide' declaration

Historical mistake

The German parliament's decision, furthermore, violates European law.
In Perincek v. Switzerland, the European Court of Human Rights
concluded that it had no authority to determine the status of the 1915
events as genocide under international law (PDF). The Court, moreover,
announced that the issue was open to discussion and a matter of

Turkey's assertion that the resolution has no legal standing was also
shared by Bettina Kudla, a Christian Democrat Union politician from
Leipzig, who voted against the bill on Thursday.

"It's not the duty of the Federal Parliament to evaluate historical
events that took place in other countries," she argued after the vote.

On June 2, the German parliament not only violated the law but also
made a short-sighted and misguided choice.

Turkey's efforts

By recognising the 1915 events as genocide, the German parliament
ignored Turkey's tireless and unprecedented efforts under President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership to bring closure through dialogue to
Turks and Armenians, whose relations remain poisoned by the tragedy.

The first step was taken in April 2005, when President Erdogan sent a
letter to Robert Kocharyan, then president of Armenia, to propose the
formation of a joint history commission to shed light on the 1915

The commission, comprising Turkish and Armenian historians along with
experts from third countries, would study the archives of Turkey,
Armenia and other countries and share their findings with the
international community.

Needless to say, the resolution seriously damaged the Turkish
community's relations with the government of Germany.

Although Turkey raised the issue several times over the past 11 years,
the Armenian government refuses to cooperate.

As a sign of their commitment to working more closely with the
government of Armenia, Turkey initiated talks with Yerevan in 2007.

Two years later, the delegations finalised protocols to restore
diplomatic ties and strengthen bilateral relations.

Even though the Turkish government immediately submitted the documents
to parliament for approval, Armenian leaders have been reluctant to
follow suit.

In April 2010, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan announced on live
television that he had unilaterally suspended the approval process.
Unfortunately, Yerevan remains unwilling to take a giant step forward.

Finally, President Erdogan became the first politician in Turkey's
history to publicly acknowledge the pain Ottoman Armenians had
suffered during World War I, and offered his condolences to their
children and grandchildren.

The statement was issued in multiple languages, including Armenian,
and published on the Turkish prime ministry's official website.
Similar statements were made in 2015 and 2016, but Erdogan's
reconciliatory declarations were flatly rejected by the Armenian

Straining the ties

Under the pretext of promoting peace between Turks and Armenians, the
German Parliament on June 2 conveniently ignored Yerevan's
uncompromising stance and unjustly targeted Turkey, whose leaders
proved time and again their commitment to rapprochement.

By rewarding Armenia's lack of interest in meaningful progress,
Germany made the Caucasus a more dangerous place.

OPINION: Turks, Armenians and the two memories of April 24

The controversial decision, furthermore, places Germany's relations
with Turkey at risk. As a NATO ally, prospective European Union member
and a key member of the international counter-ISIL coalition, the
Turkish government believes cooperation with Germany could be key to
address pressing problems.

In recent months, Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged as a European
leader to broker a deal with Turkey, which put in place a mechanism
for the legal resettlement of Syrian refugees in Europe and
effectively ended the arrival of illegal immigrants in Greek islands.

Unfortunately, the German parliament failed to assume a similar role
in the debate about the 1915 events.

Finally, the German parliament's decision raises questions about
Berlin's commitment to integration and diversity.

On June 2, millions of ethnic Turks, who make valuable contributions
to Germany's political, economic and cultural life, have been unjustly
criminalised by politicians claiming to be their representatives.

Needless to say, the resolution seriously damaged the Turkish
community's relations with the government of Germany.

The controversial resolution adopted by the German parliament showed
yet again that politicising history for the sake of accomplishing
short-term goals does more harm than good. But there is still hope if
the international community unites behind Turkey's plan.

Without further delay, the government of Armenia should accept
Turkey's 2005 offer to form a joint history commission and unfreeze
the approval process of bilateral protocols signed eight years ago.

The children and grandchildren of Ottoman Armenians need Yerevan to
start taking concrete steps to get closure and move forward.

Instead of making false claims about Turkey, the international
community, including Germany, must put pressure on Armenia to proceed
with efforts to resolve a frozen conflict in the Caucasus and redeem

We have no time for the blame game. Millions of people are praying for
lasting peace.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not
necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy. 

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