Saturday, 13 August 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Gabeshian performs 360 on uneven bars!...

Malaysia Sun
Aug 8 2016
Rio Olympics: Armenian gymnast to have skill named after her

Houry Gebeshian, representing Armenia in the Rio Olympics, competed in
the women's gymnastics. Gebeshian performed at the all-around
competition to score 53, 748 points, reports.

She is likely to have a skill named after her on the uneven bars - a
mount that includes a 360 degree turn to get from the low bar to the
high bar - and earning the support of the crowd early on Sunday,
August 7.

However, Gebeshian will leave the big sport after the end of the
Olympics, ANOC press service reports.

"I have a wonderful feeling because I have finally performed at the
Olympic Games. I am very proud and excited to represent Armenia at the
Games. I think I am pleased with my result as I did my best.

Every time after my performance I kiss the apparatus because the
Olympic Games are my last competition. Gymnastics has given much to me
and I am very grateful to it," she said.

At the 31st Summer Olympics, Armenia has three representatives in
gymnastics - Artur Davtyan, Harutyun Merdinyan and Houry Gebeshian.
Current European champion Harutyun Merdinyan has qualified for the
final due on August 14.
Pavel Manukyan: "No country has ever returned any territory

it got in bloody war. Why should we do it now?"
by Tatevik Shahunyan
Monday, August 8, 14:10 

Pavel Manukyan, one of the arrested members of Sasna Tsrer (Daredevils of Sasoun) - a group of Karabakh war veterans that seized a police compound in Yerevan on July 17 demanding among others the resignation of the president, but forced to surrender later - has addressed a letter to the authorities of Armenia through his laywer. 

In his letter, Pavel Manukyan urges the authorities to abandon their personal benefits and join the people. Manukyan says he addresses them as "reasonable people who care for the people." 

"Don't you understand that after ceding the territories around Karabakh, you will cede your chairs too? Are you sure that the conflict will be settled through mutual concessions, and not through the concessions by the Armenian side only? Why should the Armenian side cede the territories it gained in war? The world map has been constantly changing during the history of mankind with various wars. No country has even returned the territories it got in bloody wars. Why should we do it now? " Manukyan asks rhetorically.
Return of Karabakh regions would mark Armenia’s defeat – debate
The Russian-Azerbaijani-Iranian presidential talks in Baku are sure to have their impact also on Armenia, politicians said today, sharing their forecast of the meeting. 

Addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent interview to Azerbaijan’s AZERTAC news agency, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Arman Navasardyan noted that the Russian leader hinted posssible mutual concessions. 

“Putin seems to be referring back to the Helsinki Final Act, which yielded practically no result over 25 years. The problem is in a kind of deadlock; people with common sense are now arriving at the conclusion that territories’ handover is out of the question. That implies being on the brink of extermination,” he noted. 

The diplomat also expressed his concerns over Nagorno-Karabakh’s non-participation in the talks, which he said is a serious omission. 

Aram Sargsyan, the Democratic Party’s leader also attending the news conference, said he is somewhat surprised by Nagorno-Karabakh’s conduct. “Their intervention is necessary at the moment. If the issue is not considered in the legal domain, where our positions are incomparably stronger, we would suffer a real defeat in the legal domain. It is time for [Nagorno-Karabakh President] Bako Sahakyan and the Nagorno-Karabakh parliament to finally speak up,” he added. 

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Food Exports Keep Rising In 2016
August 09, 2016
Ruzanna Gishian
Exports of Armenian fruits and vegetables as well as their purchases
by domestic food-processing companies are continuing to increase
rapidly, a senior Armenian government official said on Tuesday.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Robert Makarian said Armenia has exported
over 85,000 metric tons of fresh agricultural products so far this
year, up by 71 percent compared with the same period in 2015. The
fastest growth was recorded in exports of tomatoes, he told a news

Armenian agricultural exports soared by more than 40 percent, in
monetary terms, to $50 million in the first half of 2016, according to
the National Statistical Service (NSS). The government agency also
reported a 35 percent rise in first-half exports of alcoholic and soft
drinks and prepared foodstuffs, which totaled $180 million.

Armenian exports to Russia, the main market for those products, nearly
doubled to $168 million in January-June.

Makarian predicted a 35 percent surge in the physical volume of fruits
and vegetables that will be purchased by Armenian liquor firms and
canneries from farmers this year. It should reach 98,000 tons, he
said, adding that tomatoes will account for just over half of the

Armenian exports to Russia plummeted by nearly 27 percent in 2015
primarily because of a sharp depreciation of the Russian ruble. With
oil prices beginning to rally in January, the Russian currency has
strengthened against the U.S. dollar this year, translating into more
revenue for Armenian exporters.

The exporters also seem to be capitalizing on Armenia's accession to
the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and a ban on food imports to
Russia from Europe and Turkey.

Despite the increased demand for agricultural products shown by
government figures, scores of farmers from five villages in Armenia's
Armavir province blocked a major highway last week to protest against
what they called a lack of wholesale buyers of their tomatoes.

Some of those farmers said on Tuesday that a number of local canneries
offered to buy their produce after the protest. But they said those
companies are setting extremely low prices or refusing to pay farmers

One villager said he was told that he would not be paid before
December. "Who is going to repay my loans until then?" he complained.

Makarian dismissed the Armavir protest as premature, saying that the
farmers staged it even before their tomatoes were ripe for harvest. He
also said they should agree to be paid in installments because wine
and brandy distilleries and canneries usually suffer from liquidity
shortages in summer and autumn months.

"They must not present that as a tragedy," said the
vice-minister. "Everyone wants to be paid upfront when selling their
produce. But we must take into account our reality."

Some Armenian farmers have still not received payments for grapes sold
to distilleries last year. Aghavnadzor, a village in the wine-growing
Vayots Dzor province, is a case in point.

Haykaz Asatrian, an Aghavnadzor resident, said Vedi Alco, one of
Armenia's largest wine producers and the main buyer of local grapes,
has repeatedly broken its promises to pay the grape farmers. "The
situation is terrible," he told RFE/RL's Armenian service. "We are
sick and tired of false promises."

Markarian downplayed the problem, however, saying that wine and brandy
firms owe only 830 million drams ($1.75 million) to farmers across the
country for last fall's grape purchases worth 31.5 billion drams.
The Guardian: New UK Secretary of State lobbied Azeri interests
August 8, 2016 - 17:53 AMT 

The new UK secretary of state for international trade has enjoyed many benefits from his close relations with the regime in Baku, Nick Cohen says in an opinion article titles “How Liam Fox got into bed with Azerbaijan’s kleptocrats” published by The Guardian. 

The article reads: 

In 2013, Dr Liam Fox – he insists on the “Doctor” – published a book on the challenges of globalisation, which read as if he had dictated into his phone between meetings. Rising Tides was a meandering work. It took a long time to say little and did as abysmally as you would expect. Nielsen International, which monitors book sales, told me the English edition had sold a mere 1,723 copies in the UK and 1,876 copies in the English-speaking foreign markets it watches. (Most were probably in the US, where Dr Fox has a small following in America’s raging right wing.) 

In 2014, Dr Fox received news that he was the beneficiary of a stroke of good fortune. Our new secretary for international trade may be hopelessly unqualified to deal with the dangerous pass he helped bring Britain to by agitating for Brexit, but he can trade on his own account. 

The register of MPs interests shows that the oil-rich dictatorship of Azerbaijan, via its London lobbyists, paid Dr Fox £5,700 for the right to translate Rising Tides into an Azerbaijani Turkish edition. The generosity of Azerbaijan’s rulers did not stop there. On 1 February 2015, the regime flew him and an aide to Istanbul to launch the book and put them up in a luxury hotel. . The cost of the four-day trip was £3,579.94. 

It wasn’t his first overseas promotion. The Azerbaijani press reported that Dr Fox was in Baku in September 2014, where he was received by no less a magnifico than President Ilham Aliyev, the son of President Heydar Aliyev, who seized power in 1993, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and passed control of the state down through the family. 

The Panama Papers showed that the Aliyevs and their accomplices controlled assets worth $490m via offshore accounts. Any citizen who wonders where the money has gone runs a risk. The regime has jailed critics, frozen the bank accounts of opposition groups and strangled free _expression_. I could go on about Dr Fox’s grotesque hypocrisy. He urged the British to leave the EU so we would “be able, through the ballot box, to throw out the lawmakers”. The people of Azerbaijan enjoy no such liberty. In Rising Tides, he sought to defend “the freedom we too often take for granted”. There is no freedom in Azerbaijan, unless it is the freedom of the ruling gangsters to rob and menace with impunity. 

But there is a more pressing question, which once would not have mattered and now goes to the heart of this country’s crisis. Until a few months ago, Dr Fox was “disgraced former defence minister Liam Fox”, a nobody who had been forced to resign after claims he had broken the ministerial code to deliver favours to his friend and a self-styled adviser Adam Werritty. Brexit has brought him back into government. Theresa May has charged him with cutting trade deals with democracies and dictatorships the world over, including dictatorships as corrupt as Azerbaijan. 

Here’s the problem for him and us. Dr Fox wrote a book, whose readers could not fill a non-league football ground. No one else felt the need to translate it into French, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi or any of the world’s other major languages. Only Azerbaijan wanted to give Dr Fox money and buy the rights. Buying books and papers is an old Soviet method of giving support to sympathisers abroad. The Kremlin used to order 6,000 copies a day of the British communist daily, the Morning Star. It was hard in the Cold War to imagine anyone in Moscow wanting to read it, but Moscow found the bulk order a useful way to funnel cash to the dictatorship’s friends. 

By his sins of commission and omission, Fox show himself to be the Azerbaijani dictatorship’s friend. He had a telling exchange with David Lidington, in January 2016, when Lidington was still Cameron’s Europe minister. There was safety and strength in numbers, Lidington told MPs. The 28 states of the EU could “speak together” to promote freedom of _expression_ and the right of “civil society organisations [to] operate free from threats or intimidation”, both of which are noticeable by their absence in Fox’s Azerbaijan. The EU had opposed executions in Saudi Arabia, Lidington continued, and condemned human rights abuses in Azerbaijan. 

Dr Fox spoke up. He dismissed talk of democratic freedoms. He wanted to concentrate on how EU human rights campaigns were wasting “our taxpayers’ money”. We might be able to use it “better ourselves were we not encumbered by this excessive bureaucratic EU cost”. 

I asked Dr Fox whether the money he received was a “reward for your support for the president of Azerbaijan or a normal publishing deal. If the latter, how many copies has the translation sold in Azerbaijan?”A spokesperson for Dr Fox replied: “This was a publishing deal arranged by the publisher for a licence for the translation rights to Dr Fox’s Rising Tides book.” 

He did not say it but this quite clearly was not a normal “publishing deal”. The publishers were not an established company. Rising Tide was the first book published by the European Azerbaijan Society, which purports to be independent. It also paid for his flights and hotels. The regime’s overseas lobbying and propaganda arm is based in expensive offices in Westminster from where it pumps freebies to pliable publishers, PR men and politicians. Nor did the spokesman say how many Azerbaijanis had bought copies of a book that the British reading public had so sensibly ignored. 

Every promise the Brexiters made has proved to be false. The jobs market is in freefall and the Bank of England is taking emergency measures. Far from being the breeze they promised, the difficulties facing Britain in renegotiating its trade relationship with every country in the world appear beyond Whitehall’s capacity to manage. Dr Fox has become a laughing stock for his ignorance of the basic fact that he cannot start arranging trade deals until we have left the EU. But Dr Fox isn’t a joke and this isn’t funny. 

On its own and without the safety of numbers, a Britain desperate for deals will not dare raise human rights concerns with Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, China or anyone else. Dr Fox is a man for our debased times because his record with Azerbaijan shows the international trade secretary would not want to raise them even if he could. Our future is not going to be proud and independent, but grubby and murky and filled with bad deals with worse governments; a future, in short, where the foxes will rule the henhouse. 

(it appears that the assassination of Hrant Dink is now serving
the needs of recent internal Turkish political turmoil,
which probably means that justice will not be served) 

Anadolu Agency (AA), Turkey
August 5, 2016 Friday
FETO linked to 2007 murder of Hrant Dink

Links between the U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen and four
prosecutors investigating the assassination of Turkish Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink have been found.

Dink was murdered in broad daylight in front of his office in Istanbul
on January 19, 2007. He was one of the founders of the bilingual
Turkish-Armenian weekly, Agos, and was considered one of the most
prominent Armenian voices in Turkey.

Istanbul prosecutors Fikret Secen, Cihan Kansiz, Muammer Akkas, and
Mustafa Cavusoglu allegedly made little progress in the case.

On April 20, 2007, Istanbul Public Prosecutors Selim Berna Altay and
Fikret Secen prepared an indictment of over 18 suspects, including
Dink's assassin Ogun Samast.

Ogun Samast, a Turkish man from Trabzon on Turkey’s Black Sea coast,
was jailed for 23 years in connection with the murder in 2011. Samast,
who was aged 17 at the time of the killing, claimed he killed Dink for
"insulting Turkishness".

Istanbul High Criminal Court had accepted the indictment. However, the
indictment was criticized since it only focused on Samast and could
not reach the main perpetrators responsible for Dink's murder.

After Secen was appointed as Istanbul deputy chief public prosecutor,
the case was sent to another prosecutor Cihan Kansiz. Soon after
Kansiz was also appointed to the same position and later the case was
transferred to another prosecutor Cavusoglu. Later, Akkas was made in
charge of the case, which he investigated for three years. However, he
only heard two suspects, Ogun Samast and Erhan Tuncel.

In 2013, Akkas was dismissed from duty following a graft probe when
some prosecutors accused family members of several ministers of
bribery, corruption, and fraud.

The investigation into Dink's murder gained another dimension when
Yusuf Hakki Dogan took over the case in 2014. Dogan firstly questioned
the personnel in public institutions.

The same year in July, Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled the murder
case had been an "ineffective investigation".

Following Dogan getting elected to the apex court, the case was
assigned to Gokalp Kokcu, a prosecutor at Istanbul’s Anti-Terrorism
and Organized Crimes Unit.

In December 2015, an indictment linked to the 2007 murder called for
the prosecution of 26 people on charges of "establishing an armed
organization" and "neglecting their duties".

The indictment, which had been rejected twice before due to an
apparent lack of information, called for life sentences be handed down
to Ramazan Akyurek, a former head of Turkey's police intelligence, as
well as Cosgun Cakar and Ali Fuat Yilmazer, both senior police
intelligence officers. The three have been accused of intentionally
causing Dink’s death and forming an "armed organization".

The prosecutor also expanded the case to the gendarmerie in light of
new evidence.

As part of the investigation, 27 suspects were held, while two
gendarme officers, Abdullah Dinc and Yusuf Bozca, were arrested and
remanded on July 3.

In his testimony to the police, Bozca said: “The Dink assassination
was organized by members of FETO/parallel state structure and his
murder then formed the basis of the [July 15] coup attempt.

“When we look at the period we have come through since 2007, the basis
of the July 15 coup attempt was laid in this murder.”

He blamed Captain Muharrem Demirkale and his supporters in the Turkish
army for being allegedly involved in the assassination.

The three prosecutors, Secen, Kansiz, and Akkas remain at large and
have been suspended by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors,
also known HSYK, while Cavusoglu is retired and waiting to stand

They are all suspected of having links to Fetullah Terrorist
Organization, or FETO, which Turkish state accuses of being behind the
deadly July 15 coup attempt.

*Reporting by Hani̇fe Sevi̇nc and Si̇bel Kurtoglu; Writing by Ayse
Humeyra Atilgan,Burcu Arik 

Philos Project
Aug 8 2016
August 8, 2016 

Following the failed coup of July 15, the Turkish government has begun a brutal crackdown on people who it claims have ties with the movement of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric living in Pennsylvania whom the government accuses of organizing the attempted coup. 

This scale of arrests and governmental pressures might be new to Muslim Turks, but Armenians – the victims of Turkish racism for all seasons – are being targeted again. 

The newspaper Agos covered the latest rights abuses against Armenians: 

Armenian trainer fired under the cover of “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” 
As part of the purge that was started after the coup attempt, Ari Hergel, who was working as a guitar teacher in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Art and Vocational Training Courses, has been fired from his job. 

Hergel said that he was informed about the issue via a phone message on July 22. 

“In the message they sent me, it was written that I have some kind of a relation with Fethullah Gulen,” Hergel said, “however, I couldn’t find out what are the grounds of this assumption. There is no information or document indicating such a relationship.” 

Hergel added that many other people have been fired for the same reason: “When I went to get the original copy of the notice, I came across many coworkers who have received the same notice,” he said. “People were trying to explain themselves and writing petitions.” 

Armenian doctor’s fertility center closed down as part of state of emergency 
The Istanbul Fertility Center, founded and directed by the Armenian surgeon Aret Kamar, was seized and closed down on July 25. The reason was the center’s alleged support to the “Gulenist terrorist organization.” 

Kamar said that he is an Armenian and Christian and has nothing to do with Gulen: 

“We have absolutely no connection with that organization,” he said. “However, since our center is closed down by the decision of cabinet, we cannot take any legal action. 

“Our center was closed down due to a single report from the intelligence service. They confiscated the properties and medical equipment. They left nothing. They took the cash in the center. They did all this without any investigation. They came on Saturday morning and completed the process by midnight.” 

The center had been operating for 11 years and treated an average of 200 patients per day, Kamar said. “They took confidential records of 40,000 patients and this was the saddest part. They don’t have the right. Also, they transferred the embryos to Koc University.” 

Armenian with French nationality deported due to speaking Turkish 
Richard Demirci, a businessman who has been conducting trade between Turkey and France for years, was detained and then deported on July 31 for “speaking Turkish even though he is Armenian.” 

Demirci was born in Turkey’s Siirt Province in the Sason region, part of the historical Armenian Highland. 

Agos reported, “Speaking to the police during the ID check at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, Richard Demirci said that he was an Armenian from France and he ended up being deported. Police officers asked, ‘You speak Turkish. How come you are not Turkish?’ 

“As a result of the dialog between Demirci and the police officers, Demirci was kept in the airport and then taken to the Foreigners’ Department in Kumkapı.” 

Demirci has been prohibited from entering Turkey due to an exclusion order. 

Murad Mihci, an activist with the Armenian Nor Zartonk Association in Turkey, said that Demirci was exposed to verbal attacks and insults while in detention. “They insulted him for being Armenian and accused him of working for the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party]. He will be brought to court for having ties with a ‘terrorist organization.’” 

Armenian journalist taken to police station and had his passport seized 
Hayko Bağdat, an Armenian journalist born in Turkey, had his passport seized by Turkish police after he arrived from Greece at the Istanbul airport on Aug. 6. Bağdat announced the incident on his Twitter account, writing, “My passport has been seized and I have been taken to the police station upon entering the airport. There is no ruling for detention. So, for a while, do not tell me to ‘go speak in another country,’ for it is now impossible.” 

It is said that many other journalists will also be exposed to the same treatment. Bağdat the online newspaper Diken, “For what other journalists have such rulings been given, who will be detained or whose passports will be seized? This is not just my problem only. It is said that such decisions have been made for thousands of journalists.” 

Wealth Tax: How Non-Muslims of Anatolia Were Eliminated from the Economy 
The current population of Turkey is about 80 million, but Christians and Jews only compromise 0.2 percent of it. And this unnatural decline of population took place not only as a result of mass slaughters and forced expulsions, but also as a result of several economic pressures against the country’s non-Muslim citizens. 

The current rights violations against Armenian workers, employers or businesses − including unjust dismissals, arrests and seizures of properties − are reminiscent of what the non-Muslim communities in Turkey went through during the period of “the Wealth Tax Law.” 

On Nov. 11, 1942, the government of the non-Islamist Republican People’s Party (CHP), led by the then-prime minister Sukru Saracoglu, enacted the Wealth Tax Law. 

The stated aim, wrote scholar Basak Ince, “was to tax previously untaxed commercial wealth and to rein in the inflationary spiral of World War II. However, the underlying reason was the elimination of minorities from the economy, and the replacement of the non-Muslim bourgeoisie by its Turkish counterpart.” 

The Wealth Tax Law divided the taxpayers in four groups, as per their religious backgrounds: 

    1. Muslims 
    2. Non-Muslims 
    3. Converts (“donme”), i.e. members of a Sabbatean sect of Jewish converts to Islam 
    4. Foreign nationals 

Only 4.94 percent of Turkish Muslims had to pay the Wealth Tax. The Armenians were the most heavily taxed. 

Turkish researcher Ridvan Akar, who wrote a book about the injustices of the Wealth Tax Law, referred to the wealth tax as “economic genocide against minorities.” 

“The way in which the law was applied was scandalous,” wrote Ince, an assistant professor of political science. “Converts paid about twice as much as Muslims, while non-Muslims ended up paying up to 10 times as much. In addition, non-Muslims were required to pay their taxes in cash within 15 days; as a result, they had to sell their businesses or property to Muslim businessmen at low prices to cover the bill. The law was also applied to the many poor non-Muslims (numbering 26,000), such as drivers, workers and even beggars, whereas their Muslim counterparts were not obliged to pay any tax.” 

Those who could not pay the taxes were sent to labor camps or deported, or their properties were seized by the government. 

The labor camp was at Askale, near Erzurum, which the author the author Sidney Nowill described as “an area cooler than Moscow in the winter.” The tax debtors were put to work breaking stones, but the tragedy did not end there. 

“Out of 40,000 tax debtors,” Ince wrote, “about 5,000 were sent to these camps, and all of these were members of non-Muslim communities. Unfortunately, 21 people died in these camps and the government usurped their wealth and sold it to Turkish Muslims at low prices.” 

The government also confiscated the property of the tax debtors’ close relatives, even if the persons had been sent into labor service. 

In her book “ Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust ,” historian Corry Guttstadt wrote about the financial and psychological ruin the Wealth Tax inflicted on the non-Muslim citizens of Turkey: 

“People who were unable to pay were granted a two-week extension on request, but interest was charged for this period. Many families were forced to sell their shops and businesses, their houses, even their carpets, furniture, and other household articles, to raise the tax money. Some people committed suicide in despair. The extraordinary tax was also levied on foreign Jews, and if they were in no position to pay, their property was confiscated down to the beds and cupboards. 

“Although the law stipulated that people over 55 years old were exempt from labor service, 75- and 80-year-old men and even sick people were dragged to the train station and deported.” 

Then-prime minister Saracoglu said, referring to the Wealth Tax Law, “This way, we’ll break the foreigners’ tight grip over our market and put Turkish money into the hands of Turks.” 

The Economic, Political and Cultural Consequences 
According to Ince, “The Wealth Tax is a key link in the Turkification chain. Due to the law, most non-Muslim merchants sold their properties and vanished from the markets. The lasting damage ensured that many wary members of minorities did not want to invest in Turkey, or else they emigrated after this period. 

“Most non-Muslims simply left. In 1938-40, approximately 30,000 Jewish citizens left Turkey. The Wealth Tax once more demonstrated that being Muslim constituted a significant part of the definition of citizenship in Turkey.” 

The Wealth Tax was repealed in March 1944, under the pressure of criticism from Britain and the United States. 

Seventy-one years later, on Dec. 27, 2015, Sezgin Tanrikulu, an MP from the CHP, presented a proposal to Turkey’s parliament, which stated that “the right to Turkish citizenship should be granted to all of the people and their relatives up to fourth degree who have been exposed to deportation, forced immigration or who have been stripped of their citizenship inside the geography that constitutes the current territories of the Turkish Republic, from Oct. 29, 1914, when the First World War started – up to today.” 

The proposal was intended for the victims and descendants of the 1915 Armenian genocide , the “Citizen Speak Turkish” Campaign of 1930s, 1934 anti-Jewish pogrom in eastern Thrace, the 1941-1942 conscription of “ the twenty classes ” (an attempt to conscript all male non-Muslim populations, including the elderly and mentally ill, during World War II), the Wealth Tax, the anti-Greek pogrom of Sept. 6-7, 1955 in Istanbul, the forced expulsion of Greeks in 1964, and the Kurdish citizens who have been victimized by the war in Turkish Kurdistan, euphemistically referred to as southeastern Turkey. 

This might be a well-intentioned, humanitarian proposal, but how could the victims or their descendants return to their historic lands when the regime there still oppresses minority members in a systematic manner? 

A government representative has also made a similar call to the non-Muslim victims of the Turkish regime. At the opening ceremony of the Edirne Synagogue on March 26, 2015, Bulent Arinc, then-deputy prime minister, called out to the citizens of Turkey who have had to flee Turkey: “If you want to come here – if you want to live in Turkey – there are 78 million people who would welcome you with open arms.” 

With open arms? Such as by seizing their passports or businesses, arresting and deporting them, or unjustly firing them from their jobs? Or by even murdering them? Like the private Sevag Balikci, an Armenian citizen of Turkey who was shot to death during his compulsory military service in the Turkish army on April 24, 2011, the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. 

Why should Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Jews, Kurds and other natives of Anatolia return when the only thing that awaits them on their ancient homeland is discrimination by a hostile government and public on a daily basis? 

The pre-AKP period of Turkey is widely praised by many analysts in the West who claim that Turkey was a democratic, secular country where minority groups were not repressed. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

It was the so-called “secular” CHP, for example, that imposed this “ jizya – kafir (infidel) tax” on Turkey’s non-Muslim citizens. 

Until the AK Party came to power in 2002, nearly all non-Muslim citizens of Turkey had either been slaughtered, deported or had to flee Turkey for their lives. 

Millions of non-Muslims and non-Turks have been punished and victimized by the Turkish regime for the reason of being non-Muslim and non-Turkish. Even if they were fully assimilated, they were never considered equal citizens. 

Since the establishment of the country in 1923, the founders and ideologues of Turkey have propagated a chauvinistic and racist mindset that revealed itself through the slogan “Turkey is exclusively for the Turks.” All succeeding governments have consciously attempted to make this slogan a reality, turning the lives of minorities into hell on earth. The current discriminatory policies of the ruling AK Party government against non-Muslims are just a continuation of this xenophobic mentality.

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