Thursday, 30 April 2015

Armenian News over UK Government policy!... POLITICS!... SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW!....

This describes the UK's continuing strenuous efforts not to offend Turkey (which has been redacted out) and to avoid the key issues.

A complete disgrace.

Latest Policy document from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

To: [redacted] From: [redacted]
PS / Minister for Europe Date: 8 November 2013
Ahead of the Centenary of the Armenian Massacres in 2015,
  • -  should HMG change its current policy of non-recognition of the massacres as genocide?, and
  • -  how should HMG be involved in centenary commemoration events?

    We recommend that we maintain our current policy on non-recognition of the massacres as genocide but take a forward leaning stance on HMG participation in centenary commemoration events in April 2015.

    I agree. There are strong arguments for maintaining a consistent HMG line that it is for courts, not governments, to decide what constitutes genocide, and this needs to dictate our approach on recognition. But we should ensure that this is not mis-read as lack of recognition (in the wider sense) of the appalling events of 1915-16. It would be right to participate more actively in 2015 centenary events, as well as continue efforts to promote reconciliation. [redacted]
  1. Between 1915 and 1916, an estimated 1 to 1.5 million ethnic Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire were killed during deportations to the Syrian desert. The massacres began with the rounding up and killing of leading figures in the Armenian community in Istanbul on 24 April 1915. Since then Armenians consider this day as genocide commemoration day. Many Armenians were massacred by Ottoman soldiers or irregulars en route; others were victims of criminal acts, starvation and disease. A number of other minorities also suffered. Since the 1960s and the 50th anniversary of the tragedy there has been a growing lobbying effort by the Armenian diaspora (not only in the US but also in France although less stridently in Britain) to gain recognition that the actions of the Ottoman Empire constituted „genocide‟.

  2. While a few historians disagree on the scale of the deaths, there is no disagreement amongst the majority that there were significant and systematic massacres and other crimes directed towards Armenians before, during and after 1915-16. We (and France and Russia) described the events as a “crime against humanity” in a joint declaration in May 1915.

  3. [redacted]
  4. [redacted]

  5. In 2009, the Armenian Centre in London instructed Geoffrey Robertson QC to review all legal and factual issues surrounding the events of 1915-16 to assess whether the evidence met the definition of genocide as set out by the UN convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948 (1948 Convention). He concluded that it did, and that if the same events happened today, „there can be no doubt that the Genocide convention would be engaged and would require prosecutions for that crime as well as for crimes against humanity‟. Further, following disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of advice given by FCO officials to ministers on those events, he states “[FCO] advice reflects neither the law on genocide nor the demonstrable facts of the massacres in 1915-16, and has been calculated to mislead parliament into believing that there has been an assessment of evidence and an exercise of judgement on that evidence.”

  6. Geoffrey Robertson‟s Opinion raised important questions about the basis on which the FCO and HMG had justified publicly the position of non-recognition (in particular suggestions that we had reached our position because of lack of sufficient evidence that the events constituted genocide) and highlighted the recent ICJ, ICTY and ICTR judgements in the aftermath of massacres in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda which had further clarified our modern understanding of genocide. This led to a change in public line. In the context of the 2009 Turkey/Armenia protocols, which were meant (but have so far failed) to lead to a restoration of diplomatic relations and a joint committee to examine „historical issues‟, our public line (Ref A) now focuses on making clear our understanding of the scale of the tragedy and affirming the role of HMG in supporting these two countries in addressing their common history. [redacted]

  7. EECAD last submitted on this issue in June 2010. The Minister agreed to continue HMG‟s policy of non-recognition.
Argument and Options

8. April 2015 will mark the start of the centenary of the massacres, and is likely to see a concerted effort by the Armenian Government and diaspora groups to apply pressure to governments who have not recognised the massacres as genocide to do so. The diaspora in the UK and their supporters, including parliamentarians and members of the public, lobby us on an ad hoc basis. This is likely to grow into a coordinated campaign in the next 18 months. Related to this, the Prime Minister has just announced that he will be chairing a multi-faith Commission to ensure the UK has a fitting and permanent memorial to the Holocaust. This is due to report in early 2015. The Armenian diaspora may seek to include genocide recognition as part of this.
  1. In this context, it is important to reflect on whether HMG‟s policy of non-recognition remains the correct one. In the past twenty years a number of key factors have changed:
    •   the development of a considerable body of respected scholarship on genocide studies and on the massacres in particular.
    •   the development of a body of legal case law around the crimes in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda which have further clarified what can constitute genocide (eg, Srebrenica ).
    •   an increasing number of national and regional parliaments passing resolutions or opinions recognising the genocide, including the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament.
    •   an increasing debate within Turkey on its history and awareness of the importance of the Armenian role in it

  2. Set against this, the UK‟s policy on recognition of genocides has recently been reviewed by Ministers, in reaction to Parliament‟s call for the gassing of the Iraqi Kurds in 1988 (as part of the “Anfal” campaign) to be designated as genocide. HMG has not done so and has taken the public line that genocide is now a crime and that it is for courts and not governments to decide on whether genocide has occurred. The UK therefore recognises as genocide only those events that have been found so by international courts (eg, Holocaust, Srebrenica, Rwanda).

  3. Furthermore, HMG policy is that international law is not retroactive. [redacted]

  4. It should also be noted that the 1948 Convention does not contain any provisions which expressly provide for its retroactive application, nor any implicit suggestion of retroactive application. However, supporters of recognition would argue that the preamble (“recognising that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity”) provide grounds for intellectually accepting that events which took place before the Convention was concluded can be seen as genocide, even if the Convention itself is not retrospectively applied. This does not, however, affect HMG‟s wider position on genocide recognition.
    Option 1 – No change in recognition policy, but take a forward leaning stance on HMG participation in centenary commemoration events in April 2015 (recommended).

  5. While there is likely to be increased pressure on HMG, we recommend maintaining our current policy of non-recognition. This would maintain consistency with wider HMG policy that the recognition of genocides is for courts not governments. It would also support our position on retroactivity of international law. This approach would remain defensible, albeit contentious, with the UK diaspora and some elements of the media.

  6. We may face a letter writing campaign and an increase in PQs or MP letters. There is also likely to be a corresponding increase in motions in the Devolved Administrations and some Council Boroughs recognising or re-affirming the events of 1915-16 as genocide.

  7. While maintaining our policy, we further recommend changing our stance on participation in centenary commemorative events. [redacted] We believe a more forward-leaning stance that makes clear our understanding of 1915 and desire to commemorate the memory of the victims is appropriate for the centenary events. This would build on the Minister‟s visit to the Genocide Memorial in September 2012 and align with our longer term aim of promoting openness and debate, and ultimately reconciliation, between the peoples of Armenia and Turkey. [redacted]

  8. [redacted]
  9. [redacted]
  10. [redacted]
  1. [redacted]
  2. [redacted]

    Option 2 – Recognise massacres as genocide
  3. Given the wide body of evidence available about the appalling events of 1915 – 16; our own judgement at the time that they constituted a “crime against humanity”, and the scope which the preamble to the 1948 convention provides to recognise (at least in a political sense) historical instances of genocide, [redacted] A change of policy would be received positively by both the Armenian government and the UK diaspora, and would put us in the company of the 20 countries, including France, Italy, Canada and Russia, and many other national and regional parliaments, who have already recognised the massacres as genocide.
  4. However, this would be a significant and far-reaching change in HMG policy. [redacted]
  5. And, beyond creating goodwill in Armenia and among their supporters, a decision to recognise the massacres is unlikely to result in tangible progress in HMG conflict resolution or other goals in the region.
  6. [redacted]
  7. [redacted]
  8. [redacted]
Agreement and/or dissent

27. BEs Yerevan and Ankara, EUD-E, IOD, HRDD and Legal Advisers agree. Eastern, EUD and Multilateral Research Groups have been consulted.
  1. [redacted]
  2. [redacted]
  3. We have been told by leading members of the UK diaspora that they may instruct Geoffrey Robinson QC again before 2015 to write a new report on HMG‟s recognition policy. As currently understood, the purpose would be to challenge the view that it was impossible to recognise the Armenian massacres as genocide because they had taken place before the adoption of the 1948 Convention. Any such report would raise the profile of the issue and of HMG‟s stance further, but we believe this would be manageable.

31. There are no direct budgetary resource implications, although additional staff time will be required in order to intensify relationships with diaspora groups, draft replies to letters, etc.
Implementation and evaluation 32. [redacted]
cc list:
PS/Political Director
Judith Gough, Director, EECAD Jonathan Aves, HMA Yerevan Irfan Siddiq, HMA Baku [redacted]

Attachments list: Annex A – HMG Public Lines on Armenian Massacres 

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Finborough Theatre...21st April - 16 May 2015

These performances continue to 16 May.

See attachment.

Prices increase on 5 May.

Online booking:
Telephone booking: 0844 847 1652

Finborough Theatre 150430.jpeg

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Ecumenical Service of Commemoration 

Saturday 2nd May
at 2.00 pm

with guest speakers, Armenian sacred music, and Armenian refreshments afterwards

St Mary’s Church, South Woodford
207 High Road South Woodford London E18 2PA
Nearest tube station – South Woodford

All Welcome

REMINDER: Centenary Concert on 3 May 2015

Tickets are available at £48 £40 £31 £25 £20 £15 £12 £9 and can be booked through the Philharmonia Orchestra Box Office on FREEPHONE 0800 652 6717
(Mon-Fri from 9.30am) or online at**.
(Transaction fees apply: phone £2.75; online £1.75)
** A certain number of tickets have been set aside and will be available to members of the community at a 50% Discount.  When booking online,
 write at the appropriate place during ordering the Discount/Promo/Concession Code:  ARMENIA50%   =  Only available for a certain number of tickets.  Once depleted, the discount code will no longer produce a discount.

Armenian News A Topalian...

Video of BBC News Feature on Armenian Genocide 

TV News Feature on Irish TV 

Learn why the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust will never learn

all the lessons of the Holocaust, which is supposed to be its primary 
Read the last paragraph to its 24 April entry where it admits that it 
has to follow government policy. 

Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America
April 24 , 2015 

“We are deeply disappointed President Obama has chosen to break his promise and stand apart from the global community on speaking the truth about the Armenian Genocide on its 100th Anniversary.

From Pope Francis and Germany to Israeli President Rivlin and the European Parliament, world leaders joined together this month to call the Armenian Genocide by its proper name: a genocide. Sadly, the President again joined the ranks of American leaders who turn a blind eye to genocide for political expediency.

Most troubling, President Obama’s explicit and forceful promise in 2008 to call the Armenian Genocide a “genocide,” stands in striking contrast to his refusal to use the term. The American descendants of the 1.5 million Armenians systematically murdered by Ottoman Turkey 100 years ago deserve better leadership from their President. There can be no doubt that when history looks back on President Obama’s legacy, this broken promise and his failure to stand for truth and justice will reflect poorly.

This April 24th is not the end of this cause, but the start of a new chapter. From New York to California and everywhere in between, it is clear that Turkey is losing its war on the truth. It will soon have to confront its past and do right by the descendants of the survivors. As Martin Luther King once remarked, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Some day soon, our ancestors will be remembered with the dignity and respect they deserve. Never Forget 1915.”

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
Armenian Catholic Eparchy of United States & Canada
Armenian Evangelical Union of North America
Armenian Missionary Association of America
Armenia Fund USA, Inc.
Armenian Assembly of America
Armenian Democratic Liberal Party
Armenian General Benevolent Union
Armenian National Committee of America
Armenian Relief Society
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Knights & Daughters of Vartan
Social Democratic Hunchakian Party
Armenian Bar Association
Armenian Network of America, Inc.
Armenian Youth Federation
AGBU Young Professionals
Armenian Church Youth Organization of America
Armenian Students Association 

[there is a significant error in this report. Since the dissolution of
Parliament, Mr Whittendale is not at present an MP. Hence he 
should never be regarded as a legitimate representative of the 
UK government. Contrast this with the heads of state who attended the commemorations in Yerevan representing the other two 
signatories of the May 1915 statement that coined for the first time 
the term 'crimes agains humanity']

John Whittingdale, member of UK Parliament and Chair of All-Party
British-Armenian Parliamentary Friendship Group was representing UK at
the commemorations of the Armenian Genocide Centennial in Yerevan. In
an interview withArmenian News-NEWS.amagency Mr. Whittingdale spoke
about his visit and UK's position on the Armenian Genocide.

Why are you the only representative of the British parliament in
Armenia on April 24?

I chair the UK-Armenia group in the parliament, so I have been to
Armenia four times already. My first visit took place with Baroness Cox
who is well known in Armenia. We appear in the middle of the British
general election campaign and we have national elections in two weeks,
but I was able to take two days off my election campaign in order
to come to Yerevan. I think it is very important that somebody from
the British government should be here to represent Britain. But it
has been difficult time, not for Armenia, but because it happened to
coincide with what is the most unpredictable elections that Britain
has had for a long time.

Prince Charles headed delegation to mark the 100th anniversary of
the Battle of Gallipoli. How would you comment on this?

I have a very simple answer on this. The Gallipoli was a battle when
Britain has lost 35,000 soldiers. So, there are a lot of people in
Britain who have close relatives who died, and they care much about

However, Prince Charles, I know, has a very strong sympathy and
affection for Armenia. None of us would want the two events to happen
at the same time. And because the British people lost a lot of lives,
he should be there, but Prince Charles has huge sympathy for the
Armenian people.

The European Parliament has recently adopted resolution on the Armenian
Genocide. When UK make take such a step?

I visited memorial [Armenian Genocide Memorial] and museum in Yerevan.
In my mind, the evidence is so strong that it was a horrifying
crime and attempt to exterminate people. In terms of most people,
if they look at what happened, it clearly was genocide. I think it
is important that countries do recognize that.

How does the British society perceive the fact that the genocide is
not recognized?

For most people in Britain knowledge of what happened is much less
than about the World War II. The theme has some coverage in the
British newspapers, broadcast media. But it is not something to be
taught in the British school books during history lessons, because
Britain was not much involved. I hope that one of the consequences
of the commemoration ceremonies of the centenary will be to bring
awareness, to educate people about what happened, and the remarks of
Pope would help.

Turkey refuses to name mass killings of Armenians as genocide. What
is your opinion on Turkey's stance?

I am not a spokesman for the government. My own view is that it
would benefit relations between Armenia and Turkey, and it will
help Turkey actually to acknowledge what happened in the same way
as Germany acknowledged what it committed in the past. No one is
suggesting that the present Turkish government is responsible for
the historical event. I personally would like to see it accepted that
this was a genocide. What I think my government would like to see is
normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

I do not think Turkey will suffer if it accepted what has happened,
the same way as Germany accepted the crimes during the World War II.

No one thinks that the present German government is responsible
for that.

It is truth, truth is important. Once you discover truth, you can put
it behind you, learn lessons from it. It is the first step to prevent
that such events, that took place against Armenians and the Holocaust,
would not happen again. 
The genocide that took place 100 years ago and has been 
airbrushed from history 
by Martin Shipton 
24 April 2015 

Perhaps it’s not so strange that the Turkish Government is so reluctant to describe what happened on its territory 100 years ago as genocide. 

After all, there remain plenty of people who to this day deny the Jewish Holocaust during World War Two, despite the overwhelming evidence that it happened. 

And it’s no surprise that Hitler himself said weeks before the outbreak of war in 1939: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” 

In his new book – the second he has written about Armenia – Canon Patrick Thomas, the Vicar of Carmarthen, clearly sets out the facts of what happened to the Armenian community in Turkey in 1915. 

Earlier this month Pope Francis acknowledged the killing of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, but despite promising to do so during his presidency, Barack Obama will not do so for fear up upsetting Turkey at a time of continuing tension in the Middle East. 

Using a huge amount of source material, Dr Thomas tells the often gruesome story of how a whole community was targeted for extermination by those who took control of Turkey as the Ottoman Empire collapsed. 

What had been a multicultural society where people of different faiths lived harmoniously together was turned within a short space of time into one where a significant ethnic minority was seen as fair game for slaughter. Brutal torture 

In his book, Dr Thomas writes: “April 24, 1915 is remembered as the date on which the genocide began to be implemented. 

The Armenian community in Constantinople was effectively “beheaded” by the sudden arrest of its cultural, political and intellectual leaders, who were deported into the interior. 

Only a tiny handful of them survived. 

In many other centres leading Armenians were rounded up, brutally tortured and killed. 

“A ‘special organisation’ of criminals (including many convicted murderers) had been recruited from the prisons. 

"They were sent to the provinces to enforce the deportation of Armenians, with the assistance of Kurdish irregulars. 

"In the Armenian heartland these deportations usually followed a set pattern. 

"The remaining men would be rounded up, taken away and massacred. Ashes sifted 

"The women and children were sent on death marches towards the Syrian desert. Many were gang-raped, some were abducted or trafficked, while others were left to die of exhaustion or starvation at the side of the road. 

“Pregnant women had the babies ripped from their wombs. 

"Those suspected of swallowing gold coins were sometimes set on fire. 

"Their ashes were later sifted by those looking for loot. 

"In Trebizond boatloads of Armenians were taken out and drowned in the Black Sea. Few survived the death marches. 

"A later phase was of deportation by rail of Armenians from western Turkey, crammed into cattle trucks. Insanitary transit camps were set up, where many perished from disease. 

"Those who reached the concentration camps in northern Syria were later brutally eliminated. 'Overwhelming' evidence 

"In a few places Armenians refused to hand in their arms and attempted resistance, only to be overwhelmed and slaughtered. 

“At Musa Dagh on the Mediterranean coast, however, a courageous band of Armenian villagers held off a Turkish attack during a lengthy siege, and were eventually rescued by French naval vessels. 

"The penalty for a Turk found sheltering an Armenian was death by hanging. Nevertheless some Turks and Kurds did take the risk of helping their Armenian neighbours. 

"Those brave officials who refused to implement their government’s genocidal plans were almost all either removed or assassinated.” 

Dr Thomas asserts that evidence for the Armenian genocide is overwhelming. 

It comes from eye-witness accounts by survivors, accounts of the trials of some of the perpetrators that took place immediately after the end of the war, reports by missionaries, diplomats and foreign soldiers and railway officials working alongside the Turks. Parallels with Jews of Germany 

Although attempts were made to ensure that no photographic evidence would survive, horrified observers like the German medical orderly Armin Wegner managed to smuggle out pictures of some of the atrocities. 

Perhaps the most damning evidence of all is the fact that those areas of western Turkey which were the homeland of Armenians for thousands of years now form an Armenia without Armenians. 

Seeking to explain why Armenians became the object of such hatred, Dr Thomas explains how resentment had developed against their material and professional success. 

By the late 18th century a group of wealthy Armenian magnates were regarded as valuable servants of the Sultan. In the century that followed they often fulfilled state functions as financiers, large-scale manufacturers and administrators. 

A middle class of Armenian merchants and entrepreneurs developed, not only in the capital, but also in many other urban centres. Armenians became teachers, doctors, dentists and pharmacists. 

Armenian artisans played a crucial role in the life of virtually every community. Their increasing prosperity made Armenians the subject of suspicion and envy from some other sections of Ottoman society. The parallels with the Jews of Germany are obvious. 

Today 100 candles will be lit in Cardiff in memory of the Armenians who died in their genocide. 

Remembering The Armenian Genocide by Patrick Thomas is published by Carreg Gwalch at £8.50 

A date for your diary: 

The Armenian Genocide: Coming to Terms with Justice, History and Memory 

Friday 15 May 2015
Committee Room 3, Hendon Town Hall, the Burroughs, NW4 4AX 

This event is free to attend, but places must be booked via Eventbrite: 

Time: 10:00 Registration, 10:30 Start, 17:30 Expected end time 

This conference is organised by the School of Law at Middlesex University London to commemorate the centenary of the crimes committed against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Among those participating in the conference are Professor William Schabas, Ara Safarian, Ece Temelkuran, Professor Laurent Pech, Payam Akhavan and Dr. Tunç Aybak. The gathering will consider the concept of genocide from a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective and discuss the political and legal aspects of the crimes committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during WWI. 


10:00-10:30: Arrival and Registration 
10:30-10:45: Welcoming remarks by Professor Joshua Castellino, Dean of the School of Law 

Session One 10:45-12:30 

Chair: Joshua Castellino , Dean, Professor of Law, Middlesex University London 

William Schabas , Professor of International Law, Middlesex University London 

Laurent Pech , Professor of European Law, Head of the Law and Politics Department and 

Jean Monnet Chair of EU Public Law, Middlesex University London 

Payam Akhavan , Professor of Law, McGill University 

Lunch 12:30-13:30 

Session Two 13:30-15:30 

Chair: Dr. Mehmet Ali Dikerdem , Programme Leader in Professional Doctorates 

Ara Safarian , The Director of the Gomidas Institute, London 

Ece Temelkuran , Author of Deep Mountain Across the Divide Between Turkish-Armenian Diasporas (Verso, 2010) 

Dr. Tunç Aybak , Programme Leader in International Politics and Law, Middlesex University London 

Refreshments 15:30-15:45 

Documentary Film Screening 15:45-17:15 

1915 Aghet

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 630 28 April 2015 BLACK EUROPE


‘If you don’t stop, I will turn Europe black!’ So did the late Muammar Qaddafi threaten while NATO was raining bombs on Libya. Same menace the Colonel had intimated in 2010 before the war. Five billion euros a year from the EU to stop African immigrants, he had demanded: ‘Else, Europe will be become black…it will change’.

Qaddafi was wrong, as well as implicitly racist. Because Europe is already black. (Well, in part.) Look at the population of European big cities, even the provinces, and this truth will jump out at you. The question is: if Europe gradually turns even more African-looking, should it matter? And to whom?

Qaddafi obviously thought it did - to Europeans. White skins and black skins do not go together, the defunct dictator assumed. Do I dare suggest he was displaying his own dark side? Because anti-black colour prejudice exists amongst Arabs, too. Consider a large Middle-East nation, Egypt. A minority of its people are Nubians. Remnants of an ancient, proud civilisation which graced ancient Egypt with quite a few Pharaohs. Today Nubians are a marginalised and discriminated minority, easily picked out by their ebony-black skin. In Cairo they often do the lowlier jobs. In my days there I knew a Nubian caretaker called Uthman. ‘No light-skinned Egyptian girl will marry me, I am too black’ he bemoaned. Maybe it was all in his mind, maybe not.

It is tricky: Anwar Sadat’s marked African features, denoting a Nubian origin, did not prevent him from becoming President of Egypt - with a wife of English extraction. Yet it is well-known how Sadat was embarrassed by his looks and tried to pretend he had no Nubian blood. Inferiority complex again – or maybe more?

(Come to think of it, most Saudi princes also display a distressingly light skin… A streak of racism?)

True, some Europeans dislike their continent being Africanised – although hardly anyone likes to admit it. But God’s Church cannot agree. At the end of St Matthew’s Gospel Christ commands his disciple: ‘Go and baptise all nations!’ (He did not say ‘white nations’, did he?) Indeed, just after the Resurrection among the first to be baptised was a black man, an Ethiopian eunuch, the Acts of the Apostles relate. Therefore skin-colour is theologically irrelevant.

Christian art bears witness to the inclusivity of the Church. Representations of the Magi coming to worship the child Jesus often show one of three Kings as black, as each stands for mankind’s major races. Rubens’ splendid ‘Adoration of the Magi’ is a case in point: one of the Kings looks unmistakeably like a Moor.

Apologists for slavery have sometimes cited Genesis 9:22-25. It spells a curse on one of Noah’s sons, Ham, the father of Canaan. Sometimes interpreted as the forefather of the black race: ‘A slave of slaves shall he be unto his brothers’. Naïve literalism apart, no single biblical verse could justify the inferiority of a large part of the human family. Biblical exegesis requires that difficult, troubling passages should be harmonised with clearer and more spiritual ones. Further, the Old Covenant is fulfilled in the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ, whose will is manifested in the universal command quoted above. No branch of humanity can therefore be subordinated to any other.

Warning about ‘millions of Africans…ignorant and starving’ clamouring at the gates of Europe, Colonel Qaddafi gloated that ‘it will be like the old barbarian invasions…Europe will no longer be Europe’. (More racism, groan…) He also mentioned ‘new religions’ overwhelming Europe via the black immigrants. Don’t figure he meant Buddhism – no, it was Islam. Let us not pretend: many Westerners are scared stiff by the growing influence of Islam but the old tyrant mixed up race and religion. Not all Muslims are black. Bosnians, Albanians and Turks, for instance, are not. And they, like it or not, are in Europe already, no?

Ironically, it was a Tripoli-Rome accord between Qaddafi and Berlusconi that radically reduced the numbers of illegal immigrants reaching Italy from North Africa. The Italian Navy turned away boatloads of immigrants at sea. Forced back to to Libya, the smug Colonel was happy to push them back where they came from. Berlusconi however was later overthrown by an EU-sponsored coup d’etat while Qaddafi…you know his undignified end. From where he is now, I imagine the bad Ra’is watching with glee the immigrant flotillas heading once again for Europe. He is grinning away: ‘My posthumous revenge on accursed Europe!’ Guess he has a point.

What is to be done? I recall a Dominican preacher wishing Europeans should become a big, happy, ‘miscegenated’ melange of races, like Brazil. Then all would be kosher, or halal. Unfortunately skin colour amongst Brazilians gets paler and paler as you go up the social scale. Real blacks are at the bottom. Not quite a racial paradise.

Is this an intractable problem? The US has a black President but race riots are happening right now in Baltimore. 150 years after the Civil War the black-white racial divide still persists. Writer Gore Vidal observed that the proportion of whites in the American population gets inexorably lower and lower: ‘When I point that out in a speech’, he said, ‘I see white faces in the audience getting paler, while black faces start glowing.’

Ya Allah!

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

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In his workshop in the suburb of Yerevan, Shant Khayalian carefully
slices the soap he made himself. One would think Shant has been
in the soap business all his life. But he just started it here in
Armenia and the way of doing business in Yerevan is very different
from that in his native Aleppo. Syrian Armenians, like Shant, are not
refugees here. The government considers them citizens returning to
their homeland after hundreds of years of displacement. The Armenian
government is trying its best to help them, the reportage of BBC
correspondent Reda El Mawy says.

Over 15,000 Syrian Armenians fleeing the war in their country have been
welcomed by the Armenian authorities who have given them citizenship
and helped with their resettlement.

"We've allocated a fund of half a million dollars to help Syrian
Armenians to start small and medium enterprises. We also amended
some of our laws to accommodate them," Minister of Armenian Diaspora
Hranush Hakobyan tells BBC.

It is noted in the reportage that Armenia is the first place of refuge
for those returning from Syria. But there might be other opportunities
as well. Up to forty Syrian-Armenian families have been welcomed in
Nagorno Karabakh as settlers.

"They gave us a house, they gave others farmland but the resources
are limited here," Ara Kashashain, one of the settlers, says.

The reportage also says that confrontations are frequent in the line
of contact with Azerbaijan. Ara's family is trying to start a new
life here but the looming conflict is a constant reminder of what
they left back home in Syria. "Every time my children see a plane
they are scared. They say 'o Mommy there is a plane' and they rush
hiding inside," Ara's wife, Vano Kashashain, says. 

RFE/RL Report
Syrian Armenians `Desperate To Flee Aleppo'
Naira Bulghadarian

Ethnic Armenians remaining in Aleppo are increasingly desperate to
leave Syria's largest city ravaged by continuing fighting between
Syrian government troops and rebels, according to some former members
of their community now based in Armenia.

Hrayr Akvilian, a Syrian Armenian who took refuge in Yerevan three
years ago, said on Monday that he and his friends are now exploring
possibilities of evacuating them to Armenia without the assistance of
the Armenian government and the leadership of the Aleppo community. He
said they could specifically seek to raise funds needed to finance
expensive journeys out of Syria.

Akvilian said that he keeps in touch with many Aleppo Armenians by
phone and through social media. "Every day I get several appeals to
get people out of there," he told RFE/RL's Armenian service
( "People say they have no money, no means for getting
out on their own."

"The pleas addressed to me are really heartbreaking," he said. "I
sometimes can't sleep at night after hearing them."

Fighting in and around Aleppo, the center of the once thriving
Syrian-Armenian community, has intensified in recent months. The
mostly government-controlled city districts populated by many
Armenians and other Christians have reportedly been shelled and
seriously damaged.

Hranush Arakelian, a local Armenian woman, was contacted by RFE/RL's
Armenian service ( by phone as she tried to retrieve some
personal belongings from the ruins of her home which she said was
destroyed by heavy artillery fire overnight. Arakelian and her family
have been sheltered by one of their neighbors for the past few weeks.

"I'd love to come but I have no money to reach Armenia," the
middle-aged woman said. "My whole body shivers all the time. I can't
stand it anymore."

The Armenian government said, meanwhile, that it still has no plans
for a mass evacuation of Aleppo Armenians despite the worsened
security situation in the northern Syrian city. Firdus Zakarian, a
senior Diaspora Ministry official dealing with Syrian Armenian
refugees, reiterated that the government would try to help evacuate
them only at the request of community leaders in Syria.

Zhirayr Reisian, the spokesman for the Aleppo diocese of the Armenian
Apostolic Church, a key community structure, said earlier this month
that local Armenians members are free to flee the city. But he made
clear that the leadership of the beleaguered community will not help
them take refuge in other parts of Syria or abroad. "We are not intent
on dissolving the community," Reisian explained.

Akvilian criticized that stance, saying that the fighting in Aleppo is
increasingly putting the lives of many Armenians at serious risk. "The
situation there is hellish," he said. "It's time to see the reality
and stop living with dreams."

"Should we preserve the Armenian community in Syria and especially
Aleppo at any cost?" asked the Syrian Armenian activist. "No, we
shouldn't. I don't think that we will ever see the good old Aleppo

Syria was home to an estimated 80,000 ethnic Armenians, most of them
descendants of survivors of the 1915 genocide in Ottoman Turkey,
before out the outbreak of the bloody conflict in the Arab state four
years ago. The community is thought to have shrunk at least by
half. Some 13,000 Syrian Armenian refuges currently reside in Armenia

RFE/RL Report 
Azeri Prisoner Operated On In Karabakh
Ara Harutiunian

An Azerbaijani man imprisoned in Nagorno-Karabakh on charges relating
to the murder of an Armenian teenager has undergone urgent surgery at
a hospital in Stepanakert, it emerged on Monday.

Shahbaz Quliyev's Karabakh Armenian lawyer, Arkady Israelian, and
local human rights activists said he has already been discharged from
the hospital and sent back to prison.

"The operation was successful and he is fine now," Karen Ohanjanian,
head of the Stepanakert-based group Helsinki Initiative-92, told
RFE/RL's Armenian service (

Ohanjanian said that Quliyev complained of abdominal pains when he
recently visited the 46-year-old Azerbaijani prisoner. The latter was
then examined by Karabakh doctors and diagnosed with chronic
gallbladder disease that required surgery, he said.

Quliyev was one of three armed Azerbaijani men who secretly crossed
last July into the formerly Azerbaijani-populated Kelbajar district
sandwiched Armenia and the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous
Oblast. One of those men, Dilgam Askerov, and Quliyev were separately
captured by Karabakh Armenian forces shortly afterwards.

The third Azerbaijani, Hasan Hasanov, was gunned down several days
later after reportedly killing an Armenian army officer and gravely
wounding a civilian woman.

The shootings were reported four days before Smbat Tsakanian, a
17-year-old Armenian resident of Kelbajar, was found dead near his
family's farm. The Karabakh authorities believe that he was kidnapped
and killed by the Azerbaijani "saboteurs."

Askerov was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment, while Quliyev
received a 22-year prison sentence. A Karabakh court convicted them of
illegal arms possession, espionage and kidnapping. Askerov was also
found guilty of killing Tsakanian.

The defendants claimed to have had no part in the boy's killing when
they went on trial in Stepanakert in October. They both appealed
against the verdict. It was upheld by a Karabakh appeals court in
March, however.

The Azerbaijani government has denounced the trial as illegal and
demanded the release of the two men. It says that that they had a
legitimate right to visit what is an internationally recognized part
of Azerbaijan that has been under Karabakh Armenian control since
1993. The authorities in Stepanakert have repeatedly ruled out the
possibility of their early release.

Davit Babayan, the spokesman for Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh
president, on Monday portrayed Quliyev's surgery as further proof that
the two Azerbaijanis have not been ill-treated by the Karabakh
authorities. "Every prisoner has the right to medical treatment if
their health is at risk," he said. "This is natural."

"Unlike the Azerbaijanis, we don't kill healthy people or inject them
with some substances," Babayan added, alluding to recent years' deaths
of several Armenian civilians who accidentally crossed into
Hrant Galstyan
April 27, 2015

Kamo Hovsepyan is a lucky man.

A few days ago the 23 year-old Armenian soldier from the Lori village
of Dsegh repelled an Azerbaijani incursion attempt and sustained a
hand grenade wound to the arm.

"I can't describe what I felt at the time. I thought I was about to
die. Grenades were constantly raining down," says Karo who, along
with fellow soldiers, repelled the dawn incursion.

Karo and Mira were hunkered down in a frontline position in Artsakh
when the attack occurred. A hand grenade knocked Mira unconscious
and Karo was left to fend for himself.

Almost out of ammunition, he kept firing at the advancing Azerbaijani
unit until reinforcements arrived.

Karo estimates that there were at least seven in the Azerbaijani unit.

According to the Artsakh Ministry of Defense, one Azerbaijani soldier
was killed in the firefight and many others wounded.

The following morning, while being treated at a military hospital,
Karo was visited by his parents and bride to be. 
27 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The words 'Armenia' and 'Armenian Genocide' have been the most demanded
on Google over the past few days, information security expert Samvel
Martirisyan told reporters today.

Articles covering the visit of reality star Kim Kardashian, the concert
of the System Of A Down rock band, the participation of world leaders
in the events commemorating the Armenian Genocide centennial were on
top of world news, he said.

According to the expert, the interest towards Armenia was
unprecedented. Google has not yet summed up the search results
for April, but according to preliminary assessment, the search for
"Armenia," "Where is Armenia?" and "Armenian Genocide" grew 2-4 times.

The events of April 24 were a top topic in France, Germany, the US,
Russia and even in Turkey, which denies the genocide.

What Armenia gained from this flow of information on the web? "This
left the Turkish propaganda in a crisis," he said. "Besides, the
fact of the Armenian genocide is no more a question. Today there is
only one issue on the political agenda - to what extent this or that
country is prepared to recognize the Armenian Genocide, jeopardizing
its relations with Turkey."

"Today we have nothing to argue about, while a few years ago we still
had to prove there was genocide. I think the ice is now broken,"
Samvel Martirosyan said.

He said the Armenian internet security experts managed to protect the
websites against the Turkish-Azerbaijani hacking attacks. The dozen
of Armenian websites hacked were not among the most popular ones,
and this did not prevent the coverage of centennial events by most
acclaimed local and foreign media.

By Johan BODIN , Achren VERDIAN

In 1915, during World War I, the Ottoman Empire ordered the
extermination of the Armenian people. One and a half million
were killed in the first genocide of the 20th century. But up to
200,000 women and children survived, forced to convert to Islam and
assimilated into the Kurdish and Turkish communities. Today, their
descendants are discovering their Armenian roots that had lain hidden
for generations. Our reporters followed them on their difficult search
for identity.

We meet Armenak and his friends, who thought they were Turkish or even
Kurdish until a few years ago. After discovering their Armenian roots,
they decided to learn more about their heritage in their ancestral
homeland in eastern Turkey.

We also meet Armen, who discovered his origins while rummaging through
some old family photos. Raised as a Muslim, he now plans to convert
to Christianity. It's a decision that his wife, a devout Muslim,
has difficulty accepting.

Their stories are typical of descendants of Armenians who survived
thegenocide. Many of those who managed to escape were forced to erase
all traces of their identity, adopting Turkish or Kurdish names. A
century later, their descendants have opened a Pandora's box that
was locked by previous generations.

By Johan BODIN , Achren VERDIAN 
by David Stepanyan
April 27, 15:18

Having internationalized Azerbaijan's establishment as a state in
1990s, the oil industry simultaneously internationalized the consensus
in the issue of preventing resumption of military actions threatening
it, Laurence Broers, SOAS University of London, Centre of Contemporary
Central Asia and the Caucasus, Department Member, told ArmInfo.

"In this context, the Azerbaijani oil is an integral element of the
status-quo and it holds from resumption of the military actions.

However, oil is not the major problem connected with the territories
and security, though the oil factor played a huge and controversial
role in building of the destroyed Azerbaijani state," he said.

Broers said it was the "deal of the century" that at a critical moment
internationalized the idea and legitimacy of Azerbaijan's statehood.

The oil dollars enable Azerbaijan to consolidate the acting elites,
re- arm and inspire Baku with self-confidence.

"In this sense, he said, the oil can be considered as the key factor
of Azerbaijan's refusal to accept the status-quo, though oil will run
out sooner or later, but the Karabakh conflict will remain," he said. 

Russia's southern periphery is closer to open war than at any time
since the 1990s. Hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia are
mounting 21 years after a cease-fire froze a conflict that flared
in the dying days of the Soviet Union. During the relative calm,
companies including BP Plc poured billions of dollars into producing
oil and gas in Azerbaijan and building pipelines to link the country
with southern Italy, says an article by

"A May 3 election looming in Nagorno-Karabakh, the region Armenians
took over in the war more than two decades ago, may trigger a wider
confrontation, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said. The vote
"could further escalate the tensions, increasing the risks of a wider
confrontation over the disputed territory," Anna Tokar, an analyst
at RBS in London, said in an e-mailed note on April 16. That risks
"putting the oil and gas pipelines in the South Caucasus in danger,"
the article says.

At the center of the conflict, which has simmered with shootouts and
other incidents ever since the truce, is Nagorno-Karabakh. The first
four months of the year have been the deadliest, according to the
Caspian Defense Studies Institute in the Azeri capital, Baku. There
have been 31 confirmed deaths so far this year in clashes on the
front line, according to Jasur Sumarinli, head of the research group,
the article notes.

With the world focused on the conflict in Ukraine, the escalation is
rattling a region crisscrossed by pipelines after BP and its partners
invested more than $50 billion in Azeri energy projects. Azeri
incursions into the Armenian-controlled areas surrounding
Nagorno-Karabakh are raising pressure along the disengagement line
separating the adversaries, torn apart by religion and international
alliances. Armenia's Defense Ministry is accusing its foe of waging a
"hybrid war" of "micro-activities" from information attacks to armed
forays. President Serzh Sargsyan, told France 24 on March 21 that
all-out war may resume "at any time."
On April 24 English Wikipedia's picture of the day was dedicated 
to Armenian Genocide
On April 24, the picture of the day of English Wikipedia was dedicated
to the Armenian Genocide. It was a picture of an Armenian woman
kneeling beside a dead child during the Armenian Genocide by the
Ottoman Empire in 1915, Zhamanak reports.

"The inscription under the picture read: "The genocide is
conventionally held to have begun on 24 April 1915, when Ottoman
authorities arrested and later executed some 250 Armenian
intellectuals and community leaders. Much of the remaining Armenian
population were deported into the deserts of Syria, where most died
from starvation, exhaustion, and systematic massacres. The total
number of people killed has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5
million. Though the events are widely recognized as a genocide by
historians, the Turkish government rejects such a description," the
newspaper says.
Expert concerned over economic situation in Armenia

This January-March saw a 2.5% year-on-year rise in the index of
business activity, according to Armenia's Statistical Service.

In an interview with, economist Vahagn Khachatryan said it
does not reflect the reality. A rise in business activity should not
be linked to economic growth.

Mr Khachatryan, according to the National Statistical Service, this
January-March saw a 2% increase in industrial output, and a 4.5%
increase in gross agricultural output, with an 0.8% increase recorded
in the construction sector. What is your explanation?

I am worried about more figures. A rise in the index of economic
activity should not be linked to economic growth. The system may have
recorded some progress, but it does not mean it has ensured economic
growth. If speak of statistical data, we can see a 30% decrease in
foreign trade. We see decreased trade turnover, the most important
index showing the economic situation. It means  a decline in either
Armenia's population or the population's purchasing power.

As regards business activity, reality and figures on the paper always
arouse doubts. Even the agricultural growth included in the GDP always
arouses doubts because the figures have nothing to do with real
agriculture. The Statistical Service and other government bodies
receive data from local communities. And if no incidents have been
recorded during the year, the communities as a rule report higher
figures. But in this season nothing is clear yet.

What about industrial output?

When industry records growth, with the energy sector not recording any
growth, it is quite strange. But there is a factor showing that growth
will be recorded. I mean high technologies, whose share in the
industrial output is not so large. However, some doubts arise as well.
How is not industrial growth accompanied by increased gas and energy
consumption? We may get an explanation in a few days, after all the
data are available. The general picture arouses concern. Money
transfers are one of the main instruments of our economic progress,
which has direct influence on commodity turnover and purchasing power.

Armenia's Minister of Economy Karen Chshmarityan commented on the
decline in the commodity turnover and exports. He said that Armenia's
trade with the other Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member-states had
not yet been calculated. And Armenia's Statistical Service cannot
compare data.

Without ruling out the fact that Armenia's foreign trade is not 30%
down, it should be noted that we have no progress either. Armenia's
foreign is obviously down. And other comments are, to put it mildly
not serious. It is common knowledge that Armenia's exports to the
other states, especially to Russia are down, and imports from Russia
are down as well. We must tell the truth and think of ways out of the

Mr Khachatryan, are Armenia's authorities taking steps to resolve the problems?

Regrettably, they are not. If they were, you can be sure that I would
not voice my concern. Rather, I would speak of effectiveness of the

Glamorous grandmother discovers link to the Kardashians, marks
Armenian Genocide centennial
25 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

A GLAMOROUS grandmother has found she has a shared heritage with her
daughter's favourite reality TV stars - the Kardashians - after
embarking on a voyage of discovery into her own past, the Grimsby
Telegraph reports.

Annemarie Leake, 56, of Louth, decided to find out more about her
natural parents after her adopted mum Emily Lindley, 93, of
Cleethorpes, began reminiscing about her own father, who served in the
First World War.

Mrs Lindley said her dad, Alfred Thompson, was one of the Grimsby Chums.

And, having never known anything about her natural parents or family
tree, the recollections inspired her to find out more.

Annemarie, who was the 2013 UK Glamorous Grandmother winner, said she
had found "peace of mind" thanks to a DNA match, which revealed her
natural mother was an Armenian woman.

And, as a mark of respect to her new-found heritage, yesterday the
family held their own commemorations to the genocide of millions of
Armenians 100 years ago, as part of a global day of remembrance of
those who died in the atrocities.

Annemarie said: "I have never had a birthday, nor a place of birth or
a family line that was my own.

"I wanted to know what my heritage was. At last I have found it and it
has given me peace of mind."

The grandmother of two said: "It is so nice to have a point of origin.

"I would love to meet any other Armenian people living in the area."

Annemarie added her daughter Katarina had always been an avid follower
of the rich Kardashian family in the US - including famous socialite
Kim, pictured - who have proudly showcased their Armenian ancestry.

Annemarie said: "I can feel there is more of a connection to The Kardashians."

Annemarie told how she first met her adoptive mother 56 years ago at
Jews' Court in Lincoln - where they return on the same day each year
to celebrate becoming a family. Yesterday, they visited St James'
Church to light a candle to her ancestors and displayed red, blue and
gold flowers - the national colours of Armenia - in her home.

Annemarie said she was proud of her heritage and said her homeland was
the fabled place where Noah built his ark.

An ark is inscribed on Armenian currency.


The CNBC television of Turkey, while conducting a live coverage of the
Battle of Gallipoli 100th anniversary events being held in Canakkale,
Turkey, on April 24, accidentally aired the Armenian Genocide Centenary
live commemoration simultaneously being held at the Genocide Memorial
in Armenia's capital city of Yerevan.

And the CNBC presenter spoke about the Canakkale remembrance events,
whereas the Genocide Memorial commemoration was being televised lived
on the CNBC screens.

The "mistake" by this Turkish TV company has caused quite a stir
in Turkey.

The respective video can be viewed here. 

RT TV Documentary on Armenian Genocide  [1] 

Bulgaria's Parliament recognizes the Armenian Genocide

Today the Bulgarian Parliament recognized the mass extermination of
Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the period 1915 - 1922 and declared
April 24 a day of remembrance of the victims. The decision was adopted
by the 43rd National Assembly with 157 votes "for", 37 against and no
abstentions, after several hours of debates.

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the
Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian
subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the
territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total
number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between
800,000 to 1.5 million.

The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day
Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested, subsequently executing,
some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in
Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World
War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the
able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army
conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women,
children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the
Syrian desert.

From Armenia Diaspora Project Facebook 

Yesterday was an indescribable day. My biggest fear going into the
commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Istanbul was that Erdogan,
with elections approaching and a need to appeal to the MHP/nationalist
voters, would see our presence on Istiklal Cd as a threat and that the
police would then melt away, allowing the nationalist protestors to
break through their lines and attack us.

As we sat facing towards Taxim Square, we could hear the shouts from
the nationalists at our backs every time the speakers would cut out.
Chillingly it seemed to get louder and louder, as if they were edging
nearer and nearer. Then - as the sounds of Sareri Hovin Mernem faded-
we heard a loud cheer from much closer, and then chants growing louder 
and louder, a sound I had heard countless times in my years of covering
protests; the sound of protestors breaking through police lines.

As we stood up to face what was coming, we saw them. Not angry
nationalists waving the red flags of the Vatan Party, but thousands of
Turks, Kurds, Greeks, and Assyrians, bearing signs reading "հո՛ս
էնք" (We are here), bearing the pictures of Hrant Dink, Gomidas,
Sevag Balikci, Taniel Varujan and many others, the streets echoing with
their chants of solidarity.

A friend ran through the stunned crowd, arms wide open shouting "They
are here with us! They have filled the street!"

So thank you. Thank you Turks, Kurds, Assyrians for standing with us.
Thank you Turkish human rights groups for organizing the commemoration
at Hydarpasa. Thank you Istanbul Armenians. Thank Osman Kavala. Thank
you Sarah Leah Whitson, Nancy Kricorian, Heghnar Watenpaugh, and
everyone else at Project 2015.

There is no place else I would have rather been this week.

- Scout Tufankjian

Jesus's preaching was predominantly directed at his fellow Jews. It
was St Paul who later directed this message outwards towards the wider
world. Which is why Paul's birthplace in Tarsus, near the Mediterranean
coast in south-eastern Turkey, has always attracted missionaries,
looking for inspiration. And it was also why missionaries were among
the first to report back on the true extent of the Armenian genocide.

In the early fourth century, the Armenians were the first people to
adopt Christianity as their official religion. In 1914 there were 2
million Armenian Christians living in Turkey. By 1922, there were
only 400,000 left. What happened to these people has been largely
forgotten, or denied, or ignored - except, of course, by the Armenians
themselves, who have continued to pass on their horrendous stories
of rape, death squads and forced conversions.

There is no doubt what happened was genocide. The Armenians were
branded as an enemy within by the Ottoman government, which used the
cover of the first world war to systematically dispose of more than
1 million people, forcing great columns of humanity to march off into
the Syrian desert to die of heat, starvation and disease. Speaking to
his generals some 25 years later, Adolf Hitler said: "I have sent my
Death's Head units to the east with the order to kill without mercy
men, women and children of the Polish race or language. Only in such
a way will we win the Lebensraum that we need. Who, after all, speaks
today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

The term genocide was coined in the early 1940s by a Polish Jewish
lawyer,Raphael Lemkin, as a way to capture in law the extent of Nazi
atrocity. "I became interested in genocide because it happened so
many times," he explained in an interview with CBS. "First to the
Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action." So why
is it so difficult for many western governments - ours included,
Israel's included - to use the "g" word when it comes to Armenia?

Barack Obama promised to say the "g" word when he became president.

But he deliberately hasn't. And the UK government has used every
manner of evasion - including trying out the preposterous argument
that because the term genocide was adopted by the UN in 1948, it
couldn't be applied retrospectively. It withdrew this argument when
it was pointed out that this would mean the Holocaust itself wasn't
genocide. Now the official line is one of studied avoidance.

The real answer to our avoidance of the "g" word is less than 30 miles
up the road from Tarsus: the massive Incirlik airbase, used by the US
air force and the RAF. From here, US and UK forces are easily deployed
throughout the Middle East. Speaking in the House of Lords in 1999,
Baroness Cox came clean: "Given the importance of our relationships
(political, strategic, commercial) with Turkey, and that recognising
the genocide would provide no practical benefit to the UK ... the
current line is the only feasible option." It is worth noting that
the foreign secretary at the time was Robin Cook - and remember his
"ethical foreign policy" speech in 1997?

For many governments, the denial of the genocide of the Nazis
is itself a crime. Yet when it comes to the Armenians, genocide
avoidance (because the evidence is too unequivocal for denial) remains
semi-official policy. Little wonder the Armenians find it difficult
to move towards closure on this issue.

Back in Tarsus, the home of Christianity's greatest missionary, the
faith Paul once proclaimed has now been eradicated. Some of those who
survived the forced march into the desert settled in places such as
Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, where they built Armenian churches
- churches that have once again been reduced to rubble by Bashar
al-Assad's barrel bombs and Islamic State's murderous caliphate. The
very least the British government can do is to acknowledge the extent
of their suffering by calling it what it is.
Turkish Christians take first step toward embittered Armenians
By Barbara G. Baker

“We came to share your pain,” Turkish Christians declared in early
April, standing before TV cameras at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in
Yerevan [6].

“We have come here to apologize for what our ancestors did, to ask
for your forgiveness,” two spokesmen for the Turks went on to say.

Shocked viewers across Armenia watching the Azdarar TV news channel
[7] on April 11 could hardly believe their eyes and ears.

Turks, claiming to be Christian? And laying wreaths at the nation’s
genocide memorial? How could Turks, of all people, come to Armenia to
honor the memory of more than a million Armenian Christians who had
been slaughtered 100 years ago by their own forefathers, the Ottoman 

Gathered around the monument’s eternal flame, the more than twenty
Turkish citizens spoke out simply, and repeatedly: “We plead with you,
if you can, to forgive us and the crimes of our forefathers.”

Significantly, the Turks were joined by a number of local Armenian
Christians who formed a huge circle, holding hands together around the
memorial as they prayed aloud in Turkish and Armenian for their nations
and peoples.

“You wrote history here in Yerevan today ,” one Armenian pastor
declared. It was the first time, he thought, that prayers in Turkish
Armenian had ever been voiced together before the somber memorial.

The Turkish Christians’ April visit to Armenia was the latest step in
an unprecedented reconciliation initiative between Turkish Protestants
and Armenian evangelicals during the past year.

Organized informally by several Turkish pastors from Muslim
backgrounds, the gatherings first began with diaspora Armenians in
California and New Jersey, followed by an Istanbul weekend between some
90 Turkish and Armenian participants.

For the past 100 years, Turks and Armenians have remained outspoken
enemies. Their historic enmity rooted in the Armenian genocide of 1915
[8] is both political and ethnic, but also religious. Early in the 4th
Century, the Kingdom of Armenia was the first nation to adopt
Christianity as its state religion. But the rulers of the crumbling
Ottoman Empire which carried out the genocide were Muslim Turks. In
today ’s Turkey and Armenia, strong nationalist elements in the current
political climate are so prevalent that the Turkish and Armenian
Christians who spoke to World Watch Monitor about their reconciliation
gatherings requested strict anonymity for their own protection.


An estimated 2 million Armenians had been living in central Anatolia
[9] and the eastern regions of what is now modern-day Turkey for two
millennia. But after the Ottoman regime-ordered massacres and forced
deportations began in April 2015 , within two years up to 1.5 million
had died. The survivors had either been forcibly converted to Islam or
managed to escape into the Syrian desert.

“This page in history is really painful for every Armenian,” a
church leader from Yerevan who met with the Turkish Christians told
World Watch Monitor. “You can hardly find an Armenian whose relatives
were not victims of the genocide. For this very reason, Armenians live
with hatred and bitterness in their hearts.”

A Kurdish pastor who went to Yerevan said he discovered this reality
for himself. “There is a huge pain, and it needs to be softened to
find healing, to stop the hatred,” he told World Watch Monitor.
“Armenians take their children to the memorial in Yerevan, but instead
of healing, it stirs their hatred. It’s in their hearts, and they
cannot forget. Our fathers harmed them, and they are angry. Even in
small details, their trauma continues. If this is not stopped by
healing, it will get worse.”

But he stressed that the solution was a spiritual one, which had to be
built around honest, personal relationships. “We went as individuals.
We didn’t go in the name of our churches. To meet face to face, in
person, to hear from these Armenian brothers and sisters and pray with
them was healing for both sides. The seeds of reconciliation have been
planted, to grow and spread.”

“This has all developed personally, through the Holy Spirit’s
orchestration in our hearts,” one Turkish pastor told World Watch
Monitor. “Politics can’t resolve this,” another said. “The
United Nations has tried, so has the United States, to restore
between Armenians and Turks. But they couldn’t reconcile us.”

“Politicians are stuck in the quagmire of pride, politics and getting
votes,” another Turkish church leader said. But recently, he said,
“Church leaders of both peoples are seeing that we must take the steps
of following Jesus, in humility and forgiveness, to see reconciliation
and overcome this century of pain.”


“We have all been waiting for someone to make the first step,” one
Turkish pastor told World Watch Monitor after returning from Yerevan.
“But the first step against hatred must come from us Turks. When we
made that first step, the Armenians accepted it. They are ready.”

“It was a bold step,” one Armenian evangelical said, and
particularly significant for him because it had been initiated by the

“Until now,” another confessed, “we forgave with our mouths, but
not with our hearts.”

For the first time, many Armenian Christians said they now realized
painful it is for the 5,000 ethnic Turks and Kurds who have converted
Christianity in Turkey in the past few decades to face the truth about
the Armenian genocide.

Like other Turkish citizens, they were angered by the revenge murders
perpetrated by Armenian ASALA assassins, who killed some 40 Turkish
diplomats and officials during the 1970s and 1980s, allegedly “to
avenge the Armenian genocide.” But this violence only stiffened
Turkey’s resolve to continue to deny the Armenian genocide, deepening
the society’s resentment against Armenians as a people.

“When we Armenians saw that the Turks felt pain for what their
grandfathers did, we understood that we must forgive them,” one
participant said. It took meeting Turkish Christians in person, one
admitted, to be convinced “it is a fault for us to nurture hatred to
our children.”


Some of their most moving experiences in Yerevan, the Turkish
Christians told World Watch Monitor, came through casual interactions
the street with complete strangers who heard them speaking Turkish.

Several men happened one evening on a restaurant selling _lahmajun_, a
small thin pizza common in both Armenia and Turkey. After they ordered
a meal in English, they sat down speaking Turkish among themselves. A
middle-aged man nearby reacted angrily, asking in Turkish, “Are you
Turks? What are you doing here in Armenia? May God save us!” When they
explained why they had come, he retorted skeptically with a Turkish
proverb, “_Bir cicek’ten bahar olmaz!_” [One flower doesn’t
bring the spring}. Then he quizzed them about their faith, dubious that
Turks could in fact really be Christians.

“He softened a little, when we explained that we had been forgiven by
God,” a pastor said. “We told him, ‘Our people have sinned.
Can’t you forgive us? God has.’ ”

The man then said his family was originally from Gaziantep, in eastern
Turkey. “I taught my children not to love or even like Turks,” he
said. “I never thought until now that such a thing could ever happen,
for Turks to become Christians. This has changed something in my

In another encounter, a shop salesman in a souvenir market reacted
harshly when he heard his visitors were from Turkey. “We have come
here on the centennial of the genocide,” one pastor explained, “to
share your pain. We want to tell you we are sorry for what happened,
beg your forgiveness.” The man’s expression changed, his eyes
filling with tears as he shook their hands and embraced them, one by

One Western observer of the Yerevan gathering confessed, “I may never
see something like this ever again in my life. I was a spectator,
watching the walls of division and hostility come down. It’s what the
gospel of Christ should be doing all over the world, bringing true

Asked what the reconciliation effort has really accomplished, one
Turkish pastor said simply: “We want our fellow citizens, Turks and
Armenians alike, to ask us: ‘What kind of God can bring two enemies
together like this?’ ”

Further UK News

Fr Marcus Brisley, of St Joseph’s RC Church, 134 West Street, Havant 
PO9 1LP circulated the following amongst his congregation in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

Prayers were said at St Albans Cathedral on the 23rd, 24th, and on Sunday 25th April and also the Genocide was part of the Sub Dean's Sermon.

Anahid Anita King
27 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

On Wednesday, April 29th, Armenian Church leaders will host a press
conference at the National Press Club to announce the launch of legal
action before Turkey's Constitutional Court to regain ownership of the
historic headquarters of the Church, which includes the Catholicosate,
the monastery and cathedral of St. Sophia, a major Armenian Christian
holy site located in the Sis (city of Kozan), in south-central Turkey.

This site was confiscated by the Turkish Government following the
Genocide of 1915 in which over 1.5 million Armenians were killed or
deported by the Ottoman Empire.

This lawsuit, brought by the Catholicosate of the Great House of
Cilicia, displaced to Lebanon after the events of 1915, reflects the
determination of Armenians worldwide, on the Centenary of the Genocide,
to reclaim their sacred religious property and Christian heritage in
lands where they lived peacefully for centuries.

The Catholicosate which is the administrative center of the church,
was moved from Armenia to Cilicia in the 10th century, and after
changing a few locations it was finally established in Sis (Kozan) in
the year 1295. It remained in Sis till 1921. Under the Ottoman Empire,
the Catholicosate of Cilicia was recognized as an independent church.

During the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, the Armenian population
of Sis was massacred and deported, and its Christian holy sites were
pillaged and confiscated.

Armenia became, in 301 A.D., the first nation to adopt Christianity
as its state religion. Armenians have had a long historical presence
in what is present-day Turkey. According to Payam Akhavan, a former
UN prosecutor and lead international counsel in this legal action,
the return of the historical Seat of the Catholicosate of Cilicia
"is a litmus test for the Turkish Government's respect for the human
rights of its Christian minorities, their freedom of worship in a
culture of tolerance and dignity. This is a unique opportunity to
do justice, to help heal the wounds of the past, to move towards
Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, a better future for both nations."