Issues of Concern to the Turkish Lobby, Advocacy Groups &
POSITION / SUBJECT OF DEBATE
WHAT RESPONSES HAVE BEEN TAKEN?
WHAT RESPONSES CAN BE TAKEN?
LANGUAGE & PROPOSED CITIZENSHIP TESTS / CARTOON CRISIS: Review
NOTE 1: Genocide (soykırım): The deliberate and systematic destruction of
a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group by means of murder, serious
bodily harm, or mental harm. Genocide was defined as
a crime by the United Nations General Assembly in 1951 (the international legal
definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948
United Nations Convention on the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide). As a consequence of the Nuremberg trials (conducted by an
international tribunal), in which top Nazi leaders were tried for "crimes
against humanity," the UN drew up a treaty defining and criminalizing genocide.
The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1948, and came
into effect on January 12, 1951.
NOTE 2: Hot
pursuit (sıcak takip): A legal doctrine that permits the pursuit
of persons (suspected of criminal conduct) escaping from one state to another
(by land or by sea). Since the mid-1980’s, hot pursuit has enabled Turkey to
conduct cross-border operations into northern Iraq as part of a fight against
terrorism (and to stop infiltration into Turkey from this area where PKK
terrorist bases are located). Turkey is eager to conduct further unilateral and
joint operations with U.S., Iraqi and other security forces.
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Turkey Embraces 'Hot Pursuit' in Northern Iraq
By Owen Matthews - Newsweek International
May 8, 2006 issue - Could another front be opening
in the Iraq war? Over recent weeks, some 200,000 Turkish troops, backed by
tanks and helicopter gunships, have massed along the mountainous border with
Iraq. Trucks passing from Turkey, ferrying the imported goods and foodstuffs
that are the lifeblood of the Kurdish economy, have slowed from 1,000 a day
to just a couple of hundred. The Turkish military says its troops are there
only to prevent armed insurgents of the Kurdish PKK rebel group from
crossing into Turkey from their bases on Iraq's Kandil Mountain. But last
week, according to angry Foreign Ministry officials in Baghdad, Turkish
commandos briefly crossed 15 kilometers into Iraqi territory in pursuit of
PKK rebels—a move that could signal dangerous new frictions to come.
Compared with the rest of the country, Iraqi
Kurdistan has been a haven of stability—still subject to insurgent bombings,
but generally free of the kind of sectarian violence that has racked Baghdad
and other major cities in recent weeks. But tensions are rising. Shia
militiamen from Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army have begun moving into oil-rich
Kirkuk, claimed as part of Kurdistan. In neighboring Iran last month some
10,000 troops attacked PKK-affiliated rebels who defy Tehran's rule in the
region. And the Turks have grown increasingly frustrated with the 5,000
guerrillas holed up at Kandil. Over the last two months, the PKK and its
political affiliates have stepped up violence inside Turkey to levels not seen
in a decade. At least eight government troops were killed in a series of
ambushes in Turkey's southeast; two bombs linked to the PKK were planted in
Istanbul and, last month, 14 civilians were killed as Kurdish cities all over
the southeast erupted in violence.
Ankara is losing patience with the United States,
which has promised to deal with the PKK problem. Last week Gen. Hilmi Ozkok,
chief of the politically powerful General Staff, claimed that Turkey had the
right to defend itself under the United Nations Charter, hinting strongly that
the military was seriously considering hot-pursuit cross-border raids. (Before
Saddam was toppled in 2003, Turkish troops used to cross the border regularly
chasing the PKK, often with the connivance of local Iraqi Kurdish groups which
had their own differences with the PKK.) And Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah
Gul told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Ankara last week to try
to defuse the crisis, that "we expect the U.S. to do more and to be more
active." In reply, Rice warned that any cross-border operations would have "a
destabilizing effect" on Iraq's fragile security.
Washington is caught between two allies—NATO member
Turkey, its closest friend in the Muslim world, and the Iraqi Kurds, its
closest ally within Iraq. By rights, of course, dealing with the PKK "should
be the responsibility of the Iraqi government," as a senior Iraqi official
puts it, not wishing to speak publicly on security matters. "We will not allow
any PKK attacks on [Turkey] from our soil. But the limits on the central
government are obvious. According to one U.S. official, also not wishing to be
quoted on such a sensitive topic, Washington has been trying to pressure
Iraq's Kurds to crack down on the PKK themselves, before Ankara steps up its
campaign. U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has several points of leverage. One
is that the Kurds are desperate to have a more or less permanent American
military base on their territory as insurance against a future anti-Kurdish
regime in Baghdad. Another is that the Kurds will need U.S. help to contain
any Shia designs on oil-rich Kirkuk. Also, they need Washington's support in
any deal on the parceling out of the country's future oil revenues.
So, the big question is why the Iraqi Kurds aren't
cracking down on the PKK insurgents, with whom, after all, they once used to
clash. One reason is that, under Saddam, the precarious autonomy of Iraq's
Kurds was largely dependent on the good will of Ankara. That was ample
incentive to keep the PKK in check. But today, Iraqi Kurds are much more
confident. For the first time, they have their own nation in all but name—and
are thus more willing to support the nationalistic aspirations of their 14
million countrymen living in Turkey. In words widely interpreted in Ankara as
a veiled threat to support a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey if the
cross-border raids continue, Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Regional
Government, warned last week that if Turkey tries "to stop our people from
profiting or progressing," then Turkey's own "stability and security" would
suffer. That kind of talk is likely to reinforce Turkey's determination to
stamp out the PKK once and for all—and take their war inside Iraq if
With Sami Kohen in Istanbul, John Barry in
Washington and Scott Johnson in Baghdad
© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.
Thousands march in Brussels
Marchers call on EU to push Turkey to give Kurds more rights
BRUSSELS - The Associated Press with TDN
Thousands of Kurds took
part in a protest march Saturday to demand the European Union do more to
promote Kurdish rights in Turkey and push Ankara to ease tensions.
Belgian media reported some 5,000 demonstrators from Belgium and Germany
took part in the march, however police could not confirm that number.
Many protesters held posters of Abdullah Öcalan, the chieftain of the
outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who was captured in 1999 by
Turkish forces and currently serving a life term at the Imralı prison. The
demonstrators called for more political rights for Kurds in Turkey.
The EU last month said it was concerned by recent deadly clashes
between ethnic Kurdish protesters and security forces in southeast Turkey.
The most violent clashes in decades between Turkish security forces and
ethnic Kurdish protesters recently left 12 civilians dead, while fighting has
escalated between PKK terrorists and the Turkish military.
The 25-nation EU, which last year opened entry talks with Turkey has
repeatedly called on Ankara to give more rights to its Kurdish minority.
Turkish Parliament speaker urges French deputies
Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday sent a letter to his French
counterpart, asking him not to take sides in the controversial Armenian
Underlining that judging history should be left to historians, not
parliaments, Arinc said that the French bill, which stipulates punishing those
who deny the Armenian genocide claims, is anti-freedom of expression and
thought, referring to the leading role played by France in the implementation
of basic human rights on the international stage.
Armenian organizations in France announced last week that a bill stipulating
prison sentences would be brought by the Socialist Party (PS) to the French
Parliament's floor for debate on May 18. Later last week the bill also won the
support of 100 deputies in the government, which increased the possibility of
Parliament's approval. In accordance with the French Parliament's 2001
recognition of the Armenian genocide claims, the law could punish
"genocide" deniers with up to a year behind bars.
In related news, the Turkish press reported Monday an exchange of words
between Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and his French counterpart
Philippe Douste-Blazy on the sidelines of last week's NATO foreign ministers
meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria. According to reports, Gul asked Douste-Blazy
whether he would be punished for denying the genocide claims. "What if I or
the Turkish president were to visit France and state 'the Armenian genocide is
a lie'? What would you do? Would you put us in prison?" asked Gul, the press
France's Double Standard on 'Genocide'
The French Parliament is preparing to pass a new bill next month under which
people who question the Armenian genocide claims would face up to five years
The French parliamentarians' controversial move coincides with a warning from
Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika not
to "overuse" the term genocide in regards to France's former role as a
colonial power in his country.
Last Monday, two days before arriving in France for a medical visit,
Bouteflika said the French colonization was a form of "genocide" for Algeria's
identity and traditions. The Algerian government claims that the 1954-62 war
of independence cost the lives of 1.5 million Algerians.
The French Parliament adopted a controversial motion in 2001 recognizing the
Armenian genocide claims, resulting in a major political crisis between France
The Armenian diaspora accuses the Ottoman Empire of deliberately massacring up
to 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1919. Turkey stresses that these
figures are inflated and says that far fewer Armenians died, due to civil
unrest under the conditions of World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman
Empire. Turkey also claims that during the ethnic conflict, thousands of Turks
were also killed by Armenian militants.
Late last year a group of prominent French academics asked politicians leave
history to scholars, and to avoid making decisions about history at
Parliament to discuss 'genocide' denials next month
Armenian organizations in France announced on Monday that a new bill proposing
prison time for those who question the so-called Armenian genocide will be
brought by the Socialist Party to Parliament's floor for debate on May 18.
In accordance with the French Parliament's 2001 recognition of Armenian
genocide claims, the law could punish those who question the claims with up to
five years behind bars.
According to the French Constitution, the government is responsible for the
preparation of laws, but political parties can make limited suggestions during
special gatherings a few times a year. On May 18 it will be the Socialist
Party's turn to outline the agenda of gathering. These special gatherings are
also called window meetings.
The Socialist Party has reportedly assured the Armenian lobby that it will
bring the issue up for debate during its window gathering.
President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, whose
images are tattered following riots against controversial labor law reforms,
are not expected to take a firm stance on the bill, which may boost its chance
of being passed.
Diplomatic sources told The New Anatolian that Turkish Foreign Ministry
officials are warning their French counterparts that passage of the bill would
seriously damage bilateral relations. Turkish officials argue that writing
history should be left to the historians and that Ankara's recent efforts to
normalize relations with Armenia shouldn't be undermined.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year sent a letter to
Armenian President Robert Kocharian suggesting the establishment of a
committee of Turkish and Armenian historians to study the claims. But
Kocharian refused Erdogan's proposal, saying that the two countries must first
establish diplomatic relations and that committees could be formed only within
the process of normalizing relations.
'Genocide' monuments in Lyon, Marseille
Monuments to honor victims of the Armenian genocide claims were inaugurated in
the French cities of Lyon and Marseille on Monday.
French Transportation Minister Dominique Perben, the socialist mayors of Lyon
and Marseille and socialist Senator Gerarad Collomb participated in the
inauguration ceremony along with Armenians.
Security was tight during the ceremonies to prevent provocation after the
monument in Lyon was spray painted with graffiti last week. The graffiti said,
"There was no genocide."
Algerian Genocide -
Genocides in History
Between 350,000 and 1.5 million
died during the
Algerian War of Independence
. Algerians argue that the massacres should be named as
genocide and France must apologise to the Algerians
However the French do not accept the claims. Algeria's President
Abdelaziz Bouteflika says that French colonization of his country Algeria
was a form of genocide
. In memoirs, some French officers have described torture of
Algerians during the war. Edouard Sablier, for instance, one of the soldiers
who took part in the repression, later described the situation: “Everywhere
in the towns there were camps surrounded by barbed wire containing hundreds
of suspects who had been arrested… Often, when we set out to inspect an
isolated hamlet in the mountains, I heard people say, ‘We should punish them
by taking away their crops’.”
A paper called Ohé Partisans, published by the French Trotskyists,
described Sétif as an “Algerian Oradour”. Oradour was a French town where
the Nazi occupiers had murdered over 600 people, including children.
However France has never accepted its responsibility in tortures
and massacres in Algeria. Paris says that the past should be left to
historians. French President Jacques Chirac, upon harsh reactions to the law
encouraging the good sides of the French colonial history, made the
statement, "Writing history is the job of the historians, not of the laws."
Writing history is the job of the historians" According to Prime Minister
Dominique de Villepin, "speaking about the past or writing history is not
the job of the parliament."
The Algerian president
Abdelaziz Bouteflika said in a speech in Paris on
17 April 2006 "Colonisation brought the genocide of our identity, of our
history, of our language, of our traditions".
Algeria first became a colony of France in 1830. When the Algerian
people rioted against the French colonial rule, the French dispatched
400,000 troops to pacify the anti-colonial uprising.
The French colonial forces launched an air and ground offensive against
several eastern cities, particularly Setif and Guelma, in response to
anti-French riots. The crackdown lasted several days and according to the
Algerian state left 45,000 people dead. European historians put the figure
at between 15,000 and 20,000
. French attacks continued not only in Algerian territories but in
France as well. The Paris massacre of 1961 was the most vivid example: On
October 17 the French police attacked an unarmed demonstration of Algerians,
who demanded the freedom of their country from French colonial rule. How
many demonstrators were killed is still unclear, but estimates range from 32
to 200 people. The incident had not been officially confirmed until 1999 as
the French Governments hide the truth.
There were executions and widespread arrests during the War of
Independence. "Many European lawyers refused to defend the accused. Villages
were bombed from the air and a town was shelled from a cruiser at sea. The
attacks were more or less random. The point was not so much to punish the
original rioters as to teach the whole Muslim population to know their
place. Settlers set up their own unofficial death squads and killed hundreds
of Muslims. German and Italian prisoners of war were released to take part
in the massacre."
Abdulkerim Gazali, editor of the Algerian newspaper La Tribune, likens
France's occupation of an independent and sovereign Algeria to Nazi
Germany's occupation of many European countries and claimed this was racism.
After a war which ended in Algeria's independence in 1962, eight million
Algerian residents were deprived of French nationality and hundreds of
thousands of 'pieds noir' (French who settled in Algeria and were re-patriated
at the end of the war) were forced home to a place which was not home.
Ahmed Ben Bella also argues that the
French committed a genocide against the people and Algerian culture:
"Algeria's indigenous population was decimated in the early years of French
settler colonial rule, falling from over four million in 1830 to less than
2.5 million by 1890. Systematic genocide was coupled with the brutal
suppression of Algerian cultural identity. Systematic genocide was coupled
with the brutal suppression of Algerian cultural identity. Indigenous
Algerians were French subjects, but could only become French citizens if
they renounced Islam and Arab culture. A ruthless policy of acculturation
followed, and the remaining Algerians were forced to cease speaking their
native Arabic and use the French of their colonial masters instead. The
indigenous Muslim population of Algeria was not permitted to hold political
meetings or bear arms. They were subjected to strict pass laws that required
indigenous Muslim Algerians to seek permission from the colonial authorities
to leave their hometowns or villages."
Algeria called on
France to apologise in 2005 for crimes committed during the colonial era
Amar Bakhouche, speaker of the Algerian Senate, similarly reacted that
France did not apologize for massacres it committed in Algeria
1945 Massacres was one of the most tragic massacres French committed in
Algeria. As Le Monde put it, "as France celebrated victory in Europe on 8
May 1945, its army was massacring thousands of civilians in Sétif and Guelma
- events that were the real beginning of Algeria’s war of independence."
Bouteflika also urged the
Paris Government to admit its part in the massacres of 45,000 Algerians
who took to the streets to demand independence as Europe celebrated victory
over Nazi Germany in 1945
 . French authorities then responded by playing down the comments,
urging "mutual respect". French Foreign Minister Barnier told Algeria in an
official visit to make a common effort to search history "in order to
establish a common future and overcome the sad pages". Giving interview to
El Vatan, an Algerian newspaper, Barnier said that "Historians from two
sides must be encouraged to work together. They must work on the common
The archives in France on the issue have been kept closed till now. The
French collected all documents regarding the massacres and genocide. For
many, the closed archives are another signs of the Genocide in Algeria. Amar
Bakhouche, the speaker of Algerian Senate, reacted that France keep the
archives related to that period closed. He says the greatest majority of
archives related to that period were brought to France and they were kept
closed. They are not open for French and Algerians. We urged to immediately
open them for public" he said.
Source: Wikipedia, 2 May 2006
Genocides in History
02 May 2006
Turkey and France have had a long history of intense and turbulent
relations for the last six centuries. This has, not surprisingly, included
times of cooperation, strategic balancing, intense trade and cultural exchange
and war. There have been moments, such as on the eve and in the wake of the
1997 Luxembourg summit of the European Council, that Turkey regarded France as
one of its key partners in its drive towards the European Union. There have
been others, as we've heard lately, before Sept 3, 2005, when France appeared
to be an obstacle to Turkey's EU ambitions, both in terms of accession and
For a few months, Turkey has been living through a French spring in the field
of culture, but alas not in politics.
While art lovers are enjoying performances in Ankara, Istanbul and around
Turkey by French masters of their art, diplomatic and political circles are
deeply pensive about the possible damage that would be inflicted on relations
if France passes a new bill on the Armenian "genocide" this month.
The French socialists will almost certainly bring a new bill proposing
penalties to those who question the so-called Armenian genocide to the floor
of the French National Assembly this month during a "window session."
Armenians in France have already welcomed the law, which will come to the
floor for debate on May 18, one of the limited times when the opposition is
allowed to propose laws.
If accepted then it would be a crime -- punishable for up to five years in
prison -- to "deny that the Armenian genocide" took place.
This will be the second time that a debate in the French Parliament on the
Armenian "genocide" has poisoned Turco-French ties. The French Parliament
adopted a controversial law in 2001, which says, in a single line, that
"France publicly recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915."
When this law, penned by the Socialist Party (PS), was first discussed in
1997, there were various proposals: Some groups suggested that a clause on
revisionism be added to the law, while others wanted to change the date to
1915-1921, when the modern Turkish state was also established.
Then, after three years of being buried in the Senate, the law was finally
passed and signed by President Jacques Chirac. Both French diplomatic and
political circles quickly verified the law didn't contain "revisionism."
The text, said Parisian policy-makers, diplomats and academics, was greatly
different from that of the Loi Gayssot, which made denial of the Holocaust
punishable under the law.
The Turks were unpersuaded. Ankara was certain that once this first law was
passed, a negationism clause would follow sooner or later.
Time, it seems, has proved Ankara right.
In the wake of the conflict around monuments that aimed to "honor" victims of
the Armenian genocide claims dedicated in the French cities of Lyon and
Marseille, the fertile atmosphere for that new law was created.
Many French politicians have judged the graffiti scribbled on the monument to
be a mere act of vandalism, which fed pressure from the strong and
well-organized Armenian lobby on French politicians to "do something."
I'm reluctant to get into a debate on how and under which conditions
historical revisionism (or "negationism") can be reconciled with freedom of
expression, if at all. To me, any negationism reminds me of its most famous
example in literature, George Orwell's "1984."
Nor will I discuss the differences between what constitutes a "genocide" and
what constitutes a "massacre" or wonder out loud whether the international
tendency to shout "genocide" is a factor that, in fact, diminishes the gravity
of other crimes against humanity.
Looking at the situation between Turkey and France, it seems highly probable
that the law will be passed. Take the existing sympathies in the country
toward the Armenian diaspora, the well-organized Armenian lobby and its power,
and all the negative factors against Turkey. Add to this the dialogue of the
deaf between Ankara and Paris on this issue. No Turkish diplomat can be
sufficiently convincing for the French audience on the Armenian question, no
matter what they say, and, vice versa, no French diplomat can explain and make
Turks "understand" the French dilemma on the Armenian question. The civil
societies of both countries don't have a sufficiently developed relationship
with each other to be a serious element in the equation. One hopes, however,
that credible and nonpartisan groups on both sides will come together and
discuss the issue in the coming days.
What makes one uneasy is think that French lawmakers will vote for the new law
without fully realizing what it means. They will know, of course, that
opposing it may border on political suicide. Most will surely think of the
Armenian question itself and conclude, easily and without much of a dilemma of
the conscience, that since France passed a law recognizing genocide five years
ago, why not add another one on revisionism? After all, they might ask, do we
want graffiti on monuments?
Will any of them see the inconsistency when their country's foreign minister
asked Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika not to "overuse" the term
genocide in regards to France's former role as a colonial power in his
country? Will he remember remarks uttered by ex-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin,
who in 2001 rejected a proposal to investigate French "massacres" in Algeria,
saying they should leave judgements on the issue to historians?
Will the same deputies also think that by passing this law, France -- which
was considered an intellectual and academic capital -- can no longer play a
meaningful role on any Turkish-Armenian platform to build a relationship?
Would the same country be better off supporting joint academic studies or a
"Truth" commission on the same question?
A senior diplomat maintained that Turco-French ties, which have been intense
for centuries, will withstand it, but he added, "I'd be sorry to see them
deteriorate in my time."
Hopefully, he won't be the only one to think that, neither in Ankara nor in
Paris, and particularly not in the National Assembly.
Resorts to Master Plan
By Aslihan Aydin, Hamit Calis, Urgup
Published: Sunday, April 16, 2006
The Master Plan that will enable the Turkish
tourism sector to act more professionally and systematic is expected to be
completed next September.
Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc said he is uncomfortable
with Turkey being seen as “Sea water” only and added with the master plan to
be completed Turkey’s historical and cultural heritage will also be used.
Koc said they are trying to solve the problems of the sector in cooperation
with the private sector and added, “but since we do not have a master plan our
efforts do not meet the targets.”
Participating in activities in Urgup in the frame of Tourism week in
Turkey, Koc said this particular region is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage
List and emphasized the importance of alternative tourism areas.
“The main reason behind the problems of the tourism sector is the lack of a
master plan,” said Atilla Koc and made some explanations about the studies of
his ministry on this issue.
The Tourism Minister asserted that the majority of the problems in tourism
will be solved after the master plan is completed next September and added.
“75 percent of the Turkish tourism sector serves to sea tourism and the
other 25 percent serves to alternative tourism. And culture, winter,
history and congress tourisms, though more important, constitute only 25
percent. We are trying to develop the 25 percent part even further without
neglecting sea tourism. Antalya and Capadoccia should be connected to each
other. We want to realize this.”
OIC recognizes Northern Cyprus as ‘Turkish State of Cyprus'
The Parliamentarians of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)
countries, following an earlier step by their respective governments,
yesterday officially recognized the Turkish Cypriots as the "Turkish State of
The parliamentarians took the decision during a two-day Istanbul Conference of
the Parliamentarian Union of the OIC (PUIC) which ended yesterday. Forty-seven
parliaments of OIC states were represented at the highest level during the
The OIC, at Turkey's request, changed the official name of the Turkish
Cypriots from "Muslim Community on Cyprus" to "Turkish State of Cyprus" during
the ministerial meeting of the organization in fall 2004, again in Istanbul.
In the Istanbul declaration, the PUIC stated that it "encouraged efforts of
the United Nations secretary-general's good office missions to find a
comprehensive settlement to the problem of Cyprus on the basis of Annan plan
and established parameters such as the political equality of the two sides on
A call on the international community to take "concrete steps, without further
delay, to end the inhumane isolation" of the Turkish Cypriots was also
included in the final document. The PUIC also stated that it welcomed the
action plan announced by Turkey this January containing a proposal for the
simultaneous removal of embargoes against the Turkish and Greek Cypriots by
The parliament speakers of OIC member states also approved a final statement
entitled the "Istanbul declaration" at the end of the meeting. All the member
countries tried to include reflections of their foreign policies in the
declaration. While the Iranian delegation insisted on including the "right of
every state to the peaceful use of nuclear technology," Turkey and the other
countries pressed for and succeed in the inclusion of a phrase that refers to
the need for "effective control" of such activities by the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
and inspection protocol.
At the insistence of the Iranian delegation a phrase calling on "the UN
Security Council [UNSC] and the IAEA to declare the Middle East region free of
all weapons of mass destruction [WMDs], especially nuclear weapons" was also
included in the declaration.
Another problematic paragraph of the declaration was about the Middle East
peace process. The Arabs and Iranians together insisted on a strong
condemnation of the European Union's recent declaration of possibility of
imposing economic sanctions on the Palestinian government formed by Hamas
which won the majority in the Palestinian Parliament in January's elections.
While the decision was taken by consensus at the PUIC, efforts by Turkish
diplomats to soften the paragraph didn't work. And at the very end of all the
debates, the parties were only able to reach the agreement that the
Palestinian delegation would write the paragraph. In the end, the paragraph
was passed as follows:
"The PUIC condemns the threats of the EU and U.S. to cut off assistance and
aid to the Palestinian people and its elected authority, and considers these
threats as collective punishment of the Palestinian people for their
democratic option and sabotages the basis and principals upon which democracy
But in response to such a tough statement, the Turkish delegation intervened
and succeeded in having another phrase added, referring to international
efforts to find a solution to the problem: "Given the importance of the
sustainability of moral and material support to the Palestinian people, calls
on the international community to continue its help to them for achieving a
comprehensive, just and durable settlement through negotiations, based upon
relevant international resolutions, signed agreements, the Beirut Arab Summit
Plan, the roadmap and land for peace principle." Again, as a result of the
Turkish delegation's intervention, a request from "members of the Quartet" --
the U.S., Russia, the EU and UN -- "to reactivate their efforts to resume
peace process without further delay" was included in the final document.
As in almost all the final declarations of gatherings of Muslim states, a
paragraph condemning Israeli aggression against the Palestinians was also
included in the Istanbul declaration.
Terrorism paragraph Turkey couldn't change
Another important part of the final declaration for Turkey were the paragraphs
related to terrorism. The need for international solidarity was accepted
unanimously by all PUIC members. But despite efforts by the Turkish
delegation, a sentence on a "distinction between the legitimate right of
people to resist aggression and foreign occupation and criminal acts of
terrorism" was included in the declaration. While the Arabs and Iranians
insisted that this paragraph refers to Palestinian resistance against Israel,
the lack of reference to any specific problem worried Turkey as it could be
used one day in relation to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism. Despite
the Turkish delegation's resistance, another related paragraph also was added:
"The PUIC is convinced that terrorism cannot be fought only by security and
military means but also by realizing peaceful and just solutions to the
political root causes of terrorism."
The paragraph of the PUIC's Istanbul declaration on concerns over "Islamophobia
and defamation of Islam around the globe" was accepted, on the other hand,
unanimously. "The PUIC deplores the association of Islam with violence and
underlines the obligation of all governments to make a strong commitment to
tackling Islamophobia at the local, regional and international level," said
the declaration. The PUIC also emphasized the "responsibility of the
international community, both at the institutional and civil society levels"
to ensure respect for all religions and combat their defamation by applying
the relevant legislation equally to attacks on all religious beliefs and
The Turkish delegation also succeeded in having a paragraph included
expressing the PUIC's support for the Alliance of Civilizations initiative,
co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain. ABHaber 14.04.2006
and US Ambassador Argue over PKK
By Salih Boztas, Ankara
Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2006
An argument erupted over the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) terror network at a
dinner last night hosted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly for the guest
of honor, Turkish-American Friendship Group co-President and US Congressman
US Ambassador Ross Wilson harshly reacted to main opposition Republican
People's Party (CHP) Deputy Sukru Elekdag when he declared that the United
States did not provide sufficient support in the fight against the PKK.
Elekdag mentioned the fight against the PKK in his speech at the beginning
of the evening in which he reminded how the PKK continues to take lives every
day. "You promised to conduct an operation 2.5 years ago against the PKK, but
you did not keep it. The PKK has been encouraged by this and has increased its
Ambassador Wilson who listened patiently to these criticisms responded, "We
made no promise of conducting an operation."
Another US diplomat intervened, making the criticism, "Mr. Elekdag, the
person you criticize is the greatest friend of Turks in the US."
When Elekdag retaliated: "You did promise; is it so hard to cut the
logistic support to the PKK? You have so many troops there," Wilson replied:
"This is nonsense. It is ridiculous that you are making such a connection."
Following the CHP deputy's reproach, Wilson stepped back and said, "These
are just emotional reactions."
Wilson tried to ease the tense atmosphere developing with Elekdag by
saying, "You are a friend of the US. Let’s talk about your concerns in
The disagreement dissipated as Elekdag replied, "I certainly am a friend of
yours, and I would like to meet and talk about this in private."
Washington and its 'awkward partner' AK Party
Ayhan Simsek 11 April 2006
Is the Bush administration withdrawing its support from the Justice and
Development (AK) Party government? Are we going to face swift developments in
domestic politics in the coming months, in the wake of a possible U.S.
operation against Iran?
These might sound like naive questions to some observers, but nowadays they
are often heard in the Turkish capital among political circles. Recently
published articles of prominent U.S. security analysts like Alex Alexiev and
Frank J. Gaffney accusing the AK Party of having a hidden Islamic agenda and
betraying the U.S are being seen as signals of a sea change in Washington's
attitude towards the AK Party. Last week's visit to Washington of Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's two senior advisors, where they faced highly
critical questions by Pentagon officials on the AK Party's recent foreign
policy orientation, have only added fuel to these discussions.
But what's really going on between the Bush administration and the AK Party?
It's clear that there are concerns about controversial AK Party steps such as
direct talks with Hamas and critical words about U.S. foreign policy, but
would calling them a deep crisis between Washington and the AK Party be an
My answer would be yes, at least for the time being and for at least three
First of all, we have to see that when talking about Washington we're talking
about the State Department, the Pentagon, the Congress, various lobbying
groups, think tanks and so on. While any statement by a prominent figure
representing any of these is generally perceived in Turkey as a signal of the
administration, this is in fact not the case.
While the U.S. Jewish lobby harshly reacted to the Hamas invitation of the AK
Party for example, the State Department gave a more cautious response, though
it was also uncomfortable with various aspects of that. In addition, the
disagreements among the State Department and the Pentagon about the AK Party
government, with some in the latter still angry with its rejection back in
March 2003 for Turkey to allow U.S. troops here in the leadup to the Iraq
invasion, is evident to many observers.
Secondly, we have to see that critical articles on the AK Party's "hidden
Islamic agenda" appearing in the U.S. press are attracting more interest in
Turkey than the U.S. Their influence on the U.S. administration seems to be
more limited than it is thought to be, and it is really doubtful whether they
are signals of uneasiness within the Bush administration. The political
opposition in Turkey is masterfully using these pieces to create a climate to
show that AK Party's support is falling sharply.
Finally, we should understand that AK Party has entered an elections
atmosphere. In the past Turkish political parties used to practice economic
populism, promising people big wage hikes, cheap housing and easy car loans,
etc. Now the AK Party seems to be going with another line, populism through
foreign policy. Erdogan wasn't able to satisfy his Islamic grassroots on the
issues of ending headscarf restrictions, expanding religious vocational imam-hatip
schools and so on. His recent shift to an Islamic solidarity rhetoric in
foreign policy and his critical words against some policies of the U.S. seem
to represent more practical steps towards such an aim.
Can the U.S. still count on such a partner? Well, when one looks at the broad
spectrum of U.S.-Turkish relations, there are still more areas of common
interest than differences. Iraq, Afghanistan, the Caucasus and Central Asia,
Cyprus and Turkey's EU process are some of the main topics along these lines.
Even on the Iran issue, recently Turkey has showed stronger support to the
international community's initiatives asking Tehran to cease its sensitive
nuclear activity. Turkey, as a secular, democratic country with a
majority-Muslim population, is still the only example for the Middle East
region showing that democracy can co-exist with Islam. And here the AK Party,
which claims to be a moderate conservative party, has a special role.
The rhetoric of being "strategic partners" is certainly not relevant in
Turkish-US relations any more, but the U.S. administration still needs its
"awkward partner" the AK Party for some more time.
EU concerned by violence in Turkey
31 Mar 2006 Source: Reuters By Ingrid Melander
BRUSSELS, March 31 (Reuters) - The European Union expressed serious concern
on Friday over violent clashes which have killed six people, including two
children, in southeast Turkey and urged Ankara to improve the rights of Kurds in
Stone-throwing Kurds have been clashing with riot police in Diyarbakir since
Tuesday, turning the city of one million people on the River Tigris into a
It is the worse violence in the Muslim nation since it began accession talks
with the 25-nations European Union last October.
"We are very concerned by the latest tensions in the southeast of Turkey and
the violence which have resulted in casualties," said Krisztina Nagy,
spokeswoman for the EU's Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.
"We are aware of the serious terrorist problem in the region but it is a much
wider problem than just a security issue."
More than 30,000 people, most of them Kurds, have been killed since the
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) took up arms for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey in
Turkey, the European Union and the United States all see the PKK as a
terrorist organisation, but the EU has also repeatedly urged Ankara to grant
greater cultural and linguistic rights to its 12 million Kurds. Under pressure,
Turkey's government has passed some reforms, but implementation has remained
Nagy urged the Turkish authorities to address "urgently" the lack of economic
development and cultural rights in that region.
"The region needs peace, economic development and real exercise of cultural
rights for Kurds," Nagy said, adding that this was not a new problem and was
raised constantly by the European Commission in its talks with Turkey.
Asked whether the EU executive was critical of Turkish police actions, Nagy
said she was worried by the whole situation.
The clashes first erupted on Tuesday after funeral ceremonies for 14 PKK
rebels killed by troops last weekend.
An eight-year-old child died overnight in hospital. A man and a child were
shot dead on Wednesday and a second man was crushed under a police armoured car.
It was not immediately clear when or how the other two people died.
Political analysts say the clashes reflect local anger over high
unemployment, poverty and Ankara's refusal to grant more autonomy and cultural
rights to the mainly Kurdish region.
Police spokesman Ismail Caliskan said the PKK was behind the violence.
U.S.: 'Roj TV Must Be Shut Down'
The United States urged Denmark to shut
down the PKK-supported Roj TV channel. Roj TV has encouraged the recent riots
in south-eastern Turkey. Some of the manegers of the Roj TV are high-ranked
Matthew Bryza, the US State Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for
southeastern Europe and Central Asian affairs, has commented on the
controversial separatist Kurdist television channel Roj TV, which is currently
broadcasting out of Denmark.
Said Bryza, "The US wants Roj TV to be shut down." Bryza made this statement
at a press conference following a meeting with his counterparts in the Turkish
Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Bryza also commented that the US would be cooperating with both EU countries
and Turkey in trying to block mechanisms-media and otherwise-that were working
to support the PKK in Europe.
PKK has offices in Denmark and Belgium. The PKK is a terrorist organisation
according to the EU, UK and US laws. Turkey accuses Denmark of supporting
terrorism. The PKK killed more than 20.000 Kurds and Turks in 25 years.
Melahat TUZCU JTW, 7 April 2006
Ankara Closely Following All PKK Media Activities
Turkey's expectation of the
eradication of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) from neighboring
Iraq is adequately clear, Foreign Ministry spokesman Namık Tan said on
Wednesday, while calling on the international community as well as U.S.
and Iraqi authorities to take the necessary initiatives.
Tan said during a weekly press conference
that “a process is currently going on” concerning Ankara's demand of
closure of the Copenhagen-based Roj TV, which Turkey says provoked deadly
clashes in southeastern Anatolia.
Roj TV has been a source of tension
between Turkey and Denmark for the last two years. Only late last year
Denmark launched an investigation into whether Roj TV has links with the PKK
-- classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and
the United States -- and refuses to take action until the investigation
The Danish Radio and Television Board
ruled last year that the station's programming could not be considered
inflammatory but said it had asked police to look into alleged ties between
Roj TV and the PKK.
Turkey had previously succeeded in
ensuring the closure of two other European-based Kurdish television
stations. MED-TV had its license revoked in Britain, while France refused to
grant a license to its successor, MEDYA-TV.
The closure decisions in Britain and
France were made by administrative courts, whereas the Roj TV issue was
being handled by a criminal court in Denmark, Tan noted and added Turkey
timely sent all evidence concerning the issue to the Office of Denmark's
Turkey has been closely following all the
PKK's activities, including those related to the media, Tan said when asked
about allegations that a pro-Kurdish news outlet -- Fırat News Agency,
which is believed to have links with the PKK -- has been broadcasting from
denies stoking Turkish violence:
A day before Tan's recent remarks on the
issue, Roj TV head Manouchehr Tahsili Zonoozi denied in an interview with
the Reuters news agency Turkish accusations it was stoking street violence
in the Southeast of the country and said it sought only to give a voice
to people Ankara refused to heed.
Zonoozi said he planned to set up a
24-hour Kurdish language news station -- a proposal likely to further anger
Zonoozi, sitting before a map showing
borders of a projected independent Kurdish state embracing parts of
southeastern Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, told Reuters he had no links to
the PKK though its members had contacted the station during phone-ins.
“We give voice to people they [the Turkish
government] don't want to hear,” he said in the interview at his office in
the center of the Danish capital.
“They say we are fully responsible for
driving people on to the street; they think of us as the enemy.”
Zonoozi says his channel, a mix of news,
culture and entertainment with a Kurdish theme, provided objective
uncensored journalism. Denmark had effectively backed this, he said, in
turning down Turkey's demands to shut the broadcaster.
“We don't support either side, but it's
all happening to the Kurds.”
He said it was only a matter of time
before he added a 24-hour news channel to his media outlets, which
include a radio station and music TV channel.
He said the Danish government had
already given him the license and he just has to find the extra cash.
Alert for: Turkish lobby March 24, 2006
Kurdish Quest for Independence and Prospects
KurdishMedia - UK
... Northern Kurdistan and mentioned the legacy and birth of the
Turkish state that ... Kurdish American community to become more
active and to lobby their government ...
18th Annual KNC
Conference, March 17-19, 2006 – Gaithersburg (North Washington DC)
The Kurdish National
Congress of North America concluded its 18th annual conference on Sunday March
19th. The focus of this year’s conference was to encourage in-depth discussions
on all four parts of Kurdistan and to bring political leaders, intellectuals and
independent activists from East, West, North and South together. As in the past
17 years, the 18th Annual Conference got under way with the raising of the
Kurdish flag. Dr. Wafa Khorsheed welcomed the attendees on Friday by briefly
mentioning the last year’s achievements and encouraged everyone to fully
participate in the three day events.
Mr. Shwan Karim, KNC board member and chair of the Youth Committee introduced
the first panel by listing some of the activities of The Kurdish American Youth
Organization (KAYO), a KNC affiliate, and pointed out the importance of youth in
the future of our nation. Subjects ranged from runaway youth and honor killings
to inter-racial and arranged marriages. Panel members included Ms. Aryan Akrayi,
Ms. Sheinei Saleem, Mr. Nezar Ahmed Tovi, Mr. Ara Alan and Mr. Butan Amedi. Much
emphasis was given to young Kurdish women’s rights and the value of
communication between parents and their children who have been raised outside
Kurdistan. Goran Sadjadi, the president of KAYO also spoke of the organization’s
web site and the services they provide including a place for youth to publish
their own articles and opinions.
Several guest speakers followed with a diverse set of topics. Dr. Jaques Wilson
of Kurdish Human Rights Watch (KHRW) listed many projects in Southern Kurdistan
that are in process and answered questions on status and focus of these
projects. Dr. Kamal Artin highlighted the importance of unity to achieve
independence, which has been described by some leaders as wishful thinking. He
argued wishful thinking of other oppressed nations as well as noble ideas of
anti slavery movement, woman’s rights activists, and many others who have made
an improvement in people’s lives have come true. He differentiated between ideas
and behaviors that serve humanity and those that are against it. He concluded
that Kurdish dream of independence is just a matter of time and achievable with
unity among Kurds and support from international community, since it is a noble
and humanistic idea or “wishful thinking”. Dr. Kirmanj Gundi focused his talk on
Northern Kurdistan and mentioned the legacy and birth of the Turkish state that
resulted in banning of Kurdish culture as well as denial of its existence and
attempts to obliterate the Kurdish identity. He followed by saying that: “In the
1980s, our people saw another terminology added to describe their identity, the
so-called Good Kurds, Bad Kurds”. He followed by discussing the role of the
United States’ government, for coining the term “Good Kurds” for the Kurds in
Iraq, who assisted the U.S. in its war to remove Saddam Hussein’s regime. And
that: “The term “Bad Kurds” the U.S. has graciously applied to describe our
brethren in Turkey”. Mr. Bakhtyar Zuhdi, stressed that Kurdish independence can
only be secured by economic independency. He reminded us that, our rural areas
should be revitalized and become more productive and that our light industries
need to grow to a level of providing sustainability in case economic blockade is
imposed on an independent Kurdistan. He believes that we are a long time away
from economic independency in Southern Kurdistan.
Chairman of the 18th Annual KNC Conference, Mr. Thomas Ver Ploeg opened the
Saturday sessions by welcoming attendees and guests and touching on the current
events of Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Kurdistan. He stated that
these are times of great change and that this has been said for the past 18
years which is testament to rapidly changing political climate in the Middle
East. He also repeated the emphasis of this year’s conference on different parts
of Kurdistan and encouraged all attendees to engage in discussions that were
planned specific to each occupied region as well as the free region in Southern
Sherkoh Abbas of the Kurdish American Committee for Democracy in Syria chaired a
panel on Western Kurdistan and gave a report on the formation of the Kurdish
Front for Promoting Democracy & Freedom in Syria. He followed by reading the 13
points issued by the participating political parties of the Washington
Conference held the previous week. The panel consisted of political party
representatives and independent Kurdish leaders such as Mr. Mobarak Al-Khaznawiand
and Mr. Abdel Baqi Yousif from Yeketi. Panel members discussed their desire for
regime change in Syria to a democratic one that would recognize a federal
Kurdish state. Kurdish parties are taking a leadership role in creating a
formidable opposition to the Baath Party instead of following behind their Arab
counterparts. Also, the newly released report from Refugee International,
“Buried Alive” about the stateless people of Western Kurdistan was mentioned
several times and praised.
The panel on Eastern Kurdistan was diverse and included five representatives
from Kurdish political parties. Ms. Soraya Serajeddini introduced the topic by
recounting the victimization of Kurds in Iran and the need for Kurds to take a
leadership role in the Middle East. She stressed that while we should not allow
the world to forget the atrocities committed against Kurds, it is time now to
act as leaders and not victims. Panelists discussed their desire and
accomplishments towards forming a political front in Eastern Kurdistan. Mr.
Hamid Bahrami of Komala Party stressed the need to stop the Iranian nuclear
program and gave reasons why this move by the current regime in Iran is
destabilizing the world and the Kurds’ responsibility at this junction in time.
Mr. Shamsi of Komala articulated the long history of Kurdish national struggle
and its unique characteristics in relation to other ethnic groups in Iran. He
recounted his party’s role in promoting civil groups in Iran struggling to
achieve a better life and tied it to the national struggle of Kurds and their
resistance movement. During the question and answer session, Dr. Morteza
Esfandiari of KDPI stressed that his party included many Shiaat Kurds such as
himself. He also stressed the need for the Kurdish opposition to work closely
with other ethnic groups in Iran. Aref Bawajani of the newly formed Party
Serbasti pointed out the failed attempts at federalism and limited self
determination for Kurdistan and presented his views of independence for Eastern
Kurdistan from Iran as the only viable option. Zagros Yazdanpanah, North
American representative of the Revolution Union of Kurdistan followed by
mentioning that his party believes in an independent Kurdistan but will work
within the platform of a Federal Democratic Iran for the time being.
KNC paid a special tribute to Professor Dr.Ahmad Ali Uthman delivered by his
long time friend, colleague, and KNC past-president Dr. Hikmat Fikrat. Professor
Uthman passed away on December 14, 2005 leaving a great void in the heart of all
his friends and associates who had the pleasure of knowing him. Dr. Uthman was a
professor of Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine at New York State University in
Buffalo and a past Dean of the Dental College of the University of Baghdad. He
was a true Kurdish patriot. He had a real passion for the causes of his beloved
people and that of the subjugated Kurdish nation at large. Ahmad Uthman was one
of the founding members of KNC and a past executive vice president and general
secretary of the organization as well as a founder and past president of the
Kurdish-American Medical Association (KAMA). As KNC members said their final
farewell to him, they vowed to keep his legacy alive and follow his footsteps in
the service of their nation. (A full text of the memorial address in addition to
photos of Dr. Uthman can be found on the KNC website). A letter from Dr.
Uthman’s family thanking KNC for the special tribute was read to the audience.
Dr. Saman Shali, KNC president, addressed the attendees describing the past year
as one filled with optimism as well as frustrations. He noted that the call for
independence has increased in the region and for the first time in our history,
an opportunity has opened up to demand that our right to self-determination be
respected. He added that Kurds have worked very hard to implement the process of
democratization in Iraq and have participated actively in all the elections and
have become the glue to hold Iraq together. In conclusion he called on the
international community to recognize the rights of the Kurdish people equally in
all parts of Kurdistan, and to stop labeling the Kurds as “Bad Kurds and Good
Kurds”. He also urged the international community and organizations to conduct a
national referendum throughout Kurdistan, asking the Kurdish people for once
what they want and to stop the policy of making decisions for them behind doors.
Dr. Asad Khailany opened the discussion on Northern Kurdistan by pointing out
major changes in the U.S foreign policy. He continued that while in the past
decades, the U.S was willing to work with dictatorships and sacrifice democracy
for stability the current line of thinking is shifting towards achieving
stability through the promotion of democratic governments. Mr. Christopher
Hitchens, the renowned journalist and political analyst spoke of the U.S
government’s realization that Kurds are an ally once the Turks denied US forces
of using their bases to launch an attack on Saddam’s regime. Mr. Brusk Reshvan
stressed the necessity of forming a unified front for representing all political
parties and personalities in Northern Kurdistan and the creation of concrete
solution proposals for the Kurdish question so that everyone would know what
Kurds want. Ara Alan of KAYO stated the need for dialogue between the US and the
European Union and the Kurdish parties in Turkey. The panelists further
expressed their skepticism about EU’s role and motivation re-iterating that EU
is mainly interested in keeping the Kurdish problem away from its borders. It
has not announced any solution proposals to the Kurdish question so far and is
unlikely to do so in the future. The Kurdish question for the EU is a sub-topic
under the Copenhagen Criteria. On the solution to the Kurdish question in the
North, the U.S can play a more effective role; the southern experiment is
unfolding currently and it is highly expected that both in West and East the U.S
might be a great factor. They also mentioned the need for the Kurdish parties of
the North to have a clear Kurdish message and not to continue their failed
strategy of trying to be pluralistic democracy parties with diluted programs.
Mr. Jeff Klein of KurdishMedia.com concluded the panel by recounting the
positive effects of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union and recounted his
experiences before and after the reforms in Amed. He told the audience that the
towns and villages and the people are expressing their identity more freely and
while Turkey’s EU membership is not be the whole answer, it has helped the
struggle in Northern Kurdistan.
Dr. Najmaldin Karim introduced the panel on Southern Kurdistan, mentioning the
achievements as well as disappointments of the last few years. He mentioned the
lost opportunity of adding Kirkuk to the Kurdish controlled region and
declaration of independence in 2003. Dr. Liam Anderson, an expert on
constitution documents opened his talk by listing some of the shortfalls of the
draft Iraqi constitution. He expressed reservations that the process for a
democratic constitution would succeed in Iraq and even if it did, whether the
spirit to implement a democratic constitution exists in Iraq. Christopher
Hitchens participated in this panel as well and re-iterated that the
relationship between Kurds and the United States and the West in general has
changed forever because of the war in Iraq. Qubad Talabani, PUK representative
in Washington DC, mentioned accomplishments and much work ahead for the KRG. He
explained that while independence is ideal, we need to build our infrastructure
such as a bank. During the question and answer session, Mr. Talabani appealed to
the Kurdish American community to become more active and to lobby their
government on behalf of Kurdistan. He also denounced the burning of the Halabja
monument which was the overwhelming opinion of the conference attendees.
Later on Saturday evening, KNC honored Dr. Najmaldin Karim, co-founder and past
president of KNC and current president of the Washington Kurdish Institute with
its annual “Lifetime Achievement Award”. Dr. Karim’s contributions to the
Kurdish struggle were chronicled in a slide show prior to the banquet and
included his tremendous effect in promoting the Kurdish plight both in the
United States and in Kurdistan. The award ceremony continued with presenting the
first KNC “Kurdish Artist Appreciation” award to Zuhdi Sardar, a longtime KNC
member and supporter. Mr. Sardar has promoted the Kurdish cause through his art
for decades and is a well-known painter and sculpture in the United States and
Mr. Nijyar Shemdin, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) representative in
North America and the UN, addressed the conference on Sunday with a message of
support from Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of Kurdistan. Mr. Shemdin stated
that the Prime Minister wishes success for the conference and appreciates what
KNC is doing for Kurds and Kurdistan. He also relayed to the members the great
efforts of the Kurdistan Regional Government in trying to keep Kurdistan safe
and prosperous by way of fighting the spirits of evil who do not want a secure
and safe Kurdistan. He followed by saying that the Prime Minister asks all
international organizations including KNC to support the KRG in this effort.
The KNC 18th annual conference concluded with the election of the Board of
Directors and a committee to review the organization’s bylaw. The newly elected
KNC Board then met and selected the KNC Executive Committee. Results from the
elections are as follows:
Dr. Saman Shali President
Ms. Soraya Serajeddini Vice President
Mr. Buland Baban Treasurer
Mr. Tom Ver Ploeg Secretary
Dr. Wafa Korsheed Board Member
Dr. Kamal Artin Board Member
Mr. Shwan Karim Board Member
Miss Lana Salih Board Member
Mr. Brusk Reshvan Board Member
The conference ended with calls and recommendations to the International
community and the Kurdish leaderships:
Call for Unity among Kurdish organizations and parties for the creation of a
common strategy and National Agenda.
The conference attendees emphasized the new realities and opportunities in
Western and Eastern Kurdistan for gaining Kurdish right to self-determinations.
The importance of Turkey to be a part of the European Union while recognizing
the cosmetic nature of many of the reforms implemented up to this point.
Conference attendees call on the European Union to accept Turkey to the union
only when real democratization takes place in Turkey.
The Kurd in Southern Kurdistan facing challenges starting with the new
constitution to the possibility of the civil war. The conference called on the
Kurdish parliament to be prepared for establishing a Kurdish state and to
lobby for support of the US, UN and other allies especially if civil war breaks
out. No one can blame the Kurds of breaking away from Iraq because the
Kurds did everything in their power to keep Iraq together.
Speed up the re-unification of the two Kurdish Regional Governments in Southern
Call on UN to conduct a national referendum in Southern Kurdistan.
KNC must aggressively lobby the U.S State Department, the Senate, and the
Congress to change its policy with regards to the Kurdish issue and equally
promote democracy and Kurdish rights in all parts of the Middle and Near East
including the occupying governments of Iran, Syria and Turkey.
Public Relations & Media Contact: Soraya Serajeddini (408) 834-5557
The Kurdish National Congress of North America
P.O. Box 545
Millersville, MD 21108
P.O. Box 1663,
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Public Relations & Media Contact: Soraya Serajeddini (408) 834-5557
Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australia
CLICK TO SEE FULL TEXT
FOR RECOGNITION OF ASSYRIAN GENOCIDE
TO THE NSW LOCAL GOVERNMENT
of the genocide perpetrated against the Assyrian people during 1914-1918 and
The Assyrian people fell victim to
the genocide against Christians in the Ottoman empire and its aftermaths and
today is continuing to face state sponsored denial causing the truth to be
distorted and history to be rewritten as an arbitrary fable which systemically
prevents mankind from taking any shielding lessons from history which only can
preclude the demons of genocide from having their sway ever again.
the Assyrian genocide is either forgotten or even still unknown in the world and
at any rate not recognised,
the Assyrian people in its historical homeland in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey
suffers from attacks on its very existence and national identity by way of
disenfranchisement, oppression, expulsion as well as forced imposition of
dominant majority cultures in the sense of ethnocide;
the Assyrian community in
Australia enjoys the recognition of its unique national character and a
dedicated promotion of its cultural rights by the Australian Government;
herewith appeal to the
Australian government and the competent institutions of the Australian state for
an express act of official recognition of the Assyrian genocide.
For more information:
Against the Assyrian Nation (612 B.C. - 1999 A.D.)
ALLEGED GENOCIDE CLAIMS 1 -
ALLEGED GENOCIDE CLAIMS 2 -
ALLEGED GENOCIDE CLAIMS 3 -
ALLEGED GENOCIDE CLAIMS 4 -
AKTAN: ''ERMENI IDDIALARININ ABD'DE TANINMASI CIDDI TEHDIT''
WASHINGTON - Emekli Buyukelci Gunduz Aktan, Ermeni soykirimi iddialarinin
ABD'de taninmasinin, Turk-Amerikan iliskilerine ciddi bir tehdit
Emekli Buyukelci Omer Lutem ile birlikte ABD'de Ermeni iddialariyla
ilgili bir dizi konferans vermek uzere bulunan Aktan, Turk-Amerikan
Dernekleri Asamblesi'nin (ATAA) ABD Kongresi'nin calisma binalarindan
Rayburn'de duzenledigi toplantida konustu.
Aktan, ''Eger ABD Kongresi, sozde soykirim iddialarini kabul ederse
veya ABD Baskani George Bush 'soykirim' sozunu kullanirsa, bunun bizim
iliskilerimiz uzerinde kesinlikle siyasi etkisi olacak. Bu, iliskilerde
ciddi tehdide yol acacak'' dedi.
Gunduz Aktan, parlamento ve devlet baskanlarinin soykirim iddialarini
tanimasinin yasal yukumlulugu bulunmadigini, ornegin Fransa'da bu
iddialarin kabul edildigini, ancak sonra unutuldugunu soylemekle birlikte,
''Asil sorun, siyasi ve psikolojik. Turk insani, boyle bir seyin olduguna
inanmiyor'' diye konustu.
Aktan, baska ulkelere gore ABD'nin ''biraz daha onemli'' oldugunu
Turk-Ermeni Uzlasma Komitesi'nin uyelerinden oldugunu hatirlatan
Aktan, Ermenileri soykirim olmadigina ikna etmenin imkansizligina isaret
etti. Soykirimin kanunla tanimlandigini belirten Aktan, bu yuzden konunun
mahkemeye goturulebilecegini kaydetti.
Aktan, Ermeni iddialariyla Yahudi soykirimini da belli acilardan
karsilastirdi ve ''Yahudiler, Yahudi olduklari icin olduruldu. Kimse
Turkiye'de Ermeni karsiti degildi. Yahudiler, dusmanla isbirligi yapip
Almanya'dan toprak almaya calismiyordu'' dedi.
Emekli Buyukelci Omer Lutem de, ozellikle Ermeni diasporayi ikna
etmenin imkansiz gorundugunu belirtti ve bundan Ermenistan Cumhurbaskani
Robert Kocaryan'in doneminde Ermeni kamuoyunda soykirim iddiasi fikrinin
derinlestigini soyledi. Kocaryan'in aktif sekilde bu iddiayi
destekledigini belirten Lutem, 8 yil once bu konuyla bas etmenin daha
kolay oldugunu kaydetti.
Ote yandan iki emekli buyukelcinin Los Angeles'taki Guney California
Universitesi'nde verecekleri Ermeni soykirimi iddialarina iliskin
konferans, universite yetkilileri tarafindan hicbir gerekce gosterilmeden
iptal edildi. Iptalle ilgili aciklama, Turkiye'nin Los Angeles
Baskonsoloslugu tarafindan yapildi.
24 Mart 2006 www.turkishforum.com
İslam' ve 'terör'ü yan yana getirmeyecek
ülkeleri resmi açıklamalarında "İslam'ı kötü amaçlarına alet eden terörist
tarafından yapılan eylemler" ifadesini kullanacak
Avrupa Birliği (AB), özellikle 11 Eylül'den sonra dünya gündemine oturan "İslami
terörizm" ifadesini, dini ve kültürel hassasiyetleri göz önüne alarak
yumuşatmak için kolları sıvadı. AB üyesi 25 ülkenin diplomatları tarafından
desteklenen yeni çalışmalar kapsamında AB yetkilileri, "köktendinciliği
tartışırken kullanılacak, hassasiyet yaratmayacak bir terminoloji" bulmaya
çalışıyor. Gözden geçirilecek kelimeler arasında "köktendinci" ve "cihat" da
Brüksel'deki AB yetkilileri, kullanılması hukuki açıdan zorunlu olmayacak bu
yeni ifadelerin, AB hükümetlerinin yanı sıra Avrupa Komisyonu ve Avrupa
Parlamentosu gibi Avrupa kurumları tarafından kabul edilmesinin beklendiğini
kaydediyorlar. Konuyla ilgili ilk belgenin Haziran'da yapılacak zirvede
benimsenmesinin umut edildiğini dile getiren bir AB yetkilisi, vazgeçilmesi
planlanan "İslami terörizm" ifadesiyle ilgili açıklamasında, şöyle dedi:
"Bu, kesinlikle kullanmayacağımız bir söylem. Burada asıl söz ettiğimiz, 'İslam'ı
kendi kötü emellerine alet eden teröristler.'Ne dediğimizi anlamamıza ve hata
yapmamızı engellemeye yardımcı olacak bu dil, AB kurumlarının ve üye ülkelerin
de rehberi olacak. Bu, belli bir dilin kullanılmasının yarattığı hassasiyetten
haberdar olma girişimidir." İsmi açıklanmayan AB yetkilisi ayrıca, teröristlerin
kullandığı "cihat" kelimesiyle ilgili olarak da, "Cihat, senin, benim
için başka; bir Müslüman içinse başka bir anlam taşır. Cihat, kendi içinizdeki
kötülüklerle mücadelenizi anlatan tamamıyla olumlu bir kavramdır" diye konuştu.
VATAN'a konuşan bir AB yetkilisi de AB'nin terörizmle ilgili yeni stratejisini
şöyle açıkladı: "AB Devlet Başkanları'nın 17 Aralık 2005 zirvesi sırasında,
terörizmle mücadelede yeni strateji oluşturulmasına karar verilmişti. Bu yeni
stratejide açıklanan amaçlardan bir tanesi de, teörizmle mücadele ederken,
insanlar arasında ayrılık duygusu yaratılmaması olarak açıklandı. Bu nedenle
terörizmden bahsederken, kullandığımız sözcüklere çok dikkat etmeye karar verdik.
Bunun için AB'nin 25 ülkesinin uzmanlarından bir çalışma grubu oluşturuldu.
Terörizmle ilgili yeni bir jargon üretecek. AB ülkelerine rehber niteliği
taşıyan bu yeni terörizm terminolojisi, zirvede rapor halinde, devlet
başkanlarının önüne sunulacak."
A Saddening View In Washington D.C.
Asli Aydintasbas, a columnists of the Sabah daily who was in attendance at the
annual meeting of the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington D.C.,
explained her impressions in her column on Wednesday.
''For the first time in my life, I was engulfed in sadness when I entered the
conference hall. ATC meetings are not ordinary events. In fact, those meetings
were used to be held with the participation of leading figures from the
Turkish government, business circles and the General Staff. American senators,
military officials, bureaucrats and executives of giant companies were used to
attend the ball prior to the meetings. Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project was
shaped during those meetings. But this year, the conference hall was half
Of course it is not a problem of bad organization but is the sign of
'confidence crisis' in bilateral relations. I talked to a high-level American
official at dinner and he told me that everybody was fed up with talking about
Turkish-American strategic partnership. He also said that there were obvious
problems. He did not attend the ATC meetings, but complained about the movie
''Valley of Wolves-Iraq'', the visit (to Ankara) of Hamas delegation,
distressing developments at the (Turkish) Central Bank and the possibility of
legalization of the Koran classes by the government. He was afraid of Turkey's
metamorphosis into a new Malaysia.
This was the sad view I observed in Washington D.C. in the spring of 2006.
I asked another high-level American official whether he would attend the ATC
meetings. He told me that he rather prefer to go to a dinner to be hosted by
the Armenian National Congress.
As usual, the resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide will be on the
agenda in April. Turkey do not rely on support of the Jewish lobby in
Washington D.C. any longer. Some say that the resolution might have a coercing
impact on U.S. senators. In that case, we will have to forget about 50-year
Opposition to Turkey's denial of Armenian Genocide growing
YEREVAN (YERKIR) - “While it is hard to compare the
strength of lobbies that are working on very different issues, it is clear that
the Armenian lobby is strong and growing stronger, confident in the knowledge
that as Armenians - in the homeland and the Diaspora - we are collectively the
authors of our own destiny,” Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)
Executive Director Aram Hamparian stated in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.
“Here are just a few examples of our progress. We launched the pioneering
California-Armenia Trade Office to increase bilateral trade and create jobs in
the U.S. and Armenia. In just the past two years, due in large part to our
efforts to normalize U.S.-Armenia trade relations, Armenian exports to the U.S.
rose from $37.6 million (2003) to $45.8 million (2005). The growth of our local
ANCA chapters to more than fifty - particularly in non-traditional states such
as Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Texas. The increased level of assistance to
Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, which has amounted to $1.6 billion since 1991 -
and especially the new $235 million Millennium Challenge grant to Armenia.
The growing opposition to Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide in the U.S.
Congress, the media, and academia. For example, within the past year the
Armenian Genocide Resolution passed a key Congressional committee by a vote of
40 to 7, a dramatic increase over the 24 to 11 vote on a similar measure in
2000. Also, 38 of the 50 U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide,” he
Turks in Germany, France protest Armenian claims
March 20, 2006
Some 5,000 Turks rallied under the slogan "Take your flag and come to Berlin"
over the weekend in Berlin to urge the German Parliament to reverse its
decision to acknowledge Armenian genocide claims.
The Talat Pasha movement, responsible for the rally, was initiated by Workers'
Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek and former Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
(TRNC) President Rauf Denktas. Many representatives from Turkish political
parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participated.
The participants in the rally marched from Berlin's An der Urania Street to
Ernst Reuter Square chanting "Long live Turkish-German friendship," "We didn't
commit genocide, we defended the country," and "The genocide lie is a U.S.
game." While they carried signs showing photos of Turkish diplomats killed by
Armenian terrorists, they also called on the German Parliament to denounce the
During the rally, the crowd stopped at Steinplatz where Talat Pasha was
assassinated in 1921 and sang the Turkish national anthem.
Delivering a speech to the crowd, Perincek said, "Nobody can bring us to our
knees by accusing our nation of massacre." He also lashed out at the decision
of the German Parliament making Turks out to be "butchers," saying, "The
German Parliament has stabbed Turkish-German friendship in the back with this
decision." He also urged the Parliament to annul the earlier recognition.
Stressing that an erroneous decision by Germany should not be included in
German textbooks, Perincek said, "Don't put hatred and antagonism in
textbooks. Don't make Turks and Germans enemies."
Perincek also lambasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel's undertakings to ban
the rally, saying, "Merkel should speak in German, not in American." The IP
leader also claimed that the Armenian genocide claims serve the U.S.' Greater
Middle East Initiative (GME), adding that the recognition of the claims is not
for the benefit of Germany.
At the head of the rally, Denktas laid flowers where Talat Pasha was
assassinated. Sunday, a general assembly to commemorate Talat Pasha was held
in Berlin. Last year, the same group held another demonstration to mark the
82nd anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne. During that rally, Perincek lashed
out at a decision by Switzerland to punish those who deny the Armenian
genocide claims, saying, "The Armenian 'genocide' is an international lie,"
after which the prosecutor from Winterthur opened an investigation into
Perincek and the incident turned into a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and
Turks in Lyon protest inauguration of Armenian monument
Turkish associations in Lyon, France organized a rally over the weekend to
protest the Lyon Municipality's decision to dedicate a monument commemorating
the so-called Armenian genocide.
The rally began at Place Bellcour with the members of various Turkish
associations participating while carrying Turkish and French flags. Some 1,500
Turks participated in the rally and chanted slogans against the inauguration
of the monument. The rally ended at the Lyon Municipality Building, where
protestors laid a black wreath at the front door.
French police used teargas to disperse a number of Armenians who were trying
to provoke protesters as a means of preventing a dangerous escalation of
tension between Turks and Armenians.
The Lyon Municipality made its decision in 2004 to dedicate a monument to
commemorating the alleged Armenian genocide. They also decided to make a
45,000 euro contribution towards the total cost of 130,000 euros for the
monument and ceremony.
Certain French NGOs together with UNESCO opened a lawsuit against the
construction of the monument, claiming that it will violate the district's
aesthetics. Some 150,000 Armenians live in Lyon.
In 2001, the French Parliament recognized the Armenian genocide claims, a move
which created a diplomatic row between Ankara and Paris.
The New Anatolian
Turkish NGO's to protest France's
Turkish groups in France are set to join forces in Paris today to work to
overturn the French Parliament's recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide.
For the first meeting of an umbrella committee spearheaded by local offices of
the Anatolian Culture Centers and Kemalist Thought Association, some 300 Turkish
associations in France were invited.
Today's meeting is going to be held to exchange ideas for the goals and work of
the committee. A public statement after the meeting is planned to announce how
the committee will campaign against the legislative recognition.
At a press conference last week, the groups organizing the committee meeting
demanded that Parliament's recognition of the "genocide" in 2001 be reversed,
saying that judging history was up to the historians, not lawmakers.
March Against 'Genocide' Monument in Lyon
By Ali Ihsan Aydin, Paris
Published: Tuesday, March 07, 2006
been a matter of political discussion for the last two years, the construction
of the so-called Armenian genocide monument has started in Lyon,
in Lyon, claiming it would distort the historical fabric, failed prevent the
construction of the monument in the historical center of the city, which is
included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Associations resorted to
the court to overturn the decision.
protesting the Lyon Municipality and the construction of the monument will march
in Lyon after Paris.
Council of Turkish Culture Associations in
Rhone-Alpes returned empty handed from the municipality in its
efforts to stop the construction.
Though they showed
pictures proving that the monument was being constructed solely for the
so-called Armenian genocide, the association voiced that the municipality
parried their demand by saying that the
monument was being built for all genocides.
associations asked for a demonstration permit, notifying that Turkish people in
and around Lyon would
march on March 18.
The French, who built
Komitas genocide monument in a UNESCO protected area in 2001, has not been able
to find an appropriate place to build the statue of Ataturk, despite Turkey's
efforts for years.
Turkish Diaspora forms New
Platforms Against Armenian Genocide Claims
The Turkish diaspora is stepping up efforts to rescind recognition of Armenian
genocide claims and to win support against its proponents ahead of April 24, the
date Armenians say is the anniversary of the so-called genocide.
While Turkish associations in
joined forces under an umbrella committee to overturn the 2001 French law
recognizing the Armenian genocide claims, the Workers' Party (IP) gathered over
the weekend in
to outline plans for the Talat Pasha Movement, which will include a mass rally
on Saturday to denounce the Armenian claims.
The Turkish groups' decision to put forward a unified response to French
recognition of Armenian genocide claims came during a meeting on Sunday with the
participation of representatives from 10 associations under the leadership of
Anatolian Culture Center
and the Kemalist Thought Association.
Besides starting an initiative to bring about the repeal of a the French law
that recognizes the Armenian genocide, the umbrella committee decided to launch
an initiative to give concrete answers "based on historic realities to foreign
claims that aim at damaging Turkish independence." They also decided to conduct
programs to inform and inspire Turkish society against Armenian claims and to
inform French society about the realities of the issue.
Representatives of Turkish associations in
stressed at the meeting that they are not against the existence of Armenians but
aim at making the historic realities supported by documents an issue of
discussion for French citizens.
Turkish associations also stated they will give priority to the publishing of a
book in French. They also announced that they will gather again next month to
view strategies and activities that will be followed during the campaigns.
At a press conference last week, the groups organizing the committee meeting
demanded that the French Parliament's recognition of the alleged genocide in
2001 be reversed, saying that judging history was up to historians not
lawmakers, making reference to an earlier statement by French President Jacques
As part of the activities to overturn Armenian claims, the organizers of the
Talat Pasha Movement met over the weekend in
to finalize preparations to launch the movement in
beginning on Saturday.
A mass demonstration aimed at denouncing Armenian genocide claims, to be held in
under the slogan "Take your flag and come to
has caused tension between
Flyers announcing the movement read, "If Western capitals don't want to be
unjust treatment towards Turkey
IP leader Dogu Perincek and former Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)
President Rauf Denktas will lead the planned demonstration with the
participation of many representatives from Turkish political parties and
European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the framework of the Talat
Pasha Movement. The main aim of the group is to put pressure on the German
Parliament to remove official recognition of the Armenian genocide claims. The
movement also aims to attract some 5 million supporters, including some 1,000
Denktas is expected to lay flowers at the place in
where Talat Pasha was assassinated on
March 15, 1921
by an Armenian, and an assembly will gather in a memorial for Talat Pasha on
In an effort to hamper these efforts, the German Embassy in
turned down yesterday visa applications for some who might be intending to
participate in the demonstration.
The same group last year also held a demonstration to mark the 82nd anniversary
of the Treaty of Lausanne. At that demonstration Perincek lashed out at a
to punish those who deny the Armenian genocide claims, saying, "The Armenian
genocide is an international lie," after which the prosecutor from
Winterthur opened an investigation into Perincek and the incident turned into a diplomatic
The New Anatolian March 2006
Czech President Vaclav Klaus stressed on Sunday that stirring up and bring the
past events back to the agenda of the international community is useless,
saying, "Who will benefit from Turkish recognition of the Armenian 'genocide'?"
Speaking to German daily Der Spiegel, Klaus questioned the necessity of facing
the past, saying, "The past is the past. Nowadays the European Parliament is
to recognize the Armenian genocide claims. Who will benefit from this
recognition? Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized for the suppression of
spring reform process by harsh methods in 1968, saying that his country takes
moral responsibility for the events of 1968. This was a gesture for the
but I don't think that we have to discuss with Putin the things a former Soviet
leader did to us. In other words Putin is not the inheritor of Leonid Brezhnev
and I am not the inheritor of the communist regime that took power in 1948 in my
Activities to be held in Berlin against
ANK – Turkish Daily
Thought Association and the National Channel Berlin Representation are expected
to hold a series of activities between Match 15-19 to counter allegations of an
Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in the last century. Ali
Çelik, head of a group called “Berlin Talat Pasha Movement,” said they would
hold a demonstration on March 18 as part of activities against alleged genocide
He went on to say that
Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and former President Süleyman Demirel also
extended support for their activities and noted that former Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Rauf Denktaş would travel to Berlin to
Çelik said the goal of
the activities was to abolish a political resolution adopted by the German
parliament in favor of the alleged genocide as well as to prevent any attempt to
include accusations against Turks in school textbooks in Germany.
GERMAN AUTHORITIES BAN
DEMONSTRATION DENYING ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
Press Release- European Armenian Federation March 2006
BERLIN, GERMANY - The German government has stepped in to prohibit a
planned March 18th demonstration in Berlin by Turkish organisations that
deny the Armenian Genocide.
The prohibition, announced on March 13th, is based on Article 189 of the
German penal code, which prohibits offensive acts against the deceased. In
their press release, German authorities mentioned "people killed in 1915,"
but without precisely noting the historical context of the Armenian
The planned demonstrations in Berlin were to be the first large-scale
initiative of the "Talaat Pasha Committee." This organisation was created
in early 2006 in honor of Talaat Pasha, the leading figure responsible for
the Armenian Genocide. It was instituted by the Turkish government and
gathers together the representatives of a broad range of Turkish political
parties. The ex-"president" of the occupied northern territory of Cyprus,
Rauf Denktash, is the president of the organisation.
The European Armenian Federation has called attention to the fact that the
slogan used to rally supporters for the demonstration was: "You are Talaat,
you are Atatürk, take you flag and come to demonstrate." This formulation
established the clear link that the organization recognizes exists between
the Young Turk genocidal regime and Mustafa Kemal's Republic.
The aim of this "Major Operation 2006," which was to occur in Berlin, was
to counter Germany's recognition of the Armenian Genocide, prevent the
teaching of this crime in European schools, and to absolve the criminal
Talaat Pasha of his guilt. In the weeks leading up to the protests
cancellation, public indignation in Germany and throughout Europe led to
many component Turkish associations - including the Turkish Association of
Berlin and groups aligned with the ruling AKP party in Turkey - withdrawing
from the event.
The Executive Director of the European Armenian Federation, Laurent
Leylekian, stated that "This matter shows that Turkish deniers give in when
the Europeans stand firm behind the historically accurate and politically
responsible position that their hateful brand of denial has no place in
Europe." He concluded that, "we call upon all European political
representatives to always demonstrate this level of determination in the
face of unprecedented attacks by deniers, not only against Armenians but
against all Europeans."
Armenian genocide demo banned in Berlin
- Political leaders and human rights groups on Tuesday welcomed a decision
police to ban demonstrations aimed at the Armenian genocide in World War
Police on Monday banned two protests due to have been held in the German
capital this week which supported the official Turkish position that
killings of Christian Armenians by Muslim Turks in 1915 did not amount to
Organizers of one of the protests warned Europe's
cities would "go up in flames like Paris"
unless Europeans stopped blaming
for the Armenian genocide.
ban was justified by police who said they feared violence and because they
suspected demonstrators would try to both
and glorify the events of 1915.
is unacceptable when planned demonstrations seek to deny the genocide of
Armenians during the First World War and make veiled calls for violence in
said Frank Henkel, the opposition Christian Democratic Union interior
affairs spokesman in the city government.
human rights group, the Society for Threatened Peoples, also welcomed the
ban and called for legislation to prevent all public events denying or
glorifying genocide or war crimes.
Western historians term the Armenian killings genocide and say that
between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians were killed or died during the
Parliaments in at least seven European countries, including
have passed resolutions saying the killings were genocide.
has about 1.8 million resident Turkish nationals out of a total population
of 82 million.
Mainstream Turkish-German groups had withdrawn support for the
controversial demonstrations at the weekend.
Germany lifts ban
on Talat Pasha demonstration
The New Anatolian / Berlin
March 19. 2006
The German Administrative Court late Tuesday lifted a ban on the Talat Pasha
demonstration, saying that the march will not harm Armenians.
The march set for Saturday in Berlin aims to have recognition of the Armenian
genocide claims by European countries rescinded. The court's decision follows a
ban imposed on the march by Berlin's police department on Monday.
The court also underlined in its decision that the march isn't an insult to the
souls of dead Armenians.
The march, which has the slogan "Take your flag and come to Berlin," has caused
tension between Turkey and Germany. Flyers announcing the movement read, "If
Western capitals don't want to be burned like Paris, unjust treatment towards
Turkey must end." Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek and former Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas will lead the planned
demonstration with the participation of many representatives from Turkish
political parties and European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the
framework of the Talat Pasha Movement. The main aim of the group is to put
pressure on the German Parliament to remove official recognition of the Armenian
genocide claims. The movement also aims to attract some 5 million supporters,
including some 1,000 from Turkey.
Denktas is expected to lay flowers at the place in Berlin where Talat Pasha was
assassinated on March 15, 1921 by an Armenian, and an assembly will gather in a
memorial for Talat Pasha on Sunday.
In an effort to hamper these efforts, the German Embassy in Ankara turned down
yesterday visa applications for some who might be intending to participate in
European Union-Turkey Relations: Copenhagen Criteria Not
(Murat Sogangoz/JTW/Ankara) The recent developments in the European
Union may strengthen the views in Turkey that the EU will never accept
Turkey as a full member. Since a portion of the Turkish society believes
that the EU does not genuinely have an intention of accepting Turkey, the
latest demand of France to insert political criteria for the opening of
each chapter will be a reason for them to further oppose to the EU
perspective of Turkey.
According to Zaman, France insisted on its demand during the European
Council meeting of the EU Heads of States and Governments. Despite the
objections of the EU Commission, Britain and Italy, France does not give
up. It demands that in the opening of all the chapters, Turkey must be
monitored about the political criteria related to the chapter.
According to Zaman, France's insistence on political criteria in actual
membership talks is receiving support from around 20 member countries, but
Italy and Britain are among "four or five" other member countries
resisting the idea.
"An overemphasis on enlargement might lead to corrupting the enlargement
project forever," said diplomatic sources, who claimed France does not
mention the minority issue.
The Turkish government maintains that political criteria should only be
brought up as an additional clause in two chapters: Chapter 23: Courts and
Basic Rights, and Chapter 24: Justice, Freedom and Security.
Other member countries such as France, Germany, Austria, Greece and the
Greek Cypriot administration, are pressuring the Commission to add
political criteria to other chapters as well.
Those EU members who favor the inclusion of political criteria in each
chapter do not seem to act honestly. Such a measure will be a violation of
the Negotiation Framework Document adopted by the EU. The framework of
accession negotiations should not change from country to country. Some
modifications may be acceptable in new enlargement waves, but this measure
seems to be a discriminatory step aiming to slow down or hamper the
accession process of Turkey.
Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish
EU Drafts 'Non-Emotive'
Gareth Harding Apr 13, 2006
BRUSSELS, (UPI) -- The European Union is drawing up a lexicon of politically
correct language to use when describing terrorists who claim to act in the name
The idea was first aired in the EU's counter-terrorism strategy, which was
adopted by interior ministers in December. As part of its efforts to combat
radicalization and terrorist recruitment, the paper said the Union's 25 member
states have to do more to "correct unfair or inaccurate perceptions of Islam and
Muslims." It also called on EU officials to draft a "non-emotive lexicon for
discussing the issues in order to avoid linking Islam to terrorism."
Diplomats in Brussels are currently working on the handbook, which is
expected to be adopted by ministers in June.
The issue of how to discuss the link between radical Islamist groups and
terrorism has shot to the top of the political agenda since the riots by
immigrant offspring in French suburbs last November and the publication of
caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in European newspapers earlier this year.
The decision to reprint images of the prophet, which is outlawed by Islam, was
denounced as a provocation by Muslim leaders and more than 50 demonstrators died
in violent clashes across the Islamic world.
"There is a simplistic portrayal in the Western media of Muslims as fanatics,
terrorists and extremists," says Shada Islam, Brussels correspondent for a
number of Asian and Middle East papers. "There is this picture of Muslim women
as all tied to the kitchen sink, wearing hijabs (veils) and totally dominated by
men. Every single TV program on Islam states starts with a shot of camels in the
desert and every radio show begins with the Muezzin (call to prayer.) The finer
points of what Islam is about and the fact that there is an internal struggle
going on within the religion are being ignored."
Arzu Donmezer, a political assistant of Turkish origin in the European
Parliament and a graduate in Islamic sciences, agrees that discrimination
against Muslims has intensified since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
against the United States. "When you say you are a Muslim, people take a step
back and ask if you know any terrorists. For many Europeans, being a Muslim is
the same as being a terrorist -- which means they are putting people like me in
the same box as radical Islamists. If I'm being pushed away by the very people I
want to belong to, where am I supposed to go?"
EU officials admit that there is a great deal of ignorance about Islam. "This
is all part of Western society getting to know the Islamic religion a bit
better," says Friso Roscam Abbing, a spokesman for European Commission
Vice-President Franco Frattini. For example, the term 'jihad,' which most
Europeans and Americans associate with the violent armed struggle against
Western "infidels," has largely positive connotations in the Muslim world, where
the term means overcoming a personal struggle.
"We want to avoid emotional wording which could hurt people or make a
direct link between certain religions and terrorism," said one EU official,
speaking on condition of anonymity. "Giving the impression that one community or
one religion is under the control of terrorists is no way to fight terrorism."
The guidelines, which will be non-binding and aimed at public officials
rather than journalists, are likely to advise against using the term "Islamic
terrorism." Roscam Abbing said his EU commissioner, who is the rough
equivalent of the U.S. homeland security chief, prefers to talk about "those who
have an abusive interpretation of Islam," rather than Islamists or Muslim
fundamentalists. "The idea is not to use the terms Islam and Muslim in
connection to something negative," added the spokesman.
The initiative was welcomed by Islam, the Brussels-based journalist, who
notes that people never refer to the IRA or ETA as Christian terrorist groups.
"Words are not just empty shells; they carry cultural weight. For example, when
EU ministers use the same vocabulary to talk about immigrants, asylum seekers
and terrorists, they create the impression that if you're an immigrant or asylum
seeker then obviously you are a terrorist. So I think a certain amount of
political correctness is necessary when talking about such explosive and
sensitive issues. If anything can help defuse the current tensions, why not?"
Turkish-American Oz Bengur Runs for US Congress (see
I was brought up to believe that it is important to make a difference in our
communities and our country. I still believe in what President John F.
Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do
for your country."
From the time I graduated from college, I have felt that public service can
improve the lives of others. And, I believe that it is important to give
back to your community. To this end, in every challenge that I have
undertaken, I have tried to make a positive difference in people's lives and
For the past 35 years, I have improved the lives of troubled children and
their families, provided low and moderate-income housing for families in
need and changed the face of juvenile corrections. I am an expert in public
finance and took a leadership role in energy conservation during the last
energy crisis. As a small business owner, I have created jobs and know the
importance of keeping the American dream alive for future generations.
A Leader In Government Service. I began my career in public service in human
services. Working in Massachusetts, I became a member of a highly innovative
team that changed the face of juvenile justice by creating treatment
alternatives for children in trouble. Following this work on these landmark
reforms, I co-authored a report for the US Department of Justice on
alternatives to incarceration for juvenile offenders.
I was active in the successful campaign of Governor Joe Brennan of Maine and
served on his staff as a constituent liaison and the Governor's staff person
assigned to the State Departments of Housing, Corrections, Business
Regulation and the Pardons and Commutations Board. Following the late 1970's
energy crisis, I was appointed Deputy Director of the State Office of Energy
which developed conservation programs for the state.
An Expert in Government and Business Finance.
While in Maine, I
became acutely aware of the need for low and moderate income housing for
underserved families. My concern for these needs led to a position in the
world of public finance where I completed single and multi-family housing
financings across the country totaling more that $500 million, including
several transactions in the State of Maryland. These programs helped
countless working families improve the quality of their lives. Later, I
advised small businesses to help them grow and realize their dreams for
success. In all, I was involved in almost $1 billion in financings for state
and local governments and their agencies, and public and private companies.
My extensive experience in both government and business finance will make a
positive difference in making our economy strong and creating jobs.
In the early 1990's my business partner and I struck
out on our own and started a small business to provide financial and
strategic advice to help small and mid-size companies grow (www.bengurbryan.com).
Our success in helping up-and-coming businesses make good financial
decisions also led to our starting several small businesses of our own,
which have resulted in creating hundreds of new jobs in the Mid-Atlantic
Dedicated to Public Service.
I have served as Treasurer of the
Maryland Democratic Party, and was a candidate for the US Congress and a
delegate to the Democratic National Convention. My interest in defense and
national security issues led me to Co-Chair Americans for Strong National
Security, an organization that raised money for John Kerry's campaign for
A Commitment to Community Service.
I feel it's important to give back
to my community. To this end, I have served as a board member of several
not-for-profit and community organizations including the Baltimore Parks &
People Foundation, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Trustee of Baltimore
County Public Library and as president of the Children's' Chorus of
I have three children: Noah, a Captain and Harrier pilot
in the U.S. Marine Corps who is currently deployed in Iraq; Dinah, a college
senior, and Nick a sophomore at Towson High School.
I am a graduate of public schools in Maryland and
Washington DC and received my undergraduate degree from Princeton University
and a graduate degree from Cambridge University, England.
It's Time To Have A Plan for Getting Out Of Iraq
Like every American, I am deeply concerned with what is going on in Iraq.
There is no more important issue that Congress faces than putting our sons
and daughters in harms way. My campaign is about providing leadership on the
tough issues that we face. To that end, I have come up with a strategy for
withdrawing our troops from Iraq.
It's Time To Do Something About Health Care Costs And Providing
Health Care Access to All Americans
It Is Time To Do Something About Jobs And The Economy
Average Americans feel that they are working harder and not getting
ahead. Real median wages have been stagnant for decades.
Investing in Growth and Jobs
I have been a businessman. Government has an important role to play
by promoting entrepreneurial growth oriented policies.
As a result of the Bush Administration and Congress' fiscal
irresponsibility, we now have the largest budget deficit in our nation's
It Is Time To Get Our Priorities Right On Homeland Security
It Is Time To Protect Social Security
Social Security is the most important program our nation has for
providing economic security for our senior citizens.
Its Past Time To Fix Education
American children are falling behind children of other nations.
It's Time to Get Serious About the Environment and Energy
It is time to examine mandatory controls on greenhouse gases that
cause climate change.
I started my career in the working in the criminal justice system.
FIFA turns down Turkish and Swiss appeals
FIFA BANS ON TURKEY AND TURKISH PLAYERS
© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Zurich - Turkey will have to play all six designated home matches in the
Euro 2008 qualifying campaign in another country and behind closed doors
while Swiss player Benjamin Huggel is effectively out of the World Cup in
summer, the governing football body FIFA confirmed on Friday.
FIFA imposed a six-match ban for official games on Turkey and further
bans on several players and officials from Turkey and Switzerland two months
ago following violent scenes after a World Cup qualifier between the two
sides last November.
Players Emre Belozoglu (Turkey), Ozalan Alpay (Turkey), Benjamin Huggel
(Switzerland) and assistant coach Mehmet Ozdilek (Turkey), as well as the
Turkish FA appealed against the decision, but FIFA on Friday turned down the
In a statement FIFA said: 'Meeting under the chairmanship of Rafael
Salguero (Guatemala), the FIFA appeal committee examined in depth the
appeals...and rejected all appeals completely.
'In accordance with the FIFA Statutes, the Court of Arbitration for
Sport (CAS) in Lausanne may be called upon to act as the body of final
instance, once the reasoned decisions have been notified to the parties.'
In February FIFA said that Turkey must play their next six official games
500 kilometres away from the Turkish border in another member country of the
football body UEFA.
The three players were banned for six official games each, while Serkan
Balci of Turkey misses the next two games.
Ozdilek was banned from football-related activities for 12 months and
Swiss team physiotherapist Stephan Meyer suspended for two games.
For FIFA, friendlies are not official matches - only qualifiers and major
tournament matches are viewed as such.
As a result, Turkey will have no home field advantage at all and will be
without Alpay and Emre throughout their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
Turkey are drawn to play reigning Euro champions Greece, Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Norway, Hungary, Malta and Moldova in group C of qualifying for
Eintracht Frankfurt player Huggel, meanwhile, will effectively miss the
World Cup in summer in Germany, unless he is nominated and Switzerland
makes the final which would be their seventh game.
To make matters worse, Switzerland will also not have to play Euro
qualifiers as they are co-hosting the tournament and this would mean that he
would - should the Swiss fail to play more than seven games in the two
tournaments, only be eligible to play official qualifying games for the
national team again in 2009.
Violent scenes occurred at the end of the game between the two sides on
November 16 in Istanbul.
Turkey won 4-2 but Switzerland progressed to the World Cup finals on the
away goals rule, having won the first leg 2-0 the previous weekend at home.
Television footage revealed that the incidents started as both teams
headed into the dressing room after the final whistle.
FIFA boss Joseph Blatter immediately called for harsh sanctions, which
were handed down by FIFA's five-strong disciplinary committee, chaired by
deputy chairman Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, after a series of
hearings shortly after the game and Monday and Tuesday.
FIFA not only imposed bans but also fines, most notably 200,000 Swiss
francs (154,000 dollars, 128,500 euros) on the Turkish football federation.
The players and officials must pay a total 71,500 Swiss francs, with
Huggel, Emre, Alpay and Ozdilek fined 15,000 Swiss francs each.
A PBS Documentary Makes Its Case for
the Armenian Genocide, With or Without a Debate
It is impossible to debate a subject like genocide without giving offense.
PBS is supposed to give offense responsibly.
And that was the idea
behind a panel discussion that PBS planned to show after tonight's
broadcast of "The Armenian Genocide," a documentary about the
extermination of more than one million Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman
Empire during World War I.
The powerful hourlong film will be shown on most of the 348 PBS
affiliate stations. But nearly a third of those stations decided to cancel
the follow-up discussion after an intense lobbying campaign by Armenian
groups and some members of Congress.
The protesters complained that the panel of four experts, moderated by
Scott Simon, host of "Weekend Edition Saturday" on NPR, included two
scholars who defend the Turkish government's claim that a genocide never
took place. The outrage over their inclusion was an indication of how
passionately Armenians feel about the issue; they have battled for decades
to draw attention to the genocide.
But the fact that so many stations caved is a measure of something
else: PBS's growing vulnerability to pressure and, perhaps accordingly,
the erosion of viewers' trust in public television.
The camera lends legitimacy, but as Senator
Joseph R. McCarthy's performance on
Edward R. Murrow's "See It Now" famously showed, it also can undermine
credibility. Panel discussions in particular give people with outlandish
views a hearing — and also an opportunity to expose the flaws in their
That is certainly the case with the discussion program "Armenian
Genocide: Exploring the Issues." It turns out that there is only one
articulate voice arguing that Armenians died not in a genocide but in a
civil war between Christians and Muslims — that of Justin A. McCarthy, a
history professor at the University of Louisville. His Turkish
counterpart, Omer Turan, an associate professor at the Middle East
Technical University in Ankara, tries ardently to back him up, but his
English is not good enough to make a dent. And the two other experts,
Peter Balakian, a humanities professor at Colgate University, and Taner
Akcam, a visiting professor of history at the University of Minnesota and
a well-known defender of human rights in
Turkey, lucidly pick Mr. McCarthy's
Mr. Balakian, who is one of the experts cited in the documentary, gets
the last word. "If we are going to pretend that a stateless Christian
minority population, unarmed, is somehow in a capacity to kill people in
an aggressive way that is tantamount to war, or civil war," Mr. Balakian
says, "we're living in the realm of the absurd."
Tone and appearance on television can be as persuasive as talk. Mr.
McCarthy mostly sounds condescending and defensive, while Mr. Balakian is
smooth and keeps his cool.
"The Armenian Genocide " which was made by Andrew Goldberg in
association with Oregon Public Broadcasting, does not ignore the Turkish
government's denial, or its repression of dissidents in Turkey who try to
expound another point of view. One of the film's merits is that it tries
to explain both the circumstances that led to the atrocities of 1915 and
the reasons why Turkish officials are still so determined to keep that
period unexplored. "There is a feeling that Turkey would be putting itself
permanently in the company of
Adolf Hitler," Samantha Power, the author
of "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," says. "That
same stain would envelop Turkey as it seeks, of course, to be a major
player on the international stage."
Several of the experts in the film, including Turkish scholars, argue
that because Turkey is seeking admission to the
European Union, its leaders will
eventually have to bend to international will and acknowledge
responsibility. But official Turkish denial remains fierce, and
intellectuals and even well-known writers like Orhan Pamuk can still be
brought to trial for mentioning the treatment of Armenians and Kurds.
The documentary, which is partly narrated by
Ed Harris and others, includes rare clips
of Turkish scholars acknowledging the anti-Armenian campaign as genocide
as well as Turkish villagers recounting their ancestors' stories about
participating in the killings. "They caught Armenians and put them in a
barn and burned them," a man in a town in eastern Turkey says to an
interviewer. There are also shots of ordinary Turks who insist their
ancestors were incapable of that level of barbarity.
Mostly, however, the film painstakingly makes the case that a genocide
did take place, relying on archival photographs, victims' memoirs and the
horrified first-hand accounts of diplomats, missionaries and reporters.
The forced deportations and killings did not take place unnoticed — public
Theodore Roosevelt and H. L. Mencken
spoke out about the horrors. In 1915, The New York Times published 145
stories about the systematic slaughter of Armenians.
Even after World War II, the fate of Turkey's Armenian population was
high on the list of crimes against humanity. The film includes a clip from
a 1949 CBS interview with Raphael Lemkin, a law professor who in 1943
coined the term genocide. "I became interested in genocide because it
happened so many times," he tells the CBS commentator Quincy Howe. "First
to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action."
PBS Panel on Armenian Genocide Stirs Protest
Broadcaster Defends Inclusion of Deniers of Mass Killing by Turks
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 16, 2006; C01
Thousands of Armenian Americans are protesting the Public Broadcasting
Service's planned panel-discussion program about Turkey's role in the deaths
of Armenians during and after World War I.
The 25-minute program has generated an outcry because the panel will
include two scholars who deny that 1.5 million Armenian civilians were killed
in eastern Turkey from 1915 to 1920.
The program is scheduled to air April 17, a week before the annual Armenian
Remembrance Day commemoration, and will follow a one-hour documentary, "The
Armenian Genocide," which describes the events surrounding the deaths, as well
as denials of complicity by successive Turkish governments.
Armenian Americans have publicized an online petition that asks PBS to drop
the discussion program. As of last night, more than 6,000 people had
electronically added their names to the petition, making it one of the largest
organized protests of a PBS program.
"We strongly feel that debating the Armenian Genocide is akin to arguing
about the Jewish Holocaust in order to project a sense of balance," the
petition reads. "Would PBS ever contemplate such a program?" Noting that the
film already includes Turkish denials, the petition concludes that the panel
discussion "would serve to emphasize the Turkish state's official position and
undermine the non-political nature of [PBS] programming."
The events surrounding the deaths of Armenians in Turkey by factions of the
ruling Ottoman Empire remain emotionally charged and politically contentious.
Armenians have long contended that the killings were government policy
designed to suppress an Armenian uprising and Armenian support for invading
Russian forces. Armenians also call it the 20th century's first genocide, a
view that has gained acceptance among Western scholars and governments.
Successors to the Ottoman Turks have acknowledged that there were a
substantial number of Armenian deaths -- Turkish estimates range from 300,000
to 600,000 -- but Turkey maintains that the deaths resulted from warfare,
starvation and epidemics that affected all segments of Turkish society.
The controversy continues to resonate in Ankara and Washington. Turkish
prosecutors last year indicted the country's best-known novelist, Orhan Pamuk,
on charges of denigrating the country's national identity after he asserted,
in an interview with a Swiss magazine, that Turkey was denying the extent of
Armenian killings. His indictment became an issue with European countries that
are considering Turkey's application to join the European Union; the charges
were dropped this month.
For decades, U.S. administrations have dealt tentatively with the issue,
not wishing to offend Turkey, a key political and military ally. In its
Remembrance Day message last year, the Bush White House noted "the forced
exile and mass killings" and "horrible loss of life" of Armenians but avoided
referring to the events as genocide.
As the title implies, "The Armenian Genocide," a documentary by New York
filmmaker Andrew Goldberg, is unequivocal in its take on history. PBS agreed
to air the film -- whose $650,000 budget was partly funded by Armenian
Americans -- without major changes, said Goldberg and Jacoba Atlas, a top PBS
In the course of reviewing rough cuts of the film, however, Atlas said PBS
officials agreed to add the panel discussion to explore other views,
particularly the question of why denial exists. "It's a terrific documentary,
and while we believe [the genocide] is settled history . . . you still get
dissenters," she said in an interview yesterday. "We said, 'Let's approach
this head-on and say why this is still contentious.' We thought it was a good
thing to have both sides talking to each other. We felt the more you can shed
light on an argument, the more the truth becomes clear."
"This remains a contentious piece of history," Atlas added. "There are just
questions around it. Rather than have those questions dismissed, it seemed
like a good idea to have a panel and let people have their say."
Atlas acknowledged that such an approach is rare for PBS and said that the
Alexandria-based service has not had other panels to discuss opposing views of
documentaries during her five-year tenure. She declined to say whether a
documentary about the Holocaust or about the genocides in Rwanda or Cambodia
would require a similar post-documentary discussion. "Those are hypothetical
questions," she said.
The panel discussion, hosted by NPR's Scott Simon, was taped last week.
Colgate professor Peter Balakian, an adviser on the documentary, and
University of Minnesota professor Taner Akcam supported the film's view.
University of Louisville professor Justin A. McCarthy and Turkish historian
Omer Turan offered an alternative perspective.
Balakian, an Armenian American who wrote the best-selling "Tigris Burning:
The Armenian Genocide and America's Response," said that he did not want to
participate in a panel with "two bona fide deniers" but that he felt "backed
into a corner" by PBS. If he had boycotted the panel, he said, it would have
jeopardized the broadcast of the documentary, which Balakian called "a major
and comprehensive piece of work."
Goldberg, the filmmaker, said he did not think the panel was necessary,
"but I didn't fight it. It wasn't up to me and I had nothing to do with its
In an interview yesterday, McCarthy said the history of the period is
complex and does not lend itself to simple judgments and labels. He said that
he could not find evidence of 1.5 million Armenian deaths. He also said 3
million Turks died during the same period.
"If saying that both sides killed each other makes me a genocide denier,
then I'm a denier," he said.
Titling the documentary "The Armenian Genocide," he said, "is a false
description of a complicated history."
PBS said it is up to its 348 member stations to decide individually whether
to air either the panel discussion or the documentary.
PBS-TV CESITLI EYALETLERDE ERMENI BASKISI ALTINDA PANEL PROGRAMINI
KALDIRDI - ASAGIDA PROTESTO ICIN YAZILMIS CESITLI E-MAILLER BULACAKSINIZ-
PBS TV E-MAILLERE COK DEGER VERMEKDE - LUTFEN BIRINI SECINIZ VE
POSTALAYINIZ - VEYA SIZIN YAZDIGINIZ E-MAILI BIZE VE PBS'E ILETINIZ ---
TURKISH FORUM AILESI ACIL KAMPANYAYA DEVAM
By Panel Discussion On genocide
A panel-discussion about the Armenian genocide to be aired on U.S.
television has prompted protests among Armenian Americans outraged by the
presence of two genocide deniers on the program.
The panel discussion is to be aired by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
on April 17 following a one-hour documentary -- "The Armenian Genocide" by
Andrew Goldberg -- which describes the killing of up to 1.5 million
Armenians by the Turks in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.
The four panelists invited to discuss the issue include Justin McCarthy, a
University of Louisville professor, and Omer Turan, a Turkish historian.
Both men question whether the 1915 mass killings could be classified as
genocide. PBS said it had invited the two scholars in a bid to offer an
alternative viewpoint and encourage discussion.
"We don't step back from controversy just because it's controversial," Lea
Sloan, vice president of media relations at PBS, told AFP. "In this case,
because there has been such heated debate about the topic, we thought that
further debate could help illuminate the issue." She said the network had
no plans to cancel broadcast of the 30-minute panel discussion.
Armenian Americans say McCarthy's and Turan's presence on the show
amounted to inviting Holocaust or civil rights deniers to air their views.
"One would think that if there was a documentary on the Holocaust or civil
rights movement, that there wouldn't be a follow-up panel discussion where
you have Holocaust deniers or Ku Klux Klan members sitting down and
discussing these issues," Elizabeth Chouldjian, spokeswoman for the
Armenian National Committee of America, told AFP.
Chouldjian said while Armenian Americans welcome the airing of the
documentary, the community felt offended that two deniers of the genocide
would be given a platform on national television. "If somebody wants to do
an analysis of why denial of genocide occurs in general and bring in the
case of the Armenian genocide, that's certainly understandable,"
Chouldjian said. "But bringing in deniers ... is ludicrous.
"It will be misleading the viewing public on this topic and it's a
disservice to viewers."
An online petition calling on PBS to cancel the broadcast has gathered
nearly 7,000 signatures and Armenian Americans, estimated to number 1.5
million, are being urged to write letters of protest to PBS.
The U.S. administration has consistently stopped short of callings the
killings a genocide. However several other countries, including France,
Canada and Switzerland, recognize them as such.
By Tulin Daloglu
Published March 14, 2006
Finally, PBS is
airing a documentary next month called "Armenian Genocide." Turks
disagree that what happened to the Armenians was not "genocide"
When Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice appeared on Capitol Hill last week to rally support for the
2007 budget, Rep. Dave Weldon asked her about the controversial Turkish film
"The Valley of the Wolves." "It depicts American GIs murdering people at a
wedding. And it's very anti-Semitic also; it has some gruesome visuals of Jews
mistreating Muslims," he said. "It would seem to me that we may be winning on
the fronts of Afghanistan and in all these other places where we're fighting, in
Iraq. But for the hearts and minds of the people we are not doing very well at
all. We may actually be heading in the wrong direction."
In response, Miss Rice talked about Karen Hughes, the undersecretary of
public diplomacy, who is working to counter anti-U.S. propaganda in the Muslim
world. She included Turkey in her first foreign travel and heard plenty from
critics of the war in Iraq. "Valley of the Wolves" screenwriter Bahadir Ozdener
insists that he is also trying to make an antiwar statement, not an
anti-American or anti-Semitic one, with his movie. "We are speaking out against
the war, the occupation and the human rights violations," he said.
I haven't seen the film, but it's difficult to believe that Mr. Ozdener
is conveying solely an "antiwar" message. However, it does advise viewers that
it is a work of "fiction." When asked about it, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "There's no reason to comment on fiction." He's
right; it is just a movie. But in reality, is a movie ever "just" a movie?
A Seattle Post Intelligencer article asked in 2004, "In the history of
cinema, has any film done more to blacken a nation's reputation among travelers
than 'Midnight Express'? A quarter of a century after its release, people still
cite it as a reason for steering clear of Turkey." "Midnight Express" declares
in its opening credits that it is based on a true story of a young American,
Billy Hayes, who was caught trying to smuggle drugs out of Turkey in 1970. The
film details his experiences until he escaped from prison. Two decades after the
film was released, Mr. Hayes said in a newspaper interview, "There's no doubt it
changed the whole face of Turkish tourism... It's not fair. The burden fell on
people who weren't to blame."
Indeed. When I was in Cleveland recently, a taxi driver heard me talking to
my mother in a foreign language, and asked where we were from. When I answered,
"Turkey," he said, "Oh, I have seen Istanbul." I asked when he was there, and he
answered, "No. I did not go. I saw it in 'Midnight Express.' " I listened to his
review without comment, changed the subject and resumed my conversation with my
Mr. Hayes has said, "The message of 'Midnight Express' isn't 'Don't go to
Turkey.' It's 'Don't be an idiot like I was, and try to smuggle drugs.' " But
the fact is, "Midnight Express" seriously damaged Turkey's image in the United
States. There is truth in the movie, but even Mr. Hayes admitted there is a lot
of exaggeration as well. The similarities of the "Valley of the Wolves" and the
"Midnight Express" begin and end with both being movies. In terms of
effectiveness, Hollywood wins. And "Valley of the Wolves" -- regardless of its
subject -- is the first Turkish movie to challenge Hollywood.
Since Turkey denied the United States a northern front to invade Iraq in
March 2003, TV screenwriters also have gotten inspired. The Assembly of Turkish
American Associations cites two episodes -- one from Fox's "24" and the other
from NBC's "The West Wing" -- in which they say Turkey and Turkish people are
unfairly maligned. In the "24" episode, Turks are depicted as terrorists and
given Arab names. In the "West Wing" episode, the Turkish government adopts
Islamic laws under the leadership of the AKP, and convicts and orders the
execution by beheading of a woman for having sex with her fiancee. Both shows
offended many Turks. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul mentioned them to
Miss Rice when she visited Ankara, and her response was that America is a free
country, and the government does not control the movies.
Finally, PBS is airing a documentary next month called "Armenian Genocide."
Turks disagree that what happened to the Armenians was not "genocide," and note
that the Armenians also killed many Anatolian Muslims. PBS refuses, however, to
show the documentary "Armenian Revolt," which depicts the massacre of the
Anatolian Muslims. PBS has also refused to hold a suggested panel discussion
among historians after airing "Armenian Genocide." I am not looking to open a
debate on the nature of what happened, but if we support freedom of speech, we
have to allow all opinions to be heard.
It's important that any film, documentary or feature, be put in context.
Since when do governments make decisions or take action against other countries
because of a movie? These are movies, and they should be treated as such in the
State Department spokes-man Sean McCormack was asked recently about "Valley
of the Wolves" and he summed it up exactly right: "I don't do movie reviews."
Banks Firebombed Believed Part of Wave of Attacks Across Europe
April 12, 2006
Tulin Daloglu is the Washington correspondent and columnist for Turkey's
Star TV and newspaper. A former BBC reporter, she writes occasionally for The
THE FIRE-BOMBINGS of two Turkish banks in Haringey are believed to be
linked to homeland political unrest that is behind a wave of attacks across
Branches of Turkish Bank (UK) Ltd in Fore Street, Edmonton, and Green Lanes,
Harringay, were targeted in a trio of Molotov cocktail attacks.
A Dalston branch of Turkish Ziraat Bank was also targeted.
The Edmonton branch's reinforced glass held firm against the assault in the
early hours of last Tuesday.
But at Green Lanes it loosened allowing a petrol bomb inside, which caused a "a
fair bit of fire damage", according to bank staff.
Bob Long, managing director of Turkish Bank (UK), revealed the attacks were the
first the bank had ever endured.
He said: "We really don't know who has perpetrated this.
"The only thing is we believe it was more to do with politically-associated
activities than anything targeted at Turkish Bank itself. There has been a
certain amount of that sort of activity in Turkey, Germany and Paris against
Turkish businesses over the previous weekend and through this past week.
"It may be protest activity probably associated with some sort of court cases in
"We would be guessing to be honest. There are various things going on with
A police source said there were "all sorts of theories".
She said: "There are different factions and I think sometimes they react to
things going on in Turkey."
Both borough branches re-opened shortly after the attacks.
Anti-foreigner serial killer claims eighth victim in Germany
7 April 2006 www.expatica.com
DORTMUND, GERMANY - A serial killer targeting foreigners running small
businesses claimed his eighth victim this week, leaving police baffled as to a
A 39-year-old Turk found dead in his kiosk in Dortmund on Tuesday had been
shot with the same gun used in the seven previous killings since September 2000,
prosecutors said Friday.
All the victims except one were Turks. "In each case the killer visited his
victims in their premises and shot them in the head several times," prosecutor
Heiko Artkaemper said.
Nothing was stolen and the victims appeared to have offered no resistance.
"The killings bear the hallmark of an execution," Artkaemper said.
Police have been unable to establish a motive for the crimes, which
took place in five cities across the country, including Hamburg in the north and
Munich in the south.
The victims appear to have been chosen at random, Artkaemper said. The only
thing they had in common was that they were foreign and operated small
businesses like fast-food outlets.
Police said there was nothing to suggest a political motive, blackmail or
Authorities have offered a reward of 30,000 euros (36,000 dollars) for
information leading to the arrest of the gunman.
(U.S. refers to "Ecumenical
Patriarchate" of Istanbul)
Washington report urges further religious freedom in Turkey
Friday, April 7, 2006 Turkish Daily News
The U.S. State Department
, in a recently submitted report to the
, asserted that the Turkish government has generally respected the
human rights of its citizens but noted that serious problems remain despite
the fact that improvements have been made
in a number of areas of human
The State Department, in the report released on Wednesday, put the
emphasis on “the need to allow free religious expression for all faiths,
including Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Baha'i, none of whom have
legal standing in Turkey.”
“The United States continued to urge high-level Turkish government
officials to reach agreement with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the
re-opening of the Halki seminary on the island of Heybeli, to acknowledge the
ecumenical nature of the Patriarchate, and to ensure the right of non-Turkish
citizens to serve as clergy. Embassy officials regularly continued to engage
Turkish officials in a dialogue on religious freedom,” the report further
“Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2005-2006” is
the fourth such annual publication and is considered a complement to the
longstanding “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005.”
With the report released earlier this week, the U.S. State Department
aims at “taking the next step, moving from highlighting abuses to
publicizing the actions and programs the United States has employed to end
The U.S. administration has asserted that the Turkish government
continues to restrict religious freedom and to punish some forms of nonviolent
expression by the media and private citizens.
“The government at times restricted the rights of assembly and
association and limited the activities of some political parties and leaders,”
the report said. “Human rights organizations continued to report widespread
incidents of police torture and ill treatment, although the number of such
incidents declined. Observers also reported an increase in the number of
detainees who consulted with attorneys during detention. The constitution
provides for an independent judiciary; however, the judiciary was sometimes
subject to outside influences.”
The report also said that U.S. officials routinely met with
representatives of various political, religious, social, cultural and ethnic
groups to discuss human rights conditions and relations between these groups
and the government. The officials also met with members of the bureaucracy,
legislature, executive branch and judiciary to encourage broad reforms,
including those needed to meet European Union accession criteria.
“The ambassador and other U.S. officials met with Cabinet ministers and
Foreign Ministry officials to discuss freedom of expression and religion,” it
The report listed various activities carried out by the U.S.
administration for assisting and improving the understanding of human rights
and democracy in Turkey among the society. The activities were particularly
held for members of the media and nongovernmental organizations.
US Report Highlights Trade Complaints
Tuesday, April 4, 2006 Turkish Daily News
A report drawn up by the US administration at the
request of Congress explicitly reveals Washington’s uneasiness with Turkey’s
foreign investment and trade regime
The "National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers,"
drawn up by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and analyzing the
practices of the United States' trading partners, seems to be a key
instrument reflecting Washington's uneasiness with Ankara on overall
bilateral relations, considered to be unstable since the U.S.-led invasion
of neighboring Iraq. The Bush administration is required by the U.S.
Congress to issue the report, a copy of which has been obtained by the
Turkish Daily News, as a detailed document shedding light on the practices
of America's trading partners that are deemed most harmful to overseas sales
of U.S. manufactured goods, farm products and services to 60 countries,
including Turkey. The report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
shows that there have been many problems and highlights U.S. firms' trade
complaints about Turkey, such as import licenses, duties and even
“Corruption is perceived to be a major problem in Turkey by private
enterprise and the public at large, particularly in government procurement.
The judicial system is also perceived to be susceptible to external
influence and to be biased against outsiders to some degree. … American
companies operating in Turkey have complained about contributions to the
community solicited, with varying degrees of pressure, by municipal or local
authorities,” the report said. The report comes at a time when stabilization
of Turkish-U.S. bilateral relations, particularly concerning foreign policy
issues, is still a top agenda item between the two NATO allies.
Most recently, the annual American-Turkish Council (ATC) conference
held in Washington late last month offered an opportunity for face-to-face
evaluation of bilateral relations. However, investment and trade issues took
a back seat to defense and foreign policy issues. Also last month the World
Trade Organization (WTO) said an independent WTO panel would formally settle
a row between the United States and Turkey over Turkish restrictions on rice
imports. The case was automatically handed over to a panel set up by the WTO
Disputes Settlement Body (DSB) after talks between the two countries failed
to resolve the dispute, the Geneva-based trade watchdog said in a statement.
Excerpts from the U.S. government report are as follows:
Tariffs and quantitative restrictions:
The Turkish government often increases
tariffs on grains during the domestic harvest. Duties on fresh fruits range
from 61 percent to 149 percent. Processed fruits, fruit juices and vegetable
tariffs range between 41 and 138 percent. The Turkish government also levies
high duties as well as excise taxes and other domestic charges on imported
alcoholic beverages that increase wholesale prices by more than 200 percent.
Import licenses, sugar, rice and corn:
While import licenses generally are not
required for industrial products, products that need after-sales service
(e.g., photocopiers, heavy equipment and diesel generators) require
licenses, as do distilled spirits. We (Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative) have concerns about the lack of transparency in Turkey's
import licensing system, which can result in costly delays, demurrage
charges and other uncertainties that stifle trade for many agricultural
products. In 2004 the Turkish
government failed to remove the import restrictions on rice that were levied
in late 2003, significantly disrupting rice imports. We are also concerned
about the restrictive effects of the licensing system, as well as export and
consumer subsidies, on Turkey's imports of U.S. sugar. In concert with its
unpredictable licensing system, Turkey has also recently implemented import
quota programs for rice and corn. Import quotas, often tied to procurement
of domestic crops, tend to fluctuate throughout the marketing year, making
it very difficult for commercial traders to plan their import programs.
Turkey is in the process of rewriting its import regulations for agriculture
products in order to comply with European Union regulations. However, some
new regulations do not appear to be fully consistent with those of the EU.
For many products, no written standards exist, for example, for red meat and
Turkish government has a poor track record of notifying WTO members of
proposed technical regulations and phytosanitary requirements, and
implementation appears to be arbitrary. Importers report increasing
difficulty in obtaining information on sanitary and phytosanitary
certifications. The Turkish government often requires laboratory testing on
items not normally subject to testing by trading partners, allegedly without
any scientific basis. U.S. CE-marked products, particularly medical devices,
are often detained by Turkish customs authorities for inspection. In some
cases, U.S. products apparently have been subject to additional tests,
despite their CE marks, while EU CE-marked products gain immediate entry to
the Turkish market. Certification of spare parts for automobiles under the
Turkish Decree for Standardization in Foreign Trade remains a problem; even
though the decree is no longer formally in place, automakers are still
subject to several of its provisions. Turkey has not yet implemented changes
in standards for distilled spirits, which currently limit U.S. exports.
Although its laws require competitive
bidding procedures for tenders, U.S. companies sometimes become frustrated
over lengthy and often complicated bidding and negotiating processes.
In 2003, Turkey implemented a new public tender law; however, the law
provides a price preference of up to 15 percent for domestic bidders, which
is not applicable to domestic bidders when they form a joint venture with
Turkey employs a number of incentives to
promote exports, although programs have been scaled back in recent years to
comply with EU directives and WTO commitments. Export subsidies, ranging
from 10 to 20 percent of export values, are granted to 16 agricultural or
processed agricultural products.
In 2004, the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) sold domestic wheat to flour and
pasta manufacturers based upon their exports of flour and pasta. This is an
implicit subsidy as TMO is selling the manufacturers wheat at world prices,
which are well below domestic prices. It is too early to quantify the size
of this subsidy.
Intellectual property rights:
Turkey's intellectual property rights
regime has improved in recent years, but still presents serious problems.
Turkey was elevated from the Special 301 Watch List to the Priority Watch
List in 2004, due to concerns about lack of pharmaceuticals data,
exclusivity protection and continued high levels of piracy and
counterfeiting of copyright and trademark materials. In addition, the
Turkish courts have failed to render deterrent penalties to pirates as
provided in the copyright law but have instead applied the Turkish Cinema
Law, which has much lower penalties. Legislation enacted in March 2004
contains several strong anti-piracy provisions, including a ban on street
sales of all copyright products and authorization for law enforcement
authorities to take action without a complaint by the rights holder.
However, the law also reduces potential prison sentences in piracy
convictions. U.S. industry estimated losses to piracy in 2004 at $50 million
for motion pictures, $15 million for records/music and $23 million for
The new Patent Law in June 2004 provides for penalties for infringement of
up to three years in prison, or 47 billion TL (approximately $32,000) in
fines, or both, and closure of the business for up to one year. However,
some companies in the pharmaceuticals sector have criticized provisions that
delay the initiation of infringement suits until after the patent is
approved and published, permit use of a patented invention to generate data
needed for the marketing approval of generic pharmaceutical products, and
give judges wider discretion over penalties in infringement cases. The
Health Ministry has accepted applications to register generic copies of
products that have a valid patent in Turkey; in the absence of a system for
patent linkage, it may become possible for generics manufacturers to
register a copy of a brand name drug with a valid Turkish patent, with
enormous damage to the interests of the patent owner. Trademark holders also
contend that there is widespread and often sophisticated counterfeiting of
their marks in Turkey, especially in apparel, pharmaceuticals, film,
cosmetics, detergent and other products. In 2004, Turkey published its first
Plant Variety Protection Law. A subsidiary of a major U.S. seed company,
however, has been unable to obtain protection for its commercial seed under
this new law, reportedly at great cost to the company.
A 2001 law provides for liberalization of areas under the Turk Telecom
monopoly once the state's share in that company falls below 50 percent;
however, the Turkish government has not yet issued implementing regulations.
U.S. firms complain that the licensing process still lacks transparency and
that revenue sharing with Turk Telecom is required where competition is
permitted. Turkey has failed to address either in domestic law or in its
revised WTO offer the key outstanding market access barrier, the 49 percent
foreign equity restriction for this sector.
A 2003 law on work permits for foreigners repealed earlier legislation
defining certain professions and services open only to Turkish citizens.
This has significantly broadened the range of occupations in which
foreigners can be engaged, but there are still restrictions for doctors,
attorneys and several other professions.
Turkey has a liberal investment regime, but
private investment has often been hindered, regardless of nationality, by
excessive bureaucracy; political and macroeconomic uncertainty; weaknesses
in the judicial system; high tax rates; a weak framework for corporate
governance; and frequent changes in the legal and regulatory environment.
Almost all areas open to investment by the Turkish private sector are fully
open to foreign participation, but establishment in the financial and
petroleum sectors requires special permission. Foreign equity is limited to
20 percent in broadcasting and 49 percent in maritime transportation and
many value-added telecommunications services (such as GSM, satellite and
data, though telecommunications legislation has been amended to allow
certain company specific exceptions to these limits). Parliament is
considering draft legislation easing restrictions on foreign ownership in
the media. Once investors have committed to the Turkish market, they have
sometimes found their investments undercut by arbitrary legislative action,
such as the imposition of production limits. The state electricity utility
has been unbundled into production, transmission, distribution and trading
companies, but little progress has been made in privatizing power generation
and distribution. Targeted liberalization of the natural gas sector has also
faced delays. The state-owned Turkish Pipeline Company (BOTAS) will remain
dominant, but legislation requires phased transfer of 80 percent of its gas
purchase contracts. Privatization of natural gas distribution is proceeding
slowly. As the result of a 1997 court decision, the Turkish government has
blocked full repatriation of investments by oil companies under Article 116
of the 1954 Petroleum Law, which protected foreign investors from the impact
of lira depreciation. Affected companies have challenged the 1997 decision
and the case is currently in the Turkish court system.
Anticompetitive practices: Government
monopolies in a number of areas, particularly alcoholic beverages and
telecommunications services, have been scaled back in recent years, but
currently remain a barrier to certain U.S. products and services. The
Turkish government maintains a state monopoly on wine production that
restricts the sales of U.S. wine.
is perceived to be a major problem in Turkey by private enterprise and the
public at large, particularly in government procurement. The judicial system
is also perceived to be susceptible to external influence and to be biased
against outsiders to some degree. American companies operating in Turkey
have complained about contributions to the community solicited, with varying
degrees of pressure, by municipal or local authorities. Parliament continues
to probe corruption allegations involving senior officials in previous
governments, particularly in connection with energy projects. Turkey
ratified the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD
anti-bribery convention, and passed implementing legislation providing that
bribes of foreign officials, as well as domestic, are illegal and not tax
2001, the Turkish government cancelled 46 contracted power projects based on
the build-operate-transfer (BOT) and transfer-of-operating-rights models. To
date, the Turkish government has not commenced negotiations with the
companies, one of which has launched an international arbitration case. In
2002, the government requested BOT projects already in operation -- which
include U.S.-owned companies -- to apply for new licenses from the new
Energy Market Regulatory Authority, and has indirectly pressed them
unilaterally to lower their prices while the license application process is
still underway. Despite lack of action on new licenses, the Turkish
government has continued to purchase electricity produced per the existing
Cola tax: Punitive
taxation of cola drinks (raised in 2002 to 47.5 percent under Turkey's
“Special Consumption Tax”) discourages investment by major U.S. cola
Corporate governance: Weaknesses
in the protection of minority shareholder rights and regulatory oversight
have left some American companies at a disadvantage in disputes with Turkish
assesses a Special Consumption Tax of 27 percent to 50 percent on all motor
vehicles based on engine size. This tax has a disproportionate effect on
their intellectual property concerns detailed above, the pharmaceutical
industry's sales have been hurt by government price controls.
Turkish group files criminal complaint against German paper
The Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), a Turkish lobby group, has
filed a criminal complaint against the German newspaper Die Welt
for printing several of the Mohammed cartoons. The group claims that
printing the cartoons was a public insult against a religious group.
, general secretary of UETD, said: "It is not the
point of a free press to insult the religious sensibilities of nearly 3
million Muslims in Germany with provocations of this kind," reports Reuters.
Turkish group accuses German paper of insulting Islam
16 Mar 2006 - Reuters
By Louis Charbonneau
BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) - A Turkish lobby group said on Thursday it has
filed a criminal complaint against a German newspaper for printing a series of
Danish cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad last month.
It said the complaint was filed with prosecutors in the northern city of
Cologne, charging the daily Die Welt with violating Germany's criminal code by
printing 12 cartoons of Islam's prophet on Feb. 1, despite global unrest sparked
by their initial appearance in a Danish paper.
While freedom of the press is guaranteed by the German constitution, the
country's law forbids public insults against religious societies, beliefs and
groups that support specific world views.
"It is not the point of a free press to insult the religious sensibilities of
nearly 3 million Muslims in Germany with provocations of this kind," Abdullah
Emil, general secretary of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), said.
Guenther Feld, a public prosecutor in Cologne, where the UETD is based,
confirmed receiving the complaint and said he would study it.
Even if the prosecutors decided to formally press charges, Feld told Reuters
it was unclear whether it would be handled in Cologne or Hamburg, where the
daily's owner, German newspaper publisher Axel Springer <SPRGn.DE>, is based.
Axel Springer's spokeswoman, Silvie Rundel, said there were currently no
official legal complaints, or complaints by the German media watchdog pending
against Die Welt.
On Wednesday, Denmark's own public prosecutor decided not to press charges
against a newspaper for allegedly violating Denmark's blasphemy law by printing
the 12 drawings of the Prophet Mohammad which triggered widespread Muslim anger.
The caricatures, later reprinted in other countries, provoked protests among
Muslims who believe it is blasphemous to depict the prophet. At least 50 people
were killed in protests in the Middle East and Asia, three Danish embassies were
attacked and many Muslims boycotted Danish goods.
Last month a German court convicted a businessman of insulting Islam by
printing the word "Koran" on toilet paper and offering it to mosques. He was
given a one-year jail sentence, suspended for five years, and ordered to
complete 300 hours of community service.
Turkish lobbyist file complaint against
German newspaper March 2006
A public prosecutor in the northern German city of Cologne confirmed receiving
a complaint against a German newspaper by a Turkish lobby group over the
reprinting of the prophet Mohammed cartoons. A statement was released by the
lobbyists on Thursday saying that it had filed a criminal complaint against
the German newspaper Die Welt for reprinting the series of Danish cartoons
which were said to defame the Prophet Mohammad in February.
Although the German constitution guarantees freedom of the press, German
law forbids public insults against religious societies, beliefs and groups
that support specific world views.
The statement said that the complaint had been filed with prosecutors in
the northern city of Cologne, charging the daily Die Welt with violating
Germany's criminal code by printing 12 cartoons of Islam's prophet on Feb. 1,
despite global unrest sparked by their initial appearance in a Danish paper.
"It is not the point of a free press to insult the religious sensibilities
of nearly 3 million Muslims in Germany with provocations of this kind,"
Abdullah Emil, general secretary of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD),
Guenther Feld, a public prosecutor in Cologne, where the UETD is based,
confirmed receiving the complaint and said he would study it.
slams Greece, vows no concession on Cyprus
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday slammed Greece's policy on Western
Thrace, and said that resident Turkish Muslims there face many difficulties
practicing their religion freely.
Erdogan also stressed that they will not concede anything on the Cyprus issue.
"Muslims in Western Thrace cannot elect their religious leaders. In Turkey, we
do not interfere in the election of the Greek Orthodox patriarch. We are more
libertarian," Erdogan said during a speech to a local party congress in Ankara.
Erdogan described the Cyprus issue as a "national cause" and said, "The Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has a more honorable place in world politics
today. The TRNC is our national cause. We cannot make any concession on it."
The Turkish prime minister criticized how after the Greek Cypriot leadership
rejected United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan in a referendum two
years ago, the EU accepted Greek Cypriot membership and rewarded the Greek
Cypriot leader, failing to fulfill its promises.
"The EU has punished the Turkish Cypriots. This is not fair. We want justice,"
ABHaber 27.03.2006 thenewanatolian.com
Aegean dispute, seminary on agenda of Bakoyannis’ US talks
Friday, March 24, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkey's commitment to declare war if Greece attempts to extend its
territorial waters in the Aegean Sea as well as the reopening of a theological
seminary on an island off Istanbul are among the topics the Greek foreign
minister is expected to raise with top U.S. administration officials in
Dora Bakoyannis, in a recent interview before her departure for the United
States, leveled harsh criticism at a Turkish media report that indicated Turkey
would declare war if Greece extended its territorial waters from six to 12
nautical miles from its coast.
Greece says that international law allows it to extend its waters if it
wants, while Turkey has argued that such a move would turn the Aegean into a
Bakoyannis also said the Turkish government should allow the reopening of
the Halki seminary, located on an island off Istanbul and which has been closed
since 1971. In the meantime, the United States assured that Ankara has no
hostile feelings towards Athens although it considers Greek attempts to extend
its territorial waters in the Aegean as “casus belli” (reason for war), reported
NTV television yesterday.
Senior U.S. diplomat Dan Fried, assistant secretary of state for European
and Eurasian affairs, briefed Greek reporters prior to Bakoyannis' talks in the
Fried, who was in Ankara last week for talks with Turkish officials, said,
“Nobody in Ankara spoke against Greece.” He said the territorial waters issue
was an old matter that should not be taken seriously by Athens.
The U.S. diplomat also gave assurances about Cyprus by saying that the
United States would never recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC),
The decades-old Cyprus dispute, in addition to Turkey's EU aspirations,
will be key issues during talks between the Greek foreign minister and U.S.
On Cyprus, Matt Bryza, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian
affairs, said they will look for ways to promote restarting talks to unify the
island after the rejection by the Greek Cypriots two years ago of a referendum
on a U.N.-sponsored peace plan, reported The Associated Press late on Wednesday.
Bakoyannis was scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
to the European Capital of Culture
to the European Capital of Culture will be a great opportunity to reinforce the
between the two communities once more.
for ECOC-2010 should be regarded as a sign of our commitment
to the cultural convergence of the Turkish civil society and the government to
the European Union. The Istanbul ECOC-2010 Organizational Committee's structure
is composed of various NGO's, backed by enterprises and local authorities and
bodies of the central government. On the European Summit of
the 17th of
and the progress report of October 6th, the European Council and the Commission
underlined the need to develop communication and dialogue between
becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2010 will definitely address to the
decision of the European Summit. The candidacy will reflect
multidimensional Europeanization and the strength of the civil society in
preparation towards 2010 and activities will
the European public opinion regarding Turkish culture and the Turkish public
opinion regarding the European culture.
As one of the
oldest human settlements of the greater Eurasian area,
has attracted various European
artists and European refugees
from different backgrounds. Political, economical, religious and social
evolutions and revolutions have left great residues in
importantly, we hope that through the intense participation of the crowds, art
and culture will reach out to those members of the community, who were
insufficiently provided with these two crucial activities. The international
jury will receive the presentation by
initiative, of which I'm a part of, on March 14th, and will make a decision. The
success of Istanbul 2010 relies heavily and will result in Enthusiastic
of the Istanbulite.
Britain Upholds School Ban on a Muslim Gown
In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a university
in Turkey was within its rights to ban head scarves
LONDON, March 22 — Britain's highest court ruled Wednesday that a secondary
school was within its rights to bar a female student from wearing a jilbab, a
loose, ankle-length gown, instead of the regular school uniform.
Overturning a lower court ruling in favor of the student, Shabina Begum, a
five-judge panel in the House of Lords pointed out that the school, Denbigh
High School in Luton, had already taken great care to make its uniform
acceptable to its students, 79 percent of whom are Muslim.
"The school was entitled to consider that the rules about uniform were
necessary for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others," one of the
judges, Lord Hoffmann, said in his written opinion.
The issue of what sort of religious dress, if any, is appropriate in
state-run schools has become increasingly divisive in Europe, where the wishes
of Muslim populations are often at odds with the rules set down by secular
governments. In France, the hijab, the head scarf worn by many Muslim girls
and women, and other "conspicuous" religious symbols are banned from schools.
In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a university in
Turkey was within its rights to ban head scarves, saying that it was
justified in avoiding giving preference to any one religion.
By such standards, the British policy is comparatively liberal. Girls at
Denbigh, for instance, have a wide choice of uniform — a skirt, pants or the
shalwar kameez, a flowing pants-and-tunic combination considered acceptable by
many Muslims — and they can also wear head scarves. Three nearby schools allow
students to wear the jilbab.
But Denbigh, a coeducational school with 1,000 students, had argued that
permitting Ms. Begum, now 17, to wear the jilbab could prove divisive,
possibly leading to arguments among students about whether it represented a
more devout adherence to Islam. In addition, the school said, the jilbab is
too constricting and would pose safety risks.
Tahir Alam, the education spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, a
lobbying group, told Bloomberg News that the safety argument was "an excuse,
"You have to ask yourself," he said, "how many people have fallen over and
died because they tripped on their jilbab."
In their unanimous ruling, the judges said Denbigh had "taken immense pains
to devise a uniform policy that respected Muslim beliefs," laying down rules
that "were as far from being mindless as uniform rules could ever be" and that
were apparently "acceptable to mainstream Muslim opinion."
Ms. Begum sued the school in 2002 after it insisted that she wear the
required uniform, which, she told the BBC on Wednesday, she believed "did not
satisfy Islamic clothing." Represented by Cherie Booth, a human rights lawyer
and the wife of Prime Minister
Tony Blair, she argued that the school had denied her the right to
practice her religion.
Speaking of the jilbab, which covers the entire body except for the hands
and face, she told the BBC, "I feel that it is an obligation upon Muslim women
to wear this, although there are other opinions."
Ms. Begum said she was "saddened and disappointed" by the ruling. "I still
don't see why I was told to go home from school when I was just practicing my
religion," she said.
As a result of Denbigh's policy, Ms. Begum spent two years out of school.
She now attends another school where the jilbab is permitted.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said it welcomed the ruling as
reinforcement of its view that schools should be allowed to set their own
Israel, Turkey suspend deal to ship water in huge tankers
By Associated Press April 5, 2006
Israel and Turkey have suspended what was meant to be a breakthrough
deal: shipping water in huge tankers from Turkey to the parched Holy
Land. Both governments have concluded the deal is not feasible, but hope to
revive it in the future.
Under the 20-year agreement, signed two years ago, Turkey was to ship 50 mi
million cubic meters (1.75 billion cubic feet) of water annually from its
Manavgat River. The deal was to alleviate Israel's chronic water shortage and
cement its relations with an important Muslim ally.
Turkey was to boost its position as a regional power.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said recently that the agreement was put
on hold because high oil prices had made it impractical to ship the water in
large tankers. Privatization of Turkey's Manavgat water-treatment facility
also contributed to the higher costs, he said.
Regev said the two countries would continue looking at other options,
including building a water pipeline.
The decision to suspend the project was not connected to the recent visit
of Hamas leaders to Turkey, he added. "The political relationship with Turkey
is good," he said.
In Ankara, officials at the Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed the project is
now on hold and that the idea of a pipeline would be explored.
But experts say it could be years for a pipeline to materialize. In addition
to cost considerations, such a project would possibly require involvement of
Lebanon or Syria, Arab countries that are hostile to Israel.
Water experts said the deal would have provided only a small percentage of
Israel's water needs. Critics have said the plan, going back more than five
years, was motivated more by politics than economics.
"From the time of the first bids, it was clear you could not bring water of
drinking quality from Turkey at an affordable price," said Shaul Arlosoroff, a
water expert and member of the board of Mekorot, Israel's national water
"There were other reasons for Israel to maintain connections and
dialogue with Turkey. The issue of economics was not the decisive issue," he
Arlosoroff said the chances of building a pipeline deal are very low,
especially now that Israel has opened a new desalination plant in the port
city of Ashkelon with a second plant in the works. Israel also has reduced its
water needs through expertise in drip irrigation and recycling waste water for
"I wouldn't buy stock in the company that has to bring water from Turkey to
Israel," he said.
EXAMPLE NEWSLETTER FROM
FTAA – Federation of Turkish American Associations, New York
Dear Turkish American
Community Members and Friends,
Monday, February 6, 2006,
we had our first
General Board meeting
at the Turkish
This meeting was also done through a teleconferencing system to allow
participation from other
associations outside the areas of NY and NJ.
At this board meeting was present the Young Turks
Cultural Aid Society who will be spearheading the campaign for the so-called
Armenian Genocide Protest. The Federation tries to support all sensitive
issues regarding the so-called Armenian Genocide topic. With this in mind, the
Federation has decided to support this protest. Under our Federation, the Young
Turks Cultural Aid Society will hold their protest both financially and
morally with our support, on
April 22, 2006. The protest
will be held between 41 st and 42 nd Street at Broadway.
With this said, I am inviting the Turkish-American
Community to gather to show support for this protest. I would like to thank the
Chairman of TADF so-called Armenian Genocide Protest, Abdurahman Bezirgan and
Kenan Taskent, member of the committee, without their support and effort this
would not be possible.
Related with Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Diaspora has
already started to electronically petition to prevent an open forum after the
airing of the Armenian Genocide movie on PBS. The Armenian Diaspora is
against the idea of an open forum which was suggested by PBS to allow both
parties to present their sides. ATAA has been working to allow the airing of the
documentary “Armenian Revolt” presenting the truth. The Federation supports this
documentary showing the reality of this issue. I strongly suggest that the
Turkish-American community visit http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/petition-sign.cgi?turkside
to show their support and click on the “Sing The Armenian Revolt and Deportation
Petition” button to sign the petition to strengthen our support.
On another note, the TADF Discount Card project that was
slated for 2006-2008 has been put into place with the Federation speaking to
Turkish companies. This project will allow card holders a discount upon
presentation in the Turkish based stores. The TADF Executive Committee
Members and the President of TADF Social Affairs have visited Turkish companies
and stores in
and explained the benefits of the card for them and the Turkish-American
Community. The Federation would like to thank the companies who expressed an
interest in this project. We will continue to introduce this project to more
companies in the future as this is an on-going project for the next two years.
In addition, the TADF Executive Board members had lunch
with Mr. Joseph Potasnik, President of the NY City Board of Rubies and his board
members. During this luncheon, the Federation expressed our feelings on
working on strengthening the relationship between the Turkish and Jewish
community. We have common opinions that we need to be united against terror
activities which continue to threaten people’s lives. In the near future, the NY
City Board of Rubies will issue a press statement regarding the cartoon
depicting our Prophet Muhammed (S.A.V).
I would also like to address the situation of “Voice of
being broadcast on radio, television and internet. The American International
Broadcast Institute will be presenting the 2007 budget to President George Bush
will cause the
this broadcast. “Voice of
in Turkish” is extremely important to for our community to better communication
capability and allow us to support lobbying activities. The reason behind the
budget cuts is due to economics from the Katrina catastrophe. The Federation is
condemning the American International Broadcast Institute’s suggestion
especially since it will not affect the Armenian and Kurdish broadcastings. The
Federation has strongly expressed its point of view with respect to this issue.
If Mr. Bush approves the 2007 budget, the 12 hour radio
and 30 min. television programs will be cancelled as of
October 1, 2006. If there is no change in the budget, 14 Turkish employees will
be laid off that work in the DC office including other employees who work in
and other offices outside the
The Federation has already meetings to keep the lines of communication open with
the Voice of America Institute.
As a result, We are and will continue to be against any
activities that will cause harm to the
Turkish-American Community and its pride.
Until my next letter, wishing the Turkish-American
community happiness and health,
Turk toplumu uyeleri ve tum Turk Dostlari ;
Federasyonumuzun 2006-2008 doneminin ilk Yonetim
Kurulu toplantisini 6 Subat Pazartesi gunu Turk Evi’nde gerceklestirdık.New
York ve New Jersey disindaki Yonetim Kurulu uyelerimizin toplantimiza
katilimini saglamak icin tele-konferans sistemi kurarak farkli eyaletlerden
yonetim kurulu uyelerimizin katilimini sagladik.
Toplantiya katilan derneklerimizden Genc Turkler
Yardimlasma Dernegi’nin onculugundekı Sozde Ermeni Soykrimi Iddalari’na
Karsi Protesto kampanyasini, Sozde Ermeni Soykirimi Iddalari konusundaki
hassasiyetini her zaman korumus ve bu konuda faaliyet gosteren derneklerine
daima destek vermis olan Turk Amerikan Dernekleri Federasyonu olarak
destekleme karari aldik. TADF bunyesindeki Sozde Ermeni Soykirimi Iddalari
komitemizin gerekli izinleri alarak Genc Turkler Yardimlasma Dernegi’nin
onculugundeki organizasyonu tum maddi ve manevi yonleriyle destekleyerek 22
Nisan 2006 tarihinde 41 st ve 42 nd caddeleri arasinda Broadway’de
Bu vesileyle tum Turk-Amerikan toplumu uyelerimizi
simdiden bu hakli davaya karsi biraraya gelmeye davet ediyor ,
organizasoyunu yuruten TADF Sozde Ermeni Iddalari Komitesi Baskani
Abdurrahman Bezirkan ve Komite Uyesi Kenan Taskent’e yurutmus olduklari
somut calismalarindan dolayi tesekkurlerimi sunuyorum.
Yine Sozde Ermeni Iddalari ile ilgili olarak Ermeni
Diaspora’si elektronik dilekce kampanyasi baslatarak PBS televizyonunun
yayinladigi “Ermeni Soykirimi” adli film sonrasinda yapilacak acik oturumu
engellemeye calismaktadirlar. Olaylarin carpitilarak anlatildigi bu filme
karsi tum olaylarin gercek yuzunun anlasimasi amaciyla bir belgesel film
olan “Armenian Revolt” in PBS’de yayinlanmasinin saglanmasini icin ATAA
tarafindan baslatilan kampanyaya desteklerinizi http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/petition-sign.cgi?turkside
linkideki “Sing The Armenian Revolt and Deportation Petition” butonunu
Gectigimiz haftasonu , TADF 2006-2008 donemi projeleri
icinde yer alan ve Turk-Amerikan toplumumuza indirimli alisveris imkani
saglayacak olan TADF Alisveris Karti icin calismalarimiza baslamis ve TADF
Alisveris Karti’nin gecerli olacagi bir kisim firmalari ziyaret ederek TADF
Alisveris Karti’ni kendilerine tanitmis bulunuyoruz. TADF Icra Kurulu
uyelerimiz ve ile New Jersey Paterson’daki Turk isyerlerine ziyaretlerde
bulunarak TADF Alisveris Karti’nin icerigini kendilerine aktardik. TADF
Alisveris Karti konusunda bizlere destek veren sirketlerimize simdiden
tesekkurlerimi sunar , isyeri ziyareti ve TADF Alisveris Kartis proje
tanitimimiza devam edecegimizi tum toplumumuza belirtmek isterim.
Gectigimiz hafta TADF Icra Kurulu uyeleri olarak New
York City Board of Rubies Baskani Sayin Joseph Potasnik ve diger yonetim
kurulu uyeleri ile ogle yemegi yiyerek toplanti yaptik. Toplantida Turk-Amerikan
toplumu ile ABD’deki Musevi toplumu arasindaki iliskilerin guclendirilmesi
hususlarina degindik. Ayrica tum insanligi tehdit eden teror olaylarina
karsi dayanisma icinde olmayi ve bu konuda toplumlararasi calismalarin
guclendirilmesi ile alakali fikir paylasiminda bulunduk.New York City Board
of Rubies olarak Avrupa basininda peygamberimiz Hz.Muhammed (s.a.v)
aleyhinde cikan cirkin karikaturlere karsi basin ilani yayimlayacaklarini
Yine Turk-Amerikan toplumu arasindaki iletisimimiz ve
ulkemizin lobi calismalari buyuk bir onemi olan Amerika’nin Sesi Radyosu’nun
Turkce Radyo,Televizyon ve Internet yayinlarinin ABD Baskani George W.Bush’a
ABD Uluslararasi Yayin Kurumu tarafindan sunulan 2007 butcesinde iptalinin
onerilmesine de onemle deginmek istiyorum. Baskan Bush’un
durumunda 12 saatlik radyo ve yarım saatlik televizyon yayınıyla Türkçe
internet yayınları 1 Ekim 2006’dan sonra kesilecek. Bütçe tasarısında
değişiklik yapılmadığı takdirde Washington’daki Türkçe bölümünde çalışan 14
görevliyle bölümün Ankara
ve İstanbul dahil olmak üzere çeşitli dış merkezlerde çalışan muhabirlerinin
işlerine son verilecek. Bu konuda Voice of America kurumu ile olan
Katrina Kasirgasi’nin sebep oldugu ekonomik problemler
sebebiyle yapilan bu teklifin Ermeni ve Kurt televizyon yayinlarina yonelik
olarak yapilmamasini da eshefle karsliyoruz. Bu konuda Turk Amerikan
Dernekleri Federasyonu olarak Washington’daki Amerika’nin Sesi Radyosu ile
gerekli temaslari kurarak calismalarimizi baslatmis bulunuyoruz.
Bu vesileyle Turk Amerikan Dernekleri Federasyonu
olarak Turkiye ve Turkculuk aleyhine olacak tum faaliyetlerin daima
karsisinda olacagimizi belirtir, mektubuma burada son vererek tum Turk
toplumumuza esenlik dileklerimi sunarim
Not: Dort haftadir teknik sorunlar nedeniyle
yayimlayamadigimiz Federasyonumuzun haftalik bultenleri icin tum Turk
toplumu uyelerinden ozur dileriz.
Shimon Peres steps in to soften Jewish lobby's backlash
over Hamas visit
Israeli moderate leader Peres takes mediator role between Turkey and American
Jewish lobby as Jewish groups criticize Ankara over Hamas visit. In his meeting
with Jewish representatives, Peres asks for continued support for Turkey, which
is significant ahead of April 24, anniversary of so-called Armenian genocide
Robert Wexler, pro-Turkish Congressman, will visit Turkey on Thursday to express
behind the closed doors Washington's concerns and disappointment over the visit
Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Tuygan goes to Israel to meet his Israel
counterpart and discuss bilateral relations, recent regional and intl
Shimon Peres, a moderate Israeli political leader and prominent figure in the
leading Kadima party, last week took a mediating role between Turkey and the
American Jewish lobby during his visit to Washington., trying to soften negative
reaction to last month's Hamas visit to Ankara, diplomatic sources told The New
Peres's visit with the representatives of Jewish lobby was significant ahead of
April 24, the so- called anniversary of the Armenian "genocide," when the
Armenian lobby steps up its campaign for the recognition of the so-called
genocide in the U.S. Congress. The Jewish lobby so far backed Turkish efforts to
block any resolution referring to Armenian genocide claims. But following the
Turkish government's meeting with Hamas representatives last month, important
members of the American Jewish lobby strongly criticized Ankara and gave signs
of withdrawing this key support.
The exiled political leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, visited Ankara last month,
triggering a diplomatic rift between Israel and Turkey. Ankara rejected Israeli
criticism of the visit and said an Israeli spokesman's comparison of the
Palestinian group to Kurdish guerrillas in Turkey was an "unfortunate
statement." Later the Turkish and Israeli prime ministers talked on the phone
and agreed not to let disagreement on Hamas ruin the overall relations and
bilateral cooperation which is significant for both countries.
Jewish-American groups were very furious with Ankara over the Hamas visit,
suggesting that the Turkish government's move to engage with the radical group
would "lead to consequences." U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, a Jewish-American who
is the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in the U.S. Congress, sent a
protest letter to Erdogan due to his party's talks with Hamas. Lantos warned
that the meeting with Hamas would seriously damage Turkey's national interests,
its fight against terrorism and relations with the United States.
Critical visit from US Congressman Wexler to Turkey
While Ankara tried to ease the concerns of Jewish lobby through several
meetings, it also finalized preparations to host an important U.S. delegation
chaired by Congressman Robert Wexler.
Wexler, who is Jewish and also chairman of Turkish-American Caucus that supports
Turkey against the Armenian "genocide" motions, will begin his contacts in
Ankara on Thursday. According to sources Wexler will express behind closed doors
Washington's concerns and disappointment over the visit of Hamas.
Ankara, for its part, is expected to clarify the reasons for organizing the
visit of Hamas to Turkey and explain in detail the messages conveyed to Hamas
leader Khaled Mashaal during the visit, sources added. Turkish officials will
also seek the continuation of Wexler's support for efforts to block Armenian
genocide claim resolutions in Congress, the sources said.
Turkish undersecretary to visit Israel
The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that the Undersecretary
Ambassador Ali Tuygan went to Israel on Monday for a two-day visit. Tuygan will
meet with his Israel counterpart Ron Prosor today to discuss bilateral
relations, recent regional and international developments, the statement added.
ABHaber 07.03.2006 The New Anatolian
congressman sends protest note to Erdogan over Hamas visit
FEB. 23 2006
congressman equated the leader of Hamas’ political wing with the leader of the
terrorist group the PKK.
ANKARA - The head of
the Jewish lobby in the US Congress, Tom Lantos, has sent a letter of protest to
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concerning the visit last week of a
senior official of the Palestinian group Hamas to Ankara.
In the letter, Lantos,
of the Democratic Party, said that the visit by Hamas political leader Halid
Mashaal to Ankara would harm Turkey’s national interests, the fight to combat
terrorism and Turkish-US relations.
Lantos said that although the messages given by Turkey could be right the
meeting between Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Mashaal last Thursday had the
reserve effect and had weakened the power of Palestinian leaders calling on
Hamas to end its polices of violence and non-recognition of the state of Israel.
Describing Hamas as “a gang of terrorists”, Lantos said the group, which was
swept to power in Palestine after winning recent national elections, was
“refusing to recognise the right of the existence of Israel” and of calling Jews
“children of pigs and monkeys.”
“While your officials are getting closer to the Palestine version of Ocalan (the
imprisoned leader of the terrorist group the PKK), Mashaal, who are you going to
retain your virtuous position in your fight against the PKK?” Lantos asked
Erdogan in his letter. However, the congressman stressed that the US supported
Turkey in its fight against separatist terrorism.
Lantos said that he met the newly appointed Turkish ambassador to the US a week
ago and his re-assurance that Ankara would side with the US on foreign policy
has been breached in less than a week.
The Californian congressman had been a strong advocate of the Turkish position
rejecting claims that the Ottoman government had committed genocide against its
Armenian citizens during the years of World War One. However, Lantos last year
withdrew his support to Turkey on the Armenian question after Ankara refused to
side with the US on the Iraq war.
US congressman protests Hamas talks
Friday, February 24, 2006
A Jewish-American congressman in
the United States has sent a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in
protest of talks Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP)
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
A Jewish-American congressman in the United States has sent a letter to
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in protest of talks Erdoğan's Justice and
Development Party (AKP) held with the radical Palestinian organization Hamas in
Ankara last week, reported NTV yesterday.
Rep. Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in the U.S.
Congress, asserted in his letter that the meeting with Hamas would seriously
damage Turkey's national interests, its fight against terrorism and overall
relations with the United States.
“Your invitation to Hamas has weakened those who really want peace and
oppose terrorism and also [weakened] Palestinian leaders urging Hamas to quit
its poisonous policies,” Lantos said in his letter to Erdoğan.
© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.
'Genocide' Course for Teachers in the US
By Ahmet Dinç, Ankara
Published: Monday, March 13, 2006
The Federation of
Turkish-American Associations (FTAA) in the United States has taken the
initiative to explain the true face of the so-called Armenian genocide. The
project was launched in 2006 by the federation which believes the Armenian issue
is not thoroughly explained to American teachers.
The FTAA, beyond the Atlantic, is exerting
great efforts for the promotion of Turkey. As part of this project the
federation aims at elaborating on the details of the so-called Armenian
genocide, and so far 46 American teachers have been reached as part of this
In various cities across the US with a high
Turkish population, the FTAA plans to establish "Turkish towns". In the days
following the "Turkish Day Parade," this year, "Peace Day Parades" will be
started with the participation of various other nations. The federation has also
launched a campaign to send cards on special days, such as anniversaries and
birthdays, to prominent US figures including President George W. Bush and pop
star Madonna. It has also been reported that Turks living in the US had
requested an imam be provided by the FTAA.
Establishing community associations such as
the Turkish People's Union and the Cyprus Association, operating since 1956,
Turks in America have increased the number of such associations to more than 40,
and have managed the formation of the federation. From Turkey, Atilla Pak from
Midyat in Mardin, was appointed as the FTAA president three months ago, and as
head of the federation he hopes to shed light on the problems facing Turks, as
well as the Armenian genocide allegations. The federation, operating in the
interests of the country, continues its struggle in several other areas such as
lobbying for Turkey, Pak informs. The FTAA cooperates with organizations from
nine countries to stage the "Peace Day Parades," and it will be a wholly Turkish
production, Pak adds.
About a thousand Turkish restaurants operate
in the US, according to the FTAA's newly elected president. As part of their
activities, they will assemble a box to include three CDs, one will contain the
Armenian Reality, and the others will have information about Turkey and will
reflect the lives of Turks residing in the US. The evil eye, as part of the
unique Turkish tradition, will also be added to this box bearing the slogan,
"Not Turkey, but Turkiye" together with a tulip motif. Customers at Turkish
restaurants will be presented with this box, as part of the new project
initiated by the FTAA.
Politicians and Media Provoke
Islamophobia in US
A public poll conducted in the United States revealed Americans’
unfavorable view of Islam has reached the highest level (46 percent) since
the 9/11 era.
The ABC-Washington Post poll indicates the media and politicians are
responsible for the increase in this negative approach.
According to the poll conducted from March 2-5 in over 1,000 Americans,
the rate of those who think Islam incites violence again non-Muslims was
14 percent in January 2002, but since increased to 33 percent, more than
Each participant admits his/her prejudice towards Islam.
One third say they have recently heard prejudiced comments about Muslims
and 43 percent say the same about Arabs. The negative Arab and Muslim
image reinforce one another.
Officials speaking to The Washington Post emphasize this disturbing
American attitude towards Islam is fed through political statements and
media news. Several think-tank organizations and lobbies in Washington
have played a big part in the spread of Islamophobia.
The Post article reads the survey was held at a time when the extremely
violent reactions to insulting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Europe
were given extensive coverage in the US media.
Several politicians from both the Republican and Democratic Party and many
opinion leaders are also using an intensive Islamophobic and anti-Arab
discourse about the number one political polemic at the moment; whether or
not to give the operation of US ports to a United Arab Emirates company.
Anti-Semitic and racist attitudes in the US tend to carry heavy social,
political and legal penalties, however, anyone satirizing, targeting,
generalizing or viewing Islam, Muslims and Arabs with prejudice are exempt
from this. Radio programs with a huge audience can easily host speakers
tend to say anything disparaging they want about Islam.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security adviser, said in his
February 23 address at the Washington based Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS) that the Bush administration is getting to be
highly Islamophobic. Brzezinski also said he reported his concerns to some
US President George W. Bush used the word "Crusade" to describe the fight
against terrorists in the aftermath of the September 11; however,
administration officials maintain that Mr. Bush did not intend the word to
signify a real crusade. Careful not to associate Islam with terror and
radicalism in a direct way for a long time, since last autumn Bush has
begun to use phrases Islamophobic groups tended to promote, such as
"radical Islam" and "Islamofascism". A few Washington-based think tanks
and lobbyists have an important role to play in propagating Islamophobic
views, said some observers. Islamophobic groups have the common traits of
being extremely nationalist, extremely rightist, fundamentalist, and
Delivering a speech Monday at the annual AIPAC congress, a strong Jewish
Lobby foundation, the Israeli Ambassador to United Nations (UN) Daniel Gillerman said: "While it may be true -- and probably is -- that not all
Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all
terrorists are Muslim" to the applause of the crowded audience constituted
of American politicians and bureaucrats.
Some popular writers like right-wing extremist Ann Coulter and strong
Protestant leaders like Franklin Graham urge American society against
Islam and Muslims.
General William Boykin, who holds top level position at the Pentagon,
insulted Islam in 2003 during his speech in a Baptist church; however, he
was not dismissed from duty thanks in part to the reactions and warnings
from responsible Americans, the rest of the world and by the Bush
Mevlut Katik 3/10/06
Turkish officials are disputing recent media reports that Ankara rejected
a US request to expand NATO naval operations into the Black Sea.
The controversy developed in mid-February, when US Deputy Secretary of
State Kurt Volker voiced a desire for NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, which is
currently responsible for combating terrorism and smuggling in the Mediterranean
Sea, to expand its activities to encompass the Black Sea. The trial balloon
received an enthusiastic response from most Black Sea littoral states, including
Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Ukraine. Turkey and Russia, however, steadfastly
opposed the idea.
Media outlets seized on Turkish opposition to the plan as a sign of a
deepening rift separating Ankara and Washington. [For
background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. The United States and Turkey
have had a roller-coaster relationship since 2003, when the Turkish parliament
refused to grant permission for a temporary US military base on Turkish
background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Yet, even though ties have
clearly frayed, Turkey remains reluctant to publicly clash with the United
Accordingly, Turkish diplomats are playing down the significance of the
Operation Active Endeavor controversy. According to a senior Turkish diplomat,
the United States never made a formal request to expand the mission. The
official also emphatically denied that Washington had, as some local media
outlets have reported, sought basing rights for US forces along the Black Sea
coast. "Similar media reports now suggest that the USA has also asked for bases
on Turkish territory against Iran," the diplomat said. "Such claims always
circulate in the media, and have nothing to do with reality."
The diplomat said two existing naval organizations – BlackSeaFor and Black
Sea Harmony – offer NATO avenues for operating in the region. BlackSeaFor
comprises all the littoral states, including Russia, along with NATO members
Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. Black Sea Harmony, meanwhile, is a Turkish
initiative that strives to maintain security in coastal waters and major sea
lanes. Ankara recently extended an invitation to other littoral states to join
Black Sea Harmony. The Turkish diplomat characterized the functions of both
organizations as "de facto implementation" of Operation Active Endeavor in the
"The objective is to share the experience gained through such operations [BlackSeaFor
and Black Sea Harmony] with the USA and other NATO members, and this is already
being done," the Turkish diplomat said. "Therefore, there is no situation at
this stage that would necessitate such a [US] request" for the operational
expansion of Active Endeavor.
Operation Active Endeavor has functioned since 2001 in the Mediterranean Sea,
drawing on ships and sailors from a wide variety of NATO members, including the
United States, Britain, Turkey, Greece and the Netherlands. Political analysts
have noted that Turkish and Russian geopolitical priorities in several areas
have been converging over the past few years. Helping to reinforce this view
were joint naval exercises conducted by the two states in late February.
However, some Turkish experts emphasize that, when it comes to the Active
Endeavor controversy, Turkey and Russia have differing motives for opposing the
Russia’s opposition to Active Endeavor’s entry into the Black Sea is
relatively clear-cut: Moscow is loathe to see any expansion of the United
States’ strategic reach in what has traditionally been a Russian sphere of
influence. Turkey’s opposition, on the other hand, is driven by a variety of
technical and strategic factors.
Among the top Turkish concerns is a desire to preserve the status quo
established under the Montreux Convention of 1936 – a pact that regulates
traffic in the Dardanelles and the Bosporus straits. The pact placed limits on
the movement of warships in the straits, while restoring full Turkish
sovereignty of the waterways. During the Cold War, the convention was used to
hamper the movement of Russian warships into the Mediterranean. Turkish
officials now worry about setting any precedent that could create headaches for
them down the road.
Another factor concerns Turkey’s own regional strategic ambitions. In recent
years, the Black Sea’s geopolitical importance has risen, as nations have come
to increasingly value its potential as a conduit for energy exports from the
Caspian Basin to Europe. Ankara is interested in raising its regional strategic
profile in the hopes that doing so could secure a larger share of the potential
economic spoils for Turkey. The establishment of a substantial US military
presence in the Black Sea would complicate Turkish efforts to play a leading
role in regional security initiatives, some Turkish analysts say.
Editor’s Note: Mevlut Katik is a London-based journalist and analyst.
He is a former BBC correspondent and also worked for The Economist group.
Russia against debate over Montreux
While Stegniy rules out discussions on NATO's presence in the Black Sea
region since 3 Black Sea states are NATO members, he confirms reports of
possible Russian presence in Turkish national Harmonization Operation
Even as controversy over the effectiveness of Montreux Convention in the
Black Sea escalated, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Petr Stegniy
yesterday brushed aside the whole debate as a "non-issue."
Stegniy stressed that debates over the Montreux accord, which
governs the status of the Turkish Straits and the role of coastal states
in the Black Sea, are baseless.
"There is no need to search for disputes when there's no reason for them,"
Speaking to Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, the Russian ambassador stressed on
Wednesday that geopolitics in the Black Sea region have changed recently
but added, "The Montreux Convention is appropriate for today's
"Two key words are necessary to understand Russian foreign policy:
stability and partnership. Neither Turkey nor Russia want to push any
country out of the Black Sea region since we regard the region as an area
of cooperation. We don't aim to use the forces of Black Sea states in
Harmonization Operation against the U.S."
Debates about the effectiveness of the Montreux Convention were raised
following the U.S. request to expand NATO's Active Operation Active
Endeavor from the Mediterranean to the region including the Black Sea.
However, U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt
Bryza said on Wednesday that the U.S. doesn't aim to brush aside the
Montreux agreement to which Turkey attaches great importance. "We don't
intent to do something that will eliminate or threaten the Montreux
Convention. Added to which we don't intend to create tension in our
relations with Russia either," Bryza said.
Ambassador Stegniy also ruled out discussions on NATO's presence in the
Black Sea region, saying, "It is unnecessary to talk about NATO presence
in region since three of the Black Sea states are NATO members."
Confirming reports of a possible Russian presence in the Black Sea
Harmonization Force, a Turkish national operation, Stegniy said, "The
Russian Defense Ministry is about to finalize the legal process about the
issue. In line with our partnership, Turkey requested us to join the
operation but I don't have information about a protocol signed between the
ABHaber 31.03.2006 thenewanatolian.com
Igor Torbakov 3/07/06
Turkey’s strategic outlook is making a gradual shift away from the West,
driven by Ankara’s growing concern about the potential for instability on the
country’s southern and eastern flanks. Turkish leaders are now seeing eye-to-eye
with Russia on several important geopolitical issues.
Turkey continues to publicly cast itself as a country with an unshakable
Western orientation, serving as a long-time NATO member and a strategic partner
of the United States, as well as and aspiring to European Union membership. [For
background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. But behind the official
rhetoric, geopolitical developments in recent years, especially the Iraq
imbroglio, have shaken the faith of many in Ankara about the country’s Western
The major factor prompting Turkish leaders to reevaluate their geopolitical
views is Iraq. Turkish policymakers and pundits are extremely worried that their
southern neighbor is ready to implode. At a March 3 briefing in Istanbul with a
group of leading foreign-policy columnists, officials warned that the escalation
of civil and sectarian strife in Iraq could turn the country into a "new
Lebanon." Under Ankara’s nightmare scenario, an Iraqi civil war would give birth
to an independent Kurdistan – a possible development with dire potential
consequences for Turkey’s own territorial integrity.
Bush administration bumbling is responsible for much of what has gone wrong
in Iraq, many Turks believe. "If Iraq disintegrates and a Kurdish state is
created in the north, the Turkish people will take this as something of US
making," the former Turkish president Suleiman Demirel said in a recent
interview published by the Turkish Daily News. Such a development will
inevitably seriously exacerbate the already existing tension in relations
between Ankara and Washington, the veteran politician added.
Turkish wariness of US political designs extends beyond Iraq, covering the
greater Middle East. Few in Ankara approve of Washington’s tough line against
Iran and Syria, for example. [For
additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive]. "There is
sufficient evidence to suggest that the two countries do not see eye-to-eye on
these regional issues," notes Semih Idiz, the Milliyet daily’s foreign-policy
Instead of following the US push to isolate Iran and Syria, Turkish leaders
favor engagement. At the same time, Ankara is firmly opposed to any attempted
use of force with the aim of promoting regime change in the Middle East. In its
advocacy of engagement, Turkey has found common ground with Russia, which is
championing the continuation of the talks with Tehran to resolve the crisis over
its nuclear program. [For
background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Though sharing the same aims,
the motives of the two countries are divergent: Ankara’s stance is mainly driven
by the fear of destabilization in its geopolitical backyard, while Russia is
more interested in keeping the United States out of what has traditionally been
Moscow’s sphere of influence.
Policy-makers in Turkey see Moscow’s stance as a useful counterbalance to
what the Turks perceive as potentially harmful US policies. "In the final
analysis, Turkey’s views are different from the West and closer to Russia,"
argues the influential political analyst Sami Kohen in a commentary published in
the Milliyet newspaper.
Both Ankara and Moscow also appear to perceive US policies in the South
Caucasus as being destabilizing. The two countries have been keen to preserve
the status quo in the region, in sharp contrast to the United States, which has
been a staunch backer of Georgia’s Rose Revolution led by President Mikheil
Saakashvili. When it comes to democratization, both Turkey and Russia favor an
incremental approach that does nothing to upset a delicate economic equilibrium.
"Democratization is a process, and it should be expected to proceed at a
different pace in different countries," said Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah
Gul in a written statement released on March 5.
In addition, while advocating the peaceful resolution of the so-called
"frozen conflicts" in the South Caucasus – involving the territories of
Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh – Ankara, like Moscow, fears that
efforts to hurry political settlements could end up disrupting the economic
Turkey’s changing internal political dynamics are also working to alter the
country’s international outlook. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP)
– an entity with roots in political Islam – has introduced a pronounced
religious dimension into Turkish political life, given that the party’s core
constituency consists of pious Muslims. As a result, a significant number of
Turks are viewing geopolitical developments through a religious prism. Recent
public opinion research helps support this view. For instance, in its annual
survey, Transatlantic Trends 2005, the German Marshall Fund reported that 42
percent of Turks think that Turkey does not belong to the EU because it is
predominantly Muslim. Overall, the percentage of Turks who believe EU membership
would be beneficial for Turkey dropped from 73 percent in 2004 to 63 percent in
Editor’s Note: Igor Torbakov is a freelance journalist and researcher
who specializes in CIS political affairs. He holds an MA in History from Moscow
State University and a PhD from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. He was
Research Scholar at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of
Sciences, Moscow; a Visiting Scholar at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars, Washington DC; a Fulbright Scholar at
Columbia University, New York; and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. He
is now based in Istanbul, Turkey.
OIC backs Iran's right
to nuclear research, says secretary general
March 12, 2006
LONDON (IRNA) -- The Organization of
Islamic Conference (OIC) supports the Iranian government's right to
nuclear research, says the secretary-general of the 56-nation group,
Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
Speaking at a news conference at the
Foreign Press Association in London Friday, Ihsanoglu also said that his
organization was opposed to the double standards being used over Iran's
case at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
"We are with Iran and for Iran," he
said when asked why the OIC does not seem to support its member state in
the rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
"We defend the right of any state to
acquire nuclear capability for research and peaceful use," the Turkish
professor told foreign journalists.
He also said that the OIC was "staunch
supporter" of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
"It should be adhered to by everybody
and not by somebody," he added in reference to the case of Zionist regime.
The OIC secretary general said that
his organization supported the resolution of Iran's case through
"We are against the use of power and
against the imposition of sanctions" which have been threatened by some
countries in taking the case to the UN Security Council.
Ihsanoglu warned about the dangerous
situation being created in the developing crisis, saying that "any spark"
could inflame the region.
"We don't want any conflict in the
Middle East. We have had enough. Enough is enough," he stressed.
The Middle East, he said, should be a
zone "free" of weapons of mass destruction. "Nobody should have nuclear
weapons" in the region, he said.
The OIC secretary general has been
visiting London, during which he has held meetings with Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw on Wednesday and with representatives of the Muslim community
on Thursday. After meeting Straw, they issued a joint statement, stressing
that "the need to enhance cooperation and deepen understanding between
peoples, cultures and faiths has never been more important than present."
John Bolton To AIPAC - Threat of Iranian Regime
USUN PRESS RELEASE # 41 (06)
March 5, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement by Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Representative to the United
Nations, on the Growing Threat of the Iranian Regime, to the AIPAC Policy
Conference, March 5, 2006
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, I would like to thank you for
inviting me here to address this year's Policy Conference. Your work to help to
raise awareness and inform debates on issues vital to the national security of
both the United States and Israel is a major and important contribution. No
doubt some of the issues you will be tackling here over the next two days are
amongst the most seemingly intractable, but that is all the more reason why they
are the most appropriate, indeed crucial ones to discuss. The work you do to
help to promote the peace and prosperity of Israel and to strengthen the ties
that bind our nations helps to cement our rock-solid alliance -- one that will
never allow the state of Israel, as some have suggested, to be "wiped off the
I wish that I could stand before you here today and say that in the year
2006, we have not observed some very troubling developments. Sadly, it seems
that we have traveled back in time in some ways: back to a time when a world
leader trumpets the call of war and openly calls for the destruction of the
state of Israel; back to a time when this same leader brazenly and with shocking
ignorance questions the horrors that unfolded with the Holocaust. While Mr.
Ahmadi-nejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has clearly failed his
lessons in history, indulge me a moment if you will to offer him up at least one
lesson on current events: our commitment to Israel’s security and the alliance
between the United States and Israel are unshakeable. The work AIPAC has done to
forge and strengthen those ties should serve as a powerful reminder to any
leader now or in the future that, simply put, there will be no destruction of
the state of Israel.
Political Lobbying, PR & Grassroots Campaigns Are Now called For Versus
By Ali Al-Hail Al-Jazeerah, March 3,
The term of
‘Arabic\Muslim Genuine Political Lobbying, PR & Grassroots’ is strictly, defined
for this article as; the call on Arabs-Muslims for engaging in public political
debate and embark on a PR, and grassroots campaigns.
The latter term is
different from the term of ‘Astroturf’. This term hypothetically, refers to
grassroots groups or coalitions which are actually fake, often created by
corporations or public relations firms.
Campaigns & Elections
magazine however, defines the term of ‘astroturf’ as a "grassroots program that
involves the instant manufacturing of public support for a point of view in
which either uninformed activists are recruited or means of deception are used
to recruit them" (
Meanwhile, the aim of the
former term of ‘Arabic\Muslims’ genuine political lobbying, PR and grassroots
campaigns’ (which is completely, different from the term ‘Astroturf’) is; for
Arabs\Muslims to address their issues to people in the West, from their point of
view, whose information on Arabs\Muslims’ causes are overall, limited. These
issues range from, Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the cartoons caricaturing
the Prophet of Mercy for all humanity, the war on terror, the invasion of Iraq
and Afghanistan, the war in Chechnya, anti occupation resistance movements such
as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbo allah (Party of God), al-Qaeda and so forth.
The reason is; it’s very
difficult for people in the west, with different cultural, educational
background, and with decades of relentless grass rooted Jewish\Zionist\Israeli
successful political lobbying, PR and grassroots campaigns, of ill-informing,
and faking facts (Astroturf), to understand why Muslims are angry and frustrated
over for instance, pictures in Western newspapers depicting their Prophet, the
Prophet of Mercy for all humanity Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH).
The huge vacuum as
regard, and the lack of Arabic\Muslim genuine political lobbying, PR &
grassroots in the West, have unfortunately, been leading Arabs and Muslims into
fuelling the west’s plans. This has been happening for at least, the past 8
decades under the immense influence of the well articulated, vigilant and
organized Jewish\Zionist\Israeli political lobbying. PR and grassroots campaigns
of misguiding, and distorting historical events (Astroturf) profoundly,
ingrained into the West’s culture since as early, as 1933.
There exist so many
mechanisms through which Arabic\Muslim genuine political lobbying, PR and
grassroots campaigns can workout had these mechanisms given the chance.
Arab\Muslim cultural offices, public relations within Arabic\Muslim embassies in
the West and the media amongst other means can be activated in this direction.
It’s a very lengthy process and unfortunately there aren’t enough ‘good’ Muslim
spokespeople who know the art of persuasion and understand the manipulative
nature of the media. This impression is similarly, applicable to new age of
satellite media in the Arab\Muslim World.
This saddening situation
of Arabic\Muslim genuine political lobbying, PR and grassroots campaigns in the
West versus strong and longtime rooted Jewish\Zionist\Israeli political
lobbying, PR and grassroots campaigns of persuading the audience, and
manipulating them via the media (Astroturf) incredibly, round the clock, alert
and ready to act in the West (based on their understanding of the manipulative
role of the media), had resulted into people in the West seeing in the media
images of uprising Arabs\Muslims without contexts.
The consequence cannot be
any fatal. These images encourage them to vote for new so called ‘anti terror’
laws which are nothing more than clamping down on civil liberties. Liberties and
rights people died for. Once taken away, it’ll be near impossible to reverse the
consequences. The existing deep rooted Jewish\Zionist\Israeli political
lobbying, PR and grassroots campaigns (Astroturf) are mainly, the prime factors
behind such a law in the West.
The reality is, according
to Dina kaldi, “as a politically aware individual with privileged media and PR
insight, I see this happening in the west. By example, in Germany, a respectable
historian had been given a prison senesce of 3 years, simply for refusing to
admit 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust. He believes millions suffered, and
died, but not six million. Since when it’s a crime to have an opposing opinion?
In London, the London Mayor, has been suspended for one month for comparing a
Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard. I find both cases ridiculous
but the reason they happened in the first place, and have been accepted by the
public is because the Jewish community have actively lobbied and engaged in an
aggressive PR campaign (Astroturf i.e., by faking the truth about the Israeli
Arab dispute). Can you imagine last week a well known British singer was stopped
in the airport and questioned for several hours just because he publicly called
Bush and Blair as terrorists” (Dina Kaldi, February, 28th, Private).
As a Fulbright Visiting
Professor at Simpson College \ Indianola and Drake University \ De Moines in
Iowa State last year, I delivered lectures aimed at political lobbying, PR, and
grassroots campaigns almost everywhere within Indianola, and De Moines such as,
churches, rotary clubs, farms (since Iowa is associated with farms culture),
coffee shops at breakfast time as early, as 6:30 Am, in the morning, UN
Association at De Moines, Newspapers, particularly, the Register which is the
main paper at De Moines, students’ houses and the like.
I have observed from
first hand experience, how people at grassroots need to be able of becoming
aware of the Middle East, Arabs and Muslims’ issues. I can claim that, these
lectures about political lobbying, PR, and grassroots campaigns on Arabs\Muslims
issues had managed to change a lot of views, stereotypes and negative images of
Arabs and Muslims. Now if a person, one person could do that, a collective
effort by Arabs and Muslims of seeking political lobbying, PR and grassroots
campaigns in the West can do far much more, had the intentions, and the
political will been in place.
Professor, Dr. Ali
Al-Hail, Professor of Mass Communication, Twice Fulbright Award Winner,
Fulbright Visiting Scholar, and Board Member of AUSACE ASC, IABD, NEBAA, BEA,
IMDA and EAJMC American Associations.
Can be Contacted on:
Turkish NTV: Terrorist Erdal is in Greek
Turkish NTV TV argued that terrorist Fehriye Erdal who escaped from Belgium is
now in Greek Cyprus. Erdal is a member of DHKP-C. DHKP-C is a Marxist
terrorist organisation. It is in the terrorist list of the US, UK and the EU.
According to NTV, Erdal was brought to Larnaka city in Greek Cyprus.
Greek Cyprus had helped Abdullah Ocalan, head of the terrorist PKK
24 March 2006
Belgium's Fehriye Erdal fiasco
How far can one go along with misinformation without it rebounding
eventually? The Fehriye Erdal Case in Belgium, or should one say the “Fehriye
Erdal fiasco,” is the case in point.
The surprise is that even after the scandalous way the Belgians let her
escape -- following a court ruling in Bruges which came to the conclusion that
she was a dangerous terrorist after all -- there are still those in that country
who are using misinformation to allay any possibility that she may be extradited
Erdal is implicated in the 1996 murder of prominent industrialist Ozdemir
Sabanci, his secretary and an associate, by the outlawed left-wing urban
terrorist group the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).
While one must not prejudge a case, the evidence stacked against her is
substantial and not circumstantial, as the Belgians discovered belatedly.
She has been in been in Belgium since her escape from Turkey, after the
Sabanci assassination, where a “Friends of Fehriye” group was quickly assembled
with the help of DHKP-C militants based in that country, and who operated
freely until a few days ago -- even though their organization is listed in
Europe and the U.S. as a “dangerous terrorist group.”
For unquestioningly naïve Belgians she was no more than a “poor Kurdish
girl persecuted by Turks.” This impression, which used her cute girlish
looks, and was used very cynically by the anti-Turkish lobby in that country,
enabled her to remain free -- albeit under the pretence of a “house arrest” --
until her escape following the Bruges ruling.
This is turn lead to a political storm in that country with accusations and
counter accusations flying back and forth between the various organs of the
state, and calls emerging in Parliament for the resignation of at least two
ministers for dereliction of duty.
But this has not dissuaded the “Friends of Fehriye,” who are now mounting a
new misinformation campaign in order to ensure that she is not extradited to
Turkey after she serves her four year sentence in Belgium (assuming that she is
caught of course). They argue that if returned to Turkey she will be executed.
This, in fact, is where they reveal themselves for what they are. Because
they know full well -- and if they don't this tells us even more about them --
that Turkey has not only abolished the death penalty but has also accepted
Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which stipulates that
you can't apply the death penalty even in times of war.
But who cares about this! Never let the facts stop a good argument. If one
can use the “execution” argument and get away with it -- by playing on the
ignorance in Europe about Turkey, which is made more insidious with prejudicial
perceptions that have been carefully cultivated over the decades -- then more
power to it.
This is all very well, but the side that looks bad at the moment is not
Turkey, it's Belgium. In fact, Belgium has come out of this debacle with such a
bad image that some diplomats expect Erdal to be extradited to Turkey to stand
trial, without serving her full sentence in that country, because she has left
Belgian ministers with egg on their faces.
But more is emerging as a result of this debacle. We find out now that the
DHKP-C actually threatened Belgian prosecutors with death in order to prevent
them from acting against Fehriye Erdal. This fact has forced the Belgian
authorities -- finally -- to take a closer look at this blatantly criminal
group, which has not only operated in that country freely until very recently,
but most probably used it also as a base to plan lethal terrorist attacks in
No one can take issue with honest Europeans who bring justified and
positive criticism against Turkey, no matter how harsh this may be. They are the
true friends of Turkey, and it is clear that this country gives them enough
reason for their justified criticism.
But there is a whole class of people in Europe hell-bent on seeing and
presenting Turkey in the worst light possible by playing on the prejudices of
their ignorant public. They do so for a host of reasons of course.
But it appears that there is divine retribution in the end when the
merry-go-round swings around to hit them when they least expect it. The fiasco
involved in the way the Fehriye Erdal case was handled by Belgium is only the
It is time to rouse & strengthen Azeri-Turkish lobby - Akkan Suver
It is time to rouse and strengthen Azerbaijani-Turkish lobby, Trend reports
quoting Akkan Suver, the head of the Marmara Strategic and Social Studies Group,
as saying to journalists on Friday.
He noted that complaints voiced so far concerned lack of joint
Azerbaijani-Turkish lobby. Nevertheless, organization of the 2nd congress of
world Azerbaijanis demonstrate the issue is under solution. “Azerbaijan
recommended us to set to the issue. Strengthening of the lobby is necessary not
only for Azerbaijan and Turkey, but also the all Turkic world,” Suver stressed.
He also stressed that there was an item on the activities of
Azerbaijani-Turkish Diaspora among documents, adopted during the 2nd congress.
“Many countries assailed Turkey after recognizing of the invented genocide of
Armenians. We have to act jointly due to the single problem. It is necessary to
carry out joint struggle with the forces hostile to the all Turkic world,” Suver
By Frank J. Gaffney Jr. The Washington Times Published March 14, 2006
Arguably, among the most pressing questions of our time are: Can Islamic
nations enjoy the benefits of secular, tolerant and accountable government --
and will they be able to do so in the future?
A bellwether may prove to be Turkey, the modern and very secular state
created some 80 years ago by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on the ashes of a
theocratic Ottoman Empire defeated in World War I. His legacy has been one of
the best hopes for believing Muslims could practice their faith without being
subjected to the dictates of repressive theocracy.
It is important to note that the guarantor of that secular government in
Turkey -- sometimes at the expense of democratic rule -- has historically been
the country's military. For this reason among others, the armed forces remain
Turks' most highly regarded institution.
Ending Ataturk's experiment and restoring the Muslim caliphate it
supplanted has long been a goal of Islamofascists, adherents to a dangerous
political movement whose global reach and terrorist methods have largely been
enabled by decades of investment by the world's repressive Islamist regimes,
led by Saudi Arabia. The rise of Islamofascism has prompted some in the West
to hope Turkey would continue to serve as a model for the Muslim world even
after an avowed Islamist named Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2002 parlayed a
minority of votes into a monopoly of power.
This delusion contributed to the European Union allowing its negotiations
for Turkish accession to the EU to be skillfully used by Mr. Erdogan to
checkmate Turkey's military. Thus, had the armed forces acted to prevent Mr.
Erdogan's creeping Islamofascist coup against the country's secular
institutions and traditions, they would have been blamed for keeping Turkey
"out of Europe."
Six months ago, this column documented the comprehensive nature of Mr.
Erdogan's takeover. To recap:
• The Turkish government and economy is being corrupted by billions of
dollars in what is known as "green money," from Saudi Arabia and other Persian
Gulf states awash with petro-windfalls. There is reason to believe some of
this unaccountable cash is finding its way into Turkish businesses, creating
revenue streams used to consolidate the Islamists' power base and finance
• The Islamists are employing classic fascistic techniques, using
"green" funds and the power of the state to go after strategic targets such
as: enterprises of businessmen who support the democratic opposition; banks
they own or rely upon for financing
; Turkey's large Alevi minority --
whom intolerant Islamofascists try to vilify and persecute as "apostates";
working women (a key ingredient in Turkey's successful economic and social
modernization); the secular bureaucracy; and the press. Particularly worrisome
is that consolidation of media ownership has resulted in considerable
self-censorship and, of late, propagandizing against the West (including
notably a spate of wildly popular, virulently anti-American books and movies).
• A special focus of the creeping Islamofascist coup has been Turkey's
traditionally secular educational system. It is being steadily adulterated by
madrassa-style imam-hatip and other "schools" where students are taught only
the Koran and its interpretation according to the Islamofascists. The age at
which such indoctrination can begin has been lowered to 4 years old.
• The prime minister, himself an imam-hatip graduate, has also mounted
assaults on two other fronts that reveal Mr. Erdogan's ominous plans not only
for the country's educators but for another critical Turkish institution, as
well: the judiciary.
First, a local prosecutor, clearly acting on orders from higher up,
indicted a prominent secular academic -- a university rector named Yucel Askin
-- on preposterously trumped-up charges. Their subsequent dismissal by a court
has only intensified Mr. Erdogan's determination to subvert the judiciary.
Tens of thousands of Koranic school graduates are being appointed as judges,
assuring they will increasingly serve as instruments of Sharia religious law.
Worse yet, Mr. Erdogan has lately demonstrated that when he does not get
his way in court, he is prepared to dispense with the judiciary altogether.
This was the upshot of another government-inspired assault on the country's
secular universities, a case brought before the European Court of Human Rights
by a female student who insisted on wearing a prohibited hijab (headcovering)
When this appeal was rejected, Mr. Erdogan angrily declared, "The court
has no right to speak on this issue. That right belongs to the ulema
• This statement demonstrates the cynicism of Mr. Erdogan's purported
efforts to have Turkey join the European Union. Far from being willing to
adhere to European human rights and other standards, he has simply viewed the
EU accession process as a means of keeping the army from once again
intervening to preserve secular rule -- probably the last remaining threat to
his consolidation of Islamofascist power.
Emboldened by the success of this gambit, Mr. Erdogan has now gone after
one of Turkey's most highly regarded generals, Land Force Commander Gen. Yasar
Buyukanit, who is widely expected to become the head of the Turkish military
this summer. He is a courageous and outspoken anti-Islamist and the regime
clearly views his ascendancy as a threat and had the same local prosecutor who
went after the university rector file no-less-absurd charges against Gen.
Fortunately, the cumulative effect of Mr. Erdogan's Islamofascist assault
on Turkish democracy is becoming more apparent to his countrymen and
opposition appears to be rising at home. It behooves the European Union to
reinforce the political effect of such sentiment by making clear that
Islamofascist behavior will preclude Turkey from membership, not efforts by
the Turkish military to counter the Islamists' takeover.
And the U.S. and other freedom-loving nations must make it clear they
view an Islamist Turkey as no model for the Muslim world and a threat to
Turkey's standing as a valued member of the Free World.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a
columnist for The Washington Times.
He blogs at
ATAA.ORG Web Site March 2006
Reborn" article, National Geographic
We found the "Armenia Reborn" article (March 2004) very disappointing.
Having been an ardent readers of National Geographic since childhood, we
thought National Geographic was above publishing this sort of blatant ethnic
propaganda. By publishing such a distorted, one-sided view of history and of
international relations you are doing a disservice to Armenians as well as
to their neighbors. We don't need to stir up ethnic animosities.
How can Mr. Viviano discuss Nagorno Karabakh's "130,000 embattled residents"
without mentioning the nearly one million Azeris who were displaced by the
Armenian forces just ten years ago, and giving only passing mention to
25,000 Azeri dead? Shouldn't there be at least a glance at the reasons why
have closed their borders to Armenia?
With the Karabakh land grab in mind, Mr. Viviano's incessant moaning about
the fact that Mt.
is in Turkey
and not in Armenia
has a sinister ring. We shouldn't be basing land claims on the extent of
ancient empires or on anyone's "collective imagination." By that measure
Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and others should be laying claims to the
same mountain. Mt.
carries deep religious meaning for Muslims as well; Turks celebrate the
landing of Noah's ark each year in the Asure observance each year.
The ancient Armenian empire was just that: an empire ruled by Armenians.
There is no evidence that Armenians were ever a majority in their empire,
and subsequent empires in the region did not include any provinces named
came into being in much the same way as today's bloody shell of
Nagorno-Karabakh: an Armenian minority, with the help of powerful allies,
slaughtered their neighbors and drove the rest out.
Perhaps it should not surprise us that Mr. Viviano talks about World War I
as if Armenians were the only ones who suffered and died. Research based on
census records reveals 600,000 Armenian deaths and over 2,500,000 deaths
among ethnic Muslims (Turks, Kurds, Arabs and others are not distinguished
in the records) during this period in Anatolia
(Justin and Carolyn McCarthy, Turks and Armenians, p. 65). . The Turks, who
were identified with the crumbling Ottoman
were, for a period, defenseless. Some Armenians, with French, British, and
Russian military support, took advantage of the situation, attempting to
carve out their own nation state at the horrific expense of the other people
who happened to live there. This despite the fact that the Armenians were a
minority in every Ottoman administrative district.
The "Young Turk" regime and later the Turkish nationalists were in an
extremely difficult situation, fighting invasions by the Greeks, Italians,
French, British, Australians and Russians along with the Russian-coordinated
Armenian "rebellion." Armenian warriors were capturing strategic towns and
turning them over to the Russian army. The Young Turks tried to defuse the
ethnic powder keg and free up their eastern army by moving Armenian
communities from eastern Anatolia
to Ottoman Syria; Armenians in other areas were not affected. After the
demise of the Young Turk regime, a Turkish army eventually came together
under the command of Mustafa Kemal ('Ataturk') and regained some of the lost
territory from the Armenians and other invaders. Ataturk's motto "Peace at
home, Peace in the world," became a prominent theme in the new Turkish
nation. Turkey has managed to stay at peace for the ensuing 80 years, even
through World War II and all the other chaotic events that have
characterized international relations in that area of the world.
Certainly many Armenians died during this very tumultuous period, and many
Armenian families still carry the pain of bereavement. To commemorate only
the Armenian dead and not the Turkish and other dead, however, makes no
sense at all. Unfortunately this has been the tendency in western media. We
wish you would present a more balanced picture.
As a child, Yenigul's maternal grandfather, Dadas Ulus-Karadag, witnessed
the massacre of most of the unarmed Turkish inhabitants of his village
by a band of Armenians. The Armenians stormed the village and took Dadas'
older brother, Ali, and the other young men; they were never seen again.
Young women tried to make themselves less attractive by smearing their faces
with charcoal, but the Armenians proceeded to rape many of them. The
Armenians locked the remaining inhabitants, mostly elderly people, women and
children, in a barn, which they set on fire. Dadas, his mother, Ali's
fiancée, and a few other victims escaped the burning barn and survived.
These survivors hid in the snow-covered mountains, living on whatever they
could find in the wilderness, until the Turkish army arrived in the area.
Yenigul's maternal grandmother, Perisan Ulus-Karadag, was a baby at the time
of the massacres. Her mother fled with Perisan and her siblings, but came to
a point where she saw no way to keep them all alive. She decided, in
anguish, that she would have to leave the baby by the path. Perisan's older
sister took the baby in her care, and Perisan survives today in Ankara.
Yenigul's father, Beyzade Koc, reports that the inhabitants of his village
a suburb of Kars,
fled the approach of a band of Armenian marauders. The Armenians caught up
with them and persuaded them to return to the village, claiming they wanted
to discuss peaceful cooperation. When they had assembled the villagers in
one of their barns, the Armenians corralled a bull into the barn, locked the
doors, and set the barn on fire; the victims were trapped between the flames
and the fire-maddened animal.
In a nearby incident, unarmed villagers were forced by Armenian attackers
onto a narrow path, where they were massacred.
A friend, Saime Serim Aydogdu, tells of the massacre of her relatives in
Oltu, near Erzurum.
As in Kagizman and elsewhere, Armenians locked the Turkish inhabitants in a
barn with a bull and set the building on fire.
The list of such massacres is very long. A precise total seems impossible,
but the number of ethnic Muslims slaughtered by Armenians in the Armenian
'rebellion' was in the hundreds of thousands, possibly more than a million.
Amid the carnage and brutality, neighborly, merciful behavior did occur; the
Turks, Kurds, Armenians and others ethnicities of the region had, after all,
had lived together peaceably for centuries. A Turkish friend recounts that
his grandfather and many other Turkish citizens of Ordu, a village near the
were enslaved by Armenian warriors during this period. At one point the
Armenian slavers separated him out, along with others who were weak or ill,
for execution. The Armenian who led him away turned out to be an old
acquaintance. The Turk begged mercy, saying "I am not dead yet," and the
Armenian released him. Such stories give us hope that neighborliness will
Regretfully, we must cancel our subscription to National Geographic. When we
see evidence of a more balanced, objective treatment of history we may renew
Dan Metzel and Yenigul Koc-Metzel
P.S. Turks and Armenians by Justin and Carolyn McCarthy gives an excellent
outline of events in eastern Anatolia
during World War I, a good place to start.
National Geographic Reporting Includes Term: "Armenian Genocide" Turkish
Protests Fail To Overturn Editorial Policy
June 23, 2004
Washington, DC - The Armenian Assembly commended National Geographic
magazine for continuing to characterize as "genocide," the events of 1915 in
its July issue, thereby rejecting Turkish accusations of bias following a
22-page report in its March issue entitled, "Armenia Reborn."
In an introductory note to its "Forum" section, the editors said the March
article and photos, "inspired more than 1,600 letters - the most mail
elicited by any one story in the past five years," and published four
responses including a joint letter from Armenian Assembly Board of Trustees
Chairman Hirair Hovnanian and Board of Directors Chairman Anthony Barsamian.
The editors also reported that the magazine received "hundreds" of positive
letters from the Armenian community.
The Assembly letter said in part:
"[Armenian Reborn] captured the essence of the Armenian identity
historically and the values that animate our people today. As for the
cataclysmic event in our past - the Armenian genocide under cover of World
War I - National Geographic has not only told the truth, but is also in good
Armenian Assembly Executive Director Ross Vartian, along with Public Affairs
Director David Zenian and ANI Director Dr. Rouben Adalian, also expressed
appreciation and praise for the magazine report during a face-to-face
editors in March.
The magazine's last major report on
was published in 1978.
In addition to the subject of the genocide, "Armenia Reborn," written by
Frank Viviano and photographed by Alexandra Avakian, looks at the 3,000 year
history of Armenians and leads up to current events including independence,
the 1988 earthquake and the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
But it was the magazine's coverage of the Armenian Genocide and by
extension, Turkey-Armenia relations, which sparked a Turkish outcry. Both
the Turkish government and Turkish lobby in the
voiced their criticism, mounting a worldwide letter-writing campaign
challenging accuracies in the story. The publishers of the magazine's
Turkish language edition excluded "Armenia Reborn" from their March issue.
The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
Editor's Note: Below is the published text of the Armenian Assembly letter
to National Geographic editors.
March 12, 2004
William L. Allen
Editor in Chief National Geographic
The article captured the essence of the Armenian identity historically and
the values that animate our people today. As for the cataclysmic event in
our past - the Armenian Genocide under cover of World War I - NATIONAL
GEOGRAPHIC has not only told the truth, but is also in good company. One
hundred and twenty-six Holocaust and Genocide scholars signed a petition on
March 7, 2000,
calling the Armenian genocide "an incontestable historical fact." As
recently as February 2003, the International Center for Transitional Justice
concluded that what happened to the Armenians includes "all the elements of
the crime of genocide ... and legal scholars as well as historians,
politicians, journalists and other people would be justified in continuing
to so describe them." The "controversy" today lies squarely with the Turkish
government as it continues to attempt to coerce the world to be complicit in
its denial. Turkey's aspiration to be fully accepted as a full member of
European society will not be realized without facing its own history - just
as coming to terms with the destruction of Native Americans and the stain of
slavery made America what it is today: more humane and just.
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Chairman, Board of Directors
Armenian Assembly of
Time Magazine Apology for “Misleading” Turkish Information
France / EAFJD / ANCA:
TIME-Europe Publishes Apology forDistribu
October 19, 2005 07:01:19
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2005
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian, ANCA
Harout Mardirossian, ANC ~V France
Laurent Leylekian, European Armenian Federation (EAFJD)
TIME-EUROPE PUBLISHES APOLOGY FOR
DISTRIBUTING GENOCIDE-DENIAL DVD
-- Prints Full Page Letter from ANC-France and Other Human
Rights Groups Demanding that TIME take Concrete
Steps to Reverse the Profound Damage it has Caused
-- ANC-France Considering Legal Action
WASHINGTON, DC ~V Responding to months of protests organized by
Armenian National Committee branches around the world, TIME
Magazine's European edition published, in its October 17th issue, a
apology to the Armenian community and all its readers for its
dissemination earlier this year of a 70-minute DVD advertisement
denying the Armenian Genocide.
TIME's apology was printed alongside an extensive letter to editors
of TIME-Europe by leading Armenian, Jewish and human rights
organizations. This response was published under France's
to reply" laws, which require a publication to provide editorial
space to those unfairly attacked in its pages. The controversy
over this issue began on June 5th, with the dissemination of a DVD,
funded by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, which featured denialist
propaganda as part of a print and electronic advertisement package
promoting tourism in Turkey.
Joining the Armenian National Committee of France in writing to
TIME-Europe were the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations
of France, J'Accuse, Le MRAP and the Memoire 2000. In the letter,
they noted that:
"As representatives of French associations whose aim it is to fight
against racism, anti-Semitism and to preserve the memory of the
Armenian Genocide, we were shocked and disappointed to see that you
chose to include in your June 6, 2005 issue of TIME-Europe a DVD
spreading such the grotesque denial of the Armenian Genocide, and
leveling so many hateful allegations against the Armenian people."
The letter was printed on a full page in the print edition and can
be read in its entirety on-line. Its authors identified specific
instances in the DVD of genocide denial, and stressed that, just as
TIME-Europe would rightfully not accept hateful Holocaust denial
advertisements, it should not have circulated similarly false
materials denying the Armenian Genocide. The letter concluded by
calling on TIME-Europe to take three specific steps to rectify the
situation it had created, including:
1) Disclose what, if any, official standards TIME Magazine employs
in accepting or rejecting advertising. For example, would TIME
have accepted a similarly hateful DVD denying the Holocaust.
2) Distribute, free of charge, a DVD prepared by the European
Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) documenting
the history of the Armenian Genocide and the modern-day
consequences of this crime.
3) Donate the advertising revenues from this campaign to nonprofit
organizations raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide and
other instances of genocide.
Following the letter, TIME-Europe printed an apology for the
dissemination of the DVD, stating that they had failed to properly
review the DVD to establish its full contents before distributing
it to their subscribers.
"TIME regrets distributing the DVD and we are very sorry for the
offense it has caused. The so-called documentary portion of the DVD
presents a one-sided view of history that does not meet our
standards for fairness and accuracy, and we would not have
distributed it had we been aware of its content. Unfortunately, the
DVD was not adequately reviewed by anyone at TIME because it was
believed to be a benign promotion piece. We have since changed our
review process so as to guarantee more vigilance in future. We
apologize to the Armenian community, and to our readers."
The letter was published according to the France's "right to reply"
law, first adopted in 1898, which compels a newspaper or magazine
to allow an individual who has been defamed to provide a response
of equal length. The law was later expanded to audio-visual
material as well, with certain restrictions.
ANC of France
Chairman Harout Mardirossian commented that the TIME-
Europe apology and printing of the letter to the editor was the
"the first result of a joint effort and long-term engagement by
associations fighting against racism, anti-Semitism and for the
defense of the memory of the Armenian Genocide." Mardirossian
added, however, that the effort to rectify the situation has not
ended, noting that, "If TIME Magazine thinks that this "right of
reply" will settle the score on this issue, it is seriously
mistaken. A one-paragraph response does not match the outreach of
a 70 minute DVD and cannot address the humiliation and degradation
felt by Genocide `survivors and their descendants as a result of
this denialist propaganda." continued Mardirossian.
In an interview with the Armenian Weekly, Mardirossian did not rule
out legal action in the TIME-Europe case, stating that "We, along
with our partners [J'Accuse, Mйmoire 2000, Council of French
Armenian Organizations, Union of French Jewish Students] are ready,
if necessary, to initiate a lawsuit against TIME, as well as the
authors, producers and distributors of the DVD."
Mardirossian added that the ANC-France had successfully taken on
similar anti-defamation cases in the past, including a recent court
victory against French encyclopedia company, QUID, whose 2002, 2003
and 2004 editions included historically inaccurate references
denying the Armenian Genocide. The recently published 2006 edition
of the QUID encyclopedia has removed all revisionist references,
and correctly characterizes the events of 1915-1923 as genocide.
In the months leading up to the TIME-Europe apology, the ANC of
France teamed up with the Armenian National Committee of America
and European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD)
in initiating an international letter-writing campaign to TIME-
Europe calling for swift action in response to DVD. Thousands
responded to the call to action, expressing grave concern that TIME
had sacrificed journalistic principles for a million dollar
A parallel effort to address the TIME-Europe DVD misinformation
issue has also been pursued by the Switzerland-Armenia
Organization, based on violations of Swiss law.
To read the complete letter to the editor and the TIME-Europe
Attorney for NAMBLA represents the Turks
Oh what a
tale to tell. A new angle has been put forward by the Turks in
Massachusetts, targeting the state curriculums. As reported by the
Boston Globe, "Two high school teachers, a student and the Assembly of
Turkish American Associations are suing state education officials in federal
court, challenging a law that set guidelines for teaching students about
human rights violations. The law, which went into effect in 1999,
specifically lists the Holocaust, the Mussolini fascist regime, the
trans-Atlantic slave trade, and "the Armenian genocide."
They are suggesting that "both sides" of the story should be presented for
students to allow students to come to their own conclusions. There is only
one side to this story... the truth.
Here’s the juicy part. Representing the teachers, students and ATAA is
Attorney at Law, Harvey Siverglate. Doesn’t ring a bell? Here’s a little
background on his legendary contribution to the legal system… he represented
NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association!!! Take a look at his
If this guy is willing to represent NAMBLA, it’s no surprise to me that he
is willing to represent the Turks. There’s 1st amendment rights for free
speech, and then there is rights to the truth. This would never be allowed
if we were talking about the Holocaust.
Here’s an old Associated Press article on the case. (Thank the good ol’
detective work of a few Armenians here who magically remembered his name and
connected the dots.)
Watertown, MA -- Over two hundred members of the
Armenian American and Greek American community attended a public forum
organized by the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts (ANCEM),
on Tuesday, February 7, to hear about the Massachusetts lawsuit pending in
Federal Court challenging the right of the state's Board of Education to
design a genocide and human rights curriculum for public school students.
Also attending the forum were Watertown Town Councilors Marilyn Petitto
Devaney and Angie Kounelis. Genocide Curriculum on Trial: A Public Forum
focused on the recent lawsuit filed against the state of Massachusetts,
alleging that the State's Board of Education improperly removed resources
that denied the Armenian Genocide in its genocide and human rights
Presenting at the forum were Massachusetts State
Senator Steven Tolman and former Massachusetts State Senator Warren Tolman,
authors of the original 1998 legislation calling for the Massachusetts Board
of Education to create a curriculum to teach genocide and human rights in
Massachusetts schools; State Representative Peter Koutoujian; and Kate
Nahabedian, Government Relations Director of the Armenian National Committee
of America. Dikran Kaligian, PhD, Chairperson of the Armenian National
Committee of America Eastern United States moderated the panel.
Kaligian opened the evening with a brief
introduction announcing that Bill Schechter, a teacher at Lincoln Sudbury
Regional High School and one of the plaintiffs in the law suit, who was
originally slated to participate in the forum, had in fact cancelled his
participation and would not be present.
Kaligian then introduced State Senator Steven
Tolman, who presented an overview of the original legislation process
acknowledging that State Representatives Peter Koutoujian and Rachel
Kaprielian played important leadership roles.
"Hearing the stories about what happened in the
early part of the last century I certainly knew about it, there was a never
question in my mind," stated Tolman in introducing how the concept arose
that a genocide and human rights curriculum should be developed and that it
should be taught in public schools.
Tolman explained in great detail the legislative
process that the bill encountered in 1998, noting that the original bill was
slated to be a mandatory curriculum and that it got stuck temporarily in a
legislative process until Tolman called for a debate on the bill, bringing
about the needed pressure for a vote. A compromise was then made to remove
the mandatory element, in light of the fact that there are very few
mandatory components to the Massachusetts curriculum, and the bill then
moved to final passage.
Chapter 276 of the Massachusetts General Court 1998
became law in August 1998 requiring the board of education to "formulate
recommendations on curricular material on genocide and human rights issues,
and guidelines for the teaching of such material. Said material and
guidelines may include, but shall not be limited to, the period of the
transatlantic slave trade and the middle passage, the great hunger period in
Ireland, the Armenian genocide, the holocaust and the Mussolini fascist
regime and other recognized human rights violations and genocides."
Tolman then explained the underhanded
behind-the-scenes work of the Turkish lobby that then proceeded, including
pressuring the Board of Education to include websites denying the Armenian
On June 1999 the Massachusetts Board of Ed
curriculum released its final Massachusetts Guide to Choosing and Using
Curricular Materials on Genocide and Human Rights Issues which did not
include the four Turkish denialists' websites now the focus of the pending
Tolman noted the firm position of Board of
Education Commissioner Driscoll who wrote a letter stating that the
Legislative intent was to address the Armenian Genocide--not deny it--and
that the statute in fact forced the board of education to remove the Turkish
"This is learning about history," stated Tolman. "I
was outraged when I learned about the inclusion of the websites in one of
the drafts." Tolman then met with the Governor and told him that we would
not allow this about the Jewish Holocaust and that we "can not say it about
the Armenian Genocide." Tolman added that the legislation was enacted under
the knowledge that "those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it."
Kaligian then introduced former state Senator
Warren Tolman, also an author of the original legislation, who explained
that the opponents of this legislation would try to portray this as a
violation of freedom of speech that somehow we are trying to prevent people
from talking about things that they want to talk about. Tolman added that we
"are not trying to do that at all. We are only trying to represent the
truth. And, just as the people who are opposing our efforts here would not
suggest that the Jewish Holocaust did not take place, nor should they
suggest that 1.5 million Armenians were not similarly persecuted. This is no
more in dispute than the Jewish Holocaust." Tolman added that there are in
fact limitations on freedom of speech.
Tolman commended Attorney General Tom Reilly for
"fighting this and taking this vigorously."
Tolman also shared one of his own experiences by
telling the audience one of the ways he learned about the Armenian Genocide.
He reflected on meeting one of his neighbors, an Armenian Genocide survivor
named Leon Krikorian, who told him the story of his own survival. "Sadly
Leon is not here anymore and I know that there are not enough Leon
Krikorians to tell their stories to every person who might doubt history. It
is up to all of us to tell Leon's story," stated Tolman, "It is up to all of
us to tell the stories of other family members."
Tolman also advised the audience that it is
important to remind people that the purpose behind the legislation was that
the most horrific events in mankind ought to be taught to our students so
that if those students see that intolerance in any form at any time in their
lives, they will speak out against it. "It is important to teach our next
generations to remain ever vigilant," stated Tolman, "so that it never
Kaligian then briefly reported on the efforts of
the Armenian community from 1998 through the present, including the ANC's
grassroots efforts through a postcard and telephone drive to help ensure
passage of the original legislation in 1998, which eventually passed
unanimously in both the House and the Senate and was then signed by Governor
Paul Cellucci. The ANC testified at hearings providing background material
on the Armenian Genocide. And, Kaligian noted, the ANC was vigilant in
responding to the Turkish lobbies efforts to include denialist materials in
the curriculum guidelines.
State Representative Peter Koutoujian was then
invited to the podium. Koutoujian explained that this is one of the most
frustrating experiences that he has encountered as a legislator.
Koutoujian told the audience that he believes "that
this lawsuit will be dismissed" and that he hopes it will be sooner rather
than later. He added that there "is an argument that there was political
pressure laid to bear [to remove the Turkish websites], I don't believe this
Koutoujian reminded the audience that "there can be
no denial. There can be no alternative theory because, if we allow this,
then we not only minimize what happened to us, and to the Jews in the
Holocaust, and in Rwanda and what is happening in Darfur right now and to
any genocide that will happen in the future if we fail to learn."
Before introducing the next speaker, Kaligian then
noted some of the work that has been done since learning of the lawsuit.
Several Op Ed pieces and letters to the editor were written in several media
Kaligian then introduced ANCA Government Relations
Director Kate Nahabedian, who previously worked with a civil rights division
at the Department of Justice. Nahabedian outlined both the legal process and
some of the legal issues of the lawsuit, further explaining some of the
points of the state's motion to dismiss the case.
Nahabedian noted that one of the points was a
motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations, which is three years
on this kind of case. The guidelines were released in 1999 and the case was
brought in 2005.
Nahabedian then clearly outlined that this case is
absolutely not a case of infringing on freedom of speech because the guide
is not mandatory. The state is merely making recommendation. "You have a
first amendment right to speak," she continued. "But you do not have a first
amendment right to force someone to, or not to, speak in a certain way."
Nahabedian reminded the audience that the Supreme
Court has ruled that states have broad discretion to design curriculum. She
also noted that the court case cited by the plaintiffs actually is clear in
several points contrary to the plaintiff's own motion including the fact
that there was no state law mandating the writing of a curriculum Nahabedian
noted another distinction between the court case the plaintiffs' use as
precedent in their original motion and this case explaining that the books
that were removed from the library in the first case were properly acquired
by the school library as opposed to the web sites in this case which were
not acquired properly. The websites in this case were included as a result
of heaving lobbying by Turkish groups. This is also significant because in
news reports, the plaintiffs have inaccurately suggested that the websites
were actually included in the original guidelines and later removed as a
result of political pressure.
A lengthy question and answer period ensued.
An impromptu visit by Pamela Hurd, a parent at
Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School, was then received. This case is
"important to me because I have two students at the school.and they need to
learn history. Denialist material isn't history. It is not historical
record," stated Hurd. She also noted that there are fabulous teachers at the
school who are in no means in agreement with this teacher, noting that
several teachers have been trained by Facing History and Ourselves. "Not
everyone is in agreement with this particular teacher," she added.
Steven Tolman answered a final question by the
audience by stating that "We should stop at nothing. This should not be
taken lightly." He added that we should stand "together to ensure that
"Hearing the community's interest and the
commitment of so many people prepared to see this case through helped
alleviate much of the anxiety created by this case," stated Sharistan
Ardhaldjian, of the ANCEM. "While this case speaks so profoundly to the
denial that has deep roots in the government of Turkey's own state policies,
knowing that many people are committed to creating a tolerant society is
remarkably powerful. As residents of this state we continue to look to
Attorney General Tom Reilly's leadership and commitment to stand firmly
behind the Board of Education's right to accurately educate our students."
"This trial is not about freedom of speech, as the
plaintiffs would have us believe. When deniers of the Jewish Holocaust would
ask us to teach our students that there wasn't a Holocaust or when deniers
of the American slave trade would attempt to teach our students that the
slave trade didn't really occur, we would stand firmly behind the Board of
Education as it implemented its mandate to accurately educate our students,"
Ardhaldjian continued. "Unfortunately, the plaintiffs in this case,
willingly or unwillingly, have utilized one of our most sacred freedoms, the
freedom of speech, to disguise the continuation of something we in the
Armenian American community have come to know very well: denial. There are
still those who will distort and deny history claiming that the government
of Turkey did not commit Genocide against an entire population at the turn
of the last century. We do not want students to learn from this kind of
In October 2005, two teachers, a student and his
parent, and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), a
Washington-based Turkish organization, filed a lawsuit against the state of
Massachusetts, alleging that the First Amendment rights of teachers and
students had been violated.
The lawsuit, now pending in Federal Court, has been
the topic of wide discussion throughout the media.
Jewish Groups Urge Bush to Support Turkey
Armenian Weekily” Feb-March 2002
WASHINGTON, DC--The Assembly of Turkish American
Associations (ATAA) late last year circulated a letter to President
George W. Bush signed by nine prominent Jewish organizations in the
United States. The December 18, 2001, letter urges the President to
support Turkey and to consider increasing US assistance to Turkey
because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The following is the text of the letter: "As Jewish
organizations representing the strong consensus of local Jewish
communities and national leadership across the United States, we are
writing to reiterate our support for the Republic of Turkey and its
"Once again, Turkey--a secular nation with an
overwhelmingly Muslim majority--stands resolutely in solidarity with
the United States in a common defense of freedom. As in every major
international crisis of the past fifty years, Turkey has made a
principled decision in support of American interests--acknowledging
that our two nations do indeed share a strategic partnership.
"After the United States was attacked on September
11, 2001, Turkey was one of the strongest and most immediate advocates
for invoking Article V of the NATO Treaty. Additionally, Turkey's
extensive relationship with Israel on social, economic, and military
issues has wavered not one bit.
"Still, this critical ally is in need of additional
economic assistance. As scholar Bulent Aliriza of the Center for
Strategic and International Studies pointed out recently, 'Turkish
policymakers and citizens continue to be preoccupied by the daily
effects of the country's continuing economic crisis, which has
devastated the industrial sector, lowered living standards, raised
unemployment, and jeopardized Turkey's international financial
solvency.' It cannot be stressed enough that Turkey's economic crisis
has only been exacerbated since September 11, with the nation's
tourism industry having become the latest casualty.
"Accordingly, we urge your consideration of
additional American support to Turkey. Whether such assistance
consisted of debt forgiveness, trade concessions, and/or further
International Monetary Fund relief, we believe such consideration is
timely and appropriate. Thank you for your kind attention and for your
outstanding leadership in the war against terrorism."
The letter was signed by the American Jewish
Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League,
B'nai B'rith International, the Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations, Hadassah--The Women's Zionist
Organization of America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and the Orthodox
On October 24, eleven Jewish organizations, including
all of those listed above, sent a letter to the members of the US
Senate urging them to eliminate restrictions on US assistance to
Azerbaijan. The restrictions were implemented by the US Congress in
1992 as Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act because of Azerbaijan's
blockade against Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.
Since the implementation of Section 907, the Turkish
lobby--led by the ATAA, various international corporations, and most
of the Jewish lobby in the US--has attempted to eliminate this law,
despite Azerbaijan not having lifted the blockade. Ignoring the
concerns of the Armenian-American community and the majority of the
organized Armenian community, including the Armenian National
Committee (ANC), using the Sept. 11 attacks on the US as a pretext,
and as a result of the wavering of the Armenian Assembly of America on
the issue, a waiver of Section 907 was achieved by the Turkish lobby
and its supporters.
According to the December 27 issue of Ha'aretz,
Israeli envoys have been discussing the need to strengthen Turkey's
position as a supposedly moderate pro-Western Muslim state that
supports the United States and its war against terrorism. The article
cites a number of senior US officials who support warmer ties with
Ankara, including Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfovitz, Deputy
National Security Advisor Steve Hadley, former Reagan administration
official Richard Perle, and Deputy Secretary of State for Political
Affairs Mark Grossman, a former US ambassador to Turkey.
Senior US officials stated that the Armenian and
Greek lobbies in Washington are the major obstacles to improving
Turkey's image. "The [US] administration believes Turkey should alter
its approach to the Armenian issue--whereby Ankara denies there was a
genocidal massacre of Armenians by Turks early in the 20th century--as
an initial step toward improving Turkey's image," wrote Aluf Benn.
"Israeli sources say that Israel has no intention of confronting the
Greek and Armenian lobbies, adding that it is undertaking positive
activities only to help Turkey," he concluded.
QIZ Legislation Supported by Major
Times (Sept. 2002)- The U.S. State Department's
initiative to establish Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ, which allows specific
goods to be manufactured and exported to the US without trade barriers) in
Eastern and Southeastern Turkey received the overwhelming support of various
American-Jewish groups in the United States within the scope of the newly
sponsored Turkish-Israeli Economic Enhancement Act (S. 2663.
In a separate and earlier development, Turkish business and
industry leaders have criticized the exclusion of Turkish textiles and apparel
from the scope of the QIZ agreement as it relates to the Turkish-U.S. Trade .
In a letter dated September 11, 2002 and sent to US Senators
John B. Breaux (Louisiana), Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), John McCain (Arizona),
and US Representatives Philip M. Crane (Illinois), and Robert I. Wexler
(Florida), nine major American-Jewish organizations characterized the pending
QIZ legislation as a development that "sends a timely and well-justified
message of American solidarity with Turkey."
American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress,
Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International, Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish Organizations, Hadassah - The Women's Zionist
Organization of America, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Institute
for National Security Affairs, and Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of
America described Turkey as a country which sits "at the center of the world."
"Since the attacks of last September, there is a new
recognition of the importance of the long-standing U.S.-Turkish partnership.
That is why the coalition of American Jewish organizations, as indicated on
this letterhead, commends your sponsorship of legislation, (S. 2663) the
Turkish-Israeli Economic Enhancement Act, to create Qualifying Industrial
Zones (QIZs) between Turkey and Israel, under the U.S.-Israel Free Trade
Agreement. The American-Turkish-Israeli relationship is the foundation for
securing stability and democratic interests in a troubled and dangerous part
of the world," the American-Jewish groups said.
"The establishment of these zones, similar to the ones at the
border of Israel and Jordan, will offer new opportunities to Ankara and Israel
and will no doubt increase joint Turkish-U.S. investments, aimed at exporting
to the Turk countries or the Middle East and the Euro-Asia. "
"There is hardly a place in the world where the intersection
of politics and economics is more clearly complete. That is why we are
convinced that the benefits of creating economic development through expanded
free trade are so important. We strongly support this bipartisan legislation
and will work to secure its passage. We also encourage other members of the
Congress who support Israel and America's loyal ally in a troubled region to
come forward and co-sponsor this legislation. We hope it will pass quickly.
This legislation sends a timely and well-justified message of American
solidarity with Turkey," the American-Jewish groups concluded.
Concern of Turkish business
Officials of the Turkish Foreign Ministry have relayed the concerns of
Turkish business community to the US State Department during a meeting held in
Washington at the end of August between the Turkish and American teams. The
QIZ legislation, in its current form, is opposed by the Turkish business and
industry leaders because it excludes textiles and apparel, Turkey's primary
exports and the only industry capable of expansion in the US market.
Republican Congressman, Cliff Stearns of Florida and
Democratic Congressman, Robert Wexler of Florida, had joined a contingent of
Turkish business leaders at a meeting on July 22nd in Washington where they
expressed their full support for a more meaningful economic agreement for
Turkey and asked the US Treasury Representatives (USTR) to prepare a more
comprehensive proposal that would give Turkey the opportunity to pull itself
out of its economic crisis.
QIZ, which was proposed by the State Department as a result of
Presidents Bush's joint declaration for development of a strategic economic
partnership with Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, during his visit to
Washington last January, includes products vaguely defined as high tech to be
exported to the US without quotas and custom taxes but excludes textiles and
apparel for which Turkey has vast resources and capabilities.
"Over 50 percent of Turkish exports to the US are textiles and
apparel which has reached its limit of $1.2 billion. The US imports billions
of dollars worth of textiles and apparel from China and Hong Kong. It's not
because of Turkish imports that US textile workers are losing their jobs.
We're asking for a fair share because this is what we have to offer the US
market that will pull Turkey out of economic crisis", says Ziya Sukun, US
representative of ITKIB and TIM. ITKIB represents textile and apparel
exporters with 14,000 corporate members, 6.4 million workers and exports of
$10 billion globally. Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) has over 25,000
corporate members with $33 billion in global exports. Other industry
organizations such as the Turkish National Union of Chambers of Commerce (TOBB)
also oppose the agreement in its present form.
"It's expected that when the President of the United States
declares an economic partnership program it means more than a simple QIZ
project. It means lifting trade barriers and adjusting custom taxes for
substantial industries that have a meaningful effect on our country's
economy," adds Sukun.
Lobbying Fiasco: Patton Boggs welcomed pro-PKK Kurds
Fri, 24 Oct 1997
Turkey Rewards Lobby Firm that Hosted Pro-PKK Kurds in Washington
Patton Boggs will get $2 million
By Ugur Akinci / Turkish Daily News / October 21, 1997
Washington - Turkey has rewarded one of the biggest law firms in Washington,
Patton Boggs, with a new lobbying account to represent Ankara on all legal
Patton Boggs, headed by one of the most influential Washington lobbyists,
Thomas Boggs, and which employs about 400 attorneys, also, however, happens
to be the same law firm that welcomed two pro-Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Kurdish representatives to Washington in 1994.
Thomas Boggs' mother, Lilian Boggs, has just been ratified by the U.S.
Senate as the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Boggs' sister, Cokie
Roberts, anchors ABC TV's Sunday political talk-show program.
Thomas Boggs, who reportedly is in Turkey at this time of writing, did not
return TDN's prior calls concerning this story.
There is no indication so far if Mr. Boggs was personally aware of the
hosting of the two pro-PKK Kurdish activists by his own firm back in 1994,
or if the Turkish government asked the company to disclose any such
information when the contract was signed this year.
"O'Dwyer's Washington Report," the well-known PR industry newsletter, also
reported that "attorneys at Patton Boggs did not return phone calls for
comment about the scope of the work for Turkey."
Remzi Kartal and Ali Yigit are two former deputies from the now defunct
Democracy Party (DEP), who escaped Turkey on June 16, 1994 in order to
escape arrest by the Turkish authorities on charges of treason.
They were welcomed in Washington at a roundtable discussion organized by
Patton Boggs partner Steven Schneebaum.
Kartal and Yigit never hid their sympathy for the cause of the PKK, which
the U.S. State Department has always referred to as a "vicious terror
organization," and has recently declared it a "foreign terrorist organization."
Since 1984, almost 30,000 people have died in clashes between the PKK and
the Turkish Security Forces. Both Kartal and Yigit maintained, during a TDN
interview in 1994, that the Turkish government's military response to the
Kurdish problem had forced many young Kurdish men to "join the guerrillas"
-- including Kartal's own son.
Currently both Kartal and Yigit are among the senior members of the
"Kurdistan Parliament in Exile," which the U.S. State Department, in the
past, regularly referred to as a "PKK financed" organization.
Kartal and Yigit were the principal speakers at the roundtable discussion,
"The State of Democracy in Turkey," held on July 13, 1994, on the premises
of Patton, Boggs & Blow, at 2550 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.
The discussion was co-organized by the International Human Rights Law Group
(to which Steven Schneebaum also belonged) and the Congressional Human
Rights Foundation -- which did not have anything to do with the U.S.
Congress and was headed by Kathryn Porter, a Kurdish activist and the wife
of Representative John Edward Porter (Republican) of Illinois.
Mrs. Porter is currently participating in a hunger strike on the grounds of
U.S. Capitol in order to force the release of Leyla Zana, also a former DEP
deputy, who was found guilty on charges of separatism, and is currently
imprisoned in Ankara.
The invitation to the discussion held on the Patton, Boggs & Blow premises
was faxed on official Patton, Boggs & Blow's stationery. Attached were the
biographies of Kartal and Yigit.
The two former members of the Turkish Parliament also appeared on July 22,
1994 at a panel on the "The State of Democracy in Turkey," sponsored by the
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), at the U.S. Congress
$2 million a year
Patton Boggs, according to O'Dwyer's Washington Report, will reportedly
receive $2 million a year from the Turkish government in return for its
legal counseling and lobbying efforts.
At this writing, the company had not yet registered as a "Foreign Agent"
with the U.S. Justice Department as required by law.
4, 2002, 9:00 a.m.
Secret of Turkish Democracy
A lone model.
By Barbara Lerner
is Turkey the only Muslim democracy in the Mideast? In a region where
"democracy" means one-man-one-vote-one-time, how has Turkey's republic managed
to survive for 79 years? That's not just a record for the Mideast. It's longer
than any comparably democratic regime in France, Belgium or Germany, three
countries currently beset by doubt about whether Turkey is a fit candidate for
the European Union — able to meet their own allegedly high moral and political
standards. That will be decided in Copenhagen in December, but European
pretensions aside, it is remarkable that the republican form of government Kemal
Attaturk imposed on the Turkish people in 1923 is still functioning. Fellow
Muslims, in all the Arab and Persian lands that surround them, are ruled by
despots, and in all of them, fanaticism and terror run rampant. Only the Turks
keep holding hotly contested elections, then turning over power to the winners
without firing a shot, as they are set to do after yesterday's election. What
makes the Turks so different from their Arab and Persian neighbors, and indeed,
their European ones? What is the secret of Turkish democracy?
For answers, look first to the indispensable Bernard Lewis. He gives us four
excellent, non-obvious reasons; my purpose, in this article, is to suggest a
fifth. Here, first, are Lewis's four. In his quiet scholarly way, he tells us to
start by discarding ubiquitous old stereotypes about the absolute power of
Oriental potentates. Stalin may have had unlimited power; Turkish Sultans did
not. Their powers were vast — in the 16th century, they ruled much of Europe as
well as the Mideast — but, as Lewis shows in intricate detail, Ottoman rulers
had obligations too, widely recognized and respected obligations to a complex
web of groups and institutions, many organized along lines that transcended
family, clan, and tribe. Thus, Lewis tells us, Turkey had two of the basic
prerequisites for a democratic society long before she became one. First, the
idea that there are limits on the power of even the most exalted rulers was
firmly embedded in Turkish minds; second, Turks had a long-established and quite
elaborate array of intermediate institutions — in short, a civil society. Lewis
points to two other democracy-friendly differences between Turks and their
neighbors. In essence, he argues that Turks knew and understood the West better,
and feared and hated us less. Arabs and Persians, after all, were largely
isolated from the West for centuries. Then, in the last two, Arabs were
conquered, colonized, and set free again by a who's-who of European nations. The
Turkish experience is nothing like that. Turks had more intimate contact with
the West over a longer period of time but, in Lewis's apt phrase, they "were
always masters in their own house," never having been conquered or colonized by
any foreign power.
They almost were, at the
end of World War I, when the Ottoman Empire was in the final stage of its long
slide into corruption and ineptitude. After much vacillation, the last sultan
backed the losing side in the war, and the victors, after stripping Turkey of
its empire, were about to carve up Anatolia itself: to conquer and colonize her
at last. It didn't happen because rebel Turkish forces led by Kemal Attaturk won
a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over the British at Gallipoli. And it was
this same victorious Turkish officer and his young-Turk, military-intellectual
followers who deposed the last Sultan, declared Turkey a republic, and imposed a
sweeping program of modernization, Westernization and reform on their
countrymen. They created a constitution too, to enshrine the two bedrock
principles of their republic: 1) Turkey is one nation, indivisible, embracing
all its citizens equally, no matter their ancestry or religion; 2) Turkey is a
secular republic in which religion and the state occupy separate spheres. So
far, so good, to Western minds, but the Turks did something more, something that
strikes most Westerners as utterly incongruous: they created an elected,
civilian government, but they made the Turkish military the guardian of their
constitution, giving it the power to depose civilian rulers who violate its
basic tenets, a power the military has exercised three times since 1950. All
these military takeovers were brief and bloodless, and each time, the military
voluntarily returned power to an elected civilian government. But, to most
Western observers, that doesn't change the fact that these were serious lapses
from democratic governance, lapses into despotism. Benevolent despotism,
perhaps, but despotism nonetheless.
I disagree. I think the
Turkish military is the great secret of Turkish democracy — a fifth reason for
its remarkable longevity. It keeps Turkey democratic by acting as a necessary
limit on the potential excesses of popular majorities and the sometimes
demagogic elected leaders who represent them, a role not unlike the one the
Supreme Court plays in our own republic. And like our own justices, Turkish
military officers profess loyalty only to the constitution, not to any
politician or party. At first glance, it may seem crazy to com-pare military
officers to justices, but to understand the Turkish military and its role in
Turkish life, you have to start, once again, by discarding old stereotypes —
this time, about the military and the sort of men who become its leaders,
especially in the Mideast. We all know only too well about ignorant, greedy,
megalomaniacal military thugs like Gamal Abdel Nasser and Saddam Hussein, but
Turkish military officers are nothing like that.
For starters, they are very well-educated, not just in methods of warfare, but
in the sciences generally, and the liberal arts too, and they are fluent in
Western languages. They have to be. The required military school curriculum is
anything but narrow or provincial. Some Turkish politicians are provincial; no
Turkish military officers are. These are sophisticated, disciplined men, and no
wonder. The Turkish military has a long tradition of eschewing nepotism and all
the other forms of favoritism that are endemic in the region, selecting and
promoting officers on a strictly meritocratic basis. The Turkish military is
tough on graft and corruption too. Corruption in Turkish politics is about as
bad as in France and Belgium, and all Turks know it. But Turks are as surprised
to find a military officer on the take as we are to find a federal judge who can
be bought. Not unheard of, but rare enough to retain a power to shock.
Megalomania gets short shrift in the Turkish military too. To guard against
power-hungry men in their own ranks, Turkish officers have developed a system of
military rotation and succession with firm limits on the time any officer can
serve in top leadership positions. Above all, Turkish officers have great pride
in their role as guardians of the constitution, and a deep awareness that to
retain it, they must be willing to observe limits themselves, not just to
enforce them on others. This gives them an esprit des corps that is impressive
and moving, even to those who, like Stephen Kinzer, formerly the New York
Times man in Istanbul, are sure that Turkey has outgrown any need for
Will Europe say yes to
Turkey in December? Francis Fukuyama thinks they should but won't, and he may be
right. But with or without continental Europe's condescending blessing, Turkey
is the best model the Muslim world has, and in trying to help other Muslim
states follow her lead, it would make sense to look past the lofty
constitutional rhetoric so many despotic states adopt and ignore, and take a
harder look at the role and training of their military officers.
— Barbara Lerner is a freelance writer in Chicago.
Turkey: 'Unique' Army Complicates EU Membership Bid
By Ahto Lobjakas
The continued influence enjoyed by the army in Turkish society and politics
will soon become an issue that could hamper the country's movement toward EU
membership. This is the main implication of a report discussed at an academic
seminar in Brussels today.
BRUSSELS, March 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The conventional view in Turkey is that
the country's army has been a bulwark of Westernization and democracy. The army
has intervened in politics, but never questioned democracy -- only politicians.
For the EU, however, there is only one way a country that aspires for
membership can organize the relationship between its government and the army.
The country's civilian government must be in full, undisputed control of its
military, with the army at the receiving end of a strictly one-way chain of
That the Turkish government and military do not appear to fully appreciate
the seriousness of the EU's views on the matter is the main conclusion of a
report drawn up by the Dutch-based Center for European Security Studies.
Presenting the report in Brussels, its author, David Greenwood, said that in
December 2004, when an EU summit approved entry talks with Turkey, it had also
found the military's powers unacceptable.
"The EU said that while Turkey was clearly en route to alignment with
European policy and practice, the Turkish high command continues to enjoy
greater authority and greater autonomy in security matters than is normal in EU
member states; and the extent of legislative oversight and wider democratic
oversight of the military in Turkey remains inadequate," he said.
Greenwood said he has observed a tendency toward complacency among the
Turkish military in the wake of that decision, which was reaffirmed by the
opening of talks in October last year.
Guarding the State From The Politicians
The army in Turkey enjoys the status of the guardian of a unitary and secular
state. It has thwarted attempts by Islamic radicals to assume power. Many in
Turkey argue that the revival of the Kurdish insurgency in the southeast and
neighboring Iraq's slide towards civil war mean the army must not be weakened.
Greenwood noted that Turkish and EU interpretations of recent reforms differ,
too. When Turkey made the army's chief of staff answerable to the prime
minister, Ankara argued this gave the head of government direct political
control over the army. The EU sees privileged access for the chief of staff to
the highest level of civilian government, bypassing the defense minister.
Turkey made its National Security Council, which provided the interface for
the military to influence government policy, an advisory body. The EU feels the
military's unofficial influence over security policy and spending remains
Greenwood said his contacts with the Turkish military leader suggest the
army's future intervention in politics "appears highly unlikely." However, he
noted, the EU is not convinced.
"In the European Union [...] the history is, we felt, read rather
differently," he said. "And many across the [EU] believe that the Turkish high
command remains able and might in certain circumstances be willing to
contemplate intervention again in that sense is out of line with what is
considered the norm across the EU."
In the end, it is the EU's views that matter. However, Greenwood said, the EU
has no formal blueprint for how civil-military relations should be shaped.
Turkish officials have attempted to argue that the situation is unique to the
country. That view appears to be shared by some of the country's academics.
Metin Heper, the dean of the economics faculty at the University of Bilkent
in Ankara, argued that the Turkish army is unique in its dedication to
modernization and democracy. He said the army has never questioned democracy and
has always set its interventions a self-imposed deadline.
Ali Karaosmanoglu, chairman of the university's international relations
department, noted that there is "reform fatigue" in the army and it must be
given time before further changes.
"This is particularly important for several reasons," Karaosmanoglu said.
"First, previous reforms in civil-military relations have been successful thanks
to a continuous and effective dialogue between the government and the DGS, this
dialogue should be maintained without interruption. This is important for the
success of the coming reforms."
This is an issue that exposed deep and visceral divisions between Turkish and
Greenwood sharply criticized what he described as widespread "deference"
among Turkish lawmakers and society at large to the army.
"One of the important messages, I think, is that in the European Union when a
voice says, 'But the military have accepted this,' the answer comes, 'And so
they damn well should!' The military have acquiesced in this? Well of course
they have -- because they are servants of the state, they are subject to overall
civilian executive direction," he said.
Greenwood went on to say that the very use of such deferential language,
often used by what he called "distinguished Turkish voices," signifies that
crucial EU values have yet to be fully understood in Turkey.
Preventing Turkey’s Popular Slide away from the West
April 12, 2006
Iran’s nuclear program presents one more issue on which Washington sees
Middle East developments in a different light than does the Justice and
Development Party (AKP) government in Turkey. Since coming to power in November
2002, AKP leaders have pursued rapprochement with Damascus and enhanced dialogue
with Iran. In March 2006, the AKP welcomed Hamas leaders in Ankara. It is
surprising that Turkey, a traditional bastion of Western policies in the Middle
East, is promoting close ties with anti-Western actors that have hurt Turkey for
decades—Syria provided safe haven to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
and Iran supported the PKK and radical Islamist terrorists. Why do the Turkish
people not resent such policies?
The Iraq war and the U.S. agenda for political transformation in the Middle
East have clashed with the Turkish people’s desire to preserve the Middle
Eastern political landscape. What is more, U.S. inaction against the PKK’s
Qandil enclave in Northern Iraq is angering most Turks in the way Syrian and
Iranian support for the PKK upset them in the 1990s. Turkish confusion and anger
toward the United States stands in sharp contrast with the improved image of
Syria and Iran in Turkey. Meanwhile, with AKP discussing Middle Eastern politics
in terms of Islamic codes, some Turks now identify with the region through Islam
and not their national identity. The challenge for Washington is to find a way
to prevent Turkey’s popular slide away from the United States.
Further Problems with the EU
Anti-Western sentiments in Turkey are exacerbated by problems with the
European Union (EU). Even though Turkey’s EU negotiations will take up to a
decade and do not promise membership, objections to Turkey are already rising in
the EU. In capitals such as Paris, opinionmakers are opposing Turkey’s
membership, describing the country is “non-European.” With Cyprus, a Middle
Eastern island in the EU, Turks see this argument referring not to Turkey’s
geography, but to its dominant Muslim faith.
An important example of Turkey being treated differently than other
applicants is the EU’s embrace of a French plan to introduce references to human
rights, indicating Turkey’s combustive Kurdish question, into the “Chapter on
Education and Culture,” the first of the thirty-five chapters of the Turkish-EU
accession talks. While this chapter has had a technical approach to educational
and cultural issues in case of previous accession countries, it is evolving into
a political one for Turkey, demanding more from Ankara than from previous EU
The problems in Turkish-EU relations will be exacerbated by the PKK’s use of
terror to coerce Turkey into talks. Over the past two weeks, the PKK has
launched violent demonstrations in Turkey, destroying businesses that refuse its
order for social strike, killing people, and firebombing public buses in
Istanbul. The PKK is able to operate thanks to a vast financial, recruitment and
propaganda base inside the EU. For instance, on March 31, the Turkish daily
Hurriyet reported that the PKK’s current violent initiative is being carried
out with daily directives from Danish-based Roj TV. EU stipulations that “Turkey
should do more on the Kurdish issue” sound insincere to Turks when PKK fronts
are thriving inside Europe.
European pusillanimity against the PKK angers the wider Turkish public,
especially since the Kurdish nationalist view represents a minority opinion
among Turkey’s Kurds. In the twelve overwhelmingly Kurdish-populated provinces
in southeastern Turkey, Kurdish nationalist Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP)
received only 30 percent of the vote in the last elections, while in western
Turkey, home to over half of Turkey’s Kurds, support for DEHAP barely exceeds
one percent. Even though it represents a minority opinion among Turkish Kurds,
the PKK dominates the Kurdish nationalist movement, including DEHAP (now called
Democratic Society Party DTP), through the elimination of any peaceful
Even if Turkey manages the oncoming crisis with the EU, an anti-EU and
anti-Western backlash will nevertheless follow, with Turks blaming the EU for
treating them with religious bias. With even the best-case scenario offering a
bleak picture, Washington can take a number of steps to counter the erosion of
Turkey’s longstanding pro-Western foreign policy orientation, and even the
prospect of Turkey turning into an anti-Western yet modern state, in the mold of
Convey to the Turkish public that Turkey’s interests lie in the Western
world. Through high-level meetings, the best way of getting opinions across
to the Turkish elite, and through public diplomacy, Washington should tell Turks
that Turkey belongs to the West and that the United States and Turkey share
secular democratic values and an interest in fighting terrorism. In terms of
public diplomacy efforts, eliminating the Voice of America’s Turkish services,
as proposed in the 2007 budget, would be dangerous at a time when al-Jazeera has
plans to start a Turkish broadcast. Washington should also identify areas of
common interest to convince Turkey’s public of the advantages of cooperation
with the United States. These include new energy transportation projects from
the Caspian basin; U.S. involvement in ending Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani
territory, a major concern for the Turkish public; and a free trade agreement to
build the economic pillar of bilateral ties and to strengthen business lobbies
for better relations.
Deal with the PKK. U.S. action against the PKK is a must for winning
Turkish confidence. Turkish frustration with lack of U.S. action against the
PKK’s Qandil enclave in Iraq has mounted in the aftermath of recent PKK
violence. Even public officials and the liberal press now suggest that
Washington supports the PKK. If a full-scale battle against the group is not
possible before Iraq is more fully stabilized, the detention or elimination of
the group’s leadership in Iraq would be the best way to pacify the PKK and gain
Turkish trust. As a hierarchical organization, the PKK loses its tactical
abilities when it loses its leadership. That was the case in 1999 when PKK
leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured with U.S assistance—and thanks to Ankara
giving credit to Washington for its efforts, Turkish public opinion embraced the
United States as a result.
Take steps on Cyprus. The Cyprus issue ought to be taken off the
table before it crashes Turkish-EU relations, damaging the anchor that ties
Turkey to the West. Washington might appoint a senior diplomat with
international visibility to build momentum toward a UN-supported solution of the
problem. Increased political, cultural, and commercial contacts with Turkish
Cypriots would undercut the confidence of the uncompromising Greek Cypriot
leadership that the current stalemate can be prolonged indefinitely.
Move Turkey’s EU process. Washington should continue its closed-door
diplomacy to emphasize to European leaders the added value of Ankara’s
membership on issues such as demographics, energy, and strategic concerns.
Washington could also bring to fruition ongoing collaboration with European
intelligence bodies, lawmakers, and police forces against PKK structures in
Europe. This step would not only disarm a vector of crisis in Turkish-EU
relations, but also, when recognized by the Turkish government, improve
America’s standing in Turkey.
What Ankara Can Do
None of Washington’s steps will work unless the Turkish government works to
shape public opinion in favor of Turkey’s Western orientation. Strange as it
sounds, after four years of AKP rule, Turkish public opinion worries that
American foreign policy constitutes a threat to Turkey; the AKP needs to
forcefully counter this view. The Turkish government should lead a public
discussion on U.S moves in the Middle East from the perspective of Turkish
national interests, and not the interests of the country’s Arab neighbors or the
Muslim world, an issue on which Turks are confused. Indeed, the AKP might
emphasize that by working with the United States, Turkey can shape U.S. Middle
East policy to its advantage. Only these steps can shape public opinion in the
long run and maintain Turkey’s historic Western orientation, a path rooted in
Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy and chair of the Turkey Advanced Area Studies Program at the State
Department's Foreign Service Institute.