Issues of Concern to the Turkish Lobby, Advocacy Groups & Turkey





OTHER ISSUES: Assimilation

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 necessary.

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 genocide matter.

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 reported.

ABHaber 02.05.2006

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 behind bars.

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 and Turkey.

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.

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."

ABHaber 26.04.2006

Algerian Genocide  -  Genocides in History

Between 350,000 and 1.5 million Algerians died during the Algerian War of Independence [2]. Algerians argue that the massacres should be named as genocide and France must apologise to the Algerians[8] [9] 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 [10] [11] [12]. 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’.” [13] 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. [14]

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."[3]

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".[4]

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.[15] 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 [16]. 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.[17] [18] [19]

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." [20]

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.[21]

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."[22]

Algeria called on France to apologise in 2005 for crimes committed during the colonial era [23]. Amar Bakhouche, speaker of the Algerian Senate, similarly reacted that France did not apologize for massacres it committed in Algeria [24].

The 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."[25] 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 [26] . 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 past".[27]

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.[28]

Source: Wikipedia, 2 May 2006 Genocides in History

Turkey, France and revisionism
Nazlan Ertan 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 Cyprus.

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.

Turkish Tourism 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 Cyprus."

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 conference.

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 the island."

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 different parties.

Final declaration

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 is built."

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."

Islamophobia problem

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 convictions.

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

CHP Deputy 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 Robert Wexler.

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 activities."

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 private"

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 exaggeration?

My answer would be yes, at least for the time being and for at least three reasons.

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 the region.

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 battle zone.

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 1984.

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 patchy.

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 PKK members.

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

Thursday, April 6, 2006
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 is complete.

  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 Chief Prosecutor.

  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 Dallas.

Roj TV 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 Ankara.

  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.

Google Alert for: Turkish lobby March 24, 2006

Kurdish Quest for Independence and Prospects for Statehood

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 Kurdistan.

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 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 the world.

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 Kurdistan.
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
Tel: 408-834-5557

P.O. Box 1663,
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Tel/Fax: 949-583-1417
Public Relations & Media Contact: Soraya Serajeddini (408) 834-5557

Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australia ChapteCLICK TO SEE FULL TEXT


TO THE NSW LOCAL GOVERNMENT for recognition of  the genocide perpetrated against the Assyrian people during 1914-1918 and onwards.

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.

  Whereas the Assyrian genocide is either forgotten or even still unknown in the world and at any rate not recognised,

 Whereas 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; 

  Whereas, 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;

  We 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:

Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australia Chapte

Genocides Against the Assyrian Nation (612 B.C. - 1999 A.D.)





Kurds, Turks and the Alevi revival in Turkey

By Prof. Martin van Bruinessen 

Repression Alevi's 



WASHINGTON - Emekli Buyukelci Gunduz Aktan, Ermeni soykirimi iddialarinin
ABD'de taninmasinin, Turk-Amerikan iliskilerine ciddi bir tehdit
olusturacagini soyledi.
     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

AB İslam' ve 'terör'ü yan yana getirmeyecek
AB 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 bulunuyor.

"Hassasiyeti anlıyoruz"
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.

Published: 3/29/2006

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 empty.

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 Turkey-US friendship.''

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 said.

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 genocide claims.

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 Switzerland.

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 'genocide' recognition
ABHaber 13.03.2006

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

Having been a matter of political discussion for the last two years, the construction of the so-called Armenian genocide monument has started in Lyon, France.

Opposition associations 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.

Turkish citizens protesting the Lyon Municipality and the construction of the monument will march in Lyon after Paris.

The 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.

Turkish 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
France 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 Istanbul to outline plans for the Talat Pasha Movement, which will include a mass rally in Berlin 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 the
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
France 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 Chirac.

As part of the activities to overturn Armenian claims, the organizers of the Talat Pasha Movement met over the weekend in
Istanbul to finalize preparations to launch the movement in Berlin beginning on Saturday.

A mass demonstration aimed at denouncing Armenian genocide claims, to be held in
Berlin under 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."

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

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 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 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 Switzerland.
ABHaber 14.03.2006

Excerpt from 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 urging Turkey
to recognize the Armenian genocide claims. Who will benefit from this recognition? Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized for the suppression of the Prague 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 Czech Republic 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 country."

Activities to be held in Berlin against genocide allegations:

  ANK – Turkish Daily News

  Germany-based Kemalist 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 claims.

  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 participate.

  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.


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.
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

14 March 2006

BERLIN - Political leaders and human rights groups on Tuesday welcomed a decision by Berlin police to ban demonstrations aimed at the Armenian genocide in World War I.

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 genocide.

Organizers of one of the protests warned Europe's cities would "go up in flames like Paris" unless Europeans stopped blaming Turkey for the Armenian genocide.

The ban was justified by police who said they feared violence and because they suspected demonstrators would try to both

deny and glorify the events of 1915.

"It is unacceptable when planned demonstrations seek to deny the genocide of Armenians during the First World War and make veiled calls for violence in Germany," said Frank Henkel, the opposition Christian Democratic Union interior affairs spokesman in the city government.

A 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.

Most Western historians term the Armenian killings genocide and say that between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians were killed or died during the massacres.

Parliaments in at least seven European countries, including France and Sweden, have passed resolutions saying the killings were genocide.

Germany 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 the demonstration. 

European Union-Turkey Relations: Copenhagen Criteria Not Enough?

(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 Weekly

EU Drafts 'Non-Emotive' Terror Dictionary

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 of Islam.

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 my community.

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.

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 ( 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 region.

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 President.

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 Maryland.

Great Kids. 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.

Education. 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.
Fiscal Responsibility
As a result of the Bush Administration and Congress' fiscal irresponsibility, we now have the largest budget deficit in our nation's history.
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


© 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 appeal.

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 European 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 Euro 2008.

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 arguments.

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 points apart.

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 Julianna Margulies, 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 figures like 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 programming executive.

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 production."

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.



Armenian-Americans Outraged By Panel Discussion On genocide

By Jocelyne Zablit, AFP

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.

Turkey's image problem

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 mother.
    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 larger debate.
    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."

Turkish 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 Washington Times.

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 Europe.

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 Turkey.

"We would be guessing to be honest. There are various things going on with separatist parties."

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

DORTMUND, GERMANY - A serial killer targeting foreigners running small businesses claimed his eighth victim this week, leaving police baffled as to a motive.

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 drugs involvement.

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 Congress, 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 rights.

  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 said.

   “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 those abuses.”

  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 said.

  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.

  “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 wine imports.

Standards:   The 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.

Government procurement:   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 foreign bidders.

Export subsidies:   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 books.

Drug patent:   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.

Sector barriers:   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.

Labor barriers:   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.

Investment barriers:   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.

Corruption:   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. 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 deductible.

Energy:   In 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 contracts.

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 producers.

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 partners.

Automakers:   Turkey 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 U.S. automobiles.

Pharmaceuticals:   Besides 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. Abdullah Emil, 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), said.

Guenther Feld, a public prosecutor in Cologne, where the UETD is based, confirmed receiving the complaint and said he would study it.

Erdogan 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," Erdogan said.

ABHaber 27.03.2006

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 Washington.

  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 Greek lake.

  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 United States.

  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), said NTV. 

  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. officials.

  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 Rice yesterday.

Electing Istanbul to the European Capital of Culture

Electing Istanbul to the European Capital of Culture will be a great opportunity to reinforce the communication and cultural dialogue between the two communities once more.

The candidacy of Istanbul 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 December 2005 and the progress report of October 6th, the European Council and the Commission underlined the need to develop communication and dialogue between Turkey and the Union. Istanbul becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2010 will definitely address to the decision of the European Summit. The candidacy will reflect Turkey's, especially Istanbul's multidimensional Europeanization and the strength of the civil society in Istanbul.

Istanbul's preparation towards 2010 and activities will educate 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, Istanbul has attracted various European artists and European refugees from different backgrounds. Political, economical, religious and social evolutions and revolutions have left great residues in Istanbul's character.

More 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 Istanbul 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 Participation of the Istanbulite.

Newsletter March 2006 

Head Scarf Ruling Raises Tension in Turkey

By SELCAN HACAOGLU, Associated Press Writer
Sunday, November 13, 2005

(11-13) 13:17 PST ANKARA, Turkey (AP) --

A ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in favor of Turkey's ban on head scarves at universities has stoked a confrontation between the Islamic-rooted government and the secular establishment.

A panel of 17 European judges on Thursday ruled against a Turkish woman's challenge to the country's ban on wearing Islamic head scarves at the country's universities, saying it does not violate the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion guaranteed by an international human rights treaty.

Proponents of the ban, including President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, said the ruling was "binding" and should spell out the end of the head scarf controversy.

But the conservative and Islamic-rooted government led by the prime minister argued the decision was not binding and promised to press ahead with its campaign to lift the ban.

"The government is determined to lift bans," said Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said Sunday that the court had "committed a grave mistake."

The ban on head scarves on campuses and in state offices has been enforced vigorously since 1986 under the auspices of the military, which considers itself the guarantor of the secular constitution.

The issue also is hotly debated in Europe, with some countries, such as France, banning the wearing of conspicuous religious apparel in schools, while others allowing it.

But the debate over the dress code dates to the days before Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who implemented Western reforms as he founded a modern, secular Turkey from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire 82 years ago.

Proponents of the dress code fear that if left unchecked, Islamic fundamentalism will lead to a theocracy like that in Iran under the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The court dismissed an appeal by Leyla Sahin, a Turkish Muslim, against an earlier ruling from a lower chamber of the Strasbourg court that found the head scarf ban was in place to protect the rights and freedoms of all students and safeguard public order.

In a politically charged case, Sahin sued the Turkish government after being refused access to a written examination at the faculty of medicine of the University of Istanbul in 1998 because she was wearing a head scarf. On the same grounds, the university refused to enroll her in a course or admit her to various lectures.

Gul's wife, Hayrunisa, had filed a similar case with the court after the board of Ankara University refused to register her for classes in 1998, but she withdrew her complaint last year.

On Sunday, opposition leader Deniz Baykal told private CNN-Turk television that Gul and his government were angry because they "felt defeated."

In June, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would consider holding a referendum on whether to allow the wearing of head scarves in schools and government offices. Erdogan's wife and two daughters wear head scarves and Erdogan has said that his daughters chose to study at American universities because of the Turkish ban.

The court ruled that the head scarf ban was based on the principles of secularism and equality which, according to the Turkish Constitution, guarantee democratic values and prevents the state from manifesting a preference for a particular religion or belief.


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

By SARAH LYALL March 23, 2006
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, really."

"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 uniform policies.

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 carrier.

"There were other reasons for Israel to maintain connections and
dialogue with Turkey. The issue of economics was not the decisive issue," he said.

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 agricultural use.

"I wouldn't buy stock in the company that has to bring water from Turkey to Israel," he said.

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 Center. 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 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
Paterson, NJ 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
America in Turkish” 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 cancellation of this broadcast. “Voice of America 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 Ankara, Istanbul and other offices outside the United States. 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
Turkey, Turkish-American Community and its pride.

Until my next letter, wishing the Turkish-American community happiness and health,


Atilla Pak





Date: 2/23/2006

Degerli 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 gerceklestirecegiz.

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 linkideki “Sing The Armenian Revolt and Deportation Petition” butonunu tiklayarak gerceklestirebilirsiniz.

Degerli dostlarim,

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 tarafimiza belirttiler.

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
kabul etmesi 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 gorusmelerimiz surmektedir.

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


Atilla Pak
TADF Baskani

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 of Hamas

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Tuygan goes to Israel to meet his Israel counterpart and discuss bilateral relations, recent regional and intl developments

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 Anatolian.

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

US congressman sends protest note to Erdogan over Hamas visit
FEB. 23 2006

The 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 initiative.

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 double.

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 senior officials.

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 pro-Israeli.

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 administration.

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 territory. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Yet, even though ties have clearly frayed, Turkey remains reluctant to publicly clash with the United States.

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 Black Sea.

"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 plan.

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," he said.

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 conditions."

"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 military circles."

ABHaber 31.03.2006

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 orientation.

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 analyst.

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 order.

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 2005.

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 diplomatic means.

"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

Monday, 13 March 2006, 12:38 pm

USUN PRESS RELEASE # 41 (06) March 5, 2006


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 map".

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.

Arab-Muslim Genuine Political Lobbying, PR & Grassroots Campaigns Are Now called For Versus Astroturf 

By Ali Al-Hail  Al-Jazeerah, March 3, 2006


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 Cyprus

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 organisation.

24 March 2006

Belgium's Fehriye Erdal fiasco

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Semih İdiz

  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 to Turkey.

  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 Turkey.

  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 latest example.

It is time to rouse & strengthen Azeri-Turkish lobby - Akkan Suver

Source: Trend

Author: J.Shahverdiyev


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 stressed.

Islamofascist coup?
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 Islamofascist terrorism.{bullt
    • 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) to class.
    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 (clerics)."
    • 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. Buyukanit.
    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

FROM ATAA.ORG  Web Site March 2006

Re: “
Armenia 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 Turkey and Azerbaijan have closed their borders to Armenia?

With the Karabakh land grab in mind, Mr. Viviano's incessant moaning about the fact that Mt. Ararat 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. Ararat 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 Armenia. Modern Armenia 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 empire, 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 of Haci Halil, near Kars, 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 of Kagizman, 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 Anatolian Black Sea Coast, 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 eventually prevail.

Regretfully, we must cancel our subscription to National Geographic. When we see evidence of a more balanced, objective treatment of history we may renew it.


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 company."

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 meeting with Washington editors in March.

The magazine's last major report on Armenia 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 United States 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

Dear Sir:

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.


Hirair Hovnanian
Chairman, Board of Trustees

Anthony Barsamian
Chairman, Board of Directors
Armenian Assembly of America

Time Magazine Apology for “Misleading” Turkish Information

ANC 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


October 18, 2005

Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian, ANCA
Harout Mardirossian, ANC ~V France
Laurent Leylekian, European Armenian Federation (EAFJD)


-- 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
brief 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 "right
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
advertisement campaign.

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
response, visit: rticle/0,13005,901051017-1113684,00.html

Monday, October 31, 2005 

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 website:

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.)

Public Forum on Massachusetts lawsuit attracts over 200 community activists


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 curriculum guide.

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 Genocide.

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 lawsuit.

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 denialists' websites.

"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 happens again."

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 is true."

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 outlets.

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 justice prevails."

"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 hatred."

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

“The 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 people.

"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 Union.

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 American-Jewish Groups

The Turkish 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.

November 4, 2002, 9:00 a.m.
The Secret of Turkish Democracy
A lone model.

By Barbara Lerner

Why 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 military limits.

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 command.

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 strong.

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.

'Reform Fatigue'

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 European attitudes.

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

By Soner Cagaptay  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 candidate states.

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 alternatives.

U.S. Options

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 Malaysia:

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 Ataturk’s vision.

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.