Monday, February 28, 2005

Armenian historians will not attend VAT Meeting in May

February 28, 2005
Hellenic Resources

Ankara Anatolia (28.02.05) reported from Vienna that Armenian historians will not attend the meeting to be held in Austrian capital of Vienna in May in which they will exchange documents with Turkish historians regarding the so-called Armenian genocide, the Vienna Armenian-Turkish Platform (VAT) said on Monday.

VAT, acting as a mediator between Turkish and Armenian historians who are willing to exchange documents, stated that Prof. Dr. Lavrenti Barseghian, the director of Yerevan genocide museum, and Prof. Dr. Ashot Melkonian, the director of the History Department of the Armenian Sciences Academy, notified them in writing that they would not attend the second meeting planned to be held in May.

Pointing out that the main target of the Armenian diaspora in 2005 is to make several countries ''accept the 1915 incidents as genocide'', VAT-member historians stress that Turkey has proved that it is ready for dialogue and will take action for a possible solution.

VAT historians added: ''As VAT, we expect the international community, particularly Armenia and Turkey, to deal with this matter more seriously and systematically. And, we believe that both parties will establish dialogue with each other under equal circumstances, and take VAT concept as a model.''

The VAT, comprised of historians working at the Vienna University namely Prof. Dr. Wolfdieter Bihl, Dr. Kerstin Tomenendal, Dr. Inanc Atilgan and Dr. Artem Ohandjanian, had been a platform for exchange of documents between Turkish and Armenian historians in July of 2004.

Prof. Dr. Yusuf Halacoglu, the head of the Turkish History Authority (TTK), and Prof. Dr. Hikmet Ozdemir, the head of the Armenian Desk of TTK, joined the first meeting held in Vienna in July 2004 and delivered 100 documents regarding the 1915 incidents to VAT officials.

On the other hand, Armenian historians did not participate in July's meeting and sent 100 documents to the meeting via VAT member historian Dr. Artem Ohandjanian of Armenian origin.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.


Friday, February 04, 2005


A EurasiaNet Partner Post from RFE/RL
By Emil Danielyan

Turkey came within an inch of opening its border with Armenia in the summer of 2003 but backed off after U.S. pressure on Ankara "all but disappeared," a renowned scholar David Phillips, privy to Turkish-American dealings writes in his latest book.

According to a State Department report obtained by RFE/RL shortly afterward, Powell pressed the newly installed government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to open the Turkish-Armenian border without any preconditions.

Phillips writes that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul faced equally strong pressure when he held talks in Washington in late July 2003 with Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush’s chief national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice. "At every meeting Gul was reminded that the issue of genocide recognition [by the U.S. Congress] was not going away. He was told that real progress was the best way of deflecting pressure," he says.

The lifting of the blockade, imposed by Ankara in 1993 out of solidarity with Turkic Azerbaijan, has also been sought by Turkish business circles and local authorities in Turkey’s economically underdeveloped eastern regions. "The city is dying," one of TARC’s Turkish members, Ustun Erguder, is quoted as telling Phillips after visiting Kars, a town near the Armenian border, in 2003.

So why did it remain closed? The TARC facilitator suggests several reasons, the first and foremost of them being an apparent shift in the Bush administration’s regional priorities. He explains that as the security situation in Iraq deteriorated in the summer of 2003 Washington turned to the Turks for support and could no longer keep them under strong pressure.
"With the Bush administration preoccupied by Iraq, U.S. pressure on Ankara to open the Turkish-Armenian border all but disappeared," Phillips says. "By the time Gul and [Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan] Oskanian met in New York on September 23, Gul knew he had the upper hand."

Ankara would not even agree to a partial opening of the frontier for diplomatic passport holders and third-country nationals.

Phillips also lays the blame on the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), one of the three parties represented in Kocharian’s government. "At a critical point in Ankara’s deliberations, the Dashnak Party launched a nonsensical campaign to keep the border closed," he says, citing statements to that effect made by its leaders in July 2003. Some Armenian members of TARC likewise believe that those statements were exploited by the Turkish government.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

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'Armenians should Open Historical Archives'

Friday, February 04 2005

Erdogan hosted French Parliamentary Speaker Jean Louis Debre in his office, who visited Turkey in order to hold talks about the Armenian and the Cyprus issues as well as reforms regarding the European Union (EU). Reacting specifically against the so-called Armenian genocide allegations raised by France, Erdogan reportedly said: "We leave the discussion of these issues to our historians." If Armenian historians have some claims to make, so do our historians. If they open their archives, it will be seen that the situation is nothing like what has been claimed. We do not have any problems with our Armenian citizens. We have already opened our archives on this issue, but the Armenians have not."

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

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