Monday, April 24, 2006

April 24 – Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

Canadian Armenian Network April 24, 2006 130 Albert St. Suite 1008
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4
Tel: 613 230-8883 Fax: 613 230-8848
Press Release

April 24 – Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

Ottawa, April 24, 2006 --April 24 is solemnly observed each year around the world by Armenians to honour the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide that perished between 1915 and 1923 under the Ottoman Turks.

On April 24, 1915 in Istanbul, Armenian leaders from the fields of politics, commerce, education and the arts were rounded up and arrested. Most were executed. This event marks the beginning of the Genocide of Armenians. International scholars have long documented this genocide. Sadly to this day, Turkey has not recognized the Armenian Genocide. In the recent past, the Canadian Parliament has recognized the Armenian Genocide. For example, on June 13, 2002 the Canadian Senate called upon the Government of Canada:

(a) to recognize the genocide of the Armenians and to condemn any attempt to deny or distort a historical truth as being anything less than genocide, a crime against humanity, and

(b) to designate April 24th of every year hereafter throughout Canada as a day of remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians who fell victim to the first genocide of the twentieth century.

On April 21, 2004, the Canadian House of Commons adopted a similar resolution:

"That this House acknowledge the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemn this act as a crime against humanity."

In the national edition of the Globe and Mail, on Monday, April 24, 2006, the Armenian Canadian community, through its Canadian organizations listed below, expresses its profound gratitude to both the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons. Information on the signatories of this notice is attached on the following pages.

For further information, contact: Vahe Balabanian
Executive Director,
Canadian Armenian Network

Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Canadian Diocese
The Canadian diocese was established on November 1, 1983, by an encyclical of HisHoliness Vasken I the Catholicos of all Armenians. The diocese supervises nine parishesacross Canada, with offices located at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Montreal.The Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada is Bishop Bagrat Galstanian.More information can be obtained from

Armenian Prelacy of Canada
The Prelacy was established on June of 1991 by His Holiness Karakin II, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. The Prelacy offices are located at Sourp Hagop Armenian Apostolic Cathedral in Montreal. Presently the Prelacy has six parishes across Canada. The Prelate is Archbishop Khajag Hagopian. More information can be obtained from

Armenian Catholic Church of Canada
The Armenian Catholic Community of Montreal was canonically formed in 1966. Our-Lady-Of-Nareg Church was inaugurated in 1983. Most R. Fr Georges Zabarian, has been the Pastor since 1990. More information can be obtained from The Armenian Catholic Community of Toronto established its parish in 1973. St Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church’s Dedication and Inauguration were held on November 21st, 1993. The present pastor is Father Yeghia Kirijian. More information can be obtained from

Armenian Evangelical Church of Canada
There are five Armenian Evangelical Churches in Canada. In addition, the Armenian Missionary Association of Canada is located in Toronto. The president of the association is Rev. Mher Khatchikian.

Armenian Relief Society of Canada
The A.R.S. Canada Region Executive coordinates the work and provides leadership for 10 chapters and over 1,250 members across Canada. The activities of its chapters serve two purposes: (1) to preserve and promote Armenian culture and heritage, and (2) to raise funds necessary for humanitarian efforts. These include summer camps, financial help for educational institutions, scholarships for university students, relief and moral support to the needy and elderly within the community. The chairperson is Mrs. Anna Boulgarian. More information can be obtained from

Armenian National Committee of Canada
The ANCC is a highly influential Armenian-Canadian grassroots community relations vehicle for a number of Armenian-Canadian organizations. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-Canadian community on a broad range of issues. The Executive Director is Mr. Aris Babikian.

Congress of Canadian Armenians
The Congress was launched on June 17, 2004 at its inaugural meeting in Montreal. Its aim is to create a united front in presenting Armenian issues and the Armenian community to the Canadian public, to carry out significant projects of general interest to the community, and to provide a forum where member organizations can coordinate their activities. The chairperson and president is Mr. Taro Alepian. More information can be obtained from

Armenian General Benevolent Union
AGBU institutions share the proud heritage of promoting Armenian culture and identity, and preserving the Armenian heritage. The AGBU is an important global Armenian philanthropic organization which is celebrating this year its centennial. In Canada, the AGBU has two community centres, one in Montreal and one in Toronto. The Montreal centre was established on February 14, 1957. The chairman of AGBU-Montreal is Mr. Viken L. Attarian and the chairperson of the AGBU-Toronto is Ms. Knar Basmajian. More information can be obtained from and

Canadian Armenian Network
The Network seeks to foster economic, political and humanitarian relations between Canada and Armenia. The CAN encourages improved business and trade relations between the two countries. As part of its civic education mandate, the CAN seeks to promote greater awareness and involvement by Armenian-Canadians in the dynamics of Canadian society and politics. The Executive Director is Mr. Vahe Balabanian More information can be obtained from

Canada Armenia Business Council
The council serves and promotes the Armenian business community and all of its professionals to the Canadian and North American markets. It aims to increase communication and co-operation between Armenians in business in order to enhance their professional image, promotes their interests, and assists them in the development and expansion of their enterprises and careers. It acts as a marketing tool for North American Armenian businesses, as well as those from abroad, in order to strengthen the financial cooperation between them and to represent them on a larger scale in the North American business community. The president is Mr. Vatche Manoug. More information can be obtained from

Armenian Canadian Medical Association
The Armenian Canadian Medical Association of Ontario was established during the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Armenia on December 8, 1988. The ACMAO undertakes the ongoing transfer of medical equipment and materials and the maintenance of dental and women's health clinics. It also plans to address the issues of childhood immunization, hypertension, diabetes and smoking cessation through these clinics. The Chairman is Dr. Berge Minassian. More information can be obtained from A sister association, the Armenian Medical Association of Quebec’s president is Mr. Abel Arslanian. More information can be obtained on

Canadian liaison of the Armenian Bar Association
The Canadian liaison of the Armenian Bar Association of the USA provides an arena for lawyers of Armenian heritage and other interested individuals to come together socially and professionally to address the legal concerns of the Armenian community. With the creation of an independent Republic of Armenia, the Association undertook the task of helping to build and encourage the growth of democratic institutions in Armenia. The Association is a forum in which attorneys with different backgrounds and at different stages of their careers share their expertise and insight.

Hamazkain Cultural Association
Hamazkain is a cultural and educational organization. It provides a forum for members of the Armenian community to better get acquainted with the Armenian heritage through lectures, publishing books, producing documentaries, organizing symposiums, and operating libraries and theaters. The association has a world-wide network of affiliated chapters in the Armenian Diaspora.

Tekeyan Cultural Association
This association preserves and introduces the Armenian culture at its two community centers in Canada, one in Montreal and one in Toronto. Besides a variety of cultural and social activities, the Montreal chapter publishes the first Armenian-Canadian weekly Abaka, broadcasts an Armenian radio program and holds a summer camp for Armenian school children.

Source: Canadian Armenian Network
Information: Vahe Balabanian
Executive Director

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.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Turkey Closely Monitors US Senate Against Armenian Resolution

April 23, 2006
By Ali H. Aslan, Washington

The Armenian lobby in the United States has accelerated its studies before April 24.

The Armenian Diaspora began demonstrations in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington as of yesterday.

There are three separate resolutions waiting in the US Congress concerning the so-called Armenian genocide.

It is very unlikely that these resolutions will be adopted. Yet, Turkey is hold on tight to the job and is closely monitoring the US Congress in order to prevent the adoption of the resolution draft in the Senate.

It is concerned that the Armenian lobby will benefit from the complicated regulations and intricate running of the Senate and present with a fait accompli.

The number-316 resolution draft in the House of Representatives has become ready to be forwarded to the General Council as it passed from the International Affairs Committee on 15 September 2005.

The number-195 resolution draft underwent the same procedures at the same time.

If the drafts in question go to the General Council, their adoption seems certain.

It is within the responsibility of the parliament’s speaker whether to take a draft to the general council agenda or not.

The so-called Armenian genocide resolution draft had gone to the general council in 2000 under the presidency of the US House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert; however, it was withdrawn from voting at the very last moment due to intense pressure from the Turkish government and the Clinton administration.

Congress sources remark that it is very unlikely that Hastert who was placed in a difficult situation at that time, will use initiative in the same way.

Supporters of Turkey find the Senate’s atmosphere more risky than that of the House of Representatives.

It is unlikely the so-called Genocide Lobby will take advantage of the complex procedure and complicated legislation of the Senate and will issue the draft in an environment of chaos and confusion.

For instance, legislation is subject to a draft’s enacting in case it is considered within a different law negotiated at a different committee.

Each senator also has a chance to take the draft to agenda escaping the notice of the Senate’s leadership staff.

However, only one friend senator has the authority to thwart the draft. Another advantage of Turkey in relation to Senate is that it is an institution with a state’s seriousness, continuity and that it has a long term strategic vision.

Turkey’s most trustworthy friends in the US Congress are in the Senate.

However, Turkish lobbies attempt to establish close contacts with all weighty senators on the off chance.

They get in touch with senators and parliamentarians via Turkey’s Ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy, reported the officials. However, Turkish officials and lobbies hide these names from the public opinion to prevent the pressure of Armenian groups on the Members of the Congress.

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.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Armenian Genocide (!)

Friday , 21 April 2006
Journal of Turkish Weekly
Nursun Erel

A controversial PBS documentary entitled "The Armenian Genocide" was broadcast this week in the U.S. by hundreds of TV stations. Serious debates about the show began even before it hit the airwaves. Some political observers said that the program was "blatantly one-sided" and reflected the "self-serving political agenda" of Armenian American activists.

In fact, PBS held a panel discussion about the program after the documentary was broadcast but many PBS affiliate stations didn't see the necessity for airing it. So once again, Armenian allegations ended up being dictated as a monologue through the program. Stations may have been persuaded by the Armenian lobbyists, who exerted a great deal of pressure to avoid even having such a panel at which opposing opinions could be discussed.

They don't need to argue

Recently I was talking to Dr. Kerstin Tomenendal, an Austrian historian who is an expert on the Ottoman era. She told me:

"I believe being a historian is a complicated job because we didn't see the facts with our own eyes. We just try to research them afterwards by investigating historical documents. So looking from only a certain angle or at only a single aspect is wrong. Using a variety of sources is the best way to investigate something. What do the other sources say? What kind of facts are in memoirs, how do diplomats see the issues? This is the best way of researching the facts of history.

"They (Armenians) don't (see the) need to discuss the issue because almost the entire world is backing them; there's no need to argue. A while ago in Vienna (last spring) we established a platform to discuss the issue, Armenian and Turkish historians and experts would debate the 1915 incidents. Each side was asked to bring 100 documents to the table. These would be exchanged between the two sides, and at the next meeting (six months later) they'd be evaluated. The Armenians left the meeting at the last minute, but they should have been sitting there instead. So I believe this is a meaningful example of their stance." (*)

PBS ombudsman's reaction

So we can understand why the Armenians were opposed to the panel discussion that was supposed to be aired by TV stations after the documentary, but we learned more from the Turkish ambassador to Washington DC, Nabi Sensoy, who told us that even the PBS ombudsman was concerned by the program financed by the Armenians:

"Regrettably, the producer of 'The Armenian Genocide' doesn't let facts get in the way of his efforts to identify a scapegoat for tragedies that befell many thousands of innocents during the period of World War I when the circumstances of war, inter-communal strife, disease, famine and instability took countless lives, regardless of ethnicity or religion," said Sensoy. "As a result, the program is rife with errors, misrepresentations, exaggerations and unsubstantiated conclusions, with other widely accepted facts and interpretations conveniently omitted. The lack of objectivity, however, is common practice for the film's producer, who in the past has worked with funding from Armenian Americans on similar projects and who has done little to hide his antagonism for Turkey or his bias on the sensitive matter in question. Such predilections are to be expected from this program as well, underwritten by those who subscribe to the genocide thesis and who seek to ignore or suppress evidence that would in any way contradict their view. For this reason, PBS' own ombudsman has expressed reservations regarding the almost exclusive participation of Armenian Americans in the funding of the program."

Let's get rid of the obsessions

As someone who once visited Armenia and is very disappointed by the deteriorating living conditions of most Armenians, I just want us to overcome all these obsessions.
So I personally supported Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent unprecedented proposal to Armenian President Robert Kocharian for an impartial study of the matter through the establishment of a joint historical commission. It's a pity that the proposal was turned down. But unless the Turkish and Armenian people can begin a dialogue on this matter, peace will be unable to dominate the Caucasus and people in Armenia will suffer from all of the negative circumstances. I wonder if the Armenian diaspora is really aware of this fact.

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.


Denial of crimes witnessed

April 22, 2006
Toronto Sun

In the spring of 1915 with Europe at war, the Turkish rulers of the Ottoman Empire ordered the deportation and killing of the Armenian population within their territory.

Between April 1915 and the end of the war in November 1918, the organized destruction of a people identified by ethnicity and religion was conducted by a government that ruled an empire in the name of Islam.

The nationalist Turks who succeeded the defeated power-holders in Istanbul continued the massacres of Armenians in eastern Anatolia and into the Caucasus. Some 1.5 million Armenians perished during this period between 1915 and 1923.

This destruction of the Armenian people was the first genocide of the 20th century, a prelude to what would come later under Hitler's Third Reich as the "final solution" for the Jews.

It took nearly 90 years for the Canadian parliament -- by a vote of 153 (yeas) to 68 (nays) on April 21, 2004 -- to pass a resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide and condemning it as a crime against humanity.

Neither the passage of time required for such an acknowledgment nor the number of parliamentarians voting on record against it came as a surprise, since the mass murderers of our age well understand that the human capacity to deny evil is far greater than our inclination to oppose it.

A mere 24 countries around the world have acknowledged the facts of the Armenian genocide, and with the exception of Lebanon -- possessing a sizable Christian population -- there is a wall of silence on this subject from the Muslim-majority member states of the United Nations.

On April 24 every year, Armenians remember their dead. It was on this night in 1915 the Turkish government ordered arrests of Armenian community leaders in Istanbul, marking the start of the genocide.

Turkey continues to dispute what occurred. It is a sensitive issue, and Turks willing to critically examine the events relating to the Armenian genocide face persecution from authorities for "insulting Turkishness."

Orhan Pamuk, the widely translated and respected Turkish writer, was charged last year with the crime of insulting Turks when he told a Swiss newspaper that "30,000 Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares talk about it." The case was dropped in January this year under heavy pressure from the European Union.

That the world is a cynical place is not news, however, nor is the fact that human nature is flawed.

Even as I write this column, the systematic depredation of the wretchedly poor in Darfur remains unabated -- while the United Nations and its grandees, led by Kofi Annan, quibble over the meaning of "genocide."

Historians and philosophers struggle to find lessons from the tales of human wickedness, and teach future generations to do better.

It is in vain, for the collective ears of humanity remain stuffed with wax. Prophets have admonished, as Amos of the Old Testament did: "They drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils; but they are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph."

The lesson of history is that, to paraphrase Santayana, there is no lesson.

Each generation gets tested by the evil of its time and, in learning nothing from the past, fashions its denial of crimes witnessed.

The present generation, not to be outdone in ingenuity, incessantly speaks of being history's victim and denies bearing any responsibility or accountability for the ruin of Joseph.

• You can e-mail Salim Mansur at

• Have a letter for the editor? E-mail it to

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.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Harper affirms Cdn position on Armenian Genocide

April 19, 2006
Global National

MANITOBA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper affirmed Wednesday his belief that 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a 'Genocide' nearly a century ago during the First World War.
It is a sensitive issue that, when raised by the Tory Opposition during the previous minority government, was quickly defeated by reigning Liberals who feared angering the Turkish government by labeling the events as a genocide or condemn it as a crime against humanity.

However, during a news conference Wednesday in southern Manitoba, Harper affirmed his belief that the Armenians who died during those years were in fact, subjects of a genocide.
To date, 23 countries in the international community officially recognize the massacre and accepted its authenticity as a 'genocide,' including Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.Thirty-nine of 50 U.S. states also recognize the genocide, although there is no official federal recognition.

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.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


12 April, 2006

On April 7 in London during the official ceremony of the BBC world award “Armenian Navy Band” of Arto Tunchboyajyan was recognized as the most popular performer in the World Music tendencies as a result of the voting throughout the world. 20 thousand people had voted for the Band.

The award was given to the head of the Band who is a percussionist, composer and singer. “This victory is not only ours; it belongs to the whole Armenian nation. We want to thank all those who have been with us for all those eight years,” the manager of the Band John Grigoryan said during the press conference in Yerevan.

By Garth Cartwright

The Armenian Navy Band was founded by the percussionist/vocalist of Armenian descent, Arto Tunçboyaciyan. Arto likes to describe The Armenian Navy Band as 'avant garde music from Armenia' which suggests something of the band but is a little limiting. The band have a strong jazz influence and to this they bring in all manner of folkloric instrumentation so building an organic creation that, well, swings.

Along with others of the Armenian diaspora, Arto Tuncboyaciyan grew up on the outskirts of Istanbul. Arto turned to music to celebrate his culture and here he managed to keep alive the spirit of Armenia. The sorrow and loneliness, also to be found in African-American jazz and blues, are mixed here with the melancholy Armenian spirit. Yet there is also joy, love and solace.
'I don't give direction to anybody,' says Arto. 'I let you imagine for yourself but what I try to give you is Love, Respect, Truth. I believe this is the path for trust. Trust is one of the simplest forms of wealth in this world. This is what we need.'
Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full articles appear on here and here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A PBS Documentary Makes Its Case for the Armenian Genocide, With or Without a Debate

Published: April 17, 2006
The New York Times

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.
[...] 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."
The documentary honors the victims of the Armenian genocide and also pays tribute to dissidents in Turkey who are brave enough to speak out despite government censorship. And that makes it all the odder that so many public television stations here censored the follow-up program as soon as a few lobby groups complained.
You are right ALESSANDRA STANLEY and what does the panel attempt to do? You say above that "It is impossible to debate a subject like genocide without giving offense. PBS is supposed to give offense responsibly." So what is the next genocide PBS is planning to debate? The Holocaust with David Irving and scholars from Iran? At whose expense is the offense? At the expense of evoking passion in the survivors of the genocide? Please have a little respect and do not equate the free democratic expression of the viewers of PBS to Joseph R. McCarthy's attempts. You are not even close.
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, April 14, 2006

Armenia, Revisited - Amid Protests, PBS Slates Film and Panel Show

April 14, 2006
WSI - Page W2

On Monday, the public broadcasting network will air "The Armenian Genocide," a one-hour documentary that details both the horrors of that ethnic-cleansing campaign and the Turkish government's efforts to deny that what occurred qualifies as genocide. Narrated in somber tones by celebrities such as Juliana Margulies, Ed Harris and Natalie Portman, the film presents evidence that the slaughters were planned centrally, including letters from U.S. government officials and others who witnessed parts of the campaign. They describe forced deportations, during which many Armenians were killed or died, and government death squads that mopped up stragglers.

The film includes some of the first statements from Turkey-based academics agreeing that the genocide occurred, as well as oral histories from Turkish people who recall their own families' involvement. "There is something my grandfather did personally," one man, filmed on a Turkish street, says. "They caught Armenians and put them in a barn and burned them. My grandfather says their voices didn't leave his ears for years." (According to many scholars, more than one million Armenians died in that period, though Ankara says the toll was much lower.)

In Turkey, one of the professors involved in the film says he faced death threats when he spoke out in a Turkish newspaper about the genocide. In the U.S., the topic rouses passions as well. Filmmaker Andrew Goldberg, fearing a partisan protest, says he has hired off-duty police officers for added security for Monday's premiere of the documentary in a Los Angeles movie theater. Meanwhile, a separate discussion panel that PBS commissioned to run after the documentary is causing an outcry among pro-Armenian groups because it includes two academics who reject the label "genocide." PBS says it has received more than 8,600 letters and phone calls opposing the broadcast.

While the documentary itself will be accessible to about 93% of U.S. television households, most major PBS affiliates in the top 20 TV markets aren't airing the panel show. That program will nevertheless reach about 58% of U.S. households through smaller PBS affiliates. A spokeswoman for WGBH in Boston, which is among the channels not airing the panel, says the station felt the documentary "stood on its own." ("The Armenian Genocide" airs in most markets on Monday, 10 p.m. EDT; check local listings)

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.

Ramil Safarov sentenced for life


Budapest City Court has brought in verdict on Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, who killed with an axe Armenian Armed Forces officer Gurgen Margaryan. Rafil Safarov is sentenced for life without right for amnesty in 30 years.

On February 19, 2004, in Budapest, Safarov killed with an axe Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan, while the latter was sleeping. Both officers were on training English course within framework of a NATO program in the Hungarian capital. Judge Andras Vaskuti chaired the hearing.

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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Iraq's Beauty Queen Resigns After Four Days

April 12, 2006
ABC News

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 10, 2006 — Iraq's newly crowned beauty queen, Tamar Goregian, has decided to step down — just four days after her election, making this the shortest reign in the pageant's 60-year history.

On April 9, the 23-year-old, who was the first Armenian Iraqi to win the Miss Iraq pageant, announced her resignation after receiving threats by a group of religious extremists who referred to her as "the queen of infidels" for participating in the contest.
Miss Teen Iraq, Silva Shahakian, a Christian {another Armenian}, accepted the title.

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.

Turkish TV station to air Egoyan's 'Ararat'

12 Apr 2006
CBC Arts

More than two years after its original theatrical release date, Atom Egoyan's film Ararat will officially air in Turkey on a private TV station.

The spokesperson for station Kanalturk told Agence France-Presse that it will broadcast Egoyan's award-winning film – "without cuts or censoring" – on Thursday.

The spokesperson said the decision was made after a recent poll found that 72 per cent of the survey participants supported broadcasting the film, which examines the impact of the Armenian genocide by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923.

The station also had conducted a round-table discussion between intellectuals and both Turkish and Armenian historians about the controversial period.

Released in 2002 and the winner of five Genie Awards, including best picture, Ararat was initially approved for a theatrical release by Turkey's government, despite its feeling that the film was "ridiculous propaganda."

A local company purchased distribution rights for Ararat and planned to have the film premiere in Ankara and Istanbul in mid-January 2004. However, a Turkish group threatened theatre owners planning to screen the film and the company postponed the release indefinitely, fearing violence from right-wing extremists.

During the First World War, Turkish troops put down an Armenian uprising and Armenians say about 1.5 million people were killed by the Ottoman Turks during the eight-year campaign.

Turkey has always claimed that the number of Armenians killed is inflated and denies responsibility for the deaths. The country has long fought attempts by Armenians and international human rights organizations to have the events declared a genocide.

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.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nationalistic Gastarbeiter (Immigrant Workers)

April 4, 2006
The Wall Street Journal

BERLIN -- In 1921 an Armenian student assassinated Talat Pasha, a Turkish minister, in the streets of Berlin.

Eighty-five years later, again in the center of Germany's capital, about 3,000 Turkish demonstrators -- elderly women, students, workers, politicians and even a few children -- marched in honor of this Talat Pasha, the man Armenians hold responsible for organizing the genocide of their people during World War I.

The police in Berlin tried to have the march banned on the grounds that it would "insult the memory of the deceased," but the courts wouldn't have it. The demonstrators, they argued, protested only against the political use of the term genocide and this would not necessarily imply a denigration of the victims -- as long as the Turkish nationalists didn't deny that the genocide actually happened.

A rather Talmudic distinction which led to the absurd situation where the police had to run after the demonstrators, with translators at their side, to find out if anything illegal was written on the banners they were holding.

[...] "It is hard for Germans to realize that the people they used to consider helpless underdogs, many of their former Gastarbeiter (Immigrant Workers), are actually stout nationalists," says Claudia Dantschke from the Center for Democratic Culture. Maybe the Germans, who have confronted their own difficult past in such exemplary fashion, can teach the Turks some Vergangenheitsbewältigung or "overcoming the past." Most Germans still consider nationalism in any form an illness to be overcome, the worst case of which was their own.
The recent Turkish action film "Valley of the Wolves -- Iraq" could certainly teach them otherwise. It depicts a dashing Turkish secret agent fighting American soldateska in Iraq who kill civilians at random, throwing in a Jewish doctor selling organs of Iraqi victims for good measure. Released mid-February in Turkey, the movie attracted millions of viewers. A special screening for the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended in standing ovations.[...].

This is a question Germans increasingly ask as well. The film drew 130,000 (mostly Turkish) viewers in Germany just in the first weekend of its release here. "The accession of Turkey to the European Union is definitely out of the question," said Edmund Stoiber, conservative governor of Bavaria, in reaction to the movie. Even Green Party spokesperson Claudia Roth, a longtime friend of Turkey, says "Turkey finally has to face its history. Anti-Semitism and racism cannot be tolerated." [...].

The reality is that Turks, especially young Turks, have increasing problems fitting in. Around 40% leave high school without a diploma and usually join the ranks of the unemployed. In Berlin, one in three young Turks becomes a criminal -- one in three! Turkish organizations unfortunately don't like to talk about this.[...].

One positive aspect compared to other Muslim migrants in Europe is that, so far, the Turkish community in Germany has not shown much taste for Islamic extremism. Many of them therefore feel that they are unjustly being singled out.[...].

Integration is of course a two-way street. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble recently commented that "many of our immigrants did very well, the Italians for example." It is galling for many migrants with Turkish background that they never get the kind of appreciation the American president regularly grants, say, Cuban exiles. Simple gestures, a sentence in Turkish, a visit to a mosque or community center, appointing a Turkish-German to a prominent position, could improve more than just the atmosphere. The offices of the biggest Turkish papers in Germany all proudly display pictures on their walls of German politicians who came to shake their hands. They cherish this simple gesture for days above the fold. A little more of this, some kind of "tough love," can probably go a long way.

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.

The first flight of French air-company “Air France” ton Armenia

April 10, 2006
by President’s press service


Today President Robert Kocharyan received world-wide singer, public figure Charles Aznavour. The renowned singer has arrived in Armenia by the first flight of French air-company “Air France”.
“I’m glad to see that life goes on in the country,” the celebrated singer said. President Kocharyan and Charles Aznavour discussed humanitarian problems, touched upon the process of programs and new initiatives of “Aznavour to Armenia” fund. [...].

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.

Daniel Fried: “Current situation on settlement of Garabagh conflict is not so hopeless”

10 Apr. 2006

“We had efficient talks with Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities and we have also recently met Armenian Foreign Min ister Vardan Oskanyan and Azerbaijani deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov in the United States,” the {US} Assistant Secretary {of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried} said. “The governments of both countries presented us with certain materials to work on. The situation is not in deadlock,” he added.
The Assistant Secretary also added that Baku should not hope for its oil and gas revenues in case the war breaks out.

“Azerbaijan hopes for revenues from its oil and gas export. However, these revenues can come only when there is peace. If there is a war, there will be no money. Do you see my point? Simply, look at the map. You will understand my point,” he said.

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.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Against All Odds - Human Rights Activism in Turkey

April 05, 2006
by Khatchig Mouradian (Lebanese-Armenian writer and journalist)

“I refuse to buy my freedom of speech by paying money,” said Eren Keskin, the Head of the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, during a press conference in Istanbul on the 22nd of March. A few days earlier, a Turkish court had sentenced her to 10 months’ imprisonment for insulting the country’s military. The sentence was then converted to a fine of 6000 New Turkish Liras, which Keskin is refusing to pay, however, saying that she will go to prison instead. Moreover, she asserts: “I will continue to express both verbally and in writing my thoughts, which are banned unlawfully by the ruling powers, because we are not the ones who should change; they are.”
The court sentence against Keskin was based on the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which states that public denigration of Turkishness, the Grand National Assembly (Turkey’s legislature) or the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the state, as well as the military and security structures are punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years. In recent months, dozens of Turkish activists and intellectuals, including the world-renowned author Orhan Pamuk, have been charged under this article.
For decades, the greatest of all taboos in Turkey has been the Armenian genocide of 1915. In recent years, a number of intellectuals in the country have started to speak up about this issue, calling upon Turkey to face its past, oftentimes at the cost of being persecuted or sued under Article 301. “The Turkish official thesis regarding the Armenian genocide is still very influential in the street and in academia, although there are efforts to overcome this domination,” said Keskin, when asked about Ankara’s policy of denial towards the annihilation by the ruling Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and under the cover of World War I of an estimated a million and a half Armenians in the dying years of the Ottoman Empire.

[...] According to Keskin, “there is no real break with the ideology of the CUP not only among the extremists but also among those who consider themselves part of the democratic opposition in Turkey. The ideology that led to the Armenian genocide was a very important element of the founding ideology of the Republic of Turkey.”

Keskin has little faith that Turkey will come to terms with its past in the near future. “The general mindset of the majority of Turkish society, including a significant part of the left, has been shaped under the influence of this ideology. It is for this reason that I don't believe much progress can be made in the short run,” she said. “However, I believe recognition of the genocide is crucial. Turkish people should acknowledge the sufferings of the Armenians, empathize with them and apologize for what happened in 1915.”
* * *
Eren Keskin and many of her colleagues in Turkey operate in an environment of intimidation and threats. “We, the human rights activists, have learned, throughout these years, how to live with fear and to go on despite its persistence,” she said. “Up till now 14 executives and members of our Human Rights Association have been killed by what we call the counter-guerilla units. I myself have been the target of two armed attacks. I still receive death threats. Of course all these generate some fear in me, but if there is one thing, which we have learned by now, is to continue with our struggle despite fear. I guess we owe this to our faith in what we do.”

Indeed, it is on this faith that many people are counting.
Protest the trial and sentencing to 10 months imprisonment of human rights activist Eren Keskin of the Legal Aid Office for the Victims of Sexual Harassment and Rape in Custody for the stated crime of insulting the moral character of the military, as a result of information she disclosed to the public.

Fill in the form sign and submit HERE.
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.

Music opens Armenian soul, history

LA Daily News
Alex Dobuzinskis, Staff writer (818) 546-3304

GLENDALE - Performing the classics to open a window into the Armenian soul, the directors of the fledgling Dilijan chamber music series have chosen composers who offer turbulent life stories.
After Armenia's long history of being ruled by the Ottoman Empire and then the Soviet Union, the nation's composers are finally coming into their own, said Vatsche Barsoumian, a Glendale-based creator of the Dilijan series. And as Armenian composers create new music, the series is bringing their work to Southern California audiences.

"Now that (Armenia is) relatively independent," Barsoumian said, "we are trying to find out and experiment with sound that is closest to our heart and experiences as Armenians, without any impediments."

Dilijan, in its inaugural season, brings together small groups of musicians to play classical music, using the Colborn School of Music in downtown Los Angeles as a venue and operating out of the Glendale office of the nonprofit Lark Musical Society.
On April 21, in a show called "Armenian Genocide Commemoration," Pogossian and five other musicians will perform the last installment of the Dilijan series. The show comes a few days before the date when Armenians mark the 1915 deportations and killings in the Ottoman Empire that claimed the lives of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians.

One of the pieces chosen for the evening is a work by the Armenian priest and composer Komitas. He was deported by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 and narrowly escaped death, but the experience put him in an insane asylum and he died a few years later.

The April 21 show will also feature work by the living Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian, and the late French composer Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time," which was written in a German prison camp during World War II.

"Instead of bringing out the dark and tragic in the piece, basically Messiaen is singing the glory to God and it's an incredibly positive and life-affirming piece," Pogossian said.
For more information on the Dilijan chamber music series, go to

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.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nationalism and space in Southeast Turkey in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Nations and Nationalism 10 (4),2004, 559-578. Copyright ASEN 2004
University of Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford, United Kingdom

This paper aims to develop a model for the ethno-nationalist incorporation of [...] ethnies considered as ‘others’ by [...] an emerging nation-state. It contends that one of the reasons for the recurring power and emotive force of nationalist discourse and practice stems from the disjunction between the complex history of a locality [...]. Based on the analysis of the empirical evidence of the case of the city of (Sanli) Urfa in Southeast Turkey, it argues that a ‘spatial perspective’ focusing on the locale might facilitate unveiling hitherto understudied aspects of local nationalisms, as well as the rather dark sides of most nation-building projects such as large-scale population exchanges or ethnic cleansing.
First, fervent minority nationalisms are provoked among non-dominant ethnies remaining in the incorporated territories, which often mirror the ideology of the nationalism of the dominant ethnie, and tend to be just as exclusionary. Second, unforgiving and sometimes revengeful versions of nationalist outlooks on the ‘other’ proliferate among the expelled ethnies in the Diaspora (e.g. in the case of Diaspora Armenians from Turkey).
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the mutual processes of nationalist incorporation and reproduction of space have worked towards the transformation of Turkey from a multi-ethnic territory into a mono-ethnic ‘homeland’. The logic of the nationalist project demanded that traces of the non-Turkish, and by extension non-Muslim (Armenian, Syriac Orthodox and Jewish) heritage should become invisible.

The disjunction between the nationalist vision of ethnic homogeneity and the material reality of Turkey’s vast territories presented the nationalist elites of Nationalism and space in Southeast Turkey the early republic, namely the Kemalists, with a serious predicament, even after deportations and large-scale population transfers had led to an ethnic homogenisation of most of the country. How was hegemony to be established over territories, hitherto populated by Kurds or Armenians, and just saved from being lost to other nation states and imperial powers? These were the questions the ideologues of Turkish nationalism such as Go¨ kalp (1968) tried to answer in the early 1920s.

Following analysis of the case of Israel, it is to be suggested that the Kemalists tried to strengthen their control of territory through employing the strategies and instruments of ethnocratic regimes. Ethnocratic regimes are usually supported by a cultural and ideological apparatus which legitimises and reinforces the uneven reality. This is achieved by constructing a historical narrative that proclaims the dominant ethno-nation as the rightful owner of the territory in question. Such narrative degrades all other contenders as historically not entitled, or culturally unworthy, to control the land or achieve political equality. Yet, the aim of this process of ethno-nationalist incorporation could not be achieved solely by adjusting the territory’s history to that of the dominant ethnie. The peripheral territory had to be incorporated materially as well. [...].
Strategies of destruction and neglect are directed at exterminating the ‘other’ as a material and historical entity and to render its traces in space and time invisible, or as Mann ( 2001: 216) specifies, they aim at wiping out ‘the cultural memory of a group’. Above all, the strategy of destruction is employed during times of war, when the apparent barbarism of warfare tends to provide an apology for large-scale evictions and ethnic cleansing. The Armenian pogroms of 1895 and the large-scale deportations and massacres of 1915, as well as the destruction of the houses, churches and cemeteries of Armenians and Syriacs, are examples of such a strategy.[...].

Capital accumulation through dispossession is not alien to the logic of capitalist development, yet a closer examination of how this has been done in Turkey might reveal how significant this dispossession was for the country’s future development. While the transfer of capital took place on several occasions, the infamous law of deportation and the subsequent Armenian massacres of 1915 was probably the most significant turning point in this respect. Virtually all immobile and most mobile possessions of the Armenians and Syriac Christians of East and Southeast Turkey were expropriated by the state, literally the moment they were evicted. Keyder summarises the role of the state in this process: ‘As the non-Muslim population was eliminated, their properties and position became part of the dowry of the new state, which could now distribute them to the population’. Special commissions rewarded this ‘dowry’ to resettled Muslim refugees from the Balkans, to local notables, or to the leaders of Kurdish tribes, whom the state hoped to urge to sedentariness. In many cases, the houses of leading Armenian families or clergymen were given to the tribal leaders, who had been at the forefront of the deportations and massacres. As local Kurdish and Muslim families benefited from this transfer of capital, they gained the political and intellectual power to defend their newly acquired status of wealth, while they remained indebted to the state.
[...] three [...] interrelated strategies, namely the ‘creation and dissemination of a hegemonic historiography’, ‘toponymical strategies of renaming’ and the ‘inscription of ethno-nationalist symbols’ into the geography [...] reassemble the multi-faceted longue-dure´e of geography and nature along the lines of the temporality of the nationalist project. [...]. Hegemonic historiographies are central components of nation-building projects. They render the historical vision of the dominant ethnie authoritative, and devalue the ‘other’, while they exalt the self. The Turkish History Foundation (Tu¨rk Tarih Kurumu) has been the principal institution in canonising the official historical discourse, which has been reproduced by many scholars of contemporary Turkey. According to these orthodox scholarly accounts (Shaw and Shaw 1976; Mango 1999; Lewis 2001), the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, leader of the War of Independence, meant a complete break with Ottoman/Islamic history. The republic, according to these accounts, opened a blank page for a new nation, aspiring to reach the ‘level of contemporary civilisation’ through substantial modernising reforms, albeit under the supposition of a perennial Turkish territory. In the foundation’s publications, conservatively religious Turks, non- Turkish speaking Muslims and non-Muslims appear as the internal ‘other’. Armenians and Greeks are mentioned, if at all, as traitors and enemies in theWar of Independence, Kurds are euphemistically referred to as mountain Turks, while Syriac Christians are mostly ignored. The contributions of members of non-Muslim communities to Ottoman civilisation and culture are completely disregarded.

Toponymical strategies to rearrange the historicity of places are a logical consequence of this vision of history. During and after World War I, the change of place names was seen as an important strategy in the ‘language-battles of peoples’, and was widely employed in Europe in order to ‘preserve the language of the Volk’. When the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) declared the deportation law for ‘the ones opposing the government in times of war’ (27 May 1915), probably more than a million Armenians, Syriac Christians, and even some Kurdish communities were forced into exile and destruction. In only a few weeks, the government initiated the name change of evacuated villages. At the same time, these villages were swiftly resettled with Muslim refugees, pouring into the country from the Balkans and the easternmost provinces under Russian occupation. In a directive, the Chief of the General Staff and one of the three leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress, Enver Pasha, declared: It has been decided that provinces, districts, towns, villages, mountains and rivers, which are named in languages belonging to non-Muslim nations such as Armenian, Greek or Bulgarian, will be transformed into Turkish. . . . In order to benefit from this suitable moment, the goal of name change should be achieved as soon as possible. The campaign, however, had limited success as the CUP government collapsed and its leaders were tried for the atrocities committed during World War I. Yet, this first attempt to incorporate a multicultural geography into an ethnocratic national state might also be understood as a precedent for future policies. Attempts to change place names were repeated throughout the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. In 1956 the ‘Expert Commission on Name Change’ (Ad Degistirme Ihtisas Komisyonu) was established under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior. [...]. It thus far has been demonstrated that the incorporation of the multicultural territory associated with the Kurdish and Armenian ‘other’ into an ethnically and religiously homogeneous Turkish homeland, worked through a number of interrelated strategies on the material as well as the discursive level. [...]. {In} the case of Urfa Up until the 1920s, Urfa, was a polyglot town with thriving Muslim, Armenian, Syriac and Jewish communities. Today it is an exclusively Nationalism and space in Southeast Turkey Muslim-cum-Turkish-cum-Kurdish city. [...]. Many Armenian and Syriac families owned the gardens and vineyards that the surroundings of Urfa have been famous for until recently, as well as land in the fertile Harran plain. The artisan sector was dominated by Armenian and Syriac Orthodox craftsmen. Probably even more consequential was the fact that almost the entire architectural production was in the hands of Syriac architects. As an elderly local of Urfa readily explained, ‘everything which has been built in this city before the 1920s is the work of Syriac craftsmen, be it houses for Muslims, Armenians or Syriac Christians, be it churches or mosques’.

After the pogroms of 1895, during which thousands of Armenians are believed to have died, the city witnessed material destruction and a serious economic and demographic decline. Yet, the turning point came when the nationalist government of the Committee of Union and Progress declared the ‘Deportation Law’ in 1915. The Unionists arguably designed the deportations and massacres as a pre-emptive measure to counteract the designs of the Entente powers to divide the empire into national territories along ethnic lines, as already implied in the Berlin Peace Treaty of 1878. The law was not implemented in Urfa until 10 August, when the Unionists sent two representatives to the city to supervise the deportations. Yet, even before the expulsion of great parts of the Christian community started, the city witnessed horrid moments. The law prescribed the deportation of all Armenians to the Syrian desert. However, as the main road between the northern provinces, which had large Armenian populations, led through Urfa, several hundred deportee-convoys passed through the city on their way to Syria.

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.

The Price of Denial - Why Turkey needs to come to terms with history

04/17/2006, Volume 011, Issue 29
The Weekly Standard
by Ellen Bork (deputy director at the Project for the New American Century)

IN ISTANBUL LAST OCTOBER, an acquaintance invited me to lunch with three participants in a conference of historians, journalists, and civil society activists that had recently been held at Bilgi University. Its subject was the fate of Armenians in Turkey during the early part of the 20th century.

Although it received far less attention abroad than the prosecution of novelist Orhan Pamuk for speaking publicly about the deaths of over one million Armenians and tens of thousands of Kurds, the conference was just as significant, demonstrating Turkish civil society's growing self-confidence in questioning the official line on the Armenian genocide--and the ruling AKP party's messy flexibility in allowing such questioning to take place. [...].

According to my lunch companions, the conference participants agreed, as one put it, that these massacres were "deliberately done by a small group within the ruling party." In other words, without using the word "genocide," the specific elements of its definition are increasingly being accepted by Turkish society.

[...]. The Armenian Genocide, a documentary by Andrew Goldberg and Two Cats Productions, {is} to be broadcast Monday, April 17, on PBS. The one-hour program provides a compact, evocative, and visually rich treatment of the massacres by the Ottoman sultan's Hamidiye regiments in the late 19th century, and the 1915 deportations and massacres of approximately one million Armenians, including intellectuals from Constantinople, as Istanbul was then called. It also includes the campaign of assassination against Turkish diplomats by Armenian terrorists in the 1970s and '80s.

Even here, however, the matter remains fraught. When PBS decided to follow the documentary with a 25-minute debate among academics and authors, there were objections that this would suggest the genocide itself was in question. Some individual PBS stations, including the Washington and New York stations, have decided not to air the panel discussion.

The reason controversy persists has little to do with scholarship and everything to do with the role the United States plays as a battleground for efforts to achieve official recognition of the genocide. While the Armenian-American community ensures that the issue is brought up annually before Congress, Turkey, a NATO ally with a high diplomatic profile in Washington, wages a campaign that can be presumptuous. Speaking to the Congressional Study Group on Turkey last month, the Turkish ambassador admonished American congressmen to do their patriotic duty by voting down resolutions recognizing the genocide.

Paradoxically, the importance of the Holocaust to Americans ensures both sensitivity to the Armenian tragedy and a reluctance to accord it the significance of genocide. There is also a disinclination to criticize Turkey, a valuable Muslim ally of Israel. [...]. Within the conservative camp, criticism of Turkey recently has been concerned mainly with an Islamic tilt under the ruling AKP, and growing anti-Americanism across the Turkish political spectrum. And, of course, Turkey's refusal to provide support for the Iraq war.
Little concern has been expressed about persisting limits on speech, which are frequently connected (in the Pamuk case and many others) to criticisms of Turkey's treatment of minorities, and its relationship to a Turkish national identity forged during a period of instability and imperial collapse.
This situation is changing, as this documentary and events like the Bilgi conference make clear. While my acquaintances in Istanbul have complicated feelings about international pressure on Turkey to confront its past, America has been involved from the outset. Reporters and diplomats relayed news of the atrocities, and charity appeals raised enormous sums, all of which is documented in the film. For some Turks, it was in the United States that they found the freedom, the libraries, and the contacts with Armenian Americans that enabled them to delve into the past and develop independent judgments. Of course, the U.S. government is still the prime target of Turkish efforts to prevent official recognition of the genocide.

It will be up to the Turks to come to a complete understanding of their past, and consolidate their democratic institutions and civil liberties. In the meantime, less deference to the Turkish official position would put America on the side not only of justice for genocide victims, but also of Turks, like the historians in this film, who refuse to accept limits on their speech and scholarship.

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.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mining and exploration projects in Armenia


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Global ( has closed a private placement raising thirteen million dollars [...] to fund its mining and exploration projects in Armenia and in Chile, acquisition plans as well as for working capital.
Global is currently focusing its work in Armenia in the North Central Belt to produce gold and to bring historical reserve numbers up to Western standards as well as in the gold and uranium Getik exploration area. Global also has other interests in Armenia including joint ventures with Iberian Resources and the right until December 31, 2009 to elect to participate at a level of up to twenty percent with Sterlite Gold Ltd. or any of its affiliates in any exploration project undertaken in Armenia. Global Gold Corporation is located at 45 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830. The main phone number is 203-422-2300. More information can be found at

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.

Armenia Cedes Pipe Control

April 7, 2006

Moscow Times
By Mike Eckel
The Associated Press

Armenia agreed to give Gazprom control of part of an Armenian-Iranian natural gas pipeline and an electricity power-generating unit, the state-controlled gas giant said Thursday.

The deal gives Russia increased control over the poor Caucasus nation's energy infrastructure. The 25-year agreement also obliges Yerevan to give Gazprom's Armenian joint venture ownership rights to the yet-to-be-constructed, 197-kilometer stretch of the pipeline to Iran, as well as the right to export electricity produced at the Razdan-5 gas-fired power plant.

Armenia earlier had turned over control of its national gas transport system to a Russian-Armenian joint venture, ArmRosGaz, 55 percent of which is controlled by Gazprom and an affiliated company.
"If the Russians owned, let's say, just the distribution networks, and electric-energy generation was owned by different investors, this would be normal," said Ashot Aramyan, an energy analyst and editor of the business magazine Bazis.

"Here, the Russians have in their hands the entire cycle -- gas, electric generation and its distribution."

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.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Another big talent from a small country

April 05, 2006
By Suhit Kelkar

MUMBAI: There is a new knight - albeit bespectacled and looking like a pensive software designer - on the round table of the chess elite. He is a 23-year-old Armenian Grandmaster named Levon Aronian. In April, he became the world number three chess player after winning the Linares tournament in March.

Linares is not his sole achievement but it is certainly his greatest so far. Linares is to chess what Wimbledon is to tennis: a fabled tournament played by the world’s best, and Aronian outranked them all. Even current world champion Veselin Topalov. An omen, perhaps?
Aronian is said to be an ace at blitz play (chess games with very small time limits) and the insane one-minute chess. He is also among the best at Fischerandom Chess, a variant of chess which emphasises creativity and calculation over memorisation of chess theory. Invented by the great Bobby Fischer, Fischerandom is considered by many to be the future of chess play and Aronian will certainly be one of its first heroes.

Looking at his record, it is unlikely that Aronian will ascend to the greatness of Garry Kasparov, Bobby Fischer or display the dazzling tactics of Mikhail ‘The Terrible’ Tal. But he keeps winning, and he is the new celebrity in classical chess. There will be speculation about Aronian’s prospects for the world title.

He has arrived.

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.

Armenia/Turkey: 1915 Massacre Under Spotlight At Czech Conference

April 5, 2006
RFE/RL Newswire
By Robert Parsons

PRAGUE, 5 April, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The dissonance between the high baroque hallways of the Czech parliament building and the horror depicted in the black and white images that hung from their walls this week could scarcely have been more stark.

The faded photographs showed a nation in flight, charred bodies by the side of the road, severed heads on pikes held by grinning guards, clusters of skeletal figures abandoned in the Mesopotamian desert, orphaned children wide-eyed with fear. In short, a people tormented, slaughtered, humiliated, and starved.

Horrific By Any Name Call it what you will: genocide, mass murder or, as the Turkish government would have it, plain simple deportation, the deaths of so many Armenians in 1915-16 have come to be seen as one of the defining horrors of 20th century history. The photographs were there for an international conference organized by the Czech parliament entitled "The Armenian Genocide."
German academic Dr. Tessa Hofmann set the tone. "We have to be very aware that if a country is not pushed forward as Germany was after the Second World War by the victorious allies nothing really happens," Hofmann said. "And therefore the question about Turkey's entry into the European Union. My conviction is that Turkey first of all has to give freedom of speech, research, and opinion to deal with its past."
There was no one to put the official Turkish point of view, but Yeldag Ozcan, a Turkish emigre writer on minority rights in Turkey, said she welcomed the pressure from the EU for Turkey to cast light on the dark corners of its past. More people were now beginning to discuss the Armenian issue and other taboos. But, she said, Turkey needed to go much further.
"I think there cannot be a dialogue [with the Armenians] without an apology." Ozcan said. "We cannot start a dialogue as if nothing has happened. First we have to admit that we and our ancestors are the guilty side, we have to accept there was a crime. We have to apologize and then we can start a dialogue."
"Without the genocide, there would not be a UN Convention and, further on, there would not be a permanent tribunal of the United Nations," Hofmann said. "You can say that 100 years of time and reaction is a slow speed but, on the other hand, there was a reaction and we can only hope that the punishment of genocide will lead to prevention."
I hope that Czech President Vaclav Klaus was there to educate himself. See his statement to the German daily Der Spiegel HERE.
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.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

British Columbia recognizes the Armenian Genocide

Armenian National Committee of Canada
130 Albert Street, Suite 1007
Ottawa, Ontraio
Tel. (613) 235-2622 Fax (613) 238-2622
April 3, 2006
Contact: Art Hagopian(905) 727-7755
Roupen Kouyoumjian(514) 336-7095

The Legislative Assembly of British ColumbiaRecognizes the Armenian Genocide

Ottawa - The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia unanimously adopted a Private Member's Motion 59, recognizing the Armenian Genocide and to designate April 24th of every year as a remembrance day for the 1.5 million Armenians who fell victim to the first genocide of the 20th Century.

The debate on the Motion, which was sponsored by Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Adrian Dix (Vancouver-Kingsway), commenced at 11:00 p.m. and was voted upon at the end of the allotted one hour according to Private Member's Motion rules.MLAs Adrian Dix (Vancouver-Kingsway), Rob Fleming (Victoria-Hillside), Randy Hawes (Maple Ridge-Mission), Dave S. Hayer (Surrey-Tynehead), John Horgan (Malahat-Juan De Fuca), Murine Karagianis (Esquimalt-Metchosin), Leonared Krog (Naniamo), Kevin Krueger (Kamloops-North Thompson), John Nuraney (Burnaby-Wellingdon), Micheal Sather (Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows), and John Yap (Richmond-Stevenston) spoke in support of the Motion.

Since last August The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC), The Armenian National Committee of Canada - West (ANCCW), and The Armenian National Committee of Vancouver (ANCV), have worked closely with the MLAs Dix, Hawes, Sather, and Hayer to build non-partisan support for Motion 59.

The ANCC, ANCCW and ANCV delegates had numerous meetings with various MLAs to brief them on the Motion's importance as a universal human rights issue. In addition, the delegates presented historical overview of the Genocide and supporting documents.

The executive director of The Armenian National Committee of Canada Aris Babikian, on behalf of the Canadian-Armenian community, thanked MLAs Adrian Dix and Randy Hawes for their leadership role in the successful adoption of the Motion. Furthermore, Mr. Babikian thanked members who spoke in favour of the Motion and the members who voted to adopt it.

Mr. Babikian said: `This is a historic day for our community in Canada and in British Columbia. The steadfast support and the unanimous vote of the MLAs demonstrates once again that the Turkish Government's denial policy and rewriting of history will not succeed. We call upon the Turkish Government to be constructive, to come to terms with its dark history and to acknowledge its predecessors' guilt and extend a hand of atonement and reconciliation to the Armenian People.'

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Can Poetry Contribute to the Peace Process? April is National Poetry Month

April 2, 2006
E-Media Wire

“When you are touched by poetry, it creates a positive energy in you,” says Alicia Ghiragossian, poet and author of Peace Quantum (Yerevan State University, 2006). “I truly believe that energy is contagious and can expand. Humankind needs to be aware about the life and happiness-creating effects of Love, Peace and Forgiveness.”

Ghiragossian’s poetry was put together to pay respect to those who have given their lives for Peace and love like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. It is her fervent hope that her words can help contribute to creating peace on this planet. “Peace starts in the heart of individuals,” says Ghiragossian.

“I write about Peace because words have a soul and they can travel to other souls through ultrasonic waves, which cannot be detected by human senses.”Her poetry is designed to register directly into the subconscious. Ghiragossian founded the “meta-dimensional” theory of poetry, in which she exposed the essential elements of metaphors. Her latest book has been praised by some of the world’s most famous proponents of peace.

“Books like these will contribute towards the spread of peace in the world,” said The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate.
Her work is known all over the world. She has earned international prizes and has been published in English, Spanish, Armenian, Italian, Persian, Greek, and French. It has also been translated into Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish.
With 44 volumes of her poetry published, her work is considered to be among the giants of world poetry, attracting the attention of many famous luminaries. In fact, she is the only living poet whose work was illustrated by the legendary Pablo Picasso.

Ghiragossian’s book, Peace Quantum, presents its poetry in a unique way. The poems are laid out side-by-side in English, Spanish, and Armenian. It is one of the world’s first truly trilingual poetry book. Accompanying her book is a CD of her poems, set to the music of Chopin, and a DVD with a short film.

For an advance review copy of the book or to set up an interview with Alicia Ghiragossian for a story, please contact Jay Wilke at 727-443-7115, ext. 223

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.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Kevork Arslanian, 100, survived WWI massacre

March 30, 2006
The Plain Dealer
Richard M. Peery,, 216-999-4807
Plain Dealer Reporter

Garfield Heights- Kevork "George" Arslanian, 100, a survivor of the slaughter of Armenians in Turkey during World War I and a Cleveland barber since 1928, died Monday at Marymount Hospital.

Arslanian was living in Malatia, Tur key, when he and two sib lings were res cued by an un cle who had converted to Islam and a Muslim woman.

Their parents and other family members died in the massacre that took an estimated 1.5 million Christian Armenians' lives.
Although 24 nations have labeled it an act of genocide, the Turkish government denies responsibility for the deaths.

The children were placed in a Red Cross orphanage in Syria.

Another uncle in Cleveland tried to send for them but was blocked by immigration quotas. The uncle provided passage to Cuba, where the children shined shoes and did odd jobs for several years. In 1927, prohibition-era rum runners smuggled them into the United States.

Arslanian never attended school beyond kindergarten, but he taught himself to read using a dictionary and newspapers. He enrolled in Miller Barber College and was awarded the 11th license issued in Ohio. In 1932 he opened a barbershop with his brother.
Although two years ago Arslanian stopped driving to the barbershop to cut hair each Friday, he continued to help repair rugs one or two days a week.

Arslanian was a founding member of St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church. The congregation built the area's first Armenian Orthodox church in Richmond Heights in the 1960s. He remained one of its leaders throughout his life.

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.

Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis marked in several countries

01 Apr. 2006

The 31 March- Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis was marked in a number of countries worldwide. Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Romania told APA that the Embassy commemorated the event which brought together representatives of the Romania-Azerbaijan Friendship Society, Azerbaijan-Romania Culture and Youth Association, Romania-Azerbaijan Industry and Commerce Chamber, Romanian Azerbaijanis, students, media representatives of Turk communities.
The origin of this misinformation campaign is found HERE and really what happened is found HERE. Azerbaijan is using this misrepresentation as a PR campaign against Armenia as opposed to focusing on the ongoing negotiations.
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.

Rhythm Sister: Dutch devotee of Armenian dance spreads the word in steps

By Gayane Abrahamyan ArmeniaNow reporter

A Dutch woman’s devotion to the art of Armenian dance has led her to teach it to people all over the world.
This Dutch expert of Armenian dance has gone on to hold classes of Armenian Kochari, Shorora and other dances in the Netherlands, Italy, England, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Hungary, Canada, Finland, Japan and Taiwan. (see her website
Besides teaching, van Geel talks to her classes about Armenia and Armenians with great enthusiasm, showing picture books and albums about her subject.

“You can’t feel the dance without having learnt the history of the country. I always talk about the Genocide, the reason Armenians have a Diaspora today and what the differences between their dances are,” she says.

“I often play duduk recordings during the breaks and that just shocks them. Many say this instrument and the music reflect the history of the Armenian people.”

Besides Armenian dances, van Geel also loves Armenian dance music and she has made her own significant contribution to popularizing it. In the difficult years for Armenia from 1988 to 1996, van Geel would invite Armenian musicians to Holland for recordings of Armenian dance music.

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.

Germany Initiated Deportation of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey


Germany initiated deportation of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in WWI, specialist on Turkic peoples, Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University Professor Mikhail Mayer stated in an interview with a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. In his words, it was done to divert Entente's attention from the Western front, where Germany was being defeated.

«The situation in 1915 did not favor the Armenian population in eastern vilayets of Turkey. On the one hand – Kurds and Circassians, who forced Armenians away from villages, on the other – the policy of the Young Turkish Government, which encouraged the banishment and accused Armenians in pro-Russian orientation. All this resulted in mass deportation and annihilation of half of the population of Western Armenia,» Mayer said. At that he remarked that «if Young Turks had desired, to fully exterminate the Armenian nation, they would not have left a single Armenian in Istanbul, Izmir and other cities of Western Anatolia.» «However, Armenians remained there, except the intelligentsia, which was killed,» Mayer said.

«Judging from archive documents, accusations of Armenians in pro-Russian orientation are, to put it mildly, exaggerated. Most of the Armenian population lived in villages and was rather law-abiding. There was no much participation of Armenian retinues as part of the Russian army at the Caucasian front – according to my calculations there were some 3 thousand Armenians. This is not a figure that can account for Rusofilia,» Mayer said.

Nevertheless, Professor Mayer agrees that the events in 1915 were Armenian Genocide. «There was no term «genocide» in early 20th century, however it was genocide undoubtedly. The matter lies not in figures, but in the fact itself. If you remember, in 1919 a trial started in Istanbul against the Young Turkish Government that was organized by the Entente. Accusations in deporting and exterminating a whole nation were voiced there for the first time. However, secondary functionaries, mere executors were punished,» Mikhail Mayer underscored.

! Reproduction in full or in part is prohibited without reference to «PanARMENIAN.Net».

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.