Saturday, June 30, 2007

Turkish General Risks Trial For Calling Dink 'Traitor'

Thursday 28, June 2007, Armenia
Source: AFP

The family of an ethnic Armenian journalist gunned down earlier this year is suing a senior Turkish general for having allegedly called him a traitor, their lawyer told AFP Wednesday.

Lawyer Fethiye Cetin alleged that General Dursun Ali Karaduman, the commander of the paramilitary force in the northern province of Giresun, had called Hrant Dink a traitor in a speech in April, even though he did not mention his name.

The 52-year-old Dink, a prominent member of Turkey's tiny Armenian minority, was shot dead in January in central Istanbul. He had earned the hatred of nationalists for branding the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide, a label that Ankara fiercely rejects. Dink received a suspended six-month jail sentence last year for "insulting Turkishness."

In a speech General Karaduman made at the funeral of a soldier killed by separatist Kurdish rebels, he deplored what he saw as Western indifference to the victims of the Kurdish insurgency in southeast Turkey. "The U.S. Senate, the French Parliament, the European Parliament and Armenia have not condemned those who killed you..." he was quoted as having said in the family's application to the court.

"They issue condemnations only when traitors are killed," he reportedly said.

Lawyer Cetin said it was "obvious" the general was referring to Dink. The general had also recited a poem at the funeral of another soldier in June, which denounced the outpouring of international condemnations following Dink's murder, she said.

Dink's family would not seek a jail term for the general or a financial compensation, said Cetin. They would ask the court to rule that his remarks were "unlawful, racist and provocative" and publish the ruling in major newspapers, she explained.

The trial of Dink's self-confessed teenage murderer and 17 other suspects, most of them young people from the northern city of Trabzon, begins on July 2. Dink's family has called for an expansion of the investigation into his death. They say that the police prepared the ground for the murder by failing to act on several intelligence notes about a plot to kill Dink being organized in Trabzon.

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.


Russia and Armenia to build NPP

New Europe, Belgium
28 June 2007 - Issue : 736

A Russian-Armenian group working on new nuclear power infrastructure for Armenia recently met in Yerevan to discuss security guarantees for the country's existing nuclear power station and cooperation in constructing new units, Interfax reported.
The Armenian side elaborated on their plans to develop their energy grid, while Russian representatives presented project details for a new nuclear power plant.

During an April visit to Yerevan, the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Sergey Kiriyenko, stated that Russia was ready to provide both technical and financial assistance in constructing a new nuclear power station for Armenia. According to Regnum, the new 1,000 MW (megawatt) station will cost USD two billion to build. USD 240 million will be needed to decommission Armenia's aging Metsamor nuclear power plant, which is slated for closure by 2016. The plant, built in 1975, was initially closed following the devastating 1988 earthquake. One of two units, with a 400 MW capacity, was reactivated in 1995. Metsamor produces 40 percent of Armenia's electricity.

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.


Papoulias in Yerevan: President expresses solidarity with Armenians over Turkish genocide

Jun 28, 2007
Kathimerini, Greece

President Karolos Papoulias yesterday aimed a clear jab at Turkey for its genocide of the Armenians during a visit to Yerevan, the Armenian capital. “This genocide constitutes the most barbaric act in the contemporary history of mankind,” Papoulias wrote in a visitors’ book at the site of a monument to the Armenian genocide in Yerevan. Later yesterday, the Greek president had talks with Armenian Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan. “Both our nations have lived through tortuous times this century,” Papoulias said in a clear reference to Greece’s suffering under the Ottoman occupation.

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.


Azeris criticised on human rights

Jun 27, 2007
BBC News, UK
By Matthew Collin
BBC Caucasus correspondent

The guns are silent, but the territory's future is unresolved
Human rights body Amnesty International has criticised Azerbaijan for its treatment of thousands of people from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Many of those displaced by the fighting between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces in the 1990s face discrimination and poverty, Amnesty says in a report.

It estimates more than 600,000 Azeris remain isolated despite a ceasefire.

The energy-rich former Soviet republic has one of the world's worst problems with internally-displaced people.

More than 600,000 Azeris have not been able to return to their homes since the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1994, the report says.

They remain a cause of huge concern for a relatively poor country with a population of only eight million, despite its booming oil economy.

Some still live in run-down collective housing or refugee camps, others in newly-built settlements in remote locations where work is hard to find.

Amnesty International says this has caused them to become isolated and segregated, and to suffer more from poverty and illness.

Long-term impact

Earlier this year, the UN praised the Azeri government's efforts to address some of these problems by closing some of the worst tent camps but it also said more should be done to improve living conditions.

Azerbaijan effectively lost the war with Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Azeri government insists it will eventually regain control over the territory, although little progress has been made in peace negotiations in more than a decade.

The long-term impact of the conflict also continues to affect neighbouring Armenia.

Some 400,000 Armenians fled their homes during the war. Many of them still live in desperate conditions, just like their counterparts in Azerbaijan.

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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Ex-Karabakh Mediator To Run U.S. Embassy In Armenia

Wednesday 27, June 2007, Armenia
By Ruben Meloyan

The United States has named a new, more high-ranking diplomat to run its embassy in Yerevan in the continuing absence of a U.S. ambassador to Armenia, it emerged on Wednesday.

A U.S. embassy official said Rudolf Perina will take over from Anthony Godfrey, the deputy chief of mission, as U.S. charge d’affaires in Yerevan next month.

Unlike Godfrey, Perina has the diplomatic rank of ambassador and has served as U.S. ambassador to former Yugoslavia and Moldova in the past. He is better known in Armenia as the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE’s Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh from 2001-2004.

“Rudolf Perina will arrive in Armenia on July 10,” Tom Mittnacht, head of the U.S. embassy’s public affairs section, told RFE/RL. “He has the rank of ambassador but is coming to Armenia not as an ambassador but as a charge d’affaires.”

Mittnacht said another senior American diplomat, Richard Hoagland, remains President George W. Bush’s ambassador designate to Armenia.

Hoagland’s congressional confirmation continues to be blocked by a pro-Armenian member of the U.S. Senate over his failure to describe as genocide the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. Senator Robert Menendez pledged last April to keep his so-called “hold” on the ambassadorial appointment.

The last U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, is believed to have been recalled by Washington last year for publicly referring to the 1915-1918 slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as the first genocide of the 20th century. The Bush administration refuses to use the politically sensitive term with regard to the mass killings for fear of antagonizing Turkey, a key U.S. ally.

“By appointing Ambassador Perina as charge d’affaires, the State Department took into account his rich experience and knowledge of Armenia as well as his personal and business ties with top Armenian leaders, which will contribute to continuity in our bilateral relations with Armenia,” Mittnacht 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.


Government Moves To End RFE/RL Broadcasts In Armenia

Wednesday 27, June 2007, Armenia

By Ruzanna Khachatrian and Karine Kalantarian

The National Assembly is due debate on Thursday government bills that could end the Armenian-language broadcasts of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a key source of information for a considerable part of Armenia’s population.

The two bills sent to the parliament late on Tuesday were swiftly condemned by local media rights groups and top opposition leaders as an attempt to muzzle what they regard as the only electronic media outlet not controlled by the administration of President Robert Kocharian.

One of the proposed legal amendments would ban the Armenian Public Television and Radio (HHHR) from retransmitting programs of foreign broadcasters. RFE/RL’s Armenian Service primarily relies on the HHHR’s radio frequencies to air its daily news programs across Armenia.

Under the other amendment, the private radio stations, which air some of those programs, would have to pay hefty fees to the state budget.

Government officials have yet to explain the rationale for the proposed changes which seem to have taken leaders of the parliament’s pro-government majority by surprise. They on Wednesday praised RFE/RL’s activities in Armenia but would not specify if they will urge fellow lawmakers to reject the government initiative.

“I will express my view once the discussion begins,” said parliament speaker Tigran Torosian. “I think we should stay calm and wait until the government rapporteur presents the bill and his arguments in its favor.”

The opposition minority in the parliament was quick to condemn the bills, with Raffi Hovannisian, leader of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, saying that he fears that they are a prelude to ending RFE/RL broadcasts in Armenia.

“The prime minister and the government must be mindful of the goals and consequences of their legislative initiatives,” said Hovannisian. “Zharangutyun will vote against them. We consider this a blow to the interests of the Republic of Armenia and the rights of our citizens.”

The condemnation was echoed by virtually all other major opposition groups not represented in the recently elected legislature. “Radio Liberty is the only free broadcaster operating in Armenia,” said Vazgen Manukian of the National Democratic Union. “Shutting it down would mean shutting down Armenia. This would be the greatest disgrace of recent years.”

“Why are they doing this? Because they are afraid of Radio Liberty,” said Aram Sarkisian, another prominent oppositionist. “Radio Liberty is the only broadcaster which is independent and not controlled by the authorities.”

“During all these years our public received objective information only from Radio Liberty’s Armenian service,” agreed Grigor Harutiunian of the People’s Party of Armenia. “In the run-up to the presidential elections they are moving to strip the public of this sole source of objective information.”

RFE/RL had for decades served as one of the few sources of uncensored information for the peoples of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites. The collapse of Communism enabled the U.S.-funded corporation to legally operate inside the former Communist bloc and reach retransmission agreements with local broadcasters.

RFE/RL’s Armenian service was likewise able to openly operate in Armenia and lease state radio frequencies until being controversially forced off the air in late 1994 by then President Levon Ter-Petrosian. The move forced the service to rely only on the far less accessible shortwave broadcasts from Europe.

Kocharian resumed the retransmission of its programs by state radio shortly after he came to power in 1998. But in recent years, he has repeatedly expressed his displeasure with RFE/RL’s coverage of elections and other political developments in Armenia which he says casts his administration only in a negative light.

Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, who intends to succeed Kocharian in next year’s presidential election, has likewise criticized RFE/RL’s news reporting and coverage of last month’s parliamentary elections in particular. During the election campaign he specifically faulted the Prague-headquartered broadcaster for quoting participants of rallies held by his Republican Party as saying that they were forced to attend the gatherings by government officials.

By contrast, RFE/RL’s election coverage has always been praised not only by opposition politicians but also Western election observers. The latter have been far more critical of the Armenian TV and radio stations, virtually all of them loyal to the country’s leadership.

Armenia’s leading media associations take a similar view. Their representatives expressed serious concern at the government bills, saying that their main target is RFE/RL.

“They should have officially called it a bill on discontinuing retransmission of the Radio Liberty programs,” said Mesrop Harutiunian of the Yerevan Press Club.

“I believe that both bills are directed against Radio Liberty,” agreed David Sandukhchian, a lawyer at the media support group Internews Armenia. “Their purpose is to at least complicate its work.”

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.



Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *


For Immediate Release ~ 2007-06-29
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian ~ Tel: (202) 775-1918


WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106) reached an important milestone today with the number of cosponsors for the human rights measure growing to 218 – a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We welcome the growth of Armenian Genocide Resolution cosponsors to the 218 threshold – and want to extend our appreciation to Congressman Schiff and his colleagues who helped us reach this mark, as well as to each and everyone of the two hundred and eighteen cosponsors of this measure,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We look forward in the coming days and weeks to working with our chapters and activists across the country in maintaining and expanding the bipartisan majority in favor of the timely adoption of this human rights legislation.”

"In gaining 218 cosponsors, we have demonstrated that a majority of the House strongly supports recognizing the facts of the Armenian Genocide," said lead sponsor, Congressman Adam Schiff. "While there are still survivors left, we feel a great sense of urgency in calling attention to the attempted murder of an entire people. Our failure to acknowledge these dark chapters of history prevents us from taking more effective action against ongoing genocides, like Darfur."

Introduced on January 30th by Rep. Adam Schiff along with Representative George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), the Armenian Genocide resolution calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. A similar resolution in the Senate (S.Res.106), introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) currently has 31 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Over the past five months, Armenian Americans and human rights advocates have joined with Members of Congress in educating their colleagues about the Armenian Genocide and the importance of proper recognition of this crime against humanity.

Just this week, thousands participated in the ANCA “Call for Justice Campaign,” a national Congressional call-in effort in support of H.Res.106. The campaign was a follow up to the weeklong ANCA “Click for Justice” web campaign in April.

On March 22nd and 23rd, over 100 activists from 25 states participated in the Washington, DC advocacy days, titled “End the Cycle of Genocide: Grassroots Capitol Campaign.” By the end of the whirlwind two-day campaign, organized by the ANCA and the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net), activists had visited all 100 Senate and 435 House of Representatives offices, meeting with Members of Congress and their staff, and dropping off information regarding pending Armenian and Darfur genocide legislation.

The grassroots campaign continued with the launching of the ANCA Western and Eastern Region POWER Initiatives designed to significantly expand community outreach and support. Dubbed “Project Outreach Western Region” in the West and “Project Outreach Waves the Eastern Region” in the East, the program has generated renewed grassroots activism in large and small communities. Travels to traditional strongholds in California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois have been complemented with visits to Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina, expanded outreach to established communities in Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri and burgeoning communities in Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington state.

The Armenian Genocide resolution is supported by a broad-based coalition of over 47 human rights, religious, civic, and ethnic organizations, including the (in alphabetical order): American Federation of Jews from Central Europe (New York, NY), American Hellenic Council of CA (Los Angeles, CA), American Hellenic Institute (Washington, DC), American Hungarian Federation (Washington, DC), American Jewish World Service (New York, NY), American Latvian Association in the U.S. (Rockville, MD), American Values (Washington, DC), Arab American Institute (Washington, DC), Belarusan-American Association (Jamaica, NY), Bulgarian Institute for Research and Analysis (Bethesda, MD), Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (New York, NY), Center for World Indigenous Studies (Olympia, WA), Christian Solidarity International (Washington, DC), Congress of Romanian Americans (McLean, VA), Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (Lafayette, LA), Estonian American National Council (Rockville, MD), Genocide Intervention Network (Washington, DC), Global Rights (Washington, DC), Hmong National Development, Inc., Hungarian American Coalition (Washington, DC), Institute on Religion and Public Policy (Washington, DC), International Association of Genocide Scholars (New York, NY), Jewish Social Policy Action Network (Philadelphia, PA), Jewish War Veterans of the USA (Washington, DC), Jewish World Watch (Encino, CA), Joint Baltic American National Committee (Rockville, MD), Leadership Council for Human Rights (Washington, DC), Lithuanian American Community (Philadelphia, PA), Lithuanian American Council (Rockville, MD), National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (New York, NY), National Council of Churches USA (New York, NY), National Federation of American Hungarians (Washington, DC), National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Washington, DC), National Lawyer's Guild (New York, NY), Polish American Congress (Chicago, IL), Progressive Jewish Alliance (Los Angeles, CA), Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Wyncote, PA), Slovak League of America (Passaic, New Jersey), The Georgian Association in the USA (Washington, DC), The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring (New York, NY), U.S. Baltic Foundation (Washington, DC), Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (New York, NY), Ukrainian National Association (Parsippany, NJ), Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (Washington, DC), United Hellenic American Congress (Chicago, IL), Washington Chapter Czechoslovak National Council of America (Washington, DC), and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Philadelphia, PA).

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, June 29, 2007

New Threat on the Horizon

Jun 27, 2007
TOL, Czech Republic
by Jeff Masarjian

Armenian conservationists fear a northern copper mine will lead to further ecological degradation.

Armenia is located in the southern Caucasus, at the convergence of three major bio-geographic regions, and has within it seven of the world’s nine climate zones. Although it is a small country of 29,000 square kilometers, it is home to 40 percent of all landscape types found in the Northern Hemisphere.

But the mountainous country with its once-abundant forests is also home to sought-after resources, including gold, copper, and timber. War, poverty, and economic isolation have created conflict between efforts to protect the nation’s ecological wealth with the need to create jobs.

Armenia’s enormous biological diversity includes 8,800 plant species, half of which are at risk of extinction; 13 species and 360 varieties of wheat, which was first cultivated there 10,000 years ago; 260 species of trees and bushes; 17,500 invertebrate and 500 vertebrate species of animals, of which 346 species are birds; and one-third of the 156 reptile species found in the former Soviet Union. Of the 500 vertebrate species, 300 are rare or declining, and 18 are at risk of extinction. Many of these species are in peril due to the effects of deforestation.

In 1900, 25 percent of Armenia was covered with forests. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the regional conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh led to an economic blockade of the country which prevented the import of heating and cooking fuel. The widescale cutting of trees for fuel during the next several years left the Armenia with approximately 12 percent forest cover.

The Armenian government is considering a request to turn part of the pristine Teghut forest into a copper mine.

Today, according to government statistics, forests now cover approximately 11 percent of the land surface of Armenia, while others have estimated forest cover at less than 8 percent. The United Nations has reported that 80 percent of Armenia is at risk of becoming desert. The loss of the forests is caused by poverty and unemployment, a lack of alternate fuel sources, legal and illegal cutting and export of wood, and improper management.


In Armenia, as in many developing countries, people often think that short-term economic opportunities should take priority over long-term environmental considerations. A case in point is Teghut, an agrarian village (population 850), located in a mountainous region more than 200 kilometers north of Yerevan. Decades ago deposits of copper and molybdenum ore were identified lying deep in the forested mountains, but were never exploited.

An international company called the Armenian Copper Program (ACP) is seeking final approval by the government to begin the process of clear-cutting over 600 hectares of forests on the mountain. Although the company has offered to replant trees in other areas of Armenia, small saplings can never replace the habitats and ecosystems that will be destroyed in Teghut, or the plants and animals that will surely perish if the mine proceeds.

The company plans to create an open-pit strip mine to remove the ore, which is estimated to consist of 2 percent of all the soil which will be removed. The waste from the chemical processing of the soil will be deposited into a new tailing dump in a nearby pristine gorge. As evidenced by other copper tailing dumps in Armenia, such as the one in another northern village, Aghtala, toxic chemicals and heavy metals from the dump will leach into the soil and ground water, eventually finding their way into nearby rivers and creating a permanent death zone in the area.

Forests perform important environmental and socioeconomic functions, and when they disappear, long-term consequences result, such as erosion, flooding and landslides, climate extremes, loss of water supply, reduction of topsoil fertility, loss of plant and animal biodiversity, and severe air pollution. The harsh reality is that all of Armenia’s forests may be gone in as little as 20 years at the current rate of deforestation, leading to irreversible environmental damage.


Recently, 26 organizations in Armenia formed the SOS Teghut Coalition to raise public awareness and lobby government officials to reconsider what appears to be a likely and final approval of ACP's mining plans. Many of the local residents, who struggle with grinding poverty, are understandably in favor of the mining project because of the jobs it will bring, despite the permanent damage that will be wrought upon their land and the health of their families – and others in neighboring regions.

The Armenian government does not have a good track record of protecting the environment from exploitation by special interests. There is rampant illegal logging for both domestic commercial use and foreign export, which operates under the cloak of legally purchased sanitary cutting permits to remove dead or diseased timber. Large areas of publicly owned park land in Yerevan have been leased to individuals who cut down trees and build outdoor cafes.

Despite this, conservationists are hopeful that the government will respond positively to public opinion on the issue. In 2005, many of the same organizations involved in SOS Teghut was formed to save the Shikahogh Nature Reserve in southern Armenia from the government's plans to build a highway through it. Shortly after hundreds of e-mails were sent to President Robert Kocharian by individuals from around the world, the government changed the route of the highway and left the integrity of the reserve intact.

The Teghut coalition, of which my organization is a member, is using a similar strategy to encourage the government to pursue an alternative form of sustainable economic development for the area. Within five days of the coalition's call to supporters to e-mail the president and other government officials requesting that the forest be declared a permanent nature reserve, more than 1,000 messages went out.

Time is quickly running out for Armenia's environment. Jobs and economic development are a necessity, but a long-term, balanced perspective is needed to ensure that the best interests of the public and the nation are best served. It is the responsibility of any government to provide stewardship of a nation's natural resources and protect the land and public health, while encouraging sustainable development. We are hopeful that Armenia, with support and encouragement from the global community, will do just that.

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.


Genocide Controversy Leads L.A. Times Managing Editor To Resign

Armenian National Committee of America
Western Region
104 N. Belmont, Suite 208, Glendale, CA 91206 * Tel. (818) 500-1918
Fax. (818) 246-7353 *


For Immediate Release ~ 2007-06-29
Contact: Haig Hovsepian ~ Tel: (818) 500-1918

Genocide Controversy Leads L.A. Times Managing Editor To Resign

Los Angeles, CA – After escalating criticism from the Armenian American community for his role in obstructing an article on the Armenian Genocide this April and his discriminatory behavior against Armenian American reporters, Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Douglas Frantz has resigned effective July 6th and will be returning to Istanbul, reported the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR).

This past April Frantz “killed” a story on the Armenian Genocide that was written by Armenian American Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Arax. Frantz had erroneously accused Arax (who recently left the paper) of having a “conflict of interest” regarding reporting on the Armenian Genocide and had also circumvented the standard editorial process for reviewing articles. A subsequent internal investigation by the Times deemed Frantz’s accusations to be completely baseless.

This past April, the ANCA led a grassroots campaign to raise awareness regarding Frantz’s actions. Over 5,000 activists responded to an ANCA action alert and sent emails and letters calling for Frantz’s resignation. In addition, the ANCA-WR, California Courier Publisher Harut Sassounian and other community representatives met with the publisher and senior Los Angeles Times management on multiple occasions during the last several months to convey the community’s outrage regarding Frantz’s discriminatory actions.

“Doug Frantz’s resignation from the Los Angeles Times is an appropriate answer to his unprofessional behavior and anti-Armenian posture in the newsroom,” remarked ANCA-WR Board member Zanku Armenian. “The Los Angeles Times is a fine newspaper and deserves better than to have a genocide denier as a member of its senior staff. The fact that Frantz is returning to Istanbul tells the full story of where he stands.” he added.

Frantz’s activities and pro-Turkish positions have been monitored over the course of his many assignments at different newspapers and most recently in May when he moderated a panel in Istanbul that featured a well-known genocide denier. The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) worked with a coalition of individuals to bring to light the situation that had developed at the Los Angeles Times after Frantz more overtly revealed his anti-Armenian position with his actions against Mark Arax. Sassounian had highlighted the Frantz controversy in several columns that appeared in the California Courier and a host of other news websites. Sassounian was also instrumental in bringing to light Frantz’s involvement in the May conference held in Istanbul.

The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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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Thursday, June 28, 2007


Jun 21, 2007
AZG Armenian Daily, Armenia

Armenia is the 112th according to the Failed State Index made up by the Foreign Policy magazine (USA) and The Fund of Peace.

Iran is the 57th in this list, Georgia – the 58th, Azerbaijan – the 62nd and Turkey - the 92nd.

177 states are included in the research of 2007. The analysts took into account political/military, social, economic, demographic tendencies, internal and foreign conflicts, protection of human rights, presence of refugees and internally displaced persons, system of government and other indicators.

In the Social Indicator part of the page dedicated to Armenia low birth and high death rates are mentioned as negative phenomena: "a drop in the birth rate from 21.6 per 1,000 in 1989 to 10.2 per 1,000 in 2002 coincided with a rise in the death rate from 6.5 per 1,000 in 1989 to 8.5 per 1,000 in 2003".

In the part of Economic Indicator is mentioned that Armenia has a high level of inequality: "The top 10% of the population controls 41.3% of the wealth while the bottom 10% controls only 1.6%".

Although Armenia suffered from negative economic growth during the 1990s as a result of the Karabakh conflict and the collapse of the centrally managed industrial economy left from the days of the Soviet Union, there were positive growth rates from 1995-2005. The economy grew by an estimated 13.9% in 2005.

According to Foreign Policy Armenia is currently hosting about 235,000 refugees from Azerbaijan and also has about 50,000 internally displaced persons resulting from the conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region from 1988 to 1994.

The high unemployment rate is one of the biggest problems of Armenia and is estimated at 32-35% (three times the official figure), the analysts emphasize.

The impunity of the police forces, corruption and excessive concentration of power in the hands of the president are the main political issues that the analysts underscore: "Armenia, like many of the former Soviet Republics, has an authoritarian government and is still struggling with the transition to a market economy. The conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region also remains unresolved. In addition to reaching an agreement with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, the government needs to allow greater democracy, uphold human rights, and focus on reducing unemployment to prevent the Armenian workforce from leaving the country or becoming too dependent on subsistence agriculture".

Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Cote de’Ivoire, North Korea head the list of the Failed States.

The list ends with the most stable states of the world: Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Ireland, Switzerland, New Zeeland, Iceland, Denmark, Austria and Canada are among the last ten states of the list.

By Aghavni Harutyunian

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.


In January-May of 2007 Armenia’s GDP grew by 10,2%

Jun 21, 2007, Armenia

Yerevan, June 21 /Mediamax/. The growth of Armenia’s GDP in January-May of 2007 totaled 10,2%, as compared to the same period of 2006.

As the press service of the National Statistical Service of Armenia told Mediamax today, the GDP volume in January-May of 2007 totaled 684339.8mln drams.

The volume of industrial production in the republic in January-May of 2007 stood at 265697.6mln drams, having increased by 1.2%, as compared to the same period of 2006.

The average monthly salary in Armenia in January-May of 2007 increased by 18.0%, as compared to the same period of 2006, thus making 71016 drams.

The salary of budget organizations has increased by 16.6%, making 52221 drams during the accounting period, and the salary of non-budget organizations stood at 88659 drams (growth – 18.0%).

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’s foreign trade turnover in January-May of 2007 increased by 39,1%, thus making over $1,5bln

Jun 21, 2007, Armenia

Yerevan, June 21 /Mediamax/. The foreign trade turnover of Armenia in January-May of 2007 totaled 551.8bln drams or $1536.33mln, having increased by 39,1% as compared to the same period of 2006.

As the press service of the National Statistical Service of Armenia told Mediamax today, the export volume during the accounting period made 152.0bln drams or $423.58mln, and the import volume totaled 399.8bln drams or $1112.75mln.

The deficit of the foreign trade balance in January-May of 2007 stood at 247.8bln drams or $689.17mln.

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.


Alrosa Considering $50 million Jewelry Retail Chain

Jun 17, 2007
IDEX Online, Israel
Online Staff Reporter

Russian diamond miner Alrosa has never limited itself solely to diamonds. The company is also involved in gold and other precious commodities. Now the miner is contemplating heading downstream with the establishment of a chain of diamond jewelry stores.

According to a report in the Russian Vedomosty newspaper, Alrosa is planning to invest $50 million in establishing the high-end retail operation. Vedomosty reports that the company is considering jewelry lines for men, women and children, with prices starting at $800.

Alrosa president Sergey Vybornov told Vedomosty, that Alrosa has the capacity to establish 50 shops in Moscow and other main cities within five years. He also said that the retail products may be manufactured outside of Russia, and suggested Armenia as a potential manufacturing location.

The plan has already drawn some criticism. Ararat Evoyan, vice president of the Russian Diamond Manufacturers Association, calls the project a “reckless scheme.”

To succeed in a jewelry production and retail operation, more the $50 million is needed, Evoyan said. Vybornov countered that the goal is to raise demand for diamonds.

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.


Refugee Day: Armenia hosts some 300,000 displaced

Jun 20, 2007, Armenia
By Siranouish Gevorgyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

The latest data published by the United Nations show that the number of refugees across the globe reached 10 million in 2006, growing by 14 percent on the previous year, and including more than 300,000 in Armenia. The Iraqi crisis is cited as the main reason for the increase. Since 2001, June 20 has been marked as the International Day of Refugees.

According to Head of the Department for Migration and Refugee Affairs Gagik Yeganyan, the precise figure of refugees staying in Armenia today will become clear very soon.

The UNHCR Yerevan Office jointly with the Migration Agency is currently taking a census of refugees and its findings are expected to be published within a month’s time.

About 400,000 people took refugee in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh because of the Karabakh conflict that broke out in 1988. Ethnographer Hranush Kharatyan says that a majority of refugees – some 360,000 – came to Armenia from Azerbaijan, and the other 40,000 came from other republics of the former USSR. Later, according to the ethnographer, many of the refugees abandoned Armenia because of heavy social conditions.

“In collaboration with the local authorities and the Danish Refugee Council, the [UNHCR] Office will help draft a new asylum law in accordance with international standards,” says the UNHCR Global Appeal reviewing the refugee situation in 2006.

The report also suggests that the conflict in the Middle East in 2006 saw about 600 mostly ethnic Armenians from Lebanon, Syria and Israel flee to Armenia and “250 of them have applied for asylum.”

The figure sharply differs from that of the Head of the Department for Migration and Refugee Affairs Gagik Yeganyan. He says some 1,000 citizens from the Middle East have applied for asylum in Armenia.

Housing is considered to be the biggest problem for refugees in Armenia today. According to the data of the “Ahazang” Non Governmental Organization attending to refugee problems, 4,500 refugee families are still in need of housing in Armenia today.

“Nascent national welfare structures, a tight UNHCR budget and the appreciation of the local currency against the U.S. dollar are the biggest constraints for durable solutions,” the U.N. report says.

In 2006, the United Nations allocated $1.5 million to Armenia for the needs of refugees. About the same amount of money will be allocated for the purpose this year.

The “Refugees and International Law” civil society network that embraces eight NGOs attending to refugee problems disseminated a statement yesterday, June 19, accusing Armenia’s authorities and international organizations of concealing refugee problems existing in the country.

“Don’t believe the upbeat statements that the problem of refugees has been mainly solved in Armenia. The problem of refugees does exist in Armenia and still awaits its solution,” the authors of the statement charge.

They, in particular, call regrettable what they describe as the irresponsibility of United Nations officials.

“They do everything not to deal with real problems,” the Network’s statement alleges.

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.



Jun 20, 2007
DeFacto Agency, Armenia

On the occasion of the World Refugee Day celebrated June 20 a Network of Civil Society "Refugees and International Law" has circulated a statement. The statement’s full text is provided below:

"The World Refugee Day is to be celebrated in the whole world June 20. It has been 19 years since hundreds of thousands of people were ousted from Azerbaijani SSR after atrocities, murders and pogroms committed by Azeri authorities and criminals against Soumgait’s Armenian population. Over half a million Armenians lost their families, personal and immovable property, were deprived of their right to Motherland. The losses they sustained are irreplaceable; however, today we want to draw our public’s attention to a circumstance, which is quite important in our opinion – for the last years corresponding officials did their best to prove their own nation and the whole world that the problem of refugees does not exist in Armenia, while for the same period the quantity of refugees and IDPs incomprehensibly doubled in Azerbaijan by the authorities’ efforts and currently the refugees in Azerbaijan "numbers" to a million. In both cases the targets have been "achieved" with the active participation of U. N., OSCE and some NGOs’ local officials. It should be noted that irresponsibility of U. N. officials in RA arouses regret. They do everything to avoid real problems. At the same time main responsibility for failed policy on refugees in Armenia rests with corresponding state structures.

Do not believe high-sounding statements that the problem of refugees has been mainly solved in Armenia. The problem of refugees in Armenia exists and it must be resolved".

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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Who is Azerbaijan trying to assure in high alertness of his army?


“Armed forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan are rather equipped and trained to settle the Karabakh problem by power of arms. We only need president’s order for it. However, not all possibilities of peaceful solution are expired yet. We think the peace method is the best variant to liberate occupied territories,” Spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan Eldar Sabiroglu stated, commenting on statements made by local public figures that it is necessary to forcefully settle the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

The Spokesman for the Azeri Defense Ministry called groundless some analytical reports in foreign press, according to which the army of Azerbaijan is weak and is not ready to fulfill successful military operations. “Those statements carry political hidden motives and do not reflect the reality. Our army is equipped with modern armaments, it has a high level of military discipline and moral spirit of servicemen,” he underlined, “Novosti-Armenia” reports.

During debates held in the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, senior associate at the American Foreign Policy Council Wayne Merry described Azerbaijan’s constant threats to start blitzkrieg as unreal. “Nagorno Karabakh is a natural stronghold, which was consolidated by the Armenian army. Even the U.S. army will face hardships in case of attacking it,” the expert said. “The Armenian Armed Forces excel their rival several times. It’s not a secret that Armenia has an army while Azerbaijan has ‘armed forces’ only,” Merry said. In his opinion, in case of resumption of war Azerbaijan will hope for human resources while Armenia will rely on armament and efficiency. Armenians will defend Karabakh while Azerbaijan will have to conquer it, what is unreal, he added. Taking into account these factors Merry considers that Azerbaijan will never succeed in settling the Nagorno Karabakh conflict by force. According to him, Baku’s military rhetoric constitutes a threat of war.

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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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Turkish Denier of Armenian Genocide Exposed!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

European Bank Warns Of Armenian Growth Pitfalls

Jun 19, 2007, Armenia
By Emil Danielyan

The ongoing appreciation of the dram will endanger continued economic growth in Armenia unless local companies increase their productivity, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

“Without faster productivity gains, a further appreciation of the Armenian currency would threaten the country’s competitiveness,” the EBRD warned in an explanatory appendix to an economic report that will be debated the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly next week.

The Armenian dram has gained more than 50 percent in nominal value against the U.S. dollar since the start of its dramatic rise in late 2003. The process slowed down in the first quarter of this year only to gain new momentum last month. Local manufacturing firms claim to have been hit hard by the dram’s appreciation, criticizing the Armenian authorities for their refusal to intervene in the foreign-exchange market.

The authorities and the Central Bank in particular have dismissed the criticism, arguing that the much stronger dram is the inevitable result of recent years’ surge in hard currency remittances sent home by hundreds of thousands of Armenians living and working abroad. They say the manufacturing sector can successfully adapt to the new reality with productivity gains.

Central Bank officials say the exchange rate fluctuation has also suppressed inflation which has remained in single digits despite the country’s robust economic growth. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund take a similar view, having repeatedly endorsed monetary policies pursued by the Armenian authorities. A senior IMF economist went farther late last month, saying that the dram’s strengthening has actually spurred economic growth.

The EBRD, by contrast, seems more worried about the trend. In an annual report issued last month, the London-based lending institution, which is tasked with facilitating former Communist countries’ transition to market-based economics, listed continued currency appreciation among factors which it believes pose “significant risks for the [Armenian] economy in the medium term.” The other factors included Armenia’s “vulnerability to commodity prices,” dependence on low-interest loans and grants from Western donors, and skyrocketing real estate prices.

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.



19 June, 2007
A1plus, Armenia

Aziz Tamoyan, the President of the National Union of Yezidi in Armenia made a rather constructive proposal to George Bush. The US Embassy in Armenia informed that his letter was translated and sent to George Bush but no answer was received yet.

The leader of Yezidi Union proposes George Bush: “Coming out of the interests of Yezidi nation living in Iraq, the National Union of Yezidi finds that a state should be founded in the Northern part of Iraq and named Yezidistan. The state may be under the US auspices and serve as an administrative territory for the US. Otherwise, the nation may become extinct”. To the question of A1+ whether Mr Tamoyan offered the territory of Iraq, he answered: “We think of Yezidi nation and we offer the territory where Yezidi lived for 5 thousand years. That is a holly place for us”.

Aziz Tamoyan assured that his proposal was agreed with all leaders of Yezidi communities in the world. He keeps in touch with them on the phone. Recently, Yezidi in Iraq called him and said that their situation was worsening.

Aziz Tamoyan considers himself “president of the whole Yezidi nation in the world”. He intends to travel around the world in the countries where Yezidi live. In his opinion, what happened to Armenians in 1915 is expecting Yezidi people living in the Northern part of Iraq. Aziz Tamoyan said that Yezidi in all parts of the world are going to organize demonstrations.

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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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Come share our rusty, resented radar

June 19, 2007
Putin's provocation
By Thomas Goltz

President Vladimir Putin's suggestion to President George W. Bush at the G-8 summit that the United States relocate its missile defense system from Eastern Europe took many by surprise, not only because of Putin's apparent (and sudden) acquiescence to the neo-Star Wars program, but also because of the alternative site he proposed: Azerbaijan.

Actually, the idea is not so strange.

Azerbaijan is in many ways the most logical place to set up an early warning system, if Bush's concerns are really about the future nuclear capabilities of Iran or terrorists in the larger Middle East.

Indeed, it was in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan - outside the town of Gabala on the southern slopes of the eastern Caucasus Mountains - that the Soviet Union erected its own massive early-warning radar system.

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The Soviet goal then was to interdict possible nefarious action by states such as Iran, then perceived as an American proxy under the late Shah Reza Pahlavi, as well as NATO-member Turkey and, more distantly, Israel.

Although antiquated now, Gabala continues to function as Russia's eyes and ears on the Middle East, picking up spy signals, it is said, from as far away as Cairo, Oman and the Indian Ocean.

More to the point, the station is a bone of contention between Azerbaijan and Russia, as it represents the last piece of Russian military presence in Azerbaijan. Another source of friction over the station is the claim, often repeated by local media, that the radar emits radiation that causes everything from infertility to cancer.

All Russian combat units left Azerbaijan in 1993 as part of a complex deal that may or may not have been part of a coup d'état in progress at the time.

The Russian generals apparently believed they would soon be back to re-establish their traditional zone of influence, only to be resisted by the very leader they were backing.

Heidar Aliyev, a former Politburo member and KGB general, saw Azerbaijan's future with the West and declined to let the Russian military back in.

Only the Gabala radar station remained.

After Baku agreed in 2006 to extend the lease on Gabala for another decade, the Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister, Araz Azimov, almost scoffed at the notion that Moscow's military was somehow sneaking back into the country. The technology at Gabala was already antiquated, he said, and he doubted the station would still be functional in five years.

So it was less surprising that Putin offered Bush the use of Gabala, than that he invited the Americans to set up shop in Azerbaijan at all.

After breaking out of the Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan fell almost immediately into internal political chaos and a losing war with neighboring Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh. Appeals to the United States for support, including an offer to let the Americans use Azerbaijan as a forward base in its tense relationship with Iran, fell largely on deaf ears in Washington.

But a massive infusion of oil wealth over the past few years, and a strong-handed sort of stability established by Aliyev and carried on since his death by his son Ilham Aliyev has made Azerbaijan quite a different place than it was when the Soviet military left in 1993.

So, what is Putin's gambit all about? One explanation is that he wants to put American radar where it would be looking out of Russia, rather than in.

Another is that in "ceding" the last piece of Russian military presence in Azerbaijan to the United States, Putin means to shift the onus of a foreign presence to the Americans, and then wait for resentment to well up among the population at large.

Another is that by bringing in the Americans into a joint military installation in Gabala, Russia will have gained a binding legal presence in Azerbaijan for the first time in almost 15 years - at least until the Americans leave (or are asked to leave, as in Uzbekistan).

Thomas Goltz, a visiting scholar on Caucasus affairs at the University of Montana's Central and Southwest Asia Studies Program, is the author of "Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter's Adventures in an Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic."

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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There are no reasons for USA to worry about Armenia-Iran deepening cooperation


There are no reasons for the United States to worry about Armenia-Iran deepening cooperation, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian stated to journalists on Tuesday commenting on U.S. Charge d’Affaires Anthony Godfrey’s statement. “Our relations with all countries, and particularly with our neighbors have always been transparent. There are no reasons for the USA to worry about Armenia-Iran deepening cooperation,” the minister said.

According to the Armenian FM Armenia and the United States have established active dialog in economic, political and security issues. Oskanian assured that Armenia does not have any problems in the relations with the USA, including in the relations with Iran, “Novosti-Armenia” reports.

On June 15 U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Armenia Anthony Godfrey stated in Yerevan that the United States is concerned over the development of cooperation between Armenia and Iran. Godfrey noticed the USA calls on the Armenian government to assist Washington and the international community in the process of convincing Iran of the necessity to fulfill its international commitments.

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Taner Akcam filed application against Turkey to European Court of Human Rights

"Dr. Akhavan. "Limitations on freedom of speech should apply to hate speech, not to speech against hate."
Professor Taner Akcam, a Turkish scholar and Visiting Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, filed an application before the European Court of Human Rights against the Republic of Turkey, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The complaint is based on the criminal investigation launched against him earlier this year under Turkish Penal Code Article 301, for “insulting Turkishness” by having publicly used the term "genocide" to describe the mass murder of Armenians in 1915.

Despite its changed wording over time, Article 301 remains prominent among the many enduring obstacles in Turkey’s path to membership of the European Union. The same law has in recent years been the basis for the prosecution of other leading Turkish intellectuals, writers, journalists and academics on similar grounds. The most notable victims of Article 301 include Nobel Prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, recently assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and publisher Fatih Tas.

The Court, based in Strasbourg, France, enforces the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It rules over private individuals’ complaints against human rights violations committed by signatory States. Turkey signed the Convention in 1954.

"Facing history and coming to terms with past human rights abuses is not a crime but a prerequisite for peace and reconciliation in the region," says Professor Akcam. "My goal is to help Turkey realize its full potential to evolve into a truly free and democratic society. This cannot happen if Turkey continues to criminalize academic discussion." His legal team is headed by Dr. Payam Akhavan, former UN war crimes prosecutor and professor of international law at McGill University in Montreal. "In a world where Holocaust denial is a crime, state-sanctioned denial of genocide is all the more reproachable," says Dr. Akhavan. "Limitations on freedom of speech should apply to hate speech, not to speech against hate."

The Court will examine Professor Akcam’s application and rule on its admissibility within one year. If the application is declared admissible, the Court will then encourage the parties to reach a friendly settlement. Only if no settlement can be reached will the Court consider whether or not there has been a violation of the Convention. Should the Court find that there has been such violation, it will deliver a judgment which will legally bind Turkey to comply.

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In various legal actions against "Agos" newspaper staff, some acquitted, others still facing charges

IFEX, Canada - Jun 19, 2007
Country/Topic: Turkey
Date: 19 June 2007
Source: IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET)
Person(s): Serkis Seropyan, Arat Dink, Karin Karakasli, Aydın Engin
Target(s): editor(s) , journalist(s)
Type(s) of violation(s): acquitted , legal action
Urgency: Bulletin

(BIANET/IFEX) - Charges against the late editor-in-chief of "Agos" newspaper, Hrant Dink, of "degrading Turkishness" and "attempting to influence the judiciary" were dropped after he was murdered on 19 January 2007. However, on 14 June, prosecutor Mücahit Ercan demanded that Serkis Seropyan, the owner of "Agos", and the managing editor Arat Dink (Dink's son) be punished in the same case.

Ercan said, "We believe that the accused are degrading Turkishness by suggesting, contrary to historical truth and without proof, that a people were destroyed by Turks." He called for their punishment under articles 301 and 53.

The hearing, which took place in a penal court in Sisli, Istanbul, was observed by Halil Ibrahim Özcan, the Turkish PEN Imprisoned Writers' Committee president; Zeynep Taskin, a representative of the Heinrich Böll Foundation; and human rights activist Füsun Celiköz. The judge, Metin Aydin, closed the hearing to the public and the media.

In an interview with Reuters News Agency published on 21 July 2006, entitled "One Signature against 301", Hrant Dink had said that he believed that an "Armenian genocide" had happened. He said: "Of course I say that there was a genocide because the result speaks for itself. You can see that a people who lived on this soil for 4,000 years disappeared after those events."

Regarding his father's comments, Arat Dink stated that "I cannot deny myself, my history and my identity. These comments of mine have also made the front pages of Turkish newspapers before, but there was never a trial. That is because at the time there was no operation to 'show me my place'". Seropyan said, "If it were necessary to collect signatures against article 301 again, I would do it".

The defendants' lawyer, Fethiye Cetin, claimed that the trial was only continuing because her clients were newsworthy. She pleaded for their acquittal, citing the dismissal of historian Taner Akcam's case as a precedent.

Lawyer Erdal Dogan stated that the cases against the "Agos" representatives were indefensible in the light of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

In a separate case, Karin Karakasli, an "Agos" editor who received a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment for publishing a series of articles on "Armenian identity", was acquitted after the Supreme Court of Appeals ordered a retrial.

In yet another case, against "Agos" journalist Aydın Engin, as well as Seropyan and Arat Dink, concerning an article by Engin entitled "The judiciary needs to be disturbed", Dink and Seropyan were acquitted, but Engin still faces one charge of "insulting the panel of judges". On request of the defence, which had not taken part in the deliberations, the case was slated to continue on 18 July.


For further information contact Nadire Mater at BIANET, Faikpasa Yokusu, No. 41, Antikhane, Kat: 3, D.8-9, Cukurcuma, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey, tel: +90 212 251 1503, fax: +90 212 251 1609, e-mail:, Internet:

** New case and update to IFEX alerts on the Arat Dink, Seropyan and Engin cases of 2 April 2007 and 6 July 2006**


- Two more suspects in Dink murder arrested; "Agos" editors' charges still pending; publisher avoids court hearing for fear of safety
- Editor's trial adjourned until December as judicial harassment continues

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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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

As in 1915 the Turkish Government Once Again Tries to Silence Armenians

June 19, 2007
Armenian National Committee of Canada
Comité National Arménien du Canada
130 Albert St., Suite/Bureau 1007
Ottawa, ON
Tel./Tél. (613) 235-2622 Fax/Téléc. (613) 238-2622
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kevork Manguelian

As in 1915 the Turkish Government Once Again Tries to Silence Armenians

Arat Dink Charged with “Denigrating the Turkish National Identity”

Ottawa--Arat Dink, the editor of Istanbul-based “Agos” weekly and the son of assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and three of his colleagues at weekly have been charged with “denigrating Turkishness,” according to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The three other journalists charged with Dink are Serkis Seropyan, Aydin Engin and Karin Karakashli. Dink's father was gunned down by a Turkish utranationalist outside the "Agos" offices on 19 January.

The Istanbul persecutor office has charged the “Agos” staff for publishing, on July 2006, an interview with the Reuters news agency, in which the late Hrant Dink had referred to the 1915 Armenian Genocide. The Dink’s family lawyer, Erdal Dogal, has also been charged.

During last Thursday's hearing the Turkish prosecutors called for a prison sentence of up to three years for Arat Dink. According to the Anatolia News Agency, Arat Dink accused judges of contributing to his father's death by making him a target, thanks to their high-profile judicial proceedings. Dink is reported to have also said: "I think it is primitive, absurd and dangerous to consider as an insult to Turkish identity the recognition of a historic event as a genocide."

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the decision to prosecute Dink and his colleagues. “Once again we have to denounce the use of article 301 of the criminal code, which is a threat to freedom of expression,” said Reporters Without Borders.

“We call on the Canadian Government and the international community to declare Turkey a pariah nation and to take serious measures to force Turkey to acknowledge its predecessors' crimes against humanity," said Aris Babikian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC). "Canada, the United Nations, the European Union, and other international organizations and fora should stop treating Turkey with kid gloves and should hold Turkey accountable.

“Furthermore, Article 301 is an impediment to freedom of expression. It is intended to silence dissidents who dare to challenge the official line of the Turkish Government on the Armenian Genocide. The civilized world can not become an accomplice to Genocide denial and in fomenting intolerance, hatred and xenophobia,” said Babikian.

The ANCC executive director concluded his comments by drawing to the attention of politicians, the media and the public that the charges against “Agos" journalists are a "clear manifestation that the Turkish Government is not sincere in its so-called offers of dialogue and reconciliation with the Armenian people. These political maneuverings are nothing more than public relations stunts and diversions to avoid addressing the real issue between the two nations.”


The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots political organization. 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 Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.

Regional Chapters/Sections régionales

Montréal – Laval – Ottawa – Toronto – Hamilton – Cambridge – St. Catharines – Windsor – Vancouver

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Jun 19, 2007
DeFacto Agency, Armenia -

26 MPs supported the analogous document in 2006, while in 2003 it was supported by 63 MPs, an independent French journalist Jean Ekiyan told PanARMENIAN.Net.
The resolution is expected to receive more support in the course of presenting ‘’Darfur and Armenia’’ report at the House of Commons June 27. At the measure British PM Gordon Brown, a historian, will present his stand on the issue “Genocide Denial and the UK Government’s Ethical Foreign Policy”.

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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Nevertheless, EU Special Representative in South Caucasus to visit Nagorno Karabakh

Jun 19, 2007
PanARMENIAN.Net, Armenia

EU Special Representative Peter Semneby’s visit to the Nagorno Karabakh Republic will take place in the near future, NKR President Arkadi Ghukassian told journalists in Yerevan commenting on Special Representative’s canceled trip to Nagorno Karabakh because of unknown reasons on June 16.

Instead of P. Semneby his advisors –Mark Fawcett and Kaupo Kand visited NKR, who prepared the coming visit of the Special Representative. P. Semneby himself will visit Nagorno Karabakh in the near future,” Ghukassian said, “Novosti-Armenia” reports.

EU Special Representative Peter Semneby returned Yerevan on his halfway to Stepanakert. Still there is no information on this decision of the diplomat. In Nagorno Karabakh meetings were scheduled between Peter Semneby, NKR President Arkadi Ghukassian, Foreign Minister Georgi Petrossian and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

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Nobody in Armenia and NKR knows why Peter Semneby canceled his scheduled visit to Karabakh


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia still does not possess any information why EU Special Representative in Southern Caucasus Peter Semneby canceled his scheduled visit to Nagorno Karabakh during his regional tour. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian stated that after it happened he did not have any chance to meet P. Semneby himself to clear up the situation. At the same time the minister noted one of these days a meeting between P. Semneby and an Armenian diplomat is scheduled in Brussels, during which he will give reasons for what happened. “When we have any information, it will be possible to comment on that case,” Oskanian stated.

In his part President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Arkadi Ghukassian answering the same question said during his meeting with the EU Special Representative’s advisors they assured that currently P. Semneby plans to pay a visit to Stepanakert, IA Regnum reports. On June 16 EU Special Representative in Southern Caucasus Peter Semneby departed for Nagorno Karabakh. However, on the halfway to Stepanakert he changed the route and returned to Yerevan. There are no explanations for this decision both from officials in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and from Semneby’s political advisors – Mark Fawcett and Kaupo Kand, who visited Stepanakert instead of P. Semneby himself June 16-17.

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Kocharian Honors Slain Turkish-Armenian Editor

Jun 18, 2007, Armenia
By Gayane Danielian

President Robert Kocharian publicly honored on Monday the assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink with a posthumous state award granted each year to prominent individuals in recognition of their contribution to Armenian culture and science.

Dink was among 18 writers, artists, and scientists awarded this year from a special presidential endowment set up with the help of French-Armenian philanthropist Robert Bogossian in 2001.

Kocharian singled out the late editor of the Istanbul-based Armenian weekly “Agos” for special praise as he addressed a solemn award-giving ceremony in his office attended by Dink’s wife, daughter and brother. He cited Dink’s contribution to “restoration of historical justice, mutual understanding between peoples, freedom of speech, and protection of human rights.”

“It was a big loss for our people,” Kocharian said of the editor’s shock assassination. “I want to assure members of his family that we will always remember Hrant Dink, that Armenia is also a home for his family, that we are always happy to see them in Armenia,” he added.

Dink’s widow Rakel was given a standing ovation as she received the $5,000 prize from Kocharian. “We will find the power to endure our pain,” she said in a brief speech.

Dink was shot dead outside the “Agos” offices in Istanbul last January by a young ultranationalist Turk furious with his public references to the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The murder was universally condemned in and outside Turkey and led to an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy for Dink, his family and Armenians in general by tens of thousands of ordinary Turks. But it also provoked a nationalist backlash, raising questions about the security of the country’s small Armenian community.

Speaking to RFE/RL, Rakel Dink said she and other members of her family are not yet considering leaving Turkey despite mounting security concerns within the embattled community. Asked whether they might eventually emigrate to Armenia, she said: “It could happen, but there is no such urgency now.”

Last Thursday Turkish prosecutors called for a prison sentence of up to three years for Dink’s son Arat, who now edits “Agos,” and his colleague Serikis Seropyan for republishing a 2006 interview in which his father made a case for genocide recognition. They accused the two men of “denigrating Turkishness.” Hrant Dink was given a six-month suspended sentence on the same charge several months before his assassination.

At a court hearing in Istanbul, Arat Dink accused judges of contributing to his father's death by making him a target thanks to their high-profile judicial proceedings. "I think it is primitive, absurd and dangerous to consider as an insult to Turkish identity the recognition of a historic event as a genocide," he said, quoted by the Anatolia news agency.

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.


USA, Armenia Diamond Trading -10% in 2006

Jun 18, 2007, NY
By Jeff Miller

RAPAPORT... The United States has made a concerted effort to help Armenia during transition from totalitarianism and a command economy into democracy and open markets. Under government sponsored programs the United States has provided nearly $1.5 billion in humanitarian and technical assistance for Armenia in the past 15 years.

In 1992 Armenia signed three agreements with the United States affecting trade between the two countries. The United States considers that diamond trading between the two nations is an important player in commerce. The agreements were ratified by Armenia's Parliament in September 1995 and entered into force in the beginning of 1996. They include an "Agreement on Trade Relations," an "Investment Incentive Agreement," and a treaty on the "Reciprocal Encouragement and Protection of Investment."

Armenia's diamond trade overall however has hit a rough patch in the past two years. Armenia reported a 35 percent decline in rough imports from all nations for the first couple of months in 2007, following an overall diamond export drop of 20 percent in 2006 to $212 million.

Interestingly enough, diamond imports and exports between Armenia and the United States experienced a transition in 2006. Overall diamond trade fell 9.8 percent to $9.9 million. Armenia exported $1.7 million in polished goods to the United States, a drop of 78 percent from 2005. And yet polished exports from the states to Armenia in 2006 rose 196 percent to $8 million. Rough imports from the states dropped 76 percent to $170,000. A slight majority of goods traded were in excess of 0.50 carats.

So far in 2007 (January through April) polished imports from Armenia to the United States is flat at about $421,000. Polished exports to Armenia from the states has dropped 59 percent to about $273,000.

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.


USD 350 Million in First Quarter Remittances from Russia to Caucasus

Monday, June 18, 2007, #113 (1380), Georgia
By M. Alkhazashvili

People in Russia sent USD 350 million to the South Caucasus in the first quarter of 2007. Most of the transferred money was destined for Armenia; Georgia received the least, according to the news agency Regnum.

Transfers from South Caucasus countries to Russia were USD 21 million in the same period, with the majority of the money coming from Armenia.

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.


Arkady Ghukasian and EU representatives discussed implementation of EU programs in NKR


Nagorno Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian received political advisors to EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus to discuss possible proposals and approaches to expansion of humanitarian and rehabilitation programs implemented in the region by the European Union.

The experts said discussion of works to be carried out in NKR for establishment of mutual trust in the region will take place in the framework of upcoming visit of EU Envoy Peter Semneby to Stepanakert.

By the guests’ request Mr Ghukasian commented on Karabakh’s vision of the conflict settlement as well as on approaches to programs realized under the aegis of European structures in Nagorno Karabakh, the NKR President’s press office reported.

! 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.


Armenian parliamentary deputy speaker: Yerevan must toughen its position in Karabakh talks

Jun 18, 2007
Regnum, Russia

Statements that the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement has exhausted itself is an Azerbaijani idea and the Armenian side must not pick up the idea, member of the Dashnaktsutyun ARF Bureau, Armenian Parliamentary Deputy Speaker Vahan Hovhannisyan announced at a news conference in Yerevan today. A REGNUM correspondent quotes him as saying that the OSCE MG co-chairs have done a serious work and none of international institutions like the Council of Europe, or the UN or even the CIS, has such a professional and peculiar team like the OSCE Minsk Group. “It is too early now to state the task of the group is exhausted. We are satisfied with their activity and we see development, a more profound understanding of the issue and reflection of this understanding in the documents they propose, which naturally angers Azerbaijan,” the deputy speaker said.

Hovhannisyan believes that under the current condition the OSCE MG co-chairs have done the utmost. Despite alternative statements made by Armenia and Azerbaijan, they managed to create a document that at least was capable of becoming a basis for the settlement. The problem is Azerbaijan’s position, the deputy speaker believes. “I believe that from now on Armenia must toughen its position and introduce two tasks into the agenda: until Azerbaijan announces what concessions it is ready to make, we shall not discuss the issue. The second task is Nagorno Karabakh’s participation in the negotiation process,” he stressed. By present moment, says Hovhannisyan, Azerbaijan does not give up attempts to transfer the settlement issue from the OSCE to the United Nations. “Azerbaijan understands it fully that more Muslim countries are represented in the UN that do not understand the gist of the conflict, but grounding on the religious solidarity will vote, as it often happens, for a pro-Azerbaijani resolution,” the politician stressed. Commenting on statements that recognition of Kosovo independence cannot become a precedent for settling other territorial conflicts, the deputy speaker noted that such statements do not cost a cent as it would be impossible to explain to the Karabakh or any other nation why they are not allowed to have what the Albanians have. “I am sure that recognition of Kosovo independence will become a precedent for settlement of other territorial conflicts,” he noted.

Speaking about presidential election in Nagorno Karabakh, Hovhannisyan stressed that the national interests claim for a smooth change of power in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. He also assured that elections in Nagorno Karabakh have always been much more democratic than in other neighboring countries, including Armenia, and expressed confidence that this would happen at the forthcoming election too.

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.


Armenian Genocide Recognition is the Government of Canada Policy

June 18,2007
Armenian National Committee of Canada
Comité National Arménien du Canada
130 Albert St., Suite/Bureau 1007
Ottawa, ON
Tel./Tél. (613) 235-2622 Fax/Téléc. (613) 238-2622
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kevork Manguelian

Armenian Genocide Recognition is the Government of Canada Policy

PM Harper condemns foreign representatives' interference in Canadian domestic affairs

Toronto- During a roundtable discussion with the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) on June 15, in a response to Horizon Weekly representative and the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, Aris Babikian, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, reaffirmed that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Canada is a government policy and not “the position of the elected guys” as some insubordinate civil servants tried to represent.

The Prime Minister emphasized that “Canada’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide” is sometimes not easy “for the foreign service of Canada” to accept. The Prime Minister made it clear that the “ultimate position of the elected government is the position of the Government of Canada.”

Furthermore, in a response to NEPMCC President Tom Saras’ query about the interference in Canadian internal affairs of representatives of foreign governments and pressuring or coercion of Canadians and Canadian organizations to follow certain policies, the Prime Minister condemned such practices and said that he found it “unacceptable” for these diplomats to pursue such interference.

He reminded members of the media that as head of “the Government of Canada I cannot tell you what (to) write in your newspaper and foreign governments cannot tell what to write.”

Mr. Saras query refereed to a recent attempt by the Turkish Embassy to silence Mr. Saras after his condemnation of the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The Turkish Embassy launched a vicious campaign to discredit Mr. Saras and called for his resignation as NEPMCC president.

“We are proud to have such an honourable, moral, and visionary Prime Minister as Mr. Harper,” Jean Mgerditchian, president of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC). “After the Prime Minister's unambiguous clarification, we call on our civil servant to comply to the policies of the executive and legislative government vis-a-vis the Armenian Genocide,” concluded Mgerditchian.

Some 45 ethnic and mainstream media representatives attended the roundtable discussion.

The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots political organization. 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 Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.

Regional Chapters/Sections régionales

Montréal – Laval – Ottawa – Toronto – Hamilton – Cambridge – St. Catharines – Windsor – Vancouver

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Churches Meet to Review Links with European Institutions

Monday, June 18, 2007
ChristianToday, UK

“Churches in Europe and Intercultural Dialogue” is the motto of this year’s plenary meeting of the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches, currently taking place in Armenia.

At the invitation of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the 25-member Commission and a number of guests and representatives from CEC associated organisations across 21 European countries have joined together in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, near the capital city of Yerevan.

“We have chosen the main theme of this year’s plenary meeting to reflect the process in the Council of Europe leading to a white paper on intercultural dialogue and because of the churches’ preparations for the 2008 European Year on Intercultural Dialogue,” said Rev Rüdiger Noll, Director of the Church and Society Commission and Associate General Secretary of CEC.

He continued: “We could not have found a better place for our discussions than Armenia, where the church is so much linked to the culture of the country.

“We are grateful for the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church for having invited us. We are eagerly looking forward to learn more about the spiritual life and the role in society of one of the oldest churches in Europe. The context in Armenia will make us look on Europe from beyond the borders of the European Union.”

The main theme of the plenary meeting, an annual event, was to be introduced with a key note address by Ulrich Bunjes from the office of the Coordinator for Intercultural Dialogue of the Council of Europe.

The Church and Society Commission links CEC’s 125 member churches from all over Europe and its 40 associated organisations with the European institutions.

The meeting will review the work of the Commission and its working groups in different areas, such as European integration, family policies, human rights and religious freedom, corporate social responsibility, environment and employment.

The Commission will also adopt its work programme for 2007/08. The new work programme is expected to highlight issues such as the developments toward an EU treaty and a public discussion on the role of religion in the public sphere.

The meeting began last Friday and will conclude this Tuesday.

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.


Turkey’s military to military ties with Russia growing

Today's Zaman, Turkey

Military relations between Turkey and Russia have been growing as Turkish Air Forces Commander Gen.

Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül paid a three-day visit to Moscow Sept. 15 last year upon invitation from Russian Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov.

Faruk Cömert, in what is said to be the first visit by a Turkish Air Forces commander to this country since the establishment of diplomatic relations 87 years ago, returned home last Friday with the decision to set up a hot line between the two countries' air force commanders. Cömert was reciprocating the visit of the then Russian air force commander to Turkey in 2004.

But both Turkish and Russian diplomatic and military sources ruled out that the growing trust between the militaries of both countries, reflected in the increased high-level military visits by top commanders, should be interpreted as part of an alleged growing tendency within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to liken itself to the rather tough Russian military.

"Russia does not think that Turkey's acting like the bad boy of NATO will serve Russia's interests. On the contrary, Moscow has been seeking good relations with NATO and a good NATO ally like Turkey will serve and currently serves the Russian interest. For example, it was through Turkish intervention that Russia participated in this year's European and NATO navy commanders' meeting, held once a year," said a Russian military analyst in Moscow to Today's Zaman in a telephone interview.

A hot line contact already exists between the navy commanders of both countries with the primary goal of diffusing any tension that might erupt in the Black Sea as Moscow decided to join in late December of last year the Turkey-initiated Black Sea Harmony operation to monitor and deter all sorts of asymmetric threats including the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction and human trafficking.

Russia appointed almost a month ago a lieutenant colonel as a liaison officer to the Karadeniz Ereğlisi, the Turkish headquarters for the Black Sea Harmony operation. Confidential communication systems required to ensure the success of the operations within Black Sea Harmony have already been coordinated between the navies of both countries.

A joint Turkish-Russian Black Sea Harmony operation will also mark the first time that the navies of the two former foes, until the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, will jointly operate against threats.

Turkey has been providing NATO with information on its findings in the Black Sea concerning asymmetric threats via the Black Sea Harmony operation.

But Ankara declined to allow heavy US involvement in the Black Sea through NATO's Active Endeavour operations in the Mediterranean over fears that it might pave the way for revisions in the 1936 Montreux Treaty, which gives Turkey control over the strategic Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.

Economic interests as well as security enhancement are now at stake in this energy-rich, strategically important Black Sea region.

With the membership of Bulgaria and Romania in NATO in 2004 and to the EU in 2007, Russia’s influence in the Black Sea region, a strategically crucial area connecting the Balkans with the Caucasus as well as East and Central Europe with Turkey, has declined while US influence has increased.

By joining the Black Sea Harmony operations Russia, thus, seeks to neutralize the US in the Black Sea.

Ankara has the best and the most Western-oriented naval force in the region while Russia, though deprived of ownership of the now Ukrainian shipyard on the Black Sea, holds one of the best naval powers and has been building a naval base at its oil cargo hub at Novorossiisk.

In addition to now being a party to the Black Sea Harmony operation initiated by Turkey in 2004, Russia is also a member of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation task force, known as Blackseafor, which aims to enhance cooperation between Black Sea navies.

Despite growing military to military relations between Turkey and Russia, the level of ties between the two countries in military procurement projects has not been satisfying Moscow.

In the past seven years Russia has not even been able to sell one bullet to Ankara, says the Russian military sources that Today’s Zaman contacted by telephone in Moscow.

“For a military industry relationship to be established between Turkey and Russia, we may perhaps need trust to be further achieved between the militaries of both countries,” said a retired Turkish general.

Russia declines to bid in satellite and long-range missile projects

With Turkey a NATO member since 1952, the Turkish military tradition of using Western weaponry systems, meanwhile, plays an important factor in the failure of a sound defense industry cooperation ties to be set up between the two countries, said Turkish defense industry experts.

But at the same Turkish experts also recall that Turkey has entered into cooperation with South Korea and lately with Pakistan despite Ankara’s reluctance in setting up a sound defense industry cooperation with Russia.

As a strong sign of Russian dissatisfaction over the alleged negative Turkish approach to forge defense industry ties with this country, Russian companies declined to bid in Turkey’s satellite acquisition project estimated to cost around $250 million as well as the acquisition of four long-range aerial missiles worth around $1.2 billion.

In addition, Russia neither sent an official delegation to the eighth International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF07) held in Ankara in late May nor were its defense companies ready at the fair except for a Kazan defense industry company stand opened with only few representatives from the company.

This runs contrary to the earlier high Russian presence at Turkish defense industry fairs.

According to the Russian military sources in Moscow that Today’s Zaman interviewed, the main reason for Russian frustration that has prompted it to decline in participating in Turkey’s two major projects stem from the Russian feeling that its country, known for its still strong arms industry, were being used by Turkey.

The Russian invitation as a second runner in now the cancelled attack helicopter project in the second half of the 1990s to force US Bell to reduce its price in King Cobra helicopters continue the bitter feeling that Russia has been experiencing over what it has perceived as being used by Ankara against the US.

Turkey and Russia have joint defense committee meetings held once a year, with the last one taking place in November of last year in Ankara.

Turkey has turned down a Russian offer to negotiate at government levels on selling satellite and long range S-300 missiles to Turkey instead of competing in both tenders.

Russia sought to negotiate directly with the Turkish government instead of bidding in both projects due to a strong belief on the Russian side that Moscow has been quite good and famous in both systems that it did not have to compete.

US companies which can no longer compete in Turkish tenders due to what they term as tough procurement terms and conditions that seek among other things government approval of export licenses as a condition for the companies to bid in the projects have also been seeking equipment sales on Foreign Military Sales (FMS) conditions that do not allow much room for maneuvering in boosting Turkish defense industry.

US Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are bidding in Turkey’s long-range missile project with Patriots under FMS conditions.

Turkey released a Request for Information (RfI) early in March of this year for the acquisition of four long-range air and missile defense systems code named T-Loramids to meet the requirements of the Turkish Air Forces Command.

The TSK has long been planning to acquire long-range missiles to strengthen its capabilities to deter both ballistic and conventional missile threats.

Russia also believed that there has been a political decision in Turkey to buy US Patriots and that there has been no reason for Russia to compete in this project for nothing.

However, in addition to Russia, the US as well as French and South Korean companies declined to bid in Turkey’s 0.8 resolution reconnaissance and surveillance satellite system acquisition project code named Gokturk and opened for competition in late 2006.

The UK’s EADS Astrium, Israel’s IAI, Germany’s OHB-SYSTEM as well as Italy’s TELESPAZIO companies responded to the Request for Proposals (RfP) released on July 14, 2006 by the Undersecretariat of the Defense Industry (SSM) and terminated on Dec. 18.

US Lockheed Martin, which earlier showed interest in the project, did not respond to the RfP due to the existing problem of the terms and conditions of the Turkish military contracts.

In the meantime, Russian companies have decided to compete in Turkey’s acquisition of anti-tank missiles as well as heavy lift helicopter tenders with the belief that in both projects Russia will seriously be taken into consideration.

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.