Friday, February 15, 2008


Friday, February 15, 2008
Eurasia Daily Monitor, DC
By Gareth Jenkins
Erdogan was called by his critics a wolf in sheep's clothing. Now that clothing has come off, so that the world sees as he is. Nothing wrong in insisting that Turks should keep their heritage alive in Germany and elsewhere. The problem is while he is saying "assimilation is a crime against humanity", he is not admitting that Turkey has a strong policy of assimilating its minorities since 1923. While he is saying that genocide does not exist in the Turkish culture he is ignoring the genocidal policy against the Armenian population by the Young Turks rulers during 1915-1923. I find this a shame.
The recent angry exchanges between the Turkish and German governments over the integration of Turks living in Germany have highlighted the increasing vulnerability of Turkish policy to the personality of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On February 10, Erdogan told an audience of around 18,000 Turks in the German city of Cologne that they should resist attempts to assimilate them into German society but should remain faithful to their Turkish traditions (Hurriyet, Milliyet, Yeni Safak, Zaman, Sabah, February 11).

Erdogan had already clashed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the education of the Turks living in Germany. Approximately 2.5 million people of Turkish origin currently live in Germany, around one-third of whom have German citizenship. Erdogan insists that the priority of children of Turkish origin should be to learn Turkish, with German as a second language. He has called for an increase in the number of Turkish schools in Germany and even promised to send teachers from Turkey. In contrast, Merkel has called on all those living in Germany to prioritize learning German in order to facilitate their integration into German society and ensure their full access to public services and employment. She condemned Erdogan’s speech in Cologne and pointedly remarked: “We shall have to continue debating our understanding of integration issues with the Turkish prime minister” (Anatolian Agency, February 11).

Merkel’s statement triggered an angry response from Erdogan. On February 12, he told a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), “Assimilation is a crime against humanity. I may think differently from Merkel on this matter but I explicitly declare that nobody can dictate to the Turkish community to assimilate” (Hurriyet, February 13).

On February 13, Erdogan went one step further. “We may not agree with Mrs. Merkel on the subject of assimilation and integration. This is true. In any case, if I act according to what she thinks then I am not myself. Nor are we ourselves. We have no desire to be like them” (Milliyet, February 14).


Erdogan’s latest outburst will have done little to persuade the opponents of Turkish accession in the EU of the error of their ways. Indeed it will have further alienated the very country that Turkey needs most to convince. Relations with France, the other main opponent of Turkish accession, are currently extremely tense, not least over France’s recognition of the Armenian genocide. There appears little prospect of an imminent improvement. But the same could not have been said about Germany. Over the last 18 months, Merkel had reduced the references in her public speeches to her opposition to full Turkish membership. There was hope that the two countries could at least engage in a productive dialogue without being held hostage to public rhetoric. These hopes have now suffered a severe blow. Perhaps most bewilderingly, Erdogan’s outburst came just weeks after a number of Turkish officials, including Gul and Babacan, responded to criticism of the AKP’s reluctance to implement the reforms required for EU membership by promising that 2008 would be “the year of the EU.”

But even more bewildered will be the members of Turkey’s non-Turkish minorities, particularly by Erdogan’s declaration that “assimilation is a crime against humanity.” Over the years, particularly in the predominantly Kurdish southeast and the Laz-speaking northeast of Turkey, the Turkish authorities have changed the names of thousands of villages and hamlets and replaced them with Turkish names. Non-Turkish minorities still face restrictions on the use of their languages and even the names that they can call their children. Unlike in Germany, anyone who takes Turkish citizenship is almost automatically required to assume a new Turkish name. While Erdogan’s insistence on Turks in Germany being educated in their mother tongue is in marked contrast to his refusal to allow education in minority languages such as Kurdish inside Turkey.

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, February 14, 2008

In Turkey, a Patriarch in Dire Straits

By John Couretas

With the release of a new book, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I -- best known as the Orthodox Church's Green Patriarch for his environmental activism -- offers a concise summary of the Eastern Christian tradition and views on a wide range of social issues.

The publication of Bartholomew's "Encountering the Mystery" next month arrives at a time of deep crisis for the patriarchate, a crisis that has registered little interest among Europe's secularized political classes or, for that matter, Christians outside the Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, located in Istanbul on the historic East-West crossroads of the Bosporus Straits, has been suffering a slow asphyxiation for decades. And it is not at all certain that this ancient see of the Church, the living witness of a Byzantine Christianity that has proclaimed the Gospel since the establishment of Constantinople in the fourth century -- indeed since the time of the Apostles -- will survive.

Bartholomew, a Turkish citizen, presides over a flock of Orthodox Christians that has shrunk to 3,000-4,000 members, one of the smallest religious minorities in a land of 72 million people that is 99 percent Muslim. The other constitutionally recognized minorities include some 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians and 23,000 Jews. But there are significant minorities of non-Muslim believers, including Syriac Orthodox, Baha'is, Protestants, and Roman Catholics.

Who will follow?

By law, Bartholomew must choose a successor who is a Turkish citizen and thus subject to a constitution that enshrines the modern, secularist principles formulated by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the national hero who established the modern state of Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. But the patriarchate has long been viewed with suspicion by Turkish nationalists who see it as a "foreign" institution that often sided with Greece in the centuries-old, warring rivalry with Turkey.

In 1971, the Turkish government shut down Halki, the partriarchal seminary on Heybeliada Island in the Sea of Marmara. And it has progressively confiscated Orthodox Church properties, including the expropriation of the Bûyûkada Orphanage for Boys on the Prince's Islands (and properties belonging to an Armenian Orthodox hospital foundation). These expropriations happen as religious minorities report problems associated with opening, maintaining, and operating houses of worship. Many services are held in secret. Indeed, Turkey is a place where proselytizing for Christian and even Muslim minority sects can still get a person hauled into court on charges of "publicly insulting Turkishness." This law has also been used against journalists and writers, including novelist Orhan Pamuk for mentioning the Armenian genocide and Turkey's treatment of the Kurds.

In a 2005 report on the Halki Seminary controversy, the Turkish think tank TESEV examined what it called the "the illogical legal grounds" behind the closing and how it violates the terms of the 1923 peace treaty of Lausanne signed by Turkey and Europe's great powers. TESEV concluded that "the contemporary level of civil society and global democratic principles established by the state, are in further contradiction with the goal to become an EU member." And, because of its inability to train Turkish candidates for the priesthood, TESEV warned: "It is highly probable that the Patriarchate will not be able to find Patriarch candidates within 30-40 years and thus, will naturally fade away."

The patriarch's solution to Turkey's problems -- and that of religious minorities -- is to move the country to a more Western model of tolerance and religious freedom by bringing it into the European Union. "It is my conviction that the accession of Turkey to the European Union would benefit all of its citizens, including the minority communities of the country," Bartholomew writes in his new book. "For Turkey would be required to make significant, indeed substantial modifications to its legislation, adhering to the principles of other European nations."

The EU Card

Unfortunately, recent history is not so favorable to this view. It is a doubtful proposition that the EU mandarins in Brussels, who resisted any effort to mention the Christian roots of European civilization in a failed draft constitution, would come rushing to the aid of the Patriarchate and other religious minorities. Tellingly, Turkish authorities still refuse to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, which claimed 1.5 million lives at the hands of the Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Mesrob II, also facing a shortage of clergy, is pleading with the Turkish government for permission to open a seminary.

In its 2007 report on religious freedom in Turkey, the U.S. State Department reported a number of religiously motivated killings, stabbings and beatings of Christians and their religious leaders, along with attacks on church properties. In April, three members of a Protestant church in Malatya were tortured and killed in a Christian publishing office. In February 2006, Roman Catholic priest Andrea Santoro was gunned down in his church along the Black Sea coast. Witnesses said the killer screamed "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," before firing two bullets into Santoro's back as he kneeled to pray. Death threats made to American Christians are widely noted.

Indeed, Turkish society itself is deeply conflicted about its secularizing principles and a resurgence of Islamist sentiment. In the past week, major cities have seen street demonstrations triggered by a proposal to lift the ban on Muslim women wearing the traditional headscarf at universities. Writing in Hurriyet, the Turkish daily, commentator Bekir Coskun asked if lifting the ban on the headscarf was a step toward the Arab culture of the middle ages. "Would someone please explain to me what kind of 'nationalism' this is, turning the most beautiful culture in the world, a culture that exists in some of the best geography in the world, towards Arabistan?" Coskun asked.

Unfortunately, the gravity of the situation facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other religious minorities in Turkey hasn't much moved the passions of America's opinion shapers.

In a Jan. 25 review of Bartholomew's "Encountering the Mystery" in the Wall Street Journal, Charlotte Allen dismisses the book as a collection of "bromides" and "platitudes" designed to appeal to secular progressives (except, presumably, for the parts on monasticism, prayer and theology). She mocks the Patriarch's writings as simply "yadda yadda yadda." Allen also describes Bartholomew as a sort of "pope," an abysmally misapplied term for him, as anyone familiar with Eastern Orthodox tradition understands. But, helpfully, she announces that Orthodoxy "is not dead yet." You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from 300 million Orthodox Christians all over the world.

People concerned about religious freedom, and those groups established to promote religious tolerance and freedom, should raise the public's awareness about what is happening to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other religious minorities in Turkey. A growing movement to establish civil society think tanks in Turkey should be encouraged as one of an important means of building up that country's ability to work out its own conflicts -- on its own terms -- about religious freedom. With that, perhaps, respect for the rights of religious minorities will soon become a defining element of "Turkishness."

By John Couretas

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.


New Dink murder trial prompts renewed calls for justice

Southeast European Times, MD

Turkey must ensure that all those behind the assassination journalist Hrant Dink are brought to justice to avoid damage to its image within the EU, a European lawmaker said Tuesday.

The Turkish authorities were criticised Tuesday (February 12th) for failing to act on demands for a full-blown investigation into the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink to ensure that all involved in the plot will face justice.

A day after the third hearing in the case against 19 people charged in the murder of the founder and editor of the Istanbul-based bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly, Agos, observers appeared increasingly sceptical that the whole truth will ever be established.

"We reiterate our support for all who are calling for the judicial system to do its job in this case," the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said in a statement on Tuesday. "We regret that the conditions are not in place for the truth to emerge… In these circumstances, we doubt that the judges will manage to establish once and for all the responsibility and guilt of the different protagonists."

Dink, 53, was gunned down on January 19th 2007 outside his newspaper's offices. In July 2006, he was given a six-month suspended sentence after being convicted on charges of "denigrating Turkishness" because of an article in which he described the killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during World War I as "genocide".

A hardline nationalist from the Black Sea city of Trabzon, Ogun Samast -- the primary suspect in the case – has confessed to the murder, citing Dink's statements on the Armenian issue as his motive. The other defendants include Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, a police informer.

Reports following the journalist's murder indicated that the police had received more than one tip-off about the assassination, but had failed to take any action to prevent it. Dink family lawyers have also repeatedly claimed that there has been destruction of evidence and that the authorities have refused to probe the suspected involvement of members of the country's security forces in the plot.

"The trial cannot proceed in a healthy manner because documents containing information on more than 6,000 telephone calls made by some of the defendants have been destroyed by security officials in Trabzon," Lawyer Erdal Dogan said.

Dutch member of the European Parliament and co-chair of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Joost Lagendijk attended the court hearing. He criticised the Turkish government for failing to act on its promise for a proper investigation into the case to reveal all who were involved in it.

"It's clear that police officers and security services knew about these plans, but they didn't act," he told the BBC. "Or some of them were probably actively involved in the planning. All of these things should be dealt with in this court case, and if it doesn't happen, it will leave a very dirty stain on Turkey's image."

This content was commissioned for

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.


Some Questions to Israel

February 13, 2008
The Conservative Voice, NC
by Axin Arbili

As a Kurd, I want to know from the State of Israel;

Why is Israel allied with the Turkish military? Why does Israel support the Turkish forces in murdering Kurdish civilians? Why does Israel provide unmanned aerial vehicles, intelligence, and equipment used by the Turks to attack the Kurdish liberation movement, capture, torture, murder our freedom fighters? Why does Israel participate in the Turkish crimes against humanity? Why does Israel support the Turkish military dictatorship and thus a status quo that is barbaric, criminal, genocidal? Why does Israel support the Turkish propaganda, tyranny, fascism?

What are the benefits of this partnership for Israel? Why does Israel value an alliance with a state which is Islamic, which has traditionally, emotionally, religiously always sided with the Palestinian Muslims? Why does it believe in a friendly Turkish state which actually permits and supports anti-Israel, anti-Jewish propaganda in its schools, media, mosques? Are the Jews still dhimmis of the Turks, as they were under the Ottomans? Is Israel afraid of Turkey? Has Ankara perhaps threatened you, forced you to cooperate?

Or is Israel simply following US guidelines for maintaining Western “strategic interests” in the Middle East? Why did Israeli governments and Jewish organizations in the USA help prevent, on behalf of the Turkish regime, the recognition of the Armenian genocide by Senate and Congress? Why is the genocide, after nine decades of proven facts and documentation, still not been recognized by your own parliament? Isn’t that a shame for the State of Israel and for all those conscious of the Shoah? How can Israel complain about Ahmadinejad’s statement of the Holocaust being a myth when at the same the Jewish parliament refuses to recognize the Armenian genocide? Shouldn’t Israel be different from other nations? Shouldn’t Israel be a beacon of moral conscious, truth, hope, and justice for the world? Why is Israel engaged in double games and double-standards of realpolitik?

But what really is Israel’s gain in all of this? In what ways does Israel profit from collaborating with the Turkish regime and military, a state which denies the existence and rights of 30 million people, which is suppressing their identity, language, and culture, which is burning and bombarding their villages, which is humiliating, terrorizing, murdering innocent men, women, and children just because they are Kurds who want to live as free Kurds. Don’t the Jews have any empathy at all for the suffering of a defenceless people? Why is there no word of condemnation from Israel about the Turkish atrocities and crimes? Why is Israel silent? Is it just (weapons) business as usual, are profits more important than human life?

At least why doesn’t Israel remain neutral, why is it engaged on the Turkish side? Does Israel hope the Turks will be on their side in case of war with Iran? Don’t the Jews know that the Turkish Muslims will not fight another Muslim state that has the same strategic interests in the region, which is the domination over the Kurds, occupation and exploitation of Kurdish lands? Don’t they know that the Turkish and Iranian regimes have agreements on that and are cooperating for decades? Do the Jews really believe that their purpose is served by supporting a state of terror and crime, and that this will lead to more security in their neighbourhood, to peace with the Arabs?

Why help bomb a movement that truly strives for freedom and democracy, that could be a natural ally of Israel?

What are Israel’s reasons for a pact with the Devil?

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


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Listening to Grasshoppers-Genocide, Denial and Celebration

Wednesday, 13 February 2008
Etalaat, India
Arundhati Roy

In the state of Gujarat, there was genocide against the Muslim community in 2002.
I use the word Genocide advisedly, and in keeping with its definition contained in Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The genocide began as collective punishment for an unsolved crime-the burning of a railway coach in which 53 Hindu pilgrims were burned to death. In a carefully planned orgy of supposed retaliation, 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered in broad daylight by squads of armed killers, organised by fascist militias, and backed by the Gujarat government and the administration of the day. Muslim women were gang-raped and burned alive.

Muslim shops, Muslim businesses and Muslim shrines and mosques were systematically destroyed. Some 1,50,000 people were driven from their homes.

Even today, many of them live in ghettos-some built on garbage heaps-with no water supply, no drainage, no streetlights, no healthcare. They live as second-class citizens, boycotted socially and economically. Meanwhile, the killers, police as well as civilian, have been embraced, rewarded, promoted. This state of affairs is now considered 'normal'. To seal the 'normality', in 2004, both Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, India's leading industrialists, publicly pronounced Gujarat a dream destination for finance capital.

The initial outcry in the national press has settled down. In Gujarat, the genocide has been brazenly celebrated as the epitome of Gujarati pride, Hindu-ness, even Indian-ness. This poisonous brew has been used twice in a row to win state elections, with campaigns that have cleverly used the language and apparatus of modernity and democracy. The helmsman, Narendra Modi, has become a folk hero, called in by the BJP to campaign on its behalf in other Indian states.

As genocides go, the Gujarat genocide cannot compare with the people killed in the Congo, Rwanda and Bosnia, where the numbers run into millions, nor is it by any means the first that has occurred in India. (In 1984 for instance, 3,000 Sikhs were massacred on the streets of Delhi with similar impunity by killers overseen by the Congress Party.) But the Gujarat genocide is part of a larger, more elaborate and systematic vision. It tells us that the wheat is ripening and the grasshoppers have landed in mainland India.

It's an old human habit, genocide is. It has played a sterling part in the march of civilisation. Amongst the earliest recorded genocides is thought to be the destruction of Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War in 149 BC. The word itself-genocide-was coined by Raphael Lemkin only in 1943, and adopted by the United Nations in 1948, after the Nazi Holocaust. Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines it as:
"Any of the following Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [or] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Since this definition leaves out the persecution of political dissidents, real or imagined, it does not include some of the greatest mass murders in history. Personally I think the definition by Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, authors of The History and Sociology of Genocide, is more apt.

Genocide, they say, "is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator." Defined like this, genocide would include, for example, the monumental crimes committed by Suharto in Indonesia (1 million) Pol Pot in Cambodia (1.5 million), Stalin in the Soviet Union (60 million), Mao in China (70 million).
All things considered, the word extermination, with its crude evocation of pests and vermin, of infestations, is perhaps the more honest, more apposite word. When a set of perpetrators faces its victims, in order to go about its business of wanton killing, it must first sever any human connection with it. It must see its victims as sub-human, as parasites whose eradication would be a service to society. Here, for example, is an account of the massacre of Pequot Indians by English Puritans led by John Mason in Connecticut in 1636:

Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyre, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente thereof, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice....

And here, approximately four centuries later, is Babu Bajrangi, one of the major lynchpins of the Gujarat genocide, recorded on camera in the sting operation mounted by Tehelka a few months ago:

We didn't spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire...hacked, burned, set on fire...we believe in setting them on fire because these bastards don't want to be cremated, they're afraid of it.... I have just one last wish...let me be sentenced to death...I don't care if I'm hanged...just give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have a field day in Juhapura where seven or eight lakhs of these people stay...I will finish them off...let a few more of them least 25,000 to 50,000 should die.

I hardly need to say that Babu Bajrangi had the blessings of Narendra Modi, the protection of the police, and the love of his people. He continues to work and prosper as a free man in Gujarat. The one crime he cannot be accused of is Genocide Denial.

Genocide Denial is a radical variation on the theme of the old, frankly racist, bloodthirsty triumphalism. It was probably evolved as an answer to the somewhat patchy dual morality that arose in the 19th century, when Europe was developing limited but new forms of democracy and citizens' rights at home while simultaneously exterminating people in their millions in her colonies. Suddenly countries and governments began to deny or attempt to hide the genocides they had committed. "Denial is saying, in effect," says Professor Robert Jay Lifton, author of Hiroshima and America: Fifty Years of Denial, "that the murderers did not murder. The victims weren't killed. The direct consequence of denial is that it invites future genocide."

Of course today, when genocide politics meets the Free Market, official recognition-or denial-of holocausts and genocides is a multinational business enterprise. It rarely has anything to do to with historical fact or forensic evidence. Morality certainly does not enter the picture. It is an aggressive process of high-end bargaining, that belongs more to the World Trade Organisation than to the United Nations.

The currency is geopolitics, the fluctuating market for natural resources, that curious thing called futures trading and plain old economic and military might.
In other words, genocides are often denied for the same set of reasons as genocides are prosecuted. Economic determinism marinated in racial/ethnic/religious/national discrimination. Crudely, the lowering or raising of the price of a barrel of oil (or a tonne of uranium), permission granted for a military base, or the opening up of a country's economy could be the decisive factor when governments adjudicate on whether a genocide did or did not occur.

Or indeed whether genocide will or will not occur. And if it does, whether it will or will not be reported, and if it is, then what slant that reportage will take. For example, the death of two million in the Congo goes virtually unreported. Why? And was the death of a million Iraqis under the sanctions regime, prior to the US invasion, genocide (which is what Denis Halliday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, called it) or was it 'worth it', as Madeleine Albright, the US ambassador to the UN, claimed? It depends on who makes the rules. Bill Clinton? Or an Iraqi mother who has lost her child?

Since the United States is the richest and most powerful country in the world, it has assumed the privilege of being the World's Number One Genocide Denier. It continues to celebrate Columbus Day, the day Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas, which marks the beginning of a Holocaust that wiped out millions of native Indians, about 90 per cent of the original population. (Lord Amherst, the man whose idea it was to distribute blankets infected with smallpox virus to Indians, has a university town in Massachusetts, and a prestigious liberal arts college named after him).

In America's second Holocaust, almost 30 million Africans were kidnapped and sold into slavery. Well near half of them died during transportation. But in 2002, the US delegation could still walk out of the World Conference against Racism in Durban, refusing to acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade were crimes. Slavery, they insisted, was legal at the time. The US has also refused to accept that the bombing of Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden and Hamburg-which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians-were crimes, let alone acts of genocide. (The argument here is that the government didn't intend to kill civilians. This was the first stage in the development of the concept of "collateral damage".) Since the end of World War II, the US government has intervened overtly, militarily, more than 400 times in 100 countries, and covertly more than 6,000 times. This includes its invasion of Vietnam and the extermination, with excellent intentions of course, of three million Vietnamese (approximately 10 per cent of its population).

None of these has been acknowledged as war crimes or genocidal acts.

'Union' (racial/ethnic/religious/national) and 'Progress' (economic determinism) have long been the twin coordinates of genocide.

Armed with this reading of history, is it reasonable to worry about whether a country that is poised on the threshold of "progress" is also poised on the threshold of genocide? Could the India being celebrated all over the world as a miracle of progress and democracy, possibly be poised on the verge of committing genocide? The mere suggestion might sound outlandish and, at this point of time, the use of the word genocide surely unwarranted. However, if we look to the future, and if the Tsars of Development believe in their own publicity, if they believe that There Is No Alternative to their chosen model for Progress, then they will inevitably have to kill, and kill in large numbers, in order to get their way.
Advani's chariot of fire: And so the Union project was launched in bits and pieces, as the news trickles in, it seems clear that the killing and the dying has already begun.

It was in 1989, soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the Government of India turned in its membership of the Non-Aligned Movement and signed up for membership of the Completely Aligned, often referring to itself as the 'natural ally' of Israel and the United States. (They have at least this one thing in common-all three are engaged in overt, neo-colonial military occupations: India in Kashmir, Israel in Palestine, the US in Iraq.)

Almost like clockwork, the two major national political parties, the BJP and the Congress, embarked on a joint programme to advance India's version of Union and Progress, whose modern-day euphemisms are Nationalism and Development. Every now and then, particularly during elections, they stage noisy familial squabbles, but have managed to gather into their fold even grumbling relatives, like the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The Union project offers Hindu Nationalism (which seeks to unite the Hindu vote, vital you will admit, for a great democracy like India). The Progress project aims at a 10 per cent annual growth rate. Both these projects are encrypted with genocidal potential.

The Union project has been largely entrusted to the RSS, the ideological heart, the holding company of the BJP and its militias, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal. The RSS was founded in 1925. By the 1930s, its founder, Dr Hedgewar, a fan of Benito Mussolini, had begun to model it overtly along the lines of Italian fascism. Hitler too was, and is, an inspirational figure. Here are some excerpts from the RSS Bible, We or Our Nationhood Defined by M.S. Golwalkar, who succeeded Dr Hedgewar as head of the RSS in 1940:

Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.

Then: In Hindustan, land of the Hindus, lives and should live the Hindu Nation.... All others are traitors and enemies to the National Cause, or, to take a charitable view, idiots....
The foreign races in Hindustan...may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges; far less any preferential treatment-not even citizen's rights.

And again: To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races-the Jews.

Race pride at its highest has been manifested here...a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by. (How do you combat this kind of organised hatred? Certainly, not with goofy preachings of secular love.)

By the year 2000, the RSS had more than 45,000 shakhas and an army of seven million swayamsevaks preaching its doctrine across India. They include India's former prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the former home minister and current leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani, and, of course, the three-time Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi. It also includes senior people in the media, the police, the army, the intelligence agencies, judiciary and the administrative services who are informal devotees of Hindutva-the RSS ideology. These people, unlike politicians who come and go, are permanent members of government machinery.

But the RSS's real power lies in the fact that it has put in decades of hard work and has created a network of organisations at every level of society, something that no other organisation can claim.

The BJP is its political front. It has a trade union wing (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh), a women's wing (Rashtriya Sevika Samiti), a student wing (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) and an economic wing (Swadeshi Jagaran Manch).

Its front organisation Vidya Bharati is the largest educational organisation in the non-governmental sector. It has 13,000 educational institutes including the Saraswati Vidya Mandir schools with 70,000 teachers and over 1.7 million students. It has organisations working with tribals (Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram), literature (Akhil Bharatiya Sahitya Parishad), intellectuals (Pragya Bharati, Deendayal Research Institute), historians (Bharatiya Itihaas Sankalan Yojanalaya), language (Sanskrit Bharti), slum-dwellers (Seva Bharati, Hindu Seva Pratishthan), health (Swami Vivekanand Medical Mission, National Medicos Organisation), leprosy patients (Bharatiya Kushtha Nivaran Sangh), cooperatives (Sahkar Bharati), publication of newspapers and other propaganda material (Bharat Prakashan, Suruchi Prakashan, Lokhit Prakashan, Gyanganga Prakashan, Archana Prakashan, Bharatiya Vichar Sadhana, Sadhana Pustak and Akashvani Sadhana), caste integration (Samajik Samrasta Manch), religion and proselytisation (Vivekananda Kendra, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Jagaran Manch, Bajrang Dal). The list goes on and on...

On June 11, 1989, Congress Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave the RSS a gift. He was obliging enough to open the locks of the disputed Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, which the RSS claimed was the birthplace of Lord Ram. At the National Executive of the BJP, the party passed a resolution to demolish the mosque and build a temple in Ayodhya. "I'm sure the resolution will translate into votes," said L.K. Advani. In 1990, he criss-crossed the country on his Rath Yatra, his Chariot of Fire, demanding the demolition of the Babri Masjid, leaving riots and bloodshed in his wake. In 1991, the party won 120 seats in Parliament. (It had won two in 1984). The hysteria orchestrated by Advani peaked in 1992, when the mosque was brought down by a marauding mob. By 1998, the BJP was in power at the Centre. Its first act in office was to conduct a series of nuclear tests. Across the country, fascists and corporates, princes and paupers alike, celebrated India's Hindu Bomb. Hindutva had transcended petty party politics.

In 2002, Narendra Modi's government planned and executed the Gujarat genocide. In the elections that took place a few months after the genocide, he was returned to power with an overwhelming majority. He ensured complete impunity for those who had participated in the killings. In the rare case where there has been a conviction, it is of course the lowly footsoldiers, and not the masterminds, who stand in the dock.
Impunity is an essential prerequisite for genocidal killing.

India has a great tradition of granting impunity to mass killers. I could fill volumes with the details.

In a democracy, for impunity after genocide, you have to "apply through proper channels". Procedure is everything. In the case of several massacres, the lawyers that the Gujarat government appointed as public prosecutors had actually already appeared for the accused. Several of them belonged to the RSS or the VHP and were openly hostile to those they were supposedly representing. Survivor witnesses found that, when they went to the police to file reports, the police would record their statements inaccurately, or refuse to record the names of the perpetrators. In several cases, when survivors had seen members of their families being killed (and burned alive so their bodies could not be found), the police would refuse to register cases of murder.

Ehsan Jaffri, the Congress politician and poet who had made the mistake of campaigning against Modi in the Rajkot elections, was publicly butchered. (by a mob led by a fellow Congressman.) In the words of a man who took part in the savagery:
Five people held him, then someone struck him with a sword...chopped off his hand, then his legs...then everything else...after cutting him to pieces, they put him on the wood they'd piled and set him on fire; burned him alive.

The Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police, P.C. Pandey, was kind enough to visit the neighbourhood while the mob lynched Jaffri, murdered 70 people, and gang-raped 12 women before burning them alive. After Modi was re-elected, Pandey was promoted, and made Gujarat's Director-General of Police. The entire killing apparatus remains in place.

The Supreme Court in Delhi made a few threatening noises, but eventually put the matter into cold storage. The Congress and the Communist parties made a great deal of noise, but did nothing.

In the Tehelka sting operation, broadcast recently on a news channel at prime time, apart from Babu Bajrangi, killer after killer recounted how the genocide had been planned and executed, how Modi and senior politicians and police officers had been personally involved. None of this information was new, but there they were, the butchers, on the news networks, not just admitting to, but boasting about their crimes. The overwhelming public reaction to the sting was not outrage, but suspicion about its timing. Most people believed that the expose would help Modi win the elections again. Some even believed, quite outlandishly, that he had engineered the sting. He did win the elections. And this time, on the ticket of Union and Progress. A committee all unto himself. At BJP rallies, thousands of adoring supporters now wear plastic Modi masks, chanting slogans of death. The fascist democrat has physically mutated into a million little fascists. These are the joys of democracy. Who in Nazi Germany would have dared to put on a Hitler mask?

Preparations to recreate the 'Gujarat blueprint' are currently in different stages in the BJP-ruled states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

To commit genocide, says Peter Balkian, scholar of the Armenian genocide, you have to marginalise a sub-group for a long time. This criterion has been well met in India. The Muslims of India have been systematically marginalised and have now joined the Adivasis and Dalits, who have not just been marginalised, but dehumanised by caste Hindu society and its scriptures, for years, for centuries. (There was a time when they were dehumanised in order to be put to work doing things that caste Hindus would not do.

Now, with technology, even that labour is becoming redundant.) Part of the RSS's work involves setting Dalits against Muslims, Adivasis against Dalits.

Hundreds of thousands have broken faith with the institutions of India's democracy. Large swathes of the country have fallen out of the government's control. (At last count, it was supposed to be 25 per cent). The battle stinks of death, it's by no means pretty. How can it be when the helmsman of the army of Constraining Ghosts is the ghost of Chairman Mao himself? (The ray of hope is that many of the footsoldiers don't know who he is. Or what he did. More Genocide Denial? Maybe). Are they Idealists fighting for a Better World? Well... anything is better than annihilation.
The Prime Minister has declared that the Maoist resistance is the "single largest internal security threat". There have even been appeals to call out the army. The media is agog with breathless condemnation.

Here's a typical newspaper report. Nothing out of the ordinary! Stamp out the Naxals, it is called.

This government is at last showing some sense in tackling Naxalism. Less than a month ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked state governments to "choke" Naxal infrastructure and "cripple" their activities through a dedicated force to eliminate the "virus". It signalled a realisation that Naxalism must be stamped out through enforcement of law, rather than wasteful expense on development.

"Choke". "Cripple". "Virus". "Infested". "Eliminate". "Stamp Out".
Yes. The idea of extermination is in the air. And people believe that faced with extermination, they have the right to fight back.By any means necessary.
Perhaps they've been listening to the grasshoppers.

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


The 'deep state' is smiling at me in the Malatya massacre case - II

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Orhan Kemal Cengiz

The legal team trying to unveil the truth about Malatya massacres is under a strange surveillance.

In the first piece of this series I quoted from news coverage in the local media in Malatya about the “legal team” representing the victims in this case. The tone, the style and the way it prepared clearly shows that “the writers” of this news aimed at creating hostility toward us and trying to show us as if we are there for illegitimate purposes. This effort starts with the title, “Is this a new game?” and goes like that along the text.

However, when we went into the details we realized we were not only confronting a bunch of hostile “journalists” there, but this was a “prepared and delivered” story. The details showed us very clearly that “some circles” tapped telephone conversations between the members of the legal team and somehow penetrated into our e-group which we use to discuss our legal strategies and to get organized. Anyway I would like to give you some specific examples of some items which can only be obtained through interception of our communications.

The names of the lawyers who were going to come to Malatya for the hearing are given in it. There were only two (normal) ways of obtaining these names. One is to check the hotel reservation book and the other one is to look at the power of attorneys given to the court. They could have obtained all the names of lawyers with these ways but except one. Mr. Serkan Cengiz's name was not registered in neither in the hotel book nor did he deliver a power of attorney to the court then. The only way to obtain his name was to check the list of the members of the legal team's e-group, which is of course not public.

In the news coverage they inform the public that Mr. İhsan Özbek, pastor of the Kurtulus Church, will not come to Malatya for the hearing and I was replaced with him. I am their lawyer, so it is not possible to have this kind of replacement but somehow the “authors” of this news coverage knew that Mr. Özbek would not come to the hearing. I requested him not to come for security reasons. Mr. Özbek did not declare to anyone that he would not come to the hearing.

The text mentions our possible legal strategies in this case. It is true that we were planning to submit a new context to the court in which we intended to show the similarities between Santora, Dink and Malatya murders. However, this intention was never declared anywhere. Somehow these local newspapers knew it and were able to inform their readers about our strategy.

There is very specific information in that news coverage that I would like to mention specifically. It mentions that we were making a preparation to allege that the crime concerned was indeed genocide. This was true. Some time ago before the hearing, Mr. Ergin Cinmen, a member of our legal team, called me from Istanbul and he suggested to offer the court to change the qualification of the crime from “terror” to “genocide.” And he explained his reasons for this demand. I agreed with him and I said “let's discuss this in the legal team's meeting before the hearing in Malatya.” Namely, this idea of us was even not known by our other friends before our meeting in Malatya. However, this newspaper somehow managed to guess what we would demand before the court.

In that mews coverage it is stated that I will make a press conference after the hearing in Malatya which was true again. However, like many other things, this was not declared anywhere; it was only known by the members of the legal team.

After considering all these items, we came to the conclusion that somehow this news coverage prepared by one of the “intelligent” agency or with the help of them.

Strange things continued to happen while we were in Malatya for the first hearing. In the first hearing we submitted some petitions to the court in order to show them how we perceive the case. A volunteer assistant stayed at the hotel during the hearing and tried to send these petitions to the members of the press while we were delivering them to the court. However, he was not able to enter into his email accounts; whenever he attempted to lodge into his mail addresses he saw the same sentence on his screen: “entrance into this website was forbidden by the court's order.” His three different accounts were blocked and he was in shock when came back to the hotel from the court room.

Apparently, someone did not like the idea that our petitions will be on a wide range circulation. Of course there was no such “court order” but there were some people who somehow knew that this computer was going to use for the distribution of our petitions and they were able to stop our communication by using this “label.”

Highly 'sophisticated' letter of conspiracy :

While we were having a legal team meeting in İzmir for the second hearing, a quite weird news arrived into our meeting room. Journalists kept calling us, asking if we had any information about an “informer letter” which attributed whole responsibility of these murders on me. Everyone had a difficulty for a while to understand what that was all about. This is a very long letter. But I would like to make long quotations to give you the taste of Turkish style conspiracy producing:

“Important lessons had been learned from the Africa Mission. The Asia, Middle East and Turkey Mission should be directed in the same way. But some unexpected events began to occur. Within the Mission, the German "School" (ekol) began to dominate. This had to be stopped. And that's exactly what happened. On 13.12.2004 the covert group ('Kripto') was mobilized and given its operational orders. In relation to this, certain problems had begun to be discussed within the Adana, Malatya, Diyarbakır and Van Mission. For example, the rivalry in Malatya between the German School the American School had gradually begun to turn into enmity. In this respect, the Mission's bosses in America had begun to feel a significant unease regarding Germans within the Mission. The Americans thought that if this problem was not solved, in time, American interests in the region would suffer. The Germans had the opportunity to become dominant across the board. The plan was put into effect in a very professional manner. America employed Armenians under the umbrella of the covert group. The Armenian Protestants would work for America. The Germans would be liquidated. Since I am here only discussing the Malatya dimension, I won't talk in detail about Istanbul, Nevşehir, Kayseri, Adana, Mardin, Urfa, Van, Diyarbakır. Because important events will shortly take place there, too. From now on Kripto is going to take decisive steps. Turkey is going to be covered with blood.”

There is subtitle after this paragraph, reading:

“The Employment by Kripto of Orhan Kemal Cengiz for the Purpose of Conducting Operations and Making Plans”

What it is written under it, is the subject of the next piece…

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.


Professor criticized for genocide views

Daily 49er, CA
Rosaura Figueroa and Erin McKenzie

Professor Ali Igmen was the focus of defamatory remarks, sent possibly to him by a CSULB faculty member, for his insistence on the existence of an Armenian genocide.

The Scholars in Conversation on the Armenian Genocide forum on Tuesday proved to be controversial on the most personal of terms for Ali Igmen, director of the oral history program at the Cal State Long Beach History Department. Igmen was targeted during the forum's discussion and debate on allegations of propagandizing his views on the hotly debated existence of an Armenian genocide.

According to Igmen, the allegations came from a tenured professor from another college at CSULB who attacked Igmen's credibility for supporting definition of the events as genocide.

The tensions surrounding the controversial subject may have led to an increased police and security presence at the presentation. Protesters were told to stand in the back room before the disputed Armenian genocide forum took center stage.

The panel discussion included experts Richard Hovannisian from UCLA and Taner Akcam from the University of Minnesota, who discussed their investigative findings with a full audience of students, professors and guests.

Both Hovannisian and Akcam emphasized the Turkish rejection of any such genocide taking place between 1915 and 1918. The Turkish government claims the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians was a result of a civil war and the targeting of Turks by Armenian rebels, rather than genocide.

"It is important for a society to face its own history," Akcam said. Few Turkish scholars are willing to discuss the topic openly and are apprehensive about using the word genocide, according to Akcam. He also said that avoiding the term allows for the liberty of denial.

The panel did not include any scholars who supported the Turkish's government stance on the issue.

"Some students approached me and said that both sides were not represented," said Igmen after the forum. "But they were civil and polite, and I was not upset by them."

About a dozen supporters clapped as an open question-and-comment session highlighted the absence of any opposing viewpoint.

"[It's] not possible to consider a denialist point of view," said Akcam.

Hovannisian added that to invite a scholar who supported the Turkish government's official stance was equivalent to inviting a Holocaust denier to a forum on the genocide of the Jewish population and others during the times of Nazi Germany.

According to Akcam, the Turkish government has done a cleansing of national archives in order to destroy proof pertaining to an Armenian genocide. He referred to the absence of any such incident in Turkish textbooks as a case of social amnesia and denial.

However, Akcam said that not all proof could be destroyed because the Armenian genocide was a massive state effort that left trails.

Hovannisian said the 800 accounts he has gathered from survivors of the genocide were proof that could not be ignored. He also compared the Armenian genocide to background music - it's there all the time, but we never listen to it.

Akcam called for a need of more Turkish scholars who are willing to recognize and discuss the Armenian genocide as a crime.

"Turkey must change their language," said Akcam.

Currently, the word genocide is considered a national threat to the Turkish government, according to Akcam.

Hovannisian pointed to fear of financial repercussions as one reason for the Turkish government's unwillingness to acknowledge an Armenian genocide, which he described as unique because it fulfills all five aspects of the United Nations' definition of genocide.

Andy Franks also contributed to this report.

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


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Erdogan's Visit Leaves German Conservatives Fuming

February 12, 2008
Spiegel Online, Germany
By David Crossland
Erdogan also announced that "There Is No Genocide In Our Culture And Civilization ". While the reaction has been on the Erdogan's statement on assimilation, there has been no reaction in the German media to this damning statement he made towards the German culture. This is a far cry from the Turkey's reaction when Pope Benedict XVI made a reference in University of Regensburg in Germany on 12 September 2006, to a text written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus. Is Turkey quick to be offended or is it that the German media does not care when Turkey takes a swipe at the German culture right in Germany? And how does Erdogan's statement on assimilation in Germany square with the way Turkey treats its minorities see The Assimilation Policy of Turkey Continues?
Conservative German politicians have accused Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan of interfering in German affairs and harming efforts to integrate the country's Turks. Are they really that angry or do they just want to whip up sentiment against Turkey's bid to join the EU?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservatives have heaped criticism on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for telling Germany's 2.5 million Turkish immigrants that "assimilation is a crime against humanity."

Erdogan, speaking in front of almost 20,000 people (more...) at a stadium in the German city of Cologne on Sunday, called for people of Turkish descent not to give up their cultural heritage.

He encouraged Turks abroad to integrate in their new home countries, learn new languages and apply for political representation -- without forgetting their Turkish background. "It is important to learn German, but your Turkish language should not be neglected," he said. Erdogan had already caused controversy on Friday by calling for Turkish-language high schools to be set up in Germany.

His four-day visit to Germany was overshadowed by the deaths of nine Turkish immigrants, five of them children, in an apartment block fire in the southern city of Ludwigshafen. Speculation has been rife in the local Turkish community and in Turkish media that it was a racially motivated arson attack, but the cause of the fire has not yet been found. The blaze awakened memories of a fire in the western town of Solingen in 1993 in which five Turkish women and girls died. That fire was caused by German youths.

Prominent German conservatives have rebuffed Erdogan's comments. Erwin Huber, the head of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union, went as far as to call for a review of Turkey's EU accession talks. "Erdogan preached Turkish nationalism on German soil. That is anti-European and confirms our misgivings regarding Turkish EU membership," Huber told the Münchner Merkur newspaper. "One must now consider and examine whether it makes sense under these circumstances to continue accession talks with Turkey."

The deputy parliamentary group chairman of Merkel's conservatives, Wolfgang Bosbach, called on Erdogan not to interfere in German affairs. "A Turkish government shouldn't try to conduct domestic policy in Germany," Bosbach told the Westdeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Merkel also criticized Erdogan's comments, saying anyone with German citizenship was a full-fledged citizen regardless of their roots. "Their loyalty then belongs to the German state. That's why I think we need to further discuss the view of integration with the Turkish Prime Minister," she said.

The governor of Bavaria, Günther Beckstein, told N24 television: "The task (for Turks) is to be good citizens in Germany, to learn German, to speak German in their families." Beckstein called Erdogan's remarks "nationalistic" and "highly displeasing."

Conservative newspaper Die Welt writes that Erdogan has done integration in Germany a disservice:

"He acted rashly (and) with demagogic intent by comparing the Ludwigshafen fire to that of Solingen in 1993. He alleged a racist motivation for which there are no indications so far."

"This is the message that will stick: The Germans don't want integration; they want to rob the Turks of their Turkishness, of their culture. That is grist for the mill of the not especially small number of Turks or Turkish descendants who aren't very interested in integrating and who try to blame the Germans for that."

"Integration also involves assimilation. A person who grows into another culture changes by doing so. He leaves much of the culture he descends from behind. He gives up the old to become someone new. It's a beautiful, painful process. In the long run it makes no sense to refuse to accept that."

Business daily Handelsblatt writes that Germany's conservatives have seized on Erdogan's integration comments to push their own long-running opposition to Turkish EU membership:

"A strange debate has broken out after the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to Germany. Chancellor Merkel feels the need to speak out after the prime minister warned of an undesired assimilation of his compatriots, and Bavaria's governor (Günther) Beckstein even claims to have detected nationalist tones. It seems as if an artificial conflict is being launched here."

"It's clear what purpose that debate could serve. The conservatives -- not just in Germany -- are suspicious about Turkey's determined march into European institutions. So every word uttered by Turks is examined to see whether it meets European standards."

"The word assimilation might have been unfortunate. But Erdogan basically called for support for a sensible integration of the Turks living in Germany. His proposal to set up Turkish schools here isn't that far-fetched. What makes Erdogan's idea any different from Berlin's efforts abroad? A frightening portion of the federal government's cultural budget goes toward setting up German schools. And German teachers work there. So why all the outrage?"

"The only explanation for all the fuss can be that emotions always run high regarding Turkey's efforts to get closer to Europe -- whether Turkey tries to become a member of the EU, or loosens its ban on headscarves, or promotes preserving its own cultural identity in Germany. All too often the Turkish government is presumed to be secretly motivated by a creeping Islamization. It's time to deal with Turkey more soberly."

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.



DeFacto Agency, Armenia
But it was a similarly stubborn bout of idealism that led Lantos to vociferously back last year's measure about the Armenian genocide in Turkey. "One of the problems we have diplomatically globally is that we have lost our moral authority which we used to have in great abundance," Lantos said at the time. "People around the globe who are familiar with these events will appreciate the fact that the United States is speaking out against a historic injustice. Lantos' Legacy: Justice Worth A Fight
February 11 the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) joined with Armenian Americans from across the United States in mourning the loss of long-serving California Congressman Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor and human rights champion who, in his final months in office, played a vital role, as Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, in this panel's adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

In separate letters to Congressman Lantos' wife of 58 years, Annette, and to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian underscored the gratitude of the Armenian American community to Chairman Lantos for his leadership in rejecting the powerful forces of denial and securing, this past October, his Committee's passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Hachikian also shared the hope and expectation that the full House of Representatives will, in the coming weeks, complete the Chairman's unfinished work by securing full Congressional recognition and commemoration of this crime against all humanity.

Speaking on the PBS Newshour on October 11, 2007, a day after the Resolution's adoption at the committee level, Chairman Lantos told correspondent Margaret Warner that, "This is one of those events, Margaret, which has to be settled once and for all: 1.5 million utterly innocent Armenian men, women and children were slaughtered. And the Turkish government, until now, has intimidated the Congress of the United States from taking this measure. . . I think it's important, at a time when genocides are going on in Darfur and elsewhere, not to be an accomplice in sweeping an important genocide under the rug."

Elected to office in 1980, Lantos was Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and one of the country's leading champions of human rights. In 1983 he co-founded the congressional Human Rights Caucus. Commenting on her husband's passing, his widow noted that his life was "defined by courage, optimism, and unwavering

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


Monday, February 11, 2008

Today Third Hearing in Dink Murder Case

Bıa news centre

Today Third Hearing in Dink Murder CaseThe trial of the murder suspects of journalist Hrant Dink continues with the third hearing today. The hearing will be recorded and might yet be opened to the press, pending a court decision.

Today (11 February) is the third hearing of the trial related to journalist Hrant Dink’s murder. The trial takes place at the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court in Besiktas, central Istanbul.

The editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos was shot dead on 19 January 2007.

Court case monitored by Hrant Dink's friends and supporters
A group called the “Hrant Dink Awareness Group”, made up of MPs, writers, journalists and others, has vowed to follow the case to ensure that justice is done.

In a published statement, the group said, “We will continue this effort until justice is done, until our conscience is clear.” The group will make a press statement in front of the Besiktas court building at 10 am.

Trial may be opened to press
The trial has been closed to the press because the gunman suspect O.S. was said to be under age. However, should the court pay heed to a forensic medical report which, based on bone measurements, sets his age at 19, the trial may be opened to the press.

If the court accepted a higher age, this would also affect the suspect’s trial – the prosecution would then demand a life sentence with more severe restrictions.

Hearing to be recorded
For the third hearing, it is expected that visual and audio recording technology has been prepared. The joint attorneys had cited reforms in Criminal Procedure Law and demanded the recording of the hearing. This request had been granted and thus, this would be the first time in Turkey that a hearing is recorded.

Justice needs to be pursued
Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer for the Dink family has expressed her appreciation of the public support in the trial:

“The voices who are pursuing the case and standing witness in the case have also caused some developments to come to light. This pursuit gives us hope. We must continue to pursue justice.”

This hearing may also hear the account of Coskun Igci, brother-in-law of murder suspect Yasin Hayal and gendarmerie informant, who stated in the Trabzon court case against two gendarmerie officers for gross negligence that he told the gendarmerie in Trabzon four months before the murder that Hayal was planning such an attack.

The Hrant Dink murder trial in Istanbul began on 2 July 2007, with the second hearing on 1 October. O.S., the young man on trial for shooting Dink, said at the second hearing: “Yasin Hayal forced me to do this. Out of fear, I did not understand how it happened, I shot Hrant Dink. I regret it. If I had known that he had family, I would not have shot him.”

No prosecution of police officer Zenit
The Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court has decided not to open a separate investigation into police intelligence officer Muhittin Zenit, who spoke to suspect Erhan Tuncel hours after the murder of Hrant Dink. Zenit had displayed knowledge of the planned murder in expressions such as “[the gunman] was not going to run away, but he did.” Tuncel said to Zenit in the conversation, “It was clear how he was going to be shot.”

It is expected that seven of the eight detained suspects in the case, O.S. ,Erhan Tuncel, Yasin Hayal, Zeynel Abidin Yavuz, Ahmet Iskender, Tuncay Uzundal and Mustafa Öztürk, will be questioned at this hearing. (EÖ/TK/AG)

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 is not far from committing Kurdish genocide

11 February 2008
Kurdish Aspect, CO - By Dr Hoshiar Molod (Saudi Arabia)

In response to a previous article, some readers have sent me prejudiced comments indicating disapproval of the article “In response to their brutality, Kurdistan should boycott Turkish products[1]”. One reader described me as being backward and not realistic in urging a boycott of Turkish products. Another reader compared my views to those of German Nazism and French nationalists.

I would like to ask those readers of their views regarding the Turkish aggressive attacks on the innocent people in Kurdistan. Every civilized person should support the boycott of Turkish products in view of the cruelty the Turkish government practices in the region. A boycott is more powerful and is more effective than demonstrations in the streets, because it affects Turkey’s economy. Turkey’s policy in the region and the rest of the world is quite insensitive and ignorant.

Turkey’s double standard is very obvious when the Turkish President sending friendly messages to Europe and presenting the democratic side of secular Turkey while restarting on fighting the PKK. Turkey has to apologize for the Armenian genocide instead of committing another massacre in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The comments by some readers intended to undermine my view on boycotting Turkish products are some examples of the double standard that Turkey has always presented. When something is not in Turkey’s favor, it’s acceptable for the Turkish public and Turkish business communities to take the boycott approach.

A boycott was carried out by the Turkish streets in response to the implementation of the human right laws by European countries. In 2000 the Turkish consumer association boycotted Belgian made products[2], asking Belgian to undermine its civil society and extradite someone to be executed in Turkey. In 2006 various Turkish supermarkets also boycotted French products[3], because the French parliament passed the Armenian genocide bill.

The question is why the Turkish society sometimes excuses the boycott approach and sometimes speaks negatively about it?

It is the double standard of Turkey’s international policy. When any other government’s view is not in favor of the Turkish politics in the region, the Turkish streets are encouraged to protest against that specific government by boycotting the products of that country.

The Armenian genocide is a crime against humanity and the world is no longer ignoring that illicit act by the Turkish government. It is ironic that despite their differences both Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama are in agreement on the issue of the Turkish government recognizing the Armenian genocide[4].

The fact of the matter is that Turkey has never recognized the genocide of the Armenians and is not very far from committing another massacre in Kurdistan. The only reason for the Turkish attacks is to undermine Kurdish existence.

Apart from the Kurdish public, no one else seems to care about the situation in Kurdistan. Therefore I would like to renew my plea to the international community to boycott Turkish made products not only because Kurdistan is being attacked by the Turkish war machine on a daily basis, but actually because of the appalling record that Turkey has in the crimes against humanity such as the killing of Kurds and the genocide of the Armenians.

Finally, you should realize that with any Turkish made product you buy, you are backing, encouraging and promoting the denial of the Armenian genocide[5], the Assyrian genocide[6], the Greek genocide[7], and contributing to the recent killing of innocent Kurdish civilians by the Turkish government.

End notes:

1-, Tuesday, 15 January 2008, In respond to their brutality, Kurdistan should Boycott Turkish products.
2 -, Tuesday, 22 August, 2000, Turkish consumers boycott Belgian goods.
3- The Journal of Turkish weekly, Sunday, 15 October 2006, Turkish Supermarket Chains Boycott French Goods.
4-, Thursday, 17 January 2008, Hillary wins White House (In dreams of Turkish officials).
5 - International Herald Tribune, Thursday, 12 October 2006, French lawmakers approve bill on Armenian genocide.
6-, Sunday, 4 March 2007, EU Conference Calls on Turkey to Recognize Assyrian Genocide.
7-, Saturday, 10 February 2001, Greek genocide decree angers Turks.
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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The return of the scarves Rural Kurds revive an old Armenian tradition

Jan 31st 2008
From The Economist

AGACLI- FOR centuries Armenians in the village of Agacli, in south-east Turkey, cultivated silk. With it they wove fine carpets and flowing scarves that were traded all along the silk road from China to Europe. That was until 1915, when Ottoman forces slaughtered most of the villagers, and hundreds of thousands of other Armenians. The village was taken over by Kurds and, in the 1990s, became a target for terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Residents began to flee when the PKK started raiding the area demanding food and shelter.

Weary of the violence, Agacli's 62-year-old mayor, Yusuf Bayram, decided two years ago to try to revive the silk trade. He was inspired by his wife, the daughter of two Armenians rescued as children by Kurdish neighbours during the 1915 massacres. But a lone pair of gnarled mulberry trees planted by the Armenians were all Mr Bayram had—until the European Union rode to the rescue with a big grant.

New mulberry trees were planted, silkworms and looms brought in. Some 15 teenage girls have been trained to spin, weave and dye the silk. Despite finger-numbing cold, they have just produced their first batch of scarves. Gulay Aslan, a former seamstress who trains the girls, says their biggest challenge is sustainability. “The EU money is finished. We need to stand on our own feet, to find markets,” she declares.

The women have formed a co-operative, but their only customer is Diyarbakir's chamber of commerce. At $35 each, the scarves cost far more than those of competitors in China and India. “They use machine-spun silk, our girls make everything by hand,” boasts Mr Bayram. Just like the Armenians, he adds.

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.


Ethnic Armenian journalist's murder trial continues in Turkey

11 February 2008
Earthtimes, UK

Ankara - The trial of the 19 people charged in connection with the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink continued Monday, with defendants refusing to answer the questions of lawyers engaged by Dink's family, the NTV television station reported. "She has become a saint," Erhan Tuncel told the court, referring disparagingly to Dink's wife Rakel who was present in the court.

Tuncel said he had no bad intentions,saying he had called the police after the murder but that Dink's lawyers were doing their best to have him sentenced to a heavy prison term.

Tuncel was later accused by a fellow defendant of having "sold out" his friends.

Dink, 53, was shot dead outside the Istanbul office of his Agos newspaper in January. Oguz Samast was arrested soon after in the Black Sea town of Samsun where he reportedly confessed to the killing.

Samast has been charged with murder, being a member of a terrorist organization and carrying an unlicensed weapon and faces up to 42 years behind bars if found guilty.

On Monday Samast too refused to answer questions.

The other 18 people on trial face a variety of charges including incitement to murder and forming a terrorist organization.

Dink's murder sparked a wave of anger and shock across Turkey with tens of thousands of people attending his funeral in Istanbul.

There were also nationalist counter-protests, especially in Samast's home town of Trabzon, against the way in which Dink's supporters waved banners saying "we are all Armenians."

Dink was a hate figure for nationalists owing to his well-known writings concerning the massacres of Armenians by Turks in 1915.

Dink said the massacres were a genocide that Turkey should acknowledge, while the official line in Turkey is that while hundreds of thousands of people were killed the deaths did not constitute a genocide.

Earlier on Monday a group of around 2,000 supporters of Hrant Dink called for the murder to be investigated thoroughly.

"This is a test for democracy and Justice," actress Derya Alabora told supporters waving placards saying "For Hrant. For Justice".

Lawyers for Dink's family attending the trial have complained that the investigation into the murder did not look closely at how the police had failed to act upon numerous warnings that Dink's life was in danger.

Speaking outside the court, European Parliamentarian Joost Lagendijk said it was imperative that the Turkish government act on its promises to amend Article 301 of the criminal code, the same code that Dink had been found guilty of "insulting Turkishness".

"We don't want any more statements from the government about changing 301. We want them to change it," Lagendijk said.

Copyright, respective author or 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.


Turkish Activists Demand Justice At Dink Murder Trial

Monday 11, February 2008, Armenia

Source: AFP

Turkish intellectuals and politicians called for a fair and transparent ruling Monday in Istanbul as the third hearing began in a case against three alleged killers of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

"This stain must be cleaned so that a Turkey where opinions are no longer judged and those who express them are no longer condemned can exist," said a statement read to journalists near the Besiktas court.

The statement was signed by politicians from various leanings, as well as well-known intellectuals who called for "complete transparence" in a case that is being closely followed by the European Union, which Turkey is looking to join.

On January 19, 2006, 52-year-old Dink was shot outside the office of the weekly publication he ran -- the Turkish-Armenian Agos -- by a 17-year-old boy with close links to Turkish nationalists.

A group calling themselves "The Friends of Hrant Dink" read a statement to a separate crowd of several hundred people in Besiktas. They demanded that justices "do their job correctly and follow this through to the end." The courthouse was surrounded by police as those standing trial arrived in armed police vans.

Dink campaigned for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, but ran into trouble with the law for articles in which he labeled the 1915-1917 mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I a "genocide." The journalist was slapped with a suspended sentence of six months in jail under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which deals with offences that insult Turkishness and is denounced by the EU.

Monday's hearing took place behind doors due to the fact alleged murderer Ogun Samast is a minor. Samast has confessed to the murder and could face up to 42 years in prison. His co-charged, Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, allegedly ordered the attack on Dink and could face life in prison. Sentences ranging from 7.5 to 35 years have already been handed out to 16 others accused in the case.

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.


MEP warns Turkey time running out

11 February 2008
BBC News

Protesters say the planners behind the killing are still at large. A senior Euro MP has said that the EU is losing patience with Turkey over its promise to change its controversial law restricting freedom of speech. Joost Lagendijk, joint head of the parliament's Turkey committee, was speaking as a court heard the case of murdered journalist Hrant Dink.

Mr Dink had been convicted under a law which bans "insulting Turkishness".

The MEP said Turkey's leaders had repeatedly promised to overturn the law and it was now time for them to act.

The EU opened talks on Turkish membership in 2005 but there have been repeated concerns about Ankara's willingness to make the necessary changes to its laws.

"We have to take ourselves seriously," Mr Lagendijk told the BBC News website.

"We're preparing a report for the European Parliament which will be voted on in April and if nothing has moved by then on freedom of expression, the report will be negative."

Article 301 of Turkey's penal code was used against Hrant Dink after he described the mass killings of Armenians in 1915-1917 as genocide.

A 17-year-old has confessed to his killing and another 18 people have gone on trial as associates. But there are claims that the real figures who planned the killing are not on trial.

Two days after Ankara relaxed the law banning Islamic headscarves in universities, Mr Lagendijk said he feared a public outcry over the decision would be used by the government as an argument against pushing through further reform.

"They've opened a Pandora's box and nobody is quite sure where it will end," he said.

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


The Assimilation Policy of Turkey Continues

By Orom Lahdo
EasternStar New Agency
On November 24, 1934, Turkey introduced the surname act. In Turkey, this law is called "Soyadi kanunu". The purpose of this law was to force all groups of people, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, to assume a Turkish last name. This law is still applied today, and it is strictly forbidden for Christians or any ethnic minorities to assume "non-Turkish names". These names are by law prohibited in Turkey.

Nuri Amno (formerly Aktas), an Assyrian from the city of Midyat, is today a Swiss citizen. He changed back the Turkish last name Aktas, which was forced on his family, to Amno, when he was granted Swiss citizenship. In order to do the same change in Turkey, the barrister Rudi Sümer in Midyat was hired.

Nuri Amno (formerly Aktas), who through his double citizenship also is registered in the municipality of Midyat, applied in the summer of 2007 to have his enforced Turkish last name "Aktas" changed back to Amno, which is the last name that his grandfather and generations before him had used before the compulsory legislation was introduced in 1934.

Sümer handed in an application for a change of the last name Aktas to Amno to a Turkish court of law. The application was refused be the court, which motivated its decision with support of the Turkish law of names, saying that "the new last name must originate from the Turkish language" and that "it is not permitted to assume names from foreign races or nations". The quotes are from law no 2552 § (3.7) in the Turkish Law.

Sümer appealed against this decision to the Supreme Court of Turkey (Yargitay), which established the decision of the lower courts. Sümer says that this decision is in contradiction to 10 § in the Turkish constitution, which stipulates "everybody's equal value before the law, irrespective of race, religion or e thnicity." After the decision of the Supreme Court, there are no higher instances to appeal to in Turkey. Sümer has therefore appealed to the court of the European Union, the court for human rights, in Strasbourg.

This is the first time an Assyrian appeals a decision made by a Turkish court to the European court in Strasbourg. The case is the first of its kind, and could become a precedent. According to Sümer, similar cases are usually taking five years before a decision is announced by the European court. The case was taken by the court in 2007.

By Orom Lahdo
EasternStar New 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.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Erdogan: There Is No Genocide In Our Culture And Civilization

Turkish Press, MI
An article of faith by Erdogan. This is a racist statement. Does this mean that genocide is embedded in the German culture? I hope the Germans' ears have been perked up by this statement. It also shows the main problem in Turkey pathologically not being able to dissociate themselves from the genocidal regime of the Young Turks.
MUNICH - Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday there was no such thing like genocide in Turkish culture and civilization.
Erdogan replied to questions on several matters after his speech at the 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy in Germany.

In regard to Armenian allegations regarding the incidents of 1915, Erdogan said, "there is no such thing like genocide in our culture. We cannot accept it. We are ready to discuss the matter by the means of documents."

Replying to a question, he said, "we are holding talks with (Iraqi President Jalal) Talabani, because he is president. Our cross-border operation continues in a tripartite mechanism (USA, Turkey and Iraq)."

Upon questions on the Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code, Erdogan said, "we earlier made a legal arrangement on it, but it was not liked by the EU. We are preparing another one now. It will be ready soon."

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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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Turkish Leader Criticizes European 'Double Standard' on PKK

09 February 2008
Voice of America
By Al Pessin
Below it says: "the Turkish prime minister challenged Armenia's foreign minister to provide proof Turkey was responsible for a massacre of Armenians in 1915". True to his word may be Turkey should go ahead and as announced take the case to the ICJ rather than make useless noise in public forums. He is displaying an incredible disregard to an immense literature on the Armenian genocide. This is just laughable.
Turkey's prime minister criticized European nations Saturday for providing sanctuary to groups that support the Kurdish Workers Party, which Turkey, the European Union and the United States have labeled a terrorist organization. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Munich, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to the European Security Conference on Saturday.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at Conference on Security Policy in Munich, 9 Feb 2008 Prime Minister Erdogan called on European countries to stop allowing affiliates of the group, known as the PKK, to raise money and promote their cause. The prime minister said he would not name any countries specifically, but he also called for the extradition of PKK members who are held in Europe. He is heard here through an interpreter.

"Countries who apply double standards, or who remain unwilling towards terrorism, in time, will become shareholders of negative consequences of terrorism," he said.

Prime Minister Erdogan said European countries already suffer from drug trafficking used to finance PKK activities.

He also called on the European Union to move forward with Turkey's long-standing application for membership, and he rejected calls by some in Europe to give Turkey a 'privileged partnership' status, short of full membership.

In answer to questions from the audience of senior officials and leading security experts from Europe, North America and elsewhere, the Turkish prime minister challenged Armenia's foreign minister to provide proof Turkey was responsible for a massacre of Armenians in 1915.

And he denied a charge by a Russian questioner that Turkey is harboring Chechen terrorists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will deliver a major speech at the conference on Sunday. He says he will lay out what he sees as the justification for European involvement in bringing stability to Afghanistan - the need ensure it does not again become a terrorist safe haven. Gates says he wants to convince ordinary Europeans to support additional troop deployments to help the undermanned NATO mission in Afghanistan.

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.


Bryan Ardouny: article 301 has become a painful reminder of open wounds of genocide


Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), addressed a letter to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to appreciate publication of "Freer Speech" editorial dedicated to the problem of article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.

"We commend you for your Jan. 29 editorial ("Freer Speech") highlighting Turkey's continued and inexplicable use of Article 301 to indict citizens for openly discussing the Armenian Genocide.

"Turkey is the only country in the world where speaking the truth about the Armenian Genocide is regarded a prosecutable offense. For simply mentioning the atrocities, Hrant Dink was hauled to court and convicted in 2005. His life was ultimately taken by forces determined to squash public discussion of this fact of world history.

"Sadly, one year after Mr. Dink's assassination, Ankara has yet to overturn the climate of intolerance, prejudice and repression which led to this unspeakable crime. Instead, Mr. Dink's son, Arat Dink, was recently convicted under this much-criticized law for referencing the Armenian Genocide.

"Article 301 has become a painful reminder of the open wounds of genocide and its denial. It is time for Turkey to provide more than just lip-service and get to the business of reforming its laws and stop its ongoing campaign of denial," Mr Ardouny whote in his letter.

! 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.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Bad news for Erdoğan?

Today's Zaman, Turkey

Bad news for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Given the results of the "super Tuesday" primaries in the US, Barack Obama, whom Erdoğan lashed out at after he promised to acknowledge the so-called "Armenian genocide," has never been so close to winning the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2008 presidential elections.

Erdoğan harshly criticized Senator Obama, depicting him as an "acemi" (rookie) politician. Many people fall into the trap of underestimating others. As an underestimated politician who has proven to be the most durable "black" leader in the "white-dominated" Republic of Turkey, Erdoğan should have known this more than anyone else. Furthermore, he himself was not more experienced than Obama in government affairs and he was only two years older than Obama (46) when he became prime minister with the Turkish general elections in 2002. And I'm telling you, the chances for Obama to be the next president of the US are no less favorable than Erdoğan's 2002 bid. The Clintons, who also seem to have underestimated him, should nowadays be grappling with this fact more than anyone else.

Obama made a strong start by winning the Iowa caucus. The Clinton camp became increasingly nervous after Obama stole the normally Clinton-loyal black Americans in South Carolina. But it wasn't until this Tuesday that alarm bells started to ring for Clinton. Once considered the obvious frontrunner in the Democratic race, Senator Clinton now feels the breath of Obama on her neck.

Elections in the first five states granted Clinton 51 percent more delegates than Obama. In the aftermath of Super Tuesday, however, delegate tallies are almost even or only slightly in favor of Clinton according to varying counts due to the confusing calculation methods of the Democratic primaries. Obama has the psychological edge since he won five more states than Clinton, whereas the big enchilada, California, went to Hillary.

There is an even more dramatic comparison in their respective monetary situations. Who would expect an "underdog" candidate like Obama to surpass Clinton in terms of campaign funds? Senator Clinton, whose campaign ran out of money, had to borrow $5 million from her personal account. Obama, on the other hand, enjoys $32 million raised in January alone, compared to Hillary's $13.5 million.

Everybody knows money talks in politics (although perhaps not as much as Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who has spent millions from his own fortune so far, has counted on). Vice versa, talk generates money (though not necessarily as much as former preacher Mike Huckabee might have wished for). Obviously, Obama has proven very successful in transforming his speaking abilities into campaign funds. His debate performance may not be extraordinary, but he can definitely score high points when he addresses crowds. The wider American public probably first got acquainted with Obama during his impressive nationally televised victory speech in Iowa. And it should be no surprise that he was able to garner increasing numbers of young voters, who constitute the backbone of his political organization.

It looks like the more people get to know Obama, the more likely they are to vote for him. So time is on Obama's side in this unusually long intra-party race. The Clinton campaign is far from being dead. But eventually we might very well find ourselves in a situation where we will be talking more about White House foreign policy under Obama's command. If only, of course, he also beats the Republican candidate. That person seems to be Senator John McCain, given his lead over the remaining two contenders, Romney and Huckabee, which is mathematically almost impossible to beat.

Speaking of mathematics, it's almost a certainty that Clinton, Obama or McCain is going to be the next US president. All of them are multilateralists, and that's good for the US and for the world. I'm sure their counterparts in Ankara, no matter how enraged they might be at times, will do their best to not reduce Turkey's relations with the US to issues like the debate over Armenian allegations of genocide. They would expect the same from the American side. After all, even the US cannot afford a "with us or against us" mantra on particular policy topics. How can Turkey do so?

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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