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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Note: From 1996 or 97
    GENOCIDE SCHOLAR "BANISHED FOR LIFE" FROM OTTOMAN ARCHIVES

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    BY MANNIK KHATCHATRIAN Asbarez Staff Writer

    GLENDALE-Hilmar Kaiser an Armenian Genocide scholar was "banned for life" from use of the Ottoman Archives in Istanbul last week by Necati Aktas, Assistant General Director of the Prime Minister's Archives. Kaiser, who is of German descent, is affiliated with the European University Institute's Department of History and Civilization in Firenze, Italy and has presented papers at several international symposia on the Armenian Genocide.

    Actions taken by Turkish authorities in the past two weeks are politically motivated, since at no time does Kaiser seem to have violated any section of Article 9 of the archival research law, scholars said.

    In a letter dated Aug. 12 to Dr. Dennis Papazian, Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan- Dearborn, Kaiser discussed the events that led to his "banishment."

    "Upon arrival at the reading room of the archives on August 2, I was informed, in a rude way, that my permit had been annulled," wrote Kaiser.

    According to the letter, Kaiser "left the room in the company of the official and asked for an application form for a new permit." The man to whom the request was made "left, and came back and ordered me not to fill out the form since they (the archival authorities) would not accept my application," Kaiser explained, adding that according to Turkish law, he had a right to apply. Having made no progress with the official, Kaiser, accompanied by Dr. Neumann of the Orient Institute in Istanbul, went to see Aktas, who reportedly refused to see him. "After about two hours of waiting I was allowed to hand in my application," said Kaiser.

    Three days later, Kaiser returned to the archives, with Dr. Neumann, and received a response to his application. "It was negative," and "the authorities gave [him] no specific reason," only that he had "violated paragraph 9 of the archive law."

    Kaiser has been in constant contact with reporters on this matter, and has appealed to "all persons of good will," particularly scholars in Europe and the United States, to express their dismay at the "arbitrary action" taken by Turkish authorities. In an effort to bring an end to such actions by the Turkish government aimed at punishing or exerting undue pressure on objective academic research, scholars responded to Kaiser's appeal with continuous dialogue on the matter, via the Internet.

    Papazian, in correspondence with the Middle East Studies Association and the Turkish Studies Association, drew attention to discrepancies in the rejection by Turkish authorities, as well as UCLA Professor Stanford Shaw's interpretation of the events that transpired. "Mr. Kaiser was refused service in a "rude way" in the reading room immediately upon his arrival, not after requesting more than 10 copies a day" as Shaw had claimed based on personal inquiries, Papazian said.

    According Shaw, Kaiser purportedly was behaving rudely toward archival staff. Shaw's explanation, according to Papazian, "is not in accordance to the letter of Aktas and the regulation of Article 9."

    Kaiser refuted Shaw's claims that he [Kaiser] was "loudly abusive of the staff, making it difficult for others to work." As to allegations of special privileges, Kaiser "being attentive to Turkish law" denied having made any such requests. "It is true that I demanded 15 documents per day during my past visits," Kaiser said, referring to his 1995 research of archival materials, but that "was in perfect harmony with the valid rules."

    As to the allegations of abuse against the staff, Kaiser expressed disappointment that Shaw "did not give any details" about the incident. "I might add that I personally thanked the reading room staff upon leaving Istanbul. I singled out the good photocopying services, as well as the professional handling of the documents," the ill-treated scholar said, who went as far as comparing the "good performance of the reading room staff with that of other archives." Kaiser dismissed reports of ever having been criticized by archive staff for "loud speaking" as allegations against him claim.

    Questions of Kaiser's integrity and "immorality" were raised in a letter by a high-level Turkish official, sources told Asbarez Thursday.

    "I have absolute faith in the integrity of Mr. Kaiser," Papazian said, "as does the German Embassy," who according to Kaiser, planned to "intervene personally" on his behalf.

    "The banishment of Mr. Kaiser from the Turkish archives is not only reprehensible from the point of view of serious scholarship, but it is also contrary to current Turkish law," Papazian said in a letter to members of MESA, TSA, and the Society of Armenian Studies.
    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

    Comment


    • New initiative to build bridges between Armenians and Turks
      Monday, May 14, 2007







      DUYGU GÜVENÇ
      ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

      The assassination of Hrant Dink has led to a new dialogue between Armenians and Turks called Doves. The civilian initiative, which so far does not have international sponsors, was founded last month. The aim of the group is to support the Hrant Dink Foundation, which will be established in Istanbul soon.

      Hrant Dink was the editor-in-chief of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly, Agos. He was murdered by an ultra-nationalist youth in Istanbul's Şişli district in January this year.

      The first foundation in the name of Hrant Dink was founded in California soon after his assassination. �The group, composed of Turks and Armenians gathered in a yahoo group to establish a dialogue against nationalism,� Armenian director, Apo Torosyan writes in his email. The group aims to promote peace through joint meetings, group readings, trips, conferences and cultural activities.



      Doves unite around Dink

      �We are all Hrant Dink...We are all Armenian...� thousands shouted at Dink's funeral. The doves have adopted this slogan, which led to negative reactions from nationalists.

      �Armenians live with a big trauma against Turks and Turks live in paranoia against Armenians. We are two clinically diseased cases. Who will cure us? The decision of the French senate? The decision of the U.S. senate? Who will be our doctor? Who will sign our prescription? Armenians are the doctors for the Turks. Turks are the doctors for Armenians. Other than this, there is no doctor, no prescription. Dialogue is the only prescription.�

      Comment


      • Avoid antagonizing the genocidists, who might walk out of “the peace process.”


        Turkey refuses to even open diplomatic relations with Armenia because it talks about the Armenian Genocide.


        Say that peace and reconciliation are more important that blaming people for genocide.


        This is often heard from Turks, American government officials and others who have clearly never been victims of genocide. Much like telling a man whose mother was raped and murdered by the next door neighbor that it is more important to get along with your neighbors, this will never be accepted by Armenians who deserve and need an apology and reparations. They need an apology from Turkey now not only for the genocide, but for the nearly century long denial and miseducation campaign that took place, the continued mistreatment of Armenians in Turkey, the blockade of Armenia since the early 1990s and the post-genocidal war taking even more Armenian land.

        What is there to discuss really?
        General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

        Comment


        • http://www.azg.am/?lang=EN&num=2007051501

          Anti-Armenian Actions in Turkey

          TURKISH NATIONALISTS THREATENING ARMENIANS

          On May 14 "Global Hay" news agency sent to "Azg" the copy of a message, received by "Surb Levon Vardukhian" Armenian school in Istanbul.

          On the very first page of the message the following inscription could be found: "This was sent to all institutions concerned with the matter. This movement was started for the sake of Turkey’s future and its unity. Regards".

          The next pages featured a long text, entitled "The Last Warning and Ultimatum", and accusing Armenians in separatism and efforts to ruin the Turkish statehood. The message also told of the Murder of Hrant Dink. "…exclamations "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink" are examples of extreme chauvinism and summons for revolution. Do not forget that except Armenian citizens of Turkey, there are also Armenians from Armenia on our land, and they count over 100 thousand. Both their addresses and their workplaces are well known. Henceforth we hope to see our Armenian citizens as advocates of truth, concerning the Armenian Genocide or any other matter, and as defenders of the Turkish statehood. We shall keep an eye on how the Armenians are playing this role. Otherwise the Armenians shall be those to lie in the grave and count how many Armenians and how many Turks there were in the ‘ages long past’. This land has never pardoned treachery and shall not. Who does not stand for our paradise-homeland is against us and shall be vanquished", says the message.

          The text ends with the following words. "There is no defense line. That line is the entire territory. Anything else is just trifles when the fate of the homeland is the matter. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk". "This is the last ultimatum. It is not to be repeated" – say the last words of the message.

          This latest expression of Turkish violent nationalism is unsigned. Nevertheless the quote from Ataturk must remind us of the Kemalist chauvinistic movement. This movement is called to protect the statehood of Turkey, an that statehood is supervised by the Special Forces Department of the army, which was the initiator of political crisis during the presidential elections in Turkey. Thus, the spiteful message should be ascribed to the armed forces of Turkey and linked with the political events about the presidential elections.
          General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

          Comment


          • Who, really, is responsible for Turkey's malign nationalism?
            Wednesday, May 16, 2007


            It looks ridiculous to blame the malign nationalism on everyone else than Mr Erdoğan when there is actually empirical and statistical evidence that this kind of malady has peaked during his unchallenged reign

            Burak BEKDİL

            Risking further messages from readers full of insults, curses and threats, mainly from Turkish Muslim expatriates from amazingly different parts of the world, I shall write another piece on everyone's common darling, the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

            Some of these “comments,” elegantly written by civilized men who only disagree but do not antagonize, suggest that the AKP is like a national insurance policy against the real malady that is (ultra-) nationalism – a view shared, probably for different reasons, by most diplomats of the civilized world. Yes, they say, the AKP chaps may be Islamists, but they are at the same time liberal reformers unlike the nationalists. And these nationalists are the real obstacles against a “better Turkey,” which, by definition, is free of nationalism.

            One should respect that view, like any other view, unless expressed violently. One should also feel the liberty to peacefully argue why the theory is not convincing.

            Let's begin with the number three of the AKP, Bülent Arınç, a man of many troubles these days. Before the presidential race (or, was it a race or an appointment process?) began, Mr. Arınç said that eventually a “religious president” would best fit Turkey. Assuming what Hüseyin Çelik, education minister, publicly said after the military's demarche –that secularism meant the state being at equal distance to all religions— is true, could Mr. Arınç possibly have meant a religious Christian or Jew as Turkey's next president? Mind you, he did say a “religious person,” not a “religious Muslim.” But of course he meant a religious Muslim!

            Is the presumably unbiased parliament speaker, number two in the state protocol, really at equal distance to all religions? Would he really be content if a good, tax paying, religious but non-Muslim citizen of Turkey were elected president? A pious Orthodox or a Jew? A protestant Turk, for example, like the ones murdered in Malatya?

            Has Turkey not been permanently criticized by both of the European Union and the United States for limiting religious freedoms of non-Muslims during the AKP's governance since 2002? Ah, liberal reformers who merely want religious freedoms and democracy in Turkey… Which party, by the way, crafted and legislated the famous Article 301, which brought, among others, Hrant Dink, under the spotlight until a lunatic murdered him? Was it the MHP? The CHP? Or was it not a party but the autocratic military?

            Cartoonists, journalists and writers:

            Which prime minister holds the title of having sued a record number of humorists, cartoonists, journalists and writers? A clue… It's the same prime minister whose party attempted to ban alcohol and outlaw adultery -- and, for that matter, it is the same prime minister who sacked his own MP for critiquing corruption among party members. It's the same prime minister who has sued an opposition politician because the man had called him “arrogant.” Did anyone say liberalism? This column's space would probably fall too short for other examples to illustrate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's bizarre sense of liberalism. But Mr. Erdoğan's friends at both sides of the Atlantic are more than prepared to turn around and whistle at the kind of illiberal practice, which, for reasons of real-politik, they do not care much about. Their principal interest (and praise) in Mr. Erdoğan's “liberalism” has more to do with his strategy to undermine what makes “Turkish nationalism” in its classical sense. But has his rule, unique in its length and parliamentary majority, really swept away both or either of the benign and malign nationalism in Turkey, or has it in fact done the opposite effect? Is the AKP really the miracle panacea against anti-western nationalist sentiment?

            Recently, a journalist asked Ali Babacan, economy minister and chief EU negotiator, if the crime boom during AKP's rule was the result of economic failures. No, Mr. Babacan replied, it is the result of moral hazard. The crime boom can partially be blamed on a silly amnesty bill the former government had legislated. But essentially, Mr. Babacan was right to admit moral hazard – under the AKP. Now, AKP's overseas supporters as well as Turks who fear nationalism –who do so for different reasons—should ask themselves tough questions.

            Were the anti-western Turks this much sharply anti-western before 2002? Did anyone kill a priest in Turkey before 2002? A senior judge? Christian converts? Has the AKP rule controlled/confined or fueled anti-Americanism in Turkey? Did not Turkish anti-Americanism peak after 2002? Under whose governance did the Turks' support for EU membership drop from 75 percent to less than half? – actually more Turks supported EU membership under a coalition which the MHP made one of its flanks. Was it not the same nationalist MHP, which put its party seal on a bill that effectively scrapped a potential capital punishment for Abdullah Öcalan – and for the sake of Turkey's EU bid?



            Nationalism free of ethno-centrism:

            Has the AKP opened the border with Armenia? The Orthodox seminary in Chalki? Has it sufficiently addressed the rights of the Alevis? Has it withdrawn or reduced the number of Turkish troops in Cyprus? Has its anti-nationalism resolved the Aegean disputes? The Armenian genocide dispute? Has Turkey become friendlier with Turkish and Iraqi Kurds under the AKP?

            The truth is, there are both ideological and practical reasons why the AKP's privately anti-nationalist ethos does not suppress, but actually fuels nationalist and anti-western sentiment in Turkey. Young lunatics are being drifted into a dangerous mindset: the ones who feel more Turkish and less Muslim go astray because they feel the government fails to sufficiently defend Turkish interests; and the ones who feel more Muslim than Turkish too go astray apparently feeling encouraged by “their men in power.”

            Mr. Erdoğan, too, often holds on to a rhetoric based on benign nationalism – that is, nationalism free of ethno-centrism. He cannot be blamed for that; he actually deserves praise for correctly separating that one from malign nationalism. All the same, it looks ridiculous to blame the malign nationalism on everyone other than Mr. Erdoğan when actually there is empirical and statistical evidence that this kind of malady has peaked during his unchallenged reign.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by steph View Post
              The truth is, there are both ideological and practical reasons why the AKP's privately anti-nationalist ethos does not suppress, but actually fuels nationalist and anti-western sentiment in Turkey. Young lunatics are being drifted into a dangerous mindset: the ones who feel more Turkish and less Muslim go astray because they feel the government fails to sufficiently defend Turkish interests; and the ones who feel more Muslim than Turkish too go astray apparently feeling encouraged by “their men in power.”
              I think this paragraph is pretty much spot on.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Turkish Pride View Post
                I think this paragraph is pretty much spot on.
                pretty much.

                Comment


                • What ever the cost ,Turkish public must mobilize to seek a true democrasy,someone must unite the non-secular and the anti-Islamist.
                  "All truth passes through three stages:
                  First, it is ridiculed;
                  Second, it is violently opposed; and
                  Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Gavur View Post
                    What ever the cost ,Turkish public must mobilize to seek a true democrasy,someone must unite the non-secular and the anti-Islamist.
                    In Turkey, such politicians would have no constituents and dangerous lives.
                    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

                    Comment


                    • Then they must be imported.
                      "All truth passes through three stages:
                      First, it is ridiculed;
                      Second, it is violently opposed; and
                      Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                      Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

                      Comment

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