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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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    Plot against the ecumenical Patriarch foiled
    The Istanbul public attorney’s office is investigating a group of ex army officers who seem to have plotted to assassinate Bartholomew I as well as Mesrob of the Armenians.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007
    By Asia News

    A group of ex army officers, now retired, plotted to assassinate the ecumenical Patriarch: this is what has emerged from an investigation carried out by Istanbul’s public attorney’s office, and brought to light by a report in Aksam newspaper. The group known as the Association of National Forces was led by Bekir Ozturk: the hard drive of his computer revealed the entire project which also consisted of the assassination of the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob and of a Jewish businessman.
    This network of retired army officials are believed to be in contact with diverse well rooted nationalist groups on Turkish soil. What is of even graver concern is the fact that arms in their possession seem to originate from Army deposits. According to media and diplomatic sources this only further underlines the deep ties between nationalist activists and institutions linked to the State, thus forming the so-called “Shadow State”.

    These worries are amplified by the recent entrance into parliament of the nationalist MHP party (which includes the grey wolves) in national elections, and their strengthening of the opposition, until now represented by the Kemalist CHP party.

    On the subject of the recent elections, observers have not failed to comment on Erdogan’s reshuffling of his government in favour of right wing candidates over liberals. A fact that led to his landslide victory in the centre east of the country. Some recall an interview he gave in 1998, when he was on the verge of forming his party, in which he said: “my aim is to unite my party base with the nationalists”, in short uniting political Islam with nationalism, legitimized by the journey towards European Union membership, with the country’s obvious economic development as the winning factor, which also brought election victory as proven by Kodan poll agency, the only one to have correctly gauged pre-election forecasts.

    In the area of religious policies, the Greek foreign minister Dora Bakojiannis has informed her EU colleagues in Brussels of the continuous difficulties faced by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Following her meeting with the President of the European Peoples Party, Martens, a statement was released criticizing the Turkish Supreme Court ruling which contests the ecumenical nature of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Moreover, Interfax news agency reports that the Moscow Church, has taken advantage of the Greek foreign minister’s initiative to contest Constantinople’s primacy among the Orthodox, while sharing in the Patriarch of Constantinople’s difficulties. In short, the word in Brussels is that Turkish Nationalists have found an unlikely ally in the ambitions of the Moscow Church. The reaction of Fr. Dositheos, of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is calm and meaningful: “The Ecumenical Patriarchate was not born as a national Church, but as a point of reference for the ancient Christian world according to the apostolic and patristic tradition, it is universally accepted and has as its basic precept love in Christ”.
    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


    • New fears of Turkish persecution

      Wednesday, 1st August 2007. 6:55am

      By: Matt Cresswell.

      Further persecution of Christians in Turkey has come to light after two Turkish Christians were fined for collecting tithes and offerings.

      This month both Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal were summoned to Istanbul’s Beyoglu police headquarters where they were ordered to pay 600 Turkish Lira (US$461, £230) for allegedly breaking a civil law.

      “This is ridiculous,” the men’s attorney, Haydar Polat, told Compass news agency. “It has nothing whatever to do with the original case against my clients. Now we will have to open a case against this administrative order within 15 days, and it will take at least a year to get these unsubstantiated charges dropped.”

      Both men are also charged with insulting Turkishness under the nation’s notorious Article 301, despite the fact that ‘Turkishness’ remains undefined.



      • Source: JTA
        The secret Jews of remote Turkey

        Matthew Gutman

        While searching for a hidden cluster of Jews in the devoutly Muslim Turkish city of Sanliurfa, a JTA correspondent finds a civic legend of Jews murdering Jews, hears rumors of families staying Jewish secretly while going to a mosque publicly, and meets a textile merchant nicknamed Moshe Dayan who was beaten by police after meeting with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
        Published: 03/04/2003
        SANLIURFA, Turkey, March 4 (JTA) — It seemed like anti-Semitism masquerading as history.
        Baki Ozmen, a self-described historian of the Jews of the remote Turkish city of Sanliurfa, pulled down the neck of his brown turtleneck sweater with one hand and made karate-like chops at his tan-colored flesh with the other.
        “The Jews used sharp metal objects to cut the neck of their brethren. Only the Jews kill that way,” he told JTA. “They were the city’s best smiths; that’s how we know it was the Jews who killed that Jewish family in 1945. This is what our elders tell us.”
        To create a pretext that would enable them to immigrate to Palestine, the Jews of Sanliurfa, an ancient city known in the Bible as Ur, hatched a plan to hack to death a local Jewish family and then blame it on their Muslim neighbors. Or so goes local lore.
        Since then, said Ozmen, a bear-like man with a jowly, bearded face, there have been no Jews in the stalls that once belonged to Jewish artisans pounding out copper pots or finjans deep in the city’s labyrinthine bazaar — or anywhere else in the city, for that matter.
        But Ozmen’s information isn’t quite accurate: About 10 Jewish families still live in Sanliurfa, clandestinely celebrating certain Jewish holidays in the privacy of their homes.
        To stay alive, the Jews of Sanliurfa — the ancient town where Abraham stopped to water his camel train, according to the Bible — conceal their yarmulkes and Jewish books in hidden corners of their homes, according to several sources, including Kadir Celikcan, the director of Sanliurfa TV.
        Like their neighbors, they dutifully head to the city’s ancient mosques to pray, finger worry beads, and wear the traditional baggy pants and red-checkered Kaffiyeh of the Kurds — yet they remain Jews.
        “If residents here find out that there are Jews living in this city, there could be hell to pay,” Celikcan said.
        At best, he said, locals would boycott the Jews’ shops and business, impoverishing them. At worst, they could be killed.
        That’s why, despite a four-hour discussion, Celikcan refused to let JTA meet with any of the families.
        “The publication of their names or descriptions,” he said, “could cause them much more harm than good.”
        In fact, no Jewish organization has met with members of the tiny community in recent decades, despite several attempts.
        Sanliurfa is one of the fastest-growing cities in Turkey. The massive $32 billion Southeastern Anatolia Project, which aims to irrigate huge tracks of Turkey’s impoverished southeast, is anchored by the Ataturk Dam, the fifth-largest in the world.
        The dam sits just 30 miles from Sanliurfa and draws tens of thousands of job-seeking peasants to the city each year.
        This massive influx of poor — municipal data indicates that over 50 percent of the city lives below the poverty line, earning less than $100 per family per month — has made Sanliurfa a hotbed of Islamic radicalism, the chain-smoking Celikcan said. He believes that as much as 25 percent of the city’s population belongs to “radical” groups.
        “Sanliurfa is 100 percent Muslim,” said Sanliurfa’ mayor, Ahmet Bahcivan, in curt, enunciated English.
        “There are simply no Christians or Jews living here,” he added with a smile that was more grimace than gracious.
        Bahcivan’s feet dangled in the air on one of the couches in his reception room. Rotund and short, Bahcivan is backed by the Islamic Sa’adet Party.
        An electrical engineer by trade, Bahcivan was eager to speak about the woes of poverty in his city as he sipped tea from traditional hourglass-shaped glasses on ornate silver saucers. He was less interested in talking about ethnicity and religion.
        Bahcivan recently rejected a proposal for a huge inner-city park because it would include small areas for a synagogue and a Christian church, saying there is no need in Sanliurfa for such shrines to other religions.
        However, the mayor denies any association with radical Islam: “Turkey is a democracy for all its people. But the simple fact is there are no Jews or Christians living in this city, not one.”
        “We would welcome any minority,” said the mayor, who added that Islamic fundamentalism poses no problem in Sanliurfa.
        Nevertheless, Sanliurfa is considered one of the most devoutly religious cities in Turkey, a state that prides itself on its openness and secularism, as compared with the world’s other Muslim states.
        But there is little religious freedom in this city of 600,000 nestled between stunted mountains with scrubby vegetation. Here, Islam — not a Western sense of multiculturalism — rules.
        The city, about 30 miles north of the Syrian border, is in the tip of a crescent-shaped region that was ancient Mesopotamia.
        Bahcivan explains that the population consists of Kurds, Syrians, Turks and a remnant of the Armenians slaughtered in the 1915 Armenian genocide. The Turks massacred or drove an estimated 2 million Armenians from Anatolia; only those few able to quickly assimilate remained.
        Few traces remain of the 1,000 Jewish families that once lived in Sanliurfa, though the ancient Pool of Abraham — the Koran says Abraham was born in the town — which is packed almost solid with carp, continues to serve as a main gathering spot.
        A few steps off the main bazaar in the heart of the Old City is a crumbling courtyard called Yahudi Khan, or Jews’ domain. It still serves as a metal crafts center, though the Star of David and other Jewish insignia were stripped long ago from the crumbling plaster molding.
        Across the carpenter’s alley and over a section where rug merchants hawk moldy carpets lies the textile courtyard where Muslim Dag — known in certain quarters as Moshe Dayan — mends and designs clothes for locals.
        With a head of gray hair, a short nose, and wide-open eyes, Dag’s face bespeaks an aged innocence.
        He got his nickname because some locals believe Israel’s famed one-eyed general, who never got closer to Sanliurfa than his 1941 campaign against Vichy-controlled Syria, once worked in the shop.
        Nestled into one corner of a shady courtyard so old it appears to have grown organically from the basalt stone foundations, Dag’s shop is stuffed with Sufi symbols.
        Hamsas with eyes embedded in their palms, scraps of text from the Koran and mystical scripts line the walls, as do scrolls of ancient Persian.
        Dag’s employees looked on in surprise during his interview, as many were unaware that Jews ever had lived in the city.
        On three separate occasions, Dag was visited by members of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee who wanted to know about the local Jewish community. After the last visit, in 2001, Dag was questioned and beaten by police.
        Talking to a JTA reporter in his shop, he seemed nervous. Two fingers of his left hand were kept clasped over his mouth during the interview, as if to keep in any information he may possess.
        According to Celikcan, Dag and two other men hold the secret of Sanliurfa’s remaining Jews — but they have promised to spare the Jewish families and have never revealed their secret.
        According to historian Ozmen and other semiofficial sources, about 150 Jewish families stayed after the mass migration to Israel in 1945. Most intermarried and assimilated fully into Islam.
        Ami Bergman, the JDC’s point man for Turkey, said that for a decade he has been trying to contact the Sanliurfa community, but they have refused contact with Israel or any overt connection to Judaism.
        “They simply don’t want the connection, and it is our duty to respect that,” he said.
        General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”



          Two Journalists Investigated Under 301Article 301 continues to haunt journalists in Turkey. Radikal newspaper writers Magden and Türker are both under investigation for degrading the states armed forces.

          bia news center

          08 Ağustos 2007, Çarşamba

          Two journalists of the "Radikal" newspaper, Perihan Magden and Yildirim Türker, are being investigated under the charge of "degrading the state's armed forces" (Article 301).

          Magden: "Creating dislike for military service"

          On 29 June, prosecutor Ali Cakir in Bagcilar, Istanbul, who had conducted an investigation of Magden for an article entitled "State, you are painted all over tonight", had dismissed proceedings against the writer.

          Magden had criticised the fact that there had been a publishing and broadcasting embargo on the find of a stock of ammunition in a house in Ümraniye, Istanbul. She is also being investigated for "creating dislike for the military service" in the same article.

          Türker: Indifference towards racism

          Following a complaint by one Recep Akkus, journalist Yildirim Türker is also being investigated under Article 301/2.

          In his article published on 8 July 2007 in the Radikal 2 Supplement, entitled "Invisible Attack", Yildirim had written about the indifference of state authorities and the media towards racism in the period leading up to journalist Hrant Dink's murder.

          The article ended:

          "The whole of society must react when, not 20 or 30, but even one person uses racist, discriminatory, threatening language. We have to look at the closeness of these disordered nationalist militia and the state and the Republican-Kemalist-theorists. Armenians are frightened and uneasy. How do you feel?" (EÖ/AG)
          General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


          • Can Turkey Be Taught Tolerance? Still no.

            Can they learn tolerance? Doubtful
            General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”



              Turkish Daily News, Turkey
              Aug 16 2007

              The CHP's boycott of Mr. Gul will only be a badge that he should wear
              with pride. The situation is like electing a black president for the
              United States, and seeing him boycotted by political figures such as
              David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan leader

              Mustafa AkyolThe expectations came true and the Justice and Development
              Party (AKP) announced its candidate for the presidency: Foreign
              minister Abdullah Gul, whose bid was blocked just three months ago
              by the "secularism memorandum" of the Turkish military and all the
              legal tricks which followed. The AKP did the right thing by taking
              that decision, simply because Mr. Gul deserves the presidency and
              his opponents don't deserve the luxury of freely interfering with
              the democratic system by using threats and blackmail.

              Having been announced the presidential contender, Mr. Gul moved on
              to initiate dialogue with all the political parties in Parliament,
              and all of them, except one, agreed to meet him. That only exception
              is the Republican People's Party, the ultra-secularist CHP, whose
              speaker rushed to announce that they will not talk to Mr. Gul, and
              if he gets elected, they will boycott his office, for that they don't
              find him secular enough.

              In a real democracy that would be a pity, but in Turkey things are
              different. Because here, the CHP represents the very anti-thesis of
              democracy. And it will be simply an honor for Mr. Gul to be boycotted
              by this anti-democratic and pro-oligarchic bloc.

              You may find this claim inflated, and think that I am exaggerating
              my case. But before that, let me present you with some facts.

              Although the AKP is in existence only since 2001, and thus has been
              in front of our eyes, the CHP exists since 1924, and it has a dark
              history full of nasty episodes.

              A brief history of the CHP:

              The CHP was founded in September 1924 and in less than a year it
              become the sole master of Turkish politics. But how? By winning
              elections? No. By outlawing opposition. In June 1925 the CHP government
              closed down the opposing Progressive Party and banned its leaders
              from politics. In other words, the first achievement of the CHP was
              to destroy democracy.

              >From 1925 to 1946, it was the only legal political party in Turkey.

              (The sole exception was the experiment with the "Free Party" of
              1930, which was allowed to exist for just three months.) During this
              uncontested reign, CHP leaders made many fateful decisions. One of
              them was the policy to forcibly assimilate our Kurdish citizens, which
              led to the banning of Kurdish language and culture - and deportation
              of many Kurdish notables.

              The CHP's ideology, which also became official doctrine, was in fact
              based on Turkish racism. In 1932, in a "scientific" congress held in
              Ankara under the auspices of the party, the size and features of the
              "Turkish skull" was praised and Turks were proudly declared as the
              seed of the Aryan race. Dr. Þevket Aziz Kansu, who was appointed by
              the CHP to the presidency of the Turkish Historical Society, used
              to argue that the "Turkish stock" was superior to that of the Kurd,
              the Armenian and the Laz, because in Turks, the distance from the
              eyebrows to the chin was shorter. This proved, according to Kansu,
              that "Turks were more advanced in evolution."

              The resemblance to the Nazi ideology was all obvious. No wonder
              Recep Peker, the CHP's long-time general secretary, did not hide his
              admiration for Nazi Germany's "discipline" throughout the '30s. In
              those years, in each Turkish city, the head of the CHP branch was
              also the governor. Like in the Soviet Union, the state and "the party"
              were fully integrated.

              In the early '40s the CHP had the privilege of establishing the first
              and only Jewish labor camp in Turkish history. In the year 1942, at
              a time when usurping Jewish money was the "in" thing in Europe, the
              CHP government issued the infamous Wealth Tax, which was an extremely
              heavy levy on non-Muslim citizens. Those that weren't able to pay it
              were deported to forced labor camps in eastern Turkey in addition to
              having their property confiscated.

              When it became clear that the Allies would win World War II, the CHP
              shrewdly switched sides, and did some housecleaning by cracking down
              on the Turkish racist movement, which it had favored until then.

              The CHP also unwillingly had to accept the multi-party system and
              allow the founding of Democratic Party (DP) in 1946. But the election
              held in that year was faked by CHP officials: Thousands of ballots
              were destroyed or staged in order to ensure a CHP victory.

              The DP came to power in 1950, created an economic boom and introduced
              freedoms, and won the elections of '54 and '57. But the CHP was
              secretly collaborating with a junta in the military in order to
              overthrow the elected government. When the junta's thugs seized
              power in 1960 and executed the DP's leader Adnan Menderes in 1961,
              the CHP's leader, Ýsmet Ýnonu, was safe and sound, and getting ready
              to become the next prime minister.

              The rise and fall of social democracy:

              The post-Ýnonu period brought an important change to the CHP,
              though. Its new leader for the '70s, Bulent Ecevit, preferred social
              democracy to the CHP's fascist roots and transformed the party into a
              center-of-left one. That's why he had great success in the elections
              of 1973 and 1977, something, which was unprecedented and which would
              never happen again. After the military coup of 1980, the CHP was
              closed down like all other parties, and it was reopened only in 1992.

              The fascist and social democrat trends coexisted in the party, but
              the names that represented the latter, such as Altan Oymen (who is
              now in the media) or Ertuðrul Gunay (who is now in the AKP), were
              gradually excluded.

              After that, and especially since 2002, under the leadership of Deniz
              Baykal, the veteran crisis maker, the CHP has reverted back to the good
              old fascist days of the 1930s. In case you haven't noticed, today the
              party is firmly opposed to any reform that will bring more freedom to
              Turkey's Kurdish, Muslim or Christian citizens.
              It is very skeptical
              of the EU process, and continuously fuels nationalist paranoia
              about "Western imperialism" and the way it supposedly targets the
              "foundations of the Turkish Republic." It is a xenophobic, illiberal,
              and reactionary force.

              Therefore the CHP's boycott of Mr. Gul will only be a badge that
              he should wear with pride. The situation is like electing a black
              president for the United States, and seeing him boycotted by political
              figures such as David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan leader. It only confirms
              that the man in the top office is the right person to be there.

              Copyright 2007, Turkish Daily News. This article is redistributed with
              permission for personal use of Groong readers. No part of this article
              may be reproduced, further distributed or archived without the prior
              permission of the publisher. Contact Turkish Daily News Online at
     for details.

              General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


              • Taboo tale of the Ottoman empire
                Irish Times
                Published: Aug 18, 2007

                Fiction: Like Ireland, Turkey takes its writers seriously, but the
                stakes can be higher there than here. Elif Shafak was already a
                literary celebrity in Turkey when charges were brought against her last
                year under a 2005 statute for the offence of "insulting Turkishness",
                writes Richard Tillinghast .

                If convicted, she could have served three years in prison. The charges,
                like those brought earlier against Orhan Pamuk, though they were
                eventually dropped, have made the 35-year-old Shafak's name well-known
                in the West.

                It is not the case , as the publisher claims, that this charge was
                brought "by the Turkish government", but rather by a group of ultra-
                nationalist lawyers who have been responsible for the indictments
                against Pamuk and others.

                Death threats have been made against Pamuk and Shafak by extremists of
                the same ilk that assassinated the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant
                Denk last January. Turkish culture is fractious and volatile.
                Nationalists, Islamists, the Turkish military, and liberals such as
                Pamuk and Shafak are locked in a battle for the nation's soul.
                Ironically, prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "moderate Islamist"
                party have been strong backers of Turkish membership in the EU.
                Shafak's vision of a tolerant, pluralistic Turkey reflects the secular,
                Europeanised atmosphere of a multicultural Istanbul, which now finds
                itself under siege from reactionary forces.

                Shafak divides her time between Istanbul and the US, and has written
                her last two novels, The Saint of Incipient Insanities and The Bastard
                of Istanbul, in English. I prefer to read her in Turkish, difficult as
                that is because of her labyrinthine sentences and arcane vocabulary.
                Despite great fluency, her English is not completely colloquial. Like
                everyone, she writes more expressively in her native tongue.

                Both her recent novels speak to today's world of emigration,
                trans-national identity and ethnic hybridity. Bastard tackles the
                legacy of the forced migrations and massacres of Armenians in the chaos
                surrounding the death throes of the Ottoman empire. The subject is
                taboo in Turkey, yet it is hard to understand precisely why. Most
                nations, particularly great powers, have something dark and vicious in
                their histories.

                Research into what actually happened is not complete; many scholars
                feel that, terrible as these events were, "genocide" does not
                accurately describe them. Nevertheless Shafak is courageous in raising
                an episode in their history most Turks strenuously deny. Ironically,
                Turks and Armenians have much in common. Most older Armenians speak
                Turkish, often as their first language. Their cuisine is practically
                identical. In the US there is a consortium of Armenian and Turkish
                scholars seeking rapprochement.

                The Bastard of Istanbul takes a while to decide what kind of novel it
                wants to be. An insider-outsider, both in the US and Turkey, Shafak is
                able to turn a satirical eye on both cultures, and the book starts out
                like a satirical novel. Much of the satire is funny and pointed but
                does little to advance the plot.

                Many secrets come out when Armanoush, a young Armenian-American, flies
                to Istanbul on impulse because she wants to see the home of her
                ancestors. She stays with her mother's second husband's Turkish family,
                and there she becomes friends with Asya, her young Turkish cousin.
                Armanoush boldly tells her hosts about the forced migration and
                slaughter of Armenians. She recites what her relatives in the US have
                told her, and her stories are typical of Armenian refugee narratives.
                Yet her new friends have never heard about these things.

                IN THE END, the novel has an old-fashioned plot worthy of xxxxens,
                Sarah Waters, Michael Faber or Charles Palliser. Coincidence is at the
                heart of it. Yet Shafak gives the narration a particularly Turkish
                twist, commenting, "Life is coincidence, but sometimes it takes a
                djinni to fathom that".

                Asya's Auntie Banu, a headscarf-wearing clairvoyant, has two djinns
                (the word has been anglicised as "genie") at her command, Mrs Sweet and
                Mr Bitter. Mr Bitter is a gulyabani, a sinister spirit who "had come
                from places where the wind never stopped howling. Mr Bitter was very
                old, even in terms of djinn years":

                Ill-omened soldiers, ambushed and massacred miles away from their home,
                wanderers frozen to death in the mountains, plague victims exiled deep
                into the desert, travellers robbed and slaughtered by bandits,
                explorers lost in the middle of nowhere, convicted felons shipped to
                meet their death on some remote island . . . the gulyabani had seen
                them all.

                Mr Bitter has witnessed the forced marches:

                "I was a vulture," he commented bitterly, the only tone in which he
                knew to talk. "I saw it all. I watched them as they walked and walked
                and walked, women and children. I flew over them, drawing circles in
                the blue sky, waiting for them to fall on their knees."

                "Shut up!" Auntie Banu bawled. "Shut up! I don't want to know."

                Despite the bitterness of the past it describes, this is a magical
                novel of reconciliation and inclusiveness. At one point, Aram, an
                Armenian Turk, Asya's mother's boyfriend, says to Armanoush:

                "This city is my city. I was born and raised in Istanbul. My family's
                history in this city goes back at least five hundred years. Armenian
                Istanbulites belong to Istanbul just like the Turkish, Kurdish, Greek,
                and Jewish Istanbulites do. We have first managed and then badly failed
                to live together. We cannot fail again."

                If a Turk can write a novel like this, there is hope that Aram's, and
                Elif Shafak's, vision of the future will come to pass.

                Richard Tillinghast's eighth book of poetry, The New Life, is due out
                in 2008. He and Julia Clare Tillinghast have recently finished Dirty
                August, a selection of translations from the Turkish poet, Edip Cansever

                The Bastard of Istanbul, By Elif Shafak, Penguin Viking, 360pp. GBP16.99
                General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


                • Yusuf Halaço?lu= Supergenius


                  Read the section highlightened in bold

                  DTP deputies hold first group meeting
                  DTP held its first parliamentary group meeting yesterday. Deputy chairman of the DTP's parliamentary group, Selahattin Demirta?, stressed the importance of this meeting, saying:

                  Ahmet Türk
                  "This is the first time since 1924 that we, as Kurdish citizens, are making politics within the framework of Parliament, with our own identities." Demirta?'s intentional neglect on participation by the DEP after the 1991 elections is being seen as yet another sign of their determination to break ties with unfortunate events of the past. The DTP’s group meeting was also significant as party leader Ahmet Türk hinted that the color of their vote in the presidential election is “empty.” Reiterating that they would join the vote, Türk warned that their decision to cast empty votes should not be compared to the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) decision to boycott the election. Türk said their decision relates to presidential candidate Abdullah Gül’s failure to promise a civilian solution to the Kurdish problem. “Our priority is civil politics. Our preference is that Parliament elect a civilian president. We want the elected president to embrace the 72 million [people of the nation]. We had a meeting with Mr. Gül about our expectations of a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem, but we didn’t receive an open message from him,” Türk explained.
                  This first meeting of the parliamentary group echoed a recent critical report by the DTP about its identity and policies. Türk said the overwhelming number of votes won by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is a clear message coming out of the ballot box that the nation has closed its gates to chauvinist, nationalist and racist understandings. “This message says the nation does not support those touting war, that the people want a peaceful solution,” said Türk. Emphasizing that the DTP has taken this message, Türk promised that his party will endeavor to prioritize democratic methods and develop a peaceful and democratic process to solve the Kurdish problem.

                  Commenting on a controversial declaration by the president of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK), Yusuf Halaço?lu, that Kurdish Alevis in Turkey are actually Armenian converts, Türk called for his immediate dismissal. Claiming that Halaço?lu is promoting a racist-separatist polarization among the public, Türk said this understanding is bringing “brotherly peoples” face to face.

                  In a recent newspaper interview Halaço?lu claimed that there are no Kurds in Turkey, or in the ranks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “Our research shows that the Kurds of Turkey are actually of the Turkmen stock and the Kurdish Alevis are of Armenian origin,” Halaço?lu claimed.


                  Today’s Zaman Ankara
                  General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


                  • Kurds are just "Mountain Turks" obviously - lol (or backstabbing Armenians it would seem...)
                    Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
                    Adolf Hitler (22 August 1939)


                    • Originally posted by 1.5 million View Post
                      Kurds are just "Mountain Turks" obviously - lol (or backstabbing Armenians it would seem...)
                      Yup, instead of calling Kurds "Mountain Turks" he is saying they are Turcomans.

                      And oh yeah, Alevi Turks are really Armenians. My friend Halaço?lu, continually lending more giving the Turkish Historical society more credibility


                      Historian Halaço?lu accused of racism

                      Tuesday, August 21, 2007

                      Turkey History Institution chairman Halaço?lu claims Kurds are converted Turkmen and Kurdish Alevis are converted Armenians. Alevi institutions, politicians demand his resignation and accuse him of racism

                      ISTANBUL-Turkish Daily News

                      There is no such thing as a Kurdish Alevi claimed Turkish History Institution chairman, Yusuf Halaço?lu, whose comment prompted a demand for his resignation by the Alevi-Bekta?i institutions and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP).

                      At a symposium titled “Av?ars in Turkish History and Culture” Halaço?lu argued that Kurds are Sunni and Alevis are Turkmen: “Kurds who live in Turkey are originally descendents of Turkmens, and Kurdish Alevis are originally Armenian,” he said. “Some of the ones in the eastern Anatolian cities of Tunceli and Sivas, who define themselves as Kurdish Alevis, are originally Armenian. Halaço?lu also claimed that many members of the outlawed Turkish Workers and Peasants Liberation Army (T?KKO) and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are converted Armenian Kurds.

                      “Some Armenians settled in some areas and defined themselves as Kurdish Alevis during the forced emigration in 1915,” Halaço?lu said. “Many of them, who converted from Armenian origins to Kurdish Alevism, are not really sincere. It is known that they are trying to open a church. For example when some PKK members are arrested it becomes apparent that they are not circumcised. We have to be careful about where the terror comes from.”

                      Alevis, politicians demand Halaço?lu be put on trial

                      Etyen Mahcupyan, editor in chief of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, drew attention to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural blend in Anatolia. “These cannot be accepted as a way to analyze the complexity. His explanations are not scientific and I do not care about them or take them seriously,” said Mahcupyan, stating that Anatolians have interacted and shared cultures and religions. “In this perspective, who are Turks?”

                      Alevi Bekta?i Federations president Selahattin Özel also agreed with Mahcupyan. “Nobody should take them seriously. This declaration has certain political purposes and it's racist,” he said adding that Alevism has no race or ethnic roots.

                      The DTP's deputy Ak?n Birdal, however, thinks racism should not be underestimated and a complaint should be filed against Halaço?lu. “No conscious historian would do that. It is a political declaration with hidden purposes. It is against human rights.”

                      The DTP's president Ahmet Türk criticized Halaço?lu at a press conference yesterday demanding that the government act against his racist and separatist declarations and remove him from office. “Halaço?lu is unaware of history. Armenians had not been subjected to any suppression until 1914. After that they needed to hide their identities. Yet the roots of Kurdish or Turkish Alevism date back to the 1570s,” Türk said.

                      Like other Alevi institutions and politicians, the chairman of the Pir Sultan Abdal Association, Kaz?m Genç, evaluated Halaço?lu's statements as racist and demanded his resignation. “Such a scientific and academic post has great responsibilities. One is to make scientific descriptions and research in accordance with his institution's goals. The institution's work, however, is far from being scientific ever since the coup d'etat took place on September 12, 1980.”
                      General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”