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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?


    In of the videos released by the police on Tuesday, Sarai Sierra is
    seen walking on one of the busiest streets of İstanbul, İstiklal
    Street. (Photo: Today's Zaman) RELATED NEWS

    Turkish police intensify search for missing New York woman
    29 January 2013 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL

    Turkish police have released camera footage of Sarai Sierra, an
    American woman who has been missing in Turkey since Jan. 21.

    In one of the videos released by the police on Tuesday, Sierra is
    seen wearing blue jeans and a brown leather jacket at a restaurant
    in the Beyoglu district of İstanbul. In another video she is seen
    walking on one of the busiest streets of İstanbul, İstiklal Street.

    Sierra, 33, contacted her family last week on Monday, on what was
    supposed to be the final day of her solo trip to Turkey, which began
    on Jan. 7. It was the last time Sierra's family heard from her. She
    was expected to land in New York on Jan. 22, but never boarded the
    plane in İstanbul.
    Hayastan or Bust.


    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

      17:36 30.01.2013

      Amnesty International calls on the Turkish authorities to carry out
      a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the series of
      attacks on elderly Armenian women in Istanbul.

      In the last two months, four attacks, one of them fatal, took place
      in Samatya, an area historically inhabited by Armenians in central
      Istanbul. All four women are Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.

      The Turkish authorities have an obligation to investigate any alleged
      racist and/or religious bias behind the perpetration of these crimes.

      A failure to do so may amount to a violation of the European
      Convention of Human Rights, ratified by Turkey, and the prohibition
      of discrimination set forth by it.

      Hate crimes constitute a serious form of discrimination. State
      authorities have not only to refrain from discriminating themselves
      but also exercise due diligence to prevent and combat discrimination
      from private parties.

      It is regrettable that Turkish legislation does not foresee any
      legislative and policy measures ensuring that hate motives are
      systematically and thoroughly investigated and duly taken into account
      in the prosecution and sentencing.

      Police insist that they are investigating the cases thoroughly.

      However, Amnesty International is concerned at public statements made
      by the authorities discounting the possibility of a racist motivation
      to the attacks.

      Amnesty International believes that the authorities must carry out
      a thorough investigation into these attacks without discarding the
      possibility of hate motivation from the outset and take steps to
      prevent further attacks.

      The incidents

      In late November 2012, an 87 year-old woman was physically attacked
      in the street. She was severely beaten and as a result of the attack
      lost the sight in one eye.

      A group of three men allegedly attempted to abduct another elderly
      woman while on her way to the church on the occasion of the orthodox
      Christmas on 6 January. The attackers reportedly fled after the
      intervention by other church goers.

      On 28 December, an 85 year-old woman was found stabbed to death in
      her home. Her xxxellery was stolen.

      On 22 January, an 80 year-old woman was attacked and beaten as she
      was returning to her home.
      Hayastan or Bust.


      • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

        Vacationing Staten Island Woman Found Dead in Turkey


        Published: February 2, 2013


        ISTANBUL — A Staten Island woman who failed to return home from a vacation alone in Turkey last month, setting off a frantic search by American and Turkish authorities, was found dead on Saturday, according to her family and the Turkish authorities.

        Enlarge This Image

        David Martinez, via Associated Press

        Sarai Sierra in an undated family photo in New York.

        Connect with NYTMetro

        Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for news and conversation.

        The body of the woman, Sarai Sierra, 33, was discovered near a major roadway along Istanbul’s ancient city walls, the semiofficial Anatolian Agency reported. Her family was informed of the death on Saturday afternoon and said they were awaiting a more detailed briefing from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which assisted Turkish authorities in the inquiry.

        Local reports said she had been stabbed, but American law enforcement officials cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages and they declined to provide details as to how Ms. Sierra died. One law enforcement official said Turkish authorities notified State Department officials in the country on Saturday that they had found her body. The State Department did not respond to requests for comment.

        Her family said they had lost contact with her on Jan. 21, the day she was supposed to leave Turkey. It was her first trip overseas.

        Ms. Sierra, a married mother of two children, had originally planned to travel with a friend, but when the friend could not go, she decided to press on alone. She arrived in Turkey on Jan. 7 for what she told her family was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to practice her favorite hobby: photography.

        On Staten Island on Saturday, her father, Dennis Jimenez, 59, described her as a hard worker who spent all of her spare time with her sons, who are 11 and 9.

        She worked part time in a chiropractor’s office and was studying for a bachelor’s degree at the College of Staten Island.

        She had been planning and saving for the trip for several months.

        Ms. Sierra chronicled her travels around Istanbul, as well as side trips to Amsterdam and Munich, on her page on the social media outlet Instagram, memyself_sarai. The last photo was posted on Jan. 20.

        Soon after she failed to arrive at Newark Liberty International Airport as scheduled, her Instagram page quickly filled with prayers and pleas for information from friends and relatives.

        Her husband, Steven Sierra, and brother, David Jimenez, flew to Istanbul last week.

        Before they left, Mr. Sierra told The Staten Island Advance that his wife had kept him informed of all her travel plans.

        “She kept me 100 percent updated,” her husband said. “Every day while she was there she pretty much kept in contact with us, letting us know what she was up to, where she was going, whether it be through texting or whether it be through video chat, she was touching base with us.”

        After her disappearance was reported to the local authorities, the Turkish authorities said the police had watched hundreds of hours of surveillance video and sent officers to chase down leads across the country.

        Late last week, the focus turned to a man the authorities believed was the last person to contact Ms. Sierra. He was identified in local news reports only as Taylan. He was questioned by the police and released, according to the local reports. Nine other people are still being questioned.

        Ms. Sierra, according to both Turkish and American officials, had an e-mail correspondence with Taylan before she arrived in Istanbul and was in touch with him on the day she disappeared.

        “I’ll be across from the Galata Tower in a while, will you come?” Ms. Sierra reportedly wrote in an e-mail sent on Jan. 21 at 11 a.m., referring to a popular tourist attraction in downtown Istanbul. The text of the message was first reported in the Turkish paper Vatan.

        The tower is a short walk from the hostel in the Tarlabasi district where Ms. Sierra had rented a room.

        Ms. Sierra sent another message at 11:33 a.m., saying, “I’m leaving, call me if you want to reach me.”

        Taylan replied at 12:45 p.m., writing, “I’ll come there, hope you have wireless.”

        When the police searched her room, they found her cellphone and passport and other belongings.

        Taylan, according to the Turkish media, denied to the Istanbul police any intimate relations with Ms. Sierra, whom he had met on the Internet four months ago. He said they were both active on Instagram, which is used to share photography, and continued to communicate via his Gmail account.

        “She told me that she wanted to come to Istanbul to take pictures, and I told her that it was a good idea,” Taylan told the police, as quoted by Vatan on Saturday. “She came to Istanbul, we continued talking over the net and met face to face for the first time on Jan. 13, talked about each other’s lives, wandered around and then left separately.”

        He said he went to the Galata Tower to meet her, but did not find her, according to media reports.

        News coverage of the rare disappearance of an American tourist captivated Turkey, and the local police created a special unit to investigate it. As the hunt for Ms. Sierra proceeded, 28 officers in the police security surveillance unit were assigned to search through hours of video that 260 patrol teams collected from more than 500 street cameras in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, the Anatolian Agency reported.

        Packed with bars, movie theaters, cafes and restaurants, the neighborhood is popular with tourists and locals alike.

        Ms. Sierra’s father said he never had any indication that anything was wrong.

        “We talked by Skype every day,” he said. “Every day she would tell me, ‘Dad, don’t forget to pick me up at the airport.’ ”

        “She’s a closely devoted mother and wife and daughter,” Mr. Jimenez added. “I’m devastated.”

        Sebnem Arsu reported from Istanbul, and Marc Santora from New York. Christopher Maag contributed reporting from New York.
        Hayastan or Bust.


        • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

          Wanna make sure I got the facts straight .
          Let's see , one non Armenian comes up missing in the kurdurks occupation area , and within minutes or at most hours , the turkurds on on a massive , well orchestrated search , at put together an elite special team to assist in search , + come up with hug numbers of surveillance video + the FBI comes in force to aid and assist , but Armenians are murdered and repeatedly violently attacked , and the kurdurks assign one of what is their equivalent of an American boy scout to look around ?
          Oh , and NO FBI assistance .
          Am I getting the facts straight . No question mark , because there is no question .


          • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

            Originally posted by Haykakan View Post

            SOCIETY | 30.01.13 | 13:07

            ArmeniaNow reporter

            Several assaults against Armenians in Turkey over the past month have
            raised concerns and stirred a wave of outrage not only among Armenians,
            but also Turkish human rights advocates, who held an act of protest
            Sunday calling for "consistency in investigating the assaults and
            murders on ethnic grounds".

            Pro-Kurdish member of the Turkish parliament, representative of Peace
            and Democracy party Sebahat Tuncel and independent MP, member of the
            Commission on Human Rights Ertugrul Kurkcu declared during the protest
            that the assaults were hate crimes motivated by strong anti-Armenian
            sentiments and that "the police is at fault for their inertness".

            On December 28, in her home at Istanbul's Samatia district largely
            populated by Armenians, 85-year-old Maritsa Kucuk was brutally
            murdered. Her son's testimony claims that the perpetrators had "carved"
            a cross with a knife on the old woman's chest.

            Some ten days earlier in the same district an 87-year-old native
            Armenian woman, Turfanda Ashik was assaulted and brutally beaten.

            On January 6 (Armenian Christmas), another native Armenian woman
            escaped an attempted assault on her way to church. With her own
            resistance and some support from aside she managed to find refuge in
            the church.

            On January 22, again at Samatia district, near his house 83-year-old
            Sultan Aykar became a victim of assault and lost vision in one eye
            caused by beating.

            Turkish human rights advocates are convinced that the crimes are of
            "racist anti-Armenian character", however it is unclear yet whether
            the "racist sentiments" are against Armenians only, or Christians
            in general.

            Editor of the Armenian version of Istanbul-based Agos daily Bagrat
            Estukian believes "these are hate crimes" as a reaction prior to the
            100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide to be marked in 2015.

            The Istanbul branch of Turkey's Human Rights Association has published
            a separate report in which several Samatia residents stress that they
            are "afraid" and that for as long as "the word 'Armenian' is used as
            a swear word, such incidents will keep happening".

            By various census results there are 50,000-60,000 Armenians living
            in Turkey today, the majority of them in Istanbul; Armenians there
            have a patriarchy, 16 schools, more than 30 churches, 3 newspapers
            (one of them 100-years-old) and two hospitals.

            Despite the constant fear and atmosphere of ethnic discrimination,
            the Armenian community of Turkey keeps staying in what they call their
            "historic homeland".

            "Such problems have always existed, but the atmosphere of fear now
            is really tangible," Istanbul-based Heriknaz Avagian, initiator and
            principle of the special Armenian school for the children of illegal
            immigrants, told ArmeniaNow.

            The year of 2007 became a watershed in the lives of Istanbul-Armenians,
            when editor-in-chief of Agos daily Hrant Dink was assassinated near
            his newsroom.

            As Turkish Armenian Arus Yumul, sociology professor and head of chair
            at one of Istanbul's biggest universities (around 12,000 students),
            explains "Dink's murder awakened not only us Armenians, but also
            Turks, who started showing more interest in the dark pages of their
            history," however this "awakening of consciousness" has also had
            a counter-effect.

            Months after Dink's murder Istanbul's St Astvatsatsin (Holy Virgin)
            church suffered an armed attack when a gunman opened fire during
            liturgy, luckily with no casualties.

            In 2011, on April 24 - Remembrance Day for the victims of the Armenian
            Genocide - in the army a Turkish soldier shot dead his fellow private
            Sevag Sahin Balikci. On the day of the funeral his parents said it
            was an accident, but during the trial, the last hearing of which
            took place on January 25, they declared that "Sevak was murdered for
            being Armenian, that day one Armenian had to be killed, it had been
            decided so."

            During the same 2011 a taxi driver physically abused an Armenian woman:
            he called her an "infidel", beat her and threw out of his car.

            After this case the police stated that it was a matter of minutes
            to take the driver into custody, because both the vehicle number and
            the taxi service were known. More than a year has passed and nobody
            has been held accountable.

            These recent cases have had strong reaction in Armenia, some even
            drew parallels with the murder of Kurdish women in France during
            the same period, committed in the highlight of negotiations with
            Abdullah Ocalan.

            However, expert in Turkish studies Ruben Safrastyan, head of the
            Institute of Eastern Studies at the National Academy of Sciences,
            believes that the assaults are anti-Christian rather than

            "The Turkish society is undergoing a period of change, on the one hand
            it is the desire for growing awareness about the Genocide among some
            circles, on the other it is the extremist pro-religious, pro-Islamic
            sentiments growing deeper and as counter-effect the anti-Christian
            and anti-Armenian wave is getting bigger," says Safrastyan, adding
            that the government policy is creating fertile soil for all of this.
            Well the Turkish Prime Minister is a nasty piece of work, he draws votes from radical Muslims.


            • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

              Turkish nationalists chant "Descendants of Armenians, get out of Sinop" at Kurdish MPs visiting the northern Turkish town (@4:23).


              • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                Hardly surprised by it, Turkish nationalists would love to commit another genocide against Armenians and Kurds.


                • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                  Turkish-Armenian soldier's death not fatal accident, claims family

                  13:01 - 03.03.13

                  The family of Sevak Balikci, the Turkish-Armenian soldier killed
                  during service ahead of the Genocide anniversary in 2011, is said to
                  be angry with a prosecutor report saying that his death was caused by

                  According to the Turkish Millyet, Sevak's parents claim their son's
                  death was a pre-arranged plot. A lawyer in the case has said the court
                  wouldn't listen to the witnesses willing to give testimony proving the

                  The soldier's father, Karapet Balikci, has told the paper that his
                  son's death was a premeditated murder, not a fatal accident.

                  His mother has threatened to appeal to the European Court of Human
                  Rights to argue the hypothesis about the negligent murder.

                  The lawyer, Jem Halavurt, has stressed the importance of hearing
                  witnesses during the trial.

                  `We have said that the witnesses were prevented from giving testimony,
                  but all the demands were rejected. We have evidence that Sevak was
                  killed on purpose. The prosecutor has prepared the conclusion without
                  having detailed records,' he said.

                  Balikci was killed by a bullet fired by a fellow serviceman, Kivanc
                  Agaoglu, who was later released from court after claiming that he did
                  not mean to kill the Armenian soldier.

                  Sevak's family, however, is skeptical about his allegations,
                  considering that the serviceman could not have been killed
                  accidentally just a day before the Genocide anniversary.
                  Hayastan or Bust.


                  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                    Armenians in Turkey better be on their guards.
                    B0zkurt Hunter


                    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                      A particularly nasty article about Kars and its connections to Armenia by Norman Stone.