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To reap twice-blessed rewards

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  • To reap twice-blessed rewards

    To reap twice-blessed rewards

    Bruce Fein

    Like Portia's mercy in "The Merchant of Venice," rewarding friendly nations is twice-blessed: It blesseth both the giver and receiver.

    Turkey has set the gold standard for cooperating with the United States in its pivotal foreign policy gambits, including our war against Taliban, al Qaeda, and terrorism generally. It should be rewarded accordingly.

    Moreover, Turkey is the sole example in the history of Islam that sports a secular and strengthening democratic dispensation and covets Western free market and human rights ideals. Its political culture, at present, admittedly sounds more like a bassoon than a Mozart concerto, but a concerto nonetheless.

    In sum, to reward Turkey would encourage other Middle Eastern and Asian nations to enlist more eagerly in our counterterrorism ranks and to shed their trappings of autocracy for more democratic garb, both to the advantage of the United States national security and foreign policy interests.

    Turkey has been a longtime and faithful ally of the United States from its early entry into NATO. It fought side-by-side with American troops in the Korean War. It was a military and intelligence asset against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. More recently, Turkey proved a blue chip ally during the Persian Gulf war against Iraq and the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    It has risked the wrath of the Islamic world by forging military and economic ties with Israel. And Turkey has enthusiastically given intelligence assistance and offered military support to supplement our ongoing war against Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere. In other words, Turkey's national security and foreign policy sympathies with the United States are enduring and deep, not anemic and fleeting.

    Founded in 1923, the Republic of Turkey is the sole genuinely secular nation amidst a sea of Islamic nations. Turkey's George Washington, the hallowed Kemal Ataturk, enshrined secularism in Turkey's constitution, where it has remained as fixed and shining as the North Star. Ataturk keenly understood the incendiarism of a legally anointed and allegedly superior religion claiming jurisdiction over every nook and cranny of political and private life to any Western-style, democratic flowering. Saudi Arabia, Taliban, and Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini are transfixing proof.

    Turkey's movement toward democracy has been fitful and painfully slow. The staunchly secular military felt compelled to intervene on three occasions since 1960 to save the nation from frightful internecine convulsions. But over the last decade, Turkey's march to a democratic drummer has been steady and impressive. Its elections are transparent and free from fraud. Its parliamentary government is accepted as legitimate by popular sentiment.
    Political parties are more and more grass roots and less and less personality cults. Turkey's constitutional and statutory human rights reforms have been landmark and laudable. Over the past year alone, amendments have been ratified that substantially expand political party rights, freedom of expression in both the print and broadcast media, and the rights of suspects and prisoners against torture or other law enforcement abuses. Private human rights groups flourish, and an official human rights post has been created to monitor and to safeguard against human rights violations.

    Both the president of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit are vocal proponents of human rights. They are the vanguard of Turkey's swelling popular enthusiasm for greater individual liberties, the best guarantee for scrupulous vindication.

    As a candidate member of the European Union, Turkey is adjusting its national program to conform with a "Democracy Package" prepared by the Prime Ministry Secretariat General for the EU and crafted by the Justice Ministry. Even Turkey's democratic Achilles heel treatment of its citizens of Kurdish ancestry in the economically depressed southwest and counterterrorism war against the Marxist-Leninist PKK-is yielding to Turkey's more self-confident freedom impulses. The use of Kurdish in broadcasting has been regularized, and even high-ranking members of Turkey's national security establishment are urging a further loosening of restrictions on Kurdish culture.

    The PKK, responsible for more than 35,000 largely Kurdish deaths since its ill-conceived secessionist birth in the early 1980s, is now but a shadow of its former gruesomeness.

    Turkey has thus earned the sympathy and amity of the United States over long years. During Prime Minister Ecevit's ongoing visit, the United States should reciprocate with the following:

    • Relax tariff barriers and quotas for Turkish exports.
    • Broach the idea of a United States-Turkey free trade accord modeled on trade pacts with Israel and Jordan.
    • Announce financial support for a Baku-Ceyhan pipeline to reduce United States dependency on Middle East oil, Russian hegemony in Central Asia, and Black Sea oil tanker hazards.
    • Voice unequivocal support for Turkey's admission to the EU, stressing that Spain and Portugal were swiftly embraced as new members to secure their democratic turnings post-Franco, post-Salazar.
    • End the strangulating omnibus embargo on the democratic Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
    • Urge the EU to defer consideration of the Greek Cypriot administration's application until a solution to the de facto division of Cyprus is negotiated between the two politically equal communities.
    Such reciprocity is especially compelling because Turkey promises to be a strong ally of the United States indefinitely, not transiently like a restricted railroad ticket good for this day and train only.
    Bruce Fein is general counsel for the Center for Law and Accountability, a public interest law group headquartered in Virginia.
    Turkey and human rights

    By: Nichlas Tanery
    Jan 18, 2002
    The washington Times
    Bruce Fein's Jan. 15 Commentary column, "To reap twice-blessed rewards," is a highly offensive missive of misinformation and hatred toward the former vassals of the Turks — Arabs, Kurds and Greeks. As a self-proclaimed "scholar" for the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, a well-financed Turkish lobby in Washington, Mr. Fein should mention the animosity the Arab press has directed toward Kemalist Turkey in recent days. On Jan. 12, the Riyadh Daily said of Turkey, "Even a simple Islamic dress attire as a head scarf has not been accepted by the country's leadership, when even non-Islamic countries permit it." The influential Saudi paper went on to conclude that Turkey's disrespect for the sentiments of Muslims nullifies its standing in the Muslim world. No small wonder that world-famous Saudi Osama bin Laden, in a recent broadcast, branded Turkey "the infidel" — in the same category as the Israeli crusaders.

    For me and many millions of Pontic Greeks around the world, the description of Turkey as "infidel" resonates, as do the words "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing." Our ancestors were forcibly deported in death marches from their native region of Pontus on the orders of Mr. Fein's "George Washington," Mustafa Kemal. He and his Turkish armies landed in the Black Sea port of Samsun on May 19, 1919, ousted some 700,000 indigenous Greek civilians from their ancestral homes and forced them on a death march that claimed more than 300,000 victims. The international community, through its silence, has pardoned the perpetrator of this crime, and newspapers such as The Washington Times publish "scholars" such as Mr. Fein who denigrate the memory of the victims.

    Mustafa Kemal, the so-called "Ataturk" or father of the Turks, is a figure whose statues in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan must be washed every morning of dung and refuse hurled on them by passers-by. Not only did this ethnic cleanser commit genocide on the Pontic Greeks, his policies set the stage for the ongoing Kurdish genocide — some 750,000 Kurd victims and rising.

    Portland, Ore.


    Bruce Fein's Jan. 15 Commentary column on Turkey was extremely narrow in its analysis and devoid of objectivity. It is a tremendous disservice to George Washington to compare him with Turkish ultranationalist leader Mustafa Kemal, who was responsible for the genocide inflicted upon Anatolia's Armenian, Assyrian and Greek-Christian populations in 1922 and 1923. Upon entering the city of Smyrna in September 1922, Kemal's troops enthusiastically slaughtered more than 100,000 Greeks and 30,000 Armenians,
    To refer to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit as a proponent of human rights is to ignore the fact that Mr. Ecevit ordered the Turkish invasions of Cyprus on July 20 and Aug. 14, 1974, that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of more than 200,000 Greeks and the occupation of 37 percent of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish occupation of Cyprus is a violation of international law and dozens of U.N. resolutions as well as legal rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.

    Mr. Fein's analysis of the Cyprus situation ignores both international law and the atrocities committed by Turkish forces. To date, more than 1,600 Greek Cypriots have been missing since the Turkish invasions. Referring to the Turk-occupied territories as "democratic" is terribly misleading, as can be demonstrated by the murders in August 1996 of two Greek Cypriots, one of whom was shot to death by a Turkish sniper while protesting peacefully.

    Mr. Fein ignores the reality that there is no such thing as a "Greek-Cypriot administration," only the Republic of Cyprus. To date, no country in the world recognizes the legitimacy of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. Mr. Fein's commentary refers to Kosovo and Bosnia. Unlike these two provinces, the Republic of Cyprus was an independent and sovereign entity, fully recognized for 14 years before it was invaded by the army of a foreign state in 1974.


  • #2
    Robert Fisk: A conflict conveniently forgotten and a holocaust deliberately denied

    In the years that followed the Second World War, Lord Beaverbrook's old Sunday Express would regale its readers with the secret history of the 1939-45 conflict: "What Hitler would have done if England was under Nazi occupation"; "How Ike almost cancelled D-Day"; "Churchill's plans for using gas on Nazi invaders." Often though not always the stories were true. After war come the facts. It's not so long ago, after all, that we discovered that Nato's mighty 1999 blitz on Serbia's army netted a total of just 10 tanks.

    But it took Eric Lowe of Hayling Island in Hampshire to remind me of the inversion of history, the way in which historically proven facts, clearly established, come to be questioned decades later or even deleted from the record for reasons of political or moral weakness. Eric runs a magazine called Palestine Scrapbook, a journal for the old British soldiers who fought in Palestine against both Arabs and Jews until the ignominious collapse of the British mandate in 1948. In Mr Lowe's magazine, there are personal memories of the bombing of British headquarters at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem a "terrorist" bombing, of course, except that it was carried out by a man who was later to become Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin.

    Dennis Shelton of the King's Royal Rifle Corps writes a letter, recalling an Arab attack on a British Army lorry in Gaza. "We opened up on them, the ones who could still run away. We found two [British] army bods under the wagon, both badly wounded. I went in the ambulance with them to Rafah hospital. I was holding the side of one's head to keep his brains in. I often wondered if indeed they recovered." Mr Lowe has asked for information about the soldier whom Dennis Shelton tried to save.

    But he's probably wasting his time, because the British Army's first post-World War Two war the 1945-48 conflict in Palestine has been "disappeared", sidelined as something that no one wants to remember. According to Mr Lowe, many of the British campaign medals for Palestine were never issued. Dennis Peck, of the Sherwood Foresters, only realised he'd been awarded one in 1998. Until two years ago, the campaign was never mentioned at the Armistice parade in London. There's not even a definitive figure for the British troops who died around 400 were killed or died of wounds. And it took over 50 years for British veterans to get a memorial for the dead: in the end, the veterans had to pay for it from their own pockets.

    But in the late Forties, all Britain was seized by the war in Palestine. When Jewish gunmen hanged two British sergeants, booby-trapping their bodies into the bargain, Britons were outraged. The British, it must be added, had just hanged Jewish militants in Palestine. But now nothing. Our dead soldiers in Palestine, far from being remembered at the going down of the sun, are largely not remembered at all.

    So who are we frightened of here? The Arabs? The Israelis? And isn't this just a small example of the suppression of historical truth which continues over the 20th century's first holocaust? I raise this question because of a recent and deeply offensive article by Stephen Kinzer of The New York Times. Back in 1915, his paper then an honourable journal of record broke one of the great and most terrible stories of the First World War: the planned slaughter of 1.5 million Christian Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman government. The paper's headlines, based in
    many cases on US diplomats in Turkey, alerted the world to this genocide. By 16 September, a New York Times correspondent had spoken of "a campaign of extermination, involving the murdering of 800,000 to 1,000,000 persons".

    It was all true. Save for the Turkish government, a few American academics holding professorships funded by Turkey and the shameful denials of the Israeli government, there is today not a soul who doubts the nature or the extent of this genocide. Even in the 1920s, Winston Churchill himself called it a "holocaust". But not Mr Kinzer. Over the course of the past few years, he's done everything he can to destroy the integrity of his paper's brilliant, horrifying, exclusive reports of 1915. Constantly recalling Turkey's fraudulent claim that the Armenians died in the civil unrest in Asia Minor at the time, he has referred to the genocide as "ethnic cleansing" and treated the figure of 1.5 million dead as a claim something he would surely never do in reference to the 6 million Jews later murdered by the Nazis.

    Recently, Mr Kinzer has written about the new Armenian Genocide museum in Washington, commenting artfully that there's "a growing recognition by advocacy groups that museums can be powerful tools to advance political causes". In other words, unlike the Jewish Holocaust museum and the Jewish Holocaust itself, which would never be used by Israel to silence criticism of its cruel behaviour in the occupied territories there might be something a bit dodgy about the Armenian version. Then comes the killer. "Washington already has one major institution, the United States Holocaust Museum, that documents an effort to destroy an entire people," Mr Kinzer wrote. "The story it presents is beyond dispute. But the events of 1915 are still a matter of intense debate." Are they hell, Mr Kinzer.

    But why should we be surprised at this classic piece of historical revisionism? Israel's own ambassador to present-day Armenia, Rivka Cohen, has been peddling more or less the same rubbish, refusing to draw any parallels with the Jewish Holocaust and describing the Armenian Holocaust as a mere "tragedy". She is, in fact, following the official Israeli Foreign Office line that "this [Armenian Holocaust] should not be described as genocide". Israel's top Holocaust scholar, Israel Charney, has most courageously campaigned against those who lie about the Armenian genocide I advise readers to buy his stunning Encyclopaedia of Genocide and he has been joined by many other Jewish scholars. But with Turkey's alliance with Israel, its membership of Nato, its possible EU entry, and its massive arms purchases from the United States, the growing power of its well-paid lobby groups has smothered even their efforts.

    Which raises one last question. Armenian academics have been investigating the identity of those young German officers who were training the Ottoman army in 1915 and who in some cases actually witnessed the Armenian Holocaust whose victims were, in some cases, transported to their deaths in railway cattle-cars. Several of those German soldiers' names, it now transpires, crop up again just over a quarter of a century later as senior Wehrmacht officers in Russia, helping Hitler to carry out the Jewish Holocaust. Even the dimmest of us might think there was a frightening connection here. But not, I guess, Mr Kinzer. Nor the modern-day New York Times, which is so keen to trash its own historic exclusives for fear of what Turkey or Israel might say. Personally, I'd call it all a form of Holocaust denial. And I know what Eric Lowe would call it: cowardice under fire.


    • #3
      The horror that the world wants to forget

      It was an evil so monstrous that it defied belief Marcus Warren, in Yerevan, finds that Armenians are still suffering the pain of what the Turks did to them in 1915.

      HER ghastly wounds saved the five-year-old's life. When one of the Turkish soldiers, picking through the pile of corpses,
      saw the blood gushing from her head, he assumed that the girl would not survive.

      Instead of finishing her off with his sword, the Turk left her alone. But he issued a terrible order to the little Armenian as he did so. "Die," she remembers him telling her. "But I didn't, I lived," says Rehan Manukyan, now 90 and still bearing
      the scars of her ordeal. "And I have three children and 10 grandchildren."

      She can recall little else of the slaughter that day in 1915. But judging by the mutilations to her face and hand, she as-sumes that the soldiers used cold steel, rather than bullets, to murder the women and children she was with. Her mother hugged her tight to her body as the killing started. That, the soldier's brutal command and the loneliness of being the sole survivor are the only memories she has of the massacre. While her face, the tip of its nose sliced off, and her right hand, missing half of its thumb and ring finger, are testimony to the soldiers' cruelty, Mrs Manukyan is a living witness to the first genocide of the modern era.

      There are not many left, perhaps 20,000, and many of those would have been too small to remember how their families were forced from their homes and slaughtered on the spot or sent on death marches into the desert. Their experiences are a common bond and the memories and outrage at modern Turkey's denials of the numbers killed - and western govern-ments' collusion in the lies - live on in their children and grandchildren. "It was planned, 100 per cent planned," said Ma-sis Kojoyan, also 90, one of three survivors of a family of 23. Of his memories, two stand out. In one, a Turkish soldier lines up two little boys to kill them. The other is of his cousin trying to escape by diving into a river but holding her child's head above the water as if to save him.

      As a five-year-old in the Turkish town of Malatya, Vergine Najarian watched babies being thrown into pits and being set on fire. In her flat in Yerevan, Armenia's capital, she asked: "How can we forget those terrible times? The memories are always flooding back and visiting me. And my children and their children will never forget what happened either."

      At the genocide monument overlooking the city - a stele soaring into the sky next to an eternal flame in a pit surrounded by stone slabs - the 1.5 million massacred from 1915 onwards are not the only ones remembered. One plaque is dedicated to Viscount Bryce, the statesman and author of The Blue Book, a collection of evidence of the slaughter published in 1916.

      An urn containing earth from his grave in Edinburgh is set into the stone. There is no space set aside at the complex for those who deny genocide. If there were, perhaps a place should be reserved for another peer, Baroness Williams of Crosby, the former Labour politician and SDP founder.

      In Thursday's House of Lords debate on the place of the 1915 events in today's Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain she advocated drawing "a distinction between the horrors of history. No one alive remembers the Armenian massacre," she said.

      Lavrenti Barseghian, head of Yerevan's genocide museum, said: "I feel that the UK Government is defending the Turks." The photographs on display at the museum, taken by German officers and smuggled out of Ottoman Turkey, anticipate
      the images of mass killings and tragedy from later in the last century.

      Piles of Armenian skulls are reminiscent of the exhibitions of Khmer Rouge terror in Cambodia. Lines of Armenians on the move through Turkey under armed guard look similar to scenes in the Balkans in the Nineties. Nearly 90 years on, the
      legacy of the genocide in Armenia poisons relations between Ankara and Yerevan still. Their two states have no diplo-matic relations.

      Mrs Manukyan spent 13 years in an American orphanage in what became Soviet Armenia but remembers no English, ex-cept for one nursery rhyme. Her flat suddenly echoes to her party piece, a rendition of Little Jack Horner. She changes the last line, though. "What a poor good girl am I," she sings, pointing to herself.


      • #4
        by Robert Fisk

        "WHO NOW remembers the Armenians?" Hitler asked, just before he embarked on the destruction of European Jewry. Precious few, it seems. As the memorial day for the Nazi genocide against the Jews was proclaimed by Mr Blair this week, there was not a single reference to the slaughter of one and a half million Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. The world's first holocaust - and Hitler's inspiration for the slaughter of the Jews - was ignored.

        Why, I wonder? Mr Blair did not mention it. President Chirac is frightened of the very subject, refusing even to condemn the slaughter when he last visited Beirut, where the grandchildren of the victims live in their tens of thousands. The United States government prefers to forget the holocaust of Armenians, while the Turks - the inheritors of the empire that committed the worst atrocities of the First World War - are studiously denying the genocide. And we let them get away with it.

        Who, I wonder, chooses which holocaust we should remember and which we should not? The six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis must always have a place in our history, our memory, our fears. Never again. But alas, the Arme-nians who perished in the rivers of southern Turkey, who were slaughtered in their tens of thousands in the deserts of northern Syria, whose wives and daughters were gang-raped and knifed to death by the gendarmerie and their Kurdish militiamen - they have no place in our memory or our history.

        Turkey is our friend. Turkey might one day join the European Union. Turkey is an ally of Israel. History, of course, is a hard taskmaster, veined with inconvenient facts and corrupted heroes as well as the massacre of innocents. The Armenian community in Turkey had its Allied sympathisers when the Ottoman army was fighting the British and French in the First World War, and Armenians also fought in the tsarist Russian army against Turkey.

        But the proof of genocide is intact. The Young Turk movement - once a liberal organisation which the Armenians had supported - had taken control of the dying empire and adopted a "pan-Turkism" which espoused a Turkish-speaking Mus-lim nation from Constantinople to Baku. Within weeks of their victory over the Allies at the Dardanelles in 1915, they fell upon the Armenians.

        Churchill was to refer to the "merciless fury" unleashed upon the Christian minority. The US ambassador in
        Constantinople - himself a Jew - wrote heart-wrenching reports back to Washington of mass slaughter. Near the Turkish village of Mus, hundreds of men were lined up on bridges and shot into the rivers, Serb-style.

        Behind the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland, I was once taken by a camp guide to a series of small lakes in which the Nazis dumped the ash of the crematoria. Beneath the water and ice lay the powdered white bones of whole cities of peo-ple. Yet in the north Syrian desert there are still skulls and bones in caves and in the clay of river banks. This place of martyrdom is visited once a year by the local Armenian community to commemorate their holocaust. They even have a holocaust memorial day. Yet I wonder if a single non-Armenian reader of The Independent knows what the date is?

        Denial of the holocaust is in some countries a crime. I'm talking, of course, about the Jewish Holocaust - because denial of the Armenian holocaust is not only perfectly legal, it is big business. No American company selling weapons to Turkey will discuss the holocaust of 1915. Chairs of Ottoman studies are being funded by the Turkish government at American universities in which US academics - who have to prove they have used Ottoman archives to get their jobs and thus must never have condemned the 1915 slaughters - propagate the lie that the Armenians were merely victims of "civil war" and that Turks also died in the chaos of 1915. Turks did. But not on the Armenian scale. Anyone who was to write that the Jews were victims of a European civil war and that, anyway, "Germans also died" would be regarded as cracked or a neo-Nazi. Not so if you deny the Armenian holocaust.

        Take the following letter, for example: "The myth of the 'Armenian Holocaust' was created immediately after World War I with the hope that the Armenians could be rewarded for their 'sufferings' with a piece of the disintegrating Ottoman state. As such, the main aims of the inventors were political and territorial." Now substitute the word Armenian with the word Jew. Who would ever get away with a letter about the "myth of the Jewish Holocaust" as an invention of Jews who wanted to be rewarded for "sufferings" (the quotation marks suggesting their falsity)? Who would ever publish such lies?

        But that letter was written about the Armenians. And it was written by a Turkish ambassador. In fact - heaven spare us - it was written by Barlas Ozener, the Turkish ambassador to Israel. And it was printed, in full, in the Jerusalem Post.

        But we Europeans are just as mendacious, if more discreetly so. Take Mr Chirac in Beirut. The French Assembly had just condemned the Armenian holocaust of 1915 - there are men of principle in French politics. But not Chirac. When asked less than two years ago for his views on the resolution, he replied: "I do not comment on a matter of domestic (sic) politics when I'm abroad." Would that have been his response if the Assembly had just denounced the Jewish Holocaust?

        Mr Blair said this week that as the Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust "age and become fewer in number, it becomes more and more our duty to take up the mantle and tell each new generation what happened and what could happen again". But there are a few very Armenian survivors left. Why weren't they asked this week about their memories? At Musa Dagh and later at Smyrna in 1920, British, French and American warships rescued a few of the pitiful Armenian survivors of that earlier Holocaust. But Mr Blair was silent this week. And silence gives consent.

        I am all for memorial days. Especially one that marks the Jewish Holocaust. And especially memorial days for other holocausts. Armenians too. But Hitler's ghost can have a little laugh this week. After all, who now remembers the Arme-nians?


        • #5
          THE WORLD: SURVIVING MEMORY; Armenia Neve Forgets. Maybe It Should.


          FEW peoples in the world have had as turbulent a past, or are as passionately attached to it, as the Armenians. Many of them believe they are alive today only because of their ancestors' near-fanatical insistence on preserving the ideas of the Armenian nation, church and language.

          History lends credence to this view. Armenians are from a region that has been successively dominated by great em-pires, among them the Mongol, Persian, Russian and Ottoman. They fiercely resisted assimilation, and were repeat-edly called upon to defend themselves and their traditions. Often they were defeated at terrible cost.

          The great dream of generations of Armenians came true in 1991 when their land emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union as an independent state. As they savor their triumph, however, modern Armenians face a deep psycho-logical challenge, one perhaps no less difficult than those posed by past enemies. The same ethnocentric nationalism that has allowed their nation to survive so long and triumph against such powerful odds is now out of fashion in the world. By clinging to it, the Armenians set themselves apart from the Europe they so much want to join.

          Memory of past outrages, especially the massacres perpetrated by Ottoman troops in 1915 as they chased Armenians out of ancestral homelands in eastern Anatolia, forms a prism through which many Armenians view the modern world. It makes them, like the Israelis, defiantly unwilling to compromise on issues they consider vital to their survival.

          One such issue is the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which the world recognizes as part of neighboring Azerbaijan but which has been in the hands of its ethnic Armenian residents since 1994. Foreign diplomats assigned to help resolve the conflict want the enclave back under Azerbaijani control with as much autonomy as possible. But when President Levon Ter-Petrosian seemed ready to consider that formula earlier this year, he was promptly deposed in what amounted to a military coup.
          To give back even an inch of ''liberated'' land, many Armenians believe, would be tantamount to inviting a new slaughter. Their reading of history has taught them that the promises of outsiders are unreliable, that no one will rescue them in their hour of need, and that only they themselves can judge what their security requires.

          An Ethnic Homeland

          ''Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic homeland,'' said Karen Mirzoyan, who heads the enclave's office in Yerevan, the Ar-menian capital. ''It is quite unrealistic to think that we would subject ourselves to rule by Azerbaijan.''

          Countries that dream of joining the European Union are supposed to renounce the idea of ethnic homelands and forego claims on land where their brethren live. Hungary's painful decision to renounce all claims on ethnically Hungarian regions of nearby countries, for example, paved the way for its invitation to join the Union. Here in Armenia, how-ever, not even the prospect of membership would sway most people from the patriotic fervor that has sustained them over millennia.

          In some European countries, it is considered highly insulting to accuse a politician of ''national thinking.'' This is linked with patterns of thought that have plunged the continent into countless wars. But in Armenia, national thinking is the dominant and almost all-inclusive ideology.

          ''Political leaders here are very careful to use the word 'national,' '' said Mikael Danielyan, a human rights advocate. ''The Armenian mentality does not accept any ideas that it considers anti-national.''

          Although there are nearly 50 political parties in Armenia, none challenges the prevailing nationalist dogma. To do so, many Armenians believe, would be to expose their nation to mortal dangers.

          The nature of those dangers is on vivid display at the Genocide Museum here in the Armenian capital. Walls of the museum, which commemorates those who were killed in 1915, are covered with gruesome photographs that show starving, executed and beheaded Armenians.
          A Heavy Weight

          Whether they live here or abroad, many Armenians feel fated to carry one of history's heaviest burdens. Only a few groan under its weight.

          ''The main problem for Armenia is that we are very much concentrated on our past,'' said Michael Hambazdzumyan, 22, a recent university graduate who is working to build a network of young people in the Caucasus that will press for regional cooperation.

          ''Talk to an Armenian about Armenia, and you'll hear about the past,'' Mr. Hambazdzumyan said. ''We were the first nation to accept Christianity, we had an empire that touched three seas, we had monarchs who were related to Egyp-tian monarchs and European monarchs, we were the first nation to translate the Bible. Always 'we were,' 'we had.' The Armenian cares very much for the past and what we had, but not so much about what we have and want to have, and how we can reach that.

          ''Our history is presented to us as war, pain, killing, robbery,'' he added. ''We have only had 500 or 700 years of peace in 4,500 years of history. We learn this in school. We learn 2,500 dates of struggles, killings and betrayals. Maybe 10 or 20 or 30 of them speak about something positive. It is very heavy. It oppresses your psyche and mentality.''


          • #6
            As much as this has been said before, that Hitler quote referring to Armenians is absolute rubbish. No such quote ever existed and the only reference came out years after contemporary times when Hitler would have said it. It is quotes such as this that Turks sport on their websites smearing Armenians of using lies and such, and giving new readers a thorough illusion about the Armenian 'lies'. That is why, I think it's important that Armenians themselves clean up some of the stuff they sport, and they can begin by the overused and overquoted non-existent Hitler quote.
            Achkerov kute.


            • #7
              A Pilgrimage Made by DENIERS

              My goodness, the turks are not deniers, are they?


              Armenian National Committee of Michigan
              19310 Ford Rd., Dearborn, MI 48128

              PRESS RELEASE

              For Immediate Release ~ 2005-05-18
              Contact: Narses Gedigian ~ 734 340-2994


              Farmington Hills, MI -- Nearly 500 members of the greater Detroit Armenian community held a rally on May 15th to protest the visit of the Turkish Cultural Association of Michigan (TCAM) to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. The Turkish Cultural Association is a component association of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), which has worked in political circles to deny and distort the 1915 genocide of Armenians at the hand of the Ottoman Empire.

              Organized by the Armenian National Committee of Michigan, members of the community at large and from some 12 organizations held several U.S and Armenian flags and signs referring to Hitler's quote "....who remembers the Armenians..." and Turkey's refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

              The vocal and energetic gathering was in place to greet the Turkish group upon its arrival and stayed until the TCAM members left. Ralph Kourtjian, ANC co-chair in Michigan stated: "The presence of local Armenians shows the conviction this community feels about its heritage and just recognition of the genocide. The large turnout shows the depth of outrage in the Armenian community at the sight of an organization of genocide deniers trying to exploit the tragedy of the Holocaust for their own base political agenda."

              The gathering was attended by many young people, adding energy to the spirit of the rally. "The Armenian youth in this community know the stories of family death and pain during 1915", stated Armen Derderian, local advisor to the Armenian Youth Federation. "They are committed to help tell the story of their families and work for genocide recognition."

              Spokesmen for the gathering made it clear to all that the Turkish group was the target of the rally and not the Holocaust Center. Nerses Gedigian, ANC co-chair of Michigan and chairman of the St. Sarkis Church Board told Holocaust Center officials "...we honor your history, as well as other holocausts in history. Wherever TCAM may be, whether here or some other site, we will let them know that we will work against their denial and distortion of Armenian history and gain world wide recognition of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire."

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



              • #8
                "Forward", a Jewish weekly in NYC, printed an article by its assistant editor, Jonathan Mahler, on the front page. He wrote that one reason the Turks massacred Armenians in 1915 was that the Armenians were Soviet (!) agents. There were many other distortions also.

                "Moment", a Jewish monthly published in Washington, DC by Hershel Shanks, published a long and even more insidious distortion of Armenian history. The Genocide was treated as a regrettable tragedy that the Armenians themselves had provoked, in which there was no element of premeditation and no genocidal intent. Nakhichevan and Zangezur were both presented as Azeri lands usurped by the Armenians.

                Three major American Jewish organizations published a big ad in on the NY Times Op-Ed page with the Turkish flag and a warm Tebrikler! on the anniversary of what the ad called a great democracy.

                The NY Times had an article on Caspian oil by Stephen Kinzer. He wrote that masterpiece, "Armenians Always Remember: Maybe They Should Forget" about the way people in Erevan think about the Genocide and its after-math. His present effort was different: it was accompanied by a map of the region, on which every country but Armenia is labelled. Evidently the NY Times finds that the best way to encourage Armenians to forget history is to consign Armenia itself to oblivion- and perhaps soon no Armenians will be left to remember anything anyhow, that way.

                If enough people repeat, often enough, the big lie that the Armenians were an unimportant but unpleasant minor-ity who provoked the massacres (not genocide, mind you) that befell them, the big lie that none of Eastern Anato-lia is rightfully Armenian, and that in fact the Armenians are usurpers in almost every part of the Transcaucasus except maybe Erevan and its outskirts- once this snow job on public conscience and opinion is completed, what is the next step?

                That should be plain: Armenia is stigmatized as an obstacle to peace, worse, an obstacle to petroleum- a nasty outpost of Russian power and nothing more. Let us suppose then that the blockade tightens. Cut off and strapped for resources, the Armenian economy founders. Pressure for "concessions"- that euphemism for life blood- in-creases. Perhaps Armenia is so weakened that it is itself invaded. If there are new massacres, if the Turks and the Azeris link up in Zangezur, if they make a dash over the plain of Ararat, if they are not stopped at Sardarabad this time, if they reach Erevan... What then? What will the world do? This brave new world that has sat by till it was far too late every single time- in Biafra, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo- will not lift a finger for distant, delegitimized Armenia.

                systematic anti-Armenian propaganda campaign of lies has been launched against us by the Turks and Azeris, by pro-Turkish lobbies and Big Oil.

                Atom Egoyan to make a feature film on the Genocide, something on the scale of "Schindler's List". Perhaps it might be based on _Black Dog of Fate_, the memoir by Peter Balakian.


                • #9
                  Dare to Compare: Americanizing the Holocaust

                  Lilian Friedberg

                  Most recently perhaps, Raphael Seligmann has gone on record stating that the Jews are "the Indians of Germany.". That this statement begs the question of identifying "Uncle Sam's willing executioners" seems, however, of minimal concern to the Jewish community in America and abroad. In fact, when the time comes to put the Shoah on the other foot and parallels are drawn between atrocities experienced by the American Indian population over a five-hundred-year period and those experienced by the Jewish population of Europe in the twelve-year reign of Nazi terror, the knowledge of self-described "Jewish Indians" recedes into the recesses of repressed memory. In a seditious reversal of national identity politics, Lucy Dawidowicz charges those who would dare to compare with "a vicious anti American-ism.". Rabbi Irving Greenberg, founder of the Holocaust Resource Center and first director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Commission, has described the comparison of the Nazi Holocaust with other acts of genocide as "blasphe-mous.". In The Holocaust in American Life, Jewish historian Peter Novik describes the way in which any attempt to compare is dismissed as a "felonious assault" on truth and memory. In the pathological dynamic of genocidal histories, the perpetrator culture invariably turns its gaze to the horrors registered in the archives and accounts of the "other guys.". This is why Holocaust studies in the United States focus almost exclusively on the atrocity of Auschwitz, not of Wounded Knee or Sand Creek. Norman Finkelstein, in his discussion of the way images of the Holocaust have been manufactured to reap moral and economic benefits for members of the Jewish elite, states that the presence of the Holocaust Museum in Washington is "particularly incongruous in the absence of a museum commemorating crimes in the course of American history" and makes specific reference to the slave trade and genocide against the American Indians. Peter Novik suggests that the Holocaust has become a sort of "civil religion" for American Jews who have lost touch with their own ethnic and religious identity, and asserts that "in the United States the Holocaust is explicitly used for the purpose of national self-congratulation: the Americanization of the Holocaust has involved using it to demonstrate the difference between the Old World and the New, and to celebrate, by showing its negation, the Ameri-can way of life."


                  • #10
                    A question of scruples
                    By Tanya Goudsouzian

                    The politics of morality have long dominated American rhetoric during elections, and in justifying what to others seem questionable foreign crusades. Most daunting has been coordinating these moral sentiments with strategic economic interests. For two decades, the Armenian-American community has laboured tirelessly to urge the United States Congress to recognise a tragic -- and much debated -- chapter in Ottoman history. These efforts have habitually been undermined by the State Department, whose interests primarily lie in avoiding unnecessary complications in US-Turkish relations. However, during the past few weeks, Anatolia's grizzly past has returned to haunt Washington's Capitol Hill, only this time in a way that may bring results.

                    The tragedy in question dates back to the early 20th century, when the Ottoman Empire was the sick man of Europe. Nationalist ideas and irredentist aspirations were rampant among minorities, most notably the Armenians and the Greeks. The triumvirate, which took control of the Ottoman government in 1908, launched its Turkification policy in a last-ditch attempt to coalesce a crumbling empire; but it was also the start of what many claim was a brutal campaign to obliterate restless minorities. Between 1915 and 1923, some 1.5 million Armenians perished and more than 500,000 were exiled from their homes, according to widely accepted Armenian estimates disputed by the government of the modern republic of Turkey.

                    These figures contend that before 1914, over two million Armenians lived in Turkey, but by the end of 1923, the entire population of Anatolia and western Armenia had been wiped out. Turkish statistics, on the other hand, suggest the death toll to have been around 300,000 Armenians, as well as thousands of Turks -- a consequence of dire wartime conditions and efforts to quell internal unrest. What Turkish officials now dismiss as mass deportations, the Armenians -- backed by a number of countries, including Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece and Russia -- recognise as systematic massacres targeting an entire race; or to put it more succinctly: genocide.
                    Despite intense pressure exerted by a delegation from the Turkish Parliament and its local lobby team led by former congressmen, the United States House International Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly on 3 October to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.398). With over 145 co-sponsors, the resolution was set to be considered by the full US House of Representatives as early as 17 October. "This resolution is intended to help those involved in US foreign policy to better utilise the American record on the Armenian Genocide to help prevent similar atrocities again being committed," Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), told Al-Ahram Weekly.

                    The Turkish camp begs to differ, vehemently. "I want to insist on one point: genocide did not happen," stressed Mehmet Ali Irtemqelik, a Turkish parliamentarian, during the debate. "Inevitably, if this resolution is adopted, it will be impossible not to have our [US-Turkey] relationship affected," he added. Soon afterward, Turkey issued a warning that the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline running between Turkey and Iraq, officially closed since Iraq invaded Kuwait 10 years ago, would be restored to full capacity should the resolution be passed. Turkish Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer announced that technical teams had already started work on the pipeline in anticipation of just such an outcome. There is talk that a Turkish ambassador may even be sent back to Baghdad for the first time since the Gulf War. Turkey also warned that it might withdraw permission for US and British planes to fly patrols over northern Iraq from airbases on Turkish soil. "Taking the Incirlik airbase under maintenance offers Turkey an opportunity to send a message to a big state without cutting the dialogue," said former Premier Tansu Ciller, head of the opposition True Path party.

                    Officials in Ankara deny that Turkey's manoeuvring vis--vis Iraq is related to the US draft bill, but at the same time, it is obvious that it will not please the US. American feathers are being ruffled, with more and more countries defying the UN sanctions. Turkey says that it has lost $30 billion in trade because of the sanctions, including $1.5 billion specifically because of the closed pipeline. Perhaps, then, the controversy surrounding the pending draft resolution on the alleged Armenian genocide has merely been made good use of by Turkey. It should be remembered that the draft bill may not even pass, since it does not have the backing of President Bill Clinton and will not be debated in the Senate. One consistent opponent of the resolution, Rep. Dan Burton (Republican-Indiana), argues vaguely that it would even create difficulties for Armenia if it does pass. Last week, Turkey stopped issuing tourist visas to Armenians trying to cross the border between the two countries.

                    "Armenia has offered to establish relations with Turkey without preconditions. Turkey has rejected these offers by setting preconditions on the normalisation of relations," said the ANCA's Hamparian. "Turkey spends millions of dollars each year lobbying to deny the genocide. It blockades US relief aid to Armenia. And at times it has threatened to 'teach Armenia the lessons of 1915'," he added. "The Turkish government has quite inappropriately interfered in the American political process, using threats of retaliation and attempting to dictate to US legislators how they should understand their own history," said Hamparian. More generally, Microsoft has been threatened with serious reprisals if it does not amend entries related to "genocide" and "Armenia" in its new online encyclopaedia, Encarta.
                    The Armenian camp believes it is simply seeking to formalise what has already been made clear by widely accepted evidence. "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race," wrote Henry Morgenthau, then US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. "They understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact." The US National Archives contain thousands of pages documenting the "premeditated extermination of the Armenian people." It was in part due to American intervention and humanitarian assistance that the full plan was not carried out. An organisation known as Near East Relief, chartered by an act of Congress, contributed some $113 million between 1915 and 1930 to deliver aid to survivors.

                    In modern times, however, the US is Turkey's key NATO ally and the two countries have maintained strong diplomatic and military relations since the Cold War. Turkey has benefited from US intelligence-gathering operations in the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq. It is also a major US arms purchaser, but it has recently stated that it may withdraw from negotiations to buy 145 attack helicopters in a $4.5 billion tender with a US firm.
                    "Study the past, divine the future" goes an old adage. Armenians seek to prevent a repeat of a terrible episode in their history, while Turks are reluctant to tarnish their own. Americans, for their part, seem unwilling to compromise their strategic interests. Soon, American decision-makers will have to appraise the value of justice.