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Duke researcher arrested on suspicion of smuggling books

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  • Duke researcher arrested on suspicion of smuggling books

    Duke researcher arrested on suspicion of smuggling books

    YEREVAN, Armenia — A Duke University researcher was detained at Yerevan airport on Friday on suspicion of smuggling antique books out of Armenia, the National Security Service said.

    An official for the security agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Turkish citizen Yektan Turkyilmaz had been arrested in possession of books dating from the 17th to 20th centuries and was suspected of seeking to take them secretly on a flight to Turkey.

    Turkyilmaz, of Duke University in Durham, N.C., is likely to be fined although the offense he is accused of carries a maximum five-year jail term, the security official said.

    Books older than 50 years cannot be taken out of Armenia without special permission. Turkyilmaz was in Armenia to carry out research in the Armenian national archives, the first Turk to be allowed to do so.

    Armenia and Turkey do not have diplomatic relations because of dispute over the killings of Armenians during World War I, which Armenians say was genocide.

    Armenians say some 1.5 million of their people were killed as the Ottoman Empire forced them from eastern Turkey between 1915 and 1923 in a deliberate campaign of genocide.

    Turkey says the death count is inflated and insists that Armenians were killed or displaced in the civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.


    ___
    [url]http://www.ArmenianAncestry.com[/url] - [COLOR="Red"]Armenian[/COLOR] [COLOR="Blue"]Genealogy[/COLOR] [COLOR="Orange"]Forum[/COLOR]

  • #2
    I bet any logical person could think of a few reasons for why he would want to do such a thing.... Are Turks blind to EVERYTHING!?!
    [url]http://www.ArmenianAncestry.com[/url] - [COLOR="Red"]Armenian[/COLOR] [COLOR="Blue"]Genealogy[/COLOR] [COLOR="Orange"]Forum[/COLOR]

    Comment


    • #3
      Armenia holds scholar from Duke over books

      http://www.newsobserver.com/news/sto...-8917277c.html
      Armenia holds scholar from Duke over books

      The Associated Press

      YEREVAN, ARMENIA -- A Duke University researcher was detained at Yerevan airport Friday on suspicion of smuggling antique books out of Armenia, the National Security Service said.
      An official for the security agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Turkish citizen Yektan Turkyilmaz had been arrested in possession of books dating from the 17th to 20th centuries and was suspected of seeking to take them secretly on a flight to Turkey.

      Turkyilmaz, of Duke University in Durham, is likely to be fined although the offense he is accused of carries a maximum five-year jail term, the official said.

      Books older than 50 years cannot be taken out of Armenia without special permission. Turkyilmaz was in Armenia to carry out research in the Armenian national archives, the first Turk to be allowed to do so.

      Turkyilmaz is a doctoral student in Duke's cultural anthropology department, according to the department's Web site. His dissertation is on the effects of geography and nationhood on Turkey's society.

      Turkyilmaz, a Duke student for five years, is researching the early part of the 20th century in Turkey and Armenia, said Orin Starn, a professor in Duke's cultural anthropology department who is a friend and adviser to Turkyilmaz.

      Starn cast doubt on the accusations that Turkyilmaz, a Turkish citizen of Kurdish heritage, tried to smuggle books out of Armenia.

      Turkyilmaz's work includes research on the killings of Armenians, a delicate subject in both countries, Starn said. The first Turk to gain access to the Armenian national archives, Turkyilmaz had approached his work on the tense period of history as a scholar.

      "He's been a bridge builder," Starn said.

      No one at Duke or in Turkyilmaz's family in Turkey has made contact with him, causing concern.

      "My fear is that he has been caught in the middle of an explosive, long-running conflict," Starn said.

      Armenia and Turkey do not have diplomatic relations because of a dispute over the killings of Armenians during World War I, which Armenians say was genocide.

      Armenians say some 1.5 million of their people were killed as the Ottoman Empire forced them from eastern Turkey between 1915 and 1923 in a deliberate campaign of genocide.

      Turkey says the death count is inflated and insists that Armenians were killed or displaced in the civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

      All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.
      Staff writer Sarah Ovaska contributed to this report.



      Originally posted by Fadix
      They were probably not regular books. But I propose that before we accuse him of having stolen anything we wait and see what really happened. In Armenia, many underground deals are made.

      Comment


      • #4
        A Turkish scholar arrested in Armenia

        A Turkish scholar arrested in Armenia
        Sunday, July 31, 2005



        The political implications of this situation are worrying intellectuals everywhere. Armenian-Turkish dialogue is already fragile and beset with nationalist propaganda launched continuously from both sides.

        Elif SAFAK
        We, a group of Turkish intellectuals, are sending a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian. The letter concerns Yektan Türkyılmaz, a Turkish citizen and academic in the United States who has been held by the National Security Service, which is still referred to as KGB headquarters, in Yerevan since June 17.

        Türkyılmaz is doing his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Duke University. He can speak Turkish, Ottoman Turkish, French, English and Armenian. He has received several prestigious awards for his academic work, including the John Hope Franklin Institute Fellowship and the International Dissertation Field Research Program Award from the Social Science Research Council. Most recently he was undertaking research in the Armenian National Archives and significantly, he was the first Turkish citizen to have been given access to these archival sources. He had ventured to study a very difficult and thorny theme by undertaking critical ethnographic and archival research on Anatolian culture and demography. He particularly focused on a highly turbulent period extending from the 1900s to the 1940s by managing to stay equally distant from and objectively independent vis-à-vis the competing nationalist projects that had once pummeled the region and are still alive today. By using Armenian, Turkish and English sources, his research was developed upon a multilingual, multicultural and interdisciplinary ground, nourished by the crossroads of the disciplines of anthropology, geography and history.

        Needless to say, very few Turkish scholars have hitherto dared to delve into similar subjects. Even when they did, very few went this far. More importantly, though he has chosen a highly politicized and polarized theme as his dissertation topic, Türkyılmaz is first and foremost an independent scholar and an objective researcher.

        As part of his academic work Türkyılmaz had been collecting books, both as a researcher and a bibliophile. He would buy books from second-hand bookstores, an entirely and unquestionably legal purchase. Apparently, this passion for books was to become an unforgivable sin. Failing to realize he would need permission to take books out of Armenia, he was arrested at Yerevan Airport. In addition to the books in question, all his research material and CDs were confiscated.

        Türkyılmaz unknowingly violated an old law. He did not know it was a crime to take books out of Armenia; no one had warned him about this. He did not know that he had to “declare” all books over 50 years of age at customs. Armenian authorities could have confiscated his books or asked him to pay a fine, but instead he is being held in prison and treated like a nuclear weapons smuggler. Below is Article 215 of Armenian Criminal Code that forms the very basis of Türkyılmaz's arrest and indictment.

        “Contraband of narcotic drugs, neurological, strong, poisonous, poisoning, radioactive or explosive materials, weapons, explosive devices, ammunition, fire-arms, except smoothbore long barrel hunting guns, nuclear, chemical, biological or other mass destruction weapons, or dual-use materials, devices, technologies that can also be used for the creation or use of mass destruction or missile delivery systems thereof, strategic raw materials or cultural values for the transportation of which special rules are established, is punishable with imprisonment of between four to eight years, with or without confiscation of the relevant property…”

        Understandably, Türkyılmaz made a mistake by failing to get special permission for the books in his suitcase. But obviously he is not a drug dealer or nuclear weapons smuggler. He is a scholar, an independent-minded researcher whose only mistake was to take the research material he was studying along with him on his flight back from Armenia. Even if he did make a mistake, he did so unknowingly, there is a huge disproportion between the crime he committed and the price he is being asked to pay.

        The political implications of this situation are worrying intellectuals everywhere. Armenian-Turkish dialogue is already fragile and beset with nationalist propaganda launched continuously from both sides. Against this delicate background there are very few scholars who have been able to put critical, objective research in front of ideological or political agendas. There are not many people capable of bridging the tormenting gap between Armenian and Turkish cultures. I sincerely hope and respectfully urge Armenian authorities and the Armenian president to intervene in order to bring this sad and unexpected episode to an amicable end.

        Armenian-friendly Turks and Turk-friendly Armenians have already had their share of sorrow. We have already had enough grief in our common history. We all need Türkyılmaz to be freed.
        "All truth passes through three stages:
        First, it is ridiculed;
        Second, it is violently opposed; and
        Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

        Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

        Comment


        • #5
          Arrested Turkish Scholar Denies Smuggling Charges

          Arrested Turkish Scholar Denies Smuggling Charges

          By Karine Kalantarian and Emil Danielyan

          A Turkish scholar arrested last June for allegedly attempting to smuggle
          rare books out of Armenia has pleaded not guilty to extraordinary
          criminal charges that could land him in prison for up to eight years,
          his Armenian lawyer said on Monday.

          Vartuhi Elbakian told RFE/RL that the Armenian authorities have rejected
          her petitions to release Yektan Turkyilmaz, a doctoral student at Duke
          University in the United States, pending trial. They also seem to have
          ignored protests from a group of Turkish intellectuals, among them
          prominent critics of Ankara's continuing denial of the 1915 genocide of
          Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

          Turkyilmaz was detained at Yerevan's Zvartnots international airport on
          June 17. Armenian law-enforcement authorities said he carried old
          Armenian books of `high historical and cultural value' which can not be
          taken out of the country without a government permission.

          The 33-year-old scholar was remanded in custody and charged under an
          article of the Armenian Criminal Code that carries between 4 and 8 years
          in jail for the contraband of anything ranging from old books to weapons
          of mass destruction.

          Elbakian said her client was not aware that he needed a government
          permission for seven of the 88 books which he bought or received as a
          gift during his two-month research in Armenia. She argued that neither
          Turkey nor the United States have such legal requirements.

          The attorney also said that investigators from Armenia's National
          Security Service (NSS) gave `no concrete reasons' for the rejection of
          her appeals for Turkyilmaz's release on bail. The petition was
          accompanied by personal guarantees from an opposition member of
          Armenia's parliament, Shavarsh Kocharian, and a renowned U.S. historian
          of Armenian descent, Richard Hovannisian.

          According to Elbakian, the Turkish government has still not demanded
          explanations from official Yerevan in connection with the case. She
          claimed that Ankara is showing little interest in Turkyilmaz's fate
          because he has questioned in the past the official Turkish line on the
          1915-1923 mass killings and deportations of Ottoman Armenians.

          The Armenian authorities are instead facing pressure from prominent
          representatives of Turkish civil society. In an open letter to President
          Robert Kocharian last month, about two dozen of them expressed `grave
          concern' about Turkyilmaz's prosecution and called for his `immediate
          release.'

          `We understand that none of the books he had with him were absolutely
          prohibited from being taken out of the country, but only required
          permissions,' read the letter. `We are convinced that Mr. Turkyilmaz did
          not know about this requirement at the time and would have undoubtedly
          complied with this requirement as he has demonstrated to be a serious
          scholar and a friend of Armenian culture on many occasions.'

          `While it may be appropriate to impose a fine for the unknowing
          violation of customs regulations, prison terms of 4 to 8 years are
          grossly disproportionate and would send a deterrent signal to other
          independent scholars,' said the signatories.

          Among them are academics Taner Akcam, Murat Belge, Halil Berktay as well
          as publisher Ragip Zarakolu and Turkey's most famous writer, Orhan
          Pamuk. They have all repeatedly denounced Turkey's denial of the
          genocide despite threats and condemnation from nationalist circles.

          Kocharian's spokesman, Victor Soghomonian, told RFE/RL that the Armenian
          leader will examine and react to the letter only after returning from
          his two-week vacation which began on Monday. It is still not clear when
          Turkyilmaz will go on trial. According to his lawyer, the authorities
          have already chosen a Yerevan court of first instance that will hear the
          case.

          Turyilmaz became last May the first the first Turkish historian who
          sought and was given access to the Armenian National Archive. His
          research there focused on activities of Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian
          nationalist parties during the final decades of the Ottoman Empire.

          Armenian officials portrayed Turkyilmaz's presence as proof that the
          Armenian archives have always been open to Turkish researchers despite
          Ankara's claims to the contrary. The signatories of the open letter to
          Kocharian warned that his prosecution could `raise serious doubts as to
          whether Armenia encourages independent scholarly research on its
          history.'

          The potential punishment facing Turkyilmaz is unusually harsh given the
          nature of his alleged crime. Imprisonment of individuals detained while
          trying to smuggle cultural treasures out of Armenia has been extremely
          rare. Such cases usually end in heavy fines and the confiscation of
          those items.

          Individuals familiar with the case claim that the NSS, the Armenian
          successor to the Soviet-era KGB, considered charging Turkyilmaz with
          espionage before bringing the smuggling case. Giving weight to this
          theory is the fact that the suspect is being held in the ex-KGB's
          basement jail, the most tightly guarded in the country, and that
          law-enforcement officials confiscated electronic copies of the archival
          documents which he studied in Yerevan.

          Furthermore, the Turkish intellectuals who appealed to Kocharian said
          Turkyilmaz `has been questioned about his research and theoretical
          orientations.' `There can be no justification for this treatment,' they
          said.

          Among the individuals questioned by the NSS as witnesses in the case are
          three ethnic Armenian citizens of Turkey who live and study in Yerevan.
          The security agency has so far refused to divulge or comment on details
          of the investigation.
          "All truth passes through three stages:
          First, it is ridiculed;
          Second, it is violently opposed; and
          Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

          Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

          Comment


          • #6
            This is being handled very poorly. They ought to just give the guy a slap on the wrist and then let him go - no reason for any of this....it looks very bad...just what we don't need...This guy goes form being a nice public relations story - Turkish researcher in the Armenian archives - to fodder for those who would take issue with Armenian scholarly independence and such...can't they see it - don't they care - I can't at all understand how they could be making such a big deal over this and why Kocharian hasn't intervened on this guys behalf - baffling...
            Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
            Adolf Hitler (22 August 1939)

            Comment


            • #7
              Theres no way this guy did not know about the law
              "All truth passes through three stages:
              First, it is ridiculed;
              Second, it is violently opposed; and
              Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

              Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gavur
                Theres no way this guy did not know about the law
                How do you know that for sure? And if even so - doesn't change my opinion as expressed in the previous post.
                Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
                Adolf Hitler (22 August 1939)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I understand its not the first time hes been to Armenia
                  "All truth passes through three stages:
                  First, it is ridiculed;
                  Second, it is violently opposed; and
                  Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Notice how TC goverment not politicising not even talking about the issue! I think his a spy.
                    "All truth passes through three stages:
                    First, it is ridiculed;
                    Second, it is violently opposed; and
                    Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

                    Comment

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