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EU parliament says Turkey must recognise "genocide"

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  • #51
    EU SUPPORT FOR TURKEY 'GENOCIDE' WRITER
    By Amberin Zaman in Istanbul

    The Daily Telegraph, UK
    Oct 10 2005

    A senior European Union official has underlined concern for Turkey's
    human rights record by joining the acclaimed author, Orhan Pamuk,
    for lunch in Istanbul. An Istanbul court provoked outrage last month
    when it charged Mr Pamuk with violating laws that forbid description
    of the mass killings of Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman
    Empire as genocide.

    The author, who is due to appear in court on Dec 16, could spend
    up to three years in prison if found guilty of "insulting Turkey's
    national dignity". The charges were filed after Mr Pamuk told a Swiss
    newspaper in February that "a million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were
    killed in these lands and nobody but me dares talks about it".

    Olli Rehn, the EU's enlargement commissioner who lunched with Mr Pamuk,
    hinted that negotiations with Turkey over its entry to the EU might
    be interrupted if the author were to be convicted.
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    • #52
      TURKEY PLAYS DOWN AUTHOR'S TRIAL

      Al-Jazeera, Qatar
      Oct 10 2005

      Sunday 09 October 2005, 23:13 Makka Time, 20:13 GMT

      Abdullah Gul (R) says Turkey's rights record has improved

      Turkey's foreign minister says he is confident a court will dismiss
      charges against a best-selling Turkish writer who faces prison for
      his views on the massacres of Armenians 90 years ago.

      Orhan Pamuk has been charged with insulting Turkish identity for
      supporting Armenian claims that they suffered a genocide under Ottoman
      Turks in 1915. He faces three years in jail if convicted.

      Pamuk further upset the establishment and nationalists by saying
      Turkish forces shared responsibility for the deaths of more than
      30,000 Kurds in southeast Turkey during separatist fighting there in
      the 1980s and 1990s.

      Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Sunday sought to play down the
      controversy, telling Canal television that he expected the case to
      be dismissed because a court had thrown out similar charges against
      a different person.

      Rights record

      "The same trial has been held before, over the same phrases, the same
      words," Gul said.

      "The judge ruled that everyone has the right to express their
      opinion. The same decision will be handed down, I have no doubt
      about this."

      Nationalists reject any attempt to reopen the Armenian chapter

      Pamuk's prosecution has highlighted concerns over whether Turkey's
      human-rights record is compatible with EU membership. About 60% of
      French voters say they do not want mainly Muslim Turkey to join the EU.

      In a show of support, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn met Pamuk
      at the writer's Istanbul home on Saturday and urged Ankara to respect
      freedom of expression.

      Pamuk, best known for historical novels such as My Name is Red and
      The White Castle, goes on trial on 16 December.

      Archives opened

      Gul said that despite the case, human rights had advanced by leaps
      and bounds in the past three years.

      "The same trial has been held before, over the same phrases, the
      same words"

      Abdullah Gul, Turkish Foreign Minister

      "We have a limited democracy in Turkey ... but thanks to the reforms
      of the past few years, its scope has widened enormously."

      Turkey had offered to open its archives to international historians
      to resolve the Armenian massacre issue, which has complicated Ankara's
      bid to join the European Union.

      The European Parliament last month passed a non-binding resolution
      saying Ankara must recognise the Armenian massacres as a genocide
      before joining the EU, and gave only grudging support to the start
      of entry talks with Turkey on 3 October.
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      • #53
        NOBEL COMMITTEE SPLIT BECAUSE OF PAMUK

        Turkish Press
        Oct 10 2005

        HURRIYET- It has been claimed that the Nobel committee was divided
        into two because of Orhan Pamuk and couldn't give the Nobel Literature
        Prize.

        The British Observer newspaper claimed that the committee which awards
        the Nobel Prize for literature has delayed their decision for at
        least a week amid reports of a split over honoring the controversial
        Orhan Pamuk.

        For the first time in at least 10 years, the literature prize was
        announced neither in the run-up to, nor in the same week as the four
        other main Nobel awards - medicine, physics, chemistry and peace. The
        literature award is now due to be announced on Oct, 13, Thursday.

        The newspaper claimed that as Pamuk has been a political figure
        recently, the prize that can be given in literature to Pamuk could
        be overshadowed by political debate.

        GUL: PAMUK WILL WIN THE LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST HIM

        ZAMAN - Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that author Orhan
        Pamuk will win the lawsuit which was filed against him due to his
        statements regarding so-called Armenian genocide.

        Gul said that earlier, similar lawsuits were opened in Turkey,
        but courts decided that everybody has the right to express his/her
        opinion. Gul noted that he did not have any doubt that the court's
        decision will be in favor of Pamuk.
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        • #54
          Genocide not the only crime against Armenians, Armenian official says

          Genocide not the only crime against Armenians, Armenian official says

          11.10.2005 12:15

          YEREVAN (YERKIR) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's letter to
          the Armenian President Robert Kocharian, proposing to set up a joint
          commission of historians to study the Armenian issue, was a smart attempt to
          trick the international community, Armenian National Assembly Vice-speaker
          Vahan Hovhannisian said in his report last week at the NATO-organized
          Rose-Roth seminar in Yerevan.

          Hovhannisian, who also is a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation
          Bureau, said that besides the 1915 Genocide, Turkey has committed another
          crime against Armenians when in 1919, it unleashed a war against the
          independent Republic of Armenia.

          Before the Turkish aggression -- supported by the Russian Bolsheviks --
          Armenia's territory was 70,000 square kilometers, and as a result of the
          war, Armenia lost the regions of Kars, Ardahan and Surmalu as well as the
          populations of those regions. Hovhannisian said it was an aggression against
          a sovereign state, and many of the issues currently destabilizing the South
          Caucasus region have been stemming from that very aggression.

          Those issues include the Armenian-Azerbaijani and Armenian-Turkish
          confrontations. Therefore, Hovhannisian concluded, it would be more
          effective to set up an intergovernmental commission, as proposed by
          President Kocharian in his response letter, rather than a commission of
          historians. Speaking of Turkey's aspiration to join the European Union,
          Hovhannisian said the Turkish society is not yet ready to accept such
          European value as admitting guilt. "The Turkish society must first change
          itself," he indicated.

          Hovhannisian also hailed Turkish historian Halil Berkta's position that 1915
          events should be qualified clearly as genocide. "His speech would be rather
          useful for those Armenian politicians who repeat the Turkish official
          position that the Armenian Genocide was a result of the Armenian
          Revolutionary Federation's activities," he added.
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          • #55
            Ep Representatives Urge Turkey To Recognize Armenian Genocide

            EP REPRESENTATIVES URGE TURKEY TO RECOGNIZE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

            Pan Armenian
            11.10.2005 20:21 GMT+04:00

            /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Members of the European Parliament Human Rights
            Subcommittee led by Helene Flautre last week paid a visit to the
            Turkish Parliament. During the meeting, delegation members urged
            Ankara to recognize the Armenian Genocide and consider the issue of
            education in Kurdish. Polish members of the delegation noted that
            Poland had to acknowledge its part in the Jewish holocaust and asked
            when Turkey would face up to its own history.

            Afterwards, Ozlem Cercioglu said, "There were losses on both sides
            during the war." "Although Turkey has opened up all of its archives,
            Armenia still refuses to open theirs," Cercioglu added, reported
            the Yerkir.
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            • #56
              'eu Talks A Chance To Transform Turkey-armenian Diaspora Relations'

              'EU TALKS A CHANCE TO TRANSFORM TURKEY-ARMENIAN DIASPORA RELATIONS'

              Turkish Daily News, Turkey
              Oct 11 2005

              ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

              The long period of accession talks between the European Union and
              Turkey will offer a "unique opportunity" for the EU, Armenians and
              Turks "to get to know and learn from one another," according to
              the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC) that has
              welcomed the opening of the negotiations between Turkey and the bloc.

              The talks ahead are likely to be difficult at times, the council
              admitted in a written statement yesterday, yet it highlighted that
              "the obvious reluctance of significant sections of the European
              public to envisage Turkey's EU membership cannot be overcome through
              traditional diplomatic arm-wrestling of geo-political arguments."

              "Turkey does not seek to join the EU out of fear of rejection, but
              because it genuinely aspires to being part of the European project.

              We therefore look forward to seeing the Turkish government and Turkish
              civil society embrace their EU counterparts with self-confidence,
              and with a genuine aspiration of joining a human community spanning
              the European continent," the statement said.

              Bringing to mind that Armenians are a part of the European community,
              the council urged the Turkish government to "use this historic moment
              to reach out to the Armenian diaspora of the EU and generate goodwill
              among them."

              "Turkey must urgently engage with the Armenian diaspora and actively
              transform its relationship with them, just as the diaspora should
              now seek to engage with Turkey," the council prompted both Ankara
              and the diaspora.

              The TABDC was co-established on May 3, 1997 in Istanbul and in Yerevan
              as the first and only official link between the public and private
              sectors in each of the two countries' communities. It is co-chaired
              by Arsen Ghazarian and Kaan Soyak.

              The council explains its aim as further promoting and facilitating
              close cooperation between the Armenian and Turkish business circles,
              helping Armenian and Turkish companies streamline their operations and
              their lines of communications. It describes itself as "an intermediary
              vehicle to further promote a close cooperation."
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              • #57
                WINNING OVER THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF EUROPEANS WILL BE THE HARDEST PART
                by Mehmet Ali Birand

                Turkish Daily News
                Oct 12 2005

                Turkey, as you will see, will not face too many hurdles in terms of
                its relationship with the EU. The negotiations on agriculture and the
                environment, perceived as the most problematic, will be compartively
                easy. The hardest part of the negotiations will, however, be to win
                over the hearts and minds of the European public in the next 10 to
                15 years. We have to work very hard to change their centuries-old
                perception

                Right now we are all talking about how we will finish the screening
                process with the European Union. We are debating the details of the
                negotiations, trying to find out how hard it will be to fulfill the
                conditions on chapters like agriculture and environment. We are talking
                about how we will be able to manage it all. The general consensus
                is that this will not be an easy process to finish. In other words,
                we view the financial side of the integration as the hardest part of
                the whole process.

                I think this attitude is ill conceived.

                I agree that the financial side of the negotiations won't be too
                easy, but the main obstacle before our membership is not "finance,"
                but Turkey's public image.

                Turkey's economic integration into the EU necessitates not only money
                and political courage by governments. Political courage will ensure
                the reforms are passed, while privatizations and foreign investment
                will boost political courage. These are important.

                Turkey, which has been a part of the customs union, has satisfied
                most of the economic conditions for membership. What's left, however,
                is also quite important and challenging -- but not impossible to
                accomplish.

                As I said earlier, courage and money are not all that's needed to
                push Turkey to the conclusion of the negotiations. All economic and
                political hurdles can be easily overcome.

                However, there is one proviso and that is for Turkey to win over the
                hearts and minds of Europeans.

                Be sure that this will be much harder to accomplish than fulfilling
                the economic conditions or the Copenhagen criteria.

                We cannot proceed without changing our image:

                Turkey's image in Europe is bad. I will try to note the reasons why
                this is so later in this article.

                What I am trying to emphasize is the fact that Foreign Minister
                Abdullah Gul and Finance Minister Ali Babacan, also the chief
                EU negotiator, should concentrate more on communication than
                negotiations. We should all know that negotiations may end
                successfully, but if we fail to win the support of the Europeans,
                Turkey will not become a member. No EU government can show the
                political sacrifice that some did this year.

                Let's not forget that Turkey's membership after the end of the
                negotiations depend upon:

                1. Approval of the European Parliament;

                2. Approval by the Austrian and French public in referendums;

                3. Approval by each Parliament of the 25 member countries,

                Herein lies the real obstacle to Turkey's membership -- the European
                public.

                We tend to take public sentiment lightly. We usually believe our
                friends will take care of it. We think we don't need to spend too
                much money, and will eventually get what we want through handing out
                some Turkish delight.

                This time around that won't be enough.

                This time around we are entering a long process that will cost a lot
                and will be conducted by experts.

                It doesn't matter how good we are during the negotiations, without
                the support of the European public we cannot accomplish anything.

                Why is Turkey's image abroad so bad?

                1. There are historical prejudices. Each European still carries a
                memory of the time when Ottomans invaded Europe and tried to conquer
                the continent. European textbooks and museums are full of stories about
                Turkish warriors cutting of people's heads. The lingering perception
                of Turkey's brutish image is based on historic prejudice.

                2. The three military coups between 1960 and 1980, the political
                leaders who were hung, the hunts of leftists during the Cold War,
                the dismissal of human rights and torture cases, the intervention in
                Cyprus, the Susurluk scandal that was the result of losing control
                of the fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the 1990s
                and the failure to speak out about the villages that were destroyed
                during the struggle.

                3. The huge anti-Turkish lobby that exists in Europe consisting of
                thousands of former Turkish citizens whose citizenships were removed
                for being leftist, Kurdish militant or fundamentalist between 1980
                and 1983. The Greek Cypriot, Kurdish and Armenian lobbies were added
                later on and these groups did their utmost to ruin Turkey's image
                over the years.

                4. The negative image that the 2.5 million Turks who left their
                villages from 1960 onwards to work in Europe as guest workers --
                without even seeing Istanbul -- portray in Europe. Some are religious,
                some are fundamentalist and some are Kurdish nationalists, but they
                live in their conservative ghettos.

                5. The prejudices Europeans have against Muslims in general. The
                tendency to associate all Muslims with al Qaeda or the war in Iraq.
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                • #58
                  Anti-Turk Parties Court Voters in Austria

                  Anti-Turk Parties Court Voters in Austria
                  By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer
                  Sat Oct 22, 7:08 PM ET



                  Most of Austria's major political parties don't want Turkey in the European Union. But it's election time in Vienna, and suddenly those same parties are courting the local Turkish vote.

                  So how do you meld the conflicting interests of appealing to the mainstream Turkophobe Austrian electorate while catering to the large minority of voters of Turkish origin whose ballot will make a difference Sunday when the capital goes to the polls in municipal elections?

                  "It's tough occasionally," conceded Nurten Yilmaz, an Austrian of Turkish origins, as she took a break from handing out red balloons and folders urging voters Turkish and others to vote for her Social Democratic Party.

                  Only one of the five parties running for City Hall the xenophobic Freedom Party is not fielding a Turkish candidate. Instead it is appealing to the rabidly anti-Turkish fringe vote with posters declaring, "Liberated Women instead of the Mandatory Headscarf," and "German instead of "Don't Understand.'"

                  But with most of Austria's 200,000-strong Turkish community living in Vienna, a city of about 1.5 million people, the other parties cannot ignore their vote.

                  Many Turks here are skeptical of their sudden popularity and with reason.

                  "I've been here for 20 years but I'm still not fully accepted," said Vienna Turk Mehmet Akar in strongly accented German as he stopped at Yilmaz's stand in Vienna's 16th District, where kebab joints rub shoulders with stores offering more traditional Austrian goods.

                  Recent European Union surveys show only one in 10 Austrians backs the idea of an EU with Turkey as a member.

                  Austria is an EU midget in size and political clout. Yet it took days of intense pressure from the grouping's 24 other member states for the Austrian government to abandon its attempt earlier this month to scuttle talks with Turkey on future full membership.

                  Critics say local politics played a part, with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel hoping but failing to swing voter sentiment behind his conservative People's Party in the province of Styria by demonstrating his party's unbending opposition to Turkish EU membership.

                  In Germany, the other European Union nation with a large Turkish voting sector, the choices were more clear cut in federal elections last month, with the governing Social Democratic party supporting a Turkey in the EU and the opposition Christian Democratic Union against.

                  The resulting pro-Social Democratic sentiment among Germany's 2.6-million strong German community is thought to have contributed to an unexpectedly strong showing by that party that left the favored CDU with little choice but to form a coalition with their historic rivals.

                  In Austria, where there is no such clear divide on the Turkish question, the scramble for the Vienna Turkish vote occasionally takes on bizarre proportions.

                  Even the rightist BZOE has fielded a candidate, despite past opposition to Turks and other immigrants by its leading figures, including populist firebrand Joerg Haider.

                  The People's Party seems to be fighting an uphill battle because of its vehement opposition to Turkish EU membership. Turkish candidate Sirvan Ekici repeatedly canceled appointments with a reporter wanting to accompany her during campaigning.

                  For Turks, that leaves the Social Democrats, in the opposition federally but in control of Vienna's City Hall.

                  While the Social Democrats' leading federal figures have also spoken out against a Turkey within the EU, most Turks in the capital are likely to support the party and Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl. He has conspicuously been silent on the issue, focusing instead on social benefits and integration for all Viennese, whether Austrian or foreign born.

                  "The Social Democrats are likely to win over the Turks," said Buelent Oeztoplu of Echo, an organization helping Turks living in Austria.

                  Yilmaz, who is running for re-election as a Social Democrat in the 16th district, says her party "stands by Vienna's new citizens ... even if I'm against the way the discussion is being conducted about Turkey."

                  "And that's why it's easy for me to tell them, 'hey, you know that my party is with you all the way.'"
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