Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN
I am pleased to learn that the Republic of Armenia has finally decided to counter Pakistan’s persistently pro-Azeri, pro-Turkish, and anti-Armenian policies.
Last week, Radio Free Europe (RFE) reported that Armenia vetoed Pakistan’s request for observer status in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), in response to Pakistan’s anti-Artsakh (Karabakh) position.
Armenia argued that “Pakistan has refused to not only establish diplomatic relations with Armenia but also formally recognize the latter as an independent state,” according to RFE. Indeed, Pakistan is one of a handful of countries in the world that is yet to recognize Armenia after a quarter century of independence!
This relatively minor episode is a welcome development which shows that Armenia’s leaders are willing to flex their muscle from time to time. Such a move would also serve notice to other countries that Armenia is ready and willing to defend its interests and undermine those of its antagonists when necessary.
Pakistan’s anti-Armenian stance predates Armenia’s independence. I recall vividly the speeches of Pakistan’s Ambassadors to the United Nations in 1970’s and 1980’s, in support Turkey’s denials of the Armenian Genocide, during the sessions of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.
After Armenia became independent in 1991, Pakistan continued its hostile policies against Armenia and Artsakh, staunchly supporting both Azerbaijan and Turkey. Mercenary Mujahideen terrorists from Pakistan and Afghanistan were hired by Azerbaijan to fight Armenians during the Artsakh War. Since then, the leaders of Pakistan and Azerbaijan have visited each other on numerous occasions to bolster their economic and military ties. For example, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Syed Athar Ali, during a visit to Baku in 2010, discussed with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev the “strengthening of cooperation in the military sphere and defense industry,” according to APA (Azeri Press Agency). In response, President Aliyev thanked Pakistan for voting in the UN General Assembly in favor of “the resolution on the situation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories and for not recognizing Armenia in connection with the aggression against Azerbaijan.”
In March 2015, during his visit to Baku, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain declared: “We have always backed Azerbaijan’s fair position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pakistan does not recognize Armenia as a state.” He also announced that Pakistan’s Senate had recognized as genocide the killings of Azeris by Armenians in Khojalu during the Artsakh war.
On April 5, 2016, during the barbaric attack by Azerbaijan’s military on Artsakh villagers, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry falsely blamed Armenia for “violating the ceasefire” by “continuous artillery firing.” Later that month, during his visit to Islamabad, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Yavar Jamalov told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Azerbaijan is keen on purchasing military hardware from Pakistan. A similar discussion was held on September 27, 2016, during a meeting in Baku between Pakistan’s Defense Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain and Aliyev.
On October 14, 2016, during his reciprocal visit to Azerbaijan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Aliyev about his country’s interest in holding joint military training. Nawaz also “called for complete return of occupied Azeri lands, withdrawal of Armenian forces, and return of displaced persons and refugees.” In return, Aliyev expressed his country’s support for Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir, in opposition to India. A month later, when Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Yaqub Eyyubov visited Pakistan, Hussain reminded him that Pakistan was the third country after Turkey and Romania to have recognized Azerbaijan. Hussain also thanked Azerbaijan for supporting Pakistan in its dispute with India over Jammu and Kashmir, and pledged to continue backing Azerbaijan’s claims on “Nagorno-Karabakh” (Artsakh).
Not to be outdone by Azerbaijan, Turkish President Erdogan visited Pakistan on November 17, 2016, where he was welcomed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his “second home.” In return, Erdogan proclaimed: “The whole world should emulate Pakistan!”
The Republic of Armenia and the Diaspora should continue countering Pakistan and other anti-Armenian states to discourage them from causing further damage to Armenia’s interests. Below are several suggested actions:
— Armenia should vote against pro-Pakistani issues in the UN General Assembly;
— Armenia should block Pakistan’s efforts to associate itself with the Eurasian Economic Union;
— Armenia should side with India in its dispute with Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir;
— Armenian-Americans should urge the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on Pakistan’s grave human rights violations.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
BY ALIK OURFALIAN
Dear Armenian-American Millennials,
I’m sick and tired of Armenian-Americans, especially our generation of millennials, thinking our biggest concern is genocide recognition when it comes to supporting political candidates.
Over the past few days, I’ve seen a lot of “s/he isn’t going to recognize the genocide”-type comments on social media, as well as people criticizing others for voting with Armenian-American issues in mind because “neither candidate will recognize the genocide anyway.” The U.S. stance on Armenian-American issues extends far beyond genocide recognition. This is not me making a case for any specific candidate. All I’m asking is that you recognize that we have other concerns and issues and to think about how those concerns are affecting our community.
The situation in Artsakh today is very real. Our homeland continues to be under attack by Azerbaijan. Just a few months ago in April, we saw how quickly matters escalated. The U.S., as one of the leading powers on the globe, has a lot of influence, even halfway across the world. Its foreign policies concerning Azerbaijan — and its biggest ally, Turkey — should be of great importance to us. So far, the U.S. stance has been in support of Azerbaijan’s claims to Artsakh. The U.S. has interests in Azerbaijan’s oil supply, which is why it ignores the gross violations of human rights and democracy taking place in Azerbaijan. It also has a military base in Turkey, the strategic location of which is important to the U.S. given the situation in the Middle East. The U.S. and Turkey are also NATO allies, having an obligation to support each other in case of war.
It’s not difficult to see why a U.S. foreign policy favoring Turkey and Azerbaijan has the potential to have severe consequences for us as Armenian-Americans. Think for a second about the worst-case scenario: Azerbaijan declaring full-fledged war against Artsakh. Now think about what the U.S. would do. Think about the effects of U.S. foreign policy then, not only on our Armenian-American community, but on our brothers and sisters in Artsakh and Armenia. These are the things we should concern ourselves with and worry about. These are the concerns we should make known to our representatives in government.
Our community no longer cares about a U.S. president’s use of the word genocide. Aside from pissing off Turkey for a few days, that’s not going to do much. Reagan used the word genocide in 1981, yet we’re still in the same predicament today. When it comes to the Armenian Genocide, our demands from Turkey and the international community are so much bigger than that. We want reparations. We want our historic homeland back. Until the United States, as in the U.S. Congress, recognizes the genocide and works with the international community to demand recognition and reparations from Turkey, a U.S. president’s words don’t mean much.
So I beg you, in the future, read up on the issues we face. Understand our community’s stance on these issues. Think about a candidate’s policy and its potential effect. Don’t use genocide recognition as the only criteria in evaluating Armenian-American issues.
Alik Ourfalian, An Armenian-American Millennial
MISSION HILLS, Calif.—Professor Taner Akçam of Clark University will give a lecture entitled “The Memoir of Naim Bey and Talat Pasha Telegrams: Are They ‘Armenian Forgeries’?” on Sunday, November 20, 2016, at 4pm, at the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, Sheen Chapel, 15105 Mission Hills Road, Mission Hills, California. The program is sponsored by the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, the Armenian Bar Association, the Organization of Istanbul Armenians, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).
In 1920-21, author and editor Aram Andonian published a book known in English as The Memoirs of Naim Bey and in Armenian as Medz Vojirě (The Great Crime). It contained the writings of an Ottoman official and telegrams from Talat Pasha containing orders for the killing of Armenians.
In 1983, Turkish authors Sinasi Orel and Sureyya Yuca published a book to establish that the memoir was fake and the telegrams were forgeries. The argument had three main pillars: 1) there was no such person as Naim Bey; 2) there is no actual memoir, since a non-existing person cannot write a memoir; and 3) the so-called Talat Pasha telegrams, like the alleged memoir, were invented by Andonian.
Although noted researcher Father Krikor Guerguerian (Kriger) in 1965 published a detailed examination of Andonian’s published and unpublished materials and Vahakn N. Dadrian in 1986 published a lengthy response to Orel and Yuca, in general the scholarly world ceased using the memoir and telegrams as trustworthy sources. Until now, the claims against Andonian have remained unanswered and became the cornerstone of denialism.
Akçam risked venturing into this highly disputed territory and pursued the matter to its necessary conclusion, seeking out the archival sources and documents needed for a proper scholarly assessment. The first results of his research will be presented in this lecture and in a book to be published in Turkish later this fall. The question must be asked: Is it time to remove one of the last bricks in the denialist wall and watch the façade crumble?
Akçam is the author of From Empire To Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide, A Shameful Act: the Armenian Genocide and Turkish Responsibility, and The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, as well as other works in the English and Turkish Languages. Since 2008, he has been the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, MA.
For more information about this program, contact Ararat-Eskijian Museum at (747) 500-7585 or Araratemail@example.com, or NAASR at (617) 489-1610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drummer John Dolmayan Confirms New Album in the Works
LONDON, United Kingdom (Armenian Weekly)—System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan confirmed that the band is working on a new album in an interview with the United Kingdom’s Kerrang! magazine. “We’ve been working on a new album for the last six months and there [are] about 15 songs that I think are album-worthy,” Dolmayan said in the interview, which appeared in the magazine’s November 9 issue.
Though Dolmayan confirmed that the band is working on the album, he said that they are still unsure about when the album will be released. “System of a Down is definitely making an album, we just don’t know what terms it will be made on,” Dolmayan said, adding, “there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on us, though, because it’s been 11 years—at least 12 by the time it [the album] comes out. Our playing ability is better than it has ever been and we’re trying new things.”
System of a Down is an Armenian-American heavy metal band formed in 1994. The band currently consists of Serj Tankian (lead vocals, keyboards), Daron Malakian (vocals, guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass, backing vocals) and Dolmayan (drums).
The band achieved commercial success with the release of 5 studio albums, 3 of which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The band has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, and their song “B.Y.O.B.” won the Best Hard Rock Performance of 2006. The group briefly disbanded in August 2006 and reunited in November 2010, embarking on a tour for the following 3 years.
On Novembber 23, 2014, System of a Down announced the “Wake Up The Souls Tour” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The tour included a free concert in Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia on April 23, 2015, their first show in the country.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
unior Eurovision 2016: Meet Anahit and Mary from Armenia Search … Search A Dictator Obsessed With Power & Wealth: Erdogan’s 12 Scandals!
BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN
With each passing day, Turkish President Erdogan is becoming increasingly dictatorial. The arrest of 11 members of the opposition pro-Kurdish party, HDP, is the latest in a long string of Erdogan’s dictatorial policies.
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a devastating exposé on Erdogan last week, listing some of his scandalous actions!
I have summarized Rubin’s lengthy article which was posted on Newsweek magazine’s European edition website, under the title, “Twelve Questions Turkish Journalists Dare not Ask”:
- How did Erdogan become a billionaire?
Erdogan was raised in a poor family until he became Mayor of Istanbul when he faced 13 corruption probes. In 2004, when he was Prime Minister, the U.S. embassy in Ankara reported in a cable to Washington that “he had at least eight Swiss bank accounts.” In addition, secret phone recordings revealed his instructions “to liquidate perhaps a billion dollars in cash. Erdogan used his power over the courts to quash the case and arrest prosecutors and judges who sought to pursue it.”
- Where is Erdogan’s university diploma?
Erdogan claims to have graduated from Istanbul’s Marmara University in 1981. His degree may have been forged. “A four-year degree is a prerequisite for the presidency. If Erdogan lied about having a degree, can he remain as president?”
- Is there another story behind the coup attempt?
Erdogan fired and jailed thousands of his political opponents, accusing them of being the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind of the July 15 coup attempt, which the Turkish President called “a gift from God.”
- If there is a FETO, is there also an ETO?
Erdogan called Gulen’s movement “the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO)…. If it is permissible to talk about FETO as a terror group, would it be equally acceptable to refer to the Erdoganist Terror Organization (ETO)?”
- If Gulen is a terrorist, why did Erdogan work with him till 2013?
Gulen and Erdogan had practically identical religious philosophies until their split in 2013. Why is Gulen a ‘terrorist’ now?
- Why is it OK to report on PKK attacks but not on ISIS?
“When the PKK or fringe Kurdish groups attack, it often dominates the headlines in Turkey for days as the investigation continues, authorities name suspects, etc…. But when ISIS has attacked, the Turkish government has put an embargo on reports about the investigation.”
- Why did Turkish intelligence help the Nusra Front? And ISIS?
“Evidence is overwhelming that both the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and ISIS itself, have received arms, support and equipment from authorities in Turkey. When journalists broke the story — and provided photographic evidence — Erdogan’s response was to arrest the editor of the newspaper that published the scoop. Likewise, when Turkish soldiers stopped an arms shipment into Syria, Erdogan ordered the soldiers’ arrest rather than the smugglers….”
- Was a Turkish death squad behind the Paris assassinations?
“In 2013, assassins executed three Kurdish activists in their office in Paris. All three were PKK members…. The French captured Omer Guney, a 32-year-old Turk who had arrived in France at age 9.Telephone intercepts after the murders show him calling back to handlers in Turkey’s intelligence agency….”
- Why did Erdogan appoint his son-in-law oil minister?
“Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s 37-year-old son-in-law, became Turkey’s energy minister on November 24, 2015. Was he the best qualified? Or were other factors at play?”
- Can we talk about Erdogan’s associations?
Erdogan is a close friend of Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman, who, according to the U.S. Treasury Department “had alleged ties to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden until 2014.” Erdogan persistently declared: “I know Mr. Qadi. I believe in him as I believe in myself. For Mr. Qadi to associate with a terrorist organization, or support one, is impossible.” Erdogan is also close to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of Afghanistan who has “allied himself with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.” Another friend, Khalid Meshaal (the militant leader of Hamas), visited Turkey as Erdogan’s personal guest!
- What deal have you struck with Putin?
After Erdogan and Putin buried the hatchet earlier this year, they agreed on a pipeline deal and held talks on the Turkish purchase of a Russian missile system. Were there any secret agreements?
- What explains the court’s 2008 refusal to close the AKP?
In 2008, Turkey’s constitutional court came close to dissolving Erdogan’s ruling party. But, at the last-minute, one justice switched his vote. It is alleged that “a businessman, long hounded by Erdogan, wired money into that justice’s account just before the vote.”
During a November 6 ceremony in Istanbul to receive an honorary doctorate, Erdogan proudly proclaimed: “I don’t care if they call me a dictator or whatever else. It goes in one ear, out the other!”